Pets

10 Best Cat Food Brands

Searching For the Best Cat Food Brands

Best Cat Food Brands

Cats are so chill that it can be hard to read them. Whether yours constantly turns its nose up at what you’re serving, requires a special diet, or thrives off of raw, wild ingredients, the best cat food brands are here to help.

With targeted formulas, top-tier ingredients, and meat-first recipes, these top 10 picks are here for a reason. Invite your cat over for a little keyboard sit while you scroll and let’s get to it.

10 Best Cat Food Brands

#1: Purina Pro Plan

Best Cat Food Brands

Purina Pro Plan is part of the Nestle Purina Petcare family of brands. Founded by Willian H. Danforth in 1894, it’s the oldest name on this list of best cat food brands.

Pro Plan is Purina’s line of advanced nutrition recipes that use smart formulas to help reduce allergens in your cat’s hair, help them live a longer, healthier life, and restore their energy and vibrancy. The LiveClear formula reduces cat dander by 47% by the third week and caters to kittens, indoor cats, and adults 7+. It can also help manage weight.

You’ll also discover UTI-specific recipes within the selection that are ideal for cats of all ages. They feature proteins like whitefish, chicken, and turkey. Get 12 cans of Adult Wet Food for $28, or a 3.5 lb bag of dry food for $21.

Highlights

  • Multiple wet and dry recipes are available
  • For all life stages
  • Targeted formulas
  • Supports healthy immune systems
  • Reduces allergens and dander
  • Vet-recommended

#2: Fancy Feast

Best Cat Food Brands

There’s something about Fancy Feast that cats can’t resist. It’s got a reputation for being the food for posh pet owners and fussy cats, and that may be because of its real ingredients, enjoyable textures, and cat-approved flavors.

Fancy Feast is part of the Purina family and offers appetizers, filets, and broths for cats who know what they like and won’t settle for less. Offering Savory Pate Centers, Gourmet Naturals, and Chunky Medleys, the brand delivers balanced nutrition for a digestible price.

Grab a 3 lb bag of Dry Kibble for $8 or a 12-pack of Medleys for $12.

Highlights

  • Tons of delightful texture options
  • Range of go-to proteins
  • Taste-focused recipes
  • Great for fussy cats

#3: Tiki Cat

Best Cat Food Brands

Originally launched as Petropics in 2005, Tiki Cat was founded by Christine Hackett and her husband. Open up a can of food and it looks just like shredded meat and fish.

Of course, there are a handful of other natural ingredients packed inside like whole peas and diced carrots. The common theme? They’re all ingredients you’ll recognize.

But while superfood veggies like kale, pumpkin, and flaxseed are common within each Tiki meal, all recipes are protein-first formulas, using nutrient-rich ingredients like Alaskan salmon and lamb. You won’t find any wheat, preservatives, or by-products, just thoughtfully chosen ingredients with purpose.

Its wholesome recipes are made to help boost energy, give your cat healthy skin, teeth, bones, and joints, and manage weight. Packed with flavor and with alluring textures, Tiki Cat food offers Meaty Meal Toppers, Baked Kibble, Velvety Mousse, and Shredded meat in broth.

A 12-pack of Shredded grills is $33, while a 5.6 lb bag of Baked Kibble is $54.

Highlights

  • 40 different flavors and textures
  • Wild proteins
  • High-protein
  • High-moisture
  • Non-GMO
  • No preservatives

#4: Royal Canin

Best Cat Food Brands

It all started with a yellow soup for dogs. Developed in 1968 to offer nutrition-first meals for pets at a time when none existed, Royal Canin is as serious about food safety as it is nutrition. Owned by Mars, Inc., the brand specializes in targeted formulas for pets.

Its range of foods for cats includes age and breed-specific recipes, as well as a vet-specific line to promote things like oral health, weight control, and diabetes. One of the best cat food brands with the most variety when it comes to specific needs, Royal Canin’s selection is all about helping your unique cat thrive.

A 15 lb bag of Adult Dry food is $53, whereas a case of 24 cans of wet food for targeted health conditions is $56.

