A to Z Cat Food Ingredients List

The A to Z Cat Food Ingredients List



Added Color (Artificial Coloring)

Normally used to make the food’s appearance more attractive (for us, not the cat). Certain coloring agents have been linked to cancer. “Added color” is also vague and could mean anything. Low quality, and risky, ingredient.

Alfalfa Sprouts

Depending on the source you read, alfalfa sprouts are okay or harmful for cats. Cats are known to enjoy chewing on grasses, and alfalfa sprouts are no different. Somewhat controversial ingredient.

Amino Acidapples

Amino acids are the building blocks for protein. There are kinds of amino acids that are found in meat sources that are not found in plant sources. Taurine is a good example. While taurine is not an official amino acid, it is often classified as one. Cats cannot make taurine naturally. It is found in meat only. Without the intake of essential amino acids in the diet, cats would be in serious problems.


A source of fiber and Vitamin C. A fruit so not needed in a cat’s diet.

Artificial Flavors

Chemicals that are sprayed on the food to make it taste like the label states. Has no nutritional value and used to entice the cat to eat the food.

Ascorbic Acid

A source of vitamin C. Cats are able to produce ascorbic acid naturally but help from supplementation doesn’t hurt. Important in the formation of collagen.


Contains a toxin called persin. Despite being a toxin, it is okay for a cat to ingest in correct (small) amounts. Many try to avoid this ingredient due to reputation of being unsafe. A fruit so not needed in a cat’s diet.

Avocado Oil

Oil from the avocado fruit. A source of Vitamin E. Also a good non-animal source of Omega 3 fatty acids.

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Barley is a cereal grain. Grains are not necessary in a cat’s diet. It is considered a healthier grain than corn or wheat because barley is more easily digested and can cause fewer allergic reactions. Ideally, cats would not eat any grains.

Beef Tallow

This is similar to animal fat. The difference is this fat comes from beef. Depending on what the cow was fed, this can be an okay or bad ingredient. The purpose of beef tallow is to entice the cat to eat the food. It is usually sprayed on. It could be an added benefit or be used to mask a lower quality cat food. It is usually combined with a preservative, so be aware of the quality of the preservative.

Beet Pulp

A by-product of processing sugar beets. It is actually low in sugar and high in moderately fermentable fiber. Beet pulp cooked in pet food is fine.

Betaine Anhydrous

Source of betaine. It helps keep the heart and bones healthy. Different from betaine hydrochloride.


A water soluble vitamin. It is essential for the activity of enzymes within the body. These enzymes help convert proteins, fats, and carbohydrates into energy. A staple in the diet.


Not harmful for a cat in moderation. Can be a source of vitamin C and antioxidants. Can have added benefits in a cat food formula but it is a fruit so not needed in a cats diet.

Brewers Dried Yeast

A by-product of brewing beer. A source of vitamin B as well as protein. Comes in tablet form too.

Brewers Rice

Cheaper rice. These are the smaller fragments of the rice that have been separated during the milling process. This is a by-product, or discarded parts, of rice milling, as the good parts are used for something else. This ingredient is void of nutrients and is filler.


In pet food, the most common broths are fish, chicken, beef, lamb, duck, and meat. Broth is used to add moisture, just like water. The difference is cooking the meat and/or bones of the named animal can create a more nutritious liquid. It isn’t enough nutrients to make a huge difference however. Broth may contain MSG though so this ingredient has both pros and cons.

Brown Ricebrownrice

Hulled, whole grain rice. Hulled means the outer layer is removed. It is less processed than white rice and is considered healthier. Still a grain which is nutritionally useless.

Butylated Hydroxyanisole (or BHA)

A chemical food preservative. Low levels reported to be safe. High doses and long term exposure to high doses are toxic. Is a carcinogen. This ingredient is not seen in cat foods anymore due to its reputation. Really low quality cat foods may contain it still. Closely related to BHT.

Butylated Hydroxytoluene ( or BHT)

A chemical food preservative that has antioxidant properties. Like BHA, it is toxic at high levels and a known carcinogen. This ingredient is not seen in cat foods anymore due to its reputation. Really low quality cat foods may contain it still. Closely related to BHA.

By-product (chicken, beef, duck, turkey, pork, poultry, etc.)

