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Old July 3rd, 2008, 10:43 PM
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What's 'ash' in pet food?

I've noticed from buying so many different holistic brands that the erm, nutrition label things will vary. There's a a couple things I don't understand, but 'ash' is at the top of my list. I just searched it on google and on here, and still really don't understand it.

My cats are on Blue Buffalo Wilderness for their 'main' dry diet but I supplement with whatever I feel like buying (Evo mostly, Before Grain and Halo sometimes too).

The bag says

Ash 7.0% min

Is that good or bad or what? Is it only in dry food or is it in wet food? I never noticed it on wet food.

Why are pet food labels so darn hard to understand?!! I spend a ton of time reading all those articles you guys post on how to read them and still get confused.

Thanks much for any answers.. might not be back online tomorrow but will still check in asap.
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Old July 4th, 2008, 12:23 AM
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Ash is the total mineral content of a pet food, and all kibble contains it. Some are lower, some higher, but it is neccesary as it is minerals
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Old July 4th, 2008, 12:35 AM
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Quote:
from http://www.burns-pet-nutrition.co.uk/ash.htm

ASH ‘the incombustible inorganic residue remaining after incineration; generally the mineral content of the food’ *

Contrary to popular belief ash in pet food has not been collected from a fire place and added for bulk!

In pet food the constituents are broken down in to several components: carbohydrate, moisture, protein, fibre and fat/oil.

Anything that does not come into one of these categories is called by the general term 'ash'. Therefore ash contains minerals and vitamins and is essential for your pet's health.

It is called ash because when the food is burned (to determine its analysis) carbohydrate, fibre, fat and protein are all incinerated. Ash is the part of the food that remains after incineration.
At one time high levels of ash was thought to cause FUS/FLUTD but that is debatable, no one is really sure one way or the other.

Min 7% is in line with Orijen, alittle higher than Wellness and less than Evo, the higher the meat content the higher the ash level is going to be.
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Old July 4th, 2008, 12:43 AM
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Therefore; food with a higher proportion of meat content will contain more ash. However, better quality meat will produce less ash.
The above information is from http://cat-care.suite101.com/article...nt_in_cat_food
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Old July 4th, 2008, 10:20 AM
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This is why the Grain Free High protein high fat foods have higher ash values. Although meat does have higher minerals, meal is inclusive of bones, and this also contributes significantly to the ash content.
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Old July 4th, 2008, 10:58 AM
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Oh, so I guess that's why I never noticed it on regular brands like Friskies and Meow Mix before... because there's not meat in those XD

So, 7% is good I guess?

Blue Buffalo claims
"LifeSource Bits contain a precise blend of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants selected by holistic veterinarians and animal nutritionists. These include ingredients that have been shown to help strengthen your cat’s immune system, support her specific life stage requirements and protect her from the negative impact of environmental toxins. And, unlike other brands that add vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, LifeSource Bits are “cold–formed” to preserve their full potency."


So since they are 'cold formed' doesn't that mean there should be less ash? I never really understood the cold formed thing anyways, I think they don't actually cook their kibble and sort of freeze it raw. If that's possible.
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Old July 4th, 2008, 02:06 PM
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7% is neither good nor bad. This % is just the mineral content, and a higher or low level is generally doesn't mean anything. Except in the case where cats may need to be magnesium restricted ( and you need to look at magnesium specifically), or phosphorus restricted this number is just a number.
I am not sure what Blue Buffalo is saying as they have added chelated minerals in the ingredient profile, so I am not clear as to what they are saying regarding "unlike other brands that add vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, LifeSource Bits are “cold–formed” to preserve their full potency."
Maybe someone else will have a look at that, or I am looking at the wrong food?
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Old July 4th, 2008, 02:14 PM
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Magnesium has to do with urinary health right? Or is that something else.

I'm basically trying to make sure all my cats are getting everything they need. They are all between 9 months and 2 and a half years. None of them have any problems other then Jack has FHV-1 but that's not related to food.

I've read about urinary PH has to do with something else, and cats can get UTI's if they have too much of something. And I think at one point I read too much ash = UTI's.

