The pros and cons of grain-free food.
More and more people understand that cats do not actually need a lot of carbohydrates. Therefore, commercial cat foods have introduced a variety of grain-free foods, including dry feed, canned food, dehydrated and freeze-dried food, etc. Generally speaking, the price of these grain-free foods is higher than that of foods with grains because the cheap food materials such as grains are discarded, and vegetables and fresh meat are added, so the cost will naturally increase. But what is the good thing about grain-free food? Is it worth your extra money? Please see the analysis below.
Benefits of grain-free food
Generally speaking, similar foods (for example, dry feeds) and non-grain foods have lower carbohydrate content and are more suitable for the cat’s own nutritional needs.
Many cats are sensitive to grains in their food, and they will have skin or gastrointestinal sensitivity symptoms after eating. Grain-free food can reduce the risk of sensitivity.
Cats are all carnivores, but they are actually not good at digesting plant foods, including grains. Grain-free food is therefore easier to digest, and the cat’s stool volume should also be reduced.
Many grains used in pet food are scraps or remnants of the human food industry. They are easily contaminated by molds and do not reduce their toxicity even after high temperature treatment. Since grain-free food does not contain any grains, the risk of food contamination by mold is greatly reduced.
Insufficient grain-free food
Although carbohydrates have been reduced, they are still too high. This refers to grain-free dry feed. The ideal diet for cats should contain minimal carbohydrates, preferably less than 10% (Dry Matter Basis). However, in general, dry feed without grains, due to production restrictions, the feed should not contain too little carbohydrates, otherwise it cannot be formed. Therefore, the carbohydrate content of generally commercially available grain-free dry feed is still more than 25% (Dry Matter Basis), which is still far from ideal nutritional indicators for cats.
The water content is still insufficient. The ideal staple food for cats should have a moisture content of no less than 63%. Therefore, grain-free dry feed and some dehydrated/freeze-dehydrated cat foods that do not need to be added back are still insufficiently hydrated. The health risks brought by cats’ lack of water will not be reduced because they are grainless. In addition, some cats may develop urethral and bladder stones after eating grain-free dry feed, which causes some veterinarians to advise parents not to feed grain-free food.
High fat and high energy. Generally speaking, the nutrition of non-grain food is relatively concentrated, and the fat and calorie content is higher than that of traditional feed. Therefore, eating a smaller amount can satisfy the cat’s daily needs. However, if the parents do not pay attention to this, they still feed the normal cat food in the same amount, or because the cat is allowed to eat for a long time without knowing the amount of food, the cat may become obese. Parents must pay attention to this point and read the recommended feeding amount and the calorie content of the food on the package.