Choosing the Best Cat Food

Our adorable feline friends love to eat! And as cat owners, we love to see it! There is nothing like a happy and healthy pet cat; nibbling quickly at food you’ve provided, then cuddling up close to you later. As a well loved member of the family, they deserve only the best and most nutritious cat food. 

But with so much variety on the market it can feel overwhelming to just provide nutrition for your cat. What is the best cat food? There seems to be a never ending supply of brands, treats and labels. Wet food or dry food? It kind of all makes your head spin. All this to say, the type of food doesn’t matter as much as specific factors. But once you know those factors, you can purchase the right cat food with confidence.

How to choose the right food?

So how do you choose the best cat food? What should you look out for? These four considerations should help you in your decision-making:

1. Good Quality

When it comes to cat food, and even the food humans eat, price doesn’t always signify quality. You should definitely be wary of cheaper cat foods, but pay closer attention to whether or not food has the American Association of Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) label on it. This means that the product “provides complete and balanced nutrition”. So you know its quality is legitimized. 

2. Meat and Carb Quantity

Given that cats are “true carnivores”, they need meat protein to survive and thrive. Meat should be the main ingredient. The type of meat doesn’t matter that much; cats can enjoy chicken, tuna, lamb, etc, as long as it’s listed first or second for density. Over time, you’ll probably get a feel for what kind meat your cat appears to like more! 

Also, carbohydrates like corn, soy, wheat and barley, are crucial ingredients that also contribute to providing your cat with the energy it needs. 

3. Vitamins and Minerals

Yes, your cat will be receiving the nutrients they need in the protein portion, but the best cat food should also include a mixture of these vitamins and minerals:

Vitamins Minerals
Vitamin A Calcium
B vitamins Phosphorous
Vitamins C and E Iron
Folic Acid or B9 Magnesium
Vitamin B12 Sodium
Zinc

4. Your Cat’s Needs (weight/size/age)

Just as we should adjust our diets in accordance with individual factors, the same is said for your pet cat. Their food needs will depend on their weight, size, age and allergies. But the higher your cat’s weight, the more calories they need to sustain that. 

If you have a kitten, they need a lot of energy because they grow rapidly in the first few weeks to a year. They will also need nutrients such as omega-3 fatty acids and folic acid to help with healthy eye, brain and cell development. 

Cats ages one through ten will continue to change and grow. It’s best to feed them according to their particular weight and activity level. 

Then as they start to age past ten, they need less food but still plenty of nutrients and vitamins, including calcium for frailer bones and immune boosting Vitamins C and E. 

The Cornell Feline Health Center also offers a great diagram of a cat’s Body Condition Score. This can also be used to tell whether your cat needs more food, is right where they need to be, or if they should cut back on the calories. And if your cat has any additional health concerns, double check food recommendations with the vet.

Best Cat Foods

Now you know the important factors to consider when choosing the best cat food! We’ve rated the best cat food on the market below and with this knowledge, we feel like you’re ready to buy food that will keep your furry feline healthy. 

Tiki Cat Velvet Mousse Chicken Grain-Free Wet Cat Food

Tika Cat - Velvet Chicken Mousse
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For cats observing a low-calorie diet, Tiki Cat created their Velvet Mousse Chicken Grain-Free cat food. As a high-quality wet cat food, Tiki Cat ensured this recipe was thoughtfully made using whole sources of protein as part of a grain-free, high-protein diet. Featuring an irresistible silky texture, this velvety mousse will tempt the pickiest eaters.

Blended with sensitive kitties in mind, Tiki Cat left out grains, potatoes, corn, rice and wheat, for a low-carb wet cat food. Chock-full of well-balanced ingredients, Tiki Cat added essential nutrients, such as: vitamins, minerals, amino acids, omega fatty acids and taurine for muscle maintenance and overall support. Whether your feline is a kitten, or getting up in years, this velvet chicken mouse cat food is an excellent choice.

  • Delicious chicken blended into an irresistibly silky mousse to satisfy the most discerning cats.

  • High-quality, high-protein meal to provide a good source of protein and amino acids to support your cat’s muscles.

  • This grain-free recipe is high in moisture from chicken broth and provides your feline friend with the supplemental water he needs.

  • A naturally low-carbohydrate recipe that does not include white potatoes, corn, wheat or rice for those kitties with sensitive tummies.

  • Complete and balanced nutrition for all life stages to satisfy your feline friend’s natural carnivorous cravings.

