Kibble (pellets of dried, ground-up ingredients) is not essential for your cat, but it is a super convenient way to manage their food intake and supplement their diet. Many owners turn to dried products for their long shelf life, attractive price points, and ease when leaving food out for cats to graze on.

There’s no universal recommendation for how much of a role dry food should play in your cat’s diet. Some cats will thrive on dry food-only, while others prefer a mix of dry and wet, or just the wet stuff. But, the more dried food your cat eats, the more attention you should be paying to the quality and nutritional profile of their favorite product.

The best dry cat foods are rich in well-sourced protein, low in carbs and unwanted additives, and provide for any nutritional needs or dietary preferences specific to your feline friend’s age, size, and condition. The best diets involving dry food also provide your cat with the hydration that a dried product cannot.

How we determine the best dry cat foods

We’ve run the numbers on over 500 dry cat foods available on the market right now, to bring you the real information needed to make the right shopping decisions. Our best product recommendations are based on a combination of several metrics, including macro- and micro-nutrients, moisture content, and pricing on a per calorie basis. The dry foods that came out on top are listed further down this page, along with links to places where you can find them for a good deal.

Below, we’ve laid out the key factors behind dry food’s quality and nutritional benefits, with explainers on protein, fat, and omega content, as well as filler ingredients, artificial preservatives, and of course, flavor!

No cat has identical dietary needs, and as an owner, you’re in the primary position to judge what works best for your pet. That said, it helps to know what, and what not, to look for in a quality dry food product. So let’s get into it!

Skip straight to the best dry food to buy for cats in 2020.

Dry food quality

How is dry food made?

While some small brands still traditionally bake their dry food products, the majority of today’s dry food is made by extrusion cooking. Extrusion begins with a dough mixture of raw ingredients, including wet stuff, which is fed into a cooker that pressurizes and heats the food.

The high heat and pressure helps force the mixture through die cutters (which create the fish shapes seen in some kibbles) and maintains their form as they dry. After extrusion, food pieces are further dried and sprayed with additive formulas, containing fats, flavors, and other substances like vitamins that are too vulnerable to heat to be included in the initial process.

Note: Because additive spraying is mostly standard across manufacturers, it’s not really recommended nor practical to shop for ‘zero additive’ dry food.

Animal food processing plants usually extrude and bag cat food according to the bespoke recipes developed by pet food brands. (Though, the larger brands may have their own production plants). So it’s possible that two products may share production processes, and even source ingredients, while looking completely different. This is especially the case for different dry food recipes sharing one brand name.

All dried foods should meet state and federal regulations informed by the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO). Because they may be used as the sole element of a cat’s diet, this helps to make sure that dry products meet minimum standards for a complete diet and safe production.

AAFCO standards require that dry foods are made from ingredients Generally Recognized as Safe (GRAS) for their intended use with legally defined parameters—which is a great start. But owners looking to upscale their cat’s diet can definitely go a lot further…

Even for humans, getting clear on what counts as quality meat is not a straightforward matter. We’re used to having buzzwords thrown at us, whether it’s free-range, organic, or grass fed. Add vague science about antibiotics and artificial additives on top, and your head can start to spin.

So, by the time that meat products have been sourced, mixed, and extruded into dried food, questions about quality can be pretty difficult to answer. In general, though, meat products used to make pet dry food can be sorted into two categories: whole meat and meat meal.

Whole meat is, as it sounds, meat derived from a single part of a single animal. It’s processed in USDA facilities and should be safe for both human and animal consumption.

Meat meal is a meat concentrate made from the offcuts and other trace substances produced by slaughterhouses and animal processing plants. Meal is not intended for human consumption, and contains elements of many animals in a single portion.

There’s no doubt that whole meat is the superior of the two dry food options. Meal tends to be low in actual meat (muscle) and high in more gruesome elements like organs, bones, blood, and even feathers. This contributes to a higher ash content. Because it’s pre-dried, it’s also lower in moisture, and all in all less digestible.

But don’t discount meat meal completely. Some meals are much higher quality than others, and the large difference in cost means that many dry foods contain at least some meal in their recipes. It all depends how transparent brands are about if and where they source their ingredients.

