What Should Be The Top 3 Ingredients Of Cat Food ?

Ingredients of cat food

Being a cat parent we are always worried about the ingredients of cat food which we feed them. And to determine the quality it’s important to check the label with the list of ingredients it contains along with the nutritional information. There are brands with fancy packaging who might not have mentioned the complete details in their label. We warn you against those brands as you do not want to compromise on the quality of the product.

According to FDA, the list of ingredients must be arranged in descending order, with the ingredient present in the highest quantity listed first, followed by the next highest quantity ingredient, and so forth. This is how you can read the ingredient’s list and decide the brand you want to feed.

top 3 ingredients of cat food which you should look for

Based on our label analysis, the top 3 Ingredients in cat food that establishes it’s high quality include:-

1.Meat Content

Meat like chicken, lamb, duck are a great source of protein. The first ingredient to look out for in dog food is an excellent source of protein.

2.Omega 3s and 6s

Omega 3 and 6 fatty acids, present in fish oil, eggs, and flaxseed, play a vital role in boosting your cat’s immune system and supporting essential biological functions. A premium dry cat food includes these fatty acids, promoting not only a beautiful coat but also ensuring smooth skin for your cat.

3.vitamins & minerals

A high-quality dry cat food should contain a comprehensive array of vitamins and minerals, offering a complete and balanced diet which improves your cat’s immune system and enhances their coat’s health and shine. Make sure to check for water-soluble vitamins B12 and C, along with essential minerals like calcium, iron, and zinc among the listed ingredients.

Importance and source of the Ingredients In cat Food

Source of protein

As mentioned earlier meat like chicken, lamb, turkey and salmon are a great source of protein. You can also check for different meat meals or meat by products in the label while choosing the best product for your cat.

Importance Of protein in cat's Diet

Protein is one of the 3 essential ingredients as it serves as a fundamental building block for their overall health and well-being. Cats are obligate carnivores, which means their bodies are designed to primarily derive nutrients from animal-based protein sources. Proteins help fuel up their bodies and nervous system which helps them to grow their hair continuously and improves their immune system.

Source of Omega 3s and Omega 6s

The primary source of omega-3 fatty acids is from marine-based foods such as fish, particularly fatty fish like salmon, mackerel, and tuna. Additionally, some plant-based sources like flaxseed and chia seeds can provide a form of omega-3 known as alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), but cats may have limited ability to convert ALA to the more beneficial forms of omega-3s like EPA and DHA.

On the other hand, cats can obtain omega-6 fatty acids from various animal-based fats in their diet, such as those found in poultry, pork, and certain oils. It’s important to ensure that the cat’s diet includes a balanced ratio of omega-3 to omega-6 fatty acids for optimal health.

Importance Of Omega 3s and Omega 6s in cat's Diet

Omega 3s and Omega 6s helps support your cat’s body, brain, helps in growth, reproduction and the prevention of skin and coat abnormalities. You need to search for cat foods rich in EPA and DHA (Omega 3s types) from marine sources in the label. 

Linoleic acid (LA) and arachidonic acid (AA) are classified as essential omega-6 fatty acids. While LA has a shorter chain than AA, cats need AA as an essential part of their diet. This is because cats lack the enzyme necessary to convert LA into AA, making it crucial to ensure their diet includes both fatty acids (Lenox & Bauer, 2013).

Source of Vitamins and Minerals for cats

Vitamins and minerals are basically derived from meats like poultry, fish. Organ meats like Liver, kidney, and other organ meats are also nutrient-dense and provide many essential nutrients. Some cat foods also include small amounts of fruits and vegetables to provide additional nutrients.

Importance of Vitamins and Minerals in Cat’s diet

Vitamins and minerals are basically essential for cats in the kitten phase to support proper growth and development, ensuring healthy bone formation and muscle growth. You can look out for Vitamins A and taurine in the label as they are essential for maintaining good vision and overall eye health in cats. B-complex vitamins, along with minerals like zinc and copper, promote a shiny coat and healthy skin, preventing skin issues.

Label Analysis of ingredients of a high quality cat food

We picked up N&D a high quality cat food from Farmina and did the label analysis of the ingredients that has been used and mentioned on the packet. We were quite impressed by the first few ingredients that has been used in the formulation.

Boneless chicken which is an excellent source of protein, Sweet potato which is a source of vitamins and fish oil from Herring fish which is a source Omega 3 and Omega 6 form the first few ingredients of cat food.

Label Analysis Of Ingredients Of Cat Food

Other Healthy Ingredients of cat food you should look out for

Apart from proteins, Omega 3s, Omega 6s, vitamins and minerals there are other healthy ingredients you need to check out for in a cat’s food product. 


Carbohydrates play a limited role in a cat’s body compared to other nutrients. Cats have a limited ability to digest and utilize carbohydrates effectively due to the relatively low levels of certain enzymes in their digestive tract. Some commercial cat foods may include carbohydrates as fillers or binders to help with the manufacturing process. These carbohydrates are usually in the form of grains like rice or corn. While cats can derive some energy from these carbohydrates, their primary energy source should come from high-quality animal-based proteins and fats.


Common antioxidants essential for cats are vitamins A, C, E, selenium, zinc, and various phytochemicals like flavonoids and carotenoids. Antioxidants are essential for a cat’s body because they play a crucial role in neutralizing harmful molecules called free radicals. Free radicals are unstable molecules that can damage cells and tissues, leading to oxidative stress. Oxidative stress is associated with various health issues and is believed to contribute to aging and certain diseases in cats.

Ingredients to avoid

There are certain ingredients of cat food which are potentially harmful and should be strictly avoided. After careful label analysis we have listed the ingredients which you should avoid feeding your cat at all costs.

1.Artificial Preservatives

Avoid cat foods that contain artificial preservatives like BHA, BHT, and ethoxyquin. Look for natural preservatives like mixed tocopherols (vitamin E) instead.

2.Artificial Colors and Flavors

Cats don’t need artificial colors or flavors in their food. These additives may cause allergies or sensitivities in some cats.


Ingredients like corn, wheat, and soy are often used as fillers in some low-quality cat foods. Cats are obligate carnivores and primarily need animal-based proteins for their nutritional needs.

4.Meat By-products

While some meat by-products can be nutritious, it’s best to opt for cat foods that specify the source of the by-products and ensure they are of good quality.

5.Corn and Wheat Gluten

These are common allergens for cats and may lead to digestive issues or allergies.


This additive is used as a thickener in some cat foods and may cause digestive problems in some cat food.

7.Added Sugars

Avoid cat foods with added sugars, as cats do not require them and excessive sugar consumption may lead to obesity and dental issues.

8.Artificial Sweeteners

Ingredients like xylitol can be toxic to cats and should be avoided.

9.Propylene Glycol

This additive is used as a moisture-retaining agent and can be harmful to cats in large quantities.

10.Excessive Salt

High levels of salt in cat food can lead to health issues like hypertension and kidney problems.


When choosing cat food, opt for high-quality brands that prioritize animal-based proteins and use natural, wholesome ingredients. Always make sure to read the ingredient list carefully and consider choosing the best diet for your cat’s individual needs.