Choosing the right gluten-free cat food is never an easy task, given the wide variety of brands available in the market.
This is more so after gluten-free cat food has become extremely popular of late. This diet works for cats that suffer from celiac disease, mild, or severe gluten intolerance or wheat allergies.
However, before feeding your cat a gluten-free diet, you also need to know it’s the best choice for your pet and if at all, it requires a gluten-free diet.
Does the cat require gluten-free cat food at all?
The fact is most cats can do without a gluten-free diet. There are, however, exceptions where the cat is truly allergic to glutens. This again is rare. Glutens can actually cater to some of the cat’s protein requirements.
It’s important to note, however, that cats being carnivores, need animal proteins for food. So, plant-based proteins or gluten can’t really be the sole source of proteins in their food.
Misconceptions about gluten-free cat food
Most cat owners feel that that gluten-free cat food has a high protein and low carbohydrate content This is a misconception because not all gluten-free cat food is low on carbohydrate content. Also, these foods can have potatoes replacing gluten containing grains, which are richer in terms of their carbohydrate content. Thus, low carbohydrate and gluten free cat food are not always the same.
Another reason why many cat owners opt for gluten-free cat food is that they tend to believe that their cat has food allergies.
Research has shown that grains are least responsible for food allergies in cats as compared to dairy products, beef and/or fish. If, however, your vet confirms that your cat is indeed allergic to gluten-containing grains, then, of course, it’s only prudent to put him on a gluten-free diet.
This can only be confirmed by conducting a proper allergen test from the cat’s blood sample to determine the actual cause of the allergy. This could be followed by a food trial with gluten-free food to determine whether the cat gets any relief or not.
It pays to remember also that gluten-free cat food usually comes without certain grains like barley, wheat, and rye. But since certain grains do not contain gluten, the gluten-free food may have some grain in it.