Best Grain Free Cat Food

When it comes to buying food for your beloved feline friend, some research is essential. That’s because in the present times, cat owners have a wide variety of choices to pick from. Most of the times the cat owners are overwhelmed with all the products that come with all the different labels of gluten-free, fat-free, etc. With so many products stating that it is free of this or that, it becomes inevitable to understand what these labels really mean.

Quick Look: Top 3 Picks

Wellness CORE Grain-Free






Nature’s Variety Instinct Original






Canidae Grain-Free PURE







10 Best Grain Free Cat Foods

If you or any other cat owner finds the grain-free foods to be more suitable, then the cat owner has every right to feed that to his pet. However, remember to take the necessary precautions and do the research beforehand. Therefore, to help guide you through this research, some top-rated products are suggested in the below-mentioned list.

Wellness CORE Grain-Free Original Recipe

The company is known to manufacture high-quality pet food that provides a balanced nutrition to nourish your cat’s body. As one of the best dry cat food on the market today, this product is grain-free, has no artificial colors or preservatives and does not contain even a single trace of soy or corn. Besides that, this product features ingredients such as deboned turkey that are rich in protein. The food also contains other essentials like digestible carbohydrates and healthy supplements that enhance the overall health of your feline.


  • Hundred percent grain-free and does not contain any other allergens
  • It provides a balanced nutrition
  • The minerals ensure an easy digestion


  • Some complaints about the new improved formula

Nature's Variety Instinct Original Grain Free

This product was manufactured by a leading company. Nature’s Recipe Grain-Free cat food features real chicken as the first ingredient used to provide the high amount of protein amount. Also, this protein-rich formula is free from artificial additives such as preservatives, flavors, and colors. Above all, a great feature of this product is that it contains omega 6 and omega 3 fatty acids to reduce shedding of the coat of your cat.


  • It contains important fatty acids to promote a healthy coat
  • A hundred percent grain-free and free from other additives


  • A bit expensive

Canidae Grain-Free PURE Ocean Indoor Cat Formula

This cat food is a perfect choice for cats that suffer from allergies for the eason that tuna is the first ingredient in this grain-free cat food. The tuna fish is a great source of protein and provides a high concentration of protein. Besides that, it also contains chickpeas and sweet potatoes to boost your cat’s energy levels and to provide dietary fibers for gentle digestion. This formula contains 36 percent crude protein, 12 percent crude fat and 5 percent crude fiber that ensures your feline always stays healthy and cheerful.


  • Contains fresh salmon for a great taste
  • The formula contains added chelated minerals for easy digestion
  • It provides a natural balanced nutrition


  • It has caused diarrhea and stomach upset


WholeHearted Grain Free Chicken Formula Dry Cat Food

With real chicken as the first ingredient, this cat food has a high concentration of protein sources. Besides that, it contains antioxidants and cat probiotics help boost the immune system of your beloved cat. It does not contain even the tiniest trace of allergens like soy and corn. Also this product is free from artificial additives.


  • Contains omega-3 fatty acids for a healthy coat
  • It is free from preservatives, coloring and flavoring


  • Some owners complained about the packaging

Merrick Purrfect Bistro Grain Free Chicken Pate Wet Cat Food

This product is one of the favorite foods of most felines. That is probably because this food features real deboned chicken to provide high-quality protein. Besides that, the food has formulated carbohydrates and fats in the right proportion to complete the nutritional requirements of your cats. Above all, it is hundred percent grain-free and does not contain artificial additives, which a big plus in this line of products.


  • Provides a high concentration of protein
  • It provides a balanced nutrition for your pet
  • Has no artificial coloring, flavoring or preservatives


  • There are some owners who stated that their cats did not like the taste

Halo Grain Free Natural Dry Cat Food

This cat product is well known to follow a holistic approach to pet nutrition. The formula of Halo is proven for superior digestibility. Besides that, it includes vitamin E and important fatty acids to promote the healthy and shiny coat of your feline. Additionally, this healthy recipe has reduced fat and calories, which is highly recommended for senior cats to maintain ideal weight.


