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11 Best Cat Foods for Adult Cats in 2024 – Reviews & Top Picks

Written by: Christian Adams

Last Updated on July 5, 2024 by Catster Editorial Team

grey cat eating food from stainless steel bowl in a cat bowl holder

11 Best Cat Foods for Adult Cats in 2024 – Reviews & Top Picks

grey cat eating food from stainless steel bowl in a cat bowl holder Choosing the right cat food is not always an easy process. There isn’t a universal cat food suitable for every cat. Also, what works well for your cat now may not in the future. It’s essential to choose a healthy formula that your cat enjoys.  As adults, cats require different nutrition than kittens or seniors.

We understand that finding the right balance of nutrients is vital, so we gathered the best adult cat foods with reviews to help you learn about them and decide which is ideal for your feline. Whether they prefer wet or dry food, you can browse each to choose the best one.

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A Quick Comparison of Our Winners in 2024

Image Product Details
Best Overall
Winner
Smalls Fresh Bird Cat Food (Subscription Service) Smalls Fresh Bird Cat Food (Subscription Service)
  • Human-grade fresh ingredients
  • Healthy for adult cats
  • 84% real chicken meat
  • Budget Buy
    Second place
    Nutro Salmon & Rice Dry Cat Food Nutro Salmon & Rice Dry Cat Food
  • Non-GMO ingredients
  • Salmon is the protein source
  • Third place
    Fussie Chicken & Vegetables Canned Cat Food Fussie Chicken & Vegetables Canned Cat Food
  • Chicken is the first ingredient
  • High-quality processing
  • Real vegetables
  • Purina Beyond Simply Indoor Purina Beyond Simply Indoor
  • High in protein
  • Features wild-caught salmon
  • Grain-free
  • Blue Buffalo Chicken Dry Cat Food Blue Buffalo Chicken Dry Cat Food
  • High-protein recipe
  • LifeSource Bits
  • Weight management recipe
  • The 11 Best Cat Foods for Adult Cats

    1. Smalls Fresh Bird Cat Food (Subscription Service) – Best Overall

    Protein 21.2%
    Moisture 66.1%
    First Ingredient Chicken thigh & breast meat

    Smalls Fresh Chunky Bird is a rich and tasty meal. With a recipe made of 90% chicken and all the vitamins and minerals a cat needs, it’s a healthy, balanced meal. We found Smalls Fresh Chunky Bird food to be the best overall food for adult cats because of the high-quality meat and lack of carbohydrate-based fillers. Smalls operates on a subscription-based model—after a trial run, new deliveries will show up on your doorstep at the frequency you choose.

    Smalls fresh food comes in a package with markings to guide portion sizes. To make feeding easy, store it in the freezer and thaw it for 24 hours. Once thawed, it lasts at least 3 days in the fridge.

    Despite these advantages, it might not be the best formula for all cats since some dislike the chunky texture. Older cats and cats with dental issues, in particular, often prefer a smooth blend of cat food. In addition, Fresh Chunky Bird should be stored in a freezer, making it a less ideal choice if you are tight on freezer space.

    Pros
    • High protein from human-grade meat
    • Low carb, low filler
    • Fresh and nutritious
    • Easy-to-use subscription service
    Cons
    • Some cats might prefer a smooth blend
    • Requires freezer space to store

    2. Nutro Wholesome Essentials Salmon Dry Cat Food — Budget Buy

    Nutro Wholesome Essentials Adult Salmon & Brown Rice Recipe Dry Cat Food new

    Protein 33%
    Moisture 10%
    First Ingredient Salmon

    Our pick for the best cat food for adult cats for the money is the Nutro Wholesome Essentials Salmon & Brown Rice Dry Cat Food. With salmon as the first ingredient, it is packed with protein from a reliable source. The omega-6 fatty acids in the salmon also keep your feline’s coat shining. Natural fiber aids in digestion, and immune health are supported by antioxidants.

    Nutro has everything that your cat needs to be healthy while steering clear of artificial colors and flavors, corn, wheat, and by-products. The non-GMO ingredients come from farmers who work with Nutro to provide trusted sources of nutrition. There are reports of even the most finicky cats loving the formula.

    However, some customers mentioned that the kibble was full of crumbs. In some cases, the cats still ate the crushed pieces. Also, while it’s labeled as a salmon meal, the ingredients include chicken. If your cat has allergies to poultry, this recipe isn’t suitable for them.

