Similar to humans, cats may need grain-free cat food as they can also develop allergies or intolerances to specific foods or ingredients. For example, some cats might be allergic to grains while some might be intolerant to the ingredients that belong to this category. So, let’s say that your pet has been diagnosed with an allergy or intolerance, and you’re looking for the best grain-free cat food to ensure that it meets its needs.
But before you proceed and purchase the first product that crosses your path, I would like to give you a handful of suggestions in my grain-free cat food reviews and the best products on the market. Aside from that, I have also included some key tips that will make the shopping process less dreary.
Farmina Natural & Delicious Grain-Free Adult Cat Food
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Blue Buffalo Wilderness Grain-Free Dry Cat Food
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Taste of the Wild Rocky Mountain Grain-Free Dry Cat Food
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American Journey Grain-Free Dry Cat Food
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Sheba Perfect Portions Grain-Free Multipack
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Best Grain-Free Cat Food Reviews (Updated List)
1 Farmina Natural & Delicious Grain-Free Adult Cat Food
Many pet owners have chosen Farmina Natural & Delicious Grain-Free Adult Cat Food because they determine it is the best grain-free cat food. And this is due to several reasons. First of all, your cat needs protein in order to thrive and preserve its health for many years to come and this recipe contains roughly 42 percent protein.
In addition to that, the level of fat is 20 percent. Basically, this addresses the needs of most cats. Granted that your veterinarian hasn’t advised you otherwise, your cat will most likely benefit from this formula as it is relatively balanced.
Moving on, considering that the level of protein is considerable, this also means that your cat will get its necessary intake of taurine – a critical amino acid for every cat, irrespective of breed, age or anything of the kind.
As for the calorie value per cup, it is 385. Therefore, make sure you assess your cat’s weight before determining how much you should be feeding it on a daily basis. You might also consider discussing this matter with your veterinarian, as he/she might have some handy suggestions as well. On top of that, as pointed out in most customer reviews, most cats simply love this food.
- Chicken & pomegranate recipe.
- Vitamins from fruits and vegetables.
- No by-product meals.
2 Blue Buffalo Wilderness Grain-Free Dry Cat Food
Blue Buffalo Wilderness Grain-Free Dry Cat Food is also grain-free and gluten-free. Therefore, if your cat is allergic to gluten or is ultra-sensitive, this formula might be just right.
Moving on to the source of the protein comes from deboned-chicken. Hence, you don’t have to worry that the meat your feline eats is from poultry by-product meals or something suspicious. In other words, the formula aims at providing what a cat would normally eat in the wild.
Still, different from a raw diet, which is obviously more similar to a wild cat’s diet, this dry cat food formula is more convenient while being balanced. In addition to that, it contains a list of necessary vitamins and antioxidants that are mandatory for your cat’s overall health.
Concurrently, it is important for a cat to get its intake of vitamins and minerals, as these protect its immunity from the harmful effect of free radicals. These play a part in all functions, such as the digestive function, muscle development, preserving the health of the coat and skin, so on and so forth.
The amount of calories per serving is 435. The minimum fat content is 18%, whereas the minimum protein intake is 40%. At the same time, the moisture level of the formula is 10%.
Here is the list of the first ingredients in the recipe, in the order of their prominence: deboned chicken, chicken and turkey meat, tapioca starch and chicken fat.
- Chicken recipe.
- 100% grain-free.
- Rich in protein for muscle growth and development.
- A blend of antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals for a healthy immune system.
- Prebiotic fibers for healthy digestion.
- Taurine for eye and heart health.
- No chicken or poultry by-product meals, corn, wheat, gluten or soy.
- Suitable for cats with food sensitivities.
3 Taste of the Wild Rocky Mountain Grain-Free Dry Cat Food
Taste of the Wild Rocky Mountain Grain-Free Dry Cat Food is another great alternative to grain-free dry food that is of the highest quality. It is one of the most popular products on the market, and this doesn’t come as a surprise. The formula contains sweet potatoes and peas, which provide your cat with a source of energy.
