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What is this grain-free trend that is so popular? Is it another dietary gimmick? Or is it founded on solid studies? You may also be wondering if it is suitable for your cat and whether the ingredients involved are suitable to your cat’s palate. If you have come across grain-free cat food and are considering its pros and cons, read on.
If you are like any cat owner who adores their felines, you would be familiar with the process of choosing the right food and diet for your cat.
It is often an arduous and repetitive task of testing new and different ingredients. Until you stumble upon the one that is beneficial and enjoyable to your kitty.
Photo by Anel Rossouw from Pexels
What is the difference between your regular cat food and the grain-free food that has caught your eyes?
In your average cat food, you will find a form of protein, vegetable, a good dose of vitamins, micro nutrients and grains. These grains may come in the form of rice, oats, barley or wheat and they make for a good filler in these products.
Grain-free cat food is basically all the same ingredients as normal pet food, minus the grains.
This then begs the question: where will my cat get its carbohydrate?
Well grains are not the only carbs you will find your cat enjoying and is beneficial to its health. Most grain-free cat food will replace grains with fillers such as potato or beans, ensuring that your cat still gets its carbs.
With that in mind, it is still important that you read and observe the contents of products you purchase. As many will claim grain-free in their manufacturing process but not all are free of grain products.
The general health claim of grain-free cat food is that it is much closer with what a feline would consume naturally.
As most wild cats would not have access to any form of grain, grain is not an integral part of their dietary intakes in the first place.
This then brings up the issue with carbohydrates again.
“Where will my cat get carbs if they do not eat grains?” is the common question.
To answer that, we have to establish two important points here which are:
Your cat can derive carbohydrates from plenty of other sources such as potatoes or peas.
Some pet owners even offer corn.
Did you know that your cat does not actually derive its energy from carbohydrates?
This will come as a surprise for most as we commonly understand that our energy comes from carbohydrates.
Well your little feline’s biology is much different than us humans. Cats are known as “obligate carnivores” which means they derive their energy from proteins instead.
A simple observation of their wild and larger counterparts will shed light on this. Most larger cats such as lions or tigers hunt and consume only meat. You won’t find them being fed with any other food save for meat.
It is for this very same reasoning that most claim that a grain-free diet is much closer to your cat’s natural diet.
Of course there is also the low chance that if your cat has grain allergies, a grain-free diet would do it well. It is however very slim that your cat would have such allergies. Studies have shown that grain allergies are quite rare, at best, amongst cats.
As wonderful as providing a close-to-natural diet to your cat may sound, there may be some down sides to consider when going grain-free. Among the problems your cat may face or eventually face are:
First and foremost, grain-free cat food will place protein as a primary content in its production. This means that there is a higher amount of meat compared to your regular cat food.
Though this may sound like a good thing now that you understand that your cat is an obligate carnivore, there is a danger to it.
Image by Karin Laurila from Pixabay
Higher quantities of protein and meat also means more fat content.
This may seem harmless at first but high fat diets have been known to cause deaths in cats. This happens quite commonly with grain-free food because there is a tendency to overfeed your cat.
Overfeeding your cat with more fat content per day than per its requirement can be fatal.
This applies to most nutrients required by your cat which is why it is crucial for pet owners to consult the nutritional content and also your vet on how much should be given to your cat.
The second issue may not directly affect your cat as it is more financially-related.
Grain-free cat foods are typically more expensive than regular cat food. Owners may be tempted to give this dietary direction a try but may eventually be put off with its cost.
There really is no necessity for cats to eat grain free. All studies that have been carried out have shown that there is no such need and no significant pros and cons in going grain free.
The decision at the end of the day will really depend on the owner and the cat’s preference. Here are some things you would consider when weighing the pros and cons of grain free cat food for your cat.
As we have mentioned above, grain allergies are extremely rare among cats. If however, your cat does develop allergies towards grains, then yes, going grain free would do your feline much good.
Perhaps you practice a paleo diet and would like to give your cat similar dietary systems. There is no harm trying that.
We do advice that your cat’s food be prepared separately and to observe your cat’s transition as well.
Aside from the above, there is no significant good or bad when it comes grain free cat foods.
As we have always said, make it a point to study and consult your veterinarian prior to transitioning your cat to a new diet.
Here are a few recommendations for those of you who are looking to introduce some grain free foods to your cat. Test a few, or all of it before making a purchase.
If your cat is accustomed to chicken with grains, it may be advisable to to keep it on a chicken diet whilst transitioning to a grain-free diet. The Petcubes chicken cat food contains primarily skinless chicken breast, chicken neck, chicken liver, chicken heart, chicken gizzard and no grains at all.
This food will ensure that your cat has improved digestion, a healthier coat of fur and increased energy.
Perfect for cats with allergies, this Petcubes venison diet is a must try for all cat breeds. Specially flown in from New Zealand, it is made from human-grade Venison meat which is raw.
A raw diet is actually good for cats as it contains multiple benefits. A premium, raw cat food, feeding your cat this as a grain free cat food is one of the best decisions you can make as this diet is holistic with a targeted blend of protein, calcium, taurine, omega oils and iodine.
The unique feature of this grain free cat food is the superior formulation for cats that has allergy sensitivities. Air-flown in from Australia, this premium raw cat food is made from 100% wild kangaroo.
Incredibly convenient and easy to prepare, the additional supplements and nutrients included do not contain artificial flavours, colours and preservatives which can be toxic for your cat.
First of all, we would always recommend that you consult with the veterinarian that treats your cat. Your vet will be able to provide you with better understanding about grain free food.
Always do your research beforehand as each cat is different and may have different needs.
If you do make the change towards a grain free diet for your feline friend, we recommend you pace the transition. It is best to take your time and let your cat adapt to the new diet. Do not rush your cat or force it to go cold turkey on its previous diet.
A slow and controlled transition will ensure that your cat’s digestive system has ample time to adapt.
Always observe to see if your cat is responding well, or not, to the grain-free food.
Your cat technically does not have to maintain a grain free diet. It really depends on all the factors we have laid out and mentioned above. We highly recommend that you consult with your cat’s veterinarian before making any drastic dietary changes as your vet knows your feline’s ehealth the best and can provide you with better understanding if you would like to move towards grain free food. There are indeed benefits to it, especially if your cat has allergies!
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