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Home > Cats > What Is Human-Grade Cat Food? Nutritional Facts & FAQ

What Is Human-Grade Cat Food? Nutritional Facts & FAQ

ragdoll cat eating cat food

The term human-grade cat food is getting thrown around a lot these days. The more pet foods that come on the market, the more these ingredients are used. But what exactly does it mean to be human grade?

In a nutshell, human-grade cat food is entirely suitable for human consumption, although we don’t recommend sampling your cat’s food. So we’ll explain in more detail how these ingredients are sourced and how these facts are determined.

divider-catWhat Exactly Does “Human-Grade” Mean?

By definition, human-grade cat food constitutes pet food made in human food facilities that match the same standards for human consumption. All ingredients therein must meet these requirements.

According to the American Association of Feed Control Officials (AAFCO), human-grade pet food has two characteristics. All the ingredients are edible by humans, and all food is manufactured, packaged, and held to the FDA guidelines for safe food production.

Therefore, if food is made with human edible ingredients – this includes whole grains, fresh produce, and quality animal proteins – but wasn’t manufactured properly, it could not use this label for marketing.

Hungry cat begs for food from tourists in a street restaurant in the old town of Kotor
Image Credit: OlegD, Shutterstock

Why Choose Human-Grade Cat Food?

Why would you want to put a different quality in your cat’s food bowl than you do your own dinner plate? After all, our kitties deserve to have a thriving life—starting with a system-supportive diet.

Over time, we understand what preservatives and artificial ingredients do to our pets. Human-grade ingredients aim to meet the exact requirements we consider for our health.

The better food you feed your cat, the less likely they are to get diseases and other ailments that could impact their quality of life. Since pet nutrition is rapidly changing, you can expect to see more human-grade ingredients in the future.

However, the kinks haven’t fully worked themselves out yet. Even recipes that claim human-grade ingredients must meet rigorous standards for the full recipe to qualify for human-grade in entirety.

It’s much more likely that certain ingredients are human-grade instead of the entire dish. However, some companies, like Smalls, have 100% human-grade fresh recipes that are fit for your plate, too.

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Is Every Recipe 100% Human-Grade?

No, every recipe that claims human-grade ingredients is not fully “human-grade.” Most companies that use this verbiage mean only certain elements that make up the recipe are fit for human consumption. So, make sure to check for tricky marketing lingo.

All your cat’s food ingredients should be very transparent. So, you should have no problem tracing where they obtain said ingredients on the bag or the website. If you have any questions regarding the ingredients of your particular cat food, contact the company directly for answers.

owner pours dog and cat food in the feeding bowls
Image Credit: Anastasiya Tsiasemnikava, Shutterstock

What Types of Cat Food Offers Human-Grade Ingredients?

You can likely find human-grade cat food ingredients in dry kibble, wet canned food, fresh and raw diet selections. However, only some of them will contain 100% human-grade ingredients, so check the label.

What Other Perks Should You Look for in Human-Grade Cat Food?

The type of cat food you choose should have a well-balanced variety of nutritious animal proteins, fruits, veggies, grains, and supplements.

High Protein

A healthy animal protein is crucial for cats, as they are obligate carnivores. The protein source is the most critical ingredient and should make up most of the recipe.

On average, cats should have 2 grams of protein per pound of body weight. You might have to tweak portions a bit if your cat is overweight or underweight.

black and white cat eats liquid food from a plate
Image Credit: Elizabett, Shutterstock

Fatty and Amino Acids

In addition to protein, your cat needs fatty and amino acids to nourish their muscles, bones, skin, and coat.

Vitamins and Minerals

Your cat needs an assortment of vitamins and minerals that are perfectly balanced. Since every animal has various needs, recipes should be 100% tailored to meet the nutritional requirements of domestic felines.

Cat paws in a bowl of delicious dry cat food
Image Credit: Svetlana Rey, Shutterstock


Is Feed-Grade Cat Food Different?

The difference is simple—human-grade cat food passes FDA inspections, and feed-grade does not. Feed-grade ingredients usually include by-products, fillers, chemicals, and harsh preservatives within the mix.

How to Choose Cat Food Correctly

With the ever-expanding options on the market, it might be tricky to know if you are choosing the correct brand and recipe for your cat. Sometimes, these things can be trial and error—finding a nutritious diet option that works best for your kitties.

As nutritionists work to develop more species-appropriate options for domesticated animals, we can expect to see several changes before we get it right. So feel free to research and explore exactly what labels mean on food and how you can narrow down the search.

Always consult with your veterinarian about your cat’s nutrition goals. They will point you in the right direction to achieve the dietary results you’re looking for.

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So now you understand exactly what human grade means. These ingredients are fit for human consumption, and it doesn’t necessarily extend throughout the entire recipe. Always make sure that you trace the ingredients listed to make sure you’re getting the outcome you desire.

We anticipate more human-grade ingredients being used in cat foods around the board. So, look for more upcoming options for better feline feasts.

Featured Image Credit: Snowice_81, Shutterstock

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