Thursday, October 2, 2008

Low Carbohydrate Dry Cat Food Does Exist! BUT Is It Right For Your Cat?

Low Carbohydrate Dry Cat Food Does Exist! BUT Is It Right For Your Cat?

Innova Evo and Wellness Core dry cat foods - OK for your cat?
As promised in my last post, I've discovered two high-quality dry cat foods with low carbohydrates (for a dry food) that you can feed your cat if necessary. I say "if necessary" because currently there is no dry cat food that doesn't have some form of bad carbohydrate in it. By bad I mean a carb with a high-glycemic index.
The Hidden Dangers of High-Glycemic Index Ingredients

The problem with high-glycemic index carbohydrates like corn and potatoes is that they cause an unhealthy rise in blood sugar which increases the risk of obesity and diabetes.

To further explain, here is an excerpt from the book: Your Cat: Simple New Secrets to a Longer, Stronger Life by Elizabeth M. Hodgkins, D.V.M., that lays out the problem in detail:
"One dry food on the market has only 7 percent carbohydrate, according to the manufacturer. Chemical analysis of this food shows that it's carbohydrate level is actually about 13 percent."

"Although I had hoped that this product would be a satisfactory dry food option for my patients and my own cats, it has proved very disappointing in tests I have conducted. This food can promote obesity in spayed and neutered adult cats, just as its much higher carbohydrate dry food rivals do, and it cannot be used by diabetics. Feeding this food to a diabetic in remission causes a lapse out of remission." (emphasis mine)

"This food uses potato as its starch component for extrusion; apparently potato, with its simple sugar content and high glycemic index (corresponding rise in blood sugar), still causes the adverse effects in the cat that higher levels of less sugary carbohydrate ingredients do. Other "no cereal" dry foods containing novel starches like tapioca are in development. These foods will also fall far short of ideal foods for cats."

OK, that's the expert's take on these new dry foods. So, I leave it to you to decide if your cat should eat them. Considering that the average dry food, even "science" blended dry foods, are over 30 percent carbohydrates with some exceeding 40 percent, these new dry foods are definitely an improvement.

So, I figure in a pinch you can try feeding them to your non-diabetic cat. When I say "in a pinch" I'm referring to times when you can't be there to feed wet food or if someone is watching your cat(s), but can't be there 2 or more times a day to do a canned food feeding.

The Two Dry Cat Foods That Are Low In Carbs:

Dry Food (1) - Innova Evo Cat and Kitten. I believe this is the dry food that Dr. Hodgkins refers to in her quote above.
The manufacturer brags about the contents of Innova Evo Cat and Kitten as follows:
  • EVO is based on ground chicken and turkey meat, bones, fat, cartilage and connective tissue.
  • It includes whole, raw fruits and vegetables which contain health promoting phytochemicals and micronutrients.
  • EVO has Hi-Protein, Low-Carbs, and No Grains.
  • EVO Cat and Kitten Food has the HIGHEST MEAT CONTENT of any dry cat food!
  • EVO Cat and Kitten Food contains 50% PROTEIN, 22% FAT, and only 7% CARBOHYDRATES, the lowest in the industry!
These are the main ingredients for Innova Evo Cat and Kitten:
Turkey, Chicken Meal, Chicken, Herring Meal, Chicken Fat, Potatoes, Egg, Turkey Meal, Natural Flavors, Vitamins, Apples, Potassium Chloride, Carrots, Cranberries, Alfalfa Sprouts, Minerals, Tomatoes, Herring Oil, Cottage Cheese, Ascorbic Acid, Dried Chicory Root Extract, Vitamin E Supplement, Taurine, DL-Methionine, Lecithin, Rosemary Extract

Guaranteed Analysis and computed carbohydrates for Innova Evo Cat and Kitten:
Innova Evo Cat and KittenProtein %Fat %Fiber %Moisture %Ash %Total Guaranteed Analysis %CarbsActual Carbs % (dry matter basis)

50222109.493.46.6** 7%

** As you can see, Innova Evo Cat and Kitten formula contains potatoes and claims a 7% carbohydrate content, which is apparently more like 13% after analysis (according to Dr. Hodgkins, D.V.M.)

Dry Food (2) - Wellness CORE Fish & Fowl for Adult Cats & Kittens. This dry food contains about 12% carbohydrates and unfortunately also uses the high-glycemic index carbohydrate: potatoes, in its formula.
Here's what the manufacturer says about Wellness CORE Fish & Fowl:
  • Higher animal protein. The most meat possible in an extruded dry cat food. Over 80% meat ingredients.
  • No grains
  • Lower carbs. Only 12% of the calories coming from carbs.
  • Incredible palatability
Here are the main ingredients for Wellness CORE Fish & Fowl:
Deboned Turkey, Deboned Chicken, Chicken Meal, Whitefish Meal, Potatoes, Salmon Meal, Natural Chicken Flavor. Chicken Fat (preserved with Mixed Tocopherols, a natural source of Vitamin E), Tomato Pomace, Cranberries, Chicory Root Extract, Salmon Oil, Flaxseed, Vitamins

Guaranteed Analysis and computed carbohydrates for Wellness CORE Fish & Fowl:
Wellness CORE Fish & FowlProtein %Fat %Fiber %Moisture %Ash %Total Guaranteed Analysis %CarbsActual Carbs % (dry matter basis)


As you can see, Wellness CORE is 12% carbohydrates and Innova Evo is most likely around 13% after analysis, so they are really about the same. It's just a matter of what your cat will eat and possibly the cost of the food.
WARNING: Stay away from the regular Wellness dry food formulas. At this time only the Wellness CORE Fish and Fowl formula is low in carbohydrates. In fact, the other Wellness dry cat food formulas are around 40% carbohydrates, so be sure to avoid them!

Dry Food For Your Cat, Yes or No?

Remember, according to many veterinarians, no currently marketed dry food is good for your cat, but if necessary, you might try something similar to what we do with our cat.

Since Raja is not diabetic, just chubby, we feed her 99% canned foods from the lists in this blog. We feed her twice a day, once in the morning before leaving for work and once in the evening when we return.

Because we don't want to worry about Raja if we can't get home to feed her in the evening, we leave a small amount of Innova Evo Cat & Kitten dry food in a bowl next to her water bowl.

When I say "small amount" I mean very little. We just barely cover the bottom of a standard small cat dish, which ends up being about 20 kernels of food. The dry food is there ONLY if she gets hungry because we come home later than usual, it's NOT her main diet.

In fact, usually when we return home we find only a few chunks of the dry food have been eaten. Of course, Raja l-o-v-e-s her wet food, so she only eats the dry when she's really really hungry.

Your cat may act differently, especially if he/she is used to a dry food only diet. So try an amount that works for your pet but only as an add-on to a predominantly wet food diet. And please, don't use ANY dry food if your cat is diabetic!

Where To Find Innova Evo and Wellness CORE Dry Cat Food:

Regular pet food stores like PetSmart and PetCo do not sell these premium brands. You won't find them in most grocery or discount stores either.

If you have a Pet Supplies Plus store near you they usually supply both brands. Click here to see if there is a Pet Supplies Plus store in your area.

Or check your Yellow Pages for local pet supply stores in your area. If they don't stock these products they can order them for you.

You can also find store locations for Innova Evo products (these are made by Natura) by clicking here and you can find stores selling Wellness CORE cat food by clicking here.

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