Choosing the Best Cat Food for Indoor Cats

Are you an owner to an indoor cat? Then believe it or not, their dietary needs are unique compared to outdoor cats. 

Unlike outdoor cats whose major risks revolve around the outdoor environment, indoor cats are far more likely to develop lifestyle diseases such as obesity and diabetes. So, while all cats have the same dietary requirements, indoor cats need to meet these dietary requirements with fewer calories because of their lower activity levels.

With the continuously growing variety of cat foods, it can quickly become confusing to figure out which indoor cat food fits the needs of your cat best. That’s why we’ve broken down the specifics you can look out for to make your cat food shopping less overwhelming.

Nutritional Information

The nutritional requirements of every cat boils down to a combination of:

  • Animal protein (at least 30%);

  • Animal-based fat (at least 15-20%);

  • Digestible fiber;

  • Vitamins, minerals and enzymes, and fatty acids; and

  • water

This list is a good thing to reference when evaluating dry food. When it comes to wet food, it should also have a high amount of animal protein.

Essential fatty acids for cats are generally broken down into omega-3, omega-6, and omega-9 fatty acids. All of these fatty acids help maintain the health of your cat’s skin and coat as well as other essential biological functions.

All of these nutritional requirements must be met to ensure the health of your cat on a relatively low amount of calories. This typically means a low carbohydrate diet with large amounts of protein and natural fats. The recommended dietary allowance for proteins is roughly 12.5 grams for an adult cat weighing about nine pounds.

Dry or Wet Food?

For most indoor cat owners, canned cat food made for indoor cats makes for the simplest way to ensure your cat receives all of the nutrients and water they need in their diet. In fact, one of the largest risk factors for obesity in cats is a dry food diet.

Given that dry foods usually contain higher amounts of carbohydrates, this makes sense since cats cannot properly digest carbs. Feeding your cats canned food also helps you portion out their meals appropriately instead of allowing your cat to graze on dry kibble throughout the entire day.

But you may find dry food is easier to serve and more cost-effective long term. If you decide to purchase mainly dry food for your indoor cat, look for dry kibble made primarily of proteins and fats.

Provide for Specific Health Needs

Ultimately, the amount and type of food you feed your indoor cat will also depend on their needs, age and health conditions. Perhaps your cat also struggles with hairballs or needs to incorporate specific vitamins. That’s why it’s imperative to advise with your vet to confirm the needs of your cat.

Top Cat Food for Indoor Cats

The most important factor in feeding your indoor cat the best cat food is more or less watching their calories and ensuring that most of their calorie intake is from animal protein. Remember that indoor cats are more stationary, so they need fewer calories to maintain a healthy weight.

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

Blue Buffalo Freedom Indoor Adult Fish Recipe Grain-Free Canned Cat Food
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With whole, high-quality ingredients, Blue Buffalo Freedom Grain-Free wet food for adult, indoor cats, features real fish as the first ingredient. By utilizing cod and whitefish for a protein-rich formula, pet parents can rest assured their cats are being fed a well balanced meal. Omega fatty acids, DHA and added taurine support muscle maintenance, vision and overall feline health.

Because it doesn’t contain worrisome ingredients such as gluten, grain, preservatives, corn, wheat, soy, by-products and artificial flavors, adult cats will receive wholesome nutrients, and no filler. Adult cats of all ages will appreciate Blue Buffalo’s pate, featuring a smooth texture even seniors can enjoy.

  • 24-pack of 3 or 5.5-ounce cans

  • Smooth texture with a great taste to boot!

  • Fish is the main ingredient, which is loaded with great omegas, and provides protein and energy to keep your cat going

  • Free of grain, gluten, byproducts, corn, wheat, soy

  • No artificial flavors or preservatives

Fish, Fish Broth, Chicken, Chicken Liver, Carrots, Sweet Potatoes, Natural Flavor, Fish Oil, Flaxseed (source of Omega 3 and 6 Fatty Acids), Powdered Cellulose, Guar Gum, Taurine, Potassium Chloride, Cranberries, Blueberries, Salt, Carrageenan, Cassia Gum, Choline Chloride, Iron Amino Acid Chelate, Zinc Amino Acid Chelate, Thiamine Mononitrate (Vitamin B1), Vitamin E Supplement, 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

1,000 kcal/kg, 85 kcal/3 oz can, 156 kcal/5.5 oz can

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

Purina Beyond Simply Indoor Wild-Caught Salmon, Egg & Sweet Potato Recipe Grain-Free Dry Cat Food

Purina Beyond Simply Indoor Wild-Caught Salmon, Egg & Sweet Potato Recipe Grain-Free Dry Cat Food
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Pet parents concerned with the overall health of their indoor cat, will appreciate the benefits Purina Beyond Simply Indoor dry cat food has to offer. Featuring a boosted, natural blend of fiber, Purina Beyond’s wild-caught salmon, egg and sweet potato recipe controls hairballs, while preventing compaction. 

