Decoding Nutritional Information of Cat Foods
By products include organ meat and other animal ports which have nutritional value, but are not routinely eaten by most Americans. While many people might find tongue or stomach unappealing, cats are not so squeamish. They are designed to eat all parts of prey animals that have nutritional value.
Some commercial diets contain anti-oxidants to prevent the breakdown of nutrients and to prevent fat from becoming rancid. Some may contain food coloring- this is to appeal to the person buying the food.
Fiber may be added to foods to serve as probiotics for bacteria and to promote healthy colon cells
The Association for American Feed Control Officials has established minimum standards for nutritionally complete diets for cats and other pets. If a cat food doesn't meet the AAFCO standards then it is not a balanced diet.
Raw Diets need to be nutritionally balanced. Always read the label to see if the raw diet meets AAFCO STANDARDS. Another issue with raw diets is bacterial contamination. Studies have found 20-35% of raw poultry and 80% of raw diets for dogs test positive for Salmonella. Raw food diets have also been found to have E. coli and Yersinia bacteria. Raw diets for cats are no less likely to contain harmful bacteria. Not only can these bacteria be harmful to cats, but they can infect humans through handling of the food or contact with feces (e.g. from the litter box)
Home made diets are sometimes helpful for cats with food allergies or other intestinal conditions. It is important to make sure that all essential minerals, vitamins, and micro-nutrients are included in the diet. To make sure that home made diets meets a cat's essential nutrients needs, the diet should be checked against nutrient requirements published by AADCO at aafco.org. Kittens are especially susceptible to nutritional deficiencies. Some adult cats can tolerate nutritional imbalances for years before the deficiencies cause mental or physical problems.