With over 1,500 stores, online shopping, and AutoShip options to rival any of its competitors, PetSmart is a popular choice for all your pet supply needs. As a big chain store with considerable stock, it has an overwhelming variety of cat food to choose from. We thoroughly searched the website to find the perfect formula for your feline and compiled reviews of the best ones, so you don’t have to wade through aisles of cans and kibble. This way, you can spend more time at home chilling with your cat while they enjoy their new favorite meal.
A Look at Our Winners in 2024
|Nulo MedalSeries All Life Stages Wet Cat Food
|Purina ONE Tender Selects Adult Cat Dry Food
|Wellness Complete Health Cat Food Natural Grain-free Pate
|Best for Kittens
|Blue Buffalo Wilderness Kitten Wet Cat Food
|Merrick Backcountry Adult Wet Cat Food
The 10 Best Cat Foods at PetSmart
1. Nulo MedalSeries Wet Cat Food — Best Overall
|Turkey, chicken, turkey liver, turkey broth, tuna
Nulo MedalSeries Wet Cat Food is a consciously natural cat food that’s free from grains, corn, wheat, and soy—all common ingredients that your cat doesn’t need. While you might find the Nulo brand on other pet shop shelves, the MedalSeries is a PetSmart exclusive, which is a perk if you prefer to shop at that store.
Nulo MedalSeries All Life Stages earned our vote for the best overall cat food at PetSmart because it’s AAFCO certified to meet the dietary requirements for kittens and adults, and the top five ingredients were all nutritious meats, with no by-products listed. In general, cats are usually more impressed with wet cat food than dry kibble, and we believe the turkey, chicken, and tuna combination is palatable to most felines.
The higher price may lead you to think Nulo is a more expensive food than others on our list, but it costs average. The reason for the seemingly higher price is that it comes in a can that’s almost twice as big as standard-sized cans. This is fantastic news for a multi-cat household that’s trying to reduce its environmental impact, but it might inconvenience someone who only has one small kitten to feed or is trying to use the food as a meal topper, since canned food is difficult to store.
2. Purina ONE® Tender Selects Adult Cat Dry Food — Best Value
|Chicken, rice flour, chicken by-product meal, corn gluten meal, beef fat preserved with mixed tocopherols, soybean meal
Our best value option, Purina ONE® Tender Selects Adult Cat Dry Food, feeds your cat on a budget while still giving them real chicken as the first ingredient. This food does contain chicken by-product meal, but we’re relieved that it lists chicken as the protein source instead of giving a murky “meat by-product” label that could include any number of animals. We believe whole foods are better than by-products, so we wouldn’t prefer any at all. However, by-products are a cheap source of protein, which helps keep the cost of this food low.
Purina ONE scores above comparable budget options by excluding artificial ingredients and including prebiotic fibers to promote a healthy gut. If your cat doesn’t like the chicken and rice flavor that we reviewed, PetSmart also sells a salmon and tuna flavor that they might prefer.
We’re not huge on the lengthy list of filler ingredients such as corn, soy, and wheat. But again, this is common in cheaper cat foods, so we’re willing to live with it. On the plus side, nearly 40,000 cats have given this formula a five-star rating, which is pretty good for picky kitties. Overall, we feel that it’s the best cat food at PetSmart for the money.
3. Wellness Complete Health Cat Food — Premium Choice
|Chicken, chicken liver, whitefish, chicken broth, herring
Our premium choice features a delicious blend of chicken and fish that’s sure to please your cat. Wellness Complete Health Cat Food is the number-one bestselling natural grain-free wet cat food at PetSmart, and we can see why. In addition to the hearty meat choices, this food features added vitamins to make sure your feline stays in tip-top shape. There are no by-products, grains, or artificial ingredients.
Unfortunately for any new kittens joining your clan, this formula is intended for adult-only maintenance. Kittens wouldn’t thrive on this food because they require extra nutrition to support them as they grow. Wellness Complete Health seems to be listed for a fair price—not cheap but about what we would expect from a high-quality cat food.
4. Blue Buffalo® Wilderness™ Wet Cat Food — Best for Kittens
|Salmon, chicken, fish broth, chicken liver, pea flour
Your new kitten will purr out of appreciation for the salmon, chicken, and fish in the scrumptious gravy loaf of Blue Buffalo® Wilderness™ Wet Cat Food. A rich blend of added vitamins, minerals, and amino acids provides your kitten with the nutrients that they need to grow. This food is formulated for cats up to 1 year old. While it won’t hurt your cat if they can’t stop eating it, kitten food typically features more calories than necessary for an adult.
We like how this food is free from grains, corn, and soy. It’s modestly priced, especially given that it’s a higher quality than some other kitten recipes that are packed with fillers. However, we feel like peas are an unnecessary carb that could’ve been left out.
