The Best Cat Foods For 2024

The Best Cat Food for 2024 | Reviews and Ratings of the Top Wet and Dry Food Brands

The best cat food can give your kitty a long, healthy, and happy life by your side.

The wrong cat food? Well…the opposite of that.

Whether you just brought home your first kitten, or your kitty is entering his “grumpy, old man” phase, you want him to be healthy and happy, so it makes sense that you choose the best, most biologically appropriate food you can afford.

Cats need a high protein diet – they are “obligate carnivores,” which means they need meat to survive.

Studies show that wild feral and stray cats eat a diet consisting of roughly 63% protein, 23% fat, and just 2 or 3% carbohydrates (dry-matter basis). That’s a far cry from most commercial foods that have 20%, 30%, or even 40%+ carbohydrates and not enough protein.

You’d think it would be simple to find a biologically appropriate adult cat food!

But there are SO many options, and so much marketing mumbo jumbo that it’s hard to tell what’s good and what’s bad.

To make matters worse, the vast majority of kitty chow is absolutely horrendous…full of corn, “meat by-products,” and other potentially harmful ingredients.

That’s why we’ve researched every single cat food option we could find.

We’ve looked at ingredients to macronutrient profiles to protein-fat ratios. We’ve rated every single food in our database using both formulaic and common-sense, scientific metrics.

Our review process is unbiased and based on extensive research. If you buy through the links on our site, we may earn a commission.

Below you’ll find our list of the best cat foods, with our reviews.

Top Rated cat foods

Editor’s Choice

feline natural grain free

Feline Natural

  • Very limited ingredient
  • Near-perfect macronutrients
  • Green Lipped Mussel for joint health

Nutro Perfect Portions

  • Includes healthy organ meat
  • Quality ingredients
  • Excellent macronutrients

Best Freeze Dried

vital essentials mini patties rabbit best cat food for sensitive stomachs

Vital Essentials

  • As close to wild diet as possible
  • Almost nothing but rabbit meat
  • Tons of organ meat
smalls cat food in bowl


  • Excellent fresh food company
  • Convenient home delivery
  • Great nutritional profiles
tiki cat after dark

Tiki Cat After Dark

  • Nothing but meat and vitamins
  • High protein
  • Zero fillers

Best Dry Food

wysong epigen 90 high calorie cat food

Wysong Epigen 90

  • Easily the best dry food available
  • Incredibly high protein
  • Almost no fillers

Best Cheap Food

triumph chicken and liver cheap wet cat food


  • Cheapest good-quality food
  • Good macronutrient profiles
  • Almost no fillers

If you’d like to read more (a lot more) on how we rate foods, what to look for in a food, whether you should be feeding byproducts, and much more, keep reading.

If you’d just like to see our recommended cat food brands (and why we picked them), tap here to jump down to our reviews.

Ratings and Reviews of the Best Cat Food Brands

No companies have paid to be included on our list of the top-rated feline foods, nor will we ever accept payment from companies to be listed here.

This is our objective opinion, based on all of the data points we collect. Our goal is to get your cat the best, healthiest food so that he can live the longest, happiest life possible.

In our database of cat food, there are significantly more wet foods that receive a 4.5 or 5 star rating than dry foods.

To see which foods top our list, check out our page on the best wet cat food here.

We include almost exclusively wet foods, due to the high moisture content required by cats.

Note that there are a lot of wet foods that are still not very good, and many of them miss the mark due to low fat levels, or too many filler ingredients. 

So you’ll see that in our list of the best foods, we make sure that the recipes we’ve selected have a high protein content and a moderate amount of fat, usually from organ meat or other high-quality sources.


#1. Feline Natural Grain-Free New Zealand Chicken & Venison Canned Food

feline natural grain free

Macronutrients on a dry-matter basis:

  • Protein: 51.43%
  • Fat: 28.57%
  • Carbs: 7.43%

First 4 ingredients: Chicken, Chicken Heart, Venison Kidney, Venison Liver

The macronutrient profiles are spot-on for what you’d see from a wild, prey-diet, and the ingredients are top-notch.

