ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

What’s In Your Cats Food? You Won’t Believe What I Discovered!

Updated on February 18, 2020
Donna-Rayne profile image

Donna has been a cat parent and writer for the span of her lifetime. Her heart's passion is to spread her love and knowledge of cats.

Let's see what's in my food...
Let's see what's in my food... | Source

Do You Know How to tell What the Healthy Ingredients are in Pet Food?

Greeting my friends, in this article “What’s In Your Cat’s Food? You Won’t Believe What I Discovered I will be discussing what ingredients are printed on the label of your cat’s food and what some of those foreign words mean.

We all know that companies should include nutritious ingredients in pet food, when in fact it’s the opposite! Unless you have time to make all the food for your cat nevertheless we have to rely on pet food manufacturers to make the best food for our cats?


What Healthy Ingredients are in My Cats Food?

We always strive to feed our indoor cats nutritious/healthy foods! It got me to thinkin’ that maybe… just maybe there’s more to what manufacturers are putting in our cats food than we know about. You will find out The Shocking Truth! What is actually used to make cat (pet) food?

Let’s take a look at what I have found!

The big-dog-brands (well-known brands) have meat-by-products and meat meal-by-products as listed ingredients on their labels! As I read further, I ended up going down the rabbit hole of questionable health “benefits” or the lack thereof for this so-called-“meat” in our cat’s food!

Did You Know…

Pet food is a billion-dollar industry? Only 7 companies account for 86% of the market share of the pet food industry!

Sounds like a Monopoly to Me, Don’t You?

From 1996 to 2002 pet food companies jumped on the “natural” and “organic” train! And the companies were moving fast down the track since the recall of the melamine pet food crisis hit all manufacturers of pet food.

Every manufacturer tried to steer clear of this recall scandal and make their cat food more enticing…

They started playing word games with the public and it worked!

Companies started labeling their pet food as “organic”, “natural”, “vegan,” and now “holistic” Soon consumers grew suspicious of the tactics of the big-dog-brands. Smaller companies joined in on the bandwagon, with a more trustworthy appearance.

“Natural” & “organic” are only the best for our cats!
“Natural” & “organic” are only the best for our cats! | Source

Consumers Ate them up!!! Nothing Could Stop Them Now!

And the public was not leery of the little guys as they were the big guys! They made a name for themselves in the pet food industry! But, still, the public wanted to know who regulates the labeling of pet food?

The label is regulated by the FDA (United States Food and Drug Administration)

And get this…

Most states have supported the recommendations of AAFCO! More on AAFCO in a few minutes.

Did You Know?

Wordings on labels such as “natural,” “holistic,” “gourmet,” and “fresh“! Disregard those 4 words, they are to distract and misinform you! Have you ever seen “gluten-free” or “grain-free” printed on labels for cat food? I’m sure you have as well as I have!

Wordings on Labels

Such as “natural,” “holistic,” “gourmet,” and “fresh“! Disregard those 4 words, they are to distract and misinform you! Have you ever seen “gluten-free” or “grain-free” printed on labels for cat food? I’m sure you have as well as I have!

Unlike us humans, cats have not been identified as being intolerant to gluten/gluten-free or grain-free. I’ve heard people have gluten allergies and heck, I’m one of them. But have you ever heard of cats being diagnosed with gluten/grain intolerance?

Call me silly, or not, it’s their game and we’re not playin’ it…


Now, does your cat have food allergies to grains, proteins or carbohydrates? Once you cut the foods that bother your cat’s tummy then you will be able to pinpoint the culprit and remove it from their diet.

You going to cook this or what Mother?
You going to cook this or what Mother? | Source

What’s in Our Cats Food? Hard to Believe

You can rest assured that grains and gluten are not harmful to most cats (pets).

And do not need to be cut out of your cat’s diet. Go by the specific reactions of your cat’s body and how their particular body/chemistry reacts to a specific ingredient.

Sounds simple? Yes, it does!

For more information read this awesome article “How To Decide Which Pet Food to Purchase” written by Dr. Jennie Rubenstein (Veterinarian) Dr. Rubenstein talks about the percentages of proteins and the nutrients and the water percentages you need to look for in your cats (pets) food.

Let’s move forward to AAFCO. Association of American Feed Control Officials.

Confusing Isn’t It?

And they don’t regulate or inspect anything because they’re not a government agency yet, the members of this group are all part of the government agencies they represent and this agency does have a say in things because manufacturers follow their guidelines!

