Low Protein Diet for Cats

Felines are carnivores and require a high amount of proteins on a daily basis, but a low protein diet may be recommended for some cats. The proteins are essential in providing the energy needed for the daily activities. The proteins are also essential for the well functioning of the nervous and the immune system and will ensure the health of the muscles, skin and hair. It is imperative that your pet gets his essential nutrients in the right amounts and if need be, you should decrease the cat’s protein intake.

Cats Requiring Low Protein Diet

Cats get their proteins mainly from meats and most commercial foods contain a healthy amount of proteins. The proteins contain a number of amino acids (i.e. taurine or arginine) that are essential for the body.

However, there are a few cases in which cats will require a lower amount of proteins:

  • Cats with kidney damage, as the proteins are difficult to assimilate and reducing the amount of proteins will reduce the workload of the kidneys, allowing them to recover
  • Senior cats, as they may have an impaired kidney function and reducing the amount of proteins can prevent kidney failure, common in senior felines
  • Cats with a low level of activity should also get fewer proteins, as otherwise they can develop destructive behavior. However, the percentage of proteins shouldn’t be lowered significantly, as the cat still needs proteins for the immune system, the nervous system and the muscles.

Getting a Low Protein Diet

A low protein diet for felines should contain meat, being the best source of protein. However, the amount of meat should be rationalized, so as the cat gets fewer proteins.

There are commercial foods formulated for cats that require a low protein diet.

However, you can cook foods for your pet, to ensure he gets quality ingredients and only nutrients he truly needs.

The Healthy Percentage of Proteins in Felines

The percentage of proteins required by felines will vary according to the cat’s age, health condition and energy level.

An average healthy adult feline will require between 25 and 30% of proteins.

Kittens and lactating mothers require up to 35% proteins.

The low protein diet may contain a percentage between 15 and 20%, depending on what the vet recommends for the pet.

It is important that you know how to interpret the percentage of proteins displayed on the labels. In most commercial foods, the amount of digestible proteins is between 70 to 80%, so if the label displays it contains 25% proteins, this figure is in fact much lower if you consider only the digestible proteins.

Regardless of the percentage of proteins included in your pet’s diet, you have to make sure the cat get quality proteins. Some of the best quality proteins are found in:

  • Muscle meat
  • Organs
  • Beans and legumes

Sources of poorer quality proteins include soy, rice or grains.