Is gluten bad for cats and what about grains?

Original Question: Is gluten or grain in cat food bad for cats? I also have a senior cat that’s 18 years old. - Richard

Is gluten bad for cats and what about grains? Nov 25, 2018

Hi Richard,

Thanks for your question.

There’s not much research out there on this which is what I always want to refer to when answering a question because it avoids any bias. I’m certain you’ll get lots of general opinions at the pet food store and even amongst veterinarians.

I performed a review of veterinary nutritionist’s comments on the topic and there is not a significant concern. Keep in mind, we don’t have a research trial that has looked at, for example, a 100 cats afflicted with a gastrointestinal disorder and compared their diet to a 100 cats without a disorder and the impact of gluten in the subjects. So there is no clear answer that can be given.

However, the general consensus is that gluten and grains are bad if a cat is sensitive to it. So here’s the right advice with the knowledge we have now…

In order to know if these ingredients are safe for your cat, you need to perform a trial on the food and monitor the response closely. In general, certain ingredients are good if your cat eats the food with them in it, has good solid stools, does not become itchy, doesn’t vomit, and maintains an ideal body condition.

I would recommend that you introduce any new food very slowly over the course of 3 weeks. Monitor your cat’s response to it very closely as you switch over to the new diet. If diarrhea or vomiting develops, I would stop it immediately and seek medical attention if it does not resolve right away.

Beyond that, I think you go with what you think is right because with an issue like this, that is just as important. If you think gluten causes issues with us, and there is a lot of research showing it may, then avoid it.

I hope this helps.

Dr. Clayton Greenway

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Is gluten bad for cats and what about grains?
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Is gluten bad for cats and what about grains?
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I reviewed nutritionist's comments on the topic and there is not a significant concern. Keep in mind, we don't have a research trial that has looked at, for example, cats afflicted with a gastrointestinal disorder and compared their diet to cats without it and the impact of gluten in the subjects.
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Healthcare for Pets
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