Last Updated on: November 13, 2022 by Crystal Uys

siamese cat eating food from bowl at home

If you’ve read this blog for any length of time, you know that we’re 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 a grain-free canned diet.

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 we have actually fed to our cats. We have broken the foods into three sections to help you further decide which type is best for you and your precious kitty.

We’ve broken down our reviews into three sections: fresh raw cat foods, wet and canned cat foods, and freeze-dried and dehydrated cat foods. Click on the links below to jump directly to the section, or just take your time and peruse our whole review.:

A Glance At Our Top Picks of 2022

Image Product Details
Best Raw Cat Food Smalls Fresh Human-Grade Cat Food Smalls Fresh Human-Grade Cat Food
  • Fresh raw or fresh freeze-dried options
  • No artificial colors, flavors or preservatives
  • Human-grade ingredients
  • Best Canned Cat Food Dr. Elsey's Clean Protein Canned Cat Food Dr. Elsey's Clean Protein Canned Cat Food
  • Chicken is first ingredient
  • High levels of protein
  • 100% grain free
  • Best Dehydrated Cat Food The Honest Kitchen Dehydrated Raw Cat Food The Honest Kitchen Dehydrated Raw Cat Food
  • Free-range chicken
  • Human-grade ingredients
  • No artificial preservatives, fillers, or GMO ingredients
  • The 2 Best Fresh Raw Cat Foods:

    1. Smalls Fresh Human-Grade Cat Food


    Click to Save 25% on Smalls

    We love Smalls raw cat food for our cats for many reasons, but mostly because of their fresh, human-grade ingredients. Cats of all shapes and sizes flock to these pre-packaged meals, and since they are a subscription service, you never have to think about running out of food – it arrives at your door just when you need it. It’s not cheap, but it’s still affordable and the best bang for your buck we think you will find for your precious kitty.

    2. Darwin’s Natural Cat Food

    darwin's natural cat food

    Click to Get 10 Pounds of Darwin’s For Just $14.95!

    Darwin’s uses high-quality, ethically-sourced ingredients in all of their raw food recipes, which are species-appropriate formulations, and our cats absolutely love all of them! They also have a veterinary recipe that is formulated specifically for cats with kidney disease.

    The 7 Best Wet Cat Foods:

    1. Dr. Elsey’s Clean Protein

    dr elsey clean protein chicken

    Check Latest Price

    Dr. Elsey’s cat food includes high protein content with quality ingredients and will help keep your cat’s muscles lean and strong. It is quite expensive per unit, but because of the high-quality ingredients, your cat will stay fuller for longer, meaning you don’t need as much!

    2. Weruva Canned Cat Food

    Weruva canned cat food variety pack

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    If you have a gravy-loving kitty, Weruva will be the best choice. With real pieces of meat and little carbohydrates, Weruva recipes are as healthy as they are tasty, and your cat will be snuggling you more, thanking you for this tasty canned meal.

    3. Hound and Gatos Canned Cat Food

    hound and gatos canned chicken cat food

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    This canned cat food brand is good for cats of all shapes, sizes, and even ones with health problems like IBS. They have multiple high-quality options, have never been recalled, and by feeding your cat Hound & Gatos, you will keep them healthy and strong.

    4. Tiki Cat Canned Cat Food

    Tiki cat shredded meat grain free

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    Tiki Cat canned cat food comes in many different flavors, but every recipe is full of real meaty goodness. Their recipes aid in digestion, have the appropriate moisture contents to keep your kitty regular, and are very high in protein – exactly what a feline needs!

    6. Ziwi Peak Canned Cat Food


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    Ziwi Peak provides multiple recipes, all fortified with New Zealand green-lipped mussels for a natural source of chondroitin and glucosamine. Though it is expensive, cats love the taste, and the health benefits are huge too. High-quality ingredients help to keep the vet away and your feline feeling fine.

    7. Nature’s Logic Canned Cat Food

    nature's logic canned cat food

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    Nature’s Logic provides canned cat food in a variety of flavors, but they are all made with whole foods, with real meat as the first ingredient. The recipes contain over 90% animal protein and seeks to provide nutrition for cats that closely resembles a cat’s ancestral diet.

    The 4 Best Dehydrated & Freeze-Dried Raw Cat Foods

    1. The Honest Kitchen Dehydrated Cat Food Chicken Recipe

    the honest kitchen dehydrated cat food chicken recipe

    Check Latest Price

    Honest Kitchen uses free-range, human-grade meat ingredients in its completely balanced recipes. Your kitty will not be disappointed if you bring home this incredible meal. You have the option of subscribing, or you may just want to buy the packs one at a time, but the subscription means never having to worry about running out of cat food again!

    2. Vital Essentials Freeze-Dried Raw Cat Food

    Vital cat freeze dried raw cat food

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    Vital Cat provides a freeze-dried raw patty food for cats in many different flavors, and are a great affordable option if fresh-raw is too expensive. If you find your cat just staring at it or sniffing it, we recommend cutting it in half or in quarters, because they will love the limited-ingredient recipes.

    3. Stella & Chewy’s Freeze-Dried Raw Cat Food

    stella & chewy's freeze dried rabbit cat food

    Check Latest Price

    Stella & Chewy’s is another favorite for our cats – their recipes come with different proteins, packed full of high-quality ingredients, and are made up of 98% raw meat and bones—based off of your cat’s ancestral diet.

    4. Primal Pet Foods Freeze-Dried Raw Cat Food Nuggets

    Primal freeze dried raw cat food nuggets

    Check Latest Price

    There are many recipe options with Primal, all with high-quality, high-protein ingredients, so your cat will stay interested in their meals. Most cats love the taste, but it is important to note that the nuggets do need rehydrating, and the consistency may not be loved by all cats.

    Buying Guide: Choosing the Best Cat Food

    Never feed dry food to your cat

    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.

    Articles about feline nutrition

    You can find many of the articles I’ve written about this topic in the Feline Nutrition section right here on this site.

    What we 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 when possible

    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.

    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

    Featured Image Credit: Pixel-Shot, Shutterstock

    About the author

    1,365 Comments on 13 Best Cat Foods in 2022: Recommendations & Guide

    1. I have two cats. A 1 yr old & a 4 month old. They both are eating Darwin’s raw. Just recently there appetite started to decrease. And they both have diarrhea. They barely want to eat the Darwin’s anymore. And there coats are very spikey. I don’t know how else to describe it. It’s not smooth or silky. It looks more like, greasy and spikey.

    2. I (age 75) have been owned by cats my entire life. I found your website today. I wish I had found it 60 years ago. Currently, I have 2 healthy female cats and I desperately want feed them right to keep them healthy. I have lost too many cats to kidney disease. please keep up your work.

        • My 14 yr old ragdoll has early stages of Kidney disease. I am concerned as she has had plenty of dry food but not grains etc its made by Science Diet and other one is Royal Canin its a balanced diet not sugary snack food. It has chicken for protein and all the other nutrition a cat needs. She is also having a Renal diet of wet food and plenty of clean fresh water.She has put weight on in 3 weeks from 3.1 kilos to 4 kilos. Thank you for your reply.

          • Cats with kidney disease need moisture in their diet. Dry food is never a good choice for cats, even healthy cats. This article explains the nutritional needs of cats with kidney disease in detail:

    3. Instinct limited ingredient wet cat food is no longer produced in the US, is now produced in Thailand.

      I haven’t compared ingredients yet, but the formula seems to have changed. The turkey variety appears pale and slimy, and my cat won’t eat it.

      Might be worth revisiting your recommendation.

      • Thank you for your feedback. I’ve been on the cusp about removing Instinct from my list since some of their formulas have been inconsistent for quite some time.

    4. Hi! My cat had stomach exploratory surgery (to remove a hairball/dry food blockage) and had to have a feeding tube placed due to hepatic lipidosis. The surgery was done about two and a half weeks ago, and he had his feeding tube removed about a week and a half ago. I really want him to get back on Darwin’s (we tried it last year and only stopped because our other cat stopped eating it) to help keep him healthier. Do you know about how long after this type of surgery we would need to wait to feed him Darwin’s? He really thrived on it the time we did try it. Thanks for your time and wisdom 🙂

      • I would check with your vet to make sure that it’s okay to resume feeding raw. It shouldn’t be a problem, assuming everything healed well following his surgery.

      • My child has difficulty urinating ..!!
        and I avoided feeding him dry food..!!
        And now I’m feeding it the( Applawes )brand.??
        But I heard that it is a brand that lacks many nutrients.??
        Are there any tips??

      • While I prefer the brands listed in this post, some Fancy Feast formulas can be an okay choice. Just make sure you choose formulas without by-products, artificial flavors, and other artificial ingredients.

    5. My kitty is about 10. He was the neighbors cat. One day I got home from work and he was on my doorstep, ripped wide open from his neck to his tail.
      I took him to the vet (38 stitches). This was about s6-8 years ago. Now, in 2022, he appears healthy,happy,however, his appetite is very, very minimal. II walk him in a stroller…most days 2 times = 3-4 miles. Then I let him walk home (about 1/4 mile) each time. I feed him Fancy Feast, wet food, and Prescription dry food K&M (Kidney and Mobility Support) from Blue Buffalo./Natural Veterinary Diet. Is there a food or something that would increase his eating as I do t think what he’s doing is healthy?

      • I would eliminate the dry food. If he hasn’t had a veterinary check up recently, I’d also take him to the vet. Minimal appetite at his age could be an indicator of any number of illnesses.

      • I grinde raw chicken brest( for human consuption ) ,raw chicken liver ( a little ) ,raw chicken hearts and I add some pumpking from can ( cook ) and also ,feline digestive enzymes and Nutra thrive ( I order ) and mixt this and packed with a little plasick bags and freeze them .I use worm water to defreeze them with this plastik bag and add some warm water inside this raw meet and my 3 cats love this so much . Try this after you find out if your cat is healthy .

      • My cat is a stray frequent visitor we learnt to love. He started growing a huge liver tumor and was anemic. We brought him in. Took him to 4 vets but the tumor is not operable and in advanced stage. Apparently taurine is very important in their diet and found in bigger amounts in the raw chicken livers (not the hearts). Buy them frozen. If you see them at the store already thawed ask for a frozen pack or ask when do they get the next frozen load. Same with any other raw food. This is time consuming so make a batch of this addition. After thawing, remove the biggest pieces of fat. Add any supplements you want and blend. I add beans and/or pumpkin, milk thistle and tumeric. Pour in a silicon tray and this inside a bag (if the tray doesn’t come with a lid). Clamp it and freeze immediately. Thaw when needed and mix with their favorite raw meat (from a brand).
        My cat is not anemic after two months. We adding a herbal liver detox, pain meds and keeping him happy and comfortable❤️

    6. I am new to your newsletter, having read about 3 of your articles I applaud and very much appreciate your research and willingness to share it! So thank you for that. I have a male rescue cat that is FIV positive. A bit of history, Jack has been neutered. He is an outdoor cat but lives with 4 other FIV positive cats within a shelter, climate controlled building with access to outdoors area of about 1/4 acres that is fenced with cat proof fencing. For years I have fed them all Purina grain free wet food along with baked chicken or chicken liver. Approx 8 months ago I notice his front leg swollen, the vet inserted a drain and gave him Convenia injection and after a couple wks, stitches removed it seemed healed. 2-3 months later the same thing happened. Given the time frame I thought this a new injury and we went through this scenario several times before we realized it was the same thing over and over. Several cultures and biopsies later, after it looking as though it was healed we are back to square one. It was also noted that there is a small foreign body in the leg that seems to be quite mobile. It is small enough that my vet has not been able to get it out, and neither of us is really sure it is the culprit for the recurrence of this infection. Though as a last ditch effort she as him schedule with a surgical specialist who thinks he can get the foreign body out. In the meantime in an effort to strengthen his immune system I have switched his diet to NomNomNow which is what I feed my indoor cats and what I wish I could afford to feed them all. I also mix in the probiotics that NomNom sells. I would like to know if you have and opinion on NomNoms probiotic but I am also looking for any other advice for strengthening his immune system. He is about 6-7 yrs old and has never been ill, has recovered without issue from dental extractions and other bite wounds. I’m sorry for the length of my note, Im pretty desperate as I know we are looking at possible amputation in the near future if I cant get this resolved
      Many thanks for your time and consideration

      • I usually recommend this probiotic although the Nom Nom product is a good choice as well. This article may help answer your question about how to support Jack’s immune system: If you’d like more personalized advice, I’d be happy to schedule a consultation.

    7. my daughters cat is 10 months old almost and tiny and looks ill. she got him from the humane society and 2 weeks later she told them he still looked ill. she took him for tests and they said he was negative for leukemia etc. now he has tested positive. he is an indoor cat and i want to help him. i am reading to stop dry food and give a quality wet food only with daily probiotic and fatty acids. any other recommendations

    8. Thanks so much for your responses. I appreciate it!

      What are your thoughts on Dr. Elsey Clean Protein wet canned foods?


