The 12 Best Dry Cat Foods Of 2022

Medically reviewed by JoAnna Pendergrass, DVM
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Our Review Process

Our reviews are based on extensive research and, when possible, hands-on testing. Each time you make a purchase through one of our independently-chosen links, we’ll receive a percentage of the proceeds. Read more about how we’re supported here.

The best dry cat food is rich in high-quality protein. It doesn’t contain a lot of veggies. And it’s free of additives that might harm your cat over time.

Great food is easy to describe, but finding kibble worthy of your cat’s bowl? That’s a little more challenging.

At a Glance: Top 12 Best Healthy Dry Cat Foods To Buy

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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

Top Pick
9.9
Picked by 1 people today!

Dr. Elsey’s cleanprotein™ Grain-Free Dry Cat Food

  • Low in carbohydrates
  • Made primarily from species-appropriate animal ingredients
  • One of the most nutrient-dense dry foods on the market
Premium Pick
9.9
Picked by 4 people today!

Smalls Dry Cat Food

  • Made from human-quality ingredients in a human-grade kitchen
  • Primarily made from nourishing animal ingredients
  • Contains species-appropriate sources of omega-3 fatty acids
Best Ethically-Sourced
aac-table__image
9.5
Picked by 4 people today!

Open Farm Wild-Caught Salmon Dry Cat Food

  • Features responsibly-harvested fish
  • Contains herring oil and salmon oil as good sources of omega-3 fatty acids
  • Features animal protein sources as its main ingredients
Best for Sensitive Stomach
9.5
Picked by 1 people today!

Stella & Chewy’s Freeze-Dried Raw Morsels

  • The nutrition of raw meat in a shelf-stable, safer format
  • Low in carbohydrates
  • Great for cats transitioning to a healthier moisture-rich diet
Budget Pick
9.0
Picked by 4 people today!

Wellness Complete Health Dry Cat Food

  • Very affordable, around $0.23 per ounce
  • Fresh chicken and chicken meal as the top two ingredients
  • Relies on animal-based fat from chicken fat
Ultra-Budget Pick
9.0
Picked by 31 people today!

Kirkland Signature Dry Cat Food

  • Primarily composed of clearly-named protein sources
  • Doesn’t contain any of the artificial colors and potentially-harmful preservatives found in most budget cat foods
  • One of the most affordable foods you can buy
Best for Diabetes
9.0
Picked by 3 people today!

Ziwi Peak Air-Dried Dry Cat Food

  • Made from high-quality ingredients
  • Virtually zero carbohydrate content
  • 95% of the protein in each meal is bioavailable
Best for Weight Loss
8.9
Picked by 2 people today!

Tiki Cat Born Carnivore Dry Cat Food

  • Relatively low in carbohydrates
  • Contains delicious, nutrient-rich liver
  • Doesn’t rely on low-value plant protein
Best for Picky Eaters
8.5
Picked by 2 people today!

Solid Gold Indigo Moon® Dry Cat Food

  • Relatively low carbohydrate content
  • Free from artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives
  • Cats love the way that Solid Gold foods taste
Best for Senior Cats
8.5
Picked by 4 people today!

Only Natural Pet Dry Cat Food

  • Made with 90% animal ingredients
  • Includes fresh meat, organs, and bone
  • Rich in animal-based omega-3 fatty acids
Best Limited Ingredient
8.3
Picked by 3 people today!

Instinct Limited Ingredient Diet Freeze-Dried Raw Coated Dry Cat Food

  • Contains rabbit as its only animal protein source
  • Low carbohydrate content compared to most dry foods
  • Free of artificial colors, flavors, and other common potentially-harmful additives
Best for Growing Kittens
8.2
Picked by 4 people today!

Instinct Original Kitten Grain-Free Recipe with Real Chicken Freeze-Dried Raw Coated Dry Cat Food

  • Rich in animal-based protein
  • Freeze-dried raw chicken coating
  • Relatively low carbohydrate content

Why You Should Trust Us?

Over the last year, we’ve reviewed over 177 cat food brands, including most of the biggest brands on the planet. We’ve read customer reviews, spoken with market insiders, and tested foods hands-on. We also consulted 7 veterinarians to get their professional opinion on what makes a great cat food.

Our Veterinary Advisors

In addition to performing our own qualitative analysis of the brands reviewed here, we submitted samples for analysis at an ISO 17025 certified food testing and analysis lab.

We bought the products at full retail price, and the entire testing process was funded by All About Cats without direct input or influence from the companies involved.

Analytical testing in a food chemistry lab gives us the exact macronutrient and micronutrient content of each recipe. The tests also look at microbial content, yeast, mold, and heavy metals, helping you ensure that you’re only putting the best in your cat’s bowl.

To access the lab reports for each food reviewed here, click the “view lab report” link in the product review.

Based on that research, we’re bringing you an updated list of the best cat food brands and products in the industry. The following foods earn their place with outstanding ingredient quality, nutritional merits, and safety records.

Because it defies stereotypes with its low starch content, lack of legumes, and generous doses of species-appropriate protein, we’ve selected Dr. Elsey’s cleanprotein™ kibble as the best dry cat food on the market.

Top Picks Explained

Read on for our list of the top 12 healthiest dry cat foods on the market in 2022. After exploring our product roundup, you’ll learn about the good and the bad of dry food and how to make it part of a healthy diet.

Top 12 Best Dry Cat Foods on the Market Reviewed

#1 Top Pick: Dr. Elsey’s cleanprotein™ Grain-Free Dry Cat Food

Dr. Elsey's cleanprotein Chicken Formula Grain-Free Dry Cat Food

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  • Brand Name: Dr. Elsey’s
  • Made In: United States
  • Food Form: Dry Food
  • Guaranteed Protein: 59% min
  • Life Stage: All Life Stages
  • Typical Cost Per Day: $0.80/day

Unlike most grain-free foods, Dr. Elsey’s kibble doesn’t contain any legumes, potatoes, or other plant-sourced ingredients. Instead, it relies on gelatin as its sole binding agent. This allows Dr. Elsey’s cleanprotein™ cat food to keep its carbohydrate content under 10%. That’s practically unheard of among dry foods.

Dr. Elsey’s cat food has never been recalled.

Top Recipe: Dr. Elsey’s cleanprotein Chicken Formula Grain-Free Dry Cat Food

This recipe features chicken as the main ingredient. Instead of using starchy ingredients like corn, legumes, or potatoes, the manufacturer relies on gelatin as a binder. Translation? This food is one of the lowest-carbohydrate kibbles you can buy.

With chicken, egg, and pork protein isolate its first ingredients, this food is high in protein and easy to digest.

Ingredients

Chicken, Dried Egg Product, Pork Protein Isolate, Gelatin, Chicken Fat (Preserved With Mixed Tocopherols), Flaxseed, Natural Flavor, Salmon Oil, Potassium Citrate, Calcium Carbonate, Fructooligosaccharide, Calcium Carbonate, Choline Chloride, Vitamins (Vitamin E Supplement, Niacin Supplement, D-Calcium Pantothenate, Vitamin A Acetate, Thiamine Mononitrate, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Riboflavin Supplement, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Biotin, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Folic Acid), Minerals (Ferrous Sulfate, Zinc Oxide, Calcium Carbonate, Manganous Oxide, Copper Sulfate, Iron Amino Acid Chelate, Manganese Amino Acid Chelate, Zinc Amino Acid Chelate, Copper Amino Acid Chelate, Sodium Selenite, Cobalt Carbonate, Ethylenediamine Dihydroiodide), Potassium Chloride, Mixed Tocopherols (Preservative), Taurine, Salt, Rosemary Extract.

Guaranteed Analysis

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Crude Protein: 59%
Crude Fat: 18%
Crude Fiber: 4%
Moisture: 12%

Dry Matter Basis

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Protein: 67.05%
Fat: 20.45%
Fiber: 4.55%
Carbs: 7.95%

Caloric Weight Basis

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Protein: 53.78%
Fat: 39.84%
Carbs: 6.38%

What We Liked:

  • Low in carbohydrates
  • Made primarily from species-appropriate animal ingredients
  • One of the most nutrient-dense dry foods on the market
  • Doesn’t contain any of the most common inflammatory ingredients

What We Didn’t Like:

  • Expensive

#2 Premium Pick: Smalls Simply Cooked Kibble

Smalls-Cat-Food-Review-Dry-Chicken-Side-by-Side

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Read Our Full Brand Review View Lab Report

  • Brand Name: Smalls for Smalls
  • Made In: United States
  • Food Form: Kibble
  • Guaranteed Protein: 40% min
  • Life Stage: All Life Stages
  • Typical Cost Per Day: $1.00/day

Because it’s calorie-dense and not as satisfying as its wet equivalents, dry cat food is rarely the best choice for overweight cats.

But if your cat refuses to eat anything else, this cat food from Smalls could be a good option for weight loss. All three varieties of Smalls kibble are made from human-quality ingredients in a human food processing facility in Chicago, Illinois.

Though they contain sweet potatoes, peas, and other ingredients that aren’t ideal for your carnivore, Smalls food is low in carbohydrates compared to most dry foods.

Smalls cat food is delivered to your home according to a monthly delivery schedule, making it one of the most convenient options on the market.

The company also offers homemade-style fresh foods and freeze-dried meals. Using their custom recipe plan builder, you can gradually incorporate more raw and fresh food into your cat’s diet.

Top Recipe: Smalls Chicken Kibble Recipe

The freeze-dried raw chicken recipe from Smalls features ground chicken with bone as the primary ingredient with supplemental protein from chicken organ meats and egg. Herring oil provides an animal-based source of fats, especially omega-3s.

Goat’s milk is also on the list. This serves as a source of moisture but, more importantly, it may provide digestive benefits.

Overall, this formula is packed with animal protein and healthy fats but very low in carbohydrates. As a freeze-dried food, it retains most of its nutritional value during manufacturing because the food isn’t exposed to high heat processes like typical dry cat foods.

Ingredients:

Finely ground chicken with bone, chicken heart, chicken liver, chicken gizzard, chicken egg, goat’s milk, water, eggshell membrane, herring oil, mixed tocopherols, D-alpha tocopherol

Guaranteed Analysis

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Crude Protein: 45%
Crude Fat: 15%
Crude Fiber: 3%
Moisture: 8%

Dry Matter Basis

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Protein: 48.91%
Fat: 16.3%
Fiber: 3.26%
Carbs: 31.52%

Caloric Weight Basis

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Protein: 40.75%
Fat: 32.99%
Carbs: 26.26%

What We Liked:

  • Made from human-quality ingredients in a human-grade kitchen
  • Primarily made from nourishing animal ingredients
  • Contains species-appropriate sources of omega-3 fatty acids
  • Cats love the way the food tastes
  • Delivered to your home according to a monthly schedule

What We Didn’t Like:

  • At over 20% calories from carbohydrate, this food has more starch than your cat requires
  • Significantly more expensive than most similar foods

#3 Best Ethically-Sourced: Open Farm Wild-Caught Salmon Dry Cat Food

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Read Our Full Brand Review View Lab Report

  • Brand Name: Open Farm
  • Made In: United States
  • Guaranteed Protein: 37% min
  • Age Range: All Life Stages
  • Typical Cost Per Day: $0.68/day

This recipe from Open Farm emphasizes animal-derived protein, featuring salmon, ocean whitefish meal, and herring meal as its first three ingredients. Like other grain-free dry foods, it also contains legumes and other plant ingredients, and it’s not a particularly low-carbohydrate dry food, but it’s a carnivore-friendly choice compared to the competition.

But what separates this food from other dry products is its ingredient sourcing. Open Farm’s sourcing policy emphasizes humanely-raised poultry, meat, and fish. Fish-based recipes, like the one featured here, are made from sustainably-harvested wild-caught fish.

Overall, if you’re looking for a high-protein, meat-based dry cat food that’s more eco-friendly than the competition, this food from Open Farm could be a good choice.

