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12 Best Low Protein Cat Foods

The finest low protein cat food meets your cat's nutritional requirements while also offering controlled levels of readily digestible protein.

It contains a high moisture content, a low phosphorus content, a low carbohydrate content, and no additives that could hurt your cat.

Weruva Truluxe Steak Frites is the best low-protein cat food on the market because it has controlled quantities of high-quality protein, is low in carbs, and has a low phosphorus content.

Because renal insufficiency is the number one reason a cat might need a low-protein diet, most of the following best low-protein cat foods are prescription or non-prescription products for cats with kidney failure.

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Weruva Truluxe Steak Frites with Beef & Pumpkin in Gravy Grain-Free Cat Food is the overall winner

This canned meal is manufactured from high-quality animal ingredients, unlike most low-protein feeds, including prescription foods for cats with kidney illness.

These ingredients are not only carnivore-appropriate and bioavailable, but they are also prepared at a human food factory in Thailand.

Human-edible beef is combined with a range of plant components, including pumpkin, sweet potato, carrot, and potato starch.

The food isn’t extremely low in protein—in fact, protein accounts for roughly 45% of its total calorie content and slightly more than 60% of its dry matter weight—but it provides clean protein with an exceptionally low phosphorus content, making it a good option for cats who are typically fed a low-protein diet.

It has 118 mg of phosphorus per 100 calories, or 0.57% on a dry matter basis, making it one of the low-phosphorus foods available without a prescription. It has a low carbohydrate content of less than 8% on a dry matter basis.


  • Protein that is easily digested
  • Carbohydrate content is relatively low.
  • No possibly hazardous additions
  • Phosphorus concentration is low.


  • Expensive


Hill’s Prescription Diet k/d Kidney Care with Chicken Canned Cat Food is the best prescription wet food

This, like the Royal Canin meal, is a veterinary diet accessible exclusively with a veterinarian’s prescription. It addresses renal illness in a variety of ways.

It has a low protein content (approximately 30% on a dry matter basis) and very little phosphorus. It includes fish oil, which is high in anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids.

According to Hill’s, the food has been “clinically tested to improve and lengthen the quality of life” in cats with kidney illness. This is accomplished by checking all of the usual kidney disease diet boxes.

Although the cuisine has some redeeming aspects, such as straightforward, clearly labeled chunks of meat rather than possibly low-value animal by-products and the inclusion of very nourishing swine and chicken liver, it is not the greatest product available.

Sugar is one of the primary ingredients, followed by brewer’s rice and modified rice starch. It’s a high-carbohydrate meal that won’t satisfy your cat’s carnivorous needs.


  • Cats enjoy the paté texture and flavor of the food.
  • Designed for cats with kidney problems.
  • Fish oil is included as an anti-inflammatory omega-3 source.


  • Exceptionally high carbohydrate content
  • Fat content is relatively low.
  • Colored with caramel
  • Only available with a veterinarian’s prescription.


Blue Buffalo Natural Veterinary Diet K+M Kidney + Mobility Support Grain-Free Dry Cat Food is the best prescription dry food

While many prescription diets provide poor nutrition, this Blue Buffalo formula is not one of them.

This recipe, which is available in both dry and wet form, is designed for cats with kidney difficulties and thus contains restricted quantities of protein and phosphorus.

The principal ingredient in this veterinary recipe is fresh deboned chicken. Healthy lipids, such as omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, are provided by chicken fat, flaxseed, and fish oil, while glucosamine and chondroitin supplements help your cat’s joint function and mobility.

Though this kibble mix begins with an animal-based protein source, the next three ingredients are plant-based.

We don’t like that this formula has various starchy substances, such as pea and potato starch, and we’d like to see the pea protein removed as well.

This formula has a high carbohydrate content overall, yet it could still be a good alternative for cats who need a low-protein, low-phosphorus diet.

We like that it is free of maize, wheat, and soy products, which are common in many prescription diets, and that it is absolutely free of artificial additives.


  • Begin with a high-quality animal protein source.
  • Omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acid supplements
  • Protein and phosphorus levels are kept under control.
  • Free of maize, wheat, soy, and artificial ingredients.


