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: October 2017. I try to answer as many general questions in the comments as I can. I cannot always verify the veracity or accuracy of information or recommendations provided by readers in comments.  If you would like me to evaluate a brand or product not mentioned on the list in this post, or if you would like individualized advice for your cat, please schedule a consultation. This post contains some affiliate links*.

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 foods (listed in no particular order). If you would like me to evaluate a brand not on this list, I would be happy to do so – please contact me for fees for this service.)

Grain-free canned diets

Dr. Elsey’s Clean Protein™

Weruva Read my full review of this brand here. Wervua is available from Amazon at very competitive prices with free shipping for Prime members.

Nature’s Variety Instinct Canned Some Nature’s Variety Instinct formulas are available from Amazon at very competitive prices with free shipping for Prime members.

Bravo Canned

Nature’s Logic Canned

Hound and Gatos Some varieties of Hound and Gatos are available from Amazon at very competitive prices

Tiki Cat. I only recommend the poultry-based flavors. Tiki Cat is available from Amazon at very competitive prices with free shipping for Prime members.

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

Ziwi

Merrick

Raw diets

Darwin’s Natural Pet Food

Balanced Blends Raw Pet Food

Rad Cat

My Pet’s Pride

Stella and Chewy’s

Nature’s Variety

Raw Paws Pet Food

Primal Pet Foods

Dehydrated raw diets

The Honest Kitchen

Stella and Chewy’s

Primal Pet Foods Primal Pet Foods dehydrated formulas are available from Amazon at very competitive prices with free shipping for Prime members.

Gently cooked diets

Smalls

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

Homemade food for your cat: healthy, simple and economical

The right diet for cats with kidney disease

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

Feline Nutrition

*FTC Disclosure: The Conscious Cat is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to products on Amazon. This means that if you decide to purchase through any of our links, we get a small commission. We only spread the word about products and services we’ve either used or would use ourselves.

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1,083 Comments on The Best Food for Your Cat: My Recommendations

  1. Danielle
    October 19, 2017 at 10:53 pm (1 month ago)

    I have two cats. My female cat (Daisy) is just over 5 years old, and my male cat (Duke) is about 4.5 years old. They were both spayed/neutered while they were still kittens. Their diets have always been almost entirely grain free canned food, with a very small amount of grain free kibble. For about their first year, they ate Wellness Core Kitten canned with a small amount of the Wellness Core kitten dry food. After the first year, I switched to Wellness Core Indoor canned. I feed them each half of a can twice a day (so they each get a whole can daily), and they get a very small amount of the Wellness Core Indoor dry food as well. Daisy is 14.6 pounds and Duke is 15.6 pounds. They are not allowed outside because I live right near a busy highway and I would be concerned for their safety. I play with them as much as I can, but after a minute or two, they get tired or bored and give up. I have tried many different kinds of toys (some of them quite expensive with lasers and such) to try to get them to exercise. I want them to be healthy and I feel so guilty that they are overweight but I just don’t know what to do anymore. I would love to cut the dry food completely out of their diet, but I am concerned that strictly 1 can of food each daily would not be enough nutrients/calories. I have been reading about the amount of calories necessary and, correct me if I’m wrong, but it sounds like about 250 calories/day would be a good amount for an indoor/very sedentary cat if you want them to LOSE weight? One 5.5oz can of Wellness Core Indoor contains only 148 kcal. So that is why I am concerned that they wouldn’t be getting enough nutrients. I am already feeding them LESS than is recommended on the Wellness website and they have not lost any weight. I would say they have been the same weight for most of their adult lives. My other concern is that my male cat is definitely an “Alpha” male and a bit of a bully, and I am concerned that if I cut back on their food, he will eat his and then eat some of hers as well. I have cut back before, and that is exactly what happened. Unfortunately, neither of them is the type to eat all of their food at once, and my boyfriend and I both work all day, so we can’t do more than 2 feedings per day and because of the fact that they both take a very long time to eat, separating them during mealtimes isn’t a very feasible option, because that would basically mean keeping them in separate rooms all day while we are both at work. I am sorry that this was so long, but they are my babies and I have been struggling with this situation for a while now. Thank you so much for reading this. I look forward to your response! 🙂

    Reply
      • Ann Behney
        October 25, 2017 at 2:33 pm (4 weeks ago)

        You’re page is so helpful! You seem so knowledgeable! I’m sorry if you have already answered my question previously, there are a lot of comments to sift through.

        My 15 year old male cat has hyperthyroidism. He has been medicated for a couple years now and I wish I had tried harder to find a solution on my own back then.

        He is on methimazole twice daily and is always hungry. My once 12 lb cat is now a tiny 4.7 lbs. He is all skin and bones. (His kidneys are fine, just had them tested.)

