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Best Cat Food for Indoor Cats

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indoor cat food
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.

Indoor cats are able to reach the age of 17 years (or more) while outdoor cats live an average of 2 to 5 years. If you care about your cat, ask yourself whether giving it the freedom to roam outdoors is worth shortening its lifespan that much.

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.

Also Read: Best Cat Food for Sensitive Stomachs and Digestive Problems

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:

  1. Best Cat Food Overall for Indoor Cats: NomNomNow Chicken Chow-Meow
  2. Best Wet Cat Food for Indoor Cats: The Honest Kitchen Grain-Free Turkey Recipe Dehydrated Cat Food
  3. Best Dry Cat Food for Indoor Cats: Nulo Freestyle Duck & Tuna Recipe Grain-Free Cat & Kitten Food
  4. Best Grain-Free Cat Food for Indoor Cats: Canidae Grain-Free PURE Ancestral Diet Freeze-Dried Raw Coated Indoor Health Recipe
  5. Best Cat Food for Allergies: Blue Buffalo Freedom Grain-Free Indoor Chicken Recipe Canned Food
ImageProductFeatures

Best Overall

NomNomNow Chicken Chow-Meow
  • Fresh food prepared in small batches
  • Premium-quality protein as first ingredient
  • Rich in moisture
View Best Price

Best Affordable

The Honest Kitchen Grain-Free Turkey Recipe Dehydrated Cat Food
  • Made from premium human-grade ingredients
  • Dehydrated not cooked to preserve nutrition
  • Real turkey as the first ingredient
View Best Price

Best Wet Cat Food

Nulo Freestyle Duck & Tuna Recipe Grain-Free Cat & Kitten Food
  • Formulated for adult cats and kittens
  • Rich in high-quality animal protein
  • Fresh fruits and veggies
View Best Price

Best Dry Cat Food

Canidae Grain-Free PURE Ancestral Diet Freeze-Dried Raw Coated Indoor Health Recipe
  • Formulated for indoor cats
  • High-protein kibble with freeze-dried raw coating
  • Ancestral diet
View Best Price

Best Hypoallergenic

Blue Buffalo Freedom Grain-Free Indoor Chicken Recipe Canned Food
  • Formulated for indoor cats
  • Rich in real animal protein (chicken)
  • Supplemental fiber for digestion and hairball prevention
View Best Price

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.

Cats need a minimum of 9% fat, and you shouldn’t go too high for indoor cats because they don’t get as much exercise as outdoor cats. Something in the 10% to 15% range is fine.

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.

You should also keep an eye on the moisture content of your cat’s food because it is important for hydration and healthy digestion – wet foods are higher in moisture than dry foods.

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:

Best Overall: NomNomNow Chicken Chow-Meow

Nutritional Info:

  •  Protein –18%
  •  Fat – 4%
  •  Fiber – 0.8%
  • Moisture – 73%
  • Caloric Content: 1194 kcal/kg

Pros:

  • Fresh food prepared in small batches
  • premium-quality protein as first ingredient
  • Rich in moisture

Cons:

  • Only two recipes to choose from
  • Very expensive compared to most commercial diets

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.

Best Wet Cat Food For Indoor Cats: The Honest Kitchen Grain-Free Turkey Recipe Dehydrated Cat Food

Nutritional Info:

  •  Protein –38.5%
  •  Fat – 34.5%
  •  Fiber – 2.5%
  • Moisture – 4.5%
  • Caloric Content: 629 kcal/cup

Pros:

  • Made from premium human-grade ingredients
  • Dehydrated not cooked to preserve nutrition
  • Real turkey as the first ingredient

Cons:

  • Expensive compared to many commercial options
  • Needs to be rehydrated for feeding

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.

Best Dry Cat Food For Indoor Cats: Nulo Freestyle Duck & Tuna Recipe Grain-Free Cat & Kitten Food

Nutritional Info:

  •  Protein –12%
  •  Fat – 6%
  •  Fiber – 0.75%
  • Moisture – 78%
  • Caloric Content: 191 kcal/can

Pros:

  • Formulated for adult cats and kittens
  • Rich in high-quality animal protein
  • Fresh fruits and veggies

Cons:

  • Contains some thickeners (guar gum)

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.

Best Grain-Free: Canidae Grain-Free PURE Ancestral Diet Freeze-Dried Raw Coated Indoor Health Recipe

Nutritional Info:

  •  Protein –40%
  •  Fat – 16%
  •  Fiber – 4.5%
  • Moisture – 9%
  • Caloric Content: 497 kcal/cup

Pros:

  • Formulated for indoor cats
  • High-protein kibble with freeze-dried raw coating
  • Ancestral diet

Cons:

  • Very expensive compared to the average kibble
  • May be too high in calories for some cats

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.

Best For Allergies: Blue Buffalo Freedom Grain-Free Indoor Chicken Recipe Canned Food

Nutritional Info:

  •  Protein –9%
  •  Fat – 6%
  •  Fiber – 2%
  • Moisture – 78%
  • Caloric Content: 178 kcal/5.5-ounce can

Pros:

  • Formulated for indoor cats
  • Rich in real animal protein (chicken)
  • Supplemental fiber for digestion and hairball prevention

Cons:

  • Contains some thickeners (guar gum)

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.

Final Thoughts

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.

About Kate Barrington

AvatarKate Barrington is 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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