Top 10 Best Cat Foods [2019 Buyer’s Guide For Dry & Wet]

Dry cat food best choices

Like humans, cats require good nutrition to stay healthy and avoid getting sick. But choosing a good diet isn’t always easy. You only need to make a quick trip to the pet store to see the problem:

Too. Many. Choices. 

So how do you know which one is best for your feline companion?

To help make your purchasing decisions easier, we’ve compiled a list of the best cat food around. We’ve rated these products based on three key factors:

  1. Quality of ingredients
  2. Customer reviews
  3. Brand reputations

Based on our research, the best dry cat food brands cover a wide range of price, flavor, and nutrition profile. Plus, our furry friends love them. That’s sort of important, right?

You love what you see? Purrfect! Rest assured that I put these products on the list specifically due to their genuine quality and not for other reasons.
I would just like to be transparent with you and inform you that FelineLiving may obtain a share of sales or other monetary compensation from the links on this page. I hope your furry friends will love these reviewed products and that it will spark joy in each pair of feline eyes!

Mary Nielsen ♥

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Best Dry Cat Food Comparison:

Top Choice
Nulo Adult & Kitten Grain Free Dry Cat Food With...
Affordable Quality
Taste of the Wild Grain Free High Protein Real...
Wellness Core Natural Grain Free Dry Cat Food,...
Fromm FourStar Cat Food Gamebird (5 lb)
ORIJEN Dry Cat Food, Cat & Kitten, Biologically...
Food Name
Nulo Adult & Kitten Grain Free Dry Cat Food With...
Taste of the Wild Grain Free High Protein Real...
Wellness Core Natural Grain Free Dry Cat Food,...
Fromm FourStar Cat Food Gamebird (5 lb)
ORIJEN Dry Cat Food, Cat & Kitten, Biologically...
Life Stage
Adult, Kitten
All ages appropriate
All ages appropriate
Adult, Kitten
Crude Protein
Prime Benefits
Top Choice
Nulo Adult & Kitten Grain Free Dry Cat Food With...
Food Name
Nulo Adult & Kitten Grain Free Dry Cat Food With...
Life Stage
Adult, Kitten
Crude Protein
Prime Benefits
More Information
Affordable Quality
Taste of the Wild Grain Free High Protein Real...
Food Name
Taste of the Wild Grain Free High Protein Real...
Life Stage
All ages appropriate
Crude Protein
Prime Benefits
More Information
Wellness Core Natural Grain Free Dry Cat Food,...
Food Name
Wellness Core Natural Grain Free Dry Cat Food,...
Life Stage
Crude Protein
Prime Benefits
More Information
Fromm FourStar Cat Food Gamebird (5 lb)
Food Name
Fromm FourStar Cat Food Gamebird (5 lb)
Life Stage
All ages appropriate
Crude Protein
Prime Benefits
More Information
ORIJEN Dry Cat Food, Cat & Kitten, Biologically...
Food Name
ORIJEN Dry Cat Food, Cat & Kitten, Biologically...
Life Stage
Adult, Kitten
Crude Protein
Prime Benefits
More Information

Last update on 2019-11-18 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Top 6 Best Dry Cat Foods

Eating the best cat food out of a child's hands

Dry cat food is a convenient choice for most pet parents. The best dry cat foods should be nutritious, delicious, and affordable.

Here is the list of six products that fulfill our healthy nutrition criteria – high protein content and low carbohydrates:

  • Wellness CORE Natural Grain Free Dry Cat Food.
  • Taste of the Wild Grain Free High Protein Dry Cat food.
  • Fromm FourStar Dry Cat Food Gamebird.
  • Orijen Dry Cat Food.
  • Organix Chicken & Brown Rice Recipe Dry Cat Food.
  • Nulo Adult & Kitten Grain Free Dry Cat Food.

1. Wellness Dry Cat Food

This product is intended for adult animals.

It contains five key indicators of healthy nutrition: essential vitamins and minerals; probiotics and prebiotics; fiber; fatty acids; and healthy proteins and carbohydrates. 

Just take a look at the first two ingredients: de-boned chicken and turkey. Readable, real, and healthy, right off the bat. It’s pricey, but comes in a big bag, so it lasts a long time for most cat owners.

Wellness Core Natural Grain Free Dry Cat Food,...
  • Grain Free: Grain Free, Complete And Balanced Everyday Nutrition For Your Cat
  • Protein Focused Nutrition: Naturally Grain Free, Rich With Delicious Premium Proteins Including...