They do not include quite the range of added synthetic vitamins and minerals that most other foods do…but that’s because the ingredients they use are so pure and high quality that your cat will be getting the exact same nutrition, but from natural, mostly meat sources like organ meat and blood.

This is a HUGE positive for Feline Natural, and they’re one of the few cat foods who meets the AAFCO micronutrient requirements without 20+ added vitamins and minerals.

It also includes a very unique ingredient – New Zealand Green Lipped Mussels.

This is an excellent addition because it is an animal-based ingredient that delivers powerful joint-health powers.

That said, it is slightly more expensive than some of our other picks.

It is made in New Zealand from New Zealand ingredients, which may explain some of the increase in price, but the ingredients make it clear that the price is justified.

Highly recommended. Read the full review.

#2. Nutro Perfect Portions Turkey & Liver

Macronutrients on a dry-matter basis:

  • Protein: 54.55%
  • Fat: 22.73%
  • Carbs: 2.27%

First 4 ingredients: Turkey, Turkey Broth, Chicken Liver, Pork Broth

Nutro actually has one of the highest quality range of foods on the market today.

You will be well served with just about any one of the wet food options they provide, including those for kittens and senior cats.

Their Wild Frontier line is also very good, but we decided to recommend the Chunky Perfect Portions line, because it does not use carrageenan, whereas the Wild Frontier line does.

This ingredient is not necessarily bad, but some people are concerned it is a carcinogen.

Anyway, Nutro’s Perfect Portions protein level is exactly where you want it to be, and the fat content is adequate for your cat’s health.

The addition of chicken liver is helpful so that your cat is not feasting solely on muscle meat.

Organ meats have important micronutrients (vitamins and minerals) that muscle meat doesn’t have, and are also packed with animal protein for your little carnivore.

There are also minerals and vitamins necessary for feline health to go along with the quality meat and broth, which also deliver important fatty acids.

It’s an incredibly clean, incredibly biologically appropriate food, and we gave it our full 5 stars.

Highly recommended.


#3.  Vital Essentials

vital essentials mini patties rabbit best cat food for sensitive stomachs

Macronutrients on a dry-matter basis:

  • Protein: 56.52%
  • Fat: 16.30%
  • Carbs: 14.13%

First 4 ingredients: Finely Ground Whole Rabbit, Rabbit Heart, Rabbit Liver, Rabbit Lungs

Check out the ingredient list. It’s basically just rabbit, like your kitty might eat in the wild.

It goes on, too.

Kidney, trachea, blood…incredibly biologically appropriate for your kitty.

Basically, this is just meat, meat, meat, and more meat…including a TON of important organs.

If you want to feed as close to a “wild diet” as possible, it’s almost impossible to get better than this.

It’s the same for their other recipes, too.

Interestingly this contains raw goat’s milk.

At first, I was disappointed, because most cats are sensitive to milk, due to being unable to produce the enzyme needed to break down milk, or lactose.

However, when we looked into it, it turns out that goat’s milk is not pasteurized like the cow’s milk we buy in the store, which means that the enzymes, like lactase, that help it digest, are not stripped away.

That being the case, this raw goat’s milk turns out to be an amazing vitamin and amino-acid rich source of protein for your kitty, and is a very innovative ingredient to put in alongside a vast amount of rabbit.

By far one of the most biologically appropriate diets you can feed your cat, and guaranteed to keep him healthy and happy!

Highly recommended. Read the full review.

#4. Smalls Fresh Wet Cat Food

smalls cat food in bowl

Macronutrients on a dry-matter basis:

  • Protein: 62.5%
  • Fat: 23.8%
  • Carbs: 5.9%

First 4 ingredients:  Chicken Thigh, Chicken Breast, Chicken Liver, Green Beans

Smalls is growing in reputation in the cat food space.

