Cat food ingredients

Discussion in 'Feline Health - (Welcome & Main Forum)' started by Karen & Angus(GA), Jan 21, 2010.

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  1. Karen & Angus(GA)

    Karen & Angus(GA) Member

    Dec 28, 2009
    We get a lot of questions about cat food including which are gluten free, soy free, grain free, etc. So, I have created a spreadsheet with ingredient information for ~770 different varieties of wet cat food. It contains all of the wet cat foods petfooddirect sells with the exception of a few discontinued brands/flavors. It includes all of the foods on Janet & Binky's food list and Dr. Lisa's commercial cat food list for which I could find ingredients. The link to the spreadsheet is and is also in my signature.

    The column definitions are as follows:
    A. Brand Name
    B. Flavor
    C. Gluten - ingredient list contains one or more of the following:
    Corn gluten meal, gluten, rice gluten, wheat gluten
    NOTE: if a food contains grains it will contain some gluten since gluten is a grain protein

    D. Soy - ingredient list contains one or more of the following:
    ground extruded whole soybeans, soy flour, soy fiber, soy grits, soy protein concentrate, soy protein isolate, soybean meal, textured soy protein product
    NOTE: does not include soy oil, soybean oil, or partially hydrogenated soybean oil

    E. Other Veg. Proteins - ingredient list contains one or more of the following:
    pea protein, pea protein concentrate, rice protein, organic rice protein concentrate
    F. by-products - ingredient list contains one or more of the following:
    animal digest, beef by-products, chicken by-products, chicken by-product meal, duck by-products, gelatin by-products, lamb by-products, meat by-products, pork by-products, pork protein isolate, poultry by-products, poultry by-product meal, rabbit by-products, tuna by-products, veal by-products, venison by-products
    G. meals - ingredient list contains one or more of the following:
    chicken meal, fish meal, herring meal, lamb meal, salmon meal, venison meal
    H. fish/seafood - ingredient list contains one or more of the following:
    anchovy, barramundi, blue mussel, bonito, calamari, catfish, caviar, cod, crab, crab extract, crab surimi, crawfish, fish, fish broth, fish meal, fresh water trout, green-lipped mussel, halibut, herring, herring meal, hoki fish, lobster, lobster reduction, mackerel, mackerel flakes, mussel, ocean fish, whitefish, ocean fish broth, prawn, red bigeye, red snapper, salmon, salmon broth, sardine, sardine cutlets, sardine broth, seabass, shirasu, shrimp, skipjack tuna, snapper, sole, threadfin bream white fish, tiger prawns, tilapia, tongol, trevally, trout, tuna, tuna broth, white salmon, whitefish broth, yellowfin tuna
    NOTE: does not include cod liver oil, fish oil, herring oil, Menhaden fish oil, or salmon oil

    I. Grains/Rice/Starches - ingredient list contains one or more of the following:
    alfalfa meal, barley, brewer's rice, brewer's rice flour, brown rice, brown rice flour, corn, corn bran, corn flour, corn grits, corn meal, corn starch, food starch, long grain rice, modified corn starch, modified food starch, modified starch, modified tapioca starch, oat bran, oat fiber, oatmeal, oats, pasta product, pearled barley, quinoa seed, rice, rice bran, rice flour, rice starch, rolled oats, starch, suncured alfalfa, suncured alfalfa meal, tapioca, tapioca starch, wheat, wheat fiber, wheat flour, wheat germ, wheat middlings, white rice, wild rice, potato flour, potato starch, modified potato starch, pea flour, ground extruded whole soybeans, soy flour, soy grits, soybean meal
    NOTE: does not include alfalfa sprouts, corn gluten meal, gluten, rice gluten, wheat gluten, baby corn, corn oil, flax meal, flaxseed, flaxseed meal, flaxseed oil, barley grass, wheat grass
    J. Fruits - ingredient list contains one or more of the following:
    apple, apple fiber, apricot, bananas, blueberries, blueberry pomace, cranberries, cranberry meal, cranberry powder
    K. Veg. - ingredient list contains one or more of the following:
    alfalfa sprouts, artichoke, avocados, baby corn, beet pulp, broccoli, broccoli powder, butternut squash, cabbage, carrot, celery, cucumber, dulse, garlic, garlic powder, green beans, green pea, horseradish, kale, kelp, lentils, mustard greens, okra, onion powder, peas, pea bran, pea fiber, pea flour, peppers, potato, potato flour, potato starch, pumpkin, pumpkin puree, red pepper, snow peas, spinach, squash, sweet potato, tomato, tomato flakes, tomato pomace, tomato powder, vegetable broth, zucchini
    L Other carbs - ingredient list contains one or more of the following:
    cane sugar, dextrose, dextrose monohydrate, glucose, sugar
    M. Complete – Meets AAFCO feeding standards
    N. Date – month and year ingredient list was last updated
    O. Source – website where ingredient list was obtained

    Is this something worth maintaining? The public SS does not have the formulas or ingredient list, but the spreadsheet it is based on does. It means I do not have to closely read each label.

