There are so many cat food brands out there in the market, it is a bit confusing when it comes to picking a cat food for your beloved cats. Food labels are becoming more and more generalized these days, it is difficult for customers to truly understand what really goes into the food.
The Truth about AAFCO
The truth is that even though a food brand has AAFCO's statement of "complete and balanced" on the label, it does not necessarily mean that it is truly up to par. Nowadays lack of government oversight has resulted in a lot of food manufacturing mishaps and ultimately our own pets are the ones becoming experimental subjects to the pet food industry.
In order to be validated as truly "complete and balanced", a company must invest an enormous amount of funds and time into studying and collecting data for a food product. However, testing and researching are often influenced by marketing because marketing is one that helps bring profit to the companies. There are plenty of marketing messages printed on the package, But how many of them really live up to their claim?
No company should perform invasive testing on animals, but this is hard to track because of limited resource from AAFCO and FDA. Also, AAFCO's primary focus is to ensure safety of feed for livestock that becomes food for people, so the resource that actually goes into studying and learning about animal diet is scarce.
Even though many of the pet food brands have past the AAFCO standards, we saw a massive list of recalls in 2006 and 2007. Isn't government supposed to certify brands that truly provide good, nutritious food?
What Kind of Food Should I Pick for My Cat?
Next time when you go to a store, think again. Cats are obligatory carnivores, so why should their cat food contain so much carbohydrates? Cats' liver, unlike humans and dogs, has only one enzyme system whereas dogs and humans have multiple enzyme systems that could shoot up the "burn" rate or lower it down depending on the food they eat. However, since cats are obligatory carnivores, their single enzyme system limits them to work best with a mostly pure meat based diet. Too much carbohydrate content can cause many problems.
Problems about Carbohydrates
Liver and kidney diseases occur more often in cats that have been fed dry kibbles for a long periods of time. Carbohydrates put a lot strain on the liver because of its biological makeup for mainly handling meat diet. Cats that have eaten too much carbohydrate content can wear out the liver and cause it to fail. Kidney disease on the other hand is due to lack of water intake which keeps the cat in a constantly dehydrated state. Cats do not usually drink a lot of water by nature. If a cat does not get enough water to soften the dry food, it can get the cat really sick.
The combination of insufficient meat protien and high amount of carbohydrates is the worst diet which can cause many medical issues such as obesity, diabetes, liver disease, kidney disease and so forth.
Benefits from a Meat based Diet
Meat contains certain fatty acid that cannot be found from non-meat ingredients. Cats need those essential nutrients to keep their health in top shape. Even chicken or beef by-products are much more nutritous than any carbohydrate fillers because they provide protein, fatty acids and certain vitamins that are essential to cats' daily needs. Unlike carbohydrate content or many low-grade protein sources such as corn gluten, soy flour (that provide only plant protein), meat gives cats the best fuel for their engine.
There are a lot of unknowns in the pet food industry now, as long as you remember that cats are obligatory carnivores and they should be fed on mostly real meat (not semimoist cat food) and very little carbohydrates.