Non-rendered clean parts of slaughtered carcasses (of named animal). Can include heads, feet, and intestines. Usually muscle meat is not included.

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Calcium Carbonate

A source of calcium. Usually comes in powder form. Also has an anti-caking property.

Calcium Iodatecalcium

This is the most stable form of iodine in cat food. Iodine is essential and helps the thyroid function properly and helps with the production of thyroid hormones.

Calcium Pantothenate

A form of pantothenic acid. They are both basically Vitamin B5. It helps convert protein, carbohydrates, and fats into energy.

Calcium Phosphate

A source of calcium and phosphate. Too much plays a role in the formation of stones and/or urinary crystals. Helps bones and teeth. Also has an anti-caking property. Comes in the form of dicalcium phosphate and tricalcium phosphate as well.

Calcium Sulfate

A source of calcium. Calcium is essential for a lot of functions in the body. Calcium sulfate has other uses, like being an ingredient in building materials; therefore many question its use in cat food. Present in cat food in trace amounts.


One of the main types of nutrients for cats. Despite concerns, carbohydrates are needed in a cats’ diet. Carbohydrates get broken down to create energy. Carbohydrate intake should be minimal, but in commercial cat foods can be up to 35% and that is why carbohydrates are viewed negatively. The main carbohydrate for cats is glucose.


This is caramelized sugar. This just means heating sugar and water until it becomes dark and syrupy. If the ingredients lists states just ‘caramel’ and not ‘caramel color’ it could be that they mean caramel color or it could mean that they put sugar in the food.

Caramel Color

This is added coloring that alters the color of the food. Caramel alters the taste as it is sugar, but caramel color doesn’t alter the taste. It just affects the appearance. A chemical that is in the caramel color is a possible carcinogen at higher levels. There is no way of knowing how high the levels are by just looking at the ingredients list, making this a risky ingredient.


A naturally occurring substance found in a particular seaweed. Most commonly used as a gelling and thickening agent in cat foods. A controversial ingredient.carrots


Good source of beta-carotene (which can’t be converted anyways) and helps maintain healthy skin and digestive system. A vegetable so not needed in a cat’s diet.

Cassia Gums

This is an additive that is made from a part of the inside of the seed originating from certain plants. This is where the name Cassia comes from, as these plants share that name. This is becoming an increasingly popular thickening agent in cat foods. It is rarely the only thickening agent in a formula, as it works better in combination with one or more thickening agents.


This is a carbohydrate source that can come in a few different forms. The sources mainly come from vegetables, cotton, or wood. It is a fiber source as well, but not a great one. It is very popular in pet foods as it is cheap to buy and is an effective bulking agent.


Meat, skin, and bone of a chicken. About 70% moisture therefore is always seen near the top of ingredients lists. After cooking, chicken loses most of its moisture as well as protein.

Chicken Broth

A liquid in which a chicken has been boiled. The end result is chicken flavored. Not considered very nutritional but a better alternative to water for moisture in canned food.

Chicken Fat

Used as an energy source as well as providing Omega-6 fatty acids. Not high in Omega-3 so ratios can be unbalanced if too much chicken fat is in a food. Usually sprayed on and entices the cat to eat the food.

Chicory Root Extract

Taken from the roots of the chicory plant. It is used as a source of Inulin. Can be a beneficial ingredient and not concerning.

Choline Chloride

A source of choline. Involved in cell signaling, and nerve impulse transmission.

Cobalt Amino Acid Chelate

The word chelate in this instance means to hold the cobalt in place in the supplement, usually with an amino acid. When ingested, it doesn’t react with other substances and allows the body to absorb the cobalt well. Cobalt is a form of Vitamin B12.

Cobalt Carbonate

A precursor to cobalt carbonyl and other cobalt salts. Used as a source of vitamin B12.

Copper Amino Acid Chelate

The word chelate in this instance means to hold the copper in place in the supplement, usually with an amino acid. When ingested, it doesn’t react with other substances and allows the body to absorb the copper well. Copper helps the body absorb iron and is important in the production of melanin.

Copper Sulfate

A source of copper. It has a wide range of uses and is an irritant. Is known to be toxic in large amounts. Present in cat foods in trace amounts. Controversial.