Chicken, Chicken Broth, Dried Egg, Sunflower Oil, Tricalcium Phosphate, Xanthan Gum, Potassium Chloride, Choline Chloride, Magnesium Sulfate, Taurine, Zinc Amino Acid Chelate, Iron Amino Acid Chelate, Vitamin E Supplement, Ascorbic Acid (Source Of Vitamin C), Thiamine Mononitrate (Vitamin B1), Niacin (Vitamin B3), Manganese Amino Acid Chelate, Vitamin A Supplement, Copper Amino Acid Chelate, Calcium Iodate, Calcium Pantothenate, Sodium Selenite, Riboflavin Supplement (Vitamin B2), Vitamin B12 Supplement, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride (Vitamin B6), Folic Acid, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Biotin, Vitamin K3 Supplement.

Caloric Content

990 kcal/kg, 79 kcal/pouch

Blue Buffalo Freedom Indoor Adult Chicken Recipe Grain-Free Canned Cat Food

Blue Buffalo Freedom Indoor Adult Chicken Recipe Grain-Free Canned Cat Food
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As a canned cat food, blended with only the finest ingredients, Blue Buffalo Freedom’s Indoor Adult Chicken Recipe packs in all the nutrients with a taste cats love. Formulated without worrisome ingredients, you won’t have to worry about sensitive kitties reacting to artificial flavors, artificial coloring, grains, gluten, corn, soy, wheat, peas, preservatives or by-products. 

Made with the intent of providing muscle maintenance and real energy, Blue Buffalo began with whole sources of protein, and followed with fruit and veggies. Cats will enjoy this pate-style wet food, crafted with only the finest ingredients. Plus, pet parents and felines alike will especially appreciate the BPA non-intent cans Blue Buffalo uses for all of their canned wet cat food products.

  • Nutritious source of wet cat food for adult cats.

  • Key Benefits 

  • Smooth texture and quality taste that appeals to the majority of cats.

  • Main ingredients of chicken and chicken broth make this a great source of protein, and will keep your cat full of energy.

  • Free of grains, byproducts, gluten, corn, wheat, soy, any artificial flavors, and preservatives. Making this a great natural product, and ideal for cats with stomach sensitivities. 

Chicken, Chicken Broth, Chicken Liver, Carrots, Sweet Potatoes, Natural.

Caloric Content

1,179 kcal/kg, 97 kcal/3 oz can, 178 kcal/5.5 oz can, 418 kcal/12.5 oz can

Blue Buffalo Wilderness Mature Chicken Recipe Grain-Free Canned Cat Food

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Older kitties, with their own set of needs, will love canned wet food from Blue Buffalo Wilderness. A grain-free chicken canned cat food, formulated for mature cats, provides wholesome ingredients sans worrisome ingredients, such as: taurine, DHA, by-products, preservatives, artificial flavors, corn, soy or wheat.

A smooth pate texture makes Mature Chicken Recipe canned cat food easier to eat, with a delicious flavor cats love. Blue Buffalo Wilderness wet cat food supports healthy muscle growth, with real chicken, fruits and vegetables. Added vitamins and minerals support heart health, as well as cognitive development – a necessity for aging felines.

  • Smooth texture and packed full of taste!

  • Main ingredient is chicken to help with muscle growth and maintenance

  • Specially formulated using DHA and taurine, which support cognition, as well as heart health

  • Does not contain any of the following: byproducts, grains, gluten, corn, wheat, and soy

  • No artificial flavors or preservatives

Chicken, Chicken Broth, Chicken Liver, Potatoes, Pea Flour, Natural Flavor, Pea Fiber, Flaxseed (source of Omega 3 and 6 Fatty Acids), Fish Oil, Guar Gum, Potassium Chloride, Taurine, Choline Chloride, Carrageenan, Cassia Gum, Salt, Iron Amino Acid Chelate, Zinc Amino Acid Chelate, Vitamin E Supplement, Mixed Tocopherols, L-Carnitine, Thiamine Mononitrate (Vitamin B1), Copper Amino Acid Chelate, Manganese Amino Acid Chelate, Sodium Selenite, Niacin Supplement (Vitamin B3), Calcium Pantothenate (Vitamin B5), Pyridoxine Hydrochloride (Vitamin B6), Riboflavin Supplement (Vitamin B2), Vitamin A Supplement, Biotin (Vitamin B7), Potassium Iodide, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Folic Acid (Vitamin B9), preserved with Mixed Tocopherols.

