Grain free cat food, as its name goes, is cat food that’s devoid of grains that usually include corn gluten meal, wheat, and rice. However, the fact is that most cats can do without grain free cat food.
Those who do require it are usually found to be allergic to certain grains, particularly rice and wheat. The interesting thing, however, is that in a study on 56 cats with food allergies, 45 cats were found to be allergic to dairy products, beef, and/or fish.
The question, therefore, that now comes to mind is: How reliable or useful is grain free cat food?
Does your cat need grain free cat food at all?
If your cat suffers from regular bouts of itchiness, excessive hair loss & grooming leading to bald patches, scabs and sores and inflamed skin, then it’s definitely allergic to something. Food here could be the most important cause.
It, however, needs to be confirmed by your vet through the process of trial and elimination, whether it’s a grain allergy at all.
Should it finally be diagnosed as a grain allergy, feeding the cat grain free cat food could provide some relief.
Is grain free cat food gluten-free?
Research shows that cats are mostly non-allergic to glutens. Thus, when selecting your cat's diet, you need to bear in mind that that grain-free and gluten-free are not the same thing.
Grain free cat food often contains ingredients like apples, potatoes and peas to replace grains. Some grain free foods also have the same or higher carbohydrate levels than grain-based cat foods and help provide the feline with a balanced and complete nutrition for sustained good health.
Choosing the Right Grain Free Cat Food
When selecting your cat’s grain-free food, first check if its manufacturer meets the stringent nutritional standards set by AAFCO or the Association of American Feed Control Officials. If that is so, then you know that the food is "complete and balanced." Usually high-quality grain free cat food has fish or chicken listed as the number one ingredient in all the grain free varieties available, both in dry and wet foods.
However, do bear in mind that cats have varying nutritional needs and there’s no one food that fits all cat tastes. Check if the grain free cat food is rich in proteins and probiotics so that they can collectively boost the cat’s immunity system and vision and enhance its digestive health and nutrient absorption.