Last update on 2019-11-18 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Protein - 45%
Fat - 18%
Fiber - 3%


  • Premium animal proteins
  • Safe for animals with health problems (like diabetes)


  • Strong fishy smell
  • Big heavy bag

2. Taste of the Wild Dry Cat Food

This high protein natural dry food for cats from Taste of the Wild comes in either a 5 or 12-pound bag. It contains real animal protein (including trout, salmon, chicken, and venison), giving your four-legged friend an optimal mix of amino acids.

This “highly digestible” food also contains low-GI carbohydrates like raspberries, blueberries, and peas.

A complete and balanced meal with a natural ingredient made of quality meats is great for the adult cat digestive system.

If there’s anything negative about this food, it could be that cats like it so much they might eat too much too fast if given the opportunity, at least according to some users.

Taste of the Wild Grain Free High Protein Real...
  • Discontinued size by manufacturer
  • A taste of the wild with ROASTED VENISON and SMOKED SALMON; optimal amino acid profile, HIGH QUALITY...

Last update on 2019-11-19 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Protein - 42%
Fat - 18%
Fiber - 3%


  • Competitive price compared to other premium brands
  • Ingredients are sourced from sustainable and trusted global suppliers
  • Proprietary probiotic blend


  • Some reviewers have noted that their free feed cats gain weight eating this product, thus necessitating a change in their portions and eating routine

3. Fromm Dry Cat Food

Fromm’s FourStar is a unique dry kibble option. In addition to duck and turkey, the product also offers quail and pheasant meat, which is tough to find in other brands. 

Customers have noted that their cats’ skin and coats became shinier and fuller when they switched to this product. Some cat owners have even noticed that their pets shed less, which could be due to an increase in the health of skin and hair follicles.

You may notice that your cat’s digestion improves while eating this food, too.

It comes in a small 5 lb bag,  for a single-cat family this can typically last around a month. A few customers have noted that the seal on the bag doesn’t close properly. For freshness, you may need to use a sturdy kitchen clip or something similar.

Fromm FourStar Cat Food Gamebird (5 lb)
  • Grain Free Entree Prepared With Duck, Turkey, Quail, and Pheasant.
  • Includes An Assortment Of Fresh Fruits and Vegetables.

Last update on 2019-11-18 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Protein - 35%
Fat - 18%
Fiber - 6%

P S.  This adult dry meal is great for your senior cat. It has a balanced diet of natural dry cat food. Treat your cats with this high-quality kibble.


  • Contains unique and novel animal protein (including quail and pheasant) to help reduce risk of allergy development
  • Promotes shiny coat
  • Regulates digestion


  • May promote weight gain
  • Seal on bag doesn’t close properly

4. Orijen Dry Cat Food

Orijen’s Food comes in a 12 lb bag, making it more cost effective compared to some of the other brands listed here. It contains the right blend of proteins, carbohydrates, and micronutrients that can help your cat maintain a lean and healthy weight.

It’s also more nutrient-dense compared to other brands. Just be sure to check the feeding recommendations, as they may be slightly different.

Some reviewers note that their felines don’t seem to lose interest in the dry food, which is common with many kibble brands. However, other customers have noted that their cats don’t enjoy the taste. For these people, the high price doesn’t seem to be as worthwhile.

ORIJEN Dry Cat Food, Cat & Kitten, Biologically...
  • ORIJEN Cat & Kitten cat food delivers a diet rich and varied in fresh, whole animal ingredients from...
  • With 90% quality animal ingredients, ORIJEN nourishes cats according to their natural, biological...

Last update on 2019-11-18 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Protein - 40%
Fat - 20%
Fiber - 3%

This natural dry cat food is made of high-quality real chicken meats. It will make your cat healthier and it will benefit her digestive system and urinary tract.


  • Promotes clean healthy coat
  • Good for sensitive stomach
  • Made with fresh, never frozen, ingredients


  • More expensive than similar brands
  • Food is smelly
  • May cause foul-smelling feces

5. Castor & Pollux Organix

Castor & Pollux’s Organix Chicken & Brown Rice Recipe comes in a 4 lb bag or a 12 lb bag variety. Made in the USA, this kibble also contains flaxseed which promotes a healthy skin and coat. 

Customers have noted that irregularities with their cats’ digestion (including vomiting and diarrhea) go away when using this kibble. 

This product does have a slightly higher carbohydrate content since it contains brown rice. So, it may be less ideal for cats who are overweight or mostly sedentary.

Organix Chicken & Brown Rice Recipe Dry Cat Food,...
  • Real Organic Chicken As The #1 Ingredient For 31% Protein
  • Organic Peas, Organic Brown Rice And Salmon Meal To Provide Natural Sources Of Vitamins, Minerals,...

