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April 1, 2020

Novel Proteins in Cat Food

  • Protein
  • Feeding Your Cat
  • Nutrition
Cat being pet on counter beside orchids

Proteins & Allergies

Protein is the component in food that is the primary cause for dietary intolerance. If your feline friend shows any of the following symptoms, they may have a food sensitivity to common protein sources like chicken or beef found in regular cat food. But worry not, switching to novel proteins in their diet can make a big difference. Look out for these signs to identify if your cat is experiencing food sensitivity:

To help identify if your cat is experiencing food sensitivity issues, look for the following signs:

  • Chronic diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Loose stool
  • Itchy rashes
  • Chronic ear infections

What are Novel Proteins?

Novel proteins are simply proteins that your cat hasn't tried before. By introducing these new proteins, the chances of adverse reactions are greatly reduced. Pet food companies have come up with an amazing variety of novel meat proteins, including:

Novel Proteins

  • Duck
  • Turkey
  • Venison
  • Bison
  • Kangaroo
  • Rabbit
  • Quail
  • Ostrich

How Can Novel Proteins in Cat Food Help?

Feeding your cat a diet consisting of a single novel animal protein source can potentially alleviate their symptoms. While lamb used to be considered a novel protein, it has become a common ingredient in pet food over the past twenty years. However, if your cat hasn't been exposed to lamb before, it may still be a suitable option.

It's important to note that protein isn't only derived from meat. Plant-based ingredients can also provide cats with essential amino acids. By trying different protein sources, you can determine whether your cat is reacting to meat proteins or those found in the plant-based ingredients of their food.

Once you introduce a novel protein to your cat, give them enough time to adjust to it. This will allow you to see if the new protein is helping alleviate their symptoms.

We recommend a period of six to eight weeks to properly assess whether the new food agrees with your cat.
Jennifer Adolphe
Jennifer AdolphePhD (Companion Animal Nutrition)

Keep in mind that environmental allergens can sometimes complicate the process of identifying the root cause of the problem.

Elimination Diets

For more complex issues, an elimination diet can be helpful in pinpointing the specific sensitivity your cat may have.

If you have any questions about novel proteins or need further assistance, our Nutrition Specialists are here to help. You can reach us at 1.866.864.6112 or


Jennifer Adolphe

Dr. Jennifer Adolphe

PhD (Companion Animal Nutrition)

Dr. Jennifer Adolphe has a PhD in companion animal nutrition from the University of Saskatchewan. She previously completed a master’s degree in human nutrition and is the recipient of more than 20 awards and scholarships for her academic work. Wow!