        I had asked my vet what to feed him to help him gain weight and he really didn’t give me much help. He just said “whatever he will eat”. But that is not good enough for me at this point.

        This week I began a diet that he loves, however I may change it after reading your article. I am looking for a recommendation on a food program for him.

        He does only eat canned pate style food. And he has trouble with that, he needs it to be scooped into a pile over and over again but will eat it all eventually. So that is one thing I am looking for in a food.

        So this week I started him on kitten food with a crumbled vitamin treat on top that I found at the pet store. I also found wild Alaskan salmon oil to add to it. (I was figuring he needed more calories and fat.) And additionally I started giving him sardines. All of this I had read as ideas online and he does love this combo. But after reading your article I’m not sure what to keep or change.

        I read today that hyperthyroid cats need high protein so I want to switch to a high protein grain free food. (He does like non fish foods too. I just didn’t realize there was an issue with it.) But so I try to do kitten food for him or just regular food. (I was thinking kitten food for more calories? But I really don’t know what he truly needs.).

        So my questions are can you recommend a pate food (kitten or regular or senior?) that would be best for him? And also should I continue the salmon oil and/ or the sardines? Is there a different oil you might suggest or is that not needed? And what about the vitamin? The brand for that is “Well and Good”. It seems like a good idea, but I just don’t know.

        Thank you!

        Reply
        • Ingrid
          October 25, 2017 at 3:21 pm (4 weeks ago)

          All of the foods on my list are sufficiently high enough in protein. Pate style foods are (usually) higher in calories than non-pate style. Kitten food may be a good choice for him if he can handle the higher fat content in those formulas. I would definitely continue to give an omega-3 fish oil. I’m not familiar with the Well and Good brand. If you’d like more personalized advice, I’d be happy to schedule a consultation!

          Reply
          • Ann Behney
            October 25, 2017 at 3:27 pm (4 weeks ago)

            Thanks for your help! I will look through those.

    • RON
      October 21, 2017 at 3:03 pm (4 weeks ago)

      I HAVE A 12 YR. OLD CAT THAT HAS A POLYP IN EACH EAR AND SEVERAL MENINGIOMAS IN HER BRAIN HER WHITE BLOOD COUNT WENT FROM 17,000 TO 27,000 IN ONE MONTH HAVE 7 VETS WHO DO NOT KNOW WHATS GOING ON IN SEVERE PAIN AT TIMES. WE HAVE DONE EVERY BLOOD TEST KNOWN EVEN A CRYPTOCOCOUS TEST ALL RESULTS NEGATIVE DOES ANYONE KNOW WHATS GOING ON? SHE ISNT LOSING WEIGHT THIS IS PERPLEXING EVERYONE INCLUDING MYSELF

      Reply
  2. Jennifer
    October 15, 2017 at 2:21 pm (1 month ago)

    I had a question… my kitten has really bad gas…. horrible and constant! I feed her authority dry food because that’s what the rescue we adopted her from suggested. However, we were also told the dry food could be giving her gas. What would be a good food to give her instead?

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      October 16, 2017 at 5:18 am (1 month ago)

      Eliminate the dry food and feed a quality grain-free canned or raw diet, Jennifer. All of the foods listed in this post are good choices.

      Reply
      • Susan
        October 16, 2017 at 11:54 am (1 month ago)

        Hi Jennifer
        My kitten’s gas was so bad, it could melt the paint off the walls!!!
        It turns out she had an overgrowth of a couple of bad bacteria in her gut, one was c.perfringens ( can’t remember the others name,right now) It progressed to diarrhea
        Take her and a fresh poop sample to the vet. If possible pay the extra money to get the complete analysis test on her poop so they can figure out what’s going on and prescribe the right medication if needed.
        I have never fed my kitties dry food, only appropriate canned foods from Ingrid’s list and dehydrated raw. Which helps keep Violets very sensitive intestinal system in check ( most of the time)
        Good Luck!

        Reply
  3. Lisa
    October 3, 2017 at 1:02 pm (2 months ago)

    Thanks..she is such a picky eater. She d ont like tiki cat much..at all…i will try weruva.loves her fancy feast…any other suggestions I want to keep her eating….should I water down fancy feast. And I have tried freeze dried with water too..

    Reply
  4. Lisa Guarino
    October 2, 2017 at 10:30 pm (2 months ago)

    Hi I have a hyperthyroid 6lb kitty, and in 1st stage on renal disease. She loves wet food. Teega doesn’t like any prescription renal wet food I have ordered from chewy. I would like to start a raw diet..she needs low sodium and protein.. I am open to any advise. I love my little bug. Thanks, and I have a 1/2 maincoon over weight 26lbs with althritis.. Advent for him ? He eats her food too..They love wet food I tried the freeze dried and mixed with water.. didn’t eat it..

