The Best Food for Your Cat: My Recommendations

cat with food bowl

Editor’s Note: Even tough this article was first written in 2012, I periodically update the information to keep it current. Most recent update: December 2015. I try to as many general questions in the comments as I can. If you’d like individualized advice for your cat, please schedule a consultation

If you’ve read this blog for any length of time, you know that I’m passionate about species-appropriate nutrition for cats. Cats are obligate carnivores, and they need meat not only to survive, but to thrive. The optimal diet for a cat is a properly formulated raw, home-cooked or grain-free canned diet.

Never feed dry food

Cats shouldn’t eat dry food; even the grain-free dry varieties are too high in carbohydrates.

And contrary to the myth that just won’t die, dry food does not clean your cat’s teeth. Most cats don’t chew their kibble long enough for any of the scraping action that is the theory behind this myth to kick in. What little they do chew shatters into small pieces. Some pet food manufacturers offer a “dental diet” that is made up of larger than normal sized kibble to encourage chewing, but in my years at veterinary practices, I’ve seen many cats swallow even those larger size pieces whole. Additionally, dry food leaves a carbohydrate residue in the cat’s mouth that actually encourages growth of tartar and plaque.

Articles about feline nutrition, and one-on-one consultations

You can find many of the articles I’ve written about this topic in the Feline Nutrition section right here on this site. I also provide one-on-one consultations if you need help with transitioning your cat to a healthier diet.

What I look for in a food

  • Protein is listed as the first ingredient on the label, and the meat/poultry used is fit for human consumption. If the meat is organic, that’s even better.
  • The food is grain-free (no rice, barley, or any other grains. Even though these are considered healthy in human nutrition, cats’ digestive tracts are not designed to digest the unnecessary carbs).
  • The food does not contain by-products, corn, soy, or any other fillers.
  • Ideally, I’d like to see no carrageenan in the food. Some of the brands on the list below have carrageenan in some of their flavors, so check labels carefully.
  • Ideally, I’d like a food to be GMO-free. Some of the brands on the list below may contain GMO’s.

Avoid fish-based foods

A word about fish: most cats love fish-based foods. I recommend using them sparingly or avoiding them altogether. Sadly, much of the fish that goes into pet food is contaminated with heavy metals and other toxins. (On a side note, that is also true for fish sold for human consumption.) Fish used in pet food manufacturing often contains whole fish, guts and bones, which can increase phosphorus levels of the food. This can be a problem for cats with kidney disease. Some cats are sensitive to fish-based diets and develop urinary tract problems that resolve when fish is removed from their diet. Additionally, fish based foods may contain menadione, a synthetic form of vitamin K, which has been banned by the FDA for use in human supplements.

My recommendations

I am often asked what brands I recommend. Unfortunately, there are many diets on the market that sound good based on what the pretty packaging says, but when you take a closer look at the label, you realize that there’s not much substance behind the marketing claims. The brands listed below are foods that I either currently feed to Allegra and Ruby, or have fed to them in the past. This list is not meant to be exclusive, and it does not mean that there aren’t other really good diets out there. It just means that these brands are the ones I’m comfortable with after doing thorough research.

I recommend the following (listed in no particular order):

Grain-free canned diets

Weruva. Read my full review of this brand here.

Nature’s Variety Instinct Canned

Bravo Canned

Nature’s Logic Canned

Hound and Gatos

Tiki Cat. I only recommend the poultry-based flavors.

Soulistic. This brand is exclusively sold by Petco (and also available from Amazon), but is produced under the same processing standards as Weruva.

Addiction I only recommend the carrageenan free formulas. They are a bit higher in carbs than I like to see, but I still consider it a good brand.

Wild Calling

Merrick Merrick was bought out by Purina in 2015. Company representatives assured me that they will continue to operate independently, and that the sourcing and the formulas will not change. I’ll be keeping a close eye on this brand, and will remove it from this list if I no longer feel comfortable with it.

Ziwi Peak

Raw diets

Primal Pet Foods I like these diets, but I have found that the formulas seem to vary a bit from batch to batch. If you have a finicky eater, this may become a problem.

Rad Cat This is hands down (paws down?) my favorite raw food, and my cats seem to agree

Feline’s Pride

Stella and Chewy’s

Nature’s Variety

Dehydrated raw diets

The Honest Kitchen

Stella and Chewy’s

Additional Reading

How much should I feed my cat?

How to wean your cat off dry food

How to get finicky cats to eat

How to read a pet food label

Feeding your cat: know the basics of feline nutrition by Dr. Lisa Pierson

Feline Nutrition

Cooking for your cat: how to make a balanced homemade diet

Kidney failure and diet in cats

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Photo: istockphoto

513 Comments on The Best Food for Your Cat: My Recommendations

  1. Peggy Eyler
    February 13, 2016 at 4:53 pm (23 hours ago)

    I am wondering how Flint River Ranch dry and wet canned food compares to the ones you have listed. It is suppose to be the best of any!

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      February 14, 2016 at 6:04 am (10 hours ago)

      I was not aware that Flint River Ranch makes a canned food, Peggy. I only see dry food on their website. I do not recommend any dry food for cats. I don’t consider the ingredients in this particular brand of dry food appropriate for an obligate carnivore like the cat: the first two ingredients are chicken meal and potatoes.

      Reply
  2. Zonia
    February 9, 2016 at 12:42 am (6 days ago)

    Great post! Actually I got Weruva for my long hair male cat who has been prescribed wet food by the vet after having urinary tract problems. I read about Weruva and that the Paw Lickin’ Chicken would be good for him and keep his urine pH at levels to prevent struvite crystals, just like the vet prescribed food. The Paw Lickin’ Chicken has a lot of water and low magnesium, phosphorus, and calcium. But unlike the veterinarian recommended food, it has no byproducts or fillers or grains. Weruva actually looks like food, not gruel, and it doesn’t have an unpleasant smell like a lot of cat foods. Weruva costs almost as much as the vet prescribed brand, but Weruva is clearly made with superior ingredients. I will still be monitoring my cat for any problems, but so far this food is working fine for him and I feel better knowing he is on a better quality food.

