Hi there, CAT Stanley here. I’d like to talk to you a little bit about cat food today.
I know choosing a cat food for your four-legged furry friend can be confusing. There are so many types of food available. Grain-free foods seem to be one of the more popular options available right now. But is grain-free really the best way to go for your cat?
The answer depends largely on your cat. Some cats do very well on a grain-free diet. Other cats don’t do so well as illustrated by the two examples in this post about grain-free foods for cats written by feline veterinarian Dr Dale Rubenstein.
Is there anything inherently wrong with a grain-free diet? No, absolutely not. A grain-free diet is a perfectly acceptable option for some cats. But it’s important to understand what grain-free foods are and, equally important, what grain-free foods are not.
As all of you probably already know, cats are carnivores. As a result, many pet owners and veterinarians prefer to feed their cats a high protein low carbohydrate diet. It’s easy to assume that because there are no grains in the diet the food is a low carbohydrate food. In some cases, that may be true. However, in many cases, the grain has been replaced with another carbohydrate-laden ingredient. For instance, potatoes or sweet potatoes are used in some grain-free diets, both of which are high carbohydrate ingredients. I’m not necessarily saying that makes the food “bad”. I’m only saying that this is not the diet you should be feeding if you’re looking for a low carbohydrate diet.
Another reason some cat owners elect to feed a grain-free diet is the belief that grains are a common cause of allergies or other gastrointestinal sensitivities. While some cats may have problems with grains, grains are not the only ingredient to which a cat might develop an allergy or sensitivity. Allergies and sensitivities to ingredients such as beef and fish are at least as common and probably even more common than allergies and sensitivies to grains.
As Dr. Rubenstein concludes in her post, “if the food your cat is eating leads to a shiny, soft coat, an alert, comfortable cat of normal body weight, with no abnormal stool, skin or other problems, then the food is fine for your cat.”
Please remember that no one food is perfect for all cats. There are many factors involved in choosing the right diet including your cat’s age, body condition, reproductive status, and health. If you have questions about your cat’s diet or which food is best for your cat, your veterinarian is your best source of information. Your veterinarian will be happy to help you choose a diet that is appropriate for your individual cat based on your cat’s unique nutritional needs.