The 8 Best Salmon Cat Food Formulas

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You’ve seen the cartoons of the family cat reaching into the fishbowl for a snack. Cats may love fish, but it is really the best protein choice? Perhaps not.

In this guide we’ll explore the benefits and drawbacks of salmon as the primary protein in a cat’s diet. We’ll talk about why a single-protein recipe might be needed and show you our top picks for the best salmon cat food on the market.

At A Glance: Best Cat Food With Salmon To Buy

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

Overall Best
10.0
Picked by 31 people today!

Instinct Original Grain-Free Pate Real Salmon Recipe Wet Cat Food

  • Fresh salmon as a protein-rich first ingredient
  • Rich in moisture to support your cat’s hydration
  • Natural source of omega-3 fatty acids
Budget Pick
9.8
Picked by 31 people today!

Purina Beyond Grain-Free Wild Salmon Pate Recipe Canned Food

  • Affordably priced under $0.30 per ounce
  • Simple recipe, easy to digest
  • Contains four sources of animal-based protein
Best Dry Cat Food
9.5
Picked by 25 people today!

Timberwolf Legends Ocean Blue Feline Formula Cat Food

  • Three sources of animal-based protein at the top of the list
  • Fish ingredients provide animal sources of healthy fat
  • Free from grains, gluten, and artificial additives
Best Wet Cat Food
9.4
Picked by 21 people today!

American Journey Landmark Salmon Recipe in Broth Grain-Free Canned Cat Food

  • Made with a single source of animal protein
  • Rich in moisture to support your cat’s hydration
  • Easily digestible with a simple ingredient list
Best Freeze-Dried Food
9.3
Picked by 18 people today!

Stella & Chewy’s Sea-Licious Salmon & Cod Dinner Morsels Freeze-Dried Raw Cat Food

  • Made with fresh fish including ground bone
  • Short list of easily digestible main ingredients
  • Freeze-dried instead of cooked at high temperatures
Best For Kittens
9.2
Picked by 18 people today!

Wellness CORE Natural Grain-Free Whitefish, Salmon & Herring Pate Canned Kitten & Cat Food

  • First five ingredients are all animal-based
  • Rich in species-appropriate animal protein
  • High in moisture to support your cat’s hydration
Best For Weight Control
9.1
Picked by 18 people today!

Weruva Cats in the Kitchen Kitty Gone Wild Salmon Au Jus Grain-Free Canned Cat Food

  • Contains four sources of high-quality animal protein
  • Supplemented with fish oil as a source of omega-3 fatty acids
  • Completely free from artificial additives and by-products
Best Food Topper
9.0
Picked by 18 people today!

TikiCat Broths Salmon in Broth with Meaty Bits Grain-Free Wet Cat Food Topper

  • Made with a single source of animal protein
  • Packed with moisture to support your cat’s hydration
  • Flavor- and protein-rich meal topper for cat food

Why You Should Trust Us?

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

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

Because one of my cats, Biscuit, is allergic to chicken, I have to feed all three of them a single-protein diet. Salmon is one of the options she tolerates in moderation, so I’ve personally tested many of the brands reviewed below.

Is Fish An Appropriate Protein For Cats?

Fish is a rich source of protein and it’s absolutely packed with omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3s support cardiovascular health as well as healthy vision, skin, and joints. Fish also contains significant amounts of calcium and phosphorus as well as essential miners like iron, iodine, and potassium.

The American Heart Association (AHA) recommends eating fish at least twice a week as part of a heart-healthy diet. But do the same recommendations apply for your cat?

While fish provides the same protein- and omega-3-packed benefits to your cat, pet nutrition experts tend to agree that it isn’t the most species-appropriate protein choice. The truth is fish isn’t part of the natural diet for most cats. Your cat’s ancestors fed primarily on a diet of small mammals and birds, though big cats take down larger prey like rabbits and hoofed animals.

Not only is fish not a natural part of a cat’s diet, but it is high in certain nutrients that may contribute to health problems.

Fish contains high levels of magnesium which has been linked to urinary tract problems in cats. It also lacks the necessary calcium content to properly balance your cat’s phosphorus levels. High phosphorus levels can contribute to kidney disease in cats. Significant amounts of fish can also deplete your cat’s vitamin E stores which can lead to deficiency.

