Let’s cut to the chase.
These are the 10 best cat foods. Tested with cats. Healthy only.
- Fancy Feast | Best Wet
- Dr. Elsey’s Clean-Protein | Best Dry
- Tiki Cat Baby | Best for Kittens
- Wellness Core | Best for Picky Cats
- Friskies | Value for Money
- Tiki Cat After Dark | Best for Diarrhea
- Sheba | Best for Weight Loss
- Feline Natural | Best for Senior Cats
- Instinct Original Rabbit | Best without Chicken
- Meat Mates | Kidney Health
As carnivores, cats have unique needs on their plate.
They benefit from high protein and low carb cat food.
Get it right and enjoy better health.
What to choose though?
High protein. Low carb.
Here’s out 3 top tips for buying cat food for a happy cat.
- Choose complete cat food
- Bump up the protein
- Lower the carbs
Tip 1 : Choose Complete Cat Food
There’s two types of cat food:
As the names suggest, supplemental isn’t a complete meal.
It does not have all the nutrients cats need.
Complete meals do.
AAFCO have nutrition guidelines for kittens and adults. Most cat food brands follow these guidelines.
They’ll include a statement of nutritional adequacy on the label.
- Growth: For kittens up to 1 years and lactating cats
- Maintenance: For adults 1-7 years
- All life stages: Either
Here’s a few examples:
If you’ve got a 3 year old cat, choose a cat food for maintenance.
8 month old kitten?
Or pick any cat food for all life stages to cover all bases.
What about cats 7+ years?
AAFCO don’t have guidelines for senior cats.
Problem is, cats tend to gain weight after 7. Metabolism slows.
However, at 12 years cats tend to lose weight to sarcopenia.
Low calorie wet cat food is best for weight loss.
After 12, you need to bump up the calories and protein.
Choose complete food for all life stages, after 12.
More older cat specific tips below, or scroll on.
Tip 2 : Bump Up The Protein
Cat’s have higher protein needs than humans.
They use protein for energy, not just structure.
AAFCO recommend at least 26% protein for adults and 30% for growth (dry matter).
Most cat foods meet this.
Check using a dry matter calculator. Enter the guaranteed analysis.
You need to use a dry matter calculation to account for water.
But it’s not only amount of protein that matters, but quality.
Animal protein is higher in essential amino acids.
Here’s a comparison:
|Casein (dairy protein)||100%|
|Whey (dairy protein)||100%|
|Soy protein isolate||98%|
|Pea protein (concentrate)||89%|
|Yellow split pea||64%|
|Rice protein (concentrate)||42%|
As you can see, a protein like wheat gluten offers a paltry 25% compared to egg (100%) or red meat (92%).
Plant protein like chickpea or lentil offers mid-tier quality.
If the food is loaded with plant or wheat protein, the quality might not add up.
The target for growth is 30% protein.
If you choose a food with exactly 30% but it’s from wheat gluten protein, it’s not meeting your kittens needs factoring for quality.
Keep in mind:
Senior cats need higher protein diets for sarcopenia. Experts suggest 40% protein.
So factor in total protein and quality.
Finally, cats prefer high protein diets. Protein is tastier.
Aim for 40% protein for all cats. Mostly animal protein.
That’s get the job done.
Be judicious under 40%.
Tip 3 : Choose Low Carb Cat Food
Cats don’t need carbs.
All types of cats are carnivores. They thrive on prey.
Whilst cats can digest cooked starch (85 -95%), it’s the amount that’s the issue.
High carb diets can cause digestive upsets from lack of enzymes.
Diabetic cats may benefit from low carb diets (less than 15%).
Whilst the jury is out on how much is bad, I suggest sticking to less than 25%.
Wet cat food is best to keep the carbs low.
10 Best Cat Foods
1. Fancy Feast Creamy Delights
Best Wet Cat Food
Pros and Cons
Fancy Feast is a great all round wet cat food.
There’s a lot of variety. It’s fussy cat friendly.
As a low carb option, it’s easier on digestion. And it’s suitable for all life stages.
Aside from using meat by-products, there’s not much wrong.
Unless you’re after a premium pick, Fancy Feast is best for most standard issue cats.
Learn More: Best Wet Cat Food
2. Dr. Elsey’s Clean Protein
Best Dry Cat Food
For the health conscious owner, Dr. Elsey’s are best for kibble lovers.
It’s zero carb, using gelatin as a binder. No worries about digestive upsets.
Suitable for all life stages. Well priced.
Customer reviews are positive. However, we’re not wild about some recent product change reports.
Could use more flavors.
Learn More: Best Dry Cat Food
3. Tiki Cat Baby
Best Kitten Food
Pros and Cons
Tiki Cat Baby is our top pick for kittens.
They offer a mix of shreds and mousse textures to help with food transition.
Tiki Cat Baby is a complete meal for growing kittens. And our cat loved it.
As a low carb and filler free choice, you can’t go wrong.
Only problem? A bit pricey.
