As cat parents, we all want to choose a diet for our fur babies that will help them thrive and live their best life. A huge part of your cat’s overall health stems from their diet, so choosing the right food for them is an important decision. Grain free cat food has become hugely popular, but is it really better for your cat?
Today we’ll be exploring what grain free cat food is, whether grains are bad for cats and if your cat really needs a grain free diet (or if it’s just a trend).
Do cats need grain free cat food?
No dilly-dallying about, let’s jump right in and answer the big question on your mind. The answer to this question is … No.
It’s short and sweet, but it really is as simple as that. Cat’s do not NEED a grain free diet. What’s more there is no evidence to suggest it’s any healthier for your cat either.
Follow on to find out why…
So, what is grain free cat food?
There’s no trickery in the name, grain free cat food simply means that the recipe doesn’t include any grains. There are many different grains, but the most common ones found in cat food are wheat, corn, oats, barley, and rice. Grains can be processed in many different ways, resulting in by-products like flour, starch, hulls, bran, or gluten. If a grain hasn’t been processed and still contains the hull, germ, and endosperm it’s considered a wholegrain.
What’s the difference between grain free and gluten free cat food?
There’s a common misconception that grain free and gluten free are the same thing, but we’d like to dispell that now as it’s not the case. As we’ve just mentioned, gluten is present in some grains, but not all. These include wheat, barley, and rye, amongst others. Therefore a cat food recipe could be gluten free, but still contain grain. If you’re looking for a gluten free cat food
This means that if your cat requires a gluten free diet, due to an allergy (VERY rare), they don’t also need a grain free diet. You will just need to avoid the grains that do include gluten by thoroughly checking the front/back of the pack.
Are grains bad for cats?
Our meat-loving kitties are obligate carnivores. This means it’s biologically essential for them to feed primarily on animal meat, as they’re unable to synthesise certain amino acids. Some of these include arginine and taurine, which aren’t found in vegetable proteins, only animal proteins. Therefore it’s important to not just look at the analytical protein % of your cat’s food, but the ingredients too, as not all proteins are equal. Some cat food naughtily contains high levels of pea protein, which can make the protein % look high, but won’t provide your cat with the essential amino acids they need.