Some sources even suggest that feeding your cat a fish-based diet can turn him into a picky eater. It isn’t uncommon for cats to enjoy the flavor of fish so much that they’ll refuse to eat anything else.

And don’t forget about the biggest problem with fish for cats: it’s a common food allergen.

Food allergies in cats are most commonly associated with chicken, beef, fish, and dairy. Cats must be exposed to one of these proteins to develop an allergy and it can occur at any point in the cat’s life. Symptoms of food allergies include chronic ear infections, skin inflammation, and itching.

Does Your Cat Need A Single Protein Recipe?

If your cat is allergic or sensitive to other common proteins like chicken and beef, fish might be an option. Though many fish-based formulas contain a combination of fish like salmon, tuna, and whitefish, it’s not difficult to find single-protein recipes made with salmon.

When shopping for a single-protein salmon diet, the main thing to look for is, of course, salmon as the first ingredient.

Any diet for cats needs to be comprised primarily of animal ingredients. Fresh salmon is a rich source of protein and moisture, though salmon meal is good as well. It’s already had the moisture removed which makes it a more concentrated source of protein than fresh fish.

It’s also important to look for animal-based fats. Salmon oil is particularly rich in omega-3 fatty acids which support your cat’s skin and coat health. Other animal fats like chicken fat are perfectly healthy and there’s a low risk that they will trigger fish allergies.

For cat’s that don’t require a single-protein diet, there are some equally excellent but often more affordable options out there.

Salmon can be pretty pricey which is why many of the more economical cat food brands blend it with other fish ingredients. Whitefish is much cheaper than salmon, so you’ll see it in some of the formulas reviewed below. Whitefish isn’t a specific type of fish but a catch-all term for various white-fleshed fish.

No matter what kind of recipe you choose for your cat, make sure it contains limited carbohydrate and no low-value grains like corn, wheat, and soy or artificial additives.

The Best Salmon Cat Foods: Our Top Picks

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

I found it a little challenging to find single-protein cat foods featuring salmon. Many salmon-based cat foods are made with other fish or with chicken. For cats who can tolerate fish, these multi-fish recipes may not be a problem but if your cat is allergic to chicken, you should double check the ingredient list before you start feeding.

#1 Overall Best: Instinct

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Originally launched as Nature’s Variety in Lincoln, Nebraska, this brand now goes by the name Instinct. It’s a brand that uses high-quality ingredients sourced largely from the United States with the exception of certain animal proteins from Australia, New Zealand, France, and Italy. Instinct’s cat food is manufactured entirely in company-owned facilities in the U.S.

Featured Recipe: Instinct Original Grain-Free Pate Real Salmon Recipe Wet Cat Food

First 5 Ingredients: Salmon, Salmon Broth, Pork Liver, Ground Flaxseed, Montmorillonite Clay

This wet food formula starts off strong with fresh salmon as the main ingredient. It’s followed by salmon broth as a source of hydrating moisture and natural flavor. Pork liver and egg provide supplemental sources of protein, accompanied by just a handful of other main ingredients.

After the top three ingredients, all of which are animal-based, comes ground flaxseed and montmorillonite clay.

Montmorillonite clay is used as a natural anti-caking agent. It is also purported to have digestive and detoxification benefits. Some sources suggest that the clay binds to toxins present in the digestive system and helps remove them from the body. There is no scientific evidence to support this, however, and some experts suggest that clay may contribute to constipation.

This recipe also contains peas and carrots in the top 10 ingredients with a few other plant-based inclusions at the end of the list. Even so, it’s a high-quality formula for adult cats that is fairly low in carbohydrates and calories.

Ingredients

Salmon, Salmon Broth, Pork Liver, Ground Flaxseed, Montmorillonite Clay, Egg Product, Peas, Carrots, Potassium Chloride, Salt, Minerals (Iron Proteinate, Zinc Proteinate, Copper Proteinate, Manganese Proteinate, Sodium Selenite, Potassium Iodide), Choline Chloride, Vitamins (Thiamine Mononitrate, Vitamin E Supplement, Niacin Supplement, D-Calcium Pantothenate, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Riboflavin Supplement, Vitamin A Supplement, Biotin, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Folic Acid), Taurine, L-Ascorbyl-2-Polyphosphate, Artichokes, Cranberries, Pumpkin, Tomato, Blueberries, Broccoli, Cabbage, Kale, Parsley.

