Best Grain Free Cat Food: What Is It?
The term “grain free” is used when referring to foods that are devoid of grains. These include dry dog and cat food, human baby formula, and many other types of pet foods. They are not necessarily low in calories or fat content, but they do have less than 10% of any one type of protein source (such as meat). This means that they contain no wheat, barley or rye.
There are several reasons why these foods may be called grain free. For example, some brands use ingredients such as peas, corn or potatoes which are often considered legumes. Some companies prefer to avoid using those items because they might cause digestive problems in pets. Others claim that their products do not contain gluten, which is a protein found in wheat and other grains. Gluten is present only in trace amounts and it’s unclear if it causes health issues for humans or animals.
Another reason why these foods may be called grain free is due to the fact that they are made from a combination of different grains. That way, there are no exact measurements of each ingredient. There could be a mixture of flours, starches and sugars. If any one of them were deemed to be harmful, then all would suffer.
What Makes This Cat Food So Good?
This is a very high-quality food with an excellent blend of ingredients. It’s perfect for pets that don’t do well with grains because it uses smoked salmon, whole eggs and other real meats as its primary ingredient. There are also added nutrients to promote a healthy immune system and heart health.
What Is The Difference Between Wet And Dry Grain Free Cat Food?
Most grain-free cat foods are available in both dry and wet versions. Some are a mixture of both. The dry varieties tend to be more concentrated and are usually higher in protein than other types of food. Some have less fat than wet varieties. Wet cat foods usually consist of chunks of meat in gravy or puree.
Which One Is Better For My Cat?
It really depends on your preference and your cat’s current diet. Dry food is typically cheaper than wet food, but some cats may prefer one type over the other. Kibble tends to prevent tartar from forming on your cat’s teeth, but some wet foods do contain ingredients that promote dental health.
What Are The Top Grain-Free Cat Food Brands?
Some of the best grain-free cat foods on the market include:
1. Natural Balance L.
I.D. Limited Ingredient Diet: This brand offers several different types of limited ingredient diets with only one, two or three main ingredients (depending on the type). They’re low in fat and suitable for all life stages.
2. Nature’s Variety Instinct Grain-Free Recipes: This brand uses only natural ingredients that contain no by-products, fillers or grains.
The Instinct recipes are suitable for all life stages.
3. Fromm Family Grain-Free: This brand uses only high-quality proteins and whole grains as its primary ingredients.
Fromm is suitable for all life stages and its grain-free varieties are also free of corn, wheat, soy and ingredients that contain them.
4. Weruva Grain-Free Canned Cat Food: This brand uses only high-quality meat and organ meat as its main ingredients.
The Weruva varieties are low in fat and suitable for all life stages.
Benefits Of Grain-Free Cat Food
There are several benefits to buying grain-free cat food. One of the most obvious ones is that it’s suitable for pets with grain allergies. It’s also helpful for pets suffering from inflammatory bowel disease because it reduces the amount of carbohydrates that they consume.
Another benefit of grain-free food is that it’s good for pets with weight issues due to the fact that it contains fewer calories. Some grain-free varieties are also geared towards older cats and contain ingredients that promote a healthy skin and coat as well as support joint health.
Disadvantages Of Grain-Free Cat Food
Grain-free cat food tends to be more expensive than other types. It can also be difficult for cats to accept the taste of since it contains different ingredients and textures that they may not be familiar with.
If you’re ever introducing a new food to your cat, you should always do so slowly to prevent them from getting an upset stomach. It may also be beneficial to add a bit of their old food to the new one so they can get used to the taste.
Grain-Free Cat Food & Diabetes
It’s been proven that a high-protein, low carb diet can help animals (including cats) to better control blood sugar levels and can even promote weight loss in pets that need it. Some vets recommend sticking to grain-free varieties when dealing with diabetic cats.
Grain-free cat food may also be beneficial to pets with pancreatitis or liver disease. It’s important to consult with your veterinarian before making any changes to your pet’s diet to ensure that it’s suitable for their needs.
