A Look at "Gourmet" Cat FoodPublished February 29, 2012
Flickr User Ian Junor
Given this difficult situation, what’s a loving fur-mom to do? Driven to distraction, it was time to take to get proactive. While leisurely strolling down the cat food aisle in our local pet supermarket the other day, I started noticing that some of the higher-end brands were marked “Gourmet”. Gourmet cat food? What a concept!
Sufficiently intrigued by the beautifully designed label advertising meal-time Nirvana, I feverishly started pulling down cans off the shelves, reading ingredients to determine what, if anything, distinguished these products from the more ordinary high-end brands.
The grainless Weruva Asian Fusion Cat Food label is beautifully designed, showing cat food in a delicate sashimi dish replete with a pair of chopsticks. Despite its mouth-watering appearance, though, it was highly disappointing to learn that the product's first ingredient is Tuna Red Meat. Its second ingredient, shirasu (baby anchovies in Japanese), may sound enticing, but I have yet to meet a cat who’s an anchovy fan.
While these two fish may be part of a traditional Japanese diet, it is not an ideal traditional diet for felines. Since most cats quickly become addicted to tuna, the type of red meat tuna used in cat food contains very high levels of methyl mercury and if fed excessively can lead to mercury poisoning. Red meat tuna can also cause steatitis, or yellow fat disease, an inflammation of the fatty tissues in cats and kittens.
Since a cat’s body can’t properly utilize plant protein, carbohydrates are hard to digest. As obligate carnivores, they require meat protein, not carbohydrates. Cats also require fat in their diet as well. While Weruva is grainless (according to their label) which is a good thing, the Asian Fusion product contains 1.6% crude fat and a minimum of 0.05% taurine. Taurine is an essential part of the feline diet. Taurine promotes intestinal absorption of lipids (fats) as cholesterol. It also helps prevent heart disease and feline retinal atrophy, which often leads to blindness.
While not advertised as a “gourmet” cat food, Evo 95% Duck contains a minimum of 10.0% fat and 0.11% taurine and is grainless. So after reading the labels of several “flashy” gourmet cat foods and comparing them with the high-end grainless varieties within the same price range, it really appears that the word “gourmet” is a marketing strategy targeted at humans. But I am crossing my fingers that our two furry gourmands will go “quackers” over the Evo 95% Duck.
What is your opinion about gourmet cat food? Tell us in a comment.