I really just don't understand how to read the Guaranteed Analysis XD

I bought some Aunt Jeni's Home Made stuff today and it's defrosting now.... so I suppose it's okay to feed them regular kibble, canned food and raw food right? A variety would be good to keep them all healthy right?


I'm glad this site's around, or else I'd still be feeding my cats Friskies and Whiskas and thinking wet food made their teeth rot (my grandmom still insists that's true!)
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Old July 4th, 2008, 03:11 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kathryn View Post
Magnesium has to do with urinary health right? Or is that something else.

I've read about urinary PH has to do with something else, and cats can get UTI's if they have too much of something. And I think at one point I read too much ash = UTI's.
Magnesium is only a factor in FLUTD as it relates to urine PH. The more alkaline the urine, the more likely magnesium will play a role in struvite crystal formation. The ash=UTI thing is old school. Current thinking is that a meat-based wet food diet is the most important element in avoiding bladder/urinary tract problems in cats.

http://maxshouse.com/feline_nutrition.htm

Quote:
Magnesium

Magnesium is probably the mineral of the most concern in cat nutrition for owners, and especially to owners of male cats because of its role in the formation of struvite uroliths (magnesium ammonium phosphate). However, magnesium is not a "bad guy". Magnesium is a macromineral, its amount in the body is much lower than that of calcium and phosphorus. Approximately 60% to 70% of the magnesium found in the body exists in the form of phosphates and carbonates in bone. Most of the remaining magnesium is found within cells, and a very small portion is present in the extracellular fluid. In addition to its role in providing structure to the skeleton, magnesium functions in a number of metabolic reactions; a magnesium ATP complex is often the form of ATP that is used as a substrate in many of these processes. As a cation in the intracellular fluid, magnesium is essential for the cellular metabolism of protein. Protein synthesis also requires the presence of ionized magnesium. Balanced in the extracellular fluids with calcium, sodium, and potassium, magnesium allows muscle contraction and proper transmission of nerve impulses.

A commercial cat food should not be selected only on the basis of its magnesium content. The quantity of magnesium required to saturate urine with struvite at alkaline pH is very small. As pH decreases below 6.4, the amount of magnesium required to saturate the urine with struvite increases exponentially. Conversely, as urine pH increases above 6.9, the amount of struvite that forms in the urine increases markedly. When urine pH is alkaline, the amount of struvite formed in urine is proportional to the dietary magnesium concentration. At urine pH values less than 6.1, struvite does not form regardless of the magnesium concentration of the diet. Thus, the tendency of struvite to form is a function of urine pH. The magnesium content of the diet only becomes important when urine pH is greater than 6.1.

The food's caloric density, digestibility, and urine-acidifying properties should all be considered when selecting a commercial cat food for the prevention of struvite urolithiasis. Constituents of foodstuffs exert major effects on urine pH. Sulfur-containing amino acids, phospholipids, and phosphoproteins naturally found in a carnivorous diet naturally acidify the urine, whereas salts of organic acids alkalinize it. Salts of dietary organic acids, which come primarily from plant material and found in high quantities in dry food, have an alkalinizing effect.

The percentage of magnesium in the diet is not as important as the total amount of magnesium that a cat consumes. Diets that are moderate in caloric density and are highly digestible will be consumed in smaller amounts, thus lowering both DM and magnesium intake. High-quality canned food is typically >90% digestible whereas equal quality dry food is ~80% digestible. The lower DM intake results in decreased fecal matter and fecal water and increased urine volume. Feeding a canned diet with these characteristics further contributes to increased urine volume and decreased urine specific gravity reducing the risks of urolithiasis while supplying the cat's dietary magnesium requirements. Although many brands of dry cat food may contain relatively low concentrations of magnesium, they are often lower in digestibility than canned and contain high levels of cereal grains. Because the cat's requirement for dietary magnesium is substantially lower than the amount usually found in cat food, a general rule of thumb is to select a high-quality, highly digestible, canned food that contains 0.12 % magnesium or less.
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Old July 4th, 2008, 03:25 PM
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Ohhhhh I almost totally get it now. All my cats are dudes as far as I know (the kittens all appear to be male).. I only have Missy, Three Legged Missy and Socks that are female. Last time I was at the vets for Socks, Missy and Kasey getting a check up, the vet said I have to make sure that their food is approved for urinary tract health. I was like.... uhhh it has cranberries does that count? And he asked what I was feeding them and like most vets, had no idea what I was talking about He's a good vet otherwise though, but still into Purina and Science Diet.


