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5 Best Cat Foods Without Carrageenan for Easy Digestion

Disclaimer: As a Chewy and Amazon affiliate, I earn from qualifying purchases. This does not impact our reviews and comparisons.

Carrageenan is a seaweed thickener used in many wet cat foods. It has no nutrition value, and can irritate digestion.

Here’s our 5 best cat foods without carrageenan:

  1. Feline Natural Chicken & Lamb | Best Overall
  2. Meat Mates Lamb | Best for Older Cats
  3. Tiki Baby Cat | Best for Kittens
  4. Sheba Perfect Portions | Most Affordable
  5. Avo Derm Tuna & Crab | Best for Indoor Cats

So how can you find great quality cat foods without carrageenan?

Feeding your cat isn’t too hard, but there’s still a few mines to dodge if you want to avoid iffy ingredients.

Whilst the jury is still out on how harmful carrageenan is, sometimes it’s best to err on the side of caution.

At worst, the seaweed based ingredient may increase the risk of disease and cancer.

In this article, I’ll help you find a carrageenan free cat food your feline will love. I’ll also look at some frequently asked questions on the topic.

I test and analyze the popular cat foods in the markets to find the best of the best.

So is carrageenan that that bad? Do you need to run for the hills?

Read on to find out…

I am not a veterinarian and I recommend seeking the advice of a vet for any further questions. This article is not intended as a replacement for medical advice.

5 Best Cat Foods Without Carrageenan

5 Best Cat Foods Without Carrageenan

Here’s my top cat food picks without carrageenan to give you some quick options to look at.

1. Feline Natural Chicken & Lamb

Best Cat Food Without Carrageenan

Feline Natural cat food dry matter nutrition analysis.
Dry matter nutrition analysis of Feline Natural cat food

Cat Food: Feline Natural Chicken & Lamb

Who it’s for: A great all-around cat food with no filler ingredients. Suitable for cats of all life stages as a complete meal.

Who it’s not for: Mixed taste reviews. A little pricey.

Learn More: Feline Natural Cat Food Review

Where to buy?

2. Meat Mates Lamb

Best Carrageenan-Free Cat Food for Older Cats

Meat Mates cat food dry matter nutrition analysis.
Dry matter nutrition analysis of Meat Mates cat food

Cat Food: Meat Mates Lamb

Who it’s for: High calorie to help senior cats maintain weight. No grains, gums or legumes.

Who it’s not for: Low availability. A little pricey.

Learn More: Meat Mates Cat Food Review

Where to buy?

3. Tiki Baby Cat

Best Kitten Food Without Carrageenan

Tiki Baby Cat food dry matter nutrition analysis.
Dry matter nutrition analysis of Tiki Baby cat food

Cat Food: Tiki Baby Cat

Who it’s for: Hard to go past Tiki Baby Cat for kittens. Great taste, with authentic shreds. No grains, gums or legumes.

Who it’s not for: High cost. Lack of flavors. Added sunflower oil.

Learn More: Tiki Baby Cat Food Review

Where to buy?

Our cat trying Tiki Baby Cat food.

4. Sheba Perfect Portions Roasted Turkey

Best Affordable Cat Food Without Carrageenan

Sheba Perfect Portions cat food dry matter nutrition analysis.
Dry matter nutrition analysis of Sheba Perfect Portions cat food

Cat Food: Sheba Perfect Portions

Who it’s for: Great tasting product that picky cats love. Low in carbs and pea free for easy digestion.

Who it’s not for: Does have added gums. Owned by Mars Pet Care. May change recipe from time to time.

Learn More: Sheba Cat Food Review

Where to buy?

5. Avo Derm Tuna & Crab

Best Indoor Cat Food Without Carrageenan

Avo Derm cat food dry matter nutrition analysis.
Dry matter nutrition analysis of Avo Derm cat food

Cat Food: Avo Derm Tuna & Crab

Who it’s for: Low in calorie choice to help indoor cats stay at a healthy weight. High in seafood ingredients for fish lovers. Affordable.