At the same time, the formula contains protein that will ensure the development of the cat’s muscles, as well as its overall health and wellbeing. The development of lean musculature is imminently connected with a cat’s consumption of protein. And the protein should usually come from an animal source, as cats are carnivores.
The protein content for this formula is 42% – at a minimum. This is a good percentage, addressing the specific needs of domestic cats. The formula also contains fat, which is, of course, appealing to felines. The fat content is 18%, at a minimum. As for the moisture content, it is 10%, as it is the case for the majority of dry cat food formulas.
This dry cat food is created specifically to address the lifestyle needs of adult, active cats. Therefore, the recipe contains the following ingredients: omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, chelated minerals, folic acid, antioxidants, as well as probiotics that come from a live source of micro-organisms. This product actually contains genuine smoked salmon, to make it more appealing to your cat.
Hence, if your cat is picky, perhaps this food will be down its alley.
- Roasted venison & smoked salmon recipe.
- Vitamins and antioxidants from real fruits and vegetables for healthy immunity.
- Omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids for healthy skin and coat.
- Probiotic blend for healthy digestion.
- No grain, corn, wheat, filler, artificial flavors, colors or preservatives.
- Suitable for felines with food sensitivities.
4 American Journey Grain-Free Dry Cat Food
American Journey Grain-Free Dry Cat Food is another great grain-free formula that aims at addressing the individual needs of the active adult cat. The first, most prominent ingredient in the recipe is salmon, which is something that appeals to most felines.
In addition to that, other ingredients included are veggies and fruits. The formula features 40% protein so that your cat can preserve its active lifestyle and develop muscle mass. A great advantage is that the formula is free from artificial preservatives, which is amazing particularly for sensitive felines.
Moving on, the recipe also contains taurine, which is a golden ingredient for ensuring a cat’s health. Essentially, taurine has a direct impact on a cat’s heart and eye health, which shouldn’t be overlooked. As for the omega 3 fatty acids, these support the health of the coat and skin. Note that this recipe is designated to meet the specifications of AAFCO, in terms of a cat’s nutritional needs.
- Salmon recipe.
- Grain-free, no corn, wheat, or soy.
- No poultry by-product meal or artificial preservatives.
- Taurine for heart and eye health.
- Antioxidants for strong immunity.
- Omega fatty acids for skin and coat health.
- 40% protein.
5 Sheba Perfect Portions Grain-Free Multipack
Sheba Perfect Portions Grain-Free Multipack variety pack incorporates three delicious grain-free recipes that your cat is bound to love. The highlight of this product is that it features a combination of real, nutritional ingredients, which are extremely beneficial for your feline companion.
Aside from this, in order to supply a fully balanced diet, the formula provides the vitamins and minerals your cat needs. This recipe is also suitable for kittens and nursing cats. The way in which you should determine the size of the portion is by assessing the weight of the cat and adjusting it accordingly.
This is a good option for cats that aren’t too keen on eating kibble. The recipe is particularly savory thanks to the gravy. The phosphorus content for the formula is of 0.29% for the chicken and salmon varieties, and of 21% for the turkey variety. As for the level of carbohydrates, it is of roughly 4%.
- Roasted chicken, gourmet salmon, and tender turkey recipes.
- For adult cats, nursing moms, and kittens.
- Vitamins, minerals, and taurine for a balanced diet
What Is Grain-Free Cat Food?
As the name clearly points out, grain-free cat food is a cat food that doesn’t have any grains whatsoever. Usually, most cat food assortments are made with corn gluten meal, wheat, and rice. The thing is that most cats don’t necessarily have to eat grain-free food, as the percentage of grains in food is usually small.
Still, there are cats that must follow a grain-free diet. That’s because they might have an intolerance or an allergy to this food group. As for the frequency of cat grain allergies or intolerances, these cases are quite rare.
In line with a study conducted by Veterinary Dermatology, corn was the grain that was the least likely to cause an allergy in cats. There are other types of allergies that are more widespread, such as an allergy to beef, dairy, fish, and so on and so forth. Determining whether your cat has an allergy is primordial. And the good news is that usually, the signs are quite evident.
