10 Best Low Carb Cat Foods in 2021

carbohydrates

This is our review of the best low carb dog food in 2021.

Protein is the foundation of any cat’s diet, but a cat’s digestive system is specifically designed to thrive on it.

Carbohydrates are not an essential part of a cat’s diet; However, many cat foods contain them to ‘bulk’ the formula.

Excess carbohydrates can lead to weight-related health issues such as high blood sugar levels. These health issues can eventually lead to more severe health complications such as diabetes, cancer, and osteoarthritis.

I have been busy researching the internet for the last couple of days and compared a wide variety of cat foods that are low in carbohydrate content and high in protein.

Overall, I found that the Tiki Cat Puka Luau Grain-Free Cat Food was the best option.

But, each cat is different, with some requiring specific nutrients and additional dietary support. So I have reviewed the best low carb cat food for each scenario to help you make the best decision for your furry friend.

Our Best Low Carb Cat Food

  1. Tiki Cat Puka Luau Grain-Free Cat Food (Best Overall Low Carb Cat Food)
  2. Purina Beyond Grain-Free Canned Cat Food (Best Budget Low Carb Cat Food)
  3. Feline Natural New Zealand Chicken Cat Food (Best Premium Low Carb Cat Food)
  4. Nulo Freestyle Chicken & Cod Dry Cat Food (Best Dry Low Carb Cat Food)
  5. Ziwi Peak Air-Dried Mackerel & Lamb Recipe Cat Food (Best Air-Dried Low Carb Cat Food)
  6. Merrick Backcountry Grain-Free Kitten Food (Best Low Carb Cat Food for Kittens)
  7. Fancy Feast Tuna Feast Senior Cat Food (Best Low Carb Cat Food for Seniors)
  8. American Journey Indoor Grain-Free Cat Food (Best Low Carb Cat Food for Indoor Cats)
  9. Royal Canin Canned Cat Food (Best Low Carb Cat Food for Weight Control)
  10. Natural Balance L.I.D. Limited Ingredient Grain-Free Cat Food  (Best Low Carb Cat Food for Sensitive Cats)

10 Best Low Cab Cat Food Reviewed

All of the cat foods we are about to go through meet AAFCO recommended daily nutrient profiles for cats. Before switching your cat’s food, consult a veterinarian. [1]

Tiki Cat Puka Luau Grain-Free Cat Food

Tiki Cat Puka Puka Luau Succulent Chicken in Chicken Consomme Grain-Free Canned Cat Food
  • First 5 ingredients: Chicken, Chicken Broth, Sunflower Seed Oil, Calcium Lactate, Dicalcium Phosphate
  • Guaranteed Analysis: 16% Protein, 2.6% Fat, 0% Fiber, 80% Moisture
  • Dry Matter Analysis: 79.21% Protein, 12.87% Fat, 0% Fiber, 0% Carbohydrates
  • Caloric Content: 863 kcal/kg, 63 kcal/2.8-oz can
  • Key Features: No Corn No Wheat No Soy, High-Protein, Gluten-Free, Low Glycemic, Grain-Free, Pea-Free, GMO-Free, Natural
  • Life Stage: Adult
  • Best For: Overall Low Carb Cat Food

This grain-free, no carbohydrate cat food provides a perfect balance of nutrition, high protein, and affordability. This formula is particularly appealing to picky eaters and contains no gluten, wheat, or soy. 

Because this is wet cat food, the crude percentages will appear lower than most dry cat foods due to the high 80% moisture content

Whole chicken is the first ingredient on the list and the main contributor to the 16% crude protein content. It is always ideal to have an animal meat-based protein as a foundation for a healthy cat diet.

Chicken provides essential nutrients such as vitamin B6, phosphorus, and selenium. Phosphorus is a crucial nutrient that supports bone development as well as metabolic functions in cats. [2]

Added chicken broth provides further nutrition through its rich amino acid profile and mineral content. This ingredient adds to the flavor of this formula and towards the overall 80% moisture content. 

Calcium and phosphorus provide additional support for healthy bone development in cats, transmit nerve impulses, and support muscle functions. 

