Inspiration For Our Ultra Fresh Salmon Cat Food
As fellow feline owners and vets, we know pets and we know that many cats prefer to eat a varied diet – as they would naturally have in the wild. Some cats crave chicken and others are strictly fish fanatics and in fact studies show that flavour fatigue (when cats get fed up of eating the same thing day in, day out) can occur. Therefore, after the successful launch of our revolutionary Ultra Fresh cat food containing 80% chicken, we set out to produce another flavour – which was still high in easily digestible animal protein but that contained high levels of fish instead of chicken.
Knowledge and expertise
Cats are obligate carnivores which means they must eat animal tissue to survive. Meat and Fish contains protein, fats and many other nutrients that cats cannot obtain from vegetable based ingredients. You can read more in our essential guide to cat food diets. With this in mind, we developed our Ultra Fresh range of high meat content cat food using high levels only the best, high quality of meat or fish to meet the unique physiological requirements of our feline friends.
For this new variety of food we wanted to use fish as the protein source. There are many types of fish used in pet food but they can usually be split into two groups – white fish such as cod and haddock and oily fish such as mackerel, herring and salmon.
Oily fish, as the name suggests are excellent sources of oils and fats. This includes omega fatty acids – especially DHA which is a type of Omega 3 – especially useful for its anti-inflammatory roles. Salmon is less commonly used as a protein source so it was the ideal choice for us when producing a diet for sensitive cats that may have allergies. For an allergy to occur the cat must be exposed to the protein source for the immune system to trigger a reaction. This means that a cat is more likely to become allergic to something they eat regularly. Salmon is a novel protein (one most cats have not eaten before) and is highly digestible.
Like our chicken variety of Ultra Fresh dry cat food, we wanted to use ingredients proven to promote and maintain health. This includes adding dandelion and parsley as diuretics to aid urinary function and chicory as a source of FOS prebiotics. Also included is Brewer’s yeast which is a source of Mannan-oligosaccharides (MOS) which is a different type of prebiotic added to support gut health. Unlike FOS, which is used as an energy source for ‘good’ or beneficial bacteria as well as inhibiting the growth of harmful bacteria, MOS works by preventing harmful bacteria form colonising. It does this by inhibiting the attachment of harmful bacteria to the intestinal wall and promotes the excretion of this disease causing bacteria from the body.
However, it’s not just the ingredients and taste that is important to cats, they are have specific preferences to the texture and shape of foods too. Studies have shown that different breeds of cats use their tongue in various ways to eat dry food and as a result seem to have a preference towards different shaped kibble (dried biscuits). Individual cats may prefer triangles, cylinders, ‘O’ shaped pieces or star shapes and just like flavour fatigue, some cats can also become bored of the shape of the kibble. This is not always the case, especially for cats that have not been exposed to different textures and shapes of food when young. With these cats they tend to be neophobic (wary of new things/foods) and may prefer to stick to what they are used to. However, because many cats do like variation and some have preferences for certain kibble shapes we decided to make the shape of our Salmon Ultra Fresh pieces triangular to make this diet different to the Ultra Fresh Chicken which is made into round kibble.
Using new technologies that allow slow cooking and much higher levels of fresh (rather than dried) salmon to be included we were able to produce a diet with 60% fresh salmon – with an overall level of 80% salmon in total! This ultra high level of fresh fish means that not only is the food suitable for carnivores, it is also highly digestible.
Studies show that flavour fatigue (when cats get fed up of eating the same thing day in, day out) can occur.
Like the chicken Ultra Fresh food we have only used a single source of protein in this diet (salmon) making it suitable for cats that may have intolerances to other meat sources.
In our Salmon variety of Ultra Fresh we have used a small amount of easily digestible carbohydrate in the form of white rice. As the majority of grain allergies are to the gluten found in wheat, rice is a suitable ingredient for most cats. The combination of rice and salmon makes this food ideal for cats with sensitive stomachs.
By using salmon instead of chicken this variety is naturally lower in protein than the Ultra Fresh chicken flavour. For cats changing from a brand of food with low protein, high carbohydrate level to a food with a higher level of animal tissue -this can be a good diet to change to first.
Before launching any food we need to get paws-up approval from a panel of experts. We want to make sure the food is as delicious as possible as well as being healthy. However, we only use willing volunteers to test our food. You can read all about palatability trials here.
Watch our video here of cats trying Vet’s Kitchen food for the first time
We are proud to use real pets on the front of our packaging. We call these our brand ambassadors because not only do they eat the food, it has made a difference to their long term health too. The beautiful black and white cat you see on the front of our Ultra Fresh Chicken Cat food is called Pudding… here’s Pudding’s story:
“Pudding’s coat is amazing, he has shiny eyes and has never had to go to the vets since a kitten which is a testimony to the food; he must be eating very healthily. Pudding is enjoying what he is eating and it’s healthy – what more you could wish for.” LINDSEY CLARK.
Faber et al (2004) Protein digestibility evaluations of meat and fish substrates using laboratory, avian and ileally cannulated dog assays. Department of Animal Sciences, University of Illinois.
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Kremen et al (2013) Body composition and amino acid concentrations of select birds and mammals consumed by cats in northern and central California, J ANIM SCI 2013, 91:1270-1276
Zoran (2002) 'The carnivore connection to nutrition in cats', JAVMA, Vet med Today: Timely Topics in Nutrition, Vol 221, No. 11, pp 1559-1567.
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Sparkes, A.H., K. Papasouliotis, G, Sunvold et al. 1998a. Bacterial flora in the duodenum of healthy cats, and effect of dietary supplementation with fructo-oligosaccharides’ Am J Vet Res 59(4): 431-435.
Sparkes, A.H., K. Papasouliotis, G, Sunvold et al. 1998b. Effect of dietary supplementation with fructo-oligosaccharides on fecal flora of healthy cats’.Am J Vet Res 59(4): 436-440.
Rawson, N. (2013) Flavour Fatigue in cats; A long term study http://afbinternational.com/pd... AFB International.
Figge. K (2011) Kibble shape and its effect on feline palatability http://afbinternational.com/pd... AFB International.