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  15. Top 10 Best Cat Foods: Buying Guide

Top 10 Best Cat Foods: Buying Guide

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#2 Best Product
#3 Best Product
Purina Fancy Feast Gravy Wet Cat Food Variety Pack, Seafood Grilled Collection - (24) 3 oz. Cans Purina ONE Hairball, Weight Control, Indoor, Natural Dry Cat Food, Indoor Advantage - 16 lb. Bag Purina Fancy Feast Grain Free Pate Wet Cat Food Variety Pack, Poultry & Beef Collection - (24) 3 oz. Cans
Purina Fancy Feast Gravy Wet Cat Food Variety Pack, Seafood Grilled Collection - (24) 3 oz. Cans Purina ONE Hairball, Weight Control, Indoor, Natural Dry Cat Food, Indoor Advantage - 16 lb. Bag Purina Fancy Feast Grain Free Pate Wet Cat Food Variety Pack, Poultry & Beef Collection - (24) 3 oz. Cans
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1

Purina Fancy Feast Gravy Wet Cat Food Variety Pack, Seafood Grilled Collection - (24) 3 oz. Cans

  • Purina Fancy Feast Gravy Wet Cat Food Variety Pack, Seafood Grilled Collection - (24) 3 oz. Cans
  • Purina Fancy Feast Gravy Wet Cat Food Variety Pack, Seafood Grilled Collection - (24) 3 oz. Cans
  • Purina Fancy Feast Gravy Wet Cat Food Variety Pack, Seafood Grilled Collection - (24) 3 oz. Cans
  • Purina Fancy Feast Gravy Wet Cat Food Variety Pack, Seafood Grilled Collection - (24) 3 oz. Cans
  • Purina Fancy Feast Gravy Wet Cat Food Variety Pack, Seafood Grilled Collection - (24) 3 oz. Cans
  • Purina Fancy Feast Gravy Wet Cat Food Variety Pack, Seafood Grilled Collection - (24) 3 oz. Cans
  • Purina Fancy Feast Gravy Wet Cat Food Variety Pack, Seafood Grilled Collection - (24) 3 oz. Cans
  • Purina Fancy Feast Gravy Wet Cat Food Variety Pack, Seafood Grilled Collection - (24) 3 oz. Cans
  • Purina Fancy Feast Gravy Wet Cat Food Variety Pack, Seafood Grilled Collection - (24) 3 oz. Cans
  • Purina Fancy Feast Gravy Wet Cat Food Variety Pack, Seafood Grilled Collection - (24) 3 oz. Cans
  • Purina Fancy Feast Gravy Wet Cat Food Variety Pack, Seafood Grilled Collection - (24) 3 oz. Cans
  • Purina Fancy Feast Gravy Wet Cat Food Variety Pack, Seafood Grilled Collection - (24) 3 oz. Cans
RATINGS
Durability
Value
Overall
Specifications:
Manufacturer: Purina Fancy Feast
EAN: 0050000575466
UPC: 050000575466
Model: 50000575466
Part Number: 50000575466
Size: (24) 3 oz. Cans
Warranty: Purina guarantees outstanding quality and taste. If for any reason you're not satisfied, simply let Purina know why. Please contact Purina directly at (800) 778-7462 within 60 days of date on receipt for assistance. Or, feel free to mail your original purchase receipt with the price circled, a brief explanation of why you were dissatisfied with our products, the "Best If Used By" date box from the package, along with your name and street address (P.O. Box not accepted) to: Purina, Office of Consumer Affairs, P.O Box 2530, Largo, FL 33779
Height: 6.5 inches
Width: 8 inches
Length: 5.5 inches
2

Purina ONE Hairball, Weight Control, Indoor, Natural Dry Cat Food, Indoor Advantage - 16 lb. Bag

