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Research Note: Mineral Content in Cat Foods


|June 2021

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Studies suggest that high dietary phosphorus (P) and low calcium:phosphorus (Ca:P) ratios may contribute to the development of chronic kidney disease (CKD) in cats. Although feline dietary minimums exist for P, Ca, and magnesium (Mg), there are no available maximums. This study evaluated P, Ca, and Mg in 82 commercial, nonprescription cat foods and examined discrepancies between reported and analyzed quantities. Of the foods tested, 81 had an Association of American Feed Control Officials nutritional adequacy statement on the label. However, 33% contained phosphorus levels >3.6 g/1000 kcal ME, which is in the range of levels experimentally shown to cause renal dysfunction in healthy cats. Nine percent of the foods had P levels >4.8 g/1000 kcal ME, which has been shown to cause rapid renal decline in adult cats when most P was provided by inorganic P sources. Sixteen percent of the foods had low Ca:P ratios. These results suggest pet food regulatory reform should be considered.


For global readers, a calculator to convert laboratory values, dosages, and other measurements to SI units can be found here.

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