Are you cat food savvy?

Published on: 06/8/16 10:24 AM | Category: cats, diet & nutrition, wellness

Guest blog by Terri Grow, owner of PetSage and creator of Wise Feline

How knowledgeable are you about what your cat’s nutritional needs are and your choice of food?  Take this quiz to find out.

1. Cats are finicky because:
a. they can be.
b. want to frustrate you.
c. they may be seeking select nutrient(s).
d. all of the above

2. Both dogs and cats are carnivores, but what makes a cat’s dietary needs different than a dog’s?
a. Cats need higher meat proteins.
b. Cats can use some carbohydrates, but do not require any.
c. Cats require select nutrients found only in animal tissue.
d. all of the above
e. none of the above

3. When choosing a cat food, as long as the first few ingredients are meat, you are assured of a high meat protein diet.

4. While many cats can tolerate some vegetables in their diets, for the best digestibility they should be:
a. very finely pureed or lightly cooked.
b. only make up approximately 5% of the diet.
c. low starch and nutrient dense, like rich dark leafy greens.
d. all of the above

5. For cats diagnosed with inflammatory bowel disease, elimination of vegetables and grains may be required. What one category of canned food offers the closest profile?
a. grain free
b. 95% chicken and liver formula
c. chicken and fish dinner
d. none of the above

6. If the pet food reads “Chicken Formula Cat Food” you are assured the first ingredient is chicken and is only chicken?

7. “Made in the U.S.A.” is an assurance the food is manufactured in and the ingredients are sourced in the United States.

8. Heed caution with canned cat food because it is higher in calories.

9. At what age can a cat be given a raw food diet?
a. during weaning or as a weaned kitten
b. an adult
c. a senior
d. all of the above

10. Changing a cat to a raw food diet can be challenging. What are some of the enticing tricks you can do to enhance palatability?
a. Crush freeze-dried treats on top or mix with the food.
b. Feed as a treat with treats.
c. Mix with canned food.
d. Gently warm to mimic prey body temperatures.
e. all of the above
f. none of the above and give up if they sniff and walk away

11. Because a cat’s digestion system is hostile to bacteria, cats are not susceptible to Salmonella, E. coli, or Listeria.

12. Cat’s love dry food because:
a. they appreciate the wholesome ingredients.
b. crave the sprayed on flavorings and fats.
c. play with the fun textures and shapes.
d. they understand the benefits of grain free.
e. all of the above


  1. C – Although you probably wanted to select D, studies show cat tastes have evolved to meet their nutritional needs, food availability, learned behaviors from mothers and a few palate preferences for fun.
  2. D – All of the above. As an obligate carnivore your cat requires amino acids, vitamins and minerals found only in animal tissue. Cats also require higher levels of meat protein, and while they can use some carbohydrates, vegetable protein doesn’t cut it!
  3. False – Ingredients are listed in descending order by weight at time of processing. In theory this means there is more of the first ingredient and less per each ingredient as you go down the list. What is not obvious is the use of ingredient fractioning, where the carbohydrates and starches are individually itemized to allow the meat protein to go to the head of the list. Yet when combined, the mixture of carbohydrates and starches outweigh the meat proteins, giving a very different nutritional profile.
  4. D – All of the above. Because the cat’s digestive tract is a quarter of humans, they do not have the ability to breakdown or utilize grains and veggies unless “pre-digested.”
  5. B – According to the FDA, “95%” rule applies to products consisting primarily of very few ingredients and at least 95% of the product must be the named ingredient and or the higher listed ingredient, if the product name includes a combination of ingredients, such as “Chicken and Liver” cat food. This formula elevates the meat proteins, quantifying veggies and carbs.
  6. False – The FDA states that because the primary ingredient is not always the named ingredient, and may in fact be an ingredient the consumer does not wish to feed, the ingredient list should always be checked before purchase.
  7. False – The pet industry is global, where ingredients and manufactured goods are sourced from all over the world. When in question ask the company or a reliable pet food retailer for more information on the foods in question.
  8. False – Canned cat food is actually less caloric by volume than dry, yet more filling due to proper moisture and nutrients.
  9. D – As a weaned kitten to enhance development and a wider variety of foods; as an adult to maintain a healthy, lean weight; and as a senior to offer more bioavailable nutrients and naturally occurring hydration. Raw food diets can also be beneficial with many health disorders, such as IBD, kidney disease, allergies and more.
  10. E – Going from food flavored with tastants takes time and patience, just as you need when breaking from an addiction.
  11. False – While a cat’s digestive system processes and eliminates food quickly, not allowing much time for bacteria to multiply, safety precautions must be practiced, especially with young, older, and immune-compromised cats.
  12. B – The tastants/flavorings sprayed on these highly processed foods are designed to satisfy your cat’s bliss point and addict them. Why they love the dry food has nothing to do with the ingredients!