Are you looking to spoil your favorite kitty, but aren’t sure where to start?
Our breakdown of the best super premium cat foods is the right place for you.
In this article, we’ll dive into detail about what cats need and why then throw you a few examples of super premium cat foods that your cat may be interested in trying.
Before we begin, let’s learn about the nutritional features that cats need to be healthy.
Quick Look : Best Super Premium Cat Food in 2019
What A Cat Needs
Cats eat protein, which comes from animal sources. In the wild, cats get all of their nutrition from fresh and raw meat.
While it’s very impractical to provide fresh raw meat to your cat, some cat foods are sufficiently high protein and have the right nutrient balance to leave your cat even more healthy than they would be in the wild.
High Protein Content
Cats of all ages should be eating cat foods which contain far more protein than other ingredients. A good starting place for dry food is upwards of 30%, whereas wet foods that are high in protein start at 15%.
For maintaining a standard adult weight, your cat food’s fat percentage should be between 30% and 70% of its protein content. Anything more is likely providing more excess calories than your cat can use, meaning that it will gain weight.
There are also dehydrated cat foods that can contain very high percentages of protein, approaching 70%. Most cat foods have the percentage of protein by volume on the label; if a cat food you’re looking at doesn’t have this very basic information, you should look at a different brand.
The source of the protein matters, too. Animal proteins are the way to go. However, many cat foods have plant proteins too. Plant proteins are not necessarily useless to your cat, but they tend to come with undesirable features like too much starch or fiber.
Fiber And Water
Your cat needs some fiber with its meal to successfully digest and excrete the food.
The exact percentage that is ideal for your cat will vary, but anywhere from 1% to 5% is reasonable. Critically, fiber is useless without water.
It isn’t always possible for your cat to drink enough water to compensate for high fiber meals, so the moisture content of your cat food matters too. If you don’t provide water to your cat or your cat doesn’t drink enough water after eating a dry and high fiber meal, they’ll become constipated and unhappy very quickly.
Water is necessary to provide softness to the hard bulking of unusable food particles resulting from the fiber. If your cat isn’t getting enough fiber, they may have diarrhea and become unhappy.
Vitamins And Minerals
Cats also need a specific balance of vitamins and minerals which cat foods may not have. Specifically, cats require taurine, an amino acid that’s present in nutrient complete proteins but often degrades as a result of the manufacturing process. If a cat food is processed and the manufacturer neglects to add taurine after the fact, your cat won’t be getting the essential nutrients that it needs and may start to go blind.
Aside from commonly degrading nutrients like taurine, cats also need the right mix of minerals. Growing cats need minerals like calcium, magnesium, and phosphorous to build strong bones, and adult cats need these nutrients to stay strong.
Other minerals like iron and copper are necessary for your cat to produce enough blood to oxygenate its organs; cats get anemia just like humans. Cats get these minerals as well as other nutrients like B vitamins from organ meats.
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What A Cat Doesn’t Need
Certain cat food manufacturers are keen to reduce the cost of producing cat food, and thus introduce or advertise certain ingredients which your cat doesn’t need. Some of these ingredients are harmful to your cat.
Most cat foods aren’t going to kill your cat, but there may be hidden nutritional deficits or discomfort bubbling beneath your perception that can reduce your cat’s quality of life.
The best trick that you should get into the habit of regularly doing is examining the label of your cat’s food.
Grains And Fillers
Grains are the biggest offender in cat foods. Your cat can’t digest carbohydrates very well, and they tend to have indigestion when they are forced to try.
Most cat food manufacturers are keen to the public’s knowledge that grains are bad for cats, and thus advertise that their foods are grain free. Grains aren’t the only starchy carbohydrates that are bad for your cat, though. Other fillers can be just as bad or even worse than grains when it comes to causing indigestion without adding anything that your cat needs.
