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.
High fiber cat food has become a mainstay for many cats with gastrointestinal problems. But why is fiber so crucial for cats?
Fiber is a type of carbohydrate that isn't digested by a cat's gastrointestinal tract. It is important for cat health because it provides bulk to move food through. Some types of fiber can be fermented (broken down by bacteria) in the system. This process creates short-chain fatty acids (SCFA), which are an important energy source for the cells lining the intestinal tract.
Thus, understanding the various types of fiber and when to include fiber in a cat's nutrition plan is crucial. High-fiber cat food often contains a combination of soluble and insoluble fibers that aid gastrointestinal health and improve stool quality. Some of these fiber elements are also known as prebiotics, which are nutrients (mostly fermentable fibers) that help the good bacteria in the intestines grow.
Soluble fiber for cats, such as gums and pectins, are the best at absorbing water. These fibers are typically highly fermentable and provide the required energy source. Adding such soluble fibers to your cat’s diet can help it maintain a healthy colonic mucosa and boost immune function in the lower intestine.
Insoluble fibers, such as lignin or cellulose, have a variety of therapeutic properties and can be utilised in your cat’s meal to promote its gastrointestinal health.
What's Good For You May Not Be Good For Your Cat
Today, people are more aware of fiber and its role in their diet. Studies showing the beneficial effects of higher fiber levels in humans influence the way many people think about their own food and that of their pets. Some manufacturers now apply the recommendations of human nutritionists and make high-fiber diets for cats, but cats have a much shorter digestive tract than we do. And unlike humans, cats are carnivorous, so their nutritional needs are better satisfied with meat rather than plant matter. Therefore, cats have different dietary needs than humans. For more than 60 years, companion animal nutritionists at IAMS™ have been studying diets to meet the special nutritional needs of cats.
What Is Microbiome In Cats?
- A microbiome is the microbial population (fungi, bacteria, viruses, and other microscopic organisms) that resides in the digestive systems of cats. This biological habitat is necessary for proper digestion. The bacteria in cat intestines aid in the digestion of indigestible materials and the production of useful substances such as vitamins.
How Does The Gut Microbiome React With Fibrous Food?
- Some high-fiber cat foods aid in the nourishing of good bacteria and the maintenance of a healthy microbiome.
Furthermore, fiber-rich cat food benefit cats suffering from GI illnesses of the large intestine. Fiberous food can assist in preserving their GI motility and water balance. This is turn helps prevent constipation and diarrhea in cats.
Fiber Levels And Fermentability
IAMS Company research shows the optimal crude fiber level for healthy cat’s ranges from 1.4% to 3.5%. At these levels, nutrient breakdown is maximized. In unique situations, such as hairballs, higher fiber levels may be beneficial.
An important characteristic of fiber is its fermentability, or how well it can be broken down by bacteria in the intestine. This breakdown produces short-chain fatty acids, which provide energy to the intestines. Fiber varies in fermentability. Fiber sources used in pet foods include cellulose, which is poorly fermentable; beet pulp, which is moderately fermentable; and gums and pectin, which can be highly fermentable. Research has shown that moderate levels of moderately fermentable fiber, such as beet pulp, provide the benefits of energy for the intestinal lining and bulk, without the negative effects of excessive stool or gas and, therefore, are beneficial in cat diets.
Some Advantages Of High Fibrous Food
High moisture, protein, and minimum carbohydrate matter are all key ingredients in high fiber cat diets. Here are some benefits of high-fibrous food for your cat:
- Improves gastric activities in the gut - Food containing soluble fiber for a cat helps in breaking down water and gastric juices in the gut.
- Keeps your cat satiated - Some soluble fibers dissolves in water and forms a gel that helps in storing water and makes your feline friend feel full.
- Promotes bowel consistency - Insoluble fibers helps with stool consistency and gives more volume to your cat’s ingested meal.
How Does High-Fibrous Help Cats With Diabetes Or Other Medical Conditions?
Cats with medical issues can also greatly benefit from high-fiber foods. For instance, high-fiber wet cat food might help overweight cats in reducing overeating and lowering their risk of obesity. What’s more is, adding fibrous food to your cat’s meal will also help your pet eliminate more nitrogen through their stool, thus sparing the kidneys. In fact, many dietary fibers inhibit nutrient absorption qualities, which help to lessen the rate at which the GI tract assimilates glucose, thereby keeping the blood sugar levels stable.
High Fiber And Weight Loss
High levels of poorly fermentable fiber are used in some weight-reduction pet foods to dilute the calories in a serving. IAMS Company research shows that high fiber levels can make it harder to digest other nutrients in the food and, in turn, reduce the nutritional quality of a cat's diet. Your cat making more trips to the litter box can be a result.
When Should You Give Low Fibrous Food To Your Cat?
Low fibrous food contains nutrients such as electrolytes and B-vitamins that aid recuperation in cats. This type of food is usually recommended by veterinarians for cats who are prone to having a quick onset of GI disturbance. Therefore, when choosing a meal for your cat, always visit a veterinarian. If your cat is on a high-fiber diet, their veterinarian should keep an eye on them to ensure that their fiber-responsive symptoms are under control.
Fiber And IAMS Cat Foods
When choosing a pet food, fiber is an important consideration, but remember that the needs of cats are not the same as those of humans. A moderate level of moderately fermentable fiber, such as beet pulp, provides proven nutritional benefits for cats. Cat diets containing high levels of poorly fermentable fiber dilute calories and deprive cats of the nutrients they need.
All IAMS products are made with levels of moderately fermentable fiber needed to promote intestinal health. And all IAMS foods, such as IAMS ProActive Health™ Adult Original with Chicken, contain the moderately fermentable fiber system, which is the exclusive property of IAMS Company and is protected by U.S. Patent No. 5,616,569 for Pet Food Products Containing Fermentable Fibers and Process for Treating Gastrointestinal Disorders.
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