Last update on 2019-11-18 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Protein - 31%
Fat - 14%
Fiber - 3.5%


  • Helps regulate digestion
  • Felines have less hairballs


  • Higher carb content
  • Some animals don’t like the taste

6. Nulo Dry Cat Food

From the pet food brand that came in at the top of our review, Nulo’s Dry Cat Food contains the finest all natural ingredients, sourced from the US. It’s been recommended by veterinarians and an excellent choice for active adult cats.

As far the taste goes, it seems to be hit or miss. Some owners note that their cats don’t love the food, while others say even their older pickier felines can’t get enough of it.

Nulo Adult & Kitten Grain Free Dry Cat Food With...
  • GRAIN-FREE recipe contains no corn; wheat; soy; white potatoes; tapioca; artificial colors,...
  • HIGH MEAT/LOW CARB proprietary formula 80% animal-based protein for more amino acids and better...

Last update on 2019-11-18 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Protein - 40%
Fat - 20%
Fiber - 4%


  • Small kibble size so easier to chew
  • 100% US-based company
  • Helps increase energy


  • Cats may not like the taste

Best Wet Cat Foods

Cats sitting in the lap and eating the best cat food

Here are the top four wet canned cat foods that promote optimal wellness for your feline companion at every stage of life:

  • Wellness Divine Duos with Beef Pate Best Wet Cat Food.
  • Nature’s Logic Feline Wet Cat Food.
  • Halo Grain Free Natural Wet Cat Food.
  • Ziwi Peak Grain-Free Canned Cat Food Recipe.

Wet cat food generally costs more than dry food options.
Even so, it’s worth it to pay a little extra in order to get a high quality product.

A product that is full of organic meat, minerals and vitamins that will strengthen your cat’s immune system and prolong her life…

1. Wellness Wet Cat Food

The Wellness brand Divine Duos With Beef Pâté & Diced Chicken Liver sounds pretty decadent. It has an easy-to-open peel-off lid, giving you easy access to the nutrient-dense and moisture-rich food inside.

Of course, if your cat doesn’t require the entire package, this removable lid can make it a little trickier to seal and store. Fortunately, most reviewers seem to note that their cats love the taste. 

People with older and chronically ill cats have also used this food successfully. It’s low in phosphorous, which is critical for animals with kidney issues. 

Last update on 2019-11-18 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API


  • Safe for cats with chronic kidney disease
  • Good for adults and kittens


  • Expensive
Protein - 36%
Fat - 33%
Fiber - 3.3%

2. Nature’s Logic Feline Wet Cat Food

This selection of Nature’s Logic Feline Beef Feast Canned Cat Food comes in a case of 12, making a bit more cost-effective and convenient. The wet food is moisture-rich, easily digestible, and mostly animal-based. Carbohydrates come from vegetables and fruits, keeping the calorie content low.

This wet food also contains eggshell calcium and animal plasma, unique and potent sources of vitamins and minerals.

Nature'S Logic Feline Beef Feast, 24/5.5Oz
  • Made With Over 95% Animal Ingredients
  • Naturally Occurring Taurine From Muscle And Organ Meat

Last update on 2019-11-18 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API


  • Over 90% animal ingredients
  • Relatively low in calories


  • Have to introduce slowly to avoid gastrointestinal upset
Protein - 36%
Fat - 25%
Fiber - 10%

3. Halo Grain Free Natural Wet Cat Food

Halo Spot’s Stew For Cats Wholesome Chicken Recipe works well for animals of all ages. For kittens, the company recommends feeding up to twice the adult amount to ensure your young cat gets enough calories and protein.

It’s full of chicken meat, broth, and liver, along with healthy veggies including carrots, sweet potatoes, zucchini. 

One downside: this product contains garlic powder. Garlic is known to be harmful to cats and dogs in large amounts. If you give your pet this product, be sure to monitor its reaction. You also may want to consider switching out this product every few months to avoid too much garlic intake.

Halo Grain Free Natural Wet Cat Food, Chicken...
  • COMPARE: WHOLE chicken, never ANY rendered "meat meal," like "chicken meal" or "fish meal"
  • Highly digestible grain free wet cat food with the aroma and taste cats love plus the benefit of...

Last update on 2019-11-18 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API


  • Smells good
  • Moisture-rich
  • Most cats love it


  • Contains garlic powder (potentially toxic)
  • Expensive
Protein - 56%
Fat - 37%
Fiber - 9%

4. Ziwi Peak Grain-Free Canned wet Food Recipe

ZiwiPeak Canned Cat Cuisine New Zealand Beef Recipe is among the highest quality pet food products available. The beef comes from free-range and grass-fed cattle. Cows used for this product are never given antibiotics or hormones, which can be harmful to animals and humans.

This product also contains green lipped New Zealand mussels. These marine animals are a natural source of chondroitin and glucosamine, which are great for your cat’s joints.

