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Jan. 19, 2023

What is ash in cat food?

While it may sound scary, any cat food item contains a certain percentage of so-called ash. This ash is not a single ingredient, but rather a term that refers to all minerals in your cat’s food, such as potassium, calcium, phosphorous, magnesium, zinc, and iron. These minerals are naturally present in some ingredients, like meat and vegetables, or can be added to the mix to be sure your cat is getting everything it needs to stay healthy or to make the diet complete and balanced.

Why are minerals in cat food referred to as ash?

To determine how many calories are in certain food item, the food is burned to a crisp in a controlled environment, using an instrument called a bomb calorimeter. What’s left at the end of the process is anything in the food that doesn’t burn, which are the minerals. See why it kind of makes sense to refer to these minerals as ‘ash’? Another term that’s sometimes used is ‘inorganic matter’ as these minerals do not contain carbon. To be clear: no burnt material is ever added to pet food. Minerals, and therefore ash, are naturally present in pet food ingredients and that’s a good thing.

Is ash good or bad for my cat?

Cats definitely need minerals in order to stay healthy. They play an important role in many vital processes, including bone formation, nerve and muscle function, and the development of red blood cells. Any cat food contains so-called ash, which is normal and necessary, but large amounts of some minerals can negatively impact your cat’s urinary tract. Too much magnesium and phosphorous, for example, can combine with ammonium to form struvite crystals.

What are chelated minerals, and how do they help?

Most of our Catit foods are made with chelated minerals. These are minerals that have been bound to organic molecules such as amino acids in order to be more easily absorbed by your cat’s body. Did you know that your cat’s body doesn’t consider pure minerals to be food, and will therefore not allow them to be readily absorbed into the bloodstream? When these minerals, which are inorganic, are bound to organic particles, the body sees this new combination as organic and therefore as food and will allow them to be absorbed. Thanks to this smooth absorption, you only need a small amount of chelated minerals present in cat food, lowering the ash content.