Why You Should Not Feed Your Cat Iams (or Any Other Cheap Food)
The Truth is All in the Labeling...
I had been debating switching my veterinarian. But I made my final decision swiftly when I asked him what was a good food to feed my feline friend, and he recommended Iams. My colleagues and I, working at a veterinarian hospital as vet techs and staff, all knew that Iams was one of the worst foods available for pets. However, we also knew that behind closed doors, veterinarians were being pushed to sell Iams, Eukanuba, and Science Diet pet foods.
If you look at its commercials, or at the promises on the package, you may perceive Iams as a good company producing healthy cat food. But it's easier to find out if a cat food is good by looking at the label, not the advertising. A label tells the truth, or at least gets the closest to the truth. Learn to read a cat food label and list of ingredients.
Don't be impressed by the "shiny coat," "healthy teeth," and "healthy heart" Iams promises; most of these benefits simply derive from feeding any dry crunchy diet found at any store.
The truth is that like many other cat foods sold at supermarkets, Iams is full of fillers. Fillers are simply cheap ingredients used to save money. Fillers allow cat-food producers to use less meat because fillers will make up the bulk of the kibble. Fillers are unnecessary to cats. Think about it, most fillers derive from corn. Cats have lived without corn throughout their history, so there is no reason why cats need corn now.
High carbohydrate levels derived from corn and other grain fillers have been associated with the onset of feline diabetes. Furthermore, fillers can cause food allergies. Cats need only five simple nutrients (besides water) to live healthy: protein, taurine, vitamins, minerals and fatty acids. Carbohydrates, preservatives, flavorings, colorings, and binders are not at all necessary and likely to be rather harmful.
The second biggest flaw of Iams is that it contains meat byproducts. This term means that the meat used in the product has been found to be inappropriate for human consumption, that is, meat from diseased or dead animals, or spoiled meat. This meat derives straight from the rendering industry.
Good cat food should list actual types of meat on the label, things like chicken, lamb, or fish. Any reference to "meat" in general, or worse, "meat by-products," means the material very likely came from the rendering plant.
One "pro" of Iams is that it contains omega-3 fatty acids, which help cats get glossy, shinier coats. Iams' promise of "healthy heart" derives from the presence of taurine, but keep in mind that taurine is added to most cat foods nowadays (even though it is not mentioned on the label) because taurine deficiencies have been related to blindness and heart problems in cats. Good dental health, another promised benefit, derives from the simple fact of chewing any dry kibble.
What Food is Good for My Cat Then?
While Iams is not the worst cat food available on the market, it can be categorized as mid-grade, not the worst but a far cry from the best. There are many better foods with no meat by-products and no fillers.
More and more pet owners and nutritionists say proper foods are the key to a cat's health and longevity. I would recommend all feline lovers do their homework when it comes to choosing a good diet for their cat. While the best cat foods may be costly, the truth is "you get what you pay for," and owners investing in high-quality cat food will save money in the long run. Chances are that if cat owners do their math well, two plus two will make four, meaning that healthy diets will make healthy cats. Looking for the best food for your cat? Watch Karen Becker's video for some pointers.