  • The essentials help to create a healthy skin
  • Grain-free
  • It contains no growth hormone or antibiotics


  • The new improved formula is not satisfying

Instinct Original Grain Free Recipe with Real Chicken Natural Dry Cat Food by Nature's Variety

This cat food is concentrated in protein sources that help your felines build strong and lean muscles. Also 19 percent of this formula has added vegetables, fruits and other wholesome ingredients for the overall health of your cat. Above all, the brand assures you that the food does not contain allergens or artificial additives.


  • It contains natural antioxidants and omega fats to keep your cat’s coat healthy
  • Provides a natural diet
  • Made in USA


  • Unfavorable reviews about this new improved formula

Taste of the Wild Rocky Mountain Grain-Free

This cat food is a best-selling product on Amazon that is formulated to provide a great taste for your felines while also providing the other essentials needed by your cats. This recipe includes real roasted venison and smoked salmon to offer a taste like none other. Also this formula is enriched with antioxidants to help promote a healthy and shiny skin for your feline friend.


  • Does not contain allergens or artificial additives
  • It offers a unique taste for your cats
  • The cat food is highly digestible


  • It has caused stomach upset and diarrhea for some cats

Wellness CORE Signature Selects Natural Canned Grain Free Cat Food

This is truly a natural product with no meat by-products. That’s the reason why this product stands out from the rest. Its protein source comes from real chicken dips in a delicious sweet sauce. Most importantly, it contains no artificial additives such as coloring, flavoring, and preservatives.


  • It provides a delicious taste that your cat loves
  • Hundred percent grain-free


  • The new formula is unappealing to the consumers

Hill's Ideal Balance Adult Grain Free Natural Chicken & Potato Recipe Dry Cat Food

This cat food from Hill’s comes with an extremely affordable price tag yet it contains all the essential nutrients that your feline needs. Hills’ prepares a delicious and balanced blend of natural ingredients. Chicken, which is the first ingredient in this grain-free recipe helps your cats build strong and lean muscles. Additionally, the formula is also enriched with vitamins and minerals that enhance your cat’s defense system.


  • Made in USA
  • It contains no artificial additives that harm your cat’s health
  • Natural gluten-free ingredients for a healthy digestion


  • It is slightly expensive

What Exactly is Grain-Free Cat Food?

Amongst the many pet foods, grain-free continues to be one of the most popular labels that has, over a period of time, caught the attention of many cat owners. That’s because there is an increase in the number of people who think that grain-free food may have more nutritional value. For this reason, this word-of-mouth idea has spread across owners who often look for this type of pet food.

But, the question that ultimately remains unanswered is ‘what is grain-free cat food?’ In simple words, it is a cat food that, just as the name implies, is free from grains such as wheat, corn gluten meal, and rice.

What Sre Common Grains Used in the Pet Industry?

For those that may be a little more unfamiliar with what grains actually are, here’s some clarity. Grains can be explained to be seeds from specific grasses that humans have begun to consume ever since they got civilized. Not to mention that these grains usually contain a large number of carbohydrates, which is a good source of energy. However, depending on how much is consumed, it can be good or bad for a specific animal. The reason for this is that products with too many carbohydrates contain little to no protein, fiber, vitamins, and minerals.

To give you a better idea about grains, below-listed are some common examples that we may have seen or heard of. You may also discover them in your cat food:

  • Millet
  • Oats
  • Quinoa
  • Rice
  • Rye
  • Couscous
  • Corn
  • Bulgur
  • Buckwheat
  • Barley

The Pros & Cons of Grain-Free Food

There has been a lot of argument over the years on whether or not grain-free food or food that contains grains are worth eating. On one side some people state that it is not natural to be eating grain-packed products, while others note that grain-free is no better for the pet.