Caloric Content

1,130 kcal/kg, 96 kcal/3 oz can, 176 kcal/5.5 oz can

Feline Natural Chicken & Venison Feast Grain-Free Canned Cat Food

Feline Natural Chicken & Venison Feast Grain-Free Canned Cat Food
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Feline Natural Chicken & Venison Feast Grain-Free Canned Cat Food is made from all-natural, free-range, grass-fed chicken and venison sourced from only the finest sources in New Zealand. Green-lipped mussel is added to provide the highest concentration of omega-3 fatty acids found in any marine or plant life, while being an excellent source of glucosamine and chondroitin. Feline Natural doesn’t use any wheat, rice, soy, or gluten, which makes it great for felines with food allergies. And it contains no artificial ingredients, additives or preservatives, and is free of all gelling agents—the only thing added is natural, fresh New Zealand water. It’s a nutritionally appropriate diet for all breeds, and can be fed to cats at any stage of life from kittens to seniors, and during pregnancy and lactation.

  • Made from free-range, grass-fed chicken and venison that’s sourced from only the finest sources in New Zealand

  • New Zealand green-lipped mussel is added to provide the highest concentration of omega-3 fatty acids that aren’t found in any other marine or plant life

  • All-natural formula containing no wheat, rice, soy or gluten, which makes it great for feline friends with food allergies

  • No artificial ingredients, additives or preservatives and is free of all gelling agents—the only thing added is natural, fresh New Zealand water

  • Nutritionally appropriate diet for all breeds, and can be fed to cats at any stage of life—from kittens to seniors, and during pregnancy and lactation

Chicken, Venison, Water Sufficient for Processing, Venison Kidney, Venison Liver, Venison Blood, Flaxseed Flakes, New Zealand Green Mussel, Dried Kelp, Taurine, Vitamin E Supplement, Magnesium Oxide, Zinc Proteinate, Copper Proteinate, Manganese Proteinate, Thiamine Mononitrate, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Folic Acid.

Caloric Content

862 kcal/kg

Wellness CORE Grain-Free Poultry Pleasers Variety Pack Canned Cat Food

Wellness CORE Grain-Free Poultry Pleasers Variety Pack Canned Cat Food
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Incorporating a feline’s favorite poultry flavors, Wellness CORE Grain-Free Poultry Pleasers canned cat food provides an enjoyable, well-balanced meal. Utilizing real sources of protein, Wellness CORE includes chicken, duck and turkey without preservatives, artificial colors, artificial flavors, corn, soy, wheat or by-products.

Support cognitive function and development, muscle maintenance and organ operation with whole foods. When felines receive a nourishing, protein-centered diet, with real ingredients and zero filler, they become what nature intended: energetic, well-rounded, healthy and happy. Keep your cat purring and extend their life by feeding real food, like Wellness Core canned wet cat food.

  • Available in 2 different poultry recipes

  • Ingredients made using real chicken, duck, and turkey

  • Free of wheat, corn, soy, or animal byproducts

  • Preservative-free. Does not include any artificial colors or flavors either

  • Provides a complete and balanced nutrition profile for your cats everyday feeding needs

Chicken, Turkey & Chicken Liver: Chicken, Turkey, Chicken Broth, Chicken Liver, Chicken Meal, Turkey Liver, Dried Ground Potatoes, Natural Flavor, Cranberries, Guar Gum, Ground Flaxseed, Potassium Chloride, Salmon Oil (preserved with Mixed Tocopherols), Choline Chloride, Taurine, Cassia Gum, Xanthan Gum, Dried Kelp, Chicory Root Extract, Yucca Schidigera Extract, Magnesium Sulfate, Iron Proteinate, Zinc Proteinate, Thiamine Mononitrate, Vitamin E Supplement, Copper Proteinate, Manganese Proteinate, Sodium Selenite, Niacin, d-Calcium Pantothenate, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Riboflavin Supplement, Vitamin A Supplement, Biotin, Potassium Iodide, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Folic Acid, Rosemary Extract.

Turkey & Duck: Turkey, Pork Liver, Turkey Broth, Duck, Cranberries, Guar Gum, Ground Flaxseed, Potassium Chloride, Choline Chloride, Taurine, Cassia Gum, Xanthan Gum, Dried Kelp, Chicory Root Extract, Yucca Schidigera Extract, Alfalfa Meal, Salt, Iron Proteinate, Zinc Proteinate, Thiamine Mononitrate, Vitamin E Supplement, Copper Proteinate, Manganese Proteinate, Sodium Selenite, Niacin, d-Calcium Pantothenate, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Riboflavin Supplement, Vitamin A Supplement, Biotin, Potassium Iodide, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Folic Acid.

