grain free food..good or bad?

shebaa

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my cat has been on natural balance grain free lid venison & peas food for 5 weeks. dry and wet. its been helping her with to stop vomiting, so far this is the only thing that has worked. but ive read that grain free isnt the best choice. i just wanted to hear what everyone here thinks. hills and rc both have venison formulas but i cant afford prescription food
 

Furballsmom

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its been helping her with to stop vomiting, so far this is the only thing that has worked.
I personally don't have strong feelings about grain free, depending on what some of the other ingredients are that have been used in the food, and I think that Natural Balance is a good brand - I use their pouch foods for my boy.
That said, the bottom line here, I believe, is that she's not vomiting any longer - I think you're on the absolute right track for your kitty :)!
 

Kieka

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Grain free labeling is a commercial food gimmick to make it more appealing to humans. That said, cats are obligated carnivores and have no use for grains in their diet so it isn't a bad thing to avoid grains. Grains can lead to weight retention around the midsection and contribute towards diabetes. The problem with grain free, excluding the media and vet scare side for a moment, is that they replaced the grains with peas and potatoes. Cats dont need either of those any more then they need grains. Plus we dont know if or what problems they could have and they artificially inflate the protein content with plant protein. Cats need their protein from animal sources to be able to use it.

So grain free labeling can help you identify potential food options but you still need to be an advocate for your cat and look at ingredients. I look for grain free then read labels to find meat in the first ingredients and no plant protein listed. I personally dont like the pea heavy natural balance labels.

The grain free media and vet caution is because DOGS on boutique diets (which are typically also grain free) have shown a higher incidence of heart problems. I should stress this is an issue identified with DOGS and large breed at that, not CATS. From what I've read there is no solid answer yet, you will find actual non-sponsored by pet food company research into pet nutrition is sorely lacking in general. But it seems the problem might be dogs getting too little taurine and/or some issue with the meat source (lamb specifically if I remember right) and/or the exotic vegetable lists.

Personally, I think we should take this as a lesson in keeping it simple. Cats evolved to eat a meat based diet with high protein, moderate fat and low carbs. They have no need for any fruit or vegetable in their food. The simpler the food in terms of ingredients the better. Companies complicate things by adding in full vegetable stew and calling it healthier when cats don't need it. Wet food should be meat, meat and vitamins/minerals/amino acids. Dry food should be avoided unless it is needed because of budget or lifestyle and then we should try to find a low carb option or the lowest carb option. If what you are feeding is working for your cat and your budget, keep feeding it. But always read labels and change if you find something better (also check to see if they change the formula every time you buy, sneaky companies).
 

LTS3

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What you may have heard about grain-free diets causing health issues only applies to certain breeds of dogs, at least currently. TCS has several threads that discuss the topic:


If the Natural Balance LID food works for your cat, then feed it. I assume your vet has ruled out medical reasons for the vomiting?
 
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shebaa

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What you may have heard about grain-free diets causing health issues only applies to certain breeds of dogs, at least currently. TCS has several threads that discuss the topic:

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If the Natural Balance LID food works for your cat, then feed it. I assume your vet has ruled out medical reasons for the vomiting?
vet suspects allergies/ibd. my cat also now as constipation regularly. i called the vet and she referred me to an internal medicine vet since theres obviously a GI problem. her appt is feb 10th. but it seems like her vomiting is under control. still would like to give it a couple more weeks just to be sure. and she also get 1/8 tsp of miralax daily for constipation which seems to be helping. she still vomits like every other week which is a huge difference and i know if i were to stop miralax she will get constipated. so at this point i dont know if we should still see the specialist.
 
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shebaa

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I feed my cats the grain free Fanch Feast Classic Pates which I think are quite good nutritional wise and I also free feed an Australian brand of kibble called Fussy Cat which is okay but it has peas in it but it is the best quality food which is accessible to me.
also read that peas are not really good either, which this food im feeding her has. whats bad about peas?
 

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Go low carb. NB is nothing but peas. Look at orijen, tiki cat, nature’s variety raw boost, dr elseys. Those are probably the only dried foods on the market worth your month. And feed as much canned food as possible. Someone mentioned classics fancy feast above. Those are good if you’re on a budget. Tiki cat, weruva, dr elsey all have great canned options as well.
 

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My cat had poop issues for like 5 years because of his IBD and we went through a ton of foods trying to find the right diet. That same natural balance LID canned food (the venison and pea one) is the only thing that seems to help his IBD. He still eats it like 6 years later and never has poop trouble anymore. I know that in general you want to go low carb and peas are still carbs, but I’d rather have a cat who eats some peas than a cat who’s sick and gets poop on himself all the time :D
 

Paris St. James

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also read that peas are not really good either, which this food im feeding her has. whats bad about peas?
I dont think peas are necessarily that bad but they don't belong in a cats diet, just like many other questionable ingredients we see in cat food. In saying that, I'm more inclined to feed my cat 'grain free' with peas that has meat as the first few ingredients as I assume the cereals they put in other/cheaper foods are worse especially if they're the first few ingredient on the list.
 

lisahe

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Go low carb. NB is nothing but peas. Look at orijen, tiki cat, nature’s variety raw boost, dr elseys. Those are probably the only dried foods on the market worth your month. And feed as much canned food as possible. Someone mentioned classics fancy feast above. Those are good if you’re on a budget. Tiki cat, weruva, dr elsey all have great canned options as well.
My cat had poop issues for like 5 years because of his IBD and we went through a ton of foods trying to find the right diet. That same natural balance LID canned food (the venison and pea one) is the only thing that seems to help his IBD. He still eats it like 6 years later and never has poop trouble anymore. I know that in general you want to go low carb and peas are still carbs, but I’d rather have a cat who eats some peas than a cat who’s sick and gets poop on himself all the time :D
These two comments show the real difficulty with IBD and food sensitivities. I totally agree with what cheesycats says about low-carb foods, Fancy Feast, and all the peas in the NB food. Our cats, who have weird little digestive issues, eat only wet foods, all of which are high-protein and low-carb. I won't feed them potatoes, peas, or other legumes, none of which cats are really designed to process.

But what kittenmittens84 says strikes me as making a good deal of sense, too. It can be very difficult to sort through what's causing a cat's digestive problems and sometimes (who knows why!?) it's the food with the peas or potatoes that actually works for a cat. Potatoes make one of our cats barf but I remember some people saying saying some food or other that included potato was the only thing that really worked for their cats.

All that said, since your cat still has symptoms, I'd strongly consider -- and asking the specialist vet about -- trying a diet like Kieka Kieka mentioned, with very simple ingredients, just meat and nutrients. Given the constipation, which can be caused by factors like bone and/or insufficient water, I'd probably start with all wet foods that are made with only meat since byproducts might/can include bone, though the quantities may be negligible. Something like Tiki Cat or Chewy's Miko would be ideal. Some vets recommend diets with novel proteins, which may be why you're feeding venison. If you could find a food with venison but without the peas, that might work. (Though, weird twist: given their fiber, the peas may actually help the constipation! It's hard to say.)

Anyway, good luck! I hope you're able to figure this out -- it can take a fair bit of time and patience. Keeping a food diary often really helps. (It's how we figured out one of our cats can't eat agar-agar or mussels, both of which are used in quite a few foods these days.)
 
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