Those interested in knowing how is cat food made might be surprised to learn that the meat and bones used in pet food are usually harvested from different animals. The by-products are rendered to remove moisture, fat, and the internal organs of the animal. These by-products are safe for cats to eat.
The meat and bone meal may be processed into a dry food, which is then packaged in individual cans. Cats are carnivores and need to obtain protein from meat. The proteins are broken down into amino acids that help build cartilage, tendons, and muscles. The amino acids are then used to build hair and skin.
Some pet foods contain palatants, which are ingredients that make pets want to eat the product. These ingredients include potent smelly chemicals found in rotting meat, additives to potatoes to prevent discoloration, and a chemical preservative. The manufacturer might also use ethoxyquin, a chemical that is banned from human food but has been linked to cancer.
Other ingredients found in cat food are food dyes, which are used to cater to the eyes of human consumers. They are often combined with tocopherol, an antioxidant, to prevent oxidation of fats. In addition, some manufacturers add a chemical preservative called BHA. These chemical preservatives combine BHA with butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA) and are considered cancer preventives.
Cat food manufacturers must also meet AAFCO labeling requirements. AAFCO’s labeling rules require the ingredients in pet food to have a 25-percent minimum nutrient content, and to meet AAFCO’s 3-percent rule for minor ingredients. In addition, manufacturers must use a name on the label for each ingredient. For example, Meow Mix – Original contains beef tallow, a low-cost fat, as a flavor enhancer.
Other ingredients in cat food may include wheat gluten, a protein fixative that is expensive and used as a folio. Some cats may suffer from gastric distress when they eat gluten. It’s also possible that cats may have trouble digesting corn. Corn is often used as a filler in cat foods. Corn also contains unnecessary sugar. Corn syrup and sucrose are also used.
Cat food manufacturers may use other ingredients to add bulk and texture to their food. For example, they may add fibre, which helps provide bulk to move food through the digestive tract. They may also add minerals and vitamins, which are important for cats.
In addition to meat and bone meal, some manufacturers add carbohydrates, such as corn, barley, and rice. These carbohydrates are unnecessary for cats. They are also low in fat. They are vitamin rich and contain a lot of fiber.
Another controversial ingredient in cat food is lentils. Some experts believe that these ingredients are unnecessary for cats, while others argue that they are healthy carbohydrates. In fact, lentils are a natural source of vitamins and are low in fat.
Many manufacturers use sorbic acid and potassium sorbate as a chemical preservative. They may also use ethoxyquin and BHA. These chemicals are banned from human food, but are allowed in cat food.