What To Look For When Choosing Grain-Free Cat Food
Always make sure that you’re choosing cat food that’s right for your pet’s specific needs. Some of the things that you should look for include:
Grain-free: Always check the ingredients to see if there are any grains listed. Grains aren’t necessarily a bad thing, but in cat food they’re mostly unnecessary.
Human Grade: If you’re buying dry cat food, it should always be “human grade.” This means that the ingredients are fit for human consumption, which basically means they’re safe for your pet to eat.
Life Stage: Different cat foods are suitable for different life stages. Kitten food is for kittens, adult food is obviously for adults and senior food is for elderly cats. The packaging will usually indicate what’s right for your pet.
Ingredients: You should always look at the ingredients before buying. By looking at the order in which they’re listed you can determine the main ingredients as the first ones are obviously included in larger amounts. For example, if corn is listed as one of the top five ingredients then it contains a lot of corn.
Calories: Caloric content is also something to look for when buying food. Kittens require more calories than adult cats and elderly cats need fewer calories than both of them. Again, the packaging will usually indicate what’s right for your pet.
Types Of Grain-Free Cat Food
Here are some of the most popular types of grain free cat food available today:
Grain-Free Canned Cat Food
Just as it sounds, grain-free canned cat food does not contain any grains or cereals. Instead, many of these products rely on more protein-based ingredients such as chicken and fish.
These products are usually more expensive than regular canned cat food but they’re also more nutritious, particularly for indoor cats which don’t get to hunt for their own food.
Many grain-free canned cat foods are suitable for all life stages, though some are only recommended for adults or only for kittens.
Grain-Free Kibble Cat Food
These types of food contain the same ingredients as regular dry cat food such as chicken, fish, turkey and other meats. The difference is that these products don’t contain any grains as an additive or as a main ingredient.
If you have a cat with digestive problems such as diarrhea or if you’re just looking to change things up for your pet, then it might be a good idea to switch to grain-free cat food.
Just like with canned cat food, many of these products come in different life stage varieties so make sure that you’re buying the right one for your pet.
Grain-Free Freeze-Dried Cat Food
These products are similar to regular freeze-dried cat food except they don’t contain any grains. Just like with other grain-free varieties, the main ingredients in these foods are usually meat based.
These types of food can be beneficial for cats with digestive problems and they might be a good idea if you want to mix up your pet’s diet.
Just like with other grain-free products, you’ll want to make sure that you’re buying the right kind for your pet’s age and life stage.
Things To Consider When Buying Grain-Free Cat Food
Just as with traditional cat food, there are some things you should keep in mind when buying grain-free varieties. Always make sure that the product you’re buying is suitable for your pet’s age and life stage as well as its diet.
If you have any specific concerns about your pet’s health, you should contact your veterinarian as soon as possible. Here are some general tips to keep in mind when buying grain-free cat food.
Consider Your Cat’s Age And Life Stage
As with regular cat food, grain-free varieties also have different labels depending on your pet’s age and life stage. For example, there are products specifically labeled for kittens, adult cats and senior cats.
If you have an older cat or a kitten, make sure you’re buying food that’s right for that specific life stage. Buying food that’s meant for adult cats when you have a kitten, for example, could cause your pet to grow too fast which can lead to health issues later on.
The same is true in the other direction.
Sources & references used in this article:
A broken heart: Risk of heart disease in boutique or grain-free diets and exotic ingredients by L Freeman – … Nutrition Service at Cummings School, Tufts …, 2018 – bexleyanimalhospital.com
Development of an aroma attributes lexicon for retorted cat foods by S Koppel, K Koppel – Journal of sensory studies, 2018 – Wiley Online Library
Consumer attitude toward the environmental sustainability of grain-free pet foods by DMP Conway, KE Saker – Frontiers in veterinary science, 2018 – frontiersin.org