Best Wet And Dry Cat Food: The Ultimate Guide w/ Vet Ratings & Reviews

Best Cat And Kitten Food of 2018 | Reviews of the Top Wet and Dry Brands

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

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

Pain, limited life span, and discomfort.

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 what we call “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. 

Our kitties are unable to manufacture certain amino acids (like taurine and arginine) or vitamin A themselves, so must get them from their food; in the wild this would be the prey animals they hunted.

But at home, I’m going to guess you’re not feeding live mice. And if your kitty isn’t getting the right nutrients, he could get sick…or worse. And he can’t just go out hunting if he’s an indoor cat.

But MAN is it ever hard to find a good, biologically appropriate cat food!

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 put together an exhaustive database of every single cat food option we could find.

We’ve researched everything, from 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.

We will be releasing our database publicly over the coming months (this page is updated as of July 2018), but what you’ll find below is the best of the best from that database, in every category you can think of, from wet and dry to the top option for sensitive stomachs.

Below you’ll find the top rated foods, with our reviews.

Use the table below to choose the type of food you’re looking for, and jump to the specific section of this page.

Hey! Just a quick note...you get 20% off your first auto-shipped order of cat food from Chewy.com when you purchase through one of our links below!

Tap A Category Below To Be Taken To Our Reviews Of The Top Rated Foods

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 recommendations (and why we picked them), tap on a category above to jump down the page to that section. Thanks!

How We Rate And Review Foods

Our database of cat foods contains over 2000 individual foods.

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

  • AAFCO Rating
  • 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.

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, and it must be a named meat (i.e., “Chicken”, not “Meat by-product”).

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.

Next, there should be few, if any, filler ingredients, like corn, rice, potato, and the like. Companies include these ingredients because they’re cheap, many can increase the protein content on the label, and some are used to help form dry food kibble pieces.

The food you choose should have a high protein content and a low carb content.

For a dry food, you should look for at least 40% protein on a guaranteed analysis basis, though the higher the better. Carbs are not required to be listed on cat food labels, but you can figure it by starting at 100 and subtracting the moisture content, protein, fat, fiber, and ash in the food. The result should be as close to 0 as possible.

Here’s an example:

cat food label example

Formula to determine carbohydrate content of the above food example:

100 – Crude Protein – Crude Fat – Fiber – Moisture – Ash (if not listed, assume 8% for dry food and 2 or 3% for wet food) = Carbs

100 – 43 – 20 – 3.5 – 9 – 8 = 16.5% Carbs

You should also know what all the other “unnatural” sounding ingredients are doing in the recipe. We will be releasing a “Cat Food Ingredient Wiki” shortly, that breaks down every single ingredient we’ve ever found used in a cat food recipe.

These include things like guar gum, carrageenan, titanium dioxide, 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!

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

We would never recommend a food with more than 4 controversial ingredients, and most of our foods have one or no 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 more before our Ingredient Wiki is released, check out each food’s review, which we link to under each recommendation that follows.

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 or low carb option, each one of our recommendations passes both of those tests. We don’t believe in unnatural or high-carb cat foods.

We go into the specific categories of cat food below.

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.

If you find a good recipe, you can simply feed more or less than the suggested amount, in order to give your cat the proper calorie amount each day.

We have put together specific pages for each breed, but you will find pretty much the exact same recommendations on those pages as you will if you just scroll down a little on this page.

That’s because that “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.

However, feel free to select your cats breed below to learn more about why we think this, and find out if there are any other breed-related things to watch out for.

Just don’t be surprised when we recommend the exact same things as we do on this page!

What’s the Right Amount of Food to Eat?

Being within a healthy weight range is important. About 58% 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.

Most domestic felines weigh from 8-10 pounds while Persians have a healthy weight of 7-12 pounds and Main Coons can be from 10-25 pounds.

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. In general (and contact your vet for an accurate idea of how much your specific animal needs):

  • Kittens require up to 275 calories per day.
  • Adults need 200-300 calories on average.
  • Overweight cats should have 180-200 calories per day.

Of course, the actual number may vary depending on your cat’s build, activity level, and age.

Check out our post on the subject 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 Catological.com, 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 a 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 with 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 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.

Or diseased livestock.

Or zoo animals (there was a report that a deceased baby elephant was used as an ingredient at a rendering plant).

Or even 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.

Where To Buy The Best Cat Food

Buying online makes the most sense in almost every case. But finding the right website where you’ll not only get a great deal on a great food, but will be treated well, can be hard.

That’s why we recommend buying from Chewy.com.

Not only do they have regular special deals on cat products (including 20% off your first autoship order), but their customer service and love of pets is genuine and unbeatable.

While we have affiliate relationships with multiple websites, we recommend Chewy.com more than any other retailer. If you purchase from Chewy.com through one of our links on this page, we usually get a small commission, but this doesn’t mean you pay any more, and it doesn’t influence our choices, since the flat commission is the same for low and high priced products.

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.

Don't Forget... 20% OFF Cat Food at chewy.com for our recommended products below if you sign up for autoship!

Reviews Of The Best Wet, Canned Cat Food

Image Product
  • Benefits: All the benefits of fresh, homemade food, without the hassle. Delivered to your door!
  • Protein / Fat / Carbs (DM): 67 / 15 / 8
  • Price / Pound: $2.50-$3/meal
  • Benefits: All the benefits of fresh, homemade food, without the hassle. Delivered to your door!
  • Protein / Fat / Carbs (DM): 67 / 15 / 8
  • Price / Pound: $2.50-$3/meal
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  • Benefits: Organ meat for a biologically appropriate feed, excellent macronutrient profile.
  • Protein / Fat / Carbs (DM): 53 / 31 / 0
  • Price / Pound: $5.45
  • Benefits: Organ meat for a biologically appropriate feed, excellent macronutrient profile.
  • Protein / Fat / Carbs (DM): 53 / 31 / 0
  • Price / Pound: $5.45
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  • Benefits: Organ meat for a biologically appropriate feed, convenient packaging.
  • Protein / Fat / Carbs (DM): 50 / 19 / 6
  • Price / Pound: $7.32
  • Benefits: Organ meat for a biologically appropriate feed, convenient packaging.
  • Protein / Fat / Carbs (DM): 50 / 19 / 6
  • Price / Pound: $7.32
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  • Benefits: Whole food ingredients, including a novel protein (venison).
  • Protein / Fat / Carbs (DM): 51 / 29 / 7
  • Price / Pound: $8.51
  • Benefits: Whole food ingredients, including a novel protein (venison).
  • Protein / Fat / Carbs (DM): 51 / 29 / 7
  • Price / Pound: $8.51
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  • Benefits: Organ meat, no fillers, and a fantastic macronutrient profile.
  • Protein / Fat / Carbs (DM): 55 / 27 / 0
  • Price / Pound: $6.35
  • Benefits: Organ meat, no fillers, and a fantastic macronutrient profile.
  • Protein / Fat / Carbs (DM): 55 / 27 / 0
  • Price / Pound: $6.35
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In our database of cat food, there are significantly more wet foods that receive a 4.5 or 5 star rating than dry foods.

We believe that you are more likely to find a suitable wet food than kibble, although we do not rule out feeding kibble as a nutritious part of your kitty’s diet, especially if you choose one of the options we recommend below.

But, wet food has a high moisture content, which is vital for cats, who have a low “thirst-drive”.

And it doesn’t require as many ingredients to help it keep its shape, like dry food does. Soft, canned cat food can typically include meat, minerals, and vitamins, and nothing more.

But, there are still a lot of poor quality wet foods that include a lot of filler ingredients to make them cheaper. There are also a lot of high quality cat foods that we think miss the mark, specifically because they do not include enough fat.

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.

Here are the top 5 canned cat foods, with our reviews and data.

#1. NomNomNow Fresh Wet Cat Food

nomnomnow chicken

Macronutrients on a dry-matter basis:

  • Protein: 66.67%
  • Fat: 14.81%
  • Carbs: 8.15%

First 4 ingredients: Chicken thigh, chicken breast, chicken liver, carrot

This is a bit of an “off the chart” choice for us, because NomNomNow is actually a fresh cat food delivery service.

