Does cat food contain dead cats?

Does cat food contain dead cats? The answer is yes, it does. There was a time when the subject was never discussed. Many years ago I wrote about it but now you can go online and ask the question in the title and you’ll quickly see that dead dogs and cats make pet food. It seems to have been accepted. Are things changing? To me it is revolting and it creates obvious cat and dog health and welfare problems.

Does cat food contain dead cats?
Dead shelter cats. Photo in public domain.
Two useful tags. Click either to see the articles:- Toxic to cats | Dangers to cats

If you render down euthanized cats to be used as a cat food ingredient you legitimize from a commercial standpoint the killing of cats in shelters. It presents a barrier to creating a no-kill shelter. And it opens the door for irresponsible cat ownership because the process provides an outlet for unwanted cats.

Ohio State Law

Ohio State, through their legislature, admit that dead cats and dogs are used in commercially prepared pet food. As Susan Thrixton of states: “In other words, Ohio law acknowledges that dead pets are rendered.”

A member of the Ohio state legislature Laura Lanese has introduced a bill, House Bill No 560, which would change the regulations governing pet food. It would deem pet food adulterated if:

“It contains any animal remains from an animal that has been euthanized by the use of any drug injected intravenously or through another non-vascular route, or..

It contains any dog or cat remains, regardless of how the dog or cat died or was killed.”

Ohio is the first state to address this problematic, distasteful and immoral aspect of pet food production.

Conflict of Interest

A further thought on the concept of rendering down euthanized cats as an ingredient for cat food is that it creates a conflict of interest. If a dead cat, killed in a shelter, has a commercial value it must undermine the value of that cat as a living, sentient being. In fact, it could well be argued that an unwanted, dead shelter cat is worth more than a living one. The standard random bred domestic cat is only worth about US$35. Unwanted domestic cats in shelters are worth less than that. I don’t know what shelters get for providing pet food manufacturers with the carcasses of dead cats. Perhaps they get no money at all but I’d be surprised if that is the case.

The important point is that a conflict of interest is presented to cat shelter management. The idea that you can render down unwanted cats in this way also undermines the value of all cats and the relationship between pet cats and their human owners.

Sodium Pentobarbital (Pentobarbital)

Pentobarbital is not destroyed during rendering. This drug is used to euthanize cats. The drug has been found in pet food. The only plausible reason is that these pet foods contain the remains of domestic and feral cats and dogs.

The process of using domestic cats as ingredients for pet food has taken place under the radar of public view in my opinion. There is no doubt in my mind that this has been deliberate because it is distasteful.

LA Times

LA Times stated in 2002, ‘Los Angeles city and county shelters send more than 120,000 dead dogs and cats to be rendered in a typical year.’ I understand that LA have dramatically reduced the number of shelter euthanized cats and dogs over the intervening years. They have pursued a no-kill policy.

10 thoughts on “Does cat food contain dead cats?”

    • There is evidence. Susan Thrixton of is very, very accurate. There is a link to her site on this page. Please check it out. Secondly over 2 million cats are killed at shelters in the US annually. That’s a huge food resource in the eyes of the pet food industry. Do you think they’d let it go to waste? And why is it so hard to stop killing cats at shelters? Partly because it is a pet food resource.

  1. This whole topic sickens me beyond belief. I think that the usage of euthanized cats and dogs from shelters, or of shelter animals that died from any cause, needs to be banned as illegal everywhere. Period.

    • Yep, it is wrong and a distortion of what should be happening. The domestication of the cat was never meant to be like this.

  2. “And it opens the door for irresponsible cat ownership because the process provides an outlet for unwanted cats.”

    So does TNR, big time. One of the absolute worst lies ever perpetuated is that TNR is saving cats’ lives, it doesn’t. It just makes it easier for people to throw their unwanted cats under the tires of cars, and worse ways that all TNR cats inhumanely die. You don’t seem to have a problem with that though.

    • Catch-22 ye are dead dead dead wrong,I have been involved with TNR for years and my own cat colony has dwindled considerably because are passing away without any more unwanted kittens,my colony starting out back in 2006 had 34 cats and today I’m down to 7 cats unless a new one shows up and then it too gets TNRed,the only time any of my cats got killed was because cat haters and I have dealt with many and once I get in their face they back off because I wont tolerate anyone hurting my cats so ye comment is full of crap,maybe and hopefully Michael or Elisa will block ye from this site,we dont need ye kind of negativity.

      • So, let me get this straight, 27 out of 34 of your cats died heinous inhumane deaths, and you’re okay with this.

        Read any TNR discussion and you will read over and over and over again why cat colonies never die out, and the primary complaint of all TNR practitioners, because of all the people who don’t want their cats anymore dump them where they see that some fool will feed them. Until those cats get flattened under cars, poisoned, or shot to death. Seeing a TNR colony is a 1,000 ft. wide flag saying “DUMP YOUR UNWANTED CATS HERE! WE’LL FEED IT FOR YOU!” Until it gets ran-over by a car, that is.

        Yeah, you sure do love cats! Just like Ted Bundy loved women.

  3. The recent cases of finding an euthanasia drug in pet food is disturbing. This is why farm animals are butchered not euthanized.
    Like horse slaughter the only way to end it is to stop mindless breeding where the excess population finds a value on the market as cannon. This is why I advocate for mandatory S/N laws with breeder permits costing enough to discourage the backyard make a quick buck type.


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