We love our pets more than almost anything else in the world, which is why we want to give them the best food possible. Every month we spend money on ourselves, going out for dinner or buying fancy ingredients, but our pets crave the same delicious meals that we do.
The difference between the lowest and the highest quality products is dramatic. Cheaper foods often use the worst cuts of meat and plenty of inexpensive filler ingredients, not only does this make it taste unappealing, but it also strips the meal of its nutritional value.
Instead, the most superior options ensure that your pet is getting all of the nutrients, vitamins, and protein that they need to live healthily and happily. After a delicious meal, you feel satisfied, and it’s not different for your cat.
But with so many different brands and products available it can be difficult to decide what to buy. Deciphering the mystery involves reading the labels, researching your pets needs and figuring out which taste best. You don’t have time for that, which is why we took the liberty of solving the problem ourselves. Welcome to our guide to finding the right food for your cat, enjoy!
Quick Look : Best Cat Food By Category in 2019
The Facts on the Best Cat Food
Before you start looking for recommendations for food products you should first learn about what makes different products better or worse. Making pet food is surprisingly complicated, and there are plenty of different ingredients that you can choose from, meaning that one brand could be wildly different to another.
If you have multiple cats, then you’ll know that often one pet might love a product, while the other cats won’t even be in the same room as it. There is some genetic preference, but some products are also objectively better than others because they appeal to the vast majority of pets, they are well-priced and taste delicious.
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The Cost of Feeding Your Pet
Estimates across the web show that on average we spend around $300 to $500 each year on food for each of our cats. For many of us, that’s a significant proportion of our yearly income, which is why the price is arguably the most important factor.
We love our pets, and we want them to have the tastiest and most nutritious food, but if it’s $20 per can most of us would opt for a cheaper alternative! Money doesn’t grow on trees, which is why our analysis takes into consideration the price of the product, but more importantly, it considers the value.
Value is very different to price, because an expensive but disgusting product has no value, whereas a cheap but delicious meal is extremely valuable. You want to stretch your dollar as far as possible, while also providing the nutrition and taste that your cat is craving. This guide helps you to do that, by only recommending products that we think are the best.
The Different Types of Cat Food
Each day new cat food products are released to the market, helping pet owners like yourself to care for their animals in the most precise manner possible. But with so many different types of product, it can be difficult to decide which is best.
The two most common categories are wet and dry food. Some cats only eat one type, but many eat both. Wet and dry foods both have advantage and disadvantages, not only for you but your animals.
If you’re only feeding your pet only dry food every day, it’s likely that they are getting less nutrition than they would if they were eating wet food. Many of the low-quality dry foods and even some of the premium products use a lot of fillers. These fillers are pure carbohydrates, but wild cats diets only consist of 5% carbohydrates, the rest is protein and fat.
Similarly, wet food and natural prey are full of water, an ingredient that is lacking in dry food. Cats on dry food diets often don’t get as much water as they should, which can cause dehydration that can contribute to health problems.
Wet food is much better, right? Not always, plenty of cheap wet food uses low-quality ingredients that are devoid of nutrients and contain very little animal protein. Whether you are feeding your pets wet or dry food, it’s vital that you check the nutrition labels and pick one that’s going to support their lifestyle.
Dry food is far more convenient, and it gives your pet 24/7 access to food, preventing them from getting hungry. Most experts would agree that a combination diet is often best, using dry and wet food, alongside treats and other snacks.
Cats have tremendously sensitive tongues and noses, causing them to have strong reactions to food. They either love it, or they hate it! Almost universally the cheapest foods are disliked by pets because it lacks much of the natural animal protein that they would crave in the wild.
Inexpensive food is made primarily with carbohydrate fillers that have practically no taste or nutrition. Cats love meat, they value a soft texture and when they find food that they adore they can’t get enough of it.
Most brands have a selection of flavors; chicken and salmon, through to beef and duck. But between companies, the same flavors can taste completely different depending on the quantity and quality of ingredients they have used. Not all dishes are made alike, and this can make it tough for customers to figure out what is best for their animal.
Our advice would be to trust the majority. There is some natural difference between animals, but the best foods are preferred by a significantly higher proportion than poor quality products. The top picks are miles ahead of the rest, and in this guide, we will help to push you in the right direction.
The Nutrition of the Food
As we already mentioned, some products are far more nutritionally dense than others, packing more vitamins and nutrients into the meals that your pets are eating. Just like humans, they need to ensure that they are getting a certain amount per day so that their body can function properly and allow them to live comfortably.