This is fresh, human-grade pet food that is created by chefs in New York.

All their meat is locally sourced, they buy their (few) plant ingredients from the grocery store, and they get their vitamins and minerals from trusted supplement retailer GNC.

Their formulas were developed by a well-respected feline nutritionist (Dr. Susan Lauten), and are crafted to mimic what a cat would eat in the wild – lots of meat, including organs, and a tiny bit of plant materials, just as your cat would consume from the stomach of a prey animal.

The macronutrients are nearly perfect, and it’s very convenient.

It’s reasonably priced, though our #1 pick, Feline Natural is just a bit cheaper.

Overall, Smalls delivers an amazing food (literally), with loads of convenience, and lots of love for your feline friend.

Highly recommended.

Right now, you can try a two-week sample at $10 off.

Tap here to get $10 off Smalls Sampler

#5. Tiki Cat After Dark Chicken and Duck Canned Cat Food

tiki cat after dark

Macronutrients on a dry-matter basis:

  • Protein: 66.7%
  • Fat: 13.3%
  • Carbs: 5%

First 4 ingredients: Chicken Broth, Chicken, Chicken Liver, Chicken Gizzard

Tiki Cat is one of our favorite brands and an excellent pet food company.

They pack their food with meat, rarely resort to fillers, and have fantastic protein, fat, and carbohydrate levels.

In their After Dark Chicken and Duck recipe, there are no fillers whatsoever. It is completely clean, and packed with amazing proteins.

From liver to heart to gizzards, your cat will love the massive amount of protein and micronutrients delivered by the organ meat.

Again, it’s just meat, plus added vitamins and minerals.

No gelling agents, no thickeners, no added carbs.

So…there’s not much to say about it.

But in cat food, that is sometimes the best review we can give!

The ingredients are all amazing, the macronutrients are outstanding, overall it’s just really good, honest food.

Each one of the After Dark recipes scores a perfect 5/5 on our rating scale, and if you’re looking for an exciting meal for a picky eater, this is probably one of your best bets.

Highly recommended. Read the full review.


#6. Wysong Epigen 90 Starch Free

wysong epigen 90 high calorie cat food

Macronutrients on a dry-matter basis:

  • Protein: 70%
  • Fat: 17.8%
  • Carbs: 0%

First 4 ingredients:  Chicken Meal, Organic Chicken, Meat Protein Isolate, Chicken Fat

This offering from Wysong offers an unbelievable amount of protein for a dry food, and still manages to pack in over 17% fat, which is great.

If I could recommend just one dry food, it would be this one.

Of course, your cat’s individual tastes will play a role, but we suggest starting here.

You might be wondering about the “meat protein isolate”, but Wysong says it’s 100% pork, and is simply a method of extracting the absolute maximum amount of protein from the meat to ensure your cat gets enough.

It’s just like buying whey protein isolate to get more protein in your diet…isolate is a higher percentage of protein than concentrate.

It’s packed with innovative things like using gelatin instead of a plant-based gum, and is loaded with vital nutrients like minerals, vitamins, and even probiotics to aid in digestion and mineral absorption.

After looking through so many dry options, we were shocked to see just what Wysong was able to come up with.

It seriously puts the onus on all the other manufacturers to rethink what is possible in a kibble.

Highly recommended. Read the full review.


#7. Triumph Premium Chicken and Liver

triumph chicken and liver cheap wet cat food

Macronutrients on a dry-matter basis:

  • Protein: 45.5%
  • Fat: 27.3%
  • Carbs: 13.6%

First 4 ingredients: Chicken, Water Sufficient for Processing, Pork Liver, Ocean Fish

Although this isn’t one of our top picks overall, we wanted to provide a more budget-friendly in here as well.

Don’t worry though…this is a good food – we gave it a 4/5 star rating.

In fact, it’s one of only a couple of cheap foods that got 4 or more stars.