  • Purina ONE Hairball, Weight Control, Indoor, Natural Dry Cat Food, Indoor Advantage - 16 lb. Bag
  • Purina ONE Hairball, Weight Control, Indoor, Natural Dry Cat Food, Indoor Advantage - 16 lb. Bag
  • Purina ONE Hairball, Weight Control, Indoor, Natural Dry Cat Food, Indoor Advantage - 16 lb. Bag
  • Purina ONE Hairball, Weight Control, Indoor, Natural Dry Cat Food, Indoor Advantage - 16 lb. Bag
  • Purina ONE Hairball, Weight Control, Indoor, Natural Dry Cat Food, Indoor Advantage - 16 lb. Bag
  • Purina ONE Hairball, Weight Control, Indoor, Natural Dry Cat Food, Indoor Advantage - 16 lb. Bag
  • Purina ONE Hairball, Weight Control, Indoor, Natural Dry Cat Food, Indoor Advantage - 16 lb. Bag
  • Purina ONE Hairball, Weight Control, Indoor, Natural Dry Cat Food, Indoor Advantage - 16 lb. Bag
  • Purina ONE Hairball, Weight Control, Indoor, Natural Dry Cat Food, Indoor Advantage - 16 lb. Bag
  • Purina ONE Hairball, Weight Control, Indoor, Natural Dry Cat Food, Indoor Advantage - 16 lb. Bag
  • Purina ONE Hairball, Weight Control, Indoor, Natural Dry Cat Food, Indoor Advantage - 16 lb. Bag
  • Purina ONE Hairball, Weight Control, Indoor, Natural Dry Cat Food, Indoor Advantage - 16 lb. Bag
  • Purina ONE Hairball, Weight Control, Indoor, Natural Dry Cat Food, Indoor Advantage - 16 lb. Bag
RATINGS
Durability
Value
Overall
Specifications:
Manufacturer: Purina ONE
EAN: 0672823768414
UPC: 017800033855
Model: 178627
Part Number: 17800033855
Size: 16 lb. Bag
Warranty: Satisfaction Guaranteed. We're confident Purina ONE will make a healthy difference in your pet. If for any reason you're not satisfied with this purchase, contact us and we'll refund your purchase price.
Height: 1 foot 8 inches
Width: 5 inches
Length: 1 foot 1 inch
3

Purina Fancy Feast Grain Free Pate Wet Cat Food Variety Pack, Poultry & Beef Collection - (24) 3 oz. Cans

  • Purina Fancy Feast Grain Free Pate Wet Cat Food Variety Pack, Poultry & Beef Collection - (24) 3 oz. Cans
  • Purina Fancy Feast Grain Free Pate Wet Cat Food Variety Pack, Poultry & Beef Collection - (24) 3 oz. Cans
  • Purina Fancy Feast Grain Free Pate Wet Cat Food Variety Pack, Poultry & Beef Collection - (24) 3 oz. Cans
  • Purina Fancy Feast Grain Free Pate Wet Cat Food Variety Pack, Poultry & Beef Collection - (24) 3 oz. Cans
  • Purina Fancy Feast Grain Free Pate Wet Cat Food Variety Pack, Poultry & Beef Collection - (24) 3 oz. Cans
  • Purina Fancy Feast Grain Free Pate Wet Cat Food Variety Pack, Poultry & Beef Collection - (24) 3 oz. Cans
  • Purina Fancy Feast Grain Free Pate Wet Cat Food Variety Pack, Poultry & Beef Collection - (24) 3 oz. Cans
  • Purina Fancy Feast Grain Free Pate Wet Cat Food Variety Pack, Poultry & Beef Collection - (24) 3 oz. Cans
  • Purina Fancy Feast Grain Free Pate Wet Cat Food Variety Pack, Poultry & Beef Collection - (24) 3 oz. Cans
  • Purina Fancy Feast Grain Free Pate Wet Cat Food Variety Pack, Poultry & Beef Collection - (24) 3 oz. Cans
  • Purina Fancy Feast Grain Free Pate Wet Cat Food Variety Pack, Poultry & Beef Collection - (24) 3 oz. Cans
  • Purina Fancy Feast Grain Free Pate Wet Cat Food Variety Pack, Poultry & Beef Collection - (24) 3 oz. Cans
  • Purina Fancy Feast Grain Free Pate Wet Cat Food Variety Pack, Poultry & Beef Collection - (24) 3 oz. Cans
  • Purina Fancy Feast Grain Free Pate Wet Cat Food Variety Pack, Poultry & Beef Collection - (24) 3 oz. Cans
RATINGS
Durability
Value
Overall
Specifications:
Manufacturer: Purina Fancy Feast
UPC: 050000575473
Model: 50000575473
Part Number: 50000575473
Size: (24) 3 oz. Cans
Warranty: Purina Fancy Feast Wet Cat Food
Height: 6 inches
Width: 6 inches
Length: 8 inches
4

