is grain free bad for cats

Iron, thiamine, calcium, riboflavin, folate, and niacin are all in grain. Grain free diets may result in a deficiency of these essential nutrients. Plus, these carbohydrate sources cost more. Depending on your cat’s health status and specific nutritional needs, a diet with grain may be better than one without.

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Grain-free cat diets are a topic that cat owners who are investigating healthy options and closely examining their cat’s diet are likely to encounter, along with conflicting and strongly held opinions. The quick response to the question of whether feeding a cat a grain-free diet is safe is that it can be a healthy choice with minimal risk.

That said, “grain free” doesn’t always mean “healthy. These pet meals may still contain fillers and byproducts, as well as an imbalance of carbohydrates depending on the brand. This guide will examine the grain-free movement in more detail and assist you in deciding if it’s the best option for your cat’s requirements.

How Grain-Free Cat Foods Became Popular

Grain-free cat food diets were primarily the domain of experts until recently. Foods without grains may be suggested by veterinary nutritionists and dermatologists as part of a treatment plan for cats suffering from unusual sensitivities, allergies, or other inflammatory conditions.

After the rise of low-carb diet fads for people in the early 2000s, the pet food industry had a health halo effect in which people assumed that the perceived health benefits of a diet made for people would also apply to pets if they were fed that same diet. We saw a surge in pet foods that were high in protein and low in carbs.

When gluten-free options started to appear in more restaurants and grocery stores in North America in the 2010s, pet parents started to look for pet food that wasn’t made with grains.

Nongrain sources of carbohydrates like potatoes and legumes were substituted for staples like corn and rice in these grain-free diets.

Some Benefits Cats Can Get From Grains

Cats don’t require a lot of grains in their diet, but some can be beneficial. Grains provide several good essential nutrients, including:

  • Fiber
  • Fatty acids
  • Vitamins
  • Minerals

Certain whole grains may also provide a healthy amount of protein. Whole grain protein can balance an all-meat diet because it is easier to digest than meat protein. Include some nutritious grains in your cat’s diet if it needs to gain weight or is deficient in any of these nutrients.

When talking about grain-free diets for dogs and cats, Dilated Cardiomyopathy (DCM), a dangerous condition that weakens the heart muscles, is typically brought up. The FDA looked into the possibility of a connection between DCM and eating grain-free foods that included legumes in 2018, but the study found none.


Why do vets not like grain free cat food?

Grains contain important amino acids, such as Taurine, that dogs and cats need to have a healthy heart. By excluding grains in food, dogs and cats eating a grain-free diet can develop a Taurine deficiency which contributes to the development of heart disease.

Is grain free food better for cats?

Sometimes, your veterinarian may recommend a low-carb, low-grain diet for your pet. In these cases, cats that need to lose weight or take care of digestive troubles can thrive on grain free diets. Similarly, cats that are allergic to grains or gluten can benefit from grain free foods.

Does grain free cause heart issues in cats?

Although the cause of this possible diet-associated DCM remains unknown, these studies noted an association with diets that were grain-free or contained peas, lentils, beans or chickpeas as primary ingredients and found that cardiac dysfunction often improved after a diet change and, in many cases, taurine …

Is grain Free good for animals?

Despite the benefits for some dogs, there are downsides to feeding a grain-free dog food. Many people assume grain free means low carb, but that’s not the case. In fact, some dog foods without grains are higher in alternative carbohydrate sources like potatoes and peas. This could result in unintentional weight gain.