Can Cats Eat Grain? (What You Need to Know)

Can Cats Eat Grain

There seems to be a lot of debate around whether cats should eat grains or not. Some people are in full support of cats eating grains. There exists another set of cat lovers who detest the idea of giving grains to cats. Many people have said that feeding grains to cats will harm them in the long run. But what is the correct stance? Can cats eat grain?

Can Cats Eat Grain?- What do the Veterinarians Recommend?

To answer the question ‘can cats eat grain’, we have to turn to experts for answers. So what do the veterinarians recommend?

In summary, there is no single consensus amongst veterinarians as to whether grains are harmful to cats or not. Some veterinarians fully support feeding cats with grains without having to take any necessary precautions. For instance, the Clinical Nutrition Center located at Tufts University clearly states that there is no verifiable evidence pointing to the fact that grains pose any harm to cats or dogs.

3 Best Grain-Free Cat Foods- Quick Review (full review later)

 ProductCustomer Average RatingFeaturesPrice AMAZONPrice CHEWY
Sheba Perfect Portions Pate Wet Cat Food Tray Variety PackSheba Perfect Portions Pate Wet Cat Food Variety Pack4.7 STARSCost-friendly
Low carbs
Minimal plant-based
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Purina Fancy Feast Seafood Classic pate cat foodPurina Fancy Feast Seafood Classic Pate Wet Food4.8 STARSAffordable
High carbs
Balanced nutrition
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Purina Beyond Grain Free Ocean Whitefish and Egg Cat FoofPurina Beyond Grain Free- Ocean Whitefish & Egg Recipe4.7 STARSRich in nutrients
Plant & animal nutrients
Dry meal
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What Do Veterinarians Recommend Continued…

Other veterinarians support grain food use, although they recommend you use it sparingly and in measured quantities.

However, several veterinarians strongly advise against the use of grains in planning cat meals. Many believe that grains in food bring about cats developing various allergies, including gastrointestinal issues and skin irritations.

So, why are there differing opinions and views even amongst practitioners and experts? Can cats eat grain?

Just as humans, animals need a decent supply of different food classes to maintain good health. Pets are not left out. To supply these nutrients, pet food companies have come up with processed supplemental meals. These supplements contain excesses of nutrients, and in the end, cats get an oversupply of carbohydrates in their food which they don’t need.

When these excess carbohydrates store up over time, they lead to the build-up of fat, and therefore an increase in the cat’s weight.

Can cats eat food with grainThe Effects of Grains on Cats

We must understand both the benefits that grains offer as well as the downsides. This will further help us in providing answers to the question, “can cats eat grain?”

Benefits of Grains for Cats

Consuming grains poses a lot of benefits to cats. These include:

  • Supply of Carbohydrates

Grains are known to be a good supplier of carbohydrates, which are essential for cats

  • Supply of Fiber

Grains are one of the best food items rich in the supply of Fiber. Fiber is essential for the proper functioning of the cat’s digestive system. It helps clean the cat’s gastrointestinal tract of harmful toxins, leading to better and more seamless bowel movement.

  • Cat Shape and Body Structure

While carbohydrates help the functioning of the internal organs of cats, they are also very instrumental in helping form the external structure of your cat.

Thus, it would be best to feed your cat with supplements that help them achieve a reasonably robust and firm shape. Grains can provide exactly that.

Downsides of Feeding Grains to Cats

On the other hand, grains can cause several issues to cats. These include:

  • Weight Gain

As discussed earlier, stored carbohydrates coming from grains can lead to a lot of weight gain.

  • Sensitive Skins and Irritations

When this happens, your cat can get quite restless and highly irritable.

While many attribute the allergies that cats develop to an excess of grains and carbohydrates, the truth is that grains only contribute a lesser amount of these allergies. Also, there are a few identifiable grain sources responsible. These allergies are caused more by protein-based food rather than by grains. (see our article on fish allergies in cats)

Different Types of Grains

When discussing grains, we should not blindly categorize them as being the same. For instance, some grains such as barley and rye contain gluten, while some other grains are gluten-free, including oats, corn, and rice.

However, one of the most popular sources of grains used in commercial foods for cats and other pets is wheat.

Wheat in Cat Food

Wheat is one of the “high-quality” carbohydrates. It is high in fiber content and helps to encourage digestive and other internal processes.

There is the misconception that wheat, being one of the grain items that contain gluten, causes allergies in cats. This is far from being the case. As we have made clear, these allergies are rare and are more commonly caused by proteins, not wheat.

Dry and Wet Food Grains

While choosing food grains for your cat, it is easy to get torn between dry or wet food items. Just as the name suggests, wet foods are those with some form of water content, while dry foods completely lack moisture.

