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10 Best Grain-Free Cat Foods in 2024 – Reviews & Top Picks

Written by: Rachel Giordano

Last Updated on June 3, 2024 by Catster Editorial Team

Orange and calico cats with brown and white kittens eating from their food bowls

10 Best Grain-Free Cat Foods in 2024 – Reviews & Top Picks

Orange and calico cats with brown and white kittens eating from their food bowls Cats can be picky eaters, making deciding what to buy challenging. Sometimes, it takes trial and error to find a cat food your cat will actually eat, and it may take a while to find something your cat will scarf down. It’s especially hard to find cat food if your kitty has food allergies, which brings us to grain-free diets.

Nowadays, you can find a ton of grain-free diets for cats, but the only reason grain-free is necessary is if your cat is allergic to grains, which is only a small percentage. Grain-free diets are often lower in carbs but higher in fat and calories, so we recommend checking with your veterinarian to ensure that grain-free is right for your cat, especially with the ongoing concern of grain-free diets possibly causing dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM). While this is more of a canine concern, the condition occurring in felines cannot be ruled out.

That said, if your cat requires grain-free food, we’ve listed our top 10 picks to help you when shopping for the perfect food.

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A Quick Comparison of Our Favorites in 2024

Image Product Details
Best Overall
Winner
Smalls Human-Grade Fresh Cat Food Smalls Human-Grade Fresh Cat Food
  • Protein-rich, all-natural recipes
  • Delivered to your door
  • Various textures
  • Budget Buy
    Second place
    Reveal Natural Grain-Free Variety of Fish Cat Food Reveal Natural Grain-Free Variety of Fish Cat Food
  • Offered in a case of 12 or 24 cans
  • Made with real protein and natural ingredients
  • Variety of flavors
  • Third place
    ORIJEN Original Grain-Free Dry Cat Food ORIJEN Original Grain-Free Dry Cat Food
  • Contains 90% fresh or raw protein
  • Whole-prey nutrition
  • Coated with freeze-dried liver
  • Best for Kittens
    Blue Buffalo Wilderness Kitten Chicken Recipe  Blue Buffalo Wilderness Kitten Chicken Recipe 
  • Quality protein without by-products
  • DHA and ARA for growth and development
  • Taurine for brain and eye health
  • Dr. Elsey's Clean Protein Turkey Recipe Grain-Free Dry Cat Food Dr. Elsey's Clean Protein Turkey Recipe Grain-Free Dry Cat Food
  • Packed with protein
  • Free from gluten or fillers
  • Low glycemic, low oxalate formula
  • The 10 Best Grain-Free Cat Foods

    1. Smalls Human-Grade Fresh Cat Food – Best Overall

    Main Ingredients: High-quality meat/fish, liver
    Protein Content: 5%
    Fat Content: 5%
    Calories: 1,401 kcal/kg

    Smalls Human-Grade Fresh Cat Food is a meal delivery service that offers protein-rich recipes with various textures to satisfy a picky kitty. This all-natural food contains all the necessary vitamins and minerals your cat requires, and with the four recipes available, you’ll surely find a winner with your cat.

    All the recipes are gently cooked with the following options: fish, bird, cow, and “other bird.” They come in smooth or ground textures to suit your cat’s preference, and they contain fresh veggies that mimic what a cat would digest from the stomach of prey in the wild. All fresh ingredients come from trusted sources in the United States and Canada, and each recipe contains enough taurine to exceed AFFCO’s nutritional standards.

    Smalls also offers freeze-dried raw recipes that encompass the nutritional benefits of raw with three proteins to choose from: bird, other bird, and water bird. The freeze-dried raw recipes are an excellent option for cats that love a crunch to their food rather than a pâté style.

    This meal delivery service is pricey, but it’s delivered right to your door; however, they only ship within the continental United States to ensure the freshness of the food. Still, given the all-natural ingredients and various textures, this food is our pick for the best overall grain-free cat food.

    Pros
    • Protein-rich, all-natural recipes
    • Delivered to your door
    • Various textures
    • Contains all necessary vitamins and minerals
    Cons
    • Only ships within the continental U.S.
    • Expensive

    2. Reveal Natural Grain-Free Variety of Fish Cat Food – Budget Buy

    Reveal Natural Grain-Free Variety of Fish Cat Food

    Main Ingredients: Tuna, fish broth
    Protein Content: 15%
    Fat Content: 5%
    Calories: 40 kcal ME/can

    Reveal Natural Grain-Free Variety of Fish Cat Food is wet canned food for cats that love the texture of bits and broth. This food comes in a case of 12 or 24, 2.47-ounce cans with a variety of flavors: tuna fillet, ocean fish, and tuna fillet with seaweed. It’s made with real protein and natural ingredients for optimal nutrition, and you can feed it as a complement to dry kibble or on its own for a complete and balanced meal.

