The 7 Best Beef Cat Food Formulas

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Cats are meat eaters, plain and simple. But are all meats equally healthy (and appropriate) for cats?

The human world consumes over 130 billion pounds of beef each year and the United States accounts for roughly 21% of that figure. Americans love their red meat and you’d be hard pressed to find a cat who would turn up his nose to it.

Let’s take a closer look at the nutritional value of beef to determine whether it’s a healthy choice for cats.

At A Glance: Best Cat Foods With Beef To Buy

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Want a quick look at the best cat foods reviewed in this article? In the comparison table below, we’ve highlighted some of the most important features of each product. You’ll find more detailed information about each product later in the article.

Best Overall
10.0
Picked by 31 people today!

Feline Natural Beef & Hoki Feast Grain-Free Freeze-Dried Cat Food

  • First six ingredients are all animal-based
  • Contains over 50% crude protein
  • Gently freeze-dried to preserve nutritional integrity
Premium Pick
9.8
Picked by 31 people today!

Meow Mates Beef Dinner Grain-Free Freeze-Dried Cat Food

  • Single source of species-appropriate animal protein
  • First seven ingredients are all animal-based
  • Freeze-dried to preserve nutritional integrity
Budget Pick
9.5
Picked by 25 people today!

Weruva Cats in the Kitchen The Double Dip Chicken & Beef Au Jus Grain-Free Canned Cat Food

  • Four of five first main ingredients are animal-based
  • Contains over 60% crude protein on a dry matter basis
  • Flavorful gravy may appeal to picky eaters
Best Dry Cat Food
9.4
Picked by 21 people today!

Ziwi Peak Air-Dried Beef Recipe Cat Food

  • Provides a concentrated source of protein and nutrition
  • Single source of high-quality protein from meat, organs, and bone
  • Lower in carbohydrates than the average dry food
Best Canned Cat Food
9.3
Picked by 18 people today!

Wellness CORE 95% Beef & Chicken Grain-Free Canned Cat Food

  • Very limited list of main ingredients
  • Contains over 50% protein on a dry matter basis
  • Free from meat by-products and fillers
Best For Sensitive Stomachs
9.2
Picked by 18 people today!

Feline Natural Beef Feast Grain-Free Canned Cat Food

  • Single source of protein from muscle meat and organs
  • Rich in moisture to support your cat’s hydration
  • Simple list of animal-based ingredients for improved digestibility
Best Food Topper
9.1
Picked by 18 people today!

Vital Essentials Beef Freeze-Dried Raw Grain-Free Cat Food Topper

  • All five main ingredients are animal-based
  • Works as a food topper or complete meal
  • Crumbled texture easy to sprinkle over food

Why You Should Trust Us?

Over the last several years, we’ve spent countless hours testing the most popular pet products on the market, including cat food, cat treats, cat litter, and more. We’ve written in-depth reviews of our favorite brands as well as dozens of roundups to help you choose the right product for your cat.

Having reviewed 147 of the world’s most popular cat food brands and hundreds of formulas. We spent hours researching, contacting pet food companies, and analyzing labels. With the help of our cats, we also got hands-on experience with many popular cat foods.

Because my cat Biscuit is allergic to chicken, I’ve worked my way through a number of different proteins over the years. Lamb is one of the many I’ve tested and all three of my cats always seem to enjoy it.

Is Beef Good For Cats?

The term beef refers to the meat of cattle (Bos taurus). It comes in many different cuts and can be prepared in an unlimited number of ways from steaks and stews to roasts and burgers.

Whereas turkey and chicken are considered poultry (or white meat), beef is considered red meat. This term usually applies to the meat of mammals that contains higher levels of iron than fowl or fish. It really has to do with the myoglobin content of the meat. Cattle have significantly more muscle than poultry and fish – muscles that require more oxygen. Red blood cells deliver oxygen to the cells and a protein called myoglobin holds it there. Higher levels of myoglobin result in darker meat.

The nutritional content of beef varies from one cut to another simply because some parts of the cow are fattier than others.