    At first my cat was hesitant to eat the Weruva food, but I believe that was simply because he wasn’t used to the texture. The Weruva chicken is shredded into fine strips, rather than minced. My cat would drink the juices, as he had no problem with the flavor, but was reluctant to actually eat the chicken. So I had to mix it with the prescription food he had been eating before he would eat the Weruva food by itself. It is a good idea to mix the food with what your cat has been eating, anyway, so they can gradually get used to it. Now my cat doesn’t hesitate and will eagerly eat the Weruva food.

    Reply
  3. Allie
    February 2, 2016 at 9:57 am (2 weeks ago)

    Hi!
    Hope all is well. I’ve been feeding my cats most of the earthborne holistic line wet food. In your opinion, do you think this is a good food. Here is their website. Thanks! Any feedback is much appreciated!:)

    http://www.earthbornholisticpetfood.com/us/cat_formulas/

    With warm regards,
    Allie

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      February 2, 2016 at 12:03 pm (2 weeks ago)

      Looks good to me at first glance, Allie. I would stick with the poultry based flavors and avoid the fish flavors.

      Reply
      • Allie
        February 2, 2016 at 12:37 pm (2 weeks ago)

        Thanks for your post back. How often is it good to rotate different brands? Is there a certain amount of meats you should feed your cat, I know it shouldn’t just be chicken for example since allergies can develop. I just want to make sure I’m rotating enough. I just don’t know how often to rotate different cans, like what’s the rule of thin for repeating the same flavor can and switching up brands. My 2 cats only eat wet food and Stella and chewys dehyraded raw. Thanks!

        Reply
        • Ingrid
          February 2, 2016 at 4:16 pm (2 weeks ago)

          There’s no reason not to feed chicken unless your cat is allergic to it. Just because a cat eats chicken doesn’t mean she’s going to eventually become allergic to it. There are no rules for rotating. You can rotate flavors daily, or every few days, or with each meal, or you can feed raw in the morning and canned in the evening or vice versa. I primarily rotate two different flavors of Radcat raw every two or three days, and two or three times a week, I feed canned food (a variety of brands.) I hope this helps.

          Reply
  4. Carol
    January 31, 2016 at 7:00 pm (2 weeks ago)

    So I got my 11-yr-old girl Tessie off her dry food and switched her canned food from Dave’s tuna flavors to Soulistic Good Karma (chicken) and several flavors of Weruva’s Cats in the Kitchen which she didn’t really dig into but seemed to tolerate okay (She’s been diagnosed with idiopathic hypercalcemia so I had to find a brand that didn’t add acidifiers!)

    After a week of eating the new food, she suddenly wouldn’t eat anything yesterday. Not wanting her to go without eating at all, last night I broke down and gave her her old tuna flavor … and she ate most of a 3 oz can. Today, she’s only had about another 3 oz of her old food so far, so further frustrated I broke down even further and gave her some of her old crunchies. She ate some crunchies, but not enough to keep from worrying about her.

    Did I screw up by not transitioning her properly? I just put out the new brands of food and she ate it okay. Now I just read that I should’ve mixed the new with the old for a better transition.

    Not sure what to do now …. Any and all help is most appreciated!!!

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      February 1, 2016 at 5:53 am (2 weeks ago)

      With grain free food it tends to not be necessary to mix the new food with the old for a slower transition unless a cat’s system is very sensitive. I would go back to feeding her what you want her to eat. You may need to practice a little “tough love” during this transition. Feline veterinarian Dr. Fern Crist explains this really well in this article: http://consciouscat.net/2014/12/22/ask-cat-vet-transition-cat-healthy-diet/

      Reply
      • Carol
        February 1, 2016 at 8:27 am (2 weeks ago)

        Thx Ingrid, i feel a bit better reading that and Dr Crist makes some great points. I’m just frustrated that she seemed okay wiyh the new food for a week and then just stopped. I also worry since she’s older and very set in her ways. She’s very used to nibbling … She normally takes a out 2 hours to go thru her morning meal. 20 minutes 2x a day seems so harsh.

        Reply
        • Ingrid
          February 1, 2016 at 12:43 pm (2 weeks ago)

          That’s the whole point of Dr. Crist’s article, though, Carol: you’ve got to retrain your cat, and sometimes, that means having to practice a little “tough love.”

          Reply
  5. Leanna
    January 29, 2016 at 7:21 pm (2 weeks ago)

    Ingrid, I see that a few weeks ago you commented to not have much info/personal experience with Whole Earth Farms canned cat food by Merrick, but I wonder if you’ve learned more about it since then, by chance. I’ve tried looking for Merrick’s limited ingredient line (I can’t find it anywhere and hesitate to order a case if I’m not sure my cats will like it) and at the store I saw a special display of Merrick’s Whole Earth on sale and bought a few. One of my cats has not been eating enough, and to my delight she scarfed up a whole can. It is grain-free, no tuna/seafood, and carrageenan-free. Many thanks :)

    Reply
  6. Matt
    January 28, 2016 at 6:50 pm (2 weeks ago)

    What is your experience with the “Wellness” brand CORE Grain-Free Indoor Formula? I’ve had my boys on that for the past year or so. 2 male cats about 10 lbs each (they are big boned, I swear), giving each a 1/4 can in the morning, and at night (so one total can/day) and then I fill a Pipolino with a half cup of the Wellness CORE Grain-Free Indoor kibble. I’m concerned I’m not feeding them enough.

    Also, if kibble is the enemy because carbs, etc… what would be the best alternative or way to leave them alone for a weekend with enough food that they won’t devour it all at once? Typically we fill the Pipolino with a few cups that we know should last them for the time we are away. The nice part about the device is that at least they have to work to get the food out and its just a few pieces at a time.

    Many thanks.

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      January 29, 2016 at 5:42 am (2 weeks ago)

      Wellness CORE contains carrageenan, and I prefer brands without it.

