Wild cats hunt for their food, so their natural diets are very high in protein and low in carbohydrates.
The typical commercial cat food contains proteins like chicken and fish, but many recipes are very carb-heavy and quite different from the type of diet your cat evolved to follow.
If you want to keep your indoor cat healthy, keep reading to learn how to choose the best cat food for indoor cats.
Things to Know About Indoor Cats
Most veterinarians and animal experts recommend keeping domestic cats indoors.
Outdoor cats love having the ability to roam, but there are some serious risks associated with the outdoor life. Not only are outdoor cats more likely to be exposed to disease, but they could be attacked by dogs or other predators and are at-risk for being hit by a car.
In addition to keeping your cat safe by keeping it indoors, you also need to provide for its nutritional needs.
All cats have the same basic nutritional requirements, but indoor cats may need additional fiber to help with digestion and prevent hairballs.
They also tend to be a little less active than outdoor cats, so controlled fat and calorie content is important.
Other than that, the higher the quality of your cat’s food, the better it will be in supporting its long-term health and wellness.
A Quick Look at Our Top Picks:
- Best Cat Food Overall for Indoor Cats: NomNomNow Chicken Chow-Meow
- Best Wet Cat Food for Indoor Cats: The Honest Kitchen Grain-Free Turkey Recipe Dehydrated Cat Food
- Best Dry Cat Food for Indoor Cats: Nulo Freestyle Duck & Tuna Recipe Grain-Free Cat & Kitten Food
- Best Grain-Free Cat Food for Indoor Cats: Canidae Grain-Free PURE Ancestral Diet Freeze-Dried Raw Coated Indoor Health Recipe
- Best Cat Food for Allergies: Blue Buffalo Freedom Grain-Free Indoor Chicken Recipe Canned Food
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All cats require a diet high in protein because they are obligate carnivores. This means that your cat’s body is evolved to derive nutrition more efficiently from animal than plant sources. Meat, poultry, or fish should be the first ingredient in your cat’s food and should make up at least 26% of its diet.
After protein, healthy fat is the next most important nutrient for your indoor cat. Fat provides a concentrated source of energy in the form of calories as well as omega fatty acids to support your cat’s skin and coat.
In addition to meeting your cat’s needs for protein and fat, look for a recipe that contains plenty of fiber to improve digestion and reduce hairballs.
Just make sure the fiber comes from digestible sources like whole grains and fresh produce without driving the carbohydrate content of the recipe up too high.
Also Read: Best Cat Water Fountains
Now that you have a better understanding of your cat’s nutritional needs, you’re ready to start shopping! Keep reading to learn what to look for when shopping for indoor cat food.
How to Choose the Best Cat Food for Indoor Cats
There are several problems with commercial cat foods. In many cases, the carbohydrate content is too high, and the water content is too low.
Many recipes also include low-quality proteins or plant proteins instead of animal proteins like meat, poultry, and fish. On top of your cat’s basic nutritional requirements, these are things to keep in mind when shopping for cat food.
Here are some things to look for in the best food for indoor cats:
- Wholesome, natural ingredients. Your cat deserves a nutritious diet made with natural, whole-food ingredients. Wholesome ingredients provide high nutritional value, giving your cat the nutrients it needs to live a healthy life.
- Rich in animal protein. As an obligate carnivore, protein is the most essential nutrient for your cat, and it is most digestible when it comes from animal-based sources. Look for a recipe that provides at least 26% but ideally 30% or more protein.
- Healthy animal-based fats. Chicken fat and salmon oil are examples of high-quality, animal-based fats. Look for a blend of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids for skin and coat support.
- Low carbohydrate content. The carbohydrate content of your cat’s diet should be very limited and should come only from digestible sources like whole grains and fresh vegetables.
- Complete and balanced nutrition. Most commercial cat foods are supplemented to ensure complete and balanced nutrition, but it never hurts to check.
