Most cat parents are interested in giving their pet the best possible food available. Foods should be delicious, nutritious and made from the best ingredients possible, without including any unnecessary additives, that may cause your cat problems.
In doing so, cat owners often begin looking for natural and organic cat foods. Fortunately, there are a number of high-quality natural or organic cat foods on the market. Many will make an excellent option for your cat; just be sure to consult your veterinarian anytime you consider changing foods. Additionally, it is always important to change your cat’s food gradually, over the course of about a week.
Analysis & Award Winners
Some of the best natural or organic cat foods available on the market are detailed below. As when selecting any other type of cat food, be sure to review the ingredients listed and compare them to your cat’s individual needs.
Best Overall Natural or Organic Cat Food: Halo Spot’s Stew Cat Formula Grain-Free Hearty Chicken Recipe
Halo Spot’s Stew is a delicious, grain-free option for owners seeking a high-quality all-natural cat food for their pet. It not only contains a number of protein sources, including chicken, eggs and salmon oil, but it also contains nutritious vegetables and fruits, such as green beans, peas, carrots, and blueberries. Halo Spot’s Stew is also full of omega fatty acids and antioxidants to keep your cat’s coat, skin, joints and immune system functioning like they should.
But making a great food means more than just including lots of natural ingredients – it also means leaving out a lot of potentially problematic ingredients, such as artificial flavors or colors. Fortunately, Halo Spot’s Stew doesn’t use artificial flavors or colors in its recipe. However, it does include natural probiotics to help ensure your cat’s digestive system operates smoothly.
Open Farm Homestead Turkey and Chicken not only boasts of one of the most impressive ingredient lists of any food reviewed, its proteins are all humanely harvested. The chickens and turkeys used in the recipe are raised without antibiotics, growth hormones and in a cage-free manner, while the fish used in the food are all wild-caught.
Made in the USA, Open Farm Homestead is made without any grains or artificial colors, flavors or preservatives. Additionally, it includes a variety of antioxidant-rich fruits and vegetables, such as pumpkin and cranberries, as well as unusual, yet nutritious, ingredients, such as dandelion greens and lentils. Accordingly, it ranks as the best organic cat food in our review.
Rachael Ray Nutrish is a surprisingly affordable food, made without any artificial colors, flavors or additives. Additionally, Rachel Ray’s Nutrish is made in the USA and contains no wheat or soy. Chicken is the first listed ingredient, but it also contains chicken meal and chicken fat to help provide additional protein and flavor, respectively.
Most who tried the food found it quite good, as evidenced by the 76% of respondents who rated the product as a 40 or 5-star product. Most cats find Nutrish to be quite tasty, and many owners noted an improvement in their cat’s vigor after switching to the food.
Characteristics of Good Cat Foods
Whether comprised of only organic ingredients or those produced via conventional methods, good cat foods share a number of similar characteristics. Whenever you are considering switching to a new food, look for those that possess the following characteristics:
- Look for foods that are made in countries with strict food safety regulations in place. Countries like the USA, Canada, New Zealand, Australia and those of western Europe impose strict quality-control requirements for food manufacturers, which helps to prevent the production of contaminated and otherwise dangerous foods. This means that the best natural cat foods typically originate from these countries.
- Look for foods that do not contain artificial flavors, colors or additives. Artificial flavors and colors are unnecessary: High-quality ingredients will make the food taste great to your cat, and artificial colors are used to make the food look better to you, rather than your cat. Additionally, there are natural preservatives that can be used in place of artificial ones.
- Look for foods that feature a whole protein as the first listed ingredient. Your cat is a carnivore, and the bulk of his diet should reflect that. Accordingly, the first listed ingredient should be chicken, turkey, salmon or some other, similar ingredient.
- Look for foods that have several antioxidant-rich ingredients. Antioxidants help ensure your cat’s immune system operates as it should. Several fruits and vegetables – primarily those that are brightly colored – supply antioxidants. For example, blueberries, tomatoes, and cranberries are often used to supply antioxidants.
- Look for foods that provide several sources of omega fatty acids. Omega fatty acids help ensure your cat’s skin and coat remain healthy and looking their best. Omega fatty acid rich ingredients include salmon, salmon oil, flaxseed and menhaden fish oil.
- Look for foods that only include properly identified meat meals and byproducts. Meat meals and meat byproducts are produced via processes that many cat owners find off-putting, but there is nothing inherently wrong with these types of supplemental ingredients. However, they should always identify the species used to make the meal, which will help ensure that you know what your cat is eating and allow you to avoid meat meals containing objectionable ingredients.
Defining Organic Food for Cats
The terms “all natural” and “organic” are thrown around a lot these days, and many cat food manufacturers are now applying these terms to their products. However, these terms are not currently regulated by the FDA, so you should view all such claims skeptically. A few manufacturers (including a few discussed in this review) do use organic ingredients in their recipes, but very few (if any) are comprised of only organic ingredients.
On the other hand, the phrase “all natural” is somewhat meaningless. Most high-quality cat foods on the market eschew the use of artificial flavors and colors, and most use natural preservatives instead of artificial ones. Further, the notion that ingredients are inherently safe because they are natural is flawed: Plenty of perfectly natural substances could prove harmful to your cat.
There is nothing wrong with wanting to feed your cat the best food possible (we wholeheartedly encourage it!), but just be sure that you understand how these terms are used and regulated.
Best of the Rest
The following foods weren’t quite good enough to rank among the top five options, but they still deserve consideration from cat owners who are looking for foods without artificial additives.
Natural Planet Organics is a high-quality food that includes a number of organic ingredients, such as chicken, yellow peas, barley, and oats – even the flaxseed used by Natural Planet Organics is sourced from organic farms. Additionally, the food contains a number of antioxidant-rich fruits and vegetables, such as broccoli, cranberries, and carrots – all of which come from organic farms. However, there are a few ingredients in the food, such as chicken meal, which do not originate from organic sources. Nevertheless, Natural Planet Organics is one of the best organic cat foods available, and it is an excellent choice for those who prize organic ingredients.
Wellness CORE doesn’t include any organic ingredients, but it is made with high-quality ingredients and no artificial additives, therefore, it could be considered one of the best natural cat foods on the market. A grain-free recipe, Wellness CORE includes several premium proteins, including deboned turkey (the first listed ingredient) and deboned chicken (the second listed ingredient), as well as a variety of supplemental proteins to help provide complete nutrition. Additionally, Wellness CORE features a number of ingredients that are rich in omega fatty acids and antioxidants, such as flaxseed and cranberries, respectively.
It isn’t easy to find a cat food that is made with all organic ingredients, but many foods on the market are primarily comprised of natural ingredients and a few of those source their primary ingredients from organic agricultural facilities. As always, compare the various ingredient lists of the foods you are considering and try to select the best one for your cat.