Purina Pro Plan Cat Food Ingredients

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Purina Pro Plan manufactures roughly 92 different cat food products. Each product utilizes a unique set of ingredients to achieve a desired nutritional profile.

In this article, we'll explore Purina Pro Plan ingredients and answer many of the most common questions.

As of right now, our records indicate that Purina Pro Plan uses roughly 160 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 Purina Pro Plan, these are the most common ingredients found within the first 5 cat food ingredients.

  1. water sufficient for processing
  2. chicken
  3. liver
  4. wheat gluten
  5. meat by-products

As you can see, the most common first ingredient in Purina Pro Plan is water sufficient for processing. The most common 2nd ingredient is chicken, followed by liver, wheat gluten, and meat by-products.

Artificial Food Coloring Dyes

Our records indicate that Purina Pro Plan does use artificial food coloring dyes. More specifically, we've identified 3 artificial food dyes used by Purina Pro Plan.

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.

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:

Red 3 is an artificial dye which the FDA has confirmed can cause cancer in laboratory animals.

The following recipes contain red 3:

The ingredient "added color" is ambiguous and may include various artificial dyes. Most artificial dyes have been linked to various chronic diseases.

The following recipes contain added color:

Animal By-Products

Purina Pro Plan does indeed use animal by-products. More specifically, 5 animal by-product ingredients were found during our analysis of Purina Pro Plan 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.

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:

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 the chicken 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-products:

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 12 anonymous meat ingredients used by Purina Pro Plan.

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):

Organ meats like poultry liver are an excellent source of protein, fat, and essential vitamins and minerals. Although organs may not sound appealing, organs are an important component of a carnivorous animal's diet.</p><p>Unfortunately, poultry liver is considered an anonymous meat because the specific type of poultry is not specified.

The following recipes contain poultry liver:

Ocean fish can refer to multiple species of fish, since the particular type of fish is not specified, it's difficult to discuss this ingredient. The nutritional contribution of ocean fish depends on the species included; however, fish generally provides high quality protein and fat.

The following recipes contain ocean fish:

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 Purina Pro Plan 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.

Whole barley is a nutritious carbohydrate source. It's a great source of dietary fiber, B vitamins, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, and zinc.

The following recipes contain whole barley:

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:

Modified corn starch is derived from the endosperm of the corn kernel. The modified term indicates that the corn starch has been treated or processed in order to expose or improve some property. Typically, corn starch is used as a binder in kibble.

The following recipes contain modified corn starch:

Corn starch is derived from the endosperm of the corn kernel. Typically, corn starch is used as a binder in kibble.

The following recipes contain corn starch:

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:

Wheat gluten is the main protein of wheat. Although wheat gluten is mostly protein, wheat gluten is considered controversial because it significantly boosts the protein content of the product. This is undesirable because plant based protein does not provide the same amino acid profile as meat based protein.

The following recipes contain wheat gluten:

Brown rice is naturally rich in fiber and various minerals including manganese, phosphorus, and magnesium. Relative to other grains, brown rice is easy to digest.

The following recipes contain brown rice:

Wild rice is a gluten-free grain which supplies protein, dietary fiber, certain minerals, and B vitamins.

The following recipes contain wild rice:

Ground yellow 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 yellow corn:

Corn oil is extracted from the germ of corn kernels. It contains an omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acid ratio of 49:1. Corn oil's unfavorable omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acid ratio makes it an undesirable ingredient. Consumption of such ingredients can lead to an array of health problems in both animals and humans.

The following recipes contain corn oil:

Oatmeal is simply coarsely ground oats and therefore contains the entire oat grain. As with regular oats, oatmeal is rich in dietary fiber, B vitamins, and various minerals.

The following recipes contain oatmeal:

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 23 controversial ingredients inside Purina Pro Plan products. These controversial ingredients are listed below. Click on each ingredient for more information.

Canola meal is a high protein by-product of canola oil production. This ingredient is marked controversial because it may be derived from genetically modified rapeseed, which is associated with multiple adverse health affects.

The following recipes contain canola meal:

Soybean protein concentrate is produced by removing the water soluble carbohydrates from soybeans. The inclusion of non-meat protein typically degrades the overall quality of protein in the recipe. This degradation is due to the inferior amino acid profile of plant based proteins.

The following recipes contain soybean protein concentrate:

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):

Corn syrup is made from corn starch and it's typically used as a thickener, sweetener, and humectant (keeps the product moist). It's considered controversial because it can raise a cat's blood sugar to unhealthy levels. Of course this concern may be nullified if the syrup is used in very small quantities.

The following recipes contain dried corn syrup:

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:

Wheat gluten is the main protein of wheat. Although wheat gluten is mostly protein, wheat gluten is considered controversial because it significantly boosts the protein content of the product. This is undesirable because plant based protein does not provide the same amino acid profile as meat based protein.

The following recipes contain wheat gluten:

Pea protein is produced by removing the starchy parts of peas. Pea protein is considered controversial because it provides a substantial plant based protein boost. This boost is undesirable because plant based protein is typically lower in biological value when compared to meat based proteins.

The following recipes contain pea protein:

Ground yellow 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 yellow corn:

Canola oil is a plant-derived oil from the seeds of canola plants. Although fat is an essential component of any diet, canola oil is controversial in pet food. Proponents claim that canola oil provides a better fat profile in comparison to other plant based oils. However, opponents claim that canola oil is typically produced with genetically modified rapeseed and that rapeseed oil has multiple adverse health affects.

The following recipes contain canola oil:

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:

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:

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 the chicken 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-products:

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 Purina Pro Plan for further clarification regarding any harmful or controversial ingredient.

We have identified 6 harmful ingredients used in certain Purina Pro Plan recipes. To learn more, click on the ingredient's name.

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:

Red 3 is an artificial dye which the FDA has confirmed can cause cancer in laboratory animals.

The following recipes contain red 3:

The ingredient "added color" is ambiguous and may include various artificial dyes. Most artificial dyes have been linked to various chronic diseases.

The following recipes contain added color:

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:

Corn oil is extracted from the germ of corn kernels. It contains an omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acid ratio of 49:1. Corn oil's unfavorable omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acid ratio makes it an undesirable ingredient. Consumption of such ingredients can lead to an array of health problems in both animals and humans.

The following recipes contain corn oil:

Purina Pro Plan Cat Food Ingredient Lists