Who it’s not for: Does have added gums. Still to test this one, so not sure how our big picky cat would like it. Tuna rich cat food is only suitable for occasional feeding.

Where to buy?

How Did I Choose These Cat Foods?

I used a database of foods I’ve looked at and filtered for carrageenan. Since you’ll find carrageenan in wet foods, I’ve left out dry cat food.

I’ve sorted options from low to high carb and highlighted key features in this table. You can also see whether the food uses gums, another thickener you might want to avoid.

Here’s the full list of carrageenan-free cat food for peace of mind:

Best cat foods without carrageenanTextureLifestageCostTasteGumsProteinCarbsFiberCal/kg
Hound & Gatos Duck & LiverPateAll$$8Yes45.5%0.0%4.5%1,222
Tiki Baby Cat Chicken & EggShredsAll$$$10No62.5%0.0%8.3%1175
Tiki Cat After Dark ChickenShredsAll$$$8.5No77.7%0.1%0.0%751
Fancy Feast Savory Centers Pate With ChickenPateAdult$$9.5Yes45.0%1.0%7.5%966
Meat Mates Lamb DinnerPateAll$$$9No41.7%1.7%3.9%1,084
Feline Natural Chicken & Lamb FeastPateAll$$$7.5No51.5%2.1%0.5%895
Tiki Baby Cat Chicken & SalmonShredsAll$$$10No62.5%2.1%8.3%1175
Purina Pro Plan Kitten Grain-Free ChickenPateGrowth$$9.5Yes51.1%2.1%6.4%1,321
Purina Pro Plan Kitten Chicken & LiverPateGrowth$$9Yes51.1%2.1%6.4%1,173
Wellness Smooth Loaf ChickenPateAdult$$8.5Yes47.7%2.6%4.5%1,116
Iams Perfect Portions Indoor ChickenGravyAdult$$9Yes50.0%2.8%5.6%937
Instinct Original Grain-free Real RabbitPateAll$$9No59.1%3.2%6.8%944
Wellness Core Tiny Tasters DuckPateAdult$$$9.5Yes46.7%3.7%0.4%1,291
Ziwi Peak Otago ValleyPateAll$$$7No44.9%4.1%4.1%1,250
Applaws Chicken Breast in BrothBrothSupplement$$9No75.0%5.0%5.0%N/A
Nulo Freestyle Duck & TunaPateAll$8.5Yes51.4%5.8%0.4%1,225
Sheba Perfect Portions Roasted TurkeyPateAll$9.5Yes45.0%7.5%7.5%1,112
Earthborn Holistic Monterey Medleys Tuna & MackerelShredsAdult$$9.5Yes60.0%7.5%7.5%N/A
Weruva Mideast Feast With Grilled TilapiaGravyAdult$$$9.5Yes64.9%7.6%5.4%746
Halo Chicken StewStewAdult$8Yes43.9%7.8%7.3%1,025
Royal Canin Kitten Feline Health Nutrition LoafPateGrowth$$9Yes55.0%9.0%10.5%894
Avo Derm Tuna & CrabGravyAll$9Yes55.6%11.1%5.6%829
Friskies Pate Turkey & GibletsPateAdult$9.5Yes45.5%12.3%4.5%1,131
Purina Beyond Arctic Char & SpinachPateAdult$$9Yes40.9%13.6%6.8%1200
Tiny Tiger ChickenGravyAll$8Yes55.0%14.0%7.5%929
9 Lives Meat Protein With Real ChickenPateAdult$9Yes40.9%15.9%4.5%1,050
Wellness Morsels With Chicken & TurkeyChunksAdult$$$9Yes37.1%18.2%4.3%725
Merrick Purrfect Bistro ChickenPateAdult$$8.5Yes45.5%18.6%4.5%1,132
Wellness Morsels With Chicken & SalmonChunksAdult$$$7.5Yes44.2%21.0%3.2%725
Castor & Pollux Organix Chicken & Chicken LiverPateAll$$8.5No40.9%22.3%4.5%1116
Made By Nacho Beef CutsGravyAdult$$$9Yes44.4%25.0%8.3%814
This table is a comparison of wet cat foods without carrageenan. It includes details about texture. nutrition and price. *dry matter basis

Buying Guide: How to Find the Best Cat Foods Without Carrageenan

Carrageenan is a thickener. As you’d expect, it’s used in wet cat food products.

