If you’re trying to figure out what the best low carb cat food options for your diabetic feline are, you’re at the right place. It can be stressful trying to find your picky eater a food that’s not only palatable but also doesn’t break the bank like a lot of the prescription-grade low carb cat foods that vets recommend can do.
But, what exactly is feline diabetes and how does it affect your cat? We’ve got everything that you need to know about what feline diabetes is, how it affects your cat, and what you can do to help give your cat a healthier, longer life.
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What is feline diabetes?
Having a solid understanding of what feline diabetics is and how it affects your cat will give you the tools that will you to properly care for your kitty. Feeding your cat a diet that’s low in carbs will help you to better manage your cat’s diabetes, as the amount of carbs that you’re feeding your cat has a direct relationship with your cat’s blood sugar levels and insulin.
Insulin is a hormone that’s produced in the pancreas and is expelled into the bloodstream when there is a spike in blood sugar levels. Insulin encourages cells to allow sugar into them, as the sugar is used as fuel for the body.
When a cat has Type 2 Diabetes, the cells in their body do not create enough insulin, which results in dangerously high blood sugar levels. If left untreated for an extended period of time, the pancreas stops producing insulin, which is what leads your cat depending on insulin injections to be able to survive.
Why should I feed my cat a low carb diet?
Feeding your cat exactly what it needs to have a body that’s healthy and thriving is an essential part of caring for your feline, whether your kitty is diabetic or non-diabetic. Some of the benefits that come from feeding your cat a low carb, high protein includes:
- Higher energy levels
- Reduced blood sugar levels
- Reduced gastrointestinal discomfort
- Minimized risk of developing IBS and chronic kidney disease
Should I be feeding my cat zero carbs?
It’s entirely true that if your cat has diabetes or if you’re worried that your cat is going to develop feline diabetes, you should be feeding your cat a low carb diet. It’s entirely possible to feed your cat a diet that has zero carbs, just try to keep the food that you’re feeding your feline under 10% carb content.
How do I choose the best low carb foods for my cat?
While no one specific cat food is going to be a perfect fit for your diabetic feline, there is a general guideline that you should be following along with. Here are some thoughts to keep in mind when shopping around for low carb cat food:
Canned cat food is the best
Dry cat food has a higher carb content than canned cat food, as ingredients that are high in carbs are absolutely necessary for the creation of dry cat food. While the majority of canned cat foods have a minimal amount of carbs, there are some canned cat foods that don’t contain any carbohydrates at all.
Be careful of portion sizing
The amount of food that you’re feeding your diabetic or pre-diabetic cat is just as important as the types of food you’re feeding your furry friend. Cats that are overweight or obese should be eating enough food to create a healthy calorie deficit to encourage weight loss. Aiming for your cat to lose one percent of body weight a week until they’ve reached a healthy weight is an appropriate goal to aim for.
Low carb, high protein
Feeding your cat foods that are high in carbohydrates, which will lead to rapid spikes in blood sugar levels, increasing your cat’s need for insulin. Feeding your cat foods that are low in carbohydrate content will eliminate your cat’s need for insulin; many cats thrive on food that is made up with less than 10% carbohydrate content, but if your kitty has a severe case of diabetes, you may need your feed them food that has a 5% carbohydrate content or less.
Develop a consistent feeding schedule
To prevent your cat’s blood sugar levels from dipping too low, you should create a consistent feeding schedule for your cat.
The best low carb, high protein cat food options
1. Feline Natural Grain Free New Zealand Chicken and Venison Canned Cat Food
The Feline Natural Grain Free New Zealand Chicken and Venison canned cat food is a great canned cat food if your kitty has food allergies to proteins that are commonly used in the creation of other cat foods. This canned cat food is comprised of chicken, chicken heart, venison kidney, and venison liver; the use of organ meats in this canned cat food makes it rich in essential vitamins and minerals.
With a protein content of 51.4%, a fat content of 28.6%, and carb content of 7.4%, you’ll notice that this canned cat food does have a moderately high carb content for it being a low carb cat food, but the higher carb content is because this canned food contains blood. The blood content in this canned cat food makes it extra palatable for your kitty, which can be helpful to have if you’re having a hard time getting your kitty to switch from dry food over to wet food!
