Last update: February 2022

Editor’s Note: Even though this article was first written in 2012, I periodically update the information to keep it current. 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.

Dry food is the equivalent of junk food for cats.  It’s really not all that different from feeding sugared cereals to kids. Cats are obligate carnivores: this means they need meat not just to survive, but to thrive. They cannot get enough nutritional support from plant-based proteins such as grains and vegetables, because, unlike humans and dogs, they lack the specific enzyme that processes plant-based proteins metabolically. They need few or no carbohydrates in their diet. Feeding foods high in carbohydrates can lead to any number of degenerative diseases, including diabetes, kidney disease, and inflammatory bowel disease. Dry food is the leading cause of most urinary tract problems, and it is responsible for the obesity problem among cats. Dry food has also been implicated as one of the contributing factors to diabetes, which is reaching epidemic proportions. 1 in 50 cats may be affected, with overweight cats being at increased risk.

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.

Eusoh Community Pet Health Plan for Cats

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.

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Avoid fish-based foods

A word about fish: most cats love fish-based foods. I recommend using them sparingly or avoiding them altogether. The primary fish used in cat food are salmon, tilefish (usually identifed as ocean whitefish on the label) and tuna. Each of them presents health issues, because fish can contain toxic doses of common water pollutants, heavy metals, and other contaminants.

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.) Mercury is considered one of the top ten chemicals of major public health concern by the World Health Organization.

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.)

Best Wet Cat Foods

Dr. Elsey’s Clean Protein™ is  available from

Weruva Read my full review of this brand here. Wervua is available from Amazon and from

Hound and Gatos is available from  Some varieties of Hound and Gatos are available from Amazon.

Tiki Cat. I only recommend the poultry-based flavors. Tiki Cat is available from Some formulas are also available from Amazon.

Soulistic. This brand is similar to Weruva and is available from Amazon.

Ziwi is available from

Nature’s Logic is available from

Best Raw Cat Foods

Darwin’s Natural Pet Food


Vital Essentials is available from

Stella and Chewy’s

Primal Pet Foods

Dehydrated raw diets

The Honest Kitchen is available from

Stella and Chewy’s is available from

Primal Pet Foods Primal Pet Foods dehydrated formulas are available from Some formulas are also available from Amazon.

Gently cooked diets



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

*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. The Conscious Cat is an affiliate partner of The Conscious Cat is an affiliate partner of NomNomNow. 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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1,362 Comments on The Best Food for Your Cat: My Recommendations

  1. Hello, I am in Canada, there is a raw pet food brand called “hungry hunter”.
    I am considering transitioning my two cats to a raw diet using this and was told they don ‘t need supplements with this food, except for a pure kelp powder to be used short term while they are switching over. I am unsure about that, and was also wondering if you would know anything about this food? There are several varieties of frozen raw food as well as unpasturized goat milk, quail and duck eggs, and even a bag of frozen fish for gnawing on……
    I would really like to hear your thoughts on this as I have never fed anything but “normal” cat food before.

    • I’m in Canada and have searched for pre-made raw diets. I haven’t seen hungry hunter. If you live in BC you may have more choice. Some raw pet food is advertised for both dogs and cats. It’s difficult to sort out if any dog food is right for cats even if the manufacturer or store says it is. Raw food companies and pet food stores may provide conflicting information. The only way I see how to offer raw food is to make it myself from a recipe or buy a mix, a completer, that you add to raw or gently cooked commercial meat or find a vet (usually holistic) who supports raw feeding and ask them for recommended brands. Pre-made raw pet food usually contains bone. If your cat is a senior, has kidney disease, IBD, a transit gut issue or is easily constipated bone can be a problem. Calcium must
      come from another source. Try cat or raw feeding sites on FB to know more.

      • Me too!
        “Balanced Blends” is still appearing in the list above, FYI (maybe you have a more updated version elsewhere on the site that your’e referring to)

  2. Hi,

    Thank you for this valuable resource. I noticed that you Did not have Big Bear wet cat food on your recommended list. Is it still a good choice?
    Thank you.

  3. Hello, thank you for all this information! I am a foster and it has been extremely helpful! I was wondering many of the recommended brands on this list have fish oil as an ingredient, is the fish oil safe as opposed to actual fish in the food? My resident cat doesnt like fish in any form and your Weruva fowl ball recommendation, is the only one he will eat because the dominant smell is chicken, I think. Is there any food without any fish? Thank you!

    • There are plenty of foods without fish, Claudia. Weruva has a very small number of fish-free formulas, but all of the other brands I recommend have a large variety of non-fish proteins. Fish oil as an ingredient is fine as long as your cat isn’t allergic to it.

  4. Hi Ingrid, a few years ago you used to have Nature’s Logic on your best cat food list for canned cat food. That’s where I first knew about that brand and fed my cats. Any reason why Nature’s Logic was removed from your list?

      • Ingrid ,
        You are the very best . I thank God for you helping us with ours fur babes . I feed my cats ( 3 ) with CleanProtein ( can food and a little dry ). I notice that with every order I receive a little different kind consistency ( sometimes more soft Pate and sometimes more hard Pate . I am concern i the ingredients still the same . I check them all the time on the label and they are the same . Do you know why is that ?