They make their “homemade”-style recipes in their own FDA-approved kitchen in the USA using natural, whole ingredients.

Instead of ordering cans of kitty chow from an online retailer, for example, you would place an order for a week or a month’s worth of food from NomNomNow’s website.

Then they send you their freshly made food, packaged in containers that get them to your home fresh and chilled.

If you don’t like the idea of relying on fresh food delivered to you, consider one of our more traditional options below.

However, it’s not too much of a hassle to set up a recurring order (it only takes a couple of minutes).

Highly recommended.

#2. Bravo! Feline Cafe Chicken Fricassee

Macronutrients on a dry-matter basis:

  • Protein: 52.78%
  • Fat: 30.56%
  • Carbs: 0%

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

Bravo’s Chicken Fricassee has above average protein and above average fat compared to the other foods in our database, and significantly less than average carbohydrates.

Having a mix of lean chicken meat, chicken broth, and organ meat is very desirable, and closely mimics a cat’s natural prey-diet when in the wild.

It is full of minerals, many of which are chelated, which some believe means they are more bioavailable and easy to digest.

Bravo!’s other Feline Cafe recipes and flavors are all very high quality, but we believe the chicken recipe here is the best of them all.

The protein and fat contents are spot on, and there are no filler carbohydrates.

Highly recommended.

#3. Crave Grain-Free Food Tray Chicken Cuts in Gravy

crave grain free

Macronutrients on a dry-matter basis:

  • Protein: 50%
  • Fat: 19.44%
  • Carbs: 5.56%

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

With chicken heart and chicken liver, this is another option that includes an ingredient list that is close to what a cat would eat in the wild.

The protein content is very high, the fat content is slightly above average (which is good), and the carbohydrates are almost non-existent.

This recipe does not include carrageenan, which may be a carcinogen, as some of their other recipes do, so make sure the flavor you select has an ingredient list that is appropriate for your and your cats’ needs.

The packages the food comes in are very convenient, too.

Highly recommended.

#4. Feline Natural Grain-Free New Zealand Chicken & Venison

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.

Although they do not include quite the range of vitamins and minerals, nor probiotics that some other foods do, many of these are made up for by the whole ingredients, like organ meat and blood.

This is a slightly more expensive pick than some of our others.

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.

Recommended.

#5. Nutro Chunky Loaf Adult Chicken

nutro chunky loaf adult

Macronutrients on a dry-matter basis:

  • Protein: 54.55%
  • Fat: 27.27%
  • Carbs: 0%

First 4 ingredients: Chicken, Chicken 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 Loaf 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.

The protein 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 lean white meat.

There are absolutely no grains or fillers in this recipe, just the minerals and vitamins necessary for feline health to go along with the quality meat and broth.

This is a 5 star food for us.

Highly recommended.

Reviews Of The Best Dry, Kibble Cat Food

Image Product
  • Benefits: The absolute best dry food recipe and nutrient profile we've found. What every dry food should try to be.
  • Protein / Fat / Carbs (DM): 70 / 18 / 0
  • Price / Pound: $4.73
  • Benefits: The absolute best dry food recipe and nutrient profile we've found. What every dry food should try to be.
  • Protein / Fat / Carbs (DM): 70 / 18 / 0
  • Price / Pound: $4.73
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  • Benefits: One of the few real competitors to our #1 pick. Excellent nutrient profile and clean ingredients.
  • Protein / Fat / Carbs (DM): 67 / 20 / 0
  • Price / Pound: $6.41
  • Benefits: One of the few real competitors to our #1 pick. Excellent nutrient profile and clean ingredients.
  • Protein / Fat / Carbs (DM): 67 / 20 / 0
  • Price / Pound: $6.41
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  • Benefits: Includes pieces of raw, freeze-dried foods for protein boost and natural feeding style.
  • Protein / Fat / Carbs (DM): 47 / 22 / 17
  • Price / Pound: $4.00
  • Benefits: Includes pieces of raw, freeze-dried foods for protein boost and natural feeding style.
  • Protein / Fat / Carbs (DM): 47 / 22 / 17
  • Price / Pound: $4.00
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  • Benefits: High quality meat proteins, easily digestible minerals and vitamins.
  • Protein / Fat / Carbs (DM): 52 / 20 / 11
  • Price / Pound: $3.00
  • Benefits: High quality meat proteins, easily digestible minerals and vitamins.
  • Protein / Fat / Carbs (DM): 52 / 20 / 11
  • Price / Pound: $3.00
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  • Benefits: Fantastic brand overall, lots of meat, low carbohydrate content.
  • Protein / Fat / Carbs (DM): 51 / 22 / 13
  • Price / Pound: $4.05
  • Benefits: Fantastic brand overall, lots of meat, low carbohydrate content.
  • Protein / Fat / Carbs (DM): 51 / 22 / 13
  • Price / Pound: $4.05
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While we do believe that you are more likely to get a biologically appropriate recipe from a wet food, there are a number of very high quality dry kibbles that meet your cat’s dietary needs without a lot of fillers.

If you do feed dry, we recommend getting either a cat fountain to promote water consumption, or mixing the dry kibble with a bit of water or broth to ensure your cat is getting enough moisture.

You will notice that low quality dry food is typically much more questionable than low quality wet food, because at least most wet foods use meat as the first ingredient.

Unfortunately there are a lot of dry foods, even from popular brands, that use corn or rice as the first ingredient.

And if it’s not the first ingredient, corn and rice can often be found as the second and third (and sometime fourth and fifth) ingredients.

Some companies list different parts of the corn as different ingredients in order to allow the meat product to be listed first.

But if you added up the total weight of all the different filler products, they would be the first ingredient.

It’s a tricky way of making the recipe look better. That’s why it’s important to look at macronutrient profile and number of filler ingredients together, to get an accurate idea of how much actual meat protein is included.

Here we will lay out our top picks for feeding a dry diet to your kitty.

#1. Wysong Epigen 90 Starch Free

wysong epigen 90

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.

#2. Dr. Elsey's cleanprotein Chicken

dr elseys cleanprotein

Macronutrients on a dry-matter basis:

  • Protein: 67.05%
  • Fat: 20.45%
  • Carbs: 0%

First 4 ingredients: Chicken, Dried Egg Product, Pork Protein Isolate, Gelatin

Dr. Elsey makes our top rated litter, so I suppose it’s no surprise that they come through on the nutrition side of things, too.

One of the few challengers to Wysong when it comes to high-protein, moderate-fat, low-carb offerings, this is a very clean option for your kitty.

While we prefer 100% meat options, egg is actually one of the most bioavailable sources of protein for both humans and cats, and is therefore a suitable ingredient to put directly after chicken.

Again we see the pork protein isolate, which is one of the reasons these brands are able to get the protein content so high, and an isolated form of that protein is going to be the highest quality and most efficient means of doing that.

While this line doesn’t have the probiotics of our #1 pick, it is similarly packed with all the vitamins and minerals you’re looking for.

It’s also a very high calorie food at 400 calories per 100 grams, meaning you need to feed your furball slightly less than most other foods to meet her caloric target.

Highly recommended.

#3. Instinct Raw Boost Chicken

instinct raw boost

Macronutrients on a dry-matter basis:

  • Protein: 47.25%
  • Fat: 21.98%
  • Carbs: 17.03%

First 4 ingredients: Chicken, Chicken Meal, Turkey Meal, Menhaden Fish Meal

Starting out with 4 solid meat ingredients is a wonderful thing to see.

They actually include a lot more, including chicken liver and chicken heart, though peas are the fifth ingredient.

The macronutrient profile certainly doesn’t look quite as good as the first two choices, but compared to many dry foods, it is very favorable.

We like to see protein around 50% on a dry-matter basis and fat around 20%, and while the carb content is high compared to a wild diet, it is below average compared to other commercial foods.

This recipe includes plenty of vitamins and minerals, as well as salmon oil and probiotics.

