2021 Best Cat Food for Outdoor Cats: Ideal Diet For Adventurous Cats

[year] Best Cat Food for Outdoor Cats: Ideal Diet For Adventurous Cats 1

Outdoor cats need to be in great shape to perform all the outdoor activities adult cats love doing like climbing, jumping, running, hunting, and exploring.

They must be strong enough to deflect health hazards and defend themselves from dogs, wild animals, and other cats.

So to keep your cat healthy enough to withstand the outdoor challenges and fully enjoy the daily adventures, you need to feed her with the right cat's diet.

This is what we are going to talk about in this article, Best Cat Food for Outdoor Cats.

WHY 20,000+ READERS HAVE TRUSTED US FOR YEARS

Here at FelineLiving.Net we have a dedicated mission to provide cat owners like you with well-researched information so they can provide the best care and nutrition to their cat.

Our readers rely upon the cat food reviews, articles and recall alerts that we research and publish. We also routinely update and review our own reviews ensuring that any changes by manufacturers are brought to your attention.

FelineLiving.Net is maintained by Mary Nielsen & her staff. Mary is an animal lover of both cats and dogs. She and her staff are passionate about animals and work hard to provide you with a wealth of information for you and your cat.

What To Look For:

All cats deserve the best cat food their owners can afford. There really isn’t any special diet for outdoor cats. Like indoor cats, they need to be fed a healthy and nutritious diet, which is the responsibility of every pet parent.

But since outdoor cats are more active than house cats, and are more exposed to many different elements in the outside world, they need the extra health boost and protection.

Some cat lovers believe outdoor cats must be fed with natural cat food such as raw meat. This is not necessarily true. Raw food is okay if prepared well.

Even indoor cats can benefit from a raw meal. But it takes proper preparation to serve raw food, which also presents some risks, like parasites or spoilage.

Commercial cat food is okay for as long as it is high-quality cat food, with clean animal protein and essential nutrients.

Outdoor cats can benefit from both dry and wet food. Dry cat food is good for dental health, while wet cat food can help in hydration and digestion.

Here are the qualities to look for in searching for the best cat food:

High Protein Diet (And Low-Carb)

The ideal food for outdoor cats is high-protein cat food for more energy and strength. The best dry cat food must have a minimum crude protein content of at least 30% (even for kitten food), and at least 10% for canned or wet food.

Choose a clean animal protein as the first ingredient in the cat food, which you can see on the label. A clean animal protein is derived from named animal meat like real chicken meat.

Some cheap cat foods don’t specify the animal source. Instead, they write animal derivatives, meat by-products, or meat meals on the label, which are poor-quality ingredients in cat's food.

Because cats are obligate carnivores, they need animal proteins to survive and maintain lean muscle mass. Obligate carnivores need meat-based food because they have amino acid and nutritional requirements that can only be derived from animal proteins. 

Unlike canines, felines have very little use for carbohydrates, although glucose from plants helps supply energy to their brain.

Avoid dry cat food that has grains or cheap legumes as the primary ingredients. Low-quality grains like corn and wheat are common cheap fillers in pet foods.

Grains per se are not bad ingredients as they provide carbs and fibers. But for cat foods, the first two ingredients at least must be meat-based.

Perhaps the best animal protein for cat food is poultry meat, like chicken, turkey, or duck, because these birds are considered as natural cat food, as opposed to beef from cattle, which is not natural prey for small wild cats.

But some cats have food allergies to certain proteins like chicken, beef, and fish. Observe your kitty for symptoms.

High In Calories

The extra calories in the cat diet can serve your outdoor adult cats well as they expend a lot of energy with all the physical activities outdoors. 

During the colder months, your cats tend to burn more energy as the cooler temperatures force the body to work harder to keep warm.

For dry cat food, caloric content must be at least 3,500 kilocalories or kcal, and a minimum of 40 kcal per serving for wet cat food. Also, pick dry cat food with a minimum crude fat of 13%.

But ensure that tabby has a healthy weight before loading up those calories. 

High In Moisture

Too preoccupied, some outdoor cats miss mealtime sometimes and lose body water in activities. 

And so it helps to feed them with wet cat food or a combination of wet and dry food. As for dry cat food, the moisture content can also help, although very minimally. 

For dry cat food, the moisture content should be no less than 10%, while the ideal minimum moisture for wet cat food should be 80%.

Complete and Balanced Nutrition

Cats can also thrive with essential vitamins and minerals added to their cat food to aid in a number of health gains including a healthy immune system and digestive system, healthy skin and coat, and a healthy heart.

Probiotics

Premium cat foods are also enhanced with probiotics, which are good bacteria that protect a cat’s digestive tract from bad bacteria.

Outdoor cats tend to consume a number of unhealthy stuff every day. Probiotics can help minimize the ill effects of such unhealthy stuff.

