Many veterinarians recommend cat owners switch their pets diet to grain-free. The cat is an obligate predator. And obligate predators eat proteins only of animal origin. In the diet of obligate predators, plant food is no more than 5-10%. It can enter the body from the stomachs of the killed prey. No matter how domesticated cats are, it is useless to argue with nature – this species has a high need for animal proteins and essential amino acids.
Cats don’t need plant food, they need meat and fish. The absence of grain in the composition of the treats brings the diet closer to natural and helps to avoid allergies and obesity.
What is the difference between grain-free treats and regular food?
When developing a daily menu for cats, it is important to consider the needs of the animal. For the full functioning of internal organs, a large amount of protein, vitamins and minerals is needed. But more and more often, overweight pets with problems with their hair and urinary system end up in veterinary clinics. In most cases, it is improper feeding that causes such serious diseases.
Most pet food contains dietary fiber based on corn, wheat, soybeans and rice, which act as ballast substances and contribute to the satiety of the animal. But they contain a minimal amount of vitamins and a large percentage of carbohydrates that make cats gain excess weight. The addition of grain components helps manufacturers to significantly reduce the cost of the product, but such nutrition negatively affects the health of the pet.
In grain-free food grains replaced with useful components:
- sweet potatoes;
- sugar beet pulp.
More expensive series contain particles of carrots, pumpkins, tomatoes and even cranberries. This provides the cat’s body with vitamins A, E, group B, antioxidants and phytoncides.
What are the benefits of grain-free cat treats?
Grain-free cat food has a number of benefits that can help improve the well-being and appearance of your pet:
- It does not contain gluten, therefore does not provoke an allergic reaction. Gluten-free food normalizes digestion and improves intestinal motility. Pets often suffer from constipation due to low mobility, so the addition of healthy fiber reduces the risk of discomfort and the frequency of regurgitation.
- It can act as a medicinal food for obesity. The increased protein content and a minimum of carbohydrates give energy, preventing cats from gaining weight. In premium food with beef or chicken, the percentage of the protein component increases to 75–80%.
- Veterinarians note that plaque accumulates on the teeth of pets less often, tartar does not remain.
- Grain-free diets do not contain high glycemic ingredients: cereals and their processed products (flour). The lack of fast-digesting carbohydrates reduces the risk of obesity and diabetes.
- Grain-free formulas are high in protein – when protein is deficient, the cat’s body uses body muscles and tissues from other organs.
- Grain-free food has extended formulas. It contains vegetables, fruits, berries, herbs, prebiotics, algae and yeast. That guarantees the availability of all the necessary vitamins, micro- and macroelements.
Food for cats without grain can be considered medicinal in some situations. Such food reduces the risk of urolithiasis, gives energy. The presence of nutrients makes the fur smoother and shinier, and normalizes the skin’s balance.
Types and classes of cat food
There are two types of cat food available on the market:
- Wet. It consists of 70% liquid, containing broth or water. It is suitable for feeding kittens, weakened and old animals. Their soft structure and balanced recipe make them the basis for a daily diet.
- Dry. Granulated feed has a convenient shape and does not deteriorate during long-term storage. The hard bits clean the teeth when eaten and bitten.
Most owners prefer dry cat food. It can be left in a bowl for a long time without fear of poisoning. But what matters is the quality and percentage of useful components, proteins, mineral compounds and ballast fibers.
Therefore, dry grain-free cat treats are divided into classes:
- Economy. Differs in a reduced protein content at the level of 15-20%. This is not enough for the full growth of the cat, and prolonged feeding often leads to the development of kidney and pancreas diseases.
- Premium class. Food represents the “golden mean”, combining a high-quality composition and an affordable price. The recipe contains natural fibers of poultry meat, fish protein (up to 30–35%).
- Super premium class. Does not contain harmful substances, salts or preservatives, not diluted with fragrances. These are the best grain-free cat food for pets of any age, providing excellent skin and fur condition.
Some manufacturers offer special food of the holistic class. It does not contain chemical and synthetic compounds that can provoke indigestion or allergies. The basis is meat of good quality and vegetable components take only 10-15% of the volume.
Rules for choosing a grain-free diet for a cat
- Consider age. Manufacturers offer brands of food for kittens, adults and seniors.
- Consider the physiological state. There are brands for pregnant and lactating pets, neutered cats.
- Don’t forget about the level of physical activity. Sedentary and overweight cats need special diets.
- Especially carefully select the menu for cats with allergies. Mono-protein formulas are best suited for such pets.
- Consider pets’ taste preferences. Manufacturers have taken care of a varied diet for your cats, choose the one that will please your pet the most.
- Be sure to check with your veterinarian. Any, even the most expensive and good food, must be approved by a veterinarian.
Grain-free diet is a must for cats with an allergic reaction to gluten. All the rest of the food will not suit the cat!
Side effect of grain-free food
When a cat is transferred to a new diet, the animal may refuse to eat: premium food often does not contain flavor enhancers, therefore, they are not so attractive for pets. The good gluten-free series are compositionally adapted to the diet of the wild cat.
Veterinarians recommend switching to grain-free food in the following situations:
- loss of hair, loss of fur shine or smoothness;
- increased lacrimation, sneezing;
- lack of mass.
It should be understood that with a sedentary lifestyle and a calm nature of the cat, the use of grain-free food can be harmful to health. From an excess of protein, it begins to actively gain weight. It is not recommended for pets with diseases of the kidneys, genitourinary system. Therefore, it is better to coordinate the transfer to a new type of nutrition with a veterinarian, to conduct a preliminary series of health tests.