Thursday, October 2, 2008

List of Good-For-Your-Cat, Affordable, Low-Carb Cat Foods

List of Good-For-Your-Cat, Affordable, Low-Carb Cat Foods

Low Carb Cat Food is Not a MythToday I visited Petsmart, PetCo, WalMart and a grocery store to get the complete lowdown on low-carbohydrate canned cat food. My goal was to find readily available commercial canned food that wasn't too expensive and still had good, healthy ingredients.

From my reading of the book: Your Cat: Simple New Secrets to a Longer, Stronger Life by Elizabeth M. Hodgkins, D.V.M., and from checking online websites and forums, I put together a list of criteria for wet (canned) cat food that would be healthy for our plump Raja:
Healthy Canned Cat Food Criteria:
  • First two ingredients must be some form of meat, and NOT meat or fish by-products. (by-products are poor sources of protein and should not be the main ingredients in any quality cat food.)
  • No corn or corn meal in the list of ingredients. Corn has a high-glycemic index which means it is too readily converted to sugar in the body... VERY high in unnecessary and dangerous carbohydrates.
  • No rice, or other grains in the first 5 ingredients. (Same problem... too easily converted to sugar & too high in carbohydrates.)
  • No bone meal or bone phosphorous in list of ingredients. (Bone meal and bone phosphorous may contain harmful and poisonous chemicals.)
  • Actual dry-matter carbohydrates 10% or less. (To determine dry matter amounts for all important nutrients, please refer to: How to Read Cat Food Labels to Find Healthy Lo-Carb Cat Foods in ths blog.)
  • Ideal Guaranteed Analysis protein: 8.8% or higher; ideal Guaranteed Analysis fat: 5.5% or higher.
    Note: It is almost impossible to get protein and fat in these exact percentages in the same canned food. That's why it's important to mix brands or flavors to be sure your cat gets adequate protein and fat in the long run.
  • Limit feeding of canned food with fish ingredients to no more than 3 days per week. (Most fish contains mercury which is poisonous to your cat.)
    NOTE: Be vigilant when reading cat food labels. I was surprised to find that some non-fish flavors of canned food contained fish somewhere in the ingredient list. This is ok, but just be sure to limit feeding of fish-containing foods to 3 times per week to be safe.

I know it sounds like a lot of criteria, but it really isn't so bad. I managed to find quite a few varieties of canned food that fulfilled most, if not all of these requirements.
Here's a list of canned cat foods I found that were affordable, readily available and made up of decent ingredients
(in alphabetical order by variety):

Fancy Feast Canned Cat Food
($.42 / 3 oz can at WalMart; also at Petco and PetSmart)
Healthy Varieties: Fish = 11, Other Meat = 6

Guaranteed Analysis
Fancy Feast Canned FoodProtein %Fat %Fiber %Moisture %Ash %Total Guaranteed Analysis %CarbsActual Carbs % (dry matter basis)
Chunky Chicken1141.5783.59829%
Chunky Turkey1141.5783.59829%
Cod, Sole & Shrimp1321.5783.59829%
Flaked Chicken & Tuna143.51.5783.5100.500%
Flaked Fish & Shrimp17.521.578310200%
Flaked Ocean Fish17.521.578310200%
Flaked Salmon & Ocean Whitefish1431.5783.7100.200%
Flaked Trout1441.5783.7101.200%
Flaked Tuna1431.5783.510000%
Flaked Tuna & Mackerel143.51.5783.5100.500%
Gourmet Chicken1151.578398.51.57%
Gourmet Seafood1331.5783.59915%
Ocean Whitefish & Tuna1321.5783.798.21.88%
Savory Salmon1241.5783.59915%
Tender Beef1141.5783.59829%
Tender Liver & Chicken1151.5782.59829%
Turkey & Giblets1151.578398.51.57%

  • There are other flavors of Fancy Feast that are low in carbs, but they have "meat by-products" listed in the 1st or 2nd position in the ingredients. They were rejected on that basis.
  • I believe I have checked every variety of Fancy Feast. If you would like to see a list of every flavor and it's nutrient % I can supply that to you. Just send me an email!

Petsmart Sophisticat Supreme Canned Cat Food
(.42 / 3oz can at PetSmart)
Healthy Varieties: Fish = 6, Other Meat = 3

Guaranteed Analysis
Sophisticat Supreme Canned FoodProtein %Fat %Fiber %Moisture %Ash %Total Guaranteed Analysis %CarbsActual Carbs % (dry matter basis)
Cod, Sole & Shrimp1321.5783.59829%
Gourmet Chicken1151.5782.59829%
Ocean Fish Entrée in Aspic121.51843101.500%
Ocean Whitefish & Tuna1321.5783.59829%
Sardines, Shrimp & Crab1321.5783.798.21.88%
Savory Salmon1241.5782.998.41.67%
Seafood Dinner1331.5783.298.71.36%
Tender Liver & Chicken1151.5782.297.72.310%
Turkey & Giblets1151.5782.497.92.110%

  • The above low carb flavors have decent ingredients (by-products listed as #3 ingredient or none.)
  • Do not confuse the regular (cheaper) Sophisticat product for the Sophisticat Supreme product. Only the Sophisticat SUPREME product has low carbs and quality ingredients (as noted above).

NOTE: For additional brands and varieties of healthy, low-carbohydrate canned cat food, please refer to my recent post: "Even More Healthy, Low Carbohydrate Cat Food Brands."
Remember, if in doubt use the formula I listed in the blog entry: How to Read Cat Food Labels to Find Lo-Carb Cat Foods and check the ingredient list against the criteria above. It's the only way to keep your cat trim and avoid feline diabetes or other maladies.

Hopefully, your cat will find enough food in the lists above to satisfy his/her palate. But, just in case, I will definitely be checking out store brands and specialty brands to see if I can find other choices for our cats...
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