I’ve written extensively about feline nutrition on this site. You’ll find information ranging from how to choose the best food for your cat to how to get finicky cats to eat. One topic I haven’t covered in the past is the issue of GMO.

GMO stands for Genetically Modified Organism and refers to an organism or crop that is altered at the DNA level to strengthen certain qualities. GMOs are created for many reasons: to make crops more resistant to pests, to thrive even in challenging environmental conditions such as droughts, and to improve the nutritional value of a food. GMO crops have been sold commercially since the mid 1990’s. Genetic modification has been focused on cash crops such as corn and soy, but more and more GMO foods are making their way onto our grocery and pet store shelves.

Why you should be concerned about GMO

The FDA does not require human or petfood food companies to identify GMO’s on product labels. This means you or your cat could be ingesting GMO’s without knowing. While there haven’t been any longterm studies (GMO’s have only been around for about twenty years,) a growing body of research is linking these foods to health problems in both humans and animals. The most frequently seen conditions include allergies, dermatitis, irritable bowel syndrome, inflammatory bowel disease, recurring vomiting and diarrhea, and abnormalities in liver, pancreas and immune system function.

How can you avoid GMO’s?

Look for foods that are USDA certified organic. The use of GMO’s is prohibited in organic products. By the USDA’s own definition, “an organic farmer can’t plant GMO seeds, an organic cow can’t eat GMO alfalfa or corn, and an organic soup producer can’t use any GMO ingredients. To meet the USDA organic regulations, farmers and processors must show they aren’t using GMOs and that they are protecting their products from contact with prohibited substances, such as GMOs, from farm to table.”

If you can’t find a USDA organic cat food your cat will eat, avoid all foods with corn, by-products, unidentified meat-meals, and nutrient-empty fillers. You should be feeding grain-free foods anyway, but if you do feed foods that contain rice, be aware that rice can have GMO strains.

If you want to be 100% sure whether the food you feed your cats is GMO-free, visit the brand’s website and/or contact their customer service department.

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13 Comments on GMO in Cat Food: What You Should Know

  1. Genetically modified organs verses organic even the word “organic” alone spells it out clearly we are organic creatures, meaning anything inorganic we cannot completely digest therefore it accumulates in our bodies and will cause eventual problems.

  2. I have spent the last month trying to get my girls to eat the raw food I spent hours (and lots of money on a grinder and raw chicken and supplements) preparing for them. At most I get a few licks. I tried adding catnip and then Parmesan cheese. They got so hungry they started fighting with each other. I also tried it at room temperature. Epic fail.

    • It can be very frustrating to transition cats to a raw diet, LuAnn. I would encourage you to stick with it, especially since you’ve already invested so much with buying the grinder. I know of one friend where it took three months. Every meal, she would put a small dish of raw next to her cat’s regular food. He’d sniff it and ignore it. For three months. Then one day, he gobbled up the raw and never touched his regular food again. You just never know with cats!

  3. Hi there,
    Thank you for such an interesting and informative post, I’m really interested in changing my dogs and cats diets, I live in the Uk so are you able to tell me a few brands of each wet and dry I should be looking out for please, I have one cat who is mainly on a renal diet and is doing well, also I have herbal medicine from a holistic vet for both my cat and one of my dogs who was recently diagnosed with cushings disease however, although the cushings is under control I think there is something else going on as he has protein traces in very dilute urine so they are sending sample off to determine the levels of creatinine so I’m dreading them finding renal problems as well, he is only 8, any advice / info would be so welcome, I have 7 rescue cats and 6 rescue dogs and want the best for all of them,
    Many thanks,

  4. Hi Ingrid,
    I have recently started feeding my 14yr old male Weruva, I must say he absolutely loves it!
    I read about this food on one of your blogs and decided to try it. I have been feeding him NV for
    the last 5or so yrs , but wanted to give this a shot.. Sometimes I go between the two..
    I have given up the kibble for good!! I couldn’t decide between Tiki Cat & Weruva, but it seems like
    he likes the Weruva better, although it’s tough to find them both in stores around me…he loves the Cats in the Kitchen pouches..but I was wondering about your opinion on these two foods

    • I like both Tiki Cat and Weruva, Annemarie, and feed both brands. My cats seem to prefer the Weruva. You can order both brands from Amazon with free shipping for Prime members, as well as from other online retailers.

  5. Hi Ingrid,
    Long time lurker and love your nutritional guidelines for cats. My trio of shelter rescues are all grain free and happy, wish I could feed raw but one of them insists on wiping his paws on the entire kitchen after anything wet… 🙁

    But other than keeping sugary Veggies like corn and soy out of their diet, you really shouldn’t fret GMO. It’s become the new ‘toxins’ and there are no reputable studies showing anything. None of the crops or food animals we humans cultivate exist in nature (other than non-mainstream grains). I’m not saying Monasanto doesn’t deserve all of the hate they get, but please just worry about the nutrition involved for the cats!

    • LOL to your kitty who uses the kitchen floor as a giant napkin!

      Since GMO’s have only been around for about 20 years, we don’t really know yet what kind of longterm damage they may lead to when it comes to human or animal health. I prefer to err on the side of caution and avoid them.

    • if you love your cat why would you not be worried about your cat ingesting GMO’s, there are studies on rats showing rats with cancer tumors from GMO’s, go to natural news and you will be able to find the information. its just as important not to put bad stuff like GMO’s in your cats body as it is to feed them food with great nutrition. its just like our bodies when we put sugar and bad fat in our body eventually it catches up with us.

  6. This is a good reminder. I finally got my cats all grain-free and the vet perscribed Ashton benefiber. It is going to take a while for this mindset to change, I’m afraid.

    Oh, I absolutely LOVE the photo you used for this post. Don’t let my cats see that they can do that, or I will come home to a kitchen full of empty cat food cans!

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