Why Do Vets Not Like Grain-Free Cat Food

When you are a responsible feline parent. Feeding the cat is a critical part of your routine. Understanding that they are obligate carnivores, their need for meat is catered. But there is always more than that. Especially, if the cat is plump you might want to keep weight in balance. While many questions come to your head. The striking one’s Why Do Vets Not Like Grain-Free Cat Food?

Why Do Vets Not Like Grain-Free Cat Food


Diet essentially is a vital part of feline fellow. The intake, the right proportion, and quality are crucial. All have a direct impact on the health of the cat. You don’t want the cat’s weight to be below average. And you don’t want it over either. A sound and healthy life are what we all seek for a cat. Sometimes people tend to feed cats a special diet. Generally, these special diets are called organic diets. Promising to be hypoallergenic and free of gluten, preservatives, and grains. But do cats need that? What do vets recommend? Let’s find out together.

Understanding Special Diet Versus Ordinary Diets?

 Ordinary Diet

An ordinary diet claims to have a rich protein source. The one comes from fish, beef, pork, and chicken. It also contains fibers taken from vegetable sources. Moreover, it contains some quantity of starch. Making up the granular matter.

Generally, commercial products use human by-products in cat food. It helps keep the product cost-effective. Still, some might focus on better quality and not fall for these. Allowing good digestible ingredients but with a higher price. However, both are bound to abide by AAFCO (Association of American Feed Control Officials) rules. An organization aiming at the provision of a balanced diet.

Special Diet

While opening about a special diet. We might cover Why Do Vets Not Like Grain-Free Cat Food? These are customized diets, aiming at specific feed goals. It normally targets customers that have special needs. It also promises gluten and grain-free content. Some ingredients are known to be problematic.

They essentially remain under AAFCO (Association of American Feed Control Officials) rules abiding. But it promises a supreme source of ingredients. For instance, protein is extracted from tuna, duck, venison, rabbit, turkey, or ducks too. All to meet special needs. And be free of allergenic content.

But What is A Grain Free Diet?

The grain-free diets are exactly what they are written as. Free of granular content. Normally if we try to describe what food offers this texture. It comes from the food material as barley, wheat, oats, corn, and rice.

Yet the grain-free diet is not carbohydrate-free. As ingredients like potato, peas, tapioca, yams, lentils, peas, beans, cranberries, and carrots. But grain-free food might not have as many carbohydrates. In comparison to the grain-filled equivalent.

What about the cat’s need for a balanced diet?

No matter, whether it’s a simple or special diet. All are supposed to have proteins, fibers, carbohydrates, and mineral content. These inherent meat eaters love meat. But they need to be treated differently from wild animals. It should be in a digestible form.

The young feline and elder feline, however, have different needs. And need to be fed three times more a day. It also needs certain amino acids to be delivered. The famous ones are taurine. In its absence, the cat shall fall ill. Issues like heart failure can arise. Whether the diet is homemade or commercial. All need to have an appropriate amount of this content in their diet.

Comparing Grain-Free Diet to Balanced Diet

When did we ask Why Vets Not Like Grain-Free Cat Food? A different practice is seen with the cat’s parents. Some might think the Grain-free diets are popular for some cat types. Many of them attempt to feed their cat with one. In a misguided attempt to save cats from hypersensitivities. Many have linked it to GI disturbances, respiratory issues, and rashes on the cat’s skin.

However, the truth is that allergic potential comes from ingredients. Like the ones from protein sources. Beef or chicken tend to have this potential. But the grains. Many of the cats might have actual allergies to grains. While most of the time it is the poultry sources. As described earlier.

Moreover, the cat’s parents believe some weight control effect is seen in grain-free food. Believing it will contain limited gluten. But the reality is to the contrary. It does not promise any weight control. Except for the famous misguided belief.

Such grain-free feed replaces the grain sources or by-products with others. The others are rice, oats, and potatoes sometimes. Each of them is inherently known for increasing weight. Peas, lentils or cranberries, and carrots could also be substitutions here.