      I am not comfortable with the idea of leaving cats alone for a weekend, but if you can’t have a cat sitter or trusted friend come to check on them and feed them, you can get timed feeders for them. This feeder will keep up to 5 meals fresh http://amzn.to/20aFdLH

      Reply
  7. Susan Alexander
    January 28, 2016 at 1:21 pm (2 weeks ago)

    Thankyou Ingrid for your awesome wedsite and dedication! I haven’t had kitties in my life for about 12 years, Things have certainly changed with knowledge and food options! I now have two 13 week kittens and have taken them off of dry and feeding raw and canned 4 times a days. Frenchie is twice as big as Violet. I did read your “how much to feed” section, but honestly, I am still confused on how much quantity to feed them because they seem to want to “graze”. They gobble up the food at first and then go back 2 and 3 times looking for more. What do you recommend? Also, for Pam Knight regarding Darwin’s raw food, I have read every review I could find and they all say the food is excellent however the customer service is terrible – I still might give it a try since in my area the cheapest I can find Rad Cat is $9.99 for 16 oz! Thanks again!

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      January 28, 2016 at 2:50 pm (2 weeks ago)

      I would leave the food out for about 20-30 minutes and then take up whatever they didn’t finish. This will train them to eat only at meal times.

      Reply
      • Susan Alexander
        January 29, 2016 at 5:10 pm (2 weeks ago)

        Thanks Ingrid! Back to Darwins raw food, I call the company. Very nice and he explained that they switched their entire system which turned out to be a nightmare for both customers as well as employees. They are working diligently to correct the glitches and return to giving excellent customer service. I believed him and placed an order.

        Reply
    • Amy
      January 28, 2016 at 4:07 pm (2 weeks ago)

      I’m dealing with this as well. For the last few weeks, I’ve been feeding them (I have two cats) 1/2 can in the morning, I leave it out for an hour then put the rest in the fridge. My girl cat meows incessantly all day for food. I then feed them the rest of the left over food and second half of the can in the evening and leave out for an hour. They still don’t finish all the food. One can of Merrick has 140 calories so this means they are only eating 70 cals each a day, which is way too little.

      Two days ago, up’d the amount to two cans (1 can in the am and 1 can in the pm) and I leave it out for about 3 hours. They still don’t finish everything, but they are only getting a fraction of the calories they should be consuming. As a test, I put out a 1/8 cup of dry food and they gobbled it down as if they were starving. Poor kitties, I just don’t know how to get more calories in them without giving them dry food.

      Reply
      • Marlene
        January 28, 2016 at 4:18 pm (2 weeks ago)

        I have a very picky cat, and I was extra worried about her not eating, since she was a kitten! I really had to work to find a food she loves, and then kept mixing until she learned to enjoy her new food. It didn’t take that long when I started mixing, but it’s preferable to feeding dry or worrying about them not eating enough. A wet food my cats love (Ingrid would not recommend!) is Max Cat California Chicken flavor. There are several other gravy based Max Cat formulas my picky girl also loved. But after I found what she loved and mixed, I was eventually able to get her to be a good eater of raw food. It took a lot of dedication, but less than optimal food in the name of the end goal is okay in my book.

        Reply
        • Amy
          January 28, 2016 at 4:23 pm (2 weeks ago)

          They both seem to like the food I feed them. I mix 1/2 can of Merrick chicken with 1/2 can of Merrick turkey, then add water to make it soupy. They eat right away and seem to eat to satisfaction, but I think they just can’t get over the grazing aspect they are used to (for the last 9 years, I’ve free-fed them dry food). I’m being diligent about feeding times and removing the food after awhile hoping they’ll get used to the new schedule. It just doesn’t seem like they are consuming enough calories.

          Granted, they could both stand to lose a few pounds. My boy is 17lbs and my girl 12lbs (both maine coon/siamese mixes).

          Reply
        • Amy
          January 28, 2016 at 4:57 pm (2 weeks ago)

          Thank you so much for this, Ingrid! That link totally calms my nerves about the amount of calories they are consuming. Onward and upward! And my vocal kitty Bella can just meow all she wants. (But she’s always been very vocal, especially as a kitten: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lK8xHuExCUQ) :)

          Reply
          • Ingrid
            January 29, 2016 at 5:38 am (2 weeks ago)

            Oh my goodness, she’s adorable!

  8. Jess
    January 21, 2016 at 4:00 pm (3 weeks ago)

    Update on Felix:

    I got him Rad Cat turkey and chicken- he loves themmmmm! Will continue feeding him that for wet food.

    As for dry food, I tried Fromm for kitten but he didn’t like it. But he still ate Science Diet at times :(

    I felt guilty if he only feed wet food, not dry food. Have any suggestions?

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      January 21, 2016 at 5:06 pm (3 weeks ago)

      Eliminate the dry food altogether – it’s one of the best things you can do for his health, Jess.

      Reply
      • Sharyl
        January 21, 2016 at 8:32 pm (3 weeks ago)

        Dry food is like feeding your babies chocolate chip cookies. It hurts their kidneys etc they are carnivores. I got mine off dry a few years ago after changing vets and saw a big difference in just 3 days with their energy and overall health. Hope this helps you make the decision

        Reply
  9. Lynda
    January 21, 2016 at 12:53 am (4 weeks ago)

    My 15 year old male siamese cat was recently diagnosed with CDK. He has been on a non-grain canned cat food for several years, but the food (Life Abundance) was high in phosphorus. I just switched him to the Weruva (Paw Lickin’ Chicken) because of the low phosphorus content. Are there any other no grain/no gmo canned cat food that you can recommend with a low phosphorus level? I am also looking into acupuncture and Chinese herbs for my cat.

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      January 21, 2016 at 5:45 am (3 weeks ago)

      Unfortunately, companies don’t disclose phosphorus levels on their labels, and you usually have to call to get this information.

      Reply
  10. Amy
    January 19, 2016 at 12:14 am (4 weeks ago)

    Hello, I started feeding my two cats the instinct limited turkey wet food, but it looks as if there are bone fragments in there. Several reviews on Amazon also mention this and have pictures. Should I be concerned about this? My boy cat has a very sensitive stomach and was recently hospitalized with pancreatitis. I don’t want to put him in any potential danger.

