Why is there sugar in your cat's food? | Purr & Miaow – purrandmiaow

Why is there sugar in your cat's food?

cat catfood nutrition sugar

It should be easy to understand what goes into your cat’s food, but the reality is the ingredients listed in most Big Pet Food brands are hard to digest. Big brands tend to hide behind a long list of confusing ingredients. There’s usually one word on that list that we’d all recognise: sugar.

Big Pet Food companies add sugar to their cat food pouches, which cats can’t taste and will only harm their health and teeth. If you think your cat has bad breath or is showing signs of dental problems, it may be worth looking at what they’re eating.

Sugar in cat food?

Yes. An average wet cat food feeding guide will recommend 3-4 pouches a day - and there’s sugar in every one of those pouches. Like with humans, a cat's teeth can be impacted by sugary food consumption and the empty calories of unnecessary sugar can contribute to pet obesity.  

But why?

Sugar in wet cat food is added in the form of caramel just to give the food it’s ‘gravy’ colouring and make it more appealing (to the humans in charge of the grocery shop!). That’s why you’ll find Purr & Miaow wet foods have a lighter coloured broth; we’re sugar-free!

We know they can be fussy, but it’s hard to imagine a cat turning away from food because it’s not “the right colour”. They can’t taste sugar (4/5), so it’s not added to make the food tastier for them – it serves no nutritional or palatable purpose.

Ok, so how much sugar are we talking?

It’s no surprise that this question isn’t answered on Big Pet Food brand labelling, but at Purr & Miaow we don’t believe any sugar at all is acceptable. We’ve tried to find out more by contacting some of the Big Pet Food brands but couldn’t get a straight answer. We do know that if it was only a negligible amount, it would be declared on the label.

Would you add a sprinkling of sugar onto every meal you eat?

Tuna and… sugar? That doesn’t sound too healthy. (Or nice). If we wouldn’t do it to ourselves, why do it to our pets?

What impact will it have on my cat?

The only thing that added sugar will contribute to is a fat cat and dental problems. Your cat doesn’t need sugar added to every meal they eat; big pet brands think you need it as a physical persuasion to buy their food.

Did you know…

-         The PDSA have found that almost a third of all cats seen by vets are categorised as overweight or obese. (1)

-         According to a recent survey of 1,192 vets conducted by pharmaceutical company MSD Animal Health:

  • 1 in 200 cats are diagnosed with type 2 diabetes throughout their lifetime.
  • 50,000 cats have the life-threatening disease. (2)

Alongside diabetes, a fat cat is also more at risk of Fatty Liver Disease (Hepatic Lipidosis) and Arthritis, due to the additional strain on the joints (3). Maintaining a healthy cat weight can be hard when it’s so difficult to figure out what goes into your cat’s food. But it’s obvious that sugar is a no-no!

Most pet insurance won’t cover dental care

As we become more aware of the UK’s growing pet obesity epidemic, it’s easy for the problem of cat dental care to be overlooked. Whether or not you have a fat cat, teeth/dental issues are still one to look out for. You may not know until your cat has a dental problem that needs veterinary attention, but most pet insurance won’t cover dental care, as it’s extremely expensive.

That sounds bad…

That’s because it is. At Purr & Miaow, we don’t think this is right. We don’t add unnecessary ingredients to manipulate people into buying our food. In fact, we do the opposite! We’re transparent about what goes into our foods; our ingredients list is simple and easy to understand, because we have nothing to hide.

We believe that when it comes to health, it’s what’s on the inside that counts. We’re open and honest when it comes to our ingredients, to help our customers make an informed decision. A high-quality, grain and sugar-free diet is key to helping your cat live their happiest, healthiest life. We want everyone to understand what goes into their cat’s food because everyone has a right to know.


  1.      https://www.pdsa.org.uk/media/4371/paw-2018-full-web-ready.pdf
  2.      http://www.msd-animal-health.co.uk/news/2018-11-30.aspx
  3.      https://www.thesprucepets.com/caring-for-fat-cats-555005
  4.      https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/strange-but-true-cats-cannot-taste-sweets/
  5.      https://www.cathealth.com/cat-care/nutrition/2178-do-cats-have-a-sense-of-taste

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