Ground beef with a 10% fat content contains about 217 calories per 100 grams (3.5 oz). A serving this size contains about 26 grams of protein and almost 12 grams of fat. Beef is a complete source of protein, meaning it contains all of the essential amino acids your cat needs. It also contains notable amounts of iron, zinc, selenium, phosphorus, and B vitamins.

As an obligate carnivore, your cat requires a very protein-heavy diet. Beef is certainly a nutritious option as an animal-based foundation for your cat’s diet, but there are a few things to consider before choosing a beef-based food for your cat.

  • Beef Is One Of The More Common Triggers For Food Allergies In Cats.

A food allergy is an adverse reaction to a certain food or food additive. Unlike a sensitivity or intolerance, an allergy involves an immune response. When your cat consumes a food to which he is allergic, his immune system identifies the food as an invader and reacts by producing Immunoglobulin E (IgE) antibodies.

Allergic reactions to food can cause a wide variety of symptoms in cats, most of which are skin- or digestion-related.

Prolonged exposure to a food allergen can cause your cat to develop severely itchy skin. The more he scratches, the more damaged his skin becomes, and he may develop lesions, scabs, and even patches of hair loss. Some cats experience vomiting, diarrhea, and loss of appetite. Cats may also exhibit a decline in coat condition and may experience recurring ear infections.

The most common food allergens for cats are chicken, beef, fish, and dairy. While beef may be one of the more prevalent food allergens for cats, however, that’s not to say that allergies to beef are common.

According to the Cornell College of Veterinary Medicine, food allergies are only the third most common type of allergy seen in cats. They are secondary to flea allergies and inhalant allergies. Keep in mind as well that your cat can’t develop an allergy to a food he’s never eaten, so if you’ve never fed him beef before there’s no reason to expect that he might be allergic.

  • Beef Can Be Higher In Fat And Calories Than Other Animal Proteins.

While protein is the most important consideration in a feline diet, don’t forget about fat and calories. Fat contains 9 calories per gram versus 4 calories for protein and carbohydrates, so it’s the most significant source of energy in your cat’s diet.

According to the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO), both adult cats and kittens require at least 9% crude fat in their diet on a dry matter basis. But all fat is not created equal.

Red meat like beef is much higher in fat than poultry and fish. If you’re concerned about your cat’s caloric intake, beef might not be the best choice given its protein-to-fat ratio. Even if calories aren’t a concern, however, you should think about what kind of fat is found in beef.

A 100-gram serving of beef (15% fat) contains about 15 grams fat, almost 6 grams of which are saturated fats. Compare this to just 1 gram of saturated fat in a 100-gram serving of salmon or the same-sized serving of chicken breast. Coldwater fish like salmon are higher in omega-3 fatty acids than beef.

Saturated fats have long been linked to cardiovascular problems in humans, but the same may not be true for cats.

Because cats have genetically evolved as carnivores, their bodies are designed to efficiently process both proteins and fats. While the saturated fat content of your diet may cause your good-versus-bad cholesterol ratio to run the gambit, carnivores are more likely to have higher good than bad cholesterol regardless.

Dr. John Bauer, DVM, PhD, suggests:

“Although the concept of good and bad fats is appropriate for human health, dogs and cats are able to consume both types of fats in their diets without undue risk of coronary artery diseases, heart attacks, or strokes to which humans succumb. The simplified reason for this is that they have more good cholesterol (HDL) than bad cholesterol (LDL) to begin with, no matter what types of fat they consume.

Second, in contrast to humans, dogs and cats typically are resistant to the development of hypercholesterolemia and atherosclerosis, even when they consume amounts of dietary fat that would typically turn human blood into sludge.”

So, while it’s important to ensure the proper balance of healthy fats in your cat’s diet, there doesn’t seem to be any cause for concern regarding the higher saturated fat content of beef versus other proteins.

  • Beef Isn’t As Cheap As Chicken In Cat Food.

It’s unwise to shop for cat food by price alone, but affordability is still a valid concern.

Chicken is by far one of the most affordable proteins in cat food. Cat food brands can buy it in bulk which makes it more economical for them and for you. Even cat foods that list another protein in the name often have some chicken in them to boost the protein content without significantly affecting the brand’s bottom line.

