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Organic Cat Food


Have you already made the switch to natural cat food or organic cat food, or are you considering it? You’re not alone. More and more people are more carefully considering what they put in their beloved pet’s bowls. 

Since people are eating more organics themselves it makes a lot of sense. Another big reason people are making the switch to organic cat food and even homemade cat food is because of the pet food recalls. This has prompted people to start paying closer attention to what’s in their cat’s food — what should be in the food and what shouldn’t be — as they also look into cat food recipes and wellness cat food. 

When you start your research, you will see references to natural and organic cat food. 

What’s the difference? They’re both premium forms of pet food, but they do have specific differences. 


What Are Natural Pet Foods? 


Natural pet foods contain ingredients that are only derived from plant, animal or mined sources, according to the definition from the U.S. Association of American Feed Control Officials. This means that pet foods termed as “natural” shouldn’t contain chemically synthetic processing aids or chemically synthetic additives like artificial flavors, coloring or preservatives. Instead, natural preservatives such as Vitamin E and Vitamin C derivatives are used. 

Natural cat foods are also made from whole ingredients like chicken, beef, vegetables and fruits. By-products aren’t typically found in natural pet foods. 


What Are Organic Pet Foods? 


Organic pet foods are often made from whole ingredients as well, but they also have to adhere to strict requirements about how the ingredients are raised or grown. 

Organic cat foods are produced without the use of antibiotics, synthetic hormones, toxic pesticides or fertilizers. They are minimally processed, not irradiated and do not contain any chemical additives or preservatives. Instead of using chemicals, organic foods are produced with more natural, biological methods like using mulch to prevent weed growth or compost instead of manufactured fertilizer. 

How do you know if the organic cat food you’re buying really is organic? Luckily this part is pretty easy for the consumer. Only products that have been certified organic by an independent, third-party agency can be labeled as organic. The USDA’s National Organic Program (NOP) provides very specific labeling and manufacturing requirements. 

There are several levels of organic certification: 

  • Products labeled as “USDA Certified Organic” assure the consumer that the food has gone through a third-party certification process that validates at least 95% of the ingredients are organic. Even authorized agencies inspect manufacturing facilities to verify their cleanliness, manufacturing procedures and record keeping. 

  • Products with the label "Made with organic" must contain at least 70% organic ingredients. The remainder may be approved non-organic ingredients, non-synthetic substances or approved synthetic substances. 

  • Products labeled as “Organic” or “Made with Organic Ingredients” do not include ingredients that are genetically engineered, produced using sludge or irradiation, synthetic substances that are not approved. They cannot contain sulfites, nitrates or nitrites, or include organic and non-organic forms of the same ingredients. Products with an organic label cannot contain non-organic ingredients if they are of organic origin. 

People are drawn towards organic cat food because in most cases it is a premium food they feel is healthier for their furry little companions… but there are lots of other reasons as well. 

The cultivation or breeding of organic food is based on food and agricultural systems that mimic natural ecosystems and maintain and supplement soil fertility. Organic farming practices generally include rotating crops which prevents the land from becoming depleted of the valuable minerals that are absorbed by the crop. It also helps eliminates the buildup of residues of chemical additives, preservatives, pesticides, fertilizers and herbicides which have been proven to have adverse health effects on cats, dogs and in fact all animals including humans. 

Organic pet food (and sometimes natural pet food) companies also support more humane farming practices, giving consideration to the animals that are raised for the pet food. They often use free range chicken for example. Many of these companies also donate a portion of their proceeds to charitable organizations — giving people yet another reason to feel good about buying organic. 

If you’ve decided to make a change to a new cat food always remember to gradually introduce the new food. Often times your cat can react negatively if the change is sudden, even if you’re moving to a high quality, natural or organic cat food. A sudden change can cause vomiting, diarrhea or other similar conditions. A good rule of thumb is to slowly change the food over 7 to 10 days. 

Start out with 90% of the old food and 10% of the new food gradually increasing the proportion of new food until you reach 100% new food. Watch how your cat reacts; she’ll let you know if the process needs to move more slowly.

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