How Nutrition Can Help Improve Your Cat’s Coat
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What Is Linoleic Acid?
Linoleic acid, a naturally occurring omega-6 fatty acid found in common pet-food ingredients such as corn and chicken fat, is a required nutritional component of the canine and feline diet.
What Are Omega-6 and Omega-3 Fatty Acids?
Fatty acids are the building blocks of dietary fat and are formed by specific combinations of carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen.
Certain groups of fatty acids, called omega-3 (fatty acids in which the first double bond is located at the third carbon atom) and omega-6 (fatty acids in which the first double bond is at the sixth carbon atom), are particularly important to various functions in the cat's body.
The first double bond is located at the sixth carbon atom and, therefore, is an omega-6 fatty acid.
Omega-6 fatty acids are essential for maintenance of skin and coat condition, normal growth, proper membrane structure, and absorption of fat-soluble vitamins.
Linoleic acid is the most important omega-6 fatty acid because it cannot be synthesized by cats, and it is used to make other omega-6 fatty acids.
Cats also require arachidonic acid, because they cannot synthesize it from linoleic acid.
How Much Linoleic Acid Does My Cat Need?
Most pet foods contain more than the required amount of linoleic acid. However, IAMS research shows that it is not just the amount, but the ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids, that is most beneficial to cats.
The optimal omega-6:omega-3 fatty acid ratio to maintain a healthy skin and coat in dogs and cats is between 5:1 and 10:1, so five to 10 omega-6 fatty acids should be present for every one omega-3 fatty acid.
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- adp_description_block480Understanding Kitten Food Product Codes
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Understanding and learning how to decipher kitten food product codes will help you choose the right kitten food. While selecting the right ingredients is important, making sure those ingredients are fresh is just as vital to your young cat. Learn how to read the product codes of kitten food packages and cans with our handy guide.
What Is a Product Code?
A product code is a series of numbers and letters printed on the outer package of each product a manufacturer produces. This code provides information about when and where the kitten food was made.
As part of the product code, IAMS™ products include a “Best Used By” date, or the date at which the product is no longer considered fresh and should no longer be sold. This date is expressed in “ddmmyy” and “ddmmmyy” formats.
The second line of the product code represents company internal information for use in traceability and inventory control.
Line 1: (ddmmyy) (ddmmmyy)
Example: 040220 04FEB20
Line 2: 60351111## QQQQQQQ
This product should be used before February 4, 2020.
Depending on the production line, pouch products* may have code date information in a single or double line. By recognizing and understanding these codes, customers can make sure they are receiving a fresh product.
What Is Shelf Life?
Shelf life is the duration, measured in months, during which a properly stored kitten food product maintains its freshness. This means if a product has a 16-month shelf life, it is fresh for up to 16 months from the date of manufacture.
The shelf life for IAMS dry kitten foods is 16 months. All canned formulas have a shelf life of 24 months.
How to Properly Store Dry and Wet Kitten Food
Unopened dry kitten food products are best stored off the floor in a cool, dry place. Open bags of kitten food should be stored in a clean, dry container with a tight seal. Dry kitten food products may also be frozen without loss of nutrients.
Opened wet kitten food products are best kept refrigerated in tightly sealed containers for no more than three days after the container has been opened. Wet products should not be frozen in unopened cans. However, wet kitten foods can be frozen if removed from the container, packed in freezer containers and frozen immediately.
*IAMS has no kitten pouch products at this time.
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