9 Lives Cat Food Ingredients

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9 Lives manufactures roughly 38 different cat food products. Each product utilizes a unique set of ingredients to achieve a desired nutritional profile.

In this article, we'll explore 9 Lives ingredients and answer many of the most common questions.

As of right now, our records indicate that 9 Lives uses roughly 109 different ingredients.

First 5 Ingredients

Cat food ingredients in the United States are listed in descending order of pre-cooked weight. The first 5 ingredients typically constitute a significant portion of the recipe.

For 9 Lives, these are the most common ingredients found within the first 5 cat food ingredients.

  1. water sufficient for processing
  2. meat by-products
  3. chicken
  4. chicken
  5. soybean protein concentrate

As you can see, the most common first ingredient in 9 Lives is water sufficient for processing. The most common 2nd ingredient is meat by-products, followed by chicken, chicken, and soybean protein concentrate.

Artificial Food Coloring Dyes

Our records indicate that 9 Lives does use artificial food coloring dyes. More specifically, we've identified 6 artificial food dyes used by 9 Lives.

Although these food dyes are classified as Generally Recognized As Safe (GRAS) by the FDA, we recommend avoiding them when possible.

According to the Center For Research In The Public Interest (CSPI), there are many potential health risks associated with the consumption of artificial food coloring dyes.

Given that most pets consume the same products for prolonged periods of time, these concerns should be taken seriously. In general, we recommend pet owners avoid feeding products which contain artificial food coloring dyes.

For more information regarding the CSPI's findings, read our artificial food coloring article.

Red 40 is the most widely used artificial dye in consumer goods. Studies have shown that red 40 may accelerate the appearance of immune-system tumors in mice, cause allergy-like reactions and trigger hyperactivity in children.

The following recipes contain red 40:

Yellow 6 is an artificial food dye which may be contaminated with cancer-causing chemicals. According to the Center For Science In The Public Interest, yellow 6 can cause adrenal tumors in animals.

The following recipes contain yellow 6:

Blue 2 is an artificial dye which can increase the likelihood of tumors according to the Center for Science in the Public Interest. Like other dyes, blue 2 does not provide any nutritional value.

The following recipes contain blue 2:

Yellow 5 is an artificial dye which may be contaminated with several cancer-causing chemicals. Like other dyes, yellow 5 does not provide any nutritional value.

The following recipes contain yellow 5:

Blue 1 is an artificial dye with serious but unconfirmed health concerns. Like other dyes, blue 1 does not provide any nutritional value.

The following recipes contain blue 1:

Animal By-Products

9 Lives does indeed use animal by-products. More specifically, 4 animal by-product ingredients were found during our analysis of 9 Lives cat food ingredients.

According to AAFCO, by-products are defined as the non-rendered, clean parts, other than meat, derived from slaughtered mammals. In other words, animal by-products are the leftover ingredients that humans typically do not consume (lung, heart, tongue, stomach, intestine, blood, etc).

Many consumers have equated animal by-products with slaughterhouse waste. Animal by-products are still very controversial. Most premium brands have abandoned them in favor of specific named organ ingredients (duck liver, chicken heart, etc).

If you must feed a product with animal by-products, ensure that the specific animal source is specified. In other words, avoid ingredients such as meat by-products or poultry by-products.

Poultry by-product meal is a controversial ingredient because the source animal is not specified. Anonymous ingredients such as poultry by-product meal are typically low-quality ingredients in comparison to named protein by-product meals (e.g. chicken by-product meal, turkey by-product meal, duck by-product meal).

The following recipes contain poultry by-product meal:

By-products are defined by AAFCO as the "non-rendered, clean parts, other than meat, derived from slaughtered mammals." Thus, meat by-products contain nearly all parts of the animal which are typically not consumed by humans. These parts include the liver, lung, spleen, kidney, stomach, blood, intestine, bone, etc.</p><p>This ingredient is marked controversial because the meat source is not identified. Anonymous ingredients such as meat by-products are typically very low quality additions. The most unpleasing property of this ingredient is that the animal source can contain any mammal, even dogs & cats.