Purina Beyond Grain Free, Natural Dry Cat Food, Grain Free Ocean Whitefish & Egg Recipe - 11 lb. Bag

  • Purina Beyond Grain Free, Natural Dry Cat Food, Grain Free Ocean Whitefish & Egg Recipe - 11 lb. Bag
  • Purina Beyond Grain Free, Natural Dry Cat Food, Grain Free Ocean Whitefish & Egg Recipe - 11 lb. Bag
  • Purina Beyond Grain Free, Natural Dry Cat Food, Grain Free Ocean Whitefish & Egg Recipe - 11 lb. Bag
  • Purina Beyond Grain Free, Natural Dry Cat Food, Grain Free Ocean Whitefish & Egg Recipe - 11 lb. Bag
  • Purina Beyond Grain Free, Natural Dry Cat Food, Grain Free Ocean Whitefish & Egg Recipe - 11 lb. Bag
  • Purina Beyond Grain Free, Natural Dry Cat Food, Grain Free Ocean Whitefish & Egg Recipe - 11 lb. Bag
  • Purina Beyond Grain Free, Natural Dry Cat Food, Grain Free Ocean Whitefish & Egg Recipe - 11 lb. Bag
  • Purina Beyond Grain Free, Natural Dry Cat Food, Grain Free Ocean Whitefish & Egg Recipe - 11 lb. Bag
  • Purina Beyond Grain Free, Natural Dry Cat Food, Grain Free Ocean Whitefish & Egg Recipe - 11 lb. Bag
RATINGS
Durability
Value
Overall
Specifications:
Manufacturer: Purina Beyond
EAN: 0740023478874
UPC: 017800164085
Model: 16408
Part Number: 178092
Size: 11 lb. Bag
Height: 11 inches
Width: 7.75 inches
Length: 3.75 inches
5

Royal Canin Indoor Adult Dry Cat Food, 15 lb.

  • Royal Canin Indoor Adult Dry Cat Food, 15 lb.
  • Royal Canin Indoor Adult Dry Cat Food, 15 lb.
  • Royal Canin Indoor Adult Dry Cat Food, 15 lb.
  • Royal Canin Indoor Adult Dry Cat Food, 15 lb.
  • Royal Canin Indoor Adult Dry Cat Food, 15 lb.
  • Royal Canin Indoor Adult Dry Cat Food, 15 lb.
  • Royal Canin Indoor Adult Dry Cat Food, 15 lb.
RATINGS
Durability
Value
Overall
Specifications:
Manufacturer: IC Vendor Services LLC
EAN: 0301116281698
UPC: 301116281698
Model: 62816
Part Number: 62816
Size: 15 lb
Height: 3 inches
Width: 1 foot 2 inches
Length: 1 foot 10 inches
6

Taste of the Wild Grain Free High Protein Real Meat Recipe Rocky Mountain Premium Dry Cat Food - (Discontinued size by manufacturer)

  • Taste of the Wild Grain Free High Protein Real Meat Recipe Rocky Mountain Premium Dry Cat Food - (Discontinued size by manufacturer)
  • Taste of the Wild Grain Free High Protein Real Meat Recipe Rocky Mountain Premium Dry Cat Food - (Discontinued size by manufacturer)
  • Taste of the Wild Grain Free High Protein Real Meat Recipe Rocky Mountain Premium Dry Cat Food - (Discontinued size by manufacturer)
  • Taste of the Wild Grain Free High Protein Real Meat Recipe Rocky Mountain Premium Dry Cat Food - (Discontinued size by manufacturer)
  • Taste of the Wild Grain Free High Protein Real Meat Recipe Rocky Mountain Premium Dry Cat Food - (Discontinued size by manufacturer)
  • Taste of the Wild Grain Free High Protein Real Meat Recipe Rocky Mountain Premium Dry Cat Food - (Discontinued size by manufacturer)
  • Taste of the Wild Grain Free High Protein Real Meat Recipe Rocky Mountain Premium Dry Cat Food - (Discontinued size by manufacturer)
  • Taste of the Wild Grain Free High Protein Real Meat Recipe Rocky Mountain Premium Dry Cat Food - (Discontinued size by manufacturer)
RATINGS
Durability
Value
Overall
Specifications:
Manufacturer: Diamond Pet Foods, Inc.
EAN: 0074198609673
UPC: 074198609673
Model: 74198609673
Part Number: 1584
Size: 15lb - Discontinued
Warranty: Crude Protein 42.0% minimum Crude Fat 18.0% minimum Crude Fiber 3.0% maximum Moisture 10.0% maximum Zinc 120 mg/kg minimum Selenium 0.3 mg/kg minimum Vitamin E 150 IU/kg minimum Taurine 0.15% minimum Omega-6 Fatty Acids* 2.8% minimum Omega-3 Fatty Acids* 0.3% minimum Total Microorganisms* not less than 80,000,000 CFU/lb (Lactobacillus plantarum, Bacillus subtilis, Lactobacillus acidophilus, Enterococcus faecium, Bifidobacterium animalis) *Not recognized as an essential nutrient by the AAFCO Cat Food Nutrient Profiles.
Height: 4 inches
Width: 1 foot 10 inches
Length: 1 foot 3 inches
7