While your cat might be a choosy eater, they’re also unlikely to be too picky about which part of an animal they have for their dinner. And because meal is concentrated, it can have a very high protein ratio, which is why you’ll often find it added to dry foods made primarily from whole meat.

The key is establishing both what kind of meat your cat likes to eat, and what’s best for their everyday wellbeing. Then, select a product where whole meat is the primary ingredient, and if meal appears further down the ingredients list, don’t see it as necessarily a bad sign.

A dry food filler is an ingredient that has no real nutritional benefit for your cat. Instead, it’s probably included in a recipe to bulk out product weight and thereby bring down production costs.

Fillers are common in the pet food industry, meaning that you’ll find them all the way up to luxury dry food options. Common fillers include corn, gluten, and soy.

These ingredients aren’t always directly bad for your cat, in the sense that they’re not toxic or poisonous—and they may actually be necessary to hold kibbles together. However, if it’s a filler, your cat doesn’t need it, by definition. Over time, high consumption of carbohydrate filler ingredients can raise your cat’s risk of developing chronic conditions and diseases such as diabetes and cancer.

‘Ash’ or ‘crude ash’ in cat food is the amount of inorganic material contained in the ingredients. If you burned your bag of dry food, removing all the proteins, fats, carbohydrates, ash is the other stuff, including minerals like potassium, zinc, and iron, that would be left over. (In fact, this isn’t too far away from the process by which nutritional profiles are actually determined.)

When it comes to cat food, ash is a more complicated element. In one sense, you want your cat’s diet to contain all those necessary essential minerals that can come under the ash label, but on the other, the presence of ash may signal that food contains unwanted, indigestible ingredients such as bones and rendered by-products.

The biggest source of ash in dry food is meat meal. Whole meat dry foods and those using low-ash meal contain mostly real meat and minimal bones, feathers, or other parts on animals. (Meats like chicken and fish will also have a naturally lower ash content than red meats.) High-ash meal suggests that presence of more non-meat content, which you should try to steer clear of.

Not all dry cats foods list their ash content, but looking at those that do, a few products stand out for their high percentages. Remember, ash is a golf-score style category: a low number suggests a better quality of source ingredients. The five products with the highest (worst) ash levels are:

Product Ash content
Horizon Legacy Cat & Kitten Grain-Free Dry Cat Food 9.8%
Go! Solutions Carnivore Grain-Free Chicken, Turkey + Duck Recipe Dry Cat Food 9%
Go! Solutions Carnivore Grain-Free Lamb + Wild Boar Recipe Dry Cat Food 9%
FirstMate Grain Friendly Cat & Kitten Formula Cat Food 9%
FirstMate Grain Friendly Indoor Cat Formula Cat Food 9%

Why steer clear?

A low ash content in dry found suggests the presence of inorganic minerals such as zinc and iron. A high content may mean the presence of unwanted by-products such as bones and feathers.

A big selling point of dried food is its cost-efficiency. Not only do dried products retail for less than most wet foods, but they also keep for longer periods, making them an attractive option for anyone looking to secure the best value they can.

While they’re generally cheaper, price points within the dry food category can vary significantly, which raises the question: does price track with nutritional quality? We looked at the major dry cat foods on the market and compared price per calorie with protein-to-carbohydrate ratios. Our findings suggested that there is a positive correlative between price per calorie and protein-to-carbohydrate ratio. This means that pricing does tend to increase with nutritional quality. You get what you buy, so don’t skimp!

Dietary factors

This is the big one. While there are many dry food ingredients worth avoiding, the one thing you should ensure your cats diet is full of is protein. Cats source the majority of their nutrition from protein, and a considerable portion of their metabolism is devoted to processing it, hence the extent to which sleep plays a role in their daily routine. Because of this, protein is essential to keep their bodies functioning.

Cats without a regular source of protein become lethargic and more prone to sickness, even when hydrated and otherwise fed. Importantly, not all protein sources are equal in terms of nutrition. The best quality proteins have the highest levels of essential amino acids, and are almost always found in whole meat rather than meal or plant products.