    Reply
      • Lisa
        October 3, 2017 at 9:02 am (2 months ago)

        Thanks for the help. I’m waiting for tests. Now she might have high blood pressure..uh.WHAT should I do…

        Reply
        • Ingrid
          October 3, 2017 at 9:07 am (2 months ago)

          That’s not unusual for cats with hyperthyroidism and kidney disease. Your vet may put her on medication once the results are in.

          Reply
  5. Elliott
    September 19, 2017 at 3:04 pm (2 months ago)

    I’m curious about feeding my cats from the human food section instead of buying in the pets department. What foods would i need in order to feed my cats and give them all the needed nutrients?

    Reply
  6. Tracy
    September 19, 2017 at 2:12 pm (2 months ago)

    Hi Ingrid,
    I was wondering if you have ever thought about starting a pet food company? If you manufactured canned food, you could shut down or at least take a lot of business from these companies that refuse to make a product that people have been asking for. It would be so nice to have food made by someone who wouldn’t change the formula constantly, or try to sneak ingredients like peas in the food. Then we could all relax and we wouldn’t have to stress out so much about feeding our pets food from companies who can’t be trusted. So many people online have spent a lot of time researching ingredients, myself included. I kept having to switch foods because of “formula changes”. Each time, I had to research more because my cats got sick. These companies are creating thousands of amateur pet food ingredient experts. Thank you for doing what you do. I really appreciate you for educating everyone about how to keep our pets healthy and happy.

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      September 19, 2017 at 3:13 pm (2 months ago)

      I have absolutely no desire to get into the pet food business, Tracy, but I’ll continue to do my best to educate cat guardians.

      Reply
  7. Zofia
    September 18, 2017 at 8:47 am (2 months ago)

    Thank you God for Ingrid , lady you safe cats life
    Zofia

    Reply
  8. Brandi T
    September 18, 2017 at 2:27 am (2 months ago)

    Hi Ingrid,
    I have always been interested in an all raw food diet for my cat but have never had the room to make it myself. Long story short I thought I was feeding my cat well by giving him a mixture of canned Blue Buffalo food in the morning and Dry Blue Buffalo at night and I found out the Blue Buffalo really isnt as good as I once believed. I though have found a local whole pet store who sells the Primal freeze-dried formula. I would really like to try it with my lil guy once he is out of his old food. My question is, can you just feed them the freeze dried food or would I need to get something else to put with it or get some of the frozen stuff for at night or vise versa? Thank you in advance 🙂

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      September 18, 2017 at 5:38 am (2 months ago)

      You need to reconstitute the freeze dried raw food with water, but it is a complete diet once reconstituted.

      Reply
    • Zofia
      November 17, 2017 at 9:47 pm (2 days ago)

      Be careful with Blue Buffalo . I lost 3 cats for the same kind cancer feeding them Blue Baffalo food ( chicken formula dry food only ) .

      Reply
  9. Nick H
    September 14, 2017 at 11:40 am (2 months ago)

    Please, I need help.

    I have a 2 year old DSH who had surgery to remove crystals at 1yr old and has has 2 more UTIs since, each about 6 months apart and this third one is currently happening. She has been on the Hills Prescription c/d wet food since the surgery a year ago and it has not stopped the UTI’s.
    We are at a loss, she doesnt deserve this.
    I am aware that the vets have an agreement to sell the Hills food, but there has to be a better option, even if I have to pay more for the cases.
    Can you recommend, based on any experience, or from knowledge, a better canned wet food for my kitty with Urinary Tract issues?
    I have printed out articles here about reading the ingredients and choosing the best food, but I am so overwhelmed. I do not feel like asking my vet to confirm a better choice of food is the proper avenue since they are not cat nutritionists and it is kind of in their interest to sell the Hills food.
    Thank you.

    Reply
    • Nancy Wagner
      September 14, 2017 at 2:33 pm (2 months ago)

      While I am sure others will comment on the quality (or lack thereof) of Hills, one very important factor about crystals and URI’s we found out years ago with our sweet Siamese kitties. After months of research, we realized that our very hard and chemical-laden tap water was the cause of both the crystals and her UTI’s. As soon as we started giving her filtered or quality bottled water, they stopped almost immediately.
      Now one might say that was anecdotal, but we our current two Siamese kids also had the same problem as kittens. Same thing – we started giving them only filtered or bottled water, and not a SINGLE crystal or UTI issue in their twelve years!
      Don’t know how educated your current vet might be on this, so I would urge you to do some serious on-line research from credible sources, as well as seek opinions from one or more other vets.
      It’s a simple change, only marginally inconvenient, but seeing the results … priceless!!

