5 Best Organic Cat Foods [2020 Buyer’s Guide & Reviews]
A lot of pet parents (and if you're reading this review, you may be one of them) abide by a simple rule:
They're not going to feed anything to their animal that they wouldn't eat themselves.
Of course, this doesn't mean pet parents plan on eating cat food every day. Instead, it's a simple concept which rests on the belief that animals deserve to eat high quality food, too.
For many health-conscious people, organic food is the preferred choice for their fridge and pantry, and is among the highest high quality food around. And these days, it's actually pretty easy to get organic food for your pets, too!
In this review, we're going organic: we'll talk about what organic cat food is, why it's beneficial, and what kind of things you'll want to look for when purchasing all natural cat food (gotta make those hard-earned dollars count, right?). We'll also go over which organic cat food brands on the market are among the top choices, based on ingredients, customer feedback, and price.
- Top 5 Best Organic Cat Food Reviews
- What is Organic Cat Food?
- The Benefits of Buying Organic Cat Food
- What to Look for When Buying Natural Cat Food
- Is All Natural the Same as Organic?
- How to Switch Your Cat to a New Food
- What is the healthiest cat food on the market?
- Is it bad to give cats dry food?
- What foods should Cats avoid?
- Is canned tuna bad for cats?
Top 5 Best Organic Cat Food Reviews
Acana Regionals Grasslands Dry Cat Food
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Ziwi Peak Air-Dried Cat Recipe
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Wysong Uretic Canned Cat Food
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Ziwi Peak Canned Cat Food Recipe
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Organix Organic Canned Cat Food Chicken Pate
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Whether your cat is young, old, healthy or dealing with chronic illness, going organic can be a great way to help her feel better, move better, and even look better! Let's take a peek at the top five organic cat food products we've found in our search:
1. Acana Regionals Grasslands Dry Cat Food
Acana Regionals has made a high quality dry cat food containing real protein sources—things like duck, goat, lamb, eggs, chicken, and fish (yum!). It also pledges to include organ meat (like liver), tripe, and high quality cartilage for added mineral and nutrient boost as part of Acana's WholePreyTM promise.
The carb content is very low and the ingredients list is overall top notch. Plus, many pet owners note that it even smells good, and that their picky kitties learned to love it quickly!
- Pros: grain-free and low carb, you can actually read the ingredients list
- Cons: expensive
2. Ziwi Peak Air-Dried Cat Recipe
This dry cat food is an incredibly high quality product from New Zealand. The single source protein is from grass-fed and free-range cattle that are ethically raised without antibiotics, growth promoters, and other added hormones. Inside, there are also New Zealand green mussels which are a rich natural source of chondroitin and glucosamine (super joint healthy compounds).
This food has also been made in a unique way: air drying. Ziwi's process maximizes nutrient density while at the same time eliminating harmful bacteria. It has an impressive 36% crude protein content and 14% moisture (not bad for dry food). And like all the leading organic brands, it's free of grains, sugars, soy, corn, potatoes, rice, glycerin, rendered meals/by-products, and artificial preservatives.
- Pros: high quality beef, great for joint health; very high protein
- Cons: beef can trigger allergies in some cats; expensive and imported; picky cats don't like the texture and may not eat (though many reviewers note sadly that they believe the product is still superior quality…unfortunately not appealing to their four-legged friends!)
3. Wysong Uretic Canned Cat Food
Many kitties prefer canned cat food, but the typical commercial brands are loaded with fillers and unhealthy additives. This canned kitty food contains over 95% real chicken, which is a low-allergen and well tolerated protein source for kitties. It's also rich in essential micronutrients and so-called “nutraceuticals” which boost immune and urinary health.
- Pros: great for cats with a history of urinary tract issues, can be used for cats of all ages and health statuses, low carb
- Cons: does contain brown rice, unappealing to some picky eaters (though relatively easy to mix with other food as a topper), a few consumers have expressed concern with the quality and integrity of the cans
4. Ziwi Peak Canned Cat Food Recipe
If you're looking for the healthiest canned cat food, this canned kitty cuisine is one contender that you'll want to take a look at. Like the dry food we've already reviewed, this wet food from Kiwi is free of all the stuff you don't want and full of all the stuff you do, including those New Zealand green mussels that are hard to find elsewhere!
At 78% moisture and 9% crude protein, you won't have to worry much about dehydration or your kitty not having enough amino acids for an energetic and strong body.
By the way, that protein is supported with TONS of organ meat, including venison heart, lung, liver, and tripe. Plus it's grain free!
- Pros: super easy to read label, may be helpful for kitties with joint problems, chunky loaf style is an appealing texture for most cats
- Cons: recent change in design and ingredients seem to be less robust and appealing compared to older options, several reports of cats throwing up the food
5. Organix Organic Canned Cat Food
Rounding out our list this chicken pate-style canned cat food from Organix. If you go with this product, your kitty will be getting a special “super food” blend including organic flaxseed, organic coconut flower, organic dried egg, and organic cranberries—foods that are rich in healthy fats, antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals.