Highlights

  • Wide variety of targeted recipes and precision health formulas 
  • Different flavors and textures are available
  • Gold standard production
  • Reliable quality
  • High-quality, traceable ingredients

#5: Instinct 

Best Cat Food Brands

What do you get when the University of Nebraska and PhD-level nutritionists make a pet food brand? One that’s intensely focused on real nutrition for your four-legged friend.

With minimally processed, high-protein, raw meals, Instinct has been on a mission to change pets’ lives since 2002. Its science-backed meals help increase energy, improve digestion, and give your cat relief from food sensitivities. You may also notice your cat has a shiner coat, is more excited to eat, and has finally reached a healthy weight.

Instinct’s “thing” is raw food. Though its nuggets of frozen raw recipes may look like little cut-up hotdogs, they’re made with real meats you wouldn’t find anywhere near the processed meat aisle.

With wet, freeze-dried, and raw-coated kibble in the selection as well, you can get 12 cans of Pate for $30. A 9.5 oz bag of Raw Meals for $22, and a 5lb bag of Raw Boost for $26.

Highlights

  • Variety of raw foods, including toppers and frozen or freeze-dried meals
  • Real, recognizable ingredients
  • Minimally processed
  • 3x more meat than kibble
  • Cage-free chicken & grass-fed beef
  • Benefits backed by science
  • Pet sustainability coalition member

#6: Merrick

Best Cat Food Brands

Merrick Pet Care is over 30 years old, cooking up nutritious pet meals from Garth Merrick’s farm Kitchn in Hereford, Texas. Known for its home-cooked taste, the brand got its start when Garth began stewing meals for his dog.

Though Merrick cooks for more than one pet now, the brand’s dedication to high-quality ingredients is still a priority. It uses fresh, whole doors in its formulas and never anything artificial—no fillers either.

Offering balanced nutrition for your cat, your furry friend will look and feel its best with Merrick’s balanced formulas across its Backcountry, Limited Ingredient Diet, and Purrfect Bistro lines.

You’ll find simple protein options like chicken, beef, and salmon for its dry and wet food, along with meal toppers with gravy to make mealtime more enjoyable.

A case of 12 Purrfect Bistro cans is $26, while a 12 lb bag of grain-free kibble is $39.

Highlights

  • Variety of dry and wet food recipes
  • Real, whole foods
  • Higher-quality ingredients
  • Food for all life stages
  • Made in the brand’s Texas kitchen
  • Gives back

#7: BLUE Buffalo

Best Cat Food Brands

You probably know BLUE Buffalo from its ads. Depicting the transition of today’s lovable, well-cared-for pets from their wild ancestors, this brand helped pet owners realize that what they should be feeding their pets isn’t processed grains and meat by-products.

Created to help Bill Bishop’s family dog, Blue, which had been diagnosed with cancer, BLUE Buffalo has used healthy, high-quality ingredients from the start. It chooses grain-free carbohydrates and whole, wild proteins like duck and salmon for its recipes.

BLUE Buffalo’s line for cats includes prescription formulas, as well as those specifically for kittens, adults, and cats that need limited ingredient diets. It even has a meat-rich selection for those that need higher levels of protein.

A 12 oz bag of grain-free dry food is $44 while a 12-pack mixed wet food is $20.

Highlights

  • Wet and dry food options for kittens and adults
  • Prescription formulas available
  • High-quality ingredients
  • Wild protein choices
  • No by-products
  • Grain-free
  • 6-point quality check

#8: Hill’s Science Diet

Best Cat Food Brands

Hill’s Science Diet started in 1939 with a blind man and his dog Buddy. Knowing his dog was hurting from kidney failure, he asked Dr. Mark Morris Sr., a vet, if he could help. The doctor developed a nutritional remedy for Buddy’s ailment, whipping up a nutrient-packed food with his wife in their home kitchen.

In 1948, Hill’s Science Diet was launched, using a packing company in Kansas to can its prescription formulas. It wasn’t long before the brand released targeted health solution formulas for conditions like UTIs in cats, and you’ll find evolved versions of those formulas in its selection today.

Choosing nutrition as the way to vitality, Hill’s Science Diet offers Prescription Diet, Science Diet, and Health Advantage lines for cats. A 15.5 lb bag of dry Science Diet kibble is $63 while a 24-pack of wet food is $69.