Guaranteed Analysis

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Crude Protein: 10.5%
Crude Fat: 4%
Crude Fiber: 2%
Moisture: 78%

Dry Matter Basis

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Protein: 47.73%
Fat: 18.18%
Fiber: 9.09%
Carbs: 25%

Caloric Weight Basis

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Protein: 40.83%
Fat: 37.78%
Carbs: 21.39%

Ingredients We Liked: Salmon, Pork Liver, Egg Product

Ingredients We Didn’t Like: Ground Flaxseed, Montmorillonite Clay, Peas

Common Allergens: Fish, Pork

What We Liked

  • Fresh salmon as a protein-rich first ingredient
  • Rich in moisture to support your cat’s hydration
  • Natural source of omega-3 fatty acids

What We Didn’t Like

  • Not recommended for cats with pork allergies
  • Contains unnecessary plant ingredients

#2 Budget Pick: Purina Beyond

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Purina is one of the most well-known names in the pet industry, but we don’t love a lot of their products. Their veterinary diets tend to be full of by-products and carbs but some of their more affordable products, like the Purina Beyond line, offer decent quality at a good price.

Featured Recipe: Purina Beyond Grain-Free Wild Salmon Pate Recipe Canned Food

First 5 Ingredients: Salmon, Liver, Chicken, Fish Broth, Carrots

Limited ingredient recipes can be pricey, especially when they’re made with a single source of protein. If your cat isn’t allergic to chicken, you might want to consider an affordable option like this recipe from Purina Beyond.

This formula features salmon as the first ingredient, but also contains liver, chicken, and egg as additional sources of animal-based protein. The liver doesn’t come from a named source, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it isn’t a high-quality ingredient. The same is true for the fish broth, though that’s a little less concerning since it’s only a source of moisture and flavor.

You’ll find just one added carbohydrate in this formula – carrots – which means the recipe is much lower in carbs than the average dry cat food. It’s also free from ingredients commonly found in low-priced cat food including harmful thickeners like carrageenan as well as artificial additives.

Ingredients

Salmon, Liver, Chicken, Fish Broth, Carrots, Egg Product, Minerals [Potassium Chloride, Zinc Sulfate, Ferrous Sulfate, Manganese Sulfate, Copper Sulfate, Potassium Iodide], Guar Gum, Taurine, Salt, Choline Chloride, Vitamins [Thiamine Mononitrate (Vitamin B-1), Vitamin E Supplement, Niacin (Vitamin B-3), Calcium Pantothenate (Vitamin B-5), Vitamin A Supplement, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride (Vitamin B-6), Riboflavin Supplement (Vitamin B-2), Vitamin B-12 Supplement, Menadione Sodium Bisulfite Complex (Vitamin K), Folic Acid (Vitamin B-9), Vitamin D-3 Supplement].

Guaranteed Analysis

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Crude Protein: 10%
Crude Fat: 5%
Crude Fiber: 1.5%
Moisture: 78%
Ash: 3.2%

Dry Matter Basis

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Protein: 45.45%
Fat: 22.73%
Fiber: 6.82%
Carbs: 10.45%

Caloric Weight Basis

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Protein: 40.91%
Fat: 49.68%
Carbs: 9.41%

Ingredients We Liked: Salmon, Chicken, Liver, Egg Product

Ingredients We Didn’t Like: Carrots

Common Allergens: Fish, Chicken

What We Liked

  • Affordably priced under $0.30 per ounce
  • Simple recipe, easy to digest
  • Contains four sources of animal-based protein

What We Didn’t Like

  • Contains two vaguely named ingredients

#3 Best Dry Cat Food: Timberwolf

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Launched in 2000 under the name Timberwolf Organics, Timberwolf aims to produce “pet foods the way nature intended.” This brand offers a limited selection of kibble for dogs and cats. Their formulas are rich in animal protein and healthy fats but free from low-value grains and fillers as well as artificial flavors, colors, and preservatives.