While it doesn’t quite hit the lofty peaks reached by the first couple of recommendations, it is a slightly lower price point, and will still deliver biologically appropriate nutrition for a happy and healthy kitty.

Recommended.

#4. Only Natural Pet PowerFood Poultry

only natural pet powerfood

Macronutrients on a dry-matter basis:

  • Protein: 52.22%
  • Fat: 20.00%
  • Carbs: 11.11%

First 4 ingredients: Deboned Chicken, Low Ash Turkey Meal, Low Ash Chicken Meal, Garbanzo Beans

Another optimized macronutrient profile kibble offering at a really reasonable price, Only Natural Pet puts together a really nice recipe here.

Packed with vitamins, minerals, probiotics, enzymes, and real meat ingredients, this is a very good value pick.

It does include things like garbanzo beans, peas, and tapioca starch, which means the carbohydrate level will be on a slightly higher side, but it’s still well within reason.

In fact, we’re surprised that the carb count is so low, considering there are a handful of direct carb ingredients in the recipe. That indicates that meat makes up a huge portion of the food, which is a big quality indicator.

They utilize some proteinate minerals, which are easier to digest and more readily available to the body.

Recommended.

#5. Tiki Cat Born Carnivore Chicken Luau

tiki cat born carnivore

Macronutrients on a dry-matter basis:

  • Protein: 51.11%
  • Fat: 22.22%
  • Carbs: 13.33%

First 4 ingredients: Deboned Chicken, Chicken Meal, Dehydrated Chicken Liver, Dried Egg Product

Tiki Cat is one of the most solid brands overall, taking all of the recipes into account.

They consistently deliver incredibly high quality, meat-based foods in both the wet and dry markets, and honestly I’d say you’re better off randomly choosing a Tiki Cat option than just about anything else.

While they do have more canned options, this particular blend is full of meat, vitamins, minerals, pumpkin for fiber, and a near-perfect macronutrient profile.

It does contain chickpeas and peas, as well as brewer’s dried yeast, but by the look of the macros, they are in there at minimal levels…just enough to help form the actual kibble shapes and provide a bit of energy.

It’s hard to go wrong with Tiki Cat.

Recommended.

The Best Freeze- and Air-Dried Cat Foods Made With Raw Ingredients

Image Product
  • Benefits: As close as a wild diet as you can get. Near-perfect, biologically appropriate option.
  • Protein / Fat / Carbs (DM): 57 / 16 / 14
  • Price / Pound: $51.14
  • Benefits: As close as a wild diet as you can get. Near-perfect, biologically appropriate option.
  • Protein / Fat / Carbs (DM): 57 / 16 / 14
  • Price / Pound: $51.14
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  • Benefits: Amazing meat ingredients with minimal, but high quality produce. Excellent macronutrient profile.
  • Protein / Fat / Carbs (DM): 59 / 24 / 7
  • Price / Pound: $34.43
  • Benefits: Amazing meat ingredients with minimal, but high quality produce. Excellent macronutrient profile.
  • Protein / Fat / Carbs (DM): 59 / 24 / 7
  • Price / Pound: $34.43
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  • Benefits: Novel protein for cats with allergies or sensitive stomachs, packed with vitamins and minerals.
  • Protein / Fat / Carbs (DM): 52 / 29 / 7
  • Price / Pound: $40.40
  • Benefits: Novel protein for cats with allergies or sensitive stomachs, packed with vitamins and minerals.
  • Protein / Fat / Carbs (DM): 52 / 29 / 7
  • Price / Pound: $40.40
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Freeze- and air-dried foods are about as close as you’ll get to feeding raw, without the hassle of actually having to make it yourself (or order from a company who makes it fresh, like our recommendation, NomNomNow, above).

Because the freeze-drying process can lock in so much of the nutrients, you get a very pure recipe that delivers a ton of the micronutrients, as well as keeps the macronutrients stable and ready to be digested by your feline friend.

These foods require very little, if any, processing, which means they can be highly biologically appropriate for your kitty.

We recommend them as one of the best diets you can feed.

It’s typically best to rehydrate these a little by adding some water to the food and stirring it slightly.

That way it’s both more appetizing to Kitty, and helps her get enough moisture each day.

These are typically also made with raw ingredients, so if you’re interested in a raw diet, but don’t want the hassle of making it homemade, these should do you very well.

While the price per pound seems significantly higher than a dry or wet food, remember that these are very concentrated foods for the most part.

Once you add water, they will go farther, and the price per pound will drop significantly. 

It’s best to make calculations on price per meal, which will depend on how much your cat eats.

Here are our top 3 picks for the best in this category.

#1. Vital Essentials Mini Patties Rabbit

vital essentials mini patties

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.

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 amazingly vitamin and amino-acid rich source of protein for kitty, and is a very innovative ingredient to put in alongside a vast amount of rabbit.

Definitely one of the most biologically appropriate diets you can feed your cat.

Highly recommended.

#2. Primal Nuggets Turkey

primal nuggets

Macronutrients on a dry-matter basis:

  • Protein: 58.76%
  • Fat: 23.71%
  • Carbs: 6.80%

First 4 ingredients: Turkey, Turkey Necks, Turkey Hearts, Turkey Livers

Again with the full-on feast!

They throw in a little bit of organic produce to get some vitamins and minerals in there, as well as some apple cider vinegar and sardine oil.

This is another very high quality option.

Primal does make a number of other flavors, though we recommend going with this turkey option, the chicken and fish option, or the rabbit option.

If your kitty is allergic to one of the more common types of meats, they offer a venison recipe, which I would recommend trying in a case like this.

Above average protein, above average fat, below average carbs…it’s just such a pure recipe that it’s hard to find fault with it, and it shows in the macronutrient profile.

Highly recommended.

#3. Ziwi Peak Air Dried Venison

ziwi peak air dried

Macronutrients on a dry-matter basis:

  • Protein: 52.33%
  • Fat: 29.07%
  • Carbs: 6.98%

First 4 ingredients: Venison – Meat (Includes Up to 3% Finely Ground Bone), Venison – Liver, Lung, Tripe

Interestingly, Ziwi uses an air-dried method rather than freeze-dried for this food, which allows them to retain more moisture, but still have an outstanding nutrient profile, and maintain a biologically-appropriate, whole food recipe.

Venison can be fine for your cat, but it is particularly helpful to try a cat on this type of recipe who is allergic to one of the more common meat sources.

And meat allergies are actually more common than you think!

Ziwi does supplement with some quality vitamins and minerals, to ensure that you’re covering all the bases to keep your pet healthy, which is something the other brands don’t typically do for a freeze-dried option.

Whether this is simply because venison lacks some of the important nutrients for cats, or air-drying is not as effective as freeze-drying, is hard to tell, but you should not be worried to see the hard-to-pronounce ingredients on this packaging, since they are all quality and necessary.

As with all freeze-dried options, this is a more expensive choice, but the benefits of feeding so close to a natural feline diet can be worth it if you can afford it.

Recommended.

The Best Kitten Food For A Healthy, Growing Cat

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  • Benefits: No fillers, fantastic meat ingredients including salmon for the fatty acids.
  • Protein / Fat / Carbs (DM): 55 / 27 / 4
  • Price / Pound: $5.24
  • Benefits: No fillers, fantastic meat ingredients including salmon for the fatty acids.
  • Protein / Fat / Carbs (DM): 55 / 27 / 4
  • Price / Pound: $5.24
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  • Benefits: Quality meat, no carbs, appropriate vitamin and mineral additions.
  • Protein / Fat / Carbs (DM): 59 / 27 / 0
  • Price / Pound: $6.35
  • Benefits: Quality meat, no carbs, appropriate vitamin and mineral additions.
  • Protein / Fat / Carbs (DM): 59 / 27 / 0
  • Price / Pound: $6.35
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Your kitten is totally dependent on her mommy cat for the first three or four weeks, but they’ll want to start using those new teeth as soon as they get them!