SHEBA PERFECT PORTIONS Wet Cat Food Cuts in Gravy Roasted Chicken, Gourmet Salmon, Tender Turkey Entrées Variety Pack, (24) 2.6 oz. Twin-Pack Trays

  • SHEBA PERFECT PORTIONS Wet Cat Food Cuts in Gravy Roasted Chicken, Gourmet Salmon, Tender Turkey Entrées Variety Pack, (24) 2.6 oz. Twin-Pack Trays
  • SHEBA PERFECT PORTIONS Wet Cat Food Cuts in Gravy Roasted Chicken, Gourmet Salmon, Tender Turkey Entrées Variety Pack, (24) 2.6 oz. Twin-Pack Trays
  • SHEBA PERFECT PORTIONS Wet Cat Food Cuts in Gravy Roasted Chicken, Gourmet Salmon, Tender Turkey Entrées Variety Pack, (24) 2.6 oz. Twin-Pack Trays
  • SHEBA PERFECT PORTIONS Wet Cat Food Cuts in Gravy Roasted Chicken, Gourmet Salmon, Tender Turkey Entrées Variety Pack, (24) 2.6 oz. Twin-Pack Trays
  • SHEBA PERFECT PORTIONS Wet Cat Food Cuts in Gravy Roasted Chicken, Gourmet Salmon, Tender Turkey Entrées Variety Pack, (24) 2.6 oz. Twin-Pack Trays
  • SHEBA PERFECT PORTIONS Wet Cat Food Cuts in Gravy Roasted Chicken, Gourmet Salmon, Tender Turkey Entrées Variety Pack, (24) 2.6 oz. Twin-Pack Trays
  • SHEBA PERFECT PORTIONS Wet Cat Food Cuts in Gravy Roasted Chicken, Gourmet Salmon, Tender Turkey Entrées Variety Pack, (24) 2.6 oz. Twin-Pack Trays
  • SHEBA PERFECT PORTIONS Wet Cat Food Cuts in Gravy Roasted Chicken, Gourmet Salmon, Tender Turkey Entrées Variety Pack, (24) 2.6 oz. Twin-Pack Trays
  • SHEBA PERFECT PORTIONS Wet Cat Food Cuts in Gravy Roasted Chicken, Gourmet Salmon, Tender Turkey Entrées Variety Pack, (24) 2.6 oz. Twin-Pack Trays
  • SHEBA PERFECT PORTIONS Wet Cat Food Cuts in Gravy Roasted Chicken, Gourmet Salmon, Tender Turkey Entrées Variety Pack, (24) 2.6 oz. Twin-Pack Trays
RATINGS
Durability
Value
Overall
Specifications:
Manufacturer: MARVZ
EAN: 0023100123622
UPC: 023100123622
Model: 10192282
Part Number: 10192282
Size: 24 (2.6 oz. Twin-Pack Trays)
Height: 8.06 inches
Width: 6.5 inches
Length: 8.25 inches
8

Purina Friskies Pate Wet Cat Food Variety Pack, Salmon, Turkey & Grilled - (2 Packs of 12) 5.5 oz. Cans

