Best Cat Food in the UK

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Because their nutritionally complete tinned foods deliver plenty of species-appropriate animal protein, moisture, and nutrition without a lot of plant ingredients, we recommend Thrive Complete as the best cat food in the UK.

Keep reading for tips on what to look for in the best cat food and our other top picks for the 6 finest foods in the UK.

At a Glance: Best Cat Food In The Uk To Buy

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2000+ hours of
research
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88 brands
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6 features
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6 top
picks

Want a quick look at the products 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.

ImageProductFeatures
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Overall Best

Thrive Complete Cat Food
  • Rich in animal-sourced protein
  • Has a shredded texture that cats love
  • Free of dangerous additives
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Runner Up

AATU for Cats
  • Low carbohydrate content
  • Rich in animal-sourced protein
  • Free of artificial colours, flavours, and preservatives
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Best Species Appropriate

Anifit for Cats
  • Fresh, high-quality raw ingredients
  • Made with 90% to 99% real meat
  • Rich in flavor, no artificial additives
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Best Dry Cat Food

Ziwi Peak
  • Low carbohydrate content compared to other dry foods
  • Uses a variety of nourishing muscle meat, organs, and bones
  • A novel-protein diet for most cats
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Best Affordable

Fancy Feast Classic Wet Cat Food
  • Hearty animal-based nutrition
  • Free of carrageenan, a thickener common in lower-priced foods
  • Low in carbohydrates
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Best for Kittens

Natures Menu
  • Rich in digestible protein
  • Calorie-dense to support kittenhood growth
  • Low carbohydrate content
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What Really Matters In Cat Food?

The pet food industry has always been driven by trends, hype, and the idea that good pet owners will do anything to give their pets the best. In today’s market, that means an emphasis on all things natural, ancestrally-inspired, and real—whatever that means.

To get a better understanding of the UK pet food scene, I reached out to Dan Richardson of Tuxedo-Cat.co.uk. Dan confirmed that the thriving pet food market is increasingly driven by people who want to give their cats the finest nutrition.

“In recent years a lot of new pet food companies have sprung up in the UK offering ethically sourced, grain-free (for cats), diets with carefully concocted blends of vegetables. These sorts of companies have seen lots of growth recently as they cater for the growing demand created by increased interest in FHC (fit for human consumption) pet food from health-conscious pet owners,” Dan explained.

With labels like “premium”, “ethically-sourced”, and “high-quality” popping up everywhere and their meanings so vaguely defined, the cat food market can be almost as full of hype as the supplement business. To find the best food for your cat, you need to ignore the buzz and focus on what’s important.

What To Look For In Cat Food?—Qualities Of The Best Cat Food

Put on your tunnel vision, blur out the trends, and zero in on what really matters. Whether your cat is young or old, slim or chubby, whether you’re a kale-eating yoga teacher or subscribe to New Scientist, the following feline nutrition principles don’t change.

1. Species-Appropriate Macronutrients

The ingredient list is important, but before looking at a food’s ingredients, it’s vital to make sure that it gets macronutrients right. The three major macronutrients—protein, fat, and carbohydrates—are metabolized in slightly different ways by your cat’s body.

Multiple studies have shown that cats thrive on and enjoy a diet that’s rich in protein with moderate fat and minimal carbohydrate content. A diet with 50% protein, 38% fat, and 2% carbohydrates supports lean muscle mass and fuels your cat for long days of play and napping.

In practical terms, this means that you should look for food in tins and pouches, raw food, or even freshly-cooked meals. Because plant ingredients are a vital part of producing dry food, kibbles are notorious for high carbohydrate content.

Even Diabetes.co.uk—a well-regarded resource for people with diabetes—acknowledges that feeding your cat a dry diet may increase his chances of developing the disease. Feeding your cat a wet diet effortlessly reduces carbohydrate content and helps to keep your cat healthy.

2. Plenty of Moisture

Hydration is vital. Without enough moisture, your cat is at an increased risk of developing lower urinary tract disease, including crystals and blockages. Though a water bowl or fountain is essential, most cats don’t drink enough from them to compensate for a dry diet. Unless you feed her a high-moisture food, your cat will likely experience low-level chronic dehydration.

