How Important Is Protein In A Cat’s Diet?

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How Important Is Protein In A Cat’s Diet?

Is your cat suffering from malnutrition? Catching diseases left, right, and center? Losing appetite? Or gaining weight?

Learn all about the necessities of a perfectly healthy diet for your cat in this article.

Stop stressing; you are not the only one facing similar issues with your cat. Dietary and nutritional problems are persistent in a cat. But some necessities must be included in a healthy cat diet. A high amount of protein foods for cats.

A fluffy cat is climbing onto a breakfast table

What are High Protein Cat Foods?

The most common types of sources of protein for cats, or even humans, are chicken, beef, turkey, fish, and lamb. Other than this, other meat or by-products of meat are also a good source of protein for cats.

A high amount of protein in cat foods is essential for better natural digestive ability, as proteins are more effective for a cat’s health and are more easily digestive than carbohydrates.

Why is Protein Important for Cats?

A high intake of protein in a cat’s diet is crucial along with the following other nutrients, including:

  • Fats
  • Water
  • Minerals
  • Vitamins
  • Carbohydrates

As mentioned earlier, proteins, fats, and carbohydrates become the most significant energy source for their health out of these nutrients. All of these nutrients are digested and utilized by different species differently; hence, their requirements for nutrients differ from one another. Some rely on plants more than meat or other types of proteins, whereas cats are more dependent on meat, chicken, and fish for a better digestive system.

A kitten is sniffing a plate of cat food full of protein

Why are High Protein Foods Essential for Cats?

Cats are Essentially Carnivorous

Cats are strictly carnivorous animals, unlike dogs, which are rather omnivorous animals. Being strictly predatory animals means their diet consists of high protein intake through meat by-products. The case is the same with domesticated cats as with wild cats. A cat’s body is designed to digest a strictly meaty diet including chicken, fish, and meat and needs animal protein as an energy source.

Cats Need Amino Acids from Animals

Since cats have a rigorous meaty diet and a robust digestive system, they have evolved into strict carnivorous animals which need amino acids from animal proteins as a significant energy source. Cats also need amino acids from meaty proteins because their body cannot carry enough amino acids required for survival. Hence cats are primarily dependent on a high protein diet to gain all the amino acids needed for survival.

Protein Provides Energy for Cats

As mentioned above, high protein food for cats is the most significant energy source for them as their body does not build enough on its own for survival. Amino acids in a cat’s liver enzymes are constantly under a breaking process to maintain blood sugar glucose levels and gain energy. While carbohydrates can be another source of energy for cats, a lack of amino acids can result in a cat’s body to start breaking down its own personal tissues to fulfill its protein requirement.

Common Protein Sources from Cat Foods

While animal protein is a significant source of protein found in cat foods, plant protein is also found in their food items. Although many cat owners think that plant protein food alone can be sufficient for a cat’s energy and amino acid needs, that is not the case in reality. Certain nutrients are only provided from animal protein that can not be fulfilled by plant protein. They include:

  • Taurin: This one is a critical amino acid necessary for cats. This is only found in animal protein tissues and can not be provided in plant proteins.
  • Cystine and Methionine: These are amino acids found in animal protein tissues rather than plant proteins. A cat needs this amino acid at the age of growth because it helps in muscle building. Cat food high in cysteine and methionine protein is essential for kittens during a growing period.
A cat is interested in a freshly cooked langoustine

Is High Protein Cat Food Important for a Feline?

The answer is yes. High protein cat food is one of the essential diet elements needed for cats. Be it kittens or adult cats, they always require a high amount of protein in their diet compared to humans or dogs. Whereas the exact percentage of protein requirement varies from every other cat’s necessities, the fact remains the same – they are always crucial till a cat dies.

According to some recent studies, it has been founded that adult cats who consume less than 40% protein in their diet are more likely to lose mass body weight over the years compared to other cats. It has also been found that even if a cat’s diet contains anything near 30-38% of protein, it is still not sufficient, and they will gradually lose muscle mass.

Not only this, but even if your pet is getting a high plant protein diet, it is still not sufficient enough as an animal protein-based diet for your cats. It has also been noted that protein that lacks quality or is less digestible also proves to be a significant cause of loss of muscle mass.


All in all, high protein foods are essential for cats for a high level of energy, amino acids, growth, and body weight mass. However, it is also vital to notice that your cat can be allergic to some kinds of proteins.

Hence, getting your cat checked for any allergies is crucial before switching the diet to high protein foods. Another thing to carefully control is the amount of protein consumed by your cat. The excessive amount of proteins can also result in complications for their health.

So make sure to keep a balance but keep your cat’s diet mainly to high animal protein foods compared to animal proteins.

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