Cats and Grains Don’t Mix

Cats are true carnivores that have no nutritional requirements for carbohydrates and grain. Grains can be hard to digest, as well. Grain-free does not mean low carbohydrates. They both can cause obesity and diabetes. Many are also genetically modified (GMO) unless certified organic, which leads to many health concerns, including allergies, dermatitis, irritable bowel syndrome, inflammatory bowel disease, recurring vomiting and diarrhea, and abnormalities in liver, pancreas and immune system function.

As with dogs, cats have a nutritional requirement for the amino acid taurine, and some ingredients such as white potatoes, peas, beans and other legumes can interfere with its absorption. Taurine deficiency is linked with cardiomyopathy in cats. Since not all nutritional requirements are known for cats and dogs, it is best to rotate food brands and protein sources (poultry vs. red meat vs. fish) and stay away from white potato and legumes as much as possible.

Good choices for grain-free cat foods include freeze-dried Sojo’s, Honest Kitchen and Primal. Commercial raw recommendations include Answer’s and Darwin. Canned food recommendations include Nature’s Logic, Nature’s Variety and NuLo. Others are available, but reading ingredients is recommended.

Linda T. Stern, DVM MS CVA, is the owner of Healing Creatures Animal Hospital, located at 3300 Hartzdale Dr., Ste. 108, in Camp Hill. For more information, call 717-730-3755 or visit

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