The active lifestyle and high-growth phase of a kitten’s life needs a diet that is high energy and full of nutrients that fuels their spirit and encourages healthy growth.

Kittens typically need to eat up to twice as much as an adult cat.

The best food for kittens will have:

  • More calories, protein and fat
  • Omega fatty acid DHA, necessary for brain and vision development
  • Vitamin E and Selenium for the immune system
  • Calcium for bone growth

A balanced diet that includes all of these nutrients will go a long way towards making sure that your frisky kitten matures into a healthy and happy cat.

Our top picks are both wet foods.

There are decent options for kibble, but we felt that it would be dishonest to recommend a lower star rating food just to fit a dry one on the page.

If you’re going to feed your kitten the best, do it right, and choose one of our top picks below.

#1. Instinct Original Kitten Chicken

instinct original kitten

Macronutrients on a dry-matter basis:

  • Protein: 54.55%
  • Fat: 27.27%
  • Carbs: 4.55%

First 4 ingredients: Chicken, Beef Liver, Chicken Broth, Salmon (Source of DHA)

This just covers all the bases.

Moderately higher calorie, great protein and fat content, smart ingredient choices (adding the salmon to get the fatty acids is key), ZERO fillers…it just ticks all the boxes.

This is a fantastic food to welcome your kitten into the world with, once she’s weaned from her mother’s milk.

Calcium, selenium, proteinate versions of the minerals for better absorption, a smattering of whole food vegetables for added vitamins.

We could go on and on.

Suffice it to say that this is one of the best options out there for a growing kitty.

Instinct has a number of other very high quality foods that make the transition easy from the kitten recipe to an adult one.

Highly recommended.

#2. Nutro Soft Loaf Kitten Chicken

nutro soft loaf kitten

Macronutrients on a dry-matter basis:

  • Protein: 59.09%
  • Fat: 27.27%
  • Carbs: 0%

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

Another high protein, decent calorie, adequate fat, no carb offering to start your kitten’s life out on the right paw.

There are no fillers here. Guar gum keeps it all together, and while some people like to stay away from that sort of ingredient, in moderation it should be quite safe to consume.

Again we’ve got calcium, selenium, and other minerals and vitamins that young kitties need to thrive, and many of them are proteinate, which means they’ll be absorbed better than a “normal” mineral.

Fish oils help to provide omega fatty acids, which are vital at this stage of life.

A very clean recipe, with limited ingredients, this is another very good option.

Recommended.

The Best Niche, Category-Specific Foods For The Discerning Pet Parent

Sometimes cats have specific nutritional needs that mean you’re looking outside of a simple “best of the best” list.

While we do believe a vast majority of cats will do well on the options we provided above, we want to make sure you’ve got all the options when it comes to feeding a quality food.

Here we’ll give one or two of the best options for each smaller, niche category that you might be looking for.

Let’s jump into a controversial one to kick things off!

Is There Such A Thing As A Best Vegan Or Vegetarian Diet For My Kitty?

No!

From time to time, I come across someone online who says that they feed a vegan or vegetarian diet and that their cat is as healthy as can be.

They seem to think that just because their cat hasn’t immediately died, they can ignore the biological and evolutionary history of the feline.

This is shortsighted, and honestly abusive behavior.

Cats are obligate carnivores. We see it in the wild diet of stray and feral cats.

We see it in the food choices of domestic cats.

It’s clear from their physiology.

Meat contains high amounts of protein, reasonable fat quantities, the correct amino acids, and many vitamins and minerals that are not easily derived from plant sources.

And even if you carefully constructed a diet that met macro and micro nutritional needs on a numbers or percentage basis, that doesn’t stop the fact that most plant products are very difficult for cats to digest.

The bioavailability of those nutrients can also be lower than from whole meat sources.

This can cause unnecessary pain to your cat through uncomfortable digestion, and also from long term health issues that come from inappropriate feeding.

Send me hate mail if you want, but even if you, personally, are vegan or vegetarian, please, please realize that your cat is part of the natural, animal kingdom that you allegedly respect enough not to eat from it.

And realize that your cat doesn’t have the choice to eat and digest plants instead of animals like we do.

You can’t simply change evolution and biology because you think people shouldn’t eat meat. Your kitty may be like a child to you, but she is a meat eating child.

Don’t feed vegetarian or vegan!

The Best Grain Free And Gluten Free Cat Food

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  • Benefits: Insanely high quality. Great meats. Minimal starch.
  • Protein / Fat / Carbs (DM): 55 / 30 / 0
  • Price / Pound: $6.41
  • Benefits: Insanely high quality. Great meats. Minimal starch.
  • Protein / Fat / Carbs (DM): 55 / 30 / 0
  • Price / Pound: $6.41
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  • Benefits: Full of different cuts of meat, including organ and novel protein (venison).
  • Protein / Fat / Carbs (DM): 51 / 29 / 7
  • Price / Pound: $8.51
  • Benefits: Full of different cuts of meat, including organ and novel protein (venison).
  • Protein / Fat / Carbs (DM): 51 / 29 / 7
  • Price / Pound: $8.51
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Many brands and pet parents are seeing things like keto and other low-carb human diets take off in popularity, and wondering why so much grain was put into cat food for so long.

A cat doesn’t eat grain in the wild, so why do so many options rely on it as a main ingredient?

The only grain a cat might get in the wild is in the stomach of a prey animal.

This will only be a very small percentage of the total amount eaten by a wild cat, and it will be partially digested in the prey animal’s stomach, making it easier for the cat to digest and get nutrients from.

So, it only makes sense that we feed our cats grain free options, since that will be more biologically appropriate, right?

Well, yes and no.

It’s true that they don’t eat them in the wild in great quantities, so there’s no real “reason” to feed them as a main ingredient.

However, a little bit of carbohydrates will not be too harmful to your cat. Some grains are even “better” than others in digestibility and bioavailability for felines.

So, if there is a bit of grain in the recipe, as long as it’s not pushing the carb count up past about 10 or 15% on a dry-matter basis, it can still be a 4 star cat food (none of our 5 star foods have grain in them).

Because remember, if the recipe isn’t using grains as a “filler” or to keep the kibble from crumbling, many use other carb-rich ingredients.

Usually starchy, also hard to digest carbs like potato, tapioca, or pea.

Starch-heavy ingredients are also not the best for cats, and may be even harder for them to digest than the grains we’re getting rid of.

This is why we’ve gone taken care to learn about all the ingredients and why we’ll shortly be launching our Cat Food Ingredient Wiki.

The recommended brands below are all grain-free, but we’re also calling these our top gluten-free picks, since they’ll be the same picks for each category anyway.

It’s very rare for a cat to need a gluten free diet, and many pet parents think it’s the best way to ward off allergies.

In reality, cats are more likely to be allergic to certain animal products like beef, dairy, or fish.

Here are our top picks for a grain-free cat food option that doesn’t overload your kitty with other, starch-heavy carbs to make up for the lack of grains.

#1. Crave Grain-Free Food Tray Chicken Pate

crave grain free pate

Macronutrients on a dry-matter basis:

  • Protein: 54.55%
  • Fat: 29.55%
  • Carbs: 0%

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

We tend to choose foods that have no grains as our top picks anyway, and that’s why we’re recommending the Crave Grain-Free line as our number one choice in this section.

You’ve got a lot of great whole meat ingredients, fish oil, vitamins and minerals galore, and the carb ingredients are obviously very miniscule, as they’re quite far down the ingredient list. Plus, they’re few and far between.

A bit of tomato. A bit of tapioca starch.

A great mix, fantastic nutrient profile.

Highly recommended.

#2. Feline Natural Grain-Free New Zealand Chicken & Venison

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

Another of our top picks, the only carb-type ingredients are flaxseed flakes (which are actually pretty useful), and dried kelp (an important, and often-used source of iodine, which is vital for cats).

Pretty darn good! No fillers here.

The macronutrient profile is very favorable and compares to what cats have been observed eating in both the wild and in controlled commercial-diet studies.

The mix of meat sources, including organs, delivers a lot of nutritional value.

This has everything you want and nothing you don’t.