In particular, lentils and chickpeas are common additions to cat foods. These ingredients behave as filler, and relatively speaking, are better than grains because they have a decent amount of protein. Unfortunately, they are often very hard for cats to digest. Furthermore, these ingredients are very heavy in fiber, which can be a problem.
The best way to see whether you’re getting your money’s worth in a cat food purchase is to add up the percentages listed on the back of the can. The remaining percentage that isn’t listed is filler. Some bad cat foods are mostly filler, so don’t neglect to take this step.
Unbalanced Vitamin And Mineral Content
Not all cat vitamins and minerals can be consumed in unlimited quantity without consideration of their balance with other vitamins and minerals. In particular, many cat foods contain supplemental vitamin D.
Your cat needs vitamin D., But vitamin D in excess can cause your cat’s bones to become weaker and discharge calcium and phosphorous into its blood. Your cat will be fine if it has too much vitamin D for a few months, but it isn’t a best practice. Vitamin D needs to be consumed in proportion to calcium, magnesium, and phosphorous for its potentially detrimental effects to waive.
Though there aren’t any downsides, omega fatty acids also require the correct proportions. Cat food should have a slightly higher percentage of omega-3 fatty acids than omega-6 fatty acids. However, it’s tough to make this call in the majority of cases because the manufacturers don’t list the information.
If your cat has too much of one fatty acid and not enough of the other, it won’t be able to absorb either very effectively. This deficiency isn’t a hazardous problem, but over the long term, it may lead to a duller coat on your cat.
Wet Or Dry?
Aside from the things to avoid in cat food, one of the biggest questions is whether to use wet or dry cat food. Super premium cat foods are not exclusively wet or dry. However, the most expensive cat foods do open up an otherwise unavailable option: dehydrated cat food.
Dehydrated cat food is shelf stable, lightweight, and gives the owner a chance to deliver high quality cat food that’s often minimally processed. The owner reconstitutes the food with water before serving. To pick a cat food, think of dehydrated cat food as a dry cat food even if it has some characteristics of wet food like high moisture at the point of eating.
Wet Food Advantages
Wet food tends to be less processed and has far fewer fillers than dry cat food. Wet food is also heavier, and less nutrient dense.
Wet cat food can be short on fiber, but it’s unlikely to be short on critical nutrients.
Dry Food Advantages
Dry cat food is easier to measure and is typically more nutrient dense, so long as there aren’t too many fillers. Dry cat food tends to have more filters than wet cat food, however. Nonetheless, dry cat food nearly always has enough fiber to provide for your cat, which means you won’t have to worry about indigestion.
Dry food often has added vitamins and minerals added after manufacturing to ensure a good nutrient balance.
Super-Premium, Protein Laced Cat Food Reviews
In this section, we’ll go through the pros and cons of six of the highest rated premium cat foods on the market. By the end, you should have a few good ideas about which might be a good starting point to test with your cat.
Ziwi Peak Air-Dried Beef Cat Food Check Price
The Ziwi Peak Air-Dried Beef Cat Food is an organic and preservative free cat food that’s made from high quality ingredients like beef organs and green mussels. As far as super-premium cat foods go, the Ziwi cat food is one of the most expensive.
Your cat will definitely get a complete nutrient profile with this food. The Ziwi cat food is very rich in essential vitamins and minerals—including likely some that aren’t listed on the ingredients—because it’s made from unprocessed meat sources.
Though magnesium and phosphate aren’t listed on the food’s ingredients, the inclusion of mussels and also beef bone meal guarantees that your cat will be getting these nutrients. The Ziwi food also contains 36% protein by volume, which is a good amount. Interestingly for dry food, the Ziwi cat food also has 33% fat content and 2% fiber content by volume.
These factors mean that the Ziwi cat food is very energy dense—perfect for a kitten or a recovering cat, but probably a bit too much for a cat that’s not very active or a cat that needs to lose some weight.