Ingredients:

Wild Pacific Salmon, Ocean Whitefish Meal, Ocean Herring Meal, Garbanzo Beans (Chickpeas), Red Lentils, Coconut Oil (preserved with mixed tocopherols), Herring Oil (preserved with mixed tocopherols), Pumpkin, Natural Flavour, Green Lentils, Salmon Oil, Non-GMO Cranberries, Chicory Root, Apples, Dandelion Greens, Choline Chloride, Salt, Turmeric, Dried Yucca Schidigera Extract, Potassium Chloride, Mixed Tocopherols (a natural preservative), Calcium Carbonate, Zinc Proteinate, Iron Proteinate, Copper Proteinate, Manganese Proteinate, Sodium Selenite, Calcium Iodate, Vitamin E Supplement, Thiamine Mononitrate, Niacin Supplement, D-calcium Pantothenate, Biotin, Vitamin A Acetate, Riboflavin Supplement, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Vitamin, D3 Supplement, Folic Acid, Taurine, Rosemary Extract

Guaranteed Analysis

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Crude Protein: 37%
Crude Fat: 18%
Crude Fiber: 3%
Moisture: 10%

Dry Matter Basis

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Protein: 41.11%
Fat: 20%
Fiber: 3.33%
Carbs: 35.56%

Caloric Weight Basis

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Protein: 32.83%
Fat: 38.78%
Carbs: 28.39%

What We Liked:

  • Features responsibly-harvested fish
  • Contains herring oil and salmon oil as good sources of omega-3 fatty acids
  • Features animal protein sources as its main ingredients
  • Doesn’t contain potentially-harmful artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives
  • Most cats seem to love the way this food tastes

What We Didn’t Like:

  • Relatively high in carbohydrates
  • Expensive compared to some other dry cat foods

#4 Best For Sensitive Stomach: Stella & Chewy’s Freeze-Dried Raw Morsels

Stella & Chewy's Chick Chick Chicken Dinner Morsels Freeze-Dried Raw Cat Food

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  • Brand Name: Stella & Chewy’s
  • Made In: United States
  • Food Form: Freeze-Dried
  • Guaranteed Protein: 45% min
  • Life Stage: Adult
  • Typical Cost Per Day: $0.80/day

These freeze-dried morsels from Stella & Chewy’s capture the natural nutrient value of raw meat while destroying potentially-harmful bacteria. The freeze-drying process makes the food shelf-stable like kibble and gives the morsels a bit of crunch.

This food is a great option for kibble addicts transitioning to a high-moisture diet. You can gradually add warm water to your cat’s meals until the raw morsels have been fully rehydrated.

Stella & Chewy’s cat food was recalled twice in 2015 due to potential listeria contamination.

Top Recipe: Stella & Chewy’s Chicken Dinner Morsels Freeze-Dried Raw Cat Food

These freeze-dried morsels are made primarily from ground chicken meat and bone along with liver and gizzard. Botanicals, probiotics, and supplements are included in addition to the nutrient-rich meat.

Altogether, this is an extraordinarily low-carbohydrate food that emphasizes muscle meat, organs, and bone above all else. If you want something that combines the nutritional integrity of raw food with the convenience of kibble, these morsels may be the solution for you.

Ingredients

Chicken (Ground With Bone), Chicken Liver, Chicken Gizzard, Pumpkin Seed, Potassium Chloride, Sodium Phosphate, Choline Chloride, Fenugreek Seed, Dried Pediococcus Acidilactici Fermentation Product, Dried Lactobacillus Acidophilus Fermentation Product, Dried Bifidobacterium Longum Fermentation Product, Dried Bacillus Coagulans Fermentation Product, Taurine, Tocopherols (Preservative), Dandelion, Dried Kelp, Zinc Proteinate, Iron Proteinate, Vitamin A Supplement, Vitamin E Supplement, Niacin Supplement, Copper Proteinate, Riboflavin Supplement, Sodium Selenite, D-Calcium Pantothenate, Biotin, Manganese Proteinate, Thiamine Mononitrate, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Folic Acid, Vitamin B12 Supplement.

Guaranteed Analysis

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Crude Protein: 45%
Crude Fat: 25%
Crude Fiber: 5%
Moisture: 5%

Dry Matter Basis

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Protein: 47.37%
Fat: 26.32%
Fiber: 5.26%
Carbs: 21.05%

Caloric Weight Basis

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Protein: 35.8%
Fat: 48.3%
Carbs: 15.91%

What We Liked:

  • The nutrition of raw meat in a shelf-stable, safer format
  • Great for cats transitioning to a healthier moisture-rich diet
  • Low in carbohydrates
  • Primarily made from high-quality protein sources

What We Didn’t Like:

  • Some cats won’t like the freeze-dried texture
  • Relatively high phosphorus content makes this a poor choice for senior cats

#5 Best Budget: Wellness Complete Health Dry Cat Food

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  • Brand Name: Wellness
  • Made In: United States
  • Guaranteed Protein: 38% Min
  • Age Range: Adults
  • Typical Cost Per Day: $0.40

If you’re trying to feed your cat on a budget, Wellness dry cat food is a great option to consider. While many budget-friendly cat foods contain rendered meat meals and low-value animal by-products, all Wellness products feature high-quality, clearly-named proteins like deboned chicken and chicken meal.

The Wellness Complete Health line of cat foods is formulated to support five signs of feline health and wellness: healthy skin and coat, healthy digestion, clean teeth and mouth, energy for play, and immune health. All recipes are made with animal protein as the first ingredient and they’re free from corn, wheat, soy, and artificial additives.

You can find Wellness cat food on pet store shelves but you’re likely to find the best deals on Amazon or Chewy. While Wellness dry foods are the most economically priced, there are some affordable wet foods available as well.

Top Recipe: Wellness Complete Health Chicken & Rice Dry Cat Food

This dry food formula features deboned chicken and chicken meal as the top two ingredients. The recipe relies primarily on animal-based fat from chicken fat, though ground flaxseed provides some supplemental plant-based omega-3 fatty acids.

While this recipe is moderately high in protein, it does contain a significant number of plant ingredients. The overall carb content is very high, but that’s pretty standard for kibble. It is, however, well balanced with healthy fats.

As a budget-friendly cat food, this dry food formula works pretty well. It doesn’t contain low value grains like corn, wheat, and soy and it is free from artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives. It also doesn’t hurt that it’s a single-protein recipe which may be a good option for cats with allergies or sensitivities to animal proteins other than chicken.

Ingredients

Deboned Chicken, Chicken Meal, Rice, Barley, Oats, Chicken Fat (preserved with Mixed Tocopherols), Ground Flaxseed, Tomato Pomace, Natural Chicken Flavor, Cranberries, Chicory Root Extract, Potassium Chloride, Choline Chloride, Taurine, Calcium Chloride, Vitamin E Supplement, Zinc Proteinate, Mixed Tocopherols added to preserve freshness, Glucosamine Hydrochloride, Chondroitin Sulfate, Zinc Sulfate, Calcium Carbonate, Niacin, Iron Proteinate, Ferrous Sulfate, Vitamin A Supplement, Ascorbic Acid (Vitamin C), Copper Sulfate, Thiamine Mononitrate, Copper Proteinate, Manganese Proteinate, Manganese Sulfate, d-Calcium Pantothenate, Sodium Selenite, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Riboflavin, Dried Kelp, Yucca Schidigera Extract, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Biotin, Calcium Iodate, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Folic Acid, Dried Lactobacillus plantarum Fermentation Product, Dried Enterococcus faecium Fermentation Product, Dried Lactobacillus casei Fermentation Product, Dried Lactobacillus acidophilus Fermentation Product, Rosemary Extract, Green Tea Extract, Spearmint Extract.

Guaranteed Analysis

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Crude Protein: 38%
Crude Fat: 18%
Crude Fiber: 3%
Moisture: 10%

Dry Matter Basis

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Protein: 42.22%
Fat: 20%
Fiber: 3.33%
Carbs: 34.44%

Caloric Weight Basis

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Protein: 33.71%
Fat: 38.78%
Carbs: 27.5%

What We Liked:

  • Very affordable, around $0.23 per ounce
  • Fresh chicken and chicken meal as the top two ingredients
  • Relies on animal-based fat from chicken fat
  • Free from low-value grains and artificial additives

What We Didn’t Like:

  • High carbohydrate content
  • No dry food provides the moisture your cat needs

#6 Ultra-Budget Pick: Kirkland Signature Dry Cat Food

EVAXO Kirkland Signature Chicken and Rice Cat Food

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Read Our Full Brand Review  View Lab Report

  • Brand Name: Kirkland Signature
  • Made In: United States
  • Guaranteed Protein: 30% min
  • Life Stage: All Life Stages
  • Typical Cost Per Day: $0.18/day

If you want to feed your cat dry food on a budget, Kirkland Signature’s kibble is a great option to consider. While most budget-friendly kibble contains potentially low-value animal byproducts and rendered meals, this brand emphasizes clearly-named proteins like chicken and chicken meal.

Along with a better grade of primary ingredients, Kirkland Signature dry cat food contains nutraceuticals that are seldom found in the cheapest kibble on the market. Kirkland Signature cat food was recalled in 2012 as part of a salmonella-related recall initiated by pet food manufacturer Diamond Pet Food.

While it’s convenient to buy Kirkland Signature cat food on Amazon, you’ll find the best deals in Costco’s pet product aisle. If possible, head to the nearest Costco warehouse for the biggest savings.

Top Recipe: Kirkland Signature Chicken and Rice Dry Adult Cat Food

This Kirkland Signature kibble features chicken and chicken meal as its primary ingredients. A mix of brown and white rice add carbohydrates and consistency. Unlike most foods at this price point, the food contains a mix of supplemental probiotics and prebiotics that may help to support digestive health and overall wellbeing.

Though it’s not radically high in protein and isn’t a low-carbohydrate food, this product has a wealth of qualities that set it apart from other dry cat food. Especially if budget is your top priority, it’s one of the best options on the market.

Ingredients

Chicken, Chicken Meal, Whole Grain Brown Rice, Ground White Rice, Chicken Fat (Preserved With Mixed Tocopherols), Natural Chicken Flavor, Flaxseed, Sodium Bisulfate, Potassium Chloride, Choline Chloride, Taurine, Dried Chicory Root, Dried Lactobacillus Acidophilus Fermentation Product, Dried Bifidobacterium Animalis Fermentation Product, Zinc Proteinate, Vitamin E Supplement, Niacin, Manganese Proteinate, Copper Proteinate, Zinc Sulfate, Manganese Sulfate, Copper Sulfate, Thiamine Mononitrate, Vitamin A Supplement, Biotin, Potassium Iodide, Calcium Pantothenate, Riboflavin, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride (Vitamin B6), Vitamin B12 Supplement, Manganous Oxide, Sodium Selenite, Vitamin D Supplement, Folic Acid.

Guaranteed Analysis

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Crude Protein: 30%
Crude Fat: 20%
Crude Fiber: 3%
Moisture: 10%

Dry Matter Basis

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Protein: 33.33%
Fat: 22.22%
Fiber: 3.33%
Carbs: 41.11%

Caloric Weight Basis

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Protein: 25.96%
Fat: 42.03%
Carbs: 32.01%

What We Liked:

  • Primarily composed of clearly-named protein sources
  • Doesn’t contain any of the artificial colors and potentially-harmful preservatives found in most budget cat foods
  • One of the most affordable foods you can buy

What We Didn’t Like:

  • Not a low-carbohydrate food

#7 Best Air-Dried: Ziwi Peak Air-Dried Dry Cat Food

Ziwi Peak Air-Dried Mackerel & Lamb Cat Food

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  • Brand Name: Ziwi
  • Made In: New Zealand
  • Food Form: Air-Dried
  • Guaranteed Protein: 43% min
  • Life Stage: Adult
  • Typical Cost Per Day: $2-$3/day

This cat food looks more like chunks of jerky than bits of kibble. It’s made differently, too. While most kibble is extruded, this food is air-dried. A twin-stage dehydration technique destroys pathogenic bacteria. It doesn’t, however, destroy nutrients.

This makes Ziwi Peak dry cat food one of the most species-appropriate and nutrient-dense dry products you can put in your cat’s bowl. All Ziwi Peak recipes are composed of 96% or more fresh meat, organs, bones, and New Zealand green-lipped mussels.

The foods feature high-quality ingredients raised or grown on what the company describes as ethical New Zealand farms.