  • Purina Friskies Pate Wet Cat Food Variety Pack, Salmon, Turkey & Grilled - (2 Packs of 12) 5.5 oz. Cans
  • Purina Friskies Pate Wet Cat Food Variety Pack, Salmon, Turkey & Grilled - (2 Packs of 12) 5.5 oz. Cans
  • Purina Friskies Pate Wet Cat Food Variety Pack, Salmon, Turkey & Grilled - (2 Packs of 12) 5.5 oz. Cans
  • Purina Friskies Pate Wet Cat Food Variety Pack, Salmon, Turkey & Grilled - (2 Packs of 12) 5.5 oz. Cans
  • Purina Friskies Pate Wet Cat Food Variety Pack, Salmon, Turkey & Grilled - (2 Packs of 12) 5.5 oz. Cans
  • Purina Friskies Pate Wet Cat Food Variety Pack, Salmon, Turkey & Grilled - (2 Packs of 12) 5.5 oz. Cans
  • Purina Friskies Pate Wet Cat Food Variety Pack, Salmon, Turkey & Grilled - (2 Packs of 12) 5.5 oz. Cans
  • Purina Friskies Pate Wet Cat Food Variety Pack, Salmon, Turkey & Grilled - (2 Packs of 12) 5.5 oz. Cans
  • Purina Friskies Pate Wet Cat Food Variety Pack, Salmon, Turkey & Grilled - (2 Packs of 12) 5.5 oz. Cans
  • Purina Friskies Pate Wet Cat Food Variety Pack, Salmon, Turkey & Grilled - (2 Packs of 12) 5.5 oz. Cans
  • Purina Friskies Pate Wet Cat Food Variety Pack, Salmon, Turkey & Grilled - (2 Packs of 12) 5.5 oz. Cans
  • Purina Friskies Pate Wet Cat Food Variety Pack, Salmon, Turkey & Grilled - (2 Packs of 12) 5.5 oz. Cans
RATINGS
Durability
Value
Overall
Specifications:
Manufacturer: Purina Friskies
EAN: 0050000183784
UPC: 050000183784
Model: 4821211
Part Number: 4821211
Size: (2 Packs of 12) 5.5 oz. Cans
Height: 3.2 inches
Width: 10.5 inches
Length: 1 foot 2 inches
9

Blue Buffalo Wilderness High Protein Grain Free, Natural Adult Dry Cat Food, Chicken 12-lb

  • Blue Buffalo Wilderness High Protein Grain Free, Natural Adult Dry Cat Food, Chicken 12-lb
  • Blue Buffalo Wilderness High Protein Grain Free, Natural Adult Dry Cat Food, Chicken 12-lb
  • Blue Buffalo Wilderness High Protein Grain Free, Natural Adult Dry Cat Food, Chicken 12-lb
  • Blue Buffalo Wilderness High Protein Grain Free, Natural Adult Dry Cat Food, Chicken 12-lb
  • Blue Buffalo Wilderness High Protein Grain Free, Natural Adult Dry Cat Food, Chicken 12-lb
  • Blue Buffalo Wilderness High Protein Grain Free, Natural Adult Dry Cat Food, Chicken 12-lb
  • Blue Buffalo Wilderness High Protein Grain Free, Natural Adult Dry Cat Food, Chicken 12-lb
  • Blue Buffalo Wilderness High Protein Grain Free, Natural Adult Dry Cat Food, Chicken 12-lb
RATINGS
Durability
Value
Overall
Specifications:
Manufacturer: Blue Buffalo
EAN: 0840243104918
UPC: 840243104918
Model: 800191
Part Number: 800191
Size: 12 lb
Warranty: If you have a question that needs immediate attention, please call (800) 919-2833.
Height: 3 inches
Width: 1 foot
Length: 1 foot 6 inches
10

Weruva Best Feline Friend (BFF) Pouch Variety Pack Cat Food, Pouch 3oz Variety #1 (12 pouches)

  • Weruva Best Feline Friend (BFF) Pouch Variety Pack Cat Food, Pouch 3oz Variety #1 (12 pouches)
  • Weruva Best Feline Friend (BFF) Pouch Variety Pack Cat Food, Pouch 3oz Variety #1 (12 pouches)
  • Weruva Best Feline Friend (BFF) Pouch Variety Pack Cat Food, Pouch 3oz Variety #1 (12 pouches)
  • Weruva Best Feline Friend (BFF) Pouch Variety Pack Cat Food, Pouch 3oz Variety #1 (12 pouches)
  • Weruva Best Feline Friend (BFF) Pouch Variety Pack Cat Food, Pouch 3oz Variety #1 (12 pouches)
  • Weruva Best Feline Friend (BFF) Pouch Variety Pack Cat Food, Pouch 3oz Variety #1 (12 pouches)
  • Weruva Best Feline Friend (BFF) Pouch Variety Pack Cat Food, Pouch 3oz Variety #1 (12 pouches)
  • Weruva Best Feline Friend (BFF) Pouch Variety Pack Cat Food, Pouch 3oz Variety #1 (12 pouches)
RATINGS
Durability
Value
Overall
Specifications:
Manufacturer: Weruva International
EAN: 7426876779094
UPC: 642049983991
Model: 0206
Part Number: 0206
Size: 3-Ounce Pouch (Pack of 12)
Warranty: Satisfaction Guaranteed through Weruva's Authorized Dealer Network
Height: 5.8 inches
Width: 3.9 inches
Length: 6.1 inches