Beef cat foods tend to be a little pricier than chicken recipes, but not exclusively so. It largely depends on how much beef is in the food, its quality, and its source.

A single-protein beef recipe is almost certainly going to be more expensive than a recipe that includes beef as one of several proteins. Beef purchased from USDA-inspected human food facilities will be more expensive than beef from less reputable sources. Grass-fed beef is going to be more expensive than commercially raised beef.

It’s your job as a responsible cat owner to know exactly what you’re feeding your cat and to make an informed decision about what that product is.

The Best Beef Cat Foods: Our Top Picks

Now that you understand the basics of beef-based food for cats and some of the cases in which it might be recommended, you’re ready to see our top picks.

#1 Best Overall: Feline Natural

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The main source of protein in this recipe appears to be beef. It is a multi-protein freeze-dried cat food formula made with beef organs and hoki. Sunflower oil is the main source of added fat. The food contains 4,762 kcal/kg or about 205 kcal/cup.

Featured Recipe: Feline Natural Beef & Hoki Feast Grain-Free Freeze-Dried Cat Food

First 5 Ingredients: Beef Heart, Hoki, Beef, Beef Kidney, Beef Liver

While raw cat food is typically our vote when it comes to high-quality cat food, freeze-dried cat food is a close second. This Feline Natural Beef & Hoki recipe is made with premium raw ingredients and gently freeze-dried to remove moisture. This process renders the product shelf stable without compromising the nutritional integrity of the raw ingredients.

Beef heart is the first recipe, supplemented by hoki (a white fish found in New Zealand and off the coast of Australia), fresh beef, and several other beef organs. These ingredients combine to deliver over 51% crude protein on a dry matter basis.

While this recipe is packed with healthy animal-based ingredients, the main source of added fat is plant-based. Sunflower seed oil takes the seventh slot on the list, followed by flaxseed flakes. The total carb content of the formula, however, is still very low under 15%

It’s worth noting that this formula also contains New Zealand Green Mussels. In addition to giving a little boost of protein, mussels are also a natural source of glucosamine and chondroitin which help support hip and joint health.

Ingredients

Beef Heart, Hoki, Beef, Beef Kidney, Beef Liver, Beef Blood, Sunflower Oil, Flaxseed Flakes, New Zealand Green Mussel, Dried Kelp, Taurine, Vitamin E Supplement, Magnesium Oxide, Zinc Proteinate, Copper Proteinate, Manganese Proteinate, Thiamine Mononitrate, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Folic Acid.

Guaranteed Analysis

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Crude Protein: 47%
Crude Fat: 32%
Crude Fiber: 1%
Moisture: 8%

Dry Matter Basis

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Protein: 51.09%
Fat: 34.78%
Fiber: 1.09%
Carbs: 13.04%

Caloric Weight Basis

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Protein: 34.38%
Fat: 56.84%
Carbs: 8.78%

Ingredients We Liked: Beef Heart, Hoki, Beef, Beef Kidney, Beef Liver, Beef Blood, New England Green Mussel

Ingredients We Didn’t Like: Sunflower Oil, Flaxseed Flakes

Common Allergens: Beef, Fish

What We Liked

  • First six ingredients are all animal-based
  • Contains over 50% crude protein
  • Gently freeze-dried to preserve nutritional integrity
  • Completely free from by-products and artificial additives

What We Didn’t Like

  • Needs to be rehydrated before feeding to support hydration
  • Pricey, over $3.00 per ounce

#2 Premium Pick: Meow Mates

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The main source of protein in this recipe appears to be beef. It is a single-protein freeze-dried cat food formula made with beef and beef organs. Fish oil is the main source of added fat. The food contains 4,949 kcal/kg or about 175 kcal/cup.

Featured Recipe: Meow Mates Beef Dinner Grain-Free Freeze-Dried Cat Food

First 5 Ingredients: Beef, Beef Tripe, Beef Heart, Beef Kidney, Beef Spleen

Made from New Zealand grass-fed beef, this freeze-dried formula is our premium pick. You’ll pay a pretty penny for it at nearly $2.65 per ounce, but because the moisture has been removed your cat doesn’t need large servings at a time. Keep in mind, however, that because it’s a dried food, you’ll need to rehydrate it or supplement your cat’s moisture intake in other ways.