  5. Hello,
    My cat was recently diagnosed with Megacolon. She is a 10 year old Oriental Short Hair rescue. We have six cats total, so we buy a variety of different brands and different proteins. I would like to know which cat food you would recommend for a cat with Megacolon. The vets want to put her on Science Diet Low Residue. I really don’t like the ingredients in most of those prescription cat foods. I think she might end up with other health problems if I feed her that food. She is an otherwise very healthy cat that gets loads of exercise and runs very fast in the back yard. I add hot water to all the cat’s canned food and they all get a little dry food mostly as a treat. The Earthborn Holistic brand. I don’t know why they all like that food so much. Anyway please let me know what kinds of foods would help her. I’m considering the surgery, but concerned about her age.

    • Any of the brands listed in this post would probably be appropriate for your cat. I would also add a good probiotic and digestive enzymes to each meal (I like this product: and make sure that she drinks lots of water. You’re already adding water to her canned food, so that’s good. Some cats respond well to adding a little canned pumpkin, it can help regulate digestion.

  6. Thank you for your thorough investigation. What is your thought on Dr. Elsey’s clean protein dry food? You mentioned carb in dry food but this dry food contains only 5% carb – amazing for dry food. It is much more affordable to many people.

      • Our cats are on strict wet food diets. But we keep our just a handful of dry food in case there’s and emergency and canned food is not available. Our cats would not touch Dr. Elsey’s Protein dry food. We literally just threw out an entire full bag tonight. 🙁

  7. It doesn’t concern you that Weruva recalled a lot of cat food because cats were sick and dying in Australia? I used to feed Weruva but not since that happened. What are your thoughts about Fussy Cat? There’s new, expensive brands popping up every day but I’ve had two cats who lived 20 and 17 years eating Fancy Feast.

      • i also have had long life span cats on fancy feast beef
        several over age 20 & one to age 26
        i don’t like the idea of feeding dry or grains etc
        why do they put vegetables in? but if you compare ingredients the fancy feast beef is by far not the worst & is one of the only foods my cats will ever eat
        i hsve tried everything including many on this list & they veto
        currently i’ve been feeding solid gold chicken with coconut oil because they will eat it most of the time, i still use ff too when needed, but had been allowing some dry (which i don’t do as a rule) d/t i have an extremely finicky little girl. she has been dx with urine crystals (no apparent symptoms but found with check up) so all dry is out of the picture now.
        both my cats are good drinkers but i’ve changed to bottled water d/t i found i have an extreme hard water problem. they still drink well, i use a fountain & add ice cubes which sparks interest. vet prescribed hills cd & she not only won’t eat it but ran from it. no lie. i knew she wouldn’t eat it. & it’s total junk, why can’t the ingredients fit prescription foods be better quality? i tried mixing with current food & now she won’t eat that either
        i’m going to try nutritional yeast however i hate the idea of feeding hills
        what options are there for dissolving crystals?
        i think vet said i can go back to her normal food (if she’ll eat it) once these crystals are dissolved as long as no dry or hard water
        is that correct?
        it is grain free etc

    • While there might be a connection with various ailments, just saying increase in various medical conditions since introduction of GMOs is or might be the cause should give one some concern, however companies that manufacture food, whether for people or animals, have been mucking with ingredients for years. There are so many ingredients that might lend to ailments. Anything to improve the bottom line, which is why grains got into pet foods in the first place. My guess is that eventually GMOs will enter most of the entire food chain, somewhere along the line. While it is great that USDA limits what can go into “organic” and in most cases that is good, have you ever checked that list? It is scary what it allowed! I haven’t rechecked it in years, but can’t imagine it has gotten any better.

      Now that they acknowledge grains are causing issues, every one and his mother proudly proclaims GRAIN FREE. It was bad enough when trying to decipher the percentages and various not-so-good ingredients, but having to search for a new canned food (no dry here, some commercial raw, some home made) after the one we’ve used for years was discontinued, I have found so many of these so called GRAIN FREE foods now (and even some back then) add peas, potatoes, rice, etc, even the “premium” foods. So you need to read ALL the ingredients, if these are of concern to you. Adding the grain and things like peas and potatoes keeps the protein count up, but cats don’t need/can’t process them properly or the same way we can. I am SO fed up with commercial cat foods! There are a few at the moment that still don’t add grains, fruits and veggies to their food, so I am trying to get as many as possible here to eat these, but some have no interest yet. Secondary issue with these that meet my requirements is that they come in the little cans. With 11 to feed, this is a pain in the butt. My preference would be they eat the food I make, then I know exactly what’s in it and what isn’t, but so far only a few have eaten it and not every meal. That won’t eliminate GMO as I don’t buy organic, but it does eliminate foods that cats don’t need.

  8. Hi! I noticed hound and gatos contains agar agar… is this similar to carageegan? I’m reading mixed info online about it being harmful

    • Agar agar is a binder, so in that respect, it is similar to carrageenan. While there is quite a bit of information out there about carrageenan interacting negatively with the GI tract, I have not found this for agar agar.