Made without the hassle of added preservatives or artificial flavor, adult cats enjoy bites of real chicken and turkey. In order to promote a healthy lifestyle, this dry kibble encourages optimal weight maintenance through balanced nutrition. Added taurine improves vision health, while omega fatty acids, vitamins and minerals support overall feline health.

  • Great quality protein, with wild-salmon the number one ingredient

  • Full of high-quality nutrients, using limited natural ingredients, including probiotics for your cat’s digestive tract

  • Indoor formula consists of less fat, to aid weight management

  • Natural fiber for hairball control, and antioxidants to aid the immune system

  • Can be served alone, or with Beyond wet foods or toppers. A great food to boost protein and increase hydration

  • No corn, wheat, soy, poultry byproducts, artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives

New: Salmon, Pea Starch, Chicken Meal, Pea Protein, Canola Meal, Cassava Root Flour, Dried Egg Product, Powdered Cellulose, Dried Yeast, Dried Sweet Potatoes, Pea Fiber, Beef Fat Preserved With Mixed-Tocopherols, Natural Flavor, Phosphoric Acid, Calcium Carbonate, Sodium Bisulfate, Potassium Chloride, Whole Cranberries, Salt, Taurine, DL-Methionine, Choline Chloride, MINERALS [Zinc Sulfate, Ferrous Sulfate, Manganese Sulfate, Copper Sulfate, Calcium Iodate, Sodium Selenite], VITAMINS [Vitamin E Supplement, Niacin (Vitamin B-3), Vitamin A Supplement, Calcium Pantothenate (Vitamin B-5), Thiamine Mononitrate (Vitamin B-1), Vitamin B-12 Supplement, Riboflavin Supplement (Vitamin B-2), Pyridoxine Hydrochloride (Vitamin B-6), Folic Acid (Vitamin B-9), Menadione Sodium Bisulfite Complex (Vitamin K), Vitamin D-3 Supplement, Biotin (Vitamin B-7)], L-Lysine Monohydrochloride, Vitamin E Supplement, Dried Bacillus Coagulans Fermentation Product. C424319.

Original: Salmon, Chicken Meal, Pea Starch, Pea Protein, Canola Meal, Cassava Root Flour, Dried Egg Product, Powdered Cellulose, Dried Yeast, Dried Sweet Potatoes, Pea Fiber, Beef Fat Preserved with Mixed-Tocopherols, Natural Liver Flavor, Phosphoric Acid, Potassium Chloride, Sodium Bisulfate, Choline Chloride, L-Lysine Monohydrochloride, Taurine, Salt, Whole Cranberries, Calcium Carbonate, Minerals [Zinc Sulfate, Ferrous Sulfate, Manganese Sulfate, Copper Sulfate, Calcium Iodate, Sodium Selenite], Vitamins [Vitamin E Supplement, Niacin (Vitamin B-3), Vitamin A Supplement, Calcium Pantothenate (Vitamin B-5), Thiamine Mononitrate (Vitamin B-1), Vitamin B-12 Supplement, Riboflavin Supplement (Vitamin B-2), Pyridoxine Hydrochloride (Vitamin B-6), Folic Acid (Vitamin B-9), Menadione Sodium Bisulfite Complex (Vitamin K), Vitamin D-3 Supplement], Vitamin E. B-4243.

Caloric Content

New: 3,250 kcal/kg, 322 kcal/cup

Original: 3,301 kcal/kg, 357 kcal/cup

Cat Chow Hairball & Healthy Weight Indoor Dry Cat Food

Cat Chow Hairball & Healthy Weight Indoor Dry Cat Food
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Indoor cats require nutrition specifically catered to their needs, which is exactly what Purina had in mind when they created Cat Chow Hairball and Healthy Weight Indoor dry cat food. Taking into consideration an indoor feline’s activity level, environment and weight management needs, this hairball and healthy weight formula contains fewer calories and increased fiber.

Blended with 25 vitamins and minerals, Cat Chow supports your four-legged friend’s health, while providing balanced nutrition. This pea free dry cat food provides antioxidants in order to boost the immune system. Essential fatty acids and protein work together to provide appropriate energy, and a healthy skin and coat.