Best Cat Food For Outdoor Cats

IMAGE PRODUCT  
[year] Best Cat Food for Outdoor Cats: Ideal Diet For Adventurous Cats 2
Taste of the Wild Rocky Mountain
  • Contains vitamins and minerals and omega fatty acids
  • Formulated with probiotics, prebiotics and antioxidants
  • Protein-rich recipe supports bones, joints and a healthy body
VIEW LATEST PRICE →
[year] Best Cat Food for Outdoor Cats: Ideal Diet For Adventurous Cats 3
Instinct Original Recipe with Real Chicken
  • Made in the USA using premium ingredients
  • Cage-free chicken is the first ingredient
  • Features 81% real animal ingredients and nutritious oils
VIEW LATEST PRICE →
[year] Best Cat Food for Outdoor Cats: Ideal Diet For Adventurous Cats 4
Cat Chow Naturals Original
  • Made with real chicken and salmon
  • No artificial flavors or preservatives
  • High in protein like a cat’s natural diet
VIEW LATEST PRICE →
[year] Best Cat Food for Outdoor Cats: Ideal Diet For Adventurous Cats 5
Merrick Purrfect Bistro Real Chicken + Sweet Potato Recipe
  • Great for both indoor and outdoor cats
  • Packed with fiber-rich produce & antioxidants
  • Grain-free recipe features 70% animal protein and fats
VIEW LATEST PRICE →
[year] Best Cat Food for Outdoor Cats: Ideal Diet For Adventurous Cats 6
Go! Solutions Carnivore Chicken, Turkey + Duck Recipe
  • Made with 100% fresh meat
  • Included fruits and veggies
  • Contains probiotics and prebiotic fiber
VIEW LATEST PRICE →
[year] Best Cat Food for Outdoor Cats: Ideal Diet For Adventurous Cats 7
Chicken Soup for the Soul Chicken & Brown Rice Recipe
  • Contains no wheat, corn or soy
  • With real chicken as the first ingredient
  • Omega 3 and 6 fatty acids promote healthy skin and coat
VIEW LATEST PRICE →
[year] Best Cat Food for Outdoor Cats: Ideal Diet For Adventurous Cats 8
ACANA Homestead Harvest High-Protein Formula
  • Made in the USA
  • With Taurine, DHA, and EPA
  • Supports a healthy immune system
VIEW LATEST PRICE →
[year] Best Cat Food for Outdoor Cats: Ideal Diet For Adventurous Cats 9
Annamaet Chicken Meal & Brown Rice Original Formula
  • Contains taurine
  • Supports urinary tract health
  • Prebiotics and probiotics are added
VIEW LATEST PRICE →
[year] Best Cat Food for Outdoor Cats: Ideal Diet For Adventurous Cats 10
Iams ProActive Health High Protein Chicken & Salmon Recipe
  • Real chicken is the #1 ingredient
  • Free from soy and artificial preservatives
  • Crafted with a unique fiber blend of prebiotics
VIEW LATEST PRICE →
[year] Best Cat Food for Outdoor Cats: Ideal Diet For Adventurous Cats 11
Triumph Wild Spirit Deboned Chicken & Brown Rice Recipe
  • Crafted with real USA chicken
  • Made without corn, wheat or soy
  • 100% free from artificial colors, flavors and preservatives
VIEW LATEST PRICE →
[year] Best Cat Food for Outdoor Cats: Ideal Diet For Adventurous Cats 12
Applaws Fish Selection in Broth Variety Pack
  • With a high content of meat
  • Uses high quality irresistible fish
  • Includes Tuna Fillet, Tuna Fillet with Shrimp, and Tuna Fillet with Seaweed
VIEW LATEST PRICE →
[year] Best Cat Food for Outdoor Cats: Ideal Diet For Adventurous Cats 13
Fussie Cat Premium Tuna with Salmon Formula
  • Grain and potato-free
  • Premium, flavorful tuna and salmon entrée
  • Great source of omega-3 and 6 essential amino acids
VIEW LATEST PRICE →
[year] Best Cat Food for Outdoor Cats: Ideal Diet For Adventurous Cats 14
Weruva Mideast Feast with Grilled Tilapia in Gravy
  • Grain-free wet food
  • Zero BPA, antibiotics, hormones, GMOs or MSG
  • Made with tuna and tilapia as the top ingredients
VIEW LATEST PRICE →
[year] Best Cat Food for Outdoor Cats: Ideal Diet For Adventurous Cats 15
Tiki Cat Hanalei Luau Wild Salmon
  • Made with real salmon stock
  • Balanced and complete diet for cats of all ages
  • Wild-caught flaked Alaskan salmon as the first ingredient
VIEW LATEST PRICE →
[year] Best Cat Food for Outdoor Cats: Ideal Diet For Adventurous Cats 16
Tiny Tiger Chunks in Extra Gravy Chicken Recipe
  • Extra gravy keeps them coming back
  • Provides high-quality animal protein
  • Grain-free recipe with chunks of real chicken
VIEW LATEST PRICE →
[year] Best Cat Food for Outdoor Cats: Ideal Diet For Adventurous Cats 17
  1. Taste of the Wild Rocky Mountain
  2. Instinct Original Recipe with Real Chicken
  3. Cat Chow Naturals Original
  4. Merrick Purrfect Bistro Real Chicken + Sweet Potato Recipe
  5. Go! Solutions Carnivore Chicken, Turkey + Duck Recipe
  6. Chicken Soup for the Soul Chicken & Brown Rice Recipe
  7. ACANA Homestead Harvest High-Protein Formula
  8. Annamaet Chicken Meal & Brown Rice Original Formula
  9. Iams ProActive Health High Protein Chicken & Salmon Recipe
  10. Triumph Wild Spirit Deboned Chicken & Brown Rice Recipe
  11. Applaws Fish Selection in Broth Variety Pack
  12. Fussie Cat Premium Tuna with Salmon Formula
  13. Weruva Mideast Feast with Grilled Tilapia in Gravy
  14. Tiki Cat Hanalei Luau Wild Salmon
  15. Tiny Tiger Chunks in Extra Gravy Chicken Recipe

Best Dry Cat Foods For Outdoor Cats

1. Taste of the Wild Rocky Mountain

First 5 Ingredients: Chicken Meal, Peas, Sweet Potatoes, Chicken Fat, Pea Protein

WHY YOU SHOULD BUY
[year] Best Cat Food for Outdoor Cats: Ideal Diet For Adventurous Cats 18
Formulated with novel proteins including roasted venison and smoked salmon, this grain-free recipe includes peas and sweet potatoes that deliver the highly-digestible energy your active cat needs.

Our top choice for the best cat food for outdoor cats in the dry food category is Taste of the Wild’s Rocky Mountain grain-free recipe.

It has all the qualities we want for your outdoor kitty, including a very generous 42% minimum protein load as well as 18% minimum fats.

Made with outstanding ingredients led by chicken meal, this kibble also features other novel animal proteins like roasted venison, smoked salmon, and ocean fish meal that adult cats adore.

Aside from the aforementioned novel animal proteins, other protein sources include pea protein & potato protein.

The Rocky Mountain Feline Recipe also contains peas, sweet potatoes, chicken fat, dried chicory root, tomatoes, yucca schidigera extract, blueberries, and raspberries, which provide vitamins and minerals to your kitty’s diet.

To top things off, it also has probiotics that aid in keeping your pet’s digestive tract running smoothly and healthy. Amino acids, like taurine, are also present which keeps eyes and heart, healthy.

Pros
  • Very appealing, even to picky eaters.
  • Give felines a shiny coat of soft fur, and it also decreased shedding.
  • Has taurine, which keeps eyes and heart in good shape.
  • Resolves digestive issues such as constipation, diarrhea, and vomiting.
  • Poop is said to be noticeably less stinky
  • Food reviews from owners of malnourished cats and kittens claim that this variant allows them to quickly gain weight.
  • Considered quite affordable given its quality ingredients.
  • Owners of obese felines noticed that their pets lost weight but still looks healthy.
  • Great for kitties of all ages.
  • Dried chicory root in this aids in good digestion and supports overall health.
Cons
  • A few long-time consumers noted that some bags of this recipe smelled funny and their furry friend won't eat it.

2. Instinct Original Recipe with Real Chicken

First 5 Ingredients: Chicken, Chicken Meal, Turkey Meal, Menhaden Fish Meal, Peas

WHY YOU SHOULD BUY
[year] Best Cat Food for Outdoor Cats: Ideal Diet For Adventurous Cats 19
Features 81% real animal ingredients and nutritious oils, plus 19% fruits, vegetables and other wholesome ingredients.

This grain-free cat food is surely among the best dry cat food formulas you can ever give your furry friends.

The kibbles are coated with crushed, freeze-dried raw food for absolute nutrition and flavor. It is made of 81% real animal ingredients and nutritious oils.

The first of this product’s ingredients is cage-free chicken. The remaining 19% is made of fruits and vegetables.

This dry food has no grains, corn, potatoes, or soy. It is free from artificial enhancers such as flavors, colors, or preservatives.

Pros
  • No more puking. Owners claim that is highly digestible and does not upset the kitties’ tummies.
  • High quality ingredients. Recipe contains no artificial enhancers or fillers such as grains, potatoes, soy, or corn.
  • Guaranteed levels of probiotics for better digestive health.
  • Natural omegas and antioxidants to promote healthy coat & skin, and immune health
Cons
  • Smaller bag size. Some customers have noted that the bag sizes have recently gotten smaller, but the price remains the same.

