Can protein sources in cat food be sustainable?
The amount of protein and the choice of protein sources in petfood has been under discussion for years among pet owners as well as among professionals. Over time, there has been a focus on what is most natural for our pets, as well as the optimal level of protein both in different stages of life and in therapeutic diets. The optimal level of protein, if there is any, has not yet been determined. A new and very important topic that has come up in the discussion, is how petfood production affects the climate. This discussion includes the choice of protein sources and their sustainability.
Although we do not know everything about animal nutrition, we do know that cats need protein. They have a need for essential amino acids, the type of amino acids that cats can´t form themselves. Some of the amino acids are found only in proteins of animal origin such as meat, and therefore cat food should always contain animal protein. However, it is not only the level of protein in the food that is interesting for the cat’s daily health, but also the protein quality. Protein sources that have an optimal content of essential amino acids, and which are utilized efficiently by the cat, are considered high quality proteins. Meat, also from poultry and fish, as well as eggs, are considered high quality protein sources.
For adult cats, FEDIAF recommends a minimum protein content in a complete diet of 25% for active cats that consume a larger amount of food daily, and 33.3% for inactive cats that consume a smaller amount of food daily (FEDIAF, 2020). AAFCO recommends a minimum protein content of 26% for adult cats (AAFCO, 2020). However, these levels are not necessarily factual minimum values or optimal levels. There is no evidence that it is better to raise the level of protein in relation to raising the quality, however, the cat’s daily needs must be met.
ProBiotic LIVE Cat has a protein level of 32-37% depending on the variant. This level is high enough to meet any cat’s protein needs, but without using unnecessarily large amounts of animal protein. The primary protein sources are of top quality as they are different kinds of pure meat from chicken, duck, lamb, and fish. All meat that is used is by-products from the human meat production, which ensures a high quality, while not breeding animals specifically for feed production. In this way, food waste in the meat industry is decreased while we can produce a super-premium cat food for the benefit of our four-legged friends. It is crucial to consider the environmental challenges we face today, and a wise choice of protein sources and levels is a way to reduce CO2 footprint and paw prints on the earth.
By Klara N. Trads, DVM and Technical Manager at Bacterfield GMBH.
List of references:
AAFCO. Official Publication; Association of American Feed Control Officials: Champaign, IL, USA, 2020.
FEDIAF. Nutritional Guidelines for Complete and Complementary Pet Food for Cats and Dogs; The European Pet Food Industry Federation: Bruxelles, Belgium, 2020.