Here are the 3 agencies that work together:

• AAFCO • FDA CVM and • your state government

Go this way to get the complete article, Here

Let’s get to the definitions of what AAFCO and “friends” define as “meat.”

The Truth Will Shock You!

You're going to feed me what again?
You're going to feed me what again? | Source

AAFCO Definitions of “Meat”

AAFCO is a “voluntary membership association of local, state and federal agencies charged by law to regulate the sale and distribution of animal feeds and (animal drug remedies).”

You can read more on their website here

This voluntary association does not regulate pet food or inspect anything and I repeat- They can not inspect or regulate anything! Why? Because they are not a government agency, they are a group.

Subsequently, their members are government agencies representing the 50 states and Canada and (US Food and Drug Administration, Center of Veterinary Medicine, FDA CVM) the federal government?

Did You Know?

Meat-by-products: Slaughterhouse Mammals, meat is limited to:

Brain, blood, bone, lungs, partially defatted low-temperature fatty tissue, stomachs and intestines freed from their contents. meaning wash and clean and disinfect before this “meat” is used in your cat’s (pets) foods. (cleaned and disinfected with what?)

Meat-by-products: Slaughterhouse Mammals, limited to:

  1. Brain, blood, bone, lungs, partially de-fatted low-temperature fatty tissue, stomachs and intestines freed from their contents. meaning wash and clean and disinfect before this “meat” is used in your cat’s (pets) foods. (cleaned and disinfected with what?)
  2. What is NOT allowed: Hair, horns, teeth, and hoofs.

Meat By-Products Meal: The meat meal is cooked (rendered) to kill the bacteria contaminants and dried from slaughterhouse mammals.

  • Includes Not limited to: lungs, spleen, kidneys, brain, liver, blood, bone, partially defatted low-temperature fatty tissue, and stomach & intestines freed of their contents.
  • What is NOT allowed: Hair, horns, teeth, and hoofs.

Meat from slaughterhouse scraps! It’s real folks!
Meat from slaughterhouse scraps! It’s real folks! | Source

Now for the AAFCO definition of “Meat”

Get ready for this one!

  1. Meat- is the clean flesh of slaughterhouse mammals: but limited to the striated muscle, with or without the accompanying and overlying fat & portions of the skin, sinew, nerve and blood vessels which accompany the flesh!

Here is a quote from the article What is in Pet food? AAFCO website:

“In addition to using the term “meat,” the pet food manufacturer may also identify the species from which the meat is derived, such as “beef” or “pork.” However, to use the generic term “meat” on the label, it can only be from cattle, pigs, sheep or goats. If it comes from any other mammal, the species must be identified (for example, “buffalo” or “venison”), so you can rest easy that if any other species were used, it would have to be declared. Also, if the muscle is from non-mammalian species, such as poultry or fish, it cannot be declared as “meat” but must use the appropriate identifying terms.”

Let’s Put It Another Way

“To put it another way, it is most of the parts of the animal other than the muscle tissue, including the internal organs and bones. It includes some of the parts people eat (such as livers, kidneys, and tripe), but also parts that are not typically consumed by humans in the US. Some by-products, like udders and lungs, are not deemed “edible” by USDA for human consumption, but they can be perfectly safe and nutritious for animals not inclined to be swayed by the unappealing nature of these parts of animals. As with “meat,” unless the by-products are derived from cattle, pigs, sheep or goats, the species must be identified.”

The report also states that poultry and fish cannot be declared “meat.”

Are you serious? I thought I was eating real food!
Are you serious? I thought I was eating real food! | Source

What is All This Really Saying?

That the AAFCO is not able to do what and what exactly does “rendered” mean anyway?

“The rendering process is made to destroy disease-causing bacteria, where the “meat-by-products” are subject to heat and pressure, removing most of the fat and water and leaving primarily minerals and protein and the rendered product is from mammal tissues and is exclusive to any added blood, hair, horn, hidden trimmings, manure (what? possible manure that may contaminate the pet food during this process?) stomach and rumen content, except in such amounts as to may occur unavoidably in good processing practices”

All this time we were thinking we were feeding our cats good food. We have learned to trust well-known brands. I wonder if they feed their pets the food they make for the public?

What do you think? How Do I Feed My Cat Healthy Foods?

Grrr… what did I just eat mama
Grrr… what did I just eat mama | Source

What is A Cat Parent to Do Now?