Top Recipe: Ziwi Peak Air-Dried Mackerel and Lamb Dry Cat Food 

While most other foods rely on synthetic vitamins and minerals to replace nutrients lost in cooking, this food harnesses the nutritional power of the heart, tripe, liver, lung, kidney, and bone. This recipe features mackerel, lamb, and a variety of lamb organs.

With virtually no plant content, this recipe is extremely low in carbohydrates. The food’s carbohydrate content stands around 4%. That’s less than most canned foods.

While the food is more expensive than most others on the market, it’s very nutrient-dense, so you can feed your cat less at every meal.

Ingredients

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

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Crude Protein: 43%
Crude Fat: 25%
Crude Fiber: 2%
Moisture: 14%
Ash: 12%

Dry Matter Basis

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Protein: 50%
Fat: 29.07%
Fiber: 2.33%
Carbs: 4.65%

Caloric Weight Basis

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Protein: 39.92%
Fat: 56.37%
Carbs: 3.71%

What We Liked:

  • Minimally processed foods harness the nutritional value of fresh meat
  • Made from high-quality ingredients
  • Virtually zero carbohydrate content
  • 95% of the protein in each meal is bioavailable

What We Didn’t Like:

  • At just 14% moisture, this food is no substitute for a hydrating canned, homemade, or raw diet
  • Extremely expensive
  • Not every cat will like the jerky texture

#8 Best For Weight loss: Tiki Cat Born Carnivore Dry Cat Food

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  • Brand Name: Tiki Cat
  • Made In: United States
  • Food Form: Dry Food
  • Guaranteed Protein: 46% min
  • Life Stage: Adult
  • Typical Cost Per Day: $0.50/day

Tiki Cat Born Carnivore dry cat food is relatively high-protein, low-carbohydrate baked kibble. The recipes in Tiki Cat’s Born Carnivore line contain 44% protein on average.

They’re grain-free foods that contain legumes like peas and chickpeas instead of corn, wheat, and other traditional plant ingredients. In contrast to many other dry foods that rely on plant fillers to boost the protein content, Born Carnivore foods contain little or no plant protein.

Tiki Cat has never been recalled.

Top Recipe: Tiki Cat Born Carnivore Chicken Luau Grain-Free Dry Cat Food

This food is primarily made from deboned chicken, chicken meal, and chicken liver, combined with tapioca starch, chickpeas, flaxseed, and whole peas.

These plant inclusions contribute to the food’s low carbohydrate content. Based on the guaranteed analysis, our estimates put this percentage just over 20%, but Tiki Cat claims that the value is around 11% on a dry matter basis, which is impressively low for a dry food.

Ingredients

Deboned Chicken, Chicken Meal, Dehydrated Chicken Liver, Dried Egg Product, Tapioca Flour, Ground Whole Flaxseed, Whole Chickpeas, Whole Peas, Natural Salmon Flavor, Chicken Fat (Preserved With Mixed Tocopherols And Citric Acid), Brewer’s Dried Yeast, Natural Chicken Flavor, Calcium Sulfate, Choline Chloride, Chicory Extract, Salmon Oil, Taurine, Pumpkin, Iron Sulfate, Zinc Sulfate, Niacin Supplement (Vitamin B3), Vitamin E Supplement, Manganese Sulfate, Copper Sulfate, Vitamin A Acetate, Thiamine Mononitrate (Vitamin B1), Calcium D-Pantothenate, Riboflavin Supplement (Vitamin B2), Pyridoxine Hydrochloride (Vitamin B6), Biotin, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Folic Acid, Calcium Iodate, Sodium Selenite, Rosemary Extract.

Guaranteed Analysis

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Crude Protein: 43%
Crude Fat: 19%
Crude Fiber: 3.5%
Moisture: 10%
Ash: 10%

Dry Matter Basis

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Protein: 47.78%
Fat: 21.11%
Fiber: 3.89%
Carbs: 16.11%

Caloric Weight Basis

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Protein: 41.49%
Fat: 44.52%
Carbs: 13.99%

What We Liked:

  • Relatively low in carbohydrates
  • Made primarily from high-quality protein sources
  • Contains delicious, nutrient-rich liver
  • Doesn’t rely on low-value plant protein

What We Didn’t Like:

  • Contains minimally-nourishing plant ingredients
  • No dry food is adequately hydrating

#9 Best For Picky Eaters: Solid Gold Indigo Moon® Dry Cat Food

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  • Brand Name: Solid Gold
  • Made In: United States
  • Food Form: Dry Food
  • Guaranteed Protein: 42% min
  • Life Stage: Adult
  • Typical Cost Per Day: $0.34/day

Indigo Moon® is Solid Gold’s line of grain-and-gluten-free dry cat food. The foods are relatively high in protein with lower concentrations of carbohydrates and plant ingredients than you’ll find in other dry foods.

After several decades in the industry, Solid Gold has earned a reputation for trustworthy and tasty foods that have won the approval of generations of cats.

Solid Gold food was recalled once. In 2012, the company recalled selected dog foods due to suspected salmonella contamination.

Top Recipe: Solid Gold Indigo High Protein Wild Alaskan Pollock & Eggs Recipe

While animal-sourced protein takes center stage, the formula also contains potato protein, a concentrated plant protein source and not ideal for cats.

In addition to primary ingredients, the food contains an array of supplemental ingredients, like salmon oil as a source of omega-3 fatty acids, prebiotic fiber, and probiotics for digestive health.

The total carbohydrate content of this recipe is around 22%, which is lower than many other dry foods.

Ingredients

Ocean Fish Meal, Chicken Meal, Peas, Chicken Fat (Preserved with Mixed Tocopherols), Pollock, Potato Protein, Tapioca, Dried Eggs, Ground Flaxseed, Natural Flavor, Carrots, Pumpkin, Salmon Oil (Preserved with Mixed Tocopherols), Potassium Chloride, Vitamins (Vitamin E Supplement, L-Ascorbyl-2-Polyphosphate (Source of Vitamin C), Niacin, Calcium Pantothenate, Riboflavin, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Thiamine Mononitrate, Vitamin A Supplement, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Biotin, Folic Acid), Taurine, Minerals (Zinc Sulfate, Ferrous Sulfate, Copper Sulfate, Manganese Sulfate, Zinc Proteinate, Manganese Proteinate, Copper Proteinate, Sodium Selenite, Calcium Iodate), Blueberries, Cranberries, Choline Chloride, Dried Chicory Root, Rosemary Extract, Dried Lactobacillus Acidophilus Fermentation Product, Dried Enterococcus Faecium Fermentation Product, Dried Lactobacillus Casei Fermentation Product.

Guaranteed Analysis

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Crude Protein: 42%
Crude Fat: 20%
Crude Fiber: 3%
Moisture: 10%

Dry Matter Basis

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Protein: 46.67%
Fat: 22.22%
Fiber: 3.33%
Carbs: 27.78%

Caloric Weight Basis

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Protein: 36.34%
Fat: 42.03%
Carbs: 21.63%

What We Liked:

  • Relatively low carbohydrate content
  • Made primarily from species-appropriate protein sources
  • Free from artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives
  • Cats love the way that Solid Gold foods taste

What We Didn’t Like:

  • Contains potato protein, a concentrated source of plant protein
  • No dry food is adequately hydrating

#10 Best For Senior Cats: Orijen Dry Cat Food

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  • Brand Name: Orijen
  • Made In: United States
  • Food Form: Dry Food
  • Guaranteed Protein: 40% min
  • Life Stage: Adult
  • Typical Cost Per Day: $0.65/day

Orijen is a Canadian pet food company that has manufacturing facilities both in Alberta, Canada and in Kentucky. The brand is owned by Champion Petfoods, the same company that owns Acana.

While Orijen has recently begun to release wet cat food recipes, the majority of their products are dry cat foods and freeze-dried treats. Orijen makes every effort to source their ingredients regionally and their products are made in company-owned kitchens.

Orijen’s cat foods are rich in protein and typically made with at least 90% animal ingredients. The first five ingredients are always fresh or raw and their recipes are formulated in keeping with WholePrey Diet ratios. According to Orijen, a biologically appropriate WholePrey Diet includes meat, poultry, or fish as well as organs and bone.

Being packed with animal ingredients and relatively low in carbohydrates compared to the average commercial dry food, Orijen foods are generally a good option for senior cats.

Top Recipe: Orijen Guardian 8 Free-Run Chicken, Wild-Caught Salmon & Rabbit Adult Grain-Free Dry Food

This Guardian 8 formula from Orijen features 90% animal ingredients from free-run chicken, wild-caught salmon, and rabbit. You’ll also find turkey, fish, and eggs on the list.

As promised, the first five ingredients are all animal-based, as are the following eight. You’ll find fresh meat, dehydrated meats, and organs in this formula. Because the recipe is made with whole herring, mackerel, and sardine, it also contains bone as a natural source of essential minerals.

Given the high inclusions of animal ingredients, this recipe is very digestible for cats. It contains a few starchy beans and legumes, but the overall carb content is still fairly low.

This recipe is supplemented with pollock oil as a rich source of omega-3s and probiotics to support healthy digestion. Omega-3s are essential for healthy skin and coat but can also provide anti-inflammatory benefits which can be helpful for older cats with joint issues.

Ingredients

Chicken, Salmon, Turkey, Whole Herring, Whole Mackerel, Chicken Liver, Turkey Giblets (Liver, Heart, Gizzard), Eggs, Dehydrated Chicken, Dehydrated Turkey, Dehydrated Sardine, Dehydrated Chicken Liver, Dehydrated Egg, Whole Red Lentils, Whole Pinto Beans, Rabbit, Pollock Oil, Whole Green Lentils, Whole Chickpeas, Whole Peas, Whole Navy Beans, Pea Starch, Ground Miscanthus Grass, Natural Chicken Flavor, Chicken Fat, Chicken Hearts, Whole Cranberries, Choline Chloride, Dried Kelp, Mixed Tocopherols (Preservative), Whole Pumpkin, Whole Butternut Squash, Collard Greens, Whole Apples, Whole Pears, Zinc Proteinate, Vitamin E Supplement, Dried Chicory Root, Hydrolyzed Yeast, Dried Brewers Yeast, Thiamine Mononitrate, Riboflavin, Niacin, Calcium Pantothenate, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Folic Acid, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Copper Proteinate, Turmeric, Sarsaparilla Root, Althea Root, Rosehips, Juniper Berries, Rosemary Extract, Citric Acid (Preservative), Dried Lactobacillus Acidophilus Fermentation Product, Dried Bifidobacterium Animalis Fermentation Product, Dried Lactobacillus Casei Fermentation Product.

Guaranteed Analysis

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Crude Protein: 40%
Crude Fat: 18%
Crude Fiber: 4%
Moisture: 10%

Dry Matter Basis

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Protein: 44.44%
Fat: 20%
Fiber: 4.44%
Carbs: 31.11%

Caloric Weight Basis

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Protein: 35.81%
Fat: 39.13%
Carbs: 25.06%

What We Liked:

  • Made with 90% animal ingredients
  • Includes fresh meat, organs, and bone
  • Rich in animal-based omega-3 fatty acids
  • Relatively low carb content for a dry food

What We Didn’t Like:

  • Contains some starchy plant ingredients
  • More expensive than some options on the list

#11 Best Limited Ingredient: Instinct Limited Ingredient Diet Freeze-Dried Raw Coated Dry Cat Food

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  • Brand Name: Instinct by Nature’s Variety
  • Made In: United States
  • Guaranteed Protein: 35% min
  • Life Stage: Adult
  • Typical Cost Per Day: $0.46/day

This line of limited-ingredient recipes was created by Nature’s Variety, a U.S-based pet food company known for meat-centric recipes emphasizing the nutritional value of fresh, freeze-dried, and raw ingredients.

All Instinct Limited Ingredient Diet foods feature one animal protein and a single primary vegetable ingredient. Additionally, the foods are free of commonly-irritating ingredients, including chicken, beef, fish, dairy, and more. Stripped-down and made without the top trouble ingredients, Instinct’s Limited Ingredient Diet kibble is one of the best options for dry eaters with food sensitivities and allergies.

Besides offering simple recipes for cats who can only tolerate certain proteins, these limited-ingredient foods are meat-based products with slightly below-average carbohydrate content. In other words, they’re a relatively species-appropriate choice for your carnivore.

