What to watch out for while buying cat foods from supermarket chains is the amount of protein and vitamins in the cat food.
In some cases, the manufacturers claim, the nutritional content is the same as that in human food, while in others the amount is different.
For example, a supermarket brand called Catnip Catfood has a protein content of 1.5 grams per 100 grams, which is slightly higher than the amount listed on the product packaging.
It also has 1.7 grams of carbohydrates per 100 gram, which makes it a bit lower in carbohydrate content than cat food containing 5 grams of carbohydrate per 100gram.
And for cat food with less than 30% fat, the protein is 1.3 grams per 50 grams, slightly lower than cat foods containing 20 grams of fat per 50gram.
“The nutritional content of cat food should be based on your individual needs and diet,” says Dr Mark Waugh, a veterinary nutritionist and veterinary nutrition specialist with Veterinary Nutrition Research.
“If you’re eating a high carbohydrate diet, the higher protein in cat food is more likely to be absorbed by your liver and kidneys than is the case with a low carbohydrate diet.”
Some brands of cat foods also contain preservatives, such as citric acid and sodium benzoate, that may reduce the amount and taste of food, and may have a negative impact on digestive health.
In general, the more protein a food contains, the better the chance of absorbing nutrients and improving digestive health, but it’s important to consider the nutritional information on the package before you buy it.
Dr Waugh says that a cat’s diet should be balanced to ensure that it is complete, balanced and nutritious.
“A balanced diet will provide the right amount of nutrients for your cat and provide the best nutrition for you and your pet.”
How to avoid cat food contamination The cat food manufacturers claim that all the nutrients and vitamins are concentrated in the protein, but the nutrients are not always present in the same quantities in the food.
Dr Hulme says that the cat’s digestive system can’t handle the large amounts of protein that can be found in cat foods.
“In the case of cat diets that contain more protein than they actually need, the body is going to over-eat and over-process the protein and it will eventually result in over-production of ammonia,” she says.
“When that occurs, the cat will become dehydrated and will not be able to process the protein as effectively.”
A healthy cat’s body can handle over-processing, but cat food can also cause a number of problems for a healthy cat.
“We’ve all seen what happens to dogs and cats that get too much cat food in their diet,” Dr Hultes says.
If you’re concerned about the quality of the food, avoid buying cat and dog food from stores that are in breach of the Australian Consumer Law.
“This law allows consumers to take action to prevent food contamination, but unfortunately it’s rarely enforced,” she warns.
“Most of the time the enforcement action that is taken is simply a letter that the retailer sends to the company or the manufacturer, who may not be very keen to go through the hassle of contacting us.”
For more information about the Australian Food Standards Agency’s enforcement of food safety legislation, please visit the agency’s website at www.australianfoodstandards.gov.au.
For more advice on food contamination or the best way to avoid it, you can contact a specialist food poisoning or pet food supplier, including one in your area.