7 Worst Cat Foods 2021 – How to Choose a Quality Food
Worst cat foods, sounds really bad right? Whether you buy cat food at the grocery store or at a pet store, you may be buying something that's actually bad for your pet. Even some of the “healthy” food options are complete garbage and end up doing more harm than good.
Ask yourself the following:
Would I feed my kids or myself candy and potato chips at every meal? If not, why do the same to your cat? Do I know why carrageenan is so bad? Why not pick a food with preservatives?
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.
Here are the 7 Worst Cat Foods and Why They're So Bad
Ready to learn about the worst cat foods on the market? Keep reading to find out what they are and why they're horrible choices.
- 9 Lives Tender Morsels
- Friskies Canned Pate
- Hill's Science Diet
- Iams Proactive Health
- Purina ProPlan
- Royal Canin Feline Health Nutrition
How do you feel about carcinogens?
In 1982, the International Agency for Research on Cancer provided evidence showing how the thickening agent carrageenan was a carcinogen. The USDA considered limiting the amount of carrageenan in human foods, but they never followed through. All of this despite links of carrageenan intake to cancerous growths and intestinal ulcers.
Avoid it! Skip foods with carrageenan like Friskies Pate, Hill's Science Diet, Iams, Royal Canin, and Whiskas.
Would you feed your cat things you'd never eat?
Rendered products, think by-products, are parts of an animal that the FDA deems not okay for humans to eat them. This includes things like feathers, claws, beaks, and offal. Are you up for a yummy dinner of ground up intestines? Of course not!
If you don't like the idea of eating a chicken talon, would you want your cat eating them? Royal Canin Feline Health Nutrition's Persian mix lists by-product meal, chick fat, and brewer's rice as the first three ingredients. It's junk food.
How about artificial food coloring?
The FDA regulates ingredient lists. It allows pet food companies to add some food coloring in order to make food more appealing. Coloring must not be harmful to animals. They're not necessary though. The smell alone is enough to appeal to a hungry stomach.
9 Lives, Friskies, Iams, and Whiskas all use artificial coloring.
Synthetic preservatives come next.
The FDA approves the use of ethoxyquin as a preservative in pet foods at a rate of up to 150 parts per million. Meanwhile, the FDA limits ethoxyquin to a maximum of 5 parts per million for humans. Do you see the discrepancy?
Foods with synthetic preservatives include 9 Lives, Friskies, Iams, Royal Canin, and Whiskas.
Finally, let's talk about grains.
In the wild, cats don't eat grains. They live on fresh kills – rodents, birds, and other small animals. Many pet food manufacturers inside on adding grains or fillers like beet pulp, brewer's rice, cornmeal, corn gluten, and wheat flour to cat food.
Other than adding carbs, grains offer no nutritional benefit. Skip foods that contain fillers. This includes every brand listed above.
Understand What Cats Need Before You Shop
Scientists teamed up with the National Research Council and released a complex guide into a feline's nutritional needs. This information is vital in helping you find the right product.
Can you really feed your cat a vegetarian or vegan food? What ingredient must always be first in the ingredient list? We'll cover all of these important questions.
Like a human, your feline has very specific nutritional needs. These include vitamins, minerals, fatty acids, and amino acids. Amino acids must come from animal meat sources, so skip any vegetarian diet for cats.
Before you look for foods, you need to understand what nutrients cannot be ignored. Here's the breakdown:
Amino Acids: There are 10 vital amino acids your cat must have his or her diet. Two of the most important amino acids are taurine and arginine. Arginine is vital in helping filter ammonia from the bloodstream. Taurine is necessary for metabolic function. Without taurine, heart failure is a major risk.
Fatty Acids: Omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids are important to your feline's body. Without enough fatty acids, he or she is at risk for vision problems, organ failure, and skin and coat health. Experts recommend a good food choice will have a fat content of no less than nine percent.
Minerals and Vitamins: Many minerals and vitamins are also important in your pet's diet. The vitamins come first, and they're followed by important minerals.
- Folic Acid (Growth)
- Pantothenic Acid (Conversion of food to energy)
- Vitamin A (Cell health, growth, immune system, and vision)
- Vitamin B1 (Energy and metabolism)
- Vitamin B6 (Growth of red blood cells, hormonal levels, immune system, nervous system health, and production of glucose.