      Reply
    • Jerilin
      September 14, 2017 at 3:34 pm (2 months ago)

      No dry cat food not even dry treats. No Hill’s. No fish in ingredient list at all for right now. Wet food diet only (limit pates for right now as they generally have much higher mineral count then chunks in gravy or shredded) or feed a boneless raw food such as Rad Cat (boneless raw best for uti cats) only with added water (reverse osmosis/filtered water not hard water or mineral water as mentioned above) Reduce stress in home as much as possible.

      Have clean litter boxes for her (scoop 2x a day)
      with unscented clay litter such as precious cat ultra or Fresh step simply unscented in large storage tote or breeze/newspaper/pine pellets in breeze litterbox. I use newspaper pellets in the bottom instead of the breeze pads. Scented litters and hooded litter boxes are unprefered by cats and create additional stress.

      Play with a shoe string with your cat and allow her to chase it to get exercise daily. Ball track toys like bergan turbo track are good for when you’re not home or put foam soccer ball cat toys in a box with cutout holes. Make sure you have a large cat tree or something for her to climb and also a window to look out of.

      D-Mannose supplement is really good along with wet food diet at fighting urinary issues. Also for now make sure your wet food is lower in the minerals phosphorus and magnesium as these are big contributors especially if you we’re feeding any type of dry food or treats previously. Once she has recovered the mineral amount becomes less of an issue.

      Good ones to feed just until things improve (at which point you might be able to feed any canned or raw food diet) are the following–most are mentioned in Ingrid’s article above:
      1) Weruva Steak Frites (shredded)
      2) Weruva On the Cat Wok (shredded)
      3) Weruva Pecking Ducken (shredded)
      4) Merrick Backcountry pouches (chunks in gravy) (no chicken or fish though those are higher in phos/magnesium)
      5) Soulistic Autumn Bounty pouch (shredded chicken and pumpkin) (Petco)
      6) Nutro Max Cat Chunks in Sauce (Chicken Supreme, Duck Chunks, Venison chunks) (great nutrition for low price point and chunks in gravy food, low carb, was actually made for uti cats, very low phos/magnesium, cats love)
      7) Weruva Double Dip (shredded)
      8) Weruva Fowl Ball (shredded)
      9) Lotus Just Juicy (shredded)
      10) Soulistic Chicken Pate and Shreds (Petco)
      11) Whole Earth Farms pates (Pate)
      12) Bravo Beef Turkey and Liver (Pate) (controlled minerals)
      13) Nulo minced/chunk chicken and duck (Petsmart)
      14) Under the Sun Witty Kitty Ruffle My Feathers Turkey (flaked) (Petco or Chewy website)
      If your cat is pate instead of shredded or chunk like mine mainly are you could also try Ziwi Peak Lamb or Wild Calling Cowabunga beef as well as the above mentioned pates.

      I would suggest Pure Bites freeze dried treats only for cat treats not dry treats of any kind and rehydrate them so they are just starting to swim in a bowl of water.

      The very best of luck to you and the health of your cat.

      Reply
      • Jerilin
        September 16, 2017 at 1:45 pm (2 months ago)

        Just a few corrections. The Nulo food is Nulo Medal Series Minced turkey and duck not chunk chicken and duck. That one is higher in minerals.
        The pine pellets litter I mentioned-I meant aspen pellets. Pine and Cedar tend to cause litter box avoidance because of the strong smell. There is a cat brand that makes aspen pellet cat litter. I buy mine at milling plant/animal feed store. You can take the top off of the breeze box and put two side by side in a large clear plastic storage tote to make it bigger for larger cats.
        Also be sure to have a cat fountain. I use the catit flower fountain with the green flower.
        The Cranberry D-Mannose tablet I give is by Pet Health Solutions. I bought it off of Amazon.
        I rotate the foods I feed every 2-3 days. Too often of a rotation can contribute to diarrhea and other digestive issues.
        Get a good probiotic. The Purina Fortiflora one is great for picky cats trying new foods because it has animal digest in it. I also use Nexabiotic probiotic by Dr. Formulas found on Amazon (meant for humans) because it has S. boulardii the most effective strain especially at fighting diarrhea.

        Reply
  10. Jen H
    September 12, 2017 at 10:15 pm (2 months ago)

    Hello Ingrid,
    I have a 14 year old male cat that is over 20 pounds. Several months ago I began a more strict diet with him…feeding him an eighth of a cup of Purina Wellness grain free dry cat food twice a day and he is still not losing weight. I have read your advice and would like to switch him to a wet, grain free, cat food that would have less carbohydrates, more whole meat protein, and would hopefully help him lose weight. Can you give me a suggestion for an affordable food that I can try for him? Also, should I aim for 180-200 calories per day for him?