Portrait of a Siberian cat opened his mouth in surprise and looking on a bowl full of dry food on a gray background
fantom_rd/Shutterstock.com

 

Cat and dog parents have an enormous responsibility: choosing the best food for their furry companions. But there are so many products and different types of pet foods available. There are even more diverse opinions about what the best diet is for cats. How is a pet parent to decide which is the best option to care for kitty?*

 

Some considerations to keep in mind when picking pet food are the nutrition profile, ingredients, flavor, brand, cost, and special needs of the cat or kitten in question. This article will discuss the best foods for kitties by providing information about cats' diets, different types of foods, products for animals with special dietary needs, and how certain foods are labelled.

 

See also:

 

What Is the Best Feline Diet?

Cat eat sprouted grass for him, the hostess sprouted grass for cats. Catnip and cats, cat food
Nom nom nom. Olga_Malinina/Shutterstock.com

 

Most experts agree that the best diet for a feline should replicate what she would eat in nature. It should be moisture-rich, meat-based, high in protein and fat, and low in carbohydrates. Because cats are obligate carnivores, they need muscle-based meats as the central component in their diets. The amino acid taurine, found in meat, is essential to cats' health. Their digestive systems are not equipped to break down cellulose found in plants (although it is not uncommon for cats to eat grass from time to time).

 

For these reasons, high-quality canned foods can be great options for their food. Dry food that is high quality, though, is a suitable alternative for your cat to chow on. Just make sure she drinks plenty of fresh water to compensate.

Wet Cat Food vs Dry Cat Food vs Freeze-Dried Cat Food

Owner feeding cute cat at home.
Africa Studio/Shutterstock.com

 

There has been much debate over different types of cat food: dry or wet food. To further complicate matters, now there is a third choice: freeze-dried varieties. While each type has benefits and drawbacks, many experts recommend providing your pet with a wide selection of food.

Dry Cat Food

Many people choose dry products (kibble) because it is convenient. It's inexpensive, has a long shelf life, and can be left out. Some suggest that dry varieties might also be better for a cat's dental health, although research has yet to agree conclusively on this. The problems with dry cat chow are its low water content, high carbohydrates, higher amounts of plant-based (as opposed to animal-based) protein. Furthermore, the heavy processing at high temperatures removes many nutrients.

 

A cat who eats only dry food is at a greater risk of dehydration. In nature, cats don't need to drink a lot of water. This means that they have a low thirst drive. Their prey usually contains plenty of water, so it isn't necessary for cats to drink much in the wild. Therefore, felines eating only dry food should have ample access to water. Dehydration can lead to serious health problems, including chronic renal failure and urinary crystals.

 

Cats who eat low-quality kibble are also less likely to get enough nutrients compared to cats eating a diet of high-quality wet products. This is because low-quality dry products often contain fillers, by-products, and other cheap ingredients. Kibble can also lead to obesity and diabetes because of high carbohydrate levels.

 

Owners who feed their fur baby dry varieties should take care to shop around for a high-quality one. They should also make sure their animal has plenty of water available to drink. House felines might particularly enjoy a fountain water dispenser, since wild kitties naturally drink free flowing water from streams.

Wet Canned Cat Food

Wet products have many health benefits for cats. Its higher water content helps cats stay hydrated. The extra moisture is especially important for felines with medical conditions like kidney disease or bladder and urinary tract issues. To clarify, many felines do well with either dry or wet varieties. Overall, however, wet products with meat or fish as its primary ingredient is better suited to a feline's dietary needs. The overall health benefits outweigh potential dental risks. Not all wet options are equal though, so it is important to pick one that is high quality. It should list an animal protein source as its first ingredient. It should also eliminate or limit meat by-products.

