01 Sep Why Dry Kibble is Poison for Cats
For many cat owners, dry cat food, also known as kibble, is their go-to cat food.
But what many don’t realize is that it is actually harmful to their fur baby and can cause serious health problems down the line.
Here are the main reasons why you should avoid feeding your cat kibble.
It’s Full of Bad Ingredients
One of the biggest problems with kibble is that it’s packed with rendered ingredients such as:
- Bone meal
- Rendered fat
- Chicken meal
- Poultry by-product meal
Rendered ingredients, such as non-meat animal parts such as lungs, intestines, hooves, and udders are boiled at high temperatures to reduce them to mush. When the fat has been skimmed from the surface the remainder is dried and used for kibble. Often, a kibble that contains rendered animal fat also contains pentobarbital – a drug that is used to euthanize animals.
It Contains Too Many Carbs
Cats are carnivores and their natural diet is composed mainly of protein, fat, and moisture and is very low on carbs. However, most dry cat food is comprised of around 30% carbohydrates. Some brands also contain an excessive amount of fat – up to 48%. Because protein is the most expensive ingredient, cheaper brands of kibble tend to contain less protein and more carbs. Excess carbohydrates are bad for cats because they can increase blood sugar and also increase the risk of urinary stones.
It Contains Too Little Moisture
You may not realize it, but cats should get 73% of their water intake from their food, so feeding your cat kibble is doing them a disservice. When they eat kibble consistently their water intake quickly becomes diminished to what they drink from their bowl or water fountain, which often isn’t enough. This can lead to dehydration and kidney failure.
It’s High in Calories
If kibble is high in carbohydrates, it’s also high in calories, which accounts for why many cats throughout the United States are overweight or obese. Obesity in cats increases the risk of the following diseases:
- Chronic diarrhea
- High blood pressure
- Coat and skin issues
- Chronic vomiting
- Kidney disease
It Contains Contaminants
Diseased animals and pesticide-drenched drains often end up at the rendering plant and they are not all destroyed in the rendering process so from there they enter the pet food chain. This means kibble may contain contaminants such as drugs, bacterial endotoxins, antibiotics, and mycotoxins from fungi and mold.
It Contains Preservatives
Because canning is a preserving process, preservative ingredients are unnecessary. Dry cat food manufacturers however, typically try to give kibble a shelf life of at least 12 months. This means that many contain synthetic preservatives such as butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT), butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA), and propylene glycol which may be toxic when eaten every day over your pet’s lifetime.
It Doesn’t Help Your Cat’s Teeth
Many cat owners believe that kibble helps to clean a cat’s teeth, but this is not the case, in fact, the opposite is true. Because of the shape and size of the kibble, which is typically very small, it can be tricky for a cat to chew. This means that often, they swallow the pieces whole, which does nothing to clean the teeth. Furthermore, because of the high carbohydrate content in kibble, when it comes into contact with saliva and begins to break down, food particles adhere to the cat’s teeth causing a buildup of plaque and tartar.
How to Ensure Your Cat Has the Best Diet
To keep your feline friend healthy, use canned or homemade food. Canned food is the preferred choice because it has a high protein and moisture content and it contains few or no preservatives. If you decide to make homemade food, discuss this with your vet to make sure that you are giving your pet a balanced diet that contains all the nutrients your kitty needs. Your pet’s dietary needs will vary depending on her age, so ask your vet for recommendations.
If you want to find out more about the best diet for your cat you can contact Dr. Jeff and he will be happy to answer your questions.