Reviews are highly positive, and overall cats seem to love the taste. Some customers note that their cat experiences stomach upset if they switch out the flavors from beef to another variety too quickly. Fortunately, this can be avoided by gradually introducing new foods over the course of a few days.

Ziwi Peak Canned Beef Recipe Cat Food (Case of 24,...
  • MIMICKING MOTHER NATURE: High-protein recipes that never include added fillers, sugars, glycerins,...
  • ETHICAL AND SUSTAINABLE: 100% ethically and sustainably sourced meats and seafoods from New...

Last update on 2019-11-18 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

This popular wet cat food is expensive, but it is a high-quality natural product with the best ingredients. It will make your cat healthier and happy.


  • Picky cats love it
  • Made from free-range and grass-fed New Zealand cows


  • Higher amount of phosphorous makes it less ideal for animals with kidney problems
Protein - 36%
Fat - 25%
Fiber - 4.5%

The Best Cat Food For Kittens

It’s worth remembering that not all felines need the same thing. Individual factors, including age, lifestyle, and the presence of chronic health disease will have a big influence on the food that’s best for your animal.

Consider this, for instance: kitten nutrition.

Like babies and young children, young cats go through fast growth spurts, as much as tripling their weight in the first couple weeks of life.

Now, imagine just how much calories your little kitty cat is expending just to simply grow and play. With such a high energy expenditure, it can be tough for kittens to get in enough calories that will support normal growth.

To get your kitten started off in life on the right paw, you should feed your kitty three to four times per day. Like adults, kittens also need fatty acids, vitamins, minerals, and other micronutrients.

But protein is where a kitten’s nutritional needs differ from adult cats. As much as 30% of a kitten’s calories should come from healthy animal-based protein.


So, how old is a “kitten” anyway? Consider your feline a kitten until it’s at least 1-year-old. Veterinarians recommend giving your cat a specially formulated kitten food until your feline friend is at least that age.

Wondering what the best food for kittens actually is? Our research points to Wellness Core Natural Grain-Free Wet Canned Kitten. Compared to other kitten food brands, this formula has a higher concentration of protein and amino acids. Both protein and amino acids are important for healthy organ, bone, and muscle development.

The Wellness kitten formula also offers high amounts of essential omega-3 fatty acids, including DHA. This is critical for brain and eye development, both of which grow and change rapidly as your kitten ages.

Customers like it, too. People note that their kittens have high energy, healthy skin and coat, and regular digestion while on this food. Some of noted that the cans are in better shape when bought in-store vs. online. Overall though, feedback is positive.

Wellness Core Natural Grain Free Wet Canned Cat...
  • Protein-Rich: Deboned Turkey, Whitefish Meal & Deboned Chicken
  • Dha Supports Healthy Brain & Eye Development

Last update on 2019-11-19 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Nulo Cat Food: The Cat’s Meow

So, what is the best brand? I am firmly convinced that the best cat food brand is Nulo. Coming in at the top of our feline food ratings is [easyazon_link keywords=”Nulo cat food” locale=”US” tag=”flnl-20″]Nulo[/easyazon_link]. This American-based, independently-owned pet food company offers the best of what pet nutrition has to offer, including dry and wet food.

Find Best Nulo Price On Amazon

Here are some of the brand highlights:

  • It’s grain-free.
  • It’s also free of synthetic ingredients, fillers, preservatives, and artificial flavors or chemicals.
  • It offers a high concentration of healthy animal-based protein.
  • Instead of rice and wheat, it contains carbohydrates like peas, chickpeas, and sweet potatoes, making it a great low carb dry cat food.
  • It’s low on the glycemic index.
  • Nulo has patented probiotics that help regulate your cat’s digestion and immune system.
  • The company has pledged to work with family farmers and ranchers who use sustainable practices. They emphasize the use of free-range beef,  chicken, and turkey, and wild caught fish.
  • Nulo facilities (in Kansas, Nebraska and South Dakota) are approved by the USDA, FDA, and AAFCO, undergo annual inspections, and consistently receive superior ratings.
  • Great program for adult cats

(Wondering why grain-free, animal-based protein, low carb, low glycemic, and probiotics are important? Skip on down to the Definitive Guide section for more information.)

Nulo also offers the best food for indoor cats. Their [easyazon_link identifier=”B00NRBB7ZG” locale=”US” tag=”flnl-20″]Indoor Cat Chicken & Cod[/easyazon_link] recipe is specially formulated to help keep indoor felines lean, even though they get less physical activity compared to their outdoor counterparts.

