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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:
- Feline Natural Chicken & Lamb | Best Overall
- Meat Mates Lamb | Best for Older Cats
- Tiki Baby Cat | Best for Kittens
- Sheba Perfect Portions | Most Affordable
- 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
Here’s my top cat food picks without carrageenan to give you some quick options to look at.
Best Cat Food Without Carrageenan
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?
Best Carrageenan-Free Cat Food for Older Cats
Best Kitten Food Without Carrageenan
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?
Best Affordable Cat Food Without Carrageenan
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?
Best Indoor Cat Food Without Carrageenan
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 carrageenan||Texture||Lifestage||Cost||Taste||Gums||Protein||Carbs||Fiber||Cal/kg|
|Hound & Gatos Duck & Liver||Pate||All||$$||8||Yes||45.5%||0.0%||4.5%||1,222|
|Tiki Baby Cat Chicken & Egg||Shreds||All||$$$||10||No||62.5%||0.0%||8.3%||1175|
|Tiki Cat After Dark Chicken||Shreds||All||$$$||8.5||No||77.7%||0.1%||0.0%||751|
|Fancy Feast Savory Centers Pate With Chicken||Pate||Adult||$$||9.5||Yes||45.0%||1.0%||7.5%||966|
|Meat Mates Lamb Dinner||Pate||All||$$$||9||No||41.7%||1.7%||3.9%||1,084|
|Feline Natural Chicken & Lamb Feast||Pate||All||$$$||7.5||No||51.5%||2.1%||0.5%||895|
|Tiki Baby Cat Chicken & Salmon||Shreds||All||$$$||10||No||62.5%||2.1%||8.3%||1175|
|Purina Pro Plan Kitten Grain-Free Chicken||Pate||Growth||$$||9.5||Yes||51.1%||2.1%||6.4%||1,321|
|Purina Pro Plan Kitten Chicken & Liver||Pate||Growth||$$||9||Yes||51.1%||2.1%||6.4%||1,173|
|Wellness Smooth Loaf Chicken||Pate||Adult||$$||8.5||Yes||47.7%||2.6%||4.5%||1,116|
|Iams Perfect Portions Indoor Chicken||Gravy||Adult||$$||9||Yes||50.0%||2.8%||5.6%||937|
|Instinct Original Grain-free Real Rabbit||Pate||All||$$||9||No||59.1%||3.2%||6.8%||944|
|Wellness Core Tiny Tasters Duck||Pate||Adult||$$$||9.5||Yes||46.7%||3.7%||0.4%||1,291|
|Ziwi Peak Otago Valley||Pate||All||$$$||7||No||44.9%||4.1%||4.1%||1,250|
|Applaws Chicken Breast in Broth||Broth||Supplement||$$||9||No||75.0%||5.0%||5.0%||N/A|
|Nulo Freestyle Duck & Tuna||Pate||All||$||8.5||Yes||51.4%||5.8%||0.4%||1,225|
|Sheba Perfect Portions Roasted Turkey||Pate||All||$||9.5||Yes||45.0%||7.5%||7.5%||1,112|
|Earthborn Holistic Monterey Medleys Tuna & Mackerel||Shreds||Adult||$$||9.5||Yes||60.0%||7.5%||7.5%||N/A|
|Weruva Mideast Feast With Grilled Tilapia||Gravy||Adult||$$$||9.5||Yes||64.9%||7.6%||5.4%||746|
|Halo Chicken Stew||Stew||Adult||$||8||Yes||43.9%||7.8%||7.3%||1,025|
|Royal Canin Kitten Feline Health Nutrition Loaf||Pate||Growth||$$||9||Yes||55.0%||9.0%||10.5%||894|
|Avo Derm Tuna & Crab||Gravy||All||$||9||Yes||55.6%||11.1%||5.6%||829|
|Friskies Pate Turkey & Giblets||Pate||Adult||$||9.5||Yes||45.5%||12.3%||4.5%||1,131|
|Purina Beyond Arctic Char & Spinach||Pate||Adult||$$||9||Yes||40.9%||13.6%||6.8%||1200|
|Tiny Tiger Chicken||Gravy||All||$||8||Yes||55.0%||14.0%||7.5%||929|
|9 Lives Meat Protein With Real Chicken||Pate||Adult||$||9||Yes||40.9%||15.9%||4.5%||1,050|
|Wellness Morsels With Chicken & Turkey||Chunks||Adult||$$$||9||Yes||37.1%||18.2%||4.3%||725|
|Merrick Purrfect Bistro Chicken||Pate||Adult||$$||8.5||Yes||45.5%||18.6%||4.5%||1,132|
|Wellness Morsels With Chicken & Salmon||Chunks||Adult||$$$||7.5||Yes||44.2%||21.0%||3.2%||725|
|Castor & Pollux Organix Chicken & Chicken Liver||Pate||All||$$||8.5||No||40.9%||22.3%||4.5%||1116|
|Made By Nacho Beef Cuts||Gravy||Adult||$$$||9||Yes||44.4%||25.0%||8.3%||814|
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.
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:
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.
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?
Frequently Asked Questions
Is Carrageenan Harmful to Cats?
Degraded carrageenan may cause inflammatory conditions including:
- 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:
- 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.
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.
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