Copper Proteinate

A particular type of chelate. In proteinates, the minerals are bound to different amino acids with different levels of stability. See copper amino acid chelate


Corn is usually considered a vegetable but in cat food it is a grain. It has many uses in cat food. Corn has a bad reputation as an ingredient in cat food because it is hard to digest, is a source of allergies and really isn’t great nutritional value. It is a very popular ingredient in cat food and many vouch for it. Many vouch against it too.

Corn Gluten Meal

Dried residue of corn without the bran, meaning the outer shell has been removed. The starch and fat have been removed as well. Ground up. Is a by-product of corn processing and is nutritionally useless for cats. Looks like yellow powder.cornmeal

Corn Meal

Different than corn gluten meal. This is ground up dried corn kernels. The by-product of making corn meal is used to make corn gluten meal. Good levels of protein, yet vegetable protein so this ingredient is nutritionally useless for a cat. Looks like yellow powder.

Corn Oil

Oil form corn, a vegetable fat source. Considered an unhealthy form of oil due to the high count of Omega-6 fatty acids. Cats need an Omega-6 to Omega-3 ratio of about 10:1. Corn oil is 49:1.

Corn Starch

Starch taken from the inside of the corn kernel. End result is a white powdery substance, much like flour. It is used to bind the food together and is a carbohydrate source.

Corn Starch Modified

Corn starch that has been manipulated. Corn starch is modified to increase the performance of the ingredient.


Full of vitamins that may be beneficial. Cranberries have a reputation of preventing urinary tract infections and aid in the overall well-being of the urinary system. A fruit so not needed in a cat’s diet.

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d-Calcium Pantothenate

A form of calcium pantothenate. It is synthetic.

Dicalcium Phosphate

A type of calcium phosphate, but it has two hydrogen atoms. Higher in phosphorus than calcium. Helps bones and teeth. Also has an anti-caking property.


A different form of methionine. More synthetic. See L-methionine.

Dried Brewers Yeast

See Brewers Dried Yeast

Dried Egg Product

A cheaper source of protein. Moisture content has been removed, making it a powder form. Dried eggs are easier to purchase than fresh whole eggs. Egg waste and unhatched waste are more commonly used for dried egg product unless otherwise stated by the brand.

Dried Kelp

See Dried Seaweed

Dried Seaweed

This is dehydrated seaweed, usually ending up in flake or powder form. Seaweeds can be nutritious and contain trace minerals. Trace amounts of seaweed in cat food is okay, so be sure they are near the bottom of the ingredients list and not one of the main ingredients. When you see Dried Kelp or Kelp on an ingredients it, it is referring to seaweed as kelp is a type of seaweed. It is one of the most nutritious ones for cats.

Dried Tapioca

This is a starch that is extracted from the cassava root (these look like yams). Once extracted, the tapioca has been dehydrated. This is an ingredient very popular in cat foods that are ‘grain free.’ It is a carbohydrate source, and a good binder in cat foods, especially dry.


The skin, meat and bone of a duck. About 70% moisture therefore is always seen near the top of ingredients lists. After cooking, duck loses most of its moisture as well as protein.

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A quality source of protein. Cooked whole eggs are good. Raw egg whites can cause biotin deficiency.


An artificial preservative that prevents the food from spoiling. Not seen often in cat foods anymore due to its toxicity. There are claims that it causes cancer. There are also claims that it doesn’t. A controversial ingredient.

Ethylenediamine Dihydriodide

A source of iodine. It is safe as a source of iodine in cat foods and has good bio availability. Not present in cat foods in large amounts.

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One of the main types of nutrients for cats. Fat is a good source of energy and fatty acids are essential. So often cats eating commercial cat food are eating too much fat along with too many carbohydrates. This creates obesity and health problems. Nonetheless, fat is important in a cat’s diet.

Ferrous Sulfate

A source of iron. Iron is important in red blood cell production. Red blood cells carry oxygen throughout the body. In cat food, a safe source of iron.


A type of carbohydrate. It is not essential but can have benefits. Fiber mostly helps with stool consistency and helping to clear out the intestinal tract.


Protein from a meat source. Mercury is present so feeding a food with fish over a long period of time may cause problems. A risky ingredient due to the poor quality of fish usually used.

Fish Oil

Oil from fish, fat from an animal source. Different kinds of fish are used for fish oil. One of the best sources of Omega-3 fatty acids for cats. Considered a healthy form of oil.


