The Breakdown on Cat Food Ingredients

Today, pet owners are more health savvy than ever. You want to know exactly what’s going into your fur-baby’s food, and we have nothing to hide! We are proud of the all-natural ingredients we have researched and selected to ensure our pet meals are of the highest quality on the market.

Unlike dogs, which are omnivores, cats are obligate carnivores, which means cats need higher amounts of protein combined with amino acids, vitamins, and minerals for a balanced diet. So, here’s the breakdown on all the ingredients that go into our cat foods to ensure they have the proper balance of those vitamins and minerals.

A Breakdown of All the Ingredients in Spring Naturals Low Glycemic Cat Food

Glucosamine is a component that builds cartilage around joints – not just in cats, but in all animals. Glucosamine is naturally found in the body, but it can also be supplemented for healthy joints and skeletal function.

Magnesium is a critical nutrient for bone strength and maintaining a healthy heart and circulatory system. Be aware, however, that too much magnesium in your cat’s food could contribute to bladder stones and urinary tract issues.

Omega 3 – these are the fatty acids that aid in metabolism and reducing inflammation, as well as helping manage allergies. Mammals cannot synthesize omega 3s on our own, so we must consume them in our diet.

Omega 6 - Omega-6 fatty acids are used by cats in the maintenance of skin and coat, normal growth, proper membrane structure, and absorption of fat-soluble vitamins. Linoleic acid is the most important omega-6 fatty acid because it cannot be synthesized by cats, and it is used to make other omega-6 fatty acids.

DHA stands for docosahexaenoic acid (see also Omega 3), which is an Omega 3 fatty acid responsible for a healthy brain and nervous system. Mammals get the majority of their DHA from their mother’s milk, and then later from fish, eggs, and organ meat of prey. There have been studies conducted that revealed that dogs which were raised on a food high in DHA performed better in training scenarios than dogs whose puppy food had low to no DHA. (We have been unable to track down similar studies done with cats.)

Ash - A cat requires about 2% ash in their diet to meet their nutritional needs. Measuring the ash in a food is a way of determining how much of each mineral, phosphorous, calcium, zinc and iron, is in the food. Quite literally, food scientists can burn the food, which burns up the organic material (proteins, fats and carbohydrates), and leaves behind the inorganic, non-combustible minerals.  In the wild, these animals may gnaw on bones or vegetables to get the minerals that are essential to their diet. Maintaining the right balance of these minerals is critical to proper function of your cat’s bones, organs and circulatory system. Too much ash content can contribute to urinary problems, even fatal ones. Foods that contain a lot of filler and meat meals can have ash content of over 10%. High quality, protein-heavy foods usually measure around 7% or less. For comparison, Spring Naturals Chicken Meal for cats measures only 5.5% ash.

Potassium chloride:  Potassium chloride is a form of colorless salt to boost the flavor of your cat’s food. Typical table salt is known chemically as sodium chloride, but by using a salt derived from potassium, we are able to add essential vitamins for the heart and nerve function. Studies have shown better potassium absorption in animals eating potassium chloride versus sodium chloride.

Tricalcium phosphate – A mineral that occurs in nature and is an essential nutrient to build bones and eliminate waste. Tricalcium phosphate is used as a vitamin supplement for both calcium and phosphorous. Phosphates maintain pH equilibrium in your pet’s diet, and it also helps in the food production process to keep food from sticking together.

Calcium carbonate is the same ingredient in antacid tablets like TUMS®. It provides additional calcium supplements to pets to help maintain strong bones.  Cats would naturally ingest calcium carbonate when they eat shellfish, eggshells, and bones of prey.  As a bonus, calcium carbonate helps preserve the shelf life of pet food, as well as maintaining the color.

Iron proteinate is a mineral that keeps the circulatory system functioning properly. Without enough iron, blood would not properly carry oxygen throughout the body, and your pet would become anemic.

Zinc proteinate is an essential mineral that helps for the brain, pancreas, and adrenal glands. Cats would naturally absorb zinc from the meat of prey – seafood, chicken and pork.

Manganese proteinate helps to form and maintain connective tissue – tendons, ligaments, etc.

Copper proteinate is an essential mineral that helps form red blood cells and connective tissue, such as tendons and ligaments and cartilage. Copper also helps with production of certain enzymes that maintain a healthy respiratory system.

Magnesium proteinate – Magnesium plays a huge role in our bodies, and those of our cats. From the nervous system to body temperature regulation, energy production and healthy bones and teeth, magnesium is a critical nutrient in our cat’s diet.

Sodium selenite is an essential mineral salt which builds healthy tissues in the body and activates antioxidants.

