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Cat toxins---Not all cats are created equal
Started by: Pat2011 at November 19 2017

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Cat toxins---Not all cats are created equal By: Pat2011
  
November 19 2017
CAT FOOD INGREDIENT ISSUES.(July 2014) First Edition


In order, starting with the worst in each category.
1. INTRODUCTION.
2. UP FRONT: JUST PLAIN POISON.
3. PROTEINS.
4. FATS.
5. GUT HEALTH.
6. CARBOHYDRATES.
7. CHEMICAL COVERUPS.


1. INTRODUCTION.

This list is being written in July 2014, as there is no commercial catfood on the market, especially no dry catfood I can find, that is free of feline toxins, kidney damaging ingredients or other problems for cats, and this list is an attempt to rate the level of unacceptability of ingredients in current use.
It is also important to remember that cats come in many different genetic types or Innate Constitutional Types,and some will have better toxin tolerance for certain things than others.
Some specific examples are that cats with one or more of the following genes, have less toxin handling ability in general than others (examples in brackets):

Cats with both Orange and Dilution gene (cream color, cream with white)
Cats with Orange gene and no other visible color gene (Red, red with white)
Cats with the siamese gene (blue eyes and point colors, any breed)
Cats developed from wild cats (Savannah, Bengal)
Cats with coat restriction genes (Sphynx, Peterbald, Rex)
Cats of Nux-vom ICT, or Colchicum ICT.
Very small cats (as their liver is truly tiny)

Hence this is at best a rough guide and you should adjust to your cat as best you can.


A REMINDER:
Cats cannot make their own nutrients in necessary amounts for the following items so they MUST be in the diet.

VITAMIN D
NIACIN
TAURINE
ARGININE
VITAMIN A
ARACHIDONIC ACID
ARGININE
................................

ADDITIONAL ASCORBIC ACID CAN HELP DETOXIFY POISONS.
............................................................
2. UP FRONT.
JUST PLAIN POISON.

THE FOLLOWING SHOULD NOT BE IN THE DIET.
Listed more or less from worst first, but bear in mind that toxicity level, concentration and quantity also matter. For example any "extract" is a concentrated amount and is more harmful. Also remember ingredients are listed in order of greatest volume in foods.


SPECIFIC POISONS.

TOXINS WHICH CAN KILL A CAT.

YUCCA, all species.
(Used in cat food as a cheap preservative instead of Vit E) it is especially high in toxic saponins, which cats cannot process. Symptoms are vomiting, drooling, diarrhea, weakness, dilated pupils, incoordination and death.
Humans have an enzyme called Cholesterin to handle saponins, but cats lack this enzyme, and the saponin toxins accumulate as poisons.
In other animals lacking saponin digestion such as lambs, yucca has been shown to damage the nephrons of the kidney, and cause dehydration, with water loss in the large intestine, resulting in kidney failure. (From research in Norway, 2008).


ALFALFA.
(Cats do not have the enzyme needed for digestion of its saponins, but there is more to this: It is Especially dangerous for pregnant cats,causes defective blood vessels with aneurisms to be expected any time, small birth weight, permanent defects and high neonatal death, skin and fur problems, vomiting, etc.)

GARLIC and related items of the onion family.
(Cats can not break it down into the beneficial components that humans experience. Instead, it damages the red cell hemoglobin structure, preventing it from carrying oxygen, causing "Heinz body anemia".
It is cumulative. New red cells take two weeks to mature, and blood transfusions are not safe in cats, due to the very high rate of transfusion reactions.)

SAPONINS.
Any plant containing saponins also needs to be listed in this category, along with garlic and yucca. Quinoa for example. See Yucca above, for more details of saponin poisoning.

PHYCOCYANIN.
Any plant containing phycocyanins also belongs here. This is a cumulative toxin for which cats lack the liver enzyme needed to process it. Examples are Chlorella and Spirulina, and other algae.

MICROCYSTINS.
Also a cumulative toxin in some plants.

ANATOXINS.
Also a cumulative toxin in some plants.

The cumulative toxins cause vomiting, and later liver damage.

PHENOLS.

GLYCOCIDES.

BIOFLAVONOIDS.

TRITERPENES.

All of the above require enzymes which cats lack, to process them into safe or beneficial components, thus making these compounds toxic to cats.

OXALIC ACID.
Examples: buckwheat, quinoa, amaranth, rapeseed/canola.