We ran the numbers on the top 500 dry cat foods on the market. Here are the top five products for protein percentage:

Product Protein content
Wysong Epigen 90 Starch-Free Formula Grain-Free Dry Dog & Cat Food, 5-lb bag 63%
Wysong Epigen Starch-Free Chicken Formula Grain-Free Dry Dog & Cat Food, 5-lb bag 60%
Dr. Elsey’s cleanprotein Chicken Formula Grain-Free Dry Cat Food, 6.6-lb bag 59%
Dr. Elsey’s cleanprotein Salmon Formula Grain-Free Dry Cat Food, 6.6-lb bag 56%
Wysong Optimal Nurture Dry Cat Food, 5-lb bag 52%

Why are these a good option?

High quality protein is the most important factor in your cat’s diet, so always look for products with a high ratio of protein versus other ingredients.

After protein, fat is the next essential component of your cat’s diet. Fats provide cats with a fundamental energy source and support the absorption of vitamins A, D, E, and K. Good fats also work in harmony with the body to insulate and protect essential organs.

As carnivores, cats don’t store up energy to the extent of some other animals, meaning that the fat content of their food can be relatively high. Most sources estimate that fats should make up 10-20 percent of a cat’s diet, so a good amount of fat (though not super high amounts without a specific need) is desirable in any dry food.

Here are the top five dry cat foods for crude fat content:

Product Fat content
Lafeber EmerAid Sustain HDN Senior Cat Food, 14-oz bag 37.4%
Instinct Raw Boost Grain-Free Recipe with Real Duck & Freeze-Dried Raw Coated Pieces Dry Cat Food, 4.5-lb bag 23.5%
Instinct Original Grain-Free Recipe with Real Duck Freeze-Dried Raw Coated Dry Cat Food, 10-lb bag 23%
Royal Canin Mother & Babycat Dry Cat Food for Newborn Kittens, Pregnant & Nursing Cats, 7-lb bag 23%
Hill’s Prescription Diet s/d Urinary Care Chicken Flavor Dry Cat Food, 4-lb bag 23%

Why’s this a good option?

Fat is your cat’s main energy source, and is especially valued by growing and senior cats for the way it supports essential functions and vitamin absorption.

Essential fatty acids are a crucial dietary component for both humans and dogs, because they’re difficult or impossible for the body to make by itself.

Among the most important of these are Omega-6 and Omega-3 fatty acids. Not only do they contribute to cats’ skin and coat maintenance, but they play a vital role in healing inflammation. Omega oils help the body respond to internal imbalances, combat joint pains, and ease skin irritations.

And here are the top five products in terms of omega content:

Product Omega (%)
Blue Buffalo Basics Limited Ingredient Grain-Free Formula Turkey & Potato Recipe Indoor Adult Dry Cat Food, 11-lb bag 25.75
Nutro Wholesome Essentials Hairball Control Chicken & Brown Rice Recipe Adult Dry Cat Food, 14-lb bag 7.35
Wellness CORE Grain-Free Turkey, Turkey Meal & Duck Formula Dry Cat Food, 11-lb bag 7
Authority Hairball Control Chicken & Rice Formula Adult Dry Cat Food, 16-lb bag 6.7
Purina Pro Plan Prime Plus Adult 7+ Salmon & Rice Formula Dry Cat Food, 3.2-lb bag 6.5

Why’s this a good option?

Omega fatty acids are essential for helping reduce internal inflammation, and cats cannot make them on their own.

Healthy cats don’t require carbohydrates in their diet, so they’re not an essential component of dry cat food. In fact, high levels of carbs such as corn or soy can indicate a low quality product that’s been bulked-out with cheap ingredients.

However, just because they don’t need carbs, it doesn’t mean that cats don’t like to eat them, as many owners will already know. According to one study, when given the choice, cats may on average prefer to get most of their calories from carbohydrates rather than protein, even though it’s not traditionally associated with carnivores.

