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Last updated: 03 Nov 2020

The Best Low-Carb Cat Food (Review) in 2020

Key features

Method of baking cat food brings out natural flavor

No processed plants classified as 'protein' in Tiki Cat's kibble

Grain free formula includes superfoods, including salmon oil, flaxseeds, and pumpkin

Key features

Pure probiotic strain bolsters gastrointestinal health

82% animal-based proteins chiefly from four high-quality protein sources – deboned duck, chicken meal, turkey meal, and deboned cod

Key features

Real flaked fish included to enhance natural flavor and satisfy felines' instinctual fish cravings

Available for only thirteen dollars

Show contents
Olivia Williams
Published 12:53 pm

When gazing at our delightful ball of domestic fluff having a snooze on their plush cat bed, it’s easy to forget that our cats’ ancestors were savage hunters that were adept at tracking and killing their prey. Although evolution altered wild cats’ metabolism and diet, domesticated cats today still possess a slow carbohydrate metabolism incredibly similar to their ancestors. As a result, it is presumed that cat food containing an abundance of carbohydrates – a subset which makes up most of the market today – has led to the growing rise of obesity in cats and an increase of heart complications.

Related Post: Cat Food for Weight Loss

Thankfully, pet nutritionists are all too aware of this health crisis and have urged companies to expand their range of low carb cat food. Their efforts have resulted in a wonderful selection of low carb products. We’ve identified what we believe to be the leading low carb wet cat food and dry cat food on the market in the hope that your feline will profit from their palatableness and healthiness.

The Best Low-Carb Cat Food

1

Tiki Cat’s grain-free kibble boasts a commendable ratio of 46% animal-based protein. This ‘protein’ isn’t just any old animal debris: the company refuse to follow multinational corporations’ unhealthy tactic of including extracted plant proteins like corn gluten meal and potato protein and instead focus on including limited protein sources.

To maximize the flavor of their Chicken Luau kibble to keep cats coming back for more, the formula is gently baked so the natural flavor and nutrients remain. Countless owners affirm that low carb dry cat food is tasteless and bland, but these people clearly haven’t given their feline a Tiki Cat recipe.

Calorie content: 495 kcal/cup

Minimum crude protein: 46.0%

Minimum crude fat: 20.0%

Maximum crude fiber: 3.0%

Maximum moisture: 10.0%

First three ingredients: Deboned chicken, chicken meal, dehydrated chicken liver

Specification:
  • Brand: TIKI PETS
  • Model: 47001
  • Weight: 5.6 pounds

2

Say goodbye to dodgy by-product meals forever by trusting in CRAVE’s Chicken and Salmon’s dry cat food. Specifically geared towards indoor adult cats, CRAVE know how hard it is for owners to find quality cat food that won’t break the bank and sell their kibble for a fraction of the price of other premium brands.

The brand are keen to make their food accessible for all indoor cats, even those with food sensitivities, and have accordingly made their kibble grain and soy protein free. Combined with the 40% high protein ratio and superfoods to mimic cats’ ancestral diets, the end product is of such high caliber that it is essential to switch recipes to this commendable formula slowly and steadily so your cat’s digestive system won’t become overwhelmed by the rich amount of nutrients all at once.

Calorie content: 3,677 kcal/kg (379 kcal/cup)

Minimum crude protein: 40.0%

Minimum crude fat: 16.0%

Maximum crude fiber: 6.0%

Maximum moisture: 10.0%

First three ingredients: Chicken, Chicken Meal, Pea Protein

Specification:
  • Brand: CRAVE
  • Model: 10164819
  • Weight: 10 pounds

3

Wysong believes that felines with ureteral obstructions have suffered enough. Their curated kibble, containing 42% protein and 15% fat, is the optimal amount for felines’ immune and unitary systems. The high amounts of DL-methionine in particular makes Wysong’s product ‘uretic’ due to this amino acids role in naturally acidifying cats’ urine pH. This acidity dissolves crystals and stones in cats’, making for a happy cat.