6 Other Great Cat Food Brands

  • Wellness.
  • Taste of the Wild.
  • Fromm.
  • Orijen.
  • Organix.
  • Nature’s Logic.
  • ZiwiPeak.

In addition to Nulo, we found six other products in our research that met our criteria for best food brands. These are easy to find online and are sold in most major pet supply stores.


This company pledges to help your pet “get the most out of life.”

Their products are free of additives, preservatives, by-products, and fillers. Samples of their food are tested following a quality control protocol. They use a combination of fresh and frozen meat from suppliers who meet strict quality standards. 

[easyazon_link keywords=”wellness cat food” locale=”US” tag=”felinenet-20″]Shop for Wellness on Amazon[/easyazon_link]

Their company also supports organizations, like the WellPet
 and the Human Animal Bond Research Initiative to help animals in need.

Potential drawbacks? Some customers have found that Wellness canned products appear to have less food in it than advertised. This could be explained by settling of the product, however. It’s also due to the fact they don’t use artificial gels, stabilizers, and emulsifiers. This means the consistency of their grain-free food will naturally vary.

Taste of the Wild

Based on your cat’s “ancestral diet,” Taste of the Wild is a premium brand that is completely grain-free and high in protein, free of artificial flavors, true to your kitty’s carnivorous history.

Taste-of-the-Wild logo

All their products are vetted by a team of animal nutritionists and veterinarians.

[easyazon_link keywords=”taste of the wild cat food” locale=”US” tag=”felinenet-20″]Shop for Taste of the Wild on Amazon[/easyazon_link]

This company pledges to use scientifically-backed quality assurance and food safety protocols to ensure their food is safe before shipping and distribution. From their website: “We don’t make anything we wouldn’t feed to our own pets.”


The Fromm Family Pet Food company is a Wisconsin-based and family-run organization, now five generations in the making. Their founders maintain close regulations over the sourcing, production, and packaging of their pet food. 

They use an outside lab to test all their products for bacteria, and employ strict quality assurance guidelines throughout every step of development and to note that most of their foods are free of artificial flavors.

[easyazon_link keywords=”fromm cat food” locale=”US” tag=”felinenet-20″]Shop for Fromm on Amazon[/easyazon_link]

 None of their ingredients come from China or other Asian countries. Like the other top five brands, Fromm products contain no artificial ingredients or preservatives, either.

They offer a variety of custom blends, including dry kibble and canned pâtés.


“Biologically Appropriate” pet food is Orijen’s trademark promise. Their whole and natural ingredients are sourced from regions throughout North America.

Their unique pledge? “From farm to kitchen in 3 days. And from kitchen to food in 2.”

[easyazon_link keywords=”orijen cat food” locale=”US” tag=”felinenet-20″]Shop for Orijen on Amazon[/easyazon_link]

Based in Kentucky and Canada, they never outsource production to other companies or manufacturing facilities. This gives them the ability to carefully supervise and regulate their best cat food products.

Their dry and wet cat foods, as well as freeze-dried treats, have won dozens of awards and are recognized for their quality and taste. 


Castor & Pollux’s Organix brand was founded by pet owners who wanted to provide natural and organic food to animals around the country. They consult with animal nutrition experts to develop wholesome and balanced food products for dogs and indoor cats.

In addition to using high quality ingredients (and none of the bad), no artificial flavors this company also gives back to the community.

Shop for Organix on Amazon

To date, they’ve fed over 6 million meals to pets in shelters and foster homes. They also work with non-profit rescue organizations through their PetWorks Partner program to help at-risk animals receive healthy diets.

Nature’s Logic

“Derived from nature, not chemistry.”

Nature’s Logic claim to fame is the first company to offer completely chemical-free dry, wet, and frozen cat food.

The US-based and family-owned company offers a range of animal proteins in their products for easy rotation to prevent allergies. These foods are easily digestible and full of natural antioxidants, enzymes, and probiotics. 

Shop for Nature’s Logic on Amazon

Nature’s Logic food is highly nutrient dense. For many cat owners, this means they can feed their animals less, saving money over time. 

Looking for other natural cat products? In addition to dry kibble and canned wet food, Nature’s Logic also offers a line of natural kitty litter, treats, and supplements.


Though this company is based in New Zealand, ZiwiPeak makes sure that its ingredients are sustainably derived from the highest quality sources. They naturally air-dry their products to increase the foods’ digestibility and nutritive quality.

Their proteins come from sources including meat, organ, raw bone, and regional-specific green-lipped mussels. More than 90% of their food are animal-based, making this as close as possible to a cat’s evolutionary diet. The rest of the cat food is supplemented with vitamin-rich, low glycemic carbohydrates including herbs and kelp.

