I'm so confused...I thought we were supposed to stay away from anything with vegetables since cats are carnivors? Are you saying that the worthlessness of those outweight the stabelizers that keep meat only canned foods safe?! (at least I think that is what they are for...)
it's confusing. actually, i don't think there's anything wrong with vegetables and fruits like blueberries and cranberries used for antioxidant properties. what you don't want to see is the carb % being driven up by fillers like corn/soy/wheat/rice. although if a cat isn't sensitive to grains, i've noticed some of the foods like trader joe's and newman's own use rice. i have one cat who is grain intolerant so i just don't buy anything with grain to make feeding three cats less complicated. i mainly started avoiding carrageenan because one of my cats possibly has IBD, so i figured the less of it the better. all of these additives are present in a lot of human food. the seaweed derivatives were originally used in kosher and vegan food because most gelatin came from animal sources.
two of the weruva foods i buy only have xanthan gum, tiki cat has none, not even agar agar, hound & gatos only has brewer's yeast, spot's stew has xanthan and guar but not carrageenan, and wellness has carrageenan (not the core, just the plain old chicken pate type). spot's stew, wellness and the lotus are the only pates i use that have some fruit/vegetables, the rest are all meat. if you want to get very technical, you can write to any company and get the carb content, personally, i just got tired of all the calculating after i found combinations that my cats like to eat.
the gums, agar agar and carrageenan are thickening agents, not preservatives. by virtue of the canning process itself, the food doesn't really need preservatives as long as the remainder is refrigerated and used in a timely fashion. if you really wanted to go hog nuts, you could buy mason jars and can your own cat food, but i just freeze mine.
you can get around it all by only feeding raw meat if that's what you want to do, or you can make your own cat food. the only additives i put in mine are bone meal, nutritional yeast, vitamins a, d (my cats don't like liver) and e, salmon oil and unflavored gelatin. making your own food is cheaper than buying the high-end stuff but more expensive (and a little more trouble, but it's really not a big deal) than buying friskies.
if i can remember correctly, FF doesn't use the gums or carrageenan and all the original pate flavors are grain-free. it's the by-products that make it questionable food, but if that's what your cat likes and wants to eat, go with whatever doesn't make your life unbearable. finding affordable food their cats will even eat is the issue for most people, all additives aside.
i like BPA-free cans primarily because the cats are eating out of cans every day. i don't eat processed food very often so i don't really care for myself, but i think if eaten on a daily basis it could have some negative health effects.
i really not sure why lotus uses agar agar, either, because straight out of the can it's kind of sloshy but if i refrigerate some and warm it up in the microwave, the usual 25-30 seconds i use on the rest of the food turn it into soup, period.