Controversy And Misconceptions Surrounding Grain
Though theres theoretically nothing wrong with grain-free cat food as long as it provides for your cats nutritional needs, theres still a great deal of controversy and misinformation surrounding the issue.
Until recently, grain-free diets were primarily found in veterinary offices and marketed as specialty diets for cats with food allergies and certain health problems. During the early 2000s, low-carb and gluten-free diet fads became popular and, along with them, a rise in the popularity of grain-free diets for pets.
The million-dollar question is this: do cats need grain-free food? No.
It may be true that you wont find a lion munching on grains in the wild, but grains can be used as a natural source of vitamins, minerals, and energy in a nutritionally balanced commercial cat food recipe. As long as the recipe meets your cats needs for protein and doesnt go overboard on carbohydrates, theres nothing terribly wrong with it.
Many Of Its Foods Are Grain
Grain-free diets have become incredibly popular in recent years for cats, dogs, and humans. Many people believe that grain-free diets are better for animals, saying that the foods are more natural, lower in carbs, and gentler on stomachs than their grain-filled counterparts.
However, theres no evidence that all grains are unhealthy for cats, and most cats are efficient at processing them. Whats more, they usually contain a variety of nutrients that are beneficial to cats.
As for the carb count, it can go either way. Some grain-free foods are lower in carbs than regular foods, but others swap out the grains for other high-carb fruits and veggies, resulting in food thats even higher in carbs despite being grain-free! At the end of the day, you have to compare the numbers on the ingredients list, not just the claims on the label.
In terms of being gentler on the stomach, thats a mixed bag. Some cats can have allergies or sensitivities to grains, but its rare. On the other hand, many grains such as rice are often used in cat foods because they soothe upset stomachs. Unless you have reason to suspect that your cat doesnt do well with grains, theres no reason to avoid feeding rice and similar foods to them.
Want to see more cat food reviews? Check out our review page here!
Redford Naturals Kitten Wet Cat Food
This food covers two different bases: kitten food and canned food. As with most of the brands other offerings, its an above-average food that could nevertheless be better.
The ingredients list starts strong, with chicken, chicken broth, and turkey liver being the first listed. That should give your cat plenty of protein and much-needed moisture.
Chicken meal can be found just a few ingredients later, helping to round out the foods nutritional profile.
Brown rice is the first non-protein listed, and its good for young cats developing tummies. You shouldnt have to worry about an upset stomach with this food. It does add more carbs, though.
Wed also prefer if guar gum was a bit further down the list. While its an important part of any wet food and can have important health benefits in its own right its best used in moderation, as too much can limit your cats ability to absorb other nutrients. Its the sixth ingredient shown here, which is worrisome.
If youre looking for an affordable kitten food that should check all the important boxes, Redford Naturals Kitten is a good option. That doesnt mean it couldnt be better, though.
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The Best Grain Free Cat Food
- Brand: Taste of the Wild
- First 5 ingredients: Chicken Meal, Peas, Sweet Potatoes, Chicken Fat, Pea Protein
- Primary Proteins: Chicken, Venison, Salmon, Ocean Fish
- Calories: 425 kcal/cup
- Flavor: Roasted Venison & Smoked Salmon
- Life Stage: Adult
This grain-free formula is enhanced with sweet potatoes and peas to offer your cat easily digestible sources of protein and assist in the development of strong and lean musculature. Other vegetables and fruits such as tomatoes, blueberries and raspberries provide antioxidants to help promote overall wellbeing, including a healthy coat, skin and immune system overall. Probiotics including those from dried chicory root helps aid good digestion. With no grain, corn or soy, there are also no artificial preservatives, flavors or colors.
The product contains real smoked salmon and roasted venison to tempt the taste buds and has been formulated for optimum nutrition for felines of all ages, from kittens to senior cats. Taste of the Wild Rocky Mountain is one of 5 cat food recipes mentioned in our Taste of the Wild Cat Food Review.
- First 5 ingredients: Deboned Chicken, Chicken Meal, Pea Protein, Tapioca Starch, Peas
- Primary Proteins: Chicken, Peas
- Flavor: Chicken
- Life Stage: Adult
- First 5 ingredients: Chicken, Liver, Meat By-Products, Water Sufficient for Processing, Chicken Livers
- Primary Proteins: Chicken
- Flavor: Chicken & Liver
- Life Stage: Adult
You may also like our Purina Pro Plan Cat Food Review.
It Has All Types Of Cat Food
Regardless of whether you prefer to feed your cat wet food, dry food, chunks in gravy, or a combination of all three, Redford Naturals has you covered.
It has the basic variety of recipes, including special foods for kittens, seniors, sensitive stomachs, weight management, and so on. It doesnt have an overwhelming amount of variety, like some larger food brands do, but unless your cat needs an incredibly specialized diet, you should be able to find a recipe that works for them.
