How to read and understand cat food labels?

How to read and understand cat food labels?

découvrez comment lire et interpréter les étiquettes des aliments pour chats pour mieux répondre à leurs besoins nutritionnels.

Do you want to offer the best nutrition to your cat, but are you confused by the complex labeling of cat products? You are not alone. Let’s discover together how to decipher these labels to guarantee healthy food suitable for our favorite feline.

Understanding Cat Food Label Language

If you are a cat owner, you probably know how important it is to provide them with a balanced diet. But do you really know what’s in the food you buy for your pet? Are there any harmful additives, preservatives, artificial flavors or colors? Reading and understanding cat food labels can be complex. Here are some tips to help you decipher this language.

The importance of ingredients

First, the order of ingredients in a cat food product is crucial. Ingredients are generally listed in order of weight, meaning the ingredient first on the list is the one present in the highest quantity in the product. Let’s take an example: if the first position is occupied by “cereals”, this means that your cat consumes mainly carbohydrates, which is not ideal for a carnivore like him. On the other hand, a product whose first ingredient is a source of animal protein, such as chicken or beef, is usually a better choice.

Identify unwanted additives

Second, understanding and identifying unwanted additives in your cat’s food is essential. Look for ingredients like artificial colors (which are often unnecessary and can even cause allergies in some cats), chemical preservatives, or artificial flavors. Favor them natural products without these unwanted additives to guarantee the health of your cat.

Nutritional claims

Third, it is necessary to pay attention to the nutritional claims on the packaging. For example, a brand may claim that its product is “complete and balanced”, but this is not always the case. For a truly complete diet, make sure the food contains all the essential vitamins, minerals and nutrients your cat needs. Furthermore, the term “premium” does not necessarily mean that the product is of high quality. It is better to rely on the list of ingredients and the nutritional composition.


What is raw ash content in cat food?
Raw ash is the indicator of the total minerals present in cat food. If this value is too high, it can cause kidney stone problems in your cat.
How important is taurine in a cat’s diet?
Taurine is an essential amino acid for cats. It plays a crucial role in their development and health. Taurine deficiency can lead to heart problems and blindness in cats.
What is a meat meal in cat food?
A meat meal refers to the dehydrated and ground meat used in cat food. It is a concentrated source of protein. It is important to know that the “meat meal” is not a by-product and is of good quality.

Key Things to Look for on a Cat Food Label

Understanding Cat Food Labeling

When it comes to choosing the best food for your cat, the key is understanding what’s actually in the package. Labels can often be confusing, with a multitude of terms and phrases that can make choosing difficult. Here are some key things to look for on a cat food label.

List of ingredients

One of the first things you should look for is the list of ingredients. In descending order of weight, it lists all the elements included in the product formula. Ingredients like meat should be first on the list, indicating that they are an important part of the food. However, be careful as some manufacturers break similar ingredients into smaller components to make them appear less dominant. For example, various grain by-products may be listed separately, but if grouped together they might surpass meat.

Protein content

There protein content is another fundamental element on the label. Cats are obligate carnivores, which means they need a diet rich in animal-based protein. Most experts recommend a cat food with a protein content of at least 26%.

Nutritional supplements

Nutritional supplements are often included in cat diets. Omega-3 fatty acids, essential for your cat’s coat and skin, should be one of them. Additionally, cats need taurine, an amino acid essential for their health.

Ingredients to avoid

Some common ingredients in human food can be toxic to cats. For example, garlic and onion can cause anemia in cats. Additionally, avoid foods containing artificial preservatives like BHA, BHT, and ethoxyquin.


How important is protein in cat diets?
Cats are obligate carnivores, which means they require a significant amount of protein from meat. A lack of protein can lead to a range of health problems, including loss of muscle mass.
What is taurine and why is it important for cats?
Taurine is an amino acid that cats cannot synthesize on their own. It is crucial for heart health, vision and reproduction. A lack of taurine can lead to serious health problems, such as heart problems.
What ingredients should you avoid in cat food?
Some foods common in human diets can be harmful to cats, including garlic and onion. Additionally, avoid foods that contain artificial preservatives like BHA, BHT, and ethoxyquin.

Deciphering the nutritional information on cat food packaging

Understanding Cat Food Labels

L’label of a cat food product is an information storehouse. By learning to read and understand them, you can make healthier and safer dietary decisions for your feline.

The importance of nutritional information

THE nutritional information can help balance your cat’s diet. Components such as proteins, fats, carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals are essential for your cat’s overall well-being.

Deciphering the ingredients

The ingredients of a food product for cats are listed in order of weight. For example, if meat is the first ingredient listed, there is more meat in that product than any other ingredient. However, avoid foods where grains or by-products are at the top of the list, as they are less nutritious.

Checking Protein Sources

Protein sources should come first in the ingredient list. For cats, the best sources of protein are meat ingredients like chicken, beef, fish. Ambiguities such as “meat meal” or “animal by-product” should be avoided as they do not specify the animal from which they are derived.

Understanding the firmness rate

THE firmness rate refers to the percentage of the food that is moisture. Canned foods have a higher moisture content than dry foods. Increasing moisture in your cat’s diet can help it stay hydrated.

Recognize food additives

Some food additives may be beneficial, such as prebiotics and probiotics, which promote good gut health. However, others like food colorings and preservatives can be harmful. It is therefore essential to learn to differentiate beneficial additives from harmful ones.


1. How important is the order of ingredients on a cat food label?
Ingredients on a cat food label are listed by weight. The first ingredients listed are those that are present in the greatest quantity.
2. How can I tell if a cat food is high in protein?
Check the ingredients list. The best sources of protein are meat-based foods like chicken, beef, or fish.
3. Should I avoid cat foods with colorings and preservatives?
Yes, ideally avoid cat foods containing artificial colors and preservatives, as they can harm your cat’s health.

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