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Difference Between Natural and Organic Cat Food

Difference Between Natural And Organic Cat Food

As a cat parent, you must be always concerned about the food you offer to our feline buddies. You have to make sure the food is completely safe for cat consumption and that there are no adverse health impacts. And if you have been a cat parent for a long time, you are bound to have faced the question of whether to feed organic vs natural cat food to your cat. While both are incredibly good options, knowing the type that is best suited for your kitty will definitely earn you some brownie points for being the best cat parent!

Cat parents want simply the best for their fur babies, which includes avoiding feeding cat food that contains unwanted chemical ingredients. However, with the commercially available cat food, it might not always be an easy task to figure out the difference between natural and organic cat food. Here is to hoping that this article is able to provide you with some crucial insights to help you along the way. 

What is natural cat food?

The term natural cat food is bound to raise some confusion, for what comprises as ‘natural’ is not clearly established when it comes to commercial cat food. As per the Association of American Food Control Officials (AAFCO), ‘natural’ has been defined as “a feed or feed ingredient derived solely from plant, animal, or mined sources, either in its unprocessed state or having been subject to physical processing, heat processing, rendering, purification, extraction, hydrolysis, enzymolysis or fermentation, but not having been produced by or subject to a chemically synthetic process and not containing any additives or processing aids that are chemically synthetic except in amounts as might occur in good manufacturing practices.”, to which pet food manufacturers must comply. 

Roughly, natural cat food denotes food which contains minimal or no added artificial flavouring, additives, or preservatives. So, while choosing cat food for your furry feline, make sure to check for the ‘natural’ tag on the food package, which indicates the food is free from chemical fillers and by-products. Natural cat food mostly consists of non-processed foods, unlike commercial-graded dry cat food or kibbles.

Bowl of Natural cat food

What ingredients are in natural cat food?

For cat foods to be considered ‘natural’, they should be prepared with ingredients obtained from naturally available plants, animals, and mined sources, without any artificial processing, or synthetic contents. Instead, natural food for cat is prepared through purification, extraction, physical and heat processing, hydrolysis, enzymolysis, or fermentation. Hence, the major content present in natural cat food is usually meat, carbohydrates and animal fats. Feline fur kiddos, however, require trace amounts of synthetic micro-ingredients for providing them with essential nutrients and minerals. But these micro-ingredients should be recognized by the AAFCO and allowed to be added to the cat food to retain its ‘natural’ labelling. 

Presently, the natural food for cat available commercially avoids the use of chemically synthesized ingredients, such as special-purpose food additives, preservatives like Butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA) and Butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT), synthetic vitamin and mineral ingredients, propylene glycol, calcium ascorbate, as well as artificial flavour and colouring.

What is organic cat food?

According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), all the cat food that is prepared without the intervention of chemical fertilizers or pesticides can be grouped under organic cat food labelling. In regard to organic cat food, this also applies to the livestock ingredients that are offered organic feed only, have access outdoors, and are not treated with artificial antibiotic drugs or growth hormones. USDA also mandates that 'organic' food must only be grown on lands that do not rely on the use of fertilizers or pesticides, and is free from chemical agents for at least three years.

Level of organic foods

Depending on their production and ingredients, organic cat food can be of the following types:

  • 100% organic food for cat

    suggesting that all ingredients used for the cat food have been organically cultivated, containing little or no amounts of chemical agents.

  • Organic food for cat

    Most of the ingredients have been produced organically. Commercial cat foods with organic labelling normally suggest that they contain about 95% of organically produced ingredients.

  • Made with organic

    The ‘made with organic’ labelling is used to describe cat food that has an organic content between 70% to 95%.

  • Less than 70% organic food for cat

    The amounts of artificial and synthetic ingredients are higher in the foods with less than 70% organic ratings. The number of organic ingredients in non-organic cat food can be as low as 30% or less.

    Cat enjoying its meal

Is organic or natural cat food better?

Having difficulty choosing between organic vs natural cat food? The decision of choosing between natural and organic cat food is completely dependent on a cat's parents. Cat food, whether natural or organic, does not generally lead to a life-threatening condition in your feline buddy. So, make sure to get the one that you are confident and comfortable feeding your fur baby. As long as the cat food is able to meet your kitty’s nutritional needs without being too rich in artificial flavouring and food colour, you can choose either of the two.

However, since the ‘natural and ‘organic’ labelling is frequently used by commercial cat food manufacturers without entirely adhering to AAFCOs nutrient profile, it is important to carefully go through the packaging of the cat food to make sure that the cat food does not contain excess synthetic or artificial fillers, preservatives, and additives.

FAQs

  • What do cats eat in the wild?

    Cats are carnivores and the majority of their usual diet comprises animal proteins. And since cats are excellent hunters, they often hunt down their prey in the wild. Cats prey on smaller woodland creatures like rabbits and mice. Their diet in the wild, therefore, consists of mostly animal proteins and fats. 

  • What organic food can I feed my cat?

    Though cats are carnivores with their diet consisting mostly of proteins like meat and fish, you can introduce some organic food to their diet, allowing you to occasionally split a meal with your feline buddy. Some of the organic cat food that you can feed your cat are whole grains like oatmeal, brown rice, and maize. In addition, these furballs also enjoy seasonal fruits like bananas, apples, cranberries, and mangoes.   

  • Should I feed my cat natural food?

    Since natural cat food is prepared from ingredients that have been directly derived from plants and animals or are brought in from mined sources, it is a great option to feed your cat. However, before feeding, you must ensure that the cat food does not contain ingredients that can potentially upset their health.

  • What cat food has the most natural ingredients?

    If you are looking for the best cat food with the most natural ingredients, you must try out Sheba’s premium cat food. Packed with all essential nutrients and lots of moisture, Sheba’s premium cat food has the best texture, without the addition of synthetic preservatives or food colouring. Sheba’s premium cat food makes sure your fluffy feline stays well-nourished and hydrated all day long.

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