Particularly when you’re buying wet food for your cat, make sure that it’s nutritionally complete according to the guidelines established by the European Pet Food Industry Federation (FEDIAF). Many wet foods are considered “complementary” products and aren’t nutritionally complete for full-time feeding.

3. Safe Ingredients

Avoid any ingredients that could harm your cat. Potentially-harmful ingredients include artificial colours, carrageenan, and some preservatives, including BHA, BHT, and ethoxyquin.

4. Manufacturing Quality and Company Reputation

What’s in your cat’s food matters. So does who made it. Look for brands with clean recall histories, reputations for consistent quality control, and good customer service.

Best Cat Food in the UK: 6 Good Options

Overall Best: Thrive Complete Cat Food

Thrive Cat Food Complete Chicken and Turkey

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While most dry foods in the UK are nutritionally complete according to the guidelines established by the European Pet Food Industry Federation, the majority of wet foods aren’t. Instead, they’re rated for complementary feeding only, meaning you’ll have to feed them in rotation with other foods.

Thrive is among the few cat food manufacturers that offer a nutritionally complete wet food. Their foods have all the nutrients your cat needs for every meal and every day.

Thrive’s wet foods are primarily made from meat ingredients without any added colours, harmful preservatives, sugar, or artificial flavours.

Top Recipe: Thrive Cat Food Complete Chicken and Turkey

This food has a straightforward recipe that’s primarily made from chicken breast in chicken stock. It also contains a little turkey to round out the poultry plate, with sunflower oil serving as its primary fat source.

There’s a lot of great simplicity here, but the food could be better. It could, for example, instead of containing sunflower oil, include an animal-sourced fat like salmon oil or another fish oil, which would bump up the omega-3 content and support your cat’s skin and coat health.

It’s a lean, lightweight food that’s best for adult cats, particularly those who need to lose weight.

Ingredients

Chicken breast (70%), Chicken stock, Turkey (5%), Sunflower oil, Vitamins & Minerals.

Guaranteed Analysis:

Crude Protein14.5%
Crude Fat2%
Crude Fiber.01%
Moisture81%
Ash2%

What We Liked:

  • Rich in animal-sourced protein
  • Free of dangerous additives
  • Has a shredded texture that cats love
  • Low carbohydrate content

What We Didn’t Like:

  • Made with plant-sourced oil

Runner Up: AATU for Cats

AATU for Cats

View On Amazon UK

AATU offers both wet and dry foods, all of which emphasize high protein content and skip the cereal grains so common in other products.

Their wet foods are primarily made from animal ingredients with plenty of meat, protein, and other nutrients from meat.

Though it has some great qualities, AATU falls short of our first-place ranking because it leans to the gimmicky side. Their foods are meat-focused, certainly, but they also contain some trendy and unnecessary items like spirulina and tomatoes.

As you might expect given their use of these ingredients, AATU foods are a little more expensive than most and not all cats love the way they taste.

Top Recipe: AATU Adult Cat Food Wet Pouches

This food is 97% meat ingredients, with chicken, quail, and chicken broth taking up most of the recipe.

It also contains what the company describes as the “super 8”, a mix of eight vegetables, herbs, botanicals, and spices. Cats don’t need any of these ingredients and they increase the food’s carbohydrate content slightly, but overall, they exist in small enough quantities to leave the food relatively species-appropriate.

The food is free of artificial colours, flavours, and preservatives that might harm your cat.

Ingredients

97% Chicken & Quail (Includes Chicken 57%, Chicken Broth 30%, Quail 10%), Minerals, Sweet Potato, Carrots, Peas, Apple, Lucerne, Chick Peas, Tomato, Tapioca, Pear, Cranberry, Blueberry, Mulberry, Orange, Bilberry, Cowberry, Glucosamine, Chondroitin, Parsley, Peppermint, Spirulina, Seaweed, Oregano, Sage, Marjoram, Thyme, Chamomile, Rosehip, Yucca, Chicory, Aniseed, Stinging Nettle, Marigold, Fenugreek, Cinnamon, MSM.