    9. Thanks so much for your wonderful website! Our cat loves Wellness canned food. It’s grain-free, no carrageenan. I was just wondering why Wellness isn’t on your list?

      Thanks so much~

      • I haven’t looked at Wellness in a while, but found over the years that the formulas are not consistent. The company has been sold multiple times since its inception, which is another factor that makes me less inclined to trust a brand.

    10. Hello. My cat will
      Only eat the vital essentials freeze dried raw. He eats turkey, chicken, duck and rabbit. He don’t like it rehydrated. Should I be worried about moisture. He hates any wet food. I have tried almost every brand. Any suggestions. ?

      • Have you tried gradually adding small amounts of water to the dehydrated raw food so he can get used to the new texture over time? Make sure you encourage him to drink plenty of water if you really can’t get him to accept any wet food.

        • Yes. Once I add the water he won’t touch it. Ugh. He seems to drink enough water. Is the freeze dried raw better than kibble. Just want to make sure I am making the right choice. My one cat loves Carna4

          • Freeze dried raw is a considerable improvement over kibble, but freeze dried raw food is not designed to be eaten dry. I’d be concerned that even if he drinks a lot of water, it may not be enough.

            • Correct. The water the cat drinks is gonna be absorbed by the freeze dry food in the stomach. The cat would still need to drink an extra amount to hydrate the whole body. I would remove it from the diet.

    11. I have 2 inside cats, all they will eat is mariners catch wet food mixed with friskies bag food, my girl cat is around 17lbs, way to large, I can’t get her to eat canin diet food, how can we get our fur babies to try something new like I see in your articles, they are finicky. Any suggestions or help would be appreciated. I don’t want have health issues, but neither can I make them eat the more healthier food. Help if you can. Thanks

      • Try the suggestions in this article, Linda

    12. would you say the wet foods you listed are also good for cats in early stage kidney failure (as well as later stage)?

      • Some will be okay. The biggest concern with diets for cats with kidney failure is phosphorus, and unfortunately, manufacturers don’t disclose phosphorus levels on their labels, so you may need to do some homework. This article gets into detail about what to feed cats with kidney disease:

    13. Hi Ingrid

      Can you please tell us what you feed Allegra?
      Is it always raw (or raw with any particular brands of canned)?
      And if you have made any chances to her diet over time?
      Also, do you give her any supplements, like digestive enzymes, probiotics, or anything else (incl any kind of special treats)?

      • I feed primarily Darwin’s raw turkey, with an occasional canned meal of Weruva for variety. I’ve been feeding this way for the past five years. Before that, she would get other brands of raw and canned food. She gets a daily probiotic supplement and Omega-3 supplement and freeze dried raw meat treats.

    14. 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.

      • Thanks, I removed them from the list back in April – I was very sad to hear that they closed.

        • 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)

    15. 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.

      • I don’t have much experience with the brand, but it looked good to me when I reviewed it a few years ago.

    16. 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.

    17. 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?

      • It should still be on the list – I’m not sure what happened there! Thanks for bringing it to my attention, I’ll add it back in.

        • 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 ?

    18. 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.

    19. 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. 🙁

    20. 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

          • You’ll find extensive information about urinary crystals, urinary tract disease and what to feed on Dr. Pierson’s site:

      • 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.

    21. 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.

    22. “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 !

          • It sounds like they changed the formula, Zofia. It’s so aggravating when that happens, but it’s also one of the reasons why I recommend a rotation diet so cats don’t get stuck on one particular food. More info here:

    23. 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.

    24. 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!

      • That was an error on my part, Marina. I still recommend this brand, and I just corrected the list to include it again.

        • 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.

    25. 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.

    26. 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

      • You do not need to buy senior food for your kitty, here’s more information on what to feed seniors: and on lifestages diets in general: Please see my earlier reply about the daily vomiting.

        • One more question, ever sense I changed her food to instinct wet food my cat is pooping grayish-white stools not all the stools just some of it ,, is this important I bring her into the vet and does this mean she shouldn’t be eating instinct wet food ? Thank you

          • I would ask your vet about this. I doubt that it has anything to do with the food, although it’s possible. Pale grey stools can be an indicator of liver disease or an intestinal bacterial infection.

    27. 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

      • I’m assuming you’ve had your cat examined by your vet recently? It sounds like she may need additional diagnostics. Sadly, some vets still dismiss chronic vomiting in cats as “nomral,” but it’s anything but. Here’s more information:

        • 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

    28. 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.

    29. 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

      • Vitamin K is a controversial ingredient in pet food, but there is also a lot of misinformation about it out there. I’ve been unable to find consistent information on it from reliable sources.

    30. 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 ?

    31. 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.

    32. 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.

      • Supplementing her diet with cooked protein shouldn’t be a problem. If you want to make a complete home-cooked diet for her, this article will help

    33. 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.


      • Try some of these suggestions: and

    34. 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…

    35. 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

    36. 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.

      • I’m sorry about your kitty, Carra. This article explains what to feed cats with cancer:

        • 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

          • Feeding only cooked meat and tuna water longer term will lack nutrients that he needs, and so does baby food. Both are good to entice him to eat, but not as an actual meal. That said, at his stage, it’s still more important that he eats SOMETHING rather than that he eats the perfect diet. If he likes cooked meat, you may want to take a look at this article: I’m not familiar with the Life Good product, but I’ve heard good things about it. And I agree with you that what your describing doesn’t sound like he’s quite ready to leave. This article may be helpful to you, too:

            • Thank you for the additional links, Ingrid. My kitties are my babies and your blog has been helpful on many levels.

        • 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.

    37. 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!

    38. 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.

    39. 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!

    40. 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!

      • I reviewed this line in 2015 and liked it. Since then, Merrick has been bought out by Purina, and I don’t know whether the formulas have remained the same or whether they’ve changed since then.

        • 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:
          PEA PROTEIN

          • 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.

    41. 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.

    42. 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?

      • A probiotic might help, but it does sound like there’s a stress/behavioral component to the issue. I would place a litter box in the spot where she eliminates and see if that fixes the problem. This is not a permanent solution, once she uses the box, you can very gradually move it to a better location in the same room.

      • Be careful with Blue Buffalo canned food . They use one very dangerous ingredient ” carrageenan ” . Check on line what this can do to your cat or person but cats a little ? I lost 4 cats to cancer when I feed my cats only canned Blue Buffalo . Don’t take a risk ,please it was so painful for me and them also . I have no proof because nobody checked the tumors after theirs dead . But 4 cats die during the 9 month only and cats were a different ages not old .

        • Carrageenan is a common ingredient in many brands of cat food, not just Blue Buffalo. Here’s more information:

    43. I was just told that grain free might not be the best for cats.
      What is your thought on this? Thanks so much~

      • Even though the original post date is 2012, as stated in the annotation at the top of this post, this list is kept current.

    44. 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.

      • Salt does not appear to be a factor in increased risk of heart or kidney disease in cats.

    45. 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 .

    46. 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 haven’t looked at Wellness in a while, but all their formulas used to have carrageenan. It sounds like maybe they took it out?

        • 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

    47. 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,

    48. 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!

      • It sounds like she needs a visit to the vet, Karen. Frequent vomiting is not normal:

    49. 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!

      • It can take a lot of time and patience to wean a hard-core dry food addict off the kibble, but it’s the best thing you can do for Diamond’s health. Here are two articles that should help: and

      • 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.

    50. 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.



    51. 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.

      • As long as a diet has sufficient amounts of protein, it is appropriate for kittens as well. Kittens will need more frequent meals and more calories than adult cats, but they don’t necessarily need a “kitten diet.” Here’s more information on so-called life stages diets and why they’re mostly a marketing ploy:

    52. Hi Ingrid,

      I’m having trouble understanding the labels on canned cat food. My cat has been doing GREAT with Soulistic the last few days, and he seems very happy to be eating it after years of dry food, and most recently k/d dry. The label on Soulistic says that “crude” protein is 9% and moisture is 85%. I thought the percentage of protein was supposed to be at least 50%.

      Can you help me understand this?


      • You need to compare protein content on a “dry matter” basis. Protein content for Soulistic’s Good Karma flavor on a dry matter basis is 57.81% as per their website. These two articles explain how to read pet food labels: and

    53. I have a question about the best diet for a diabetic kitty. Which brand can I buy in Canada and what products would be best for him?

    54. Hi. I am pretty new cat owner and on my last visit to a vet, he said that the best cat fod is over 70% meat dry food – dry, because of the teeth. So I left out canned food completely and bougth high quality 70% meat, grainfree Purizon cat food. Only recently I have learned, that actually dry food is not that good! And just before that I ordered a supply of Applaws kibble. My question, would it make it a bit better to add water or any other proper liquid to a portion to soften it? Do you think it’s an ok idea or a very bad idea?

      • Adding water to dry food is a very bad idea. It does nothing to improve the quality of the food, and it can lead to mold growing on the food.

    55. I have a question about avocado. cats allowed to eat avocado. Are they safe for my cat? Thanks in advance

      • The avocado plant and fruit contain a toxin called persin. It doesn’t affect humans, and a cat would probably have to eat massive quantities of avocado to have any problems, but I don’t think it’s worth taking a chance.

    56. I have a 17 year old DMH who is underweight and has hard dry stool, there’s no blood or pus in it so at least it’s not causing any damage coming out, but I’ve been to two different vets and both are at a loss. One suspected IBS and prescribed a hydrolized protein food but that didn’t seem to do much good. I started doing some research on my own and found out dry food is the worst possible thing to feed cats and most canned food isn’t much better so I’ve been seriously thinking about raw food, but there’s so much conflicting info on what is good I’m really not sure what to do.

      I’ve been feeding her Freshpet for a while after it was recommended to me and I like that it has a short simple list of ingredients, but then I found out fish is bad for cats so I’m not sure about that food now either.

      Is there anything you would recommend?

      • All the foods on this list would be appropriate, but I would encourage you to consider a raw diet. Here’s more information on the connection between IBS/IBD and diet:

        • Thanks for the article link, that was an informative read. I figured the dry food might have something to do with it based on some material I had read before, backed up by it largely going away during the few weeks she’s been eating the Freshpet.

          I did some more looking into raw foods but unholy crud is it expensive to order the prepared frozen stuff so I think I’m going to try and find a meat market near where I live and see if I can get them to grind some raw chicken with the liver and heart. I know most meat markets won’t grind the bones so I’ll probably have to add calcium supplement, and then I have to hope she’ll eat it.

          • If you’re going to make your own raw food, make sure you use a properly balanced recipe, Ted. This article may help: Also, Dr. Lisa Pierson’s site has lots of information on making your own raw food.

            • The ingredients recommended in those articles are very close to a frozen cat food I saw in a local pet store (Nature’s Valley Instinct raw), I was thinking about trying it as an introductory food before I commit to making my own to see if my cats would even go for raw food.

              Have you heard of this brand? I haven’t been able to find a whole lot of info about it myself, but I noticed it includes Montmorillonite Clay in the ingredients, which from what I understand is supposed to be beneficial for digestion and cleanse toxins.

            • I’m not familiar with Nature’s Valley – do you mean Nature’s Variety Instinct? If so, that brand is on my list of recommended foods.

            • Oops, yeah, I guess I misread the label when I was there. I looked it up on the store website and it is indeed Nature’s Variety.

              Thanks for answering all my questions, the info has been invaluable and I think I’m in a much better spot now with knowing what’s good to feed my Cats and what’s not.


      • Wow! Sorry to hear about your cat Ted. I hope she’s improving and keeps getting better.

        I’ve used Nature’s Variety raw cat food before. My cat preferred the rabbit formula. I would recommend following Ingrid’s recipe to the tea if you make your own food! Alternatively, if you do stick with Freshpet or any other refrigerated/frozen food, make sure you check the guaranteed analysis and see if they have a percentage for Taurine. It needs to be in the GA, not just in the ingredient’s list. Cats should get about .2% in their food. But most canned foods are max. .05% and kibble averages .15%. Please don’t assume every food has what your cat needs no matter how much they market it as healthy. Look it up online or call the company if you have to.

        Taurine is very important for your cat and it does not remain stable in frozen/ refrigerated foods, per my regular Vet and vet Cardiologist. You can always order supplements on Amazon and add to your Freshpet or Nature’s Variety, so all is not lost.

        All the best.

        • I’m glad you mentioned that, I was so concerned about Calcium and making sure the food I was getting had enough that I forgot about Taurine suppliments so I’ll have to take care of that this week. I need to mash the Nature’s Variety bits to get one of my cats to eat it anyway, and I have to mash and mix it with canned food for my older one to eat it so it won’t really be an extra step to mix in a suppliment.

    57. You have got to be kidding. Most of those foods contain gum thickeners that are BAD FOR CATS! Particularly xanthum gum. It gave my cat IBSD. When will catfood manufacturers learn that less is better for the obligate carnivor.

        • All canned foods contain some sort of a binder. As I state in my article, I recommend avoiding foods with carrageenan. Xanthan gum is considered one of the “better” gums, but of course, none of these binders are ideal, and all can cause gastrointestinal issues in sensitive individuals. This is true for cats and humans. Some brands are moving away from gums as binders, and hopefully, that is a trend that will continue.