Blue says:
Magnesium 0.10% min


I'm pretty much understanding the idea, and it seems like I'm doing everything right. My mom says that when a male cat gets a UTI that it's horrible. My one male cat doesn't eat wet food and will only eat dry food, but he drinks a normal amount of water so I suppose thats good enough.


And while I'm here, is it possible to over dose a cat on Taurine? They get alot of taurine from their food, but almost daily they get CatSip cat milk which has extra taurine added into it.

I'm getting so annoyed by commercial pet food brands I got a big bag of Chicken Soup for the cat lovers soul for 25$ to feed the stray cats. Cheapest I could find at the pet store I go to.
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Old July 4th, 2008, 04:11 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kathryn View Post
My one male cat doesn't eat wet food and will only eat dry food, but he drinks a normal amount of water so I suppose thats good enough.
Not necessarily. Because cats have a low thirst drive, when they only eat dry food they don't consume enough extra water to compensate:

Quote:
Diet moisture content is related to the observation that cats fed dry food drink six times more water than cats fed canned food but that much of this water contributes to fecal moisture so that urine volume is lower and urine specific gravity higher in cats fed dry food. The urine concentration of all solutes, including potentially calculogenic crystalloids, depends on urine volume. Cats increase voluntary water intake when fed dry food but not in sufficient amounts to fully compensate for the lower moisture content of the food. In a recent study, cats consuming a diet containing 10% moisture with free access to drinking water had an average daily urine volume of 63 milliliters (ml). This volume increased to 112 ml/day when fed a canned diet with a moisture content of 75%. Urine specific gravity was also higher in cats that were fed the low-moisture food. Decreased urine volume may be an important risk factor for the development of urolithiasis in cats. Diets that cause a decrease in total fluid turnover can result in decreased urine volume and increased urine concentration, both of which may contribute to urolithiasis in cats.
There are lots of methods for converting a cat to wet food, you just have to be patient and persistent. I firmly believe ALL cats can make the switch. Have you tried sprinkling pulverized dry food on top of the wet? Or getting some freeze-dried meat treats like Halo Liv-a-Littles or Real Food Toppers and dusting the canned with the powder? Parmesan cheese or nutritional yeast can also work. It's important not to leave kibble out during the day when you're trying to switch to canned because the constant snacking means the cat isn't hungry enough when you offer the wet food. But, you CAN leave canned food out.

Quote:
Originally Posted by kathryn View Post
And while I'm here, is it possible to over dose a cat on Taurine? They get alot of taurine from their food, but almost daily they get CatSip cat milk which has extra taurine added into it.
Not really. There hasn't been an upper limit established for cats regarding taurine amounts, and since it's water soluble, any excess should be eliminated. I can't find an online source for the amount of taurine in Catsip but I doubt it's terribly high. I routinely give my cat about 100mg/day of extra taurine in his food.
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Old July 4th, 2008, 05:34 PM
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Oh believe me I'm persistent with this darn cat. His mom refuses to eat wet food or scraps as well. I think he learned it from her. It's funny how a dirty smelly messed up stray cat who will eat anything can turn into a prissy little house cat so quick. She used to eat lots of wet food, but now she won't even eat table scraps like when my mom makes chicken, Socks will just ignore us when we try to feed her scraps. So she taught her son to be the same way. Missy eats wet food from time to time.

I will put some wet food on the end of a spoon and put it in their mouths and they will eat it and act like it's tasty, but then be all stuck up about it and not eat anymore. One time about 2 weeks ago I got Socks to eat some Innova Evo, but never again since then.

CatSip has .005% taurine in it. It'd be more helpful if the told you what that was in mg or something.
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