Cats are and have always been one of the most spoiled animals on the planet. They have been revered by humans since the ancient Egyptians decided that cats were magical creatures with the capacity to bestow good luck upon their caretakers. For most cat owners, not much has changed today. We want to do the best we can for our feline friends. Much of that comes down to the food they eat. What should we watch out for in the ingredients list? Which brand will appeal both to their health and their taste buds?
Read on to find out more about what ingredients to stay away from and which ones are good signs when they show up. Then, check out our list of a few of the healthiest cat foods on the market, with options for kittens and seniors to wet and dry.
A Quick Comparison of Our Favorites
|Smalls Fresh Cat Food Subscription||Click to Save 40%|
|Blue Buffalo Wilderness High Protein Grain-Free||CHECK PRICE|
|Hill’s Science Diet Dry Kitten Food||CHECK PRICE|
|Iam’s Proactive Health Dry Cat Food||CHECK PRICE|
|Wellness Wet Cat Food||CHECK PRICE|
The Top 7 Healthiest Cat Foods in 2023
Many cat food companies make it a mission to develop healthy cat foods. Here are a few of those brands and specific formulas that can make you feel good about what you feed to your furry friend.
1. Smalls Fresh Cat Food
Our recommendation for the best overall healthiest cat food is the Fresh Other Bird Recipe by Smalls. Not familiar with Smalls? They’re a subscription meal service for felines that makes fresh, gently cooked cat food. There are a few recipes to choose from with each having different textures. The Fresh Other Bird recipe has two textures you can try: smooth and ground. Meal plans are designed after you answer a few questions about your cat (though you can edit the plans if you want), then made and shipped directly to your door.
Depending on the texture you choose, your kitty will get anywhere from 17% to 23.7% crude protein in each meal. They’ll also receive a wealth of vitamins and minerals from the fresh ingredients, such as turkey thighs, chicken liver, green beans, peas, kale, and the Smalls special supplement mix. And each bite will absolutely have a flavor your pet loves! Pet parents have raved about their felines losing weight and having improved coats; they also mention how much their cats love this food, so it’s definitely kitty-approved!
2. Blue Buffalo Wilderness High Protein Grain-Free
Blue Buffalo believes, as a brand, in feeding pets according to their evolutionary nutrition. They use real chicken as the first ingredient in their high-protein food blend. It is entirely grain-free, ridding its formula of gluten, wheat, or any of its by-products. Another bonus is the LifeSource Bits, which are loaded with antioxidants to keep your pet full of the vitamins and minerals they need to support their systems. We think it’s the healthiest cat food for the money.
3. Hill’s Science Diet Dry Kitten Food
Different ages of cats need different types of food. Hill’s Science is renowned for its quality cat food and has made a formula specifically for kittens, from weaning to 1 year old. Cats that are pregnant or nursing can also use the extra nutrition that the kibble provides. The first ingredient is chicken. Others include fish oil and an antioxidant blend. Your kitten is getting just what they need to grow into a strong, ferocious feline.
4. Iam’s Proactive Health Dry Cat Food
Iam’s Proactive Health recipe focuses on prebiotics and the satisfaction of your cat’s digestive and immune defenses. Chicken is the first ingredient in this food, helping maintain lean muscles and keep a check on their weight. The crunchiness of the kibble helps prevent tartar buildup on the teeth. It contains taurine, fish oils, and fibers for an overall healthy mind and body.
5. Wellness Wet Cat Food
Sometimes, dry food doesn’t cut it, and you can give wet cat food a try. Wellness is a quality brand all around, especially their chicken-based wet cat food. It is a grain-free recipe and supports what they call the five signs of kitty wellness: healthy skin and coat, satisfied stomachs, bright eyes, healthy teeth and gums, high energy levels, and strong immunity.
6. Rachael Ray Nutrish Natural Dry Cat Food
Rachael Ray follows a relatively simple recipe using natural ingredients. Farm-raised chicken is the first ingredient, followed by brown rice, vegetables, vitamins, and taurine. The company makes sure not to include any corn products, wheat, or soy.