    Pros
    • Non-GMO ingredients
    • Salmon is the protein source
    Cons
    • Made with chicken
    • Kibble may get crushed inside the bag

    3. Fussie Cat Chicken & Vegetables Canned Cat Food

    Fussie Cat Gold Chicken & Vegetables Formula in Gravy Grain-Free Wet Cat Food new

    Protein 11%
    Moisture 85%
    First Ingredient Chicken

    The Fussie Cat Chicken & Vegetables in Gravy Canned Cat Food is made in a Food and Drug Administration-registered kitchen, which is the same qualification for processing canned food that is suitable for people to eat. The manufacturing process goes through daily health checks to ensure this high-quality food is safe for your cat.

    Fussie Cat formulas are known as “physiologically correct” to meet the needs of the carnivorous cat. The recipes are high in protein and low in carbs and contain the necessary vitamins and nutrients that cats need. The Chicken & Vegetables formula is grain-free and low in fat. Boneless chicken is the first ingredient to provide protein.

    Since it is canned food, cats get extra hydration from it. The vegetables are in pieces large enough to see, which isn’t appealing to some cats.

    Pros
    • Chicken is the first ingredient
    • High-quality processing
    • Real vegetables
    Cons
    • Some cats don’t like the vegetables
    • Expensive

    4. Purina Beyond Simply Indoor Wild-Caught Salmon, Egg & Sweet Potato Recipe

    Purina Beyond Simply Indoor Wild-Caught Salmon, Egg & Sweet Potato Recipe Grain-Free Dry Cat Food

    Protein 33%
    Moisture 12%
    First Ingredient Salmon

    Purina Beyond Simply Indoor contains probiotics for healthy digestion. It also features wild-caught salmon as the first ingredient for a healthy, easy-to-digest protein. It’s high in protein and packed with nutritious ingredients.

    This recipe includes no grains, by-products, or artificial colors. Added vitamins and minerals work to support cats’ immune systems and coat health.

    Purina Beyond is manufactured in U.S. facilities that are mindful of eco-friendly practices. You can feel confident knowing that your purchase was made in a place that limits its impact on the environment.

    Most cats love the flavor of Purina Beyond, but some customers were disappointed that the recipe was changed.

    Pros
    • High protein content
    • Grain-free
    • Wild-caught salmon is first ingredient

    Cons

    • Updated recipe isn’t appealing to all cats


    5. Blue Buffalo Wilderness Chicken Recipe Dry Cat Food

    Blue Buffalo Wilderness Chicken Recipe Grain New

    Protein 40%
    Moisture 9%
    First Ingredient Chicken

    The high-protein recipe in Blue Buffalo Wilderness Chicken Recipe Dry Cat Food is formulated for healthy muscles. Sweet potatoes and peas are added for carbohydrates and fiber that promote strong energy levels and healthy digestion. Blue Buffalo’s Chicken Recipe is also grain-free and made without by-products or fillers.

    LifeSource Bits, which are tiny pieces of kibble packed with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, are added to support the immune system and provide oxidative balance. Omega-3 and 6 fatty acids are included for a healthy coat.

    The calories in this recipe are also carefully balanced to support weight management. The proteins and fat help build and maintain a healthy body weight. There are a few reports of the formula changing recently and the kibble size being larger than before, which some cats don’t like.

    Pros
    • High-protein recipe
    • LifeSource Bits
    • Weight management recipe
    Cons
    • New recipe
    • Large kibble size

    6. American Journey Turkey & Chicken Recipe Dry Cat Food

    American Journey Turkey & Chicken Recipe Grain new

    Protein 40%
    Moisture 10%
    First Ingredient Turkey

    Several protein sources are included in the American Journey Turkey & Chicken Recipe Dry Cat Food. Turkey is the first, followed by chicken and menhaden fish meal. Probiotics are added for a healthy digestive system. Peas and pea protein are used instead of corn, soy, and wheat. Fruits and vegetables are also included to provide vitamins and minerals.

    With a 40% protein content, American Journey’s formula is better than the competition when it comes to providing quality protein without using by-products. Unfortunately, several customers complained about the bags being too dusty when they’re delivered.

    Pros
    • Includes probiotics
    • High protein content
    Cons
    • Some pieces of kibble are crushed

    7. Tiki Cat Aloha Friends Wet Cat Food Variety Pack

    Tiki Cat Aloha Friends Chicken Variety Pack Grain New

    Protein 11%
    Moisture 84%
    First Ingredient Flaked tuna

    Each seafood-packed flavor in the Tiki Cat Aloha Friends Wet Cat Food Variety Pack is loaded with tuna and pumpkin. Tilapia, shrimp, calamari, and ocean whitefish make up the variety of flavors, so your cat doesn’t get bored with the same flavor each day. The seafood provides protein and omega fatty acids, including sunflower oil, to nourish your cat’s skin and coat.

