When it comes to buying food for your beloved feline friend, some research is essential. That’s because in the present times, cat owners have a wide variety of choices to pick from. Most of the times the cat owners are overwhelmed with all the products that come with all the different labels of gluten-free, fat-free, etc. With so many products stating that it is free of this or that, it becomes inevitable to understand what these labels really mean.
Quick Look: Top 3 Picks
Wellness CORE Grain-Free
Nature’s Variety Instinct Original
Canidae Grain-Free PURE
10 Best Grain Free Cat Foods
If you or any other cat owner finds the grain-free foods to be more suitable, then the cat owner has every right to feed that to his pet. However, remember to take the necessary precautions and do the research beforehand. Therefore, to help guide you through this research, some top-rated products are suggested in the below-mentioned list.
What Exactly is Grain-Free Cat Food?
Amongst the many pet foods, grain-free continues to be one of the most popular labels that has, over a period of time, caught the attention of many cat owners. That’s because there is an increase in the number of people who think that grain-free food may have more nutritional value. For this reason, this word-of-mouth idea has spread across owners who often look for this type of pet food.
But, the question that ultimately remains unanswered is ‘what is grain-free cat food?’ In simple words, it is a cat food that, just as the name implies, is free from grains such as wheat, corn gluten meal, and rice.
What Sre Common Grains Used in the Pet Industry?
For those that may be a little more unfamiliar with what grains actually are, here’s some clarity. Grains can be explained to be seeds from specific grasses that humans have begun to consume ever since they got civilized. Not to mention that these grains usually contain a large number of carbohydrates, which is a good source of energy. However, depending on how much is consumed, it can be good or bad for a specific animal. The reason for this is that products with too many carbohydrates contain little to no protein, fiber, vitamins, and minerals.
To give you a better idea about grains, below-listed are some common examples that we may have seen or heard of. You may also discover them in your cat food:
The Pros & Cons of Grain-Free Food
There has been a lot of argument over the years on whether or not grain-free food or food that contains grains are worth eating. On one side some people state that it is not natural to be eating grain-packed products, while others note that grain-free is no better for the pet.
Some of the noted positives of feeding your pet with grain-free food include:
- Increase in activity levels – Since some grain-free foods include high-protein, some cat owners found their pets to turn more active.
- Improvement in pet’s health – Some owners have stated that they’ve noticed their pet getting stronger and healthier with the absence of unnecessary grains.
- Easier to digest – Corn and other grains are said to be a wee bit difficult for cats or dogs to digest, so any product that is grain-free will be easier to digest.
- Processed grains are not healthy – This argument is why many tend to stick to grain-free food, rather than running the risk of feeding them with something that is not even considered healthy.
But Grain-Free Cat Food is Not Perfect
First of all, there is no perfect cat food. As shown below is a list of some of the noted negatives of feeding your pet grain-free food.
- Can cause weight gain – It may be a lot easier for your cat to gain weight through eating grain-free food since it is packed with other high-protein ingredients. Unless you feed this to active pets, this could be even more of an issue.
- Contains too many carbohydrates – A lot of the non-meat products listed on the package tend to contain more carbohydrates, which is non-nutritious.
- Expensive – Grain-free food tends to be more expensive than the typical grain-packed pet foods.
It is important to realize that one of the most common misconceptions is that the products containing grain cause allergic reactions in pets. However, so far, there has been no real substantial data to indicate that grain-free diets have any greater health benefits than those with grains. In fact, if you browse through the web to read the major benefits of grain-free foods, there really isn’t any empirical evidence that one can hold besides hearsay.
Food Allergy Symptoms
The thing about unnecessary grains in your beloved kitty’s food ultimately causing allergic reactions is not only scary but unwanted. To analyze this further and to figure out whether your pet is suffering from such reactions, there are plenty of things that you can do. To begin with, you can go about examining whether or not your cat is suffering from an allergic reaction. You can do that by looking out for the food allergy symptoms as shown below.
- Itchiness – You will find your cat itching away more, and if this isn’t due to some flea infestation or any other cause, you might consider allergies to be the culprit.
- Hair loss – Often, cats that are not responding well to certain foods experience sudden and excessive hair loss.
- Bald patches – This is due to the point above, but with excessive hair loss comes an array of other problems such as random bald patches.
- Sores and scabs – An interesting symptom to look out for are the sores and scabs that are found all over the body. This may be due to the incessant itching.
What Studies Have Shown
The idea that grains are the main cause for allergic food reactions may not be entirely true. As noted by the Veterinary Dermatology, it was discovered that corn, a grain that is found in many cat foods was in fact far from being the cause of many food allergies. A study showed how only 4 out of 56 cats tested suffered from allergy-related issues due to corn. It was noted that the majority of the allergic reactions came from beef, dairy or fish.
In another study by Cummings Veterinary Medical Center at Tufts University, they discovered information that was quite interesting. While researching on the nutrient information in 77 dry cat diets, 42 diets contained grain and 35 diets were grain-free.
- Some diets claiming to be grain-free as a matter of fact had some grain inside it.
- The average grain-free diet had lower amounts of carbohydrates than grain-containing diets. However, there were also grain-free diets with similar or higher amounts of carbohydrates than those with grains.
- Poultry, egg, and fish continued to be the most commonly sourced animal sources of protein.
- In grain-free diets, exotic meats such as bison or rabbit were found.
- Also, the calories were almost similar in both the diets.
As a result, the debate between whether you should be feeding your pet grain-free food or not, is always unanswered. That’s because there are so many claims from both sides asserting this or that. So regardless of what you choose, make sure to find products that are of high-quality, even if they are a bit more expensive. Not to forget that it is not you that is eating it but another life, your beloved friend. Therefore, you need to do your research and analyze which one is better.