Few people really know what the common cat food ingredients are, in the majority of commercial cat food. Most people are comforted by the pretty pictures on the packet or can, and believe or assume that the manufacturer have the health of their furry friend at heart. After all, there are plenty of veterinary endorsements.

Sadly, nothing could be further from the truth. For a start veterinary endorsements mean absolutely nothing. It has always been possible to buy people. There will probably always be people who care more about their bank balance than their ethics.

The commercial pet food industry is a multi billion dollar industry, so they can afford to buy even highly priced recommendations.

Few people realise that the majority (all?) of veterinary colleges around the world are heavily subsidised by the commercial pet food industry. Universities are always short of money, looking for new ways to keep going. The commercial pet food industry is only too pleased to step in and help, because they can heavily influence the students.

Not only that, but veterinary colleges pay no attention to the importance of diet. This vital aspect of animal health care is given over completely to an industry with a heavily loaded vested interest.

And how well the graduates have learned, with practically every veterinary clinic groaning with packets and cans of commercial pet food from floor to ceiling.

There are a multitude of problems with the ingredients in commercial cat food, regardless of the price tag. They vary from poor quality ‘raw’ ingredients, to the wrong type of food for the species, to a high chemical load, even to the inclusion of hazardous ingredients such as melamine or plastic that have no business being in anyone’s food.

For the purposes of this article, just one of the common cat food ingredients is under scrutiny. Propylene glycol is an alcohol used as a solvent. It is used to prevent melting in extreme heat or freezing in extreme cold. It is commonly found in personal care products and cosmetics. It is used in animal feed to keep it moist. It is also used in the pharmaceutical industry. It is found in hydraulic fluid and industrial anti-freeze.

When propylene glycol is applied to the skin, as with personal care products, it is absorbed through the skin and finds its way into the blood stream. When animals are fed food which contain this chemical, it is absorbed by the body a lot faster.

Some known effects in humans of the ingestion of ethylene glycol (very similar to propylene glycol, with similar effects) are irritation (to the eyes, skin and throat), dry skin, headache, backache, kidney problems, swelling (oedema), the death of cells (necrosis), drowsiness, slurred speech, stupor, vomiting, respiratory failure, coma, convulsions and death.

Other conditions that are linked to propylene glycol are allergies, endocrine disruption, immune deficiency, neurological problems, toxicity, growth and development issues, reproductive problems and cancer.

Cats who are fed food containing propylene glycol tend to develop Heinz Body Anaemia (HzB). This is known to lead to diabetes, hyperthyroidism, lymphoma, and liver problems.

In cat food, you are unlikely to find this listed as an ingredient. Laws for animal feed are poor at best and generally don’t require adequate labeling of ingredients.

The higher the concentration of any chemical, the more devastating the results. Even a low concentration consumed over an extended period will eventually cause problems.

Learn about typical cat food ingredients before buying the product. Better still don’t buy any brand. Make it yourself from scratch. It’s easy and no more expensive. Learn  more about that here.


Madeleine Innocent
Madeleine Innocent

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