This Triumph recipe has a fairly good macronutrient profile, providing a good bit of protein and fat, while keeping carbs relatively low.

With three prominent meats, it’s giving your cat a wide range of nutrients. We especially like that for a cheap food, they were able to include liver, which of course is a nutrient-dense organ. Not many other reasonably priced foods include organ meat.

In terms of lower quality ingredients, there’s almost none…another huge victory for a food on this list.

It does contain carrageenan, rice flour, and guar gum, but none of these is particularly concerning. (Note that some people don’t like carrageenan, because one of it’s forms may be a carcinogen…but that form is not the one used in cat food.)

Overall, the food is quite well-rounded, has fairly good macronutrient profiles, and as a bonus, you’ll be able to feed your cat organ meat…all at a very good price.

Not only is it one of the best cheap foods, it’s one of the cheapest best foods!

If you’re on a budget but still want the best cat food, we recommend Triumph.

Tap to get 35% off your first autoship order from Chewy

Should I Be Looking For Breed-Specific Cat Food?

Almost all cats will thrive on a high protein, moderate fat, and low carb diet.

Therefore, the majority of cats will do very well on one of our main recommendations for wet, dry, or freeze-dried foods below.

“Breed specific” nutrition is about as silly as “skin color specific” nutrition or “hair color specific” nutrition for humans.

We’re all humans and we all have fairly similar nutritional needs.

Cats are all cats and they all have fairly similar nutritional needs.

But, if you’d like to see our recommendations for each breed, check out our reviews here:

Is Wet, Canned Cat Food Better Than Dry Cat Food?

Wet cat food is infinitely better than dry cat food.

We asked Dr. Jennifer Coates, DVM, why wet food is better than dry food. Here’s what she had to say:

“Wet food is often the best option for cats for two main reasons.

First of all, wet food has a much higher water content than does dry. When cats get a lot of water with their food, it’s easier for them to stay well-hydrated. This is especially important when a cat’s kidneys are not functioning well, since the kidneys are responsible for preventing excessive water loss through the urine.

Secondly, wet food tends to have a lower carbohydrate and higher protein content in comparison to dry food. This more closely mimics the natural feline diet and may help prevent and/or manage common diseases like obesity and diabetes.

If you must feed your cat dry food, try to incorporate wet meals as often as possible, pick a kibble that is high in protein and low in carbohydrates, and provide your cat with multiple, appealing sources of fresh water.”

Dr. Jill Lopez, DVM, MBA, of Essentials Pet Care agreed. She said:

“Dry cat food has more carbs than soft. You have to have carbs to create a kibble. Cats are carnivores – so their ideal diet would be high protein (meat) and low carb.

This is especially true when dealing with a diabetic cat, which are mostly Type 2 diabetics. Placing diabetic cats on an appropriate diet (with insulin therapy) can help them go into remission.”

Basically, dry cat food lacks the required moisture content cats need, and over-reliance can lead to urinary tract and kidney disease. 

Wet cat food has a higher moisture content, and is, therefore, less likely to lead to negative consequences.

We understand that for some pet parents, dry kibble is a convenient alternative, especially if you use an automatic cat feeder to dispense meals while you’re away at work during the day, for example.

If you are still determined to feed dry, please choose either the Wysong option below or Dr. Elsey’s cleanprotein, because it took us a LOT of work to find even a handful of dry foods worth recommending.

Also, consider adding a bit of water to the dry food so that your kitty gets at least a bit of extra moisture.

What’s the Right Amount of Food to Eat?

Being within a healthy weight range is important. Nearly 60% of cats in the United States are overweight, and this can lead to the same health problems seen in people.

To lower the risk of diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, and cancer, keep your cat in the right weight range.

For pets with weight problems, specific calorie counts per unit of food help divvy up portions, so you know exactly what your kitten is getting.

Check out our post on how much to feed your cat to get a more in-depth look.