Additional sunflower oil enriches the formula and provides essential amino fatty acids such as omega-6, which help with a cat’s overall skin and coat health. 

Cat owners recognize that this formula is specifically designed to replicate a cat’s natural prey diet. Also, many owners observed a vast improvement in their cat’s overall coat health and well-being. Some noticed that their cats would avoid this formula, and it did not appeal to their picky eaters. 

Purina Beyond Grain-Free Wild Salmon Canned Cat Food

Purina Beyond Grain-Free Wild Salmon Pate Recipe Canned Cat Food
  • First 5 ingredients: Salmon, Chicken, Fish Broth, Liver, Egg Product
  • Guaranteed Analysis: 10% Protein, 5% Fat, 1.5% Fiber, 78% Moisture
  • Dry Matter Analysis: 45.45% Protein, 22.73% Fat, 6.82% Fiber, 10.45% Carbohydrates
  • Caloric Content: 1,169 kcal/kg, 99 kcal/can
  • Key Features: Grain-Free, High-Protein
  • Life Stage: Adult
  • Best For: Budget Low Carb Cat Food

This premium but simple and affordable cat food is an excellent option if you’re on a tight budget. The recipe consists of natural, animal meat-based protein sources and whole vegetables to provide your cat with a nutritional meal.

The first ingredient in this recipe is real salmon. Salmon is an excellent source of protein and omega 3 fatty acids that promote healthy skin and coats. The salmon in this formula also add to the 5% crude fat content.

Chicken and egg product adds other protein to the formula. It provides natural sources of phosphorus, selenium, and essential B vitamins.

Added liver provides a great source of vitamin B7 and choline, which assists the body in producing new blood cells. Many organ meats contain high levels of taurine, which is a vital nutrient for cardiac health. [3]

Carrots provide additional vitamins as well as antioxidants and minerals. The exclusion of by-products, artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives further enhances the quality of this recipe.

Some cat owners noticed an initial rejection when they first fed it to their cats. However, after a while, their cat warmed to the diet. However, other picky eating cat owners noticed an immediate acceptance of the cat food.

Feline Natural New Zealand Chicken Canned Cat Food

Feline Natural Chicken & Venison Feast Grain-Free Canned Cat Food
  • First 5 ingredients: Chicken, Venison, Water Sufficient for Processing, Venison Kidney, Venison Liver
  • Guaranteed Analysis: 9% Protein, 5% Fat, 0.2% Fiber, 82.5% Moisture
  • Dry Matter Analysis: 51.43% Protein, 28.57% Fat, 1.14% Fiber, 18.86% Carbohydrates
  • Caloric Content: 862 kcal/kg, 73 kcal/can
  • Key Features: Grain-Free, Gluten-Free, No Corn No Wheat No Soy, High-Protein, Limited Ingredient Diet, Pea-Free, Non-GMO
  • Life Stage: Adult
  • Best For: Premium Low Carb Cat Food

Feline Natural Cat Food is a premium option for cats that also suffer from common adverse reactions caused by common allergens such as peas, grains, and gluten. This recipe contains premium meat-based protein sources, as well as essential amino acids essential for your cat’s health and well-being.

Chicken is the first ingredient on the list, which is rich in protein and fiber. But, chicken is also a natural source of glucosamine and chondroitin, promoting and supporting bone and joint development in cats and maintaining cartilage tissue. [4]

Added New Zealand green-lipped mussel provides a high concentration of omega 3 fatty acids, promoting healthy skin and coats. Venison is considered a ‘novel’ meat source for cats. It provides a rich source of iron, essential B vitamins, as well as added lean protein. 

Venison Liver and venison kidney provide additional essential vitamins and minerals to ensure a balanced, healthy meal for your cat. 

Venison kidney is rich in iron and a great source of protein and contributes to the 9% crude protein content. It provides a rich source of minerals such as copper, iron, selenium, and zinc. In addition, the liver provides essential B vitamins that help support your cat’s immune system and cognitive functions. 

This cat food is also grain-free, gluten-free, and excludes other common allergen ingredients such as corn, wheat, soy, and peas. This makes this recipe a great option for cats with allergies caused by specific foods such as these.