Fresh beef is the first ingredient in this food, supplemented by five beef organs. This is a single-source protein recipe which makes it a great option for cats who are allergic to other proteins. It’s also highly digestible given the limited list of simple ingredients.

Fish oil acts as the primary source of added fat, though flaxseed flakes provide some in addition to dietary fiber. Overall, the carbohydrate content is very low (well under 10%) and the food offers a species-appropriate source of healthy protein and fat.

Ingredients

Beef, Beef Tripe, Beef Heart, Beef Kidney, Beef Spleen, Beef Liver, Fish Oil, Flaxseed Flakes, Dried Kelp, Dipotassium Phosphate, Salt, Magnesium Oxide, Vitamin E Supplement, Zinc Proteinate, Taurine, Copper Proteinate, Manganese Proteinate, Thiamine Mononitrate, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Folic Acid.

Guaranteed Analysis

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Crude Protein: 41%
Crude Fat: 37%
Crude Fiber: 1.5%
Moisture: 8%
Ash: 11%

Dry Matter Basis

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Protein: 44.57%
Fat: 40.22%
Fiber: 1.63%
Carbs: 1.63%

Caloric Weight Basis

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Protein: 30.98%
Fat: 67.89%
Carbs: 1.13%

Ingredients We Liked: Beef, Beef Tripe, Beef Heart, Beef Kidney, Beef Spleen, Beef Liver, Fish Oil

Ingredients We Didn’t Like: Flaxseed Flakes

Common Allergens: Beef

What We Liked

  • Single source of species-appropriate animal protein
  • First seven ingredients are all animal-based
  • Completely free from by-products, fillers, and artificial additives
  • Freeze-dried to preserve nutritional integrity

What We Didn’t Like

  • Expensive, about $2.65 per ounce
  • Doesn’t contain the moisture your cat needs unless rehydrated

#3 Budget Pick: Weruva

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The main source of protein in this recipe appears to be chicken. It is a multi-protein wet cat food formula made with chicken, beef, and beef organs. Sunflower seed oil is the main source of added fat. The food contains 59 kcal per 3.2-ounce can or 111 kcal per 6-ounce can.

Featured Recipe: Weruva Cats in the Kitchen The Double Dip Chicken & Beef Au Jus Grain-Free Canned Cat Food

First 5 Ingredients: Chicken Broth, Chicken, Beef, Beef Lung, Sunflower Seed Oil

While we all want what’s best for our cats, premium cat food isn’t always in the budget. If you’re looking for an affordable option that still delivers on healthy nutrition and animal-based protein, this chicken and beef recipe from Weruva might fit the bill.

This formula starts with hydrating chicken broth, followed by three other animal-based sources of protein from chicken and beef. The total protein content is over 61% on a dry matter basis with a moderate fat content around 19% to balance it out. Unfortunately, the main source of added fat is plant-based. It also contains a few starchy thickeners.

In addition to being a high-protein wet food, this recipe is made in a savory gravy even picky eaters seem to enjoy. Just keep in mind that this isn’t a single protein formula. If your cat is allergic to chicken, it would definitely not be a good choice.

Ingredients

Chicken Broth, Chicken, Beef, Beef Lung, Sunflower Seed Oil, Locust Bean Gum, Guar Gum, Xanthan Gum, Potassium Chloride, Tricalcium Phosphate, Fish Oil, Choline Chloride, Zinc Sulfate, Taurine, Vitamin E Supplement, Nicotinic Acid (Vitamin B3), Ferrous Sulfate, Manganese Proteinate, Thiamine Mononitrate (Vitamin B1), Calcium Pantothenate, Vitamin A Supplement, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride (Vitamin B6), Copper Sulfate, Riboflavin Supplement (Vitamin B2), Vitamin D3 Supplement, Folic Acid, Potassium Iodide, Biotin, Sodium Selenite, Vitamin B12 Supplement.