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      January 19, 2016 at 6:10 am (4 weeks ago)

      I would contact the company if you haven’t already done so, Amy, and I would stop feeding this particular batch.

      Reply
      • Amy
        January 21, 2016 at 4:00 pm (3 weeks ago)

        Hi Ingrid, thank you so much for your quick response and knowledge. I did reach out to Instinct about this and just wanted to share their response:

        Our canned cat food do contain ground bone. While we do not add bone and cartilage as separate ingredients to our cans, the meat constituents will naturally contain some bone and cartilage since it is a natural product. We work to assure that the bone pieces are very small and soft.

        Our diets are also formulated to meet all AAFCO nutrient requirements to be complete and balanced for all life stages, but they are not formulated for special needs pets – such as IBD or pancreatitis. For pets with special needs, we recommend continuing to consult with your trusted veterinarian to choose the right diet for your cat.

        Reply
        • Ingrid
          January 21, 2016 at 5:07 pm (3 weeks ago)

          Thanks for sharing their response, Amy. It doesn’t explain what was found in that batch you mentioned, though. Looks like maybe they had some quality control issues with that particular batch.

          Reply
  11. Carol
    January 18, 2016 at 3:24 pm (4 weeks ago)

    My 11 yr old Tessie has been recently diagnosed with Idiopathic Hypercalcemia. Reading up on it on the net, the best course of nutrition would be canned foods that are high protein and low fat & carbs … and no acidifiers added. My vet is pushing me to get a high fiber food (or at least add psyllium). I told him what I read about the dangers of the kibble diet and he said that there are just as many concerns for the dangers of canned food …. something about the lining of the cans not being safe? Is that true? Does that hold true for pouches as well? Thank you :)

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      January 18, 2016 at 4:05 pm (4 weeks ago)

      Your vet is most likely referring to the BPA found in the lining of some cans, Carol. A small 2000 EPA study of 100 cats with hyperthyroidism and 163 control cats identified BPA as a possible culprit in causing hyperthyroidism. Many manufacturers use cans without BPA.

      Reply
      • Carol
        January 19, 2016 at 9:36 am (4 weeks ago)

        Thank you, Ingrid! Is there a way to find out which brands are BPA-free?

        Reply
        • Ingrid
          January 19, 2016 at 11:40 am (4 weeks ago)

          The only way to find out for sure is to either check the brand’s website, or call their customer service department.

          Reply
        • Crystal Dunlap
          January 19, 2016 at 12:52 pm (4 weeks ago)

          I just switched my cats to Merrick and Soulistic last week after reading this article. I just called Merrick and they said their cat food cans are BPA free. I also called Soulistic and they said their cans are BPA free. If anyone gets a different answer, I would like to know. Many thanks!

          Reply
          • Ingrid
            January 19, 2016 at 3:40 pm (4 weeks ago)

            Thank you for passing this information on, Crystal.

          • Carol
            January 21, 2016 at 1:14 pm (3 weeks ago)

            Yes! Thank you for the call, Crystal! I’m trying Soulistic for Tessie along with Weruva. I wish I could get her to eat the Wellness since that was what was recommended on the FelineIHC website … And, of course, Thank you, Ingrid for providing this site and your knowledge!! :)

          • Crystal
            January 21, 2016 at 1:27 pm (3 weeks ago)

            Carol, Wellness is an excellent food and my holistic vet where I lives recommends it to all her patients. Unfortunately, Wellness does not have a limited ingredient food. I’ve contacted them in the past asking them to consider it. Take care!

          • Sharyl
            January 21, 2016 at 3:40 pm (3 weeks ago)

            Be careful and read ingredients. My holistic vet no longer recommends Wellness as it contains carrageenan- Merrick has a limited ingredient as does instant but instincts is very mushy. Our babes are loving the merrick. I just ordered 6 cases on Amazon

          • Crystal
            January 21, 2016 at 4:41 pm (3 weeks ago)

            Thank you so much for that information Sharyl. It’s been a while since she recommended Wellness and I actually see the other doctor that is in another office. I was going off of what she told me years ago. I will not be making that recommendation again. I appreciate you letting us know!

          • Sharyl
            January 21, 2016 at 8:38 pm (3 weeks ago)

            You are very welcome Crystal. Ingrid has also said it. Good luck

  12. Crystal Dunlap
    January 14, 2016 at 6:26 pm (1 month ago)

    I desperately need help please because I want to feed my cat the best choice possible. They will NOT eat raw. They will go 3-4 days without eating and that presents another problem altogether the vet told me.

    I am ALL in to feed a high quality grain free canned wet food. I have another issue to add to this. I have a cat that needs to be on a limited ingredient diet to his sensitive stomach. He appears that his stomach can only handle one protein source at a time. I don’t give him chicken because I was told that can cause allergies. So mostly turkey, and rabbit or duck if I can find it. Any suggestions? Thanks much in advance.

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      January 15, 2016 at 6:00 am (1 month ago)

      Have you done a food elimination trial with your kitty with the sensitive stomach? Here’s more information on feline food allergies: http://consciouscat.net/2013/09/09/food-allergies-in-cats/

      You may want to try one of the Limited Ingredient canned diets from either Nature’s Variety or Merrick.

      If you’d like more detailed advice, I’d be happy to schedule a consultation.

      Reply
      • Crysyal
        January 15, 2016 at 8:44 am (1 month ago)

        Thank you so much for your response. Yes, I did. This cat was throwing up on and off for a year. I spent hours going back and forth to pet stores to buy high end canned food. Found a LTD he could tolerate which was chicken and they stopped making it. I tried Nature’s Variety Turkey and they don’t like it and just leave it in the bowl-:(. I had to special order the duck and rabbit. They didn’t like it. The crazy thing is that he can tolerate a homemade boiled organic chicken breast. So it’s not chicken which I have read is usually the problem. I wonder if it’s some other ingredient. I have made homemade raw and cooked food and they won’t eat it. I will give Merrick a try because the brand I am currently using is not on your list. Cats are too finicky for me which is why these are my first and last cats! Thank you so much for your response.