Depending on the age and health of your pet you might find that they have slightly different nutritional needs to other animals. To tailor their diet to their demands you need to track what you are feeding them carefully, this will help to make sure that they are getting all of the nutrients that they need.
Reviewed: The Best Cat Food for Your Feline Friend
The first step is complete, you understand the different types of food available, and you’re educated as to why one is superior to another. But unless you want to spend hours of your time reading product reviews and nutritional labels, you need an expert to recommend the right products.
Luckily for you, we’ve spent hours researching you. Below you will find a series of sections, each aimed at a different type of product, where we recommend the most superior option in the niche. Animals need tailored diets, and because of this, the right choice for a kitten is unlikely to be the perfect pick for an animal that needs to lose weight.
Top Recommended Cat Foods by Category
Stella & Chewy’s Duck Duck Goose Dinner Buy It
Best Overall Cat Food
When we started to think about writing this article we had to ask ourselves, what does it mean for food to be considered the best overall? Finally, we decided that it should be the product that the highest percentage of people would love.
We have no desire to recommend something fantastic if we think it will only be appropriate for a minority of our readers. Instead, we are recommending Stella & Chewy’s Duck Duck Goose Dinner which we believe the overwhelming majority of cats and owners will love.
This product is freeze-dried, meaning that your cat can eat the same natural types of food that they would get in the wild, but with all of the convenience of dry food. You can serve it as you find it in the packet or it can be quickly rehydrated with just a little warm water.
A lot of the dry foods that you find don’t use many animal products because they are expensive and don’t keep as well as carbohydrate filler. However, cats thrive on a diet high in protein and fat, with carbohydrates only making up 5-10% of their daily calories.
Unlike these cheaper alternatives, Stella & Chewy use sustainably-sourced ingredients including duck and goose, meats that cats would eat naturally in the wild. But because these meals are freeze-dried you can give nutritious food to your animals without the inconvenience of preparing a wet meal.
The company goes out of their way to ensure that they never use grains, gluten, fillers, artificial preservatives or colorings, giving your pet only the best of the best. Both pet parents and vets report that feeding your cat this type of raw food can improve appetite, digestion and their immune system.
By using these natural ingredients, they also know that the meal is full of vitamins like D3, B12, Zinc and Folic Acid, all vitamins and minerals that your animals need to thrive.
Right now, you can pick up an 18-oz bag of this delicious cat food for less than $40, plus you get free 1-2 day shipping if you spend over $49. There’s no doubt that this is a high price compared to the standard bags that you might pick up at the grocery store, but the value is far superior because the ingredients are of the highest quality.
The idea of spending less on your animal’s food can be compelling, but a poor diet over a long period is only going to cause them further health problems. Vet visits can be pricey, and the cost of incredible quality food like Stella & Chewy’s is tiny in comparison.
Cats are notoriously picky animals, often ignoring food that they don’t like, even when they get obscenely hungry. Instead of wasting money on dry, dull and tasteless food that they won’t eat, invest in a product that they will love. Seeing them happy will make you beam with joy and with a huge number of positive reviews we’re confident that you’ll be another satisfied customer.
- Delicious food that cats seem to adore
- High-quality natural ingredients
- No fillers
- Packed full of vitamins and nutrients
- Expensive when compared to grocery store products
- Takes a little effort to rehydrate the food
Wellness Complete Health Turkey & Salmon Buy It
Best Wet Cat Food
When it comes to wet food, the difference is unbelievable. The highest quality products form a neat pate, whereas the worst is more liquid and filler than anything else. Your cat can tell the difference too, not just in the way it smells and tastes, but also in the way that they feel.
Nutrition is vital for all animals, and if you’re feeding your pets cheap wet food, they are more likely to develop health conditions which can be expensive to treat.
With this in mind, we would recommend Wellness Complete Health Turkey & Salmon, a tasty meal that gives your cat everything they need without the formula being filled with grains. The types of food that you might find in the grocery store are packed full of grains and other carbohydrates because they are cheap, but they aren’t what your cat needs.
Instead, the Wellness Complete Health wet food gives them a huge dose of protein, which they need if they are going to retain strong muscles and the energy to play with their toys. Every single bite of this mouthwateringly tasty food is packed with omegas, antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals to support your pets’ immune system and general wellbeing.
You should feel good about what you’re serving your furry friends, and when you see the eutrophic look on their faces, you’ll know that you made the right choice.
