We need good, independent scientific studies on the quality and suitability of cat food

Yes, we need fully independent scientific studies on the quality of the different types of cat food: manufactured dry and wet, and raw. But what is the likelihood of us ever having sight these quality scientific studies? There is a lot of anecdotal evidence about the quality of cat food. Some vets even speak up about it but they are few and far between. One vet is Elisabeth Hodgkins (Your Cat). She is treated with suspicion by fellow vets and manufacturers, I suspect. Most vets are in the pocket of big business on cat food. You only have to look at what’s on their shelves.

Scientific study on cat food

Two useful tags. Click either to see the articles: Toxic to cats | Dangers to cats

As for scientists, I guess most of the scientists who have in-depth knowledge about the ideal diet for a cat and how to recreate it, work for pet food manufacturers! Scientists are humans with the usual biases. Some hate cats. How many independent scientific laboratories are able to provide recommendations on the best cat food and are motivated and financed to do it? Zero comes to mind. Do you know of one?

The point I am making is that we are unlikely to be able to see and read quality scientific studies on what is best for our cats in respect of food. We therefore rely on our good sense and self-education. We rely on our experience. Many cat guardians have experience on cat health related to diet that exceeds that of most scientists and even veterinarians.

There is a huge body of so called ‘anecdotal evidence’ collated by good cat caretakers with first hand knowledge which has to be respected as sound and valuable information. I believe we can trust good cat guardians with years of experience more than we can trust scientists. Scientists work for companies. They have contracts containing confidentiality clauses. Cat guardians are automatically independent. They have no axe to grind. They have no concerns about profit. They just care about their cat’s health.

That immediately places the excellent, educated cat guardian in a superior position over scientists in respect of dispensing information about cat food quality.

If a cat website owner says that comments on their site about cat food should be backed up by hard science, I wouldn’t take that too seriously. There are those who say you can’t trust the FDA in America because they are too close to business. Are they completely neutral? Is anyone who works in or is associated with the pet food industry free to speak their mind and independent?

The whole of the pet food industry is tightly controlled by the businesses. There is no independent, tax-payer funded laboratory whose sole purpose is to provide quality scientific studies on consumer products such as cat food and its suitability or otherwise for the cat. Is there? Can someone correct me please?

Please search using the search box at the top of the site. You are bound to find what you are looking for.

Useful tag. Click to see the articles: Cat behavior

7 thoughts on “We need good, independent scientific studies on the quality and suitability of cat food”

  1. I don’t think we’ll ever see an independent scientific analysis of cat foods. Too much money and politics involved 🙁

    The regulations covering the industry vary greatly worldwide, with some countries being much stricter than others. In Britain, the pet food industry only uses animals passed fit for human consumption. So thankfully at least we don’t have to worry about feeding dead pets or roadkill to our cats.

    The definition of certain ingredients varies too, dependent on which country the food is manufactured.

    Sarah Hartwell’s “Cat Food Uncovered” has some interesting information about what some of those mystery ingredients on labels mean and where they are sourced.


    Sarah Hartwell has some interesting information on the manufacture of pet

  2. Sandra Murphey, No. CA, USA

    This is from the Consumer Affairs site:

    Reading and understanding cat food labels or the material on cat food maker’s websites can be confusing. In fact, the information may be misleading. Here is some helpful information.

    First ingredient – Ingredients are listed on cat food labels in the order of their weight in the food. Meat is allowed to also include its water weight. Meat is 70% water. If meat is listed as the first ingredient, it includes the water weight. The amount of real meat protein is actually much less. The second protein ingredient, generally a meat meal, is really the primary protein in the food, not the first ingredient.

    Premium or holistic – There are no legal definitions for the words “premium” or “holistic”. These foods do not have to meet standards that are any different from other foods.

    Natural – Natural is defined as any feed or ingredient from plant, animal and the earth and can be processed by any method as long as it is not mixed with synthetic products or processed by methods using synthetic products “except in amounts as may occur unavoidably in good manufacturing practices.” Cat food can contain synthetic ingredients and still use the word “natural” if there is a claim on the label disclosing the presence of synthetic ingredients or products.

    Organic – Cat food can be labeled “organic” if only 95% of the ingredients were raised organically.

    Organic ingredients – Cat food can be labeled “made with organic ingredients” if only 70% of the ingredients were raised organically.

    Meat – Meat from hoof stock is defined as ”striated muscle, but can include tongue, esophagus, diaphragm, heart with overlying fat, sinew, nerve and blood vessels that normally accompany flesh.” Everything in the chest except the lungs is considered “meat.”

    Meat – Poultry meat is defined as “clean flesh and skin, with or without bone.”

    Meat – Fish is the entire fish [head, fins, scales and entrails] or the flesh remaining after fileting.”

    Deboned meat – Deboned meat or poultry is the meat removed from bone after the muscle has been removed. This is the meat used for sausages, hot dogs and processed chicken products in human food.

    Quality – Cat food ingredients do not have quality standards like the USDA quality coding for human meats and products.

    Quality control – The FDA and USDA does not require mandatory inspections of cat food companies. Quality control is voluntarily enforced.

    USDA inspected – USDA inspected only means that the ingredients in cat food that cannot be used in human food came from a facility inspected by the USDA. There is no oversight of the ingredients once they leave the slaughterhouse.

    Claims by cat food makers are not what they seem. It can be very difficult choosing the best food for your cat. It requires lots of independent research on your part.

  3. I wouldn’t trust the FDA to set sufficient standards for our cat food- or dog food for that matter. So many substandard ingredients are allowed to be used in the ingredients of pet food, and many ingredients are manufactured in countries where standards for pet foods are less than acceptable.

    What I found most helpful was the information posted on “The Truth about Pet Food”, Susan Thixton’s website, so I did subscribe to her newsletter.

    The best website to get information about the best species appropriate diet to give to our kitties is Dr. Lisa Pierson’s http://www.catinfo.org/ Following her suggestions about species appropriate diets is extremely helpful.

    You cannot imagine the disgusting ingredients that end up in even some of what is considered “Premium” cat food. In fact, it will turn your stomach.

    Even if you read labels, not all ingredients show up for what they really are. To be on the safe side,even if it is pricier, purchase canned cat food that are manufactured only using human-grade products. The FDA must inspect food made for human consumption- so at least we have a better chance to be feeding our cats the highest quality species appropriate diets, in my opinion.

    1. The people you mention are independent minded individuals. It is that sort of person who you and I rely on for the best information. So when someone says you need scientific evidence to support claims we make we about ingredients we rely on them but they are not strictly speaking scientific arguments based studies. They are people with masses of experience. Despite their efforts nothing really changes.

  4. Sandra Murphey, No. CA, USA

    I agree with you on all points.

    Susan Thixton of TruthAboutPetFood did fund a scientific study (with some reader donations) on some pet foods, last year.

    That’s the only one I know of, although there may be others.

    1. I am pleased you agree. When I searched and I am pretty good at searching, I could not find anything. We need an organization funded by pet caretakers who work for us and which has standing and authority. At the moment is is one-sided.

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