“Cats are obligate carnivores—they need much more protein than dogs,” says Robert Silver, DVM. Unfortunately, since protein is more expensive to include in pet food then carbohydrates, many mass-produced pet foods contain too much grain—and often low-quality, unhealthy grains, Silver says. And while each animal’s needs are different, Silver says he’s seen diabetic cats go off insulin after switching to an Atkins-like, high-protein diet.
To make sure your store’s cat products aren’t diluted with too many carbs, Silver says you have to be label-savvy. A meat product may be the first ingredient, but make sure the grain content isn’t split into separate sections to make it look like less. For example, white rice, brown rice and rice bran could all be listed separately because if they were counted together they would make rice the top ingredient in the food.
For cats, Donna Spector, DVM, with Halo, Purely for Pets, says a food should be composed of 35 percent to 50 percent protein, 10 percent to 30 percent fat and 20 percent to 25 percent carbohydrates.