          Lu, IBSD is short for irritable bowel syndrome with diarrhea.

      • Hi Lu! I would love to know what kind of food do you feed your cat with IBSD? I’m always looking for new kinds of gum thickener-free cat food. Currently I give my cat Feline Naturals canned food, they don’t use any thickeners/gelling agents, the ingredient list is amazing, only drawback is that it is so expensive!s Rawz canned food is good too. But I’d like to find more kinds for variety!

        • I’d be happy to evaluate Steve’s for you, Kaiden. There is a fee for this service. Email me if you’re interested.

    58. I got a 9 month old kitten a adopted. She will not eat any wet food I tried every kitten brand I have found so far a some on your list. And I tried nutritional yeast. She just smells than and tried to bury it. She will only eat dry food. I don’t know what to do anymore. Do anyone know what else I can do to get her to eat wet food?

      • Michelle – I must have tried 2 dozen different brands of natural, grain-free canned cat food, without any takers. About a week ago, I tried Applaws brand, and one of them just loves it! The downside is that it’s pretty expensive; about $2.50 for a 5.5 oz can, and $1.99 for the smallest containers. She won’t eat the chicken (which smells delicious); only the 4 or so fish varieties. I give it to her as a treat, and alternate day break from the dry stuff all 3 of theml love.

      • Try Weruva pouches and also there is a dry food by Farmina that is semi moist that does wonders for cats that will only eat dry food. My cats are healthy and all love it. You can buy it at Chewy’s and petflow.

      • I have a cat like this too. It was so frustrating. She loves dry food and prefers canned food that is not the best quality. Feed them what they will eat and you can afford. It does you or the cat no good if the food goes to waste.

        I like the suggestion you received for adding pouches to dry food. In addition to Weruva, which your cat may or may not like, try other brands that offer supplemental pouches that are basically just broths to moisten dry food. Nulo, Merrick, Natures Variety, etc…. Try to get the best quality kibble you can afford. And invest in stainless steel pet water fountains. I have one on each level of my home so my cats always have fresh water around.

        Lastly, don’t be discouraged and beat yourself up. Old habits are hard to kick. Its more important that she’s eating than forcing her to eat food she doesn’t like.

        On the upside kibble will last longer left out ( unless you moisten it) and almost always has more taurine in the GA than wet food. Plus since they need to feed several times a day, you don’t have to worry about them going hungry. Cats are more natural built for frequent small meals, not two big meals a day. Long story short, one of my cats had an xray and her stomach was empty and had gas bubbles in spite of her just having had breakfast a few hours ago, which means she was going hungry more than I felt comfortable with in between her three feedings a day. So there’s enough guilt to go around for even those that feed only wet food.

        Good luck!

      • I have the same problem with my cats . I just forse them giving them only wet ( canned food ) . I did lost a lot of this food and they start eating . My concern is that in this food ( Dr.Elsey Clean Protein ) is a gum thickeners I know this is not good

        • We’re damned if we do, damned if we don’t. There’s no perfect cat food. Even if its close to perfect, will cats eat it? That’s the other hurdle. Pet food companies really do need to up their game.

    59. Hello and thank you for this valuable information. Not a first time cat owner, but first time since learning about species appropriate nutrition and wanting to feed my pet the best. I do plan to leave my cat alone for a coupe days and have been advised to “just leave out a couple bowls of dry food and several bowls of water.” Clearly wet food can’t last that long. Does anyone know any solutions to this? If I have to arrange for a friend to stop by daily to feed, that’s what I’ll do, but if that can be avoided, I’d like to make sure he as food and water without relying on others. Thanks for any info.

      • I feel very strongly that cats should never be left alone for a couple of days regardless of what they eat. At a minimum someone should stop in once a day, ideally, twice a day if you’re feeding wet food. If you really can only have someone stop in once a day, get a timed feeder that allows you to put cold packs in so the food stays fresh.

      • You can get an automatic feeder that allows you to put a couple of cold packs into it, for canned/wet food. You set the timer, and the feeder turns, so that the next section with food is open. I was afraid my cat would be too old to figure it out, but she ate all the sections of food, over the 2 days I was away. I think it had 4 compartments.

      • Do not leave your cat alone . Cat will feel abandonment and will miss you very much . Ask somebody to come to your cat few time a day and talk to it. ,pad him itc

      • Steph, I agree with all of the advice you have received. I think it is very irresponsible to leave an animal alone in the house for several days.

        1. There could be an emergency in your home and your cat would be defenseless with you no where in sight for several days.

        2. The litter boxes will smell like ammonia and become filthy and smelly to your cats.

        3. After 24 hours of being left out dry food can get stale. It may be convenient for You, but you’re not providing your cat with quality alternative.

        4. What if an automatic food timer fails? No one’s there to make sure your cat is eating.

        If you can’t get anyone to stop by,then look into pet sitter services or pet hotels. I know it sucks but these are the responsibilities of being a pet owner.

        • You forgot the most obvious and important reason not to leave your pet alone for days. What if kitty has a medical emergency? I’ve been down this road with cats of all ages. It’s why I insist on someone coming once daily minimum.

    60. I’m caring for 3 feral feline siblings; 2 insist on going out no matter the weather, and the 3rd is getting over an injury & stays indoors (somewhat unwillingly). I’ve been trying to find canned cat food that’s good for them that they’d like, instead of dry food, but they don’t like even the most natural, premium brands, that smell good enough for human consumption! I’m tempted to ask at the store if they have “canned mice” .. since my one little hunter catches & eats them outside! It seems like only starvation outside would result in them eating canned cat food. Any suggestions?

      • Hare-Today sells ground whole mice, they also sell pinkie mice. They are according to them humanly euthanized. I have bought them in the past. They are frozen, so I put them in a small glass and set that inside a glass of super hot water. We don’t do plastic bags at my house.

        • Thanks for the info! I seem to have found one brand of canned food one of them likes; “Applaws”. Funny how different they are .. she’s the little hunter I’ve seen catching/eating mice outside, and the only one curious about new canned food too!

          • Eve, I believe most applaws products are for toppers or intermittent usage since they do not meet AAFCO nutritional requirements. Just want to make sure your kitty gets the balance nutrition she needs 🙂

            • Is the AAFCO better at determining nutritional requirements for cats, than all the medical organizations are, in determining the best human diet?

            • Absolutely not, Eve! AAFCO, the American Association of Feed Control Officials, is the organization which is charged with establishing and enforcing animal feed requirements across all fifty state governments. Its primary responsibility is to ensure the safety of feed for human food producing livestock. Even though the AAFCO statement on most pet food labels indicates that the food has been tested and approved as “complete and balanced for the life of a pet,” this is sadly misleading. The tests are conducted on very small groups of animals and for very short periods of time. The only real long-term tests of pet food happen when pet owners feed these diets to their own pets.

            • Eve, I’m not a big fan of AAFCO either, but cats do need certain vitamins and minerals in their diet. Applaws does not add any in, and states on their label that this is for intermittent feeding only. Raw diets naturally provide these vitamins/minerals, but cooked food (i.e. canned) needs supplements added to the food. I just wanted to make sure you knew. Sorry for trying to help out.

    61. I have a general query (or rant) for the cat people of the internet – why is there so much varied information out there on what to feed your cat?
      Or rather, why is the information I find online about what to feed cats so different from what the American Veterinary Medical Association says and what my various veterinarians have said over the years?

      I had two kitties that I loved so so much who have died in the past year and half. Neither deaths were food related, from what I understand, but I have recently adopted (I said I wouldn’t do this to myself again) a new 7 month cat and this time I want to do the best I can so he lives a long healthy life. I don’t understand why I was told to feed my previous kitties dry food? I was told it was good for their teeth? And why are vets so against raw food? Is it more a legal fear than a cat health concern (that we may get ourselves sick from being too dumb to clean and handle raw meat – then sue?)
      By the end of her life my most recently deceased kitty would only eat raw food. And it concerned me, but it was that or starve – the vets kept telling me her cancer was treatable (turned out, it wasn’t! her diagnosis changed 3 times) But did I do the wrong thing?

      And who has been doing the research saying that wet food is better than dry? Obviously not vets? Independent research? Basic logic? And if it is just basic logic (makes sense to me) why is that veterinarians aren’t encouraging a purely wet food diet? None of my vets ever did UNTIL each of my kitties started having health problems (too late people!) Then I was prescribed special wet food for their respective problems (kidney + IBD.)

      I am just curious about the research being done, or if it is mostly self guided research from looking at wild cats’ diets and comparing that to what we see in canned food. I also want some corroboration! Why can’t I trust my vets! Why do so many cats get IBD if it’s preventable from a better diet! And I live in a big city and have been to many animal specialists over the years, I just don’t get it???? I also feel a fair amount of guilt. Of course I love my new cat, but I miss my old friends terribly and wish I had done better by them.
      For anyone who read this,
      thank you

      • Sadly, most veterinarians won’t be your best source of information on a species-appropriate diet for cats. You may find this article enlightening as to why that is:

        As for research, most of the research on feline nutrition is sponsored by big pet food companies, because they have the funds to do the research. There is virtually no independently funded feline nutrition research – at least none that I’m aware of.

        I feel your pain. My first cat died from intestinal lymphoma. I raised him on a mostly dry diet by a major pet food manufacturer, and once he started getting sick, he was on various prescription diets by the same manufacturer – all on the recommendation of my vets at the time. Even 18 years later, I still wonder whether he would have never gotten sick, had I known then what I know now about feline nutrition.

        I’m encouraged by the fact that more and more cat parents are taking the initiative to do their own research into what’s optimal nutrition for cats. It’s why I do what I do – educating cat parents on how to keep their cats healthy and happy.

      • Hannah I agree that its tough trying to do what is best. Like humans, animals are subjected to processed foods, chemicals in the air, on the ground, in the water. Large Pet food manufactures are all about the dollar, think about it like this, you have all these foods at the grocery store that you pick up, to help lose weight, its healthy, low fat, but its full of preservatives, you heat it up in plastic, in a microwave that changes the molecular structure, because someone made the determination that it was safe. But now you find out that some of those additives aren’t so safe, cooking in plastic is bad….. but food manufactures aren’t going to sacrifice the dollar so they keep telling you the same thing over and over and eventually you believe it. Over the years, I have had several Sr. cats with renal failure, a cat with cancer, now a cat fighting IBD. I don’t think vets are trained in nutrition, other than what a pet food company makes claims to. I am the type of person that what ever the doctor tells me or the vet, I’m going home and researching it myself, and I’m digging deep. I’m looking for every option. Simon lasted a year with cancer after the vet said 2 months tops. I researched diets, alt. medicine and supplements. Now that Thomas is fighting IBD for who knows what reason, I am changing it all up again, I fired one vet that told me that if I did not put him on a prescription diet, I need not come back, see ya! He is on raw food, B-12 injections only cuz I ask the new vet for it, not her idea and I give him bentonite clay, here is a good article on that and the vet had never even heard of clay. Its the same, whether it be people or pets, you have the old traditional dr. who only know what they taught at college or the dr. who said “there may be more that they are not teaching here, that might be helpful” I hope this all made sense.

      • The kitties I live with now, Lydia, 5, and Sammy, 2, are healthier than my past kitties. My vet, maybe 6 years out of school, suggested less dry food and more grain free canned food. I’ve had no vomiting with these two, and it was a real problem in the past. I think the dental info is nonsense.

    62. Thanks for the comment. I know, I will look into what you use too. I supplement the canned food because the protein is so low. I don’t like that iodine is added but I guess that is normal? Dr Elsey protein is even lower than RAWZ, same thing. Very frustrating. My guys are 2.5 yrs I was thinking of getting their blood drawn to make sure their nutrition is ok with what I am doing.

    63. Love your list. I was the biggest fan of Ziwi Peak until they changed their formula, they used chick peas as a filler!! And xanthan gum!
      I just discovered one brand that would hands (or paws) down top this list: Rawz canned cat food—it’s not actually raw, it’s steam cooked pâté . And the ingredients list takes the cake, it’s either chicken, beef, turkey or salmon with broth and vitamins/minerals—and that’s it! No dried peas, chick peas, potatoes or gums such as guar gum, xanthan gum or cassia gum. I highly recommend checking it out, many kitties and their parent safe would benefit from knowing about it! (Especially those with GI and immune issues)

      Let me know what you think!! (I am in no way associated with this brand, just really excited to find one with ingredients that both me and my cat approve of and I think many of your readers would love it too)

      • At a quick glance, the canned Rawz formulas look interesting (although I have a bit of a problem with the brand name, since it’s definitely misleading.)

          • I only took a very quick look, JoAnn. I’d be happy to evaluate for you in more depth, but there’s a small fee for this service. Email me if you’re interested.