 

Today, many dog and cat owners are opting to feed their pets a diet of fresh, raw, unprocessed meat and organs to more closely mimic what they would eat in the wild. Raw food is beneficial because it is free from preservatives. It is nutritious and good for digestion, allergy and disease prevention, dental health, and overall health. It can be homemade or bought frozen. Drawbacks are that raw diets for cats are expensive and time consuming. The food must be prepared daily and stored properly in order to ensure freshness and safety.

Tabby white cat eating wet food.
thodonal88/Shutterstock.com

 

Dehydrated and Freeze-Dried Cat Food

Dehydrated and freeze-dried raw products provide a good alternative to fresh raw meat. While offering many of the benefits of fresh or frozen raw food, they are neater and easier to use.

 

Freeze-dried food is frozen at the peak of freshness. Water is removed while it is frozen with the use of high vacuum pressure that locks in nutrients and flavor. Many freeze-dried cat foods are made from human-grade ingredients and come in convenient packets. Some are free from GMOs and use organic ingredients. Owners simply add water, let it re-hydrate, mix, and serve. While it is costlier and more time consuming to use, it has a similar shelf life to dry food.

 

Similar in some ways to freeze-dried products, dehydrated varieties are also a good choice. They are prepared by cooking over a low heat to remove moisture, a process that preserves most nutrients. In contrast, kibble is made with process called extrusion. Extrusion relies on high temperatures that cause physical and chemical changes in the food. This often results in a loss of nutritional value.

Food for Cats with Special Dietary Restrictions

Quality food can make for a purrfectly happy kitty. Evgeniya Tomashevskaya/Shutterstock.com

 

Cats with special dietary restrictions will often benefit from a special diet. Reasons why a cat might need a special diet include obesity, digestive problems, allergies, kidney disease, high blood pressure, urinary and bladder conditions, and other many other medical conditions. What can an owner do to care for a special feline?

 

Fortunately, there is cat chow available to address a wide range of special dietary needs. Some special diets are used for a limited period of time. Others are used long term to treat chronic conditions. These special diets are designed with an optimal balance of nutrients in order to keep kitty healthy. Sometimes an animal might benefit from a special veterinary diet or prescription diet; a vet can recommend and prescribe these products.

Diabetic Cat Food

There are products available that are formulated to help manage diabetes in cats. Diabetes is more likely to affect overweight kitties because obesity affects a feline's sensitivity to insulin. It is more common in older cats. Chronic pancreatitis, hyperthyroidism, and steroids can also make cats more susceptible to diabetes. Diabetic food products are high in protein and low in carbohydrates. With the right diet and medical care, a pet's health can improve and the diabetes might even go into remission. A veterinarian can help owners choose the right food for a diabetic pet and may even assign the animal a prescription diet, sometimes known as a veterinary diet.

Hypoallergenic Cat Food

Hypoallergenic products are for pets that have food allergies. Although rare in cats, food allergies can cause skin and digestive problems. If a pets shows signs of allergies, a veterinarian can do a food elimination trial to determine what protein is causing the reaction. The vet can then help owners decide on the best hypoallergenic food.

High-Calorie Cat Food vs Diet Cat Food

Overweight pets are at risk for many health problems such as diabetes. If kitty needs to lose some weight, a weight-control product can help. To be labeled "light," the product must contain a limited number of calories per gram. Items labeled "reduced calories" or "less fat" have fewer calories than other versions of the food.

 

If a feline is underweight, choosing a high-calorie product can be helpful. An underweight animal is at risk for several health problems. Parents who want to help their fur babies gain weight have some options. Canned foods with high protein, low carbohydrates, and higher fat content are one option. It might be a good idea to avoid foods with by-products and grains that will make an animal feel full without causing weight gain. A good balance of protein and fat is ideal for gaining weight.

Limited Ingredient Cat Food

Limited ingredient foods are good for felines with allergies. This is because they reduce the number of ingredients that a pet is exposed to. Many include just one protein source. When choosing a limited ingredient product for allergy concerns, it is important to find one that kitty will actually eat. This might be tricky to care for picky eaters.

Senior and Adult Cat Food vs Kitten Food

Animals have different dietary needs at various stages of their life, and senior cat and kitten food can meet those needs. Senior and adult varieties are generally lower in protein and phosphorous. The specific formula that is best for senior felines will depend on their specific health problems, however.