5. Merrick® Backcountry® Adult Wet Cat Food
|Deboned chicken, chicken broth, turkey broth, chicken liver, deboned turkey
We like how chicken and turkey are repeated as the first five ingredients in this food from Merrick. Simple, whole ingredients provide the protein—as opposed to by-products—and this product is free from corn, grain, and soy. However, we don’t like how potato starch was included because cats don’t need carbs.
Merrick Backcountry Adult Wet Cat Food is an all-natural choice that doesn’t use any artificial flavors or preservatives. To fortify your cat’s dietary needs, this formula packs on some vitamins, minerals, and amino acids essential for your feline friend, including taurine. While this recipe contains the nutrients sufficient for indoor or outdoor cats, it’s not intended for kittens.
6. Applaws Wet Cat Food
|Tuna filet, fish broth, rice
This three-ingredient Applaws Wet Cat Food is about as basic as you can get. Tuna, fish broth, and rice provide a safe option for cats that may have a lot of allergies or that are picky eaters. Although this recipe is marketed as a topper, some pet parents have fed this food alone to their cats for years with no issue. Since cats are obligate carnivores and it’s largely meat based, we don’t see a problem with this approach. You should always talk to your vet first, though, before switching to any new food.
Applaws takes the cake for the most expensive food on the list at over $2 per can. However, we think it’s worth it considering there are no preservatives, fillers, or by-products. The biggest consideration would be serving size if this is going to be your cat’s sole diet. One can per day might not be enough if it’s being used as a meal replacement, which will raise the overall expense.
7. Simply Nourish® Original Cat Wet Food
|Chicken, chicken broth, water sufficient for processing, chicken liver, dried egg product
If your feline prefers to sink their teeth in some shredded chicken instead of scooping a pâté, Simply Nourish® Original Cat Wet Food will suit their fancy perfectly. This formula exceeds expectations for its modest price by excluding by-products, corn, and grains. We don’t like how potato starch is included because cats can live without carbs (and should as much as possible). However, we let it slide given that the other benefits far outweigh that one negative.
If your cat isn’t digging chicken, Simply Nourish Original Wet Cat Food comes in two other flavors, Turkey, and Chicken & Tuna. It’s also worth noting that Simply Nourish is a PetSmart exclusive, so this store is the place to shop if your cat hungers for more.
8. Merrick® Purrfect Bistro® Adult Wet Cat Food
|Deboned chicken, chicken broth, chicken liver, natural flavor, dried egg product
Merrick Purrfect Bistro Adult Wet Cat Food caters to your kitty by offering nine flavors to choose from, preventing you from chronically dealing with an opened, untouched can of food that’s eventually dumped into the garbage.
Real meat tops the ingredient list, followed by natural flavor. While we’d rather see natural flavor than artificial flavor, we do wish it could be replaced by an ingredient that would also add nutritional value. Other than that, we had no serious complaints. We thought that this food seemed like a good choice for a fair price.
9. Nulo MedalSeries All Life Stages Dry Cat Food
|Deboned turkey, turkey meal, chicken meal, deboned cod, whole peas
|496 kcal per cup
Nulo MedalSeries All Life Stages Dry Cat Food features real meat as the first ingredient. We like how this recipe includes probiotics to support healthy digestion and doesn’t include fillers such as corn, soy, or wheat. While the description says it doesn’t include by-products, it technically does because meat meals are ground bones, which are humanly inedible. We wish that those ingredients could’ve been more real meats instead of by-products, but we’re content knowing that they came from chicken and turkey instead of an unknown meat source.
We appreciate how cod is added for extra nutrition, as well as a wide variety of vitamins, minerals, and amino acids. Unlike most of the foods on our list, Nulo MedalSeries All Life Stages Dry meets the nutritional requirements for kittens and adults, so it’s ready for your kitten to enjoy as soon as they’re old enough to consume solid food.
While this dry food option might be less expensive than wet food, it’s certainly not a cheap option. However, the ingredients list is very impressive considering most cat food is loaded with fillers, so we think the price is reasonable. The only other questionable thing we noticed is that peas are one of the top ingredients, which isn’t a particularly helpful ingredient for cats since they’re rich in carbs.
10. Instinct® Original Cat Food
|Chicken, chicken meal, turkey meal, menhaden fish meal, peas
If you’re looking for a dry, grain-free food that’s formulated for all life stages, Instinct Original Cat Food is a good choice that won’t break the bank. Real chicken is the first ingredient, followed by meat meals from chicken, turkey, and fish. While we wish these proteins were whole meats instead of meals, which are ground bones, we’re glad they’re not plant-based proteins such as soy that are found in many dry cat foods.
Probiotics, vitamins, minerals, and amino acids supplement this well-rounded diet, along with a few fruits and vegetables. While peas aren’t exactly harmful, they definitely could’ve been a better choice as a main ingredient since they’re starchy. This food meets the nutritional needs of cats of any age, but the relatively high-calorie content might not make this recipe the most appropriate choice for elderly, obese, or diabetic cats.