Now that you have a better understanding of your indoor cat’s nutritional needs, you’re ready to start shopping for a new cat food.
If you still aren’t quite sure where to start your search, keep reading to see our top picks for the best indoor cat food.
Our Top 5 Best Rated Cat Foods for Indoor Cats Reviewed
Protein is the foundation of a healthy diet for any cat, not just indoor cats. Look for a recipe that features a premium source of animal protein first with moderate fat content, low carbohydrate content, and essential vitamins and minerals.
Here are our top picks for the best cat food for indoor cats:
Most pet experts agree that fresh food is best for pets and NomNomNow provides just that.
This brand produces fresh pet food from high-quality, natural ingredients and ships it right to your door once a month.
You simply provide information about your cat’s age and body weight to determine its caloric requirements, then NomNomNow sends you perfectly portioned packages of your chosen recipe.
This Chicken Chow-Meow recipe features fresh chicken thigh, breast, and liver as the primary ingredients in a protein-rich recipe supplemented with fresh fruits and vegetables to provide natural sources for key nutrients.
It also contains NomNomNow’s nutrient mix to ensure complete and balanced nutrition.
If you can’t afford fresh food or if you prefer the convenience of dry food, try this Honest Kitchen Grain-Free Turkey Recipe Dehydrated Cat Food.
This food is dehydrated rather than cooked to preserve the nutritional integrity of the raw ingredients.
It features real turkey as the main ingredient to deliver a powerful punch of protein and natural flavor. This recipe contains real fruits and vegetables to provide natural sources for key nutrients as well as fiber to support healthy digestion.
It is supplemented with chelated minerals as well, to ensure that your cat gets the most digestible form of essential nutrients for complete and balanced nutrition.
Wet cat food is generally higher in protein and moisture than dry food while also being lower in carbohydrates.
This Nulo Freestyle Duck & Tune Recipe Grain-Free Cat & Kitten Food is a great option for your indoor cat because it is rich in protein and moderate in fat and calories.
It features fresh duck and chicken as the top two ingredients with fresh fruits and vegetables to provide dietary fiber and essential nutrients.
The recipe as a whole is loaded with healthy nutrients, including a blend of omega fatty acids to support your cat’s skin and coat. It also contains chelated minerals for nutritional support.
When you want to feed your cat the highest quality diet you can afford, this Canidae Grain-Free PURE Ancestral Diet Freeze-Dried Raw Coated Indoor Health Recipe is a great option for dry food.
It features several premium sources of animal protein including fresh chicken and turkey as well as several meat meals for concentrated protein.
It is naturally grain-free and contains only digestible carbohydrates like peas and potatoes, providing a total of 4.5% fiber for healthy digestion.
This recipe provides a balance of omega fatty acids for healthy skin and coat, plus chelated minerals for optimal nutrient absorption. Overall, it is a protein-packed recipe coated with freeze-dried nutrition for a boost of flavor.
Another great option in canned food for indoor cats, this Blue Buffalo Freedom Grain-Free Indoor Chicken Recipe Canned Food is made with high-quality ingredients and formulated for balanced nutrition.
It contains fresh chicken as the main ingredient with fresh fruits and vegetables for fiber and to provide natural sources for key nutrients.
It is rich in omega fatty acids, providing a balance of omega-3 and omega-6, to support your indoor cat’s skin and coat.
This recipe is supplemented with chelated minerals to ensure optimal nutrient absorption and provides all the nutrients your cat needs.
A healthy and balanced diet is essential for all cats, but indoor cats have slightly different needs than outdoor cats.
Your indoor cat needs plenty of high-quality animal protein to maintain lean muscle mass with moderate fat and calories to control its body weight.
Fiber is important as well for healthy digestion and to prevent your cat from having too many hairballs.
All cat foods are not created equal, but now that you understand your cat’s nutritional needs you have the information you need to make a smart choice.
If you’re still not sure where to start looking, try one of the top-rated options we’ve reviewed above as the best cat food for indoor cats.