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Why Does Cat Food Have Jelly?

If you have looked at cat food and noticed the jelly inside you may have wondered why it’s even there…

Why Does Cat Food Have Jelly?

That weird jelly that you see in your cat’s food is quite normal. Think of it as basically thickeners and gravy, but it’s essentially just natural gelatin that comes from the bones and from the meat broth that is part of the food’s manufacturing process. As a bonus, it helps to keep the food moist!

While it looks fairly yucky to us, to your cat is sort of like getting ‘meat jello’ and some cats eat it first (or eat ONLY the jelly and then try to get your breakfast or lunch, too). That said, it’s perfectly fine for them to eat this and it’s not abnormal to see it in cat food.

Can you get cat food without jelly?

Two cats eating food from a bowl.

Two cats eating food from a bowl.

As the jelly tends to be part and parcel of making the food, it’s usually going to be there, just perhaps in smaller amounts in other types of foods. You can try looking for foods that advertise fewer fillers or choosing flavors that don’t include ‘gravy’ in the title.

Some of the smaller-portioned cat food tins have a smaller to the almost non-existent amount of gelatin in them as well.

You can also simply give it a good mix with a spoon to improve the appearance or even add a teaspoon of dry food, mix it, and in a minute or two, the dry food will expand and produce a nice consistency.

What is the jelly in cat food made out of?

It depends, but generally, it is thickeners, gravy, or even just a natural gelatin that is produced by the meat broth and the bone meal that is present in the food-making process. Gelatin is made from animal collages, which are part of tissues, ligament connections, and bones, so the jelly, while ugly, is quite natural and to be expected.

How do you make the jelly in cat food?

If your kitty just can’t seem to get enough of that jelly, you can make a much more nutritious home version as a treat for them and it will earn you some ‘brownie points’. You are going to need the following ingredients:

  • 3 cups of chicken broth
  • ¼ cup of small carrots, diced into tiny cubes
  • ¾ cup of cooked, minced fish
  • 4 and ½ tablespoons of flour

To make your kitty jelly, first, heat your chicken broth on its own to a nice boil, and then you want to set it aside to cool for approximately 2 minutes. Mix in your minced fish and carrots well at this point, and go ahead and stir in your flour.

Don’t worry if there is a bit of flour on the surface, as we are going to put the pot on the heat again. Heat your mixture on high now, preferably in a frying pan so that it is spread out a bit for easier thickening.

Stir slowly during the heating to keep it from burning and it should quickly thicken up like gravy. Once it does, take it off the heat and spoon it into a container and place it in the refrigerator. It should be quite gelatinous within a space of 1 to 2 hours fridge time!

Is cat food in jelly or gravy better?

The jelly is going to be higher in protein, while the gravy additives tend to be higher in carbs, and both are going to contain a moderate amount of fat. In general, you want high protein, fat, and lower carbs, so jelly is the better of the twain from a nutrition standpoint.

If you are feeding a young cat or a kitten, however, then those extra carbs from the gravy should be fine, but with older kitties, you should moderate their intake by only giving gravy-type foods twice a week with jelly-food types filling in the remaining schedule slots.

Is jelly food good for cats?

Yes, ‘jelly’ food is just fine, provided that the jelly is only present in the usual, small amounts (for instance, a half-inch film on top and a small presence throughout, with the majority of the food looking like minced meat).

A little jelly is to be expected, as the bone particles and the cooked meat will naturally form this substance when the prepared cat food is cooked and then canned.

Why does my cat only eat the jelly on the wet food?

If your cat is only eating the jelly, then they may not like the selection of meats that is in this particular food. Try switching to a different meat source and see what happens. If you are using beef cat food, then try a chicken one or a fish variety.

Also, consider how many snacks you are sharing with your cat. Snacks and treats should only make up about 10% of your kitty’s diet, so if they are getting a lot of scraps then they are only eating the jelly because it’s the tastiest part and you’ve already technically fed them something else!

Is Royal jelly safe for cats?

Well, yes and no. Royal jelly has some vitamins and nutrients but it’s fairly close in its composition to regular honey. While you could feed it to your cat or dog, they might well not eat it – it’s got a bit of a bitter taste for them.

Also, the high sugar content is not good if your cat is currently obese.

That said, royal jelly does have vitamins and is said to help to manage blood sugar, so with your specific cat you should get your vet’s input for the final word on the subject. It’s the same as feeding your cat regular honey, which is not something that they would seek out on their own.

Why does my cat only eat the gravy?

Several white cats beside food bowls eating.

Several white cats beside food bowls eating.

Just as we like adding gravy to our food, so your cat also enjoys a bit of cat food with some gravy on it – it’s as simple as that. The gravy is essentially a gelatinous broth from cooking the meat, along with a small amount of flour, and bone meal that is present in the mix.

Flavor enhancers are often present as well, making the gravy the ‘best part’ of the food from your cat’s perspective, so it’s only natural for them to target it first, or even to ONLY eat the gravy if they are getting plenty of scraps to go with it from your meals!

Is it OK if my cat doesn’t like wet food?

Yes, it’s okay, but wet food is quite high in nutrition and also helps to hydrate your kitty, so you should try a little compromise to see if they like it better. Start by mixing in two tablespoons of dry food and letting it sit in the wet food for 3 to 5 minutes.

Add one more tablespoon of dry food on the top, mix it in, and serve. This will give your cat a thicker consistency to the food, as well as the occasional dry-food crunch, and they might be more amenable to eating it all this way.

If you do have to switch completely to dry food, that’s okay. High-quality dry foods have their essential nutrients and they are also good for your cat’s teeth, as the crunch of the food helps to give them a good workout. Try this for a bit and then sneak in 1 tablespoon of wet food and see what happens!

Lindsey Browlingdon