Caloric Content

Chicken, Turkey & Chicken Liver: 1,365 kcal/kg; 213 kcal/can

Turkey & Duck: 1,375 kcal/kg; 215 kcal/can

Wellness CORE Natural Grain Free Turkey & Chicken Liver Pate Canned Kitten Food

Wellness CORE Natural Grain Free Turkey & Chicken Liver Pate Canned Kitten Food
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Wellness CORE formulated their Natural Grain Free Turkey and Chicken Liver Pate canned kitten food in order to support the body of a growing kitten. Perfect for kitties in need of extra energy, Wellness CORE focused on whole sources of protein, by utilizing turkey, chicken liver, turkey broth, chicken and even herring.

A grain-free recipe removes fillers, including carrageenan, making room for more balanced ingredients. Wellness CORE created their canned wet kitten food without byproducts, grains, artificial flavors and artificial colors. Additional taurine, vitamins and minerals also mean optimal muscle growth and overall kitten health.

  • Only uses ingredients which are analyzed for the best health outcomes for cats

  • High in protein, which is great for kittens who are growing and need as much energy as they can get to reach their full potential!

  • High in DHA for proper brain (cognition) and eye development

  • Grain-free

  • Provides a balanced diet for everyday use

  • Grain-free recipe provides a complete and balanced everyday diet for your kitten. Free from carrageenan, artificial colors, flavors, or byproducts

Turkey, Chicken Liver, Turkey Broth, Chicken, Chicken Meal, Herring, Natural Flavor, Cranberries, Menhaden Fish Oil (preserved with Mixed Tocopherols), Guar Gum, Tricalcium Phosphate, Ground Flaxseed, Potassium Chloride, Choline Chloride, Taurine, Cassia Gum, Xanthan Gum, Dried Kelp, Chicory Root Extract, Yucca Schidigera Extract, Alfalfa Meal, Salt, Magnesium Sulfate, Iron Proteinate, Zinc Proteinate, Thiamine Mononitrate, Vitamin E Supplement, Copper Proteinate, Manganese Proteinate, Sodium Selenite, Niacin, d-Calcium Pantothenate, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Riboflavin Supplement, Vitamin A Supplement, Biotin, Potassium Iodide, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Folic Acid, Rosemary Extract.

Caloric Content

108 kcal/3-oz can, 199 kcal/5.5-oz can

Blue Buffalo Healthy Gourmet Pate Turkey & Chicken Entree Adult Canned Cat Food

Blue Buffalo Healthy Gourmet Pate Turkey & Chicken Entree Adult Canned Cat Food
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Serve your cat companion a delicious and delightful dinner with Blue Buffalo Healthy Gourmet Natural Adult Pate Wet Cat Food. Purr-fect for your grown-up gal, this irresistibly tasty wet food is made using only the finest natural ingredients. It starts with high-quality turkey and chicken, packed with healthy fruits and veggies, then enhanced with vitamins and minerals. Formulated to support the nutritional needs of adult cats, the exclusively wholesome ingredients do not contain any by-product meals, corn, wheat, soy, artificial flavors, or preservatives.

  • 24-pack of 5.5-ounce cans.

  • Purr-fectly nutritious food for adult cats.

  • Features a smooth texture and savory gravy.

  • Starts with real turkey and chicken to aid healthy muscle maintenance.

  • Does not contain any by-product meals, corn, wheat, soy, artificial flavors or preservatives.

Turkey, Chicken Broth, Chicken Liver, Chicken, Brown Rice, Natural Flavor, Guar Gum, Carrots, Sweet Potatoes, Flaxseed, Potassium Chloride, Carrageenan, Cassia Gum, Taurine, Salt, Cranberries, Choline Chloride, Iron Amino Acid Chelate, Zinc Amino Acid Chelate, Vitamin E Supplement, Thiamine Mononitrate (Vitamin B1), Copper Amino Acid Chelate, Manganese Amino Acid Chelate, Sodium Selenite, Niacin Supplement (Vitamin B3), Calcium Pantothenate (Vitamin B5), Pyridoxine Hydrochloride (Vitamin B6), Riboflavin Supplement (Vitamin B2), Vitamin A Supplement, Biotin (Vitamin B7), Potassium Iodide, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Folic Acid (Vitamin B9).

Caloric Content

1,330 kcal/kg, 113 kcal/3 oz can, 207 kcal/5.5 oz can

FAQs

Ahhh, the age old cat food debate. Is wet or dry food better? Cat’s outta the bag! There’s no definite answer – because both wet and dry food are nutritionally complete and healthy options. And people will have their own personal opinions on what they prefer. Besides, our feline friends are also picky eaters – so your choice may heavily depend on what they enjoy!