Highly recommended.

The Best High Fiber Cat Food For Digestion

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  • Benefits: The highest fiber content in a 5 star food. 6% fiber, fantastic raw recipe.
  • Protein / Fat / Carbs (DM): 64 / 25 / 0
  • Price / Pound: $43.32
  • Benefits: The highest fiber content in a 5 star food. 6% fiber, fantastic raw recipe.
  • Protein / Fat / Carbs (DM): 64 / 25 / 0
  • Price / Pound: $43.32
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  • Benefits: 5% fiber content, good natural ingredients.
  • Protein / Fat / Carbs (DM): 52 / 15 / 18
  • Price / Pound: $26.92
  • Benefits: 5% fiber content, good natural ingredients.
  • Protein / Fat / Carbs (DM): 52 / 15 / 18
  • Price / Pound: $26.92
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Fiber is important for gastrointestinal health in cats, particularly long haired cats prone to hairball issues.

Fiber is digested by gut bacteria into essential fatty acids and is also a good bulking agent for appetite control in chubby felines.

If your cat is suffering from digestion problems and you or your vet thinks a higher fiber diet may be worth it, here are two of the highest fiber options on the market that we also rate highly overall.

#1. Primal Nuggets Venison

Primal Nuggets Venison

Macronutrients on a dry-matter basis:

  • Protein: 63.92%
  • Fat: 24.74%
  • Carbs: 0%
  • Fiber content: 6%

First 4 ingredients: Venison, Venison Hearts, Venison Livers, Ground Venison Bones

An unconventional protein choice, this packs a lot of protein and a good amount of fat, while maintaining a huge fiber content. Out of our top rated foods, this has the highest amount of fiber.

Have a look at these minor ingredients, and you’ll start to understand where this fiber is coming from:

Organic Collard Greens, Organic Squash, Organic Green Beans, Cranberries, Blueberries, Organic Pumpkin Seeds, Organic Sunflower Seeds.

It’s a freeze-dried food, which is one of the best diets you can choose.

Just add a bit of water to the nuggets, and serve, and it’s as close to raw feeding as you can get, without the hassle that goes along with that.

This is a fantastic food regardless of fiber, but just so happens to get you there as well.

Highly recommended.

#2. Dr. Harvey's Oracle Chicken

dr harveys oracle

Macronutrients on a dry-matter basis:

  • Protein: 52.13%
  • Fat: 14.89%
  • Carbs: 18.09%
  • Fiber content: 5%

First 4 ingredients: Freeze-Dried Chicken, Whole Egg, Sweet Potato, Carrot

While this does contain more carbohydrates than many of our top picks, which can be explained by the existence of sweet potato and other vegetables so high on the ingredient list, it is still a very solid food with a pretty good macronutrient profile.

This is a strong candidate if you are looking for something that we rate highly based on our objective feedback scores, and that has a lot of fiber.

The minerals are proteinate versions, which makes them easier to digest.

Recommended

The Best High Protein Cat Food

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  • Benefits: Absolute best dry option, with a huge amount of protein.
  • Protein / Fat / Carbs (DM): 70 / 18 / 0
  • Price / Pound: $4.73
  • Benefits: Absolute best dry option, with a huge amount of protein.
  • Protein / Fat / Carbs (DM): 70 / 18 / 0
  • Price / Pound: $4.73
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  • Benefits: Fantastic, all natural freeze-dried option, full of protein.
  • Protein / Fat / Carbs (DM): 62 / 26 / 0
  • Price / Pound: $44.43
  • Benefits: Fantastic, all natural freeze-dried option, full of protein.
  • Protein / Fat / Carbs (DM): 62 / 26 / 0
  • Price / Pound: $44.43
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All cats need a high-protein diet.

All of them.

A “wild” diet ends up being about 60% protein on a dry-matter basis, so it’s natural for cats to seek out this type of diet, too.

While all of our recommended foods are high in protein, since that is what our kitties require, we’re going to give you some extra high protein options, too.

Some situations that may require extra high protein are: growing little ones, pregnant and nursing queens, or injured and recuperating pets.

#1. Wysong Epigen 90 Starch Free

wysong epigen 90

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 is our top pick for dry foods overall, and is the highest protein dry food that we can find on the market today.

It starts out with chicken meal, which is a super concentrated form of chicken meat, goes into chicken, and then finishes off the top 3 with meat protein isolate, which, as we covered above, is exclusively made from pork meat.

It is produced in such a way as to extract the absolute maximum amount of protein out of the meat without much else.

If you’re alright feeding a dry food, this is your best bet for a “normal” food that maximizes protein intake.

Highly recommended.

#2. Primal Nuggets Rabbit

primal nuggets rabbit

Macronutrients on a dry-matter basis:

  • Protein: 61.86%
  • Fat: 25.77%
  • Carbs: 0%

First 4 ingredients: Rabbit (with ground bone), Rabbit Livers, Rabbit Hearts, Organic Collard Greens

Since this is made up of basically just rabbit and a few vegetables and vitamins, and then freeze dried from raw, it packs in the nutrients big time.

Rabbit is a great source of meat for kitties, and having the livers and hearts means a better fat content and a better natural source of minerals and vitamins without the need to add too much synthetic stuff to the recipe.

This is one of the highest protein content foods that we also rate highly, and if you do not want to feed a dry food like our choice above, you should definitely test this out.

Highly recommended.

The Best High Calorie Cat Food

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  • Benefits: Packed with a variety of cuts of chicken, with salmon for fatty acids. Huge amount of calories.
  • Protein / Fat / Carbs (DM): 54 / 33 / 0
  • Price / Pound: $34.43
  • Benefits: Packed with a variety of cuts of chicken, with salmon for fatty acids. Huge amount of calories.
  • Protein / Fat / Carbs (DM): 54 / 33 / 0
  • Price / Pound: $34.43
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  • Benefits: Full of different cuts of meat. Huge protein, fairly low carb for a dry food.
  • Protein / Fat / Carbs (DM): 53 / 20 / 15
  • Price / Pound: $3.75
  • Benefits: Full of different cuts of meat. Huge protein, fairly low carb for a dry food.
  • Protein / Fat / Carbs (DM): 53 / 20 / 15
  • Price / Pound: $3.75
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Any cat food can be high calorie if your kitty eats enough of it.

But there are some cats who need to pack in as many calories as possible per bite, because they may have trouble eating or may not have much of an appetite.

I’m thinking specifically here of older cats, sick cats, or cats recovering from surgery or an injury.

If you need to ensure your kitty has enough energy coming into her body without forcing her to simply eat more than usual, here are some massively high calorie options.

#1. Primal Nuggets Chicken & Salmon

primal nuggets chicken salmon

Macronutrients on a dry-matter basis:

  • Protein: 53.61%
  • Fat: 32.99%
  • Carbs: 0%
  • Calories per 100 grams: 568

First 4 ingredients: Chicken, Chicken Necks, Chicken Gizzards, Salmon

This is the most calorie-dense option that we came across that we also rate very highly (a perfect 5 out of 5 stars on our rating scale).

Since it’s freeze dried, all the calories and nutrients stay behind while the moisture is taken away.

When your furry pal eats it, it’s just like having a raw meal, which is high in calories and very nutritious, especially good for cats who are recovering from some health issue.

Most dry foods are in the 300 calories/100 gram range, to put things into perspective.

Add a bit of water to this, and you should be able to get a lot more calories than usual into Kitty without making her eat a lot.

Highly recommended.

#2. Go! Fit + Free Chicken, Turkey & Duck

go fit free

Macronutrients on a dry-matter basis:

  • Protein: 53.33%
  • Fat: 20%
  • Carbs: 15%
  • Calories per 100 grams: 430

First 4 ingredients: Chicken Meal, De-Boned Chicken, De-Boned Turkey, Duck Meal

One of the only dry foods over 400 calories/100 grams, this one certainly packs a punch.

Along with the concentrated protein in the chicken and duck meal, it includes fish ingredients and egg, which likely contribute to the high calorie count.