As for the protein source, it primarily comes from free range organic chicken, so you know it's high quality and low-allergen. In fact, Organix's claim to fame is that they are the only “complete” line of organic pet food—meaning that at least 95% of the ingredients included have been certified organic.
- Pros: certified USDA organic, relatively more affordable compared to other options, cooked in an organic-certified kitchen right here in the USA, reasonably priced
- Cons: texture may not be enjoyable to some kitties, watch for dented cans
What is Organic Cat Food?
The information that can go on a food label is closely regulated by the food marketing industry. If something says “USDA Organic” directly on the label, this means in most cases that it's been officially certified as organic by a third-party agent. This is a good thing, because it helps you make sure you know exactly what you're getting…you are going to be paying a little extra for it, after all!
Now, not all organic growers or companies choose to get this certified label put on their products, but most do. This means that not all organic food is labeled as such…but anything labeled with “organic” definitely IS.
Organic cat food is similar. Some or all of the ingredients it contains have been raised or grown “organically,” which means the ingredients were rendered:
- Without pesticides, herbicides, and other unapproved substances
- Without the use of unapproved processes including genetic engineering, ionizing radiation, or sewage sludge
If a product contains ingredients (either partially or completely) that are free of harmful toxins and pesticides and not subjected to unhealthy rendering practices, then you can count on it being a healthy option. In fact, not only is organic cat food made with healthier ingredients, but these ingredients (especially the meat and carbohydrate sources) are often considered human grade…in other words, safe enough for human consumption.
Because here's the dirty little secret:
Many commercial brand cat foods contain bottom of the barrel ingredients. You know, stuff you probably wouldn't touch with a ten foot pole (or fork, for that matter). And sure, cats may not be able to taste sweetness or have a particularly refined palate, but that doesn't mean they don't deserve food that's appealing AND good for them!
The truth is, more and more people are putting more time, energy, and money into their well-being—as well as the well-being of their family members AND pets—in order to improve health, quality of life, and longevity. Going organic is a growing trend…which means as consumers, we're starting to get a lot more options!
The Benefits of Buying Organic Cat Food
We can think of several benefits to buying organic cat food. Just take a gander at the following list. Don't you think your kitty deserves these things?
- Organic food is FREE of unhealthy substances which can be harmful to your animal's overall health (we'll get into specific “things to look out for” in the next section).
- Organic food is usually more nutrient dense than other foods—giving your cat even MORE the vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients she needs to be healthy, lean, and strong.
- Organic food generally comes with a lower risk of food intolerance, allergies, and digestive issues. This means a lower risk of skin problems, vomiting, and chronic illness, to name just a few.
- Compared to conventional food, organic food does a better job giving your kitty energy, healthy hair and coat, strong joints, and well-functioning organs.
- Organic food can even help your kitty live longer by boosting her immune health and helping her maintain a healthy weight!
What to Look for When Buying Natural Cat Food
So, we know that organic and all natural cat food is generally far healthier for felines than commercial products. It can help your pet live longer while staying healthier, as well.
But are all organic cat foods created equal?
To help you sift through your options, the following list can be used as a helpful guide. It includes a range of things you want to see in the food…and things you don't want to see in the food, for that matter.
Genetically modified organisms come out of a lab. They're created by taking the DNA of one species of plant or animal and artificially putting it into the genes of another plant or animal.
The practice is done for various reasons (for example, to increase food availability and crop sustainability), but the problem is these GMOs may be bad for health…especially when we consider that the DNA used to modify organisms often comes from things like bacteria, viruses, and insects! On your organic cat food, look for the word “non GMO” on the label.
Carrageenan is a compound derived from seaweed that's used as a thickener to improve food texture. It has no nutritional value, and in animal and human studies has been found to increase the risk of certain health problems, like inflammation, stomach problems, and certain types of cancer. Look for carrageenan free food.
No Artificial Colors, Flavors, or Preservatives
Make sure your organic food selection does not have artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives, which are lower quality and potentially health hazardous. These include odd-sounding things such as butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA), butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT), tert-butyl hydroquinone (TBHQ), propyl gallate, and ethoxyquin (sounds so appetizing, doesn't it?).
Most good organic cat food brands will use natural preservatives like tocopherols (vitamin E), citric acid (vitamin C), and rosemary extract instead.
No By-Products or Rendered Meals
Meat by-products come from parts of the animal that an animal wouldn't always eat in the wild. Plus, by-product meat often comes from unethically raised and unhealthy animals which have been force fed hormones, antibiotics, and other junk. You should make sure that the first ingredient listed is REAL meat (often listed simple as the meat source, or it may say something like “deboned”).
Grains (including wheat and other gluten-containing plants) are problematic for many cats because a) they tend to cause inflammation, intolerances, or even outright allergic reactions, and b) are nutrient poor and calorie-rich. This means they can trigger weight gain in your kitty, which definitely isn't good for her well-being.