Some owners did notice their cat’s refusing to eat it, so it may not be an excellent option for picky eaters.

But, many cat owners noticed their cats’ stool smelling less potent and improvements with their coats when they were put on this diet. Other reviewers felt this recipe was a great alternative to a raw diet because of the real meats and the exclusion of fillers.

Nulo Freestyle Chicken & Cod Dry Cat Food

Nulo Freestyle Chicken & Cod Recipe Grain-Free Dry Cat & Kitten Food
  • First 5 ingredients: Deboned Chicken, Chicken Meal, Turkey Meal, Deboned Cod, Whole Peas
  • Guaranteed Analysis: 40% Protein, 20% Fat, 4% Fiber, 10% Moisture
  • Dry Matter Analysis: 44.44% Protein, 22.22% Fat, 4.44% Fiber, 28.89% Carbohydrates
  • Caloric Content: 3,868 kcal/kg, 486 kcal/cup
  • Key Features: Grain-Free, Gluten-Free, Low Glycemic, High-Protein
  • Life Stage: All Life Stages
  • Best For: Dry Low Carb Cat Food

This recipe features an impressive 83% animal-based protein which contributes to the 40% crude protein content. This low carb cat food is an excellent option if you feed your cat a dry diet.

It is worth noting that this recipe is suitable for both adult cats and kittens because of the higher protein content in this recipe which supports lean muscle mass in kittens. 

Deboned chicken is the first contributor to the high protein content and is a commonly featured ingredient in many cat foods. Primarily, this is because it is a protein-rich ingredient that is affordable too.

However, chicken is also a rich, natural source of glucosamine which helps develop healthy bones in cats. Added chicken meal adds additional protein content to the recipe.

Turkey meal is provided in the formula as a source of essential minerals such as niacin, selenium, phosphorus, and other amino acids. This ingredient is also rich in vitamin B6, necessary for healthy cognitive functions, digestive tracts, and nervous systems. [5]

Added chicory root and dried kelp provide a source of complex carbohydrates and provide essential vitamins such as vitamin C and E, which promote overall health.

Peas provide an additional gluten-freegrain-free carbohydrate source and contribute essential vitamins A, B1, B6, C, and K.

The use of probiotics in the formula assists with the absorption and digestion of nutrients. It promotes beneficial bacteria in the gastrointestinal tract. [6]

Some reviews indicate an initial rejection of the food, but after time their cats loved the formula. Other cat owners tell of an intense aroma from the food, which sometimes causes their cats to reject it.

Nonetheless, this is a great low carb cat food that’s suitable for cats that need a low carbohydrate diet as well as low glycemic contents.

Ziwi Peak Air-Dried Mackerel & Lamb Recipe Cat Food

Ziwi Peak Air-Dried Mackerel & Lamb Recipe Cat Food
  • First 5 ingredients: Mackerel, Lamb, Lamb Heart, Lamb Tripe, Lamb Liver
  • Guaranteed Analysis: 43% Protein, 25% Fat, 2% Fiber, 14% Moisture
  • Dry Matter Analysis: 50% Protein, 29.07% Fat, 2.33% Fiber, 4.65% Carbohydrates
  • Caloric Content: 4800 kcal/kg, 273 kcal/scoop
  • Key Features: Limited Ingredient Diet, No Corn No Wheat No Soy, Grain-Free, Pea-Free, Non-GMO, High-Protein, GMO-Free, Natural
  • Life Stage: All Life Stages
  • Best For: Freeze-Dried Low Carb Cat Food

This grain-free cat food formula features 95% digestible protein sources to replicate a cat’s natural diet.

The 43% crude protein content originates from the first five ingredients of this recipe. It provides essential nutrients to promote lean muscle mass in cats.

In addition, the unique air-drying process used to create the formula eliminates any pathogenic bacteria while preserving the essential nutrients in this formula. 

Mackerel ensures a high supply of omega 3 fatty acids, which improve cardiovascular health. Reports suggest that mackerel contains the highest amounts of omega 3 fatty acids compared to any other fish. [7]

The use of this ingredient also ensures an excellent source of selenium, which helps maintain the overall health of the immune system, regulate thyroid hormones, and promote overall health.