3. Cat Chow Naturals Original

First 5 Ingredients: Chicken, Corn Gluten Meal, Chicken By-product Meal, Rice, Soybean Meal

WHY YOU SHOULD BUY
[year] Best Cat Food for Outdoor Cats: Ideal Diet For Adventurous Cats 20
Made with real chicken and salmon for a protein-packed meal your cat will crave. No artificial flavors or preservatives, so you know you're feeding your kitty a meal as real as your love.

Purina Cat Chow Naturals Original recipe is an excellent choice for your outdoor cats.

This great cat food formula prides itself in having an all-natural ingredients list, with real chicken as the main ingredient, followed by corn gluten meal.

It has a high 12% moisture for dry food. This dry food is packed with 34% minimum proteins as well as all the vital nutrients your kitties will need out there. 

Purina Cat Chow Naturals is also the best dry cat food you can find if you have a limited budget.

Surprisingly affordable, Purina Cat Chow is especially welcome news for cat lovers feeding stray cats or a colony of feral cats.

Pros
  • High in protein which kitties love
  • Rich in Omega 6 for healthy fur & skin
  • 100% complete & balance diet
  • Good for cats of all life stages
  • Zero preservatives & artificial flavors
  • Crafted with whole grains and leafy green vegetables
Cons
  • Customers noticed that something is “off” with the recent formula. Kitties won't eat it anymore.
  • Packaging is not resealable.

4. Merrick Purrfect Bistro Real Chicken + Sweet Potato Recipe

First 5 Ingredients: Deboned Chicken, Chicken Meal, Turkey Meal, Sweet Potatoes, Peas

WHY YOU SHOULD BUY
[year] Best Cat Food for Outdoor Cats: Ideal Diet For Adventurous Cats 21
Loaded with antioxidants to support immunity, omegas for a healthy skin and coat, plus vitamins, minerals and taurine in every bite, it’s sure to fuel all your kitty’s adventures, and then yum!

With a track record of over 30 years, Merrick has been making pet food from their own kitchen with locally-sourced ingredients from trusted farms.

This line of cat food is specifically made to please finicky felines. It is already a known fact that cats are furry foodies who set the bar sky high, hence Merrick created Purrfect Bistro for them.

This grain-free cat food has deboned chicken as the first ingredient in this protein-rich dry food. 70% of its high 38% proteins come from high-quality poultry to help maintain a lean muscle mass.

This grain-free dry food formula is also fortified with vital nutrients, plus probiotics, and free of artificial flavors and preservatives.

Pros
  • Cats love it. Most buyers find that their picky cats absolutely love the Merrick Purrfect Chicken & Sweet Potato cat food. Their feline companions just can’t get enough of it.
  • Perfect kibble size. The kibbles for this line is a bit smaller compared to other brands, hence making it easier to chew for cats.
  • Loaded with antioxidants for better immunity support.
  • Grain free. Having zero grains means its perfect for cats with sensitivities.
Cons
  • A bit too crumbly. A few customers have found this cat food to have more food dust than other brands of pet foods. The food dust adds to the weight of the bag, but is not actually consumed by their pets.

5. Go! Solutions Carnivore Chicken, Turkey + Duck Recipe

First 5 Ingredients: Chicken Meal, Deboned Chicken, Deboned Turkey, Duck Meal, Turkey Meal

WHY YOU SHOULD BUY
[year] Best Cat Food for Outdoor Cats: Ideal Diet For Adventurous Cats 22
This food contains 100% fresh chicken, turkey, trout, duck and salmon, as well as premium quality chicken, turkey, salmon, duck and herring meals.

From fussy eaters to pets with digestive sensitives and itchy skin, Go! Solutions has it all covered. Their team of expert pet nutritionists only chooses the best ingredients from trusted sources to create balance and palatable meals.

The Carnivore line is catered for those kitties who have highly carnivorous preferences. Each recipe from this line is created with maximum premium meat protein to support strong, lean muscles & optimal digestion in meat-loving kitties.

Made with chicken meal and real chicken meat as the first two ingredients, this dry cat food offers a whopping 46% minimum proteins, with 18% minimum fats and a caloric load of 4298 kcal/kg. 

This food contains 100% fresh chicken, turkey, trout, duck and salmon, as well as premium quality chicken, turkey, salmon, duck and herring meals. 

This cat food covers your cat’s nutritional requirements with bountiful nutrients to support a healthy immune system, fatty acids for healthy skin and coat, and probiotics to boost the cat’s digestive tract. It has no artificial preservatives.

However, the formulation contains chicken fat, and dried egg. So, if your cat is sensitive to these ingredients, it’s best to try the other options in this list.

Pros
  • Made with 100% fresh meat and premium quality meals.
  • Crafted with fruits and veggies to support immune system function.
  • Contains probiotics and prebiotics for better gut health.
  • Contains taurine, which aids the vision and heart health.
Cons
  • Not a hit among picky kitties.
  • Pet parents complain about the “awful smell.”

6. Chicken Soup for the Soul Chicken & Brown Rice Recipe

First 5 Ingredients: Chicken, Chicken Meal, Turkey Meal, Brown Rice, Peas

WHY YOU SHOULD BUY
[year] Best Cat Food for Outdoor Cats: Ideal Diet For Adventurous Cats 23
This recipe features real chicken as the first ingredient with omega 3 and 6 fatty acids for skin and coat health. Contains no wheat, corn or soy for a food you can trust.

Chicken Soup for the Soul has an amazing track record for over 15 years, and their cause and dedication all points to one simple thought: “That all pets deserve to eat well.”

All Chicken Soup recipes start with real meat for muscle-building protein and healthy grains for stamina and endurance.

Ingredients like cranberries, blueberries, carrots and flaxseed provide the antioxidants, vitamins and healthy fiber necessary for vitality and health.

Chicken Soup for the Soul presents a healthy option for outdoor cats with this dry cat food formula that has real chicken as the main ingredient.

Like most leading premium brands, this cat food is abundant with amazing ingredients and nutrients, amino acids, fatty acids, and probiotics. Brown rice supplies most of the carbs and fibers. 

Pros
  • Healthy skin and coat from Omega 3 & 6 fatty acids.
  • Healthy digestion from dried chicory root.
  • Superb immune support from superfoods & antioxidants such as blueberries, spinach & apples.
  • Lean muscles from real animal proteins.
Cons
  • Formula change. Most paw-rents gave a feedback that the new formula was not a hit among the kitties.
  • Strong scent. Picky eaters seem to hate the scent and even vomited.

7. ACANA Homestead Harvest High-Protein Formula

First 5 Ingredients: Deboned Chicken, Chicken Meal, Turkey Meal, Oatmeal, Whole Peas

WHY YOU SHOULD BUY
[year] Best Cat Food for Outdoor Cats: Ideal Diet For Adventurous Cats 24
Made from high-quality protein sourced from ranchers, farmers, and fishermen, this kibble gives your cat everything he needs for a long and healthy life.

Notable as first-class pet food, Acana has a worthy entry into this best cat food for outdoors list with the Homestead Harvest cat food formula.