    Reply
  11. Hannah
    September 9, 2017 at 5:36 pm (2 months ago)

    Hello, I recently adopted a year old male from a shelter of which was feeding him Purina indoor (dry). They told me to continue feeding him this & I could mix it with my own preference. I know nothing about cat food…. I’m guessing this is not the best for my kitty, & am wondering if you think it could be causing him to want to eat 24/7. If I just stand up he runs to his bowl wanting to be fed some more & wants to eat at night too. Could this food be giving him no fulfillment/nutrients? Thank you, Hannah

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      September 10, 2017 at 5:17 am (2 months ago)

      As you learned from this article, dry food is a poor nutritional choice for cats. It’s too low in protein, which is the reason why your cat is constantly hungry.

      Reply
  12. Kristin
    September 1, 2017 at 12:45 pm (3 months ago)

    Good afternoon! I have an extremely finicky, nine-year-old tortoiseshell named Cali. She looks similar to the cats at the top of this page. 🙂 I’ve never had a tortoiseshell, or a cat in general, and was curious if this breed is naturally predisposed to be thinner and not eat as much. (My boyfriend has a Siamese that’s the total opposite). I get concerned about her and have tried to feed her the best foods. I was feeding Rad Cat up until recently but had to stop since it was so expensive. I’m not sure if there’s anything else that’s comparable – I’ve tried Primal, Stella and Chewy, Natural Instinct, Ziwipeak, etc. and she won’t touch them and gets sick after eating them. Thank you!

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      September 1, 2017 at 4:53 pm (3 months ago)

      Torties are not pre-disposed to being finicky – they may just be more dramatic about letting you know when they don’t like something 😉 My girls used to love Radcat until they changed to HPP processing a while back. Even though it shouldn’t have changed the formula itself, they refused to eat it. They love Darwin’s and Balanced Blends – both are comparable to Radcat (and like Radcat, they don’t contain any veggies.)

      Reply
  13. Ashley
    August 21, 2017 at 2:59 pm (3 months ago)

    This is a great article! I’m struggling with one of my cats who will claw my hair and bug me all hours of the night because he is hungry and he has to have his meals split into 3-5 feedings times a day so he won’t toss the food because he eats so fast. My only solution is to let him have dry food (free fed or timer based bowl) overnight so he can eat, I can sleep. Any ideas?

    Reply
  14. Taylor
    August 20, 2017 at 4:48 pm (3 months ago)

    Hi Ingrid,

    What are your thoughts on the Instinct wet food for Kittens – the chicken recipe. I’m wondering because I’ve seen you mention the preference of single protein source in foods and that particular one has chicken, beef and salmon included in the ingredients. Also wondering about the salmon part because you’ve mentioned not feeding cats fish everyday. Trying to choose the best for growing kitties who are only 3 and 4 months old.

    Thank you for your thoughts!

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      August 20, 2017 at 5:12 pm (3 months ago)

      I prefer single ingredient formulas, but overall, Nature’s Variety Instinct is a good brand, which is why it’s on my list. You can feed adult formulas to a 3 to 4 month old kitten, and I’d look for something without fish. Reserve fish as an occasional treat.

      Reply
      • Taylor
        August 21, 2017 at 8:07 pm (3 months ago)

        Thanks for your speedy reply! Ok, now I’m thinking about getting the chicken formula of Nature’s Variety Instinct for adults and just feeding them more so they get the extra nutrients for growth, however, I notice that Taurine is low on the ingredient list and they don’t claim the % as they do on the kitten can as (min 0.15) wondering if it’s less on the adult food. Also, I’ve read peas are very high carb (which are also included in the adult can) – what are your thoughts on that?

        Thanks!

        Reply
        • Ingrid
          August 22, 2017 at 5:22 am (3 months ago)

          That formula should be fine for kittens as long as you feed the appropriate amounts. I would prefer that they didn’t include peas, but I still consider the protein to carb ratio acceptable.

          Reply
        • LANA
          September 9, 2017 at 9:08 am (2 months ago)

          Be careful if you decide to transition to their raw foods. My one cat is addicted to their Instinct raw rabbit and ended up having to see a cardiac specialists. I don’t know if the food was the culprit, but the Dr. mentioned that taurine doesn’t remain stable in raw prepared foods. My cats left ventricle is slightly abnormal(its slightly larger than it should be). The Doc mentioned this could be her normal, but these types of conditions are likely associated with inadequate taurine levels. The Dr. actually recommended I incorporate commercial-grade kibble because it always has an adequate amount of taurine. Not too happy about it, especially if she turns out to be asthmatic, which was the cause of me undergoing testing on her in the first place. You are so smart to recognize the taurine levels. Nature’s Variety is really good with its ingredients, but the not having the taurine listed in their guaranteed analysis is cause for concern.

