10 Healthiest Cat Food Options on the Market

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Key Points

  • Grain-free and limited-ingredient foods eliminate possible allergens.

  • Cats are obligate carnivores and must receive their protein from animal meat.

  • Canned or wet food encourages cats to consume more water and stay hydrated.

Many experts — and especially cat food companies — argue the advantages of specific types of cat food, whether grain-free, limited-ingredient, wet, or dry. The truth is, there's not one food that's perfect for all felines, because each cat has different needs.

This in-depth guide provides you with detailed information about 10 of the healthiest cat food options on the market. Whether your priorities lie with ingredients, budget, or specific benefits, choose the one that's healthiest for your cat while still meeting your needs.

Wilderness High Protein Grain Free

by Blue Buffalo 

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Blue Buffalo Wilderness High Protein Grain-Free Chicken Recipe Wet Cat Food

1. Blue Buffalo Wilderness Grain-Free Chicken Recipe

Key Highlights

  • Blue Buffalo Wilderness is free from grains and high in protein, giving your cat what they need.

  • There are no chicken or poultry by-products, and no artificial flavors or preservatives.

  • Blue Buffalo Grain-Free Chicken Recipe includes chicken liver, which provides protein, iron, and vitamin A.

  • It's available in 3-ounce, 5.5-ounce, and 12.5-ounce cans to suit the size or number of cats in your household, reducing leftovers and waste.

Who Needs Blue Buffalo Wilderness Grain-Free Chicken Recipe and Why

Blue Buffalo is a popular brand with high-quality ingredients. Their Wilderness line is grain-free and includes the best food sources.

A high-protein diet is essential for cats because they're obligate carnivores, meaning they must eat meat protein for survival. Blue Buffalo Wilderness Grain-Free Chicken Recipe Wet Cat Food offers a substantial amount of protein, primarily sourced from real chicken, which helps in maintaining lean muscle mass and provides energy for an active lifestyle.

A high-protein diet is especially important for pregnant or nursing mothers. Kittens drain a lot of energy from their mothers both during pregnancy and before they're weaned.

The Blue Buffalo Wilderness formula is grain-free, which is ideal for cats with grain sensitivities or allergies. Although a grain allergy is rare in cats, they sometimes experience digestive issues with corn or other grains. If your cat has an unknown allergy, eliminating grains may help.

Blue Buffalo Wilderness Grain-Free Chicken Recipe Wet Cat Food is popular with many cat owners. It's expensive though, so if you try it for the first time, start with one or two cans to see if your cat likes it.

Beyond Grain Free, Natural Pate Wet Cat Food
$16.68 ($0.46 / Ounce)

by Purina 

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03/08/2024 11:15 pm GMT

2. Purina Beyond Grain-Free Wet Cat Food: Top Budget Pick

If you have trouble finding the right flavors or sources of protein for your cat, this food may be the one for you. Purina Beyond offers unique varieties you don't see in most other cat foods.

Grain-free pet food gets expensive. High-quality ingredients come at a cost, but they give your pet what they need. As wet cat food goes, Purina Beyond Grain-Free Wet Cat Food has one of the best values for the money.

Benefits

Grain-free wet cat food provides several advantages for indoor cats, including improved digestion, and Purina Beyond Grain-Free Indoor Wet Cat Food is a healthy option in this category.

Indoor cats often have more sedentary lifestyles, making them prone to weight gain. Grain-free wet cat food provides a balanced diet that is lower in carbohydrates. This promotes healthier body weight and reduces the risk of obesity-related health problems.

Purina Beyond Grain-Free Indoor Wet Cat Food uses real protein sources like Alaskan cod and spinach, Arctic char, chicken, duck, trout and catfish, wild salmon, or even a variety pack for cats who aren't too finicky.

Customer Response

This wet cat food formula is popular with owners because of its high-quality ingredients and variety of flavors. Many cats experienced improved digestion, increased energy levels, and healthier coats after switching to Purina Beyond Grain-Free Indoor Wet Cat Food.

Wilderness High Protein
$23.99 ($4.80 / lb)

by Blue Buffalo 

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03/08/2024 10:55 pm GMT

3. Blue Buffalo Wilderness Indoor Chicken Recipe Grain-Free Dry Cat Food

For certain cats, dry food may be more appropriate than wet. Blue Buffalo Wilderness makes both. If you think it's appropriate, feed your cat a combination of the two.

Benefits

Dry cat food offers several benefits, such as aiding in dental health by reducing plaque and tartar buildup. Blue Buffalo Wilderness Indoor Chicken Recipe Grain-Free Dry Cat Food is specifically for indoor cats, addressing their unique needs.

Indoor cats tend to be less active than outdoor cats, leading to a higher risk of weight gain and obesity. This formula takes that into account and balances the calorie content to help your cat maintain a healthy weight. It contains lean protein from chicken as the primary ingredient, which is preferable over by-products or other fillers.

Science writer Ada McVean discusses the pros and cons of wet versus dry food for pets in Skeptical Inquirer:

"Several studies have found positive relationships between dry food and dental health. Specially formulated dental kibbles are effective at reducing plaque accumulation and gingivitis in dogs and cats. However, regular non-dental kibble is also effective at reducing dental deposits and gingivitis in both cats and dogs."