Inspired by Kentucky’s own fertile meadows, ACANA’s Homestead Harvest dry cat food is made of fresh regional ingredients such as free-range turkey, chicken, and duck.

Real chicken is the first ingredient followed by an array of splendid ingredients to make complete cat nutrition.

This dry cat food is augmented with Pollock oil for a healthy coat and fur and probiotics to support healthy digestion. 

Additional protein for your cat’s diet comes from cage-free whole eggs. This cat food includes ACANA’s WholePrey ratios of meat, organs, cartilage and bone as well as nutritious vegetables for naturally present nutrients for a complete and balanced diet for your cat.

Pros
  • Good for sensitive stomach. This cat food from ACANA is easy to digest. It has fiber from whole green lentils. It has even helped tummy issues that several cats were having, according to their owners.
  • Thoughtfully sourced. ACANA uses a trusted network of ranchers, fishers and farmers to source the wholesome foods for their recipes.
  • Crafted with care. Their protein-first formulas are complimented with fresh vegetables and fruits to create a balance formula.
  • State of the art. The company uses a track-and-trace system that goes beyond food industry standards helps ensure safety, quality and transparency in every batch.
Cons
  • Quite expensive for some.
  • Some fussy kitties didn't approve of this formulation.

8. Annamaet Chicken Meal & Brown Rice Formula 

First 5 Ingredients: Chicken Meal, Brown Rice, Chicken Fat, Rolled Oats, Millet

WHY YOU SHOULD BUY
[year] Best Cat Food for Outdoor Cats: Ideal Diet For Adventurous Cats 25
Made with chicken, fish and brown rice with an optimal protein and fat blend to help promote healthy skin and lustrous coat.

The Annamaet Petfoods Company has become known as one of the top brands of holistic products in the pet food industry.

The company follows a holistic approach to animal nutrition with their products which means that every recipe includes all of the healthy nutrients your cat needs and nothing he doesn’t.

Known to entice even picky eaters, this remarkable dry cat food formula from Annamaet is worth checking out.

The main source of protein in this Annamaet recipe is chicken meal. Chicken meal is a high quality, concentrated source of protein. It is also easy to digest.

Whitefish & Herring fish meal also gives this recipe additional protein. It is also a natural source of omega fatty acids and fish flavors that many kitties enjoy.

Omega fatty acids help support cats’ skin & coat health. Marine microalgae serves an additional source of omega 3 fatty acids for this recipe. Chicken fat provides even more essential fatty acids and a boost of rich chicken goodness.

This recipe has naturally nutritious fruits & veggies such as dried beet pulp, blueberries and cranberries which are high in antioxidants that help support cellular health.

The recipe is also enriched with vitamins and minerals to ensure complete and balanced nutrition with every meal.

Pros
  • Optimum levels of Omega 3. Annamaet formulas include marine microalgae, a stable and sustainable natural ingredient that is rich in omega-3 fatty acids.
  • Crafted with DHA. A key component to develop healthy brain health and skin & coat health.
  • Contains Taurine. An essential element that is vital for healthy gut health, vision, heart health and boost immune system health.
  • GMO free. They partner with trusted suppliers to source only wholesome ingredients for their recipes.
Cons
  • Some fur-rents complain of the kibble size being “too large.”
  • The pickiest of felines turn up their noses on this food.

9. Iams ProActive Health High Protein Chicken & Salmon Recipe

First 5 Ingredients: Chicken, Chicken Byproduct Meal, Corn Grits, Ground Whole Grain Corn, Salmon

WHY YOU SHOULD BUY
[year] Best Cat Food for Outdoor Cats: Ideal Diet For Adventurous Cats 26
This whisker-licking recipe features real chicken as the very first ingredient, providing your purring pal with the protein-rich, flavorful dry food she needs and desires.

An outstanding option for multiple cats, Iams developed a premium quality cat food that’s light on the pocketbook of cat lovers. It’s a great kibble if you like to feed stray cats too as they get the chance to try healthy cat food.

Many vets and cat parents trust this high-protein cat food that uses chicken and salmon as the main protein sources for your cat’s strong and lean muscles.

It does not contain soy, dyes, or artificial flavors, so you’d be sure that your feline friend will get the nutritious cat foods it needs.

Pros
  • Features a fiber blend with prebiotics and beet pulp to maximize nutrient absorption. 
  • Contains real chicken as the main ingredient.
  • It is a high-protein formula with essential minerals and fatty acids. 
  • Formula has no soy, dyes, or artificial flavors and preservatives.
  • Ideal for felines of all ages – from kittens to adult and senior cats. 
  • Budget-friendly. 
Cons
  • Not considered grain-free because the formula contains Brewers Dried Yeast. 
  • Formulated only for adult cats and not an ideal food for kittens. 

10. Triumph Wild Spirit Deboned Chicken & Brown Rice Recipe

First 5 Ingredients: Deboned Chicken, Chicken Meal, Whole Ground Barley, Oat Groats, Brown Rice

WHY YOU SHOULD BUY
[year] Best Cat Food for Outdoor Cats: Ideal Diet For Adventurous Cats 27
This recipe is made in the USA with real chicken and brown rice to appeal to your cat’s cravings and natural ancestral instincts.

Triumph Wild Spirit Deboned Chicken & Brown Rice Recipe is a grain-inclusive dry cat food formulated for the nutritional needs of all breeds and sizes in all life stages. This tasty recipe has the meaty goodness of chicken and high fiber, healthy grains.

At 32% protein, this Triumph Wild Spirit recipe assures pet parents that their kitties get only high quality protein from real deboned chicken and chicken meal.

Chicken meal is a high quality, concentrated source of animal protein. Menhaden fish meal and dried egg product add even more protein to this tasty meal.

Chicken fat is its primary source of essential fatty acids. Chicken fat is full of rich, meaty flavor, as well as omega 6 fatty acids and vitamin E for healthier skin and shiny coats.

Made without corn, wheat, or soy, this chicken recipe has ground brown rice, whole ground barley and oat groats as its main sources of carbs.

They are nutritious, high fiber grains that not only improve dogs’ digestion, but also help them feel fuller for longer.

Pros
  • Made from real USA chicken
  • Zero soy, corn or wheat
  • Offers a balanced and complete nutrition for your cat
  • With no artificial colors, flavors and preservatives
Cons
  • Some paw-rents complained of broken bags on delivery
  • Other picky cats didn't approve of the flavor
[year] Best Cat Food for Outdoor Cats: Ideal Diet For Adventurous Cats 28

Top 5 Best Wet Cat Foods For Outdoor Cats

1. Applaws Fish Selection in Broth Variety Pack

Ingredients:

  • Tuna: Tuna Fillet, Fish Broth, Rice.
  • Tuna with Shrimp: Tuna Fillet, Fish Broth, Rice, Prawn.
  • Tuna with Seaweed: Tuna Fillet, Fish Broth, Seaweed, Rice.
WHY YOU SHOULD BUY
[year] Best Cat Food for Outdoor Cats: Ideal Diet For Adventurous Cats 29
Simply crafted with as little as 4 necessary ingredients. It’s also a source of taurine, so you’ll also feel good about promoting proper heart and eye function.