Of course, you could find other limited-ingredient foods—like Ziwi Peak’s air-dried recipes, for example—that offer more meat content with less starch. But Instinct’s Limited Ingredient Diet line has a few qualities you won’t find in those meatier alternatives. It’s a comparatively accessible, budget-friendly option with enough crunch to win over cats who love traditional kibble.

Top Recipe: Instinct Limited Ingredient Diet Grain-Free Recipe

With rabbit meal the food’s primary ingredient and no other animal proteins like chicken or beef, this food is free of the most common ingredients that irritate cats. In addition to dehydrated rabbit meal, the food contains rabbit meat and a hint of freeze-dried rabbit as additional sources of protein and meaty flavor.

Peas and tapioca serve as binding agents and bring the food’s carbohydrate content to about 24% on a dry matter basis. That’s not quite as low as that offered by other brands like Dr. Elsey’s and Ziwi Peak, but it’s ahead of your typical kibble.

The food also contains canola oil, coconut oil, montmorillonite clay, and pumpkin seeds as sources of fat, fiber, and an array of nutrients.

Overall, this food is true to the line’s commitment to simple ingredient lists and should be a good option for cats with food sensitivities or allergies. It receives positive reviews and many customers say that the recipe helped to ease their cats’ digestive issues.

Ingredients

Rabbit Meal, Peas, Tapioca, Canola Oil (preserved with Mixed Tocopherols and Citric Acid), Rabbit, Natural Flavor, Coconut Oil, Montmorillonite Clay, Taurine, Choline Chloride, Potassium Chloride, Vitamins (Vitamin E Supplement, L-Ascorbyl-2-Polyphosphate, Niacin Supplement, Thiamine Mononitrate, d-Calcium Pantothenate, Vitamin A Supplement, Riboflavin Supplement, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Folic Acid, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Biotin), DL-Methionine, Minerals (Zinc Proteinate, Iron Proteinate, Copper Proteinate, Manganese Proteinate, Sodium Selenite, Ethylenediamine Dihydriodide), Freeze Dried Rabbit, Salt, Pumpkinseeds, Rosemary Extract.

Guaranteed Analysis

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Crude Protein: 35.5%
Crude Fat: 16.5%
Crude Fiber: 4%
Moisture: 9%

Dry Matter Basis

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Protein: 39.01%
Fat: 18.13%
Fiber: 4.4%
Carbs: 38.46%

Caloric Weight Basis

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Protein: 32.11%
Fat: 36.24%
Carbs: 31.65%

What We Liked:

  • Contains rabbit as its only animal protein source
  • Low carbohydrate content compared to most dry foods
  • Cats like the food’s flavor
  • Free of artificial colors, flavors, and other common potentially-harmful additives
  • A promising option for cats with food sensitivities

What We Didn’t Like:

  • Not the lowest-carb food on this list
  • Some reviewers say that this food intensified their cats’ fecal odors

#12 Best For Growing Kittens: Instinct Original Kitten Grain-Free Recipe with Real Chicken Freeze-Dried Raw Coated Dry Cat Food

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  • Brand Name: Instinct
  • Made In: United States
  • Guaranteed Protein: 42.5% min
  • Life Stage: Kitten
  • Typical Cost Per Day: About $1.00/day

Instinct is a pet food brand that seeks to include raw food in all of their products. In addition to freeze-dried raw meals and raw frozen foods, they offer raw-boosted kibble like this kitten recipe. This Instinct Original kitten recipe costs about $0.36 per ounce, adding up to a daily cost around $1.

What makes this recipe unique is that the kibbles are coated with freeze-dried raw chicken and chicken liver. Not only does this coating add a little extra protein to your kitten’s diet, but it boosts the flavor as well.

Top Recipe: Instinct Original Kitten Grain-Free Recipe with Real Chicken Freeze-Dried Raw Coated Dry Cat Food

This formula is designed to meet the nutritional needs of growing kittens. It is made with 81% animal ingredients and nutritious oils with the remaining 19% from vegetables, fruits, and other ingredients.

Fresh chicken is the first ingredient in this recipe, followed by turkey meal and menhaden fish meal. You’ll also find supplemental proteins from egg, chicken, fish, and lamb later on the list. Chicken fat is the primary source of added fat which is a nutritious and species-appropriate choice.

While this recipe is certainly rich in animal protein, it does contain several plant-based ingredients. That being said, the estimated carbohydrate content is under 20% as fed which is lower than the average dry food for cats.

One thing to keep in mind with this recipe is that, as a dry food, it doesn’t help support your cat’s hydration. If you’re set on feeding your kitten dry food, consider using a wet food topper or supplement your kitten’s diet with another high-moisture food.

Ingredients

Chicken, Turkey Meal, Menhaden Fish Meal, Peas, Chicken Fat (preserved with Mixed Tocopherols and Citric Acid), Egg Product, Chicken Meal, White Fish Meal, Tapioca, Natural Flavor, Lamb Meal, Dried Tomato Pomace, Carrots, Apples, Cranberries, Montmorillonite Clay, Vitamins (Vitamin E Supplement, L-Ascorbyl-2-Polyphosphate, Niacin Supplement, Thiamine Mononitrate, d-Calcium Pantothenate, Vitamin A Supplement, Riboflavin Supplement, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Folic Acid, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Biotin), Choline Chloride, Minerals (Zinc Proteinate, Iron Proteinate, Copper Proteinate, Manganese Proteinate, Sodium Selenite, Ethylenediamine Dihydroiodide), Potassium Chloride, Salt, Taurine, Freeze Dried Chicken, Freeze Dried Chicken Liver, Pumpkinseeds, Freeze Dried Chicken Heart, Dried Bacillus coagulans Fermentation Product, Rosemary Extract.

Guaranteed Analysis

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Crude Protein: 42.5%
Crude Fat: 22.5%
Crude Fiber: 3%
Moisture: 9%

Dry Matter Basis

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Protein: 46.7%
Fat: 24.73%
Fiber: 3.3%
Carbs: 25.27%

Caloric Weight Basis

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Protein: 35.37%
Fat: 45.48%
Carbs: 19.14%

What We Liked:

  • Numerous sources of species-appropriate animal protein
  • Low carbohydrate content compared to many dry foods
  • Freeze-dried raw coating adds flavor
  • Doesn’t contain by-products or artificial additives
  • Supports the nutritional needs of growing kittens

What We Didn’t Like:

  • Doesn’t contain the moisture your kitten needs
  • Fairly pricey compared to other options

Best Healthy Dry Cat Food Summed Up & Price Comparison

Brand Name Made In Protein Age Range Cost Per Day
Dr. Elsey’s United States 59% min Adult $0.80/day
Smalls United States 40% min All Life Stages $1.00/day
Open Farm United States 37% min All Life Stages $0.68/day
Stella & Chewy’s United States 45% min Adult $0.80/day
Kirkland Signature United States 30% min Adult $0.14/day
Ziwi New Zealand 43% min Adult $2-$3/day
Tiki Cat United States 46% min Adult $0.50/day
Solid Gold United States 42% min Adult $0.34/day
Only Natural Pet United States 47% min Adult $0.34/day
Instinct by Nature’s Variety United States 35% min Adult $0.46/day
Instinct United States 42.5% Kitten $1.00/day

Here’s How We Chose The Best Dry Cat Food On The Market.

 Looked For High-protein, Low-Carbohydrate Dry Cat Food.

Dr. Sarah Reidenbach, DVM, CEO of the nonprofit organization Ruthless Kindness, says that “an ideal diet would have 5-10% of calories from carbohydrates, about 50% of calories from protein, and about 45% from fat. A food that is 60-70% water is ideal.”

While no dry cat food can satisfy that water requirement, we looked for ones that managed to keep protein and fat on the high side while containing minimal carbohydrates.

Frustratingly, dry cat food is notorious for high carbohydrate content, so few foods met our requirements. To make the situation even more challenging, carbohydrate content is not listed on cat food labels. This means that we’re forced to calculate it based on other nutrient values. When choosing the cat foods listed above, we used the carbohydrate calculator provided here. If ash content was not available for a given food, we used 6% as a default. Actual carbohydrate values may differ from these estimates.

Are Grain-Free Foods Dangerous?

It’s been over a decade since the anti-grain trend created a new generation of overpriced junk food—high-carbohydrate grain-free kibble. Swapping corn and wheat for sweet potatoes and peas does nothing nutritionally significant for your cat’s health. Most cats are not gluten intolerant and, contrary to popular belief, grains are not the leading cause of feline allergies.

Dr. Jamie Whittenburg, DVM says that “grain-free foods substitute the grain with another carbohydrate source such as potatoes, lentils, or peas. They are not just chunks of meat as some consumers believe,” going on to emphasize that “there is no valid medical reason to choose a grain free food at this time. It is also a myth that the grains in foods are major allergens. The major food allergens in cats are beef, chicken, fish, and dairy. In the event a cat is found, through veterinary dermatologist testing, to have a true allergy to a grain, there are better alternatives to grain-free such as hydrolyzed diets.”

Even worse, we’re now seeing that grain-free foods might be more than a misguided but harmless fad. Grain-free foods might be harmful for dogs and cats. In mid-2018, the FDA began an investigation into a potential correlation between grain-free pet food and an increased risk of canine dilated cardiomyopathy. While almost all of the reports involved dogs, it appears that the issue applies to cats as well.

The jury is still out on why grain-free foods are associated with an increased risk of DCM. Speculations include the use of legumes like peas and chickpeas, a tendency among grain-free foods to use nontraditional proteins like kangaroo and alligator, and potential nutritional deficiencies.

While there’s no confirmation that grain-free foods are harmful to cats, it won’t hurt to use caution. But that doesn’t mean you should look for foods that contain corn, wheat, and soy. Instead, the best foods are free of both grains and the potentially-harmful ingredients so often used in grain-free foods.

We Paid Attention To Protein Quality.

We chose diets that emphasized animal-sourced protein rather than protein from plants. Meat contains all the amino acids that cats need, while plant protein doesn’t. And while we don’t have all the details on the bioavailability of every protein source, it appears that most plant proteins are less digestible than their high-quality animal protein counterparts.

Additionally, animal by-products may contain a slurry of minimally-digestible animal parts, including connective tissue, intestines, and skin. While by-products aren’t necessarily worse than clearly-named cuts of meat, they introduce a degree of uncertainty about protein quality.

Dr. Chyrle Bonk, DVM, veterinary writer for ExcitedCats, advises that cat owners “check the ingredients list on the label and be sure that the food you choose uses real, whole meat as at least the first ingredient, preferably first two to three. Whole meat is more easily digestible and provides all of the necessary protein for a cat.”

We Avoided Foods With Artificial Flavors And Other Ingredients That Might Harm Your Cat.

Because they may stir up inflammation or erode your cat’s health over time, it’s a good idea to avoid artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives. Instead, we looked for natural dry cat foods that rely on animal-sourced flavors and safe preservatives.

We Looked For Dry Cat Food Sold By Reputable Companies.

When researching potential inclusions, we looked up every brand’s recall history and disqualified those with a history of frequent recalls, deception, or secrecy.

Additionally, we studied each brand’s customer reputation. We referred to Consumer Affairs and product listings to learn more about customers’ experiences. We also got first-hand experience with the brands’ customer service by contacting the companies directly. A two-minute phone call can tell you a lot about a cat food company. We gave preference to brands that offered prompt, transparent service.

Even The Best Dry Cat Food Isn’t The Ideal Diet For Your Cat.

While even the worst wet cat food manages to give your cat plenty of moisture, all dry food is moisture-deficient. Compared to those who eat a high-moisture diet, cats who eat dry food are at an increased risk of chronic dehydration and urinary tract disease.

Dr. Jamie Whittenburg, DVM, makes it clear that “cats live in a constant state of dehydration and do not drink enough to adequately hydrate themselves. To prolong the life of their kidneys, cats need wet food. Most kibble is too high in carbohydrates to be a good choice for cats.”

Furthermore, almost all kibble has more starch than your cat needs. If you have to give your cat dry food, here are a few tips to help you do it better.

Incorporate It Into A Rotational Feeding Plan.

