High Protein Cat Food - Benefits and Risks You Should Know About
- Carbohydrates vs Protein for Cats
- What is high protein?
- Benefits of high protein for your cat
- Risks of High Protein Diets for cats
- Ingredients to look out for in your cat’s food
- Things to note before feeding your cat high protein cat food
- How to prepare high protein cat food?
- Best high protein cat food
Compared to dogs that require grooming, training, regular walks and companionship, cats can be relatively low maintenance as these felines can be very independent and don't really need much of human interaction. Even though these cats are easy to care for, you might want to look at their diet. Are they provided with suitable meals? Do their diets lead to your cats enjoying good health?
Carbohydrates vs Protein for Cats
One of the most common mistakes cat owners make is overfeeding their cats with dry kibbles. Kibbles contain excess carbohydrates and feeding this on a daily basis can lead to diseases such as diabetes and obesity.
Now, in the wild, cats mostly feed on other animals and these prey usually consist of only 2% of carbohydrates. Problems ensue when we feed our cats or kittens with dry kibbles as they are getting way more than 2% of carbohydrates!
A diet with high carbohydrates can potentially cause obesity as the enzymes in their body is insufficient to process them in high amounts. It’s high time for all the cat lovers out there to cut the carbs and incorporate proteins into their catto’s nutrition!
Most cats need a high amount of proteins because of the amount of benefits it brings such as weight loss and reduced risk of diabetes, which we will talk about later.
The general consensus, when it comes to cats, is that more protein is better than more carbohydrates.
What is high protein?
When we talk about the importance of a high protein diet for cats, what we actually mean is a high amino acid diet.
There are approximately 22 amino acids that cats use in their bodies, of which 11 are considered very important. This means if any of these amino acids are insufficient, it can lead to potential health problems for your cat.
One example of an important amino acid that needs to be present in your cat’s body is taurine. As taurine is not stored in large quantities in the cat’s body, it is indeed important for your cat to obtain these amino acids on a regular basis. Taurine deficiency can lead to degeneration that can impair the vision and weakening of muscle cells in the heart which can lead to death.
For an optimal high protein diet for cats, you also have to look at the total composition of protein in the food. Ideally, an adult cat required around 30 to 40 percent of their diet to be protein. At minimum, it is at 25 percent. To ensure your cats get the required amount, the composition of protein in the food should be within or above this range so that all your cat’s health needs are met.
With all these cleared up, by now you would understand that a natural and high protein based diet is very important to keep your cats active and healthy!
Benefits of high protein for your cat
The benefits of giving your cats high protein are:
1. Weight loss
Feeding your cat high protein, low carb diets not only helps your cat to lose weight, it also aids in reducing the cats’ urge to eat constantly.
Cats are more likely to feel satisfied eating canned or meat based food rather than dry food that contains too much carbohydrates and fibre.
Wet food is rich with lean proteins and this makes your cat feel and stay full until its next mealtime!
2. Reduced risk of diabetes
Usually, a high protein diet comes in the form of wet or canned food and are definitely favoured over dry foods as they provide a sufficient amount of water intake, lower carbohydrate content and easier portion control.
This can help control your cat’s sugar level and therefore reduces the risk of feline diabetes.
3. Reduced risk of obesity
High protein diets also help your cats with their natural digestive abilities.
This is indeed a safe diet for your feline as cats digest protein efficiently compared to carbohydrates.
It also helps to curb your cats’ appetite as consuming proteins make your cat feel full and this means your feline will not constantly eat. Naturally, less eating equals less fat.
Risks of high protein diets for cats
It is always best to feed everything in moderation. Too much protein may lead to a few health problems. Be aware of the following:
- Obesity: An excess in protein can lead to obesity as they are stored in the body as fat. Though better than carbs, an excess of protein is not a good thing either.
- Chronic kidney disease: The kidneys are generally responsible for processing excess protein. Too much protein for a cat with kidney diseases may lead to kidney failure as it is unable to keep up with the processing of protein in the body.
Ingredients to look out for in your cat’s food
It is undeniable that cat food is a blessing. It is convenient and affordable since you do not have to invest your time in preparing the food.
However, look at the ingredients stated on the food packaging label before purchasing. Watch out especially for the ingredients listed below as it may be dangerous for your cat:
1. Butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA)
These chemical additives are still used as antioxidant food preservatives in cat and dog food. Considered carcinogens, a research proved that BHA can possibly cause tumors and detrimental damage to both liver and kidney in lab animals.
Although it is okay to consume BHA in very small amounts every now and then, it can still deteriorate your pet’s health quickly and unhealthily.
Preservatives are rarely good. Ethoxyquin, propylene glycol (PG) and butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT) are dangerous to be used in human food. If it is not safe for us humans to consume, how can it possibly be safe for a 10 pound feline?
Ethoxyquin is added to cat food in order to ensure the food lasts longer on the store shelf. Feeding our cats food with this ingredient will definitely cause urinary and kidney problems in cats.
Not only that, the presence of propylene glycol in cat food can cause abnormalities in the red blood cells of your cats, which of course is highly toxic.
3. Unidentified meat by-products
It is advisable to avoid unidentified meat by-products as you do not have any idea what you are feeding your cat.
If the food package does not state the meat by ingredients, it can be quite alarming as there is a higher chance you might be feeding your cat crippled limb or roadkill as it can potentially be toxic to your cats.
If you come across any package with unidentified meat by-products on the label, it is better for you and your cat to move on to another shelf.
Things to note before feeding your cat high protein cat food
A few extra things to note is the current weight, health conditions and age of your cat. Depending on where your cat is, it is wise to do a little bit of extra research before putting your cat on a high protein diet.
Just like humans, different cats have different needs so consult with your vet and do your research first.
How to prepare high protein cat food?
To ensure your cats get enough protein, you can prepare a meal for them by yourself. This is the best way to do so.
For example, you can start out with 1 cup canned mackerel, 1 tablespoon sunflower seed oil, 1 tablespoon brown rice and 1 tablespoon of water or chicken broth. Combine these ingredients and blend them together until it achieves a smoother consistency. You can store these up to three days in the refrigerator.
Another recipe you can try is by combining 1 cup baked chicken, a quarter cup of mashed steamed broccoli, quarter cup of mashed steam carrots and chicken broth. Combine again.
Other sources of high protein (other than mackerel and chicken mentioned above) that you can mix and match with other ingredients are:
Remember that for your cat to receive enough protein, a minimum of 25 percent of their diet should be made out of protein.
If you are unsure, consult with your veterinarian before putting your cat on a high protein diet.
Best high protein cat food
If you do not have time to prepare your cat’s meals by yourself, getting store bought or ready made food from a pet store is perfectly acceptable for them.
As always, read the label to make sure the store bought food contains the right ingredients at the right amount and at the same time does not contain ingredients that are harmful to your cat as like the ones stated above.
One of the best high quality cat food with a suitable amount of protein in it can be found at the Petcubes store. The cat variety pack covers a range of different meats so your cat is not bored with the food whilst receiving sufficient amounts of nutrients and most importantly, protein.
It is indeed important for you as a cat parent to make sure your cat is on an appropriate diet in order to have a healthy and happy life. A high protein cat food diet has great benefits and depending on your cats, it may be best to feed them these kinds of food. Different cats have different requirements depending on their weight and age so be sure to consult a veterinarian to see what are the best food options for your cats.
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