  9. “Editor’s Note: Even tough this article was first written in 2012…”. I like how precise you are but you might want to replace the word “tough” in this sentence. Keep up the good work. Your advice and research are helping my senior cat live longer and healthier.

      • Ingrid ,
        I appreciate your work so much I use your recommendation a lot . Keep up the good work. Your advice and research are helping ours cats . I used ”Clean Protein chicken ” and now look different also cats do not like this. What happen did they change a recipe ? My cats like more ” Instinct chicken formula ” so I switched to it . Thank you again for your help ,you are great !

  10. I really appreciate your food recommendations, as I have a cat who was recently dx with lymphoma and I have been looking for a high caloric food for her.

    On another note, while I understand (and generally agree with) your reasoning for avoiding dry food, I have a 16yo who refuses to eat anything else. She is completely healthy, with no tartar or plaque on her teeth. *shrug* Go figure.

  11. Hi! I just noticed that Instinct (Nature’s Variety) is no longer on your list of best wet cat foods. Just wondering what happened. Thanks in advance!

      • Hi Ingrid – what are your thoughts on the FDA report that was recently published regarding grain free food causing heart related issues?

        • I’m following the story, but I have not seen anything that really explains definitively that the grain-free diets are causing the incidents of DCM. I think we simply don’t know enough about this issue yet. I will definitely update once I have more information that makes sense to me.

          • I would love more info on this as well – something my vet mentioned to me recently when I asked about feeding my new kitten. They do keep pushing their dry foods on me though even though I definitely don’t want to switch to science hill – so far feeding “NOW” dry food and wellness wet food – weruva/bff food is on the list of wet food for when he is no longer a kitten. Just wondering if you have heard anything further about this grain free diet since your last post? In addition have you ever heard of the wellness wet food for cats and if so what are your thoughts? Thank you so much for your reviews, its really hard to find unbiased reviews and there is so much information out there.

          • There has not been any new information. It appears that the FDA is keeping a tight lid on this investigation. I’m not a big fan of Wellness. It’s not a bad food, but my experience has been that the formulas are not always consistent.

  12. I can’t afford wet food. Not with the amount my kittens will need to eat. From what I understand, the only real difference is that wetfood has more moisture, but also less calories and less nutrition per gram because it’s mostly water. If my kitties are drinking enough water, then it seems like dry should be okay.

    And yes, it’s not ideal to have one that has any grains whatsoever, but I know a lot of people myself included who could never have cats if the best feed was necessary. It’s ridiculously expensive where I live.

    I will of course watch my kittens and pay attention to their health and weight and get some wetfood if I notice they aren’t drinking much. But otherwise, I’ve heard from many sources that wet vs dry, Kitten vs adult, all of it is marketing schemes and everyone wants to sell something, no matter what credentials. It’s frustrating. I want what is best for my kitties but also doable financially. For now, I checked the dry food and it’s 34% protein, main ingredient is chicken and turkey then 24% fat and the rest carbs. Having a higher protein ratio and fat ratio reduces the carbs, but protein is the most important and generally the higher the better.
    All food I looked at had some form of some plant material or filler, even the really expensive stuff. I also made sure that the phosphorus and calcium levels were in acceptable ranges. I also got a water fountain to encourage drinking from running water that is steel plated where the water “flows and sits.

    I also had a cat that lived to be 18+ and she was on pretty mediocre dry food and some wet, wet more as she got older since it’s harder on teeth when they are seniors.

  13. Also going off my last comment I wanted to know for a senior female cat 16 years old is it important I buy her senior wet food only ,, should I not get any wet food that says adult? What about all stages? Thanks I didn’t see much info for senior cats , she also pukes once a day and has hyperthyroidism she takes thyroid medicine

  14. Hello, I have a 16 year old female cat
    She was eating halo wet canned food for year or 2 and recently stoped liking it so I switched her food over to instinct wet food flavors chicken, turkey, rabbit cans and I did bring in instinct rabbit dry food she does like it and was eating it but sense switching her to this food she started having symptoms. she was peeing outside of her box her bowels were really huge and her butthole is pushed out a lot and her behavior was different she didn’t come by me for pets she just laid in a certain spot all day she didn’t meow, you know she didn’t have her usual behavior but she did stop puking for the 5 days she’s been puking once a day for few years now,, but her other symptoms was a factor to not keep her on this food so I eliminated the dry food only and I’m only feeding her Instinct wet food now she did stop peeing outside the litter box a few days now and right away her behavior improved but now she’s back to her daily puking and she is starting to have white to gray-ish stools not the entire stools are discolored just one or 2 and the rest of the stools is brown. Also she does have hyperthyroidism and I have been giving her medication for 3-4 or more years now. So just wondering what I can do and if instinct wet food is a good food for her with her age and symptoms? Thank you

      • Yes I have let the vets know for while now, and had full blood panel test, X-rays, it’s like they don’t know how to pinpoint on what to do and always let it slide, my last vet I seen 2 months ago said it could be ibs and recommended some medication if I decide to go that route but we were working on getting her thyroid levels down we focused on that more, I just don’t know what to do, I haven’t really found a good vet I like in a while now, do you know of any good vets in Macomb Michigan? It’s a long shot but never know, should I get her tested for more things and go from there, I feel like I just can’t keep waiting on a vets help, is there something I can do in the mean time should I get her on probiotics? She eats instinct wet canned food, could you help give me your thoughts on where I can take action with this things I can do on my own and also I will consider going to the vet and what to ask for them to do for my cat?than you so much

        • Ask for a referral to an internal medicine specialist. Here’s a database that lets you search for one nationwide: If your regular vet hasn’t already done an ultrasound, that would be a start. They may recommend additional testing such as biopsies. It is challenging to manage multiple conditions, which is why a specialist may be a good choice.