Now the sad part. They end in the provision of high carbohydrate content. And all the above-mentioned ingredients compile up to cause gastric issues. Grains on other hand have been essentials of a balanced diet.

So Why Do Vets Not Like Grain-Free Cat Food because the absence of grains causes quite a few complications? Some of them include cardiac complications. The fiber in the grain is essential for digestion in the feline. Also to ensure the provision of some mandatory minerals and vitamins. Some of the prime ones are calcium, Iron, folate, thiamine, niacin, and riboflavin.

They all are packed in grains. It is generally believed these being supplied through grains is good for cat health. While absence might demand a supply of supplements. That brings in extra costs to cats’ health care.

What About a Gluten-Free Cat Diet?

Nowadays two things are seen with commercial feline food. One is grain free while the other is gluten-free. Gluten happens to be a protein. It comes naturally alongside the grains. The barley, rye, or grains added to the cat food brings in gluten. Many alternative options are there to make it gluten-free.

However, gluten-free does not necessarily mean grain free. A pointer for people confused with both terms. The grain-free however, rids the gluten too. But it is not the case with gluten-free. It might not always be grain free.

This gluten is an element that helps bind food, Thus, is inherently glue-like. The cat has rarely shown any gluten allergies so far. Thus like grain, gluten is a useful item in a cat’s diet. Needless to state that a healthy cat diet needs the right blend of all ingredients. Consequently making food selection a tricky thing. And important to ensure the safety and health of cats.

In recent times cat parents have fallen prey to a variety of food types. All with fancy names. Call it vegan, gluten-free, human grade, grain-free, freeze-dried, holistic, and even organic. Each comes with its good and bad. But mostly driven by human eating practices. Needless for the feline fellow. So if you wonder Why Vets are Not Like Grain-Free Cat Food. The answer is that it makes no sense. Provided with preceding discussion.

Deep Diving Into The Grain-Free Cat Food

While we try to unveil Why Do Vets Not Like Grain-Free Cat Food? Let us see what grain-free food entails. Many might be putting this term loosely. But it is supposed to have a certain definition. These are in actual caryopsis or simply the fruit of grass plants. It includes one of the following listed grains:







While this comes naturally having the seed coat blended in the wall of fruit. We do have a whole other list of by-products. Some of them might be:







So technically the commercial product is grain free on the package. Isn’t it supposed to be cent percent free of any of the listed products? The products or the by-products altogether.

What Is The Attraction In Grain-Free Cat Food?

Not just Why Do Vets Not Like Grain-Free Cat Food the pressing question. But why cat parents are so fond of it, is also a matter of concern. The grain-free food is also tempted by an added feature. That it is gluten-free. It is the protein part of the grain. Thus, technically putting off the grain from food. Sets off all gluten content too.

While many are attracted to this feature. The same many are unaware of the truth. Gluten might be known for hypersensitivity amongst the masses. But allergic reactions to cats have been rare with gluten. These are common with human food. It is rarely observed with the cats and their nutrition.

So Why Do Vets Not Like Grain-Free Cat Food is explained in the following fact. In reality grain, free cat food is nothing special or needed. It has nothing special to offer. In contrast, gluten-free or grain-free cat food for that matter. It overshadows the quality of the product, in fact bringing that into question.

Are Grain-Free Diets A Threat To Cats?

Technically no. The absence of one item may not be all dangerous for the feline fellow. It has no serious impact on the cat’s health. But some of the research is found. That hints at some cardiac issues in the cats that have been taking a grain-free diet. No direct link is proven yet some data can be explored. Shown a relation in grain-free diet to heart issues in the cats.

But no evidence explains the harm of grains to cats. They have some real importance than being the fillers. They are the digestible tool making protein digestion possible. And for the overall health of the GI system of cats.

Besides cats being carnivores, they are capable of digesting carbohydrates. This is what differentiates a sheltered cat from its wild counterpart. Data on the usefulness of grain is still being produced. Some research highlights promising features of grains.