Do I Need To Stay Away From By-Products And Grains?

There’s always debate on this topic.

Here at, we make no compromises when it comes to recommending the absolute best, biologically appropriate food for your cat.

What that usually means is that the foods that have a 4.5 or 5 out of 5 star rating use whole, named meats, and no by-products or fillers.

However, we’ve all heard of cats who eat cheap, store-bought food and live to be a ripe old age.

So what’s the deal?

Cats, like humans, can live and be “fine” on lower-quality food.

If you don’t eat organic vegetables and grass-fed meat for every meal, you can still live to an average or even old age.

You may be more likely to develop illnesses or pains, however, and you’re objectively not giving your body the best chance to survive and thrive.

The same goes for cats.

While they can technically live a fine life, many filler ingredients do not provide enough nutrients, and may lead to inflammation and pain.

As for by-products, there’s a variety of issues to work through.

First, you should know that by-products are basically everything left over from an animal after its primary purpose is fulfilled – in many cases, that means that the main cuts of meat have been removed for human consumption, leaving the bones, heads, sinew, feet, organs, and “scraps” of meat left over from the main cuts.

Now, obviously wild cats will eat an entire mouse or rabbit or whatever they catch outside. That means they will get bone, they will get organs, and the like.

In fact, many people argue that some (finely ground) bone is good in a cat’s diet, and that organ meat is very helpful. We agree.

However, the highest quality cat foods specifically list these ingredients, so you know they were added on purpose, and were not mixed in with chicken beaks and feet and low-quality cuts of meat.

A named by-product can be an acceptable ingredient, but it should accompany a main cut of meat. For example, having chicken and then chicken by-product is not the worst recipe in the world.

We would still like to see a recipe with chicken, chicken liver, chicken heart, and that sort of thing, but you might find an acceptable food at a budget price point if you are OK with accepting the by-products.

One of the problems in this self-regulated industry, though, is that many unnamed by-products and meat products can contain any number of things.

There has always been speculation (and some proof) that some rendering plants (where many meat products go to be turned into fat products and meal products), use very questionable ingredients.

Things like:

  • Meat from the grocery store that’s past the “best before” date…with the wrapper and styrofoam still on.
  • Diseased livestock.
  • Zoo animals (there was a report that a deceased baby elephant was used as an ingredient at a rendering plant).
  • Euthanized cats and dogs.

For these reasons, while a named by-product can be acceptable, we urge you to choose a recipe with whole, named meats, and stay away from unnamed by-products.

Our Other Cat Food Reviews

While the foods listed above are clearly the best cat foods available, sometimes you might be looking for something very specific. 

We have covered this topic a lot, so we’ve got a lot to share!

How We Rate And Review Foods

Most sites we’ve read seem to just randomly pick foods that have favorable ratings on Amazon. You can tell because they recommend foods full of corn and other junk. It’s sad for kitties!

Our database of cat foods contains over 2000 individual foods.

We collected all the relevant information on each product, including:

  • AAFCO Rating (whether it’s suitable for all life stages, maintaining adult cat health, or for supplemental purposes)
  • Ingredient list
  • Macronutrient profiles (Guaranteed Analysis, Dry-Matter Basis, and Caloric Basis)
  • Price and price per pound
  • Calories per 100 grams
  • Whether meat is the first ingredient
  • How each food compares to the average of all foods on a macronutrient basis
  • Whether the recipe uses more than 4 controversial ingredients

Each of these data points works together to form a star rating on a 1-5 star scale (including half points).

  1. If the food’s first ingredient is meat, it gets 1 point.
  2. If the food does not use unnamed meat ingredients (“meat by-products”), it gets 1 point.
  3. If the food has an above average protein level on a dry-matter basis, compared to all other foods in the database, it gets 1 point. If it has an average amount, it gets .5 points.
  4. If the recipe contains fewer than 4 controversial ingredients (not necessarily bad ingredients), it gets 1 point. If it contains exactly 4 it gets .5 points.
  5. The final available point is a discretionary point that we award based on things like carbohydrate content, inclusion of probiotics and vitamins, and other points, and is our judgement call on a food’s quality and biological appropriateness for your cat.

