This is our review of the best low carb high protein cat food.
Cats are obligate carnivores that thrive on high protein animal products.
Although carbohydrates can provide your cat with some of the energy they need, cats get most of their carbs from animal fat.
Excessive carbs in a cat’s diet can lead to obesity and other health issues so you must make sure you feed your cat a balanced diet.
We spent weeks researching and consulting a lot of vets to bring you this list of low carb high protein cat food.
We recommend Instinct Original Grain-Free Pate Real Venison Recipe Wet Canned Cat Food as the best overall.
But each cat is different so I have tried to include as many categories as I could.
Our Best Low Carb High Protein Food
- Best Overall – Instinct Original Grain-Free Pate Real Venison Recipe Wet Canned Cat Food
- Best Budget – Fancy Feast Savory Salmon Feast Cat Food
- Best Zero Carb – Wysong Epigen 90
- Best Dry Food – Dr. Elsey’s clean protein Chicken Dry Cat Food
- Best For Kittens – Purina Pro Plan Grain-Free Classic Chicken Kitten Food
- Best Vet Diet – Purina ProPlan DM Veterinary Diet Cat Food
6 Best Low Carb High Protein Cat Food Reviewed
All cat foods in our list strictly meet the minimum AAFCO nutrition recommendations for cats. Always consult your vet before starting off your cat on a new food.
- First 5 Ingredients: Venison, Pork Liver, Pork Broth, Ground Flaxseed, Montmorillonite Clay
- Guaranteed Analysis: 11% Crude Protein, 7% Crude Fat, 3% Crude Fiber, 78% Moisture
- Estimated Carbohydrate: 1%
- Caloric Content: 199 kcal/5.5 oz can, 109 kcal/3 oz can
- Type of Product: High-Protein, Grain-Free, Gluten Free, No Corn No Wheat No Soy, Natural
- Lifestage: Adult
- Best For: Overall
There is no better option than Instinct Original Wet cat food if you are looking for low carb high protein cat food.
With high quality protein sources from real meat such as Venison and Protein Broth, this recipe packs a real high protein punch fulfilling all your cat’s protein needs.
The carb content is 1% which is one of the best we have seen for a low carb diet.
Additionally it is free from artificial ingredients and grains making it perfect for cats with sensitivities and IBD.
Instinct is one of the pricier options in our list and can be considered a premium ingredient option. Some customers also complain about picky eaters not particularly liking the flavor of Instinct.
- First 5 Ingredients: Salmon, Liver, Meat By-Products, Fish Broth, Fish
- Guaranteed Analysis: 11% Crude Protein, 4% Crude Fat, 1.5% Crude Fiber, 78% Moisture
- Estimated Carbohydrate: 0.6%
- Caloric Content: 87 kcal/can
- Type of Product: Grain Free
- Lifestage: Adult
- Best For: Budget
If you are looking for a budget friendly low carb high protein cat food, we highly recommend Fancy Feast.
It is packed with high quality protein mainly coming from Fish meats. Fish is usually lower in carbs so this is an excellent diet for your cat with special needs. WIth a protein content of 11%, this is an excellent high protein food.
The carbohydrate content is only 0.6%, classifying it as a low carb recipe.
This recipe is not suited for cats with sensitivities to fish meats and should be avoided. This food also has by-products so if you are looking for natural meat ingredients, it might not be the best choice.
- First 5 Ingredients: Chicken Meal, Organic Chicken, Meat Protein Isolate, Chicken Fat (preserved with Mixed Tocopherols), Gelatin
- Guaranteed Analysis: 63% Crude Protein, 16% Crude Fat, 3% Crude Fiber, 10% Moisture, 0% Crude Carbs
- Estimated Carbohydrate: 0%
- Caloric Content: 445 kcal/cup
- Type of Product: No Starch, Grain Free
- Lifestage: Adult
- Best For: Zero Carb Diet
If you are looking for a quality dry cat food with zero carbs, look no further than Wysong Epigen 90.
With a protein content of 63%, this is one of the highest protein content dry cat food out there, all coming from real meat ingredients.
With 0% carbs, if you are looking for absolutely carb free food for your cat, this is the one.
We can’t find anything to complain about in this recipe.
