Grain Free Cat Food

Plenty of Food -- was it grain free? -- photo by fofurasfelinas

Two useful tags. Click either to see the articles: Toxic to cats | Dangers to cats

Plenty of Food -- was it grain free? -- photo by fofurasfelinas

Grain shouldn't be in cat food. That is why informed and concerned people search for grain free cat food. Grain is stuff like wheat and rice. I like rice. Cats are not meant to eat rice unless the prey they caught and ate was vegetarian and had rice in the stomach.

Apparently grains began to appear in cat food about 70 years ago. A long time ago. People were less aware of it then. People are more aware today and some are not happy about it. Some manufacturers have picked up on this and produce grain free cat food.

Why is grain in cat food? Answer: it makes the cat food manufacturer more profit and you can't blame 'em for that. Only, when it comes to animals and health and living creatures I think cat food manufacturers have an obligation that is much wider than serving their share holders (if the company is public) or making more money for the directors. Unfortunately you can't ask a business to be more moral as that cost money. So, you have to tell them. That can only be done by regulations (legislation, statutes etc.). And governments don't want to get involved as it will be perceived to be unpopular, or so the government thinks. Regulations dictating the quality of cat food would reduce sales and therefore reduce corporation tax receipts for the government. Another obstacle to the introduction of regulations is that it would improve the health of cats. This may have a negative impact on veterinarians' businesses too. Vets probably like cat food with grains (or some of them do) as it will tend to create more unhealthy cats and therefore more business. You can see how skeptical I have become.

Another issue has been contamination of pet food via the grains. In the most notorious case, gluten was contaminated with melamine, a substance used in the manufacture of kitchen units. Also the increased carbohydrate content of modern cat food can cause diabetes (see Diabetic Cat Food).

So, the grain shouldn't be there. What about the other ingredients? Well, this is usually rendered material and ash. Rendering is a euphemism for taking, what we consider, inedible substances such as supermarket refuse and euthanized "rescued" cats and converting it into a product that can be molded into attractive shapes, to which are added colorings and flavorings and thence to be called cat food. Plus the attractive packaging, of course. As I said we can't blame the manufacturers really as it is a commercial reality. They take raw products that would normally be waste but which contains the source of food and convert it into a reasonably attractive cat food product. Only my cats never really like it. Cats are smart enough to see through the fakery.

The exact process, very briefly is to take what I mentioned above plus, for example, rancid grease and dead livestock and grind it into a mulch. Then heat it up (cook it). The fat is separated and used as animal fat. The rest is used as cat food.

Well, grain free cat food, at least, removes the unneeded grain. The rest I am not sure about. Here are two manufacturers of grain free cat food in the UK and three in the USA. There are more in the USA. That's the best I can do at the moment:

USA company. High Protein, Low Carb, No Grain.

Arden Grange
UK based, no animal testing, no grain.

Orijen Pet Foods
UK based, High-protein, low-carbohydrate and Grain-FREE.

Located USA, Minimizing processing. Grain free.

Peppercatz Premium
USA based. Holistic Meals and Treats.
Link: (this was broken hence not a live link)

Finally, do you think you'd like to get involved in making your own? Here's some tips: Raw Food Diet. Photo published under a creative commons license

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Grain Free Cat Food

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Dec 07, 2011 Grain free cat food.
by: Anonymous

Arden Grange is NOT grain free. Click onto the website and read the ingredients (which by the way are pretty hard to find)

Nov 17, 2011 orijen
by: 3mor

that]s agreat proudct for my pet

Jul 05, 2011 Commercial cat food
by: lisa uk

I gave mine the choice....big bowl of commercial crap or some raw chicken wings! Which one did they go for?? You guessed correct the raw chicken. Not silly my Siamese.

Jul 02, 2011 WHY do vets say grain food OK?!
by: Tina M. O.

After stumbling on all these grain free diet articles for pets (I have 2 cats) I've become enlitened & ONLY feed them grain free! But ALL vets I talked to said that the corn, etc. food is OK. Of course, all their "prescription-diet" pet food is loaded with it too. For years I fed my diabetic, kydney/bladder sick cats these foods prescribed by their vets. Now I think I was giving them the very thing that was making them sick! But what about the FDA approving all these foods?! And are the vets lying?! It definitely would seem to be a conflict of interest & their oath. These are good people who wouldn't go into vet health care unless they LOVED animals. Are they doing it not only because the pet food companies subsidized their education but funds their practices by keeping pets sick?! PLEASE ANSWER! (sorry to use caps/exclamations.)

May 14, 2010 gluten free
by: Anonymous

Sometimes a label that says grain free can be misleading. The only one that I know of to be grain and gluten free is Blue Buffalo Wilderness. That is the new one that says 100% grain free.

Apr 26, 2010 Thanks to the Nice Parents of Kitties
by: Sylvia

...who've answered my e-mails. Unfortunately, I know of no way to access your seven replies. I find nothing on this site but older e-mails from other participants,and blank space after my own two. 'This is stupefying.'(Quoting Mark Twain here.) The problem may stem from my dial-up service, which maybe allows a person to transmit but not to receive. (?) Whatever the answer to any of this,please don't waste any more of your time writing responses. I may contact my service provider, or ask a couple of computer literate friends if they can determine what's going on.

