By Laura Leautier, DVMDr. Laura Leautier

There’s been some recent changes in thinking regarding the best diet for cats. Many of us have free fed our cats dry food their whole lives. But in looking at what cats eat in the wild versus dry food, there’s a huge difference. Cats are carnivores, so they need a lot of protein in their diet (as long as they have normal kidneys). The typical diet of cats is mice and other rodents and birds. But since we don’t have “mouse in a can” diets, we can mimic this by feeding canned food.

When I was in vet school, we learned dry was best — lower in calories and those crunchies can help the teeth! But now many veterinary specialists are thinking the high carbohydrate content of dry food is why we’re seeing obese kitties and a lot of diabetes, chronic vomiting kitties, and other maladies, including bad teeth!

I have seen cats lose weight easily just from changing from dry to canned. It’s kind of like the Atkins diet for cats or the “Catkins diet”: low carbs with moderate to high protein and fat. This type of diet will help preserve muscle mass (which burns calories at rest), keeps them satisfied longer so they don’t feel the need to “graze” all day, seems to stop a lot of the chronic yakking up of food that we often see, and can lead to less urinary issues because they get more water in their diet when they eat canned.

Any type of high quality canned cat food052742177106C should be good for the average cat, because any canned food has less carbs than any dry food available. Whenever we eat carbohydrates, we release insulin to help bring the sugar into our cells. A little insulin is fine, but a lot of insulin release can lower the blood sugar level so the cat feels hungry soon afterwards, and they consume more dry food over the course of the day. Insulin is a fat-storing hormone so if we lower the blood insulin, there’s less rebound hunger, less weight gain, and there’s growing evidence that it results in a lower incidence of chronic inflammatory diseases, like diabetes and inflammatory bowel disease.

If your cat is having some of these issues, give us a call and we can talk about possible diet changes.