The remaining four ingredients in the list are lamb-based protein sources, featuring whole lamblamb heart, lamb tripe, and lamb liverThese meat contents contribute to the 25% crude fat content and provide essential vitamins.

This recipe excludes rendered meatsby-productsfillersartificial flavors, and starches such as potatoes. The increased use of wholesome ingredients ensures that this cat food is suitable for cats with sensitivities.

Some cat owners noticed a distinct aroma that can be off-putting for picky eaters. However, many recognize the unique use of high-quality protein meats as a positive factor. And, many observed their cat’s stool being less smelly and more consistent when they fed this diet to them.

Merrick Backcountry Grain-Free Kitten Food

Merrick Backcountry Grain-Free Kitten Recipe Cuts Chicken & Duck in Gravy Cat Food Pouches
  • First 5 ingredients: Deboned Chicken, Chicken Broth, Duck Broth, Chicken Liver, Deboned Duck
  • Guaranteed Analysis: 9.5% Protein, 4% Fat, 1.2% Fiber, 81% Moisture
  • Dry Matter Analysis: 50% Protein, 21.05% Fat, 6.32% Fiber, 10.53% Carbohydrates
  • Caloric Content: 959 kcal/kg, 82 kcal/pouch
  • Key Features: Grain-Free, Gluten-Free, No Corn No Wheat No Soy, High-Protein, Pea-Free, Natural 
  • Life Stage: All Life Stages
  • Best For: Low Carb Food for Kittens

This low carbohydrate kitten food offers the perfect concentrated nutrition and protein content that growing kittens need in a grain-free food. Deboned chicken is the first ingredient, ensuring a high-quality protein source rich in vitamins and minerals. 

The mixture of proteins in this cat food ranges from duck to chicken which provides a naturally balanced diet for your kitten and replicates their natural wild diet.

Added duck provides a rich source of iron and zinc and essential B vitamins and minerals such as niacin and pyridoxine. These minerals support a growing kitten’s immune system. Duck is also rich in protein and omega 3 fatty acids that help healthy coats and skin. 

Chicken liver is a rich source of biotin, a B vitamin that helps with brain functionality and liver functions. [8

The use of chicken meat proteins provides additional support for joint and bone development in kittens because it’s rich in glucosamine and chondroitin. In addition, these meat proteins offer additional levels of taurine, which prevent heart deficiencies.

Inadequate taurine can lead to severe heart diseases such as dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM). 

Some cat owners noticed that the chunk sizes were rather big for smaller kittens and found it more appealing to older kittens. Some picky eaters also found this recipe attractive.

Fancy Feast Tuna Feast Senior Cat Food

Fancy Feast Tuna Feast in Gravy Minced Senior 7+ Canned Cat Food
  • First 5 ingredients: Fish Broth, Tuna, Wheat Gluten, Chicken, Liver
  • Guaranteed Analysis: 12% Protein, 2% Fat, 1.5% Fiber, 79% Moisture
  • Dry Matter Analysis: 57.14% Protein, 9.52% Fat, 7.14% Fiber, 11.9% Carbohydrates
  • Caloric Content: 884 kcal/kg, 75 kcal/can
  • Key Features: High-Protein
  • Life Stage: Senior
  • Best For: Low Carb Food for Seniors

Despite the AAFCO not establishing specific nutritional requirements for seniors, reports suggest that older cats have shown a reduced ability to digest fat, energy, and protein. [9,10]

However, it is always best that an older cat’s formula meets the AAFCO nutritional requirements for adult cats. This cat food is nutritionally beneficial for senior cats seven years or older.

This recipe provides a high 12% crude protein content and a reduced 2% crude fat content. All of the first five ingredients contribute to the higher crude protein percentage.

Tuna consists of high protein and low carbohydrates. This ingredient also provides sufficient omega 3 fatty acids DHA and EPA. Both of these fatty acids manage inflammatory diseases such as arthritis and severe heart disease. 

Wheat gluten ensures there’s additional protein available in your cat’s diet. Also, it remains low in saturated fat, sodium, and cholesterol. 

