Cats are obligate carnivores. So it follows that if we keep feeding them anything other than raw meat, we will have to deal with serious health issues. These cost a lot of money, time and emotions.
Kibble should not be fed to a cat because:
- The main ingredient in most commercial kibble is corn. Below human grade corn. The left-over, no nutritional value corn. Instead of protein, you’re getting carbohydrates and cats should not have more than 4% carbohydrates in their diet.
- Natural cats’ diet is minimum 60% moisture. Kibble is dry. Cats do not naturally get thirsty. You do the math and you’ll get chronic dehydration, urinary tract disease and renal failure.
- It does not help clean teeth. In fact, kibble is nothing more than sugar coated cereal for humans, so the effects on the teeth are similar, most notably tartar. Buildup of tartar leads to gum disease which makes the cat more prone to heart disease, kidney damage and damage to other organs. Here is a visual. And here is what those dental improvement claims actually mean. The best way to clean those teeth, in my opinion, is to chew on raw bones.
- There are not enough essential fatty acids in kibble, and these are critical to the well being of a carnivore. Cats have a need for at least two of these essential omegas – linoleic and arachidonic acids. The arachidonic acids can be found in fresh raw meat. Lack of these fatty acids leads to blindness, poor skin and coat health, kidney and liver degeneration.
So I decided to look up the ingredients on a bag of Hill Science Kitten kibble. I decided to look at the kitten food as opposed to the adult cat food because the kitten food is supposed to be more nutritious. So I am looking at the DMB (Dry Matter Basis).
Here is the comparison between the recipe I use and Hills Science Diet Kitten Kibble:
Ingredients: chicken muscle meat, chicken liver, chicken hearts, egg yolks, water and supplements
How much moisture is in there? It doesn’t say, but my guess is less than 10%. Remember that cats do not get thirsty the way we do. In nature cats get their water from their food, raw meat, which is at least 60% moisture.
There is too much carbohydrate in this food: 22.3% compared to what cats should actually consume, which is max 4%, no matter the age of the cat.
The protein content is not bad, but remember this is kitten food, adult cat food kibble will have less. It is still much less than a rat carcass. Also, where does the protein come from?
Ingredients: Chicken By-Product Meal, Ground Whole Grain Corn, Corn Gluten Meal, Animal Fat (preserved with mixed tocopherols and citric acid), Chicken Liver Flavor, Brewers Rice, Fish Oil, Flaxseed, Dried Egg Product, Soybean Mill Run, Potassium Chloride, Choline Chloride, L-Lysine, L-Threonine, L-Arginine, vitamins (L-Ascorbyl-2-Polyphosphate (source of vitamin C), Vitamin E Supplement, Niacin, Thiamine Mononitrate, Vitamin A Supplement, Calcium Pantothenate, Riboflavin, Biotin, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Folic Acid, Vitamin D3 Supplement), Soybean Oil, Cysteine, Calcium Carbonate, DL-Methionine, Vitamin E Supplement, Taurine, minerals (Manganese Sulfate, Ferrous Sulfate, Zinc Oxide, Copper Sulfate, Calcium Iodate, Sodium Selenite), L-Tryptophan, preserved with Mixed Tocopherols and Citric Acid, Magnesium Oxide, Beta-Carotene, Rosemary Extract.
Furthermore, from my research, cats do not need the following: corn, rice, flaxseed, dried egg, soybean or rosemary extract.
* Read this excerpt for an explanation of ingredient splitting.
Also, there are a lot of supplements added to this recipe. If you do a little research you will find that cats do indeed need these supplements. More importantly, however, is where these supplements come from. They should come from animal tissue. If you follow the link under choline chloride you will read a very interesting article, by a vet, on exactly this subject.
And this is the breakdown of a rat carcass, which is what cats have been eating for thousands of years:
Here is the breakdown of a field mouse: