Best Cat Food Brands of 2018: Reviews and Comparisons!

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best cat food cat eating kibbleCat parents only want what’s best for their kittens, so naturally, they want to give them a healthy, nutritionally balanced diet. But how do people navigate the aisles of pet brands to find the best cat food? Read on to find out what to look for in quality cat food!

Rated 4.00/5.00 by Certapet
BFF OMG Rainbow A Gogo Variety Pack Wet Cat Food Pouches, 3-oz, case of 12$13.49
If your cat is your best friend, then treat him to the flavor choices of the BFF Variety Pack Grain-Free Cat Food Pouches. Coming with two pouches each of six delicious flavors, every recipe is full of healthy goodness that uses real meat as the star ingredient. The easy-to-serve pouches come packed in gravy, which is cat-tastic for the kitties who love to lick. They’re also rich in protein and fatty acids, so that your cat has all the nutrients he needs for a healthy, happy life. And to make matters even better, it’s all free from grain with limited carbs—just how your cat likes it!

 

Table of Contents

What Makes the Best Dry Cat Food for Cats!

High-quality dry cat food should contain the best available protein source, which for cats would be meat, poultry, fish and associated by-products. The ingredients should also always be safe for extended consumption over time and include the essential amino acid – taurine, fatty acids, vitamins, minerals, and enzymes.

Who is AFFCO?

The Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) is a voluntary membership association of local, state and federal agencies which regulate the sale and distribution of animal feeds and animal drug remedies.

How to Find the Best Dry Food for Cats!

With so many options available, this is indeed a much-deliberated and very pertinent question among cat lovers. There are a few factors to consider when choosing the best cat food for your cat!

Consider Your Budget!

First and foremost, it is important to bear in mind that adage “You get what you pay for”. Cheaper lines of cat food may cost you in the long run. Additional expenses come about from vet’s fees for associated health issues.

Then there is the fact that cats will have to eat greater quantities of the carbohydrate-packed cheaper foods to satisfy their hunger and nutritional needs. That being said, the market does include many nutritional dry cat foods without the premium price tag.

What Makes the Most Nutritious Foods

Cat food labels bearing the certification “complete and balanced” assure one that the formula includes all the nutrients required. The best cat food must be meat-based and be free of unnecessary or harmful artificial flavoring, coloring, and preservatives.

Life Stages!

Cats have different dietary needs during various stages of their nine lives. AAFCO looks for a nutritional adequacy statement on cat food labels noting which stage of life it will nutritionally satisfy. The four categories are:

  • Gestation/lactation
  • Growth (kitten food)
  • Maintenance
  • All life stages

Notably missing from this list is the Senior Cat option. While store shelves are stocked with Senior Cat Dry Food, this is more a marketing strategy than a nutrition-based one.

best food for kittens two kittens eating from cat bowl

5 Things You Have to Look for When Selecting the Best Cat Food for Adult Cats!

  1. High-quality animal protein mentioned as the first two ingredients.
  2. Nutritional adequacy: must be certified as “complete and balanced” for “all life stages” or for a defined life stage.
  3. Avoid unspecified meat sources.
  4. Avoid artificial colors and added flavoring, and artificial preservatives.
  5. Stay away from toxic ingredients such as garlic, onion, and chives.

Types of Best Dry Cat Food on the Market!

Extensive research and market studies have narrowed down the best options for your kitty in the dry food range. Since not all cats are alike, various types of dry cat food cater to individual needs.

Limited Ingredient Cat Food

This dry cat food contains carefully selected ingredients, to provide complete and balanced nutrition for cats with food sensitivities. The recipes include a single source of animal protein and easily digestible carbohydrates. They are free of gluten ingredients, grains, and corn.

High Protein Cat Food

Cats are carnivores who depend on a high protein diet based on meat, poultry, and fish to satisfy their nutritional requirements. High protein dry cat foods are carefully balanced and rich in nutrients. They are gluten-free and contain no grains, potato, tapioca, or plant proteins.

Grain Free Cat Food

Cats sensitive to grain will manifest with itchy, flaky, bumpy or red skin or ears, and an upset tummy, which may include diarrhea or vomiting.

Not all cats react to grains, but those that do will need to avoid corn, wheat, barley, and also often soy although this is not actually a grain.

Top Healthiest Cat Food on the Market!

Now that we have ruled out all the no-no’s, we can divulge the healthiest food choices for your kitties.

Wellness Cat Food

The Wellness brand uses simple, natural ingredients, without any fluff or fillers. The brand offers the Core Range which is a protein-focused, grain-free cat food, and the Complete Health range with well-balanced grain-free options for everyday health.

Rated 4.00/5.00 by Certapet
Wellness CORE Grain-Free Indoor Formula Dry Cat Food$40.89
Nourish your favorite feline’s primal essence with the protein-rich nutrition of Wellness CORE Grain-Free Chicken, Turkey & Chicken Meal Indoor Formula Dry Cat Food. With deboned chicken as the very first ingredient, this nutrient-dense, grain-free recipe contains all the protein needed to help your indoor cat maintain lean muscles and an ideal body condition. It’s fortified with antioxidants, omega fatty acids and probiotics to make sure her immune system, skin and coat, and gastrointestinal systems stay healthy and strong throughout her long life. You can be sure your furry friend is getting everything she needs to thrive from the core with this premium-quality diet that contains no wheat, fillers, or artificial ingredients.

Benefits & Drawbacks!

Benefits seem to include it being a complete and balanced formula easily incorporated into a cat’s everyday diet, guaranteed 100% grain-free. The only drawback is that some ingredients may lose quality over time.

Here’s What Customers Say!

“…three months later my cats all have beautiful fur and are very active… Took her to the vet and was told she was one of the healthiest cats she’s seen. I’m so happy”

“my male cat developed crystals that blocked his urinary tract. The vets said this brand of food has caused the same kind of problems with other cats”

Orijen Cat Food

Orijen Cat and Kitten Dry Cat Food are natural and suitable for cats of all ages and breeds. It satisfies the biological needs of even the fussiest feline feeders. Nutrient content is based on 40% protein and 19% carbohydrates.

Benefits & Drawbacks!

The pros are many and include the main ingredients being the finest quality local meat, guaranteeing freshness, and incorporating all 11 essential amino acids required for a healthy kitty.

The major drawback seems to be cost-related, citing a sudden spike in pricing as a negative. This is however offset against the other complaint that the brand is often not in stock.

Here’s What Customers Say!

“My two Ocicats have loved this dry food from the time they were weaned. They have beautiful coats and have had no stomach upsets”

“I bought this after reading all those great reviews but my cat had diarrhea for days”; and “It has a VERY strong odor. Everyone else refused even when I added a few morsels to their old food”.

Natural balance cat food cat with bow-tie and a raw fish

Acana Cat Food

Made from America’s freshest ingredients, the award-winning Acana dry cat food is formulated by biologically appropriate standards.

Benefits & Drawbacks!

Benefits are that it is rich in protein for well-developed cats; low carbohydrates mean less chance of obesity; grain and gluten-free; and is safe for younger kittens and pregnant cats. The only drawback is that some cats may be allergic to certain proteins in the food.

Here’s What Customers Say!

“New 75% Pacifica is even better for general health but particularly for skin and coat care. It represents great value”

“my three cats are refusing to have anything to do with this food – will persevere though – am hoping that they’ll soon get tired of their strike and I’ll be able to write a positive review – impressed by ingredients – pity cats aren’t!”

Hills Science Diet Cat Food

Hills has perhaps among the most widely available premium and specialist cat foods on the market today. The range offers no less than 18 varieties and formulas of dry cat food to suit all and every dietary and personal preference.

Rated 4.00/5.00 by Certapet
Hill's Science Diet Adult Sensitive Stomach & Skin Chicken & Rice Recipe Dry Cat Food$38.99
Hill's Science Diet Adult Sensitive Stomach & Skin Dry Cat Food provides your four-legged friend with great tasting nutrition for a long, happy life. Made with wholesome ingredients such as delicious rice and eggs, this nourishing recipe is balanced to meet your pet’s needs, is easy to digest and promotes a healthy skin and coat. Manufactured in the United States, every ingredient meets strict requirements for purity and nutrient content which exceed industry standards. Formulated for adult cats with sensitive stomachs or skin, this Hill’s Science Diet provides your cat the nutrition she needs for a lifetime of health and happiness.

Benefits & Drawbacks!

Benefits:

  • Cats respond well to the Prescription Diet food
  • Cats eating this food thrived and those with sensitive stomachs improved
  • Their stool smelled better and was easier to clean up
  • Impressed with ingredients compared to common grocery store brands

Drawbacks:

  • Disliked high corn and grain content
  • Felt holistic and natural cat foods had better ingredients
  • Cat didn’t thrive on the food
  • Cat gained too much weight eating the food

Here’s What Customers Say!

“They absolutely love this food. Looks like the amount of dandruff decreased since they started eating this brand about a week ago”

“Cat threw up Hill’s Science Adult Cat food (Indoor version), which I had switched her to.”

Fromm Cat Food

Fromm is a fifth-generation family-owned and operated artisan pet food company offers a range of dry cat food for all tastes and stages of life.

Benefits & Drawbacks!

Benefits:

  • No grains and artificial flavors
  • Yucca Schidigera extract reduces stool odor
  • Healthy probiotics optimize intestinal function

Drawbacks:

  • Some vegetables may not be good for your cats and some don’t like ocean flavors

best grain free cat food cat in refrigerator eating sausages

Here’s What Customers Say!

“Best high-quality cat kibble for cheap!”, and: “My cats (4) aren’t a fan of this”.

Merrick Cat Food 

Merrick cat food promises specifically formulated dry food to provide the best, most nutritious food for every cat.

Rated 4.00/5.00 by Certapet
Merrick Purrfect Bistro Grain-Free Real Chicken + Sweet Potato Recipe Adult Dry Cat Food$35.99
Put some bistro-inspired yumminess in your pal’s bowl with the Merrick Purrfect Bistro Grain-Free Real Chicken Recipe Adult Dry Cat Food. It’s packed with animal protein from chicken and turkey meals, and mixed with wholesome produce like peas, sweet potatoes and alfalfa. Loaded with antioxidants to support immunity, omegas for a healthy skin and coat, plus vitamins, minerals and taurine in every bite, it’s sure to fuel all your kitty’s adventures, and then yum! Plus, it has zero grains, artificial colors, flavors or preservatives so you can let kitty dive right into his bowl.

Benefits & Drawbacks!

Benefits:

  • Packed with protein-rich rabbit
  • Similar to a cat’s natural diet
  • Added moisture promotes urinary health

The only drawback was that some cats may not like the gravy.

Here’s What Customers Say!

“This is the only food that I found that she is not vomiting anymore. It’s a sheer blessing.” and “My cats threw this up and will no longer eat it. I hoped that the problem was temporary – perhaps from a faulty production run, but I see from other reviews that Merrick sold out to a big company in 2013 or so”

Top Affordable Dry Cat Food for Adult Cats

Affordability is always a plus. The best cat food is not always the most expensive cat food!

Blue Buffalo Cat Food and Blue Wilderness Cat Food

A range of Blue Buffalo dry cat food for every stage and dietary need, to suit every kitty.

Rated 4.00/5.00 by Certapet
Blue Buffalo Indoor Health Chicken & Brown Rice Recipe Adult Dry Cat Food$33.98
Feed your kitty the balanced nutrition of the Blue Buffalo Indoor Health Chicken & Brown Rice Recipe Adult Dry Cat Food. Made with real chicken as the first ingredient along with wholesome brown rice and superfoods like cranberries, blueberries, blackberries, spinach and more, it packs complete nutrition into every bite without piling on the calories. It’s loaded with LifeSource Bits―a unique blend of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants to support immunity―plus omegas, taurine and essential amino acids so it provides all the nutrients your pal needs to explore the great indoors. Plus, it helps maintain healthy digestion for happy tummies with probiotics and prebiotic fibers in every bite.

Benefits & Drawbacks!

Benefits:

  • Formulated for cats of all ages
  • Offers a high level of protein for leaner and stronger muscles
  • Specially formulated for the needs of indoor cats

Drawbacks

  • Some cats may not like this meal and may want a higher moisture level

Here’s What Customers Say!

“Gracie Loves It!”

“After reading a lot of reviews about cats being picky eaters and liking certain flavors and brands, I purchased a couple. Well at this point I believe cats are NOT picky, if they won’t eat it, it’s because it’s not good tasting to them.

Crave Cat Food

The protein-rich nutrients of Crave cat food cater to lean, healthy bodies and provide energy for play.

Rated 4.00/5.00 by Certapet
Crave with Protein from Chicken & Salmon Indoor Adult Grain-Free Dry Cat Food$31.47
Feed your cat like the animal she is when you give her Crave with Chicken & Salmon Indoor Adult High-Protein Grain-Free Dry Cat Food. Your four-legged friend shares an instinctual need and desire to eat like her wildcat ancestors and that means consuming a diet that’s rich in real animal protein. Real chicken is the very first ingredient and the food contains no chicken by-product meal, soy, corn or wheat. This protein-rich diet provides all the nutrients she needs to develop and maintain a lean, healthy body, strong immune systems and the energy to run and play.

Benefits & Drawbacks!

Benefits:

  • Formulated for indoor cats
  • No grains and additives
  • Crunchy texture

The only drawback was the possibility that cats may become addicted.

Here’s What Customers Say!

“Bigger, but less stinky poo. Solved my problems”, and:  “Didn’t work for my cat with allergies.”

Instinct Cat Food

Instinct cat food has a lot to offer and has a very nice price!

Rated 4.00/5.00 by Certapet
Instinct by Nature's Variety Original Grain-Free Recipe with Real Chicken Dry Cat Food$37.99
Satisfy your pet’s need for real food with Instinct by Nature's Variety Original Grain-Free Recipe with Real Chicken Dry Cat Food. Guided by Instinct’s belief in raw nutrition, this recipe unlocks your cat’s ability to thrive. It’s thoughtfully balanced with wholesome foods, like real chicken and vegetables, plus guaranteed levels of probiotics, natural omegas and antioxidants. The result is a tasty, high animal protein diet that promotes maximum digestibility, a healthy coat and skin, and immune health.

Benefits & Drawbacks!

Benefits:

  • NO grains and gluten-free
  • Cats love the taste

The chief drawbacks seemed to be a price hike and that cats presented with crystals in the urinary tract.

Here’s What Customers Say!

“My two cats LOVE this brand!”, and:  “Won’t Buy Again Based on Pricing Game”

Evo Cat Food

“The ancestral diet meets modern nutrition” is the catchy tagline for the Evo brand.

Benefits & Drawbacks!

Benefits include assisting aging cats to maintain a healthy diet, assists those needing a healthy kidney diet and is grain free.

Drawbacks include lack of options in flavors.

Here’s What Customers Say!

“It has met mine and my cat’s needs.”, and: “My cat seemed to have loved the taste, but it gave her terrible diarrhea and did not respond well to it.”

Nulo Cat Food

This brand of Nulo dry cat food keeps cats healthy and active, no matter the age.

Rated 4.00/5.00 by Certapet
Nulo Freestyle Chicken & Cod Recipe Grain-Free Dry Cat & Kitten Food$42.09
Our feline friends require nutrition that helps maintain lean muscles without excess calories. That’s why this grain-free chicken & cod recipe is formulated with 83% animal-based proteins and low glycemic index ingredients, making it perfect for growing kittens to adult cats.

Benefits & Drawbacks!

Benefits:

  • Formulated for indoor cats
  • No grains or unnecessary ingredients
  • Contains patented BC30 Probiotic
  • Easily digestible and helps to prevent tartar

Drawbacks:

  • It is a dry cat food and needs extra moisture
  • Some cats don’t like this flavor

Here’s What Customers Say!

“My hopes were crushed”, and:  “This is cheaper than blue buffalo and has significantly made my cat’s coat shinier and softer”

What About the Best Wet Cat Food for Skin and Coat?