The lower 75 kcal/can caloric content is ideal for senior cats due to their decreased activity levels. However, the inclusion of gluten products means this cat food may be unsuitable for cats with food allergies caused by common allergens. 

Some cat owners noticed that their cat’s urine odor was less noticeable when they fed this cat food to their cat. But, this formula did not appeal to some senior cats that are picky eaters. 

American Journey Indoor Grain-Free Cat Food

American Journey Indoor Pate Chicken Recipe Grain-Free Canned Cat Food
  • First 5 ingredients: Chicken, Chicken Broth, Chicken Liver, Natural Flavor, Ground Flaxseed
  • Guaranteed Analysis: 10% Protein, 6% Fat, 2% Fiber, 78% Moisture
  • Dry Matter Analysis: 45.45% Protein, 27.27% Fat, 9.09% Fiber, 18.18% Carbohydrates
  • Caloric Content: 1136 kcal/kg, 177 kcal/can
  • Key Features: Grain-Free, No Corn No Wheat No Soy, Indoor, High-Protein
  • Life Stage: Adult
  • Best For: Low Carb Food for Indoor Cats

Indoor cats typically require higher protein content and fewer carbohydrates compared to their more active, outdoor cousins. This specifically formulated low carb cat food is designed for indoor adult cats to ensure they receive a balanced nutritional diet.

The primary contributor to the high 10% crude protein content is chicken. Chicken provides additional essential minerals and vitamins. We have previously covered how chicken contains rich amounts of glucosamine. 

Although the 10% crude protein percentage appears low, the approximate dry matter percentage (moisture removed) is 45.45% crude protein content. This is much higher than other specifically formulated indoor cat foods.

Ground flaxseed is the main contributor to the 2% crude fiber content and provides additional nutrients that help with overall intestinal health and constipation issues. However, flaxseed is also rich in omega 3 fatty acids such as alpha-linolenic acids (ALA), supporting a cat’s immune system. 

ALA helps prevent joint-related health issues such as arthritis because of its anti-inflammatory properties. [11]

The added exclusion of common allergen foods such as gluten, corn, wheat, and soy means this can be a suitable option for cats with sensitivities.

The added use of meat-based proteins ensures sufficient nutrients that promote lean muscle development in indoor cats.

Some reviews indicated that this formula had a distinct aroma. But, other cat owners noticed an improvement in their cat’s coat and general well-being. Remember, each cat is different. Despite their cat being a picky eater, some owners said this diet is a massive success with their furry friends. 

Royal Canin Thin Slices Canned Cat Food

Royal Canin Spayed/Neutered Thin Slices in Gravy Canned Cat Food
  • First 5 ingredients: Water Sufficient For Processing, Chicken By-Products, Chicken Liver, Pork By-Products, Pork Liver
  • Guaranteed Analysis: 8.5% Protein, 1.8% Fat, 2.2% Fiber, 83% Moisture
  • Dry Matter Analysis: 50% Protein, 10.59% Fat, 12.94% Fiber, 26.47% Carbohydrates
  • Caloric Content: 692 kcal/kg, 59 kcal/can
  • Key Features: Weight Control, Pea-Free
  • Life Stage: Adult
  • Best For: Low Carb Food for Weight Control

Many cats that need to manage their weight require a low-fat content of around 10% to 12%. In addition, they need rich, high-quality protein sources and sufficient levels of digestible carbohydrates and fiber.

This low carb cat food limits the amount of carbohydrate content and controls the overall caloric content. 

Chicken by-products are the first ingredients on the list and serve as a rich source of protein and essential vitamins such as vitamins A, and D. Chicken is also a natural source of omega fatty acids and glucosamine.

Omega fatty acids are essential for overweight cats as they help with stressed joints by reducing inflammation. [12]

In addition, the low 10.59% fat content is vital for cats that need to regulate or lose their body weight. Your cat needs fat for an energy source; however, if they consume too much, they will store it if they cannot use it.

Meat by-products are a nutrient-rich protein source that includes meat organs such as stomachs, kidneys, spleens, liver, and lungs. The inclusion of these organs replicates a cat’s natural, wild diet as they would typically consume their prey whole.

