Cats are obligate carnivores. That means that they need meat to survive. Cat food manufactures add additional items for their cost savings benefits, and not for the health of your cat. Feeding your cat a high protein diet is almost always the best way to improve their health, and in this article we’re going to go over some of the best high protein diet options out there for cats. There’s also a couple of carb free cat food choices on the list so you can totally ditch the extras too! These options will of course be the most expensive, but if you’re okay with a grain free low carb alternative then you can save a little money while still providing excellent nutrition to your cat.
What should you look for when choosing a low carb cat food?
The elimination of common grains like corn and wheat is of course the first step, but you should be aware that even foods marketed as grain free contain carbs in most cases. These companies usually replace the corn with a more nutrient rich veggies substitute, but you should still be careful that they are not filling it with yet another carbohydrate under the guise of a healthier diet.
When shopping for your cat’s new food make sure to check the ingredients list thoroughly. Manufacturers are required to list ingredients used in order of prominence. So, if a grain or replacement grain item like sweet potatoes shows up to high on the list, then you could be buying a food that is comprised mostly of non-meat items anyway. Look for whole meat items like Salmon, Chicken or duck as the first and hopefully the first three ingredients so you can be sure that you are getting an adequate amount of meat protein. The protein rating on cat foods will include proteins acquired from vegetables products like peas as well, limiting the amount of meat you’re getting.
Should you feed wet or dry?
While feeding dry foods is convenient, it is better to feed your cats wet food. The reason is that cats tend to get a lot of their moisture through eating, and if they eat only dry food it can have negative health consequences for them. When cats are lacking moisture in their diet they can acquire struvite crystals. These crystals appear in the urine, and they can actually cause blockages that can be fatal if not treated immediately. Feeding a wet food diet helps to greatly reduce this risk, and it can help your cat against kidney related ailments as they get older.
If you don’t want your cat’s entire diet to be comprised of wet foods for cost reasons, then you could consider doing a mix. For example, you could feed your cat a portion of wet food in the morning, and then feed them a serving of dry food in the evening. If your cat is a picky eater then it can also be beneficial to mix these items to make the dry food more attractive to them. However, if they decide to not eat immediately then the food is likely ruined. Feeding seperately prevents this, as if they don’t feel like eating you can simply put the food away for later without the dry being soggy.
Best Carb Free Cat Food Options
If you want to feed your cat completely carb free, then there are some great options out there. Beanietoes has done the work for you and weeded through the vast array of foods out there to find the ones that are truly carb free without any added junk in them. These products feature only meat ingredients, high protein and zero carbohydrates.
Keogenic Pet Food
This pet food brand is actually formulated to be fed to either cats or dogs. While this seems odd at first, but the reason cats can’t eat traditional commercial dog food is because there’s too much filler and they won’t be able to get enough nutrients. That’s not a problem with this brand, because it’s composed entirely of freeze dried meat proteins. There are no corns, grains or any other carbohydrates taking up space here and robbing your cat of vital nutrients.
There are some oils added here for additional nutrients, and of course Taurine, which all cats need supplemented to them. These foods also feature only a single protein item, making them an excellent choice for animals which have allergies or are sensitive to certain food items. The company actually makes two products. The one pictured is the freeze dried meat product, but they also have a “keto kibble” which has similar nutritional guidelines but with the addition of a small amount of veggie items such as dried beat pulp and flax seed. These will of course add some carbohydrates to your cat’s diet. It does not specify the exact carbohydrate count, but it should be rather negligible as these ingredients are rather low on the list. However, the freeze dried product is likely the best option for a carb free cat food on the market, as most others add some degree of carbs to the recipe.
Coming in at second place in the no carb category is Feline Naturals. This excellent food brand from New Zealand actually has two products. They have a high quality freeze dried offering that uses 99% meat with some added supplements, and they also have a canned product. The canned product is the more interesting offering here, because many of the high protein diets also tend to be low moisture since they are freeze dried. While you can add water to them, this often has a much different taste and texture which some cats may not like.
