What Are Meat by Products in Cat Food?

Author Adele Gillet

Posted Jan 2, 2023

Reads 54

Dog looking out over mountains

Meat by products in cat food are an ingredient that many pet owners have grown to dread and rarely understand what they are. It's important to understand what this ingredient is in order to make the best decision when it comes to choosing food for your furry friend.

Meat by-products are a clean, regulated, and quality source of protein that can provide many essential nutrients not necessarily found in muscle meat. They are derived from slaughterhouses and include variety of edible parts such as clean internal organs (the liver, spleen, heart), tongues, eyes, glands and more.

Due to regulations imposed by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), most animal by-products must meet strict requirements for inclusion in pet foods that includes a maximum amount of safe toxins such as heavy metals, pesticide alternatives and dangerous bacteria. Total protein content must also meet specified guidelines for inclusion. That said, animal by-products still typically contain more fat than muscle meat making them dense sources of calories but limited nutritionally.

A few things to consider while looking at meat by-products on pet food labels include: the origin or source of the ingredient should generally be readily identified (poultry by-products or beef by-products), the type of protein should include skinned parts to reduce fat content around organs when present (chicken gizzards versus “chicken” as listed alone), and allergies may be indicative of sensitivities within certain animal proteins so inquire on sourcing specifics if such exists with your pet. Something else worth noting is that generic labels such as “animal/meat/poultry by product meal" may only account for 4% total content but there still may be up 10 ingredients all considered under this descriptor individually so read labels carefully! Overall understanding what’s inside those packages and cans can help you make informed decisions about your cat’s nutrition - which ultimately leave them happier & healthier!

What preservatives are commonly used in cat food?

Preservatives are essential elements in the formulation of cat food. The purpose of the preservative is to maintain the nutritional qualities and taste of the cat food over time, while also preventing spoilage due to mold or bacterial growth.

The three most common types of preservatives used in cat food are natural preservatives, synthetic antioxidants and chemical preservatives. Natural preservatives such as Vitamin E (tocopherols), citrus extracts and rosemary extract are mainly found in premium quality brands, as they are plant-based with natural antioxidant properties. Synthetic antioxidants are typically used to reduce or eliminate rancidity and have primarily replaced artificial flavors, colors and fragrances which have largely been phased out due to health concerns. Common synthetic antioxidants used include ethoxyquin and BHA/BHT. Finally, chemical preservatives (sometimes labeled as "preservative") include propionic acid, potassium sorbate and sodium nitrite, which are added at low levels for mold inhibition.

It is important for pet owners to read labels carefully when purchasing cat food as some of these ingredients may not be listed – especially when talking about small quantity manufacturers-and could potentially cause health issues in your cats if consumed on a regular basis. Additionally, it is important to bring any food related allergies or sensitivities your feline may have up with your vet before making a purchase decision so you can be sure that the product you purchase will not harm your pet's health.

What vitamins and minerals are essential in cat food?

Making sure your cat has a balanced diet is essential for their well-being and long life. Vitamins and minerals play an important role in keeping cats healthy and can help them maintain a strong immune system.

When considering what vitamins and minerals are essential in cat food, the first is taurine. This essential amino acid helps support eye, heart, central nervous system, liver, and even reproductive health as well as aiding in digestion. Taurine must come from a diet that includes animal proteins such as meat, fish or eggs. While cats are able to manufacture taurine from other dietary sources, foods supplemented with it can be beneficial.

Another vital vitamin that cats require is Vitamin A. Vitamin A is important for the proper functioning of all organs and is necessary for the maintenance of a healthy coat and skin condition. Meat such as liver is naturally high in Vitamin A so make sure to include it in your cat’s diet when possible.

Some other vitamins that cats need are B-Vitamins B1 (Thiamine), B3 (Niacin), B5 (Pantothenic acid) and B6 all promote good metabolic systems and overall health both internally and externally. Cats also require Vitamin E which helps protect them from toxins while also assisting cell growth and development processes. Finally, don’t forget about Vitamin C – cats can’t produce this vitamin on their own so it must come from their diet as well as lots of fresh water which helps with digestion among other things!

