Why Do Vets Not Like Grain-Free Cat Food? These Reasons





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Robert Taylor

Why do vets not like grain-free cat food? The reasons are possible diseases that may stem from these meals, such as allergies, heart diseases, and even worse. But are all these assumptions true?

You must understand that while some scientific facts are involved, there are still a lot of myths revolving around how zero-grain food functions – and even top experts have still been trying to ascertain the truth to this day!

So this article will gladly discuss some common beliefs among vets and cat owners regarding these foods, debunking them if necessary and lending you excellent tips to take care of your precious cat.

Why Do Vets Not Like Grain-Free Cat Food? 

People believe they cause allergies and heart diseases
People believe they cause allergies and heart diseases

Related Post: What Cat Food Ingredients Should I Avoid?

We often hear from vets that grain-free foods lead to allergic reactions and worsened heart conditions. Our job today is to find out which one is the truth and which one still needs confirmation.


No studies support the theory that most cats have severe sensitivity to zero-grain foods, but for some reason, they are quite widespread among cat owners and even vet experts.

Of all the studies conducted on food allergens that seem to trigger cats’ allergic responses, the most common factors behind the pet’s hypersensitivity are mostly proteins found in some meat. 

Seafood (like fish) can sometimes be the culprit, but researchers have concluded it only affects 5 out of 60 cats.

So if the cats DO have allergic responses to certain meals, the root causes mainly lie in the protein content instead of every food ingredient. Plus, there should be visible signs like hair loss, inflamed skin, and bald patches. 

On another note, no studies support cats’ allergies to grain-included foods, either. So the main takeaway is that, whether grain-free or grain-contained foods, we do not have 100% evidence that they cause allergy symptoms. It’s time to stop blaming either of them!

Heart Diseases

How about the conclusion that there’s a certain connection between the taurine in zero-grain products and heart diseases? Well, the vets are right this time, though the situation is not as serious as we would think.

In 2018, FDA (U.S. Food and Drug Administration) began an in-depth investigation into the potential links between BEG diets (standing for Boutique corporations, Exotic substances, and Grain-free) and heart diseases. 

Though the research is still going on, the recent findings DOES show some connection between BEG diets (particularly those with potatoes, pulses, and legumes as the main source) with worsened heart conditions in pets.

Their heart muscle loses elasticity, which dilates the volume and makes it harder to pump blood throughout the body. Leaking heart valves and chest fluids are inevitable, even causing premature deaths.

Fortunately, the great news is that dogs are the most affected animals in these experiments. Cats also suffer from these issues, but the extent is much lesser.

What To Note When Buying Grain-Free Cat Foods

You should look for the protein ratio in the products
You should look for the protein ratio in the products

Related Post: How Good Is Fancy Feast Cat Food?

Now we know that cats can still eat zero-grain meals safely. Here are some tips to ensure what you buy is suited to your pet:


There may be cases where cats are allergic to proteins, but they are pretty rare. Overall, proteins still serve as the most crucial factor in every cat food (not just grain-free ones). After all, cats are carnivores, meaning they require this nutrient much more than other animals. 

So whenever browsing grain-free options for your beloved cat, ensure they have sufficient protein levels to sustain the pet’s daily nutrition and overall health in the long run. It would be even better to choose protein foods that also include carbohydrates to replace grains (ex: lentils, peas, or sweet potatoes). 

Last but not least, confirm the protein balance and ratio meet all the criteria issued by AAFCO (Associations of American Feeding Control Officials).

Expert Consultations

If the cats have a medical history in the past, you should not hesitate to reach out to a vet (who must be experienced and trustworthy, not scaring you with assumptions and unproven theories!).

These experts will help you find the correct food type for the cat, guaranteeing your pet gets enough nutrients to stay healthy. There might be body condition checks to determine whether the cats are underweight, overweight, or perfectly weighted.

You, the owner, can also perform some inspections at home. One simple method is to slip your hands on the pet’s ribs. Cannot feel these ribs at all? Chances are the cat is overweight, requiring particular diet plans.

Some professionals also advise you on the food formula (special, dry, or wet foods) to address further health issues. Note them down carefully!


1. What Are The Best Zero-Grain Brands On The Market?

Some brands to look out for

Some brands to look out for

Customers and professionals alike strongly suggest these brands:

  • American Journey
  • Sheba Perfect
  • Kitzy Wet
  • Blue Buffalo
  • Purina Pro/Fancy

2. Is A Grain-Free Product Free of Carbohydrates?


Low-carbohydrate and high-protein diets are extremely popular, especially among diabetic cats. 

Nevertheless, we should not jump ahead of ourselves and assume all zero-grain foods are low (or even free of) carbohydrates. As previously mentioned, some packages include high carbohydrates to replace grains.

Related Post: What Cat Food Is Killing Cats?


Why do vets not like grain-free cat food? Our well-researched article has scoured popular forums and websites to summarize the most common (yet not necessarily accurate) reasons. 

The main takeaway is that, while we cannot deny that zero-grain foods DO pose some risks (just like any other food type), they are not dangerous to the point that your cats must be banned from touching them. Refer to the guides above for factors to keep an eye on when shopping for grain-free options!

We hope you all the best with your cat-raising. For more questions or advice, remember that our inbox welcomes all inquiries from readers.

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Robert Taylor

I love cats, I have more than 10 years of experience in raising cats. I want to share with everyone useful knowledge about cats.

Robert Taylor

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