There are different benefits to both. For instance, wet foods usually come in a little more variety than dry ones. Moist foods typically come in malleable textures and contain ingredients that your cat will get to love. Finally, it is quite easier to chew them.

On their part, dry cat meals are pretty convenient. Because they have much less moisture, they tend to come in larger quantities, which means that they are preferable from a cost perspective.
Furthermore, they also last longer as no moisture will encourage bacterial growth.

However, when you are to choose, you should never be absolute. Never settle for just one; go for both. They have different strengths, and your cat needs to enjoy the best of both worlds.

You should note that cats are known to be neophiliacs, which means they prefer to try new things. They appear to get bored quickly when fed with the same diet ceaselessly. Thus, it would help if you mixed both types of meals in appreciable quantities and intervals.

Best Grain-free Cat Meals

Here, we profile some of the most popular cat food lines that are sure to provide nutrients to your cat.

1. Sheba Perfect Portions

Can cats eat grain with Sheba cat food

Sheba is a pet food line from pet food conglomerate Mars Inc. While there are other products in the Sheba line, including Signature Broths and Treats, by far the most popular is Perfect Portions.

Perfect Portions is a primarily meat-based wet cat food. It does not contain any grains or starch, or plant proteins. This means that it is low in carbohydrates but contains a lot of protein.

Its chief protein product is whitefish, which essentially is a mixture of various species of fish. There are other meat ingredients which include tuna, chicken liver, and different chicken- byproducts.

  • It is cost-friendly.
  • Sheba perfect portions don’t contain a lot of carbohydrates.
  • It is low in plant-based produce.
  • Offers 6 different flavors.
  • Chicken and whitefish are the main meat ingredients.
  • Easy to use food trays- just snap, peel and serve.
  • Formulation suitable for all ages.
  • Crude protein 12%
  • The product could have come in even more variety.
  • The ingredients contained could have been more diverse.
  • Some compromised packaging of the cat food reported (damaged/bugs)


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2. Purina Fancy Feast Cat Food

Fancy Feast Classic Seafood Feast Canned Food + Gourmet Savory Chicken & Turkey Dry Cat Food

Another wet cat food, Purina Fancy Feast, is made by Nestlé-Purina, a food manufacturing giant. The Fancy Feast has chicken as its primary source of protein. There are, however, other sources of protein which include poultry liver and broth. The type of liver is not, however, specifically named.

Other ingredients also come from fish, although it is also unclear which type of fish. Then there are meat by-products. Others include natural flavors made from animal tissues.

The key nutrient in Purina Fancy Feast is protein, although we can say that the protein component is comparatively lower than the Sheba Perfect Portions. Then, it contains quite a decent amount of carbs and fats. Others include minerals and vitamins, although they are in sparing quantities.

  • Comparatively affordable.
  • Has a higher amount of carbs.
  • Much more balanced than close competitors.
  • Crude protein 12%.
  • #1 ingredients are cod and shrimp.
  • Offers 3 different seafood recipes in the pack.
  • Pate texture.
  • It contains several artificial components that cannot be said to be entirely healthy for your cat.
  • The specific items used as ingredients are not clear.
  • It has less moisture.
  • Includes some meat by-product in its recipe.
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3. Purina Beyond Grain Free – Ocean Whitefish and Egg Recipe

Can Cats Eat Grain Solutions

Purina Beyond Grain Free seems to combine some of the features of both the Sheba Perfect Portions and the Purina Fancy Feast but in a dry meal.

It is mainly a protein product, and the primary source of protein is ocean whitefish mixed with eggs. Also, chicken is another ingredient in this dry meal. What makes this product different is that the fat in the chicken is removed.

The product goes further to add plant-based protein in the form of peas. Other plant ingredients in there include pea fiber, dried yeast, and dried potatoes. This means that there are more carbohydrates and a higher concentration of vitamins and minerals.

  • Rich in a variety of nutrients.
  • Features both plant and animal-based nutrients.
  • Dry meal, so there are advantages around cost management.
  • Free from artificial flavors, colors and preservatives.
  • No poultry by-products included in the recipe.
  • #1 ingredients are hake (fish) and chicken meal.
  • Balanced nutrition with probiotics.
  • This meal contains relatively high carbohydrates.
  • Too much emphasis on variety over quality.
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Can Cats Eat Grain? Conclusion

In conclusion, there is no absolute answer to the question of whether can cats eat grain. Selecting the best meal for your cats can be tasking, but grain-Free meals are healthy for your cats and can be a great choice.

The Cat Food Advisor Team have reviewed additional grain-free cat foods  and low carb cat food that viewers may like to consider.


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