          Probiotics can certainly help, but are not a substitute for getting to the root of the problem. I recommend these two: and

  15. Curious to know what you think of Dr. Elsey’s Clean Protein Dry food — seems to have no fillers or vegs in it, keeping the carbs very low. Thanks in advance!

      • Thanks for the response Ingrid! You are a truly valued resource!!
        Have been feeding FirstMate Tuna (one guy will only eat fish) which is grain and gum free. It gets its carbs from potato. Seems the Clean Protein dry has a lower percentage of carbs than even most wet food.
        May use this to supplement, and thank you again for your feedback.

  16. wondering how you feel about joe’s comment about synthetic vitamin k being added to dr elseys clena protein wet food. is it not good for cats? thanks

  17. i tried the dr. elsey’s food but out of 4 cats nobody liked it …i just read this on a review 2019 –Dr, Elsey’s has started adding Menadione Sodium Bisulfite Complex (synthetic vitamin k) to what used to be a premium cat food. Too bad.

    • Is it in the wet food? I can’t find it in the list of ingredients. My cats love the Turkey cans, but if this is true, I’ll stop buying it.

      • i found it on rabbit and turkey and pork ..but you’re right not turkey … is this because its synthetic is the bad thing about it ?

  18. I would like to know for hard core dry food rescued cat what is the best dry you would recommend? It isn’t an option to not give her a little dry, I will cut way back but I have to give her a little. Please no judgment just a sugg. as to the best dry I can offer her. Thanks

      • I looked into the sugg. for dry and quite frankly I can’t afford those prices. I did however find a grain free dry cat food at Aldi’s and she loves it. It is round pellets and Protein is the first ingredient. She likes the wet food the best and I do give her fresh protein as well. Am I really a bad pet owner then? I have had many cats that lived until almost 20 without the grain free knowledge I have today, what is the difference then? Was I just lucky my whole life? I only had 1 cat a male tabby with a crystal problem and bought him low/no ash and he never had an issue before. Vet rec. the low/no ash. Thanks

        • You are not a bad pet owner! The fact that you are educating yourself about feline nutrition makes you an excellent cat parent in my book. Feed the best food you can afford on your budget, keeping in mind that even the least expensive wet food is always a better choice than dry food. Look at some of the Fancy Feast varieties, the classic line can be a good option for cat parents on a budget: You might be able to find sales on that brand at places like Costco, etc.

  19. I adopted a stray that a neighbor moved and left to her own demise. We thought she was the neighbor (whom has animals) cat and when my husband complained to the neighbor about the cat ripping up our garbage he told my husband the situation. Well I adopted her and took a few weeks to get her into house and comfortable. Long story longer she was pregnant. She had the kittens 3 weeks ago and she is very thin now. I want feed her a can of food a day and all the dry she can eat. I also make her eggs, and protein/chicken/steak etc…. I read your article and will look for a grain free dry. My question is, can I keep giving her protein that I cook along with her wet food or is that harming her? I have no problem cooking for her I just want to cook the right things. Thanks so much. PS I love Miss Kitty and we are keeping one of the kittens. She is Calico and she had 3 calico’s Female and one Red tabby with white legs and it is a male. This is my first cat that had kittens. I have had cats and kittens before but never a pregnant cat.

  20. My cat is super finicky and will only eat a pâté style of wet food. Any suggestions? I’ve been feeding him Wellness chicken and turkey pâté but he has developed an aversion to them. I’m pretty desperate.


  21. Hi! I’ve read this article several times in the past, and came back to it because I’m looking for a new food to add into our rotation. I seem to remember Natire’s Logic being on your list, and it’s one my cat Misty seems to do very well with. Has there been a change to this product that resulted in it being removed from your list of recommended foods? Thank you!

    • I still think Nature’s Logic is a good food, but the veggie/fruit content is a bit higher than I’d like to see in their new formulas.

      • That’s good to know, thank you! I wasn’t aware they had updated their formulas. I’m going to try adding Dr. Elsey’s and Nature’s Variety Instinct into the mix. They seem comparable to Nature’s Logic, with far fewer fruits and vegetables. I always mix a pate with Weruva Cats in the Kitchen chicken or turkey…so hopefully Misty will have a quick and easy transition! Thanks again.