Seeds of the flax plant. Despite being very nutritional in humans, not the same for cats. Cats won’t get the Omega-3 from flax seeds. A fiber source that may aid in digestion. A safe ingredient.

Flaxseed Oil

Oil that comes from dried seeds of flax plant. It is a good source of Omega 3 fatty acids, yet not that effective for cats. Often used to combat unhealthy oils.

Folic Acid

A source of vitamin B. Vitamin B9 to be exact. Vitamin B9 is needed for proper DNA synthesis. It is usually stored in the cat’s liver until needed so toxicity is rare.


A prebiotic. It is non-digestible but can be fermented to help stimulate good bacteria. It supports GI function. The name is long and sounds like it will be bad but it is not.

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Gelatin is from the by-products of animals. It is made from collagen. Collagen is a type of protein and it is a low quality protein source. It is mainly used as a gelling agent. Low quality ingredient.

Guar Gum

Naturally occurring substance found in the seeds of the guar plant. Has very good thickening properties and prevents particles from settling. A very popular thickening agent because it is the most effective. Also a fiber source.

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Specifies of fish. Herring is very popular in the fishing industry and often used in cat foods over any other type of fish specified.

Herring Oil

Oil from herring. It is particularly high in Omega 3 fatty acids. See fish oil for more information.

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Involved with neurotransmitter metabolism and processing fats. A common source of inositol in cat foods is brewer’s yeast.


A source of fiber. Also promotes the growth of healthy bacteria in the gut. Normally in pet foods in small amounts so not harmful. It is a type of fructooligosaccharide.

Iron Amino Acid Chelate

The word chelate in this instance means to hold the iron in place in the supplement, usually with an amino acid. When ingested, it doesn’t react with other substances and allows the body to absorb the iron well. Iron is vital in the formation of new blood cellspills

Iron Proteinate

A particular type of chelate. In proteinates, the minerals are bound to different amino acids with different levels of stability. See iron amino acid chelate.

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A modified form of ascorbic acid. It is a cheaper way to provide vitamin C.


An amino acid. It is important for the transfer of fatty acid cells. Also used to treat hyperthyroidism. L-carnitine is the biologically active form of carnitine.


A source of methionine, an essential amino acid. It helps regulate the pH of urine, preventing crystals. Usually found in meats.

Liver (chicken, turkey, duck, etc.)liver

Liver is an organ meat that is packed full of nutrients. Rich in Vitamin A. Good quality ingredient. Important to limit amount of liver a cat eats. Too much can cause vitamin A toxicity.

Locust Bean Gum

Naturally occurring substance found in the seeds of the carob tree. Not as effective as guar gum as a stabilizer but it is self-gelling. A fiber source and used often as an alternative to gluten.

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Magnesium Sulfate

A source of magnesium. Magnesium is needed for muscles and nerves to work properly.

Manganese Amino Acid Chelate

The word chelate in this instance means to hold the manganese in place in the supplement, usually with an amino acid. When ingested, it doesn’t react with other substances and allows the body to absorb the manganese well. A good source of manganese, which is important for bone upkeep and absorbing other minerals

Manganese Proteinate

A particular type of chelate. In proteinates, the minerals are bound to different amino acids with different levels of stability. See manganese amino acid chelate

Manganese Sulfate

A source of manganese. Manganese is needed for healthy bones and cartilage.

Meal (chicken, beef, duck, fish, turkey, etc.)

The dried rendered skin, meat, and bone of named animal. This excludes the head, feet, and intestines. If the ingredients list states ‘boneless’ than the meal is skin and meat without the bone. 4Ds (diseased, dying, dead, or disabled) legally allowed in meals.protein


This is including meat meal and meat by-products. The term ‘meat’ isn’t specific. Meat can come from anywhere, including other cats and dogs. You want the ingredients list to be specific as to what meat it is (like chicken, turkey, fish, duck, rabbit, etc.).

Menadione Dimethylpyrimidinol Bisulfite

A synthetic form of Vitamin K. It is safe to use under specific conditions. There are concerns of its use in cat food and toxicity. Similar to menadione sodium bisulfite complex.