            • I am. Right now I am feeding First Mate limited ingredients both the chicken and turkey but am concerned about taurine levels which are 0.5 per the company. The protein is 43%, fat 48% and carbs 19% with turkey in same range. RAWZ is lower in protein I called company and they gave me the numbers but higher in taurine. Right now my cats have no health issues and I supplement with about an ounce a day of home cooked organic chicken using the Balance It receipe so I know their protein is ok. I am not ready to go raw yet but am starting to homecook. First Mate has potatoes as their preservative and the only thing I question with RAWZ is they add iodine? I wanted to know your thoughts. What would my fee be if you gave your opinion. RWZ sent me their dry matter and they are 36% protein, 62% fat and 2% carbs. Thanks. Also is it a good idea to get my 2.5 yr old cat blood work done on thyroid and taurine levels?

            • Thanks for sharing the dry matter for Raws JoAnn! I am so surprised, only 36% protein, the rest is 62% fat and 2% carbs? Was that for all their recipes or just one particular meat?
              I was looking into First Mate too, not thrilled about potatoes though! Until now, I’ve been using Hilary’s Blend to make homecooked meals for cats (similar to balanceit, but it comes with an amazing recipe book), it was recommended by my vet.I just don’t have the time to cook homemade all the time, so I need to find a good canned food once in a while for when I’m in a pinch. I haven’t found the ideal one yet, and it doesn’t help that my furry friend is the pickiest eater!

            • Thanks for the comment. I know, I will look into what you use too. I supplement the canned food because the protein is so low. I don’t like that iodine is added but I guess that is normal? Dr Elsey protein is even lower than RAWZ, same thing. Very frustrating. My guys are 2.5 yrs I was thinking of getting their blood drawn to make sure their nutrition is ok with what I am doing.

    64. Ingrid, your food recommendations saved my 13 yr old DSH’s life (and most likely me a huge vet bill). He went from an apparent hairball blockage (foaming at the mouth and foul-smelling liquidy stools) to happier and healthier in 3 DAYS on a canned diet from the vendors you recommended. I CAN’T THANK YOU ENOUGH!

      • Can you please tell me exactly which canned food you fed your cat with? My 9yr old cat did the same exact thing the other night! And he was also diagnosed with osteosarcoma in his right front leg a month ago. I’m trying to find the best food for him with cancer.☹️

        • I’m sorry about your kitty, Lorrie. Here’s more information on what to feed a cat with cancer:

    65. I rarely post comments on the internet but felt inspired to do so since in the past three days I’ve witnessed what seems like a miracle. I’ll explain. On Wed at 2 am, one of my two cats, a 13 year old DSH neutered male, woke me up with violent wretching. I turned on the light and saw that he was foaming at the mouth. I knew it was a hairball issue, he’s had these before. In fact, about 6 months ago I took him to the vet because he wretched for several days but could produce no hairball. The vet said there was nothing she could do (other than charge me $200 for the emergency visit); maybe take an x-ray. Maybe surgery. She suggested giving him the petroleum hairball remedy daily, which I’ve been doing since. He has also been on a urinary tract dry food since some time last year he had a urinary tract blockage that nearly did him in (he made it but it resulted in a $1200 vet bill). But this is the first time I had seen him foaming at the mouth so I was really upset. I spent the next two hours on the internet, researching hair balls and agonizing over what I should do … I had already taken him to the vet and nothing good came from that. Did he have a life-threatening blockage and should I take him to a new vet (I was not going back to the first one)? Then I stumbled on your web page about your food recommendations (thank God). I thought it over and decided that the best course was to not feed another meal of dry food, and see how he did. So, that morning I waited until the closeset pet food store that carried some of the brands you recommended opened, I bought a half dozen cans, and fed my two cats their first meal of canned food. It’s now Sat am (3 days later) and my 13 year old male is a new cat. In the past three days I came home from work to a couple of throwups (it might have been my 8 yr old female — she pukes a lot too) but I have seen no wretching. He’s alert and seems happy. Another huge change is his stools have been transformed from a horribly smelly liquidy mess to a more normal stool (still a little soft but a huge improvement; and it doesn’t reek). So, the miracle is that my little fellow went from seemingly needing hairball removal surgery to happy and comfortable in 3 days on the food you recommended. Of the dozens of web sites I hit, yours was the only one that stressed the importance of a more natural, canned diet. My vets had always recommended dry “special diet” food, the recommendation of which I followed since I assumed my vet knew what was good for my cats. In retrospect, that advice was clearly harming my cat. I CAN’T THANK YOU ENOUGH!

    66. My 16 year old cat just had abdominal surgery to remove a large mass and has lost weight. Oliver was a thin cat to begin with and is in need of a food that offers higher calories and great nutrition.

      Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

      • All the foods on this list would probably be appropriate. Calorie contents will vary between brands, generally, the pate style foods will be higher in calories than the shredded brands such as Weruva or Tiki Cat.

      • Cats don’t need high calories. They need high protein from animal source. Try Wellness Core Turkey and Duck or Hound and Gato.
        Wellness cost less than Hong & Gato. I used them both for my cats.

    67. Thanks for your list, but have you considered updating it, since it’s 6 years old?

      We’re looking for a high protein wet food that is healthy, not full of by-products or meal and that our cats like.

      We’re currently using Hills m/d, due to it’s high protein content, but like humans, our cats don’t like ultra healthy food so we cut it with other food. We were using “I and love and you” but it contains chicken meal & turkey meal. Then we switched to “Addiction King Salmon & Potatoes Entree” because the top two ingredients are King Salmon & Hoki with no meal or by-products. But, the little monsters suddenly decided they didn’t like it, 1/3 of the way through the 24 pack case.

      I’m now looking at “NUTRO MAX Wet Cat Food” since the top ingredients are Chicken Broth, Chicken, Chicken Liver, Beef Liver, Ground Rice, Turkey & Lamb with no by-products or meal, but it’s only 8% protein!

      Also looking at “BLUE Basics Limited Ingredient” with Duck & Duck Broth but it also has carrots, Cranberries, Blueberries, Pumpkin and other stuff. The Addiction brand also had carrots, potatoes and peas, which causes me to wonder if cats are carnivores, why the hell are these ingredients in the mix?

      I trust cat lovers opinions over several of the business product review sites but I suggest a more in depth review covering what ingredients we don’t want, and why, what ingredients we do want, what ingredients we’ll see and are “ok” along with what % of protein we should look for.

      • As stated at the beginning of this post, this list is kept current, the most recent update was October 2017. You can find answers to many of your questions in the feline nutrition section on this site. You may also want to visit Dr. Pierson’s site,, for outstanding information on feline nutrition.

      • I rotate my cats’ foods – I use Weruva, Soulistic, Merrick, Tiki Cat…but my cats all time favorite food is the Primal Freeze Dried Nuggets – they’ve had Rabbit and Vension – and hands down they go ga-ga over this, either kind. They can hardly wait for me to hydrate the food. Ingrid – I have a question for you – how do you feed your cats when rotating food, do you feed a particular food for a week in a row, etc, how often do you switch foods? (I’m also using the Drfeelgood probotics as you suggested).

      • Ron, there are many sites that dedicated in ranking and rating pet food.
        example: catfooddb, thetruthaboutpetfood
        They have comprehensive review and detail list of ingredient of the pet food. Check them out.

    68. I recently found wellness core and some of their canned food don’t have carrageenan in them, is it a good brand to buy? I’d really appreciate your feedback. (Haven’t purchased them yet cause I’m so curious hehe.)

      • It’s not on my list of recommended brands, Lucy. I’d be happy to evaluate if for you, there is a fee for this service.

      • I am also using Wellness Core cat food. They don’t contain any bad ingredients. The best one is Wellness Core pate turkey and duck. It is a significant above average cat food.

    69. Hi & thanks for providing this information! Until I read your article, we just kept dry food out all the time. I’ve learned a lot so I’ll be traveling to town today to purchase alternatives. My only question… I’m sure you’ve mentioned it somewhere but I can’t find it, but can you please share with me how often to feed? Once a day? Twice? We live deep in the countryside on our own acreage so our kitty constantly catches and eats her own mice, bugs, etc so she isn’t solely existing off what we feed her, but I want to make sure we’re giving her plenty regardless.

      • Oops I found it at your other article here! Thank you again!

    70. Thank you so much for this list, Ingrid! It’s helped me for many years navigate the vast and sometimes confusing world of feline nutrition. It was from this list that I found Wild Calling and it’s become my cat’s favorite staple food. I was very sad to discover that the company has recently declared bankruptcy and is no longer producing food.
      So I am back here again on the search for another great brand to switch over to. I am debating between Dr. Elsey’s Clean Protein and Nature’s Logic. Do you have a preference? And thank you once again for this great resource!

      • I don’t really have a preference between those two, Jamie. I think Dr. Elsey’s may be more similar to Wild Calling in texture, but I’d try both and see which one your kitty prefers.

    71. Thank you for this review! As a very recent first time cat owner (2 weeks!), I found it super helpful. Merrick & Tiki were easy to find near my house and my cat loves both of those. After 2 days of better quality food, there was almost no begging or constant meowing. Someone is staying very satisfied. Thank you! 🙂

      • I recently found what I consider to be the best canned food ever! I am very informed reg. Feline nutrition and the ingredients in cat foods. This new food has excellent, clean ingredients and is made in New Zealand. It’s called “Feline Natural” and I buy mine thru It IS pricy, but well worth the investment!

    72. Hi, I’m trying to find a good food for my cat – that he will eat! As a shelter cat raised on kibble it took a long time to get him to eat anything else. We feed a little bit of kibble, brand : Addiction, but I tried a fresh food and he loves it, but I can’t find any real info on how the quality is. It’s called Fresh Pet, by Vital. do you know if it’s a good food? Thank you!

      • I reviewed FreshPet six years ago, and I’m sure the formula has probably changed then, but FWIW, here’s the review:

      • Hi Maria, I use to feed one of my cats Freshpet, but she stopped eating it. Every one is a huge proponent of feeding fresh and “natural” foods, but be careful. I learned the hard way that taurine does not remain stable in foods that need to be refrigerated or frozen. And unfortunately, just because its “natural” doesn’t make it the best quality pet food for your cat. If she enjoys it, I would say keep feeding it to her, but see if you can find a canned food with taurine (.2% is the highest I’ve seen) that she will eat. It’s also more convenient to travel with and helpful if you ever lose power.

        • There is no evidence that I’m aware of that taurine is degraded or destroyed by freezing. I’m not sure where your information comes from, Lana – please substantiate your claim.

          • From a vet at CVCA, Cardiac Care for Pets in Northern Virginia, and also my cats regular vet who elaborated on the history of cats dying from heart diseases due to taurine deficiencies– which was apparently very prominent up until the 80’s.

            • My vet did recommend adding taurine into the food, which I’ve seen mentioned all over the internet. But just be careful falling for the natural and organic gimmicks. If it’s not properly formulated, than it’s not any better for your cats.

            • It is correct that cats were dying from heart disease due to taurine deficiencies until Paul Pion discovered this deficiency, and it’s since been added to commercial cat food. It is not correct that freezing destroys taurine. You are right that the terms “natural” and “organic” don’t guarantee that a food is properly formulated. Taurine supplementation certainly can’t hurt, it’s almost impossible to overdose on taurine since excess taurine is not stored in the body, it’s excreted. Cooking destroys taurine, which is why it’s important that cooked and canned foods are properly formulated.

      • Hi Maria, I use to feed one of my cats Freshpet, but she stopped eating it. Every one is a huge proponent of feeding fresh and “natural” foods, but be careful. I learned the hard way that taurine does not remain stable in foods that need to be refrigerated or frozen. And unfortunately, just because its “natural” doesn’t make it the best quality pet food for your cat either. If she enjoys it, I would say keep feeding it to her, but see if you can find a canned food with taurine (.2% is the highest I’ve seen) that she will eat. It’s also more convenient to travel with and helpful if you ever lose power. And alternatively keep adding some kibble (the best quality you can find) to subsidize the nutritional elements she may be lacking.

    73. Hello Ingrid,
      My kitty, Susie is 17 years old and diagnosed last spring with Chronic Kidney Didsease. She still has 50% of her kidney still working. She also had a few episodes of pancreitis where the vet gave her some anti-vomiting meds along with vitamin B12 and saline solution. I moved her with me to Germany in 2013 and have been feeding her origin dry food. After her diagnosis, I stopped with the dry food, especially after reading some of Tanya’s comprehensive blog about feline kidney disease. I have made her chicken and rice a few times or just cooked chicken as my vet recommended. According to Tanya’s information, Pure 21 is low in phosphorus which is supposed to be good for cats with kidney issues. Her pancreas was making her vomit up her food. Stopping the dry food has helped. I am wondering about the foods on your list. Are they good for cats with kidney disease? Is there nutritional information available? I usually order from Zooplus here in Germany. I ordered some Smilla last week but don’t know much about it nutritionally. Any advice would be appreciated! Thank you!

      • You can find nutritional info for all the foods on this list on the respective websites, but you probably will have to contact each manufacturer for phosphorus content information since they usually don’t list that. Unfortunately, I’m not familiar with what’s available in Germany.

