Today’s best cat foods–reviews of canned and raw options

eating wet food 300x241 Todays best cat foods  reviews of canned and raw options

SMALL UPDATE April 2014  (Blue Buffalo Bistro removed because discontinued. Blue Buffalo Wild Delights removed due to adding carrageenan. Also see July 2013 changes noted here)

The cat food world changes A LOT. When I have time, this list MAY occasionally be updated. You can help others by sharing info in the Comments. 

Scratching your head in the cat food aisle? I’ve been there.

In fact, I’ve become a bit obsessive about how to choose the best cat food. I hope the hours of research and time I put into it will help you–and your cat.

If you’re curious, I explain how I selected these cat foods here.

If your cat has special health issues, please be sure to consult with a good vet about their food. If your cat has an illness and weakened immunity, it’s probably a good idea to avoid raw meat as a precaution against bacteria.

To assure you these food reviews are unbiased, I never use an affiliate (referral) link for a cat food.

FIRST PLACE
CANNED OR RAW CAT FOODS

WHAT’S
TO LOVE

COST

SPECIAL
CONCERNS & TIPS

Primal, RAW
frozen
primal raw 150x150 Todays best cat foods  reviews of canned and raw options
Some ingredients are organic (not the meats though).
Small company focused solely on quality pet food.
Omega 3s (fish oil)
Raw is considered most easily digested, nutrient-available form of cat food.
Very low starch, grain
LOW daily feeding cost compared to others on this list.
Includes ground bones—not recommended for cats with
kidney issues or constipation.
Tip: See their helpful food portion calculator provided online (it’s challenging to calculate amounts without it)
Uses water High Pressure Processing to kill bad bacteria while preserving the enzymes that make raw food nutrients so available.
Bravo Balance RAW frozen  Todays best cat foods  reviews of canned and raw options
Raw is considered the most easily digested, nutrient-available form of cat food.
Low starch, grain free
Hormone-free, grass-fed red meats; no antibiotics

 

LOW daily feeding cost compared to others on this list.
IMPORTANT: Only the BALANCE formulas are appropriate to serve to cats without adding appropriate supplements.
Includes ground bones—not recommended for cats with kidney issues or constipation.
Radcat RAW Frozen radcatraw 150x150 Todays best cat foods  reviews of canned and raw options
Omega 3s (fish oil)
Simple formula
Most ingredients are organic or pasture-raised.
Raw is considered most easily digested,
nutrient-available form of cat food.
Very low starch, grain free
VERY HIGH compared to others on this list.
HOWEVER, this is because the recommend serving size is larger than the serving size recommend for other raw products.
AND Rad Cat says some cats may not need as much as they recommend, depending on cat size and activity level.
TIP: You can get 4 for the price of 3 of any Rad Cat size at Pet food Express stores (at least in California). Saves a bundle!
Not quite as convenient to serve as other raw food because it’s
not pre-portioned
Good news for cats with constipation: Uses organic egg shell calcium instead of ground bones, so it may be more suitable for cats with constipation. (Works best for our cat who can’t digest ground bone!)
 
 
Tiki Cat Koolina Luau canned and  Puka Puka Luau (both chicken)
 Todays best cat foods  reviews of canned and raw options Todays best cat foods  reviews of canned and raw options
Very low starch, grain free
Manufactured in a human food factory
USDA certified chicken
Very simple ingredients– easy on digestion
No BPA in cans
No carrageenan
MED daily feeding cost compared to others on this list.
Made inThailand at a human food factory.  USDA certified chicken.
Feline’s Pride RAW Frozen felinespride 150x150 Todays best cat foods  reviews of canned and raw options
Good variety of selections: Cornish hen, turkey, chicken, duck, and more
Simple recipe (best digestion)
Omega 3s (fish oil)
Recommended by Feline
Nutrition Education Society

and Elizabeth Hodgkins, DVM is also a fan
Low starch, grain free
MED (when extra shipping costs are added) daily feeding cost compared to others on this list.
Order online at www.felinespride.com
Includes ground bones—not recommended for cats with
kidney issues or constipation.
Darwins RAW frozen  Todays best cat foods  reviews of canned and raw options
All meats are hormone-and antibiotic-free and free-range
Claim human-quality ingredients
Raw is considered the most easily digested, nutrient-available form of cat food.
Low starch, grain free
Simple recipe (best for digestion)
MED-LOW
Lab-tested to meet and exceed AAFCO guidelines
Includes ground bones—not recommended for cats with
kidney issues or constipation
 Pure Vita canned  PURE VITA1 Todays best cat foods  reviews of canned and raw options
Grain free, low starch
Fairly simple ingredients
Manufactured at company-owned US plant
Fish meal is cetified ethoxyquin-free
No carrageenan