Shop for ZiwiPeak on Amazon

Of over 200 pet foods, ZiwiPeak brand has come in first on independent pet nutrition research. They pledge to work with suppliers who maintain ethical and humane practices. 

Are you an environmentally-conscious cat owner? Then you’ll like ZiwiPeak, since they also have a lower carbon footprint compared many North American and European competitors.

The Fastest Way To Choose The Perfect Cat Food

A Quick Go-To Checklist For Selecting The Healthiest and Best Cat Food

For a Too Long; Didn’t Read version of healthiest cat foods, keep these three factors in mind:

  1. High protein. 
  2. Low carbohydrates.
  3. High water content. 



The first ingredient should be an animal-based protein. It should be a type of meat you can read, never a “by-product.”

Grains and high carbohydrates like rice and soy can spike your cat’s blood sugar and cause her to gain weight. Indoor or ordinary Cats are obligate carnivores and don’t digest carbohydrates well, so they don’t need as many, anyway.

Look for carbohydrates like chickpeas and sweet potatoes. These have fewer calories, are more easily digested, and have more nutrition compared to wheat, soy, rice, and corn.

Whenever possible, go with US-based companies. These companies tend to be better regulated and source higher quality ingredients.

Choosing The Best Food For Cats: A Definitive Guide

As a consumer, it’s your job to ensure you’re purchasing the best quality food that fits your budget. To do this, it’s important to get comfortable reading the ingredients list on any product you buy. 

Because it’s not just what’s in the ingredients that matter.

What’s not in the ingredients is critical, too.

How To Read A Cat Food Label

Reading a nutrition label should give you answers to a few important questions:

  • What’s the purpose of the food? Is it intended for adult cats, kittens, or indoor cats with certain health conditions? You need to be sure that your pet is getting the right nutrients for its needs.
  • What’s the net weight? Labels should list the recommended serving sizes based on your cat’s needs. Knowing the net weight will give you an idea of how many servings you can get out of each product. Knowing this can help you determine which brand is most cost-effective.
  • What are the first few ingredients? Ingredients are listed in order of weight, from highest to lowest. Animal meat, boneless meat, or organs should always be the first few ingredients. Avoid anything that mentions by-product. These are poor in quality. Good ingredients include things you can read, and things you may even find in your own fridge.
  • Where do these ingredients come from? You should choose companies that source their ingredients from sustainable farmers and suppliers. Food that comes from Asia tends to be low in quality. Plus, their animals tend to be treated inhumanely.
  • Are there any grains, soy, or corn? You should avoid these types of carbohydrates. They can promote weight gain, inflammation, poor blood sugar control and are dangerus for adult cats.
  • What is the Guaranteed Analysis? This chart details the percentage of different ingredients, including protein, fat, fiber, phosphorous, and other nutrients. Your vet can help you determine what’s the ideal percentage of each for your pet. For instance, most felines need around 30% crude protein and low amounts of phosphorous (to promote healthy kidneys).

The Good Ingredients To Look For On A Nutrition Label

Premium brands use sustainable manufacturing processes. They source their ingredients from parts of the world known to use ethical and humane raising and farming practices.

Premium brands also use premium ingredients. The next time you’re at a pet store (or shopping online), be on the lookout for the following ingredients. They’re a good sign that the food you’re about to purchase is ideal for your pet’s health:

  • Real animal protein. These should be clearly listed so you know exactly where it comes from. This includes chicken, beef, eggs, venison, lamb, salmon, sardines, mussels, and duck. Organ meat (e.g., chicken or beef liver) is a bonus. 
  • Vegetables and fruits. Most of the carbohydrates should be veggies and fruit you might have in your fridge. Look for things like sweet potatoes, carrots, zucchini, apples, and berries.
  • Good fats. These are naturally present in animal proteins but can also be supplemented. This includes omega-3 fatty acids, also known as EPA, DHA, and ALA. 
  • Herbs and marine plants. This may include basil, dill, thyme, rosemary, sage, and kelp. 

So, What Are Bad Cat Food Ingredients?

Feeding your pet high quality nutrition helps prevent disease, increase its lifespan, and improve its energy levels. Who wouldn’t want that for their furry friend?

But quality nutrition isn’t just about what goes into the products. It’s also about what stays out, too. 

Bad ingredients are basically anything that is cheap and sourced from China and other Asian countries.

At best, they’re unhealthy and not great for the environment either.

At worst, they’re potentially toxic to your feline.

Low quality ingredients can worsen or cause health problems in cats. This includes diabetes, kidney disease, cancer, and obesity. Like humans, cats really are what they eat. If they’re eating poor quality pet foods, then health will suffer.