        Reply
    • Sharyl
      January 15, 2016 at 3:09 pm (1 month ago)

      Hi Crystal,

      Finding food our babies can and will eat is challenging. My 5 babies love Merrick limited Turkey. The limited is single protein. There is also instinct limited but my babies refused to eat it. It was very mushy and looked like it had already been eaten. Good luck and let us know if you find any that works

      Reply
      • Crystal
        January 15, 2016 at 5:34 pm (4 weeks ago)

        Sharly, thank you so much for your response. I’ve tried Nature’s Variety LTD in turkey and duck and they won’t touch it. I went out and purchased Merrick LTD turkey and duck last night after reading this article. I fed it to them this morning and it was still in their bowls when I left this morning:-(. I like dogs because they are appreciative of anything you do for them. I will not be adopting any more cats. Too high maintenance. Thank you so much for your suggestions. Hoping I can get them to like the Merrick.

        Reply
        • Sharyl
          January 15, 2016 at 6:23 pm (4 weeks ago)

          I’m sorry you feel that way Crystal – not everyone is suited for cats. Hopefully things turn around, but it is sounding like there is more of an allergy and you may want to take the time to speak with Ingrid. There may be another reason as well. A consultation with a good animal communicator would be a suggestion too. We have worked with one for a few years now and I can’t begin to tell you the changes in our babies and our relationship. I know how frustrating it can be at times, but it is so worth it. You’re baby is also probably picking up on your stress as cats are extremely sensitive.

          Reply
      • Crystal
        January 25, 2016 at 11:10 pm (3 weeks ago)

        Sharyl, hoping you or others have some suggestions. I purchased Merrick and brought the Duck, Turkey and Chicken. I didn’t consider the Salmon since I know to stay away from fish. The duck gave my male cat loose stools. I tried it twice. Same thing happened. So, my female can’t have it, because they eat each other’s food. They both like the turkey pretty much, but they can take or leave the chicken. I want them to have more than one protein source so I can rotate. I can’t afford for them to like the chicken one time and the other time leave it in the bowl all day without touching it. I’m not going to survive these cats:-(. Thank you!

        Reply
        • Sharyl
          January 25, 2016 at 11:24 pm (3 weeks ago)

          I haven’t had the loose stool with the duck but maybe you need to add probiotics or give 1/2 chick and 1/2 duck. Mine also love the turkey the best. I get frustrated too with food but they are like us I feel. Sometimes we don’t want what someone has made Let’s see what Ingrid suggests. You may just want to have a phone consult with her. Keep us posted. You’re not alone

          Reply
          • Crystal
            January 25, 2016 at 11:28 pm (3 weeks ago)

            Thank you sweet one!

        • Ingrid
          January 26, 2016 at 5:36 am (3 weeks ago)

          Rotating protein sources is a good idea, Crystal. I would avoid the duck if it gives one of your cats loose stools. Adding a probiotic is always a good idea, and it may address the issue of the loose stools for your male cat. As for your cats not being too thrilled with the chicken formula, sometimes, cats just won’t like a food, even if they liked it the day before. Why not stick with the turkey for now, and try the chicken again in a couple of weeks?

          Reply
          • Crystal
            January 26, 2016 at 10:56 am (3 weeks ago)

            Will do! Thank you so much!!!!

  13. Danielle Scott
    January 10, 2016 at 1:18 am (1 month ago)

    Hi Ingrid. I’ve been thing of switching my cats to a raw diet. The problem is I work the night shift and I frequently have to stay over and work until 3 in the afternoon. They eat Nature’s Variety Instinct dry and wet now. I feed dry food because there is no guarantee I’ll be home to feed them in the morning. I’ve been feeding Stella & Chewy’s for the evening meal for about a month. My one cats loves it, but the other one won;t touch it.

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      January 10, 2016 at 6:04 am (1 month ago)

      If you absolutely must feed dry due to your schedule, Nature’s Variety Instinct Ultimate Protein or Instinct Raw Boost are probably the best choices of what’s available in dry food right now.

      Reply
    • Marlene
      January 10, 2016 at 7:45 am (1 month ago)

      I had this problem with travel and a once per day cat sitter. Here’s how I solved it. The cat sitter would give them their raw portion (meal 1 of 2) first. Then just before leaving, she would put out a frozen solid meal 2, and the cats naturally eat it when it thaws. I do have two cats, so I cannot guarantee each is getting their exact portion, but it feels better to me than relying on dry. Hope this helps!

      Reply
      • Ingrid
        January 10, 2016 at 4:24 pm (1 month ago)

        That’s a great solution, Marlene, thank you for the suggestion!

        Reply
  14. stephanie
    January 7, 2016 at 12:06 pm (1 month ago)

    Hello!
    I’ve had my three yr old Torbie and 8 month (newly adopted) Kittens on Rad Cat and Primal for a year (well, kittens as soon as I became their guardian).

    I also would offer a few cans here and there too (merrick carrageenan free, soulistic and nature’s variety instinct)—about once a month. But the mainstay of their diet has been raw.

    Recently, I’ve needed to tighten up my budget and find I need to find a different source of food for my cats that will work within my smaller budget. Help! I’ve been freaking out about needing to give them less and less of the raw and more of the canned. On average the raw is about $8.99-9.99 a lb by me and the canned works out to be around $4-5 a lb depending upon brand.

    This makes a huge difference financially—especially since I’m feeding three felines. My 3 yr old torbie is about 9.5 pounds and 8 month kittens are quickly closing the gap at around 7lbs each. I need to find a more economical source without disrupting their systems—well, at least as little as possible. I started offering FreshPet too because that seems to be better than the canned but worry about the over all nutritional quality and impacting their health—which is NOT what I want to do. It’s hard to find a canned food that doesn’t have carrageenan in it and that is comparable calorie wise to the raw. They like the Soulistic but it’s so low in calories and I feel like I’m giving them junk food. Any words of advice and wisdom would be greatly appreciated.