Rotating kibble with homemade, raw, or wet cat food will keep your cat from becoming a dry food addict. It also promotes healthy moisture intake. Proper hydration helps to prevent urinary tract disease, helps to support healthy skin, may keep your cat’s immune system healthy, and supports overall wellbeing.

Dr. Sarah Wooten, DVM, CVJ, says that a mix of both wet and dry food is ideal: “I usually recommend that people feed a combination of both canned and dry. This way, you get the benefits of both types of food, and if you ever have to feed your cat a canned diet for a medical reason, they will be more accepting of it if they have already been exposed to canned food. Dry food is more convenient, cost-effective, and has a longer shelf life once opened, however, canned food is high and protein and moisture, which is good for healthy cats.”

Click Here For Our Guide To The Best Wet And Canned Cat Food On The Market

Invest In A Water Fountain To Encourage Your Cat To Drink More.

Cats who eat dry food drink more water than those who eat a high-moisture diet, but that doesn’t mean that they’re better hydrated. In fact, one study found that cats who ate wet food took in more water despite not drinking anything at all.

Even dry-fed cats may be hesitant to drink from a bowl. Cats instinctively avoid still, potentially stagnant water. A water fountain appeals to your cat’s preference for well-aerated moving water.

Click Here For Our Guide To The Best Cat Water Fountains.

You May Add Water, Goat’s Milk, Or Cat Milk To Increase The Moisture Content Of Your Cat’s Food—But Don’t Leave It Out For Long.

Many dry foods are contaminated with mycotoxins, which thrive in warm, damp environments. If you do choose to add moisture directly to your cat’s dry food, make sure that your cat eats all of it within a few hours.

Don’t Rely On Dry Cat Food To Keep Your Cat’s Teeth Clean.

Though it may be better than a soft diet for dental health, dry cat food alone will not prevent periodontal disease. To keep your cat’s teeth healthy, brush his teeth daily and consider taking them in for professional cleanings. The best dental cat treats may also help. Want to learn more about feline nutrition and choosing the best food for your cat?

Click Here For Our Guide To The Overall Best Cat Food On The Market

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the best dry cat food?

Out pick for the best dry cat food is Dr. Elsey’s cleanprotein™ Grain-Free Dry Cat Food. Unlike most grain-free foods, Dr. Elsey’s kibble doesn’t contain any legumes, potatoes, or other plant-sourced ingredients

What is the best dry cat food for adult cat

Our pick for best dry cat food for adult cat is Simply Nourish Source Fish & Chicken Recipe High-Protein Grain-Free Adult Indoor Dry Cat Food, This formula addresses the needs of adult cat. It’s primarily made from nourishing animal ingredients

What is the best and healthiest dry cat food

The best and healthiest dry cat food is rich in high-quality protein. It doesn’t contain a lot of veggies. And it’s free of additives that might harm your cat over time.

What is the best dry cat food for older cats

Our Pick for the best dry cat food for older and senior cats is Only Natural Pet Dry Cat Food. Only Natural Pet dry cat food contains an array of anti-inflammatory ingredients and has never been recalled.

small mallory photo

About Mallory Crusta

Mallory is the Head of Content at All About Cats. Having produced and managed multimedia content across several pet-related domains, Mallory is dedicated to ensuring that the information on All About Cats is accurate, clear, and engaging. When she’s not reviewing pet products or editing content, Mallory enjoys skiing, hiking, and trying out new recipes in the kitchen. She has two cats, Wessie and Forest.

129 thoughts on “The 12 Best Dry Cat Foods Of 2022

  1. Mike

    My cats are only about 3 years old. I have been feeling like buying 80 cents per pound purina and kit and kabootal food is not worth the savings versus how much i value my guys(and girl). At the same time i dont want to spend $50 for a 16 pound bag of food. What is the best food for indoor cats(ages 2-4 year old) at about 2$ a pound? I dont want to overspend on crap thats marketed as good food, but also dont wont to buy garbage for them. I started buying rachel ray and other brands that are about 14$ for around 5 pounds of food. They dont eat as much of it as quickly as the cheap stuff. I am not sure if they dont like it, or its its just making them more satisfied.

    Reply
  2. Scott Williams

    Dear Mallory;
    There is one brand of both dry and wet cat foods that is consistently passed over on all the “top” lists and it’s wrong. I feed Akiko, my 2 year old jet black DSH nothing but Performatrin Ultra, food and treats. It’s made in Canada from all Canadian ingredients, and is grain free and very high in animal protein, nutrients and minerals, quite comparably to high end brands like Blue . Also, if you buy it in Canada it’s lower priced than the brands like Blue. More and more Canadian veterinarians are telling there pet owners(Performatrin makes dog food as well) to switch to Performatrin Ultra because it’s just that good. I know Aikiko is very healthy and happy with it, and that’s good enough for me.

    Thank-you for your time;
    Scott Williams

    Reply
    1. Cat Stevens

      Performatrin Ultra Grain-Free Recipe Cat Food is 32% carbs (dry matter analysis). That’s too high for a feline’s diet. Also, potato is its 3rd highest ingredient content and peas is its 5th. Not a positive.

      Reply
  3. Avatar photoMallory Crusta

    Hello Scott!

    Thanks for bringing Performatrin Ultra to my attention! I took a look at the product selection and it does appear that it’s an above-average cat food—nutritionally on par with some of the brands on this list of the best dry food. Again, I appreciate you leaving a comment and will keep Performatrin in mind for future “top” lists.

    All the best to you and Aikiko,

    Mallory

    Reply
  4. Idan

    Hello,
    It is sad that a lot of good US brands aren’t sold outside of the US and are extremely expensive to import.
    I would like to point out you are a bit inconsistent in that you rated Orijen 8 and Acana 9, while giving Acana a better grade in your Full Brand Review.

    Reply
  5. Avatar photoMallory Crusta

    Hello Idan,

    Thanks for your comment! Where are you from? I may be able to recommend a few good brands that are available in your country. Also, thanks for pointing out that discrepancy. This article was written before the brand reviews and should be updated for consistency.

    Purrs,

    Mallory

    Reply
  6. Jay

    My vet cautioned me about grain free foods. The heart problems showing up in dogs due to lack of taurine in grain free food is also a concern for cats. Can you recommend a quality dry food that is not grain free? Thank you!

    Reply
    1. Brittney

      My cats eat grain free and their food absolutely contains taurine. It’s an essential ingredient for cat foods. Just read the ingredients label. If taurine is one of the last ingredients listed then it doesn’t contain much. The higher on the ingredients list that taurine appears, the more that food contains!

      Reply
    2. Kathy Wood

      If I may: Cat foods went through similar as what we are going through in dogs. It was taken care of before 2000 so you are okay. My Purdue cardiologist tells me (I have one golden with NDCM which we caught in time not to kill him but not soon enough to reverse it and will be on heart meds for the rest of his life) It will be years before we have a definitive answer and can right this wrong brought down upon our heads and our dogs. My own research leads me to believe the food companies decided to save money by slowly increasing the plant/grain proteins and decrease the animal proteins which meant and means dogs started dying from NDCM long before any of us were clued in. IN response I have changed my dogs to a very high percentage animal protein food (81%) with added meats and eggs to help insure they are getting enough animal protein to create enough taurine for their hearts. My cardiologist says I am on the right track.

      Reply
  7. Aubrey

    My vet recommended royal canin and said that grain free may cause heart disease but I wonder about vet’s motives (feeding pets unhealthy food gives them more business). I bought some tiki cat at the pet health food store instead. Interested in checking out Dr. Elsey’s instead. I was using 4health before.

    Reply
    1. Ashley

      There’s new research coming out showing a link between grain free diets and DCM (dilated cardiomyopathy). The FDA is who put out the most recent report publishing the link so it’s not just you vet.

      Reply
  8. Kathy Wood

    I am interested in knowing your thoughts on Victor cat food. I feed Victor to my goldens (I have 5). I have an 18 yr old cat and am picking up a 7 month old NFC mid March. I am not crazy about the food the breeder has her on and am looking for a food that both my kitten and my cat can eat (dry) with the addition of canned (alternating).

    A second question is do you know of any dog food sites similar to yours that conducts independent research like you do on cat foods?

    Thank you.

    Reply
    1. small mallory photoMallory Crusta Post author

      Hello Kathy,

      Thanks for reading and commenting! Check out our review of Victor cat food here:

      https://allaboutcats.com/victor-cat-food-review

      To answer your second question, there are a few sites that review dog food in a similar manner. To start, I’d recommend Dog Food Advisor, Dog Food Guru, and PupJunkies.

      https://www.dogfoodadvisor.com/
      https://dogfood.guru/reviews/
      https://pupjunkies.com/category/dog-food

      Hope this helps! Please let us know if you have any more questions.

      Best,

      Mallory

      Reply
  9. Kim

    I feed my cats Iams Proactive Health indoor hairball and weight control
    I have had 4 cats die of unexplained rare cancer is the food doing this.

    Reply
    1. Avatar photoMallory Crusta

      Hi Kim,

      While it’s almost impossible to know whether or not the food was related to your cats’ death, it’s unlikely. The Iams Proactive Health recipe doesn’t contain any known carcinogens and I haven’t seen similar complaints from other customers. That said, I sympathize with your concern and would understand if you chose to switch to another food.

      Take care,

      Mallory

      Reply
      1. jane

        The rare cancers might possibly be due to mycotoxins in the Iams. Not stating that Iams has them, just stating the possibility.

        Reply
  10. Angela

    I’m curious to know what you think of the American Journey & Nature’s Variety Instinct dry cat food? I’m currently caring for 10 cats & cannot afford any of the foods you include in this list, though I wish I could! I wish I could feed them all raw foods or at least canned food, but even healthy canned food would cost me $300-$400 a month! I feel the best I can do at this time is to at least feed them a grain-free food, but am unsure which brand is best & won’t bankrupt me!

    Reply
    1. small mallory photoMallory Crusta Post author

      Hey there Angela, both of those are fair options.

      For more information, you might be interested in our reviews of those brands:

      https://allaboutcats.com/american-journey-cat-food-review
      https://allaboutcats.com/natures-variety-instinct-cat-food-review

      I’d also consider Kirkland dry cat food, which is one of the better economical dry products on the market. You might also be interested in our list of the best cheap cat foods on the market:

      https://allaboutcats.com/best-cheap-cat-food

      Reply
  11. hooda

    hi, have you heard of the brand vital plus? heard it’s a budget friendly premium cat food. would love to hear your take on it!

    Reply
    1. small mallory photoMallory Crusta Post author

      Hi Hooda, thanks for asking! I did a quick search and Vital Plus cat food looks like it does a few things better than a lot of comparable foods. For example, it doesn’t contain animal by-products or any vaguely-labeled meats and poultry. It contains beneficial ingredients like fresh salmon oil and whole dried eggs. But when you consider that their recipes contain large amounts of high-carbohydrate grains, they don’t look like the most species-appropriate option on the market. I’d consider them as an alternative to ultra-cheap kibble, but they wouldn’t be my first pick.
      Hope this helps!

      Reply
  12. Judy Funk

    i have 2 ragdoll cats 1 year old I have been feeding weruva chicken licken wet food and Purina pro plan for indoor cats..Please tell me i I should change their diet…Thankyou.. I really want what is best for my cats….Thankyou

    Reply
    1. small mallory photoMallory Crusta Post author

      Hi Judy, I think that your two ragdolls’ current diet sounds relatively good! Weruva’s Paw Lickin’ Chicken cat food is an excellent choice and, as long as the Purina Pro Plan indoor cat food is kept to a minimum, your kitties should be getting a fairly low-carbohydrate, moisture-rich diet. I’d encourage you to minimize the amount of dry cat food in your kitties’ diet, but don’t be afraid to make that a slow and gradual transition.

      Reply
  13. Sam

    I’m currently living in Saudi and would love some advice on the best grain free cat food (dry and wet) for my Siberian. Happy to import… Taste of the Wild is available here and I believe I can access Orijen – happy to import also…. He definitely becomes ill with grains (vomiting and diarrhoea though unclear if it is just because his breeder had him on a grain free diet which sensitised him). Thank you!