- Vitamin B12, riboflavin, and niacin (Enzyme structure and function)
- Vitamin D (Bone strength and phosphorus levels)
- Vitamin E (Protects against free radicals)
- Vitamin K (Blood clotting)
And now to the minerals:
- Calcium and manganese (Bone health)
- Chlorine (Balances acid levels)
- Copper (Tissue health)
- Iodine (Thyroid health)
- Iron (Helps with hemoglobin production)
- Magnesium (Muscle and nerve health)
- Phosphorus (Development of DNA and RNA )
- Potassium and sodium (Transmission of messages to nerves)
- Selenium (Immune system)
- Zinc (Cell and skin health, metabolism)
Pay attention to the nutrition facts on the back of the bag. Make sure nothing important's been omitted.
Learn How to Choose a Quality Food
Choosing a quality food is as simple as reading labels!
It's that easy. Do not consider a bag of food until you've read the ingredients. The ingredients must contain pure protein choices in the top three spots.
In a bag of Blue Wilderness Chicken Recipe, the first three ingredients are deboned chicken, chicken meal, and turkey meal. That's a powerful punch of quality protein. You can read more about this brand here.
Nulo Medal Series Indoor Cat is another great choice. The top three ingredients are deboned trout, turkey meal, and chicken meal. Fatty acids top this list thanks to the trout.
In case, you haven't heard about Nom Nom yet, now is the best time to get to know them!
Nom Nom is a meal delivery service for your beloved pets. The company provides “care-grade” or “restaurant-quality” meals for your pets, which means that each dish they serve is made with quality, fresh, wholesome ingredients that is fit for your cat’s (or dog) caloric needs.
The company is committed to deliver the best nutrition possible for your four-legged companion. They offer made-to-order recipes that is formulated by a board certified vetirinary nutritionist in the US, Dr. Justin Shmalberg. All meals have no fillers, by products or any artificial preservatives plus don’t forget their door to door delivery service.
All recipes are complete, balanced and meet AAFCO & USFDA standards. These certificates are actually not needed if you want to sell pet food in the US- but it is nice to know that the company is willing to go the extra mile just to ensure that their meals are nutritious and safe.
The company started their cat food line last May 2018, and their marketing manager stated that their cat food recipes are created to combat specific health problems in cats such as kidney disease. This is actually great news to pet parents!
- Exceeds AAFCO quality standards
- USFDA registered
- Simple packaging (pre-portioned)
- All meals are delivered fresh, not frozen, and are kept ice-cold with dry ice
- Free delivery (Weekly, bi-weekly, and monthly options are available)
- All packaging is curbside recyclable, including the meal packs
- More expensive than traditional pet food
Related article: Review Of Nom Nom Cat Food
Don't Forget to Pay Attention to Recalls
Even the best cat foods get hit with safety recalls. Bookmark the FDA Pet Food Recalls page and scan it regularly. If you see your top choice there, contact the company immediately for a refund and information on what to do next.
Many recalls are things that won't affect a pet, such as salmonella. The great risk comes to you as you handle the food.
Hopefully, you have a better idea on how to pick the best cat food. Ingredients change from time to time, so reading labels is the best step towards making sure your fur baby eats a healthy diet. For even more information, read Your Cat's Nutritional Needs: A Science-Based Guide for Pet Owners.
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 dry cat food bad for cats?
Naturally, wet food contains a lot more water content than dry food. This better simulates what cats would eat in the wild, as small prey also contain more moisture than dry foods. ... On the other hand, prolonged dehydration can irritate your cat's urinary tract and possibly lead to kidney disease.
What are the worst cat food brands?
Royal Canin Indoor Adult Dry Cat Food. Purina Cat Chow Indoor Dry Cat Food. Purina Kit & Kaboodle Original Dry Cat Food. Fancy Feast Gourmet Savory Chicken and Turkey Dry Cat Food. Iams ProActive Health Healthy Adult Original with Chicken Dry Cat Food. Friskies Indoor Delights Dry Cat Food.
Is Sheba cat food good?
Sheba perfect portions are actually one of the best wet foods you can find in that price bracket. Even fancy feast classic pate are good grain free food (not the other ones which have loads of wheat and carbs) if your cat will eat it. However, Sheba is a better brand imo as it has no artificial flavors.