Published by: Ingrid King. Last Updated on: June 29, 2023 by Crystal Uys

domestic tabby cat looks at a bowl of food that the owner is holding in his hand

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.

Image Credit: Jaromir Chalabala, Shutterstock

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.

Featured Image Credit: Valeri Vatel, Shutterstock

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