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How To Read Cat Food Label

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Most of us check ingredients and nutritional information on packaging when buying food for our pets. However, reading the nutritional data on a cat food label can get confusing. So, how do you know whether your pet is getting the right food for a healthy body? In this blog, we look at what you can expect to find on a cat food nutrition label and help you improve your understanding of this information. 

 

What Information Do Cat Food Labels Contain?

Cat food labels provide limited information regarding the nutritional value of the package contents. It is important for customers to know what can and cannot be determined from the label, and what information is particularly important. Major components of a pet food label include:

  • Guaranteed Analysis

  • Company/Customer Service Information/Satisfaction

  • Ingredient Panel

  • Manufacturing Code, Expiration, or 'Best Used By' Information

  • Feeding Instructions

  • AAFCO Statement of Nutritional Adequacy
     

Guaranteed Analysis

Values in the guaranteed analysis are expressed as either minimum or maximum. A maximum guarantee (% max) means at most this specific amount of the nutrient is included in the formula. A minimum guarantee (% min) means at least this specific amount of the nutrient is included in the formula. The following four nutrients must be included on all pet food labels:

  • Crude Protein (% min)
  • Crude Fiber (% max)
  • Ingredient Panel
  • Crude Fat (% max)
  • Moisture (% max)

 

For example, a cat food with a 25% minimum crude protein guarantee should contain at least 25% protein but could contain much more. The only way to determine the actual amount is by laboratory analysis.
Other information may be guaranteed on cat food products, such as magnesium (% max), taurine (% min), ash (% max), and linoleic acid (% min).

  • The guaranteed analysis is an important tool when beginning to compare cat food formulas, but it doesn't provide meaningful nutritional information. Using information on the energy content and nutrient density of a food is the only way to properly compare cat foods. This information is available from the manufacturer.

 

Levels Of Cat Food Regulation

  1. AAFCO

Animal-feed laws, particularly those pertaining to pet food, are dealt with by AAFCO. AAFCO is a coalition of governmental organisations in North America that aids in regulating animal food. Cat food with AAFCO label has an assurance that certain standards have been followed while manufacturing the food. Therefore, the food is said to meet the nutritional levels required by your pet. MARS pet food too complies with the standards of AAFCO and is nutritionally sound for your pet.
 

Ingredient Panel

Ingredients must be listed in order of abundance (largest quantity listed first).

Because ingredient definitions and designations are standardized, it is difficult to determine the quality of ingredients. Ingredient quality can only be determined from laboratory analysis and animal feeding tests. 

Here is the information that is required on a cat food label
 

  • Overview: The brand name is usually included along with the list of names of the main ingredient(s), such as rice and chicken.
  • Distributor Name and Address: This gives you information about the manufacturer of the food, so that you can get in touch with them if you have any issues about the product.

  • Net Weight: This tells you how much food is contained in the package.

  • Ingredient List: The ingredients are listed in decreasing order, depending on the weight of the contents.

  • Product Traceability: Using the information on cat food label, you can identify when the food was prepared and even the precise factory that made the package. 

  • Statement of Nutritional Adequacy: A ‘complete and balanced’ cat food should either meet or exceed the defined standards of nutrient profile. It explains which exact cat age and lifestyle the food is meant for. 

  • Assurance of Analysis: This indicates the product’s nutritional content. It must contain the highest amounts of crude fiber and moisture and the minimum amounts of crude protein and crude fat. Although optional, percentages for other nutrients are frequently included. However, the key elements mentioned in the assured analysis of the cat food nutrition label must meet AAFCO’s nutrient profile guidelines.

  • Calorie Declaration: Calories are stated on a kilocalorie per kilogram basis and other commonly used units of measurement such as kilocalories per cup. You can compare several cat food products using this information.

  • Direction for Feeding: You can use these recommendations to figure out how much food to give your cat each day. Additionally, you might need to change the amount of food your pet consumes to assist them in maintaining an ideal body condition.

 

AAFCO Statement Of Nutritional Adequacy

AAFCO nutritional adequacy statements are required on all pet foods. Products may either be formulated or tested according to AAFCO procedures and recommendations.

  • A 'formulated' statement means the product has been manufactured according to AAFCO nutritional guidelines, but not actually fed to cats prior to sale.
  • A 'tested' statement indicates the product has been formulated, then fed to cats prior to sale to ensure it meets important criteria related to growth, maintenance, and/or reproduction. 

    Veterinary-exclusive products include statements such as, 'This product is intended for intermittent feeding only' and 'Use only as directed by your veterinarian.'

 

 

Manufacturing And 'Best Used By' Codes

Manufacturing codes allow the company to track products for quality and inventory issues. In order to quickly and efficiently handle a customer inquiry, the company's customer service department will usually ask the customer for this code.

Expiration or 'Best Used By' dates are optional but are helpful in determining product freshness and shelf life.

 

How To Read A Cat Food Nutrition Label

Here are a few tips to help you read a cat food nutrition label. 

  • Check the name of the product: This tells you the type of cat food. Typically, a key component or flavour is highlighted in the product name.
  • Know the intent or purpose: The food must state that it is for cats on the container. Cats have highly specific nutritional requirements that necessitate a certain type of diet.

  • Choose the right product for your cat: The information on the back of the cat food container is extremely important. You can determine whether the food will offer a complete and balanced diet for your cat’s life stage by reading the nutritional adequacy statement. The term 'life stage' describes a cat's particular stage of growth. The information can also state that the food is suitable for cats at all life stages, for breeding cats (growth and reproduction), and, possibly, for indoor or outdoor cats.