We find Applaws Fish Selection as the best cat food for outdoor cats in the wet food class. This wet food has an astounding 15% protein content per serving to sustain your outdoor kitty the whole day as well as provide hydration.

Applaws Fish Selection has definitely one of the shortest list of ingredients we have ever seen. The first of its 3-4 natural ingredients is tuna fillet. The tuna fillet is of the highest quality human grade cut of tuna.

It is a 100% natural source of taurine which is essential for eye and heart health. This cat food product contains absolutely no additives.

This cat food is meant as a complementary food for adult cats. It can be fed with a complete wet or dry meal for a balanced diet.

This Applaws cat food is not intended to be fed on a daily basis, but instead as intermittent or supplementary feeding only.

This variety pack comes in 3 flavors: Tuna, Tuna with shrimp and Tuna with seaweed.

Pros
  • Clean, simple ingredients. With only 3-4 items on the list of ingredients, cat parents love that this Applaws cat food has no additives or any chemicals that could be harmful to their pets.
  • Soft, healthy fur. Cat owners have noticed that their pets’ fur have grown softer and shinier since being fed with this tuna recipe.
  • Contains Taurine. These recipes promote proper heart and eye function, which makes pet parents happy.
Cons
  • Supplementary food. A few customers have commented that they are not too happy that this product is not a complete meal, and is meant as a supplementary food only. 

2. Fussie Cat Premium Tuna with Salmon Formula

First 5 Ingredients: Tuna, Water Sufficient For Processing, Salmon, Sunflower Seed Oil, Calcium Carbonate

WHY YOU SHOULD BUY
[year] Best Cat Food for Outdoor Cats: Ideal Diet For Adventurous Cats 30
Made in a high-quality manufacturing plant. It is low in saturated fat, high in vitamin B6 and phosphorous, and an excellent source of vitamin B12.

If there's one thing cats crave, it's the rich taste of pure meat. It makes sense, because they are obligate carnivores. 

Fussie Cat uses a simple philosophy: “carnivore-friendly, meat-first recipes,” in order to provide wholesome meals that are full of the proteins your cat needs to thrive.

The company makes their top-quality foods in an FDA-registered kitchen—the same kitchen that produces canned food that's fit for people to eat. 

The Fussie Cat Premium line is a tuna-based menu that pairs this popular fish with chicken or seafood delicacies.

Lastly, each of their recipe is co-created and taste-tested by cats in order to make sure your own kitty will love it. 

Pros
  • Grain and potato-free. Great for cats with food sensitivities or allergies.
  • Rich in Omegas 3 & 6. These essential amino acids help support skin & coat health in order to keep your cat's fur soft and healthy.
  • Made in a high-quality manufacturing plant. Their canned goods are made in FDA-approved kitchen.
Cons
  • A bit pricey compared to other brands.
  • Strong smell which is not favorable for most owners.
  • Not a hit with most fussy eaters.

3. Weruva Mideast Feast with Grilled Tilapia in Gravy

First 5 Ingredients: Tuna, Water Sufficient For Processing, Tilapia, Potato Starch, Sunflower Seed Oil

WHY YOU SHOULD BUY
[year] Best Cat Food for Outdoor Cats: Ideal Diet For Adventurous Cats 31
Made with tuna and tilapia as the top ingredients, every bite is loaded with the meat your little carnivore craves, and all the protein he needs for healthy muscles.

Talk about a wet cat food that’s oozing with flavor and nutrition, Weruva doesn’t disappoint with its Mideast Feast Grilled Tilapia grain-free cat food.

This high quality grain-free canned food for kitties is made by a family-owned company that pledges to adhere to high manufacturing standards.

You'll be surprised to open the can and see real identifiable tilapia meat chunks inside. There are also lots of antioxidants, vitamins and minerals, and a great moisture content to promote overall nutritional health and development.

With 12% crude protein and 84% moisture, this is an excellent wet food for your outgoing cat plus they will definitely get the nutrients they need.

Pros
  • Contains real, fish chunks.
  • Preservative free, gluten free, carrageenan free, gluten free, grain free.
  • Weruva has an “A” grade on The British Retail Consortium (BRC).
  • Specifically formulated for a feline's needs.
  • Loaded with taurine, amino acids, omegas, vitamins and minerals.
  • Broth-based gravy makes it appealing to picky eaters
Cons
  • Contains potato starch
  • Another product that has a “new formula” which seems to have turned off a lot of former fans (cat and human)

4. Tiki Cat Hanalei Luau Wild Salmon in Salmon Consommé

First 5 Ingredients: Salmon, Salmon Broth, Sunflower Seed Oil, Tricalcium Phosphate, Taurine

WHY YOU SHOULD BUY
[year] Best Cat Food for Outdoor Cats: Ideal Diet For Adventurous Cats 32
It’s a luau of flavors purr-fectly fit for your furry carnivore, with wild-caught Alaskan salmon as the first ingredient, flaked and simmered in a salmon consomme made with real salmon stock.

Tiki Cat has been very consistent in producing minimally processed food products that are carefully packed with perfect portion control and full nutrition without sacrificing the taste and appeal to our beloved pets.

This is a popular choice for canned food, Tiki’s wild salmon grain-free cat food is a favorite among cat lovers and cats alike.

Made with wild-caught Alaskan salmon, flaked and simmered in a salmon consommé made from real salmon stock, this wet food boasts 14% proteins and 59 kcal per serving.

Also it’s packed with essential vitamins, omegas, taurine & minerals so it is a complete & balanced diet for cats of all ages.

It’s also absolutely delicious that even picky eaters love. And it has zero artificial flavors and ingredients.

Pros
  • This product is composed of animal meat that is high in protein.
  • Like most Tiki food products, this variant is enriched with essential vitamins and minerals, such as Tricalcium phosphate necessary in bone and teeth regeneration.
  • It has no nasty additives and carbohydrates!
  • There is a wide range of flavors to select from.
  • This is a complete and balanced diet for all life stages of cats.
Cons
  • It lacks fat and fiber; thus, cats need to find these crucial elements in foods elsewhere.
  • Although the company already added sunflower seed oil to add fats, this is not still enough.

5. Tiny Tiger Chunks in Extra Gravy Chicken Recipe

First 5 Ingredients: Chicken Broth, Chicken, Liver, Turkey, Meat By-Products

WHY YOU SHOULD BUY
[year] Best Cat Food for Outdoor Cats: Ideal Diet For Adventurous Cats 33
Grain-free recipe with chunks of real chicken as the first ingredient for the protein and flavor cats crave. A complete and balanced meal in every bowl, with vitamins, minerals and essential taurine.

This grain-free cat food is teeming with calories (80 kcal per serving) that can supply your cat with a lot of energy throughout the day.

This extra saucy poultry meal is made with real chicken, chicken liver and turkey. It has an extra serving of sauce made with chicken broth for cats who love lapping up sauce.

Made from flavorful chicken broth, this fowl feast’s sauce makes it a great way to incorporate more moisture into your kitten or adult cat’s diet.

This product can be served on its own or as a hydrating meal topper for dry cat food.