  • Carbohydrate content is fairly high.
  • It contains concentrated plant protein.
  • Fairly costly


Forza10 Nutraceutic Active Kidney Renal Support Diet Dry Cat Food is the best non-prescription dry food

Prescription formulas can be costly, and they must be purchased with the approval of a veterinarian. Though still relatively pricey, Forza10’s dry food is a good option for cats who need a low-protein diet for kidney maintenance.

This recipe incorporates two forms of hydrolyzed protein, which aids in digestion and the prevention of food allergies.

To achieve nutritional balance, it is supplemented with omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, as well as important elements.

This recipe has no corn, wheat, or soy, as well as no artificial additives, genetically modified ingredients, or by-product meals.

While this dish has numerous sources of digestible animal protein, it looks to be primarily plant-based.

Not only is rice the primary ingredient, but hydrolyzed potato protein is one of the key protein sources. We also dislike the ambiguously titled ‘hydrolyzed fish protein.’

This mixture has received positive feedback from customers, particularly those who claim their cats will not consume prescription cat food.

Overall, if you have a finicky cat and want to avoid prescription diets, this could be a good option.


  • Protein, phosphorus, and salt levels are restricted.
  • There are a limited amount of highly digestible substances.
  • Omega-3 fatty acid supplementation
  • Free of maize, wheat, soy, and artificial ingredients.


  • Fairly costly
  • The first ingredient is rice, not protein.
  • Contains some unidentified components


Wellness Healthy Indulgence Shreds with Chicken & Turkey Wet Cat Food Pouches

This non-prescription cat food is not like the others on this list. It comes in a pouch, is free of potentially dangerous synthetic components, and is available without a prescription.

The cuisine is mostly consisting of chicken broth and water, with highly digestible protein sources like chicken, turkey, eggs, and chicken liver.

On a dry matter basis, the food contains roughly 26% protein. It has a phosphorus concentration of 0.81 on a dry matter basis, which is greater than is normally recommended for cats with kidney illness.

Ultimately, this dish is still heavier in carbohydrates than we desire, but it looks to contain the greatest quality protein of the items on our list and is likely one of the most digestible low-protein foods available.


  • Made primarily of readily digestible animal components
  • In comparison to other low-protein foods, it has a low carbohydrate content.
  • Free of possibly hazardous synthetic ingredients


  • Phosphorus concentration is relatively high.


Kidney Care Hill’s Prescription Diet k/d

When it comes to prescription-based and scientifically-formulated diets, Hill’s Science is a top choice among veterinarians and pet parents alike.

Hill’s Science’s k/d renal care dry food is specifically intended for cats that have kidney difficulties that may hinder them from digesting significant amounts of protein as easily as other felines.

Experts selected the ingredients to provide renal support and assist your cat’s important kidney functions, as well as to increase the quality of your kitty’s life.

Furthermore, this product contains a high concentration of vitamins and minerals, as well as low salt and phosphorus levels to safeguard renal function.

Enhanced Appetite Trigger technology can even persuade your cat to eat more, keeping them well-fed.


  • Appetite Trigger Technology to Increase Food Consumption
  • Clinically shown to improve kidney function
  • Dry cat food is simple to provide throughout the day.
  • It contains amino acids and other vitamins.
  • Phosphorus and sodium have been reduced.


  • Not great for absorbing moisture
  • With only two tastes to pick from, this product may not appeal to all cats.


Blue Buffalo K+M Kidney + Mobility Support Natural Veterinary Diet

Blue Buffalo’s prescription-only diet food is another excellent option for cats that do not digest protein as well as their feline counterparts.

The wonderful wet food begins with high-quality chicken to provide your cat with more digestible protein to keep it fit and healthy.

There are several vitamins and minerals included to help kidney function, and there are no additional by-products or additives that may cause stomach irritation.

You may need a veterinarian’s permission to obtain this food, but it can be great for cats who require assistance with everything from kidney performance to joint maintenance.

This food is low in protein and high in antioxidants, fatty acids, and phosphorus.


  • Excellent source of highly digested chicken protein
  • There are no additives or byproducts that could cause food allergies.
  • Extra vitamins and minerals to support organ and joint health
  • Convenient portion sizes with complete nutrition in a single can
  • Ingredients that are prohibited


  • A veterinarian’s prescription is required.
  • They might not survive long.


