As omnivores, we can consume both plants and animals, which allows us to eat a variety of diets, including popular low-carb ones like the Atkins diet. However, for our feline friends, eating a high-protein, low-carb diet isn’t a lifestyle choice — it’s a necessity.
Cats are obligate carnivores, which means they derive their energy and nutrient requirements mostly from meat. In the wild, they hunt their own food and naturally consume a diet that’s high in animal-based protein and low in carbohydrates.
Despite this, many cat-food manufacturers use carbohydrates like fruits and vegetables, as well as grains like corn, wheat and rice in their food. In fact, some foods marketed for cats may contain even more carbs than they do protein, which can actually increase a cat’s hunger and may contribute to the development of health issues later in life.
“As cats age, they metabolize protein less efficiently, which is why it’s critical to feed them high-quality protein,” said Dr. Bruce Elsey, a practicing veterinarian with more than 30 years experience and owner of Dr. Elsey’s Products. “High-protein diets can help slow age-related loss of lean body mass and support a healthy immune system.”
Find the ‘purrfect’ food
So what should you consider when selecting a food for your cat?
As you peruse the cat-food aisle, read the ingredients labels printed on the packaging and look for foods that most closely mimic a cat’s natural diet. That means protein.
“Cat owners should look for food with animal-based protein ingredients,” said Dr. Elsey. “Studies have found that cats naturally choose high-protein food over high-carb food, even if there is a smaller quantity of the high-protein food available since it emulates their ancestral diet.”
Just like on our own food labels, ingredients in cat food are listed in order of quantity. So if the first item on a cat food label is listed as chicken, for example, then you know the food’s chief ingredient is chicken.
Consider foods like Dr. Elsey’s cleanprotein™, a high-quality food inspired by the protein levels found in cats’ natural prey. The primary ingredients in Dr. Elsey’s cleanprotein™ are among the highest biological proteins available. More than 90 percent of the protein is animal-based, and it’s completely grain- and gluten-free.
And because it takes cats longer to metabolize protein, feeding your kitty a low-carb, high-protein diet means your feline friend will feel satisfied for longer, which translates into fewer early-morning wake-up calls to refill the food dish.
This article was sponsored by Dr. Elsey’s cleanprotein™.