3. PROTEINS
Cats are high protein metabolizers and need a constant supply of animal protein day and night.

Amino acids = protein building blocks {Source #52803}: The ratios of amino acids to build proteins vary according to the size of the animal because you need different kinds of muscle to make a mouse work well than to make a cow work well. They have to go different speeds, and carry different weights and do different jobs. SO muscles in each species use different amino acid ratios to build different proteins.Kinda like you can make a small toy paper boat with a toy person in it, and it will float, but a large one is going to sink as the first person steps on board.
Protein all are made of amino acids much like Lego blocks make different things.
When a cat eats muscle from an animal with different ratios of amino acids, there will be leftovers it can not use efficiently, and which the kidneys must process.
Over time this can be a strain on the kidneys - BUT it is a small issue compared to (problems resulting from) feeding plant protein, byproduct protein etc.


A. KIDNEY DESTROYER PROTEIN.
The more of these the cat eats, the faster the kidneys are destroyed directly. All plant proteins belong here.

WHEAT GLUTEN/MEAL

SOY PROTEIN

CORN GLUTEN/MEAL

PEA PROTEIN

POTATO PROTEIN

ANY OTHER PLANT PROTEIN.


B. JUNK ANIMAL PROTEIN.
This refers to poor quality animal protein which fails to be suited to building muscle, such as proteins with too few amino acids,or lacking in important amino acids, and prepared with toxic chemicals, and/or which may include dead animals killed with phenobarbital which will still be in the food. These also will gradually do kidney damage due to the excessive nitrogen waste from them and it is unknown what toxin harm can be caused also.

DIGESTS AND RENDERED ITEMS.
Impossible to know what kinds of awful sources are included here. It is essentially boiled up overheated leftovers of who knows what. An example is ANIMAL DIGEST.

PORK PROTEIN.
This is a new disgusting product. It is parts of the inside of pork skins, containing very limited amino acids, mainly for collagen, but lacking in the amino acids required for forming muscle.

GENERAL BY-PRODUCT PROTEIN.
Examples are meat by-product, poultry by-product, animal by-product, where no specific species is named. These are the ones produced by rendering, with chemicals.
It is important to note that the terms used in this list are legal terms defined by AAFCO which is the AMERICAN food control group. In other countries, different terms may be used.
In Europe for example, "by-product" is usually replaced by "derivatives".


C. LOW QUALITY ANIMAL PROTEIN.
This can be a wide range of actual quality, ranging from similar to the junk protein, to products made from animal organs. The most usual product is leftovers from human consumption. It always excludes the muscle meat. So for example chicken by-product MAY use the carcassess of chickens after the human-saleable meat is removed, being mainly necks, ribcage, feet, innards, with whatever bits of flesh or substances cling to those bones.

"SPECIFIC SPECIES" BY-PRODUCT PROTEIN.
Examples are
CHICKEN BY-PRODUCT MEAL
BEEF BY-PRODUCT MEAL
TURKEY BY-PRODUCT MEAL
FISH BY-PRODUCT MEAL.
......any where a single species is named, plus the word "by-product"
( or derivatives etc).

INSTEAD.
Hopefully you find instead,some real meat,fish or egg, and/or some meal made from whole forms (not byproducts or mixed species) of meat, fish or egg.

This is still not assurance of quality. For example, fish caught offshore and not refrigerated or frozen on board, must be preserved and the usual preservative is ethoxyquin, alternatively BHA or BPA, all toxins not listed in the ingredients. Unrefrigerated sea vessels are a high risk for bad fish.
The petfood fish is usually the fish caught by accident, the rest being for human use.
Only if the ingredient says how it is preserved,such as "preserved with "Vitamin E" or "mixed tocopherals" can you know that is the case.
Most petfood is the junk disposal for money, from other industries, and quality can vary enormously.


4. FATS.

AFTER PROTEIN, THE NEXT MOST IMPORTANT FOOD CATEGORY FOR CATS IS FAT FROM ANIMAL SOURCES.


A. VEGETABLE FAT.
Vegetable fat is no good for cats as it displaces the animal fat they need. Animal fat has Arachidonic acid which cats need at every meal, and which is only in animal fat.
Vegetable fats or seeds include soy oil, sunflower oil,safflower oil, canola oil, coconut oil, flax seed/oil, etc....any oil or oily seed that comes from a plant.
Vegetable fat also has high omega-6 which is inflammatory.
The omega-3 in flax oil, chia seeds etc , is ALA and is not like the ones in fish oil (called EPA and DHA) and cannot be converted to EPA or DHA.
(Humans can convert a very small amount of ALA to the kind in fish oil.)

B. FULLY SATURATED ANIMAL FAT.
Fat such as mixed-species rendered fat from slaughterhouses or rendering plants, or "tallow" is not nutritious. It can lead to fatty liver diseases, such as steatitis, which is painful.

C. PORK FAT.
It is better than mixed rendered fat but is very saturated and hard to digest.

D. PRESERVATIVES.
Be aware that fat goes rancid fast if it is not preserved somehow.
Worst cheap preservative is ethoxyquin.
Next worst is BHA or BHT, often used in combination. They are grandfathered in carcinogens.
Modern herbal preservatives are listed under poisons, eg yucca. They are not listed as preservatives in an ingredients list as they are not AAFCO approved as preservatives. So they are sneaked in under some other excuse (such as sweet smelling stool).
Preservatives can, and usually do, destroy gut health, (resulting in sweet smelling stool for example), unless they are natural animal antioxidants like Vit E.

