But I Buy Grain Free Kibble for my Cat - Isn't That Healthy?
You understand that grains are fillers and offer nothing nutritional to your cat. They often create allergies, health and digestive issues, not to mention more waste in the litter box.
So, you steer clear of the grain filled cat foods - and head for the grain free - usually more expensive, but hey, it's important to feed your kitty a healthy diet. Unfortunately, the grain free dry cat foods are just as bad as the cat foods with grain.
Pet food companies have to create a dry food that is sticky enough to form into pieces of kibble, and that requires some sort of starch. The grain free options in the dry-food isle have substituted one carbohydrate for another. Pet food companies decided that since pet owners know that grains are bad for cats, and have hopped on the "no grain bandwagon", let's give them peas or potatoes.
Unfortunately, this doesn't make things any better.
Your kitty does not have the ability to break down starches and carbohydrates. She doesn't have the enzyme, amylase, that would do this for her. Peas, potatoes and lentils have phytates and lectins - and cannot be digested by your cat. This is why they are known to contribute to vomiting, allergies, digestive issues and IBD. Just like grains.
Cats have been forced to survive on grains and plants, but they don't thrive, and failing to provide your cat with a meat-based diet is one of the main reasons cats suffer from so many easily preventable diseases.
Why Is the carbohydrate Content Left Out On Nutrition Labels?
So it's evident that one of the main reasons dry cat food is so unhealthy is because of the carbohydrate (plant) content. Your cat simply doesn't have a carbohydrate requirement, can't digest starches, and feeding them will eventually cause issues. So take a peek at the back of the bag of kibble. You might notice that many manufacturers have left off the carbohydrate content from their nutrition labels. Hmmmm...wonder why?
Vets Aren't Feline Nutritionists
The unfortunate truth is that most veterinarians aren’t trained in feline nutrition.
If you’re wondering why your veterinarian is advocating grain-filled cat kibble, or discouraging raw “people foods” for your cat (even though many are healthy and appropriate for your pet), it’s likely because she simply doesn’t know any better.
So What to Feed?
So if we’ve ruled out cat foods with grain, without grain, with fruits and veggies, and without fruits and veggies, and even advice from the trusted vet, what is there left to do?
1. Stop feeding kibble
The first step to assuring that your cat has a nutritious diet is to know the dangers of feeding kibble to your cat. It has too many carbohydrates, it's lacking in enough meat protein, it's lacking moisture and causes cats to be chronically dehydrated, it doesn't clean teeth, and it causes or exacerbates many feline health issues.
2. Feed Canned
More and more veterinarians are becoming advocates of feeding cats canned foods (or raw!) due to their much higher meat and moisture content. A big hooray to the growing number of vets who are no longer fans of the dry kibble!
3. Go Raw
Perhaps the best way to provide high quality ingredients to your cat is to give him a raw diet. Whether you prepare a properly balanced raw diet at home, or you purchase a frozen or freeze dried raw food from the pet store, you've made a great decision.
4. A Proper Diet
Diets must be properly balanced - so if you feed raw, insure you are meeting your cat's dietary requirements. It's not okay to give your cat a chicken breast and figure he's eating healthy. Raw diets must have all the right vitamins, calcium, phosphorous, etc... If you choose the canned food route - read the ingredients to insure the food contains nearly all animal proteins, little to no plant material, and states that it's at least 95% animal protein. There are many great canned foods available!