Not to wamble off on a tangent, but some of you apparently live in the British Isles. I'm Scotch-English-Swedish, and wish I could visit your homeland someday -- would enjoy seeing Westminster Abbey, Haworth Parsonage, Hardy's beloved heathland, Austen's Bath, etc....

Except for the climate, I doubt there's much resemblance between England and coastal Washington state. We have an overabundance of rain, but soft rain right now, in this beautiful springtime. My town is engulfed by wilderness, and the cottonwoods on the riverbanks are as gold as they are during the fall -- though the leaves are newborn, not frostbitten as they are in October. An exquisite season, in spite of the rain.

Thank you again for your kind responses, and I'm sorry I haven't been able to read them.

Best wishes to all,


Apr 24, 2010 DRAT! They're hiding somewhere!
by: Sylvia

Hey, Michael--

Thank you for the messages in my in-box notifying me of three responses to my quavering Cries in the Wilderness. I was quite overcome, as I've never before participated in a global web-site/forum/chat-fest(whatever it's called). Unfortunately, I'm afflicted with a buggy-whip mentality,and am wobbling along in a so-far futile search for the responses. My plight is absurd, as I know a couple of six-year-olds who are flaming virtuosos(si) on the Net. Will continue to poke around in random nooks & crannies,if such exist,in hopes of finally stumbling upon a reply or two from your participants. Meanwhile, I'm reading the other insightful comments and caveats, enjoying your essays,your photos and other good stuff. Thanks again.



Apr 23, 2010 I just cant give them this crap!
by: lisa uk

I bought a bag of James wellbeloved cat food, opened it and found the smell disgusting, yuck. I fed it to my two cats and a few minutes later they were sick. I was looking on u-tube at the videos of what's in pet food. I found we are feeding our cats and dogs DEAD CATS AND DOGS..
for gods sake why are we continuing to give all this money to these big companies who are taking the P$$ big time. Lets all get together and boycot this crap now! I know it's convenient to open a bag and throw this gunk into a bowl but jesus we must stop. The only people who benefit from this are the big pet food companies and the vets who recommend it. There was a woman who posted a few videos..... so sad, that IAMS killed her cat! I am sure that people still buy Iams. What's wrong with us? Anyway i have stocked up with frozen chicken and rabbit bones included. I just cant bear to look at that food again. I will throw it away.

Apr 23, 2010 Am Not a Lachrymose Female
by: Sylvia

..but this morning I broke into wracking sobs, with tears the size of quail's eggs dripping off my chin when O took a close look at what I've been trying for months to ignore: catfood cans stacked four deep in my refrigerator.

I just finished writing a cri de coeur of several thousand words, but when I tried to submit it, I read that this e-mail can be only 3,000 CHARACTERS in length. So here's a thumbnail condensation.

My housecats cats reject 85% of everything they're fed - expensive canned catfood (in dozens of flavors) and equally pricey no-grain, high protein kibbles. They'll take a sniff, nibble a dab, then walk away, leaving behind cans and cans of untouched, costly food they wouldn't consider eating as leftovers warmed in the microwave. Because I can't afford to feed hundreds of stray cats, 'possums & rodents, I bury about $40.00 worth of leftovers in the yard every week -- and I doubt canned catfood is a healthful diet for earthworms.

My cats enjoy minced raw organic stewmeat as a portion of their supper, but one of them - ostensibly very healthy and happy - has been diagnosed with FL (she used to be an outdoor cat), and her vet has warned that raw meat is hazardous for her. So what can I feed her and her companion? I've been thrifty all my life;I can't stand to see useful things go to waste - and this current waste is astronomical.

The spiraling challenge of feeding these cats is beyond belief. I'm at my wits end, and feel that I'm close to exhausting all options.

I've heard or read that if a cat refuses to eat, you cover and put his food in the refrigerator, then take it out, warm it in the microwave, and offer it to him again later in the day; eventually, his hunger will force him to eat. But several veterinarians have also told me that a cat will go on a hunger strike until it succumbs to kidney failure within a few days. So what's to be done?

I recently read a seemingly reputable book of recipes for home-cooked meals for cats, but it recommended sardines in tomato sauce, and taurine-rich raw (steamed) clams, neither of which my cats will eat. Nor will they touch cooked chicken mixed with rice or potatoes.

Is there any known solution to this dietary nightmare? Sorry for this Jeremiad, but my cats have pushed me to the brink. Is our problem unique, or does it resonate with any of you?

Many heartfelt thanks for your comments or suggestions!


Mar 31, 2010 does wellness grain free come in lg cans?
by: Libby

I currently feed my two adult cats wellness grain free cat food. They each receive 1/2 can in the morning and 1/2 can in the evening so each cat consumes 1 can per day. They are gaining wait graudally but steadily. It is inconvenient to try and carve out a quarter of each can and store it in another container until I have 3/4s in that extra container. Can anyone recommend a good grain free cat food that comes in larges cans like dog food so I can scoop out an extra 1/2 cup to monitor their weight better?

