Today, we’ll review 6 excellent options for low carb cat food. Because of its high quality and great value, our favorite is Weruva Grain-Free Natural Canned Wet Cat Food.
So whether your cat is overweight or diabetic, we have a low carbohydrate cat food option for your feline friend.
What is the best low carb cat food?
We compared dozens of products to find the best low carb cat food brands.
1. Best overall: Weruva Grain-Free Natural Canned Wet Cat Food
Weruva’s grain free canned cat food recipe is a formula based on shredded chicken. This option includes cage-free, bone, and skinless white-meat chicken.
This option is excellent for kitties who need to lose a few inches. It’s free of grains, corn, wheat, or soy, as well as gluten. There are no carrageenan, artificial colors, or preservatives.
What we like about Weruva cat food is how transparent the brand is about what they put in their food. Plus, when opening the can, you can see the content is chicken—it sort of resembles chicken soup and smells like it too!
The formula works to support feline urinary tract health. It’s low in magnesium, phosphorus, and ash, but high in moisture. It also contains a healthy dose of vitamins, antioxidants, and minerals.
If your cat isn’t into chicken, Weruva offers a large selection of other flavors. This includes fish, eggs, beef, among many others.
- Real shredded chicken meat
- Free of grains, wheat, corn, gluten, among others
- Fortified with antioxidants, minerals, and vitamins
- Supports urinary health
- Several other flavors are available
- Your cat may not enjoy the consistency. The sauce is thicker than water but not as thick as a heavy stew.
This variety pack from Tiki Cat is a grain-free and chock full of seafood.
What’s great about this brand is that it always uses real animal protein. There are no artificial fillers to mimic the flavor, only authentic wild-caught seafood.
In addition to being grain-free, the recipe also doesn’t contain any carbs or by-products. It’s rich in omega fatty acids, helping your kitty’s coat and skin.
The seafood pieces sit in a calamari consomme. It’s high in moisture, suggesting it’s suitable for cats that need to hydrate. The formula is suitable for all life stages.
- Consists of wild-caught seafood
- No carbs or by-products
- Rich in omega fatty acids
- Delicious shellfish consomme
- High in moisture
- Suitable for all life stages
- Cat owners claim that there are literally chunks of sardines
- Not suitable for cats with fish allergies
If your cat prefers dry kibble, we recommend this option from Crave.
This low carb dry cat food contains chicken and salmon. It’s specially formulated for indoor kitties.
The first two ingredients are real chicken meat and chicken meal. It’s also high protein-containing up to 40 percent in a single bag.
The formula is grain free. The kibble is free of corn, wheat, soy, and by-product meal. It’s a balanced diet.
Crave also offers other flavor options, including chicken, salmon and ocean fish, turkey or chicken, and duck.
- Formulated for indoor cats
- High protein
- Free of grains, wheat, and soy
- Several flavor options available
- The recipe contains some carbohydrates
- Not suitable for allergic cats
Nulo’s grain-free low carb dry cat food is suitable for indoor kitties who need to cut down on the carbs.
The formula is free of corn, wheat, soy, tapioca, and white potatoes. Instead, it’s high in meat, consisting of 83 percent animal-based protein so that your cat gets its daily dose of amino acids and a better overall flavor.
The low carb count is why this diet made the list. Nulo included only low glycemic ingredients, such as lentils, chickpeas, and sweet potato.
It also works to improve gut flora and maintenance. It includes a patented BC30 probiotic, beneficial for food digestion, metabolism regulation, and immune response.
The kibble consists of small disk-shaped morsels that have a nice texture.
- Contains only low glycemic ingredients
- Includes 83 percent animal protein
- Maintains gut flora
- Aids in metabolism regulation and immune response
- Disk-shaped morsels
- The kibble has a strong odor
- Pieces are very small
If you want to try a raw diet, we highly recommend looking at Stella & Chewy. This freeze-dried recipe consists of 98 percent cage-free chicken meat, organs, and bone.
The bag includes bite-sized morsels of high-quality protein, enriched with taurine and probiotics. All the ingredients are responsibly sourced, and no component comes from China.
