Animals

Why your cat should be eating grain-free cat food

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cat eating pet food

Image: Shutterstock/Valeri Potapova

Why your cat should be eating grain-free cat food

Diet fads come and go, but grain-free diets have been popular for so long that they may be more than just a fad. A lot of evidence from nutritionists and the scientific community points to the idea that grains aren’t good for us and provide unnecessary extra calories and may even cause a variety of health issues, from inflammation to digestion problems. So if you’ve been following a grain-free diet –or even if you haven’t—you may be wondering about whether your pets should consume foods on a similar plan. Here are some of the reasons to recommend a grain-free diet for your cat.

Resembles a Natural Wild Diet

Cats are shameless carnivores, as any vegetarian cat owner knows. You can’t put a cat on a vegetarian diet because cats have evolved to eat meat. Even though most commercial cat food contains grain, these carbohydrates are used primarily because they provide cheap filler. You won’t often see a cat munching on large amounts of grasses in the wild.

Grain May be Indigestible

Just like some humans may be allergic to grains, cats may be too. Grains are highly allergenic. Some cats may also be unable to digest grains, which scientists believe is because cats lack a necessary enzyme in their saliva called amylase, which breaks down corn and wheat into more digestible components. However, cats do produce amylase in their pancreas, which can help with digesting grains.

The Type of Grain

Some cats in the wild would naturally consume some grain in the stomach of their prey. As gross as this may sound, it shows that cats do sometimes eat small amounts of grain. However, corn is not a part of a cat’s natural diet, and if you see it listed as an ingredient in pet food, it’s almost always as a filler ingredient.

Food for Diabetic Cats

Cats can be diabetic, just like humans. And just as with cases of human diabetes, the prescribed diet is often very heavy in carbohydrates. However, evidence shows that too many carbohydrates can be bad for diabetics.  Particularly if your cat is diabetic and their insulin levels are hard to control, try switching to a completely grain-free diet.

Kidney and Urinary Tract Problems in Cats

Cats are unfortunately fairly likely to suffer from kidney and urinary tract problems.  This may be more likely to occur due to chronic dehydration, which is a common problem in cats fed exclusively dry foods. Most commercial dry cat foods are high in grains and low in protein, which causes a need for more water and disrupts the correct urinary tract balance.

Mix of Wet and Dry Foods

Feeding cats a diet of exclusively dry foods can lead to urinary tract problems, whether the food is grain free or not. It’s important to feed cats a mix of both wet food and dry food, if not wet food exclusively. Wet food is more expensive and so is grain-free food, but your kitty is worth the best.

  • Linda Belcher

    Good advice!