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      January 7, 2016 at 1:51 pm (1 month ago)

      Have you considered making your own raw food, Stephanie? I don’t consider Soulistic and Weruva junk food, but they are lower in calories, so from a budget perspective, they’re probably not as good a choice as some of the pate style brands. I haven’t looked at FreshPet in a while, the last time I looked at their diets, the feline formulas contained ocean fish and were higher in veggies than I like to see, but it is less processed than canned food.

      Reply
      • stephanie
        January 8, 2016 at 9:17 am (1 month ago)

        You know, I hadn’t thought about making it myself. It always seemed over my head. I’d definitely have to do some research so I know I’m doing it right and make sure I can source the meat properly, grind it and add the appropriate supplements. hmm… Thank you so much for your suggestion.

        Reply
    • Marlene
      January 7, 2016 at 2:45 pm (1 month ago)

      Ho Stephanie. I feed Radcat and feel your pain. I buy most of mine from Pet Supplies Plus. Depending on where you live, you can “earn” coupons to PSP on recyclebank for $5 off $25. Yes I go in every couple of days and buy the Radcat two 24 oz containers at a time, coupon in hand. I do have to go to the store more frequently, but the savings add up fast. You could also consider, buying gift cards at a discount from sites like Raise and Cardcash to help cut costs. Of course these measures work for canned food, too. If you’re up for doing raw at home, people save money, by buying their meats just at expiration and freezing. It’s not something I have time to do, so I do the gift card / coupon game. I hope this helps!

      Reply
      • Marlene
        January 7, 2016 at 2:46 pm (1 month ago)

        Typing on my phone. Hi* Stephanie. So sorry for the typo!!

        Reply
      • Ingrid
        January 7, 2016 at 5:19 pm (1 month ago)

        Thank you for these tips, Marlene!

        Reply
      • stephanie
        January 8, 2016 at 9:21 am (1 month ago)

        Hello Marlene!
        Thank you so much for your suggestions. The more I think of it the more I think I’m going to educate myself about making it at home. This way I don’t sacrifice anything and can still have a better budget (one that’s less than my usual $400 a month for my three lovelies). Thank you again. I truly appreciate it! And am thankful for this site. And the fact that I decided to step out from under my shame of needing to lower my budget and reach for additional suggestions and advice. :)

        Reply
          • stephanie
            January 8, 2016 at 1:10 pm (1 month ago)

            Thank you yet again!
            I reached out to Jodi after finding her via your link and downloading her recipe from your site. She turned me on to an even better resource for adding the vital nutrients needing in making food at home. I’m feeling really empowered and confident in making their food myself. Thanks you once again for being such a stellar resource. My kitties thank you too! http://tcfeline.com/

          • Ingrid
            January 8, 2016 at 2:28 pm (1 month ago)

            I’m so glad Jodi could help, Stephanie. The mix she recommended is also the one my feline vet recommends. Let us know how your kitties like your homemade food!

  15. Ellen
    January 6, 2016 at 7:30 am (1 month ago)

    Your site so informative! I have two 7 year old long haired cats. For 7 years I’ve fed them dry food (because I didn’t know any better). They would both vomit 1-2 times per week, but the vet never thought that was a problem. One of them started vomiting daily about 2 weeks ago. Again, vet didn’t mind. I found your site and changed them to a wet food diet. I gave them natures variety limited ingredient turkey for two days without issue. This morning one of them won’t eat anything. I’ve tried offering it several times. She runs to the food bowl like she is hungry, but after smelling it she walks away. She did vomit again this morning- all water, no hair ball like usual. Any suggestions would be appreciated!!! Thank you!

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      January 6, 2016 at 9:45 am (1 month ago)

      I’m glad our site is helpful, Ellen, and good for you for taking your cats off dry food. I’m shocked that your vet thinks daily vomiting is nothing to be concerned about. You can try some of the tips in this article to entice your kitty to eat: http://consciouscat.net/2013/07/03/how-to-get-finicky-cats-to-eat/, but if your kitty still doesn’t eat by the end of the day and/or if the frequent vomiting continues, I’d have her checked out – probably by a different vet.

      Reply
  16. Elizabeth
    January 4, 2016 at 4:17 pm (1 month ago)

    I recently got a kitten as he is now 8 months old. I have been doing some in depth research into what food I should feed him. I currently am free feeding him Taste of the Wild dry food and giving him Wellness wet kitten food. I want to switch away from the Wellness because of the carrageenan, and will do that once he is an adult. I also thought about switching to just one brand for wet and dry instead of two, but am not sure what to do.

    I looked into Whole Earth Farms dry food and my cat likes it, but I didn’t know if that was the best thing to give him. I got a small bag of “Whole Earth Farms-Grain Free Recipe-healthy kitten. He really liked it, and I kind of want to switch to the brand. I was having trouble finding a comparison between TOTW and Whole Earth Farms.

    I also got a can of Whole Earth Farms wet food (duck flavor) and he scarfed his sample down and wanted more.

    My cat is not picky at all and will eat pretty much everything I give him. I tested out a few different brands and ended here with TOTW and Wellness.

    My main questions are: Is Whole Earth Farms dry and wet food a good choice? Is it better or worse than TOTW wet and dry?

    I know this is a long message, but I really wanted some other opinions on the matter. I want to feed my cat something that is truly good for his little belly. He is such a sweetie and I want him to be healthy.

    Thank you

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      January 4, 2016 at 4:23 pm (1 month ago)

      One of the best things you can do for the lifelong health of your kitten is to eliminate all dry food from his diet, Elizabeth. All the grain-free canned and raw brands on my list are appropriate for kittens. I’m not familiar with Whole Earth Farms brand, so I can’t comment on that.

      Reply
  17. Sara
    January 3, 2016 at 10:10 am (1 month ago)

    Per our veterinarian’s recommendation, we switched our two cats to Hill’s W/D prescription diet. This was mainly because one of our cats had high cholesterol that needed to be addressed. (Hypercholesterolemia, common in Basset Hounds, but not so much in cats.) However, I do not like giving it to them because of the long list of icky ingredients; especially the corn! I didn’t know if you might be aware of a diet that would help with my cat’s cholesterol issues, but not be full of things he shouldn’t be eating? He also has allergies, arthritis and chronic bronchitis so I feel a good diet would really help all around.

