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A high-quality, balanced diet is essential for your cat’s long-term health and wellness. What many cat owners don’t realize, however, is that not all cat foods are created equal. If you were to pick up two bags of cat food from a pet store shelf that look similar on the outside, you might find when reading the list of ingredients that they are actually quite different.
The top cat food brands use natural, whole-food ingredients with beneficial supplements to ensure complete and balanced nutrition for cats. Keep reading to learn what to look for when shopping for cat food and to see our top picks for the 5 best cat food brands.
Quick Links: The 6 Best Cat Food Brands
- Best Dry Cat Food: Acana Cat Food
- Best Fresh Cat Food: NomNomNow
- Best Affordable: Nature’s Variety Instinct Cat Food
- Best Wet Food: Wellness Cat Food
- Editor’s Choice: Solid Gold Cat Food
- Best for Allergies: Merrick Cat Food
What to Look for in a Cat Food Brand
If you were to pour a bowl of cat food from five different brands, they might all look very similar. What you may not realize, however, is that the ingredients used in those five formulas may be significantly different – they may also have very different compositions of essential nutrients like protein and fat. All cat foods are not created equal, so you need to know some general things to look for to help you tell the good cat food brands apart from the bad.
Here Are Some Important Things To Look For In A Good Cat Food Brand:
- Real animal protein as the first ingredient. Cats are obligate carnivores, so animal protein should be the focus of any good cat food. Animal proteins are more digestible than plant proteins, and they contain all of the essential amino acids your cat needs.
- Rich in healthy animal fats. Healthy fats provide a concentrated source of calories for cats as well as support for skin and coat. It is most digestible when it comes from animal sources.
- Limited content of digestible carbohydrates. Cats have no nutritional need for carbohydrates but digestible forms like whole grains, fruits, and vegetables, can provide supplemental energy, fiber, and essential nutrients. Just make sure protein and fat are the focus of the recipe.
- Complete and nutritionally balanced. The Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) has created nutrient profiles for pets, so make sure the cat food you choose features an AAFCO statement of nutritional adequacy to show that it is complete and balanced for cats.
- No artificial additives, fillers, or by-products. Low-quality fillers, by-products, and artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives have no place in a high-quality cat food. Avoid any brand that uses corn and wheat ingredients or artificial colors and flavors to a significant degree.
- Variety of products to choose from. Aside from making sure that a cat food brand will meet your cat’s nutritional needs, you also want to make sure the brand offers a variety of product choices so you can find the perfect one to suit your cat’s tastes.
Now that you have a better idea what you should be looking for in a cat food brand, it’s time to start shopping! Keep reading to see our top 5 picks for the best cat food brands.
The Top 6 Best Cat Food Brands
There are dozens and dozens of cat food brands on the market, each with their own variety of products. Choosing the best cat food brand is not necessarily about picking the most expensive product – it is about finding a high-quality cat food you can consistently afford. We’ve put together a list of our top 5 picks for the best cat food brands at different price points to give you some options.
Here Are Our Top 6 Picks For The Best Cat Food Brands:
An award-winning cat food brand, Acana uses fresh, regionally sourced ingredients in all of their recipes and doesn’t use any fillers, by-products, or artificial additives. Their formulas are designed to mimic the biologically appropriate diet of cats, which makes them high in protein and healthy fats with very limited carbohydrate content. They also offer a variety of classic, regional, and limited-ingredient formulas.
NomNomNow is a fresh food delivery service that offers customized meals catered to your cat’s unique nutritional needs and made with the freshest ingredients available.
Your cat’s food will be prepared and delivered fresh on a monthly basis, sent in perfectly portioned packages that you can refrigerate or freeze.
Simply fill out your pet’s profile online to get started and choose from their recipe collection.
One of several product lines offered by Nature’s Variety, the Instinct line of cat foods features dry food, wet food, raw-infused food, and meal toppers and mixers. The idea behind the product line is to provide cats with the nutritional benefits of raw food without sacrificing the convenience of dry food. Every recipe features a premium animal protein as the main ingredient, and they manufacture everything in their own company-owned kitchens in Lincoln, Nebraska.
With a wide variety of products to choose from, Wellness is an excellent cat food brand. Not only do they offer traditional grain-free and grain-inclusive recipes for cats in all life stages, but they also offer a line of baked cat foods and air-dried cat foods. Wellness owns and runs their own manufacturing facilities and has only had one cat food recall to date (2011) due to inadequate levels of thiamine.
Also Read: The 5 Best Canned, Soft, & Wet Cat Foods
This brand produces holistic, natural pet foods supplemented with chelated minerals and probiotics to ensure complete and balanced nutrition with optimal nutrient absorption. They offer both dry food and wet food options, including both grain-free and grain-inclusive formulas. Solid Gold manufactures their own products and has yet to have a single product recall.
The Merrick cat food brand is an excellent choice because they offer numerous product lines with a wide variety of product choices. Merrick owns and operates their own manufacturing facilities, so they have complete control over quality, and every recipe starts with a premium source of animal protein as the main ingredient.
In addition to their grain-free, limited-ingredient, and raw-infused cat foods, Merrick also has a line of affordable pet foods under the name Whole Earth Farms.
No matter what your cat’s age, breed, or size, a balanced diet is essential for good health. The best cat food brands use wholesome, natural ingredients with a focus on high-quality animal proteins and healthy fats.
You may also see vitamin and mineral supplements for nutritional balance with additional supplements like probiotics. The key to finding the best cat food for your cat is to learn how to read a pet food label and to have a basic understanding of your cat’s nutritional needs to understand the information provided on that label.
If you’re still not sure where to start in looking for a good cat food, just try out one of the top 6 best cat food brands we’ve reviewed above. Good luck!