Featured Recipe: Timberwolf Legends Ocean Blue Feline Formula Cat Food

First 5 Ingredients: Salmon, Salmon Meal, Herring Meal, Pea Protein, Canola Oil

Timberwolf offers two high-protein, grain-free dry cat food formulas including this Ocean Blue recipe. Though not a single protein formula, it only contains fish proteins from salmon and herring. With these ingredients, this adult dry cat food is a good source of protein as well as healthy fats.

Though the first three ingredients are rich sources of animal protein, the fourth is a plant protein concentrate: pea protein. Plant proteins can be more difficult for cats to digest than animal protein and they aren’t a complete protein source. This means that they don’t contain the full list of essential amino acids your cat needs.

This Timberwolf recipe contains several other plant ingredients including starchy peas and potatoes which contribute to a high fiber content that might contribute to digestive issues in sensitive cats. Overall, however, it’s a decent source of animal protein and fat – it’s also a little lower in carbohydrate than the average dry food.

Ingredients

Salmon, Salmon Meal, Herring Meal, Pea Protein, Canola Oil (Preserved with Mixed Tocopherols), Fish Meal, Egg Albumin, Tapioca Starch, Dried Peas, Dried Potatoes, Natural Flavor, Salt, Potassium Chloride, DL-Methionine, Choline Chloride, Taurine, L-Tryptophan, Inulin, Dried Spinach, Dried Apples, Dried Blueberries, Dried Carrots, Dried Cranberries, Dried Pumpkin, Minerals (Zinc Methionine Complex, Zinc Sulfate, Iron Proteinate, Ferrous Sulfate, Copper Proteinate, Copper Sulfate, Manganese Proteinate, Sodium Selenite, Manganous Oxide, Calcium Iodate), Vitamins (Vitamin E Supplement, Niacin Supplement, Vitamin A Supplement, Thiamine Mononitrate, d-Calcium Pantothenate, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Riboflavin Supplement, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Biotin, Folic Acid, Vitamin B12 Supplement), Citric Acid, Mixed Tocopherols, Rosemary Extract.

Guaranteed Analysis

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Crude Protein: 50%
Crude Fat: 16%
Crude Fiber: 4%
Moisture: 10%

Dry Matter Basis

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Protein: 55.56%
Fat: 17.78%
Fiber: 4.44%
Carbs: 22.22%

Caloric Weight Basis

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Protein: 45.93%
Fat: 35.7%
Carbs: 18.37%

Ingredients We Liked: Salmon, Salmon Meal, Herring Meal, Fish Meal

Ingredients We Didn’t Like: Pea Protein, Canola Oil, Tapioca Starch, Dried Peas, Dried Potatoes

Common Allergens: Fish

What We Liked

  • Three sources of animal-based protein at the top of the list
  • Fish ingredients provide animal sources of healthy fat
  • Free from fillers, gluten, and artificial additives

What We Didn’t Like

  • No dry food provides the moisture your cat needs
  • Contains unnecessary plant ingredients, including pea protein

#4 Best Wet Cat Food: American Journey

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Exclusively sold on Chewy, American Journey is an affordable brand of cat food that was launched in 2017. American Journey states that the majority of their ingredients are sourced in the United States and that their dry food is made by a manufacturer in Kansas. The wet foods belonging to the Landmark line are produced in Thailand.

Featured Recipe: American Journey Landmark Salmon Recipe in Broth Grain-Free Canned Cat Food

First 5 Ingredients: Salmon, Fish Broth, Sunflower Oil, Potassium Chloride, Tricalcium Phosphate

Wet cat food provides the moisture your cat needs to stay properly hydrated. It also has a softer texture which many senior cats find easier to eat.

This American Journey canned cat food features fresh salmon as the primary ingredient, followed by hydrating fish broth. The only other ingredient aside from supplements is sunflower oil. Sunflower oil is a plant-based fat, but it’s very high in omega-6 fatty acids which may help balance the omega-3s found in the fresh salmon. With this being the only plant ingredient, this recipe contains negligible carbohydrate content.