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      January 3, 2016 at 10:42 am (1 month ago)

      I’m glad you’re questioning the ingredients in w/d, Sara. I would work with a holistic veterinarian who’s well versed in feline nutrition. Dr. Lisa Pierson of catinfo.org offers remote consultations. You may also consider services like petdiets.com or balanceit.com – they will formulate a home-cooked diet for pets with special dietary needs.

      Reply
  18. trish burgess
    January 2, 2016 at 12:32 pm (1 month ago)

    We are looking for wet cat food for our 5 yr old shelter kitty, Tetley. The ONLY time her digestive tract was problem free was when “By Nature” offered WET, canned Organic Chicken and Turkey food. PROBLEM: they stopped making it a couple of years ago.
    No matter what we have done to introduce various grain-free, fish-free, and magnesium oxide free WET cat food her digestive issues continue. Tetley is currently on Instinct 95% Chicken AND Turkey BUT her issues continue.
    Ideally, we would like a cat food that adheres to the following specs:
    Wet, Organic, Product of the USA, Meats that are ONLY turkey and/or chicken, NO Grains, absolutely NO FISH products (of any sort), NO fillers, NO carrageenan, NO magnesium oxide.
    Can you help?
    Thank you, Trish Burgess 949-361-0851

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      January 2, 2016 at 1:44 pm (1 month ago)

      It’s challenging to find an organic canned food that meets all your requirements, Trish. Have you considered a raw or a homecooked diet for Tetley?

      Reply
    • Marlene
      January 2, 2016 at 1:58 pm (1 month ago)

      Have you tried raw? It actually is a piece of cake. My cats love Rad Cat, and it meets all of your criteria. I was definitely anti-raw, but now I am a complete convert, pro-raw. You will be happy!

      Reply
      • Sharyl
        January 2, 2016 at 3:51 pm (1 month ago)

        Hi Ingrid,
        What is the best way to transition your cats (5) to a raw food diet. I have put it out but only 2 seem to like it. All cats are 5 and under and have been on grain free canned. I’ve tried RadCat but no other brands

        Reply
        • Marlene
          January 2, 2016 at 3:56 pm (1 month ago)

          I started by mixing. Also, mine took to different flavors of rad cat differently. They like chicken and turkey best, so that’s what I used to start. I mixed half and half for two weeks, and then over two days I took all the canned away. I have a picky eater who was not happy with this at first, but it took only skipping one meal before she realized this was her food. They like all flavors except lamb, so I don’t bother with the lamb.

          Reply
          • Sharyl
            January 2, 2016 at 4:28 pm (1 month ago)

            Thanks Marlene. Will try the mixing. I’ve tried offering both on the same plate but not mixing. All of mine will hold out for the next meals until they get something they like lol

          • Sharyl
            January 6, 2016 at 2:09 pm (1 month ago)

            Thanks Ingrid.

  19. Maritza Fernandez
    December 29, 2015 at 3:15 pm (2 months ago)

    I’m glad to found your website, when reading the article about Pandora syndrome in cats I thought about the dry food my cat is eating now Hill’s Ideal Balance Natural Chicken & Barley recipe which is one of the best I found on the market over a few years, prior I tried different kind under Hill’s brands paying attention to high protein and hairball, my 8 years old tabby is a little overweight and not an active one only at night when he likes to go around my backyard, so I realized that dry food is the issue, for sure I will pick one of the brands mentioned by you to transition from the actual food he’s eating, not sure about complete raw diet after all these years, a suggestion will be mostly appreciated.
    Thank you very much!

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      December 29, 2015 at 4:11 pm (2 months ago)

      I don’t like any of Hill’s products, and I’m happy to hear you’ll be switching your cat to a better diet, Maritza. It’s really up to you and what you’re comfortable with – whether you switch to grain-free canned or raw, you’ll be improving your cat’s health!

      Reply
  20. Alex Craver
    December 28, 2015 at 10:55 am (2 months ago)

    Hi!
    I was wondering if you have looked into Steve’s Real food for cats and dogs here is a link http://stevesrealfood.com/frozen-raw-dog-food/chicken-raw-meat-dog-food/. I started my cat on it since I i was finding freeze dried to be to expensive for what you get. With this i was able to get 5lbs of food for 20 bucks. I would love to know what you think about this diet.

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      December 28, 2015 at 10:57 am (2 months ago)

      I’m not sure I like all the veggies and fruit in the formula. I’d have to take a closer look at the ratio of meat to non-meat ingredients to be able to comment any further.

      Reply
  21. Jess
    December 24, 2015 at 4:56 pm (2 months ago)

    We used Science Diet- wet canned food and dry food. Our kitten, Felix, is only 9 months old. I read yours and other websites on cat food- it made me feel guilty. We adopted him from PetSmart but under the local pet adoption agency when he was 2 months old- they gave him Science Diet and we have been feeding him since. We also used Natural Balance (wet canned food). So, what is your opinion on those both brands? It is so hard to select what’s right and best food for him. Any recommendations? Thank you for your time and all you do to keep our pets healthy.

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      December 25, 2015 at 6:06 am (2 months ago)

      I don’t recommend any of Science Diet’s foods, Jess. Natural Balance is a better brand, but was recently bought out by Del Monte, and I don’t know whether they’ve maintained the integrity of their formulas. At this point, I only recommend the brands listed in this post.

      Please don’t feel guilty! You’re doing the right thing by educating yourself and changing to a better diet. If you’d like more individualized advice, I’d be happy to schedule a consultation.

      Reply
      • Jess
        December 26, 2015 at 8:01 pm (2 months ago)

        Yes, I would like to have a consulation. I’m Deaf- email will work for me effectively if you are willing to do so.