Avoid products with any of the following: 

  • Artificial colors and flavors, including Blue 2, Red 40, Yellow 5, or caramel coloring
  • Artificial or synthetic preservatives, including BHA, BHT, and ethoxyquin
  • Corn
  • Wheat
  • Soy
  • Sugar
  • Anything labeled as a “by-product” (after all, a by-product of what exactly?)
  • Any vague or nondescript “meat” (if the animal source is not identified, there’s no way to know where it came from or what’s in it)
  • Rendered fat (this can promote bacteria and mold growth)
  • Carrageenan
  • Vitamin 3K
  • Sodium Nitrate
  • Sodium Nitrite

Here’s a basic rule: if you can’t pronounce it, it’s probably not a good ingredient. Avoid products that are packed with strange words.

Another good rule: the shorter the better. Top-of-the-line best cat food products contain fewer ingredients. But, their ingredients are much higher quality, so they offer plenty of what your cat needs and none of what it doesn’t.

Be Wary Of Trendy Hype Words

Foods like “natural” and “premium” aren’t regulated by the FDA. This means that a food label can claim to have “natural” ingredients but may still contain artificial preservatives and other junk.

Look for legally regulated words, like “grass-fed,” “free-range,” and “organic.” “Human-grade” (as in, if it’s good enough for you, it’s good enough for your pet) can only legally be used by certain companies.

Know Where Your Kitty’s Food Comes From

If a pet food recall happens, it’s often due to a problem at the facility that made it. Recalls aren’t necessarily due to the specific ingredients themselves.

For instance, “rendering facilities” often use vague “meat meal” ingredients. These are mysterious animal products that may come from factory-farms, slaughterhouses, or even animal shelters.

Good pet food companies closely regulate their manufacturing facilities. They assess their employees, equipment, and production for quality control. Your best option is to stick to companies that are US-based, like most of the companies listed previously.

The Importance of Digestibility

Food is tricky. Just because your cat can eat it doesn’t guarantee that your cat’s body will be able to digest it properly. Digestibility refers to the amount of food and nutrients actually absorbed.

Low quality ingredients like fillers, artificial preservatives, and animal by-products, aren’t well-absorbed. In some cases, these poor ingredients can even block the digestion of whatever good ingredients are left in the product.

How can you tell if a food isn’t very digestible? Think of it this way:

Whatever isn’t absorbed is excreted.

This means that the food you give your cat probably isn’t getting properly absorbed if your animal’s feces is:

  • Loose
  • Frequent
  • Large
  • Foul-smelling
  • Irregular

One factor that influences digestibility is moisture level. Higher quality, moisture-rich foods help improve the amount of food that is digested by your cat. This brings more vitamins, minerals, and nutrients to the tissues throughout your cat’s body.

Companies that produce pet food don’t have to report the digestibility of their products. Some do, but there is no requirement for third-party testing to confirm these amounts.

Dry vs. Wet vs. Raw: Which Is The Best Cat Food For Our Felines?

Ask three different people about the best cat foods out there, and you’ll probably get three different answers. The main options (dry, wet, and raw food diets) all have their own benefits and drawbacks.

Making the choice between the three options really comes down to what you find to work best for your cat.

Choosing Dry Food

As mentioned, dry cat food is convenient. Many cat owners prefer this type because they can leave it out, allowing their cat to eat as they please.

When you search for adult dry foods to treat and make your cat happy, the first thing to pick is natural meat from fish like salmon or poultry like real chicken meats. Trust me your adult cat will appreciate the well-balanced diet of organic and natural dry cat foods.

Dry food (called kibble) also has a long shelf life, and is usually the least expensive option.

Choosing the healthiest dry cat food (from one of the five listed above) will help ensure that your cat gets all the nutrients it needs. Though companies claim that dry food is better for dental health (compared to wet option), there’s not much evidence to actually support this.

Choosing Wet Food

Some veterinarians and animal experts recommend wet food over kibble. In general, canned wet food has a much higher water content. This can help your cat stay well-hydrated. For felines with certain chronic health conditions, such as kidney disease, canned wet food may be a better option.

A potential drawback is that compared to dry food, canned wet food for cats is a bit more expensive. Plus, it’s less convenient to open, serve, and store.

Dry foods for cats should always be supplemented with wet cat foods, preferably with natural ingredients such as chicken meats, salmon or different kinds of dry fish. Meats like these are a treat for your cat and she will be more happy and healthier from such a diet.

Choosing Raw Food

The raw food diet movement has exploded in popularity in recent years. It’s easy to imagine why some health-conscious cat owners love it:

A raw food diet is completely natural and mimics a “wild” diet,
It plays a roll of both wet cat food and dry cat food at once.