Instead:
What you want is a partly saturated fat such as is found in chicken fat, fish fat, or even better fish oil.
After the fat item, you like to see in brackets that it is preserved with Vit E (or with mixed tocopherals, which is the same thing.)


5. GUT HEALTH.
CATS NEED a "fermentable" fiber which their beneficial gut bacteria can ferment, to make short chain fatty acids (SCFA) such as butyrate, propionate and acetate, essential to support their internal organs and immune system; and also to make Vitamins, especially B vitamins like Folic acid, Para Amino Benzoic Acid and others, which humans get or make from plant food.
(Cats who feel short of Folic acid, will eat grass and chew it to get some. They then barf the grass or pass it in stool. It cannot be digested.)
Use this as a sign of poor gut health.
Butyrate is the most relevant SCFA, but can only be made in suitable amounts on a mainly meat protein diet. Cats can stay alive on a propionate metabolism, but it is inefficient and unhealthy compared to a butyrate metabolism. They will be sickly sooner or later.What matters most in this is the meat as main protein, and a food suitable for the feline gut bacteria to use and ferment. Providing the right bacteria is only necessary if they were killed by something. They otherwise just need the right food.


A. WORST FIBERS WHICH DO HARM AND CANNOT BE FERMENTED AT ALL BY CAT GUT BACTERIA.
This is usually thrown into cat food as a way to get rid of garbage and be paid for it. These fibers scrape and harm the gut lining, which is delicate, and if harmed, stops being able to digest certain foods. Worst, known unfermentable-by-cat-bacteria "fibers":
CELLULOSE.
PECAN SHELLS, PEANUT HULLS, SOY HULLS AND OTHER NUT GARBAGE. (Pecan hulls for example have the times the toxins of blueberries, in addition to deleterious gut effects. Ellagic acid and Gallic acid are two of the toxins.)
LACTULOSE (causes cramps and gas in cats, works in dogs)
OAT FIBEF
PSYLLIUM GUM
CITRUS PULP

B. NEXT WORST.
These are so little fermentable by cats, that they are not helpful to gut health. They also are undigestible by cats.
XANTHAN GUM
GUMKARAYA
GUMARABIC
GUM TALHA

C. ALMOST AS BAD.
These are excessively fermented by cats, causing the food to get passe through partly undigested, and wasted, plus making uncomfortable gas. in theory, a small amount might be tolerated. Worst first:
CITRUS PECTIN
GUAR GUM
LOCUST BEAN GUM
FOS aka FRUCTO-OLIGO-SACCHARIDES ( very gassy for cats)
SUGAR CANE RESIDUE
CAROB BEAN GUM
GUM TALHA

Note that gums also prevent proper absorption of nutrients by lining the gut with gooey stuff.
Some fibers have not yet been tested on feline gut bacteria, chicory for example. Those are not listed.

Instead:
You want to see the fibers that cat gut bacteria love, and from which they can make all the SCFAs needed without producing gas, or shooting food through too fast or causing food to clump up and go slow or damaging the lining etc.
Best is Cooked pumpkin as it supplies carotene which cats require via gut bacteria. Better is combining pumpkin with Rice bran which is a superfood for B vitamins. Beet fiber is also fermentable at a moderate rate but lately beets are GMO. I would avoid it.
Carrots etc are too high in cellulose, not okay for carotene or gut bacteria.
Add extra Taurine if you supplemenent Rice Bran and Pumpkin.


GUT BACTERIA.
Cat food often has all manner of supposed beneficial gut bacteria. The wrong bacteria will not do harm here, so this is not an issue except that the bacteria supplied often come along with very wrong fiber substrates, so check the fibers, ignore the bacteria.
Just supplement BIFIDUS if you choose to supplement, a good source being BIFIDYN POWDER (eg by Source Naturals).


6. CARBOHYDRATES.
CATS DO NOT REQUIRE CARBOHYDRATES IN THE DIET BUT CAN USE SOME FOR ENERGY, MOSTLY FROM GRAIN SOURCES.
THE PROBLEM IS THAT CARBS ALL COME FROM PLANTS AND MOST PLANTS (herbs,fruit and vegetables) ARE TOXIC, AND CAUSE pH CHANGES THAT HARM THE URINARY TRACT,CAUSING STRUVITE CRYSTALS AND DAMAGING THE KIDNEYS, AND PREDISPOSING URINARY TRACT INFECTIONS.