    Are there columns you would like to see added/deleted? For example, a column for other troublesome ingredients such as onion, garlic, BHA/BHT.

    Are there columns you would like defined differently? For example, should the soy column contain soy oil?

    Any other comments?

  2. Janet & Binky (GA)

    Janet & Binky (GA) Senior Member Staff Member Moderator

    Dec 28, 2009
    Holy cow! That is impressive!

    DId you go through the lists one by one to figure this out, or did you coax the computer into doing the work for you?
  3. Karen & Angus(GA)

    Karen & Angus(GA) Member

    Dec 28, 2009
    I used Word and Excel to create a list of all ingredients in all of the foods. I then sorted and removed the duplicates. I ended up with something like 800 unique ingredients. I then classified all of the remaining ingredients into the columns you see above plus animal protein sources, fats, additives, supplements, herbs/flavorings, water, and a few others. I wrote the Excel formulas to search the ingredient lists for each of the above columns. I tested the formulas by comparing them to 300 foods I had done manually. About 1/2 the discrepancies were formula problems and about 1/2 were me not noticing an ingredient. So, I find the spreadsheet useful, but I am not sure if others will.
  4. Michelle and Doodle

    Michelle and Doodle Member

    Dec 28, 2009
    Wow! That's like OMG impressive!
    thank you!

    I'm wondering if there is any way to make line #2 ( the one that lables all of the columns) stationary?
    So you can scroll down the list but still be able to see the column headers?
  5. Karen & Angus(GA)

    Karen & Angus(GA) Member

    Dec 28, 2009
    Thanks Michelle! The top two rows are now frozen.
  6. Venita

    Venita Well-Known Member

    Dec 28, 2009
    Wow, Karen, thank you for the enormous effort!!
  7. Gia and Quirk

    Gia and Quirk Member

    Dec 28, 2009
    Karen, you rock! What a wonderful resource you have created.

    I wish we could find a way to clear up two misconceptions about ingredients. Gluten does not affect blood glucose, but every day someone posts that it does. We need to make clear that the reason to avoid glutens is the likelihood of allergy.

    Second is by-products, they are not evil. By products include calcium from bones, organ meat and other parts of animals that cats in the wild habitually consume. A few by-products here and there are actually beneficial.

    Enough of my quibbling. The work you have produced is fantastic. Thank you so much!
  8. Leslie & Maverick & Chaos-(GAs)

    Leslie & Maverick & Chaos-(GAs) Member

    Dec 28, 2009
    Thank you so much for this spreadsheet!

    I agree with Gia about gluten and by-products. As a matter of fact, Roni (civvie) seems to love the foods with by-products better because that's more dark meat and richer in flavor. He'll also eat my dark meat chicken and turkey, but not the light meat. A boy after my taste :lol:
  9. Janet & Binky (GA)

    Janet & Binky (GA) Senior Member Staff Member Moderator

    Dec 28, 2009
    And poisoning, since I personally have little confidence that the melamine problem was actually solved.
  10. Karen & Angus(GA)

    Karen & Angus(GA) Member

    Dec 28, 2009
    I agree. I attempted to do that by putting the glutens under the proteins heading and the grains under the carbohydrates heading. I have not included the glutens in the grains/rices/starches list. Actually, any food that contains grain contains some gluten, so the gluten column alone is not adequate for allergies. Conversely, any food that contains gluten does contain grain. But, I did not include gluten in the grain list because it has little, if any, carbs. I know I need to make that clearer, but I am not sure how without cluttering up the spreadsheet.

    I did not mean for my spreadsheet to insinuate that any ingredient was evil or unhealthy. I am simply trying to create a tool that allows people to determine what foods they would like to try based on their own opinion of what is healthy/unhealthy for their own cats. By-products are on there because many pet food web sites, including Dr. Lisa's, discuss why by-products may be good or bad for your cat. I did consider adding more columns under proteins - muscle meat, organ meat, dairy, and eggs. I thought the spreadsheet would become too difficult to read with that many columns. As it is, I think the meal and other vegetable protein columns are of limited use because so few of the foods actually contain those ingredients.
  11. Gia and Quirk

    Gia and Quirk Member

    Dec 28, 2009
    Karen, the way you organized is a step forward in clearing up these misconceptions. It's people parroting what they think they know that spreads them.

    The quality of advice on FDMB has always suffered from parroting but with the growth of the board it has become exponentially worse. Canned posts are another evil that is growing and there are fewer people keeping up with research and many of them are ignored because they are not as popular as the parrots or as prolific as the canned posters.

    The future of the board is in your hands, and those of a few others. I am grateful to all of you.
  12. Victoria & Sundance

    Victoria & Sundance Member

    Dec 28, 2009
    I agree about the canned posts, Gia. I think it's great for someone to have the information at hand to use quickly for a newbie. But, for me anyway, the posts are getting rather long and sometimes don't seem to take into account the individual situation for which the OP originally posted. It's all information that can be found in the old FAQ, some of it updated, but I think they are overwhelming and that the information should be broken into different posts so that it's read. When someone comes here, they want conversation and personalised answers. The canned posts often appear like a regular webpage.