It does include a number of carbohydrates like broccoli, peas, and potatoes, which we are not huge fans of, but they’re of limited quantity and this food still scores a perfect 5 from us.

The ingredient list is long, but mostly full of whole foods, probiotics, minerals, and vitamins.

If you need a less expensive, kibble option with a lot of calories, this is it.

We still suggest putting a bit of water on the kibble to make it easier to eat for a kitty recovering from something.

Highly recommended.

The Best Human Grade Cat Food

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  • Benefits: Dehydrated ingredients to keep nutrients high quality. Human grade, prepared in a human grade kitchen.
  • Protein / Fat / Carbs (DM): 41 / 31 / 16
  • Price / Pound: $11.27
  • Benefits: Dehydrated ingredients to keep nutrients high quality. Human grade, prepared in a human grade kitchen.
  • Protein / Fat / Carbs (DM): 41 / 31 / 16
  • Price / Pound: $11.27
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  • Benefits: High meat, high protein, fairly low carbohydrates. Human grade, and FDA-approved production facility.
  • Protein / Fat / Carbs (DM): 51 / 26 / 10
  • Price / Pound: $13.33
  • Benefits: High meat, high protein, fairly low carbohydrates. Human grade, and FDA-approved production facility.
  • Protein / Fat / Carbs (DM): 51 / 26 / 10
  • Price / Pound: $13.33
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For the pet parent who won’t serve anything but the best to their precious kitty.

Many ingredients normally used in animal food (both companion animal and livestock), is classified as “feed grade”, which is typically not considered fully safe for human consumption.

This doesn’t mean the ingredients are bad, it’s just that some of the pieces of meat used might not be from the muscle sources we’re used to, for example (breast, thigh, etc.).

Though in some cases, it does mean the ingredients are bad. Unnamed meat byproducts and low quality fillers, for example.

Human grade has to reach a very high standard.

Basically, the authorities need to be able to say, “yep, you could serve this to a human and we’d be okay with it”.

Which is a lot of responsibility for a pet food company!

But there are indeed 2 we found that are very good, that offer human grade food, made in human-grade facilities.

#1. The Honest Kitchen Grain-Free Chicken

the honest kitchen grain free

Macronutrients on a dry-matter basis:

  • Protein: 41.14%
  • Fat: 31.12%
  • Carbs: 15.74%

First 4 ingredients: Chicken, Eggs, Potatoes, Sweet Potatoes

While this does have a moderate amount of carbs, and an average amount of protein compared to other foods in our database, it is all human grade ingredients, and it’s all made in a human grade facility.

The macronutrient profiles are within an acceptable range.

They dehydrate the food, which keeps all of the calories and nutrients, and then finely dice it up for easier digestion. All you do is add a bit of water to it and serve.

You certainly won’t be tempted to eat it, but your cat should love it.

Recommended.

#2. Whole Life LifeBites Chicken

whole life lifebites

Macronutrients on a dry-matter basis:

  • Protein: 51.04%
  • Fat: 26.04%
  • Carbs: 10.42%

First 4 ingredients: Chicken, Sweet Potato, Chicken Liver, Peas

This freeze-dried option obviously has a lot of meat in it, as shown by the high protein and low carb counts, even though carbs like sweet potatoes and peas show up high on the ingredient list.

That shows us that there must be a lot of chicken in there to maintain a high protein, low carb ratio.

The addition of liver is excellent for a whole meat source of vitamins and minerals, and the other minimal amount of ingredients are all excellent and human grade.

Each one of the ingredients is human grade, actually, and their facilities are fda-approved for human food production.

Recommended.

The Best Organic Ingredient Cat Food

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  • Benefits: Full on organic. Decent protein. Decent fat. Decent carbs. Definitely the top organic option.
  • Protein / Fat / Carbs (DM): 45 / 23 / 11
  • Price / Pound: $5.47
  • Benefits: Full on organic. Decent protein. Decent fat. Decent carbs. Definitely the top organic option.
  • Protein / Fat / Carbs (DM): 45 / 23 / 11
  • Price / Pound: $5.47
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  • Benefits: Even the secondary ingredients are organic. High quality all around.
  • Protein / Fat / Carbs (DM): 41 / 30 / 11
  • Price / Pound: $5.00
  • Benefits: Even the secondary ingredients are organic. High quality all around.
  • Protein / Fat / Carbs (DM): 41 / 30 / 11
  • Price / Pound: $5.00
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Similar to human grade options, this is for the discerning pet parent who treats her darling kitty to only the best.

While a handful of companies use a few organic ingredients here and there, it’s tough to find a mostly or fully organic recipe.

Luckily there are at least 2 very high quality options that we recommend with a 4.5 out of 5 star rating.

#1. Evanger's Organics Chicken

evangers organic

Macronutrients on a dry-matter basis:

  • Protein: 45.45%
  • Fat: 22.73%
  • Carbs: 11.36%

First 4 ingredients: Organic Chicken, Organic Chicken Broth, Organic Chicken Liver, Organic Brown Rice

One of the few fully organic options, even the guar gum, used to thicken the food, is organic.

Happily the macronutrient profile is reasonable as well.

Protein levels are not off the chart, but they’re at least average, and the fat and carbs are a decent level, too.

The inclusion of chicken liver in this recipe is a good choice by the manufacturer, in order to give your kitty some healthy meats beyond simply the white breast meat that will not satisfy her nutritional needs alone.

Recommended.

#2. Newman's Own Organics Organic Chicken & Liver

newmans own organic

Macronutrients on a dry-matter basis:

  • Protein: 40.91%
  • Fat: 29.55%
  • Carbs: 11.36%

First 4 ingredients: Organic Chicken, Organic Chicken Broth, Organic Chicken Liver, Organic Yeast Extract

Again, an option that even uses organic secondary ingredients like alfalfa meal and guar gum.

If you’re looking for organic, you can’t get much more organic than this.

It’s important to note that while the macronutrient profiles are quite good, they’re not perfect, and that this recipe does include carrageenan, which some people believe to be controversial.

Otherwise, it contains good minerals in their proteinate form for easier digestion and absorption, and has important vitamins added to ensure the micronutrients are all there for a healthy kitty.

Recommended.

The Best Hypoallergenic Cat Food For Kitties With Sensitive Stomachs

Image Product
  • Benefits: High quality, novel protein source, with lots of organ meat.
  • Protein / Fat / Carbs (DM): 41 / 20 / 20
  • Price / Pound: $13.57
  • Benefits: High quality, novel protein source, with lots of organ meat.
  • Protein / Fat / Carbs (DM): 41 / 20 / 20
  • Price / Pound: $13.57
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  • Benefits: Rabbit meat and liver allows for a close-to-wild diet. Good macronutrient profile.
  • Protein / Fat / Carbs (DM): 52 / 19 / 8
  • Price / Pound: $9.22
  • Benefits: Rabbit meat and liver allows for a close-to-wild diet. Good macronutrient profile.
  • Protein / Fat / Carbs (DM): 52 / 19 / 8
  • Price / Pound: $9.22
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While only about 10-15% of cats will exhibit issues with their stomach due to an allergy or other food concern, it’s important that there are options for those few kitties who do need the extra attention.

An allergic reaction is usually to a specific ingredient in the food, like a common meat or carbohydrate source, from beef, chicken, or fish, to corn or wheat.

While it’s difficult to detect if a food allergy really is causing a sensitive stomach, the best course of action in these cases is to introduce a completely novel diet to your kitty – that means one full of ingredients she’s never had before.

Usually this means finding a protein source like venison or kangaroo (yes, really!), and usually finding a grain-free food will cover the bases in terms of removing the offending carbs, if there are any.

Check out one of the options below, which we have rated very highly in our cat food database, and feed for 8-10 weeks (after consulting your vet), to see if the symptoms fade or disappear.

#1. Ziwi Peak Venison

ziwi peak

Macronutrients on a dry-matter basis:

  • Protein: 40.91%
  • Fat: 20.45%
  • Carbs: 20.45%

First 4 ingredients: Venison, Venison Broth, Venison Liver, Venison Lung

This is a super high quality recipe, full of a variety of different venison cuts, including bone, which we really like to see.