ALSO HERBS, FRUIT AND VEGETABLES CONTAIN HUMAN ANTIOXIDANTS THAT CATS CANNOT METABOLIZE AND WHICH ARE TOXIC.
THE TOXIC ASPECT IS COVERED UNDER ITEM ONE, BUT APPLIES TO ALL HERBS, FRUIT OR VEG TILL PROVED OTHERWISE.

EXAMPLES:
Rosemary Extract
Marigold Extract
Sage Extract
ANY other plant EXTRACT.

OTHER HERBS...Herbs help humans by virtue if complex chemicals that cats have no enzymes to handle.
Grapes
Raisins
Blueberries
Cranberries
ANY high human-antioxidant FRUIT

Tomatoes
Peas
Potatoes
ANY VEGETABLE.

MACADAMIA NUTS (other nuts are unresearched)

Some veg has more toxins than others, eg potato has three toxins apart from being alkaline pH making.

Wheat germ, wheat... No pH problem but destroys gut lining, even if not GMO.
Corn... Destroys gut lining if GMO, safe in small amount if not GMO.
Other cereals except rice....avoid.


Instead:
Dry food MUST have some starch as that is what is used to make it stick together into a kibble and not fall apart. Best option is RICE either as whole brown rice or other rice, but rice bran has no starch to speak of so will not work as "kibble glue". Rice is pH neutral, not yet GMO, and cats can get energy from rice starch, and it does not harm the gut.
Starch comes from starchy veg or from cereal. The veg is not safe, and so no-grain foods should be checked for toxic and pH raising starchy vegetables.


7. CHEMICAL COVERUPS.
CATFOOD COMPANIES KNOW VERY WELL THEY ARE ASSEMBLING GARBAGE LEFTOVERS INTO KIBBLE FOR PROFIT, AND CALLING IT NUTRITIOUS. SOME ITEMS ARE SO DESPICABLE THAT THEY NEED TO ADD MORE CHEMICALS TO TRY TO HIDE OR COUNTER THE BAD EFFECTS OF THE INGREDIENTS USED. THERE ARE ALSO ADDITIVES TO MAKE THE FOOD LOOK GOOD TO HUMANS SO THEY WILL BUY IT. AND THERE ARE ADDITIVES TO DUPE CATS INTO THINKING IT IS EDIBLE, WHEN, WITHOUT THE ADDITIVES, CATS WOULD KNOW BETTER THAN TO TOUCH IT MUCH LESS EAT IT.


MENADIONE, AND SIMILAR NAMES "with Vitamin K activity" aka VitaminK3.
This will be sold to you as Vitamin K but it is entirely artificial and is known to be toxic. It usually causes vomiting in cats. Sensible and cheapskate manufacturers leave it out. Natural Vitamin K comes as K1 or K2 and egg yolk is the best animal source, plus healthy gut bacteria make it, but AAFCO has not approved adding K1 or K2 supplements for pet foods; only the toxic artificial one is approved.


COLORS AND DYES.
Carmel and various dyes, are added to make the food an attractive color for humans. These are often carcinogenic, and data is showing that cancer is tending ti take over from kidney damage as the leading medical cause of death in cats. More and more toxins in food, are not helping. Carcinogens tend to be cumulative.

FLAVOR ENHANCERS.

SUGAR ALCOHOLS.
eg XYLITOL....causes liver failure.
Also SORBITOL, AND OTHER sugar alcohols ending in "OL"
"PORK PROTEIN" hydrolysis with high heat forms glutamates (monosodium glutamate,disodium glutamate etc) to induce a cat to eat food.


CHEMICAL ACIDIFIERS.
Manufacturers know cat metabolism must be acid and that urinary pH needs to be about 5.5. They also know plants mess up this metabolism, esp herbs, fruit and vegetable. (Cereals are neutral.) So they use herbs, fruit and veg, and add chemicals to supposedly acidify things. It may help a healthy cat get the pH right, at least a while, but acidifier chemicals do not work like meat inside the body to get all the metabolic processes correct.

Examples are:
PHOSPHORIC ACID
SODIUM TRIPOLYPHOSPHATE
CITRIC ACID
GDL aka GLUCONO DELTA LACTONE
LACTIC ACID

TEXTURIZERS;
SODIUM ALGINATE may be used as a cheaper way to get the product to stick together in a jelly like way, instead of starch.

Instead:
Look for a LACK of all kinds of extra chemicals in the food. Use the presence of acids as a guide that there is something nasty, to be covered up.


FINAL NOTE:
This version of my opinions on cat food ingredients that I do not want in MY cat's food, was written on

21 JULY 2014

It is by no means a complete list, it is a starting place, and hopefully helps folk to understand the pitfalls to look out for, in choosing a commercial catfood, especially a dry food, in the current disastrous marketplace.

Irene de Villiers, B.SC, AASCA, D.Vet.Hom, D.I.Hom

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