The pet food industry is continually evolving. Gone are the days of feeding your cat leftover cuts of meat – these days, we have feline nutrition down to a T!
So what is the new trend in cat food? Why is food with insect protein suddenly all the rage? And which cats are this new food suitable for? We’ll answer all these questions and more in the paragraphs to come.
Why insect protein?
Cats need a certain amount of protein, which they usually get from meat like salmon or chicken. But insects? Can insects give your cat what they need?
Actually, yes! Insects make a great source of nutrition for your cat. Insects contain plenty of highly digestible protein.
Doesn’t my cat need real meat?
You may have heard before that cats are obligate carnivores. But what does this mean?
Cats need specific amounts of particular vitamins and minerals, regardless of where they get them. Vegan cat foods can use iron and calcium from certain legumes instead of meat, while magnesium is also found in wheat germ, whole grains, and soybeans.
While cats technically can digest vitamins, minerals, and proteins from plant sources, being an obligate carnivore means that cats can’t digest plants very well or efficiently. Plus, cats also need to get certain amino acids that you can only find in meat.
But, this doesn’t mean that cats need to eat meat exclusively. Instead, cats can eat a little meat and get the rest of the nutrition they need from other sources.
Is insect cat food eco-friendly?
As more and more people bring pets into their lives, livestock farming bred to support them increases accordingly. So, with livestock farming producing so much methane and taking up so much land, the pet food industry indirectly impacts the environment.
Conversely, using insects like Hermetia illucens as a pet food’s primary source of protein has almost no impact on the environment. The farming of insects like black soldier fly uses just a fraction of the water, food, and land livestock uses. This fact makes insect-based cat food an incredibly sustainable option for your cat.
Is insect cat food safe?
Okay, so insects are sustainable and highly nutritious. But is insect food safe for your cat? Surely insects carry disease?
Insects are incredibly safe for your cat to eat. Unlike the chicken, salmon, or other animal-based protein sources, insects do not get sick and do not need to consume medicines like antibiotics. On top of this, no pesticides are used for breeding these insects, unlike growing plants to feed livestock and poultry. These facts make insect-based cat food a healthier option.
Insect protein can also be easier on your cat’s body. For example, many senior cats develop kidney failure in later years, leading to a cat struggling to process traditional food and requiring a special diet. However, since insect protein produces hardly any metabolic waste products, insect-based cat food is ideal for cats who suffer from kidney failure or any cat.
Another advantage of cat food with insect protein is its low pH value and ideal magnesium content, which guard against the formation of struvite stones.
What about cats with allergies?
Are they likely to react to the protein found in insect cat food if your cat has allergies?
Actually, no. Insect-based protein is not similar to any other protein-based foods – it is entirely novel. So, this means your cat is unlikely to react negatively to insect-based cat food, even if they’ve had several adverse reactions to other foods in the past.
Featured Image by kropekk_pl from Pixabay