    This food contains no artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives—only 100% natural ingredients to keep your cat healthy. However, be aware that bones may make their way into the food, and the food is made in Thailand rather than the U.S. Nonetheless, for the price and variety, this food is our pick for the best grain-free cat food for the money.

    Pros
    • Offered in a case of 12 or 24 cans
    • Made with real protein and natural ingredients
    • Variety of flavors
    • Contains no artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives
    Cons
    • Bones may be present in food
    • Made in Thailand rather than the U.S.

    3. ORIJEN Original Grain-Free Dry Cat Food

    ORIJEN Original Grain-Free Dry Cat Food

    Main Ingredients: Chicken, turkey, whole mackerel
    Protein Content: 40%
    Fat Content: 20%
    Calories: 515 kcal/cup

    ORIJEN Original Grain-Free Dry Cat Food contains 90% premium meat and fish ingredients to support healthy digestion, heart health, and healthy skin and coat. The first five ingredients are fresh or raw animal protein and packed with whole-prey nutrition (poultry, organs, and bone) by way of nutrient-rich organs, such as liver, heart, and gizzard. This food is coated with freeze-dried liver for a boost of raw flavor, and any chicken or turkey comes from cage-free sources.

    This food is high in protein, so it may not be suitable for kitties needing a lower-protein diet. It’s also expensive and may be too harsh for cats with sensitive digestive systems.

    Pros
    • Contains 90% fresh or raw protein
    • Whole-prey nutrition
    • Coated with freeze-dried liver
    • Contains nutrient-rich organs
    • Cage-free chicken and turkey
    Cons
    • Not suitable for cats needing low protein
    • Too harsh for sensitive tummies
    • Expensive

    4. Blue Buffalo Wilderness Kitten Chicken Recipe – Best for Kittens

    Blue Buffalo Wilderness Kitten Chicken Recipe

    Main Ingredients: Deboned chicken, chicken meal, pea protein
    Protein Content: 40%
    Fat Content: 20%
    Calories: 457 kcal/cup

    If you’re looking for grain-free kitten food, Blue Buffalo Wilderness Kitten Chicken Recipe may be an excellent option for your little bundle of fluffy joy. Kittens require a high-protein diet, and this food is packed with protein through high-quality chicken without added by-products. It also contains fatty acids DHA and ARA for proper growth and development and taurine to support brain and eye health.

    Blue Buffalo includes LifeSource Bits, which is an exact blend of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants to support a healthy immune system to get your kitten off to a great start.

    Some kittens may experience vomiting and diarrhea with this food, and some may have a hard time digesting the food.

    Pros
    • Quality protein without by-products
    • DHA and ARA for growth and development
    • Taurine for brain and eye health
    • Contains LifeSource Bits for a healthy immune system
    Cons
    • Some kittens may develop vomiting and diarrhea
    • May be hard to digest for some kittens

    5. Dr. Elsey’s Clean Protein Turkey Recipe Grain-Free Dry Cat Food

    Dr. Elsey's Clean Protein Turkey Recipe Grain-Free Dry Cat Food

    Main Ingredients: Turkey, dried chicken
    Protein Content: 58%
    Fat Content: 18%
    Calories: 547 kcal/cup

    Dr. Elsey’s Clean Protein Turkey Recipe Grain-Free Dry Cat Food is packed with protein (over 90%) and free of grains, fillers, and gluten. This food uses a low glycemic, low oxalate formula to help prevent bladder stones and calcium oxalate crystals, and it’s full of vitamins and minerals for a complete and balanced meal. It includes omega-3 fatty acids and taurine, and it contains chickpeas, flaxseed, and salmon oil for added vitamins and nutrients. This food also comes in chicken, duck, salmon, and rabbit recipes.

    You can buy this food in a 2-pound bag or a 6.6-pound bag. A downfall is this food may cause your cat to have smelly poop and may cause diarrhea in some cats. It’s also not suitable for cats needing a low-protein diet.