The Benefits

Some of the noted positives of feeding your pet with grain-free food include:

  • Increase in activity levels – Since some grain-free foods include high-protein, some cat owners found their pets to turn more active.
  • Improvement in pet’s health – Some owners have stated that they’ve noticed their pet getting stronger and healthier with the absence of unnecessary grains.
  • Easier to digest – Corn and other grains are said to be a wee bit difficult for cats or dogs to digest, so any product that is grain-free will be easier to digest.
  • Processed grains are not healthy – This argument is why many tend to stick to grain-free food, rather than running the risk of feeding them with something that is not even considered healthy.

But Grain-Free Cat Food is Not Perfect

First of all, there is no perfect cat food. As shown below is a list of some of the noted negatives of feeding your pet grain-free food.

  • Can cause weight gain – It may be a lot easier for your cat to gain weight through eating grain-free food since it is packed with other high-protein ingredients. Unless you feed this to active pets, this could be even more of an issue.
  • Contains too many carbohydrates – A lot of the non-meat products listed on the package tend to contain more carbohydrates, which is non-nutritious.
  • Expensive – Grain-free food tends to be more expensive than the typical grain-packed pet foods.

Common Misconceptions

It is important to realize that one of the most common misconceptions is that the products containing grain cause allergic reactions in pets. However, so far, there has been no real substantial data to indicate that grain-free diets have any greater health benefits than those with grains. In fact, if you browse through the web to read the major benefits of grain-free foods, there really isn’t any empirical evidence that one can hold besides hearsay.

Food Allergy Symptoms

The thing about unnecessary grains in your beloved kitty’s food ultimately causing allergic reactions is not only scary but unwanted. To analyze this further and to figure out whether your pet is suffering from such reactions, there are plenty of things that you can do. To begin with, you can go about examining whether or not your cat is suffering from an allergic reaction. You can do that by looking out for the food allergy symptoms as shown below.

  • Itchiness – You will find your cat itching away more, and if this isn’t due to some flea infestation or any other cause, you might consider allergies to be the culprit.
  • Hair loss – Often, cats that are not responding well to certain foods experience sudden and excessive hair loss.
  • Bald patches – This is due to the point above, but with excessive hair loss comes an array of other problems such as random bald patches.
  • Sores and scabs – An interesting symptom to look out for are the sores and scabs that are found all over the body. This may be due to the incessant itching.

What Studies Have Shown

The idea that grains are the main cause for allergic food reactions may not be entirely true. As noted by the Veterinary Dermatology, it was discovered that corn, a grain that is found in many cat foods was in fact far from being the cause of many food allergies. A study showed how only 4 out of 56 cats tested suffered from allergy-related issues due to corn. It was noted that the majority of the allergic reactions came from beef, dairy or fish.

In another study by Cummings Veterinary Medical Center at Tufts University, they discovered information that was quite interesting. While researching on the nutrient information in 77 dry cat diets, 42 diets contained grain and 35 diets were grain-free.

  • Some diets claiming to be grain-free as a matter of fact had some grain inside it.
  • The average grain-free diet had lower amounts of carbohydrates than grain-containing diets. However, there were also grain-free diets with similar or higher amounts of carbohydrates than those with grains.
  • Poultry, egg, and fish continued to be the most commonly sourced animal sources of protein.
  • In grain-free diets, exotic meats such as bison or rabbit were found.
  • Also, the calories were almost similar in both the diets.

Final Thoughts

As a result, the debate between whether you should be feeding your pet grain-free food or not, is always unanswered. That’s because there are so many claims from both sides asserting this or that. So regardless of what you choose, make sure to find products that are of high-quality, even if they are a bit more expensive. Not to forget that it is not you that is eating it but another life, your beloved friend. Therefore, you need to do your research and analyze which one is better.


Research Update: New insight into grain-free cat diets

Grains & Grain-Free Diets – Good Idea or Waste of Money?

About Adam

Adam is male version of your crazy cat lady, he is currently owned by 5 cats and says there is still room for more. He lends his knowledge and passion for pets by writing about topics related to this.

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