Mar 26, 2010 Homemade cat food
by: Michael

Chicken is a good major ingredient of home made cat food but a cat needs more.

People who make home made cat food often use chicken from the supermarket it seems but additional ingredients are added to make it balanced for a cat:

See Home made cat food

Michael Avatar

Feb 21, 2010 Are we not able to buy and freeze a piece of chicken??
by: Anonymous

I notice a lot of people jumping on the bandwagon with regards to the BARF diet. Offering ready packed frozen meals. I wonder are we not able to visit the supermarket and buy some chicken wings or such like and put them in the freezer ourselves? What makes them think we feel that their meat is superior. Any thoughts??

Feb 20, 2010 Origen's origin
by: Anonymous

Great information on cat food. One small correction: Orijen is part of Champion Petfoods, and it is a Canadian---not U.K.-based---company using locally-/regionally-sourced meat and fish products. They are, indeed, grain-free and our cats thrive on Orijen. They especially love the "6 Fish".

Jan 06, 2010 Found this horrific article please read
by: lisa

This is a very comprehensive article on the manufacture of pet food.

Jan 06, 2010 Been Grain-Free for a little over a year
by: Rich

My little girl started vomitting on a daily basis a little over a year ago. Took her to the vet to find out if something was seriously wrong. The vet was telling me the different things that could possibly be causing it, most of which she said was unlikely due to the fact that she was an older cat (12 at the time) and those things would have shown up much earlier in her life. I asked the vet if she thought it could be a food allergy. I was told it was a definite possibility. And, that most cats that develop food allergies/reactions is usually due to the grain in the prepared cat foods. Grains are not part of a cat's natural diet (an if it is there, it's minimal as part of the stomach contents of their prey).

Now, the vet could have tried to sell me some of that overpriced, not-so-much-better cr*p that they have stocked all over their shelves nowadays, but she didn't even mention it. She told me right away about the Innova EVO cat food that's grain free and even told me about the local mom-n-pop pet shop that carried it in my area.

I switched her food right away. From day one, the vomitting stopped (although, there is the occasional hair ball every now and then). But, not only was the problem taken care of, I also have noticed that she sheds noticeably less than before and has increased energy.

Since switching here, there are also a number of other grain-free foods that have emerged on the market. Sometimes she gets the Wellness Core wich is a grain-free product as well as using 'human-grade' components (non of the nasty whatever-byproducts).

It's more expensive than the grocery store stuff, but the way I look at it is my little girl's health is worth it. And many times, even though it costs more, most cats end up eating less because they are getting more nutritional value.

Dec 23, 2009 Spot on Lisa
by: Michael

Yes, Lisa, I agree totally. Big business and indeed whole countries feed off the fact that humankind is so disjointed and uncoordinated. We can't pull in the right direction and business steps in and takes advantage.

Dec 22, 2009 Commercial crap!!
by: lisa

If all pet owners got together and stopped buying this crap then the pet food companies would either go out of business or get their act together. I feel quite strongly about this, but we are allowing it to happen. If we dont demand good ingredients for our animals we will find they are using even worse ingredients....although road kill and the likes i suppose they cant really use much worse. We are paying a fortune for it. I use Burns dog and cat food, which i hope is one of the better ones?? but who knows, it's supposed to be holistic! If we gave the cats a choice.... a bowl of fresh chicken or a bowl of hazardous waste in the form of kibble which would they choose?? Just my 2 cents

Dec 03, 2009 Thanks
by: Michael

Thanks Patricia for your helpful input. First hand experiences are the best and very helpful to our visitors.

Dec 03, 2009 Grain Free and Loving it.
by: Patricia ( Canada )

The breader we deal with ONLY feeds "Wellness CORE" to her Siamese, and they are world champs. I now have started feeding it to our older Siamese at home. So he and the kittens can eat the same food. The change in his health and his coat are worth the extra cost. She also recomended the EVO brand, but said her kittens sometimes don't prefer it. These foods are available at most pet stores.

Nov 29, 2009 Grain Free Foods
by: Mary H

I fed Evo, with great success, to my hybrids. I leave the dry kibble down, free choice, during the day and once per day they get a can of Instinct with vitamins sprinkled on top... this keeps them in optimal health/growth! Recently, Instinct has come out with a dry kibble (grain free, naturally). I have mixed this in with the Evo and they love it! there are really some wonderful foods on the market today- our cats are much more fortunate than those of 10+ years ago!

Sep 08, 2009 Another grain free food (UK)
by: Anonymous

Taste of the Wild Rocky Mountain Feline Formula with roasted venison and smoked salmon (
for all life stages) is available in UK now from (new window)

Dec 19, 2008 Just started feeding grain free cat food
by: Anonymous

Yes, I've just stated feeding mine grain free cat food. I hope I see a difference in my cat's health!

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