When and Why Grain-Free Cat Foods Gained Popularity

It was only a moment when grain-free food was only a special recommendation. In the hands of vets under some defined conditions. They were part of prescriptions for cats. When they would come up with some unknown or unusual allergy complaint. An inflammation or dermatological condition led to its recommendation until now. So Why Do Vets Not Like Grain-Free Cat Food because it is unnecessary?

It was the trend amongst humans. Presenting a low-carb diet around the 2000s. Without any sensible weightage of advantages amongst cats. It was blindly adopted for cat food. By the end of 2010 gluten-free also became famous. With a rise in the advertisement of high protein and low carb cat food. So grains were swapped for non-grainy alternatives. Legumes, Barnes, and potatoes to name a few.

But the debate kind of gets hot. As people argue, cats in the wild munch on meat and no wheat at all. Making them question why the cat needs grain at all. This is true in natural settings they barely need starches. But for domestic felines, the ability to digest is seen. The need and growth have been different in sheltered animals.

It is added to cat food as an instant source of energy. To allow the application of vitamins. And have an energetic and healthy cat. It has been so far not seen with any complications. If you are in search of a comparison between Friskies and Fancy feast, this detailed article Friskies vs Fancy feast would enable you to have an informed decision.

So Any Allergic Alerts With Grains?

Food allergies are rare among pets. Let alone grain allergies. Normally the reported ones are from poultry. It is only the conventional belief that pet parents tend to have. The allergy test requires a blood sample and testing that is usually expensive. The results can be drawn after running a set of few tests.

So instead, people rely on famous beliefs and notions. Normally coming from vets. Other pet owners and friends. Cats that have been diagnosed with allergies to a grain like rice, corn, or barley should of course eat a diet that’s free of those ingredients.

If a cat has any of the following symptoms. Including any one or combination of itchiness, skin rash, hair loss, or stomach upset. A vet needs to be seen. And only the right diagnosis will let him define the right protocol to be followed. If a grain-free diet is one of the recommendations, Then it is your go-to thing. Otherwise when you ask Why Do Vets Not Like Grain-Free Cat Food. Has a simple answer that it is not required.

A Shocking Insight: Grain Free Diets & Heart Disease

DCM or Dilated Cardiomyopathy has been reported in cats taking a grain-free diet. The FDA has published some evidence in 2018. The study is still under consideration. Yet some supporting data shows that diets have more content of legumes, potatoes, and pulses. As seen in grain-free food are the main cause of heart issues not only in cats but dogs too.

DCM is a condition causing lesser elasticity thus enlargement of the heart. Some leakage into the chest from the valve can be seen. Ultimately entering into congestive heart failure. Justifying Why Do Vets Not Like Grain-Free Cat Food?

Take Away For Grain Free Cat Food Lovers

It is just a balanced diet that a cat needs. The right mix of protein, starch, and vitamins is all you need to think about. The grain-free diet has become famous lately. Mostly driven by fancy food protocols of humans.

The feline food industry has, however, used it as a marketing gimmick. Fancy designer food uses it as a tool to sell more. The fancier it sounds, the more it attracts the customer.

●      Also, grain-free is not necessarily gluten-free

●      The grain-free label does not confirm the quality

●      The grain-free diet is no evidence of a wholesome or balanced diet.

●      Do not confuse a sheltered cat with a wild cat. It is well set for digesting grain food.

●      The grain has rarely shown any allergies or inflammation in the feline community.

●      Grains serve cats as a source of energy.

●      No research backs the threats of dangers of a grain-free diet in cats,

●      Some health deficiencies will be associated with a grain-free diet.

●      If talking of allergens. It is normally poultry that incites allergic reactions. Rarely hooked with a grain-free diet.

Not much but some research has shown side effects amongst cats. For not intaking grains. The prominent issue is cardiac issues. Why Do Vets Not Like Grain-Free Cat Food is not because of one specific reason. But a whole list explains why vets do not support the idea.

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