 

 

MED daily feeding cost compared to others on this list.
Good news: Though formula includes potato starch, the carb percentage remains very low (under 5%).
Good news: Controversial ingredient Menadione (synthetic K) was removed from product.
Hound & Gatos canned hound 150x150 Todays best cat foods  reviews of canned and raw options
No BPA in can lining
No carrageenan
Low starch, grain free
Claim human-quality
US food and factory
Very simple ingredients are ideal for sensitive digestion
LOW-MED daily feeding cost compared to others on this list.
Available at Pet Food Express
Best online price may be at PetFoodDirect.com
PAW NATURAW RAW frozen  Todays best cat foods  reviews of canned and raw options
Raw is considered the most easily digested, nutrient-available form of cat food.
Organic meats!
Low starch, grain free
Variety of formulas
MED daily feeding cost compared to others on this list.
Formulated to meet the nutritional levels established by the AAFCO.
Includes ground bones—not recommended for cats with
kidney issues or constipation
They also have a freeze-dried raw cat food that looks good.

SECOND PLACE
CANNED OR RAW CAT FOODS

WHAT’S
TO LOVE

COST

WHY 2nd PLACE
& TIPS

Primal Freeze Dried RAW
 Todays best cat foods  reviews of canned and raw options
More convenient than raw frozen food.
Raw is considered the most easily digested, nutrient-available form of cat food.
Low starch, grain free
Some ingredients are organic (not the meat)
LOW daily feeding cost compared to others on this list.
IMPORTANT: Add water  –  Cats can get dehydrated & accidentally overeat if you don’t add water.
All raw dehydrated food are in 2nd place because they require water to be healthy and many people may overlook this.
Includes ground bones—not recommended for cats with
kidney issues or constipation.
Feline Natural Raw Freeze Dried by K9
 Todays best cat foods  reviews of canned and raw options
More convenient than raw frozen food.
Raw is considered the most easily digested, nutrient-available form of cat food.
Low starch, grain free
Nice simple ingredients are easy on digestiom (if you add water as instructed –
cats accidentally overeat if you don’t)
Clean New Zealand sourced ingredients
LOW daily feeding cost compared to others on this list.
IMPORTANT: Stir in warm water (at about body temp); don’t have to wait to serve. Cats can get dehydrated & accidentally overeat if you don’t add water.
All raw dehydrated are in 2nd place because they require added water to be healthy and many people may overlook this.
Includes ground bones—not recommended for cats with
kidney issues or constipation.
“Has been tested and exceeds the AAFCO minimum requirements” – including taurine. (Shane Bartlettf, K9 Natural Food)
Honest Kitchen GRACE DEHYDRATED
grace grain free cat food 4lb 150x150 Todays best cat foods  reviews of canned and raw options
Only pet food legally allowed to call themselves “human grade” (they won a lawsuit). Company owned US plant is certified for organic and kosher products by the state of California.
Meat is steamed at low temperatures to kill pathogens while conserving nutrient quality, then dehydrated.
Grain free
LOW daily feeding cost compared to others on this list.
In 2nd place because contains starchy ingredients, making carb count a bit higher than first place foods. NOTE “Grace” is lower in carbs and simpler in ingredients than “Prowl”
You need to add water soak it for about 15-20 minutes before serving.
Introduce gradually. Texture is unique–some cats resist it. Ours like it better with ground turkey added.
Tip: Best deal I found on a trial
size
is at their online store.
Ziwipeak, Raw air-DEHYDRATED
ziwipeak 150x150 Todays best cat foods  reviews of canned and raw options
Omega 3s (fish oil)
No hormones and antibiotics
8% more moisture than most dry foods–more if you add water.
More convenient than raw frozen food.
Raw is considered the most easily digested, nutrient-available form of cat food.
Low starch, grain free; nice simple ingredients
LOW daily feeding cost compared to others on this list.
IMPORTANT To support kidney and urinary wellness in healthy cats, I would not serve this without mixing in some water.
All raw dehydrated food are in 2nd place because they require water to be healthy and many people may overlook this.
Includes ground bones—not recommended for cats with
kidney issues or constipation.
Several experts say dry foods are too dehydrating for cats with kidney problems.
Stellas Freeze Dried RAW

