Cat lovers around the world wish more than anything for their feline companions to live long and healthy lives. With so many marketing schemes and options out I consumer-land, how do we know which food is the best quality food for our cats?

For all living beings to properly process food, they need proper digestive enzymes. What most cat caregivers fail to realize is that cats lack the digestive enzyme that is responsible for the breakdown and digestion of grains. This enzyme is called amylase. This digestive enzyme, amylase, is present in all other animals and humans. Since cats’ digestive systems do not produce this enzyme, their metabolisms are unable to break down grains.


For those who are yet unaware, grains in cat food are mostly made from human grade cereal and starchy substances such as rice, potatoes, oats and barley. Generally speaking, these types of grains and starches can cause undue harm to our kitty companions. Because they are physically unable to digest the grains that are found in cat food, their gastrointestinal systems will run into problems attempting to pass the food through the body. Given that the grains found in cat foods (especially dry food) are quite high in sugar, the insulin levels in the cat’s pancreas will take issue with trying to remove the waste. The grains from the food will metabolize as sugar which in turn will create spikes in insulin levels in cats. This, of course will often lead to diabetes. Diabetes is a blood disease wherein the body’s blood glucose levels exceed healthy limits. For those who are unfamiliar with where feline diabetes comes from, it comes from food with grains that are high in sugar.

In addition to the trauma of diabetes, grains in dry food can cause a whole host of other health imbalances. For example, feeding dry food to a cat for her/his whole life will undoubtedly cause dehydration of the major organs. This is because as the cat’s body attempts to pass the dry food through the GI system, the organs work overtime to provide sufficient moisture to process the food. This is particularly taxing on the kidneys. The kidneys are responsible for eliminating toxins from food, water and the environment through urine. In order for the kidneys to do their job, they must have a healthy amount of moisture. Should the cat be exposed to dry food her/his whole life, eventually in its attempt to process the dehydrated food through the system, the kidneys will become entirely too depleted of moisture. This, if we don’t already know, is where kidney failure is born.

Believe it or not, water is not an adequate source of hydration for our feline friends. If we look at their genetic lineage, we will note that ancestrally, cats originated in the deserts of Africa. There was virtually no water for them to drink, so they utilized the moisture from the food they hunted to hydrate ad nourish their bodies. Thus, for house cats, drinking water has become a learned behaviour. True, it flushes out their organs in a very healthy way. However, in terms of allowing the cat’s body to retain adequate moisture for survival, it does little.

Additionally, starchy foods and sugary grains have been heavily linked to yeast problems in cats and dogs. If your cat or dog has yeast overgrowth it is imperative to switch foods. Often, both dogs and cats have a genetic intolerance to grains and will exhibit allergy-type symptoms. If you suspect that your cat or dog has symptoms of yeast overgrowth, please read the list of ingredients on your dog/cat food labels. It is also a wise idea to seek holistic veterinary care.

Sadly, too, veterinary recommended foods list “corn gluten” as their second ingredient. Corn gluten is not food and causes inflammation in the joints and organs. Corn gluten is a preservative that is intended to “glue” the other ingredients together. Corn gluten is a by-product of corn processing. So, not only are you feeding your animals corn which they are not wired to digest, you are feeding them the by-product that is created in the processing of corn. It is considered to be a protein source in animal feed. Varieties of corn gluten are used as weed killer by inhibiting crab grass. Needless to say, there are few if any nutrients on corn gluten. Because it is not real food, it causes inflammation in animals that can lead to arthritis and other painful chronic issues.


There are several easy ways to prevent the pain and trauma of undue illness in our feline friends. The first of which, of course, is to find a healthier choice of food. By feeding “wet” food as a main staple of their diets, cats will derive adequate moisture from the food t keep their organs moisturized. This will allow the kidneys a much higher likelihood of survival. As per the topic of this article, you will want to read ingredients to ensure that the wet food is grain free or at the very least has low grain content. Lower grade wet foods still contain human grade cereal which is very high in sucrose and very unhealthy for our kitties!

Finding species appropriate diets that contain more whole foods is a beneficial way to keep our cat companions healthy. Researching foods with whole protein sources such as chicken, turkey, bison or rabbit instead of meat by-product will surely nourish the bodies and souls of our furry felines. Be sure, of course, to have a look at the first 5-8 ingredients and watch for any grains such as rice, oats, corn gluten, potato, sweet potato or any other grain or starch. If there is such an ingredient listed in the first several, please exercise caution.

Perhaps most confusing is that the companies/brands of cat food that are aware of cats’ inability to digest grains have removed them from their ingredients. This has lead to a severe lack of fibre in the healthier choice cat foods. While the lack of grains is a very noble feat on their part, cats are often left constipated and gassy. It is important, on the subject of illness prevention, to be mindful of low fibre cat food. By adding several supplementary sources of fibre to your cat’s wet food, you will be ensuring a healthy digestive and elimination process. Examples of effective supplementary non-grain based fibre sources include: Chia seeds, pumpkin seeds, canned pumpkin, marshmallow root- to name several.

If you are a brave soul who chooses to venture into the homemade cat food world, please be aware that you will need to thoroughly research the precise levels of vitamins and minerals that cats need on a daily basis to stay healthy and active. Many people believe that feeding chicken or fish alone is a healthy diet for cats. This is terribly incorrect. Cats, akin to humans, need a precise balance of vitamins and minerals in their diet to stay healthy. It is CRUCIAL that if you wish to make homemade cat food that you consult your veterinarian. In fact, it is always a good idea to consult several reliable sources (NOT the internet!) before proceeding into the art of homemade cat food.

For more information, contact your holistic veterinarian.


J Morgan Saifer- Animal Communicator & Medium



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