The following recipes contain meat by-products:

By-products are defined by AAFCO as the "non-rendered, clean parts, other than meat, derived from slaughtered mammals." Thus, poultry by-products contain nearly all parts of poultry which are typically not consumed by humans. These parts include the liver, lung, spleen, kidney, stomach, blood, intestine, bone, etc.</p><p>Like other meat by-products, poultry by-products are considered controversial, mainly because they are inexpensive ingredients which consumers have equated with slaughterhouse waste. However, manufactures and many experts claim that animal by-products are unjustly criticized. Proponents state that by-products, such as poultry by-products, supply many important nutrients required by cats. Finally, we must also note that this ingredient is considered an anonymous meat ingredient because the specific type of poultry is not specified. By-products which are "named", such as chicken by-products are typically higher in quality when compared to the more general poultry by-products.

The following recipes contain poultry by-products:

Chicken by-product meal is produced by cooking chicken by-products using a process called rendering. By-products are defined by AAFCO as the "non-rendered, clean parts, other than meat, derived from slaughtered mammals." Thus, chicken by-products contain nearly all parts of chickens which are typically not consumed by humans. These parts include the liver, lung, spleen, kidney, stomach, blood, intestine, bone, etc.</p><p>Like other meat by-products, chicken by-products are considered controversial, mainly because they are inexpensive ingredients which consumers have equated with slaughterhouse waste. However, manufactures and many experts claim that animal by-products are unjustly criticized. Proponents state that "named" by-products, such as chicken by-products, supply many important nutrients required by cats.

The following recipes contain chicken by-product meal:

Anonymous Meat Ingredients

Anonymous meats are animal-based ingredients which do not provide the source animal's name. These ingredients are controversial because they can come from almost any animal.

In addition, anonymous animal-based ingredients are very inexpensive and often the lowest quality meats that are still allowed to be used in pet food.

In general, we do not recommend feeding any products which contain anonymous meats. When in doubt, always contact the brand's customer service desk for further clarification.

Unfortunately, we've identified 10 anonymous meat ingredients used by 9 Lives.

Giblets may include the heart, liver, gizzards, and other visceral organs of an animal. These organs are very nutritious and species-appropriate for cats. However, the specific source of the giblets are not disclosed (chicken, turkey, etc) and therefore we must classify this ingredient as an anonymous meat.

The following recipes contain giblets:

Fish meal is defined by AAFCO as "the clean, dried, ground tissue of undecomposed whole fish or fish cutting, either or both, with or without the extraction of part of the oil." Since the specific type of fish is not mentioned, we cannot discuss any specific qualities of this ingredient. In general, anonymous ingredients are low quality inclusions when compared to ingredients such as tuna meal, salmon meal, catfish meal, etc.

The following recipes contain fish meal:

Animal fat is a by-product of tissue rendering. The source animal is not specific and therefore we cannot be certain that the source does not include diseased animals or even euthanized dogs and cats.

The following recipes contain animal fat (preserved with mixed tocopherols):

Meat and bone meal is produced by cooking meat and bone using a process called rendering. The rendering process dramatically reduces the natural moisture of meat and thereby results in a highly condensed protein source.</p><p>This ingredient is marked controversial because the source animal for the meat is not specified. These type of anonymous ingredient are typically very low quality and certainly inexpensive additions. The most unpleasing property of this ingredient is that the meat source can contain any mammal, even dogs & cats.

The following recipes contain meat and bone meal:

Poultry by-product meal is a controversial ingredient because the source animal is not specified. Anonymous ingredients such as poultry by-product meal are typically low-quality ingredients in comparison to named protein by-product meals (e.g. chicken by-product meal, turkey by-product meal, duck by-product meal).

