The 10 Best Cat Foods-Safe and Healthy Formulas for Your Feline Friend

We all want to keep our cats as healthy as we can for as long as possible and the best way is to start by giving your cat the best food possible.

While you'll see fancy labels on many brands that claim to be organic, holistic, or superior in some other way, the truth about any cat food's quality is revealed in its ingredients list.

Cat food conversations are littered with passionate opinions concerning whether or not cats should eat like they do in the wild or if they should avoid carbs, if they should consume dry food for better dental health or if they should eat wet food for better hydration, and the like.

For the average cat owner, the ongoing debates make it challenging to figure out what a healthy diet looks like for a domestic cat.

To find the best food for your cat, it’s essential to figure out which opinions are rooted in science, which are long-standing myth, and which are somewhere in between.

Reviews.com analyzed 1,759 cat food formulas and found only 163 that were produced by a trustworthy brand with high-quality, risk-free ingredients.

We analyzed 1,759 cat food formulas and found only 163 that were produced by a trustworthy brand with high-quality, risk-free ingredients.

While quality ingredients remain a vital component of the best pet food, we soon realized that we’d have to scrap many of the assumptions we made based on our dog food research, and start with a clean slate for cat food.

With this fresh perspective, we were able to identify the information essential to keeping your cat healthy and happy.


How We Found the Best Cat Food


In order to find the best cat food, we knew we needed to analyze the ingredients of every single formula.

We created a comprehensive list of cat food from reputable online directories, then spent several days researching each product and each brand.

With pages of notes from our research, input from industry experts, and a massive spreadsheet with hundreds of cat food formulas, we were prepared to start identifying and removing sub-par products.

We spent 300 hours researching the cat food industry and digging deep into the science of what cats need for their optimal diet.

We surveyed 97 veterinary professionals and 437 cat owners; we read dozens of articles and studies; and we analyzed the ingredients of more than 1,700 cat food formulas — all to discover what matters most in picking out the best cat food.

We concluded that quality ingredients — that is, whole proteins that are free of harmful or controversial substances — are the one most important characteristic of the best cat food formulas.

Based on our extensive research, we designed a method for reviewing cat food and finding products made with quality ingredients and produced by reliable brands.

We examined more than 100 brands. Only 38 of them produced at least one approved formula.

10 of Our Favorite Cat Foods

  1. Addiction Grain Free Herbed Duck Confit and Sweet Potatoes Entree
  2. Blackwood Chicken Meal and Field Pea Recipe Grain Free Dry Cat Food
  3. Earthborn Holistic Wild Sea Catch Grain Free Natural Dry Cat & Kitten Food
  4. Fromm Gold Holistic Adult Dry Cat Food
  5. Lotus Just Juicy Pork Stew Grain Free Canned Cat Food
  6. Now Fresh Grain Free Adult Recipe Dry Cat Food
  7. Redbarn Naturals Salmon and Delilah Grain Free Canned Cat Food
  8. Wysong Optimal Vitality Dry Cat Food
  9. ZiwiPeak Daily Cat Cuisine Venison and Fish Canned Cat Food
  10. Spring Naturals Grain Free Chicken Dinner with a Medley of Garden Greens and Berries Dry Cat Food


When It Comes to the Best Type of Cat Food, There’s No Clear Winner


When we made our picks for best cat foods, we examined all varieties: dry, wet, dehydrated, freeze-dried, and homemade.

The perfect feeding regimen for domesticated cats is probably not known yet, and with any condition where there is not a cut-and-dry treatment or cure, there are a lot of opinions by the researching scientists, veterinarians, and pet owners.

Type of food cat owners most often feed their cat, according to a recent Reviews.com survey:

Dry


Dry cat food is often touted as being better for dental health than wet food, but as mentioned, there’s very little conclusive evidence to support this.

Cats don’t chew their food particularly thoroughly, which means that it’s actually unlikely that a dry food has the opportunity to scrape plaque from their teeth.

Dry food is generally less expensive and it’s more convenient because you can buy it in a big bag and leave it out without it spoiling.

Some veterinarians recommend a diet that’s primarily dry food, but others caution that its ingredients can be relatively suspect.

Dry cat food tends to be more processed, and its low water content may lead to dehydration.


Wet (canned)

Conversely, wet food may offer some additional health benefits. Cats typically get crucial hydration from the food they eat, and wet cat food’s high water content plays a key role in that. It’s also often less processed and contains a more optimal balance of protein, fat, and carbohydrates. The expense and inconvenience of canned food, though, are considerations for some cat owners.


Raw

For many cat owners, the appeal of raw is that it closely approximates a cat’s native diet. Cats in the wild eat their prey whole and have teeth that are naturally able to tear through meat.

Fresh, unprocessed foods are at the heart of a raw diet, enabling cats to get the vitamins and nutrients they need, while avoiding potentially harmful preservatives like BHA and BHT.

Meat from your local grocery store is not meant to be consumed raw and may contain harmful or dangerous bacteria, and owners must be careful when handling raw ingredients.

Raw food can also be harder for cats to break down and digest relative to food that’s been cooked. In addition, it can be expensive and harder to obtain.

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Dehydrated


Dehydrated food is made by removing moisture from the ingredients. Because it’s not cooked, it remains nutrient-rich and maintains its natural color and flavor.

Dehydrated food has many of the benefits of raw, but without some of the risks that come with handling and preparing raw foods.

However, if you do choose to put your cat on a diet based primarily on dehydrated food, hydration can become a concern.

Make sure cats who eat mostly dehydrated food are drinking enough water to stave off kidney problems.


Homemade


Some cat owners choose to prepare fully homemade meals for their cat from human-grade foods.

This can be incredibly time-consuming, but it does give owners complete confidence in knowing the exact ingredients of their cat’s food.

Homemade foods may not be ideal, though, if the owner does not take special precautions about food safety.

The American Animal Hospital Association warns against homemade raw diets, because the meats may be contaminated with pathogens, as we are now beginning to see by the recent recalls.

Cat owners who choose a fully homemade diet should be sure to consult their veterinarian about necessary nutrients and how to achieve the right balance of fats and proteins to ensure their cat’s diet is truly complete.

Regardless of the type of food your cat prefers, quality ingredients and digestibility are essential.

15 of Our Least Favorite Cat Foods

A total of 78 brands had at least one formula removed due to ingredients. The following 15 brands had all of their formulas removed due to ingredients:


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