Overall, this recipe is very simple which should make it highly digestible for cats with a sensitive stomach. As a single protein recipe, it’s also a good choice for cats who are allergic to other common proteins like chicken and beef.

Ingredients

Salmon, Fish Broth, Sunflower Oil, Potassium Chloride, Tricalcium Phosphate, Magnesium Sulfate, Taurine, Salt, Zinc Oxide, Vitamin E Supplement, Reduced Iron, Niacin Supplement, Sodium Selenite, Thiamine Mononitrate, Vitamin A Supplement, Manganese Sulfate, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Copper Amino Acid Complex, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, d-Calcium Pantothenate, Riboflavin Supplement, Biotin Supplement, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Folic Acid, Potassium iodide, Menadione Sodium Bisulfite Complex (Source of Vitamin K).

Guaranteed Analysis

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Crude Protein: 12%
Crude Fat: 2%
Crude Fiber: 1%
Moisture: 82%
Ash: 3%

Dry Matter Basis

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Protein: 66.67%
Fat: 11.11%
Fiber: 5.56%

Caloric Weight Basis

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Protein: 71.19%
Fat: 28.81%

Ingredients We Liked: Salmon

Ingredients We Didn’t Like: Sunflower Oil

Common Allergens: Fish

What We Liked

  • Made with a single source of animal protein
  • Rich in moisture to support your cat’s hydration
  • Easily digestible with a simple ingredient list

What We Didn’t Like

  • Main source of added fat is plant-based
  • More expensive than traditional American Journey recipes

#5 Best Freeze-Dried Cat Food: Stella & Chewy’s

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Stella & Chewy’s was launched in 2003 by Marie Moody. The brand was inspired by Moody’s own Airedale-Shar-Pei mix named Chewy and her other dog Stella. Stella & Chewy’s began as a local New York City delivery service for homemade raw pet food and grew into a nationally renowned company that offers a variety of freeze-dried raw and raw frozen pet foods.

Featured Recipe: Stella & Chewy’s Sea-Licious Salmon & Cod Dinner Morsels Freeze-Dried Raw Cat Food

First 5 Ingredients: Salmon With Ground Bone, Cod With Ground Bone, Cod Liver Oil, Pumpkin Seed, Potassium Chloride

In every life stage, your cat needs a significant amount of animal protein. In addition to protein, fresh fish like salmon and cod deliver nourishing fatty acids and essential nutrients.

Though this isn’t a single protein formula, it only contains fish protein. As such, it should be a good option for cats with allergies or sensitivities to other protein sources. Both the salmon and cod that make up the main ingredients for this formula include ground bone which is a species-appropriate source of essential minerals.

What makes this recipe different from more traditional cat foods is that it is freeze-dried. The ingredients are prepared raw and the moisture is gently removed to make the product shelf stable. Because the moisture has been removed, freeze-dried food should be rehydrated before feeding.

With a limited number of ingredients, this recipe is easily digestible. It also helps that it’s supplemented with probiotics to support healthy digestion.

Ingredients

Salmon With Ground Bone, Cod With Ground Bone, Cod Liver Oil, 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: 28%
Crude Fiber: 5%
Moisture: 5%

Dry Matter Basis

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Protein: 47.37%
Fat: 29.47%
Fiber: 5.26%
Carbs: 17.89%

Caloric Weight Basis

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Protein: 34.62%
Fat: 52.31%
Carbs: 13.08%

Ingredients We Liked: Salmon With Ground Bone, Cod With Ground Bone, Cod Liver Oil

Ingredients We Didn’t Like: Pumpkin Seed

Common Allergens: Fish

What We Liked

  • Made with fresh fish including ground bone
  • Short list of easily digestible main ingredients
  • Freeze-dried instead of cooked at high temperatures

What We Didn’t Like

  • Needs to be rehydrated before feeding
  • Very expensive

#6 Best For Kittens: Wellness

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Wellness is a well-known brand in the pet food industry, having started all the way back in 1997. Its history really began in 1926, however, when it was originally founded as Old Mother Hubbard Dog Treats. The company later merged with Eagle Pack to form WellPet, LLC. Wellness produces the majority of their food in company-owned kitchens in Indiana, though their wet foods are made in Thailand.