The food is made with the best ingredients, with at least 10.5% protein in each can and up to 78% moisture, making the food soft and easy for your little buddy to enjoy. By including a high amount of water in their food, you can help them to be more hydrated which can increase their energy while simultaneously reducing the chance of them developing health issues.
A case of 12, 12.5-ounce cans will cost you only $33.99, a competitive price for such a high-quality product. Each can will last on average 2-days for a 6 – 8-pound cat, meaning that feeding your furry friend the best-wet cat food on the market will only cost you a little over a buck a day. Compared to the coffee you order regularly, that’s a bargain!
It’s also possible to split your cat’s diet between wet and dry food, helping a case of wet products to go further. Many cat owners choose to use wet food half the time while using a cheaper dry product the other half. As long as you pay close attention to the water, they are drinking this can be an effective method for adult pets.
- Delicious flavor that your little buddy will love
- Great value for money
- Full of protein
- Packed with nutrients and minerals
- Not as convenient as dry food
American Journey Salmon Buy It
Best Dry Cat Food
Dry food is the most popular type of meal for adult cats because it’s incredibly convenient for the owner, it’s cheap to purchase, and it’s more common in grocery stores and markets. Dry food usually consists of kibbles which use some meat, vegetables and carbohydrate filler.
This combination of ingredients means that kibble is relatively calorie dense, helping cats to gain weight, or at least maintain their weight without having to eat large amounts daily. For this reason, dry kibble is far more cost-effective per gram than wet food which typically has far fewer calories and therefore needs to be consumed in larger quantities.
Our favorite food is the American Journey Salmon, which is completely grain-free and uses real salmon and other natural ingredients to produce a premium product. Dry foods often get a bad name because many use grain fillers to bulk up the kibble, but American Journey uses absolutely no grain in their products.
By using only the highest quality natural ingredients, they have managed to create a dry kibble food which has the same level of nutrition as many wet foods. In fact, with over 40% protein and 15% fat, the American Journey cat food is giving your pet precisely what they need.
In the wild cats eat very little carbohydrates, which is why cheap kibbles are notorious for causing cats to become lethargic and develop health issues. American Journey is the opposite, using the foods that your cat would eat naturally so that they can thrive rather than survive.
Reading the nutrition label on this bag of kibble lets you know that it’s the real deal; calcium, phosphorus, zinc, vitamin E, omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. Your cat must have all of these vitamins and minerals regularly, but the cheapest foods from the grocery store don’t provide your pet with these vital ingredients.
You can buy this delicious American Journey pack on Chewy today for less than $25 per 12-pound bag, helping you to stretch your money further. If you choose to set up regular auto shipping, you can save an extra 10%, plus you never have to think about ordering it ever again.
Not only that, if you’ve never shopped with Chewy before they’ll give you 50% off your first bag when you checkout. It doesn’t get much better than that, less than $12.50 for a 12-pound bag of premium quality dry food that your cats will go crazy for.
Taste is tremendously underrated when it comes to animal food, probably because as owners we never have to try it ourselves. But when you see your little furry friend walking away from their bowl without eating, you know that something is wrong.
American Journey is the opposite, the vast majority of owners find that their cats go crazy for this food. The reason for this is because they are using plenty of natural ingredients like salmon that your cat is genetically designed to desire.
If you already know that your animals love the taste of fish, you should head to Chewy today and give this food a try. With 50% off your first bag, there’s no reason not to!
- Fantastically tasty even to the pickiest of animals
- Competitively priced
- Created using natural ingredients
- Grain-free and full of nutrients
- Some animals might prefer other flavors
- Less moisture than wet food
Small for Smalls Buy It
Best Raw Cat Food
Compelling research has come out over the past few decades which has shown that cats thrive when they are primarily consuming a diet consisting of meat. It shouldn’t be surprising, our furry friends are natural hunters, and in the wild, they would eat salmon, turkey, chicken or any other meat that they could get their paws on.
The problem which many mainstream cat foods is that it ignores this basic logic, lowering the amount of protein per meal, cutting out the water and using too many carbohydrates.
Enter Small for Smalls, an innovative meal plan for your cat. Your pet is an individual, and he or she shouldn’t be eating the same food as every other cat on the block. Every pet has their own specific needs which is why the first step in signing up for Small for Smalls is designing a meal plan to suit your cat.
Delivered to your house on a regular basis without any effort from you, Small for Smalls takes the hassle and stress out of caring for your pets’ nutritional needs.
Whole ingredients, simple recipes, all cooked fresh in USDA quality labs. What more could you ask for?