There are advantages to wet food too, so talk with your vet to determine what's best for your cat based on their specific needs or health issues.

Customer Response

This is a very popular cat food with customers on Chewy. This food works for the vast majority of cats. A few report that their cat doesn't care for it, but individual preferences vary.

BPA-Free & Gelatin-Free Canned Cat Food
$57.48 ($0.80 / Ounce)

by Feline Natural 

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03/08/2024 11:00 pm GMT

4. Feline Natural Chicken & Lamb Feast Grain-Free Canned Cat Food

This food seems to be a hit with most cat owners. Though not a favorite for every cat, there are several flavors from which to choose.

Benefits

Canned cat food offers numerous benefits to feline health, and Feline Natural Chicken & Lamb Feast Grain-Free Canned Cat Food provides a high-quality option for cat owners looking for a nutrient-rich diet for their pets.

Grain-free cat food eliminates common allergens, minimizing the potential for adverse reactions and digestive issues in cats. However, if your cat has no known allergies or skin or stomach sensitivities, it may be unnecessary to spend more money on a grain-free diet.

The high moisture content in canned food also increases your cat's water intake, which is crucial for maintaining kidney health and preventing urinary tract problems.

Lamb tends to be gentler on your pet's stomach, so if you have a cat with digestive issues, this may work for them. It's an acquired taste, so give your cat a sample to see if they enjoy it.

Customer Response

A few customers are unhappy that the water-to-meat ratio in these cans is so high. If this is a concern for you, a paté might be a better choice.

Adult Grain Free Wet Cat Food Pate
$26.99 ($0.41 / Ounce)

by Halo 

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03/08/2024 11:05 pm GMT

5. Halo Grain-Free Indoor Chicken & Chicken Liver Recipe Wet Cat Food

Since animal lover, talk show host, and comedian Ellen Degeneres became part owner of Halo Pet Food, she talks about how great the food is. Their dog food is popular with many vegans, but they also offer meat-based food for felines.

Benefits

Maintaining proper hydration is crucial for the overall health and well-being of cats. Halo Grain-Free Indoor Chicken & Chicken Liver Recipe Wet Cat Food addresses this by providing a moisture-rich diet that supports optimal hydration levels.

Cats have a low thirst drive, so it's essential to supply them with moisture through their food. Another way to encourage more water intake is with a pet fountain. Cats love running water as it mimics what they might find in the wild.

Aside from its hydrating properties, this wet cat food features high-quality protein sources like chicken and chicken liver. These proteins are essential for muscle development, providing the necessary amino acids cats need to thrive.

Customer Response

Halo Grain-Free Indoor Chicken & Chicken Liver Recipe Wet Cat Food receives positive feedback from both cat owners and experts. Some customers report that their cats stopped eating it because of an apparent change in formula. This happens with some pet food companies, so always save a can from a previous case to mix with your new one.

Purrfect Bistro Complete Grain Free Care Dry Cat Food
$29.98 ($4.28 / lb)

by Merrick 

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03/08/2024 11:05 pm GMT

6. Merrick Purrfect Bistro Grain-Free Weight Control Recipe Dry Cat Food

Obesity can be a problem for indoor cats living a sedentary lifestyle. A healthy weight formula may help, but be sure your cat gets plenty of exercise to burn off calories.

Benefits

Senior cats have unique dietary requirements that cater to their changing needs as they age. Merrick Purrfect Bistro Grain-Free Healthy Weight Recipe Dry Cat Food specifically addresses these needs.

As cats grow older, their metabolism slows down, and they become more prone to weight gain. This dry cat food formula contains L-carnitine to support a healthy metabolism. It has a balanced and controlled amount of calories to help seniors or overweight felines maintain a healthy weight.

The Merrick Purrfect Bistro Grain-Free Healthy Weight Recipe contains antioxidants to support a strong immune system and probiotics for healthy digestion.

Customer Response

Many cat owners report positive experiences with this specific senior cat food formula. Their senior cats have shown improvements in mobility, energy levels, and coat condition. Though some report their cats turning up their nose at their new "diet formula," other cats love it.

Limited Ingredient Adult Grain-Free Wet Canned Cat Food
$54.72 ($0.41 / Ounce)

by Natural Balance 

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03/08/2024 11:10 pm GMT

7. Natural Balance Limited Ingredient Diet Indoor Cat Green Pea & Chicken Formula

Grain-free food might be beneficial, but perhaps you want more control over the contents of your cat's food. If so, a limited-ingredient diet could be a better choice.

Benefits

Cats with allergies or food sensitivities require diets that minimize possible triggers, and Natural Balance Limited Ingredient Diet Indoor Cat Green Pea & Chicken Formula offers a suitable option in such cases.

This limited-ingredient dry cat food uses a simplified recipe to minimize the risk of allergies or sensitivities. It avoids common allergens, including grains. Cats still need carbohydrates in their diet, so it uses grain-free ingredients like chickpeas as a source of carbs. This formula is also free of artificial flavors, colors, and preservatives.