Menadione Sodium Bisulfite Complex

A synthetic form of Vitamin K. This form has increased dietary stability compared to menadione and menadione sodium, so it is used more often than those two. There are concerns over the toxicity of this ingredient. Similar to menadione dimethylpyrimidinol bisulfite.


Despite the popularity that cats drink milk, they don’t. Cats have trouble digesting the lactose. It stays in their gutmilk long enough to ferment. This creates gas and discomfort. Milk in cat food is in smaller quantities and should be okay.

Montmorillonite Clay

A type of clay named after where it was discovered. It is mostly used as a thickener and anti-caking agent. One type of montmorillonite clay is harmful and that is where the controversy lies with this ingredient.

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Natural Flavors

Flavor can be obtained from genetically modified substances. It can also be obtained from by-products, digest, or meals. As long as the source is ‘natural’ and not man made, it is allowed.

Niacin Supplement

Another name for Vitamin B. Cats cannot naturally produce niacin therefore it is important cats eat meat, as niacin is in meat. This supplement helps too.

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A type of cereal grain in which the seed is used. Oat is a lot like barley in the sense that it is a healthier grain that is better than corn or rice, but it is also still a grain and should be avoided. This is a common ingredient in average cat foods.

Ocean Fish

A vague term for fish. See Fish.

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These are the small green seeds that are found in the pea pod. This is a widely popular ingredient in cat food, usually in cat foods labeled ‘grain free.’ Peas are a carbohydrate source, a fiber source, and are a bulking agent.

Pea Fiber

The outer coat of the peas are separated by mechanical process. The final result is a concentrated form of pea fiber without the protein and vitamins present in normal peas. Pea fiber is mostly insoluble fiber for cats.

Pea Flourflourp

Flour from peas that have been roasted. Roasting the peas actually allow greater access to the protein. Better alternative to regular flour yet still considered filler. A plant protein source.

Pea Protein

This is protein that comes from peas, so a non-animal protein source. Non-animal protein sources are inferior to animal protein sources. Pea protein may make the cat food appear more healthy, but in reality this ingredient isn’t very useful.

Porcine Plasma

Blood of slaughtered pigs. Usually sprayed on the food. Provides many nutrients and source of animal protein. There are concerns about contamination and quality of pigs used.

Potassium Chloride

A source of potassium. Essential in a cat’s diet. Potassium is needed for the functioning of muscles. It also balances out the electrolytes in the body. It can be used as a stabilizer.

Potassium Citrate

Potassium in citric acid. It is good for regulating acidity in the urine, as this ingredient is more alkaline in the body. It is an additive in cat food to help prevent the formation of urinary crystals.

Potassium Iodate

A source of iodine. It has less iodine than potassium iodide.

Potassium Iodide

A source of iodine. Iodine plays a role in proper thyroid function and thyroid hormones. Too much thyroid hormone can cause hyperthyroidism. Therefore too much iodine can cause hyperthyroidism.


A grain-less complex carbohydrate. They are often used in grain free formulas because they are easier to digest than grains. Also used as a bulking agent.

Potato Starch

The starch extracted from potatoes. A form of carbohydrate and not needed in a cats diet. Considered a filler ingredient.

Powdered Cellulose

A white powder that is a source of insoluble fiber. Ingredient with very bad reputation and is considered a low quality, completely filler ingredient. Powered cellulose can be, and usually is in cat food, wood pulp


Arguably the most important ingredient for a cat. Protein is important for all aspects of growth, development, and maintenance. Protein intake is more important for cats than for humans. Protein is made from amino acids and there are many amino acids. Proteins from animal sources are needed because animal sources have amino acids cats’ cannot create. Proteins from plant sources are essentially useless. See amino acids for more information.


Canned pumpkin is very beneficial for cats. A good source of fiber that helps regulates stool. In cat foods, it can also help the cat feel more full after eating.pumpkin

Pyridoxine Hydrochloride

A source of vitamin B6. Plays a big role in creating proteins, hormones, and neurotransmitters. Cats have a high need for vitamin B6 because of their need for high amounts of protein.

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Red #3

A particular kind of artificial color. It can be on ingredients lists as ‘artificial colors’ without having to state ‘Red #3.’ This coloring agent is carcinogenic and is banned from certain uses in human products. A risky ingredient that proves why ‘artificial coloring’ in ingredients lists should be avoided.

