When it comes to humans, the high-protein, low-carb diet controversy is always in question. However, when it comes to your feline companion, the choice is not so questionable. Your cat’s digestive system breaks down proteins more efficiently. Diets low in protein can lead to various health complications.
When you watch cats in the wild, you never see them reaching for an apple or munching on corn. There's a reason for this. Cats, whether wild large cats or your purring feline companion, are carnivores. They eat other animals. As mouse eaters, they acquire protein and fat from the animals they eat, and the only real carbohydrates they eat come from the undigested food of that animal they're munching. Their bodies lack the enzyme necessary to process carbohydrates in high amounts.
Reduced Diabetes Risk
High-protein diets cater to the natural digestive abilities of your cat’s body. Because your cat is unable to digest carbohydrates, diets low in protein and high in carbs creates increased amounts of glucose in her blood stream. Insulin production often disrupts with this diet type and can lead to diabetes.
Reduced Obesity Risk
Your cat’s body knows she needs protein and, when she receives it, she feels full and stops eating. Unfortunately, her body does not process carbohydrates the same way. If her diet contains low amount of protein and high carbohydrates, she is more likely to overeat and become obese. Protein satisfies her hunger and, in turn, reduces the risk of obesity.
Cats Prefer Protein
While science shows that cat’s digest protein more efficiently, even your cat knows she should be eating protein. A 2010 study published in “The Journal of Experimental Biology” showed that, when given the choice of foods, cats naturally choose the high-protein option. In the study, when cats received a variety of foods with different protein, carbohydrate and fat mixtures, they mixed what they ate in order to gain the most protein intake.
Before making any changes to your cat’s diet, talk with a veterinarian or feline nutritionist. While protein is important, getting the right amounts of fat, nutrients and moisture are also essential for a balanced diet.
Deborah Lundin is a professional writer with more than 20 years of experience in the medical field and as a small business owner. She studied medical science and sociology at Northern Illinois University. Her passions and interests include fitness, health, healthy eating, children and pets.