Bisque Lickable Wet Cat Treats by Hartz

Cats with special dietary requirements are nonetheless entitled to treats on occasion. Unfortunately, many snacks are high in protein, which can aggravate certain diseases.

Delectables Lickable wet cat snacks are a great option. These treats, which come in a variety of tastes, are fortified with extra vitamin E and B vitamins to support senior cat health.

Small flakes of tuna, chicken, and other ingredients make them easy to ingest when your cat is tired.

When your cat’s appetite is low, you may find that these treats make it simpler to draw them to their food.


  • Convenient packaging that is simple to include into any cuisine.
  • There are numerous flavor selections to pick from.
  • Vitamin supplements for better health management
  • Delicious texture for senior cats
  • Ingredients that are restricted to protect your cat’s health


  • Not a complete and comprehensive food source
  • It might have a strong odor.

Low-protein diets are not suitable for all cats

A low-protein diet is only recommended for cats that have liver or kidney illness. Even still, that recommendation is contested. According to recent studies, highly digested, low-residue meal may be a more carnivore-appropriate choice.

This article will discuss the role of dietary protein in cats, which cats require a low-protein diet, and ultimately, the finest low-protein cat diets on the market.

Why Is Protein Vital for Cats?

Cats are carnivores by nature. In nature, a cat must consume animal products or die. A cat could go her entire life without tasting anything that isn’t an animal or a portion of one—and she wouldn’t be nutritionally deficient.

A cat is a predatory animal that consumes other animals. Every facet of her being is tailored to that end.

And what is an animal made of when it is disassembled? It’s mostly protein. On a more basic level, amino acids and fatty acids. Fat and flesh

Protein is essential for cats’ survival. It promotes lean muscle mass and provides the energy required to perform. Protein is essential to every process in your cat’s body, from the power to pounce to the energy to purr.

How Much Protein Do Cats Require?

Every day, cats require at least 2.36 grams of protein per pound of body weight.

According to a 2013 study, while cats can appear healthy on a fraction of that amount, they don’t retain lean muscle mass until they consume at least 2.36 grams of protein per pound of body weight. For a 10-pound cat, this equates to around 24 grams of protein per day.

To give you a sense of what it implies in terms of real food, Vital Essentials freeze-dried rabbit food has roughly 27 grams of protein per day, which is somewhat more than what cats prefer. Purina Cat Chow Complete contains 18.5 grams of protein per day. A little less.

A 2011 study found that when given the chance to choose their own diet, over 100 cats consistently chose the chow with 2.3 grams of protein per pound of body weight each day.

But keep in mind that cat food labels do not provide nutrient content in grams. They provide you with percentages. If you want to keep it simple, search for food that is around 50% protein, 38% fat, and 2% carbs on a dry matter basis.

A Few Words on Protein Bioavailability

The guaranteed analysis on a cat food label simply informs you how much crude protein is in the product; it doesn’t tell you how much of that protein is actually used by your cat. Everything boils down to digestion and bioavailability.

If your cat’s food contains a protein that is only 67% digested, those 24 grams per day may be closer to 16 grams of useable protein. The rest is waste that your cat’s organs must strive to filter out.

Protein bioavailability is an important aspect of properly feeding your cat, however it is unknown which protein sources are the most bioavailable for cats.

It’s impossible to say which protein sources burn the cleanest without a thorough grasp of how cats use protein.

What Happens If You Feed Your Cat Too Much Or Too Little Protein?

Adult cats given less than 0.68 grams of protein per pound of body weight entered a negative nitrogen balance in the same 2013 study cited previously. This suggested they were expending more nitrogen than they were absorbing.

While the effects of insufficient protein intake vary depending on the amino acid profile of the deficient protein, malnutrition symptoms and, potentially, mortality might be expected. Protein deficiency can cause hepatic lipidosis, often known as fatty liver disease.

Most cat feeds labeled for their low protein level have a protein content of 25% to 30% and give 11 to 18 grams of protein per day. Depending on your cat’s protein requirements, this quantity may result in lean muscle mass loss.

Is Low-Protein Cat Food Necessary for Your Cat?

Protein restriction may benefit some cats, notably those with chronic kidney disease and other health issues. Protein generates nitrogenous waste, which can be taxing on the kidneys and other organs.