 

Varieties for kittens are higher in calories and provides extra vitamins, minerals, proteins, and fats. This is to help a kitten grow and develop properly. It also has a softer consistency and/or smaller kibble pieces to make it easier for a kitten to chew and digest. A vet might recommended this type of food for pregnant and nursing mothers who need additional calories.



Bowl with cat food and two kittens, selective focus.
MaraZe/Shutterstock.com


Grain-Free Cat Food

Similarly to limited ingredient products, grain-free varieties are a good option for overweight pets or those with allergies and many other health conditions. They typically do not contain corn, wheat, or soy, as that can cause sensitivity issues in some animals. These products are also usually lower in carbohydrates.Popular flavors include grain-free chicken, deer, and duck.

 

Beware: some grain-free options replace grains with other non-nutritious carbohydrates. It is a good to read the ingredient list before selecting a food that has the label "grain free."

Urinary Tract Cat Food

Urinary tract food may treat urinary problems in felines, also known as Feline Lower Urinary Tract Disease (FLUTD). Symptoms include frequent urination, urination in inappropriate places, inability to urinate, urinary pain, and blood in the urine. FLUTD can cause bladder stones, bladder infection, and a blocked urethra. These conditions are painful and can be life threatening.

 

For FLUTD, it is important to feed kitty a food with a balanced pH level. This is because an unbalanced pH level can lead to crystals. Vets also typically recommend feeding small meals throughout the day and providing plenty of water. A high-protein and low-carbohydrate canned cat food with added water is also good for a furry friend's urinary health.

Products for Kidney Disease

Kidney disease is extremely common in older cats. As such, there are many special products designed to help out fur babies with chronic kidney disease. Cats with kidney disease cannot excrete phosphorus through the kidneys, putting them at risk for elevated levels of phosphorus.

 

Special kidney diet products are low in phosphorus. Unfortunately, some cats will refuse to eat them. It is most important that a pet with kidney disease eats. Pet parents might want to try non-prescription low-phosphorus cat food if their fur baby won't eat special kidney diet food. Some commercial foods have relatively low phosphorus levels, so check the labels to find a good non-prescription low-phosphorus product.

Benefits of Natural Cat Food and Organic Cat Food

Bowls of wet food and kibbles. Balanced formula with high amount of nutrients for cat and dog health and digestion.
Yuriy Golub/Shutterstock.com

 

Many people follow a natural or organic diet and might want to consider feeding their furry friend natural or organic food as well. There might be some benefits to feeding kitty a natural or organic diet. Just know that these terms are not always strictly regulated. Moreover, there is not much scientific evidence to back up claims of benefits.

 

The Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) has defined the term "natural" as preserved with natural preservatives, so that is all pet parents safely can assume. Many natural cat foods are made from whole ingredients, vitamins, plants, animals, and natural minerals without artificial colors and flavors.

 

The term "organic" is more regulated than the term "natural." The USDA regulates the use of this term. They state that these foods must be grown according to certain rules. However, organic cat food can be completely or partially organic. If it is labeled "100% organic," then all ingredients must be organic by law. If it is labeled "organic," then at least 95% of the ingredients are organic. If it is labeled "made with organic," at least 70% of the ingredients must be organic.

 

Organic diets might help felines with food allergies because they have fewer ingredients. Cat owners who are concerned about environmental factors, such as genetic modification, synthetic fertilizer, pesticides, and radiation might prefer these types of foods as well. However, it is often more expensive and most conclusive scientific research has not backed up many of the claimed benefits.

Final Thoughts

Cat with shopping cart isolated on white.
Treats can round out a pawsome diet. Andrey_Kuzmin/Shutterstock.com

 

When it comes to choosing the best cat food, there are several factors to consider. While cat food that's dry is the least expensive and most convenient in the short term, it might lead to health problems down the road if a pet parent isn't careful. Wet or freeze-dried varieties might be better options to help keep kitty hydrated and well nourished. Special diets are good choices for animals with certain chronic medical conditions. As long as pet parents choose a high-quality food that meets their fur baby's specific nutritional needs, their cat or kitten will thank them.

 

Disclaimers/Image Credit*

Disclaimer:This guide should not act as a replacement for professional veterinary care or advice. Any specific concerns about pet food or a specific animal's nutritional needs and whether she would benefit from something like a prescription diet should consult a licensed professional.

*Image Credit: *Cover photo(s) used under license from Shutterstock.com. Tsekhmister/Shutterstock.com*

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