  • The tasty recipe is made using garden greens, which provide a delicious taste with herbal undertones

  • Low calorie to aid your cat in maintaining a healthy weight for indoor cats

  • Full of antioxidants, which are key to a healthily functioning immune system

  • Includes natural fibers to aid hairballs (less cleanup for you)

  • There are 25 vitamins and minerals present to help your cat reach its nutritional requirements

Chicken By-Product Meal, Whole Grain Corn, Soy Flour, Whole Grain Wheat, Corn Gluten Meal, Rice, Beef Fat Naturally Preserved With Mixed-Tocopherols, Liver Flavor, Chicken, Powdered Cellulose, Soybean Hulls, Calcium Carbonate, Phosphoric Acid, Salt, Natural Flavor, Potassium Chloride, Choline Chloride, Parsley Flakes, Taurine, Vitamin E Supplement, Minerals [Zinc Sulfate, Ferrous Sulfate, Manganese Sulfate, Copper Sulfate, Calcium Iodate, Sodium Selenite], Vitamins [Vitamin E Supplement, Niacin (Vitamin B-3), Vitamin A Supplement, Calcium Pantothenate (Vitamin B-5), Thiamine Mononitrate (Vitamin B-1), Riboflavin Supplement (Vitamin B-2), Vitamin B-12 Supplement, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride (Vitamin B-6), Folic Acid (Vitamin B-9), Vitamin D-3 Supplement, Biotin (Vitamin B-7), Menadione Sodium Bisulfite Complex (Vitamin K)], L-Ascorbyl-2-Polyphosphate (Vitamin C), Red 40, Blue 2, Yellow 5. M450018.

Caloric Content

3,372 kcal/kg, 358 kcal/cup

Iams ProActive Health Indoor Weight & Hairball Care Dry Cat Food

Iams ProActive Health Indoor Weight & Hairball Care Dry Cat Food
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Iams ProActive Health Indoor Weight and Hairball Care is an easily digestible dry cat food, formulated especially for indoor kitties. Indoor blends are special, because they are created to control hairballs, maintain a healthy weight, and even reduce odors in the litter box. Adult cats will benefit from the fat reduction, as well as the blend of carbs to keep them feeling full.

As a dry cat food, the crunchy texture provides oral care, in order to clean teeth and prevent tartar. Whole ingredients such as rice, grains and beets, reduce hairballs while supporting the digestive system. Beet fiber also plays an important role in digestion, as prebiotics feed bacteria in order to maintain a healthy gut biome – a crucial step in overall feline health.

  • This formula has been formulated to meet the specific requirements of helping adult cats maintain a healthy weight, and to reduce hairballs, as well as litter box odor

  • Packed full of fiber (blend) to reduce hairballs

  • Made with L-Carnitine to promote healthy weight maintenance

  • Texture that cats love! It’s crunchy kibble, and will help keep your cats teeth free of tartar, and clean

  • Made for cats 1 year or older (ideally)

Chicken, Chicken By-Product Meal, Corn Grits, Corn Gluten Meal, Ground Whole Grain Corn, Ground Whole Grain Sorghum, Dried Plain Beet Pulp, Turkey, Powdered Cellulose, Natural Flavor, Brewers Dried Yeast, Dried Egg Product, Caramel Color, Potassium Chloride, Sodium Bisulfate, Choline Chloride, Fish Oil (Preserved with Mixed Tocopherols), Calcium Carbonate, Fructooligosaccharides, Vitamins [Vitamin E Supplement, Niacin, Ascorbic Acid, Vitamin A Acetate, Calcium Pantothenate, Biotin, Thiamine Mononitrate (Source of Vitamin B1), Pyridoxine Hydrochloride (Source of Vitamin B6), Vitamin B12 Supplement, Riboflavin Supplement (Source of Vitamin B2), Vitamin D3 Supplement, Folic Acid], Taurine, Minerals [Zinc Oxide, Manganese Sulfate, Copper Sulfate, Potassium Iodide], Mixed Tocopherols and Citric Acid (Preservatives ), L-Carnitine, Rosemary Extract.

Caloric Content

3364 kcal/kg, 302 kcal/cup

Blue Buffalo Wilderness Indoor Hairball & Weight Control Chicken Recipe Grain-Free Dry Cat Food

Blue Buffalo Wilderness Indoor Hairball & Weight Control Chicken Recipe Grain-Free Dry Cat Food
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With whole, real chicken listed as the first ingredient, Blue Wilderness Indoor Hairball and Weight Control dry cat food is a great choice for indoor adult cats. Offering both weight, and hairball control, this grain-free dry cat food provides boosted nutrition in every bite. With additional fiber to support digestion, prevent hairballs and feed a healthy gut, pet parents can rest assured their feline is getting a well-rounded meal. 

Ingredients such as L-Carnitine, taurine and omega fatty acids nourish skin, coat, vision, and heart health, as well as support your cat’s metabolism. Formulated without worrisome ingredients, in order to provide kibble to sensitive kitties, Blue Buffalo Wilderness left out: corn, soy, wheat, by-products and soy.

  • Pure grain-free (100%) recipe for weight control in cats. Featuring lean chicken as the main ingredient, to assist building and maintaining strong muscles

  • Supports healthy digestion and prevents hairballs with natural fiber blend, and helps maintain an ideal weight with balanced calories from proteins and fats.