Well, as cat parents, we eat pretty healthy and watch what we put in our bodies and it’s not any different for your cat. Right? So now we can make educated food choices for our felines and make sure to feed them healthy foods moreover, there are several brands that are healthy and organic for our pets.

For instance, you can make your fur baby’s food recipes here and I certainly feel more educated now than I did going into this article. Don’t you and oh my gosh there is so much more to learn.

Feral Cats in the Wild

Meanwhile, the big cats in the wild and feral cats hunt for food they eat the organs first because the organs are a richer source of nutrients that a cat needs to survive in the wild. And they instinctively know what they need to eat such as the cats don’t eat fur or manure.

They just know what they need to survive and they just do it! Our little felines have this instinct in their genes and they will tell you what’s good and what’s not!

Tigress eating her meal! Real Meat!
Tigress eating her meal! Real Meat! | Source

Are We Listening?

Do you accept what the pet food industry deems as nutritious food for our cats (pets)? Some of the manufactured food has made them sick and some cats just turn their noses up at some of that nasty food that is out there! I know my cat does this.

What are your thoughts thus far? I know I will be extra careful in selecting food for my baby girl! What about you?

In Conclusion

Undoubtedly, read that label and find out what the words mean and if you don’t recognize them. Look them up and do your own research because it’s always rewarding to learn new things, isn’t it?.

Well, I hope you found this article helpful and if you have any information you would like to share, leave it in the comments section. What other ingredients have you found on pet food labels?

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. It is not meant to substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, or formal and individualized advice from a veterinary medical professional. Animals exhibiting signs and symptoms of distress should be seen by a veterinarian immediately.

© 2020 Donna Rayne


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment
    • Donna-Rayne profile imageAUTHOR

      Donna Rayne 

      13 months ago from Sparks, Nevada

      Thank you, William. So glad you're a cat daddy. They are the most amazing creatures!

      All my best,

      Donna Rayne

    • lifegate profile image

      William Kovacic 

      13 months ago from Pleasant Gap, PA

      Thanks for the information, Donna. As a Daddy to five felines, it was most interesting.

    • Donna-Rayne profile imageAUTHOR

      Donna Rayne 

      13 months ago from Sparks, Nevada

      Sorry for your loss of Peaches. May the Lord comfort your heart!


      Donna Rayne

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 

      13 months ago from Houston, Texas

      We had to have our sweet cat Peaches put to sleep last year, so right now, we are without a pet. Reading this article makes me think that I would want to cook for any future pets.

    • Donna-Rayne profile imageAUTHOR

      Donna Rayne 

      13 months ago from Sparks, Nevada

      Eric, thank you so much for your kind words and Ms. Pamela, I guess the manufacturers make what they want with no regards to that some people might actually investigate their product and Ms. Ruby, it's looking like I might need to make her wet food and Clive you are absolutely right on! Again that you so much and have a wonderful day!

      Donna Rayne

    • Donna-Rayne profile imageAUTHOR

      Donna Rayne 

      13 months ago from Sparks, Nevada

      Flourish, I'm having the same problem with my kitten. I need to look at to see what I can find for her. She won't eat any of the wet food I buy.

      Have a great day,

      Donna Rayne

    • clivewilliams profile image

      Clive Williams 

      13 months ago from Jamaica

      Feed your cat home made cat food.

    • always exploring profile image

      Ruby Jean Richert 

      13 months ago from Southern Illinois

      I am allergic to animal dander, so I can't have a pet, but after reading this, I think I would make my own pet food.

    • Pamela99 profile image

      Pamela Oglesby 

      13 months ago from Sunny Florida

      This such a good, informative article with concerning news about cat od. My precious cat passed away last November after a long healthy life and I don't have a cat right now. I sure miss him. I never bought canned foord and I thought I was feeding him a healthy dry food but I never paid to much attention to the label. Thanks for this information.

    • Ericdierker profile image

      Eric Dierker 

      13 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Well that is disgustingly interesting. I read somewhere that those meats are more nutritious than steaks. It is a crazy world.

    • FlourishAnyway profile image


      13 months ago from USA

      Yuck. There are some brands of cat food (expensive brands!) that none of my six cats will eat. I have offered it to my mother’s three cats and they decline and even left it out for the feral cats I feed and they won’t touch it either. You need to wonder what the heck is going on there. I have several cases of it and I’m stuck with it. Hmmm. I’ve also always been curious what “mixed grilled” is with cat food.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)