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How to Read Cat Food Labels

Eight Tips for Deciphering Cat Food Names and Claims
(continued)

Tip No. 7: Natural Doesn't Mean Organic continued...

"Natural" may mean the product has no artificial flavors or colors. Few pet foods ever use artificial flavors. Artificial coloring isn't necessary other than to make the product look more appealing to the owners. Some manufacturers may use the term "natural" to indicate that there are no artificial or added preservatives, but, again, use caution here if you're buying dry cat food.

Another label to watch out for is"100% All Natural." But the Pet Food Institute says that most complete and balanced cat foods have vitamins and minerals in them, and those additives are usually man-made. Labels can say "Natural with added Vitamins and Minerals," however.

Tip No. 8: Premium May Just Mean Pricey

Buyer Beware: The FDA says cat foods flaunting terms such as "premium" or "ultra-premium" are not required to be made of any better or healthier ingredients than a regular complete and balanced cat food.

The words may, however, mean that the product contains food sources that are more digestible.

This may or may not be a good thing for your cat. Ask your veterinarian if your cat needs more or less volume in the diet before choosing a premium food.

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Reviewed on May 04, 2010
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