Added chicken liver is a rich source of biotin, which helps with brain functionality and liver functions in cats. The chicken liver also contributes to the protein content of the formula. It provides additional amino acids essential for a cat’s overall well-being.

Unlike many low-fat formulas, many cat owner reviews recommended the low-carb cat food because of its natural flavor for picky cats. 

Natural Balance L.I.D. Limited Ingredient Grain-Free Cat Food

Natural Balance L.I.D. Limited Ingredient Diets Duck & Green Pea Formula Grain-Free Canned Cat Food
  • First 5 ingredients: Duck, Duck Broth, Duck Liver, Pea Protein, Ground Peas
  • Guaranteed Analysis: 9% Protein, 7% Fat, 2% Fiber, 78% Moisture
  • Dry Matter Analysis: 40.91% Protein, 31.82% Fat, 9.09% Fiber, 18.18% Carbohydrates
  • Caloric Content: 1220 kcal/kg, 190 kcal/5.5-oz can
  • Key Features: Sensitive Digestion, Limited Ingredient Diet, Grain-Free, No Corn No Wheat No Soy
  • Life Stage: Adult
  • Best For: Low Carb Food for Sensitive Cats

This grain-free limited ingredient cat food features a high protein content of 9% or 40.91% protein on a dry matter basis. The low carbohydrate content helps in preventing inflammation of sensitive digestive systems. [13]

Duck is a ‘novel’, lean meat-based protein source that ensures this recipe avoids common allergens such as chicken. 

This ingredient is considered a single source protein, which is vital for limited ingredient formulas. They limit a cat’s exposure to other common allergen proteins that cause allergic reactions.

The added duck broth provides a good source of hydration for cats and contributes to the 7% crude fat content. In addition, it provides essential vitamins and minerals, as well as enhances the texture and flavor of the recipe. 

The fat content also contains high traces of omega 3 fatty acids, which boost immune function and reduce inflammation in cats.

There are no artificial colors or preservatives, which can often trigger adverse allergic reactions in sensitive cats. The recipe excludes any grains that may cause gluten allergies for cats. 

The added peas are an excellent source of complex carbohydrates, which provide readily available energy without the excess calories from refined grains.

This low carb cat food has a fantastic blend of probiotics, antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals that makes this simple formula meet your cat’s daily nutritional requirements. Cat owners often reported improvements in their cat’s overall skin health using this diet.


low-carb-cat-food

Low Carbohydrate Cat Food Buying Guide

Generally, most cat foods will contain carbohydrate content in their recipes. However, because cats are obligate carnivores, they don’t require extensive amounts of carbohydrates in their diet.

Do Cats Need Carbohydrates?

As I previously mentioned above, cats are obligate carnivores, so they need animal meat to thrive and be healthy.

However, some carbohydrates are never bad in a cat’s diet, provided they are the right type as they provide an excellent energy source. But, fundamentally, a cat thrives on protein, and this should always be the most dominant crude percentage on your cat’s food.

Some types of cats, such as indoor cats, will require less carbohydrate content than outdoor cats because of their significantly higher activity levels. High-fat ingredients should provide adequate levels of energy, though.

Health Benefits of Low Carb Diet

The primary benefits of low carb cat food relate to feeding your cat a diet that they were designed to digest effectively based on their evolution. In addition, reducing carbohydrate content can also help overweight cats lose weight by reducing excess calories in their meals.

Diabetic cats also require low carbohydrate diets to prevent any significant rises in blood sugar levels. In combination, higher protein content also helps them with additional amino acids necessary for healing in unhealthy cats.

Excessive carbohydrates will also increase inflammation in the digestive tract as well as trigger allergic reactions in cats. Putting your cat on a low carbohydrate diet can provide some relief, soothe their bowels, and manage sensitives caused by common allergens.

Lower carbohydrates mean less chance of your cat gaining unnecessary weight and inducing significant heart diseases associated with obesity. Other weight-related diseases can also be prevented, such as pancreatitis and hyperthyroidism.