The following recipes contain poultry by-product meal:

By-products are defined by AAFCO as the "non-rendered, clean parts, other than meat, derived from slaughtered mammals." Thus, meat by-products contain nearly all parts of the animal which are typically not consumed by humans. These parts include the liver, lung, spleen, kidney, stomach, blood, intestine, bone, etc.</p><p>This ingredient is marked controversial because the meat source is not identified. Anonymous ingredients such as meat by-products are typically very low quality additions. The most unpleasing property of this ingredient is that the animal source can contain any mammal, even dogs & cats.

The following recipes contain meat by-products:

Animal digest is the result of undecomposed animal tissue after hydrolysis, a chemical reaction. It is typically used as flavoring to improve taste. Animal digest is considered by many as an undesirable low-quality ingredient. What's more, the source animal is not specified and therefore animal digest can contain almost any animal, including dogs and cats!

The following recipes contain animal digest:

By-products are defined by AAFCO as the "non-rendered, clean parts, other than meat, derived from slaughtered mammals." Thus, poultry by-products contain nearly all parts of poultry which are typically not consumed by humans. These parts include the liver, lung, spleen, kidney, stomach, blood, intestine, bone, etc.</p><p>Like other meat by-products, poultry by-products are considered controversial, mainly because they are inexpensive ingredients which consumers have equated with slaughterhouse waste. However, manufactures and many experts claim that animal by-products are unjustly criticized. Proponents state that by-products, such as poultry by-products, supply many important nutrients required by cats. Finally, we must also note that this ingredient is considered an anonymous meat ingredient because the specific type of poultry is not specified. By-products which are "named", such as chicken by-products are typically higher in quality when compared to the more general poultry by-products.

The following recipes contain poultry by-products:

Poultry giblets includes the heart, liver, gizzards, and other internal organs of poultry. Organs are nutritiously dense ingredients which provide high quality protein and fat. However, this particular ingredient is considered an anonymous meat ingredient because the type of poultry is not specified. In order words, "named" giblets such as chicken giblets or turkey giblets are preferred over poultry giblets.

The following recipes contain poultry giblets:

Cereal Grains

Certain 9 Lives cat food recipes contain one or more grains. The specific ingredients are listed below.

For cats, we typically recommend choosing a grain-free recipe. Cats are obligate carnivores and therefore grains are not species appropriate.

The kibble production requires a binding agent. Grains are commonly used for this purpose in cat food. When purchasing grain-free cat food, grains are often replaced with another starchy source. This is also not ideal.

To avoid grains and other starchy additions, consider feeding wet or frozen recipes.

Wheat flour is produced by grinding uncooked wheat into a powder. In addition to dietary fiber, wheat flour provides various vitamins, minerals, and plant based protein.</p><p>Wheat is considered a controversial ingredient because of it's protein content. Plant based proteins degrade the overall protein quality in the product. In addition, many people believe wheat is one of the most common ingredients to cause food allergies or intolerance. However, grains such as wheat are typically low offenders in comparison to certain protein sources such as beef.

The following recipes contain wheat flour:

Corn gluten meal is a by-product from the production of various corn products (corn starch, corn syrup, etc). It's very high in protein (nearly 60% protein) and therefore can significant boost the protein content of the product. Because plant based proteins such as corn gluten meal are inferior to meat based proteins (lack many essential amino acids), they are not suitable substitutes.

The following recipes contain corn gluten meal:

Brewer's rice is the small fragments of rice kernel that are separated from the larger kernels of milled rice. The fragments do not contain the same nutrition profile of the whole kernel and therefore brewer's rice is a lower quality grain. Brewer's rice is typically regarded as an inexpensive and low quality filler.

The following recipes contain brewers rice:

Whole wheat is one type of whole grain and contains the entire grain of wheat (the germ, bran, and endosperm). Wheat is regarded as an inexpensive and low-quality filler in pet food. However, wheat does provide plant-based protein and makes pet food more affordable for consumers. It's important to note that plant based protein does not provide the same amino acid profile as meat based protein.