Guaranteed Analysis

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Crude Protein: 8%
Crude Fat: 2.5%
Crude Fiber: 0.5%
Moisture: 87%

Dry Matter Basis

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Protein: 61.54%
Fat: 19.23%
Fiber: 3.85%
Carbs: 15.38%

Caloric Weight Basis

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Protein: 49.78%
Fat: 37.78%
Carbs: 12.44%

Ingredients We Liked: Chicken, Beef, Beef Lung, Fish Oil

Ingredients We Didn’t Like: Sunflower Seed Oil, Locust Bean Gum, Guar Gum, Xanthan Gum

Common Allergens: Chicken, Beef

What We Liked

  • Four of five first main ingredients are animal-based
  • Contains over 60% crude protein on a dry matter basis
  • Flavorful gravy may appeal to picky eaters

What We Didn’t Like

  • Not a single protein recipe
  • Contains a few starchy thickeners

#4 Best Dry Cat Food: Ziwi Peak

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The main source of protein in this recipe appears to be beef. It is a single-protein dry cat food formula made with beef, beef organs, and beef bone. The food contains 5,500 kcal/kg or about 312 kcal/scoop.

Featured Recipe: Ziwi Peak Air-Dried Beef Recipe Cat Food

First 5 Ingredients: Beef, Beef Heart, Beef Kidney, Beef Tripe, Beef Liver

While dry cat food may not provide the moisture your cat needs, some cat owners find kibble more convenient and often more affordable than fresh or canned alternatives. This Ziwi Peak beef recipe air-dried cat food is our top pick in this category.

This air-dried cat food may not be the most “affordable” option on the list at about $1.60 per ounce, it’s lower than the average dry food in carbs and offers a concentrated source of animal protein. In addition to fresh beef, you’ll find five beef organs and beef bone on the list. This recipe also contains glucosamine- and chondroitin-rich green mussels sourced from New Zealand.

Ziwi Peak always uses grass-fed or free-range meats and wild-caught fish that is sustainably sourced. This recipe is nutrient-dense and grain-free, providing a concentrated source of energy and protein for your cat. Because it is a dry food, however, we recommend supplementing it with a high-quality wet food or wet food topper.

Ingredients

Beef, Beef Heart, Beef Kidney, Beef Tripe, Beef Liver, Beef Lung, New Zealand Green Mussel, Beef Bone, Lecithin, Inulin from Chicory, Dried Kelp, Minerals (Dipotassium Phosphate, Magnesium Sulfate, Zinc Amino Acid Complex, Copper Amino Acid Complex, Iron Amino Acid Complex, Manganese Amino Acid Complex, Sodium Selenite), Salt, Preservative (Citric Acid, Mixed Tocopherols), Vitamins (Choline Chloride, Thiamine Mononitrate, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Folic Acid, Vitamin D3 Supplement), DL-Methionine, Taurine.

Guaranteed Analysis

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Crude Protein: 38%
Crude Fat: 30%
Crude Fiber: 2%
Moisture: 14%
Ash: 12%

Dry Matter Basis

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Protein: 44.19%
Fat: 34.88%
Fiber: 2.33%
Carbs: 4.65%

Caloric Weight Basis

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Protein: 33.08%
Fat: 63.43%
Carbs: 3.48%

Ingredients We Liked: Beef, Beef Heart, Beef Kidney, Beef Tripe, Beef Liver, Beef Lung, New Zealand Green Mussel, Beef Bone

Ingredients We Didn’t Like: None

Common Allergens: Beef

What We Liked

  • Provides a concentrated source of protein and nutrition
  • Single source of high-quality protein from meat, organs, and bone
  • Lower in carbohydrates than the average dry food
  • Made from sustainably sourced ingredients like grass-fed beef

What We Didn’t Like

  • No dry food provides the moisture your cat needs
  • Fairly pricey, around $1.60 per ounce

#5 Best Canned Cat Food: Wellness CORE

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The main source of protein in this recipe appears to be beef. It is a multi-protein wet cat food formula made with chicken and beef. The food contains 1,327 kcal/kg or about 207 kcal per 5.5-ounce can.

Featured Recipe: Wellness CORE 95% Beef & Chicken Grain-Free Canned Cat Food

First 5 Ingredients: Beef, Chicken, Water, Cassia Gum, Xanthan Gum

Canned cat food is a rich source of moisture for cats of all life stages, and it tends to be higher in protein and lower in carbohydrates than the average kibble. This pate wet food from Wellness CORE is a good option as a kitten food, adult cat food, and a diet for senior cats with its smooth texture and palatable flavor.