          Reply
          • Ingrid
            September 10, 2017 at 5:24 am (2 months ago)

            I’m sorry your cat is having cardiac issues, but I’m going to have to disagree with this vet’s advice. Unfortunately, that’s the typical advice you’d get from a vet who doesn’t know much about nutrition or is opposed to raw feedding. Recommending dry food to address a possible taurine deficiency makes absolutely no sense. Most likely, NV doesn’t list taurine separately is because the taurine comes from organ meat. I would contact the company and ask them this question. I would also consult with a holistic vet who is well versed in nutrition – I can almost guarantee you that he/she will tell you the same thing I just told you.

          • Lana
            September 10, 2017 at 11:24 pm (2 months ago)

            Thank you! It didn’t sit right with me and I’ll definitely take head to your advice.

      • Deborah starks
        November 16, 2017 at 9:55 pm (3 days ago)

        I have notice that the product Nature’s Variety is getting limited on certain ones to pick at Pet Co n also that it seem to be thicker n lots of white greasy stuff in n on top of the food. Have u seen this here lately? Especially the Beef Pate.

        Reply
        • Ingrid
          November 17, 2017 at 5:37 am (3 days ago)

          I would contact Nature’s Variety about this, Deborah.

          Reply
  15. Jake
    August 18, 2017 at 2:09 pm (3 months ago)

    Hey I’m curious as to what u think about cat food that contains coconut milk? I thought about getting it but everything I have read so far stated that coconut milk isnt good for cats.

    Reply
  16. Andrea
    August 6, 2017 at 12:30 am (4 months ago)

    Really struggling to find out how much to feed our cats. I know there is supposed to be some formula, but we feed our cats a variety, so that makes it a lot harder. Just really at a loss on how to figure it out. Any help would be appreciated. Our cats weigh 7 pounds, 10 pounds, and 12 pounds. The 7 pound cat is an older female who is most indoors, and not very active. She does go outside some, but usually just for about 5 min at a time to sit and look at stuff. The 10 pound cat is a young, very active female who is outdoors for most of the day. The 12 pound male is also young and very active, spending most of the day outside as well.

    Reply
    • Andrea
      August 6, 2017 at 12:35 am (4 months ago)

      Forgot to mention the foods that we feed. They are Weruva (Paw Licking Chicken, Nine Liver, and Funky Chunky), Instinct Limited Ingredient (Duck and Turkey), Wellness Core Pate (the one with chicken, turkey, and liver) and recently trying some Darwins Raw, although they don’t seem to like it too much so far.

      Reply
      • Marilyn
        August 6, 2017 at 9:24 am (4 months ago)

        I think you should try Big Bear raw food. My cats lick their plates clean

        Reply
          • Marilyn
            August 6, 2017 at 4:07 pm (4 months ago)

            Big Bear also has raw beef and has recently added raw lamb to their Hoo Raw meals. My cats love all the flavors. They are both 8 1/2 years old and I weigh them once a week. If they gain a little I simply give them a little less food. If they lose a little I give them a little more. So far that has worked perfectly to keep them at the right weight.

        • Andrea
          August 6, 2017 at 10:18 am (4 months ago)

          Thanks, but I’m happy with the brands we are feeding. I only want to know how much to feed.

          Reply
      • Andrea
        August 6, 2017 at 10:19 am (4 months ago)

        I looked at that, but it didn’t help me. That’s why I would like a little more detailed help.

        Reply
        • Ingrid
          August 6, 2017 at 10:48 am (4 months ago)

          Unfortunately, you’ll have to calculate amounts for each food, since calorie counts vary widely from one brand to another. I’d be happy to schedule a consultation if you need more help.

          Reply
  17. Mililani Phillips
    August 4, 2017 at 12:20 pm (4 months ago)

    My 19 year old girl was just diagnosed with beginning stages of kidney failure. We do not want to go the prescription route due to finances and the vet recommended that we move her to wet food plus subcutaneous injections to help flush her kidneys. The wet list provided above is what you would recommend?

    Reply
  18. Laurel Williams
    August 3, 2017 at 7:56 pm (4 months ago)

    I am switching my 4 cats to your recommended wet foods due to my 13 yr oldest developing the vomiting issues. I purchased Soulistic first which they all love. While at Petco I saw Merrick which is on your list. I read the label and it contains carceenagen, which you cautivo against. Could you address this as it relates to the Merrick brand?
    I found your site while researching recommended foods for cat vomiting. I have found the information very enlightening as it never crossed my radar in all my years of having cats that their standard foods were filled with carbohydrates or that dry food was bad. In just 3 weeks of diet change, I notice a difference. No vomiting and my 13 yr old has regained weight and spark.

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      August 1, 2017 at 5:11 am (4 months ago)

      I’d be happy to evaluate this for you, Amanda, but there’s a small fee for this service. Please contact me via email if you’d like me to proceed.