The prebiotics and probiotics in this formula are essential for ensuring your cat’s gut bacteria play a role in producing nutrients for your colon cells, resulting in a normal digestive system. You’ll be over the moon to see your cat back to their normal self with minimal flare-ups to speak of and receiving the optimal amount of nutrition to keep them healthy for many years.

Calorie content: 3,725 kcal/kg (447 kcal/cup)

Minimum crude protein: 42.0%

Minimum crude fat: 15.0%

Maximum crude fiber: 5.0%

Maximum moisture: 10.0%

First three ingredients: Chicken, Chicken Meal, Chicken Fat

Specification:
  • Brand: Wysong
  • Model: WDFU5
  • Weight: 5 pounds

4

Nulo’s Duck and Lentils recipe has quite rightly been baptised as our premium pick due to the care the company place into creating an all-inclusive kibble. For starters, the small disk shape makes it easier for cats to chew and digest. The grain-free composition likewise helps felines who suffer from allergies.

One major problem nutritionists have remarked upon in recent years is the quick release of energy cats enjoy after eating their kibble, followed by a slump. To alleviate this situation, Nulo include ingredients containing a low amount of glycemic – put differently, ingredients that do not convert carbs very quickly to impact glucose (blood sugar) levels. Not only will this generate a low-release of energy, this low amount of glycemic keeps the blood sugar of cats with diabetes low.

Calorie content: 3,724 kcal/kg (468 kcal/cup)

Minimum crude protein: 40.0%

Minimum crude fat: 17.0%

Maximum crude fiber: 5.0%

Maximum moisture: 10.0%

First three ingredients: Deboned Duck, Chicken Meal, Turkey Meal

Specification:
  • Brand: Nulo
  • Model: Indoor Cat Duck & Lentils
  • Weight: 1 pounds

5

Blue Buffalo’s high-palatability cat food contains all the nutrients your cat needs to prosper. The complexed carbohydrates included in this formula, including sweet potatoes and peas, play a leading role in ensuring your feline has the energy to run amok. Personally, one of our favorite perks is Blue Buffalo’s famous LifeSource Bits that astutely combine vitamins, antioxidants, and minerals together to bolster your cat’s immune system.

Calorie content: 3,832 kcal/kg (443 kcal/cup)

Minimum crude protein: 40.0%

Minimum crude fat: 18.0%

Maximum crude fiber: 4.0%

Maximum moisture: 9.0%

First three ingredients: Deboned Chicken, Chicken Meal, Pea Protein

Specification:
  • Brand: Blue Buffalo
  • Model: 800191
  • Weight: 12 pounds

6

Proudly manufactured in the USA with high-quality ingredients sourced from around the globe, Instinct’s ultimate protein chicken recipe is low in carbohydrates yet high in meat protein. An exemplary 95% of this formula’s protein comes from this first-rate chicken, engendering a huge increase in the healthiness of your cat’s digestive tract.

Instinct take the palatability of their low carb kibble incredibly seriously and prove it by freeze-drying (removing the moisture from) their raw frozen products – eating raw has never been more delicious or convenient!

Calorie content: 4,470 kcal/kg (491 kcal/cup)

Minimum crude protein: 47.0%

Minimum crude fat: 17.0%

Maximum crude fiber: 3.0%

Maximum moisture: 10.0%

First three ingredients: Chicken, Tapioca, Chicken Fat (preserved with Mixed Tocopherols and Citric Acid)

Specification:
  • Brand: Instinct
  • Model: 769949658511
  • Weight: 4 pounds

7

We just can’t quite get enough of Tiki Cat and their innovative approach towards low-carb cat food. Their idea to create a variety pack, with six flavors and twelve cans, is a really delicious way to keep your cats looking forward to the variety of flavors presented to them at dinner time, whilst keeping them on a low-carb, high protein diet.

Available in Sardine Cutlets in Lobster Consommé, Tuna in Crab Surimi Consummé, and four more mouthwatering flavors, these low carb canned cat food meals will spark a hunger in your cat not seen since they were a small kitten craving their next meal. As one ecstatic customer remarked, this is the kind of food your cats plot to kill you over. You better watch out!