So we’re here to confirm that quality cat food is more based on the premium sourced ingredients and labels. Both dry and wet food have their own advantages and disadvantages. That’s why, combining both dry and wet food is something worth considering!  

Dry Cat Food 

Dry kibble is typically cheaper and therefore more cost effective. It’s also easier to serve because you can leave it out for the day without worrying about it going bad. Many vets vouch for dry food being better for your cat’s dental health as well. 

Wet Cat Food 

While wet cat food is typically pricier, it’s hailed for its high moisture content, high protein content and being easier to eat. Furthermore, cats that have health conditions including diabetes, kidney disease and urinary tract infections could benefit from more hydration.

Due to its moisture and heavy protein, many cats tend to prefer the taste and smell of wet, canned food. So for cats with picky appetites – this may be a winner!

Raw cat food has seen a surge in popularity in recent years – but it will definitely be more costly and time-consuming to serve. Because cats are obligate carnivores, they would only get their food source from animal tissue. As such, their bodies can easily digest and tolerate raw foods. But keep in mind that any raw food you serve needs to be fresh as this avoids the risk of cross-contamination and best mimics their diet in the wild. Look for human-grade raw meat and raw meaty bones.

The best, most ideal diet for a healthy housecat is a high protein, low carbohydrate diet. Unlike dogs and humans, cats are obligate carnivores which means that they need a lot of protein to mimic their natural diets in the wild. 

“While there isn’t a single diet that is ideal for all cats, in general, most do best when they eat foods that are high in moisture and protein and relatively low in carbohydrates,” says Jennifer Coates, DVM. 

Cats are strict carnivores and their nutrient profile should generally lie in this range:

  • Protein: 52-63%
  • Fat: 22-36% 
  • Carbs: 2.8-12%

Reputable brands will source their ingredients sustainably and ethically. To discern whether or not a product will have premium content, look to see if there is a “Complete and Balanced” label as set out by the American Association of Feed Control Officials (AAFCO). After that, keep your eyes peeled for the following: 

  • Named animal protein: This is the most important ingredient – clearly listing the animal it comes from. Ex. Turkey, chicken, lamb, beef, chicken liver, chicken heart, etc.
  • Healthy fats: Should be a named fat source. Ex. chicken fat 
  • Vitamins and minerals: Vitamin A, C & D, calcium, iron, magnesium, sodium and taurine 
  • Water

When choosing a nutritionally balanced diet for your furry friend, there are also certain ingredients to be skeptical of. Basically, if it’s hard to pronounce or there are too many ingredients – that’s a red flag. When examining cat food labels – your alarm bell should be going at the following:

  • Corn and wheat gluten
  • Non-specific meat. For example: Meat by-products 
  • BHA (Butylated Hydroxyanisole) and BHT (Butylated Hydroxytoluene)
  • Ethoxyquin
  • Food coloring

Adequate water supply is crucial for your cat’s long term health. It’s essential for your kitty to have the balance of water and electrolytes to keep its biological processes intact. Dehydration puts cats at risk for many health problems, including urinary tract disorders. 

Dry cat food has around 7 to 12 percent water while wet food can have up to 80 percent water. As mentioned earlier, cats can easily remain hydrated from consuming wet food, but they should always have access to fresh, clean water. Some cats seem to prefer to drink from a running source of water, such as a water fountain.

The best way to tell if your cat is overweight is by feeling their ribs. You should be able to feel their ribs but not see them. If you have to press hard to feel ribs then your cat may be overweight. Both dogs and cats should also have a nice taper at their waist. If they are too heavy, they’ll be oval shaped. Cross-check with your vet to be sure.

Age, weight and activity level all make a difference in the amount of food that you should give your cat. A lot of cat food label instructions have a good starting point for how much to feed based on weight and the formulation. For example: “for cats weighing 5 lbs, feed between ½ and ¾ cup per day; for cats weighing 10 lbs, feed between ¾ and 1 cup per day; and for cats weighing 15 lbs, feed between 1 cup and 1 ½ cups per day.”

But keep an eye on your cat’s weight to evaluate if you need to be giving your cat more or less food. 

Age

  • Kittens: Kittens require the most food to support their growth and energy levels. They should be fed 3-4 times per day. 
  • Adult Cats: Starting at around 6 months, cats can be fed once or twice a day. 
  • Senior Cats: Once your cat reaches around 7 years of age, they should maintain the same feeding regimen they had as adults as long as they’re healthy. 

Just remember to always consult with a vet to ensure your cat is eating the amount of food that’s right for them.