Best Grain Free Cat Food In 2019

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 at Our Top Picks


Editor's Choice

Wellness CORE Grain-Free Original Formula
  • High Protein content
  • Balanced nutrition
  • Added minerals for easy digestion
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Nature's Variety Instinct Original
  • Fatty acids to promote a healthy coat
  • Free from fillers other additives
  • Affordable
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Canidae Grain-Free PURE Ocean Indoor Cat Formula
  • Added Vitamins, minerals and probiotics
  • Chelated minerals for easy digestion
  • Real Tuna as first ingredient
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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 cat food products are suggested in the below-mentioned list.

Wellness CORE Grain-Free Original Formula Dry Cat Food

Nutritional info:

  • Protein – 45% Min
  • Fat – 18% Min
  • Fiber – 3% Max
  • Moisture– 10% Max

Caloric Content: 497 kcal/cup


  • High Protein content
  • Balanced nutrition
  • Added minerals for easy digestion


  • Some complaints about the new improved formula

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.

Nature's Variety Instinct Original Grain Free

Nutritional info:

  • Protein – 11.5% Min
  • Fat – 7% Min
  • Fiber – 3% Max
  • Moisture– 78% Max

Caloric Content: 106 kcal/3 oz can


  • Fatty acids to promote a healthy coat
  • Free from fillers other additives
  • Affordable


  • A bit expensive

Listed as one of the best wet food brands on the market,  Nature’s Recipe Grain-Free cat food features real chicken as the first ingredient used to provide the high amount of protein amount.

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.

Canidae Grain-Free PURE Ocean Indoor Cat Formula

Nutritional info:

  • Protein – 36% Min
  • Fat – 12% Min
  • Fiber – 5% Max
  • Moisture– 9% Max

Caloric Content: 435 kcal/cup


  • Added Vitamins, minerals and probiotics
  • Chelated minerals for easy digestion
  • Real Tuna as first ingredient


  • It has caused diarrhea and stomach upset

This cat food is a perfect choice for cats that suffer from chicken and meat based allergies for the reason 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.

Tiki Cat Hana Grill Ahi Tuna with Crab In Tuna Consommé

Nutritional info:

  • Protein – 18.4% Min
  • Fat – 2.3% Min
  • Fiber – 0% Max
  • Moisture– 77% Max

Caloric Content: 160 kcal/6 oz can


  • Made with 100% all-natural, high-quality ingredients
  • Contains 18% protein and 2.3% fat
  • Supplemented with chelated minerals and probiotics


  • Some kittens may be sensitive to sea food ingredients

We really like Tiki Cat foods. Their canned foods are high in protein and extremely low in carbohydrates.

They are complete and balanced for all life stages. And they are hand-packed. For example, Hana Grill Ahi Tuna with Crab In Tuna Consommé has 16 percent protein, three percent fat, and two percent carbohydrates.

The first three ingredients are tuna, tuna broth, and crab. This food has 75 kcal per 2.8 ounce can. It’s typical of Tiki Cat foods.

They have lots of other fish-based canned foods as well as a line of similar chicken-based foods.

They also have some good variety packs. Their After Dark line includes organ meats. We think Tiki Cat’s higher protein and low carb canned foods would be a good choice for diabetic cats.

Merrick Purrfect Bistro Grain Free Chicken Pate Wet Cat Food

Nutritional info:

  • Protein – 10% Min
  • Fat – 5% Min
  • Fiber – 1% Max
  • Moisture– 78% Max

Caloric Content: 185 kcal/5.5 oz can


  • 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

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.

Halo Grain Free Natural Dry Cat Food

Nutritional info:

  • Protein – 32% Min
  • Fat – 13% Min
  • Fiber – 5% Max
  • Moisture– 10% Max

Caloric Content: 397 kcal/cup


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


  • The new improved formula is not satisfying

This cat product is well known to follow a holistic approach to pet nutrition. The formula of Halo is proven for superior digestibility which is works well for senior cats.

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.

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

Nutritional info:

  • Protein – 43% Min
  • Fat – 19.5% Min
  • Fiber –3% Max
  • Moisture– 9% Max

Caloric Content: 488 kcal/cup


  • 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

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.

The brand assures you that the food does not contain allergens or artificial additives.

Taste of the Wild Rocky Mountain Grain-Free

Nutritional info:

  • Protein – 42% Min
  • Fat – 18% Min
  • Fiber – 3% Max
  • Moisture– 10% Max

Caloric Content: 390 kcal/cup


  • 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

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.

Wellness CORE Signature Selects Natural Canned Grain Free Cat Food

Nutritional info:

  • Protein – 10% Min
  • Fat – 3.5% Min
  • Fiber – 1% Max
  • Moisture– 85% Max

Caloric Content: 133 kcal/5.3 oz can


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


  • The new formula is unappealing to the consumers

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.

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

Nutritional info:

  • Protein – 28% Min
  • Fat – 19% Min
  • Fiber – 3.5% Max

Caloric Content: 511 kcal/cup


  • 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

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.

What to Look for When Choosing a Grain Free Cat Food For Your Cat

Most cat lovers know that cats are considered obligate carnivores. This means that they have to have meat in their diet.

Cats also have to have taurine which comes from muscle meat, among other sources. Taurine can also come from shellfish and fish. Cold water fish is an especially good source of taurine.

Cats also need a special form of Vitamin A. They lack the enzyme to convert regular Vitamin A into a form they can use so they must have the active form of Vitamin A that comes from animal sources.

Here’s a look at the things cats need in their diet:

  • Plenty of meat protein;
  • The active form of Vitamin A – retinol;
  • Arachidonic acid, an essential fatty acid;
  • Arginine, an amino acid;
  • Linoleic acid, a fatty acid;
  • Niacin, a B vitamin;
  • Taurine, an amino acid;
  • Moderate fat;
  • Low carbohydrates.

We also suggest that you try to avoid artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives.

The minimum percentages a healthy adult cat needs in her diet are 26 percent protein and 9 percent fat. Many people prefer to feed a higher percentage of protein.

  • Most sources recommend that 50 percent of your cat’s calories come from animal-based protein.
  • About 40 percent of the calories should come from fat.
  • 1-2 percent of calories should come from carbohydrates.
  • The food should also contain plenty of moisture.

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.

Also Read: 10 Best Cat Food for Indoor Cat

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.

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.

Also Read: he 5 Best Hypoallergenic Cat Foods

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.

About Adam

AdamAdam 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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