Here is the answer to one of the most common questions I get asked. There is a bit of myth-busting and marketing to get through, and future blogs will explain a lot more. For now, absorb the few facts below.
Feline veterinarians realized years ago that many diabetic cats either went into remission or achieved better control when they were fed diets approximating the normal feline dietary requirements – high protein and very low carbohydrate.
Cats are obligate carnivores – they cannot be vegan or vegetarian but will survive an omnivore diet provided enough protein and essential supplements are added. There is a very important species difference to consider when managing an obligate carnivore diabetic. Cats maintain their blood glucose control and insulin release on amino acid levels not blood glucose levels like people and dogs. Proteins from dietary and body muscle breakdown are the major source of amino acids. Blood glucose and fructose are from the sugars and carbohydrates that we eat.
Unfortunately, there are very few commercial cat foods that come close to the 60% protein ideal for the best feline nutrition. Cats do appear to survive comfortably on plant-based protein sources, provided there is adequate supplementation of essential amino acids, fatty acids and vitamins. Low protein and high carbohydrate diets are the standard offering of pet food companies. There is some concern about the lifestyle problems of obesity and diabetes that may be exacerbated by these commercial pet foods.
For cats with chronic pancreatitis, IBD, a tendency to obesity, diabetes, cystitis or FLUTD, older cats (yes, including those with kidney disease), hyperthyroid cats and any cat that needs optimal nutrition, a canned food from this list will be better than any dry food or other canned food. I still supplement these foods with human grade cooked animal meat for my cats, but it is not essential.
The label, name, ingredient list and nutritional claims of a pet food brand and flavor can be extremely misleading. (There will be a more informative blog on this later). The only time you will know what is in that food is if you make it yourself.
This list is flavor specific. Not all flavors in the same brand will qualify, so do not fixate on the brand. I have derived this list from the data collected by Dr Lisa Pierson and published on her website https://catinfo.org/ . The full data listing may be accessed at https://catinfo.org/docs/CatFoodProteinFatCarbPhosphorusChart.pdf, for those curious enough to want to know why certain brands, including veterinary “prescription” diets, will never make it onto this preferred list.
- Weruva BFF cans (not the pouches) – any of the tuna flavours
- Earthborne Catalina Catch
- Fancy Feast Naturals – any of the pate
- Fussie Cat Premium – any of the tuna versions
- Fussie Cat Super Premium – only 2 flavours – chicken and beef in pumpkin soup, chicken with liver in pumpkin soup
- Natural Balance LID chicken and pumpkin cups
- Natural Balance LID tuna and pumpkin cups
- Nature`s recipe grain free in broth – any of the 4 flavours
- Proplan True Nature – beef and liver in gravy, chicken and turkey in gravy
- Soulistic Original cans – shrimply divine, double happiness, polynesian picnic, upstream dream, aromatic chicken
- Tiki Cat chicken (no fish) – puka puka luau, koolina luau
- Tiki Cat chicken and fish – hooluna luau, napik luau
- Most of the Tiki Cat fish flavours but not the “gourmet carnivore” flavours
- Weruva Paw Lickin Chicken
- Weruva Original seafood flavours
- Weruva TruLuxe except Mediterranean harvest and peking chicken
- Weruva Cats in the Kitchen cans – not the pouches
Feel free to either email me or reference Dr. Pierson’s document for more information or with questions. I will be continuing to publish and expand on feline nutrition in the next few months – keep following!
I am not affiliated with, employed by and do not receive any assistance whatsoever from the commercial pet food industry. The product listing above is not an endorsement, since the manufacturers may change their recipes and ingredients without changing labels and without notice to the consumer.