In terms of minerals there are three key ones: Calcium, Magnesium and Phosphorus. All three provide frames for cellular metabolic processes while Calcium keeps bones strong, Magnesium helps regulate electrolytes in the body while Phosphorus aids all muscular activity to name but a few of their benefits! Of course these don’t make up an exhaustive list but they are certainly some of the most important nutrients that should be included when looking at cat food on offer or crafting bespoke meals at home!

Are there any plant-based proteins in cat food?

Plant-based proteins are making a significant impact on the pet food industry, but what about cat food? As vegan and vegetarian diets become increasingly popular, there's an influx of non-meat options in even the most traditional pet categories. For cats especially, their diet outlets aren’t usually inclusive to plant-based proteins because of the fact that cats are obligate carnivores.

While there’s still no cat food product on the market that is solely based on a plant-based protein, there are some companies that allow consumers to provide healthier mixes of cat food options by incorporating some plant-based ingredients into their recipes. For example, Purina recently launched a new line of wet cat foods infused with added pea protein—a major step in developing more vegan and vegetarian diets for cats. Companies like Weruva are also providing grain-free wet cat food products made predominantly from plant sources such as chickpeas, pumpkin and potato starch.

Overall, cats’ obligate carnivorous nature means that plant-based proteins won’t be the main source of nourishment for your feline friend; however, it can still improve its overall diet with added dietary supplements. In summary, more pet companies need to embrace the vegan movement and include some non-meat options in their products while still ensuring their cat foods meet all the nutritional needs of your furry little friend.

How much protein does cat food need to contain?

Protein is an essential element in any animal's diet, and finding the right amount of protein for cats is important for cats to stay healthy. Generally, the recommended amount of protein for cats can vary depending on the life-stage of the cat, but all cats should have an adequate source of high-quality protein as a source of essential amino acids.

When it comes to cat food, it's important to look for a formula that contains an overall rate of 30% or more dry matter protein, with 8-12% fat content. This will meet the basic nutritional requirements for cats. If a cat needs higher levels of protein based on their age and health condition (such as during times of rapid growth in kittens or during certain illnesses), then additional amounts should be added to the diet.

In addition to looking at the ratio of protein to fat content in cat food, it is also important to assess whether the particular proteins used are high quality. High quality proteins contain complete amino acids which can be easily assimilated by cats, while lower quality proteins may need additional supplementation with vitamins and minerals in order to provide complete nourishment. A few good sources of complete proteins are chicken meal, egg product and lamb meal (for example). Whenever possible aim for premium brands that are approved by AAFCO or provide other certification confirming their nutritional stability and quality control measures. By doing so you can rest assured that your feline companion receives all the necessary nutrition from their foods.

What animal proteins are commonly used in cat food?

There are many animal proteins commonly used in cat food to provide cats a balanced diet and optimal nutrition. Feline diets often include proteins from fish, poultry and meat sources.

Fish proteins offer a good source of omega-3 fatty acids, which are important for healthy skin and coat as well as joint health. Common sources of fish protein used in cat food come from salmon, tuna, whitefish, anchovy, mackerel, herring and catfish. Although fish certainly offers its own health benefits for cats, often times high amounts can lead to finicky eating habits.

Poultry proteins are leaner compared to fish-based proteins and are an excellent source of essential amino acids. Cat food companies use chicken and turkey far more than other mammalian proteins. Their mild taste is popular among cats, making their kibble consistently preferred over other forms of protein.

Beef protein, though not overly popular in the pet food world due to its higher cost in comparison with poultry, provides a variety of essential amino acids for cats as well as being easily digestible. Beef makes up only a small percentage of all animal-based proteins used in cat food products; however some cats have a palatability advantage when including beef into their diet.

Rabbit is another common source of protein used in premium pet foods and treats because it can be easier on the digestive system than other meats. Its muscle tissue is highly digestible and contains naturally occurring vitamins and minerals such as omega fatty acids for a balanced diet and optimal nutrition at every mealtime.

No matter which animal protein your cat prefers, make sure you’re purchasing cat food that meets your pet’s specific dietary needs while providing them with an overall nutritionally balanced meal plan.

Adele Gillet

Adele Gillet

Writer at Nahf

View Adele's Profile

Adele Gillet is an avid writer who has always had a passion for storytelling. She loves to write about her experiences and share them with others, whether it's through her blog, social media platforms or books. Adele is also a keen traveler and enjoys exploring new places, meeting new people and trying new foods.

View Adele's Profile