Buyer’s Guide — Choosing the Best Cat Food at PetSmart
Cats Are Obligate Carnivores
Although some cats and dogs may be similar in size, they’re built very differently at the biological level. While dogs might be fine if not thrive on a diet that mostly consists of grains, fillers, and plant materials, cats would quickly die from the lack of vitamins and amino acids.
Felines are obligate carnivores, which means they absolutely must eat meat to live. This is because their bodies can’t produce the necessary nutrients on their own, so they must source amino acids from another animal. Dogs, however, are simply carnivores. They mostly eat meat, but even canines in the wild are known to eat grains, berries, and vegetables. Cats also can’t process plant material as well as dogs can. While carbohydrates are a necessary part of the canine and human diet, they actually aren’t required for a feline.
Cats Shouldn’t Eat Raw Meat
Strictly speaking, your cat could actually survive on meat alone. However, most people opt for a commercial diet because of safety and convenience. A wild cat immediately kills and eats their prey, but meat from the butcher shop lies dead for days before it’s consumed. Unfortunately, bacteria can build up in the meantime, so you shouldn’t feed your cat raw meat. You can cook them meat as long as it doesn’t contain harmful spices and seasonings, but again, most cat parents prefer to serve their cats a pre-cooked meal, as it usually saves time and money.
Grain-Free Diets for Cats or No?
New studies suggest grain-free diets may be harmful to dogs because they’re linked to taurine deficiency, which leads to heart disease. Since taurine is vital for your cat’s health, you might conclude that grain-free diets are harmful for them as well. However, that’s not the case. Your cat specifically needs taurine from meat, not grains that their body can’t process well. Currently, there’s no scientific evidence against grain-free diets for cats. Their bodies seem more built for that lifestyle, so we opt for grain free when possible.
With all of these things in mind, we shopped on PetSmart’s website for food that featured meat as the first five ingredients or at least most of them. Surprisingly, this wasn’t the case for the majority of big-brand food, especially dry kibble. Most dry cat food contained a heavy amount of peas, potatoes, rice, or other starchy ingredients in the first three items on the list.
What About By-Products?
Some of these foods contained a lot of meat by-products, a controversial label that designates humanly inedible, animal feed-grade meat. This can include bones, skin, or organs of the animal, but unfortunately, that’s not the worst part. The foods labeled with “meat by-product” as opposed to calling out the meat source, such as “chicken by-product” can legally contain any animal deemed as a cheap choice of protein.
This is the reason that we aim to avoid “meat by-products” at all costs. We even only include foods with a named source of meat by-products if the overall recipe has another compelling feature that offsets the unpleasant animal feed-grade meat, such as a significantly cheaper price point or an inclusive mix of vitamins.
Wet vs. Dry Food
As for wet food versus dry food, we’ve included a mixture of both because there are distinct advantages and disadvantages for each type. Felines typically fancy wet food over dry food. On the nutritional side, wet food hydrates cats, which may be especially beneficial for older felines or those with urinary problems. However, dry food is much cheaper and more convenient. Some cats may also crave the crunch.
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Out of all the foods we found at PetSmart, we were compelled to choose its exclusive Nulo MedalSeries All Life Stages Wet Cat Food as our overall best choice because it featured the most natural, high-quality ingredients for a fair price. As a bonus, it’s formulated for all life stages, so you don’t have to wait for your kitten to enjoy the good stuff.
If you’re on a budget, Purina ONE Tender Selects was our best value choice because it’s a dry food that’s extremely cost efficient. Wellness Complete Health Cat Food Natural Grain-free Pate made the list as our premium choice for its ingredients since it doesn’t contain any corn, grain, or potato fillers common to most cat foods.
Hopefully, these reviews helped you to choose the best food for your cat and your budget. If you decide to keep searching, you’ll discover that PetSmart has many tasty varieties to choose from to suit any cat’s taste, but we feel that these are the best choices to suit a cat’s naturally obligate carnivorous diet.
Featured Image Credit: Veera, Shutterstock
- A Look at Our Winners in 2024
- The 10 Best Cat Foods at PetSmart
- 1. Nulo MedalSeries Wet Cat Food — Best Overall
- 2. Purina ONE® Tender Selects Adult Cat Dry Food — Best Value
- 3. Wellness Complete Health Cat Food — Premium Choice
- 4. Blue Buffalo® Wilderness™ Wet Cat Food — Best for Kittens
- 5. Merrick® Backcountry® Adult Wet Cat Food
- 6. Applaws Wet Cat Food
- 7. Simply Nourish® Original Cat Wet Food
- 8. Merrick® Purrfect Bistro® Adult Wet Cat Food
- 9. Nulo MedalSeries All Life Stages Dry Cat Food
- 10. Instinct® Original Cat Food
- Buyer’s Guide — Choosing the Best Cat Food at PetSmart
- Cats Are Obligate Carnivores
- Cats Shouldn’t Eat Raw Meat
- Grain-Free Diets for Cats or No?
- What About By-Products?
- Wet vs. Dry Food