This chicken recipe from Tiny Tiger has no grains, corn, soy, or veggies. Like all their wet cat foods, it is free from carrageenan, artificial flavors, colors, and preservatives.

Pros
  • Tasty gravy. Cats love the extra serving of sauce in every can of this chicken recipe.
  • No strong odor. Cat parents will be happy to see their kitties lapping this food in no time.
  • Loved even by picky kitties. This product seems to have passed the fussy cat test.
  • Good value. Cat parents love that their cats not only enjoy this tasty treat, but it is also quite affordable.
Cons
  • Hard to open cans. A few customers have noted that the cans of this Tiny Tiger cat food are difficult to open.
[year] Best Cat Food for Outdoor Cats: Ideal Diet For Adventurous Cats 34

Treat & Supplement Reviews

VetriScience Nu Cat Chewable Multivitamins

WHY YOU SHOULD BUY
[year] Best Cat Food for Outdoor Cats: Ideal Diet For Adventurous Cats 35
These powerhouse multivitamin chews are great for cats of all ages with key minerals, fish oil omegas and taurine that’s essential for maintaining healthy vision.

Foods, particularly meats, are the primary source of essential nutrients for our pets. But just like us, humans, our feline companions can also use some extra support. Even healthy cats can benefit from a daily dose of multivitamins.

If you are simply looking for nutritional support to help promote your cat’s overall health and wellness, then, you’d want to give these soft chews a try.

For someone who has lived with cats for some time, it’s not a secret that they can be picky eaters. But the good news is that you don’t have to worry about letting your cat take his daily dose of VetriScience NuCat Multivitamin.

One bottle comes with 90 bite-size chewable tablets that could pass as treats for your fussy cat. If you’ve had challenging experiences with liquid multivitamins, you’d definitely notice the difference once you give this a try.

VetriScience NuCat Multivitamin is also packed with biotin, and omega fatty acids from fish oil, which all play a key role in promoting a cat’s skin and coat health.

Formulated with a balance of essential amino acids, folic acid, ferrous sulfate, and several vitamins and minerals like calcium, vitamin B, zinc, magnesium, selenium, vitamin D, vitamin A, potassium, vitamin E, and a lot more, this is no doubt the best supplement for your cat’s overall health and immune support.

Greenies Feline Catnip Flavor Treats

WHY YOU SHOULD BUY
[year] Best Cat Food for Outdoor Cats: Ideal Diet For Adventurous Cats 36
Designed to help clean teeth, reduce tartar buildup and freshen your cat’s breath, these crunchy treats are made with natural ingredients plus added vitamins, minerals and other nutrients.

Greenies Feline Dental Treats is an irresistible treat for your cats that also need the dental health boost as they tend to chew on several unsanitary stuff they find outdoors.

Each bite gives your cat triple satisfaction from getting a treat, enjoying the catnip flavor, and having his precious whites healthy and strong every day.

These treats are also VOHC-accepted in reducing tartar, and they are fortified with added vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients, such as iron, vitamin A, vitamin B12, calcium carbonate, taurine, niacin, and a lot more.

Hence, every crunchy bite of Greenies Treats is nutritionally complete and could pass as a balanced snack for your feline buddy.

What’s more, each treat only contains less than 2 calories, and it doesn’t contain artificial flavors or preservatives that can be harmful to cats.

So, if you are looking for an easy way to keep your cat’s teeth healthy and his breath smelling fresh all day, simply let him enjoy these tasty dental treats that come in three irresistibly tasty flavors: tuna, salmon, and oven-roasted chicken.

Is It Safe For Cats To Live Outdoors?

Generally speaking, we don’t recommend letting your pet cats live outdoors. There are just too many threats out there. Sure, there are pros and cons in living outdoors, as in staying indoors. But when your cat is inside your home, you don’t have to worry about scary possibilities she may encounter outdoors.

Most vets will tell you to keep cats indoors for obvious reasons. But they will also recommend other ways to compromise, like building a special outdoor enclosure or leash walking them a few times a week. 

Studies show that indoor cats live a lot longer than outdoor cats. When fed and cared for well, house cats can normally live up to 12 years or more. In contrast, feral cats have an average lifespan of just 2 to 4 years. 

Many feral and stray cats don’t even reach the adult stage due to the many perils they face the moment they are born. Many outdoor kittens are killed in their first few months alive.

Depending on where you live, you can more or less evaluate the risks to your domestic cats if you decide to let them out of your home. If you live in a city or busy town, the risks are naturally greater.

[year] Best Cat Food for Outdoor Cats: Ideal Diet For Adventurous Cats 37

 Common Outdoor Dangers To Cats

Many dangers threaten the safety of outdoor cats. From humans to other animals to fellow felines, feral cats deal with numerous hazards every time.

Here are some of the more common threats to feral and stray cats:

Cars

Cars and other vehicles are the most common causes of death in outdoor cats. Many cats are hit by moving vehicles and very few of them survive. Younger and inexperienced cats on the streets are especially vulnerable to road kills. Many motorists are irresponsible drivers. 

City cats are also most at risk due to the volume of cars on the road. Some road accidents result in hidden injuries, like bruises to internal organs, which may have serious repercussions later on.

Dogs

Another common threat is the neighborhood dog. Many outdoor cats are killed or badly injured by aggressive dogs. Some cats are accustomed to approaching dogs but many dogs are unfriendly to cats and can be violent towards them.

Predators

When living in the countryside, predators like coyotes and raccoons are also common threats to feral cats. And since humans continue to expand their territory, wild animal encounters are getting more unavoidable. It's becoming more common for predators to enter suburbs and even city streets. 

This makes unfriendly encounters with feral cats more probable. And cats are almost always on the losing end. Also, some wild animals carry diseases that they could pass on to cats.

Accidents

Cats are vulnerable to a number of potential accidents outdoors such as electrocution, sharp objects, head trauma from a bad fall, foreign object ingestion, falling in deep excavations or pits, getting trapped in narrow pipes or tunnels, insect bites, hitting a hard object after running at a high speed, or in some cases, even drowning. Stray cats can get pretty energetic and aggressive, which sometimes result in fatal accidents.

Injuries

Cats are especially exposed to muscle and joint injuries because of climbing and jumping to and from high places, and also running at high speeds.

Ripped and broken nails are also common to feral cats as they jump from one spot to another, and sometimes land badly or land on rough surfaces. If you see your cat limping or bleeding, better check for injuries.

Mouth injuries are prevalent in feral cats too. When they bite on hard objects like bones, they can badly damage their teeth and gums, which could develop into a more serious problem later on. Some try to eat foreign objects that may also wound their mouth, or even choke them.

Eye injuries often happen during catfights, which can be pretty regular in feral cats. Running at fast speeds may also inflict damage to their eyes.

Diseases

Feral cats are exposed to several deadly diseases in the outdoors like feline leukemia, feline immunodeficiency virus, and rabies. They often get into fights with other stray cats that are disease carriers. These strays are likely unvaccinated. It’s vital to have your outdoor cats vaccinated regularly for common diseases.

Parasites

Parasites abound outdoors. Any of them from fleas and ticks to intestinal worms is a threat to cats that spend most of the day outdoors. Sometimes cats eat dirty food from the garbage bin. 