- Great for beef lovers
- Rich in nutrients
- Minimal fillers
- Nutrient complete
- Bad for cats who need to lose weight
- Contains potential allergens for cats
- Unclear how many minerals it has
The Honest Kitchen Grain-Free Chicken Recipe Dehydrated Cat Food Check Price
The Honest Kitchen Grain-Free Chicken Recipe Dehydrated Cat Food is a pricey organic cat food that’s ideal for chicken loving cats. Honest Kitchen claims that their cat food is made with human grade ingredients, which is impossible to verify but potentially a big bonus.
The components of the Honest Kitchen cat food are remarkably simple in comparison to many other cat foods; it contains chicken and eggs as its protein sources and sweet potatoes and spinach as its fillers and carbohydrate sources.
The cat food boasts a 39% protein by volume as well as a 29.5% fat content by volume. This fact means that the food is for highly active cats who need a nutrient dense food. You’ll need to reconstitute the cat food with water before serving, which may be an issue for some owners.
- Shelf stable with no preservatives
- Organic ingredients
- Good for coat health
- Made in the USA
- Good for highly active adult cats
- Many fillers and starches like sweet potato
- Requires reconstitution with warm water before serving
- Dehydrated egg ingredient is rich in harmful cholesterol
- May not contain taurine, an essential nutrient
Primal Chicken & Salmon Formula Nuggets Grain-Free Raw Freeze-Dried Cat Food Check Price
Primal Chicken & Salmon Formula Nuggets Grain-Free Raw Freeze-Dried Cat Food claims to offer the benefits of a raw food diet without the hassle of preparing the ingredients yourself. As an organic cat food, the Primal Chicken cat food manages to be impressively high in protein content, with 52% protein by volume.
Furthermore, the Primal Chicken cat food’s ingredient list engenders a lot of confidence in the quality of the food. The ingredients are simple, unprocessed, and nutrient complete. Though the cat food only has 1% fiber content, it’s probably enough for most cats.
The flavor of the Primal Chicken cat food primarily appeals to chicken loving cats, as it has chicken meat, chicken necks, chicken gizzards, and chicken livers—all excellent sources of protein and essential vitamins and minerals. Interestingly, the Primal Chicken cat food also has a few fish and vegetable protein and fat sources, including salmon, salmon oil, cod liver oil, and sunflower seeds.
The only minor issue with the Primal Chicken cat food is that its fillers tend to be on the bitter side, which when combined with the food’s questionable texture may cause your cat to turn its nose up at the food.
The fillers, while not in a high volume, include bitters like kale, parsley, kelp, and alfalfa—if your cat doesn’t mind the texture or these flavors, they’ll be happy to have the Primal Chicken cat food.
- Very high protein content
- Excellent collection of fat sources for optimal coat and brain health
- High proportion of organ meats for superior vitamin and mineral nutrition
- Great chicken flavor with a splash of fish flavor
- Texture may be undesirable
- Bitterness may be undesirable
Stella & Chewy’s Chick Chick Chicken Dinner Grain-Free Freeze-Dried Cat Food Check Price
Stella & Chewy’s Chick Chick Chicken Dinner Grain-Free Freeze-Dried Cat Food is a calorie dense and nutrient complete cat food that’s best for growing cats.
Stella and Chewy’s cat food contains great ingredients like ground chicken bone, chicken liver, chicken gizzard, and calcium. These ingredients all support healthy bones and provide enough minerals for a growing cat. With 45% protein by volume, this cat food contains no detectable fillers and very few starches, which is ideal. Your cat won’t have a hard time digesting this cat food.
The Stella and Chewy’s cat food also contains probiotics, which may be helpful with digestion. Interestingly the food contains 1% fiber content despite no vegetable matter or other fillers, which means that your cat is getting high-quality food.
The only potential issues with this cat food are that it isn’t organic and that it only has chicken flavors. If your cat likes chicken, this food is a winner.