The following recipes contain whole wheat:

Ground whole grain corn contains the entire corn kernel (the germ, bran, and endosperm). Corn is a cereal grain which provides a modest amount of vitamins, minerals, and plant based protein. It also happens to be one of the most controversial ingredients in cat food.</p><p>Proponents of corn claim that corn is highly digestible and an excellent source of protein, energy, vitamins, minerals, and essential fatty acids.</p><p>Opponents however believe that positive claims in regards to corn are either half-truths or completely false, we'll discuss a few of the opposing arguments.</p><p>In regards to digestibility, the claims of "highly digestible" are only true if corn is processed into a meal or flour and subsequently cooked. In regards to the protein contribution, we must note that corn is a plant based protein which does not contain all of the necessary amino acids required by cats to sustain life. Therefore substituting corn for meat is an unsuitable substitution and actually degrades the overall protein quality of the product.</p><p>Finally, we'll discuss the claims about vitamins and minerals in corn. Although corn does provide many vitamins and minerals, it not necessarily an exceptional ingredient in this regards. There are many other ingredients which are more complete and biologically appropriate. Therefore the usage of corn as the primary ingredient in cat food should certainly warrant further questioning.

The following recipes contain ground whole grain corn:

Controversial Ingredients

In most cases, ingredients which are given the controversial classification can be substituted with higher-quality alternatives. You should evaluate each controversial ingredient independently to see if there is truly a valid cause for concern.

Keep in mind, certain sacrifices often must be made to produce cat foods at a reasonable price. In general, the more expensive the product, the fewer controversial ingredients you'll find.

In our analysis, we've identified 20 controversial ingredients inside 9 Lives products. These controversial ingredients are listed below. Click on each ingredient for more information.

Specific vegetable oils are typically positive ingredients; however, this ingredient does not specify which vegetable(s) were used to produce the oil.</p><p>Without this information, it is impossible for us to make any specific statements. With any fat source, it is important to know the omega-3 to omega-6 fatty acid ratio, a property which cannot be determined with this ingredient. Thus, we have marked vegetable oil as a controversial ingredient.

The following recipes contain vegetable oil (preserved with mixed tocopherols):

Giblets may include the heart, liver, gizzards, and other visceral organs of an animal. These organs are very nutritious and species-appropriate for cats. However, the specific source of the giblets are not disclosed (chicken, turkey, etc) and therefore we must classify this ingredient as an anonymous meat.

The following recipes contain giblets:

Animal fat is a by-product of tissue rendering. The source animal is not specific and therefore we cannot be certain that the source does not include diseased animals or even euthanized dogs and cats.

The following recipes contain animal fat (preserved with mixed tocopherols):

Meat and bone meal is produced by cooking meat and bone using a process called rendering. The rendering process dramatically reduces the natural moisture of meat and thereby results in a highly condensed protein source.</p><p>This ingredient is marked controversial because the source animal for the meat is not specified. These type of anonymous ingredient are typically very low quality and certainly inexpensive additions. The most unpleasing property of this ingredient is that the meat source can contain any mammal, even dogs & cats.

The following recipes contain meat and bone meal:

Corn gluten meal is a by-product from the production of various corn products (corn starch, corn syrup, etc). It's very high in protein (nearly 60% protein) and therefore can significant boost the protein content of the product. Because plant based proteins such as corn gluten meal are inferior to meat based proteins (lack many essential amino acids), they are not suitable substitutes.

The following recipes contain corn gluten meal:

Brewer's rice is the small fragments of rice kernel that are separated from the larger kernels of milled rice. The fragments do not contain the same nutrition profile of the whole kernel and therefore brewer's rice is a lower quality grain. Brewer's rice is typically regarded as an inexpensive and low quality filler.