Featured Recipe: Wellness CORE Natural Grain-Free Whitefish, Salmon & Herring Pate Canned Kitten & Cat Food

First 5 Ingredients: Whitefish, Salmon Broth, Salmon, Tuna, Herring

Animal-based protein and healthy fats are essential for growing kittens. While all cats have the same basic nutritional needs, kitten food should be higher in protein to fuel muscle development.

This Wellness CORE formula is nutritionally complete for both adult cats and kittens. This makes it a great choice if you want to avoid the hassle of having to transition your kitten onto a different recipe when he reaches one year of age. It’s rich in protein and moisture and it is easy to digest.

Whitefish appears to be the primary protein in this recipe, supplemented by salmon, tuna, and herring. So, it may not be entirely salmon-based, but salmon comes in third, making it a significant inclusion.

This kitten food recipe does contain a few plant ingredients including starchy potatoes and plant-based fat. It also contains salmon oil, however. The canola oil which serves as the primary source of added fat may help balance the omega-6 fatty acids with the omega-3s in the salmon oil. Omega-6s also play a role in supporting healthy skin.

Ingredients

Whitefish, Salmon Broth, Salmon, Tuna, Herring, Dried Ground Potatoes, Canola Oil, Ground Flaxseed, Guar Gum, Cassia Gum, Xanthan Gum, Cranberries, Potassium Chloride, Salmon Oil (preserved with Mixed Tocopherols), Choline Chloride, Taurine, Salt, Dried Kelp, Chicory Root Extract, Yucca Schidigera Extract, Iron Proteinate, Zinc Proteinate, Thiamine Mononitrate, Vitamin E Supplement, Copper Proteinate, Manganese Proteinate, Sodium Selenite, Niacin Supplement, d-Calcium Pantothenate, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Riboflavin Supplement, Vitamin A Supplement, Biotin, Potassium Iodide, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Folic Acid.

Guaranteed Analysis

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Crude Protein: 10%
Crude Fat: 4%
Crude Fiber: 1%
Moisture: 78%

Dry Matter Basis

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Protein: 45.45%
Fat: 18.18%
Fiber: 4.55%
Carbs: 31.82%

Caloric Weight Basis

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Protein: 37.43%
Fat: 36.36%
Carbs: 26.2%

Ingredients We Liked: Whitefish, Salmon, Tuna, Herring

Ingredients We Didn’t Like: Dried Ground Potatoes, Canola Oil, Ground Flaxseed

Common Allergens: Fish

What We Liked

  • First five ingredients are all animal-based
  • Rich in species-appropriate animal protein
  • High in moisture to support your cat’s hydration

What We Didn’t Like

  • Contains several unnecessary plant ingredients
  • Main source of added fat is plant-based

#7 Best For Weight Control: Weruva

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Founded in 2006 by David and Stacie Forman, Weruva is named for the couple’s three cats: Webster, Rudi, and Vanessa. This brand specializes in wet foods made with simple ingredients. They’re low in carbs and free from artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives as well as by-product meals.

Featured Recipe: Weruva Cats in the Kitchen Kitty Gone Wild Salmon Au Jus Grain-Free Canned Cat Food

First 5 Ingredients: Fish Broth, Salmon, Tuna, Sardine, Mackerel

This wet food features fresh salmon as the primary protein, supplemented with tuna, sardine, and mackerel. All three are rich sources of high-quality protein as well as healthy fats.

The first source of added fat in this formula is plant-based. Sunflower seed oil is rich in vitamin K which helps reduce the risk for osteoporosis and supports healthy clotting of blood. Because it’s a plant-based fat, however, it’s less biologically valuable than the fish oil that appears later in the list.

Overall, this recipe has a fairly short list of main ingredients, most of which are animal-based. This makes it highly digestible and a good option for cats with sensitive stomachs. Because it’s lower in calories than other recipes on this list, it may also be a good cat food for weight control.

