Cat kibble - what is it?

Does your cat eat kibble food? Have you ever paused to ponder what actually are those little biscuit type things your cat is munching on? Maybe you checked the kibble packet label and were met with dense descriptions and scientific jargon that only left you more perplexed? We are here to help you better understand your cat's food. In this article we'll answer important questions like what is cat kibble? What are the benefits of kibble food?, and how much kibble should a cat eat?


Table of Contents:


cat kibble in a cat shaped bowl

What is cat kibble?

Cat kibble is dried, processed food, in small pebble-like pieces. Kibble is often marketed as containing everything necessary to meet your cat’s caloric and nutritional needs. However, we’ve found that more often than not, cat kibble falls very short of this mark. In fact, most supermarket kibble resembles the first commercial pet food recipe from the 1860s. What’s more, that recipe was designed for dogs not cats! If that’s not a red flag for cat kibble, we don’t know what is! To get to the bottom of what cat kibble is, let’s have a closer look at what goes into it.


What is cat kibble made from?

Although there is variation from brand to brand, most cat kibble is predominantly made from the following ingredients:

  • Animal derivatives

  • Vegetables

  • Grains and cereals

1. Animal Derivatives

Kibble is typically made with animal derivatives rather than proper meat. Note this key distinction. Animal derivatives are dried, powdered, meat extracts often made from the animal offcuts nobody wants. This means kibble is a far cry from the protein rich meat found in your cat’s ancestral diet and our cat food recipes. Cats are obligate carnivores meaning they are genetically designed to eat a near 100% meat-based diet. Since kibble is often made with animal derivatives it neglects to provide cats with the quality and quantity of meat they need to thrive.


2. Vegetables

To make up for the lack of meat proteins, cat kibble is often made with vegetable proteins. Why? Because vegetables proteins are a cheaper alternative to meat proteins and it keeps kibble production costs down. Good news for big kibble manufacturers, bad news for cats! Cats have relatively short digestive systems which means they can encounter problems when trying to break down the cellulose in plant proteins. This means cats might struggle to absorb all the nutrients they need from kibble food.


3. Grains and cereals

Other ingredients commonly used to bulk up kibble food include grains and cereals. These ingredients belong to the carbohydrate food group and there is a lot of debate as to whether carbs belong in cat food at all. In the wild, cats consume their whole prey and their only source of carbohydrates is their prey’s stomach contents. Cats don’t have the digestive system or metabolism necessary to break down the high amounts of complex carbohydrates found in kibble food. Manufacturers put grains and cereals into kibble to give it shape and keep ingredient costs low, not because it’s the best thing for our cats.


As you may have realised by now, kibble food is lacking when it comes to providing the nutrients cats need to thrive. Not only are these ingredients sub-par but the extrusion process used to make kibble also takes its toll on any nutritional value.


What are the benefits of cat kibble?

When it comes to the benefits of kibble, we’re not sure there are any. One theory amongst the cat community is that cat’s should eat kibble for healthy teeth. It’s a theory because there isn’t really any concrete evidence to prove that this is true.


From our point of view, giving your cat kibble to look after their teeth makes about as much sense as trying to brush our own teeth with a hobnob! Your cat’s dental health is undeniably important but we recommend brushing their teeth and checking their mouth to prevent disease rather than kibble.


How much kibble should my cat eat?

In response to the question how much kibble should my cat eat, we firmly believe that the answer is none. Since kibble is a dry cat food, it is missing the essential moisture your cat needs. What’s more, between the manufacturing process and the often questionable ingredients, cat kibble is not as packed full of goodness as it might first seem. That’s why we’re encouraging cat parents to ditch dry kibble food and realise that when it comes to our kitties, fresh cat food is best.

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