2. Nutro Chunky Loaf Adult Chicken Canned Cat Food
Chicken, chicken broth, chicken liver, and pork broth are the four main ingredients that make up the Nutro Chunky Loaf Adult Chicken canned cat food, which has zero carbs and zero fillers! This canned cat food as 54.6% protein, 27.3% fat, and zero carbs per a serving, as Nutro uses guar gum to thicken up the canned food to prevent it from turning into mush while being stored.
3. NomNomNow Fresh Wet Cat Food
NowNowNow is made in small batches in a kitchen and sent out as a delivery service, so if you’re looking for cat food that’s been formulated by veterinarians that aren’t expensive like prescription-grade cat foods, you should check this brand out.
Comprised of chicken thigh, chicken breast, chicken liver, and carrots, this wet cat food has 66.7% protein content, 14.81% fat content, and 8.15% carb content. While the carb content on this cat food is the highest on this list, the added carrots that you see in the ingredient list are higher in carbs but give your feline extra vitamins and minerals.
4. Bravo! Feline Café Chicken Fricassee Wet Cat Food
The Bravo! Feline Café Chicken Fricassee Wet Cat Food contains dried green lipped muscles, which can help reduce inflammation and repair cartilage damage, which would be extremely beneficial to the general joint health of a senior kitty.
There are also no fillers or carbs in this wet cat food, as this canned cat food mainly contains chicken, chicken broth, chicken heat, and chicken liver. The high-content of organ meat in this canned cat food makes it extremely rich in vitamins and minerals, making it a perfect choice if you’re looking for high-quality canned cat food. With 52.8% protein content, 30.6% fat content, and zero carbs, it’s a perfect choice for a cat that has joint damage due to morbid obesity!
5. Crave Grain Free Food Tray Chicken Cuts in Gravy Wet Cat Food
If you’re looking for clean, simple cat food to start adding into your kitty’s diet, the Crave Grain Free Food Tray Chicken Cuts in Gravy wet cat food is comprised of chicken broth, chicken, chicken liver, and pork plasma. This wet cat food comes in individual pouches, which make it much easier to feed your kitty exact portion sizes.
The macronutrient profile on this wet cat food has 50% protein, 19.44% fat, and 5.6%, which makes it perfect to gently step your cat down from a high-carb lifestyle.
6. Wysong Epigen 90 Starch Free Dry Cat Food
Not all cats enjoy the taste or texture of wet cat food, which is why we included the Wysong Epigen 90 Starch Free Dry Cat Food on this list. Broken down, this dry cat food as 70% protein, 17.8% fat, and 0% carbs per serving. With the first four ingredients being a chicken meal, organic chicken, meal protein isolate, and chicken fat, this zero carbs dry cat food is almost too good to be true!
How Wysong is able to get away with producing kibble that has zero carbs issuing gelatin as a thickening agent, rather than using a synthetic ingredient to thicken up the cat food to transform it into a kibble. As for as the plant matter that you’ll find in this dry cat food, you’ll also find chia seas, coconut oil, yeast extract, apple pectin, rosemary extract, chicory root, probiotics, minerals, yeast culture, and vitamins.
7. Nutro Soft Loaf Kitten Chicken Wet Cat Food
If you’re looking around for a low carb cat food for a kitten, the Nutro Soft Loaf Kitten Chicken Wet Cat Food is the best low carb kitten food on today’s market. Per a serving, you’ll find that this wet cat food has 59.1% protein content, 27.3% fat, and 0% carb content!
The first four ingredients that make up this canned cat food are chicken, chicken broth, chicken liver, and pork broth, leaving your kitten with everything that it needs to grow a healthy, strong body that isn’t dependent upon carbs.
Trying to find a low carb cat food for your diabetic feline doesn’t have to be a struggle anymore! Hopefully, you’ve found a low carb cat food on this list that’s a perfect fit for your lifestyle and your kitty’s medical needs. Remember, you should aim to find a cat food that has less than 10% carb content per serving. Here’s to creating a healthier, happier, and longer life for your furry friend- good luck!
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Alizabeth Swain is a dedicated product tester, content writer who loves cats and their purrfect pet parents too. She has made it her mission to help pet parents around the world find the best products out there (without spending a small fortune).