If you are used to feeding feral cats, you probably think of them as your own. After all, it takes a lot of responsibility and care to look after animals with nowhere to go and no reliable source of food. However, the difference between pet cats and feral cats is that the number of feral cats you might be looking after is unknown. They also may come hungry, relying on you for their only real meal of the day. When you’re feeding a lot of cats a high volume of food, it can get expensive, and fast. In this article, we have compiled our reviews of some of the best cat foods for feral cats that can offer both nutritional value for the cats and budget-friendly options for you!
A Quick Look at Our Winners in 2024
|Rachael Ray Nutrish Cat Food
|Kirkland Chicken & Rice Cat Food
|Wellness Pate Chicken Entree Canned Cat Food
|Best for Kittens
|WholeHearted All Life Canned Cat Food
|Purina Cat Chow Naturals Cat Food
The 5 Best Cat Foods for Feral Cats
1. Rachael Ray Nutrish Chicken & Brown Rice Cat Food – Best Overall
|Chicken, chicken meal, corn gluten meal, brown rice, brewer’s rice
Rachael Ray doesn’t just make food for humans, but she also has a pet food brand that we happen to think is the best overall cat food for feral cats! The Rachael Ray Nutrish Natural Chicken & Brown Rice Recipe Cat Food is made from high-quality ingredients, including real chicken and brown rice. While pricier than some other options out there, you can feel good about the nutritional benefit your feral cats are getting from this food. It is available in three different sizes, so you can select the food that works best for your feral cat colony. One thing to note is that although the packaging says this product does not contain corn, one of the main ingredients is corn gluten meal.
2. EVAXO Kirkland Signature Chicken & Rice Cat Food – Best Value
|Chicken, chicken meal, whole grain brown rice, ground white rice, chicken fat
Since EVAXO is Costco’s in-house cat food brand, it may not be too surprising that the EVAXO Kirkland Signature Chicken and Rice Cat Food is the best cat food for feral cats for the money. This cat food is made with high-quality ingredients that rival other popular brands at a much cheaper price. In addition to high-quality ingredients, this cat food is easy for your feral cats to eat due to the small size of the kibble. This cat food comes in a 25-pound bag, which means your money will go farther than it would with other brands. However, the bag is not resealable, so you should make sure to put uneaten food in a container so that it won’t go stale or tempted unwanted pests.
3. Wellness Pate Grain-Free Chicken Entree Canned Cat Food – Premium Choice
|Chicken, chicken liver, turkey, chicken broth, carrots
The Wellness Complete Health Pate Chicken Entree cat food is by far the most expensive cat food on our list, but for good reason: as you can see, this wet food is made from high-quality, whole foods that are good for your feral cats. If you are feeding several cats at once, you might want to purchase this food in 12.5-ounce cans to get a little bit more bang for your buck. Just remember, wet food does not last very long after it is opened. While your feral cats will love this chicken pate treat, we suggest only buying this food if you feed feral cats infrequently or if you have house cats of your own that would eat it. Otherwise, this product may be a bit more than you want to spend.
4. WholeHearted All Life Stages Canned Cat Food –
Best for Kittens
|Chicken, chicken broth, water sufficient for processing, tapioca starch, sunflower oil
|All life stages
WholeHearted is the Petco brand of cat food, which means that this wet food is a bit less expensive than the Wellness brand wet food we just discussed. As an added benefit, this particular canned wet food was formulated for both adults and kittens, which is great if you are feeding cats of many different ages. This food also contains healthy fats that can help your feral cats restore their energy and develop healthy skin and fur. If you are sensitive to smells, however, you should note that customers say this cat food smells pretty unpleasant.
5. Purina Cat Chow Naturals Cat Food
|Chicken, corn gluten meal, brewers rice, chicken by-product meal, soybean meal
Purina may be one of the best-known name brands on this list, and for good reason; they are a solid brand that is known for delivering quality cat food. The Purina Cat Chow Naturals Cat Food is no different. In addition to real chicken, this food also contains some important vitamins and minerals that your feral cats need in order to have a balanced diet. Some of the vitamins and minerals in this cat food include vitamin E, the B-complex vitamins, and vitamin A. Plus, this formula includes chicken by-products, which are actually very good for your feral cats due to all of the nutrients that come from the so-called “undesirable” animal parts, such as the intestine.
Buyer’s Guide: Choosing the Best Cat Food for Feral Cats
Nutritional Needs of Feral Cats
All cats are obligate carnivores, which means they need to eat animal protein in order to be healthy. Cats need much more protein in their diets than dogs or humans; adult cats need about 26% of their food to be from a protein source, and kittens need even more at 30%. Cats also need a healthy amount of fats to maintain a healthy coat and healthy skin.
Feral cats have the same nutritional needs as other cats, but it’s important to understand that feral cats don’t necessarily have access to the same well-balanced diet that your family cat does. Feral cats may not be getting the total daily calories they need to eat in order to maintain lean muscle mass, so it is likely necessary for you to provide them with a higher-calorie, higher-fat food option. That being said, it is still important for feral cats to receive a balanced diet with necessary vitamins and minerals, as they are unlikely to be eating foods that satisfy their nutritional needs as they prepare for meals.
What to Look for When Buying Food for Feral Cats
While people who feed and care for feral cats often want to help and provide the best cat food available, it can become expensive to do so—especially when they have taken on the responsibility of feeding multiple cats. That’s why it’s important to strike a balance between providing quality nutrition for the cats and remaining within your budget. Make sure to choose food made with whole, quality ingredients to ensure that the cats get the most nutritionally complete meal possible. The first ingredient should always be high-quality animal protein.
As long as the ingredients are high-quality, you can save money on cat food by choosing foods made with cheaper protein sources. Chicken is usually a very affordable protein source, so look for foods made with chicken. Some cat foods are grain-free, but they tend to be more expensive. To cut down on the price, you can choose a cat food that contains grains, but make sure to select foods made with grains that are easy for cats to digest, such as oatmeal or brown rice.
If you find yourself feeding several feral cats regularly, you might consider buying the food in bulk as another strategy to cut down on costs.
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Whether you regularly feed feral cats or are looking for the best food for feral cats, we hope our reviews have helped you find a product that works for you and your budget. The Rachael Ray Nutrish Natural Chicken & Rice Recipe is our pick for the best overall feral cat food due to its top-notch nutritional value at a manageable price. For the best value, however, consider buying the EVAXO Kirkland Signature Chicken and Rice Cat Food, which offers affordable prices without sacrificing quality. For premium choice, we’ve picked the Wellness Complete Health Pate Chicken Entree cat food, which is pricey but made with excellent ingredients.
Featured Image Credit: Twinschoice, Shutterstock
- A Quick Look at Our Winners in 2024
- The 5 Best Cat Foods for Feral Cats
- 1. Rachael Ray Nutrish Chicken & Brown Rice Cat Food – Best Overall
- 2. EVAXO Kirkland Signature Chicken & Rice Cat Food – Best Value
- 3. Wellness Pate Grain-Free Chicken Entree Canned Cat Food – Premium Choice
- 4. WholeHearted All Life Stages Canned Cat Food –
- Best for Kittens
- 5. Purina Cat Chow Naturals Cat Food
- Buyer’s Guide: Choosing the Best Cat Food for Feral Cats