We think that this system provides a fair, transparent system by which we can compare all foods on an equal footing and give you the easiest possible time when choosing the best of the best cat food brands.

What To Look For In A Quality, Biologically-Appropriate Cat Food

Studies on both indoor, commercially-fed cats, and feral and stray cats show that cats will self-select food sources that result in a macronutrient profile in this range (dry-matter basis used):

  • Protein: 52-63%
  • Fat: 22-36%
  • Carbohydrate: 2.8-12% (with “wild” cats on the very low end of this range)

What we believe this shows is that cats have evolved to thrive on a high protein, moderate fat, and low carb diet.

We base our ratings and selections on this assumption.

You can use our formula above to determine exactly what to look for, but I’m going to break it down here, too.

First, meat must be the first ingredient.

Second, named meat is important because unnamed meat is usually low-quality, rendered meat product that may come from anything from 4-D farm animals (dead (not from slaughter), diseased, dying, and disabled), roadkill, zoo animals, and even euthanized cats and dogs.

Third, there should be few, if any, filler ingredients, like corn, rice, or potato, and little to no controversial ingredients.

Companies include carb filler ingredients because they’re cheap, some can also increase the protein content on the label (i.e., beans are often added as a protein source), and some are used to help form dry food kibble pieces.

You should also know what all the other “unnatural” sounding ingredients are doing in the recipe.

These include things like guar gum, carrageenan, titanium dioxide, artificial flavors, and more. Some of these “hard to pronounce” ingredients are controversial or straight-up bad, but some are vital minerals and vitamins. It can be hard to tell which is which!

We would never recommend a food with more than 4 controversial ingredients, and most of our recommended foods have zero controversial ingredients.

In our individual reviews of each food, we break down the ingredient list for you, so if you’d like to dig into it, check out each of our individual cat food reviews, which we link to under each recommendation that follows.

Here’s a list of some of the worst ingredients in cat foods.

Fourth, the food you choose should have a high animal protein content and a low carb content, and you should base your decision on the Dry Matter Basis or on a Calorie Basis, NOT the Guaranteed Analysis.

Laws do not require cat food labels to disclose carbohydrate amounts, so you’ll need to perform the calculation yourself (see our article on how to do this here).

(That’s another reason we’ve gone through and rated each food and provided information on their ingredients.)

Of course, cats are all unique, and some life stages or breeds may require different things.

For example, kittens need a LOT more food than adult or senior cats, since they’re growing like crazy and need a lot of energy.

And if you’re looking for the best natural ingredients or low carbohydrate option, each one of our recommendations passes both of those tests. We don’t believe in unnatural or high-carb cat foods.

Scientific And High-Volume Sources

While specific claims have been hyperlinked above where relevant, much of the important scientific assumptions and data gathering were completed with the help of a couple of important studies and publications.

  • Cats and Carbohydrates: The Carnivore Fantasy? –
  • Estimation of the dietary nutrient profile of free-roaming feral cats: possible implications for nutrition of domestic cats. – (full text downloaded as file name 2011_82.pdf)
  • AAFCO 2018 Official Publication
  • Manufacturer websites
  • Much of Dr. Karen Becker’s work at Mercola –
  • Much of Dr. Lisa Pierson’s work at Cat Info –
  • Catological Cat Food Database – Publish Date TBD
  • Catological Cat Food Ingredient Wiki – Publish Date TBD

Emily Parker

Emily Parker is the Content Manager at Catological. She's passionate about helping cat parents love their cats better by providing the best information and recommendations about everything you'll need to know about your cat, from kitten to senior years. She believes natural, biologically-appropriate products are best...why wouldn't you provide the best for a member of your family?!