Ingredients

Fish Broth, Salmon, Tuna, Sardine, Mackerel, Sunflower Seed Oil, Locust Bean Gum, Guar Gum, Xanthan Gum, Potassium Chloride, Fish Oil, Choline Chloride, Taurine, Zinc Sulfate, Vitamin E Supplement, Nicotinic Acid (Vitamin B3), Calcium Pantothenate, Thiamine Mononitrate (Vitamin B1), Manganese Proteinate, Vitamin A Supplement, Ferrous Sulfate, Riboflavin Supplement (Vitamin B2), Pyridoxine Hydrochloride (Vitamin B6), Folic Acid, Copper Sulfate, Menadione Sodium Bisulfite Complex (Source Of Vitamin K), Potassium Iodide, Biotin, Vitamin B12 Supplement.

Guaranteed Analysis

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Crude Protein: 10%
Crude Fat: 1.6%
Crude Fiber: 0.5%
Moisture: 83%
Ash: 2%

Dry Matter Basis

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Protein: 58.82%
Fat: 9.41%
Fiber: 2.94%
Carbs: 17.06%

Caloric Weight Basis

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Protein: 59.57%
Fat: 23.15%
Carbs: 17.28%

Ingredients We Liked: Salmon, Tuna, Sardine, Mackerel, Fish Oil

Ingredients We Didn’t Like: Sunflower Seed Oil

Common Allergens: Fish

What We Liked

  • Contains four sources of high-quality animal protein
  • Supplemented with fish oil as a source of omega-3 fatty acids
  • Completely free from artificial additives and by-products

What We Didn’t Like

  • First source of added fat is plant-based
  • Comes in small cans, fairly pricey

#8 Best Food Topper: TikiCat

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TikiCat was founded in 2005 by Christine and Robert Hackett. This brand focuses primarily on wet food cans and pouches, but they also offer a limited selection of dry foods. TikiCat prides themselves on delivering low-carb recipes rich in animal protein, moisture, and flavor. Not only do they have a wide variety of nutritionally complete formulas, but they have plenty of meal toppers to choose from.

Featured Recipe: TikiCat Broths Salmon in Broth with Meaty Bits Grain-Free Wet Cat Food Topper

First 5 Ingredients: Salmon Broth, Salmon, Fish Extract, Guar Gum, Xanthan Gum.

This cat food topper from TikiCat features an incredibly simply list of ingredients. Aside from the salmon broth and salmon, there are only three others starting with fish extract.

I wasn’t able to determine exactly what this ingredient is. Some sources suggest it is comprised of amino acids extract from fish while others describe it as a source of fish flavor. It could also be another term for fish oil but given the incredibly low fat content of the recipe that seems unlikely.

Both guar gum and xanthan gum act as thickeners in this formula. Though the recipe is marketed as a meaty broth, the texture is more like a gravy. Gums are a source of fiber in cat food but it has, in some cases, been linked to allergies and digestive symptoms like bloating and constipation.

Ingredients

Salmon Broth, Salmon, Fish Extract, Guar Gum, Xanthan Gum.

Guaranteed Analysis

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Crude Protein: 5%
Crude Fat: 0.05%
Crude Fiber: 0.5%
Moisture: 94%

Dry Matter Basis

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Protein: 83.33%
Fat: 0.83%
Fiber: 8.33%
Carbs: 7.5%

Caloric Weight Basis

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Protein: 89.74%
Fat: 2.18%
Carbs: 8.08%

Ingredients We Liked: Salmon

Ingredients We Didn’t Like: Guar Gum, Xanthan Gum

Common Allergens: Fish

What We Liked

  • Made with a single source of animal protein
  • Packed with moisture to support your cat’s hydration
  • Flavor- and protein-rich meal topper for cat food

What We Didn’t Like

  • Contains several gum thickeners
  • Not a complete and balanced recipe

Final Thoughts

Protein is an essential component of a healthy diet for cats, but all proteins are not created equal. Your cat is a carnivore who craves meat. Your cat might love fish, but it’s worth considering whether fish like salmon is really the best option.

Concerns about potential contamination aside, salmon is a rich source of animal-based protein, omega-3 fatty acids and essential nutrients. If your cat is sensitive to other proteins or turns up his nose to everything you’ve tried, a fish-based diet might do the trick.

If you’re going to change your cat’s diet, make sure to do it slowly. Sudden dietary changes can upset your cat’s stomach, so mix some of the new food with his old food for a few days to ease him into it.

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About Kate Barrington

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

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