Cat Food

What to Look for When Buying Low Carb Cat Food

It can be hard to tell exactly how much carbohydrate content is included in cat food. And it’s worth remembering that not all carbohydrates provide the same nutrition. 

As a rule of thumb, your cat’s food should contain at least 50% to 60% protein content with around 5% to 15% carbohydrates.

Simple vs. Complex Carbs

Most types of low carb cat food will contain some source of carbohydrates. However, the healthiest carbohydrate options for cats are complex carbohydrates that are found in whole grains.

Simple carbohydrates originating from refined grains are higher in sugar content but lower in fiber, vitamins, and nutrients. Whole grains contain the fibrous parts of the plant. They are considered richer in fiber content, as well as minerals and vitamins.

Cats that require a low carbohydrate diet, such as a cat with diabetes, do best on grain-free diets that use starchy vegetables as another option of complex carbohydrates. Complex carbohydrates take longer to break down during digestion which prevents large blood sugar spikes.

When purchasing a low carb cat food, the full carbohydrate content you will need is around 20%.

Healthy Fats

Fats are considered the best energy source in feline diets. However, carbohydrates can be an excellent source of energy for active cats. Cats can quickly convert fat into calories to support a healthy metabolism.

Omega fatty acids are vital for a kitten’s development as they support the immune system, coat, healthy skin, and overall well-being. These acids also have anti-inflammatory properties that stimulate the production of natural skin oil.

Generally, the rule of thumb with a low carbohydrate diet is for the formula to contain approximately 15% to 30% crude fat content. 

Vitamins and Minerals

Having the right vitamins and minerals in a low carb cat food is essential to keep your cat healthy. Every cat needs a balanced amount of minerals and vitamins.

The best sources of vitamins and minerals in any low carb cat food are whole vegetables and fruits. 

Protein

As we’ve previously mentioned, cats thrive off of high protein content because they are obligate carnivores. Cats require high levels of protein above anything else. 

However, suppose your cat needs a low carbohydrate diet. In that case, there needs to be sufficient protein to ensure there is a stable, consistent source of energy for your cat.

Protein provides natural amino acids, which are critical for growth and normal bodily functions. It is the most vital macronutrient they need.

When purchasing a low carb cat food, look for cat food containing animal-based protein rather than a plant-based protein. Real meat is the foundation of any cat’s diet and is considered a more bioavailable protein source than plants. 

If you’re currently looking for a low carb cat food, try to find a high crude protein content of approximately 50% to 60%. 

Calculating the Carbohydrate Content in Dog Food

Most cat foods don’t show the carbohydrate content on the label as it is not deemed an essential part of a cat’s diet, according to the AAFCO. 

However, you can utilize the guaranteed analysis, which is on the cat food, to estimate the carbohydrates for yourself. This is otherwise known as a dry matter analysis.

First, add up the total amount of fat, protein, fiber, and moisture content of the recipe before you minus this result from 100. This will provide you with the percentage of the total carbohydrates in the dog food. If you struggle with this, you can use this carbohydrate calculator.

For example, the content on the label is:

Crude Protein: 26%

Crude Fat: 14%

Crude Fiber: 8%

Moisture: 10%

Then you would calculate as:

26% + 14% + 8% + 10% = 58% then 100 – 58% = 42% Carbohydrates

Final Thoughts

Many cat owners feel their cats will benefit from a low carbohydrate diet, especially if they have a history of certain health conditions associated with obesity.

Cats do not need carbohydrates to thrive and need high amounts of meat-based proteins due to them being obligate carnivores. Too many carbohydrates can lead to obesity and other severe conditions such as osteoarthritis. 

After reviewing all these low carb cat foods, I found that the Tiki Cat Puka Luau Grain-Free Cat Food is the best overall low carb cat food. 

This grain-free, high protein diet provided the perfect balance of nutrition and low carbohydrates while remaining affordable. 

It is always best to consult your veterinarian before switching your cat’s diet. 

James Fuller

James Fuller

Founder of Honest Whiskers

Hey! I’ve owned a pet pretty much all my life, in fact, I currently have both a cat and a dog! My mission is to deliver a reliable, trusted website that only uses evidence-based information

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