Assuming your cat has never tried venison, chickpeas, or New Zealand green mussels before, there’s nothing in here that should trigger an allergy from a previous food.

Not only is it a “novel” recipe, in that it’s very unique, but it’s just overall high quality.

The protein is about average, the fat is about average, and the carbs are a bit higher than we like to see, but again, they’re not so high as to be offensive.

For a fair priced, wet food to try on a sensitive stomach, this one gets our vote.

Recommended.

#2. Instinct Limited Ingredient Rabbit

instinct limited ingredient

Macronutrients on a dry-matter basis:

  • Protein: 52.08%
  • Fat:18.75%
  • Carbs: 8.33%

First 4 ingredients: Rabbit, Water, Rabbit Liver, Pea Protein

If you’d prefer to stick to a more “natural” diet that your cat might eat in the wild, but is still fairly novel, rabbit is a safe bet.

The inclusion of rabbit liver is great to see, and the macronutrient profile on this particular product are excellent.

While the protein level is certainly increased by the use of pea protein, which is less than ideal, it is a fairly novel carbohydrate and protein source, and should help you determine if the tummy troubles are food related.

This food is also packed with useful, easily digestible (due to being in proteinate form) minerals and vitamins.

Recommended.

The Best Food For Diabetic Cats

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  • Benefits: Our top rated dry food. Carbohydrate-free. No starch, no grains.
  • Protein / Fat / Carbs (DM): 70 / 18 / 0
  • Price / Pound: $4.73
  • Benefits: Our top rated dry food. Carbohydrate-free. No starch, no grains.
  • Protein / Fat / Carbs (DM): 70 / 18 / 0
  • Price / Pound: $4.73
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  • Benefits: Fresh, like-homemade food, delivered to your door. Minimal carbs, great recipe.
  • Protein / Fat / Carbs (DM): 67 / 15 / 8
  • Price / Pound: $2.50 - $3.00 / meal
  • Benefits: Fresh, like-homemade food, delivered to your door. Minimal carbs, great recipe.
  • Protein / Fat / Carbs (DM): 67 / 15 / 8
  • Price / Pound: $2.50 - $3.00 / meal
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Cats with diabetes mellitus need reduced carbohydrate diets to avoid the peaks and troughs of blood glucose, and should also be fed strict quantities of food, as overeating and obesity is a main cause for feline diabetes.

For some kitties, dietary changes may improve their condition enough to be able to stop insulin therapy, but this is a conversation you should be having with your veterinarian.

We do not recommend any of the so-called prescription foods here, because they do not tend to meet our standards for a biologically-appropriate diet.

Therefore, we will skip the “diabetes” lines of commercial pet food brands, and give you promising, low carb, real meat options.

#1. Wysong Epigen 90 Starch Free

wysong epigen 90

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

If you feed a dry diet, our number one overall dry choice from Wysong is a fantastic place to start.

Almost any cat will thrive on this food, but it’s particularly useful in a case of diabetes, because the carb levels are non-existent.

As we note above, meat protein isolate is 100% pork meat, but Wysong labels it this way due to pet food labelling requirements, which they outline on their website.

This food is packed with great proteins, and as long as you are diligent about the amount you feed your cat to ensure she maintains an ideal weight, this is our top dry choice for diabetic cats.

Highly recommended.

#2. NomNomNow Delivered Chicken

nomnomnow chicken

Macronutrients on a dry-matter basis:

  • Protein: 66.67%
  • Fat: 14.81%
  • Carbs: 8.15%

First 4 ingredients: Chicken thigh, chicken breast, chicken liver, carrot

For those of you who feed wet diets, we’re once again going to turn to our top pick for wet cat food overall.

This is a food with just a few fruits and vegetables added in order to simulate the greens a cat would eat in the wild, by consuming the belly of a prey animal, but is otherwise packed with meat.

It’s a bit different than your typical wet foods, since it’s a fresh-made food that gets shipped to your door in a cooler, but it’s made in an FDA-quality kitchen by a dedicated team of chefs, and was formulated by a leading veterinary nutritionist.

It’s basically like feeding a homemade diet, but without the hassle.

They’ll also send you exactly the right amount of food based on how heavy your cat is and how heavy he should be, so obesity should be a thing of the past.

Highly recommended.

The Best Cat Food For Cats With Urinary Tract Trouble

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  • Benefits: High protein, no carbs. High moisture content, wide spread of vitamins and minerals.
  • Protein / Fat / Carbs (DM): 67 / 13 / 0
  • Price / Pound: $7.04
  • Benefits: High protein, no carbs. High moisture content, wide spread of vitamins and minerals.
  • Protein / Fat / Carbs (DM): 67 / 13 / 0
  • Price / Pound: $7.04
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  • Benefits: High protein, low carbs. Fresh ingredients. High moisture content. Convenient.
  • Protein / Fat / Carbs (DM): 67 / 15 / 8
  • Price / Pound: $2.50 - $3.00 / meal
  • Benefits: High protein, low carbs. Fresh ingredients. High moisture content. Convenient.
  • Protein / Fat / Carbs (DM): 67 / 15 / 8
  • Price / Pound: $2.50 - $3.00 / meal
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Cats with FLUTD (feline lower urinary tract disease) or other urinary tract issues can typically be helped by switching from a dry kibble diet to a wet diet.

A lack of moisture in dry foods may lead to urinary troubles, along with inflammatory ingredients, like many carbohydrates in dry foods, can cause these issues to flare up, and it’s important that you choose a diet as natural as possible for your kitty to help her.

Many issues like this creep up not randomly, but because the popular food options are actually not biologically appropriate for our kitties.

The choices we make below are full of real meat, low on carbohydrates, and specifically designed to mimic a natural, prey diet.

#1. Tiki Cat After Dark Chicken & Duck

tiki cat after dark

Macronutrients on a dry-matter basis:

  • Protein: 66.67%
  • Fat: 13.33%
  • Carbs: 0%

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

There’s a lot to like about the Tiki Cat brand overall, and the After Dark recipes are spot on.

There’s an absolute ton of protein, all from great meat sources, and no added carbohydrates whatsoever.

The vitamins and minerals help to round things out, but with so many different, important internal parts of the chicken offered, plus duck, your cat will already be getting a ton of natural nutrients.

As with most wet options, it’s over 80% moisture, which is very important, considering many dry food options are less than 10% moisture.

The switch to wet alone should do good things for your kitty, but choosing something like this that is fairly close to a wild diet should seal the deal.

Highly recommended.

#2. NomNomNow Delivered Chicken

nomnomnow chicken

Macronutrients on a dry-matter basis:

  • Protein: 66.67%
  • Fat: 14.81%
  • Carbs: 8.15%

First 4 ingredients: Chicken thigh, chicken breast, chicken liver, carrot

We recommend this food in a number of specific categories, but that’s because it’s fantastic.

It’s basically a fresh, home-cooked meal for your kitty that is delivered to your house in a cooler every few weeks.

It’s a fantastically high quality and thoughtful recipe, and it’s produced in an FDA-quality kitchen by dedicated chefs.

Homemade diets are fantastic for your cat if they cover all the bases, but they’re so hard to get right and they’re so much work.

This takes out all of the hassle and delivers only what your cat needs: tons of protein, minimal carbs, and fresh ingredients.

The 70% moisture level and the fresh, natural ingredients should treat your cat’s urinary system well.

Highly recommended.

The Best Food For Senior Cats

Image Product
  • Benefits: Full of quality meat ingredients. Easy to eat soft pate. Full of moisture and vitamins.
  • Protein / Fat / Carbs (DM): 55 / 23 / 2
  • Price / Pound: $5.71
  • Benefits: Full of quality meat ingredients. Easy to eat soft pate. Full of moisture and vitamins.
  • Protein / Fat / Carbs (DM): 55 / 23 / 2
  • Price / Pound: $5.71
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  • Benefits: Wide range of protein sources. Excellent macronutrient profile.
  • Protein / Fat / Carbs (DM): 55 / 27 / 2
  • Price / Pound: $3.59
  • Benefits: Wide range of protein sources. Excellent macronutrient profile.
  • Protein / Fat / Carbs (DM): 55 / 27 / 2
  • Price / Pound: $3.59
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As your kitty ages she will continue to need protein, vitamins, and minerals, and all of these things should be fairly easy to eat and digest.