      • IF this is referring to Nature’s Variety raw frozen bites, be aware that this is now 85% meat (previously it was 95%) – more fruits/veggies added along with dl-Methionine. My cats never cared for them, but do eat the medallions, still 95% meat. Also, the medallions are now only sold through the boutique pet stores, not places like Chewy and Petco. I have a bag of the bites still from before, so I know it was 95% previously.
        “…These delectable bites are protein-packed with 85% meat and organs and 15% non-GMO fruits, vegetables, vitamins and minerals…”
        “Chicken (including Ground Chicken Bone), Chicken Liver, Chicken Heart, Apples, Carrots, Sweet Potatoes, Butternut Squash, Montmorillonite Clay, Tricalcium Phosphate, Ground Flaxseed, Salmon Oil, Vitamins (Vitamin E Supplement, Thiamine Mononitrate, Vitamin D3 Supplement), Yeast Culture, Potassium Chloride, Salt, Choline Chloride, Taurine, Minerals (Zinc Proteinate, Copper Proteinate, Manganese Proteinate, Calcium Iodate), DL-Methionine, Blueberries, Spinach.”

        Seriously, Apples, Carrots, Sweet Potatoes, Butternut Squash, blueberries, spinach?? What is this stuff, Thanksgiving dinner for kitties? Wait, where are the taters? And gravy…

  22. Hi Ingrid,
    I don’t see Small Batch on our list of raw food and wanted get your thoughts about it. Our kids love it. We had tried many prior.
    Thank you

  23. My 12 year old cat was just diagnosed with cancer. He is also diabetic, but in remission. He has a tumor in his stomach area. This is all new to me and I’m trying to gather as much information as possible.

    I’d like to know what food is the best type/kind for him to eat? I want to ensure the highest quality of care and food for him. Thank you in advance for your time.

      • Thank you, Ingrid. Based on the info in your blog, I went to the store this week and purchased several quality can foods for Johnny. I’m quickly learning that the “junk” can food, and tuna water, might be the only two things that encourages him to eat right now. So, as you said, eating something is better than not eating at all. What are your thoughts on feeding him cooked meat and tuna water… or baby food? I will grab some nutritional yeast and bone broth today.

        Also, surgery is not an option and my vet thinks euthanasia is the path to take. I’m choosing to honor him and this stage of his journey by saying no to chemo or radiation and opting for a more holistic route. Signs of cancer cachexia are present, but he’s still using the litter box, playing some, moving and jumping, responding to touch, toys and love and eating some… these are all good signs imo. He is on CBD oil and fluids now and there is an immune support product for cats with cancer that I ordered. Any thoughts on this product? It is called Life Gold by Pet Well-being.

        I appreciate your blog, your time and willingness to share with us all. Thank you

      • Carra: I’m a believer of Life Gold. Several years ago my cat had large cell lymphoma. 3 vets gave him less than 2 months. but lived another full year, agranted he did receive chemo, but I started him immediately on Life Gold. He also received ozone therapy. I found that he like Natures Variety Instinct and Primal Freeze Dried Venison and also the chicken. I used purified water to hydrate it, crushed it up with a fork to almost canned food consistency, but not soupy. I also ground up organic chicken hearts. The key is as low in carbohydrates as you can possible do, because they turn to sugar and sugar feeds cancer. In addition I put him on Luxolite from Vitality Science. It is a bentonite clay. From their website >Luxolite is negatively-charged and works like a magnet to attract positively-charged toxins such as lead, mercury, arsenic, cadmium and many more and carries them out of the body within hours. “When clay is consumed, its vital force is released into the physical body and mingles with the vital energy of the body, creating a stronger, more powerful energy in the host. The natural magnetic action transmits a remarkable power to the organism and helps to rebuild vital potential through the liberation of latent energy.”

        “When the immune system does not function at its best, the clay stimulates the body’s inner resources to awaken the stagnant energy. It supplies the body with the available magnetism to run well. Clay is said to propel the immune system to find a new healthy balance and strengthens the body to a point of higher resistance.” So I did away with all plastic, only filtered water, liquid gold, and the bentonite clay. In addition the vet prescribe Low Dose Naltrexone .25ml for 9 pound cat. Not expensive but has to be compounded by a pharmacy. If I had to heat up food, I heated so slightly that I could touch the bottom of the pan. I also believe in organic bone broth, but my cats don’t particularly like it

        • Shelly, thank you for sharing with me. Ozone therapy and Luxolite are on my list to research now. Good to hear that about the Life Gold! A few of the reviews had me concerned. Did your cat like the taste of it? Any direct changes you noticed with Life Gold? So far, he’s not interested in home cooked meat, Nature’s Instinct protein or kitten food and he did not like the nutritional yeast either. We’re already on the filtered water (learned that with a bladder stone) and I’ll be sure to check out the Primal Freeze, too.