Poisons

Poisons are a major danger to outdoor cats. Cats love to roam around the neighborhood and enter backyards that may have poisonous substances sprayed all over like pesticides or antifreeze. These are toxic to cats. Or they may consume small animals like rats and mice that may have been poisoned.

Cats also sometimes nibble on plants, and some plants in the outdoors could be toxic to them too.

Weather

Harsh weather conditions or a sudden change in the weather can harm outdoor cats, especially during wintertime and summertime. Many stray cats die of freezing and some suffer from frostbites. Their thick coats are not sufficient for the extremely cold weather. 

During the summer, they are in danger of dehydration and heatstroke when without shelter and water.

Also during the colder months, cats tend to sleep on top of tires or under the car’s hood to keep warm and are often unnoticed by the car owner. You must check your vehicles before entering. 

The salt scattered on the ground to keep from being slippery can also be harmful to a cat's paws.

You need to provide your outdoor cats with food, water, and shelter during these frigid weather conditions.

Fights

Catfights among stray cats are common outdoors, especially in males. This often involves territorial confrontation. Cats can be badly wounded or injured in fights or may be infected with wound-inflicted diseases. Always check your outdoor cats for wounds, bruises, lumps, and bumps, especially when they’re limping.

Cruelty

Humans are still the biggest threat to feral cats. Many cats are subjected to animal cruelty from heartless people every day. Some people simply don’t like cats, especially stray cats. They regard these felines as pests and won’t hesitate to hurt or even kill them. 

Outdoor cats are also among the favorite targets for air rifle shooting or slingshots by some kids and young adults. Or your cat could enter a neighbor’s backyard and ruin some flowers or kill smaller pets, which would surely piss off the owners.

Getting Lost

Contrary to popular belief, cats may also lose their way if they stroll too far from home. Many house cats that are allowed to roam outdoors don’t get to come back anymore. They could also be trapped in a building or snatched by other people.

Check your city ordinances too regarding laws on strays. They could end up in the city pound. It helps to attach a name tag with contact information details to your free-roaming cats.

Best Cat Food for Outdoor Cats

Caring For Your Outdoor Cats

If you’re a cat lover who adopted a stray cat, or you’ve decided to let your tabby explore the outside world and now find it hard to keep her indoors, you must at least do your best to protect her from the elements.

Cats do love the everyday adventure, which they can’t seem to get enough of. Cat parents can minimize the risks by applying some safety measures. 

Keep your outdoor cats safer with these tips:

Food And Water

Outdoor-dwelling cats sometimes skip regular meal times because they are preoccupied somewhere. Always leave filled food bowls near their favorite feeding spot nonetheless. To avoid spoilage, dry cat food is a better option to leave out for her. 

It's equally important to always leave fresh drinking water too.  

During the cold season, keep her water bowl warm. 

Build An Outdoor Cat House

It’s best to keep your cats inside the house during the night, and just let them out the next morning. But if that’s a challenge, build an outdoor house to keep them safe from the weather and predators. You can leave a blanket inside that they can snuggle in during the cold months.

Never Declaw

Cats, especially outdoor cats, need their claws to function well. Cats are defenseless against a number of threats without their claws. They also need their claws when climbing and jumping. 

Microchip Your Kitty

Micro-chipping can help find your wandering cats in a huge way. There have been many cases of lost cats rejoining their humans because of the microchips. Many lost cats are surrendered to shelters, and the people there make the effort to use the microchip to contact the owners. Just make sure the contact details are always updated.   

Name Tag, Collar, And GPS Tracker 

If you can’t get your kitty a microchip, at least provide a collar with a name tag containing your contact details. Preferably use a collar with a safety buckle that can release when ensnared by something. You may also opt to attach a GPS tracker to your cat so you can check her whereabouts all the time, and know if she’s moving too far from home.

Neuter Or Spay

Especially for a feral cat, neutering (for male) or spaying (for female) is definitely a must. This prevents unwanted pregnancy and adding more to the stray cat population.

As mentioned earlier, many stray cats struggle to live and stay unharmed outdoors. These procedures help largely in controlling the stray cats’ numbers.

But there’s another major benefit. Because it stops breeding instincts, it also prevents cats from having the urge to roam around and find a mate. It helps to lessen your cat’s aggression as well. 

Unneutered male cats are known to be more territorial and are also more likely to get into fights. By the way, some cities and states require neutering or spaying for feral cats. So check your local animal laws.

Get Your Cats Vaccinated

Outdoor cats need additional vaccinations to protect them from diseases they may contract from outside elements and other feral cats or animals.

The local vet should recommend which vaccinations to give your cats. It’s imperative to keep their vaccinations up-to-date every year.

Regular Visits to the Vet

For both outdoor and indoor cats, regular health check-ups are necessary to keep them healthy and happy. It’s the cat owners’ responsibility to ensure that each cat gets a regular medical check-up at least twice a year.

For outdoor felines, perhaps a quarterly visit to the animal doctor is appropriate to rule out hidden issues. You might want to get pet insurance or set aside a bigger health budget for an outdoor feline.

The regular flea and worm treatments must always be administered to all cats.

Cat Flap

It may be convenient and smart to install a cat flap so your cat can come and go as she pleases without you having to check all the time. It's also good for when your cat needs to come in but nobody’s home, or when she’s trying to escape a threat.

Check Your Garden For Poisonous Plants

Make sure your plants in the garden or backyard are not toxic to pets. Check the list of poisonous plants and see if any of them is part of your outdoors and nearby areas. Plant cat-friendly plants instead such as catnip and lavender.

Train Your Cat To Come Home

Find a way to train your cat to come home. You can use treats or certain calls or signals to signify that your kitty must come home. Some GPS trackers have certain sounds to tell your cat that it’s time to head home.

[year] Best Cat Food for Outdoor Cats: Ideal Diet For Adventurous Cats 38

FAQ's

How Often Must You Feed Your Outdoor Cat?

Feeding an outdoor kitty is the same as feeding an indoor cat, and that’s daily, of course. Ideally, you should feed your cats twice a day – the same time you take your breakfast and have your dinner.

There’s absolutely no truth that feral cats don’t need to be fed daily as they can hunt for food all day. Cats have natural instincts to hunt but not necessarily for food.

They usually hunt for fun. So leaving your outdoor cats to feed on prey is not only irresponsible but also cruel. They could get hungry.

Train your cats to come home when it’s mealtime. You must be consistent with the time you serve the meals so they learn to come home at that time. This way also you get to know if your cat is in any sort of trouble when she doesn’t show up at mealtime.

By the way, if you stop leaving cat foods for your outdoor kitty, they will likely find food elsewhere and stray even farther from home. Terrible idea.

Are Outdoor Cats Healthier And Happier Cats?

Just like people, cats have different levels of happiness and triggers for happiness. It’s hard to tell whether a certain feline is happier outdoors as opposed to indoors.

A well-loved house cat could live a much greater life than a feral cat that has all the freedom and space but must fight for survival daily.

Sure, the outdoors have a lot to offer cats – unlimited entertainment, interaction with other felines and wildlife, huge areas to run, hide, and play, lots of trees to climb, endless activities, lots of exercise, mental stimulation, and opportunities to express a cat’s natural behaviors like scratching trees and hunting.