Calcium iodate:  provides iodine, a mineral utilized by the body for thyroid function. The thyroid is involved in metabolism and hormone production.

Thiamine mononitrate: Thiamine is Vitamin B1, a vitamin that plays an important role in metabolism, growth, nerve impulses, and the production of acetylcholine.

Niacin supplement: Niacin is Vitamin D3, a vitamin that aids in the production of fatty acids, amino acids, and glucose.

Vitamin E supplement: Vitamin E is a vitamin responsible for developing muscles and boosting the circulatory and immune systems.

Calcium pantothenate: Provides vitamin B5, which is essential in growth and development, maintaining the nervous system, and converting carbs to energy.

Pyridoxine hydrochloride: Pyridoxine hydrochloride is a common form of the B-vitamin pyridoxine, which is critical for metabolizing protein.

Riboflavin supplement: Riboflavin is used as a B-complex vitamin supplement, which aids in healthy growth and assimilation of amino acids and carbs.

Biotin is a B vitamin that helps metabolize fat and protein.

Vitamin B12 supplement: Vitamin B12 plays a heavy role in cats’ health and function. The immune system, nervous system, digestive system and brain function all rely on Vitamin B12.

Vitamin D2 supplement: Vitamin D is an essential vitamin for Some serious health problems that develop as a result of Vitamin D deficiency in cats include cardiovascular disease and hypertension, cancer, diabetes, kidney failure, and feline oral resorptive lesions (FORL).  Cats must ingest Vitamin D from supplements in their food or prey.

Folic acid is a vitamin that aids in cell production, specifically red blood cells.

Mixed tocopherols: Tocopherols are a natural form of preservative to ensure your cat food has a decent shelf life.  Kibble needs to last long enough to get from the producer to the pet store, and then it needs to stay fresh until you’ve purchased it and dished it out to your cat over a few weeks. So, premium pet foods nowadays prefer mixed tocopherols to do the job, in contrast to more chemical-based preservatives of the past.  Tocopherols don’t last quite as long as the less natural preservatives, so be sure to keep an eye on expiration dates whenever you shop premium pet foods! Tocopherols are a source of Vitamin E and Vitamin A as well.

Amino Acids are what make up proteins – the proteins that cats eat and the protein that builds cells in the body. Cats have a very specific amino acid requirement, and most of them are found only in meats. In fact, cats use 22 different amino acids to build healthy bodies.

The essential amino acids are arginine, methionine, histidine, phenylalanine, isoleucine, threonine, leucine, tryptophan, lysine, valine, and taurine.  Some cat foods will contain additional supplements of these amino acids to ensure your cat gets their required nutrition. That’s because studies have shown that cats which don’t get enough in their diet naturally will suffer from illness, blindness, poor function, seizures, and even death!

Taurine (also see Amino Acids) is an essential amino acid that contributes to:

  • Development and health of the retinas
  • Development and maintenance of the muscles of the heart wall
  • Muscle function
  • Blood sugar regulation and body weight maintenance
  • Regulates blood flow that supplies the nerves
  • Immune system maintenance
  • Growth and development of kittens in utero

If cats are obligate carnivores, where are there sometimes fruits, vegetables and starches added to some cat foods?

All of Spring Naturals handcrafted recipes include 90 – 95% of proteins from all-natural fish or poultry. However, we boost the nutrition of our food with 6 superfoods that bolster your cat’s diet full of low carb, wheat-free, whole foods. We punch it up with added vitamins and minerals for functionally balanced, wholesome nutrition.

Parsley, spinach, alfalfa leaves, and dandelion greens provide extra Vitamin K and help with urinary tract health in cats.

Blueberries and cranberries provide additional antioxidants to your cat to fight free-radicals and boost their immune system.

Rosemary extract simply acts as a natural preservative to make sure your cat food stays fresh from production to pantry. It also helps maintain the natural color of the food, preventing oxidation and discoloration.







Dietary Impact of Adding Potassium Chloride to Foods as a Sodium Reduction Technique

Arginine: An Essential Amino Acid for the Cat

 Fish Oil

By Steve Marsden, DVM ND MSOM LAc DiplCH AHG, Shawn Messonnier, DVM and Cheryl Yuill, DVM, MSc, CVH


Evaluation of cognitive learning, memory, psychomotor, immunologic, and retinal functions in healthy puppies fed foods fortified with docosahexaenoic acid–rich fish oil from 8 to 52 weeks of age

Steven C. ZickerDVM, PhD, DACVIM, DACVNDennis E. JewellPhDRyan M. YamkaPhDNorton W. MilgramPhD



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