- First 5 Ingredients: Chicken, Dried Egg Product, Pork Protein Isolate, Gelatin, Chicken Fat (Preserved With Mixed Tocopherols)
- Guaranteed Analysis: 59% Crude Protein, 18% Crude Fat, 4% Crude Fiber, 12% Moisture
- Estimated Carbohydrate: 4.12%
- Caloric Content: 554 kcal/cup
- Type of Product: Grain-Free, Gluten Free, High-Protein, Pea-Free, No Corn No Wheat No Soy
- Lifestage: Adult
- Best For: Dry
One of the cleanest, all natural cat food out there using all natural ingredients like gelatin as a binding agent rather than artificial binding agents.
With a protein content of 59% and the carbohydrate content of 4.12%, this recipe closely mimics a cat’s natural wild diet.
Customers also are delighted by the fact that their cat’s absolutely love eating this formula.
Read our full review of Dr. Elsey’s Cat Food Here.
- First 5 Ingredients: Chicken, Liver, Water, Meat By-Products, Fish, Artificial And Natural Flavors
- Guaranteed Analysis: 12% Crude Protein, 6% Crude Fat, 1.5% Crude Fiber, 76.5% Moisture
- Estimated Carbohydrate: 5%
- Caloric Content: 112 kcal/can
- Type of Product: Grain-Free, High-Protein, Natural
- Lifestage: Kitten
- Best For: Kittens
If your kitten requires a high protein low carb diet, we highly recommend the Purina Pro Plan recipe.
With a protein content of 12% and the carbohydrate content of 5% this is an ideal recipe for your kittens to ensure that they get all the nutrients to grow into a strong and healthy cat.
Kittens absolutely love this formula and customers are absolutely delighted by it.
This recipe does have some artificial ingredients so if your kitten has any sensitivities that we recommend talking to your vet before starting off your kitten on this food.
Read our full review of Purina Cat Food Here.
- First 5 Ingredients: Water, Chicken, Liver, Wheat Gluten, Meat By-Products
- Guaranteed Analysis: 12.5% Crude Protein, 4.5% Crude Fat, 1% Crude Fiber, 78% Moisture
- Estimated Carbohydrate: 3.13%
- Caloric Content: 158 kcal/can
- Type of Product: Veterinary Diet
- Lifestage: Adult
- Best For: Vet Diet
This is a specifically formulated low carb high protein diet for cats with diabetes.
Having a Protein content of 12.5% and carbohydrate content of 3.13% this is ideal ratio of proteins to carbs for your special kitty.
Other than having the right protein and carb content, the food is also full of good macro nutrients such as omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids that will help your cat maintain their coat, skin and overall health.
Being a veterinary diet, it is a bit expensive.
Customer feedback is that their cats love this food.
Do Cats Need Carbohydrates?
No, carbohydrates are not considered an essential nutrient in a cat’s diet.
Cats are obligate carnivores meaning they need food only with a very limited amount of carbohydrates.
Cats require about 3% of carbohydrates in their diet. This mimics what they would naturally eat in the wild, whole prey such as rodents and birds etc.
Sugars, starches, and fiber from grains, fruits, and vegetables are all carbohydrates.
What Are The Benefits of Low Carb High Protein Diet For Cats?
We, as cat parents, need to make sure that the food we are feeding our cats mimics as closely to their natural diet in terms of nutrients. This can have a lot of benefits for cats.
Diabetic cats require a high protein low carbohydrate diet to avoid any dangerous blood sugar spikes. Also for non-diabetic cats, a low carb diet can reduce the risk of developing diabetes in the future.
Low carbohydrates can also help overweight cats lose weight or stop cats from gaining excessive weight or can help overweight cats lose some weight.
Read more on How to Help Cat Lose Weight Here.
Low carbohydrate diets can reduce the risk of inflammatory bowel diseases and chronic kidney diseases in cats.
Carbs can trigger allergic reactions in some cats. Low carb high protein cat food can reduce these reactions in sensitive cats.
Buying Guide: How To Choose The Best Low Carb High Protein Cat Food?
It is important to know what to look for when you are selecting low carb high protein cat food. Below we have detailed what you need to look for and avoid and when picking the perfect food for your kitty.
High Protein Content
Cats get most of their energy from protein. But most commercial cat food supplements this with carbs to boost the energy level while keeping the protein at moderate levels.
