There are many options for canned cat food today. Canned food is much better for felines than dry mostly because it has a much higher moisture content. It usually has as much as 80% moisture compared to under 10% in dry food. This means less chance for kidney related issues. However, canned food is not the best for your cat, and here is why:

  • Canned food still has a high content of carbohydrates. Usually they are not listed in the Guaranteed Analysis but it is safe to subtract all components from 100% and you will get the carbohydrate content.
  • The ingredients that are used are iffy, to say the least. Unless you buy a very high quality and expensive type of canned food, you run the risk of feeding your cat corn, or other grains. Even the high end canned food contains fruits and veggies that cats do not need. They sound nice because of their antioxidant properties, but I don’t know of any cat who eats cranberries.

All cat guardians should be aware of pet food labels. Here are some rules regarding labels:

The 95% rule

This rule applies to products that consist primarily of meat, poultry and fish. If an ingredient is to be used in the name of a product, for example “BEEF FOR DOGS” then the specific ingredient must constitute at least 95% of the product.

The 3% rule

If the manufacturer wants to include a side statement of “with cheese” then at least 3% of the product must now contain cheese. Recent amendments to AAFCO regulations, however, now permit food manufacturers to use “with” as part of a product name. So it is legal to name a product “CAT FOOD WITH TUNA” even though only 3% of tuna is actually contained on the food. This will conceivably sit next to another product named “TUNA CAT FOOD” which will contain 95% tuna!

IAMS pate with beef lists: Beef Broth, Chicken, Meat By-Products, Chicken By-Products, Beef, as the first 5 ingredients.

The 25% rule/the “dinner” rule

A pet food manufacturer wishing to include an ingredient name in its product name (i.e. “CHICKEN FORMULA CAT FOOD”) must ensure that the ingredient constitutes at least 25% of the product (excluding water for processing) AND that the label include a quantifying descriptive term like: “FEAST”, “DINNER” or “FORMULA”.  This is to imply to the consumer that the food contains other ingredients. This is dangerous for those pets with food allergies because the guardian may think they are getting mainly one ingredient when in fact that ingredient is only 25% of the food.
Fancy Feast Chicken Feast
lists: Chicken, chicken broth, liver, meat by-products, fish, as the first 5 ingredients.

Scary? Next time you shop for canned food, try to figure out exactly what is in the can…it won’t be an easy job. Use the AAFCO guidelines to help you.

One of the best, grain free canned foods for cats, is Wellness. They claim the ingredients are natural and there are no meat by-products. It still  has as much carbs as 17% and cranberries…at least these carbs don’t come from grain! It is also pretty expensive.