You have just welcomed a new family member into your family and you are doing everything to make your new cat or dog's life comfortable. Of course, part of the comfort factor is a tasty, healthy cat or dog food. So you rush to the pet store, check the different brands and start reading cat or dog food labels.

What is a pet food brand?
A pet food label is a legal document regulated by the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AA, FCO) and is the primary means of communication between pet food manufacturers and pet owners.
Decrypt the label after reading the label, you're confused - ingredients vs. nutritional facts, guaranteed analysis, an endorsement from AAFCO.

What does it all mean?
We understand your frustration and confusion. Therefore, we will try to help you interpret a pet label so that you can make the best purchase decision for your cat. Let's start at the top:

The difference between "ingredients" and "nutrients" needs to be clarified. Ingredients are the vehicles that deliver nutrients, while nutrients are food components that support life and are metabolically useful. For example, lamb is an ingredient that provides nutrients such as protein, fatty acids and vitamins.

Ingredients are listed in descending order by weight. The high water content of chicken, beef and lamb makes these ingredients weigh more than dry ingredients such as grains, meals and vitamins, so they are often listed first.

Guaranteed analysis

  • Indicates the minimum or maximum content of nutrients such as protein, fat, fiber and moisture.
  • Does not indicate or provide accurate levels of nutrients in cat food.
  • Is not a guarantee for the nutritional quality of the meat.
  • Moisture levels in cat food vary, making it nearly impossible for the average cat parent to accurately compare nutritional information.

Nutrition Facts Statement or "AAFCO Statement"
AAFCO is an organization that sets the nutritional standards for pet food sold in the United States.

This legally required statement verifies the testing method used to determine nutritional adequacy.

The declaration indicates whether the food provides complete and balanced nutrition for a specific life span of your cat (growing, adult, pregnant / nursing) or if the product is nutritionally sufficient for all habitats.

Look out for whether the package says the food supports "all life stages". The product probably contains excessive levels of some nutrients necessary for the most demanding lifestyle, which is growth.

For example, it may contain higher levels of protein and calcium for kittens, but these levels are inappropriate for an adult or senior cat.

As a cat parent, you should know that nutritional excesses can be just as harmful and are more common than nutritional deficiencies.

The manufacturer's toll-free number
The packaging must contain the manufacturer's name and telephone number. We encourage you to call the companies to learn more about their products, including place of production, actual nutritional content, calories and taste in your future cat food choices.