Their high quality canned food formulas will help to keep your cat in optimal health. It’s made of 99% chicken, lamb and organ meats. It also has plenty of fluids which helps your kitty to combat troublesome urinary issues and aid in digestion.
Keep in mind that they do have multiple canned products. One of these is simply a “booster” that you mix with dry food to aid in hydration. It is however not a complete diet, and shouldn’t be fed to your cat as anything but a supplement. So, be sure you are purchasing the correct product as linked above. If you already have a dry food your cat likes though, then you can of course use the booster to help your cat in avoiding struvite crystals.
Ziwi Peak is the last item on our no carb list. This company from new Zealand creates their food products using only high quality meat cuts like lamb, beef and venison. There are no grains, carbs, rice or gluten products to be found here, and the only additive other than meat is a small but of kelp. It’s so far down the ingredient list that it would be a negligible ingredient though.
The company offers a couple of products for your to choose from including a freeze dried option and a canned option which will offer your cat greater moisture content if that is a concern for you. Pet parents should keep in mind then when switching to a diet such as this it may take time for your cat to adjust. Especially if they have not been eating an all meat diet previously. You may even need to mix it with their old food initially until they are used to eating it.
Need some carb free cat treats to go with that?
Finding zero carb cat treats can be a real challenge, because so many of them are packed with sugar and other junk ingredients. However, we’ve got two picks for you that should fit the bill. These products are made purely of dehydrated meat products with no other additives. You can feed these as is or rehydrate them for a tasty snack for your kitty!
Looking for some tasty no carb treats to go with your kitty’s new food? These dehydrated duck hearts from Fresh Is Best might fit the bill!
There’s only one ingredient, and it’s preserved with dehydration. You can easily add water to these to plump them back up or even feed dry if you want to. Great snack for cats or pups too.
Alternative Low carb cat food options
There are some cases where you may want to feed your cat more protein, but an entirely meat diet is not possible. In some cases your cat may have digestive issue, and they may require a little more fiber to avoid having their stomach be a mess. There are some helpful ingredients for this such as pumpkin which can aid in settling their stomach. So, here’s our top picks for lower carb diets without being entirely meat based.
Stella and Chewy’s
This food is made mostly high quality freeze dried meat proteins, but it also adds pumpkin. The addition of pumpkin can be beneficial for pets who have digestive issues, and if your fur baby has trouble with vomiting, constipation or diarrhea, then this might be a good option for them. Pumpkin seeds can also support urinary health if you’re worried about kidney disease.
The recipes are 98% meat, but they also contain probiotics, a booster that promotes healthy gut bacteria which aids in digestion. This could be particularly useful for older pets who may have troubles with this due to other ailments or medications. Pet parents have reported that there seems to be a lot more veggie ingredients which are not always listed online. While none of these ingredients are a problem, you should review the updated list to make sure these items are acceptable for your specific animal. The exact ingredients your getting could be iffy with this brand so be careful.
Primal Freeze Dried Nuggets
This dehydrated product features 91% meat with a nice portion of healthy veggies thrown in to give your cat some added nutrients and fiber. Simply add water to this freeze dried product to turn it into a high quality wet food for your cat. This makes it more convenient to feed your cat a raw food diet.
Primal offers your cat the “whole prey item approach” including important items like whole meat, organs and bones. Everything is raised in the USA and New Zealand, and they avoid using any meat produced using antibiotics or hormones. This product comes in several flavors so it’s easy to find something your cat will eat.
Fresh is best
While Fresh is Best makes awesome cat treats, they also make some great foods as well. This product has a very limited ingredient list which features a single protein item full of whole meats and healthy organ cuts. It also has some healthy veggies thrown in, but they do not include any starches, grains, rice or any fillers. Unfortunately, this recipe does not include any pumpkin, and if your cat has a sensitive tummy, then Stella and Chewy’s may be a better choice for you.
It comes in a few different flavors, though some of them can be more difficult to find at certain retailers. Their products are all made in the USA, and they only use high quality ingredients. You won’t find any fillers or other undesirables here.