All Rights Reserved 2022-2024

What is Crude Fat?

1 min read

Crude fat is the total amount of fat in the food, including all lipid components. This measurement is obtained using ether extraction, which isolates the fat content from the rest of the food. The term “crude” indicates that the measurement includes all types of fats without distinguishing between different fatty acids or their sources.


  • A dry cat food bag may list “crude fat: 15%.” This percentage represents the total fat content in the food, derived from various ingredients.

Importance of Fat for Cats #

Fat plays several critical roles in a cat’s diet:

  • Energy Source: Fat is a highly concentrated energy source, providing more than twice the calories per gram compared to proteins or carbohydrates.
  • Essential Fatty Acids: Fats supply essential fatty acids, such as omega-3 and omega-6, necessary for healthy skin, coat, and cellular functions.
  • Palatability: Fats enhance the taste and texture of food, making it more appealing to cats.
  • Nutrient Absorption: Fats absorb fat-soluble vitamins (A, D, E, and K).


  • For an active adult cat, a food with 15-20% crude fat provides sufficient energy and essential fatty acids to support an active lifestyle.

Sources of Crude Fat #

The quality of crude fat depends on its source. High-quality fats typically come from animal sources, which are more suitable for a cat’s diet than plant-based fats.

  • Animal-based Fats: Chicken fat, fish oil, beef fat, pork fat.
  • Plant-based Fats: Vegetable oils, soybean oil, flaxseed oil.


  • A high-quality dry cat food might list chicken fat or fish oil as a primary fat source, ensuring a higher quality of crude fat.

Interpreting Crude Fat in Dry Cat Food #

Although the percentage of crude fat on a pet food label is important, it’s also crucial to consider the source and quality of that fat.

  • High-Quality Fats: Look for specific animal fats or oils.
  • Lower-Quality Fats: Be cautious of generic terms like “animal fat” or plant-based fats listed high in the ingredient list.


  • Food A: “Chicken fat, fish oil” – High-quality animal fat sources.
  • Food B: “Vegetable oil, soybean oil” – Lower-quality plant-based fats.

Dry Matter Basis Comparison #

To accurately compare the fat content of different foods, it’s important to convert the “as fed” values to a dry matter basis, which excludes moisture content.

The formula for Calculating Dry Matter #

The dry matter amount (A) in percentage is calculated using the following formula:

Dry matter % = (“As fed” nutrient % / (100% – Moisture %)) x 100%

For example, if a dry food contains 15% fat and 10% moisture on an “as fed” basis, the dry matter fat would be:

Dry matter protein % = (15% / (100% – 10%)) x 100% = 16.7%

Bottom Line #

  • Read Labels Carefully: Look beyond the crude fat percentage and examine the sources.
  • Prefer Animal Fats: Choose foods with high-quality animal-based fats listed first.
  • Balance Fat Levels: Ensure the fat content is appropriate for your cat’s age, weight, and activity level.
  • Consult a Vet: Regular dietary reviews with a veterinarian can help ensure optimal cat fat intake.
Updated on June 12, 2024
Is that helpful?

Didn't find a dry food?

Provide as many details as you can so we can analyze the missing product and add it.

Thank you!

Found a mistake?
Missing info?

Provide as many details as possible about What is Crude Fat? so we can make it better!

Thank you!

How the score is calculated?

The actual calculation of the score is based on sophisticated and advanced algorithm that takes into account multiple parameters.

To simplify the explanation, the calculation is based on three main criteria:

(1) Amount of protein (more is better)

(2) Amount of carbohydrates (less is better)

(3) Quality and source of ingredients.

Based on that 3 main criteria, 9 score calculation rules are used to compare the different foods.

One major assumption is that the closer an ingredient is to the top of the ingredient list, the greater its relative weight and contribution to the food.

In general, cat food is composed of protein, fats, carbohydrates, fibers, vitamins, and minerals.

Protein is the most important component in a cat’s diet, and cats primarily get their protein from animal meat.

Fat is a primary source of energy and essential fatty acids.

Carbohydrates are controversial in a cat’s diet, as cats are obligate carnivores and typically consume very few carbohydrates.

Fibers play an important role in digestion and food absorption, and vitamins and minerals are essential for different organism functions.

Dry matter values are used to compare the amount of nutrients in different cat foods.
This means that moisture is excluded from the equation to provide a more accurate comparison.

Putting all of these and more into a formula results in a product score.

The maximum score a cat food can receive is 100.
Points are added or removed based on the score calculation rules.