But as mentioned in this article, the threats are greater than the opportunities. Feral cats do not normally exceed a 5-year lifespan as opposed to indoor cats that can live up to 15 years.

But truth be told, a cat’s happiness and good health largely depend on the cat owner. Cat parents can provide ways to keep cats happy, active, and healthy even when staying indoors. Quality time with your pets will almost certainly prolong their lives and keep them happy.

What’s A Good Compromise?

If you’re feeling a little guilty that your indoor tabby is being deprived of outdoor adventure and fun, there are simple things you can still do to keep her indoors but not miss out too much on the outdoor experience.

Outdoor Cat Enclosure

The best and safest way to provide your feline friend with the outdoor taste without having to expose her to the dangers is to create an outdoor enclosure in the backyard.

This is an area large enough for your cat to enjoy the sunlight and check out the birds outside but without having to leave the premises.

You can check out cat enclosure options that suit your home. Just make sure there are no chances for your cat to escape the enclosure through a reachable or compromised opening.

Cat Window Perch

If you don’t have enough space for an outdoor enclosure, a cat window perch can be an easier option. The perch will allow the cat to hang around the window and view the outdoors. Even better if you can place a bird or squirrel feeder near the window to give your indoor cat a life-size view.

Cat Trees And Scratching Post

Cats certainly love to climb. The higher the better. To keep them from jumping from one furniture to another, provide cat trees, cat towers with hiding holes, or scratching posts that they can climb, hide, scratch, and play with. Being active indoors will help prevent obesity. 

Cat Toys And Games

Cats love to play. They're also very curious and tend to investigate things. Cat toys and games can provide some enjoyment and eliminate boredom, especially if you play with them.

Walk Your Cat

It may feel a bit awkward to walk your cat on a leash like a dog but it’s safe and it can be fun eventually. It’s an opportunity for your cat to safely see and experience the outside world while getting some exercise too.  This will help maintain a healthy weight for the cat, and perhaps for you too. 

[year] Best Cat Food for Outdoor Cats: Ideal Diet For Adventurous Cats 39

Caring For A Colony of Feral Cats

Your cat may soon join other cats in the neighborhood or she may bring other feral cats home during mealtime. Pretty soon, you’ll have to feed an entire colony that’s likely to grow if there are several strays in your area.

But the true cat lover in you somehow urges you to feed outdoor cats that made friends with your tabby. Bless your heart.

To feed feral cats, schedule a fixed mealtime that they can follow. It's more manageable this way and you can better determine the amount of food to serve daily as well. Again, we recommend a twice-a-day feeding.

With a regular feeding schedule, you can see if new cats have joined, or if some cats are missing. You can also see each cat’s health condition if they have certain illnesses or injuries. This will help you protect your own cat and see what possible situations she may get into. 

If you’re feeling generous, you can have the other cats checked by the vet or even vaccinated. Your own cats will benefit if their friends are jabbed.

And if you don't want the colony to quadruple in months, consider having the other cats spayed or neutered too. Regular feeding time is a great opportunity to gather and trap them for neutering. 

Regular feeding time will also likely minimize leftovers that could attract other animals, insects, and common pests. You’ll be able to estimate the right amount of food to serve.

If the meals are wiped out in just a few minutes with the cats still seemingly wanting for more, the food you served is probably insufficient. If there are leftovers after the last cat has left, you probably gave too much.

It’s normal for these cats to fight over food. Or some will bully weaker cats. If you have a small group, it’s recommended to give each of them their own food bowl.

If you have a big group, like over 6 cats, multiple bowls or large trays and platters could work. The key is to have space in between food clusters.

What’s the best food for a colony of feral cats? Well, that depends on your budget. The cheapest is dry cat food, which is practical for a large colony of feral cats. In our recommended list in this article, you’ll find economical yet high-quality suggestions. 

However, you might have some sick or older cats in your colony that struggle to eat dry food due to gum or teeth problems. They can appreciate some wet food or smaller kibbles from kitten food.

Finally, leave a few buckets (2-3) of clean water for them to drink.

The Verdict

The choice of whether a cat is going to be an indoor or outdoor feline depends solely on you – the cat owner – and not the cat.

Cats will naturally want to check out the outdoors and will strive to find a way out of their confinement. But once a cat gets a taste of the outdoors, she will always want more, and it will be tough to keep her indoors.

But let’s be clear on one thing – indoor cats normally outlive their outdoor counterparts, by several years. The threats outside your home way outweigh the opportunities.

Your cat will be subjected to a wide variety of perils in the outdoors including vehicles, diseases, parasites, other animals, and especially cold-blooded people. And there’s always a good chance she won’t find her way back home.

If you’re a cat owner with outdoor kitties, there are measures you can do to keep them safer. Providing food and water daily, and setting up an outdoor house will surely go a long way in caring for your outdoor cat.

Complete and up-to-date vaccinations are a must for outdoor felines to avert common diseases. Regular medical check-ups are necessary to find out any underlying illnesses or health issues. 

Neuter or spay your cats to avoid unplanned pregnancy.

During the cold months, keep your cats indoors if you can or provide an outdoor cat house with blankets or heated pads. Or install a cat flap to allow them to enter and exit the house anytime. 

During the extremely hot weather, make sure they have fresh water outside.

Kittens, sick cats, pregnant cats, and older cats must stay indoors. They are very vulnerable to the elements and may not be able to defend themselves.

If you get a new cat, train her to be an indoor cat. It’s a lot harder to convert an outdoor cat to become an indoor cat than the other way around.

Lastly, try to get your free-roaming cats to come inside the house before dark. Most of the accidents and encounters with other animals happen at night. 

As for the best food for outdoor kitties, high-quality ingredients with a high-protein load from named animal meat make the best cat foods.

[year] Best Cat Food for Outdoor Cats: Ideal Diet For Adventurous Cats 40

Is it OK to feed outdoor cats?

Feeding feral and stray cats is generous, but they need health care as well. If you can't manage ongoing care, at the very least, get the cat neutered.

Will a stray cat starve if I stop feeding it?

The answer is usually no. Stray cats will not usually starve if you stop feeding them. Cats are natural hunters and even domesticated cats have the instinct to hunt for prey as cats normally would in the wild.

What should I feed my outdoor stray cat?

Offer a can of tuna or cat food, a bowl of water and shelter, if possible. But don't force it. If the cat is feral and puts up a fight, you risk being scratched or bitten. To develop a relationship with a cat, consistently place the food outdoors in a small space that she can access but a larger animal cannot.

Is it cruel to keep cats outside?

Outside cats also face danger from coming into contact with toxins, such as antifreeze, that are often ingested because they have a pleasant taste. Cats may also end up accidently exposed to rodent poisons when they hunt and eat rodents that have recently ingested poison bait.

  • Updated October 1, 2021
Mary Nielsen
 

A huge animal lover, born and raised around dogs, cats, chickens... Self-educated pet care nerd. Currently parent of three adopted cats and one small mutt. Animal adoption advocate. Loves a good book (about animals) and playing the piano.