What Is Crude Protein in Cat Food? Is It Very Important?


Cats are known for being gentle creatures. They would hardly bother you unless they are hungry. Cats are obligated carnivores and enjoy fish meals and meaty treats. It’s not enough to feed your cat food rich in proteins; you need to get the quantity right to ensure your pet gets enough nutritional value.

When defining crude protein, one needs to look at the difference between true protein and crude protein. Crude protein is mainly focused on the nitrogen content in a given feed. To calculate the nitrogen content in a feed, one needs to look at the building blocks of nitrogen, amino acids. By calculating the total nitrogen content in a food, you can determine the amount of protein in the feed.

Your cat’s diet should consist of a perfect balance of proteins, vitamins, carbohydrates, water, minerals, and fats and oils. Read on to find out more about crude protein’s role in cat food nutrients.

What is Crude Protein Role in Cat Food Nutrients?

Cat Food Nutrients

As you all know, a cat’s diet consists mainly of proteins. However, protein meals can be costly, especially animal proteins. To reduce the cost of making cat food, some manufacturers opt to keep the protein content at a minimum level. A quantity that only provides sustenance without an opportunity to thrive.

When buying cat food, you need to look for the crude protein levels indicated in the guaranteed analysis section of the feed’s label.

It would also help if you considered the factor that other cat foods have other nitrogen sources. This means your calculations may be overestimated.

On the other hand, true protein is calculated based on the protein levels of a specific type of ingredient in cat food. With these figures, one can find the correct measure of protein found in every help.

Guaranteed analysis

A guaranteed analysis is a feature on a pet’s food label. This analysis shows the nutrient levels of individual nutrients. This list shows the minimum amounts of fat, minerals, vitamins and, more importantly, proteins; as per regulations, manufacturers must start with protein levels.[Source]

This analysis is the best way to determine if a cat feed meets the minimum nutritional needs of your pet. The values pre4sented in this analysis are usually computer-generated based on software with a nutrient content database or analyzed in a lab. Using these values, you can approximate the amount of crude protein to feed your cat.

[Related Article: What Is Taurine In Cat Food? Can They Die Without It?]

How much crude protein to feed your cat

According to experts, cats are carnivores, which means they feed on meat and fishy meals. This nutrient helps cats develop and maintain their skin, muscles, ligaments, nails, tendons, hormones, antibodies and enzymes.

There are government institutions such as AAFCO that set regulations on cat food nutrients and other pet foods. According to the authorities, adult cat food should contain at least 26% crude protein against the cat’s weight on the guaranteed analysis label of the feed. Kittens, on the other hand, need at least 30% crude protein against their weight.[Source]

To get the percentages right when feeding your cat, you may have to convert the figures given on the label into dry matter levels. Here are few steps to help you get it right.

  1. Subtract the percentage of moisture in the guaranteed analysis from 100 to find the percentage of dry matter.
  2. Divide the percentage of crude protein by that of the dry matter and multiply by 100.
  3. The resulting figure is the percentage of crude protein based on dry matter in the food.

The amount of proteins stipulated by AAFCO is usually the minimum amount required to survive. However, for your cat to thrive, you have to feed it more than the base requirement.

Best Protein Sources For Cats

Proteins can be found in multiple food materials. Keep in mind that the term crude protein may not necessarily mean quality proteins for your cat. The term crude refers to the method used to test the nutrient levels in a feed. With this in mind, you need to look closely at the different protein sources used to make your cat food of choice.

As stated before, cats prefer to eat fishy or meaty meals. This means animal-based proteins are probably the best choice compared to plant-based proteins. Animal-based proteins contain higher levels of amino acids, which guarantee quality protein content. In reality, cats find it easy to digest animal-based proteins compared to those from plants.

Before making a purchase, it’s best to check the guaranteed analysis to ensure the first ingredient indicated is a named protein.

Open Farm Pasture-Raised Lamb Grain-Free Dry Cat Food, Humanely Raised Lamb Recipe with Non-GMO Superfoods and No Artificial Flavors or Preservatives, 4 lbs

Stay clear off feeds with labels such as fish meal or poultry meal. Go for specific labels such as chicken, lamb, or salmon. This way, you can choose a cat food that is purely animal-based and hasn’t been blended with other nutrients. This is common in feeds bought in chain stores where the nutrient content is listed in order by volume.

When choosing cat food, look for feeds with arginine, histidine, taurine, tyrosine, leucine, isoleucine, lysine, cysteine, phenylalanine, threonine, and methionine.

The components mentioned above should form the basis of your decision. However, you may need to consider a feed that offers other essential nutrients such as fats, minerals and vitamins. This way, you can provide your cat with a well-balanced diet for optimal health.

[Related Article: Why Grain-Free Cat Food And What Are The Benefits?]

Wrap Up

Cat foods are not difficult to find and can be found in most grocery stores, or animal feeds stores. However, most cat owners find themselves at crossroads when interpreting the food language on these feeds.

Before making a purchase, you need to understand the language to know the ingredients used in making the feed. As a general rule, most cat foods have proteins listed as the main ingredient, with other components taking a small percentage of the feeds.

As stated before, you need to give your cat a balanced diet for optimal growth. Most cat owners have a problem measuring how much proteins they need to feed their cats.

Understanding terms like crude protein can help you understand how much you should feed your cat. This article looks deeper into the meaning of crude protein to help you understand the food label language.

Cats are gentle creatures that need all the care they can get. As a cat owner, conduct enough research on your cat’s food to ensure they get all the nutritional benefits of a balanced diet.

Sarah Jones

Sarah is a passionate pet lover who owns several pets on her own. She loves to share her experience doing part-time writing to impart some useful tips to other pet owners.

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