    The moisture content from the broth will also keep urinary issues at bay by keeping your feline hydrated. Pumpkin adds fiber and antioxidants to this recipe for healthy digestion. All the tuna used in this recipe is wild-caught and dolphin-safe.

    Cats seem to enjoy Tiki Cat even though it’s been reported to have a strong smell. The consistency is described as soupy because it’s made with broth instead of thick gravy.

    Pros
    • Different flavors
    • Includes pumpkin
    • Moisture-rich
    Cons
    • Soupy consistency
    • Strong smell

    8. Wellness Gravies Chicken Dinner Canned Cat Food

    Wellness Gravies Chicken Dinner Canned Cat Food new

    Protein 8%
    Moisture 82%
    First Ingredient Chicken

    If your cat is a fan of gravy, the Wellness Gravies Chicken Dinner Canned Cat Food could be a winner. Bits of chicken are coated in plenty of gravy for a moisture-rich, healthy meal, and the gravy is made from turkey broth. Nothing artificial is added to this grain-free formula. The premium ingredients combine to make a balanced diet suitable for your cat.

    Chicken is the first ingredient, followed by turkey, chicken liver, and dried egg whites. Multiple protein sources are mixed with cranberries, ground peas, and carrots for added nutrients.

    Tiki Cat has a high moisture content, and some cats have been reported to only eat the gravy out of the food and leave the rest.

    Pros
    • Plenty of gravy
    • Multiple protein sources
    Cons
    • Some cats only like the gravy

    9. Merrick Purrfect Bistro Chicken & Sweet Potato Dry Cat Food

    Merrick Purrfect Bistro Grain-Free Real Chicken Sweet Potato Recipe Adult Dry Cat Food

    Protein 38%
    Moisture 11%
    First Ingredient Chicken

    The protein in the Merrick Purrfect Bistro Chicken & Sweet Potato Recipe Dry Cat Food comes from chicken and turkey, which accounts for 70% of the protein and fats. This supports healthy muscles and provides energy.

    Antioxidants for immune health and omegas for a healthy coat are also added. This recipe does not contain grains or artificial flavors. Peas, sweet potatoes, and alfalfa provide fiber and nutrients for gentle digestion. This formula is balanced to provide everything that adult cats need.

    Cats with sensitive stomachs have been reported to eat this food without issues. In some cats, their food allergies have cleared up, too.

    Pros
    • Promotes gentle digestion
    • Grain-free
    • Made with chicken and turkey
    Cons
    • Some cats don’t like the taste

    10. Iams ProActive Health Hairball Care Cat Food

    IAMS Proactive Health Indoor Weight & Hairball Care Adult Dry Cat Food

    Protein 30%
    Moisture 10%
    First Ingredient Chicken

    Chicken is the first ingredient in the  Iams ProActive Health Hairball Care Cat Food. It contains L-carnitine, which helps burn fat to keep your cat’s weight under control. In addition, this hairball formula uses a beet pulp fiber blend to support healthy digestion. Omega fatty acids will keep your cat’s coat healthy and shiny.

    Cats that eat Iams Proactive are reported to have fewer hairballs and food allergies. Some cats refuse to eat it because they don’t like the flavor, and it isn’t suitable for cats with allergies to poultry.

    Pros
    • Hairball management
    • Weight control formula
    Cons
    • Not suitable for cats with poultry allergies
    • Some cats don’t like the flavor

    11. Rachael Ray Nutrish Chicken with Lentils & Salmon Dry Cat Food

    Rachael Ray Nutrish Indoor Complete Premium Natural Dry Cat Food

    Protein 34%
    Moisture 9%
    First Ingredient Chicken

    Farm-raised chicken is the first ingredient in Rachael Ray Nutrish Chicken with Lentils & Salmon Dry Cat Food. This recipe contains a superfood blend of vitamins and minerals. It also contains taurine, an essential amino acid that cats require.

    The lentils provide fiber to support your cat’s metabolism and keep them at a healthy weight. Dandelion greens are added for prebiotics, and cranberries and blueberries are added for various vitamins and minerals. These ingredients combined with pumpkin also provide a natural way to minimize hairballs.

    If the kibble is too hard for your cat to eat comfortably, warm water can be added to soften it first.

    Pros
    • Promotes a healthy weight
    • Contain prebiotics
    Cons
    • Kibble may be too hard for some cats

    divider 2 cats

    Buyer’s Guide: Buying the Best Cat Food for Adult Cats

    Cats are obligate carnivores, and they require meat in their diets. Animal protein is necessary for them; cats cannot be vegetarians. There are a few factors to remember when choosing the healthiest cat food.