    Having said that, I know the people that use canned posts are well meaning and have spent a great deal of time organising their post... so I appreciate how much they care and their efforts. I just think that using their post as reference for themselves and writing a bit more personally more often would benefit the newbie a lot more.
  13. KarenRamboConan

    KarenRamboConan Senior Member Moderator

    Dec 28, 2009
    Problem #3 with gluten : it's used as a cheap protein enhancer, and is just not a good protein source for cats.

    And may I just say ... WOW!! That is one impressive list, and a real labour of love. Thank you! :thumbup
  14. barbwhite1

    barbwhite1 Member

    Nov 3, 2010
    Thank you for the lists. All the info and references is a bit overwhelming ( Prince and I are newbies). So then wondering what you think of Merrick brand canned food stamped as 'low glycemic'? Just found this at Petco, never seen it before.

    Thank you, Barbara
  15. KristenP&Sam

    KristenP&Sam Member

    Dec 11, 2010
    I've recently started feeding a grain-free diet to my boys (even before I knew Sam was diabetic) and have tried almost all the grain-free, high protein canned foods Petco sells. By far and away the one they like best is Soulistic brand. They'll pretty much eat any variety. The Merrick BG (Before Grain) brand they were just okay on, everything else was a non-starter, although for dry food, they love the Merrick BG tuna. I don't know if they'd like the other dry flavors as I've stuck to the one they like.
  16. Maggies Mom Debby

    Maggies Mom Debby Well-Known Member

    Dec 28, 2009
    That is amazing! Wonderful! I do have a suggestion, but it's not about this great list.

    I would love to see a division with a label like the one for "announcements" called "food" to make it easier to find ALL the information about food in one place. we could have an easy to find spot for this list, Janet & Binky's list, Calculating food Carb %, Dr. Lynne's Wet Food Shopping List, and the Fancy Feast low carb list. I know they are on the Health Links board, but I always seem to have to search around for the links when I posting.

    Maybe another division with testing and hypo information?

    Just a suggestion!
  17. steve a

    steve a New Member

    Dec 17, 2010
    Forgive me if this sounds like a dumb question, but, if I understand correctly, the foods on that list for which all the answers are "no" is the best food for my diabetic cat (or any cat), right?
  18. tuckers mom

    tuckers mom Well-Known Member

    Dec 28, 2009
    Hi Steve,

    Welcome to FDMB. I hadn't seen that list before today, very impressive.

    I do feed some seafood flavors, so for us, it doens't have to be no across the board. We use Fancy Feast the classic pate varieties. Also some Wellness canned, grain free.

    You might want to start a new topic, you'll probably get a lot more responses.

    If you could tell us about your kitty that would be great too. What type of food do you feed now? If you plan on switching to the lower carb foods it would be important to hometest your cats blood sugar if your cat is on insulin. Changing the diet can lower the BGs a lot, some cats even go off insulin just by diet change alone.
  19. cat and sweet max

    cat and sweet max Member

    Dec 28, 2009
    Very Nice List. First time I've seen it.

    Thank you Karen!

    Hugs and Healing,

    Cat, Sweet Max, and gang
  20. Vickie01

    Vickie01 New Member

    Dec 28, 2010
    I am so new to this diabetes matter. My 16 year old cat was diagnosed before Christmas and is currently on 3 units twice a day. I have been feeding him Fancy Feast Classic foods which I read on one of the sites. I also feed him grain free food every other day since he really likes Weruva with pumpkin. My question is: Can I give him dry food during the day? I usually give him Purina One Senior and mix in some Wellness Core. He doesn't eat a lot of dry food, but he might nibble once or twice during the day. Any harm in that? I am so confused by the labels and ingredients. I purchased Royal Canin diabetic dry food but when I brought it home and read the label, I don't think it's good for him at all. And forget about the prescription cannned foods. He won't eat them at all. I wish he didn't have to have the insulin shots. Any chance my cat at this age can go into remission with change in diet? A lot of you people have done a lot of research on the foods and I sure could use an answer. Thanks so much.
  21. Jen & Squeak

    Jen & Squeak Well-Known Member

    Dec 28, 2009
    Vicki, I'd start a new thread as you landed in one that is specifically about ingredients :)

    To try and answer your questions, you are allowed to feed whatever you want :) But, if you are asking whether it is a good idea to feed dry, I would say no. For a few reasons, first being dry food contains more carbohydrates than most canned and you are adding unnecessary carbs that you must then battle with insulin. Second, dry food is not really great for cats due to its processing; it is moisture depleted and can dehydrate your cat and increase urinary and kidney issues.

    Reading labels on cans is confusing if you read the values; skip the values and look at the ingredients. If a canned food doesn't contain any grains (wheat, corn, rice, soy, etc) then it is likely reasonable for your diabetic.

    Please, if you haven't already, post a new thread, including what insulin, why 3 units already, any other health issues, etc.

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