Did you ever think about your cat's food? You go to the grocery store to stock up on what you think your cat will eat during the week and for some strange reason you start reading the labels.You look at the shelf and are befuddled by all the names, many of which are new. Tuna fillet dinner with prawn sauce, real salmon and oceanfish in gravy, tuna and whitefish entrée and the list goes on. Then you start to look at the ingredients and are stumped by such words as Erythorbic acid, Guar gum and locust bean gum, suddenly you realize it is a whole new world out there in cat food country.How can you be certain you are feeding your cat the proper diet?Well, in this country, pet food has to be made to fulfill certain standards of diet. We have the Food and Drug administration and the U.S. Department of Agriculture that regulate food processing and then we have the Association of Feed Control (AAFCO) which helps to control the nutritional parts of the food. Along with suggesting the nutritional profiles, AAFCO runs food trials to establish that certain foods do meet all nutritional requirements necessary to keep our cats healthy.Our pet food manufacturers have what is known as a quality control process that checks the ingredients for wholesomeness before they go into the pet food. During the food processing, the cat food is checked many times for certain levels of moistness, protein concentration and fat content along with the proper amount of ash. Our kitty's food is even checked to see that during the shelf life it remains nutritionally true.There now is cat food for every stage of a cat's life from kittenhood, adult cats, elderly cats and cats with certain health problems. There is cat food to help control hairballs, cat food to satisfy an indoor cat's need for a taste of the outdoors and food that tastes like a combinations of many things.Cat food is processed in three different ways, dry, wet and semi-moist, all of which start out with many of the same ingredients, but are processed in different ways.It is important to feed your cat food that it likes, so that it can absorb the nutrients necessary to lead a healthy life. Protein is one of the most essential ingredients in a cat's life. Cats need protein and find it very hard to digest carbohydrates. Ironically, a mouse is the most perfect food your cat can eat and cat food manufacturers try to balance their foods to fit the nutritional balance found in a mouse.If your cat is like those that live in my house, you will find that what they will eat today does not necessarily mean they will eat it tomorrow. Actually in my household, what they will not it "now" if I give it to them 10 minutes later they will eat it like it was their favorite food.Cats like variety, but they are also finicky eaters and I guess that goes back to the days when they were treated like royalty.Here is a short list of some of the basic processing ingredients found in cat food: Digest: an Enzymatic liquefaction of animal tissue used for flavor
Erythorbic acid: this prevents the heat during the process of canning from destroying the food's color
Guar gum, locust bean gum, corn starch-modified: thickening agents added to hold the food together
Propylene glycol, glycerin, and sorbitol: used to control water in semi-moist foods
Ascorbic acid: a natural preservative from vitamin C
BHA and BHT: artificial sources of preservatives and should be avoided We recently had a pet food scare and many of our beloved pets became ill and some unfortunately died. How do we know in spite of all the precautions that are taken to give us good food for our cats and dogs that they are safe? My advice is to read the labels and to buy the best food that you can. I know that does not guarantee the food is not contaminated.But, in regard to cats, home cooking is really not recommended as the nutritional requirements a cat's body requires, makes it almost impossible for a home cooked meal to fulfill all a cat's needs.It is necessary for us, the humans, to put our faith in the improved technology and research that is going on. Not only in the fields of health, nutrition, and the manufacture of food for our daily use, we also have to rely on faith and the knowledge that if we buy the best cat food we can, our cats will be well fed and healthy.