      Reply
  19. Amy
    July 28, 2017 at 7:30 pm (4 months ago)

    Soo… about honest kitchen. I really and not comfortable with their percentages. At least in the powder. Am I missing something here?

    “A box of Prowl lists a moisture content of 5.2% maximum and minimum crude protein of 35%.

    Protein, 35% min
    Fat, 29.5% min
    Fiber, 2.38% max
    Moisture, 5.2% max
    100-5.2% = 94.8% dry matter”

    Also, I don’t know how much starch is in there, but they do add potatoes.
    http://www.thehonestkitchen.com/prowl

    Reply
    • Amy
      July 28, 2017 at 7:31 pm (4 months ago)

      Look at how much fat is in there! Almost as much as the protein!

      Reply
    • Ingrid
      July 29, 2017 at 5:17 am (4 months ago)

      Look at the Dry Matter analysis, Amy – it’s a better comparison to other foods.

      Reply
      • Amy
        August 8, 2017 at 6:09 pm (3 months ago)

        Is that not already a dry analysis at 5% moisture? I’m confused.

        Reply
      • Amy
        August 8, 2017 at 6:17 pm (3 months ago)

        I think I see what you’re talking about, but that doesn’t change the fact that it’s REALLY high in fat compared to pretty much all canned food I’ve ever seen. I’ve heard that many low carb formulations just substitute fat, and it doesn’t help really.

        Reply
        • Quinn
          August 9, 2017 at 8:17 pm (3 months ago)

          If you’re doing low carb – then with the high protein, you want high fat. This is correct.

          Reply
  20. Bonnie
    July 27, 2017 at 11:27 am (4 months ago)

    Sorry for the type is on my comment. I am using a new Smart phone and moves very fast.

    Reply
  21. Lisa
    July 26, 2017 at 6:14 pm (4 months ago)

    Auto fill typo- my bad:

    * And I’m vegetarian, buying the affordable frozen veg’s & local, in season produce… (not “vet’s”!). Apologies for any other missed typos

    Reply
  22. Lisa
    July 26, 2017 at 6:10 pm (4 months ago)

    Thx for the kitty luvin’ – And especially for doing all the research for us!

    Re: “Wervua is available from Amazon at very competitive prices with free shipping for Prime members” – I am a Prime member (dig it!), I checked, the cost to feed my 2 cats this s “competitively priced” food, costs more than my own grocery bill- And I’m vegetarian, buying the affordable frozen vet’s & local, in season produce, with beans lentils tofu etc (typical veg diet on the cheap).

    There is simply no way I could afford these canned food prices. I spend a lot already on grain free, most highly rated cat foods. I feel ya’, but I simply cannot financially swing it, other than 1 can (4 oz) of ultra low sodium tuna treat (once a month), $1.50 @ Wal-Mart- which they love love love! And, btw- Yes, I’ve known for decades about avoiding fish diet- I feed them a ratio of 5 bags of non-fish flavor, to 1 salmon flavor (their favorite!). They are older now, so like I said, I definitely feel ya’- May I simply add water to their dry food, to create a mush? I understand you seem this sub-optimal. My alternative is to continue feeding dry, life-long.

    PS: Btw- I’m Masters educated professional, homeowner, taxed to the poorhouse. We poor ppl love our cats too!

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      July 27, 2017 at 9:58 am (4 months ago)

      I completely understand about budget constraints, Lisa. Adding water to dry food is not a good idea – dry food is not designed to get wet, and you’re risking the formation of mold. If you absolutely must feed dry, look for a premium food high in protein and as low in carbs as a dry food can possibly be. Encourage your cats to drink by providing a fountain. Ideally, buy the best canned food you can afford, or perhaps, consider making your own food, which can be very economical.

      Reply
      • Bonnie
        July 27, 2017 at 11:18 am (4 months ago)

        For the lady that has to watch finances for cat food. I have bought Evangers canned dog & cat food. They have no chemicals or anything else that can harm your pet. The cans contain only meat & water for processing. All 4 of my cats like the food. I used to feed my cats the brand “Kitty Queen.” It contained nothing but meat period (kidney). My cat loved it. I feel this is much healthier for my cats. I had one beautiful Russian Blue cat die from Lymphoma and from what I have read cat food does cause cancer in cats from some of the ingredients put into the food. If the blade that is watching finances, instead of Chewy, she can try ordering from “Jet” where you can just buy what you want and don’t have to buy a whole case. I know Evangers has had some trouble in the past, but I am sure lthey have resolved their problem and I like the food I ordered and sol do my cats. Jetk sells 5 oz and 13oz c0at food. The 13 oz is $5 but lasts awhile and just keep in a container in the fridge. I heat the portions for 6 to 8 seconds in the microwave before serving

        Reply
    • Quinn
      August 9, 2017 at 8:22 pm (3 months ago)

      May I suggest Orijens brand cat foods? I get it from a delivery service called chewy.com. Its high protein w/out all the junk fillers. Please check out the nutritional info on chewy (amazon also sells it). I will say that Acana is also a good brand. What you will find is w/ the high protein/fat, they eat less. So the bag of Orijens or Acana will last far longer than you’re used to. It ends up costing less.