That means we typically recommend feeding a wet food diet, and choosing something that has minerals that are chelated or in their proteinate form, for easier absorption.

Her digestion may not be as good as when she was younger, and if she is a picky eater this can be challenging.

The thing about cat food, like many human supplements, is that marketing speak can carry the day for many companies.

However, it doesn’t always tell the whole story.

Many of the foods specifically marketed for senior cats is almost the exact same as any other recipe, and usually not all that good, anyway.

As with any kitty, you should be looking for real meats, low carbs, high protein, and for seniors, a wet food may be a better choice than dry, in terms of being able to eat it easily and digest it better.

Not getting enough moisture as a younger cat is bad enough, but for a senior cat it can be extra trying.

#1. Nutro Soft Loaf Senior Chicken

nutro soft loaf senior

Macronutrients on a dry-matter basis:

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

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

Of course as soon as I tell you that most senior foods are just marketing mumbo jumbo, I go and recommend one with “Senior” on the label.

But it’s really good, honest!

Nutro makes a whole lineup of amazing wet foods that are packed with real meat protein sources with no added fillers or carbs.

This particular option is a soft pate loaf, which makes it easy for an older cat to eat and digest (the 78% moisture content will help her entire body, too).

Vitamins and minerals galore, plus added taurine, a necessary amino acid that your cat needs in her food, mean that your kitty won’t be lacking nutritent-wise as she ages.

I would be happy recommending this to any cat, but it is a particularly good choice for the elderly furballs among us.

Highly recommended.

#2. Holistic Select Feline Turkey & Salmon

holistic select feline

Macronutrients on a dry-matter basis:

  • Protein: 54.55%
  • Fat: 27.27%
  • Carbs: 2.27%

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

This recipe boasts protein from 4 different animal sources: turkey, chicken, whitefish, and salmon.

The macro profile of proteins, fats, and carbs, is excellent, and the high moisture content of this canned option will be great for your older kitty.

A mixture of real fruit and vegetable powders help provide vital nutrients, as well as the vitamins and minerals added (many of which are proteinate versions, for better digestion and absorption).

Having the extra fat from the fish in this recipe is a nice thing to see, while not going overboard by starting out with a lean meat like turkey.

Highly recommended.

The Best Prescription Food Options For Cats

This is a tough one for us to give a recommendation on, because it depends what you’re being prescribed for.

I knew people would be looking for this, so I included it as it’s a useful time to discuss the subject a bit, but we don’t have any top recommendations without knowing the exact nature of the prescription.

What I will say is that I am wary of many of the prescription-only lines.

Many of them are simply disguised versions of low quality kibble.

Why, for example, is one popular “Digestive Care” prescription option full of corn, barley, and rice filler, when those things are the opposite of easily-digestible for most cats?

If your kitty has digestion issues, I’d suggest you’re probably better off picking a wet food with a decent fiber content (4-6%), and going from there.

Just like human diets, feline diets don’t have to be full of fads and tricks and tips. Most cats will be their healthiest on a diet close to their natural, wild diet, which is usually made up of small rodents, rabbits, and maybe a bird now and then.

Obviously this is something you need to discuss with your vet, but if your cat is having any problems, have a look at what you’re currently feeding. If it’s full of corn, by-products, and other fillers, just try one of our top recommended wet or dry foods at the top of this page, and see what happens to her health.

The Best Diet Cat Food

Much like prescription cat food, this is a bit of a grey area where people get sucked in by marketing talk.

Diet cat foods are typically just low quality foods with fewer calories.

They’re usually full of the same old corn, wheat, and rice, and many use low quality by-products.

The thing is, the only reason cats need a diet food is if you’re feeding her too much!

So, it’s up to you to manage her calorie intake.

If she’s having a hard time staying at an ideal weight, stop putting food out for her to graze all day. Only feed at meal times, and only a specific amount, as just one example.

Get a high quality food like we recommend above in our mian dry and wet sections, and then just make sure you’re feeding appropriate calories every day, based on how much she should weigh.

This takes a bit of work, but if you’re here you obviously care for her, so I know you can do it!

Most foods have calorie counts on the bag, as well as how much you should feed based on weight.

Track how much you feed, and if she is not losing weight after a couple of weeks, start giving a little bit less food, and continue to track. Once she’s lost weight (slowly and steadily), and is at a reasonable weight, then you just keep tracking to find out how much food she needs to stay at that weight.

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? – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5753635/
  • Estimation of the dietary nutrient profile of free-roaming feral cats: possible implications for nutrition of domestic cats. – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22005434 (full text downloaded as file name 2011_82.pdf)
  • AAFCO 2018 Official Publication
  • https://www.chewy.com
  • Manufacturer websites
  • Much of Dr. Karen Becker’s work at Mercola – https://healthypets.mercola.com/
  • Catological Cat Food Database – Publish Date TBD
  • Catological Cat Food Ingredient Wiki – Publish Date TBD

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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?!

Click Here to Leave a Comment Below 8 comments
poivre - October 26, 2016

Have you checked the new owners who cheapened the Tiki Cat products? Check out the difference between the calorie content of the light blue puka puka chicken label (now being outmoded) and the “new and improved” (HA!) yellow and medium blue label which calorie content lost more than 50 calories to the can and yet it is exactly the same product.
Of course a representative who stuttered through her entire “explanation” told me the only difference was that they changed the chicken! You heard me! Do you believe that?

Reply
    Barbara Gleason - November 27, 2016

    I’m really glad that I noticed your post. I have a new kitten & after much reading about which are the best foods for her, I had chosen Tiki Cat as one of my three favorites. What a disappointment to hear this news. And I just read of their merger/selling out, which ever it is, with another company. It seems that when these merger business decisions take place it results in a decline in the quality of their food; other companies which had good reputations have also done the same thing the past year or two; with customer complaints galore. Too bad, it’s our pets that will suffer, and we have to prevent that by not buying these lower quality foods. What a shame.

    Reply
Angela Miller - November 13, 2016

Thank you for this article! I have been trying to find a food that my baby can eat that will help her issues. Now thanks to you I have

Reply
Patricia Boyle - January 20, 2017

Thank you.

Reply
connie williamson - March 31, 2017

My ten year old male cat has always eaten a URINARY TRACT dry cereal plus canned food (

fancy feast}. He developed almost chronic diahrra. I found him “an easily digestable dry food and took away the wet cans. That problem dissapeared. Now he urinates much less. ….and he is unhappy missing the wet food…I want to give him the benefiets of both for URINARY and DIGESTIVE HEALTH. Maybe a health Urinary Tract wet food that has a similar taste to Fancy Feast Beef????????

Reply
Michele Lijewski - July 16, 2017

I was told that can food in gravy and sause is not the best is this true.

Reply
    Catological - July 17, 2017

    Hi Michele –

    There are so many different types of food, it’s impossible to say that all food in gravy/sauce is not good.

    The most important thing to look for are the ingredients. This post should help you make an informed decision, as we give many different options for many different situations, and talk about what you should be looking for.

    So, whether you choose wet, dry, or raw, the most important thing is the ingredients!

    Reply
Karen - January 3, 2018

Our old (19) cat has had severe diarrhea. Nothing TWO vets have prescribed for her has worked. She and I are very unhappy!! Any help would be GREATLY APPRCIATED! MANY FAMILY MEMBERS ARE PUSHING FOR EUTHANASIA. I REFUSE UNLESS IT’S FOUND SHE HAS CANCER OR SOME FATAL DISEASE! CLEANING UP MESSES SHOULSN’T BE A REASON TO PUT A PET DOWN!

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