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What are Novel Protein Cat Foods? [2023]

There's a growing movement towards more specialized diets for our beloved feline companions–one of which is novel protein cat foods. Novel protein cat foods can be a great solution for cats with specific dietary needs, food allergies or intolerances, or other digestive issues. 

But, what exactly are novel protein cat foods? And are they right for your pet? This article will review what novel protein cat foods are, how to feed your cat a novel protein diet, and where to find the best novel protein cat foods out there.

Let’s begin!  

What are Novel Protein Cat Foods?

Novel proteins are proteins that are completely new to your pet, meaning they've never been part of their diet before. Because these proteins are unfamiliar to your pet's body, they’re less likely to be recognized by the immune system and trigger an allergic reaction.

For example, some of KOHA’s recipes exclude the usual suspects like chicken or beef that might ruffle their fur the wrong way. Instead, we're talking about a tantalizing lineup of unusual protein superstars including duck, rabbit, lamb, and venison. 

These options aren't just about exotic flavors; they're here to rescue our cats and kitties from allergies and cater to their unique dietary needs. 

Bon appétit, whisker warriors.

Does Your Cat Need Novel Protein Cat Food? 

When your cat reacts negatively to common proteins like chicken or beef, it can result in various health issues, such as digestive problems, skin irritations, and even respiratory concerns. Cats may need dietary changes for different reasons, but two common causes are food allergies and IBD.

Common symptoms of cat allergies include:

  • Itchy skin
  • Frequent licking of paws, etc.
  • Red, inflamed skin
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea

Identifying and addressing the allergens responsible is crucial for providing relief and ensuring the well-being of your feline companion. 

IBD (inflammatory bowel disease) prevents the intestines from absorbing nutrients. Some experts believe a cause is the body recognizing normal food and bacteria as foreign invaders.

Common symptoms of IBD in cats include:

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Constipation
  • Finicky or Decreased Appetite (or occasionally increased appetite)
  • Weight Loss

Diagnosing IBD in cats can be tricky since there’s a spectrum of gastrointestinal diseases that can cause similar symptoms. However, trying a novel protein diet can be a great way to start your cat on his or her healing journey.

Read More Here: Best Food for Cats with IBD

Types of Novel Protein Cat Food

Welcome to the realm of novel protein cat foods, where feline nutrition takes a unique twist. We'll delve into a range of options tailored to the dietary requirements of cats with sensitive stomachs or allergies, introducing alternative protein sources and revolutionizing their dining expurrrience.


 Rabbit food

Rabbit is considered a novel protein for many cats, meaning they have likely not been exposed to it before, so it's less likely to trigger adverse reactions. As a natural component of a feline diet, rabbit is an excellent protein choice for cats.

KOHA’s Rabbit Au Jus recipes are ideal for cats with severe food sensitivities, delicate stomachs, and digestive concerns, this rabbit cat food offers a gentle and suitable dietary option for cats looking for a quality source of protein. They also include the pumpkin for healthy digestion, New Zealand Green Mussel to support joint health, and cranberries to promote urinary health. With a paté texture, it’s easy to digest, and more impurrtantly, delicious! 

Elk / Venison

Koha Raw food

Elk and venison are nutritious and beneficial protein sources because this blend is, of course, a novel protein, which as we’ve learned is less likely to trigger adverse reactions. It’s a high-quality, lean protein that helps maintain a cat's muscle mass, overall health, and energy levels. Elk and venison meat contains essential nutrients, including amino acids, vitamins, and minerals that contribute to a cat's overall well-being.

Even the pickiest eaters can't resist the delicious taste of this 96% Meat and Bone, Freeze-Dried Raw Topper Elk & Venison Recipe with zero fillers, and only locally sourced meats made in the USA.



Salmon is a great source of high-quality protein, essential for a cat's healthy muscle mass and overall health. It is rich in essential omega-3 and 6 fatty acids that can promote joint health and reduce skin allergies. Salmon also contains high levels of taurine to support eye and cardiac health. Ideal for picky eaters, cats suffering from dehydration, and mealtime boredom.

We’ve never met a cat who could resist KOHA's Poké Bowl Tuna and Salmon in Gravy. The combination of moist, shredded, and minced proteins in a savory gravy offers essential nutrients, high protein content, and vital hydration for your cat's well-being.


Kangaroo meat is gaining popularity as a protein choice for both cats. It's recognized for its lean, nutritious, and organic qualities, being a wild, natural meat that hasn't undergone traditional farming processes. 


