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May 27, 2020

Cat food labels can be complicated with an overwhelming amount of information.  Learning how to read cat food labels will make it easier for you to evaluate and find the best all-natural cat food.

Government Regulations for Cat food

There are a lot of federal and state regulations pet food manufacturers must comply with.  Several of these regulations dictate what is on the cat food labels.  Here is what you will find on cat food labels.

  • Overview – The overview will include the formula, name, and primary ingredients.
  • Net Weight Statement– This tells you how much food is in the package.
  • Manufacturer / DistributorName & Address – This tells you who made or distributed the food so you can contact them with any questions.
  • Product Traceability Information – Based on the information on the labels, you can tell when the food was made.
  • Ingredient List– The ingredients appear in descending order based on the content weight.
  • Guaranteed Analysis– The guaranteed analysis shows the product’s nutrient content. It must include the minimum percentages of crude protein and crude fat and the maximum percentages of crude fiber and moisture.
  • Calorie Statement– You will see calories listed on a kilocalories per kilogram basis and as a common unit of measure, like kilocalories per cup. This will help you when comparing different brands of cat food.
  • Feeding Directions– These are the guideline to help you determine the amount to feed your cat each day. Of course, you may need to adjust based on your cat or what the veterinarian tells you is best.

Ingredients and Nutrients

Ingredients and Nutrients sometimes get confusing with the differences on a cat food label.   Ingredients in your cat’s food may include fish, chicken, rice, and other things.  Those ingredients provide nutrition like protein and carbohydrates.

Nutrients to look for in cat food are:

  • Protein – Cats have higher protein requirements than many other animals, including humans. Cats need 22 amino acids, which are the building blocks of proteins.  While they can digest plant and animal proteins, only animal proteins provide them with those essential amino acids.
  • Fat – Cats need fat for energy and to protect their bodies and build neurons.
  • Vitamins and Minerals – Cats need 25 essential vitamins and minerals in their diet.

Natural Cat Food

There is a standard definition for natural cat food, so if it is listed on the label it needs to qualify according to these guidelines.

The American Association of Feed Control Officials (AFFCO) defines natural as there are no chemically synthesizes ingredients other than vitamins, minerals, and amino acids.  It cannot have any chemically synthetic additives or processing aids.  The exception is for amounts that occur unavoidably through good and manufacturing practices.

Ingredients derived from plants, animals, or minerals are deemed natural.  Also, ingredients that are subjected to physical or heat processing, purification, extraction, hydrolysis, enzy­­­­molysis, or fermentation are labeled natural.

Why Choose All Natural Cat Food?

All-natural cat food keeps your cat’s immune system strong, improves digestion, dental health, and a healthy coat.  Natural cat food is easy for your cat to absorb and digest.  It contains all of a cat’s dietary needs to utilize efficiently.  It doesn’t contain and of the processed ingredients that can hurt your cat’s body.