The limited-ingredient approach helps cat owners identify specific ingredients that may cause adverse reactions in their pets. Some proteins cause allergies as well, so you may need to experiment with different meat sources. Natural Balance also offers salmon, venison, and duck.

Customer Response

Owners write about their cats' shiny fur and that even picky eaters like this one. They report fewer digestive issues, reduced itching, and improved overall health after switching to Natural Balance Limited Ingredient Diet Indoor Cat Green Pea & Chicken Formula.

WHOLESOME ESSENTIALS Senior Indoor
$44.98 ($3.21 / lb)

by NUTRO 

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03/08/2024 11:10 pm GMT

8. Nutro Wholesome Essentials Indoor Senior Chicken & Brown Rice Recipe Dry Cat Food

Many cats develop issues as they age, such as digestive problems, arthritis, or weight fluctuations. A specially formulated cat food for seniors is essential.

Benefits

Indoor senior cats have distinctive nutritional needs, and Nutro Wholesome Essentials Indoor Senior Chicken & Brown Rice Recipe Dry Cat Food specifically meets these requirements.

This dry cat food includes taurine and other nutrients to support heart health and antioxidants for strong immunity. It provides a blend of proteins, fats, and fibers to improve digestion and prevent weight gain.

The formula includes chicken as the primary ingredient, ensuring a high-quality protein source that supports lean muscle mass. Additionally, it contains omega-6 fatty acids to promote healthy skin, a shiny coat, and overall vitality in senior cats.

Customer Response

Many cat owners noticed positive changes in their indoor senior cats after introducing Nutro Wholesome Essentials Indoor Senior Chicken & Brown Rice Recipe Dry Cat Food into their diets. They report better digestion with less vomiting and they like the fact that it's less expensive than a prescription diet.

CORE Grain-Free Chicken
$23.79 ($4.76 / lb)

by Wellness 

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03/08/2024 11:20 pm GMT

9. Wellness CORE Grain-Free Indoor Chicken & Chicken Liver Recipe Dry Cat Food

This brand is featured in a YouTube video posted July 4, 2023, as part of a list of the best cat foods in 2023. Its protein-rich formula is great for indoor cats with sensitivities.

Benefits

A grain-free diet is sometimes beneficial for indoor cats due to their reduced activity levels. Wellness CORE Grain-Free Indoor Chicken & Chicken Liver Recipe Dry Cat Food caters to the nutritional needs of indoor cats.

This dry cat food formula excludes grains and filler ingredients, focusing on quality sources of animal protein instead. Real deboned chicken is the number one ingredient. L-carnitine helps the body use fat, flaxseed provides omega-3 fatty acids for healthy skin and coat, and antioxidants like cranberries support immune health.

This food also contains chicory root, which is a source of fiber and serves as a prebiotic. It has no wheat, wheat gluten, corn, or egg product, reducing the possibility of allergens.

Customer Response

Cat owners who've switched to Wellness CORE Grain-Free Indoor Chicken & Chicken Liver Recipe Dry Cat Food have noticed their cats showing increased energy, healthier coats, and improved digestion. A few owners report that their cats don't care for it, but that happens with any food.

Cats in The Kitchen | Goldie Lox
$53.99

by Weruva 

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03/08/2024 11:15 pm GMT

10. Weruva Cats in the Kitchen Goldie Lox Chicken Recipe Au Jus Wet Cat Food

This brand is also featured in the YouTube video above as one of the best. For cats that like more gravy and need added liquid in their diets, this satisfies them.

Benefits

Wet cat food in a delicious au jus provides enhanced palatability for cats, making mealtime enjoyable and satisfying. Weruva Cats in the Kitchen Goldie Lox Chicken Recipe Au Jus Wet Cat Food is a prime example of this.

Au jus refers to the savory sauce or broth that accompanies the food. This gourmet wet cat food formula combines real chicken with the delicious au jus that cats find irresistible. The appealing taste and aroma of the au jus stimulate the appetite of even the pickiest eaters.

In addition to its palatability, this food has no fillers, grains, or gluten. It's free of antibiotics, GMOs, hormones, or MSG.

Customer Response

Weruva Cats in the Kitchen Goldie Lox Chicken Recipe Au Jus Wet Cat Food receives positive feedback from cat owners who have senior cats and picky eaters.

Your Cat Lets You Know

Picking the right cat food is an important decision. If you have a cat with special dietary needs, it becomes even more difficult. Whether you have a cat that's overweight, underweight, elderly, or has a sensitive stomach, there's a type of cat food that works for them.

All the cat food options on this list offer high-quality ingredients to ensure the healthiest outcome for your cat. If your cat refuses to eat it, however, they decide for you. Try out small portions and remember to mix them with what your cat already eats. A gradual transition is critical when introducing a new kind of food.

Consult your veterinarian to ensure you meet the specific needs of your cat. Educate yourself on the healthiest cat food options on the market. Make informed decisions and provide your feline companion with the best nutrition for a long, healthy life. A healthy cat leads to a happy cat, and a happy cat leads to a happy owner.

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