Nature’s variety abounds in choices for wet cat food. Hill’s Science Diet Adult Sensitive Stomach & Skin Cat Food comes up tops for skin and coat, while AvoDerm Wild By Nature Cat Food is also a favorite option.cat eating best wet cat food

Best Canned Cat Food for Fat Cats

Obesity in cats is no laughing matter and can be a contributor to your kitty having to be on diabetic cat food. It limits mobility and can easily impact negatively on their longevity, impacting issues such as fatty liver disease, hepatic lipidosis, and kidney disease.

Feeding only canned or raw foods has proven to be a weight loss measure in cats. Suggested canned foods include Instinct Ultimate Protein and Hills Science Diet Light.

Grain Free Cat Food: Does Your Kitty Need it?

While most cats cope fine with grain in their diet, those diagnosed with a grain allergy will have to go on a grain free cat food. Unless your cat has a grain allergy, there is no need to fork out that extra cash for the best cat food that is grain free!

Symptoms of food allergies in kitties include itchiness, excessive grooming and hair loss, balding, inflamed skin, sores and scabs and “Hotspots”. Your vet can determine whether and what your cat is allergic to with a simple test.

Best Kitten Food for Your Little Friend!

Kittens need a high protein diet during their growing stage. A shortage of protein may result in growth stunting.

These feline babies do equally well on dry or wet food, or a combination of both including raw food provided its well balanced and has the required nutrients for this stage of development.

Best Cat Food Brands for Kittens!

Independent studies highlight Nature’s Variety Instinct, BLUE Wilderness and Hill’s Science Diet Dry Kitten as best brands for kittens.

Best Grain Free Cat Food: WERUVA and BFF Cat Food!

Weruva and BFF offer a wide range of grain-free cat foods for your cats. Because of the high moisture content and quality protein, Weruva diets are suggested for cats with urinary tract problems and kidney disease.

Healthy Cat Food for Overweight Kitties: Here are Our Top 10 Canned Cat Food You Need!

Cat breeds such as Persians are prone to being overweight. Since cats don’t need carbohydrates in their diet, our top 10 canned foods are carb-free but high in protein.

  1. Weruva Best Feline Friend (B.F.F.) Grain-Free Wet
  2. Purina Beyond Grain Free Pate Natural Recipes
  3. Hill’s Science Diet Adult Indoor Cat Entree
  4. Purina Pro Plan Wet Cat Food, Weight Management
  5. Purina Pro Plan Focus Healthy Metabolism Formula
  6. AvoDerm Natural Canned Wet Cat Food
  7. NomNomNow
  8. Pro Plan Focus Indoor Care Canned Cat Food
  9. FirstMate Turkey Formula
  10. Wellness CORE Grain-Free Recipe

Science Cat! Which High-Calorie Cat Food Should You Avoid?

Historically, and going by ingredients and recall history, it may be best to choose high-calorie cat foods from brands which have a high protein content, contain all the required amino acids and have low carbohydrate content.

Foods with a high percentage of unspecified animal proteins in their list of ingredients should be avoided!

3 Cat Food Brands You Should Stay Away From!

First, let’s dispel the myth that homemade cat food is better than commercial brands. While some brands are better than others, the majority of commercial cat foods are just what your cat needs to be healthy and live a long and happy life… or nine. The best cat food is made to benefit the health of cats, not to only to make a profit from selling a substandard product!

A great guideline is to check that the first of three ingredients on the cat food label are meat. Corn, peas, and rice should never take the first, second, or third spot on the label.

  1. 9Lives
  2. Purina
  3. Kit & Kaboodle

cat eating best dry cat food from blue bowl

The Best Cat Food for Cats…Ingredients are Key!

Whether dry kibble, raw or wet food, ingredients are what counts when deciding what’s best for your cat.

Check the label! Protein should appear in the first 5 ingredients, and less than 10% of calories should come from carbohydrates. Unspecified meats are a definite no-no! Do your homework and find the best cat food for your cat and your budget!

Common Questions on the Best Cat Food 

Should I start feeding my 10-year-old cat Senior Cat food? 

If the third item on the food label is unspecified meat meal as opposed to chicken meal, is it a good option? 

If an unknown brand of cat food is certified by AFFCO as “Complete and balanced”, can I be assured it is good for my kittens?

 

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