    74. First time reader here. I was comparing your list to others and I appreciate your input! Do you know much about Earthborn Holistics canned cat food (i.e. Catalina Catch recipe is in an orange/yellow 5.5oz can with an Earth&leaf symbol)?

    75. My cat has idiopathic hypercalcemia and is not eating The Honest Kitchen Cat food anymore. I tried weruva, but it is very low in calories and she is only 6 pounds. Is there another wet food that would be best?

      • All of the pate style foods listed here are higher in calories than Weruva, Anali. However, since your cat has idiopathic hypercalcemia, you’re going to want to take a close look at labels before you settle on any one brand. You’ll want to look for a diet high in protein, low in carbohydrates, and all of the diets on this list meet those requirements, but you also want a diet that doesn’t contain dl-methionine, phosphoric acid, and ammonium chloride (to avoid acidification) or organ meats and fish oil (rich sources of vitamin D). You may also want to consider working with a holistically oriented vet to help you formulate a homecooked or homemade raw diet for this specific condition.

    76. 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! 🙂

      • These two articles should help, Danielle: weight Loss Tips for Cats and How Much Should I Feed My Cat If you’d like more personalized advice, I’d be happy to schedule a consultation.

        • 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!

          • 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!


    77. 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?

      • 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.

        • 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!

    78. Thanks..she is such a picky eater. She d ont like tiki cat 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..

    79. 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..

      • Darwin’s offers a raw prescription diet for cats with kidney disease, Lisa:

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

    80. 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?

      • I’m assuming you’re asking about making food for your cats, Elliott? Here’s more information:

    81. 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.

      • 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.

    82. 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 🙂

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

    83. 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.

      • All of the foods on this list should be appropriate for cats with urinary tract issues, Nick. Also, refer to Dr. Pierson’s article about this topic:

      • 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!!

      • 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.

        • 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.

    84. 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?

      • All of the canned foods listed here are appropriate to help your cat lose weight. For more information on how much to feed, please read

    85. 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

      • 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.

    86. 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!

      • 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.)

    87. 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?

    88. 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!

      • 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.

        • 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?


          • 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.

          • 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.

            • 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.

        • 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.

    89. 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.

      • I don’t think we know enough about how coconut oil and coconut milk affect cats. Here’s my take on this topic:

    90. 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.

      • 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.

          • We reviewed this brand a while back:

            • 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.

      • This article explains how much to feed:

          • 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.

    91. 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?

      • This article should help, Mililani:

    92. 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.

      • I’m glad my site was so helpful to you, Laurel. As I mention in this post, I prefer foods without carrageenan, but some of the brands on this list do contain it, and some of Merrick’s formulas do. Their limited ingredient line does not:

    93. What do you think about the nutritional quality of Total cat feline raw cat food premix supplements?

      • 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.

    94. 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.

        • 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.

    95. 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

    96. 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!

      • 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.

        • 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

        • Hi, Ingrid,
          I see here where you say adding water to dry food is not a good idea that it is not designed to get wet because of the risk of mold. I have a rescue, young momma cat that is feeding 5 babies. I put her on Instinct canned cat food, but she eats so much I just couldn’t afford it so I have been adding water to Instinct grain-free kibble (she won’t eat it dry)and when it is soft, I mash it up and add some of the canned food and some very small pieces of raw chicken thigh meat. She gobbles it right down. I’m concerned about her staying plenty hydrated as she is nursing 5 babies. Since she eats it right away, is there still a reason I shouldn’t be doing this? This has helped me tremendously in affording high-quality nourishment for her. She had previously been on dry Meow Mix… UGH! I got her when the kittens were a little over a week old. They are now 4 weeks and I’ve been introducing them to the canned Instinct kitten formula which they have eaten very little of since she nurses them constantly so they really aren’t hungry.

          • I understand that budget is a concern, Lorna, and most likely, you’re not taking a risk by adding water to the dry Instinct as long as she eats it right away. It’s not ideal, but it sounds like the majority of her diet is still canned food. I’m actually more concerned about you mixing dry food with the raw chicken. It may not be an issue since you’re only adding small pieces, but it’s something to be aware of. Here’s more information:

            • Thank you, Ingrid, that was a very interesting article. It seems that Lyn Thompson’s objection to feeding raw with processed is when the processed is high in carbohydrates which the Instinct is not. S/he goes on in the last part of the article to recommend mixing the cooked meats/canned that your cat is used to eating with the raw to get your cat used to eating raw if you plan to transition your cat to a raw diet which is what I plan to do. I am still in the learning process and I love this cat and I am going to keep 2 of her kittens along with her and I want to do everything that is good for their health and still afford to eat, myself. Thank you, again and for your very informative site that I have learned so much from.

      • May I suggest Orijens brand cat foods? I get it from a delivery service called 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.

        • 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.)

          • 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???

            • 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.

    97. 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!

      • 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.

    98. 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

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

          • 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.

      • 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.

    99. 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

    100. I am looking for the single best raw cat food for my cats. I came across an article on about all the dangers of frozen raw cat food. They also sell a fresh raw food called Archetype Raw diet for cats in 4 varieties. Do you know anything about this brand and do you agree with their fear of frozen raw cat food?

      • I’ve seen the article you refer to, and I disagree with much of it. You may want to visit for accurate information about raw feeding, and feline nutrition in general. If you’d like me to evaluate a specific Wysong formula, please email me.

    101. I’ve recently switched my hyperthyroid cat to Nature’s Logic, however, I’m concerned that the can has a statement about it being intended for intermittent or supplemental feeding only. The ingredients are great but I’d like to know your thoughts on this statement and if you feel it’s ok to use just this food or if I should be mixing it with another brand.

      • I was under the impression that Nature’s Logic is a complete diet, so I’m not sure about the label statement, and I can’t find anything about it on their website. I’d recommend contacting them and asking about this (and I’d love it if you would stop back here and let me know what they said.)

        • Here is what I got from Nature’s Logic:

          “We only substantiate by AAFCO Feeding Trials and not by adding synthetic vitamin/mineral packs to say it meets the AAFCO Nutrient Profile. Once the feeding trial is completed, then the AAFCO Statement for feeding trial substantiation goes on the cans. We have completed those trials for our dry dog and cat and canned dog, our dog frozen, but the cat can testing is not completed yet but is in progress and doing well at UC Davis in California. We know they will pass, but all life stage cat feeding trials take a long time.
          They are absolutely safe to use as much as you want.
          Scott Freeman
          Nature’s Logic”

          • That’s what I suspected, Bre. The AAFCO statement is probably the most misunderstood item on pet food labels. AAFCO, the American Association of Feed Control Officials, is the organization which is charged with establishing and enforcing animal feed requirements across all fifty state governments. Its primary responsibility is to ensure the safety of feed for human food producing livestock. The AAFCO statement on most pet food labels indicates that the food has been tested and approved as “complete and balanced for the life of a pet.” This is sadly misleading. The tests are conducted on very small groups of animals and for very short periods of time. The only real long-term tests of pet food happen when pet owners feed these diets to their own pets.

            I would be comfortable feeding Nature’s Logic.

    102. Weruva and Soulistic contain Xanthan Gum.
      Tiki Cat contains Vitamin K3 Supplement otherwise known as Menadione.

      And Dr. Esley’s Clean Protein contains Agar Agar which is similar to Carageenan.

      It’s disappointing to find that all the brands I’m using contain elements that are unsafe for my kitties…

      • Every canned food will contain some sort of a binder, and none of them are ideal. Menadione is a synthetic Vitamin K that is controversial. The research on all of these is inconclusive. The way to avoid all of these ingredients is to feed a raw or homecooked diet.

    103. Hello – thanks for the great info! Me and my cats are fans of Instinct canned foods, but I am a little concerned over Nature’s Variety past recall record even though they were all dog food based. It appears you still have the food on your recommended list, but I’m curious if you have an opinion on the recalls and if you still feel comfortable serving up Instinct. Thank you!

    104. Hello! I have been researching the best raw cat foods for somebody on a budget for quite a while now. We currently feed our cats trader joe’s wet food, which is ridiculously cheap at about 70 cents per 5.5 oz can or so. After doing all of this research, I have narrowed down a few options that aren’t so costly -instinct, bravo and aunt jeni’s…but I figured I’d ask before I make the switch. What do you think about Trader Joe’s wet food? Thanks!

      • I’d be happy to evaluate Trader Joe’s wet food for you. There is a small fee for this service. Instinct, Bravo and Aunt Jeni’s are all good options. If budget is a consideration, you may also want to think about making your own raw food.

    105. Hi Ingrid, I am a religious follower of your website especially since one of my kids is fighting IBD. They (7 cats) all love Wild Calling and was doing a little of my own research as I most often do, and came across this article on it is dated May 3, 2017. Bailey Farms is a meat supplier for Evangers (who seem to be in trouble all the time) the findings were that Bailey Farms is not really a farm but a dead farm animal processor. Per the article: Wisconsin Department of Agriculture stated the Animal Food Processor License held by Bailey Farms would also include the license to transport and process dead animal carcasses into pet food products.

      Does a Wisconsin ‘Animal Food Processor License’ mean the Bailey Farms meat was USDA inspected and approved ‘human grade’ as Evanger’s told consumers?

      No. Absolutely no. An Animal Food Processor License does NOT permit the holder with ability to process “human grade” meat. Wisconsin law states: “‘Animal food processing’ means slaughtering animals or processing carcasses or carcass materials for use as animal feed”. I believe Wild Calling is manufactured by Evangers. Any thoughts? The time I spend knowing what my cats and dogs eat is countless hours, I wish I worried about my food as much as I worried about theirs.

      • I believe Wild Calling’s canned formulas are manufactured by Simmons. I’ve reached out to Wild Calling to confirm this.

      • Shelley, this is the response I got from Wild Calling – this should put your mind at ease:

        Thank you for your message and concern regarding Evanger’s. So you are aware, as of February 21, 2017, Evanger’s no longer manufactures any products for Wild Calling.

        Most of our canned skus were already being manufactured by Simmons Pet Nutrition before this date as we had been working to move all production from Evanger’s for the past 18 months. We decided to keep rabbit, buffalo and alligator at Evanger’s while we searched for a new manufacturer (Simmons is currently unable to make these exotic proteins) so not to disrupt available supply for the thousands of consumers who use these products.

        Nonetheless, with the developments regarding Evanger’s, we found it only responsible to cease manufacturing of these items while we search for a new manufacturer. As such, rabbit, buffalo and alligator cans may be difficult to find for the next 4-8 weeks.

        Evanger’s has never manufactured dry foods. Our dry foods are manufactured at CJ Foods.

    106. Help. I’ve decided to buy Hound and Gatos but it’s not available anywhere currently. I’d like to wean them from the Merrick, which was the best I could get them in town. Any ideas how I can buy them hounds and gatos brand? Lamb or beef is all there is, are those less recommend than chicken/poultry? These guys are 11 weeks old, they had a moma cat +fiv and we won’t know that they are negative until early June. I really need the healthier foods avail. Thanks for all yourguidance.

    107. Love your site. I rescued a cat that has been eating only dry food at the shelter. I have wasted so much wet food trying to find one he will eat. Yesterday he finally ate the Nutro Max Duck in gravy. It was not on your list so I don’t know if it is ok or not. I read labels but it is very confusing. I know dry is bad so I hope the Nutro is ok since that is the only one I have found that he will touch.

      • I’m glad you found something he will eat, Barbara. I’m not familiar with Nulo, but I’ll be happy to evaluate it for you if you’d like. There is a small fee for this service.

    108. Every night, after work my sister feeds her cats wet, fish-type cat food. After reading what you said, it makes sense to not have them eat this even they love it sooo much. I’ll let my sister know, thanks so much.

      • Question about Kittens most if not all of the brands recommended to do have specific kitten formulas are these brands ok for kittens

        • Kittens can eat the same food as adult cats, they just need higher amounts and need to eat more frequently. Life stages and life style diets are a marketing gimmick:

    109. Hi! Thanks for your article.

      I was wondering if you heard of Bold Raw? If you have, how do you feel about it?

    110. I am a new cat(s) owner and am in the early stages of making sense of the recommendations of various stake-holders in the feline diet discussion (including the somewhat conflicting opinions of partner veterinarians at our local clinic!). I’ve been looking very closely at your blog, and today I just noticed the article from (most recently updated March 21, 2017) on “The Best Cat Food.” It seemed fairly balanced to me, and some of their recommendations overlapped with your own, but they also included strong cautions for those planning to feed a homemade diet and did not dismiss feeding dry food out-of-hand. Their approach was both large scale (examining over 100 brands), as well as formula-specific (1,759!). I especially loved the variety of quotes from vets and researchers they interviewed. I would be very curious to hear your response to the article!