        • No Simon did not like the taste of the Life Gold, so I put the dropper as far back to the side of his mouth to get it in him and try to by pass a lot of his taste buds. Simon was already pretty far into stage 4 when I started it, so I did not see outwardly signs other than he lived a pretty descent life for another year along with the Luxolite clay. I’ve continued raw feeding since and all of my other cats like it cold right out of the fridge. Balanced Blends out of Colorado would be my favorite complete raw pet food. I also get raw food from Raw Feeding Miami.The food from this company is truly raw, with this food “chicken grinds” I add Alnutrin Supplements individual packets that are pre measured for 1 pound pkg of meat. No I do not cook the food as that actually cooks out the nutrients, but like I said I may just slightly warm it, but its still raw when they eat it. Sick cats are naturally more picky in MHO. Here are a couple of good sites, the first one was a blog that I followed at the same time, although her kitty lived longer than mine Hopefully its ok that I’ve posted these 2 sites. I invested a large amount of my time learning how to make Simon comfortable with the hopes of betting his cancer. If your kitty won’t eat, the vet can prescribe for you an antihystamine that will make him hungry. If you would like me to share all the websites that I collected in hopes of saving my cat, you can find me on facebook under Shelley Bennett my picture shows a dog and cat setting together in the yard and you can msg me.

          • Carra, I’m so sorry for your loss of Johnny. It’s rough watching them be sick and not be able to help them, but you tried the best that you could and he knew that. A wise holistic vet that I use told me that pets are not like people. As they start that transition, they don’t think about how much they will miss us or leaving us behind, they just don’t think the way we do, although they do know that we love them and we are crying cause we are sad about what they are going through. That helped me a lot. My little Thomas passed away a couple of weeks ago of Infammatory Bowel Disease. We fought that nasty disease for 4 years and I watched him waste away, but as long as he showed interest in life, I let him be and kept treating him, but on a Saturday afternoon, his eyes looked at me and it was just there, time to say goodbye. I provided him a great life until he got sick and I did everything in my power to treat him, just like you did with Johnny. My heart is sad for you. Take care

    • At a quick glance, they use by-products, potato starch is high on the list of ingredients, and they use “natural flavors,” which can mean a lot of different things.

    • Hey Sarah,

      Granted I’m not Ingrid, but I have a ton of experience in this, working for a popular NYC animal rescue for nearly 20 years.

      Tiny Tiger LLC is available exclusively from, which to me is immediately a red flag. Secondly it’s always discounted to make people think hmm why not, let’s give it a try? (AKA corporate over care.) Thirdly, if you look at the cases and cans, it’s clear this is not some new pet food company but someone who’s already spent hundreds of thousands on a complex processing line; the cans and labeling and case printing look very suspiciously like the output from the mega-conglomerates like Nestle Purina Petcare (aka Fancy Feast etc.) or Mars Petcare (aka Royal Canin, etc.)

      Not that there’s anything inherently bad about these guys, they kept millions of America’s pets alive and healthy for many, many years! But when your decisions come from a board room and not from the love of animals, there’s going to be issues. (please remember that even Dick Van Patten’s Natural Balance is no longer the Natural Balance people fell in love with, but now owned by a mega-group of corporate investors and venture capitalists wanting a slice of the multi-billion-dollar pet care market, and you should stay up on this kind of info. It’s crazy.)

      But, no. Not at all. That alone doesn’t make them bad. What makes Tiny Tiger questionable is when *entire cases* of the food are donated to our shelter, and our shelter animals won’t eat it. They clearly have quality standards different than whatever the main production line is, because every 3rd can in the case is ignored and buried by cats that are not remotely ‘spoiled’ and were scavenging and/or living off human food scraps until they were rescued.

      That is not a good sign, regardless of what any label says. It may be a way to dump substandard food on the market, it may be a legitimate attempt to make a high-quality affordable cat food. I have no idea, nor am I judging them. I’m just sharing the experience of someone who opens cases of food at a time, not single cans. There’s something up with this stuff if rescues won’t eat it.

        • i order all of our pet food from chewy and switched to tiny tiger when it appeared on line. After several cases, my maine coon’s coat changed from soft and shiny to coarse and dull. It was quite dramatic. She also developed mats which she never had previously. I’ve switched back to her prior food, and am pleased that her fur is becoming soft and shiny again. Am appreciative of Mike’s comments which I read today. He described my experience and I’m so glad I stopped feeding her tiny tiger.

  24. Hi, Ingrid! I was hoping to find recommendations for kitten food but most of the canned formulas recommended here do not even have a kitten formula.
    Also, I wanted to let you know so you can update your list: Bravo no longer has canned options, raw only. And Nature’s Logic canned says on their website “to be used as intermittent or supplement feeding only”.
    Of the 1 or 2 brands listed here that do have kitten formulas, they are 11-12% in protein which seems to be a bit too much right now for my little girl (very stinky b.m. and gassy).
    Anyway, LOVE what you do – just wanted to let you know so you can update and maybe offer some kitten suggestions down the road. Thanks!

    • Kittens can eat adult formulas, they just need more food per pound of body weight than adult cats, and they will need more frequent meals. Use label recommendations as a starting point, and feed your kitten as much canned or raw food as she will eat until she is about four to six months old, in three or four meals a day, then she can be fed as an adult cat.

      Thanks for the info on Bravo and Nature’s Logic!