The following recipes contain brewers rice:

Soybean hulls are a by-product of soybean oil and meal processing. They are typically regarded as low quality and inexpensive fillers which lack any significant nutritional value.

The following recipes contain soybean hulls:

Whole wheat is one type of whole grain and contains the entire grain of wheat (the germ, bran, and endosperm). Wheat is regarded as an inexpensive and low-quality filler in pet food. However, wheat does provide plant-based protein and makes pet food more affordable for consumers. It's important to note that plant based protein does not provide the same amino acid profile as meat based protein.

The following recipes contain whole wheat:

Ground whole grain corn contains the entire corn kernel (the germ, bran, and endosperm). Corn is a cereal grain which provides a modest amount of vitamins, minerals, and plant based protein. It also happens to be one of the most controversial ingredients in cat food.</p><p>Proponents of corn claim that corn is highly digestible and an excellent source of protein, energy, vitamins, minerals, and essential fatty acids.</p><p>Opponents however believe that positive claims in regards to corn are either half-truths or completely false, we'll discuss a few of the opposing arguments.</p><p>In regards to digestibility, the claims of "highly digestible" are only true if corn is processed into a meal or flour and subsequently cooked. In regards to the protein contribution, we must note that corn is a plant based protein which does not contain all of the necessary amino acids required by cats to sustain life. Therefore substituting corn for meat is an unsuitable substitution and actually degrades the overall protein quality of the product.</p><p>Finally, we'll discuss the claims about vitamins and minerals in corn. Although corn does provide many vitamins and minerals, it not necessarily an exceptional ingredient in this regards. There are many other ingredients which are more complete and biologically appropriate. Therefore the usage of corn as the primary ingredient in cat food should certainly warrant further questioning.

The following recipes contain ground whole grain corn:

Poultry by-product meal is a controversial ingredient because the source animal is not specified. Anonymous ingredients such as poultry by-product meal are typically low-quality ingredients in comparison to named protein by-product meals (e.g. chicken by-product meal, turkey by-product meal, duck by-product meal).

The following recipes contain poultry by-product meal:

Liver is a controversial ingredient because the source animal is not specified. Anonymous animal ingredients are typically very low quality and may contain almost any animal, including dogs and cats!

The following recipes contain liver:

By-products are defined by AAFCO as the "non-rendered, clean parts, other than meat, derived from slaughtered mammals." Thus, meat by-products contain nearly all parts of the animal which are typically not consumed by humans. These parts include the liver, lung, spleen, kidney, stomach, blood, intestine, bone, etc.</p><p>This ingredient is marked controversial because the meat source is not identified. Anonymous ingredients such as meat by-products are typically very low quality additions. The most unpleasing property of this ingredient is that the animal source can contain any mammal, even dogs & cats.

The following recipes contain meat by-products:

Animal digest is the result of undecomposed animal tissue after hydrolysis, a chemical reaction. It is typically used as flavoring to improve taste. Animal digest is considered by many as an undesirable low-quality ingredient. What's more, the source animal is not specified and therefore animal digest can contain almost any animal, including dogs and cats!

The following recipes contain animal digest:

By-products are defined by AAFCO as the "non-rendered, clean parts, other than meat, derived from slaughtered mammals." Thus, poultry by-products contain nearly all parts of poultry which are typically not consumed by humans. These parts include the liver, lung, spleen, kidney, stomach, blood, intestine, bone, etc.</p><p>Like other meat by-products, poultry by-products are considered controversial, mainly because they are inexpensive ingredients which consumers have equated with slaughterhouse waste. However, manufactures and many experts claim that animal by-products are unjustly criticized. Proponents state that by-products, such as poultry by-products, supply many important nutrients required by cats. Finally, we must also note that this ingredient is considered an anonymous meat ingredient because the specific type of poultry is not specified. By-products which are "named", such as chicken by-products are typically higher in quality when compared to the more general poultry by-products.