    Reply
  14. NM

    Kirkland Signature is definitely great on your wallet. But the bag is 35 pounds. Considering that dry cat foods can start to degrade slowly before the bag is even opened, there’s no way all those nutrients are still good once you get to the bottom of the bag.
    What’s left of any omegas would have long gone rancid. There’s also no evidence that omegas stay good in a dry food at all.
    I’m disappointed this was given such a good rating because this is an important factor to take under consideration. I would like to see some better options in this ranking spot!

    Reply
      1. continuum

        hmm…actually that would read better as: I believe you can preserve dry cat food by freezing it. So, store the portion you cannot use within 30 or so days in your freezer, separated into one or more portions for ease of use.

        Reply
    1. Michele Hollar

      I feed feral cats- someone asked me how many and I have no idea, but a 25# bag of Kirkland lasts maybe a week if I am lucky, so I do need recommendations like this! I like Kirkland best but when I can’t get to Costco I use Purina Cat Chow or Friskies dry. For wet my preferred is Friskies canned and I rue the day they stopped making the large cans because it is ridiculous to keep opening small cans. I discovered Triumph wet food during the pandemic and like that too. Some of the ferals love it and others don’t…..

      Reply
  15. Brenda

    Hi. Thanks for all the efforts you put in to your reviews. We are looking for a new dry food for our 2 kitties (both are mixed-breed/rescues, one is almost 10 years (18 pounds), and the other is 2 years old (not quite 7 pounds). We have always fed the NutroMax dry food, but it was recently discontinued (because it was apparently a bad product??). I am nervous about changing foods because out little kitty is extremely picky and out big guy seems to have a sensitive stomach. I like the reviews I’m seeing on the Kirkland purple bag. A vet once recommended that we use the Kirkland dry dog food for our Cavalier (dog) we had….but to freeze it to keep the oils from going rancid before you can get through a Costco-sized bag of it. Do you think this would be a good idea for the dry cat food, too?

    Reply
    1. small mallory photoMallory Crusta Post author

      Hello Brenda, thank you for commenting. We recently received a comment from someone suggesting that you do that and it certainly seems like a good idea. Good luck transitioning your kitties to their new food!

      Reply
  16. Hamza

    Hello Mallory,
    I’m not that much expert while choosing a cat food for cats, but I’ve read several times that dry cat food is not good for old aged cats. The reason is that they find it difficult to chew dry cat food. If you know anything about it, please share with us.

    Have a nice day.

    Reply
    1. small mallory photoMallory Crusta Post author

      Hello Hamza, thank you for your comment! That’s a great question. Some cats with bad teeth do have difficulty with dry cat food, but cats don’t chew their food. Instead, they use their teeth to rip or break food slightly before swallowing it. When eating kibble, most cats swallow the pieces whole. For that reason, some seniors—even those without teeth—continue eating kibble without a problem. In other words, this varies from individual to individual. That said, wet food is a generally superior choice for cats of all ages and, indeed, a more accessible option for cats with poor dental health. Whether they’re one or eleven years old, cats get numerous benefits from a high-moisture diet, including lower blood sugar and a decreased risk of urinary tract disease.

      Reply
  17. Sc00bs

    I was looking at some of the reviews. It seems that some may need an update. Like the pure balance that Walmart puts out. My dry bak of dry Wild and Free Chicken Grain-Free. It says it has 40% Protein, 9% Fat, Fiber 6%, and moisture 10%, Your review shows completely different contents. Is it possible they changed their formula and you have not updated it yet?

    Reply
    1. small mallory photoMallory Crusta Post author

      Hello there! Thank you so much for letting us know about this. I would go in to make sure that everything is accurate, but I’m not sure where you saw a review of Pure Balance’s Wild & Free Chicken recipe. Could you please point me to a specific article where it’s mentioned? Thank you again.
      – Mallory

      Reply
  18. Jacquie

    Do you have an opinion on the Royal Canin line of foods? Thinking of swtiching my 2 long haired cats from BB to the hairball formulation

    Reply
  19. Dan

    hello mallory, thanks alot for your work!
    i’m from Israel and the the brand you recommend aren’t available here and it’s too expensive to import them.
    can you recommed a few brands that are available in Israel. If you don’t really know about the brands available in israel, which of the options is better in your opinion; Acana, Orijen, Farmina N&D or GO?
    Thanks alot 🙂

    Reply
    1. small mallory photoMallory Crusta Post author

      Hi Dan, thank you for commenting! Of the brands you listed, I would recommend Farmina N&D as the best choice—this brand has an excellent reputation for safety and ingredient quality.

      Reply
  20. MARCELLA D CERVANTES

    Have you reviewed Petguard foods? My cat is incredibly picky and he loves their dry and wet food but is it good for him?

    Reply
  21. Christina Adamaki

    Hello,

    I really like your reviews! Unfortunately the brands you are proposing are not available everywhere. I would really like to hear a recommendation about good food available in Greece ? 🙂

    Reply
    1. small mallory photoMallory Crusta Post author

      Hi Christina, thank you for writing to us with your request for good brands available in Greece. Unfortunately, I’m not very familiar with the brands available in your country, but I do know that Farmina and Performatrin Ultra are fairly good brands that are available there. You might also look into Orijen’s dry cat food.

      Reply
  22. Marie Soda

    Hello,
    I’m looking for reviews on Catit Gold Fern Air Dried Cat Food and it isn’t listed in your A-Z Brand Reviews. Can you tell me if this is a good option for our 14 year-old cat? After watching the documentary, Pet Fooled, I’m trying to switch him to a raw diet but he isn’t at all interested in the raw foods I’ve tried. This is one he will eat but I’d like confirmation it is a nutritious and healthy option. We’ve been using this as an option to leave in his bowl overnight since he has been a grazer since a kitten. During the day, we’ve been trying various canned wet foods since the transition to raw hasn’t gone over well. So far his favorites have been TikiCat and Weruva but I’m not comfortable leaving wet food in his bowl for 8 hours overnight. Is Catit Gold Fern Air Dried worthwhile?

    Reply
    1. small mallory photoMallory Crusta Post author

      Hi Marie, I’ve not seen much about Catit’s Gold Fern food—this was my first time hearing about it! At any rate, it generally looks like a decent option comparable to Ziwi Peak. It’s hard to say just how good it is since the brand has only been selling cat food since 2019 and we don’t know all the details on their manufacturing process, quality control, and testing processes, but based on the advertising, it does look like a fairly good choice—seemingly much more species-appropriate than the majority of dry foods on the market. I’d give it a shot. Thanks for stopping by!

      Reply
  23. Andrea Lavelle

    Trusted this website til you started pushing the grain free gimmick. Not only is it bad for cats but dangerous to their health. Surely you can find a healthy kitten food other than Simply Nourish grain free. Won’t use this site again.

    Reply
    1. small mallory photoMallory Crusta Post author

      Hi Andrea, sorry to hear that you’re disappointed. To clarify, we are not biased towards grain-free foods, and secondly, there is no definitive evidence that grain-free foods are any worse (or better!) than grain-inclusive foods for cats. You can learn more about grain-free diets for cats in our article on the subject.

      Reply
  24. Marilyn Boschetto

    Hello. This is the first time I have seen your reviews, I found them very useful. i have two 10 yr old cats, one of which has a sensitive tummy and he frequently vomits right after gulping his kibble. I’d like to wean both off of the dry food as they seem addicted to it. They also get wet food twice a day but beg and beg for the kibble. I’ve been told most dry cat food has been sprayed with an agent that cats are attracted to. Can you shed any light on this for me? I have recently started adding a probiotic to the wet food and it seems to be helping with the vomiting. It’s called Hairball Buster and made by Fidobiotics.
    If you have any recommendations, I’d like to hear them. Thank you

    Reply
    1. small mallory photoMallory Crusta Post author

      Hi Marilyn, it is true that dry food is often much more appetizing to cats than wet food. Many dry foods are coated with animal digest, which is a highly-concentrated source of flavor that cats love. You’ll often see it referred to on the label as “natural flavors”. Since the Hairball Buster is helping with the vomiting, I would encourage you to try Purina Fortiflora. It’s a probiotic that should have similar benefits for your kitty’s regular vomiting and, because it contains that animal digest I mentioned earlier, it should also help to encourage your cats to eat wet food. Hope this helps!

      Reply
  25. Ariana

    I wish u can added with more brand recommendation base on region product availability. I had seen lot article site which the brand recommendation are not selling or not able to find it in my region. Amazon charges shipping fee (currency conversion) its too high and delivery may took 3-4 wks to arrives. I know it hardest for you to break it down the brand name for each country around the world. Just specific which the best of the brand products for western site market and Asian site market. Tq

    Reply
  26. Sam

    Hi Mallory,

    I was wondering if you could rate and do an individual review of the “Made by Nacho” brand by the chef Boby Flay. I’ve been curious if the reviews of his wet and dry food are as high quality as he and the reviewers claim. Also as healthy as he claims.

    Reply
  27. Trevor

    Only Natural Pet Feline PowerFood Poultry Dinner Grain-Free Dry Cat Food has been updated recently (I think), with both a new look to the bag and different ingredients. A fair amount has been removed, and added. I’m thinking of getting this food, is it still good with the new recipe? Thanks!

    Reply
  28. David

    Why is the only natural pet dry food different from the one on their website? Does this matter?

    Reply
    1. small mallory photoMallory Crusta Post author

      Hi David, thank you for bringing that to our attention! It appears that the food listed here is no longer available from Only Natural Pet. We will have to update the article accordingly. Only Natural Pet’s new formulations look good, though we will need to look more closely to make a final assessment.

      Reply
  29. Cha

    Hi Mallory! I have been thinking on what brand to shift from Equilibrio, I never knew that dry food that contain grains can be bad for their healthy. However I can only find few affordable brands that you have listed in Malaysia. Do you have a recommendation for my region as well? Because Royal Canin & Equilibrio is considered the best over here. Thank you for your well-researched reviews and recommendations! It definitely helps me in wanting better for my dear cats.

    Reply
    1. small mallory photoMallory Crusta Post author

      Hello Cha, thank you for commenting! We would love to be able to help more people by providing information relevant to more countries outside of the United States. For now, you might appreciate this article from another blog on the best cat food available in Malaysia. To my understanding, Royal Canin and Equilibrio are good, reputable brands that should serve your cat well, although it is true that some would advise switching to a lower-carbohydrate diet.

      Reply
  30. Rose

    Hi Mallory! I’m in South Korea and I’m looking for a good cat food for my cat here. I tried to find Dr.Elsey’s, but it seems they don’t sell it here.
    Is there any food you would recommend?
    Also, my vet recommended I change his feed, saying it might be linked to his ear problem. We treated him extensively for mites just in case, but it seems that’s not problem..
    If you could give me your best advice, I would seriously appreciate it!!

    Reply
    1. small mallory photoMallory Crusta Post author

      Hi Rose, thank you for writing! Unfortunately, I am not very well-informed on the cat food marketplace in South Korea, so my recommendations are limited. Are you looking for dry food, specifically? You may be able to find Orijen food, which is another meat-based, lower carbohydrate dry food. Alternatively, options from Purina, Royal Canin, and Hills will not give you the most species-appropriate nutrition, but they do come from reputable companies with a history of producing food that is trustworthy and well-loved around the world.

      Reply
  31. Melvin Mar

    Hi. I’m having trouble with the specs in the article. In the Tiki Cat Chicken dry food, the copy states as follows. “These plant inclusions contribute to the food’s approximate 18% carbohydrate content.” The graph beneath says it’s 27.22%. I went to Chewys.com and they state the the carb content is 11%. What gives?

    Reply
    1. small mallory photoMallory Crusta Post author

      Hi Melvin, excellent questions. I’m not sure why I was mistaken about the 18% and have edited it. As for the other discrepancies, I believe that the main issue arises from a conflict between the guaranteed analysis and the actual nutrient values of the food. Our pie charts automatically calculate dry matter values based on the guaranteed analysis, but this is an imperfect system—guaranteed analyses only give minimum and maximum nutrient values, and the actual content of the food may be different. If, for example, a food is at least 19% fat, it may actually be 30% fat. In that case, the carbohydrate content would be significantly lower. Because the 10.9% value on Chewy is most likely pulled from a typical nutrient analysis, I would consider it to be the closest to an accurate value here. And that’s good news—being 11% carbohydrates is pretty impressive for a dry food! Thank you for bringing all of this to my attention, and I hope the response was helpful. Sorry about the inaccuracies and conflict. – Mallory

      Reply
  32. Theresa

    Is Purina One Healthy Kitten Formula a good brand. My kitten is 8 weeks old. I also give her all natural raw food by Applaws since I was told not to just feed her dry food.

