Why Choose Grain-Free Cat Food
Feeding your cat a grain-free diet is not essential for their health, as unlike us humans, very few cats would ever have a grain allergy or intolerance (although in rare cases it has been known).
Its popularity is therefore slightly unusual and is likely subconsciously tapping into our own shopping preferences, as we are often swayed by foods free from just about anything which sounds nasty or troublesome for our tummies!
Therefore, when shopping for our moggies, we can’t help but replicate our own choices when it comes to food – after all, you just want the best for them.
Fans of the grain-free diet claim that the reason they are better for cats is because things like rice and wheat never had a place in the natural diet of cats.
Some people are also keen to feed their cats lower carbohydrates as there is conflicting research about how well cats digest them – with some claiming they do so just as well as dogs and others suggesting they struggle. However, it’s important to note that grain-free food doesn’t mean carb-free and while many boast a high-protein, low-carb ingredient list, plenty of other grain-free food includes starchy carbs like potatoes!
Although they probably don’t elevate your cat’s digestion as much as you’d hope by not containing grains, a positive about grain-free food is that they often attempt to be as natural and healthy as possible. This means they are often packed with tons of digestive aiding ingredients, vitamins, minerals and elements which can improve the lifestyle and health of your cat.
It’s added ingredients, therefore, do have a lot of benefits in terms of helping gut health, joint health or coat repair, but ultimately, switching your cat to a grain-free diet is not necessary.
The decision to switch to a grain-free way of life is down to you though, and you may find your cat finds such meals more palatable over any other option.
We do however recommend consulting with your vet before turning your kitty onto any new diet as they will be able to tell you whether it’s a wise dietary decision based on your pet’s age, health and other unique factors!
Features To Look Out For
High in Protein
Cats are obligate carnivores and so the bulk of their diet needs to be protein to keep their muscles strong and appetite satisfied!
If you’re looking to feed them a more natural meat-based diet, you’ll obviously want to find grain-free foods approaching levels of 80% or more protein content with a small number of fats and carbs included.
If you suspect your cat is suffering allergies, beware that animal meats are actually the most common type of food allergy – not grains! This means it can often be wise to go for ‘novel’ rarely used meats which your cat has the least chance of being allergic too as opposed to beef, fish and chicken.
If you’re looking to escape carbohydrate content for your cat, remember that grain-free doesn’t always mean carb-free! Plenty of grain-free food includes starchy carbs like potatoes or peas, which means your cat wouldn’t really be avoiding anything in their diet!
Carbohydrates also aren’t the evil that many cat food companies paint them out to be, and while a high-carbohydrate diet should never be a focus for a cat that thrives on protein and fats, it’s certainly not unhealthy for them to consume it in their diet, as the worst it will do is provide them with some much-needed energy!
As previously mentioned, cats also thrive on fats, something grains ironically tend to provide with their good source of fatty acids. You’ll therefore see plenty of grain-free products utilising fish and linseed oils to provide omega acids. As a bonus, these often tend to give a cat a more glossy and healthy coat!
These encourage the growth of good bacteria in the gut, aiding digestion.
Joint Care (Glucosamine & Chondroitin)
These ingredients help boost cartilage in the joints and strengthen bones and are most often included in recipes for mature or slightly older adult cats.
Vitamins & Minerals
Grains contain a lot of natural minerals such as iron, magnesium and selenium, so try and make sure your cat food contains plenty of vegetables or trace elements which can do the same job.
Free of Artificial Ingredients
If you’re going to the bother of making sure your cat’s food is free from grains, why would you pick one full of artificial and unnatural ingredients?!
Price & Size
The price of cat food can be expensive and it’s one of the big impacts on the annual cost of keeping a kitty. Think about how many times your cat eats per day to determine the size of kibble or amount of wet food pouches/tins you’ll need.
On average, people spend £100 – £200 on cat food per year, so you ideally never want to pay more than £16 for a month’s supply!