      In the meantime, I’m not going to panic about what I’ve been feeding my kittens (my babies!), but plan to finish up the remainder of the Wellness Core products (both dry and canned) that I’d purchased at my breeders’ recommendations, despite the fact that they currently appear on neither “recommended” list. Like many I’m sure, I am looking for that “sweet spot” of diet recommendations that fits my limited resources of both time and money but keeps Strudel and Pascal vibrant for many, many years! <3

      • I don’t know much about, so I can’t comment on their findings, Laura. I obviously completely disagree with their stance on homemade diets and dry food. I hope this site can be helpful to you in finding a food you’re comfortable with that fits your budget.

        • Thanks, Ingrid. For now I’m planning to feed 2 meals of wet and 1 of dry. Both of my cats seem to enjoy drinking out of the water fountain, so I’m wondering: If the dry food is also composed of quality ingredients (and the first 5 ingredients are animal products), and has an even higher percentage of crude protein (45% as compared to the 10-13% that I’m seeing in the canned wet foods you recommend), can you explain to me why I should be so concerned? Also, if it turns out my cats are just exceptional water-drinkers for now, what should I be looking for as red flags if I continue to feed them one dry meal a day?

          • I don’t believe there’s such a thing as a “quality dry food,” Laura, and I would encourage you to eliminate dry food altogether. You can find all the reasons why here: and here

            You need to compare protein content of wet and dry food on a “dry matter basis,” not “as fed.” Unfortunately, not all manufacturers have that information readily available. This resource from the FDA goes into great detail about this topic: “For example, a canned food guarantees 8% crude protein and 75% moisture (or 25% dry matter), while a dry food contains 27% crude protein and 10% moisture (or 90% dry matter). Which has more protein, the dry or canned? Calculating the dry matter protein of both, the canned contains 32% crude protein on a dry matter basis (8/25 X 100 = 32), while the dry has only 30% on a dry matter basis (27/90 X 100 = 30). Thus, although it looks like the dry has a lot more protein, when the water is counted out, the canned actually has a little more. An easier way is to remember that the amount of dry matter in the dry food is about four times the amount in a canned product.”

            • Ingrid, I am curious – I have been trying to find your credentials for being a cat expert. What I can find is that you have managed a veterinary office, practice reiki, write extensively about cats as well as have a long affiliation with cats in your life. Could you provide your credentials, please. I don’t agree that you necessarily need a title or a list of letters following your name to have a great knowledge base, but I have become cautious in life, especially where my companion are concerned. I see many ads on your website for products you endorse and would like to know how transparent your recommendations are as I, too, have a long affiliation with cats and only want the best for my furry companions. Many thanks.

            • Those are my credentials, Susan. I only recommend and advertise products that I believe in, and that I have either used for my own cats, or would use for my cats.

            • Thanks for getting back to me and for your information. You obviously have a huge passion for your fur family as you’ve gone to a lot of work compiling some very helpful information for cat lovers, ie recall notifications. Glad I stumbled across your site!

            • Also, forgot to thank you for posting recall information. It is very helpful as can be difficult to find.

      • Hi i also feed my cat wellness core and have not seen it on this site as a recommended food. Have you run across any negative feedback? I know that some of their original formulas contain carrageenan so I stick to the carrageenan free line.

      • Laura, I have had cats all my life 50+years, long before food and toxins were an issue, the cat went to the vet if they got sick which was usually never. But in the last 20 years life has really changed. Of 7 cats one died several years ago of cancer and I have another that has been fighting IBD for over 2 years. I personally would never make my own food, to many vitamins and minerals to be measured, I have spent hours upon hours of research on pet food, toxins, diseases, I’ve listened to the vet who recommends special diet foods and I read and research the ingredients and then I wonder why they would think it was so great. The conscience cat has provided some wonderful articles on feeding and food choices and I researched further with supplements. Everyone has their own food choices, perhaps by way of cost, packaging pictures, marketing. I have found over the years cats are like people in a way, if we could live on potato chips we would cause they taste good, all that salt and grease, cats are kinda like that, they will choose taste over nutrition for a while and then their body starts to scream for nutrition. Cats are also picky about change,or so mine are, they get use to a texture and they don’t like to try new, just as they would be hesitant out in the wild. So optimally I try to think, if my cats were still wild, what would they eat? They would not graze on corn or peas or potatoes although Thomas likes to lick my left over baked potato for the butter I’m sure!

        • Hello, I saw that you posted about IBD. I’ve been dealing with FLUTD with my cat, which is how I wound up on this site. There’s another site you might also want to check out.

          The woman that runs it is a vet named Dr. Lisa Pierson. The link discusses IBD, but there are tons of great ideas on how to deal with feeding your cat a healthier diet, which helps with the many illnesses and diseases that cats get. I hope this helps!

        • So what do you fed your cats? Have you heard of Balance It supplements an online receipe program for cooked food and then add supplements? Thanks

    111. Hi! I want to get my cat into a raw diet, but sadly for me, most of the food you’ve recommended is from America. Do you know any European brands or where I could purchase some of the food you’ve recommended? Thanks!

        • Hello do you have any tips on how to transition from wet to raw? Also, I am a little worried about the safety of feeding raw. Anything in your research/experience that can ease my concerns?

          • This article will help with transitioning:

            Raw feeding is as safe, if not safer, than feeding highly processed foods. The majority of recalls for pet food have been for dry food. This article by a feline veterinarian addresses the safety issue:

      • Hi, If you do manage to locate any raw diet suppliers, that are able to be shipped to the UK that would be hugely appreciated! I can’t seem to find any and as it seems to be the best way to feed our little carnivores i was getting to the point of considering homemade. Peace and Love C x

        • What about trying ” Balance It” for awhile before going to raw, this way you can control where the meat comes from.

    112. Are any of these recommended foods made in America? I’m researching all I can before adopting a set of siblings. It is certainly refreshing to read your blog. You are very detailed and I appreciate that immensely. I lost 2 beautiful babies after 16&17 years. Never knew until way too late that they shouldn’t have ever eaten a dry diet. Sadly in their older years I gave them a few, you highly suggested not to. Blue B and the Wellness core, iir, So this next time I hope to make all the right decisions.

      Also I’ve been hearing about a coconut, non clay litter, do you have any intel on that? I’m thinking of going non clay.
      Thanks so much for any advice.

      • Many of them are made in the US.

        I haven’t looked into coconut litter. I’ve been using Dr. Elsey’s Precious Cat for decades and consider it the best litter on the market. It is clay, but it has virtually no dust, clumps extremely well,and I’ve yet to hear of a cat who refuses to use it.

      • I lost trust to Blue Baflo food can and dry . I feed my 3 cats with this kind food for years , all my cats develop cancer in theirs tamy . It also happen in the same time . Took only nine monts and all 3 cats were gone . I still crie after them and have new 3 cats and scared to death what kind food I should feed them for sure NOT Blue Baflo .

    113. Ingrid,
      First, thank you for all that you do to put this information out there for us concerned cat lovers.
      I saw someone mention the formulation changes in Tiki Cat (sodium selenium and Vit K3) but I don’t think I saw if you commented. What do you think? I’m so bummed. I thought I had finally found that balance between healthy and what he would eat. I do feed Primal Freeze-dried but wanted a canned to go with. And he prefers the shredded stuff.
      Thank you,

        • They are using a synthetic Vit K that some have problems with (Mercola and sodium selenite that is toxic to the liver (Susan at TaPF I don’t know if it’s just so the best you can until you find another food that’s better or what. It’s just very frustrating (I’ve had 2 cats die from cancer and one die with hyperthyroidism and renal failure). I want to know I am doing what I can for my current cat, Peanut. And if it’s people just overreacting then I want to know that.

          • Vitamin K is a controversial ingredient in pet food, but there is also a lot of misinformation about it out there. I respect both Dr. Becker and Susan Thixton, but at the same time, I’ve been unable to find consistent information on it from other reliable sources. Selenium is also a controversial nutrient – it is an essential component in animal diets, but it can be toxic at high levels.

            I wish I had a better answer for you!

            • I think we do the best we can with the information we have and continue to stay informed. I really appreciate what you do.

    114. Our male cat is about 15 years old and has always ate dry food from a variety of brands from el cheapo Western Family to Science Diet plus Friskies, Purina, etc. Seems healthy, never been to a vet. Fairly active cat. He is not a big fan of fish based foods. Drinks a lot of water, goes outside several times a day. A bit picky about eating non dry cat food and generally avoids any canned cat food when its offerred. Good genes?

      • For everything we know about nutrition, there’s something we don’t know, Gary – at least it seems that way sometimes! Your cat makes me think of the human equivalent of a man who’s eaten junk food all his life, smokes, and drinks, and lives into his 90’s. Could be good genes, could be luck of the draw. However, since nutrition is the one thing we can influence when it comes to health, it makes sense to me to feed (or eat) the best possible diet, rather than taking chances.

    115. What do you think about Halo? My cat has been on hills z/d for allergies and I’m afraid it’s not healthy, any recommendations for allergy sensitive kitties?

      • I generally don’t recommend hydrolized protein diets like z/d because I don’t consider the ingredients species appropriate. Here’s more information on food allergies and different approaches in diet: I hvae no ttaken a look at Halo in quite some time but did not recommend it in the past. I’d be happy to evaluate

        • Please do? I bought Halo’s spot’s stew based on other blogs/articles comparing high quality foods that said it’s one of the best. They really do mean stew, lots of carrots and peas which gave me red flags but then read it’s in most foods & is better than many fillers, not that it makes it ok.

          • Please contact me via email if you’d like me to evaluate Halo’s – there’s a small fee for that service.

    116. How do you feel about the Pride line by Nature’s Variety? I always hesitate when I see vegetables or fruits in the ingredient list, but does it really matter in a canned food?

      • Nature’s Variety is on my list of recommended brands, and that includes the Pride line. Some companies use veggies and fruits as a source of vitamins. I wish they didn’t, but as long as it’s less than 5%, I’m okay with it.

    117. Hi! Thank you for the great site and useful information. I did read through the comments too and see often people ask for your comments on other foods that you haven’t recommended but you clearly know about them and don’t recommend them. One suggestion may be to have a side column that lists these products – perhaps “Reviewed but on not on the recommend list” this way people know you know about them. Of course underneath of that a little prompt “don’t see a product on these lists, request a consultation here” would be great 🙂

    118. I noticed that Wild Calling Dog food had a recall because they found Animal Euthanasia drugs in some of their meats. Which makes me believe that they source their foods from……….. do you think that applies to their cat food as well? Your awesome!

      • That’s not accurate. Evanger’s had the voluntary recall of “Hunk of Beef” dog food due to the drug pentobarbital found in at least one of their lots. Sadly, it sickened one family of dogs. Some of the Wild Calling products (buffalo, rabbit, and alligator) were processed at the same plant as Evanger’s. This stopped after the Evanger’s recall. Evanger’s contends that the problem lies with one of their USDA-inspected beef suppliers, which was not Certified Organic. Similar quality beef could have, or perhaps does, make it into the human supply chain. Food quality is always up for debate, but for those of you that think non-Organic, commercially confined, grain-feed beef is ideal for humans and pets to eat, extend your research. Then decide.

        Evanger’s does have some Organic pet food, of which I keep in my pets’ rotational diet. Weruva, Addiction, ZiwiPeak, and others are also in the rotation. These are not Organic, but my research shows they are currently quality sources of pet food, amongst many others. Keep in mind, Certified Organic pet food options are less common, but they exist.

        Side note, if you believe that your cats should have lower fat diets, look for fat contents around 1-2%. 5-10% is considered high by many veterinary dietitians.

      • The recall for formulas contaminated with pentobarbital was for Evanger’s. It is possible that Wild Calling is made at the same facility, but to my knowledge, there has not been a recall of any of their formulas.

      • I’m not familiar with either brand, Rhonda. It is impossible for me to evaluate every single food on the market. If you’d like me to evaluate these, I’d be happy to schedule a consultation.

    119. Hi Ingrid,
      I had been using Wellness canned food for Omar, my elderly Bengal, but due to a recent recall, I am switching. I bought several cans of Blue that I wanted Omar to try…then I found your site and blog and do not see any of the Blue types of food listed. Can you comment? Should I take them back and go for one of your recommended brands? Thanks for your help. Jerry

    120. I want to feed my babies a great cat food but have a limited budget. I have indoor cats: 1 is 13 and the other about 1 1/2 years old. I really could use any advice.

        • Thank you! Ingrid. I will read labels and ingredients to see the best for them to grow strong and stay healthy.

        • Ingrid, do you have a comment on the brand Blue cat foods? I picked up their Freedom Grain Free and their Indoor Chicken Entree and then found your site….not sure if i should be comfortable with them. Thanks very much.

    121. Hi I have a 13 year old cat named BB . She has been diagnosed with thyroid disease and we’ve been told to feed her. Hills yet dry food …also wet food from hills. She vomits a lot and most of the time it’s hairballs! Can you help us..she’s constantly meowing also..maybe from pain!

      • I do not recommend prescription diets. You can find my take on the y/d diet here: There are other options to treat hyperthyroidism, see this article for more information: As for the frequent vomiting, that’s not normal, this article explains: And finally, the constant meowing can be a symptom of hyperthyroidism, and may resolve once the thyroid is controlled. I hope this helps, Bonnie.

