As a cat parent, it goes without saying that you want the longest and most enjoyable life for your feline pet. Making sure that your cat is getting the proper nutrients is essential for sustaining their health.
Therefore, choosing a cat food is a really crucial choice. The fact that there are now a staggering number of cat food alternatives has only served to exacerbate this.
Trendy pet meals including grain-free, vegan, vegetarian, raw, holistic, organic, human-grade, and freeze-dried cat food are becoming more and more popular among pet owners.
Grain-free pet foods, particularly grain-free cat meals, have emerged as one of the most popular and divisive breakthroughs in pet nutrition over the past 20 years, despite the fact that each of these diets has advantages and disadvantages.
However, is grain-free cat chow as beneficial to your cat as it would seem? Here is all the information you want regarding grain-free cat food.
What Does Grain-Free Cat Food Mean?
The word “grain-free,” in contrast to many other terminology seen on pet food packaging, is regulated and has a defined meaning.
The grain is the grass plant’s fruit. “Grain” comprises the following:
These grain by-products, which signify the presence of grain, may also be stated on an ingredient label:
A cat food is considered “grain-free” by definition if it doesn’t include any of these components.
Is All Grain-Free Cat Food Also Gluten-Free?
Since gluten is a protein found in grains, every cat food that is grain-free must also be gluten-free.
Be aware that although food allergies of any kind, including those to gluten, are uncommon in cats, despite the fact that they are a matter of much discussion in human nutrition.
As a result, cat food that is labelled as grain- or gluten-free is not always healthier or better for your cat. On the other hand, the nutritional value of a cat food diet is not always determined by whether it contains gluten, grains, or grain by-products.
Are Grain-Free Diets Dangerous for Cats?
Grain-free diets do not represent a health concern to cats or their owners. Although a connection between grain-free dog food and canine heart disease has been hypothesised, there doesn’t seem to be one for cats.
Grain-free cat food diets were mostly used by experts up until recently. Cats with peculiar sensitivities, allergies, or other inflammatory diseases may benefit from a diet free of grains, according to veterinarian nutritionists and dermatologists.
Following the popularity of low-carb diet fads for humans in the early 2000s, the pet food business saw a “health halo effect,” in which consumers believed that pets would also benefit from a diet’s purported health advantages if they were given the same diet. Pet meals with a high protein and low carb content have become more popular.
Pet owners started seeking for grain-free pet food in the 2010s, as gluten-free options spread throughout North American restaurants and supermarkets.
Ingredients like corn and rice were substituted in these grain-free diets for non-grain carbohydrate sources like potatoes and legumes.
Do Cats Need Grain-Free Food?
Cats in the wild don’t eat grain, was the straightforward defence offered in favour of grain-free cat food. Lions don’t typically be seen eating wheat. So why does my cat even require grain if he is derived from wild cats?
The notion that wild animals consume a food ideally matched to their dietary requirements is not totally correct, though.
Although domestic dogs and cats can digest more than 95% of carbohydrates, wild cats and dogs do not often consume them, according to nutritional studies.
Not as fillers but as a cheap and quickly digested source of vitamins and energy, grains are included to pet food. There are no noticeable negative effects and a cat’s quality or length of life are not decreased when grains are added to cat food.
What About Cats With Grain Allergies?
Naturally, cats that have been identified as having allergies to grains like rice, maize, or barley should consume a diet devoid of such components.
However, because food allergies are best diagnosed by intradermal allergy testing or expensive blood testing, many pet parents who believe their cat has allergies are relying on their own assumption or a suggestion of possibility by a friend, trainer, breeder, or veterinarian.
Grain allergies are present in a vanishingly small percentage of the animals that do actually have food allergies, despite what many pet parents assume. The vast majority of food allergies in cats are to animal proteins like chicken or fish.
If a veterinary dermatologist or other expert has not yet determined if your cat has a grain allergy, discuss with your usual veterinarian any signs your cat is exhibiting that have you concerned about a food allergy, such as:
- hair fall
- Bruises on the body
- digestive problems
They will be able to provide you with good advice on your cat’s condition and how diet may affect it.
Should You Choose a Grain-Free Cat Food?
Grain-free diets, as well as any diet containing components catered to an individual cat’s dietary sensitivities and demands, might be beneficial in some situations, such as cats with known food allergies, IBD, or other inflammatory disorders.
Grain-free cat food diets are not essential for the great majority of cats, especially those that appear to be in excellent condition.
Traditional diets, such dry cat food made from kibble and canned cat food, are often created based on nutritional research that aims to provide an answer to the question: what can we feed cats to reduce health problems and encourage a long and happy life?
You shouldn’t buy a cat food simply primarily on the price since when it comes to high-quality pet meals, price does not always equate to quality. It is advisable to discuss the ideal cat food with your veterinarian in light of your cat’s demands, age, and medical history.