If this one is too steep, try Fancy Feast Kitten.
Learn More: Best Wet Kitten Food
4. Wellness Core Tiny Tasters
Best Wet Cat Food for Picky Eaters
Pros and Cons
Of the healthy cat foods, our cats loved Wellness Core’s Tiny Tasters most.
It’s low carb. It’s suited to all life stages.
Good range of flavors. Meaty rich.
Not much else to complain about aside from the dearer price. The gums may irritate digestion.
Learn More: Best Wet Cat Food for Picky Eaters
5. Friskies Pate
Best Affordable Cat Food
Pros and Cons
If you’re tight on cash, Friskies get the job done.
It’s a complete meal for adult cats. Lots of flavors to choose from.
Great bulk buy options. Fussy cats love it.
With the price though, comes the use of by-products. And the carbs hover a bit higher than other wet cat foods.
Learn More: Best Budget Cat Food
6. Tiki Cat After Dark
Best for Diarrhea
Pros and Cons
As a grain, legume, and fiber free option, Tiki is easy on digestion.
It’s also low calorie to help with weight control. Indoor cats will love it.
You get real authentic meaty shreds. Fresh smelling.
Though it’s pricey. And all recipes use chicken.
Learn More: Best Cat Food for Diarrhea
7. Sheba Perfect Portions
Best Wet Cat Food for Weight Loss
Sheba is a great all round choice for weight loss.
It has portion controlled packaging. It’s low in calories. It’s affordable.
It isn’t the best choice for senior cats, with a low calcium content. And the tubs are hard to open.
But all in all, it’s good stuff.
Learn More: Best Cat Food for Weight Loss
8. Feline Natural
Best Cat Food for Senior Cats
Pros and Cons
Feline Natural is one the best quality choices and senior friendly.
Senior cats need more protein and fat. This food delivers.
It also offers omega 3 for joint health.
The price is a bit steep though. Mixed taste results from our cat crew.
Learn More: Best Cat Food for Seniors
9. Instinct Original Rabbit
Best Cat Food Without Chicken
This is the best chicken free cat food.
And there isn’t many. Chicken is a favorite.
Instinct Original are US owned. This option is a rabbit and pork recipe.
High protein and grain-free.
We found mixed reviews online though for taste. Haven’t tried it yet, but be weary.
Learn More: Best Cat Food Without Chicken
10. Meat Mates
Best Cat Food for Kidney Disease
Pros and Cons
Meat Mates sneaks under the radar I feel.
It’s a superb low phosphorus cat food. It offers simple flavors for fussy seniors set in their ways.
The protein is also not too high, which benefits kidney disease.
You’ll be lucky if it’s in stock. Despite our cats enjoying it, the reviews are mixed.
Learn More: Best Cat Food for Kidney Disease
What Are the Top 10 Dry Cat Foods?
Here’s a comparison of our top picks:
|Top 10 dry cat foods||Lifestage||Protein*||Carbs||Kcal/kg||Price||Score||Notes|
|Dr. Elsey’s Clean Protein||All||67%||0%||4,030||$$||80||Best overall|
|Orijen Original||All||44%||20%||4,120||$$||79||Good choice, a tad high in carbs|
|Tiki Born Carnivore||All||48%||14%||3,922||$$||77||Good low carb choice|
|Go! Solutions Carnivore||All||51%||17%||4,298||$||73||Affordable healthy choice|
|Purina Pro Plan||Growth||48%||25%||4,370||$||72||Great affordable choice for kittens, a bit high in carbs|
|Solid Gold Indigo Moon||All||47%||19%||3,958||$||70||Affordable ‘solid’ choice|
|Ziwi Peak Air-Dried||All||41%||5%||5,600||$$$||69||Healthiest choice, but pricey|
|Purina ONE Hairball Control||Adult||39%||33%||3,977||$||69||Affordable, but high in carbs|
|Taste of the Wild Rocky Mountain||All||47%||20%||3,745||$||68||Affordable, lower carb choice|
|Crave Chicken & Salmon||Adult||44%||22%||3,788||$||65||Affordable for adults, limited flavors|
What Is the Healthiest Food for a Cat to Eat?
I recommend Feline Natural.
It’s a complete meal for all life stages.
Filler free. High in grass-fed animal produce.
Is Canned Tuna Good for Cats?
It’s high mercury, which is toxic. Best as an occasional meal only.
What Foods You Should Never Feed Your Cat?
Many human foods have ingredients cats can’t have.
Things like onion, garlic, tomatoes.
Human foods aren’t suited to a cats needs as carnivores.
What Should Cats Eat Daily?
A complete and balanced cat food.
This gives cats all the nutrients they need for health.
Use the back of the label to find instructions on how much to feed your cat.
Try a mix of wet and dry. Wet helps cats stay hydrated.
Choose a high protein cat food for cats. Wet is best.
Check the label for a statement of nutritional adequacy. Choose cat food suitable as a complete meal.
>> Our best cat food recommendation: Fancy Feast