Updated November 28, 2020
Carbohydrates are the only major nutrient not to be declared on cat foods. Therefore, I’ve done three things:
- Created an online carbohydrate calculator for wet and dry pet foods
- Estimated the carbohydrate levels in a wide range of pouch or tinned foods
- Showed you how I worked out these figures
Pet Food Carbohydrate Calculator
Note: as you will see later, these figures are only estimates. They are hopefully close to the truth but cannot be verified without analysis.
Carb Levels In Adult Cat Foods
Please Note: I have not included:
- The nearly 50% of can and pouch cat foods sold in Australia that aren’t complete foods. Click the link to learn more.
- Any dry foods- these all contain carbohydrate levels between 20 and 35%
- Foods that do not disclose either the carbohydrate level, or protein, fat, ash & fibre levels so I can work it out (e.g. Feline Natural)
|Food||Carbs as %Dry Mass|
|Holistic Select Chicken Pâté tin||0**|
|Holistic Select Turkey & Salmon Pâté tin||0**|
|PRO PLAN Adult Salmon & Rice Entrée tin||0**|
|PRO PLAN Adult Chicken & Liver Entrée tin||2.3**|
|PRO PLAN Ocean Whitefish & Salmon Entrée||2.3**|
|Holistic Select Salmon & Shrimp Pâté tin||4.6|
|Holistic Select Chicken Liver & Lamb Pâté tin||6.4|
|Holistic Select Turkey Pâté Recipe tin||6.8|
|Royal Canin Instinctive Adult in Jelly||8.0|
|Fancy Feast Chicken & Giblet Pate tin||9.0|
|Holistic Select Ocean Fish & Tuna Pâté tin||9.1|
|PRO PLAN Adult Chicken Entrée tin||9.1|
|Fancy Feast Cod, Sole & Shrimp tin||13.6|
|Fancy Feast Gravy Lovers tins (2)||13.9|
|Fancy Feast Filet tins (many)||14.0|
|PRO PLAN Adult Chicken & Rice Entrée tin||14.0|
|PRO PLAN Adult Tuna Entrée Tin||14.0|
|Purina Fancy Feast pouches (many)||14.0|
|Royal Canin Instinctive Adult in Loaf*||15.5|
|Purina Fancy Feast Inspirations pouches*||15.9|
|Purina Felix pouches (many)*||16.8|
|PRO PLAN Adult Turkey & Giblets Entrée tin||17.3|
|Fancy Feast Cheddar Delights tins (2)||17.5|
|PRO PLAN Adult Beef Entrée with Carrots tin||17.5|
|PRO PLAN Salmon Entrée with Wild Rice tin||17.5|
|Veganpet Vegan Cat Food tins||19.2|
|Ziwi Peak Tins (all varieties)||20.5|
|Fancy Feast Roast Chicken/ Carved Beef||21.8|
|Royal Canin Instinctive Adult in Gravy*||22.3|
|Hill’s Hairball Control Savory Chicken||24.9|
|Hill’s Salmon Tender Chunks in Gravy||28.3|
|Hill’s Tender Tuna Dinner Tin||28.9|
|Hill’s Savory Turkey Entrée Tin||29.3|
|Hill’s Tender Chicken Dinner Tin||29.8|
|Hill’s Ocean Fish Entrée Tin||30.2|
|Hill’s Ocean Fish Tender Chunks in Gravy||30.4|
|Hill’s Seared Tuna & Carrot Medley Tin||31.1|
|Hill’s Chicken Tender Chunks in Gravy||32.5|
|Purina Friskies pouches (many)*||34.1|
|Hill’s Roasted Chicken & Rice Medley Tin||34.4|
I have avoided supermarket own-brands and ‘special’ diets like light, hairball, indoor, urinary, senior etc).
* Moisture not declared so given average value of 78%
** some numbers seem impossible; the first three have ingredients adding up to 100.7%, 100.5% & 100% respectively before carbs are considered (my guess is that actual moisture levels are lower than the ‘max’ figures supplied).
Carbs In Kitten Foods
|Food||Carbs as %DM (est)|
|PRO PLAN Kitten Chicken & Liver Entree||2.1|
|Fancy Feast Kitten Whitefish Feast tin||4.6|
|Royal Canin Kitten Instinctive in Loaf*||10.9|
|Hill’s Kitten Liver & Chicken Entrée tin||15|
|Royal Canin Kitten Instinctive in Jelly*||16.4|
|Royal Canin Kitten Instinctive in Gravy*||17.7|
|Hill’s Kitten Tender Chicken Dinner tin||19.2|
|Hill’s Kitten Roasted Chicken & Rice Medley||28.9|
Kitten foods are much harder. Many companies just don’t offer them.
How to find out the carbohydrate content of your cat’s food
This is the same method I used above- it may slightly overestimate the true level but should be within a few percent.
Most foods have a Guaranteed Analysis. Weirdly, it doesn’t include carbs, but that’s OK; you can work them out from everything else.
Let’s use the Grain Free Blackhawk as an example. I’m not saying it’s any better or worse than other foods.
- Add up the %Crude Protein, Crude Fat, Ash, Crude Fibre and Moisture (34+16+3.5+8+10=71.5)
- Subtract this number from 100% (100-71.5=28.5)
- The carbohydrate level is approximately 28.5% (It’s not going to be exact but should be close)
This is as fed. To be able to compare wet and dry foods, let’s make it as a % of dry matter.
- Turn the moisture percent into a fraction (10% = 0.1. A wet food would be around 80% = 0.8)
- Subtract this from 1 (1-0.1=0.9. With wet foods, you’ll get a number around 0.2)
- Divide the nutrients by this number (28.5 / 0.9 = 31.7%).Remember these numbers are only estimations.
Now go out and explore. Please leave us a comment with your findings!
By Andrew Spanner BVSc(Hons) MVetStud, a vet in Adelaide, Australia. These blogs are from a series regularly posted on email and Twitter. Subscribe via email here to never miss a story!
Have something to add? Comments are welcome below and will appear within 24 hours.
Date on this page were collected as follows:
Fancy Feast, Purina, Veganpet: from package labels at Foodland Norwood 6/8/18
Hill’s from hillspet.com.au, Royal Canin from royalcanin.com.au, Ziwipeak from ziwipets.com, PRO PLAN from proplannutrition.com.au, Holistic Select from holisticselect.com.au. All accessed 7/8/18.