For instance, some of the most common signs of allergies or intolerances to different foods are:
- Excessive hair loss
- Inflamed skin
- Excessive grooming
- Bald patches
- Hot spots
- Sores and scabs
If you notice that your cat has these symptoms, it might be an indicator that it has developed an allergy or intolerance. The thing is that cats could develop allergies over the course of their life. Therefore, even if your cat wasn’t sensitive to a given ingredient or food in its youth, this doesn’t fully exclude the likelihood of that happening in the future.
What you should do is to gradually eliminate different ingredients, so that you narrow down the cause of the allergy or intolerance. Of course, you should consult with a veterinarian as well, as there are tests that can showcase the existence of an allergy. Eventually, you may find out that your cat should be fed hypoallergenic cat food or cat food for shedding.
Can Cats Digest Grains?
Does your cat really need the best grain-free cat food or can it thrive off regular food? There’s actually a common misconception regarding grain-free food, namely the belief that it has more protein than regular food. Although this might be the case for some assortments, it’s not the norm. This is why you should make no assumptions of this kind unless you have carefully analyzed the label of that cat food.
Now back to the question: can cats digest grains? Actually, you should know that their digestive system is capable of that. The thing is that cats don’t have the same enzymes in the saliva, more specifically the salivary amylase. The salivary amylase is responsible for digesting grains before they reach the stomach. In fact, it is the pancreas of the cat that secrets this compound.
This is how cats are physically capable of digesting grains. This means that your cat can absorb carbs from grains. However, it’s true that, in the wild, a cat’s diet will feature a rather small percentage of grains. This is what explains the fact that they don’t need a significant amount to thrive.
Why Should Cats Eat Grain-Free Food?
For one thing, a cat should eat a grain-free diet in case it has developed an intolerance or an allergic reaction to grains. We’ve already indicated the main symptoms that point towards an allergy or intolerance. If you suspect that may be the case for your furry companion, you should discuss with your vet and customize your feline’s diet according to his/her suggestions.
With that in mind, let’s still assess the main reasons why many pet owners go for a grain-free diet. The first reason is that most experts indicate that a diet high in protein and low in carbs is best for cats. And this is true, in most cases, particularly when it comes to diabetic cats. Nevertheless, something you should bear in mind is that a grain-free diet isn’t automatically a diet that is low on carbs. Quite the opposite, there are some products that don’t contain grains but have higher carbohydrate levels. A diabetic cat is the best-fed cat food for diabetic cats.
Another reason why pet owners consider doing this is that they think a grain-free diet is best for pets with allergies. And this is ultimately true if your cat has an intolerance or an allergy to grains. Still, if your cat is allergic to another ingredient, feeding it a grain-free diet won’t do it any good whatsoever.
Therefore, it’s important to have a balanced approach to the topic and do your research beforehand. To be on the safe side, make sure you always check the label of a food product before purchasing it; this is the key to safeguarding your cat’s health.
Pros and Cons of a Grain-Free Diet for Your Cat
There are, obviously, a range of pros and cons associated with each decision. And the same goes if you were to choose to feed your feline grain-free cat food.
- In general, cat foods contain a lot of filler ingredients, which normally bulk up the intake of carbohydrates. Rice, corn and wheat are quite cheap in comparison with other ingredients. In some cases, these compounds are substituted for more protein or ingredients that are more nutritional.
- Typically, wild cats wouldn’t choose to eat grains, at least not as a prime choice. This is why a grain-free diet will be more similar to the diet of a wild cat.
- If your cat has been diagnosed with an allergy or intolerance to grains, then a grain-free diet will be better for its health and overall wellbeing.
- Grain-free cat food can be quite pricey. Nevertheless, high-quality food shouldn’t be fed in high quantities. Therefore, even if you will be paying more for the food, you will be feeding it less, which will even things out.