Alligator meat serves as a lean protein source, low in fat and cholesterol, aiding pets in achieving and sustaining a healthy weight. Additionally, it provides an alternative option for pets with an intolerance to either poultry or red meat.



Introducing diverse protein sources, like duck, can add variety to a cat's diet and reduce the likelihood of developing food sensitivities to a particular protein. KOHA’s Pure Shreds Shredded Duck Entrée is a single-meat recipe that’s ideal for picky eaters and weight control.


Cats go crazy for the shredded texture and the tasty superfood blend of pumpkin, carrots, and spinach. And it doesn’t contain any junky fillers like peas or potatoes that could lead to digestive issues.


Bison meat offers a lean, low-fat, and cholesterol-free option, promoting a healthy choice for your pets. Its low-fat content makes it suitable for animals who need to lose weight or have fat sensitivities. Additionally, it serves as an excellent source of iron, niacin, riboflavin, and B vitamins, contributing to a well-balanced diet for your furry friends.

All of these options have at least one thing in common: they are full of only necessary, beneficial ingredients, and align with our strong belief that grain-free food is a great choice for your furry friends. Food should only help, never hurt your cat’s body condition, and a high-quality diet is critical to the overall well being of your cat.

Wet Novel Protein Cat Food vs Dry Novel Protein Cat Food

Wet cat food contains a higher moisture level, which aids in hydration, a critical factor in digestion. It also tends to contain more protein and less fat than dry cat food, and mimics a more natural diet.

The right dry novel protein cat food can be a great option for an allergy-prone cat. Look for ones that avoid junky fillers, like peas, potatoes, or soy. Dry food can also be convenient for those that prefer to free feed their cat.


Other Diets for Cats with Food Allergies

Cute Kitten

When it comes to ensuring the health and happiness of our feline companions, understanding and addressing food allergies is critical. To begin, simple diets are best and make this transition far more straightforward, so you can get to the fun part of seeing your cat happier and healthier. 

Limited Ingredient Diets

Limited Ingredient Diets (LID) can be an optimal choice for cats with digestive issues. These specialized diets contain a minimal number of carefully selected ingredients, reducing the potential for triggering allergies, sensitivities, and digestive upset. 

By excluding common allergens, such as various grains or proteins, LID cat food presents fewer components to the cat's system, making it easier to pinpoint and manage food sensitivities, and determine the best diet for your kitty.

KOHA's Limited Ingredient Cat Foods take out the guesswork and exclude the sneaky ingredients your current food may contain like Green Peas, Beet Pulp, Potato, Corn, Barley, Wheat, harmful by-products, soy, chemically altered proteins, artificial preservatives, and more. They also come in novel protein options, including rabbit and duck.

Koha's Limited Ingredient Cat Food products help you work smarter, not harder. Unless you want to become a Scientist / Michelin star Chef, the best cat or dog food for allergies is a true limited ingredient diet. 

With fewer fillers and carbs, your pet faces fewer potential allergy triggers, making KOHA an easy choice for cats dealing with allergies.

Hypoallergenic Diets

Hypoallergenic diets are a superior choice for cats experiencing symptoms like skin irritations, diarrhea, vomiting, gas, and respiratory problems.

These specialized diets are meticulously formulated to exclude common allergens, such as dairy, certain grains, and specific proteins. By eliminating potential irritants, hypoallergenic cat food helps to manage and initially identify allergies, and prevent future reactions.

These diets are crafted with highly digestible ingredients to ease the digestive process, providing essential nutrients without causing adverse reactions. Hypoallergenic diets offer a targeted, less allergenic approach to nutrition, making them an effective option for cats with sensitive digestive systems, enhancing their overall well-being. 

A hypoallergenic diet will easily help you avoid the surprising ingredients that cause cat and dog stomach upset.

Choose the Best Novel Protein Cat Food for Your Feline Friend

Novel protein cat food doesn't just feed your cat–it helps them thrive! With the right novel protein cat food, you can not only provide a meal that accommodates their dietary needs but can lead to a happier, and healthier life.

KOHA’s moisture-rich, minimal-ingredient cat food is specially designed to cater to your feline friend's unique nutritional needs. We've put a significant emphasis on novel proteins and created hypoallergenic, limited-ingredient recipes, ensuring that even the pickiest eaters are satisfied. 

shop cat food

We understand the significance of feeding your cat the right way, which is why we've crafted a range of cat foods to make it effortless for you to provide a healthier diet for your beloved fur baby. With KOHA, you're not just nourishing your pet; you're giving them the purrfect recipe for a happy and healthy life.


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