Nutrition

What’s in a Recipe? New Resource Shows the Nutrition Behind Your Cat’s Food

Your cat has unique nutritional needs. Whether feeding a growing kitten who is developing strong bones, a playful adult cat who loves to jump onto the furniture, or an outdoors cat who is watching the world around them, your cat requires more than 40 nutrients in their diet to support their body functions. The Pet Food Institute (PFI) recently launched “Nutrition from Whisker to Paw,” a collection of quick, interactive infographics that show some of the key ways that the nutrients in a complete and balanced pet food recipe support your cat’s health. Click through to see how nutrients serve as the building blocks of a cat’s health and well-being*.

The Nutritional Science in Your Cat’s Diet

Veterinary researchers and nutritionists have identified more than 40 nutrients that cats require in their diet: vitamins, minerals, essential fatty acids, and protein and amino acids. The Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) sets nutritional profiles for dog and cat diets, which serves as the basis for “complete and balanced.” When you are providing a complete and balanced meal for your cat, that food has been formulated to provide all of these nutrients at the proper levels.

When Looking at the Ingredient List

Nutrients are contained in the ingredients used to create a pet food recipe. Pet food makers can choose from a variety of ingredients which have strict regulatory definitions when formulating a recipe, and one ingredient can serve as a source for many nutrients. Other factors that pet food makers may consider when choosing ingredients are tastiness to the pet, how your cat digests that ingredient and shopper preference.

What About Dogs?

In 2017, PFI launched “Nutrition Nose to Tail,” which examined the unique nutritional needs of dogs. Visit this interactive resource to learn more about the nutrients dogs need to enjoy long healthy lives.

*Sources:
National Research Council. Nutrient Requirements of Dogs and Cats. The National Academies Press, 2006.
J Nutrition 109(4):718-23 (1979) QR Rogers, JG Morris
Science 199:431-432 (1978) JG Morris, QR Rogers
J Nutrition 132:2037-2042 (2002) PJB Anderson, QR Rogers, JG Morris