    Thanks

    Reply
  33. Lauren

    Hello,

    I’ve been researching Dr. Elsey’s cleanprotein food that you describe here to be your number one pick, and found that they use rosemary extract as a preservative, which is known to cause seizures in cats. Is this preservative something that is not avoidable?

    Reply
    1. small mallory photoMallory Crusta Post author

      Hi Lauren, the research on rosemary as a potential neurological hazard seems to be quite limited, and at this time, I don’t see it as a pressing enough risk to avoid it in cat food.

      Reply
  34. MYSelf

    why are you recommending dry cat foods that contain Rosemary Extract? There are many of them, but I read that rosemary extract can cause neurological problems in cats. This is reported in MANY articles.

    Reply
    1. small mallory photoMallory Crusta Post author

      Frankly, I’d never heard of the claim that rosemary may be a neurotoxin for cats. I’ve looked into it, and it seems that most claims are pretty vague without good references. For instance, the 2010 article on The Dog Press that seems to be the source of a lot of these concerns links to an article from the University of Maryland Medical Center here, but that article is no longer available. The other site mentioned is no longer in operation. Overall, I’d need to see more information on this claim before ruling out rosemary extract as an acceptable preservative.

      Reply
    2. AEMarch

      Rosemary extract is listed LAST in the ingredients; therefore, it is the least quantity of all ingredients in the list. It is a natural antibacterial and safe for consumption; furthermore, it is purified and traces of the oil are out of the extract that is included in cat food.

      Reply
  35. dd

    Bonjour Mallory,

    We are in need of your recommandation. Our cat (tabby) is 10 years old,
    overweight 14.5lb and sensitive to constipation.

    She eats mostly canned food, but overnight and when we leave for a bit longer,
    she earts dery food . The veterinary put her on a diet with their products ( Royal Canin Sasiety ) ,
    but I am sure there are better quality options for her …I tried Weruva Chicken and had to stop, she vomitted, so now I am paralized
    and a bit scared to test foods with her .

    Thank you so much for your help and bravo for the great work on the site !
    Dana

    Reply
    1. small mallory photoMallory Crusta Post author

      Hello Dana, thank you for writing, and I’m sorry it’s taken me so long to get back to you! Before entirely ruling out the Weruva food as an option, I would think about the way you switched her food. A sudden change in diet can cause gastric upset and may lead to vomiting. A slow transition is preferable, regardless of the type of food you’re giving her. Other than this, I would recommend discontinuing any free-feeding and measuring out all of her portions. You need to know exactly what and how much she’s eating every day. Caloric control and consistent monitoring are key, no matter what you’re feeding her.

      Reply
  36. Andreia

    Hi, I’m living in Denmark and I tend to buy cat food from Germany. Mostly “Josera” Classic brand. If I ran out I buy “Perfect Fit” from the supermarket.
    Are these brands the best option for my cat that only likes dry food?

    Thanks for reading!

    Reply
    1. small mallory photoMallory Crusta Post author

      Hi there! Unfortunately, I’m having trouble finding the ingredient lists for Josera cat food. Perfect Fit doesn’t look like the best product available—I’m seeing generic “dried poultry protein” and a variety of plant-derived protein on the ingredient list. This food will offer the nutrition your cat requires, but it may not be the most digestible or efficient diet for them. I would lean towards foods that are primarily made from animal-derived protein sources, preferably from clearly-specified animal species like chicken, beef, or lamb. While plant proteins do help your cat get the amino acids they need, they aren’t necessarily the most digestible source of protein. With this information (and that found in the article above) in mind, you can make a decision about any cat food product or brand on the market. You may also want to talk to a veterinarian to get their recommendations. Hope this helps.

      Reply
  37. Mary Nespoli

    Hi, per your #1 choice, Dr. Elsey’s Clean Protein Dry Cat Food, we’ve been using this dry food for a couple years and buying the chicken flavor with no problems. Our cat has always loved it; she likes dry food and we also give her a freeze dried brand which she will eat, Stella and Chewy’s.
    I just wanted you to know that Dr. Elsey’s is having a problem with supply issues and therefore the chicken flavor of this food has changed in both smell and color the last few months. Consequently my cat now refuses to eat it. I called and spoke to customer service at Dr. Elsey’s and they say they are having problems with supply issues due to the Covid virus and they have changed the chicken flavor. They are working on fixing the issue as there are many people that are having the same problem with their cats not liking it. I’ve been trying to find another food that my cat likes and so far, it’s Blue Buffalo. I did like the Dr. Elsey’s but until they get this issue fixed I won’t be buying it again. Just wanted you to know. Thanks for your good reviews.

    Reply
  38. Jessca

    Hi! What are your thoughts and review for the pretty please dry cat food from the same brand of pretty litter? would love to hear your thoughts on that brand 🙂

    Reply
  39. Yiwu Wang

    Hi!
    I live in Finland, and have bought cat foods mainly via zooplus.fi. The top brands you recommend I haven’t seen in our local market. Would you please check the brand in the website and recommend which I can buy, dry and wet food. Thank you in advance.

    Reply
    1. small mallory photoMallory Crusta Post author

      Hey there! Apologies for the late reply. If you’re focused on dry food, a few brands that should work include:

      • Wild Freedom
      • Purina One
      • Purina Beyond
      • Almo Nature

      Hope this helps!

      Reply
  40. Brittany

    I tried switching my cats over to Only Natural Pet PowerFood Poultry Indoor Cat Dinner Dry Food, based on the review from this site. Both of my cats have been on a handful of foods over the years. One of them wants nothing to do with the food. I hand feed it to him and he spits it out. I’d like to see a biased cat review.

    Reply
  41. Fremy

    Hi, do you still recommend all this dry food this year? I’m a new cat owner and I’m looking for best dry food for cats. I don’t plan to feed them dry food forever, I’m just trying to budget my food and their food lol. I noticed that you made this review long,.long time ago your opinion and review may change now.

    Reply
  42. Charlie

    The Open Farm Wild-Caught Salmon Dry Cat Food promo of FIRSTSUB20 doesn’t appear to work. Can you either provide working promo or remove it?

    Reply
  43. Shanne

    Often passed up is “Wholehearted Grain Free” formulas. Doing a quick search on this site ranks Kirklands as Overall Score: 6.5/10 (B-), but is listed as the BEST budget food on this list. Meanwhile, searching for Wholehearted results in an Overall Score: 7.5/10 (B+) but is seen nowhere on this list.

    How does a food that has a lower grade rating end up on the “Best Dry Cat Food” list while a food with a full point higher grade does not?

    Reply
    1. small mallory photoMallory Crusta Post author

      Hi Shanne, the B+ grade refers to the Wholehearted brand as a whole (including their wet foods), but we gave their dry foods a C+ in contrast to the Kirkland recipe’s B-. We still believe this is a good option for budget-conscious buyers!

      Reply
  44. Golnaz H

    Hi Mallory,
    I have two munchkin kittens (siblings one girl one boy) and they will turn 1 year old in April, so far we are feeding them Hills for kittens as dry and Schesir kitten as wet (more like treat) i am looking for the best dry food for this breed.

    Appreciate your recommendation

    Reply
  45. Dorin Iordache

    We adopted 4 cats and we are looking to get some good food for them.
    Unfortunately, in Romania, we do not have many options, but the is the website zooplus where we order food from.
    Any ideas which cat food is good?
    Until now, we gave them Animoda Carny as wet food, and Hills Science plan as Dry food, but, I saw that hills is not such good food.
    Can you tell us if Animoda Carny is good wet food for the cats?

    Reply
    1. small mallory photoMallory Crusta Post author

      Hi there Dorin, thanks for reaching out. Animoda Carny’s wet cat food looks excellent—I would keep feeding it if everything seems to be working well. I gave the following recommendations to another commenter looking for European foods on Zoplus:
      – Wild Freedom
      – Purina One
      – Purina Beyond
      – Almo Nature

      Hope this helps!

      Reply
      1. Dorin Iordache

        Hi! Thank you so much for all the information and for the videos you create, they have helped us understand better what we were feeding our cats (Hills, Royal).
        From now on we will be feeding only Animoda Carny as wet food for our little ones, but we also need dry food as we are on a tight budget.
        Was wondering about your thoughts on Purizon Sterilised Adult Fresh Turkey and Chicken as dry food-> https://www.zooplus.ro/shop/pisici/hrana_uscata_pisici/purizon/adult/986105
        ?

        Thank you once again

        Reply
        1. small mallory photoMallory Crusta Post author

          It looks pretty good! Ideally, I’d prefer to see a dry food without potato starch or peas, but that’s the nature of kibble, generally. The ingredients appear to be high-quality, and I appreciate the use of animal-derived fat and various components chosen with sterilized cats in mind.

          Reply
  46. Debra McFadden

    Unlike humans and dogs, cats are obligate carnivores. Thus, they thrive on high animal protein and animal fat, that which they consume, naturally, from prey. No grains (corn, wheat, rice, barley, soy) should be in any cat food, Soy, unless, fermented, shouldn’t be in anyone’s diet, yours or your pets. Research. Cat’s are not predisposed to feline diabetes and inflamed bowel disease. Both are caused by thoughtless, ignorant pet owners that feed their cats grains and carbs. Thickening gums should be avoided, as much as possible. Synthetic vitamin K (menadione sodium bisulfate) is also highly toxic and banned for human consumption., All synthetic vitamins/supplements is toxic, for us and pets. Cats get the minimal natural vitamin K that they may need by eating grass and/or catnip. Healthy dry cat food should contain AT LEAST 40% ANIMAL SOURCED PROTEIN, Canned food should be grain-free, as well, and contain, at least 10% protein. The closer a pet owner can mimic a cat’s natural diet from prey, the healthier your pet will be. Stands to reason. I have to cats, 10 and 11 years old, never been vaxxed and fed a high quality grain-free food, minus the many toxins, I’ve mentioned, and neither one has ever been sick. Grains are used as cheap filler. Unless organic, crops, especially grains are saturated with glyphosate (RoundUp), a neurotoxin/carcinogen, before harvesting. You can’t wash it off. Ignor-ance is a choice, one sure to lead to unnecessary suffering. Purina and Kirkland are garbage!

    Reply
  47. Avatar photoMuffin

    Hi! I’m really, really sorry to bother you, but I have been researching cat foods for days in search of a better option for my babies. For wet food (first meal of the day, which I can only afford for now) I have settled on Authority canned food. But since I am on a tight budget, I do need to feed dry for the second meal (but I do have appropriately placed water fountains that they enjoy drinking from). I have narrowed down a lot of options by really digging through your website and other forums but I still don’t feel confident enough without your opinion. Current picks are Only Natural Pet Feline PowerFood Poultry Dinner (B+), Beyond White Meat Chicken & Egg Recipe Grain-Free Dry Cat Food (B), Kirkland Signature Maintenance Cat Chicken & Rice Formula (B), and American Journey Grain Free Turkey & Chicken Recipe (B-). What do you think of these foods when put against each other? I have no idea what the best option is and it’s kind of stressing me out haha I just want the best for them… Also, do you think you could do something on the best dry foods on a budget that shows options like these? It would really help out people like me who are using it for only a small part of my cats diet or even for people whose cats will not take wet food! Thank you so much!

    Reply
    1. small mallory photoMallory Crusta Post author

      Hey there Muffin! 🙂

      Of the foods listed there, I’d go for either the Purina or the Only Natural Pet options, with the ONP being my number one choice of all of them. An article on the best budget dry foods is a great idea. I hope you’re able to sort everything out soon. Sorry about the late reply. Take care!