The brand produces all its food in its U.S. factories with care. It manufactures its products in an all-natural, minimally processed way. It’s then quickly freeze-dried to preserve flavor and nutrition.
Thanks to the process, much of the protein comes from real meat, so it doesn’t need a lot of added ingredients and hormones to provide a balanced meal.
The formula is free of antibiotics, fillers, and grains. It’s suitable for all life stages and works wonders as an afternoon treat.
Before serving, add a little water to increase the moisture content.
- Contains 98 percent animal-based protein
- Responsibly sourced ingredients
- Made in the U.S.
- Aids in digestion and appetite
- Suitable for most cats with food allergies
- Rich in nutrients and flavor
- Nuggets crumble easily
- A few pieces may contain large or sharp bones
6. Instinct Ultimate Protein Grain-Free Recipe
If you’re looking for a low-carb, high protein kibble, Instinct has a viable option. This grain-free chicken recipe offers up to three times more protein than other dry foods. The low carb cat food kibble is highly digestible, helping your cat get all its needed nutrients.
A great feature is the raw freeze-coated kibble. It increases the flavor and nutrient count, providing your cat with a wholesome meal.
Included in the formula are healthy doses of natural probiotics aiding digestion. There are also omega fatty acids and antioxidants. It maintains the skin, coat, and immune system.
The formula is entirely free of grains, corn, potato, soy, and by-product meal. Instinct also excluded artificial colors and preservatives.
It’s minimally processed in the U.S., using high-quality ingredients. The formula is suitable for adult or senior cats.
- Consists of real chicken meat
- High protein
- Raw freeze-coated kibble
- Rich flavor
- Minimally processed
- High-quality ingredients
- Contains dried tomato and rosemary extract
- Contains more calories than others
Diabetes in cats
Diabetes Mellitus is a serious and complex disease. And sadly, it isn’t uncommon in cats. Between 0.2 and 1 percent of cats in the general population are believed to suffer from diabetes.
Diabetes affects the hormone insulin. This is a condition in which the body cannot properly produce or respond to the hormone insulin. This results in elevated blood sugar levels.
The Cornell Feline Health Center tells us that the cells in a cat’s body need sugar in the form of glucose for energy. Blood glucose needs insulin because insulin signals when the time is right to absorb glucose. By absorbing glucose, cells get the vital fuel they need and lower levels of glucose in the blood.
Although experts are yet to find all the possible causes, carbohydrates could be a culprit. Low carb cat food diets designed to manage feline diabetes are the preferred option. It’s also a great choice for helping to slim down obese cats.
If your goal is diabetic remission, it’s important that you consider diet as a way to safely treat your cat’s diabetes.
Clinical signs of diabetes in cats
- Weight loss
- Increased urination
- Increased thirst
- Loss of appetite
- Decreased energy levels. Your cat may not show the same interest in playing or climbing their cat tree.
This disease can ultimately lead to a coma or even death in severe cases.
Obese cats are at an increased risk of getting feline diabetes. If you notice any of these signs or other behavioral changes, consult your vet!
What is the best cat food for diabetic cats?
One of the first steps to treating diabetes in cats is transitioning them to cat food that has a lower carbohydrate content.
This is because carbs break down into glucose. More carbs mean more glucose, which will need more insulin to keep BG levels regulated.
According to Catinfo.org, “In the wild, your cat would be eating a high protein, high-moisture, meat/organ-based diet, with a moderate level of fat and with only approximately 1-2 percent of her diet consisting of carbohydrates.”
The best food for overweight cats or cats with diabetes is high in quality protein but low in carbohydrates. Most canned cat foods are low in carbs, making them the ideal choice. Yet not all cats want to eat low carb wet food.
If your cat’s condition is severe, your vet may recommend a prescription diet or an all canned-food diet.
Does your cat need a low carb diet?
Diabetic cats aren’t the only kitties who can benefit from eating low carb cat food. Obese cats, indoor cats with low energy expenditures, and cats with food sensitivities also do better.