Calorie content: 157 kcal (6 oz can)

Minimum crude protein: 16.0%

Minimum crude fat: 2.0%

Maximum crude fiber: 0.5%

Maximum moisture: 79.0%

First three ingredients: Tuna, Fish Broth, Prawn

Specification:
  • Brand: Tiki Cat
  • Model: 10240
  • Weight: 4.13 pounds

8

For diabetic cats, Wild Frontier’s Ancestral Diet with Chicken is a dream come true for their overall health and wellbeing. Wild Frontier have swapped out a low carbohydrate diet for one including natural fibers to bolster a healthy digestive tract. Similarly, in order to cater for special diets, the brand have made their recipe grain-free and containing zero corn, wheat or soy. Boasting a high protein ratio between 40-42%, it’s no wonder owners start to notice a considerable difference in how their cats take on the day’s challenges, not to mention their lustrous coats and healthy skin.

Calorie content: 3,689 kcal/kg (391 kcal/cup)

Minimum crude protein: 40.0%

Minimum crude fat: 16.0%

Maximum crude fiber: 6.0%

Maximum moisture: 10.0%

First three ingredients: Chicken, Chicken Meal, Pea Protein

Specification:
  • Brand: WILD FRONTIER
  • Model: 10164632
  • Weight: 5 pounds

9

In a working household, it can be incredibly difficult to stop your daily tasks to go outside to the garage to fill up your cat’s food box. With NUTRO’s soft paté recipe, your kitten receives all the correct nutrients straight from a little container.

Featuring real salmon and tuna as the principal ingredients, this high protein content supports your kitty’s overall health. To human nostrils, it stinks for sure. Yet the offensive smell is worth it when you see your cat relishing every moment spent snacking on their low carbohydrate treat.

Calorie content: 1,141 kcal/kg (43 kcal)

Minimum crude protein: 11.5%

Minimum crude fat: 6.0%

Maximum crude fiber: 1.0%

Maximum moisture: 78.0%

First three ingredients: Salmon, Chicken, Chicken Broth

Specification:
  • Brand: Nutro
  • Model: 10163754
  • Weight: 3.97

10

Although their beef heart and liver formula is designed to satisfy both dogs and cats, this inclusivity does not lessen the curated nature of Ketogenic Pet Foods product – in fact, it points towards the

For diabetic cats in particular, satisfied customers talk endlessly about the remarkable changes in their cats: no longer shedding hair all over their homes, more active, and superior digestive tracts are only a few of the improvements remarked upon.

Calorie content: NA

Minimum crude protein: 44.0%

Minimum crude fat: 28.0%

Maximum crude fiber: 0.5%

Maximum moisture: 4.0%

First three ingredients: Beef Heart, Beef Liver, Coconut Oil

Specification:
  • Brand: Ketogenic Pet Foods
  • Model: KBHL95
  • Weight: 1.22 pounds

Best Low Carb Cat Food Buying Guide & FAQ

What is Low-Carb Cat Food?

Low-carb cat food is formulas that contain high-levels of animal-based protein and a lack of grains and legumes.

Things to Look For When Choosing a Low-Carb Cat Food

Do you notice a high amount of grains on the ingredient list? If you spot any form of corn, wheat, or rice on the ingredient list of low-carb cat foods, this is a definitive sign that your prospective cat food may not be as “low-carb” as advertised. As grains are high in carbohydrates and tough for cats to digest, it’s best to avoid them if your cat needs to lose a few pounds.

Related Post: Grain Free Cat Food

Does the food you have your eye on have “supplementary” written on the label? Supplementary cat food – although its contents can be highly nutritious – are a ‘side dish’ for your cat and do not contain a sufficient amount of amino acids and vitamins to comprise a full meal. Accordingly, if you’re trying to switch your cat to a low-carb diet, treating them to a ‘side dish’ is not the best move carb-wise.