      Reply
  48. Golnar

    Hello, I need help with picking the best food for my Ragdoll kitty. I have been feeding her Nutro wholesome essentials indoor cat dry food.Is that a good choice? I am also thinking of switching to grain free but now I am reading it may cause heart issues so I’m really confused, can you please let me know what is the best food I ca feed her? I also have a water fountain but not sure how much water she drinks.
    Thank you

    Reply
    1. small mallory photoMallory Crusta Post author

      Hi Golnar, whether or not a food is grain-free isn’t really the important issue. The question is how much carbohydrate and plant matter is in the food. You can find foods that are high in carbohydrates and plant matter that are grain-free and ones that are grain-inclusive. Focus on that rather than whether or not the food contains grains. Regarding the DCM issue, this is a complex matter, and we don’t have the answers, but we do know that the issue is not grain deficiency. It’s something else—perhaps the presence of legumes in the food, perhaps the types of proteins used in them. You can learn more about the issue here. Nutro’s Wholesome Essentials is okay, but I wouldn’t consider it an ideal choice. The options on this list would likely be a superior choice, and you can explore some of the other recipes from the brands mentioned.

      Reply
  49. Janet Lillie

    Hey Mallory!
    I really appreciate your site and all the info! Thx!!
    I frequently study your cat food lists. I have 5 feral cats; 2 that l believe had urine blockages… 1 was verified at the vets. Both maybe around 9+ years old So l put them on the prescription urinary diets from Purina, Hills, and Royal Canin. I understand your concern for the dry foods. I’m wanting to wean them mostly or completely off the dry.
    I was curious with your recommendations of the wet cat foods that l assume dieticians? have determined the certain ingredients that they shouldn’t eat; because they are more prone to cause urinary crystals, are Not in those recommended wet cat meats?
    I know the food recommendations go thru intense studying, l just need to be sure my cats can handle safely what’s in the wet cat meat nutrients.
    Another of my cats has Thyroid issues, 17 years old. He’s on Hill’s Thyroid Y/D. Hates the wet meat. Likes the dry. Fine. Until l realized there’s No Meat in the dry!!
    So I’m feeding him your Wellness chicken entree you recommended with his dry thyroid kibble. I’m guessing that the recommended wet cat meats are safe for the prescription diet cats by vets and dieticians?

    The thyroid cat also very well may have IBD, or pancreatitus, or cancer in the gastro tract, but my vet said it would be expensive to try to prove it, not to mention quite possibly totally inconclusive. So I’m asking you should l just stick to the thyroid recommendations for the wet cat food, or also the recommended wet meats for the IBD & pancreatitus?
    My last 2 cats of these 5 ferals seem fine.
    Thx So Much Mallory for all your gang do!!

    Reply
  50. Emily

    Hi Mallory
    I’m from Australia & have two cats. I’ve been feeding them Premium One cat biscuits & Purr wet food.
    My concern is…have they become addicted to the biscuits, are these biscuits healthy for them? I have also noticed recently the “shrinkflation”.
    The price has sky-rocketed to $16.50aud for 1.4kg (previously $12.50aud for 1.5kg).
    Is their a healthy biscuits you could recommend that is available here in Australia?
    Kindest regards
    Emily

    Reply
    1. small mallory photoMallory Crusta Post author

      Hey Emily, thanks for the comment! Unfortunately, I’m not able to find Premium One cat food online—a link could be helpful. As for better cat food available in Australia, here’s a link to our article on the best cat food in your country.

      Reply
  51. Alex

    Hello Mallory, hope you’re doing well,

    I’m mainly from Europe and most of the recommended brands are not available here. I have a 6 years old mixed Norwegian Forest Cat, which apparently is very sensitive to food (we adopted him last year). We have tried wet-foods but he gets diarrhea from it, so wet food unfortunately is a no-go. We have tried Orijen/Acana, and apart from the fact that he does not like the food (not sure if it’s for the grain size or smell) he also gets diarrhea from it, which saddens us because for the short time we gave him Orijen dry food we noticed a change on his coat (less oily) and more energy to play. We have since tried some other lesser known cereal-free brands and he either does not like the smell/shape of the grains or gets diarrhea.

    The only types of food which he eats (and actually likes) and does not get diarrhea from are like the cheap dry food bags or Purina (and those types of brands). We would really like to give him good quality dry food but we’re getting out of options. Would you have some recommendations ?

    Reply
    1. small mallory photoMallory Crusta Post author

      Farmina is one promising option that’s available in Europe. It’s made from very high-quality ingredients and has an excellent reputation, and you may find that it satisfies your cat’s needs. Hope this helps!

      Reply
  52. Alex

    To add salt to the injury, the only brands that the veterinarians recommend here are Purina/Whiskas/Hill/etc, so not ever veterinarians are able to properly explain and help here.

    Reply
  53. Susan B

    I have 3 cats. They are littermates and are 2 years old. They ate Core Wellness dry and wet food since they were kittens. I would change up the flavirs and they always seemed eager to eat. About 6 months ago, they went on a hunger strike- refusing to eat all Core Wellness products. We had no idea what to do. So, we tried IAMs dry and they liked it well enough, but we knew it was only a short term fix as it isn’t a super healthy food. We switched to Tiki Cat. They will not eat any of the ultra expensive wet food and they are rapidly losing interest in the dry food. Tonight we gave then IAMs again. We realize that our babies need a better food, but I feel like we are running out of safe options. I would like to try some food manufactured by Diamond- Solid Gold or Costco food, but they don’t have a stellar reputation. I don’t want to make a mistake and make my cats sick. Do you have any suggestions? Thank you in advance!

    Reply
    1. small mallory photoMallory Crusta Post author

      Hi Susan, I’m afraid I can’t tell you much more than what’s already on this list! The Diamond-manufactured foods are likely going to be more palatable than the Tiki Cat kibble, but I understand your hesitation there. You can make any kibble more palatable by sprinkling Fortiflora over the top—it’s made with animal digest and has a potent meaty flavor that cats love.

      Reply
  54. Kinz

    Okay, I’ve been wondering this for years now. Why isn’t Young Again ZERO (or any of the other Young Again products) on the list? They have lower carb contents (including literally zero!) and are cheaper than many of the options on the list. I would think they’d be a shoe-in for best overall dry cat food, or at least somewhere on the list. (Besides the paragraph about ZERO that’s in the Smalls section on this list, that is- I’m pretty sure that’s just a copy/paste mistake!)

    Reply
    1. Avatar photoKate Barrington

      Hi Kinz! Thanks so much for pointing out that error, I’ve corrected it. I’m not personally familiar with the Young Again brand, but you’re right – it offers high nutritional quality with plenty of protein and very low carbohydrate content. It definitely looks like something that could fit on this list, so I’ll see about adding it!

      Reply
  55. Anna

    Thank you for this great list. Would you please recommend the best kibble biscuits for my 2 year old cat. I live in new zealand and cannot find any of these brands listed… my vet keeps recommending royal canine but after reading the review about the brand on your website i think i should try something else….
    Thank you

    Reply
    1. Avatar photoKate Barrington

      Hi Anna! The good news is that New Zealand is becoming a hub for high-quality cat food, so you should have plenty of options available to you! Some of my favorite New Zealand-based brands are Ziwi Peak, Feline Natural, and the New Zealand Natural Pet Food Co. All three offer wet and freeze-dried foods, though Ziwi Peak also offers air-dried food which is similar to kibble.
      If you’re looking for dry food specifically, Addiction is an NZ brand that has a few high-quality options. Kiwi Kitchens is a NZ company as well that offers raw, freeze-dried, canned, and air-dried cat food. Hope that helps!

      Reply
  56. Danielle

    Hi! I was wondering if you could recommend a good dry food in Australia Royal canin leaves my cats famished and gives them terrible chin acne while they absolutely hate all of the wellness brand and Ziwi peak and Feline natural are off the table right now due to cost but I’m still willing to pay as much as I can
    Also the best cost effective as my sister is struggling financially but still wants to feed her cats food food, thank you for any help

    Reply
  57. Michael Morgan

    You really need to take a look at Fromm dry cat food. It is absolutely the BEST dry food I have ever fed to my 3 precious kitties. I’ll give you an example why I feed this dry food to my kitties every day. I read one of the reviews from a cat’s owner whose cat had diarrhea posted on the web site. He stated after he started to feed the Fromm dry food to his kitty within two days the diarrhea stopped completely. I have an elderly kitty myself and he had developed a case of diarrhea. I purchased a small bag of the Fromm dry food and started feeding it to all my kitties. They LOVE the food and all gather around their dishes when they hear me open the bag. Within a couple of days the diarrhea stopped completely in my elderly cat. He is over 18 years old and he is the BEST cat I have ever had. My vet said to purchase some of the powder and sprinkle it on my elderly kitties wet food every day, but after I started using the Fromm dry food there was no reason to do that. Please consider Fromm dry food for a test and review.

    Reply
  58. Samael

    Hey! I am a parent of two cats and one of them has a bit of constipation. So, I was doing a bit of research and came across both yours and another article. Even though your one is better, the other one was answering my exact question (here’s the link – https://petlytical.com/blog/the-best-cat-foods-for-constipation-in-2022/). But they don’t have that many articles there so I can’t decide if I should trust them. Will you be kind enough to go through it and recommend a brand for me?

    Reply
    1. small mallory photoMallory Crusta Post author

      Hi Samael, I’m not particularly impressed by this article. It doesn’t look like they went into much effort to consider the factors that contribute to constipation or go beyond what comes up in a quick search when they created this guide. Additionally, Petlytical doesn’t work with veterinarians or behaviorists, while our guide on the best cat food for constipation was medically reviewed by a veterinarian. Besides knowing that Dr. Pendergrass is an expert in the field and would flag any inaccuracies, I’m the original author of this guide and feel confident in my own research. I believe our article on the subject is a more comprehensive and carefully-considered piece that, if nothing else, will allow you to walk away with a better understanding of constipation and what to look for when choosing a recipe, even if it’s not on the list.

      Reply
  59. Denise

    hi Mallory, i read that Dr. Elsey’s is advertised as All Life Stages dry food, but I see you recommend it for adults cats only … Would you say I should rather not feed it to a 6 month old kitten? Thank you!

    Reply
    1. small mallory photoMallory Crusta Post author

      Hi Denise, thank you for the comment! It looks like we made a mistake when filling in the product summary—I just corrected the article, and the food is definitely acceptable for a 6-month-old kitten and any other growing cat.

      Reply
  60. Lyle E Cooper

    It would be nice if your website had a link for all A rated foods, all A- rated, all B rated, all B- rated.

    As it is, we have to put in a company name, then read its rating.

    Reply
  61. Jennifer

    May I ask why RAWZ is not in this list? It has its first 7 ingredients as whole named meats and gets a higher score (RAWZ=8.1, Dr. Elsey=7.7) on your full list.

    Reply
    1. small mallory photoMallory Crusta Post author

      Jennifer, that’s a good question. Sometimes our recommendations get out of date as we continue to discover and research various brands, and sometimes similarly-rated brands outrank one another based on availability issues. In the case of RAWZ, we simply hadn’t recognized the brand’s dry food as an option at the time when this article was written. I’ll consider it for a future update. Thanks!

      Reply
  62. Craig

    Is Wellness really considered a budget choice???

    At $17-18 for just a 5lb bag, that seems a bit high end.

    That spot was previously held by Kirkland, which at Costco is about $25 for a 20lb bag.
    Has Kirkland dropped in quality – or is there something around the same price point that has similar quality to the Wellness brand?
    I got 3 tiny mouths to feed on a single dad’s budget! 🙂

    Reply
    1. small mallory photoMallory Crusta Post author

      Hello Craig, I’ve talked with the site owner about this question, and we’ve decided that we’d like to reinstate Kirkland cat food on the page, since it does offer a combination of quality and price you can’t find in essentially any other food on the market. You can continue to feel good about this choice.

      Reply
      1. Craig

        Mallory,

        Thank you so much hearing my concern and caring enough to research and act on it!
        I always come to this website when I make decisions for my little ones because I always got the sense that not only is your research on par and not biased, but the hearts are in the right place.
        This is just another example of why I know my faith in your advice is well placed!

        Thanks kindly,
        Craig

        Reply
  63. Craig

    Mallory,

    Thank you so much hearing my concern and caring enough to research and act on it!
    I always come to this website when I make decisions for my little ones because I always got the sense that not only is your research on par and not biased, but the hearts are in the right place.
    This is just another example of why I know my faith in your advice is well placed!

    Thanks kindly,
    Craig

    Reply

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