        Reply
        • Jess
          December 26, 2015 at 8:19 pm (2 months ago)

          In addition, I used to buy Nature Variety kibble and wet can for my another cat in the past.

          Reply
  22. Marlene
    December 23, 2015 at 2:14 pm (2 months ago)

    I cannot tell you how often I find people who completely refute the facts. I am sickened to no end that I fed my cat with renal disease a prescription dry food. I feel like I hastened her death. I then started learning and fed her sister all canned food until she passed away, and she loved it! I have two new kitties now, and they started out as canned food kitties, but now they eat Rad Cat, and they love it. I love how beautiful they are! But back to refuting the facts, I will never understand how after researching, people STILL feed their cats 100% poor quality dry food. The excuses are: the cat likes it, it’s easier, etc. I can only get behind when one simply can’t afford better. Anyway, excellent website, and keep publishing as more facts surface. Thank you!!

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      December 23, 2015 at 2:40 pm (2 months ago)

      It is frustrating, isn’t it, Marlene. Thank you for your kind words about our site. I’m sorry about your kitty.

      Reply
  23. Laurie
    December 19, 2015 at 8:23 pm (2 months ago)

    Hi Ingrid! I see you mentioned above that it’s best to limit or just avoid foods with fish. What are your thoughts on Hound & Gatos’ Lamb, Chicken, and Salmon canned food? My cat is pretty finicky but did seem to like this one. Everything else I’ve read suggests staying away from fish, too. (And oddly enough, although Salmon is listed third in the name on the can, it’s actually listed as the SECOND ingredient in the ingredients list, indicating that there is actually a higher percentage of that than the chicken).

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      December 20, 2015 at 7:40 am (2 months ago)

      I would limit the formula with salmon to only an occasional treat, Laurie.

      Reply
      • Laurie
        December 20, 2015 at 10:34 pm (2 months ago)

        Okay, good to know. Thank you very much!

        Reply
  24. Amy Dondalski
    December 18, 2015 at 3:52 pm (2 months ago)

    What is your opinion of wellness turkey canned food?

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      December 18, 2015 at 5:32 pm (2 months ago)

      I do not recommend Wellness since all the formulas contain carrageenan.

      Reply
      • Sharyl
        December 18, 2015 at 6:46 pm (2 months ago)

        Actually Ingrid, I found 2 that don’t have carrageenan listed. They are both the select. One has blue label the other yellowish. Sorry don’t recall names. I was actually going to ask you about them?

        Reply
        • Sharyl
          December 19, 2015 at 1:42 am (2 months ago)

          Ok I am mend that. Went shopping for food tonight and all but one had it but I think that is only because they were older cans. Also, very bummed but checked Merrick and found Carrageenan in all of the ones we use.

          Reply
          • Ingrid
            December 19, 2015 at 7:01 am (2 months ago)

            Merrick has a Limited Ingredient Line that is carrageenan free, Sharyl.

          • Sharyl
            December 19, 2015 at 10:20 am (2 months ago)

            Will look. Thanks Ingrid.

  25. Nicole
    December 14, 2015 at 5:33 pm (2 months ago)

    Hi! Great article! My big guy (11 years old) had some stomach issues and the vet put him on Rabbit Instinct. We have a newly adopted 5 month old kitty and so they are both eating it. The price is crazy but I don’t know which of the brands above is very close to Instinct but cheaper. Any suggestions? Thanks!

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      December 14, 2015 at 5:39 pm (2 months ago)

      All of the raw food brands listed are pretty close in price, Nicole. If you’re asking about canned food, Weruva, Hound and Gatos, Merrick and Wild Calling are a little less expensive. Of those, Merrick (look for the Limited Ingredient formulas without carrageenan), Hound and Gatos and Wild Calling are probably more comparable to NV Instinct than Weruva.

      Reply
  26. Pam Knight
    December 13, 2015 at 3:51 pm (2 months ago)

    I just came across a raw pet food manufacturer which sounds really good. I was wondering if you have heard of the. They offer a wonderful First Time offer of 10 lbs. of raw pet food (cat or dog) for $14.95 plus free shipping. Of course, that puts you on their automatic shipping list, but you can always cancel. Thanks for you, or anyone else’s, input. They’re called, Darwin’s Natural Selection. It’s at http://www.darwinspet.com

    Reply
  27. Pam Knight
    December 13, 2015 at 3:50 pm (2 months ago)

    I just came across a raw pet food manufacturer which sounds really good. I was wondering if you have heard of the. They offer a wonderful First Time offer of 10 lbs. of raw pet food (cat or dog) for $14.95 plus free shipping. Of course, that puts you on their automatic shipping list, but you can always cancel. Thanks for you, or anyone else’s, input.

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      December 13, 2015 at 3:51 pm (2 months ago)

      I’d be happy to comment if you tell me who the company is, Pam! :-)

      Reply
      • Pam Knight
        December 13, 2015 at 3:53 pm (2 months ago)

        Sorry, I caught my mistake and resubmitted the post. It’s at http://www.darwinspet.com. The product is Darwin’s Natural Selection. thanks!!!

        Reply
    • Ingrid
      December 13, 2015 at 4:02 pm (2 months ago)

      Their feline formulas look good, Pam. It’s a great introductory offer. Their regular pricing appears to be about the same as other raw brands.

      Reply
      • Pam Knight
        December 13, 2015 at 4:22 pm (2 months ago)

        Thanks Ingrid! One other question. I’ve been feeding my two kitten brothers (7 mo. old) about 8 oz./day each of Nature’s Variety Instinct. Based on Darwins and other raw food recommendations, it looks like they should be eating less (4.6 oz. per day)?

        Reply
          • Pam Knight
            December 13, 2015 at 4:51 pm (2 months ago)

            Thank you, Ingrid. I thought so too, but when I told my vet what I was feeding them (originally about 5.5 oz. per day each, she said I might want to increase it a bit more (I guess because they’re still kittens). One guy weighs around 9.5 lbs., LOVES to eat, and is a little hefty, but healthy looking. The other one is around 8.5 lbs., eats about the same, but looks very lean. I guess cats can have varying body types, just like humans.

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