In their natural habitat, cats are strict carnivores. They obtain nutrients from animal tissue so many of these cat food brands offer a chicken meal in their pet foods repertoire. Such a native diet is much healthier for your cat’s digestive system.

This means that cats eating raw food receive mostly fresh and unprocessed meat and organs. A raw cat food diet is generally free from things like BHA and BHT. These are chemical preservatives and are potentially harmful to animals (and humans, for that matter).

A limiting factor for many people is the increased amount of money and work that goes into providing this kind of diet for their cats. Food must be prepared daily and stored properly to prevent spoiling. Finding and purchasing raw food takes some effort and costs even more than wet food.

Some companies offer pre-made raw food blends, complete with proteins, vitamins, and minerals. With a little research and trial and error, it is possible to find and prepare raw cat food yourself.

Ideally, most experts agree that blending all three types of foods together is optimal for kitty health. For you, try giving your feline friend kibble and occasionally top with wet food. Supplement the diet with raw food every now and then.

Finding Good Cat Food Is Important – Knowing The Best Brands Is Key

You care about the health, well-being, and longevity of your feline companion. But you care about how you spend your money, too. These reviews are meant to help you navigate the pet store with confidence. Understanding the healthiest and best cat food brands will give you peace of mind, knowing that your money is well spent.

The bottom line: Pay attention to labels, and pay attention to how your cat responds to the food you give it.

Is your cat’s energy level high?

Is its digestion regular?

Does it have a healthy coat and skin?

Is your cat’s chronic health condition improving?

All of these questions can help you and your vet determine the best type of food to get. Keep in mind this may change over time, too.

If you’ve bought any of these products before, be sure to let us know what you and your cat think about it. Lastly, is there a fellow animal lover in your life? Send this article along. Your friend (and their cat) will thank you.

Cat Food FAQ

1. Why is it important to buy my cat different food according to her current life stage?

Like humans, animals have different nutritional and health needs depending on their age. As an example, kittens need diets rich in protein and calories in order to support fast-paced growth and development. Older cats may need low-calorie food or one with specific nutrients to minimize the risk of weight-gain and age-related health issues. “All life stage” option is not advisable for certain animals and may have unintended adverse effects. Many dry cat foods are specifically made for elder cat, but…Your best bet is to consult with your veterinarian so he or she can help you make a more informed decision.

2. Should I use the feeding recommendations on the food label?

While helpful as general guidelines, feeding recommendations on the bag labels may not be the right fit for your feline depending on her age, overall health status, and lifestyle, so consult with your vet.

3. Is my pet overweight?

There are a few ways to tell:

  1. Run your hands along her flank—you should be able to easily feel but not see her ribs.
  2. Look down at your feline from above—there should be a clear narrowing at the waist.
  3. Look at your kitty from the side—you should see a narrowing from this angle, too.

4. Can my kitty have “people” food?

Avoid the temptation to slip her scraps from your plate. Aside from the risk of accidentally giving her something toxic, giving your feline small treats can easily lead to weight gain and nutrient imbalances.

5. Can Cat food go Bad?

This depends on the food and the way it’s stored:

  • All feline food should be used before the expiration date on the label.
  • If your kitty is “free feed,” you can leave her dry granules out as long as it isn’t moist or exposed to high heat.
  • Canned food should be thrown away after it’s been left out for 4+ hours, and opened cans can be stored in the fridge for up to a week.
  • Wash and refill your pet’s food and water dishes at least weekly.

6. How much should I feed my cat?

As mentioned, the amount you feed your pet depends on its age, health status, activity level, and a few other factors. Your vet can help you determine how much is right for your animal. A typical 10-lb kitty needs only around 250 calories per day to maintain an appropriate lean body mass.

P S. These adult dry foods with real chicken meats (and other poultry) are great for your adult cat. You can serve her this popular chicken meal without the fear of gaining extra pounds.

7. How much water should I give her?

Always have fresh water available for your animal! Proper hydration helps her digest her nutrients and avoid health problems like dehydration and urinary tract infections.

Important to note that proper hydration is even more important when the cat is eating only dry cat food.

8. Why does my cat eat only from the middle of her bowl?

If your cat’s dish is too deep and narrow, then she may struggle eating out of it because the sides of the dish can cause pain if her sensitive whiskers bump up against them. To compensate, she may try to eat out of the center only.

9. Should I change up my cat’s food from time to time, or keep it the same?

This is highly individual and depends on the unique preferences and health needs of your furry friend. If you want to change your pet’s food, do it slowly and introduce new things to her diet in small amounts.

10. When should I transition my cat from kitten to adult cat food?

Expect to change over your kitten’s food around age one. Transition slowly and be sure to monitor her response to ensure she’s adjusting well.

  • November 8, 2018
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.