Highlights

  • Multiple targeted formulas (wet and dry options)
  • For all life stages
  • Simple protein choices
  • Grain-free options
  • Nutrition-first approach
  • Vet-approved

#9: Smalls 

Best Cat Food Brands

New to the scene, Smalls was founded in 2008 by Matt Michaelson and Calvin Bohn. It takes a simple approach to cat food. Smalls develops satisfying, gently cooked meals for your cat, with probably the cutest packaging we’ve seen to date.

The brand’s human-grade food is offered up in bright bags in flavors like “bird”, “cow,” and “other bird.” Comical in a way, it does cat food in a way that captures cats’ nonchalant personalities.

The process to make Smalls’s food is just “chop, steam, freeze, and ship.” Ordered as part of a recurring subscription, your cat will experience fresher breath, a shinier coat, balanced energy, and better sleep when consumed over time…not to mention a less stinky litter box.

Offering a range of textures for its wet food line, your cat will delight in ground, smooth, and pulled meats, along with freeze-dried kibble that locks in nutrients. Grab an 11.5 oz bag of ground bird for $9 or a 12 oz bag of kibble for $30.

Highlights

  • Multiple recipes offered in wet and freeze-dried formulas
  • Simple ingredients
  • Whole meats
  • Human-grade
  • Minimal processing

#10: Stella & Chewy’s

Best Cat Food Brands

Launched in 2003, Stella & Chewy’s is named after founder Marie Moody’s two rescue dogs. With Chewy’s health problems, she consulted a vet and started feeding him a raw diet. It worked.

Hoping to share her success with others who were struggling, she developed the brand and started pumping out meals from her Brooklyn apartment. Though the company has had a change of scenery and a few more customers, Stella & Chewy’s still offers nutrient-rich, raw foods along with a few other inclusive options.

You’ll find cooked pates and morsels within the line, made with responsible proteins like cage-free chicken and wild salmon. Grab an 18 oz bag of Rabbit Freeze-Dried Dinner Morsels for $41 or a 12-pack of Chicken & Salmon Morsels for $47.

Highlights

  • Raw and cooked food options in different flavors
  • Made with premium, organic ingredients
  • Responsibly-sourced proteins
  • Range of proteins
  • Nothing artificial

How to Shop For the Best Cat Food

Best Cat Food Brands

You’ve just witnessed first-hand how much variety there is in the world of cat food. So how do you go about picking the right one from the best cat food brands? As much as you want the food you feed your kitty to be nutritious, it needs to be accessible and affordable for you too.

Narrowing down your picks is easy if you know the right questions to ask. We’ll walk you through them below.

Brand

Ever discover a brand and fall in love? Maybe it’s the packaging, maybe it’s the ingredients, but at the end of the day, many choose a company with a story they vibe with.

Have a rescue pet? You might align with a brand created by someone who does too.

In addition to checking out the brand’s story, have a look into its sourcing practices. If where it gets its ingredients from matters, be on the lookout for phrases like “cage-free,” “free-range,” and “responsible.” You’re feeding your animal, but you may want a brand that considers the lives of others as well.

Age of Pet 

The majority of the best cat food brands offer food for all life stages. Very few make one general food but some do. If you’d prefer to get a type of cat food that’s specifically made for kittens, adults, or senior cats, then opt for a brand that offers age-specific formulas.

Types

The beauty of this list of best cat food brands lies in its huge selection. Many of the names on this list make both dry and wet food, but you’ll find some that explore meal toppers, nutritious broths, and freeze-dried selections.

If you have a picky cat, opting for a brand with a wider selection of foods may be a good idea. Allowing you to buy dried, wet, and more, you may find that your cat is more likely to eat what you put down.

Quantity

Cats are much smaller than dogs, so the sizes of their cans and dried food bags are also much smaller. In general, cats are all similar sizes in comparison to canines, so you won’t find much variation in size offerings between brand to brand.

Cans all typically contain 5.2-5.5 ounces of food, whereas dry bags don’t often reach higher than 20 lbs. Thinking about quantity has much to do with the amount your cat eats but also your shopping preferences.

Rather stock up for the month? Opt for brands that sell larger bags.

Nutritional Value

All of the best cat food brands are pretty good at offering a variety of protein choices, though some stick to simple formulas of beef, chicken, and turkey. If you know your cat likes to get fancy, check out brands that carry unique proteins like rabbit.