Riboflavin Supplement

Another name for vitamin B2. It is important in the function of the blood cells. Also assists in enzyme function.


If not specified as to what kind of rice, it is most likely white rice. It is a grain source and grains are not needed at all. It is cheap to purchase and usually present in large amounts in cheaper cat food, adding bulk. The definition of a filler ingredient.

Rice Flour

Flour from milled rice. The hard covering of the rice is removed and the inside is ground up into flour. Filler ingredient with no nutritional value to cats.

Rosemary Extract

An antioxidant used as a preservative in cat foods. A natural preservative considered better than artificial ones.

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A species of fish. See Fish.salmon


Sodium chloride. The addition of salt in pet foods has no maximum quantity restriction. Correct amounts important in a cat’s diet.


This is a small crustacean, belonging to the seafood category. Cats are known to love shrimp. Shrimp is a good source of Omega-3 fatty acids. It is safe in cat foods however seafood based cat foods shouldn’t be fed consistently for a long period of time.

Skim Milk

Milk in which the cream has been removed. A lower fat milk. If cats are going to drink milk a higher fat milk is good.

Sodium Bisulfate

An acid salt. It is a urine acidifier without interfering with the calcium/phosphorus ratio. Not to be confused with sodium bisulfite. They are different.

Sodium Nitrite

“to promote color retention” usually follows this ingredient. It is an off white crystalline powder that is very soluble. It helps the food stay fresh and adds color to foods as well, giving the food an appealing look. When ingesting sodium nitrites, nitrosamines may form (long term exposure is more likely). Most nitrosamines are carcinogenic (cancer causing). Risky ingredient.

Sodium Phosphate

A source of sodium and phosphate. In cat foods it helps with tartar. Phosphorus is found in meat. Too much phosphorus is dangerous for cats.

Sodium Selenite

A source of selenium. Selenium is essential in a cat’s diet. Selenium is toxic in high concentrations and the compound of sodium selenite is inorganic. Inorganic selenium tends to be more toxic than organic selenium. Present in cat foods in safe amounts. A controversial ingredient.

Sodium Tripolyphosphate

A source of phosphorus. It is inorganic, meaning not naturally found. Mainly used in cat foods as a preservative. This chemical has many other uses like being in detergent, and can cause GI upset. Risky ingredient.


High in oxalic acid, which interferes in protein absorption. Chronic spinach intake can contribute to the formation of urinary crystals. In cat foods with spinach, the amount is usually controlled.


A carbohydrate substitute. Squash has a good percentage of carbohydrates. Often seen in cat foods that are grain-free. Also can be a fiber source. Is a vegetable (or fruit) so not needed in a cats diet.

Sunflower Oil

Oil from sunflowers, it is fat from a plant. Considered an unhealthy form of oil due to the high count of Omega-6 fatty acids. Omega-6 fatty acids promote inflammation and too much causes health issues.

Sweet Potatoes

Considered a healthier alternative to potatoes. A good source of beta-carotene and vitamin C. Usually in cat foods as a carbohydrate substitute as well as a bulking agent. A vegetable so not needed in a cat’s diet.

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Tapioca Flour

See Tapioca Starch

Tapioca Starch

Starch extracted from the cassava root. This starch has been made from dried and ground tapioca. The end result is a white, powdery substance that is a healthier alternative to white flour. This can also be called Tapioca Flour.


An amino acid that is essential to a cat in good amounts. Cats cannot produce this naturally so this only comes from their diet. Taurine is found in meat and this is a main reason why feeding your cat quality meat is the best thing you can do.

Tetra Potassium Pyrophosphate

A white odorless powdery substance. Made from phosphorus and sodium ions but not used for nutrition. Used in cat foods as an emulsifier and to increase palatability. It has other uses in various industries.

Thiamine Mononitrate

This is a stable form of vitamin B1. Vitamin B1 is important to convert carbohydrates into energy. Also assists in nervous system function.


This is an evergreen herb. Thyme usually goes unnoticed at the bottom of ingredients lists. All natural thyme is safe however thyme oil is too concentrated and may be harmful for your cat. All natural thyme means that it hasn’t been sprayed with pesticides.


A natural source of vitamin E. It is mainly used as a preservative. Considered a good alternative to artificial preservatives.