    Life Stage

    Kittens, adults, and seniors all require different nutrition to be healthy. For example, if adult cats ate kitten food, they’d likely become obese. Kitten food is loaded with calories and ingredients for growing cats. Senior cats need fewer calories because they are less likely to be as active. Finding the correct formula corresponding to your cat’s life stage is the first step in ensuring it is good for them.

    Taste

    Some cats are picky about the flavor of cat food. Just because your cat loves a chicken-flavored food doesn’t mean they’ll love the chicken flavor of a different brand. Most cats enjoy wet food more than dry food, and finding dry food with a flavor they like can be challenging.

    Limited-ingredient recipes may be healthy for cats, but they aren’t always appetizing. Finding a healthy brand that your cat likes to eat can take time. You may have to experiment with different protein sources and brands to find a winning combination.

    Dietary Restrictions

    If your cat has allergies to certain ingredients or has weight issues, some formulas are more beneficial. For instance, weight-control formulas provide optimal nutrition with fewer calories. For food allergies, scan the ingredients carefully to make sure the allergen isn’t hiding somewhere in the mix.

    grey cat just finished eating
    Image Credit: mik ulyannikov, Shutterstock

    Nutrients

    While cats can eat and digest carbohydrates, there is no evidence to show that they require them in their diet. In the wild, cats capture and eat their prey. Their natural diets don’t include carbohydrates, and their food in domestic life should not have many.

    Instead, you should focus on amino acids, vitamins, protein, moisture, and minerals. The protein content should be higher than the fat content. Taurine is an amino acid in animal protein and is required in cats’ diets for digestion, muscle function, healthy vision, and heart function. Without taurine, your cat could become fatally ill.

    Fiber is another ingredient to note when browsing cat food labels. It helps with digestion and managing your cat’s weight. Omega fatty acids promote healthy, hydrated skin and shiny fur.

    Digestibility

    The digestibility of a food refers to how much of the nutrients your cat absorbs. Even if your cat likes the food, it doesn’t mean they can digest it properly. If your cat’s stool is loose, watery, irregular, or frequent, they may not be able to digest their food well.

    Low-quality ingredients are usually to blame when cats have trouble digesting. Artificial colors, preservatives, and fillers aren’t ingredients in a cat’s natural diet. Their bodies can struggle to break them down.

    Quality foods with high moisture are easier for your cat to digest and absorb the vitamins and nutrients.

    Expiration Dates

    Dry cat food can go stale if it’s left open and not stored in a proper container. Store the food in a cool, dry place that is not in direct sunlight. You can store the food in airtight containers, but be sure to keep it in the bag.

    Check the dates on the bags and cans of cat food you purchase. Expiration dates will show you how long you can keep the food unopened on the shelf before you use it. They will also tell you if the food is no longer suitable for your cat to eat.

    divider 2 cats

    Is Dry or Wet Food Better for My Cat?

    top view of a cream maine coon cat eating dry and wet pet food from feeding dish
    Image Credit: Nils Jacobi, Shutterstock

    Wet food provides more hydration for your cat, which is important because cats don’t usually drink as much water as they should. They aren’t naturally inclined to drink water. Wild cats get most of the moisture they need from their prey. Some cats also prefer the taste of wet food over dry. However, if your cat only eats half the can, you need to refrigerate the rest until the next mealtime. In some cases, this can also mean you’ll need to reheat it to take the chill off since some cats will only eat room-temperature food.

    Dry food provides well-balanced nutrition and is easy to serve. It’s also convenient to store and costs less than wet food. It lasts longer, too. You can serve a mix of both foods that will provide the benefits of each. However, it’s also wise to consult your veterinarian. They can help you develop a diet of dry and wet foods to keep your kitty healthy.

    Always have fresh, clean water available at all times for your cat. Multiple bowls may encourage them to drink more.

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    Think About Your Time

    Come up with a plan for feeding your cat that works well with your schedule. If you have hectic mornings, filling a bowl with dry food is easier than scooping out a can (or heating yesterday’s canned leftovers from the fridge).

    Maybe your cat can get dry food in the morning and canned at night. The reverse could be better if you have more time in the mornings than in the evenings. Whichever you choose, as long as your cat gets healthy, well-balanced nutrition, they will be happy.

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    Final Verdict

    Our overall choice for the best adult cat food is Smalls Fresh Chunky Bird Human-grade cat food. We like the high-quality protein content and the fact that it’s grain-free. It’s a healthy option at a reasonable price. Our best value choice is Nutro Wholesome Essentials Salmon & Brown Rice Dry Cat Food. However, it also contains chicken, so it is not suitable for cats with poultry allergies.

    We hope our reviews have helped you choose the best cat food for your adult cat.

     


    Featured Photo Credit: Pixel-Shot, Shutterstock

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