In addition to proteins, consider raw and freeze-dried versus baked options. Raw diets have more nutrients because they’re uncooked, but cooked raw may have more added minerals. Consider things like preservatives and if they’re a pro or con for your cat, along with organic ingredients.

Additional Benefits

In addition to the nutritional value each of the best cat food brands offers, is there something else you think your cat needs? Certain brands offer formulas for health conditions like UTIs, diabetes, and weight, so keep an eye out for targeted nutrition recipes.

Studies have found that raw diets may also be able to help with health conditions, including skin irritation, low energy, and poor digestion. If any of these sounds like something your cat is going through, it may be worth checking out brands that specialize in raw formulas.

Price

You want your cat to feel its best, but that shouldn’t cause you to go way over budget. There are many affordable picks on this list of best cat food brands.

Take a look at what you can afford to spend each week, the quantities of the food delivered, and the benefits it will give your cat. Weigh those out against each other and then choose a brand that works for everyone.

FAQ

Best Cat Food Brands

What foods should cats avoid?

You may think it’s kind to give your cats a little nibble off your own plate or pour a drop of rum eggnog into their bowl during the holiday season, but it turns out that a lot of things humans can eat and drink, cats can’t. Some things can be toxic to them. Here’s a list of what is:

  • Alcohol—never jokingly give your cat any form of liquor as it can cause vomiting, diarrhea, tremors, and other health conditions
  • Chocolate—containing both caffeine and theobromine (methylxanthines that are toxic to cats), feeding a milk chocolate treat to your pet can cause seizures, cardiac arrest, and even comas
  • Grapes—including raisins, this fruit can cause kidney failure
  • Onions, chives, and garlic—any of these can break down red blood cells in cats, causing them to feel weak or have shortness of breath
  • Yeast dough—this can cause bloating, gas, and abdominal pain for cats

You should never feed your cat food that’s not meant for them, like dog food or a can of tuna. Though these are similar to what you’re already feeding your cat, the formulas and ingredients do not offer the same balanced nutrition that cat food does and can lead to health problems.

How many times a day should I feed my cat?

An article from the Cornell Feline Health Center says that how much you feed your cat depends on their age. Kittens need to eat three times per day until they reach 6 months old. Once they’re past that point, you can reduce feedings to twice per day.

If your cat has a health condition like diabetes, be sure to follow any recommendations set by your vet. If it has hypothyroidism, be sure to get to the root of the problem and treat its condition instead of feeding it as many times as it wants.

It’s suggested to stick to feeding your cat twice per day as long as they do not have any specific health conditions that require them to be fed a certain amount of times throughout the day.

Why does my cat keep begging for food?

It turns out there are several reasons your cat keeps begging for food. Sometimes, it’s done out of boredom or depression, but other times, a hidden health condition could be causing it, like worms or thyroid disease.

You can also consult your vet about your cat’s behavior. They’ll be able to get to the root of the problem.

It’s also possible that your cat keeps begging for food because what you’re feeding it is void of the right nutrients. Be sure to choose a reputable pet food with balanced nutrition to ensure your furry friend is getting what it needs.

Do I need to refrigerate wet cat food?

Just like you’d pop any leftovers of cooked meat in the fridge, you need to refrigerate wet cat food after opening it. Doing so helps to keep it fresh. Here are a few tips to do it right:

  1. Discard any cat food that has been left out for more than 4 hours
  2. Cover unused cat food immediately after opening or store it in an airtight container
  3. Food can be stored in the fridge for a maximum of 5 days

How long can wet food sit out?

When leaving home in the morning, you may scoop some cat food into a bowl and head out the door. And while most cats make a beeline for the bowl, some food sits out for the entire day. At most, wet food should sit out for a maximum of 4 hours. After that, it needs to be thrown out.

Final Thoughts

Best Cat Food Brands

There’s a lot to consider when choosing what to feed your four-legged friend. You want them to like it, but you also want it to be good for them—and your bank account.

I hope that you found your perfect pick that checks all your boxes from among the best cat food brands.


Check out other curated lists of top brands:

10 Best Kitten Food Brands

12 Best Dog Food Brands

10 Best Pet Food Subscription Brands

10 Best Sustainable Pet Food Brands

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