- Contains ground bones for mineral nutrition
- Great selection of organ meats makes for a healthy cat
- Contains multiple formulations of iron, copper, manganese, selenium, and zinc
- Low-fat content but still nutrient dense
- Not organic
- No flavors other than chicken
Now Fresh Grain-Free Adult Recipe Dry Cat Food Check Price
Now Fresh Grain-Free Adult Recipe Dry Cat Food is a cat food that has a medley of flavors that cats with an eclectic palate will love. The Now Fresh cat food contains turkey, egg, salmon, duck, vegetable oils, and a plethora of fillers.
The fillers are the real issue with this cat food; with 31% protein by volume and 18% fat by volume, the food is far more filler than not, which means that it might be hard to digest. The particularly bad offenders in this food are the lentils and the cottage cheese. Lentils are especially prone to causing gas and bloating. Likewise, cats may not tolerate dairy.
On the flip side, it’s also not very nutrient dense, which means that it might be good for cats on a diet. Despite its low nutrient density, the food itself is nutrient complete and has many different artificially added vitamins and minerals that are transparently listed on the label.
The Now Fresh cat food is also especially rich in omega fatty acids, which means that it will help to give your cat a lustrous coat.
- Good for fat cats who need to diet
- Nutrient complete with many extra vitamins and minerals
- Contains lots of magnesium
- Contains lots of omega fatty acids
- High fiber content
- Mostly filler
- Contains dairy, which may be tough to digest and negatively impact flavor
- Contains starches like lentils that are hard to digest
- Heavy on sugars
Dr. Gary’s Best Breed Holistic Grain-Free All Life Stages Dry Cat Food Check Price
Dr. Gary’s Best Breed Holistic Grain-Free All Life Stages Dry Cat Food is the definition of super-premium cat food. This cat food is very expensive for what you get, but as a result, your cat gets a few features which other cat foods simply do not claim to have.
In particular, Dr. Gary’s cat food is hypoallergenic and claims to have ingredients which reduce the incidence of hairballs. If your cat struggles with hairballs regularly and has a particularly strong stomach, Dr. Gary’s cat food might be a decent choice.
Unfortunately, Dr. Gary’s cat food has some issues, starting with its protein sources. With 38% protein by volume, it isn’t that Dr. Gary’s cat food is low in protein, just that its protein sources are poorly defined. The cat food contains chicken meal, egg product, kelp meal, and whitefish meal, none of which imply minimal processing or specific ingredients.
Aside from this, Dr. Gary’s cat food is mostly filler by volume. These fillers are not harmless, either. Dr. Gary’s cat food contains lentils, cellulose, chickpeas, and beet pulp, all of which are tough to digest in addition to having far more fiber than cats typically need.
If your cat is on a specialty diet as a result of their gastrointestinal issues, Dr. Gary’s cat food could still be right for your cat, but otherwise, it might be better to steer clear.
- Hypoallergenic ingredients
- Allegedly reduces the incidence of hairballs
- Contains probiotics to help with digestion
- Contains many formulations of essential vitamins and minerals
- Very expensive
- Mostly filler by volume
- Fiber content is more than twice what is typically healthy
- Contains chicken meal, kelp meal, and whitefish meal with unknown components
- Contains lentils, chickpeas, and beet pulp, which will cause gas and bloat
Now that you have a good idea about the features of some of the most popular super-premium cat foods, it’s up to your cat to decide which one they like. As a starting point, the overall winner is the Stella and Chewy’s cat food because of its excellently sourced proteins and comprehensive nutrient profile which comes with few or no fillers.
If your cat isn’t a fan of Stella And Chewy’s cat food, check out the Primal Chicken cat food. The Primal Chicken cat food has a different flavor profile and also contains many healthy ingredients that are sourced and will be great for your cat.
Be careful when testing new foods with your cat. You should always phase in new food gradually and stop phasing it in if your cat continues to vomit or refuses to eat.