        • I am wondering what you would recommend for a cat that has kidney stones and who just got over a bought of pancreatitis? I have been feeding royal canin so, but I think he might be sensitive to something in that, I am feeding wild calling chicken and rabbit formula right now as he has just come down with herpes after a dental procedure he just had. Would appreciate any comments, thank you

          • You can find information about what to feed cats with kidney disease here, Katherine: You may also want to consider adding a good probiotic to help boost his immune system.

      • Hi Bonnie. First, I’m sorry to hear about BB’s recent diagnosis. My 16 year old was also diagnosed with Hyperthyroidism about a year ago (she was 15 at the time). She had lost weight and dropped down to around 6 pounds. While I realize you are here asking for food recommendations, we ultimately chose radioactive iodine therapy. It was the best decision for my cat, and one I would make again and again. My cat has gained her weight back and is happy and healthy, with no negative side effects from the treatment. I realize it’s not always an affordable option for everyone, but if you think of it as a “one and done” treatment vs. many years of expensive prescription medication and/or daily medication, I really feel the cost is justified. I didn’t want to have to think about the struggles of forcing daily medication or medicated food that wouldn’t allow me to even give the occasional treat because of the 100% iodine restricted diet. I was concerned about my kitty’s quality of life being impacted. Just wondered if this was something you were considering, and wanted to give you a data point. My vet has told me several times that he wished more people would go the route of radio iodine therapy, as he continues to have success stories. Certainly, research it for yourself and consider if it’s an option. Also, if I can provide you a bit of comfort, if your senior cat were to develop any disease, hyperthyroidism is not a bad one to have, because it is highly treatable. Well wishes to BB for a long life ahead. 🙂

    122. Hi,

      Thank you so much for putting all of this information together. I can tell I can really trust you know what is best for my Wilson. I have a few questions. Can I get sick (salmonella) from him eating raw food? Like if it’s on his mouth and he licks me? And should I buy frozen mice for him? I’ll do my research on all the brands you listed but just wanted to know your opinion on frozen mice/birds/ etc. Honestly, I think that’s really gross and I would prefer not to do that, but I feel very obligated to try to mimic his natural diet- he was originally a stray when I took him in and he’s obviously hunted. I just want to do what is best for him. Thanks again,


      • It would be highly unlikely that you would get salmonella from your cat if he licks you after he eats raw food, Cori. And given that most of the recent recalls for salmonella contamination were for dry cat food, I’d say the risk is slim to none with raw. While cats might enjoy the occasional feeder mouse, I don’t believe that this would be a balanced diet if fed exclusively. In the wild, cats eat more than just mice.

    123. I’ve been feeding Natures Variety LID canned cat food and have noticed small bone shards. Have you heard any comments about it and what is your opinion?

      • I have not heard anything about that. I feed that line, too, and have not found any bone fragments. Please contact Nature’s Variety about this, Larry.

    124. Hi,
      I’ve used this page as a guide for feeding my two kittens wet food but I also still feed them dry food because I work 12 hour shifts and prefer to leave some food out while I’m gone (their dry food is measured out and whatever they don’t eat I just leave out for them). I feed them before I leave and after I get back but I feel terrible leaving them for so long without anything to eat which is why I feel somewhat better when they have some dry food left in their bowls when I leave. Do you have any words of wisdom or advice?

      • I would eliminate the dry food and feed them one wet meal before you leave for work, one when you get back home, and perhaps a third, smaller meal before you go to bed. Unless they’re very young kittens, you don’t need to leave food out for them during the day.

    125. Hi Ingrid. I see Merrick LID is a food you recommended on its own page, but it’s not listed here. Is that a brand you’re okay with but it’s just not top of your list/as good as the above? I just recently switched my kitties from a primarily dry but combo diet to all wet. I’m happier with merrick’s price point than the above brands but obviously want to pick a good food for them. I’m on the fence between sticking with merrick LID and just committing to spending a bit more on Natures Variety instinct chicken. Thoughts?

      • I still like the Merrick LID line as well as some of their other offerings, it’s just not one of my preferred brands, Rebecca.

      • @Rebecca – We had a similar experience … and preference. After 12 years on Orijen dry, we wanted to wean our 2 traditional Siamese to wet food. We tried every single one of Ingrid’s original recommendations, and the kitties were NOT amused. A couple of licks, then Bye! But they had been having a teaspoon of the Merrick chicken LID at night for several years, so that’s what they’ll eat now. NOTHING with lumps or chunks … pate only for them! LOL!

        • I was feeding Merrick LID chicken and turkey as the primary wet food to my two cats until one got very sick after eating from a can of the chicken recipe (my other cat had eaten the turkey recipe and did not get sick). He was vomiting for 2.5 days and only stopped after a trip to the vet and an injection of anti-nausea medication (after having x-rays taken to rule out an obstruction). I contacted Merrick to report his illness in case other people experienced similar problems with the chicken recipe and offered to send back the other cans from the case if they wanted to test the food. I did not request a refund or want anything from them but I was disappointed with how dismissive they were and that I wasn’t even asked how my cat was doing.
          Not planning on continuing to feed this food.

    126. Thanks Ingrid… here is the link to Biochar litter and why it’s good. I will try it too~
      warmly Jeannie

    127. Question:

      I have hard that Biochar kitty liter is environmentally friends and non-toxic to cats. What are your thoughts?

      And what do you think of Scoop away-Super Clump, unscented? Thanks so much~

      warmly Jeannie

      • I’m not familiar with these products. I use and recommend Dr. Elsey’s Precious Cat litter. It’s a clay litter, but it’s the least dusty litter I’ve been able to find, and most importantly, my cats like it!

        • We have been using Elsey’s R&R (Respiratory Relief) litter for a couple of years now. Our female Siamese’s wheezing is markedly improved! Would highly recommend.

    128. I’ve just adopted a kitten from the shelter, now they’ve had her on this run-of-the-mill kitty chow and I’m pretty sure that while it satisfies her, it probably is not best for her. She is currently 7 months old, would you recommend the same canned food for adult cats that you would for kittens?

    129. Hi Ingrid, I have a 14 yr old simese mix. He was diagnosed with kidney disfunction 2 yrs ago. Vet states only 30%kidney function and advised a low protein and high moisture diet. At that point I started feeding him Hill’s Science Diet K/D formula dry and canned food. As you mentioned in your article you noticed the loss of muscle mass in your 22 yr cat. I’ve noticed the same with my furbaby and I’m so concerned over it. You stated feeding high protein which is the opposite as the vet advised me. I don’t know what to do for him and now I’m just so confused. Please help with suggestions?!

      • This article should help, Sheri:

    130. Have 2 12-year old traditional Siamese. For most of their lives they’ve been on Orijen 5-Fish kibble, plus a small bite of Merrick Limited Ingredient Chicken at bedtime. Based on my research – especially here – we have tried to transition them to canned/wet food. They are not amused.

      We have tried every trick in the book, and can now get them to eat the Merrick canned food … but in calculating the calories they need to eat daily for their weight (approx 12 pounds each), looks like it should be 2-3 can/day. Can that be correct??

      Our male is still fairly active, our female is obese and inactive, but for now, we’re OK with that (long story – ghirradia when a baby, overfed, and she’ll starve before she’ll eat food that’s good for her – we know – we wouldn’t eat for three days several times).

      The MOST we can get them to eat is one can at night, shared (we’re hoping it’s about 50/50). And 1/2 can (shared) in morning. Then, to try to keep up the nutrition, we feed another 1/2 can in early afternoon, but they’re mostly disinterested.

      We’ve tried every variation of when and how much we’re feeding, but I’m concerned they’re not getting enough nutrition.

      We’ve also tried every brand in Ingrid’s list … starting with Weruva and right on down the line, including home-cooked. They HATE chunks. Canned pate is the only thing they’ll eat (besides the Orijen kibble). And only 2 flavors – Merrick Surf/Turf or the Chicken.

      Can anyone help me with a proper calorie conversion for one cat per day?

      And I am totally open to suggestions about how to encourage them to eat more so they’re getting well-nourished.

      PS They will not touch treats, so can’t even feed them supplements. They even scorn anything with dry bonito flakes sprinkled for smell. *sigh*

      • Nancy, you’ll find the formula on how much to feed in this post:

        • Ingrid – Thank you for the reference. I had seen that, and it indicates approx 2-3 cans per day per cat. For 2 months, that has been our guideline of what we are feeding. Problem remains – consistently they only eat HALF that amount and leave the rest. We have tried feeding the twice – three times – four times per day.

          Still only eat less than 1 can per day per cat. 🙁
          In desperation, we’ve even left out small amounts of kibble. They rarely touch it. They just seem full after the limited amount of canned pate.

          No particular change in behavior or weight. But we are VERY concerned about the lack of nutrition.

          Don’t think it’s wise to assume they’ll eat what they ‘need’ when it comes to nutrition, right? We are open to suggestions. Thanks, all!

          • Are you calculating calorie counts on the low end of the range, and if so, are they close to it? As long as they maintain their weight, it’s probably enough for them. Weigh them on a regular basis to make sure they’re not losing weight. Since weight changes can be subtle, weighing is the only way to know for sure.

            • Hi Ingrid – I am calculating on the very, VERY low end – 2 cans per day per cat (one 13 pounds, one fluffy girl at 16 lbs). Again, no matter now much we put out, or how often we feed, they are consistently only eating less than HALF that amount – about 3/4 can of pate per day per cat (pate is the only canned food they will eat). Not even close to 2 cans per day per cat. Negligible weight loss. Very concerned about lack of nutrition – help!

            • I’m not sure what else to recommend, Nancy! You may want to consider consulting with a holistic vet who is well-versed in nutrition. Dr. Lisa Pierson offers private consultations through her website,

    131. Hello! I’m interested in making homemade food for my cats. Many of the recipes online include a small amount of carbs such as oatmeal, potato, rice, and/or a small amount of veggies. Do cats benefit from a small percentage of carbs, or should I leave it out? I often see information about cats not tolerating grain, but what about other carb heavy foods?

      • I would leave starches out. A very small amount of veggies may be okay for the vitamins and minerals. You can find some recipes by a source I trust here:

    132. Hi Ingrid,

      Have you heard anything about The Abady Company? Someone recommended it to me but I’m not familiar with the company. Any thoughts?

    133. I very much enjoyed reading your web site. I feed my cats a combination of wet (Avo Derm) and dry (Science Diet) foods. One of my cats is very finicky and will only eat those two types of food. She won’t eat treats or boiled egg whites like my other cat. I understand your recommendation not to feed dry food but don’t find it practical for my lifestyle. I have an automatic feeder which which works out great for times when I am not able to be home exactly at feeding time and if I have to go away for a weekend. I’ve owned cats my entire life and have never had any issues feeding them dry food. Reading your site was the first time I have seen a recommendation not to feed cats dry food.

      • I’m far from the only one educating cat guardians about the dangers of dry food. You may want to visit Dr. Lisa Pierson’s site for lots of additional information at Dr. Karen Becker also features excellent information about feline nutrition on her site

        There are timed feeders that can be used with cold packs, so your lifestyle issue can be easily addressed.

    134. Your website has been so informative and helpful!

      Just found out my 16 year old kitty has early stage kidney failure but he otherwise is in good condition.

      I am more than willing to make his food and was wondering if there are “recipes”? Sounds like nutritional additives need to be included but what would be they be and how much? I like the idea of cooking a turkey and packing that up for him as he loves turkey! Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

      • I’m glad our site has been helpful, Mary. For more information about the right diet for cats with kidney disease, please read

        This article explains how to make a home cooked diet, and includes recipes: However, since your cat is in the early stages of kidney failure, you may want to consult with a holistic veterinarian to get help in formulating an appropriate diet.

        • Thank you for all this information! Do you have any information on costs of some of the brands you have mentioned? We have three cats. One who is over weight , has dandruff, and doesn’t like to play as much as we hope she would. We have another one with dental issues , we have had his teeth cleaned and some removed and we currently brush his teeth every day. The vet said it is due to him being allergic to his own plaque. He will most likely need more removed in the future. And we have a 1 year old who is very playful and loves to eat. We currently feed all of them 1/3 cup 2 times a day of science diet oral care (recommended by our vet)which is about $65 /15.5lb bag which last just over a month for us. We would love to switch to wet food but unfortunalty the ones we see are always expensive and we only have one income at the moment. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!

          • Hi Chandler, Just a quick reply on food cost. Are u familiar w chewy dot com? They are significantly cheaper on their website. Anything over $49 has free shipping, there is no tax and u can put things in your “autoship” and get 5% off many items. U can change the items and shipping dates at will. They offer prescription food on their site. Not sure if yours is prescription.They will call your vet for approval. As for the quality of most prescription food, I would seriously reconsider. So much of the ingredients are not feline appropriate…mostly carbs and low quality plant-based proteins or by-products. Also, wet food is the way to go as much as possible. I have read over and over that dry food does not scrape/clean the teeth. Perhaps Ingrid can interject here. Good luck w your kitties!