High protein foods actually suit your cat’s natural nutrient requirement better than high-carb diets. As obligate carnivores, cats need high protein amounts in their diet.
Some cat parents opt to feed raw cat food because it most closely resembles what a cat would eat in the wild.
What is low carb cat food?
A low carb cat food is considered to have a percentage of up to 12 percent carbohydrate. Always read the label and check the ingredients on the back.
Ingredients that are red flags include meat by-products or organs that have been deemed “unfit for human consumption.”
Having said this, pretty much all organs aren’t considered fit for human consumption in the US, but they can still be very nutritious. The main point is that organs coming from a high-quality chicken are healthier than muscle meat from a sick chicken. But it is difficult to determine the quality of the organs from most ingredients lists. Avoid high carbohydrate grains like corn, wheat, rice, or soy.
Ingredients that should be included and that you want to see listed first are muscle meat like chicken or poultry. You should look for protein from a named meat or poultry source, taurine, and other vitamins, minerals, enzymes, and fatty acids.
In many cat foods, carbohydrates generally include grains, but also legumes, and potatoes. All these contain starch, which may cause weight gain. Although your cat can digest such components, they simply don’t need them to stay healthy.
Is dry cat food high in carbs?
Dry food manufacturers need starch (which is full of carbs) to bind the kibble. Some amounts of starch are necessary to make dry cat food. According to PetMD.com, for some individuals, canned food is far superior.
“The dry food contains almost three times the amount of sugars and starches in comparison to the canned food.”
Some cat foods have as much as 35 percent carbs! Be sure to check out the carbohydrate percentage on the label of your cat’s food.
Pet owners are demanding both low carb wet cat food and low carb dry cat food. Some cats have a preference!
What dry cat food has the lowest carbs?
There are many low carb dry cat foods. Some brands worth checking out include:
However, canned grain free cat food is the lowest in carbohydrates. The moisture content is also higher and mimics a cat’s natural diet.
Choosing the best low carb cat food
Choosing a new food for your cat isn’t easy.
With cat food, you always want to check the brand’s reputation in food forums and with your local pet store staff.
Sadly, not all pet food brands are trustworthy. Some commercial cat food brands use questionable ingredients, or, produce low quality food.
We recommend checking out consumer reviews as well as for any potential recalls. If you’re interested in having this information readily available then check the American Veterinary Medical Association.
Ingredients and nutritional analysis
With low carb cat food, dry or wet, meat should be the first ingredient on the list. This shows that it’s high protein cat food.
Looking at cat food labels can be confusing! The AAFCO now has guidelines on what brands must include and what claims they can’t make.
- Always read the cat food label: There is a system for listing the ingredients on your cat’s food label, and understanding it will help you pick the best ingredients.
- The FDA mandates that ingredients must be listed from most to least based on their weight.
- The majority of your cat’s food is made from the first few ingredients listed, so be sure they aren’t fillers. Instead, look for whole foods.
Animal protein and fat are crucial ingredients that should be included in your cat’s food. Because your cat is an obligate carnivore, it needs nutrients like taurine.
However, if your feline friend has diabetes, we recommend asking your vet about the best choices.
As a rule of thumb, there should be around 50 to 60- percent crude protein and only up to 12 percent carbohydrates in your kitty’s food.
If you want some help, we recommend checking out the AAFCO nutrient profiles. Here, it shows the recommended percentages.
Carbs or no carbs?
Low carb cat food is ideal for obese cats and cats with diabetes. Your feline friend isn’t made to break down carbohydrates, which may contribute to obesity, diabetes, and other potential health issues.
Making sure your cat is getting all the nutrients they need PLUS staying at a healthy weight is key to long-term success.
Fortunately, there are plenty of low carbohydrate diet options on the market. Today, our favorite is the Weruva Grain-Free Natural Canned Wet Cat Food. It has a high protein count, offers balanced nutrition, including vital amino acids like taurine, and is moisture-rich making sure your cat stays lean AND hydrated.
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Last update on 2021-03-30 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API