Cat Food Processing Ingredients

What exactly is erythrobic acid? Or xanthan gum? Learn why these odd ingredients show up on your cat's food label.

Food additives are used in cat food to enhance flavor and color, modify texture, meet essential nutrient standards, and keep the food from spoiling. Here are a few additives you might see on your cat’s food labels.

Flavor Enhancers/Binders
Digest: Enzymatic liquefaction or hydrolysis of animal tissue used for flavor.

Erythorbic acid: Prevents the heat of canning from destroying food color.

Guar gum, carrageenan locust bean gum, corn starch-modified, xanthan gum: Thickening ingredients used to hold canned food together.

Sodium tripolyphosphate: Helps to hold food together by binding water. This also keeps the food tender and helps it to come out of the can.

Phosphoric acid: Used to provide the acid flavor cats love.

Propylene glycol, glycerin, sorbitol: Used to control water in semimoist foods.

Coloring Enhancers
These ingredients are used to modify the appearance of the food.

Caramel color: A brown coloring agent used to enhance and darken food color.

Sodium nitrite: Used as an antimicrobial agent to kill bacteria and to help canned food maintain a pink color after processing.

Titanium dioxide: A white powder used to lighten up food color.

Yellow 5, Yellow 6, Red 3: Food dyes used in chicken-based food to enhance color.

Preservatives
Used to extend shelf life and reduce fat spoilage called rancidity, which can lead to off flavors.

Ascorbic acid: Natural source of preservative from vitamin C.

BHA, BHT, ethoxyquin: Artificial sources of preservatives.

Mixed tocopherols: Natural source of preservative from vitamin E but does not keep food fresh as long as artificial sources.

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Cats · Lifestyle