            • Chewy’s is a great company to order from, their prices and customer service are outstanding.

    135. Does anyone know about wellness core chicken chicken liver and turkey. I know it has carrageen in it but it is down on the list. Also boil chicken and give my two boys chicken 1 oz a day as a treat( it is about 46 calories of protein, I boil bone free chicken thighs organic only. Any comments on this diet.

    136. How long do you think it’s ok to leave wet canned food out at room temperature. My kitten likes to take a couple bites go play and then come back to it.

      • Unless your house is really warm, it’s fine to leave wet food out for several hours. When I still worked in an office and was gone 8-9 hours a day, I used to leave canned food out and never had any problems.

    137. Hi Ingrid, I happened to chance upon your website and was surprised to know that dry food is bad for cats? I have adopted a kitten, 4mths old, and have chosen Orijen Cat & Kitten Dry cat food for the kitten. I was informed that Orijen is good in terms of its real stuff,etc. I am not sure dry food is that bad in terms of shortening the cats’ life, etc. On the other hand, I was also told that canned wet food is like a treat given to the cats. As they are canned food, they are not perfect too, just like we human should not take canned food often. I do understand home cooked ones are good for the cat. I do steam chicken meat once a week for the kitten. Mostly reply on dry food as I read the steam chicken is not nutritious enough for the cat. Other supplement need to be added. Raw food are out of the choice due to many problems, like freshness and extremely expensive.

      • The best thing you can do for your kitten is to stop feeding dry food. Here’s more information of why cats should never eat dry food:

      • Dry food (even though I thought I was feeding them the “best”) contributed to the early death of my little girl, Maggie – diabetes, kidney failure, and then pancreatitis.

        After 3 years of insulin shots a wise vet told me to pick up ALL dry food – even the “good” kind I was ordering from Canada that claimed “carb free”. I was feeding them canned food at this point, but thought the “good, carb free” dry food was okay (well, they aren’t “carb free).

        I did what she said and after 3 years of twice a day insulin shots her diabetes was gone – POOF – no more insulin shots after about 3-4 months of wet food only. Of course, the other damage had been done and I had to place her in the arms of the angels on 11/30/16.

        Had I to do it over again, dry food would NEVER be in their bowls – not even one treat. Dry food is bad for cats – deadly, actually. The other one, even though still alive, got hyperthyroidism and I had to have a procedure done ($1400.00 worth), but it was worth it.

        I am now trying a new raw food – Balanced Blend – and I got my first order today and she loves it. I just have to figure out portions, etc and so forth (it comes frozen from the Balanced Blend folks).

        But, God…, please research how HORRIBLE dry food is for your cat before making them eat it – they get addicted to the carbs too…

        • Thank you for sharing your experience, Carol. I’m so sorry about Maggie. Your experience, sadly, is far more common than most people realize. There is no such thing as a carb-free dry food, that’s all marketing.

    138. You mention being concerned about cats eating the bones and guts of fish. Why does this concern you?

      In the wild, if a cat killed a fish or bird, they wouldn’t just pick around the bones or guts. They would eat them. Also, the following statement is misleading: “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.” I think it’s important to remember that cats require phosphorous and calcium as an essential part of their diet. These vitamins can be found in the bones and guts of animals they eat.

    139. My 10 year old cat was recently diagnosed with pancreatitis. After her initial episodes six months ago, I changed her diet and found a formula that didn’t make her vomit: koha unagi formula. This past month to my dismay, her vomiting episodes have returned and was informed that the koha unagi formula was discontinued. After reading and researching, I fear I may have made her condition worse as cats shouldn’t really be eating that much food with fish formula to begin with. I feel terrible.
      I am trying to find a new cat formula low calorie, high vitamins that will reduce her pancreatic flare ups. Any recommendations?

      Food she has tried:
      kitten – royal canin (dry only)
      1-4 yrs old: natural balance indoor cat formula (dry only)
      5-8 yrd old: natural balance indoor cat formula (wet only)
      9 – to current: Wet formulas only – prefers pates
      Weruva – hit or miss (doesn’t like stews)
      Wild Calling – hit or miss
      Hounds & Gatos – pate yes then stopped eating
      Tiki Cat – hit or miss
      Coclicious – never touched it
      Party Animal – never touched it
      Fromm – pate yes, then stopped eating
      EVO – pate yes (hit or miss)
      Merrick – yes, then stopped eating
      Koha – Goat formula – yes, Unagi formula – yes

      I am open to any suggestions – thank you.

        • My cat had pancreatitis as well, he was throwing up every few weeks and it was horrible. I stopped all his dry food and after a long search, I started giving him Sheba cuts. I tried to go raw but he wasn’t interested in it at all. I’m happy to say that his vomiting stopped and he’s back to his normal self. Maybe try that?

    140. Question regarding the preferred canned list? Many of them have fish in there ingredient list. I thought you recommended not feeding fish on a regular basis? I just picked up canned Merrick at pet in chicken pate flavor and fish is in the ingredients.

      • Corrections: the flavor is kitten dinner pate from Merrick. Deboned salmon is the 4th ingredient in the list.

      • All of the brands I recommend have flavors that do not contain fish, Christie. Unfortunately, as you found out, it does require taking a close look at the labels, as even flavors labeled “chicken” may contain fish.

    141. Ingrid – I have learned a lot from reading your wonderful column every day. I have just started using a new raw food. It’s Big Bear cat food and my cats go
      crazy over it. It isn’t listed in your favorite foods. I’d be interested to know if you’ve heard of it and what you think. Thanks!

    142. Hi Ingrid,

      I have been feeding my nine month-old cat Jupiter according to your picks since he was born, and he’s doing so well. However, I don’t want him to grow too dependent on Tiki Cat, so I am considering adding Weruva into the mix occasionally. I see they have a formula of Beef and Chicken– how do you feel about feeding cats beef? Or other red meats, for that matter? I just see so little information about it online, but most of the high-end brands do offer it as an option (such as Instinct Raw). I would love to know your thoughts and enjoy your blog so much. Also, as a side note, Jupiter is the furthest thing from a picky eater and hardly even smells his food before chowing down…

      • I think feeding beef is fine. It may not be a cat’s natural diet, but then, let’s be honest, how many cats have you seen take down a chicken or turkey in the wild? 🙂 You’re lucky that you have such a good eater. If you decide to introduce different proteins, I’d introduce them one protein at a time, just in case there’s an allergic reaction to one.

        • Hi Ingrid,

          Thank you so much for your response! I will give it a try and see if he likes it. I know for a fact he does not do well with fish– so I’ll introduce beef gradually and see how it settles with him. 🙂

          Have a happy New Year and I look forward to your posts in 2017!

      • Hello- just a few tidbits here. Tiki Cat recently (to everyone’s dismay) added synthetic vitamin K (mendionine sodium bisulfite complex) to it’s Luau line of their cat foods including Puka Puka, Koolina and the chicken and salmon one. Mendionine ,however, isn’t in the Gourmet Carnivore diet line including Gourmet Carnivore Chicken and Duck and GC Chicken and Turkey. So it’s up to you weather you feel comfortable with Vitamin K but I now feed the GC Chicken flavors in place of puka puka and koolina and the hookena luau flavor (chicken and tuna) in place of the chicken and salmon flavor that now has vitamin K. If you feed fish as a treat none of their “Grill” flavors have vitamin K which doesn’t make any sense because it’s the fish ones that if they were worried about vitamin k deficiency that would need it added and not the land meat flavors. They claimed they changed their formula because mendionine (K3) was changed to become required by the AAFCO to be a “complete and balanced diet for cats” earlier in the year. K3 is the only approved vitamin K additive in cat food at this time. It’s pretty unfortunate..

        As far as introducing the beef goes– I feed my cat Weruva Truluxe On the Cat Wok which is the chicken and beef flavor all the time along with the all beef one Truluxe Steak Frites all the time and my cats really enjoy it. Fussie Cat Super Premium Gold (the really new FC line) has a mega clean ingredient wise chicken and beef flavor food that you may want to check out as well. I also feed Earthborn Holistic Ranchouse Stew pretty frequently as well. (beef, dried egg, chicken and tuna a lot further down in ingredients which I would guess is actually tuna fish oil but I may email the company–if it is tuna rather than just the oil it isn’t very much) The Ranchouse Stew is a favorite around here. Also if you can get your cats to eat it (mine don’t like these two brands) Nature’s Variety Instinct has a beef flavor and so does Wild Calling. I have two picky cats that don’t like those because they are a drier plainer pate but your mileage may vary.

        Hope that helps and good luck 🙂

        • Hi Jerilin,

          Thank you so much for such a thoughtful comment. It was very educational and I did not know about Tiki Cat’s formula change (hence the new can design, perhaps?). I just made a trip to my local holistic pet food store and picked up Jupiter a can of Steak Frites and one other beef and chicken recipe, and he went nuts for the Steak Frites immediately. I will certainly pick up a few cans of your other recommendations down the line, as well. I am happy that Weruva’s chicken formulas are shredded, not pate, because he seems to enjoy the shredded and chunky consistencies the most.

          Have a Happy New Year.

    143. I just left my one year old neutered cat at the vet hospital for an overnight stay. He had a partial blockage from crystals in his urine. When I pick him up tomorrow I know they want to send me him home with prescription food from their office. I’ve read on various blogs that these are often not as high in protein as commercial brands from the pet store. Couldn’t I just buy a high protein wet food that’s a better quality than a prescription food? If so, any that are recommended? He was on Go! and Orijen but I’ll be taking him off the dry food completely.

      • The most important thing for cats with urinary issues is moisture in the diet, so taking him off dry food is critical, as is feeding a quality canned or raw diet. You can find extensive information on this topic on Dr. Pierson’s site:

      • HI, I also have a kitty that has suffered from crystals and he had to be unblocked once. Well the vet I took him too said no dry food what so ever, not even dry prescription. He told me to get a low carb, grain free and fish free canned food. Firstmate, Weruva, wellness make some good canned options.

    144. I have an 8-month old cat, and I’m starting to become more invested in her health and therefore her diet. The problem is, I’m currently unable to afford many of the high-end wet foods. If I had to choose between lower quality wet food or higher quality kibble, which would be better for my cat?

      Also, I really don’t need any comments telling me that if I can’t afford a pet I shouldn’t have one. Being unable to pay for incredibly expensive cat food doesn’t mean that I can’t provide a loving home for a cat who would otherwise be on the streets.

      • Lower quality wet food is a better choice than even premium dry, Amber. Fancy Feast is one of the better brands at a lower price point, so you may want to look into that. You could also look into making your own food if that’s something you’d consider – it can be very economical.

      • Thank you, Amber for providing love & care & a home to a kitty who might not even be alive if it weren’t for you! I have one vet who feeds dry & another who feeds Fancy Feast … You’ll get no judgement from me, just a pat on the back for doing the best you can.

      • Just a thought Amber, if you ever considered making your own cat food. Per pound, turkey is almost always your best bet for meat. You can usually get it on sale 2 or 4 times per year at about $.99 per lb or sometimes even less. A cooked turkey (without the stuffing or seasonings of course) would feed a cat a LONG time

      • Amber – you might want to check out for your food buying needs.

        I had 2 cats, and when I got them I thought that dry food was GREAT for them – teeth, the package had a chicken leg pictured on it, etc and so forth. One of them died on 11/30/16 because of that dry food (diabetes, kidney failure, pancreatitis). The other one had thyroid problems and t cost me $1400.00 to fix (worth the money).

        So, please check out and even though you think you are paying more for wet food, in the end, you are not…

    145. Thank you for the tips. I have a can of the Instinct – Rabbit. There are whole peas in it. Why on earth would a cat need to eat a whole pea? I realize there is protein in peas, but.. for cats? Seriously? I have read cats aren’t able to digest vegetable matter so it’s a waste…literally. As for fiber, a cat that eats canned food, in this instance, won’t need fiber as it’s getting enough moisture. Fiber is added to dry to keep cats from getting constipated. The more I learn the more confused and frustrated I become. 🙂

      • I’m not crazy about the peas in the NV Instinct diets, either, Teresa. They’re added for the vitamins. My cats actually eat around the peas and leave them behind – I guess they instinctively (pun intended…) know that they don’t need them 🙂

        • I did feed my 2 boys core wellness but the carrageenan is an ingredient. They also have dried potatoes. One of my guys has a sensitive stomach and started pawing at wellness. I did the research and found out that Merrick lid has been bought out by purina? I think Hound and Gatos chicken and rabbit are a good brand as well as K9 natural feline pet foods. Ask some of the cat experts and check out Truth about Pet Foods. I also boil boneless chicken thighs and freeze one ounce cooked chicken and give that to them as snacks. I buy the fish human grade oil from Just Food for Dogs and that is there omega 3and 6 source. Lastly once a week I give then a cooked yellow part of eff soft as another treat. They are now on Hound and Gatos doing well. Hope this helps.