- Some grain-free food products are higher in fat, which can be bad for cats – especially cats that don’t engage in a lot of exercise. This might make them more prone to become obese.
Is Grain-Free Cat Food Really Better?
This topic is debatable, so to speak. Basically, grains represent a source of carbs – carbs that your cat uses as an energy source. Nevertheless, according to some experts, grains might lead to allergies or intolerances. And while that is true, the incidence of grain allergies isn’t as high as in the case of dairy or beef allergies.
On the other hand, even if the cat food is free from grains, this doesn’t eliminate the fact that it could have a high level of carbohydrates, such as potatoes. So, even if a product is introduced as being grain-free, this doesn’t mean it’s better than other products on the market on this ground alone.
Therefore, make sure that the grain-free cat food brands you prefer don’t overload their formulas with carbs, as this is a major cause of obesity in cats.
Is a Grain-Free Diet the Same as a Gluten-Free Diet?
This is another frequently met confusion when it comes to looking for grain-free cat food brands – namely the fact that grain-free is the same as gluten-free. Actually, they are not the same.
At the moment, roughly 3 million Americans have a painful condition known as celiac disease. This condition is the consequence of following a gluten-free diet. The good thing is that this condition doesn’t affect cats but still, it’s worth noting the difference between the two types of food.
In fact, generally speaking, in order to substitute the grains that are usually present in cat food, manufacturers add other ingredients such as potatoes, peas or apples. This is primarily why even the best grain-free cat food will most likely contain pretty high levels of carbohydrates. The bottom line is to provide your feline with a balanced, nutritional diet. This should be your ultimate goal when browsing for different food assortments.
Grain-Free Cat Food Buying Guide
How to Find the Best Grain-Free Cat Food?
You cannot expect to find the best grain-free cat food brands by chance, can you? Quite the contrary, you should know what to look for. So, just as you would do when looking for regular cat food, you should read the label of grain-free cat foods as well. This will help you determine whether your cat’s nutritional needs are met or not.
Also, you should get acquainted with the guidelines established for cat food by the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO). This association is responsible for determining the standards for pet foods in the US.
Therefore, only the foods marked as being balanced and complete address the nutritional standard set by AAFCO. But what should your cat’s food contain in order to offer it a balanced diet?
- The best grain-free cat food should contain protein. Note that the source of the protein should always be indicated. Otherwise, it might be derived from an unknown, suspect source.
- You should stay away from any food assortments that contain a lot of artificial preservatives, colorants, and flavors.
- There are some indicators pointing out that some specific food choices might not be good for your furry companion. For one thing, there are foods containing vague sources of protein such as by-products, meal, or animal digest – these are known as the worst sources of protein your cat could get.
- Cornmeal is also detrimental to your cat’s health, the same could be said about added sugars.
- Foods that contain high levels of carbohydrate fillers will only make your cat overweight, sooner or later. The most reliable grain-free cat food brands should have meat-based recipes, as cats are absolute carnivores.
- One of the reasons why cats must get their protein from meat is that this is the only ingredient that contains taurine. This amino acid cannot be sourced from a plant-based diet and it is essential for eye and heart health.
- Make sure that you pay attention to the fat content of the food. Obesity is a great concern among domestic cats. That’s because they don’t get enough exercise. But obesity is a risk factor for so many other conditions; this is why you shouldn’t leave your guard down.
How to Assess the Right Amount of Food for My Cat?
This question should be of major interest to every pet owner. Usually, an adult cat should get around 25 to 35 calories per pound of weight each day. By using this, you can calculate the total recommended daily amount and divide that into the number of portions you feed your cat.
Once you have determined that your cat needs the best grain-free cat food, you can proceed and start looking for the right product. I hope that my grain-free cat food reviews have made the search easier for you. The bottom line is that you should consult with a vet before changing your cat’s diet altogether.
It’s always best to implement changes gradually, as cats are creatures of habit and you don’t want them to become resistant to the new food simply because the change has been too sudden. So, as long as you consult your vet and look for high-quality grain-free cat food brands, you’ll be able to get the proper food for your feline.