    Pros
    • Packed with protein
    • Free from gluten or fillers
    • Low glycemic, low oxalate formula
    • Full of vitamins and minerals
    • Comes in a variety of flavors
    Cons
    • May cause smelly poo
    • May cause diarrhea in some cats

    6. Sheba Perfect Portions Grain-Free Multipack

    Sheba Perfect Portions Grain-Free Multipack

    Main Ingredients: Salmon cuts, tuna cuts, whitefish & tuna cuts
    Protein Content: 7%
    Fat Content: 5%
    Calories: 31 kcal/serving

    Sheba Perfect Portions Grain-Free Multipack comes in a 24-pack that gives your kitty a variety of flavors: gourmet salmon entrée, sustainable tuna, and delicate whitefish and tuna entrée. All recipes are free from artificial flavors and preservatives and contain high-quality protein in each tray. Each twin pack contains two, 1.32-ounce servings, and each tray is perfectly portioned so you don’t have to determine how much to feed each time. The trays are also easy to open—just snap and peel open the top.

    Each recipe has savory chunks of high-quality protein smothered in gravy that will satisfy even the pickiest of eaters, and they all contain essential vitamins and minerals to help your cat thrive.

    A downfall is that the trays may be hard to open, and you need to be cautious not to cut your fingers. However, this food is made in the U.S. and is reasonably priced.

    Pros
    • Comes in 24-pack with a variety of flavors
    • Contains essential vitamins and minerals
    • Pre-portioned trays
    • Made in the U.S.
    • Reasonably priced
    Cons
    • Trays may be hard to open
    • Exercise caution when opening to avoid injury to fingers

    7. Weruva Paw Lickin’ Chicken in Gravy Grain-Free Canned Cat Food

    Weruva Paw Lickin' Chicken in Gravy Grain-Free Canned Cat Food

    Main Ingredients: Chicken, chicken broth
    Protein Content: 10%
    Fat Content: 4%
    Calories: 192 kcal/can

    Weruva Paw Lickin’ Chicken in Gravy Grain-Free Canned Cat Food is made with free-range shredded chicken smothered in gravy for a burst of flavor for your kitty. Each can contains 85% moisture, which makes it perfect for kitties that don’t drink much water. It has no preservatives or artificial flavors.

    This food contains a balanced mix of amino acids, vitamins, minerals, and omega fatty acids for overall nutritional needs, plus taurine to support vision and heart health. The chicken is made from real meat for adequate protein, and you can serve it alone as a complete meal or as a topper for additional flavor for your feline furball. You can also buy this food in 3-ounce or 10-ounce cans.

    This food comes in a 24 count and is expensive, which may be a gamble if you have a picky eater. This food may also cause gastrointestinal problems in some cats.

    Pros
    • Made from real, cage-free chicken
    • Smothered in gravy for flavor
    • Contains 85% moisture in each can
    • Comes in various sizes
    • Complete and balanced
    Cons
    • May cause GI problems in some cats
    • Expensive

    8. Purina Beyond Grain-Free Natural Simply Wild Caught Whitefish & Cage Free Egg Recipe Dry Cat Food

    Purina Beyond Grain-Free Natural Simply Wild Caught Whitefish & Cage Free Egg Recipe Dry Cat Food

    Main Ingredients: Hake, chicken meal
    Protein Content: 35%
    Fat Content: 14%
    Calories: 392 kcal/cup

    For kitties that love a crunch to their food from dry kibble, Purina Beyond Grain-Free Natural Simply Wild Caught Whitefish & Cage Free Egg Recipe Dry Cat Food may be a terrific choice. Real wild-caught whitefish is the first ingredient, which gives your cat high protein to satisfy his needs. It also contains natural probiotics for digestive health, and it’s 100% complete and balanced with essential vitamins, minerals, and nutrients.

    All ingredients are selected by pet nutritionists from trusted sources, and it’s crafted in U.S. facilities. However, Purina has changed the recipe a little recently, and it now includes chicken meal, which will make it unsuitable for cats with chicken allergies.

    Pros
    • High-protein dry kibble
    • Contains probiotics for digestive health
    • 100% complete and balanced
    • Crafted by pet nutritionists in U.S. facilities
    Cons
    • Not suitable for cats with chicken allergies

    9. Blue Buffalo Wilderness Chicken Recipe Grain-Free Dry Cat Food

    Blue Buffalo Wilderness Chicken Recipe Grain-Free Dry Cat Food

    Main Ingredients: Deboned chicken, chicken meal
    Protein Content: 40%
    Fat Content: 18%
    Calories: 443 kcal/cup

    Blue Buffalo Wilderness Chicken Recipe Grain-Free Dry Cat Food is high in protein and made with real chicken to maintain strong muscles. It contains both omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids for healthy skin and coat, and it’s made without by-products.

    This food includes Blue Buffalo’s LifeSource Bits—a blend of essential vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants to support a healthy immune system and oxidative balance, and it has no artificial flavors or preservatives. For added fuel, the recipe contains sweet potatoes and peas. Cats who prefer wet food may not enjoy this food, and the food crumbles easily.