Small for Smalls uses meat ingredients and locally sourced vegetables from New York markets to create healthy and ethically sourced meals for your feline friends. Plus, they use a proprietary blend of nutritional supplements from human grade sources, ensuring that your pet is getting the very best.
Small for Smalls is the luxury food delivery service for your feline friend, available at a fraction of the cost that they could charge. If you’re interested in feeding your cat a ‘raw’ food diet consisting of the types of natural meals that they would find in the wild, Small for Smalls is the obvious choice.
But where are you going to store all of that freshly cooked, delicious and nutritious food for your animals? Don’t worry, all of the meals delivered from Small for Smalls are designed to be frozen. When you need another package, you can pull it out of the freezer and thaw it in the fridge for 24-hours, resulting in an easy meal that will last up to 3-days per pack.
- Nutritious meals delivered to your door
- Keep them frozen until you need them
- High in protein
- Pricier than dry food or cans
- Delivery can be expensive if you don’t buy in bulk
Nulo Freestyle Salmon & Mackerel Canned Food Buy It
Best Food for Your Kitten
Kittens have unique dietary requirements, they don’t need the quantity of food than an adult would need, but they also need specific levels of protein and nutrients for growth. Kittens, in particular, require large amounts of protein, which is why most owners choose to feed them wet canned food rather than dry food which often lacks high levels of protein.
In our opinion, the best food for kittens it Nulo Freestyle Salmon & Mackerel canned food which uses two types of fish that cats adore. Kittens can be picky about their food, but because the vast majority love fish this is a safe choice.
Right now, you can pick up a case of 24 cans, each 5.5 ounces in weight, for a bargain price of $40.56 with free 1-2-day shipping if you spend over $49. Chewy sends the food straight to your house so that you need to leave the house to hunt down premium nutrition for your babies.
Every can is packed with a complementary protein duo, nutrients, vitamins and plenty of water. Kittens need a lot of care and opting for Nulo Freestyle cans that represent a complete and balanced diet takes a lot of that stress away.
Feeding kittens dry food can be riskier because you must pay close attention to the amount of water that they consume. But Nulo Freestyle cans contain significant amounts of water, meaning that even if they only drink a little from their bowl each day they will still be hydrated to help with their development and growth.
- Complete and blanked diet in a single can
- Packed with nutrients and vitamins
- High levels of protein from natural fish sources
- Cost per can is high compared to grocery store products
Now Fresh Grain-Free Senior Weight Management Food Buy It
Best Food for Senior Cats
Cats who are aging need a lot of care because they usually experience skeletal and muscular problems which can make moving painful. Eating a balanced and complete diet full of nutrients and vitamins can help to negate some of those problems, helping them to live happily into their senior years.
Older animals don’t need anywhere near as many calories each day as adult cats or kittens because their movement is limited and their bodies are no longer growing or repairing as fast. Buying a specific senior cat food is wise because it can make managing their weight more straightforward, which can help to mitigate health problems that occur because of weight gain.
Now Fresh Grain-Free Senior Weight Management Cat Food is one of the best sellers on Chewy and for a good reason – it’s a delicious kibble that even the pickiest cats will enjoy.
A 16-pound bag of kibble can be bought for less than $66, and because senior cats eat very little compared to adults, a single bag can last for months.
The problem with most store-bought cat foods is that ingredients they use are low quality. Either they pack the kibble full of cheap carb fillers, or the meat they use is a by-product or rendered meat.
Now Fresh never uses grains, gluten or wheat and they only use real meat, not rendered down bones and fat. For this reason, the quality of the product is far superior, which is why cats love eating it.
- Delicious food that senior cats adore
- No grains or gluten
- Only real meat
- Expensive for a dry food
Taste of the Wild Rocky Mountain Grain-Free Dry Food Buy It
Best Cheap Cat Food
Feeding a pet can be expensive, with estimates suggesting that each year we spend between $300 and $500 on cat food. Many animal owners just like you are looking for cheap alternatives that can still provide their furry friends with the nutrition that they need.
Taste of the Wild Rocky Mountain Grain-Free Dry Cat Food is the obvious choice for an owner like yourself that values your cat’s nutrition and enjoyment, while also keeping a close eye on the price.
At less than $31 for a 15-pound bag, Taste of the Wild represents fantastic value for money. It might not be quite as cheap as a grocery store brand, but it’s not far off, while simultaneously giving your pet high-quality meat and vegetables without grain fillers.