The following recipes contain poultry by-products:

Poultry giblets includes the heart, liver, gizzards, and other internal organs of poultry. Organs are nutritiously dense ingredients which provide high quality protein and fat. However, this particular ingredient is considered an anonymous meat ingredient because the type of poultry is not specified. In order words, "named" giblets such as chicken giblets or turkey giblets are preferred over poultry giblets.

The following recipes contain poultry giblets:

Chicken by-product meal is produced by cooking chicken by-products using a process called rendering. By-products are defined by AAFCO as the "non-rendered, clean parts, other than meat, derived from slaughtered mammals." Thus, chicken by-products contain nearly all parts of chickens which are typically not consumed by humans. These parts include the liver, lung, spleen, kidney, stomach, blood, intestine, bone, etc.</p><p>Like other meat by-products, chicken by-products are considered controversial, mainly because they are inexpensive ingredients which consumers have equated with slaughterhouse waste. However, manufactures and many experts claim that animal by-products are unjustly criticized. Proponents state that "named" by-products, such as chicken by-products, supply many important nutrients required by cats.

The following recipes contain chicken by-product meal:

Potentially Harmful Ingredients

Harmful ingredients are those which have been linked to adverse health effects. In general, we do not recommend feeding any product which contains any harmful ingredients.

There are certain situations where these ingredients may be necessary. We always recommend contacting 9 Lives for further clarification regarding any harmful or controversial ingredient.

We have identified 10 harmful ingredients used in certain 9 Lives recipes. To learn more, click on the ingredient's name.

Red 40 is the most widely used artificial dye in consumer goods. Studies have shown that red 40 may accelerate the appearance of immune-system tumors in mice, cause allergy-like reactions and trigger hyperactivity in children.

The following recipes contain red 40:

Yellow 6 is an artificial food dye which may be contaminated with cancer-causing chemicals. According to the Center For Science In The Public Interest, yellow 6 can cause adrenal tumors in animals.

The following recipes contain yellow 6:

Blue 2 is an artificial dye which can increase the likelihood of tumors according to the Center for Science in the Public Interest. Like other dyes, blue 2 does not provide any nutritional value.

The following recipes contain blue 2:

Butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA) is an artificial preservative and possible cancer-causing agent. Studies have show that BHA can be linked to various tumors in laboratory animals.

The following recipes contain BHA:

Yellow 5 is an artificial dye which may be contaminated with several cancer-causing chemicals. Like other dyes, yellow 5 does not provide any nutritional value.

The following recipes contain yellow 5:

Menadione sodium bisulfite complex is a synthetic version of vitamin K that has been linked to many health concerns. Research has suggested possible toxic reactions in liver cells and red blood cells among other serious problems. In fact, one large chemical supplier warns, "The substance is toxic to kidneys, lungs, liver, mucous membranes. Repeated or prolonged exposure to the substance can produce target organs damage."

The following recipes contain menadione sodium bisulfite complex:

Blue 1 is an artificial dye with serious but unconfirmed health concerns. Like other dyes, blue 1 does not provide any nutritional value.

The following recipes contain blue 1:

Specific vegetable oils are typically positive ingredients; however, this ingredient does not specify which vegetable(s) were used to produce the oil.</p><p>Without this information, it is impossible for us to make any specific statements. With any fat source, it is important to know the omega-3 to omega-6 fatty acid ratio, a property which cannot be determined with this ingredient.</p><p>What's more, this ingredient is preserved with BHA/BHT, both artificial preservatives and possible carcinogens according to the World Health Organization.

The following recipes contain vegetable oil (preserved with BHA/BHT):

Ethoxyquin is an artificial preservative with possible links to cancer and other chronic diseases. Ethoxyquin is not permitted in the European Union and Australia, but considered safe by the FDA.

The following recipes contain canthaxanthin (preserved with ethoxyquin):

9 Lives Cat Food Ingredient Lists