It’s critical to consult with your veterinarian before changing your cat’s food, especially if he has a health issue. Dietary modifications may help or aggravate the situation.

Kidney Disease in Cats

The jury is still out on whether protein restriction benefits or harms cats with kidney problems, but here’s what we do know.

The kidneys are essential in the processing of nitrogenous wastes generated by protein digestion. Because cats with kidney illness have a decreased ability to process waste, it accumulates in their bloodstream.

High blood urea nitrogen (BUN) levels are a main feature of renal disease and contribute significantly to how cats with CKD feel.

Cats with renal disease are generally fed low-protein diets to reduce the quantity of waste in their bloodstream and ease the stress on their kidneys.

This method can be beneficial, but it can also be harmful. A cat with renal problems requires protein just like any other cat.

You may make your feline buddy feel better than she did on her previous diet, but you may also be assisting the condition in making her fragile and underweight.

Some veterinarians believe that instead of focusing just on protein quantity, you should consider protein quality. They claim that highly digested protein is gentler on the kidneys, tastes better, and helps sick cats stay strong.

“Clinically, we find that renal cats following a raw food diet perform well on highly digestible proteins like rabbit, chicken, hare, and possum,” explains Lyn Thompson, BVSc.

Too little protein in the food can result in significant weight loss, which is exceedingly harmful to a cat’s overall health.”

Learn More About the Best Kidney Disease Cat Food

  • Cats Suffering From Liver Disease

Because the liver is responsible for eliminating the harmful byproducts of protein digestion, a diet high in low-quality protein can put a strain on a dysfunctional liver.

Cats with any form of liver disease should eat food that is abundant in easily digesting, highly bioavailable protein.

A low-protein diet may be recommended by your veterinarian in some situations of liver illness, particularly if your cat develops hepatic encephalopathy.

This has traditionally been thought to be a dependable approach to lower the amount of ammonia—a byproduct of protein digestion—that the sick liver allows to linger in the body.

Recent study, however, indicates that excessive ammonia is only a big issue if the cat is fed a diet high in poorly digested protein.

If cats were previously on a poor diet, feeding a low-protein diet may make them feel better, but protein restriction eventually leads to muscle wasting and ill health.

Even when a low-protein diet is generally suggested, the quality of the protein appears to be more important than the quantity when feeding a cat with liver illness.

  • Senior felines

It is sometimes advised that cats consume less protein as they age. The idea is that because older cats are more likely to get renal disease—the most frequent ailment in cats over the age of 10—their kidneys require delicate care.

In actuality, senior cats over the age of ten require more protein and calories than they did when they were younger. Senior and geriatric cats benefit from highly digestible, high-quality protein more than any other stage of life.


Is low-protein cat food safe for felines?

No, not in general. Cats are obligate carnivores who require a high-protein diet to thrive.

While veterinarians may advise protein limitation for specific health issues such as kidney and liver illness, research indicates that high protein quality is more advantageous than low protein quantity.

What kind of cats require low-protein cat food?

Low-protein cat food is commonly given for cats with liver and kidney problems, but new study reveals that this may not be the greatest option for supporting liver and kidney function.

All cats require a sufficient amount of digestible, bioavailable protein in their diet.

Is a prescription required for low-protein cat food?

No, not always. Non-prescription choices with lower-than-average protein content may be available, but the lowest protein cat meals on the market are veterinarian formulations tailored for kidney problems, which may require a prescription.


According to our study and testing of the best low-protein cat foods list, elements Weruva Truluxe Steak Frites with Beef & Pumpkin in Gravy Grain-Free Cat Food and Hill’s Prescription Diet k/d Kidney Care with Chicken Canned Cat Food are the two most significant and trustworthy elements on the list.

BestForPets (bestforpets.org) wishes you luck in your search for the best low-protein cat food!

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Dr. Deborah Fletcher

Deborah R. Fletcher, DVM, is a skilled veterinarian with more than 15 years of experience dealing with companion and exotic animals. She has experience caring for a variety of animals, including household cats and dogs, reptiles, birds of prey, and even primates. Dr. Fletcher is a valuable part of the BestForPets team, where she contributes to their aim of providing pets and their owners with the finest possible treatment and services.

Veterinarian (DVM) Dr. Deborah Fletcher


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