Notifications
Clear all
Is Mercury a proble...
 

Is Mercury a problem in cat food with tuna?

Avatar photo
Joined: 2 weeks ago
Posts: 2
30/03/2024 12:17 pm
Topic starter

My cats love Nulo, a food that earned a good score on Cats.com reviews. I notice that tuna is the 4th ingredient so I understand that it may be a small amount. But is it really ok to have them eat this every day? What about mercury buildup in their little bodies? Has this been studied?

1
   
Avatar photo
Joined: 2 years ago
Posts: 27
30/03/2024 2:16 pm

While Cats.com has many positive attributes, I have learned by experience not to go by their food reviews. They tend to promote smaller, boutique foods, which have become all the rage now, by extolling the ingredient lists, while giving no attention to how the foods are formulated.  Anyone can put ingredients together, but properly formulating a food takes science, experience, and testing. After having poor experiences with some of Cats.com's most highly rated foods, I now tend to stick with the larger companies that have decades of experience and employ dozens or hundreds of veterinarians and veterinary nutritionists, and have actually done feeding trials before releasing foods. Cats.com has made carbohydrates into a poison -- they are not.  It's the total formulated food package that counts. And attention to the proper amounts to feed animals is required.  My cats are slim, healthy and doing great now.      

1
   
kate
Joined: 5 years ago
Posts: 5
01/04/2024 5:08 pm

@mitchellregenbogen You raise some valid questions. The foods we recommend meet AAFCO guidelines for nutrient content, so they're formulated to provide for the minimum nutritional requirements of cats based on extensive research (or we'll mention if they're intended only for intermittent feeding).

I think the point you may be making, however, (and feel free to clarify if I'm misunderstanding) is that there are multiple ways for a manufacturer to earn the AAFCO statement of nutritional adequacy. Boutique brands typically formulate their recipes according to AAFCO's published nutrient profiles—their products fall within the target range for the required nutrients—while brands with big budgets like Purina and Hills may have the resources to go a step further and conduct feeding trials to confirm the nutritional adequacy of the food. AAFCO guidelines are all about nutrient minimums but WSAVA guidelines include requirements for things like feeding trials, having veterinary nutritionists on staff, etc. It's something for pet owners to keep in mind when shopping for pet food if they have concerns similar to yours.

Regarding carbohydrates, we try to take a balanced approach to the issue. Our reviews and recommendations are made by comparing products to a biologically appropriate carnivorous feline diet which is naturally limited in carbohydrates. But not all carbs are bad—they can be a valuable source of energy and nutrients. We prefer whole grains to highly refined alternatives and easily digestible vegetables to peas and legumes. 

Like you said, paying attention to the information on the package and following feeding recommendations is essential. No two cats will respond to the same product in the same exact way, so it's often a matter of finding what works best for your individual cat.

 

Avatar photo
Joined: 2 years ago
Posts: 27
01/04/2024 8:17 pm

Posted by: @kate

@mitchellregenbogen You raise some valid questions. The foods we recommend meet AAFCO guidelines for nutrient content, so they're formulated to provide for the minimum nutritional requirements of cats based on extensive research (or we'll mention if they're intended only for intermittent feeding).

I think the point you may be making, however, (and feel free to clarify if I'm misunderstanding) is that there are multiple ways for a manufacturer to earn the AAFCO statement of nutritional adequacy. Boutique brands typically formulate their recipes according to AAFCO's published nutrient profiles—their products fall within the target range for the required nutrients—while brands with big budgets like Purina and Hills may have the resources to go a step further and conduct feeding trials to confirm the nutritional adequacy of the food. AAFCO guidelines are all about nutrient minimums but WSAVA guidelines include requirements for things like feeding trials, having veterinary nutritionists on staff, etc. It's something for pet owners to keep in mind when shopping for pet food if they have concerns similar to yours.

Regarding carbohydrates, we try to take a balanced approach to the issue. Our reviews and recommendations are made by comparing products to a biologically appropriate carnivorous feline diet which is naturally limited in carbohydrates. But not all carbs are bad—they can be a valuable source of energy and nutrients. We prefer whole grains to highly refined alternatives and easily digestible vegetables to peas and legumes. 

Like you said, paying attention to the information on the package and following feeding recommendations is essential. No two cats will respond to the same product in the same exact way, so it's often a matter of finding what works best for your individual cat.

@kate Thanks Kate.  I think we basically agree.  What I have found annoying with the boutique brands, and I won't mention any brand names here, but it was more than one, is that when making inquiries of the companies I got the distinct impression that their veterinary or veterinary nutritionist input into creating the foods was more of a consultation, rather than qualified employees directly involved with professional licenses at stake.  And unlike "USP" for human foods, where there is third party certified testing, am I correct that there is no oversight by AAFCO regarding statements about the use of their nutritional profiles? 

 

kate
Joined: 5 years ago
Posts: 5
01/04/2024 4:50 pm

Great question, Ora. There's limited research on mercury buildup specifically in cats, but we do know that the risks are higher with certain types of fish. The bigger the fish, the higher the risk, since big fish eat little fish. Small tuna species like skipjack typically have lower mercury levels than large species like ahi and yellowfin. Unfortunately, some brands don't disclose the type of tuna they use. Many of Nulo's recipes do specify yellowfin, but when it's just "tuna" on the list it's likely a mixture of species. 

In this case with tuna as the 4th ingredient, it may not be an issue but we generally recommend feeding fish as an occasional ingredient. Is there another recipe your cat likes you can alternate with this food?  

0
   
Avatar photo
Joined: 2 weeks ago
Posts: 2
01/04/2024 5:42 pm
Topic starter

@kate yes, this makes sense and I try to alternate Nulo with other recipes. I give foods with tuna as a first or second ingredient very infrequently. I’m hoping that Nulo uses lower-mercury tuna and that it makes up a small part of the formula.

BACK TO TOP