Tomato Paste

Tomatoes that have little moisture and seeds removed. Safe in small amounts, like in cat foods, but not nutritionally valuable. A fiber source but is mostly filler and a vegetable so not needed.

Tricalcium Phosphate

A type of calcium phosphate, but it has three hydrogen atoms. A source of calcium and phosphorus. Higher in phosphorus. Helps bones and teeth. Also has an anti-caking property.


A species of fish. See Fish.turkey


The skin, meat, and bone of a turkey. About 70% moisture therefore is always seen near the top of ingredients lists. After cooking, turkey loses most of its moisture as well as protein.

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This is the meat, skin and bones from a game animal, usually deer. A source of animal protein for cats. Venison based cat food is normally fed to cats that don’t like the usual chicken or beef based diets. It is also a good secondary animal protein source. The source of the venison is always a concern.

Vitamin A Acetate

The natural form of vitamin A. Vitamin A plays a role in the cat’s vision and supports a healthy immune system. Vitamin A toxicity is more common in cats than other vitamins. Also known as vitamin A supplement.

Vitamin B12 Supplement

A source of vitamin B12. Aids in the absorption of protein, fat, and carbohydrates as it helps out with enzyme function. Most likely synthetic.

Vitamin D3 Supplementvitamins

A source of vitamin D. Vitamin D is important for bone formation and also regulates the calcium/phosphorus levels. Most likely synthetic.

Vitamin E Supplement

A source of vitamin E. Vitamin E is an antioxidant and plays a role in fat absorption. Most likely synthetic.

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Water (or water sufficient for processing)

Used to add moisture to the formula. In canned foods, moisture percentage can be up to 80%. Sufficient for processing means that just enough water was used to make that food.

Wheat Flour

This is flour that is made from grinding up wheat. It is used as cheap filler in cat foods. It binds and thickens the food. An unnecessary source of carbohydrates.flour

Wheat Gluten

It is simply gluten that has been removed from wheat. Wheat gluten is protein. This protein is like plant based protein so cats cannot enjoy the benefits of wheat gluten.

Whole Egg

Fresh, cooked whole eggs are a very good source of protein. More often than not, egg waste not fit for human consumption is used.

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Xanthan Gum

Grows in an artificial setting. In very simple terms, a bacteria helps produce xanthan gum on a medium such as corn, wheat, or soy. It is a natural process helped out by artificial means. Commonly used as a thickener, increasing the viscosity of liquids. Also an alternative to gluten.

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Yucca Schidigera Extract

Taken from the Yucca Schidigera plant, found more in the south. It has no nutritional value. Usually in pet foods as an odor control.

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Zinc Amino Acid Chelate

The word chelate in this instance means to hold the zinc in place in the supplement, usually with an amino acid. When ingested, it doesn’t react with other substances and allows the body to absorb the zinc well. Zinc helps with healthy skin and coat.

Zinc Oxide

A source of zinc. Zinc Oxide is seen more in non-food ingredients. Zinc in cat food helps enzymes function and helps the cat absorb protein more effectively. Zinc poisoning due to cat food is rare.

Zinc Proteinate

A particular type of chelate. In proteinates, the minerals are bound to different amino acids with different levels of stability. See zinc amino acid chelate

Zinc Sulfate

A source of zinc. Zinc sulfate is more commonly used as a nutritional supplement compared to zinc oxide. Better source than zinc oxide. Helps enzyme production and aids protein digestion. Zinc poisoning due to cat food is rare.zucchini


Safe for cats to eat. Zucchini with skin is a fiber source. Cats may not get the full benefits of zucchini but not a harmful ingredient. A vegetable so not needed in a cat’s diet.

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Purr-fect Recipes for a Healhty Cat. Lisa Shiroff, 2001. Book
The Cat: Clinical Medicine and Management. Susan Little, 2012. Book
Feed Your Pet Right: The Authoritative Guide to Feeding Your Dog and Cat. Marion Nestle and Malden Nesheim, 2010. Book.
Dr. Pitcairn’s New Complete Guide to Natural Health for Dogs and Cats. Richard H. Pitcairn and Susan Hubble Pitcairn, 2005. Book.
Natural Health Bible for Dogs & Cats. Shawn Messonnier, 2010.
Wikipedia. Website.

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