    Pros
    • High in protein with real chicken
    • Omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids for healthy skin and coat
    • Contains no by-products
    • Contains LifeSource Bits for optimal nutrition
    • Added sweet potatoes and peas for fuel
    Cons
    • Lots of crumbs in the bag

    10. Fussie Cat Premium Tuna with Salmon Formula Grain-Free Canned Cat Food

    Fussie Cat Premium Tuna with Salmon Formula Grain-Free Canned Cat Food

    Main Ingredients: Tuna, water for processing
    Protein Content: 12%
    Fat Content: 4%
    Calories: 49 kcal/can

    Our last pick is Fussie Cat Premium Tuna with Salmon Formula Grain-Free Canned Cat Food. This food is both grain and potato-free that’s suitable for cats with sensitive tummies. It’s low in fat and carbohydrates, which makes it an excellent choice for cats needing more of a low-fat diet, and it’s high in phosphorus with vitamins B6 and B12.

    It aids in healthy skin and coats with the added omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, and tuna is the first ingredient for a healthy, high-quality protein source. Some consumers complain that the tuna chunks have too much gelatin surrounding them, and it contains little moisture. It comes in a case of 24, 2.82-ounce cans and is fairly pricey.

    Pros
    • Both grain and potato-free
    • Low in fat and carbs
    • High in B6 and B12
    • Omega fatty acids for healthy skin and coat
    Cons
    • May have a gelatin consistency
    • Contains little moisture
    • Expensive

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    Buyer’s Guide: How to Select the Right Grain-Free Cat Food

    As we mentioned at the beginning of this article, not all cats require grain-free diets. Grain-free diets are only needed if your cat has a grain allergy; in that case, your cat will benefit from eating grain-free. But what should you look for when searching for the perfect grain-free cat food? First, ensure the food adheres to AAFCO’s nutritional standards, which you’ll find on the label, but that’s not all you should look for. Let’s check out more specifics to help you further.

    Protein

    Cats are obligate carnivores, meaning they need primarily meat and other animal products in their diets to be healthy and survive. Cats can digest fruits and veggies, but they do not require many of these sources in their food. Protein is a cat’s most important source of energy, and you should select a cat food that has at least 26% protein listed on the label unless your veterinarian suggests otherwise.

    Fat Content

    Cats derive energy from fat content rather than carbs. According to AAFCO, cats require at least 9% of fat with dry kibble, but look out for high amounts of fat content in wet food, as sometimes the fat content is almost as much as the protein content. Cats need fat in their diets, but fats should not supersede the protein content.

    Fat is vital in a cat’s diet because it provides twice the amount of energy than protein and carbs, helps transport nutrients, provides a barrier for bacterial and fungal infections, makes food more palatable, and aids in nerve signal transmission.

    cat not eating and looking at the food in the bowl
    Photo Credit By: PawelKacperek, Shutterstock

    Ingredients

    Cats require essential daily nutrients to stay healthy that include:
    • Protein
    • Fat
    • Carbohydrates
    • Vitamins
    • Minerals
    • Water

    Each nutrient performs a particular job within your cat’s body, and when searching for cat food, ensure the food contains all of these nutrients. Keep in mind that protein should make up the bulk of the food. Each ingredient should be calculated accordingly for your cat’s nutritional needs, and selecting a cat food approved by AAFCO will give you peace of mind that you are providing a complete and balanced meal.

    Moisture Content

    Most canned cat food contains roughly 75% moisture, which is ideal if you have trouble keeping your cat hydrated. You can also opt for semi-moist canned food that offers 15%–30% moisture content. However, canned wet food is typically more expensive than dry kibble. One way to save a little money is to use wet food as a topper mixed with dry kibble. Before adding wet food to your cat’s dry kibble, we advise you to check with your veterinarian to ensure you are providing a complete and balanced meal and not overdoing it in certain areas, such as providing too much of any one ingredient.

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    Conclusion

    We hope our reviews help you make the best decision for your cat. For the best overall, Smalls offers human-grade, protein-rich ingredients. For the best value, Reveal Natural Grain-Free offers real protein and natural ingredients. ORIJEN Original Grain-Free contains 90% premium meat and fish ingredients to support healthy digestion, heart health, and healthy skin and coat.

    For kittens, Blue Buffalo Wilderness Kitten Chicken Recipe contains all the necessary nutrients for growth and development. Lastly, Dr. Elsey’s Clean Protein Turkey Recipe for its low glycemic, low oxalate formula helps prevent bladder stones and calcium oxalate crystals.


    Featured Image Credit: Sari ONeal, Shutterstock

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