The cat is a carnivorous domestic animal. Cereals are the seeds of plants cultivated and processed by man. At first glance, cereals are therefore not compatible with the diet that cats need.
What does the cat eat in the wild?
The wild cat or the domestic cat that is not fed by humans will hunt and eat its prey for sustenance. To date, no one has ever seen a cat hunting wheat, corn, oats, rice or barley.
Indeed, it will hunt other animals, such as rodents such as voles, field mice, shrews, mice, rats, such as rabbits or small hares, such as reptiles such as lizards and snakes, or such as fish if they live near water.
Occasionally, it may eat a few insects, but also some herbs to purge itself and fruit that has fallen on the ground in small quantities. In other words, the cat is primarily carnivorous and needs some sources of additional fiber and vitamins for its metabolism.
This is why the consumption of its prey is sufficient, since it mainly hunts omnivorous or herbivorous animals. As a result, it naturally finds sources other than meat in its living food, since its prey had ingested plants.
Note that the consumption of birds in cats results in the consumption of a few seeds in tiny quantities in cats. It is estimated that the natural diet of our favorite felines consists of 90% meat (including bones and cartilage), 9% vegetables and fruits and only 1% cereals.
What do cereals bring to the cat in their diet?
Let it be clear, cereals do absolutely nothing essential for the cat. Worse, they are harmful to his health at high doses, since his metabolism is absolutely not calibrated for the consumption of cereals at high doses.
However, you will be able to read certain manufacturers, manufacturers of croquettes in particular, that the processed and rigorously chosen cereals are good for our friends with mustache. This is false and purely marketing.
Indeed, cereals such as rice being among the cheapest ingredients on the market, it is not uncommon to see them in kibble for cats and kittens. However, the “grain free” croquettes (without cereals in French) are suitable for our felids.
Ideally, they should consist of at least 70% meat and a maximum of 30% vegetables (fruit first and possibly some highly digestible vegetables).
Why are cereals bad for cats?
You will understand, cereals are of no use to your mustached friend. In question ? Purely biological and metabolic reasons. This is because cats have a short digestive tract, unlike humans and other herbivorous or omnivorous animals.
As a result, the grains they eat turn into carbohydrates. Except that carbohydrates are neither assimilable nor digestible for cats. It follows at best a uselessness of food, at worst diarrhea, constipation and food intolerance.
To simplify, consider that a kilo of 5 euro kibbles containing 50% rice is equivalent to a kilo of 10 euro kibbles without grain. In other words, food that is not digested by your cat has no nutritional value for them, but in addition can be detrimental to their health.
Alternatives to cereals in the feline diet
It is essential to compare the dry food and cat food that you find in the store before buying. Your companion does not need cereals at all, you will easily find alternatives thanks to grain free or hypoallergenic foods.
Finally, you could also opt for the “homemade” with the BARF diet. By choosing a grain-free diet, you will find that your cat is eating less while being healthier. His silky coat, his teeth in good shape and his vitality will testify to it.
In any case, if you are switching from a grain-free diet to a grain-free diet, it is important to go gradually. Also remember to consult your veterinarian, for his opinion and advice, but also to have your cat followed in the event of a change in diet.