This canned food is made with 95% beef and chicken ingredients, primarily fresh muscle meat. It contains roughly 50% protein on a dry matter basis and less than 10% carbohydrate.

With a simple ingredients list, this food is highly digestible. This, combined with the high moisture content, may help ease digestive problems and could even reduce hairball formation. It does contain some starchy thickeners, but no significant sources of added plant ingredients.

While customers are pleased with the quality and ingredients of this recipe, some cats simply don’t seem to like it. It’s also important to remember that it contains chicken as well as beef. It might not be the limited ingredient diet you’re looking for if your cat has a chicken allergy.

Ingredients

Beef, Chicken, Water Sufficient For Processing, Cassia Gum, Xanthan Gum, Ground Flaxseed, Potassium Chloride, Choline Chloride, Taurine, Salt, Iron Proteinate, Zinc Proteinate, Thiamine Mononitrate, Vitamin E Supplement, Copper Proteinate, Manganese Proteinate, Sodium Selenite, Niacin, d-Calcium Pantothenate, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Riboflavin Supplement, Vitamin A Supplement, Biotin, Potassium Iodide, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Folic Acid.

Guaranteed Analysis

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Crude Protein: 11%
Crude Fat: 8.5%
Crude Fiber: 1%
Moisture: 78%

Dry Matter Basis

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Protein: 50%
Fat: 38.64%
Fiber: 4.55%
Carbs: 6.82%

Caloric Weight Basis

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Protein: 33.19%
Fat: 62.28%
Carbs: 4.53%

Ingredients We Liked: Beef, Chicken

Ingredients We Didn’t Like: Cassia Gum, Xanthan Gum, Ground Flaxseed

Common Allergens: Beef, Chicken

What We Liked

  • Very limited list of main ingredients
  • Contains over 50% protein on a dry matter basis
  • Free from meat by-products and fillers

What We Didn’t Like

  • Not a single protein recipe
  • Contains a few starchy thickeners

#6 Best For Sensitive Stomachs: Feline Natural

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The main source of protein in this recipe appears to be beef. It is a single-protein canned cat food formula made with beef and beef organs. Fish oil is the main source of added fat. The food contains 1,123 kcal/kg or about 191 kcal per 6-ounce can.

Featured Recipe: Feline Natural Beef Feast Grain-Free Canned Cat Food

First 5 Ingredients: Beef, Water, Beef Tripe, Beef Heart, Beef Kidney

The best wet cat food for sensitive stomachs is one made with a short list of simple, high-quality ingredients. This Feline Natural recipe contains a single source of species-appropriate animal protein from fresh beef and beef organs.

The primary source of added fat in this formula is fish oil, though flaxseed flakes and sunflower oil are supplementary sources. Fish oil is packed with omega-3 fatty acids which, in addition to supporting skin and coat health, may benefit your cat’s heart health as well.

The carbohydrate content of this formula is about 15% on a dry matter basis, but this recipe doesn’t contain the starchy beans, legumes, and thickeners you’ll find in many wet foods that can be hard to digest.

It’s worth noting that the protein and fat content is identical, which makes this recipe a fairly concentrated source of calories. If your cat is overweight, pay close attention to the feeding recommendations and monitor your cat’s weight to make sure you’re not overfeeding.

Ingredients

Beef, Water Sufficient For Processing, Beef Tripe, Beef Heart, Beef Kidney, Beef Spleen, Beef Liver, Beef Blood, New Zealand Green Mussel, Fish Oil, Flaxseed Flakes, Sunflower Oil, Potassium Sulphate, Dried Kelp, Salt, Taurine, Vitamin E Supplement, Magnesium Oxide, Zinc Proteinate, Copper Proteinate, Manganese Proteinate, Thiamine Mononitrate, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Folic Acid.