So if you’re using dry cat food don’t worry about it.

To find whether your cat food uses carrageenan, check the ingredient list on the back or side of the cat food label. Some foods use very small print, so be careful.

Cat food ingredient list.
Check the ingredients list for carrageenan.

You can also find information online.

Some retailers are better than others at showing ingredient information on cat foods. Hit control + F on the nutritional information panel to look for carrageenan.

Here’s an example on Chewy:

Feline Natural variety pack ingredient list found online.
Feline Natural variety pack ingredient list found online.

Another thing is to keep in mind is some countries use numbers for additives.

In Australia, for instance, carrageenan is E407.

Also look for vague terms like ‘gelling agents’ as this can include gums and carrageenan. If you see this term, it’s best to stay on the safe side.

Gelling agents may include carrageenan.
Gelling agents may include carrageenan. Use caution.

Finally, you of course want a cat food suitable for your cat dietary needs.

For that, I recommend making sure to select food that meets AAFCO’s nutrition guidelines for:

  • Growth: Kittens (up to 1 years)
  • Maintenance: Adult cats (1-7 years)
  • All life stages: Kittens or adults

AAFCO don’t set nutrition guidelines for senior cats. You can find senior care guidelines at American Association of Feline Practitioners (AAFP) website.

Most cat foods suitable for all life stages are good choices for older cats, but you’ll want to opt for a high protein diet for age related muscle loss.

That’s about it! Easy yeah?

Learn More:

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Carrageenan Harmful to Cats?

Degraded carrageenan may cause inflammatory conditions including:

  • Colitis
  • Arthritis
  • Irritable bowel disease
  • Colon cancer

Some degradation of carrageenan can occur through digestion. It’s not well known how much carrageenan is enough to cause harm in cats.

It’s this form of carrageenan that’s used in test models of inflammation.

The amount of carrageenan used to cause digestive disorders is much higher than found in cat food (less than 1%).

Carrageenan is generally regarded as safe (GRAS) by the FDA.

The jury is still out on how much carrageenan is harmful.

Does Purina Cat Food Contain Carrageenan?

The following brands from Purina don’t use carrageenan:

  • Friskies
  • Fancy Feast
  • Purina ONE
  • Purina PRO PLAN
  • Purina BEYOND

Be mindful that these offshoots have their own range of cat food. There’s a huge range of cat food products from Purina that can change ingredients.

Different countries have different types of Purina cat foods.

Most Purina cat foods are carrageenan free but always double check.

Fancy Feast are a carrageenan free cat food from Purina.
Fancy Feast are a carrageenan free cat food from Purina.

Why Do They Put Carrageenan in Cat Food?

Carrageenan is a thickener that helps stop cat food from being runny and watery.

This thickener gets used in a lot of human products including milkshake and ice-cream.

It’s even used for other purposes including toothpaste and shampoo.

Does Royal Canin Cat Food Contain Carrageenan?

Like Purina, Royal Canin have a wide range of cat food choices and regional differences.

The Royal Canin cat foods we’ve looked at contain no carrageenan. Always double check to make sure.

Conclusion

Carrageenan is a thickener used in wet cat food. It helps prevent an unpleasant watery texture.

Whilst it helps with texture, carrageenan may cause health problems in cats. Degraded carrageenan can increase the risk of colon cancer and irritable bowel disease.

The jury is out whether the small amount used in cat food is harmful. However, for most pet owners it’s best to stay on the safe side for your cats wellbeing.

Our best cat food without carrageenan pick: Feline Natural

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