Guaranteed Analysis:

Crude Protein10.8%
Crude Fat6.4%
Crude Fiber0.5%
Moisture79%
Ash2.5%

What We Liked:

  • Low carbohydrate content
  • Rich in animal-sourced protein
  • Free of artificial colours, flavours, and preservatives

What We Didn’t Like:

  • Expensive
  • Contains a lot of fluffy, non-essential ingredients

Best Species Appropriate: Anifit for Cats

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Use coupon code ALLABOUTCATS10 to get 10% off your first order of Anifit cat food!

When it comes to species-appropriate nutrition for pets, Anifit is the expert. This pet food company offers a variety of wet food and Biologically Appropriate Raw Food (B.A.R.F.) options for cats made with up to 99% real meat ingredients.

Anifit cat food is made with the freshest ingredients possible including 100% pure meat of human grade. This company has a strict ban on animal meals, vegetable flours, preservatives, sugar, and artificial additives, so you know your cat is only getting the best.

Top Recipe: Fisch A La Mode

This formula features a protein-rich blend of chicken, reindeer, and fish which comprise 99% of the total recipe. We appreciate that the actual percentage of each protein ingredient is listed and that there are no artificial flavors, colors, or preservatives.

Anifit notes that the muscle meat in their recipes includes skeletal muscles as well as heart and stomach muscles, so there’s definitely no shortage of protein. The inclusion of beef lung and liver helps ensure proper nutritional balance as well.

The only supplements in this formula appear to be tomato powder for fiber, calcium, and salt along with rose hip. Rose hip isn’t an ingredient we’re very familiar with, but it appears to offer anti-inflammatory benefits.

Ingredients:

Chicken muscle meat (31%), reindeer muscle meat (7%), salmon (16%), whiting (16%), beef lung (18%), beef liver (11%), tomato powder, rose hip, calcium, salt

Guaranteed Analysis:

Crude Protein10%
Crude Fat3%
Crude Fiber0.3%
Moisture83%
Ash2%

What We Liked:

  • Fresh, high-quality raw ingredients
  • Made with 90% to 99% real meat
  • Rich in flavor, no artificial additives

What We Didn’t Like:

  • No dry food options

Best Dry Cat Food: Ziwi Peak

ZiwiPeak Daily Cat Food Pouches Lamb

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This New Zealand company makes air-dried and canned foods that spotlight animal muscle meat, organs, and green-lipped mussels.

Though both their dry and wet foods have some great qualities, dry food is Ziwi Peak’s strong spot.

Ziwi Peak food is air-dried, not extruded, so it retains the nutrient value of fresh meat without the pathogens of raw food. It’s a good alternative to both raw food and kibbles.

Click here to read our complete review of Ziwi Peak cat food. 

Top Recipe: Ziwi Peak Cat Food Adult Air Dried Lamb, Dry Food

While nothing can change the fact that this air-dried food is just as moisture-depleted as any traditional kibble, this food has a few qualities that set it ahead of your standard bag of crunchies. For example, it’s primarily made from meat and has a low percentage of calories from carbohydrate.

It’s made from lamb, lamb heart, lamb tripe, liver, kidney, lung, bone, and green-lipped mussel as a source of omega-3 fatty acids.

All of these ingredients are nourishing and species-appropriate, making this a good complement to wet food or main dish for cats who refuse to eat anything but dry food.

Ingredients

Lamb, Lamb Heart, Lamb Tripe, Lamb Liver, Lamb Kidney, Lamb Lung, New Zealand Green Mussel, Lamb 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:

Crude Protein35% min
Crude Fat33% min
Crude Fiber2.0% max
Moisture14% max
Ash12% max

What We Liked:

  • Low carbohydrate content compared to other dry foods
  • Uses a variety of nourishing muscle meat, organs, and bones
  • A novel-protein diet for most cats

What We Didn’t Like:

  • Doesn’t have enough moisture
  • Expensive

Best Affordable: Fancy Feast Classic Wet Cat Food

 Fancy Feast Classic Tender Beef Feast Canned Cat Food

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This well-known Purina brand offers some of the best economical foods you can buy.

Some of their recipes contain potentially harmful dyes and others have too much plant matter, but most of the formulas in the Fancy Feast Classics line are meat-rich, species-appropriate recipes that deliver plenty of nutrition without a lot of starch or other ingredients that could harm your cat.