Likewise, fibre that’s not from meat sources isn’t naturally needed by cats, but many dry foods contain it, as it may be helpful for house cats who aren’t accessing a typical diet of whole-animal prey. Here are the top five products in terms of crude fiber content:

Product Fiber content
Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Satiety Support Dry Cat Food, 7.7-lb bag 16.1%
Hill’s Prescription Diet c/d Multicare + Metabolic Chicken Flavor Dry Cat Food, 12-lb bag 16%
Hill’s Prescription Diet r/d Weight Reduction Chicken Flavor Dry Cat Food, 8.5-lb bag 16%
Hill’s Prescription Diet c/d Multicare Stress + Metabolic, Urinary + Weight Care Chicken Flavor Dry Cat Food, 6.35-lb bag 13.2%
Blue Buffalo Natural Veterinary Diet W+U Weight Management + Urinary Care Grain-Free Dry Cat Food, 6.5-lb bag 13%

Why’s this a good option?

House cats may need more fibre in their diets compared to those who roam free, as they don’t hunt and eat whole animals.

Taurine is an amino acid which naturally occurs in meat, but is often degraded during the extrusion process. In the wild, hunting cats would normally consume far higher levels of taurine than when domesticated, and a lack of the compound can result in serious medical conditions such blindness and heart disease.

Many dry food manufacturers now add synthetic taurine to the product to bump up levels, so it’s worth picking a brand that includes this essential nutrient. Here are the five dry food products with the highest taurine content:

Product Taurine content
Tiki Cat Born Carnivore Herring & Salmon Grain-Free Dry Cat Food, 5.6-lb bag 9.9%
Horizon Complete All Life Stages Dry Cat Food, 6.6-lb bag 2%
Hill’s Prescription Diet c/d Multicare Stress + Metabolic, Urinary + Weight Care Chicken Flavor Dry Cat Food, 6.35-lb bag 0.46%
Farmina Natural & Delicious Lamb Grain-Free Formula Dry Cat Food, 3.3-lb bag 0.4%
Farmina Natural & Delicious Chicken Grain-Free Formula Dry Cat Food, 3.3-lb bag 0.4%

Why’s this a good option?

Domesticated cats don’t have access to the taurine they need from hunting and eating whole animals, so it helps to supplement their diet with taurine-rich dry food.

Your cat’s needs

How we determine the best dry cat foods

We’ve run the numbers on over five-hundred dry cat foods available on the market right now, to bring you the real information needed to make the right shopping decisions. Our best product recommendations are based on a combination of several metrics, including X, Y, and Z. The dry foods that came out on top are listed further down this page, along with links to places where you can find them for a good deal.

Below, we’ve laid out the key factors behind dry food’s quality and nutritional benefits, with explainers on protein, fat, and omega content, as well as filler ingredients, artificial preservatives, and of course, flavor!

No cat has identical dietary needs, and as an owner, you’re in the primary position to judge what works best for your pet. That said, it helps to know what, and what not, to look for in a quality dry food product. So let’s get into it!

Skip straight to the best dry food to buy for cats in 2020.

TOP PICK

Pur Ultimate 11-Cup

  • Capacity: 11 cups (88 oz)

  • Price: $29.99

  • Replacement filter price: $7 ea.

Check Price

BEST OVERALL

Brita 10 Cup Pitcher

  • Capacity: 10 cups (8 oz)

  • Price: $34.99

  • Replacement filter price: $20

Check Price

Best Independently Tested

LifeStraw Home

  • Capacity: 10 cups (8 oz)

  • Price: $44.95

  • Replacement filter price: ~$30

Check Price

Best for Chlorine

ZeroWater ZP-010

  • Capacity: 10 cups (80 oz)

  • Price: $32.79

  • Replacement filter price: ~$13 ea.

Check Price

Best high capacity

Brita Ultramax 18 cup pitcher

  • Capacity: 18 cups (144 oz)

  • Price: $44.96

  • Replacement filter price: $20

Check Price

TOP PICK

Hill's Prescription Diet Metabolic Weight Management Chicken Flavor Dry Cat Food

Hill’s Prescription Dry Cat Food

  • Naturally works with your pet’s unique metabolism and helps to avoid weight regain after weight loss.

  • Helps your pet feel full and satisfied between meals while supporting vitality and holistic health.

  • When switching to this formula, 88% of pets lost weight at home in just 2 months.