Benefits of a Low Carbohydrate Cat Food Diet

Spread-out energy boosts: Low amounts of glycemic in low carbohydrate foods are especially beneficial for diabetic cats due to their ability to be digested and absorbed into the bloodstream easily. Likewise, the protein-boost also helps to preserve their energy levels throughout the day.

Reduced blood sugar: High blood sugar levels may wreak havoc on your cat’s immune system, causing them to develop type two diabetes. A low carb cat food diet results in your cat having less ‘spikes’, thereby reducing the risk of becoming diabetic.

Best Low Carb Cat Food FAQ:

Q: Are carbs really bad for cats?

A: There are several different classifications of carbohydrates – defined as biological molecules made up of carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen. The primary distinction is between simple and complex carbohydrates: the former being food sources such as fiber and starch whereas the latter is sugar. Healthy cats do not have a hard time digesting complex carbohydrates if they are fed a nutritionally complete and balanced diet. Therefore, many carbohydrates aren’t bad for cats: for example, cats require glucose to survive, as many cells in the body harness it as their primary energy source.

Excess carbohydrates, on the other hand, may result in obesity and diabetes mellitus. Once a cat becomes diabetic, a high-protein, low carb diet – just like the ones recommended in our product selection above – is supported. To conclude, carbs aren’t “really bad” for healthy cats, yet diabetic cats and older felines may want to start thinking about switching to a low-carb diet.

Q: How do I calculate carbs in cat food?

A: Companies aren’t required by law to include the percentage of carbohydrates in cat food. As a result, owners are left in the dark. However, if you’re willing to use a bit of maths, you can roughly work out a percentage. Thankfully, it is legislation that companies must include an analysis of the amount of crude protein, fat, fiber, and moisture in any given pet food. The sum recommended is detailed below:

100 – (Crude Protein + Crude Fat + Crude Fiber + Moisture + Ash)

Although it isn’t a labeling requirement for a company to reveal the maximum value of ash, it is recommended to use an estimate of 3% for canned foods and 6% for dry food if this figure is absent.

Related Post: Dry Cat Food

Let’s take our top product on the list as our example: Tiki Pets’ Born Carnivore Chicken Luau. In this sought-after cat food, we have a guaranteed analysis as follows:

  • Minimum crude protein: 46.0%
  • Minimum crude fat: 20.0%
  • Maximum crude fiber: 3.0%
  • Maximum moisture: 10.0%
  • Ash: 2.3%

Therefore, to work out the carb content for this specific example, the sum would be:

100 – (46 + 20 + 3 + 10 + 2.3) = 18.7%

Now, as Tiki Pets’ cat kibble is a dry food formula, converting this result into a ‘dry matter’ result– the weight of the ingredients after removing the moisture – isn’t difficult. As Tiki Pets’ maximum moisture is 10%, we must takeaway 10 from 100 (equaling 90), then divide the result of our initial calculation with the latter. In the case of this formula, the sum would therefore be:

18.7 ÷90 x 100 = 20.7%

Q: Should I feed my cat low carb or no carb (zero carb) food?

A: Cats are carnivores, meaning that they require a low amount of carbohydrates in their diets and acquire their energy and nutrients from animal-based protein. Therefore, they aren’t reliant on carbohydrates to follow a healthy diet. Besides, as a cat grows older, their ability to metabolize protein decreases. Accordingly, feeding your older feline a low carb diet is recommended. However, a no carb diet shouldn’t be taken up without consulting a vet first.

Related Post: Cat Food for Older Cats

Grey cat near bowls with water and pet food on floor

Our Top Pick

Tiki Cat’s Born Carnivores Chicken Luau Dry Cat Food is nothing short of perfection. Containing no animal by-products, artificial colors, and flavors, the company ingeniously baked their dry kibble lightly so cats profit from the soft crunch of the kibble, yet don’t have a hard time trying to munch their way through rock-hard dry food. Plus, baking the kibble preserves the natural flavors and nutrients of the formula. Suitable for both cats and kittens, your pets will be just as delighted as you to have found a delicious alternative to high carbohydrate kibbles.

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