      After reading this site, I’m actually going to transition my cat off dry food altogether but that is what they were getting before.

      Reply
      • Ingrid
        August 10, 2017 at 5:41 am (3 months ago)

        I’m glad you’re transitioning your cat off dry food, Quinn. I do not recommend Orijen or Acana, both are too low in protein for an obligate carnivore. They contain 35-40% protein. For comparison, Dr. Elsey’s Clean Protein contains 59% of protein (it’s the highest protein dry food on the market right now.)

        Reply
        • Crystal Kistler
          September 3, 2017 at 2:10 am (3 months ago)

          I have fed Taste of the Wild (Salmon and Trout) to all of my cats for several years. They have a venison/salmon variety that has a higher protein content and i tried that because it just sounded like it would be healthier. Well….it gave them all diarrhea. My vet said it was due to the higher protein content???

          Reply
          • Crystal Kistler
            September 3, 2017 at 2:20 am (3 months ago)

            I might be mistaken…It may be venison/trout. Regardless, I am concerned because I have been reading on this site that it is not good to feed a fish diet to cats???? So now I am questioning if I should be changing their diet.

          • Ingrid
            September 3, 2017 at 5:26 am (3 months ago)

            I doubt that the higher protein content caused the diarrhea.

  23. Andrea
    July 26, 2017 at 2:15 pm (4 months ago)

    I’ve been nervous to switch my cats over to raw foods, just because of the learning curve involved, but I’ve finally decided to give it a go. One thing that concerns me a little bit is that one of my cats has a sensitive stomach. She pukes very easily. Will the raw food be ok for her? Also, out of the raw brands that you list, is there any one in particular that you prefer? And is the fish oil in any of them a concern if I am feeding them the food daily, the same way it is with canned foods? Would it be better to find one without fish? Thank you!

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      July 27, 2017 at 10:00 am (4 months ago)

      You may find that your kitty with the sensitive stomach will no longer vomit, Andrea. All the raw brands listed are good brands. I currently feed Darwin’s and Balanced Blends. I don’t think fish oil is a concern unless you’re dealing with an allergy.

      Reply
      • Andrea
        July 27, 2017 at 7:00 pm (4 months ago)

        Good, that is the one I wanted to go with. Thank you!

        Reply
  24. Linda
    July 26, 2017 at 1:11 am (4 months ago)

    Hi Ingrid, I don’t see the brand I feed my kitties on your list which makes me a bit nervous…I thought I had done my homework. What are your thoughts on Wellness canned food such as Core? Thanks, Linda

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      July 26, 2017 at 5:17 am (4 months ago)

      I’ll be happy to evaluate Wellness for you, Linda – please send me an email.

      Reply
      • Debbie
        August 11, 2017 at 7:10 pm (3 months ago)

        I’m interest in the evaluation of Wellness also. All research I did resulted in Wellness being one of the best.

        Reply
        • Ingrid
          August 12, 2017 at 5:06 am (3 months ago)

          I’d be happy to evaluate for a small fee. Please contact me via email if you’d like me to do this for you.

          Reply
    • Angie
      July 27, 2017 at 9:31 pm (4 months ago)

      I feed my cat Wellness complete health chicken pate- Chicken, Chicken Liver, Turkey, Chicken Broth, Carrots, Natural Flavor, Guar Gum, Cranberries, Ground Flaxseed, Potassium Chloride, Cassia Gum, Xanthan Gum, Taurine, Salt, Choline Chloride, Iron Proteinate, Zinc Proteinate, Beta-Carotene, Thiamine Mononitrate, Vitamin E Supplement, Copper Proteinate, Manganese Proteinate, Sodium Selenite, Niacin, d-Calcium Pantothenate, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Riboflavin Supplement, Vitamin A Supplement, Biotin, Potassium Iodide, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Folic Acid.

      Reply
      • Zofia
        September 5, 2017 at 5:13 am (3 months ago)

        Change the Vet….

        Reply
        • Marilyn
          September 5, 2017 at 8:44 am (3 months ago)

          I am surprised that Big Bear cat food is not on you recommended list.

          Reply
  25. Norm
    July 21, 2017 at 9:07 pm (4 months ago)

    I just had a question about Instinct Raw Freeze Dried Nuggets. Had anyone used them before or does anyone know if this is a good food /brand? Thanks

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      July 22, 2017 at 5:29 am (4 months ago)

      Nature’s Variety Instinct is on this list of recommended brands, Norm.

      Reply

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