When it comes to your cat, you want the best. You want to take him to the best vet, give him the most comfortable bed and ensure that he has plenty of toys to help pass the time. But perhaps more importantly than any of these considerations, you want to be sure he gets the best food possible.
There are a number of very high-quality cat foods on the market, but there is a difference between the merely good and the undeniably great. You’ll often pay a little more for these premium foods, but you know that your cat’s health and well-being are too important for you to start pinching pennies.
We’ve put together some of the very best cat foods on the market, each of which are likely to give your cat a long, healthy life. Review the following selections, discuss the issue with your veterinarian and try to pick out the best quality cat food for your cat.
Analysis & Award Winners
The best rated cat foods are detailed below. Just be sure to read over the ingredient list, note the manufacturing processes used by the brand and try to make the ideal choice for your specific cat.
Blue Buffalo Life Protection is one of the best premium cat foods available. This USA-made cat food features deboned chicken as its first listed ingredient, but the high-quality ingredients don’t stop there: Blue Buffalo also features a number of ingredients rich in omega fatty acids, including menhaden fish meal and flaxseed. Antioxidants are provided in the form of cranberries, blueberries and sweet potato. The recipe is also full of supplemental vitamins and minerals, as well as five different probiotics.
Most cats appear to love Blue Buffalo, and many owners report that their cat’s coat condition and intestinal health improved after making the switch. Eight-five percent of the owners who tried Blue Buffalo rated it as a 4- or 5-star product.
Orijen Regional Red is the best quality cat food in our review. Regional Red is absolutely packed with premium protein sources, including deboned beef, wild boar, goat and lamb, among others. Made without grains, Orijen Regional Red derives its carbohydrate content from peas, lentils and beans, rather than corn or wheat. Additionally, the recipe includes a variety of vitamin, mineral and antioxidant rich fruits and vegetables, including collard greens, kale, butternut squash and whole pumpkin.
Regional Red also contains several ingredients that provide omega fatty acids, including herring and mackerel meal. Finally, to ensure that your cat digests the food properly and his intestinal flora remains properly balanced, Orijen Regional Red is fortified with three different probiotics.
Taste of the Wild may not be the very best quality cat food in our review, but it is an affordable, yet high-quality cat food designed to mimic the diets of wild cats. Trout is the primary protein, although ocean fish meal and smoked salmon are also used in the recipe. Taste of the Wild is fortified with five different probiotics, as well as several omega fatty acid sources.
Many owners remarked that Taste of the Wild improved the condition of their cat’s coat and reduced the odor associated with their stools. Additionally, Taste of the Wild is processed with purified water sources, which further helps to ensure your cat receives the highest quality food possible.
Characteristics of Good Dry Cat Foods
You’ll surely notice that most of the best cat foods share a number of similarities – in fact, these similarities are some of the criteria that make these foods so good. No matter which food you decide to try out, be sure to review the ingredient list and manufacturer’s information and ensure that it possesses the following characteristics:
- Look for foods that feature a whole protein as the first listed ingredient. Whole proteins, such as chicken, turkey or salmon, should be the primary protein source for your cat’s food, although other supplemental proteins can be included as well. Cats are carnivores, and they must be fed accordingly to remain healthy.
- Try to stick to foods that are made in countries with strict food safety regulations. Foods made in the USA, Canada, New Zealand, Australia or Western Europe are subject to much more stringent food safety protocols than those made in some other countries. This will help you avoid problems with food contamination or spoilage.
- Avoid foods that include unidentified meat meals or byproducts. Meat meals and byproducts are not necessarily bad ingredients, as they are a wonderful way of providing additional protein. However, it is imperative that the source of the meal or byproduct is identified, so that you can avoid ingredients originating from improper sources, such as road kill.
- Whenever possible, opt for foods that provide antioxidants and omega fatty acids. Antioxidant-rich ingredients, such as blueberries and other colorful fruits and vegetables, help to promote proper immune function, while omega fatty acids help to support coat and skin health. Omega fatty acids are found in salmon, flaxseed and several other ingredients.
- Try to purchase foods that contain probiotics. Probiotics are beneficial bacteria that help your cat to digest his food properly, but they may also help reduce litterbox odors too. There are a variety of probiotics used in various recipes, because researchers have not yet determined which probiotic species work best. Accordingly, many high-quality foods often include several probiotics among their ingredients.
Encourage Water Consumption
It is always important to encourage water consumption among cats that are fed kibble-based diets – even those that enjoy the best premium cat foods available. Cats normally obtain most of their water from their food (muscle tissue and organ meats are full of water), so they rarely drink enough supplemental water. This often leads to chronic dehydration, which in turn can cause recurrent urinary tract infections, bladder stones and kidney damage.
Most authorities recommend feeding cats wet foods whenever possible to avoid such problems, but wet foods are more expensive and lack the convenience of dry foods. You can mix a little wet food in with your cat’s kibble to try to increase the moisture content of the food.
However, if none of these options seem plausible, you must do everything you can to encourage water consumption. Some cats can be tempted to drink more water by providing them with numerous water dishes, scattered about the house. Others, particularly shy cats, may be tempted by a water dish set up in a hiding area, in which your cat feels safe and secure.
Best of the Rest
If none of the previously examined foods seem right for you and your cat, consider the following two options. While they failed to rank among the top five foods in this review, they still represent viable choices and are among the best rated cat foods available.
Natural Balance is a protein-rich, grain-free cat food that features most of the things you’d want in a cat food and none of the things you don’t. In addition to chicken (the first listed ingredient), Wild Pursuit is made with blueberries and cranberries to provide antioxidants, as well as menhaden fish oil to provide the omega fatty acids your cat needs. Additionally, Natural Balance contains freeze-dried pieces of raw meat, which most cats find delicious.
Fromm FourStar Cat Food is made with several different poultry-based proteins, including duck, duck meal, turkey, chicken meal, turkey liver and quail. It also features a number of nutritious fruits and vegetables, such as blueberries, broccoli, cauliflower and apples to help ensure your cat benefits from a balanced diet. Finally, Fromm rounds out their recipe by including probiotics to help ensure digestive health.
There are a variety of high-quality cat foods on the market, but those detailed above rise above most of their competitors. Any of the foods listed in this review will provide a good diet for your cat, just be sure to review the ingredients, discuss the issue with your veterinarian and try to make the best choice for your specific cat. Doing so will help to ensure your cat lives a long, healthy life for years to come.