Right now, all it has for cats is food, whereas dogs can also get treats and raw or freeze-dried foods. Hopefully, it will add more variety in the future, but at least it has the basics covered.
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Purina Beyond Grain Free Cat Food
The Purina Beyond grain-free cat food consists of premium natural ingredients, with the first ingredient being sustainably sourced ocean whitefish from the Pacific Ocean. With eggs as well as a source of protein, this food helps your cat to maintain lean muscles, as well as having a balanced ratio of fat, carbohydrates and essential nutrients to help support a long, healthy life and provide 100% complete and balanced nutrition for adult cats.
The recipe for this cat food is 100% grain-free are there are no poultry by-product meal, artificial colors, flavors or preservatives, so your cat is only getting the best ingredients from trusted sources. This food also comes in different flavors Icelandic Arctic Char, High Protein Pacific Tuna, and Salmon, Egg and Sweet Potato.
Purina Fancy Feast Grain Free Pate Wet Cat Food
The Pruina Fancy Feast wet cat food comes in packs of thirty with three different flavors beef, chicken and turkey. The grain-free, protein-rich formula features real beef, chicken, turkey and giblets, making sure your cat gets the protein they need to help keep their muscles strong so they can stay as active as they can. Also included are essential vitamins and minerals to take care of their whole body health, with every ingredient having a purpose and not just there to fill the ingredients list.
The tender pate form offers a great texture and is easy to eat, making this food perfect if your cat is not big on their food and youre try got get them to eat more. Without grains, these food cans are made to support your cats overall health with each serving delivering 100% complete and balanced nutrition. The food is manufactured in the US to give you confidence that the food is safe and of good quality too.
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Does My Cat Need A Grain
A grain-free diet is where the food contains no wheat, rice or corn. Although grain allergies in cats are very rare, they are still possible. Some of the symptoms include itchy or inflamed skin, excessive grooming, hair loss or bald patches, and sores and scabs. If your cat experiences any of these things, you can take them to your vet and they will be able to establish which ingredient it is, if any, that is causing these allergic reactions by a process of elimination. Of course, some cats dont necessarily have an allergy, but an intolerance to grains. Owners who suspect a grain intolerance in their cats have reported a lesser amount of vomiting after switching to a grain-free diet.
While grains are something that can be cut out of your cats diet, there are certain things that your cat must eat to survive. Mentioned above, cats are carnivorous and require primarily animal-based proteins to survive. This protein can come from a range of animals, such as chicken, beef, eggs, venison, lamb, salmon, sardines, mussels and duck. Organ meat, such as chicken or beef liver, is also a bonus. Unlike dogs, cats do not thrive well with carbohydrates in their diet and so the first five ingredients of the cat food should be meat.
Your Cat May Have Trained You To Feed It
The act of feeding is a training exercise between the cat and the feeder. Cats often key on the behaviors and acts that are a preview to feeding them and try to get the feeder to engage in these. A good example is feeding the cats as soon as you get out of bed in the morning. The cats will very often try to get the person up in the morning so that they get fed earlier and earlier and earlier
Another example is the cat running into the kitchen every time the fridge is opened since that is where they know you store the canned food.
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Health Benefits Of Grain
Theres a bit of debate around whether you should feed your cat a grain-free diet, and were not here to sway you one way or the other. What we will do is present you with the facts.
There are two main benefits of using a grain-free cat food, and they may or may not apply to your cat.
With how much marketing goes into grain-free cat foods, should you buy into the hype, or should you stick with lower-priced options? Just keep reading.
Can Cats Digest Grains
Although cats do not have the same enzyme in their saliva that we have called salivary amylase which assists in the breakdown of grains before they reach the stomach, they do have amylase secreted by the pancreas. This allows them to break down grains in the intestines as digestion occurs. So it is entirely possible for them to absorb carbohydrates from grains, although their diet in the wild would typically only contain small amounts.
Check out our review of Probiotics for Cats.
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Sub Zero Northern Lakes Review
The Sub Zero range from Nutrience is our favorite thanks to the large portions of meat and fish ingredients the recipes use.
This holds true for the above recipe, which has an unusual mix of meat and fish ingredients in Duck, Trout, Salmon, Herring, Hake, and Sebastes. This mix of poultry and fish ingredients is sure to provide a unique taste and a massive proportion of protein and fat.
Fish ingredients like Salmon are excellent sources of the Omega Fatty Acids, which is reflected in the recipe as it has 1.5% by weight of the Omega 3 Fatty Acids. This is significantly above-average for a dry dog food recipe.
Outside of this huge list of poultry and fish ingredients, the recipe utilizes a small portion of Peas, Lentils, Chickpeas, and Sweet Potatoes. These plant-based ingredients provide a mix of carbohydrates and fiber.
Homemade Cat Food Recipes
If you are a cat owner, it is completely natural that you want to feed your furry healthy and beneficial food. But what is the best cat food for cats and how to choose the right cat diet for your feline? It can be a bit challenging to figure out due to the huge amount of various cat food options available on the pet market.