 

Company Information And Satisfaction Guarantee

The manufacturer's information should include the company name, address, and phone number so customers can quickly and easily obtain product information.

A toll-free telephone number should be provided as a convenience to the customer and to ensure that a charge is not incurred when calling for information.

The satisfaction guarantee should be an 'active' statement. This means that in addition to stating that the product is guaranteed, the company should indicate what action will be taken to meet customer expectations (replace product, money returned, etc.).

FAQs:

  1. What Percentage Of Cat Food Should Be Protein?  
  2. According to AAFCO guidelines, cat food should have a minimum of 26% protein content on a dry matter basis. This portion is typically regarded as complete and nutritionally balanced.

  3. What's The Difference Between +1 And +7 Cat Food?
  4. The difference between +1 and +7 cat food is the high fiber content in +7 cat diets. Despite having the same proportions of protein, fat, and minerals as adult cat diets (+1), senior cat foods (+7) have fewer calories than food for cats aged 1+ years.

     

  5. What Is Not Required On A Cat Feed Tag?
  6. Details about the quality of food ingredients are not required on a cat feed tag. 

     

  7. Is Pet Food Regulated By The FDA?
  8. Yes. The production of cat and dog food as well as other dog treats or snacks are all regulated by the FDA. 

     

  • Anti rabbies Vaccine
    Anti rabbies Vaccine
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    Anti rabbies Vaccine

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    Rabies is a dangerous virus that affects the warm-blooded animal kingdom. It spreads through the bite or starch of an infected animal, making the infection easily transmissible amongst animals and humans alike. Since there is no effective rabies treatment yet, the only solution to combat this fatal virus is through vaccination. Veterinarians recommend anti-rabies vaccine for pets to protect them and their humans from this deadly virus.
     

    Anti-rabies vaccine is one of the core vaccines for cats, in addition to the 4-in-1 cat vaccine. It helps prevent the cases of rabies in cats and kittens, contributing to the overall health of your feline friend. However, before getting your cat vaccinated with rabies injections, it is essential to know a few details about this disease and how to prevent it. So, let’s dive right into it.
     

    How does rabies spread?

    The rabies virus depends on the host body for survival. As the virus cannot survive outside of the host body, it spreads through open wounds and mucous membranes in the eye, mouth, and nose. The virus transmits through the saliva of the infected animal. If a rabies carrier bites or starches your pet, then it too becomes infected with the virus. Typically, the incubation for rabies in cats ranges from a few days to a few years.
     

    Since rabies is a deadly infection, it is imperative that you, as a cat parent, watch out for its symptoms. So, let’s take a look at a few signs of rabies in cats:

    1. Fever

    2. Lethargy

    3. Low appetite

    4. Difficulty breathing

    5. Hypersalivation

    6. Difficulty swallowing

    7. Abnormal behaviour

    Curing rabies is not an option post-incubation as there is no proper medication available in the market yet. Hence, keeping this fatal infection at bay is of paramount importance. And how can you do that? By ensuring that your cat is vaccinated with an anti-rabies injection.
     

    Do indoor cats need rabies vaccination?

    Anti-rabies vaccine for cats is a must. Veterinarians monitor rabies shots for both indoor and outdoor cats. While there is a misconception that rabies vastly affects dogs, it can find its way to cats and other warm-blooded animals as well. Cat’s rabies vaccination prepares your indoor kitty to fight the deadly virus. Hence, do not skip on annual booster shots for both indoor and outdoor cats.
     

    While you may think, your indoor cat is safe from the fatal disease, it is best to ensure complete healthcare for its overall well-being. Cats often socialise with outside cats by licking, sniffing, or starching each other. Indoor cats can get the rabies virus if they socialise in this manner with an infected outdoor or stray cat. Anti-rabies vaccination is the best way to avoid any remote possibility of your kitty getting infected. It builds antigens in the cat’s body, so your fur baby can tackle the rabies virus.
     

    How often should cats receive rabies vaccination?

    Various brands offer anti-rabies vaccines for cats in the market. Hence, it is best to seek a veterinarian’s advice regarding  vaccination. They will take multiple factors, such as your kitty’s age, breed, and lifestyle, into consideration before recommending a brand. Similarly, when it comes to the frequency of taking the anti-rabies vaccination, it all depends on the type of vaccine recommended for your pet. If your vet recommends an adjuvant vaccine, your cat might have to be inoculated once every year. On the other hand, if they suggest a non-adjuvant vaccine, you must note that these vaccines are generally administered once in three years. 
     

    When to schedule feline anti-rabies vaccination

    Anti-rabies vaccine is one of the core vaccinations for cats. It prepares your cat to fight the virus by boosting immunity. The first dose of the anti-rabies vaccine is administered once the kitty turns 12 weeks old. After the initial dose, depending on the type of vaccine, you will need to get your feline friend vaccinated either annually or once in three years.
     

    Side effects of the anti-rabies vaccine

    As a cat parent, you must know the potential side effects of this vaccine. So, let’s take a look at them:

    1. Low-grade fever

    2. Lethargy

    3. Low appetite

    4. Swelling and redness at the injected site

    Cat parents should monitor not only the anti-rabies vaccine but also other core vaccines like 4 in 1 cat vaccine, FeVac 5, and 3-in-1 cat vaccine. Regular vaccination and annual health check-ups ensure your kitty leads a healthy life. So, ascertain that you provide your fur baby with all the care it requires.