Understanding Cat Food Labels

Published On: 08/16/2021|By |Categories: Top Tips|3.6 min read|
Understanding Cat Food Labels

Choosing cat food might seem like an easy procedure. However, taking a walk in the supermarket aisle will change your mind.

We all want the best food for our cutest friend, but the food labels look so confusing with all these marketing tips used by the manufacturers. The AAFCO and FDA work together and put rules in place when it comes to the packaging label, so that pet food manufacturers label their products correctly.

How To Understand Cat Food Labels

All cat foods must provide the following info on the label, so it’s important to get used to the dialect that they use.


Product name

In most cases, the name of the product indicates the key ingredient of the food, but not always. But, is “tuna cat food” and ”cat food with tuna” actually the same? Let’s find out.

If the name of the product is “Chicken Cat Food”, then it must contain at least 95% of the referred ingredient. But if there are 2 ingredients, eg “Tuna & Chicken cat Food”, the food has to contain more of whichever one is named first and the summary has to be at least 95%.

Sometimes, we are confused by the word “dinner” and think that it’s an elegant product for our feline. Keep in mind that words such as “dinner”, “entrée”, “formula”, and “platter”, give the manufacturer the right to use less than 95% of the named ingredient, but more than 25%.

If the manufacturer uses the word “with” (Cat Food with Tuna) then he is obliged to use just 3% of the named ingredient.

The choice is yours…

Nutritional adequacy statement

This explains the specific lifestyle and age of cat the food is intended for (growing kitties or full-grown felines). The statement will either say cat food or kitten food. It might also indicate that the food is for all life stages, growth and maintenance, growth and reproduction (breeding cats), and, possibly, for indoor or outdoor cats. There’s no exact rule for when to make the switch, but the general rule is that all cats less than 12 months old are considered kittens. So, it’s important to feed your young fur baby kitten food during their first year.

Maybe it’s too obvious, but it must be said that this product is bound for cats. Cats have very particular nutritional needs that demand they have certain things in their diet.

Ingredient list

Ingredients must be listed in decreasing order according to weight. However, moisture affects weight and so, ingredients as chicken or lamb that are moisture-heavy are listed higher on the list. Ideally, in a regular maintenance diet, the protein source should be listed on the top. This should be followed by secondary protein sources. After that, you can expect to see carbohydrate fillers, oils or fats, preservatives, added vitamins, and minerals.


Guaranteed Analysis

All cat food is required to provide a GA on the label. This info provides information to consumers to help them find the levels of at least 4 nutrients: protein, fat, fiber and moisture. Additional nutrients must be included in the GA if a product label makes a claim that mentions a specific nutrient, such as calcium for strong teeth and bones.

Feeding instructions

Explains how to feed the product to the cat. Such directions are to be considered general guidelines, not rules. For specific advice on how much food my cat needs or how often you should feed him you should ask your vet. Understanding

\"10 Cat Food Labels

Net weight

This is the quantity of the product included

Statement of responsibility

This identifies the party responsible for the quality and safety of the product and its location. If you have any questions about the product, you should use this information to contact them.

Cat owners have the right to know what they are feeding their felines. The cat food label contains a wealth of information if you know how to read it. Do not be swayed by the many marketing tricks and catchy claims. If there is a question about the product, don’t hesitate to contact the manufacturer.

Photo Shoot: Kabo

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