7. Instinct Raw Boost Dry Cat Food
Instinct uses a raw food diet when formulating their recipe for cats. They use real chicken in freeze-dried raw-coated pieces of kibble. The protein content is higher than usual, and each bite has a boosted nutritional value. The food is also instilled with probiotics for a healthier digestive system.
Buyer’s Guide – Choosing the Healthiest Cat Foods
Not all companies are out to trick consumers with the way that their labels are worded. However, it is still something that you should watch out for when buying cat food. If it says that the food lists “beef,” “chicken,” “tuna,” or something similar as the first ingredient, it must contain 95% of the specified meat. This rule is per the guidelines set by the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO).
Labels that use the modifiers “dinner” or “buffet” signifies that at least 25% of the total weight of ingredients has to be the specified meat. Finally, any phrase that includes the word “with” as it describes the ingredients, i.e. “with beef,” is only required to contain 3% of that meat.
If you want to know even more about guidelines, packaging regulations, and specific terms, look to the AAFCO. You can learn what unfamiliar terms mean, what could be harmful, and what is not. Some ingredients, like taurine, may sound like harmful chemicals. But in fact, taurine is an amino acid that is found in animal protein. Cats need it for essential organs to function correctly, such as their brain, vision, and heart.
Feeding your cat a high-quality diet is important for keeping them healthy and happy. But it goes beyond the food you choose; the dishes they use also matter. The Hepper NomNom Cat Bowl is our favorite for its unique, five-star design that protects from whisker fatigue and promotes good posture which also aids in better digestion. As an added bonus, it’s beautifully crafted and offers a modern take on the traditional cat bowl that fits seamlessly with all home stylings. Learn more about the NomNom by clicking here. At Excited Cats, we’ve admired Hepper for many years and decided to take a controlling ownership interest so that we could benefit from the outstanding designs of this cool cat company!
Feeding your cat a high-quality diet is important for keeping them healthy and happy. But it goes beyond the food you choose; the dishes they use also matter. The Hepper NomNom Cat Bowl is our favorite for its unique, five-star design that protects from whisker fatigue and promotes good posture which also aids in better digestion. As an added bonus, it’s beautifully crafted and offers a modern take on the traditional cat bowl that fits seamlessly with all home stylings. Learn more about the NomNom by clicking here.
At Excited Cats, we’ve admired Hepper for many years and decided to take a controlling ownership interest so that we could benefit from the outstanding designs of this cool cat company!
Ingredients to Avoid
Certain foods contain unhealthy ingredients for cats. Some of these are somewhat controversial. For example, some people do not agree with grain-based diets, including corn or wheat, for animals like cats and dogs. Others say that they provide necessary compounds for their health.
Depending on your cat’s age and state of health, you might be able to get away with offering them more of these foods if you feel comfortable with them. If you are on a mission to serve dishes that are as healthy as possible, keep an eye out for these ingredients:
Ingredients Cats Need
A cat’s diet is quite straightforward. Naturally, they are carnivorous and need mostly pure proteins in their food. Unfortunatley, preservatives, fillers, and unstandardized “extras” can make their way into a cat’s diet. Watch out for these things as you search for the best food for your pet.
Cats can be extremely finicky eaters, but finding them the healthiest options is essential. Learning to read labels is necessary to determine if a food is as healthy as it claims to be. However, the healthiest is usually the most all-natural product with the least amount of fillers or preservatives, which is why we love Smalls Cat Food. For a less expensive brand that provides excellent ingredients, you can try Blue Buffalo Wilderness High Protein Grain-Free.
Watch out for divisive labeling techniques and familiarize yourself with the terms that brands are allowed to use. Some of them can be somewhat misleading. Knowing what your cat is getting in each dish will help both of you.
Featured Image Credit: Africa Studio
- 1 A Quick Comparison of Our Favorites
- 2 The Top 7 Healthiest Cat Foods in 2023
- 3 Buyer’s Guide – Choosing the Healthiest Cat Foods
- 4 Conclusion