Guaranteed Analysis

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Crude Protein: 7.5%
Crude Fat: 7.5%
Crude Fiber: 0.3%
Moisture: 82%

Dry Matter Basis

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Protein: 41.67%
Fat: 41.67%
Fiber: 1.67%
Carbs: 15%

Caloric Weight Basis

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Protein: 26.4%
Fat: 64.1%
Carbs: 9.5%

Ingredients We Liked: Beef, Beef Tripe, Beef Heart, Beef Kidney, Beef Spleen, Beef Liver, Beef Blood, New Zealand Green Mussel, Fish Oil

Ingredients We Didn’t Like: Flaxseed Flakes, Sunflower Oil

Common Allergens: Beef

What We Liked

  • Single source of protein from muscle meat and organs
  • Rich in moisture to support your cat’s hydration
  • Simple list of animal-based ingredients for improved digestibility

What We Didn’t Like

  • Fairly high in fat and calories

#7 Best Food Topper: Vital Essentials

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The main source of protein in this recipe appears to be beef. It is a single-protein freeze-dried cat food topper made with beef and beef organs. Herring oil is the main source of added fat. The food contains 4,500 kcal/kg or about 64 kcal/tbsp.

Featured Recipe: Vital Essentials Beef Freeze-Dried Raw Grain-Free Cat Food Topper

First 5 Ingredients: Beef, Beef Liver, Beef Heart, Beef Kidney, Herring Oil

Whether you’re feeding your cat a premium-quality fresh food or an affordable brand of dry food, it never hurts to give him a little boost of nutrition from time to time. A protein-rich food topper supports your cat’s health and adds a tasty bit of flavor to his meal.

This freeze-dried food topper from Vital Essentials is primarily composed of five animal-based ingredients with a smattering of supplements thrown in. It’s designed to be used as a topper but it is nutritionally balanced so you could use it as a complete meal if you wanted to.

Fresh beef is the top ingredient, followed by three beef organs and omega-3-rich herring oil. As a freeze-dried food it doesn’t contain the moisture your cat needs, but if you simply use it as a topper for another moisture-rich food there’s no need to worry about it.

Ingredients

Beef, Beef Liver, Beef Heart, Beef Kidney, Herring Oil, Mixed Tocopherol (Preservative), Vitamin E Supplement, Zinc Amino Acid Complex, Iron Amino Acid Complex, Copper Amino Acid Complex, Manganese Amino Acid Complex.

Guaranteed Analysis

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Crude Protein: 40%
Crude Fat: 23%
Crude Fiber: 5%
Moisture: 8%

Dry Matter Basis

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Protein: 43.48%
Fat: 25%
Fiber: 5.43%
Carbs: 26.09%

Caloric Weight Basis

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Protein: 33.37%
Fat: 46.6%
Carbs: 20.02%

Ingredients We Liked: Beef, Beef Liver, Beef Heart, Beef Kidney, Herring Oil

Ingredients We Didn’t Like: None

Common Allergens: Beef

What We Liked

  • All five main ingredients are animal-based
  • Works as a food topper or complete meal
  • Single source of premium animal protein
  • Crumbled texture easy to sprinkle over food

What We Didn’t Like

  • Very expensive, nearly $2.50 per ounce

Final Thoughts

With so many cat food recipes to choose from, it’s hard to even know where to start. Many cat owners like to begin with an assortment of cat foods to find out what types and textures their cat likes as well as any flavor preferences they have. If you already know your cat likes beef, any of the recipes above could be a good fit.

When shopping for beef cat food, however, it’s important to know whether you’re looking for a single-protein recipe or not. If your cat has an allergy to other proteins, a multi-protein formula might not be the best choice. Single-protein recipes are generally more expensive, but they’re typically made with high-quality ingredients and can be more digestible for cats with tummy troubles.

If your feline friend has trouble tolerating beef, you might consider an alternative protein source like poultry or fish, or even an unconventional protein like lamb.

Check out our top picks for the best lamb cat food here.

About Kate Barrington

Kate Barrington holds a Bachelor’s degree in English and is the published author of several self-help books and nutrition guides. Also an avid dog lover and adoring owner of three cats, Kate’s love for animals has led her to a successful career as a freelance writer specializing in pet care and nutrition. Kate is also a blogger for a number of organic and natural food companies as well as a columnist for several pet magazines.

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