Five Cat Food Ingredients to Avoid


When choosing a cat food for your pet, the number one thing to be looking at is the ingredients list. Obviously, price and brand recognition are important but knowing what your cat is consuming is vital for them to live a long and healthy life. Below are five cat food ingredients to avoid when shopping.


Butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA) and butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT) are food preservatives added to cat food to make food last longer. The additives act as antioxidants that prevent spoilage from exposure to air. They are also used to maintain flavor, color and odor. The Food and Drug Administration has tested these items and recognizes them at “GRAS” – generally recognized as safe. However, limited testing has been conducted on these items and other studies have raised red flags. Groups like the National Toxicology Program and the Center for Science in the Public Interest have done independent research and there is evidence that BHA and BHT could cause cancer.



MSG, also known as sodium glutamate, is salt derived from glutamic acid. The ingredient is added to foods as a flavor enhancer to compensate for lower quality ingredients. Again, there are not conclusive studies indicating health related issues but there are reports of MSG causing obesity, thyroid issues, and causing taurine deficiencies. It is important to note that the USDA and the AAFCO do NOT require MSG to be listed as an ingredient on pet food labels.  Instead, they might be listed as natural flavoring, hydrolyzed corn gluten, or hydrolyzed protein. The best advice if you are unsure if it contains MSG is to contact the company or visit their website. Some providers will state, “Does Not Contain MSG” or something similar.

Corn Syrup

High fructose corn syrup (HFCS) is commonly used as a substitute for sucrose (sugar) in foods. This is because corn syrup is much cheaper and it helps keep overall costs low. HFCS (or sugars) in general are not naturally consumed by cats and really have no place in pet foods. In addition to being unnecessary, it also can lead to health problems. Obesity, diabetes and other organ related diseases have been linked to the consumption of foods with corn syrup.

High Fructose Corn Syrup

JRGold88 via flickr cropped

Animal Fat

If you see “Animal Fat” on an ingredient label, do not assume it’s chicken or beef fat. Chicken or beef fat typically will state the animal on a label.  Instead, “Animal Fat” is either a variety of different animal or animals you don’t want to know about. Also, these can be 4D animal waste products (dead,dying, diseased or disabled parts). There was even a case of dog food that contained euthanized cat and dog parts.


Corn, along with Soy and wheat is very common in cheap pet foods. While AAFCO and the USDA approve of the use of corn, it is commonly considered by veterinarians and other animal experts as an inferior and unnatural source of protein for cats. It is commonly used because it is much cheaper than animal proteins like chicken and fish.  Essentially, it cheap filler to keep costs low. Corn is also high in carbohydrates which are completely unnecessary for cats and can lead to diabetes and is known as an allergen. Corn, soy and wheat is essentially junk food for cats.

cheap cat food filler corn

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