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Healthy Diet

Cats and the BEG Diet Controversy

By February 5, 2024 February 6th, 2024 No Comments

Many of you are aware of the recent controversy surrounding the pet food industry, in particular the BEG diets (Boutique, Exotic, Grain-Free).  It’s our role as your feline veterinarians to keep you informed to help keep your cat as healthy and happy as possible. Feline nutrition brings up a lot of discussion and we respect that everyone’s choices are unique. However, we see health problems on a daily basis even from some of the most popular brand foods on the market today and always want to offer our best professional recommendations.

We avoid canine-talk in most newsletters and blogs, but the reports recently in the dog world are alarming. In 2017, veterinary cardiologists noticed an odd increase in dogs with a heart disease, dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM), and took a closer look at the similarities in their lives that may be contributing. One common factor was they were being fed Grain-Free or other BEG diets, which are popular in cats today as well. This raises concern that the longer cats are fed these diets, DCM or other diseases (yet to be determined) could trickle into our feline friend’s health. We want to make sure you have the most current information to make the best choice for your cats’ diets.

The Federal Drug Administration (FDA) has recently reported 16 brands of dog food to be associated with heightened risk of heart disease in dogs. Over 500 reports link these mostly “grain-free” diets to dilated cardiomyopathy. This includes popular cat food manufacturers like Taste of the Wild, Fromm, Orijen, and Blue Buffalo.

Click here to read the NBC News Report

Things to consider:

Newer “BEG” diets have been around a short time and have little to no data on long-term cat health.

Cat food manufacturers that we recommend include Royal Canin, Purina, and Hill’s Science Diet. They have decades of scientific data validating their safety and benefit on cat health.

  • Royal Canin was established in 1968 and over the years has evolved into one of the highest regarded veterinary and commercial diet manufacturers world-wide. Read more about their history and philosophy here. 
  • Purina established their first pet nutrition and care center at Purina Farms near Gray Summit, Missouri, in 1926 to confirm the palatability and nutrition of its pet foods. They are continually developing life-style products to improve and prolong the lives of cats. Read about their nutritional philosophy
  • Hill’s Science Diet established their nutritional research laboratory in 1951 and has become a leader in the veterinary diet industry. Read about the Hill’s history here.  

These companies have cared for beautiful, healthy colonies of pampered cats who are raised in environmentally enriched suites and lounges. They get top veterinary care, social interaction, play time with staff, and eventually get adopted into loving homes.


Cats are dependent on what is put in their bowl. It’s critical what they get is balanced for their individual needs (including age, breed, health status, etc) and that it is the best quality possible.

We use a very individual tailored approach to the recommendations of nutritional content and feeding methods for your cat. Regarding the “grain-free” trend…even though cats are carnivores, grains are not bad for them. Quality grains do NOT need to be avoided unless your cat has a particular sensitivity to one. The more we know about your cat, the better we can recommend a precise nutrition plan for them. We want you to have your feline companion around feeling good for as long as possible, and the right diet is one important key to this.


Even though we love the “wild” cat concept and feeding our beloved cats as if they were little tigers, the reality is we want our fur babies to live LONGER than wild cats. We want them to have every advantage possible when put in a domestic, especially indoor, lifestyle. This is what our highest quality, most researched, and meticulously balanced diets are created for. Feline veterinarians are devoted to improving the lives of cats, which strengthens your bond with them. Please consult with your veterinarian when it comes to nutritional guidance for your cat.