  25. I raised my Scottish Fold on a well-regarded dry food. I continued with the adult dry food of the same brand. The only canned food she would eat was absolute junk. She also began to pork out on only 1/3 cup this dry food. I then abandoned dry food completely and switched her to FreshPet Select. It is a refrigerated, cooked food (not raw), chicken flavor. She is doing great: plush coat, minimal defecation, improved muscle tone, and clean teeth (I am a veterinarian, too, and I also believe that dry food does not translate to clean teeth). I would recommend this food to those that want to feed a fresh, minimally-processed food but raw is not an option for them.

    • Thank you for sharing your experience with a minimally processed diet, Melissa. It’s always refreshing to hear a veterinarian help dispel the myth that dry food cleans teeth.

  26. Hi! Have you looked into Cornucopia? I’m curious to see your thoughts. I have two senior cats, one of which is having struggles with liver issues. The Vet recommended Hills prescription diet, which I obviously refuse to feed. They haven’t eaten dry in years. I’ve tried almost every food out there! My liver kitty has to be careful with sodium, so it’s a challenge. I tried the Cornucopia food on a whim out of desperation. I just wish so many of the formulas didn’t have fish! Though it is wild-caught. They also have some type of allergies! I tried the NV LID Turkey, but they hate the peas!

  27. RE: Soulistic. I can’t find any flavors other than chicken that do not have tuna. Am I missing them? I’ve been buying Grain free Gluten free Soulistic Duck Dinner in Gravy, Lamb Dinner in Gravy and Beef Dinner in gravy. I just noticed that all of these have tuna broth as the first ingredient and tuna as the third ingredient. In fact the only Soulistic I could find without fish was chicken. I am trying to rotate through choices other than chicken. My kitties were loving Soulistic. Thank you for your great website!

      • We’ve been feeding our two Siamese cats this food for about 5 years – alternating between chicken and salmon pate. Not sure what the ingredients were originally, but here are the first 5 ingredients now:

        • Full list of ingredients:
          Deboned Chicken, Chicken Broth, Chicken Liver, Natural Flavor, Pea Protein, Calcium Carbonate, Organic Dried Alfalfa Meal, Sodium Phosphate, Guar Gum, Potassium Chloride, Taurine, Salt, Choline Chloride, Flaxseed Oil, Yucca Schidigera Extract, Minerals (Zinc Amino Acid Complex, Iron Amino Acid Complex, Manganese Amino Acid Complex, Copper Amino Acid Complex, Potassium Iodide, Cobalt Glucoheptonate, Sodium Selenite) , Vitamins (Vitamin E Supplement, Vitamin B12 Supplement, d-Calcium Pantothenate, Vitamin A Supplement, Niacin, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Riboflavin Supplement, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Folic Acid, Biotin, Thiamine Mononitrate).

          • Hi Ingrid they stopped stocking this at chewy but they are not saying its discontinued ..this is a much more economical choice and a few of my cats like it ….any chance you’d review it again ? and thanks for purina …if its good enough can it be on your list ?

        • If your cat seems bloated, you need to get her checked out by your vet. As I explain in this article, cats should never eat dry food. You can find the brands/foods I recommend in the list in this article.

  28. Just acquired a kibble addicted 5 year old cat that I hope to transition to wet canned, and eventually raw. He will only eat pate (doesn’t like Tiki Cat, for example or real cooked meat) in very small quantities. Your article doesn’t mention pea protein, which I am seeing in foods and dislike. Any suggestions for a pate with no veggies or fruit, carageenan, peas or pea protein? Don’t like to see flaxseed either as it gets rancid very easily, but this may be a tall order. Thank you.

    • I agree with you on pea protein being a poor substitute for meat protein. Of course, it’s cheaper, which is why it’s showing up in so many formulas. Try Dr. Elsey’s, Bravo, or Hound and Gatos – when I last checked, none of them contained pea protein, but formulas change, so it’s always a good idea to read labels.

      • Our 2 cats would NOT eat anything with peas in it. So after trying about a dozen other brands, we finally came up with Merrick’s Limited Ingredient chicken or turkey – pate. The Pate was the key. We also add to that Life Extension Multi-Nutrient Formula vitamins and home make poached ground chicken. It took a couple of weeks to wean them off kibble and onto our recipe, but now they’re fine.

  29. This is the first time I have been to this site. Hoping it is OK to ask a question. I have a 11 year old cat. Seems she has runny stool about every 3 or 4 days in the same exact place, which is right in front of our sliding patio door, where I will see it in the AM when I let the dog out. The vet thinks it is a behavior problem. I currently am feeding her Blue canned food. I also have another cat that I got 2 years ago but the cat that has the problem was doing it prior to getting this cat although the problem is getting more frequent. Do you think it would be helpful to give a probiotic or switch to one of the brands you have listed?

  30. How do you feel about added salt (sodium chloride) in canned food? I have been doing extensive research on your recommended brands, and MOST of them have added salt listed as an ingredient. I’ve read salt causes heart and kidney disease and hypertension (much like in humans). I’m trying to feed the best possible canned food to my cats. Thank you for your help.

