High-protein and low-carb cat food diets

Updated February 21, 2017

Cats need a high-protein, low-carbohydrate, meat-based diet because they are carnivores. Giving your cat canned wet food in a variety of meat and fish flavours is the best way to ensure its diet is rich in animal protein and low in carbohydrates. This diet is delivered through wet food because a dry-food diet contains more vegetable proteins and carbohydrates, and some vets believe it doesn't deliver the essential nutrients felines need. Taurine, for example, is an important amino acid found only in meat.

Natural Diet

A high-protein diet with a high meat content is believed to give domestic cats the nutrients they need because it closely resembles the cat's diet in the wild. Meat-based diets are naturally low in carbohydrates. Canned food contains more animal protein than dried food; the latter has a higher carbohydrate content because it usually contains grains. Cats in the wild naturally consume a high-moisture meat-based diet.


A diet rich in animal proteins increase a cat's energy levels, improves the texture and quality of its coat and helps prevent constipation and diabetes, according to the Pet Health & Care website.

Medical Conditions

Vets sometimes recommend a high-protein low-carbohydrate wet food diet for cats suffering from feline diabetes. This is because proteins help stabilise blood sugar. However, cats with kidney problems may be prescribed a low-protein diet because too much protein can put added stress on the kidneys. Such cats might be placed on a dry food diet with a higher content of grains, fruit and vegetables.

Feeding Your Cat

Commercial wet cat food distributed in cans and pouches is naturally high in animal protein. Canned food comes in a variety of flavours, including fish, chicken, rabbit and beef. Some owners prefer to supplement commercial cat food with good quality meat, although others steer away from it altogether because many brands contain animal byproducts. They prefer to devise their own high-protein menus to more closely emulate a natural diet. Such diets consist of foods like free range eggs and organic beef and chicken.

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About the Author

Based in Belfast, Northern Ireland, Elizabeth Burns began writing professionally in 1988. She has worked as a feature writer for various Irish newspapers, including the "Irish News," "Belfast News Letter" and "Sunday Life." Burns has a Bachelor of Arts in English literature from the University of Ulster as well as a Master of Research in arts.