- Fantastic value for money
- Full of meat and vegetables
- Contains essentials minerals and vitamins
- Slightly pricier than grocery store brands
Instinct by Nature’s Variety Original Buy It
Best Grain-Free Cat Food
Many of us are realizing that grain-free might be the way to go, both for ourselves and for our animals. Plus, many cats suffer from stomach and intestinal problems which require them to eliminate all forms of grain from their diets.
Instinct by Nature’s Variety Original is probably the number one grain-free brand for kittens, combining real chicken and vegetables to craft a perfect meal. Instinct treats cat food the same way they would human food, picking the tastiest and healthiest ingredients including fruits, berries, and meats.
It’s the only kibble in the world that’s made with the pure, real nutrition of raw food in every piece and is made in the USA using the highest quality sources from around the globe.
- Grain free
- Contains natural DHA for brain and eye development
- Packed with antioxidants
- Low water content compared to wet food
- Expensive for a dry kibble
Merrick Purrfect Bistro Buy It
Best Cat Food for Weight Loss
With the majority of cats being house trained there is a tendency for them to gain excessive amounts of weight because they don’t need to hunt for their food. Well-meaning owners like ourselves can overfeed them out of love, causing them to gain weight and possibly develop health issues.
To lose weight, you need to use a weight loss food like Merrick Purrfect Bistro, the healthy weight loss recipe for cats. Created with 10% fewer calories than their standard product, it only uses animal proteins and wholesome produce like vegetables and fruit.
Plus, it’s packed with a targeted blend of vitamins, minerals, and taurine that can help to promote a healthy immune system to support their skin, fur, and general wellbeing.
- 10% fewer calories than usual
- Packed with fiber-rich produce
- Full of vitamins and nutrients
- Pricey for dry kibble
Castor & Pollux Organix Grain-Free Chicken Buy It
Best Hypoallergenic Cat Food
Having a hypoallergenic pet can be extremely difficult. You care for your cat with all of your heart and seeing your pet react is a horrible experience. To avoid that, we would suggest Castor & Pollux Organix Grain-Free Chicken.
This delicious food comes packed tightly into a can, giving you a full meal within seconds. Right now, you can get a case of 24 cans, each weighing in at 5.5 ounces, for the bargain price of $38.99, making it the obvious choice for hypoallergenic pets.
Utterly devoid of grains, soy, wheat, corn and anything artificial, cats with the most severe of sensitivities can enjoy a can of wholesome chicken and chicken liver without issues.
Unlike many brands, Castor & Pollux only use organic free-range chicken alongside wholesome vegetables, organic cranberries and a specialized selection of vitamins and minerals.
- Perfect for even the most sensitive cats
- Full of protein from free-range sources
- Packed with vegetables and cranberries
- Cost per can is high compared to other brands
Natural Balance Limited Ingredient Diets Green Pea and Duck Buy It
Best Food for Cats with Sensitive Stomachs or Diarrhea
Watching your cat deal with stomach issues is horrible. They rarely want to eat, their appetite is reduced, and even their preferred foods become disgusting to them. For these pets, it’s best to choose an option with limited ingredients to try and cultivate their appetite and health.
Natural Balance L.I.D Limited Ingredient Diets Green Pea and Duck food is the perfect choice because it uses only delicious duck as the primary ingredient. Many brands fill their kibble with vegetables and fruits, but for a cat with stomach issues, this type of food can cause further problems.
Natural Balance reduces the number of ingredients to the bare minimum, while still including omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, vitamins, and minerals. For the sickest of babies this is the optimum choice, because whether they or sensitive to food or not, they still need meat and nutrients in every bite.
- Limited ingredients for sick animals
- Packed with protein from natural sources
- Contains vitamins and nutrients
- Contains high amounts of carbs
- Expensive for kibble
Wysong Uretic Dry Food Buy It
Best Food for Urinary Health
Wysong Uretic Dry Cat Food is the best food for cats with urinary health issues because it was crafted by a veterinarian to target wellness, immune strength, and urinary systems.
Uretic contains high levels of fresh, frozen and dried meats and organs to ensure that each bite of food has the comprehensive spectrum of micronutrients and vitamins that your cat needs.
Animals bodies are far more complicated than you might imagine and traditional foods often neglect the need for prebiotic, probiotics, enzymes and antioxidants. Uretic uses naturally sourced meat, fruits, and vegetables which closely mimic what they would consume in the wild.
Changing to Wyson Uretic food can help to treat painful urinary tract issues that your cat could be facing while boosting their general health and wellbeing.
- Helps to treat urinary tract conditions
- Full of protein and vegetables
- Contains rosemary to fight against allergies
- Expensive per pound of food