Check Price

Runner Up

Cat Chow Hairball & Healthy Weight Indoor Dry Cat Food

Purina Cat Chow
Dry Cat Food

  • 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.

Check Price

The best dry food for cats to buy in 2020

With so many dry cat food brands and reviews out there, it can feel dizzying to start sifting through. That’s why we’re here to help ease your decision-making. The below factors should be your top buying considerations:

Healthy Ingredients

It’s good practice to keep an eye out for optimal, nutritious ingredients. It’s a good sign if dry cat food has the vitamins and minerals in the table below. Always double-check with your vet in case your cat needs more or less of certain ingredients. And look out for guaranteed nutritional labels, specifically food that has the American Association of Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) label. 

Real Meat This should always be a priority ingredient to ensure your cat is getting sufficient protein and energy. This is also where a high amount of iron will be present to keep your cat strong.
Omega-6 and Omega-3 fatty acids These are good fats essential to your cat’s overall health and coat health.
Fiber and Carbohydrates Fuels your cat with sustained energy.
Magnesium Helps your cat absorb vitamins and minerals.
Sodium The AAFCO recommends that dry cat food has at least 0.2% sodium to support natural growth.
Calcium Needed for female cats to produce milk and helpful for bone growth and health.
Vitamin A Good for a healthy immune system and vision.
Vitamin D Known for being a fat soluble that maintains the functioning of bones, nerves and muscles, though shouldn’t be taken in excess.
Zinc Good for maintaining healthy skin.
Phosphorus Helpful in energy metabolism and building healthy bones/teeth.

Flavor

Cats are known picky eaters, so there’s no point in buying dry cat food packed with nutrients if they don’t like the taste. Just ensure that the product has real meat as opposed to just the flavor of that meat. Popular cat proteins include chicken and fish, but your cat may be a wild card and enjoy lamb! One thing is for sure – you’ll find out pretty quickly which flavor your cat likes. 

Cat Age and Diet Sensitivity

This is when you especially need to consult with your cat’s vet. Age, illness and dietary needs will have an impact on what you should look for in dry food. For example kittens will need smaller kibble while senior cats need food packed with immune-boosting nutrients. And depending on the age, different levels of fat and calories are needed. This chart is a good start to assess the daily recommended proteins and fats depending on what stage of life your cat is in:

Kittens (around 1.8 lb) Adult cat (around 9 lb) Nursing cats (around 9 lb with 4 kittens)
Crude protein 10 g 12.5 g 41 g
Total fat 4 g 5.5 g 12 g

It’s also important to note, that in some cases for cats with health conditions, dry food may not be as valuable because it lacks the moisture that makes food easier to digest. Also, something to be wary of if your cat has dental issues, urinary disease or diabetes. 

No Artificial Preservatives

Cats can be sensitive to artificial flavors, but it’s also  – the last thing your cat needs is the fake stuff. Read through the ingredient list to ensure there’s all natural ingredients in your cat’s dry food.

The best dry food for cats to buy in 2020

We’ve thoroughly analyzed and reviewed dozens of dry cat food. Based on factors such as how the food is made, ingredient composition, and quality, we’ve identified only the very best dry cat foods available below. Here are our top 8 delicious and nutritious dry cat foods on the market.

Hill’s Prescription Diet Metabolic Weight Management Chicken Flavor Dry Cat Food

Just like the human epidemic, almost 50% of the pet population is overweight.

Hill's Prescription Diet Metabolic Weight Management Chicken Flavor Dry Cat Food
Buy on Chewy

Key Benefits

  • When switching to this formula, 88% of pets lost weight at home in just 2 months.

  • Naturally works with your pet’s unique metabolism and helps to avoid weight regain after weight loss.

  • Helps your pet feel full and satisfied between meals while supporting vitality and holistic health.

  • Offers the same great taste and benefits as they did prior to the introduction of the S+OXSHIELD seal.

  • Formulated with S+OXSHIELD to meet specific nutrient standards, shown to promote a urinary environment that helps reduce the risk for struvite and calcium oxalate crystals.