Top Recipe: Fancy Feast Classic Tender Beef Feast Canned Cat Food

This paté style food is primarily made from beef, beef broth, and liver. It also contains a couple of vaguely-labelled ingredients that may not be top-quality additions to your cat’s diet. What does that mean? The food contains fish, but it doesn’t specify what type of fish is in it. It contains meat by-products, but doesn’t say what kind of meat is in those by-products.

These ingredients aren’t necessarily terrible, but they’re not guaranteed to be particularly digestible, nutritious, or safely-handled, either. Like many Fancy Feast recipes, the food contains a combination of artificial and natural flavours.

It’s thickened with guar gum, which is a safer alternative to carrageenan, another common thickener used in cat food.

Ingredients

Beef, Beef Broth, Liver, Fish, Meat By-products, Natural And Artificial Flavors, Guar Gum, Potassium Chloride, Salt, Taurine, Vitamin Supplements (E, A, D3, B12), Sodium Nitrite (To Promote Color Retention), Thiamin Mononitrate (Vitamin B1), Ferrous Sulfate, Zinc Sulfate.

Guaranteed Analysis:

Crude Protein11% min
Crude Fat4.0% min
Crude Fiber1.5% max
Moisture8% max
Ashn/a

What We Liked:

  • Hearty animal-based nutrition
  • Low in carbohydrates
  • Free of carrageenan, a thickener common in lower-priced foods
  • Affordable

What We Didn’t Like:

  • Contains artificial flavours
  • Made with animal by-products, which may not be as digestible or nourishing as other cuts of meat

Best for Kittens: Natures Menu

Natures Menu Kitten Chicken

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Natures Menu sells raw, freeze-dried, and wet foods, all emphasizing human-grade cuts of meat from what they call ethically raised animals. Whether they’re raw or not, all Nature’s Menu foods are inspired by the nutritional value of raw food.

They’re free of added sugars, rendered meats, and artificial flavours and colours.

Natures Menu foods are a good option for cats of all ages, but their kitten-specific formula stands out as a particularly high-protein, low-carbohydrate, richly nourishing option.

Top Recipe: Natures Menu Kitten Chicken

What makes kitten food different from adult food? Usually, kitten food is more calorically-dense, nutrient-rich, and sometimes, a little softer and easier to eat than traditional adult food.

This food is primarily made from chicken in broth—no cereals, no potatoes, and no protein sources besides chicken. The super-simple recipe is fortified for kitten nutrition and has a soft consistency that makes it easy to lap up.

Ideally, kitten food would contain a fish oil supplement as a source of the omega-3 fatty acid DHA, but this one doesn’t. If you choose this kitten food, you may want to add a salmon oil supplement to round out your kitten’s diet.

Ingredients

Chicken (min 70 percent), Broth (28 percent), Vitamin A 3000iu, Vitamin D3 200iu, Vitamin E 30 mg, Taurine 1.5 g. Trace Elements: Zinc sulphate monohydrate 15 mg, Manganese sulphate monohydrate 3 mg, Calcium iodate 0.75 mg, Sodium selenite 0.03 mg.

Guaranteed Analysis:

Crude Protein10%
Crude Fat8.0%
Crude Fiber0.4%
Moisture79%
Ash2.5%

What We Liked:

  • Rich in digestible protein
  • Calorie-dense to support kittenhood growth
  • Low carbohydrate content

What We Didn’t Like:

  • Doesn’t contain a source of omega-3 fatty acids
  • Expensive

Want To Learn More About Feline Nutrition And How To Feed Your Cat The Best?

We have plenty of resources to help you become the savviest shopper on the cat food aisle. Check out our guides to the best dry food, best wet food, and kitten food or explore our collection of brand reviews and ratings.

About the author


Mallory Crusta is a writer and adventurecat enthusiast on a mission to make cats’ lives extraordinary. She’s one of the founders of Wildernesscat – a site for happy, healthy, and adventurous cats who are fueled by nature. Visit Wildernesscat for radically natural cat nutrition, home remedies, and lifestyle inspiration.

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