  • Aids digestion using a natural fiber blend, which helps in preventing hairballs

  • Consists of a balance of calories from proteins and fats, to help your cat maintain a healthy weight

  • Full of omegas (healthy fats), amino acids (building blocks for muscles), and LifeSource Bits (unique blend of antioxidants/vitamins/minerals). These combined support the overall health of your cat, and boost it’s immune system

  • Great for healthy skin and coat, as omega-3 and omega-6 help with this

  • Taurine is good for cats vision and cardiac health (heart). L-carnitine aids in keeping a healthy metabolism as well

  • Great for cats with food sensitivities/allergies as it’s free grains, has no chicken/poultry byproducts, and does not contain corn, wheat, gluten, or soy

Deboned Chicken, Chicken Meal, Tapioca Starch, Pea Protein, Peas, Menhaden Fish Meal (source of Omega 3 Fatty Acids), Powdered Cellulose, Pea Fiber, Chicken Fat (preserved with Mixed Tocopherols), Flaxseed (source of Omega 6 Fatty Acids), Natural Flavor, Potato Starch, Choline Chloride, DL-Methionine, Psyllium Seed Husks, Potassium Chloride, Calcium Sulfate, Dehydrated Alfalfa Meal, Potatoes, Dried Chicory Root, Taurine, Calcium Carbonate, Caramel Color, Potassium Sulfate, Salt, preserved with Mixed Tocopherols, Sweet Potatoes, Carrots, L-Carnitine, Ferrous Sulfate, Niacin, Iron Amino Acid Chelate, Zinc Amino Acid Chelate, Zinc Sulfate, Vitamin E Supplement, Cranberries, Blueberries, Barley Grass, Parsley, Yucca Schidigera Extract, Dried Kelp, Turmeric, Copper Sulfate, Thiamine Mononitrate (Vitamin B1), Copper Amino Acid Chelate, Oil of Rosemary, L-Ascorbyl-2-Polyphosphate (source of Vitamin C), L-Lysine, Biotin (Vitamin B7), Vitamin A Supplement, Manganese Sulfate, Manganese Amino Acid Chelate, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride (Vitamin B6), Calcium Pantothenate (Vitamin B5), Riboflavin (Vitamin B2), Vitamin D3 Supplement, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Folic Acid (Vitamin B9), Dried Yeast, Dried Enterococcus faecium fermentation product, Dried Lactobacillus acidophilus fermentation product, Dried Aspergillus niger fermentation extract, Dried Trichoderma longibrachiatum fermentation extract, Dried Bacillus subtilis fermentation extract, Calcium Iodate, Sodium Selenite.

Caloric Content

3,667 kcal/kg, 410 kcal/cup

FAQ

Indoor cats and outdoor cats are the same though…no? The short answer is yes. But when it comes down to it, indoor cats aren’t as active as outdoor cats, so they’re not burning as many calories. 

In theory, they can eat the same diet because they have the same nutritional requirements. However, if you own an indoor-only cat, you may want to consider purchasing an indoor cat food that is specifically formulated to have fewer calories per serving than regular cat food. Most targeted indoor formulas are designed to regulate a cat’s healthy body weight and help with problems that indoor cats often encounter, such as hairballs. You may also find other products that are labeled as ‘light’ cat food.

Ultimately, as long as the food is nutritionally complete and balanced, your cat can enjoy both wet and dry food. In fact, a combination of both is ideal. What’s most important is that the food contains a high amount of crude, real animal protein, healthy fats and low carbohydrates. 

Wet food helps with increasing water intake and most cats prefer the taste. Then dry food is more affordable and helps with preventing plaque build-up. Occasionally mixing the two will just keep your feline friend surprised if he or she refuses to eat one or the other.

While being an indoor cat is a factor that certainly affects the type and amount of food you feed, so will other factors, including age, breed, and any specific health conditions. A recommended feeding guide for a healthy, active, 10 lb indoor cat is 270-320 calories per day. 

If you’re going to feed a wet and dry food combo, then you should feed them about ¼ of an eight ounce cup of dry food and 2.5 ounces of canned food (the equivalent of half a can of cat food).

Most indoor, domestic cats should weigh around 10 pounds. But this can also vary depending on the breed. For example, a Maine Coon cat can be healthy at about 25 pounds while a Siamese cat can be healthy at 5 pounds. Always double check with your vet to make sure your cat is at its right weight.

You can feed your indoor cat any food product that maintains a balanced nutritional profile and includes the following key components: 

  • Crude-Protein Heavy: at least 30% of real animal protein 
  • Healthy Fats: animal-based fat (at least 15-20%)
  • Fiber Rich: aid in digestion, weight maintenance and hairball control 
  • Vitamins, minerals and enzymes, and fatty acids
  • Water and moisture-rich