Even a little extra weight can impact the pet’s quality of life and relationship with family because that extra weight can reduce play time, impact mobility and affect the lifelong general health of your cat. Hill’s nutritionists and veterinarians developed Prescription Diet Metabolic clinical nutrition specially formulated to support your cat’s weight management. In fact, 88% of pets lost weight at home in two months when fed the nutrition of Metabolic.

Chicken By-Product Meal, Brewers Rice, Corn Gluten Meal, Powdered Cellulose, Dried Tomato Pomace, Flaxseed, Dried Beet Pulp, Chicken Liver Flavor, Coconut Oil, Pork Fat, Lactic Acid, Potassium Chloride, Calcium Sulfate, L-Lysine, Choline Chloride, Carrots, DL-Methionine, vitamins (Vitamin E Supplement, L-Ascorbyl-2-Polyphosphate (source of Vitamin C) , Niacin Supplement, Thiamine Mononitrate, Calcium Pantothenate, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Vitamin A Supplement, Riboflavin Supplement, Biotin, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Folic Acid, Vitamin D3 Supplement), Taurine, L-Carnitine, minerals (Manganese Sulfate, Ferrous Sulfate, Zinc Oxide, Copper Sulfate, Calcium Iodate, Sodium Selenite), Mixed Tocopherols for freshness, Natural Flavors, Beta-Carotene

Caloric Content

297 kcal/cup

Cat Chow Hairball & Healthy Weight Indoor Dry Cat Food

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.

Cat Chow Hairball & Healthy Weight Indoor Dry Cat Food
Buy on Chewy

Key Benefits

  • 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

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.

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 and Hairball Care is an easily digestible dry cat food, formulated especially for indoor kitties.

Iams ProActive Health Indoor Weight & Hairball Care Dry Cat Food
Buy on Chewy

Key Benefits

  • 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)

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.

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

Hill’s Science Diet Adult Perfect Weight Chicken Recipe Dry Cat Food

Hill’s Science Diet Adult Perfect Weight Dry Cat Food provides your four-legged friend with great tasting nutrition for a long, happy life.

Hill's Science Diet Adult Perfect Weight Chicken Recipe Dry Cat Food
Buy on Chewy

Key Benefits

  • Proprietary ingredient blend support your pet’s healthy weight loss while maintaining lean muscle.

  • Cats who are a healthy weight are less prone to develop weight-related health issues.

  • Antioxidant and vitamin blend work together to help support a healthy immune system.

  • Made from natural, high-quality ingredients without any artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives.

  • Made in the USA, this is a complete and balanced diet recommended for adult cats that require fewer calories.

Made with wholesome ingredients such as savory chicken, this nourishing recipe is balanced to meet your pet’s needs, promote weight loss and maintain lean muscle. Manufactured in the United States, every ingredient meets strict requirements for purity and nutrient content which exceed industry standards. Formulated for adult cats that require fewer calories, this Hill’s Science Diet provides your cat the nutrition she needs for a lifetime of health and happiness.

Chicken, Brewers Rice, Corn Gluten Meal, Wheat Gluten, Powdered Cellulose, Chicken Meal, Dried Tomato Pomace, Dried Beet Pulp, Flaxseed, Chicken Fat, Chicken Liver Flavor, Coconut Oil, Lactic Acid, Calcium Sulfate, L-Lysine, Potassium Chloride, Choline Chloride, Carrots, DL-Methionine, Taurine, vitamins (Vitamin E Supplement, L-Ascorbyl-2-Polyphosphate (source of Vitamin C), Niacin Supplement, Thiamine Mononitrate, Vitamin A Supplement, Calcium Pantothenate, Riboflavin Supplement, Biotin, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Folic Acid, Vitamin D3 Supplement), Iodized Salt, Dicalcium Phosphate, minerals (Manganese Sulfate, Ferrous Sulfate, Zinc Oxide, Copper Sulfate, Calcium Iodate, Sodium Selenite), L-Carnitine, Mixed Tocopherols for freshness, Oat Fiber, Natural Flavors, Beta-Carotene, Apples, Broccoli, Cranberries, Green Peas.

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

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.

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

Key Benefits

  • 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

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

  • 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

  • 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

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.

