How to Read Cat Food Labels

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There’s a lot of information on the label of your cat’s food. The trick is knowing what’s important for your cat’s health and what’s just advertising.The most important thing on the label is the nutrition claim. It should say that the food is “complete and balanced.” If it doesn’t, there’s no guarantee that the food will meet your cat’s needs.A cat food label should also have the following:

  • How much food is in the container
  • Who makes or distributes the food
  • The ingredients
  • What stage of life the food is for (kitten, adult, pregnant cat)
  • The nutrients in the food (protein, fat, fiber)
  • How many calories it has
  • How much to feed your cat

AAFCO Statement

The Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) is a group of government agencies that help regulate animal food. Look for its statement on the packaging.The best AAFCO statement will have the words “feeding tests” or “feeding trials” in it. This means that cats ate the food as part of a scientific study, and the results showed it met the cats’ needs.

The next-best statement will say the food “is formulated to meet nutritional levels.” This means the recipe has the vitamins and other nutrients scientists know your cat needs, though it wasn’t actually tested in cats.


Like the Nutrition Facts panel on packaged foods for people, cat food labels will have a “guaranteed analysis,” which tells you portions of key nutrients in the product. The list is usually on the back or side of the package. Cat food labels are required to list percentages of four nutrients:

  • Minimum protein
  • Minimum fat
  • Maximum fiber
  • Maximum moisture

A label might list other guarantees, like magnesium or taurine, too.


The ingredients are listed in order of their weight, from most to least. The first one listed accounts for the most weight in the food.

  • Meat (beef, chicken, turkey, etc.)
  • Meat byproducts (animal parts like kidneys and liver)
  • Seafood (salmon, tuna, etc.)

What Does It Mean?

Some of the words on a cat food label can be helpful, and some are more advertising than anything else.

“All natural.” This generally means the food has no man-made colors, flavors, or preservatives. The catch is that pet foods that have a certain amount of fat need some kind of preservative to keep them from going bad too fast. So just because a food has no artificial preservatives, that doesn’t mean it has no preservatives at all. It’s just that the ones it has are natural.

“Gourmet” or “premium.” These words are essentially meaningless. There are no special rules companies must follow to put them on their labels. They don’t mean the food is any healthier or tastier for your cat than other kinds.

“Grain-free” or “no grain.” Unless your vet has told you your cat cannot eat grain, don’t worry about looking for these terms. They’re more gimmick than anything else.

“Organic.” When human foods have this term on their labels, it refers to how the plants and animals used for the food were grown or raised — without antibiotics, growth hormones, and other specific chemicals. But the U.S. Department of Agriculture has no official rules on when pet food makers can use this term. Until they make those regulations, there’s no good way to know if your kitty’s food meets those standards.




Do you know how to read and interpret the food that you are giving your furry friend?  This article will help you decipher the contents of your cat’s food.  This article not only tells you what should be listed on the food packaging, but also. what ingredients your cat needs to thrive.  Take this article with you the next time you go to the store to purchase catood and compare the contents of different brands.  You might be very surprised.

Make sure that you check the links on the right side of this page for great pricing on pet supplies and products.   Also note that Amazon and Walmart are sites that you can purchase anything that they sell.. is also looking into restarting the program of featuring your  pets on line.  No decision has been made as to the location of this feature.  It may be on this site or on a seperate blog site.   More information will follow as decisions are made,  Keep coming back for more information and future updates.


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