Cats are born carnivores. The vast majority of their calories should come from healthy protein (found in REAL meat) and not tons of filler carbs like potatoes. To know if you're looking at a low carb option, look for veggies and fruits like cranberries, pumpkin, turnip greens, blueberries, peas, and parsley.
This can help your pet stay trim—and besides, these types of carb sources have many more vitamins and minerals in them than other types of carbs like corn, rice, soy, and sugar.
In general, look for organic cat food that has clear labeling and easy-to-read ingredients. Vague labeling is suspect. Companies that truly stand behind their product and care about what goes into their canned and dry food should be willing to explain in a simple way what they're using.
Is All Natural the Same as Organic?
In general all natural may be good….but organic is better.
The Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) is the official regulatory body that governs pet food. According to them, “natural” means that the product comes from animals or plants (or mined sources) which are unprocessed or at least not processed with synthetic chemicals.
As we've seen, however, “organic” products have been certified through the rigorous testing and certification process through the United States Department of Agriculture's National Organic Program (NOP). Not only are organic products “natural,” but they've also been more closely examined and verified to ensure quality and production protocol.
So, if you're trying to upgrade your kitty's diet, then choosing all natural foods can be a good start. But if you want to feel more confident in what you're purchasing, and if you're willing to spend a little more money, then going with organic foods is probably going to be the better choice.
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How to Switch Your Cat to a New Food
Selecting the best organic cat food for your feline is only one part of the process when it comes to upgrading your kitty's diet. The other main part is actually introducing her to her new food!
The thing is, kitties tend to be pretty picky. Many will shy away from brand new food if it's suddenly dropped into their bowl one day without warning. And temperament aside, animals will often experience gastrointestinal upset (including diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, or constipation) if their primary food is switched too suddenly.
So…what's the trick?
Just be patient, slow, and steady. Here's a good rule of thumb to try:
- For the first few days, give your kitty about 75% of the food she usually eats—and have the other 25% of her meal come from the new healthy food you got for her.
- Once these three to four days are up, change the ratio to 50/50: half new, half old (all the while as you're going through this process, you're watching her to make sure she's responding well to the food—not getting sick, not avoiding it, etc.).
- For the next three to four days after an even split, change it up again, this time giving her 75% of the new food and 25% of the old.
- Finally, after about a week and a half of this gradual introduction, you can make 100% of her meals out of her new food. She should be able to gobble it up no problem now…assuming, that is, she likes the taste. Hopefully she does!
Of course, if your kitty isn't eating or still have gastrointestinal issues, a call to your vet should be a helpful thing on your to-do list.
One extra tip for encouraging your kitty to eat? Make sure to keep her water bowl a little ways away from her food dish. This may seem counter-intuitive, but there's a specific reason for it:
Turns out that kitties evolved in the wild to instinctively keep their food away from water sources. This makes sense, given the risk for contamination. So, if your cat is a bit finicky and tends not to eat very much anyway, try moving her water dish to a different area in her home. This may make that organic food a bit more appealing…meaning she'll get the nutrients she needs, and you won't end up wasting your dollars.
Holistic cat food may be more expensive than the traditional cat food available in stores and online, but the few extra bucks are well worth it—at least for most of the pet owners who opt to buy this kind of human grade food for their animals.
After all, you are what you eat…and the same is true for your feline! If you want to help her have lots of energy, a beautiful shiny coat, a strong and lean body, and the healthiest body possible at every stage of her life, then upgrade her diet. It's never too late to make a few simple adjustments that can truly enhance your beloved companion's well-being…and cuisine.
- Carrageenan How a “Natural” Food Additive is Making Us Sick A Report by The Cornucopia Institute March 2013
- USDA Organic | USDA.GOV
- The AAFCO and the ingredients for animal nutrition
- Feeding Your Cat at Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine
What is the healthiest cat food on the market?
Weruva Classic Cat Food. Whole Earth Farms Grain-Free Dry Food. Taste of the Wild Grain Free High Protein Real Meat Premium Dry Cat Food. Wellness Complete Health Grain-Free Canned Food. Wag Wet Cat Food, Chicken & Giblets Recipe. Eagle Pack Indoor Adult Dry Cat Food.
Is it bad to give cats dry food?
Naturally, wet food contains a lot more water content than dry food. Extra moisture promotes kidney, bladder, and urinary tract health for your cats. On the other hand, prolonged dehydration can irritate your cat's urinary tract and possibly lead to kidney disease.
What foods should Cats avoid?
Corn and wheat gluten. Meat and grain meals and by-products. BHA (Butylated Hydroxyanisole) BHT (Butylated Hydroxytoluene) Ethoxyquin. Food Dyes (Blue 2, Red 40, Yellow 5 and 6, 4-MIE) PG (Propylene Glycol) Rendered fat.
Is canned tuna bad for cats?
While tuna is fine for cats in moderation or as a treat, too much canned tuna can be bad for your cat. Fish is a great source of protein, but there are a few reasons why a steady diet of human-grade canned tuna can cause health problems for your cat.