Carrageenan: should it be in your cat’s food?
Carrageenan is a common food addivitve both in pet food and human food. It is extracted from seaweed through the use of a chemical solvent. It is used as thickener and binder in canned pet food, as well as in many human foods such as ice cream, yogurt, and soy milk.
You would think something that comes from seaweed is natural and healthy, right? Think again. There are two kinds of carrageenan – degraded and undegraded. According to the Cornucopia Institute, the International Agency for Research on Cancer recognizes degraded carrageenan as a “possible human carcinogen,” based on research showing that it leads to higher rates of colon cancer in lab animals. Carrageenan processors claim that food-grade carrageenan falls entirely in the undegraded category; however, one study showed that not a single sample of food-grade carrageenan could confidently claim to be entirely free of the potential cancer-causing material.
All of this has me increasingly concerned about feeding food that contains carrageenan. Even though foods without this ingredient may be a little harder to find, I think it’s well worth reading your labels and finding alternatives if your cat’s current food contains it.
Sadly, even some of the really good grain-free cat food brands that I otherwise like contain carrageenan. I recently took Wellness off my list of recommended brands for that reason.
At this point, I recommend three brands of canned food which (as of this writing) do not contain carrageenan: Weruva, Nature’s Variety Instinct Canned and Nature’s Logic Canned. I’ve fed these brands, and have been happy with how my cats do on them.
Take the time to scan your cat’s food for this ingredient. Unless your cat absolutely refuses to eat the brands that do not contain carrageenan, I would make the switch.
Photo ©Robin Olson, used with permission. See more of Robin’s adorable foster kittens on her blog, Covered in Cat Hair.
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