  31. I feed my cats canned cat food. Purina beyond is my choice with very little wellness indoor dry mixed in. Also backwoods wet is also good. I never would feed my cats raw. Too many problems.

    I don’t understand your comment about wellness food. I don’t use dry food.

    would you recommend wellness food with carregenan? thanks~

    • I do not recommend any foods with Carrageenan. Raw food is the optimal diet for cats, but I understand that not everyone is comfortable with it.

    • The carrageenan – read online about this ingrienient .
      I feed my 3 cats with Blue Baflo can food with this ingrienient in and they ( 3 of them ) die with the same tammy cancer in 9 month time they all were gone . I still miss my cats ,they were not old to die .

  32. Hi Ingrid,

    I had my cat on Primal Freeze dried for 2 years. He LOVED it, but recently doesn’t want it. So I switched to the food he used to eat- Wellness Turkey Pate- no carrigenan, grain free, etc. I tried about 10 different foods when we adapted him and he didn’t like any of them. What about this type of Wellness food? Thanks~

      • I feed my cats canned cat food. Purina beyond is my choice with very little wellness indoor dry mixed in. Also backwoods wet is also good. I never would feed my cats raw. Too many problems

  33. Hi Ingrid,

    We have been feeding Vital Essentials, but have heard they are changing their formula and it has been so hard to get, so we tried Small Batch. They do list salmon oil in their ingredients. I was wondering if you are familar with the brand etc. Our Vet says they are comparable to VE.

    Thank you,

  34. My cat seems to have a sensative stomach and vomits up her food every few days. Raw diets have been tried in the past and she is now eating Tiki cat wet food. She also eats a dry kibble, grain free, Vital Cat duck flavored. She has also been allowed to eat the dog’s dry kibble; Stella and Chewy’s raw blend. Her vomit tends to be chunky as though she is not completely digesting the dry kibble. Any thoughts or ideas? Thanks!

  35. Hi there!

    I’m not sure if you — or anyone else, really — will read this comment, but I’ll try anyway as a desperate first-time cat owner.

    I adopted my cat, Diamond, from a local shelter at the end of June. In pretty much every way she is healthy, and at her checkup in July, the vet was super impressed with her health.

    However, being a girl in her 20’s who’s never owned a cat before, I simply followed the diet they had been giving her at the shelter. They would free-feed the cats kibble but give them two wet food meals a day. So…that’s what I did. Diamond was a bit picky about the wet food but she loves dry food to the point that she will eat no matter WHAT I put down in front of her. This is where the problem lies: last night, before bed, I tried to simply just “put away” her kibble, and she went nuts. Like, whining and climbing on me and purring in my ears kind of nuts.

    A lot of the websites on transitioning cats from a dry to wet diet only account for cats eating dry kibble on a free-feed schedule, but Diamond and I are a bit different. I’ve done a lot of research on how to wean her off of the kibble, but again, none of them are really relevant for us.

    Sorry for the long comment, but I’m just not sure what to do anymore! Any guidance you could provide, or resources you could point me toward, would be incredibly appreciated.

    Thank you so much, and thank you for all you do for the kitties with your site!

    • Hi Emily,

      I’m co-signing Ingrid’s comments. Cats are creatures of habit. Just be patient and remember not to beat yourself up over it.

      Since my cats still prefer some kibble, and i do leave 60kcals out at night since they are actively playing when I’m asleep, I purchased water fountains to encourage them to drink more water. I prefer the Pagoda style that Ingrid recommended because it’s an ideal size for cats,made of ceramic and not plastic, and has parts that are easy to clean.

      Make sure you transition them to the best quality kibble you can afford, if they are eating a cheaper variety. Make sure you check the Guaranteed Analysis and look for .2% taurine. You might only get as close as .15%. Taurine is super important for cats. Wet foods more than always have less than dry food and raw diets typically can not guarantee any taurine. A food can claim to be natural but if it doesnt have the necessary nutrients for your cat, it’s not a superior alternative. So recognize you may have to add taurine and other supplements.

      This is shedding season so make sure you brush your cat frequentl in addition to making sure their diet contains omega 3 and 6 fatty acids. Many dry foods add these as well. It helps keep their coat nice and shiny.

      Also make sure you give them something like Tomyln laxatone a few days a week to help them pass furballs and also poop easier with all of that dry food in their system.. Getting them to take it may be tricky. I wipe a small dallop on top of my cats upper lip on the side, wait for them ro lick it off, then apply more when it’s done. Greenies Smartbites are a good supplement.

      That’s the basics. Other than scheduled playtime around feeding (Da bird and laser toys are sure hits) to encourage them to eat more at feeding time and rest afterwards, you’re good to go.

  36. Hi, I’ve just started feeding Weruva. they do like the fish products. Are the fish products also the same human grade food as the chicken? I understand that fish should be limited but they get tired of the Fowl Ball and the Double Dip. Unfortunately one of my cats is food sensitive to the Lamb so I’m limited. Also I was going to try them on the GO cat food but all of their food contains salmon even if the name of the food is chicken.



  37. Thank you for the helpful article. My problem is none of the commercial brands listed seem to have KITTEN food. What would you recommend for a kitten? thank you.

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