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

There will never be a full consensus on this matter. Many cat owners and vets will have their differing opinions. Ultimately, both dry and wet food have their own pros and cons – but they are both good in content and quality when sourced from reputable brands. Furthermore, it’s critical to assess your cat’s dietary needs based on their health, age and weight from your vet. 

When it comes to dry food over wet food, dry food is typically better in the following ways: 

  • More convenient for storage and feeding. 
  • Cost effective and cheaper.
  • Safer for leaving out all day. 
  • Tasty and palatable for many cats. 
  • Good nutritional ingredients. 
  • Good for dental health. 

Price doesn’t necessitate quality in every case. But you definitely get more meat protein and fewer carbs in wet food. While dry food is cheaper, it still provides value and quality – but this  based on the natural ingredients, content and company.

Okay, so dry food isn’t inherently bad for cats, it’s just moisture deficient. It’s widely known and understood that wet food generally provides more optimal benefits when it comes to hydration, weight loss, taste, meat protein content and even urinary tract infections. 

However, dry food still has all of the nutrients that your cat needs to be healthy and happy. Cats are picky eaters, so there’s no formula when it comes to how much your cat will like dry food. But you can always experiment with different types and formulas that include a range of meats. 

If you’re going to feed your cat a predominantly dry food diet then you’ll need to ensure they drink enough water. Or you can mix wet and dry food together.

Yes! As we mentioned above, the combination of wet and dry food in a feline’s diet is absolute kryptonite. As long as both types of food you’re feeding are high quality and all the nutritional needs of protein, vitamins, fat and minerals are met, then why not? It’s going to keep the texture fresh, the scent savoury and mealtime exciting. Most cats might prefer the taste of wet food, but if you combine the two – it will still be quite palatable. 

It’s a cost-effective combination as well. Your cat can still enjoy wet food without breaking your bank. Plus, when you add wet food into the mix, you’re keeping your cat hydrated.

Low quality dry food will be full of artificial preservatives, fillers that come from mostly grain and wheat based ingredients. Look out for the following core components in dry, kibble food to keep your cat on a healthy path: 

  • “Complete and Balanced” Label as set out by the American Association of Feed Control Officials (AAFCO). 
  • Named Animal Protein like chicken, lamb, or beaf. Avoid food that says “meat” 
  • Healthy fats like Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids
  • Taurine. According to IAMS, taurine is an essential amino acid that is important for muscle function, vision, among other things. A good thing to look for in dry food. 
  • Vitamins A, C and D are all good inclusions.

As there are ingredients to keep your eyes peeled for, there are also ingredients to be wary of for your cat’s health. You need to keep the bad ingredients out. Aim for foods with an AAFCO endorsement and stay away from food sourced from Asian countries (or at least cross-check if it’s okay with your vet). Healthy cat food should not include: 

  • Anything labeled with “meat” or “by-product”. The protein source should be identified clearly and listed first. 
  • Chemical preservatives: BHA, BHT and ethoxyquin
  • Artificial colors: Blue 2, Red 40, Yellow 5 or caramel coloring. 
  • Sugar
  • Sodium nitrate or sodium nitrite 
  • Too many carbohydrate fillers: corn, wheat or soy (this leads to weight gain in cats)

Ultimately, the shorter the ingredient list – the better!

According to the Animal Medical Center in New York, an average 8-pound indoor cat needs around 240 calories a day. When feeding an adult indoor cat, we recommend around ⅓ – ½ cup of quality dry food per day. However, if you’re feeding your cat a mix of wet and dry, then feed about 1/4 of an eight ounce cup of dry cat food each day fed with 2.5 ounces of canned food (about 1/2 of a normal can of cat food).

At the end of the day, these proportions are just a guide and you should always consult with your vet to adjust a diet that fits your cat’s needs.

Most owners feed their cats in the morning and at night. The best part about dry food is you can feed them a double dose in the morning and that can be enough to satisfy their hunger for the rest of the day – without compromising food safety!

The best and healthiest dry cat food is rich in high-quality protein. It doesn’t contain a lot of carbohydrates and it’s free of artificial additives that do more harm than good.