Debunking The Myth Of Less Protein For Older Cats
Back in the day, veterinarians recommended less animal protein for older cats. Why? Because studies were showing that cats over 7 years old, who ate commercially prepared, high protein diets had kidney and liver problems. Their organs just weren’t strong enough to process through the protein that they were eating.
Fast forward to today and we (as well as many veterinarians) now know that the kidneys and liver of cats are perfectly able to process meat – so long as it’s quality meat.
You see, it was never protein that was the problem. It was the quality of the meat in these commercial pet foods that was the problem. So many cats passed away early because of this recommendation – since aging cats actually need more protein than they did when they were younger.
Cats are obligate carnivores and need a high amount of quality animal protein in their diets – regardless of their age. What we’ve found is that cats who are fed balanced raw diets (vs. kibble and canned) from a young age have less kidney issues altogether. However, if your cat is in the later stages of kidney failure, a reduced amount of excellent quality animal protein is suggested – but should still be offered in a kidney-friendly fresh food format.
I want to express the importance of QUALITY protein in your cat’s diet. The more digestible the protein and the higher the moisture, the easier it is for the organs of an older cat to process. If we feed less protein to older cats, rather than higher quality protein, we’re actually shortening their lifespan.
And we don’t want that.
In order to understand what quality of protein you’re feeding your cat, you must know the source. Big brand commercial cat foods have found an inexpensive way to increase the protein count in cat food. They are able to substitute (or add to) the meat with soy and corn – which can also be considered “protein”. However, these ingredients are not only unnecessary for cats, they’re potentially very dangerous.
My advice is to find an independently owned health pet food store close to you and discuss protein sources with them – these smaller stores often do most of the research for you. Sourcing (where the food and its ingredients come from) is an increasingly important topic – and nearly every day we hear about a new food recall because the sourcing was questionable. We also suggest finding a holistic veterinarian nearby and discussing your older cat’s nutritional requirements. With just a little effort, you can make a big difference in your cat’s life!
The Best Addition To An Older Cat’s Diet