The hype about grain-free cat food started back in 2018. The FDA released a statement that they were investigating a connection between grain-free foods and dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM)… In dogs.
So why does a quick internet search return so many results for grain-free diets causing DCM in cats? And why are many of these articles written by veterinarians?
Especially since there is zero science (research studies or surveys) that examines any occurrence of DCM in cats connected to a grain-free diet.
Zero. Go look. There is nothing that indicates grain-free diets cause any heart issues in cats.
The science – which remains inconclusive after 4 years of controversial hype – is all about dogs. And perhaps it’s worth a reminder that cats are an entirely different species of animal. Cats are not small dogs.
Further, DCM is very rare for any cat. Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy (HCM) is the most prevalent cardiac disease in cats – and all cardiomyopathies in cats are caused by genetics or unknown causes.
Cats Are Obligate Carnivores
Cats have no nutritional need for grains – or any carbohydrates.
And yet, go into any pet store and you’ll see grain-free food options for cats option everywhere. And for many cat parents this makes good sense. Because cats are obligate carnivores, they have no physiological requirement for grains – and need a species appropriate diet. So good riddance, right? But what do these pet food manufacturers use in replacement of those unneeded grains?
Check the ingredient panel and you’ll find peas, legumes, lentils… all additional ingredients also nutritionally foreign for an obligate carnivore.
So why are pet food manufactures marketing cat food with ingredients that are not required by cats at all? Arguably, all these ingredients are just cheaper than the real meat proteins needed for optimal health by obligate carnivores… but that’s a whole different topic.
Basics are best. Let’s feed our cats the food their bodies need. Not only can we avoid the winds and whims of dietary fads, we will be providing our obligate carnivores the nutrition they need for optimized health.