You can feed your cat the most expensive dry or best raw cat food, but you got to understand that none of them is ideal for your four-legged companion. The cat food formulas are not perfect. The flaws can be in components, flavoring, artificial ingredients, or even texture. One more important thing is that cats belong to carnivores.
Thus, raw meat has necessarily to be included in your cat diet and grains have to be excluded from it. However, most cat food contains grains that can be harmful to your felines health.
But it is in your hands to help your furry and make its menu perfect. What about homemade meals for cats?
This alternative to mass-market pet market products would be excellent and be sure it is not as difficult as you might think. Just look at the benefits of home-cooked food for felines.
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Blue Buffalo Freedom Grain Free Cat Food
This Blue Buffalo cat food is made with no grains that contain gluten, and is formulated with delicious, real chicken as the first ingredient to help build and maintain strong muscles. Designed for indoor cats, this food contains natural fiber sources to promote healthy digestion and carefully balanced calories to help maintain a healthy body weight. There is an optimal blend of omega-3 and 6 fatty acids to help promote healthy skin and a shiny coat.
This formula contains BLUEs exclusive LifeSource Bits, a blend of antioxidants, vitamins and minerals that help to support immune system health, life stage requirements, and a healthy oxidative balance. This food is enhanced with vitamins and minerals to help support your cats immune system and it never contains chicken or poultry by-product meals, corn, wheat, soy, artificial flavors or preservatives. Also present is taurine, as essential amino acid for cats that helps maintain their heart and eye health.
Buying Cat Food In Bulk
Buying cat food by the pallet means generous savings compared to buying individually. It is also more convenient and, if you own a shop or a non-profit shelter, buying by the pallet will be essential to ensure that you have the stock you need, to hand. Check out the companies above to find your next wholesale cat food supplier.
Featured image credit: Veera, Shutterstock
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Reasons That You Shouldnt Give Your Cat A Grain
One of the most notable drawbacks of grain-free diets is that they cost more. Humans introduced grains into cats diets 10 millennia ago, and their bodies have adjusted accordingly. Modern cats can handle grains just fine, and grain-free cat foods are usually more expensive!
While the higher price is one deterrent, another is a potential link between grain-free diets and heart problems. So far, the link has only surfaced in canines, and even then, its not definitive, but the risk is still there.
The domesticated cat is nothing like their wild counterpart of 10,000 years ago, so going back and feeding them the same diet that their ancestors got doesnt make much sense. You dont eat raw meat like your ancestors, and your cat doesnt need to eat like theirs.
Raw Cat Food: The Risks And The Rewards
When it comes to the risks of raw cat food, it is all about common pathogens like Salmonella and Listeria. People who want to feed their cats raw diet must know about animal to human disease transmission and contagion problems.
Despite these risks, more and more pet owners choose a raw food diet for their cats because it offers some fantastic rewards like big improvements in skin, coat, energy and overall well-being.
It is known that raw food helps felines recover faster from numerous health issues such as urinary tract problems, digestive problems, dental disease, allergies, asthma, degenerative diseases, immune disorders, epilepsy and so on.
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A Quick Comparison Of Our Favorites
The first ingredient in American Journey Grain-Free Limited Ingredient Duck and Pea Recipe Dry Cat Food is deboned duck, making this food perfect for cats with chicken allergies. It also includes omega fatty acids for skin and coat health. Peas, sweet potatoes, and pumpkin offer vitamins and fiber, so cats with sensitive stomachs can benefit from this foods ability to be easily digested. There are no artificial ingredients or colors that bulk up the food without offering any nutritional value. Antioxidants for a healthy immune system, along with other healthy ingredients, make this food our best overall pick for grain-free cat food.
Our premium pick is Orijen Original Grain-Free Dry Cat Food. While its the most expensive option on this list, its also full of pure nutrition. The high protein content in this food is made up of chicken, turkey, mackerel, flounder, and eggs. This formula contains 90% WholePrey ingredients, including nutrient-rich bone and organs. The first five ingredients of this food are poultry and fish, and nothing artificial is added. The food is coated with freeze-dried liver for a kibble that has a raw food taste. Some cats have been reluctant to eat it. Other reports say that the kibble size is too large for certain cats.
- Cats may not like the new formula
Does My Cat Need A Grain Free Diet
Firstly, what is a grain-free diet? Well, as the name suggests, its one where the cat food contains no wheat, rice or corn. While allergic reactions to grains in cats is rare, it still can happen. Possible symptoms of a grain allergy include:
- Itchy or inflamed skin
- Sores and scabs.
If you suspect your cat has allergies, your veterinary can carry out elimination tests to establish what in her diet is causing the distress.
Some owners also believe their cats have an intolerance to grains, and experience fewer episodes of vomiting when on a grain-free diet.
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