When looking for low carb cat food, you should ensure that the first 5 ingredients consist mainly of meat ingredients or meat derived ingredients.
Ingredients like liver, lungs, ground bone, heart etc are all good ingredients that are feline appropriate ingredients for cats.
Low Carb Content And Fillers
Look for and avoid fillers such as grains, wheats, rice, corn and potatoes. These are full of carbs and increase the carb content of the cat food.
Also look for low quality and low content proteins such meat by-products and meals that are considerably of lower quality and are there just to boost the nutritional numbers of the food.
AAFCO Certified Food
Always make sure the cat food you are choosing has an AAFCO label. This ensures that the cat food meets the minimum requirements of a nutritionally complete food for cats.
The AAFCO label means that the food has at least 20% Protein, 9% Fat along with essential nutrients such as omega fatty acids, taurine, vitamins and minerals.
Fats should be the primary source of energy for your cat. Fats support a healthy metabolism and healthy lifestyle.
Omega fatty acids support the overall well being of cats. They support a healthy coat, skin and immune system.
Vitamins And Minerals
Every cat needs a balanced amount of minerals and vitamins in their diet to ensure your cat has a healthy life.
Ensure the cat food contains all the essential vitamins and minerals such as Magnesium, Taurine and Vitamins.
Keep in Mind Your Cat’s Preference
You must keep into consideration your cat’s preference of food. That way it would be easy to transition to a low carb high protein diet.
If your cat likes dry food more than wet cat food, it might be best to transition them to low carb high protein dry cat food.
Some cats are picky eaters and will only eat food with specific textures or specific meats so try to find food that matches the profile of taste, texture and type of the food that your cat eats happily.
Your Cat’s Life Stage
It is important to choose food that is appropriate for your cat’s life stage.
Too little carbs and protein in the kitten phase can lead to development issues, too much can lead to obesity. Similarly when cats get older their nutritional needs change and it is important to choose food that is age appropriate.
If your cat suffers from any health conditions, it is important to select the food that will not make their health condition worse.
Always consult your veterinarian to find the best food for your cat if they have any health conditions.
Ingredient Labels To Avoid
It is highly recommended to avoid any artificial colouring, flavouring and preservatives as they can cause allergies in your cat.
Avoid the “Supplementary” label in your cat food. This type of food does not contain enough amino acids and vitamins to provide a complete nutrition to your cat.
Read the Article on Bad Ingredients to Avoid in Your Cat Food.
What Is Better? Wet or Dry Low Carb High Protein Food
Wet food generally has lower carb content than dry cat food as dry cat food uses carb to bind kibble together.
Wet cat food also has a lot of moisture that will keep your cat hydrated.
If your cat loves dry food and will not eat wet food, you can try soaking the dry food with a little water to ensure that your cat gets enough hydration.
Some cats require low carb high protein cat food to manage their health.
Carbohydrates are not essential in a cat’s diet as it is not part of their natural diet but most commercial cat food is full of carbs due to the inclusion of grains. Cats thrive on high protein food.
We recommend Instinct Original Grain-Free Pate Real Venison Recipe Wet Canned Cat Food as the best low carb high protein cat food overall.
Talk to your vet to determine if your furry friend can benefit from a low carb high protein diet.
Are Carbs Bad For Cats?
High levels of carbs are bad for cats as their bodies can’t process them properly. Most cat food has moderate to high levels of carbs in them which is a bit excessive and can potentially lead to obesity and other health issues.
What is The Best Low Carb Cat Food?
The best low carb cat food is Instinct Original Grain-Free Pate Real Venison Recipe Wet Canned Cat Food with a carb content of 1% and protein content of 11%. This is the cleanest and healthiest low carb high protein cat food we recommend.
Is Grain Free Cat Food Low in Carbs?
Yes, grain free cat food is low in carbs. Most of the carbs in cat food come from grains such wheat, rice, oats etc.
How Do I Calculate Carbs in Cat Food?
You can calculate the carbs in the cat food by simply adding together the total moisture, protein, fiber, and fat content of the food before subtracting the result from 100. The remaining percentage represents the estimated total carbohydrate content in the cat food.
Should I Feed My Cat Low Carb or No Carb (Zero Carb) Food?
We recommend a low carb diet rather than a zero carb diet. But you should consult your vet before putting you cat on a no carb diet.