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2 Health Benefits of Grain-Free Cat Food

Nicole Cosgrove Profile Picture

By Nicole Cosgrove

brown kitten eating wet cat food

There’s a bit of debate around whether you should feed your cat a grain-free diet, and we’re 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 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.

Should Your Cat Have a Grain-Free Diet?

While marketing team after marketing team has pushed grain-free diets as a more “natural” choice for your cat, the truth is that humans have had domesticated cats for over 10,000 years, and over those years, we’ve changed their diet quite a bit.

While lions and other cat lines don’t have grain in their diets, cats have had plenty of time to adapt.

In fact, there’s no study out there that can prove that a grain-free diet is better for your cat than any other high-quality diet.

There is one notable exception to this: if your cat has a sensitive stomach. If that’s the case, a vet might recommend a grain-free diet, and you should stick with it.

Maine coon kitten eating
Image Credit: Nils Jacobi, Shutterstock

Reasons for Giving Your Cat a Grain-Free Diet

There are tons of reasons that people give for recommending that your cat goes on a grain-free diet. The truth is, most of them don’t hold much water. No, it’s not a more “natural” way to feed your cat.

It also doesn’t necessarily lower than the number of carbs that they eat; most companies just bulk out their food with products like peas and potatoes, which raises the carb count back up. Still, there are two reasons that you might want to stick with a grain-free diet.

1. Higher Protein Content/Higher Quality Ingredients

While you can probably track down dog foods with grain that have just as much protein as the grain-free foods, it requires investigating the ingredient list. Most of the time, a product that is labeled as “grain-free” also has other high-quality ingredients.

This isn’t always the case, though, and you should double-check what’s in the food. Many of the top manufacturers market their products as grain-free simply because many consumers won’t buy it otherwise!

This is a perk of going with a grain-free product, even if it doesn’t have anything to do with the amount of grain in the food.

Complement this information by using our cat calorie calculator tool here:

The exact amount of calories an individual animal needs to maintain a healthy weight is variable and influenced by many factors including genetics, age, breed, and activity level. This tool is meant to be used only as a guideline for healthy individuals and does not substitute veterinary advice 

2. Good for Cats With Sensitive Stomachs

If your cat has a sensitive stomach, a shift to a grain-free diet might be just what they need. Most cats have adapted to be able to eat and process grain, but there are some cats out there that simply can’t handle it.

If you notice that your cat gets sick every time that they eat a food with grain or if your vet recommends that they have a grain-free diet, then you should consider swapping. While there’s no harm in most cats’ diets having grain, there’s usually no harm giving them a grain-free diet either.


Reasons That You Shouldn’t Give Your Cat a Grain-Free Diet

One of the most notable drawbacks of grain-free diets is that they cost more. Humans introduced grains into cat’s 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, it’s 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 doesn’t make much sense. You don’t eat raw meat like your ancestors, and your cat doesn’t need to eat like theirs.

Regardless of the type of food your feline companion prefers, finding a bowl that is sure to keep the mess contained can be tough. Our Hepper NomNom Cat Bowl features a wide tray designed to ensure that all food stays exactly where it should—inside the bowl and off the floor. The whisker-friendly bowls fit securely into the PP plastic base and are low and wide to prevent whisker fatigue. Its contemporary style will fit seamlessly into any home and it is completely dishwasher safe. 

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Final Thoughts

Grain-free diets are all the rage now, but unless there’s a medical reason to put your cat on a grain-free diet, there’s not much call for it.

It gets a great deal of hype and the ads are convincing, but keep in mind that domesticated cats have been eating grains for thousands of years, and those are your cat’s ancestors, not the wild lions in cat food commercials.

Featured Image Credit: MaraZe, Shutterstock

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