Only the Chicken, Duck, and Turkey are Menadione-free.
STELLA CHEWY Todays best cat foods  reviews of canned and raw options
More convenient than raw frozen food.
Raw is considered the most easily digested, nutrient-available form of cat food.
Low starch, grain free
Nice simple ingredients are easy on digestion
MED daily feeding cost compared to others on this list.
All raw dehydrated are in 2nd place because they require added water to be healthy and many people may overlook this.
Avoid the seafood formulas, as they contain Menadione.
IMPORTANT: Add water; rehydrate for 1 minute.  Add water as instructed.
cats can get dehydrated & accidentally overeat if you don’t.
Includes ground bones—not recommended for cats with
kidney issues or constipation.
LOTUS canned
lotus 150x150 Todays best cat foods  reviews of canned and raw options
No carrageenan
No ethoxyquin in fish
Very low starch, grain free
All ingredients sourced from US, Canada,
New Zealand
Made in small batches in US
Claim not to have BPA in lining
Medium daily feeding cost compared to
others on this list.
In 2nd place because contains large fish (4th ingredient), so should not be fed exclusively due to concerns about accumulated ocean pollution toxins and/or extra iodine affecting thyroid health over time.
Taste of the WILD canned
tastewild 150x150 Todays best cat foods  reviews of canned and raw options
No BPA in cans
No carrageenan
No ethoxyquin in fish
Low starch, grain free
MED daily feeding cost compared to others on this list.
In 2nd place because contains large fish, so should not be fed exclusively due to concerns about accumulated ocean pollution toxins and/or extra iodine affecting thyroid health over time.
Also contains small amount of menadione sodium bisulfite (controversial form of vitamin K)
Nature’s Variety Instinct LID canned

LIDcat duck 5oz 0 150x150 Todays best cat foods  reviews of canned and raw options
Meats sourced from US and New Zealand
(except rabbit)
No carrageenan
Very low starch, grain free
No BPA in 5.5oz and 3 oz cans
GMO free
Owned by an independent pet food company (rather than large conglomerate). Manufactured in US at APHIS EU Certified plant.
MED daily feeding cost compared to others on this list.
In 2nd place because some consumers are concerned about the montmorillonite clay. Opinions about it are all over the map. Some consider it detoxifying, some say it could have contaminants. Here’s another company’s exploration of the topic.
Statement from Nature’s Variety: “Our vendor tests the Montmorillonite Clay used in our diets for toxins and it is guaranteed toxin-free.”
I prefer the LID formulas as they have more simple ingredients than other Nature’s Variety canned recipes.
ADDICTION Carrageenan-free formulas only: Duck, Venison, Buffalo, Rabbit, Turkey
ADDICTION 150x150 Todays best cat foods  reviews of canned and raw options
Grain free
No carrageenan
Manufactured in company-owned New Zealand plant
MED daily feeding cost compared to others on this list.
In 2nd place because contains starchy ingredients, making carb count a bit higher than first place foods.
Also because many formulas large fish, so those should not be fed exclusively due to concerns about accumulated ocean pollution toxins and/or extra iodine affecting thyroid health over time.
Soulistic canned Carrageenan-free formulas only: Good Karma, Harvest Sunrise
 Todays best cat foods  reviews of canned and raw options
Claims human-quality food sources and “free range” chicken
No GMOs
Grain free
No Carrageenan (Good Karma and Harvest Sunrise)
MED daily feeding cost compared to others on this list.
In 2nd place because contains starchy ingredients, making carb count a bit higher than first place foods.
Other carrageenan-free formulas were removed from this list because they contain controversial ingredient Menadione (synthetic K)
Manufactured in Thaliand at USDA-approved human food facility
You’ll find it at PETCO
Stellas Freeze Dried Raw
STELLA CHEWY Todays best cat foods  reviews of canned and raw options
More convenient than raw frozen food.
Raw is considered the most easily digested, nutrient-available form of cat food.
Low starch, grain free
Nice simple ingredients are easy on digestion
MED daily feeding cost compared to others on this list.
IMPORTANT: Add water; rehydrate for 1 minute.  Add water as instructed –
cats can get dehydrated & accidentally overeat if you don’t.
All raw dehydrated are in 2nd place because they require added water to be healthy and many people may overlook this.
Includes ground bones—not recommended for cats with
kidney issues or constipation.
Great Life Essentials canned  greatLife 150x150 Todays best cat foods  reviews of canned and raw options
Meats sourced from US
No carrageenan
Low starch, grain free
No GMOs

 

LOW daily feeding cost compared to others on this list.
In 2nd place because Great Life uses the Evanger’s plant  (US) for processing their own canned (not dry) formulas. In 2010 Evangers was found by the FDA to be using dishonest practices on their own formulas (since corrected). Therefore, some are uncomfortable with any foods processed at the Evangers factory.
SOJOS Freeze Dried Raw   Todays best cat foods  reviews of canned and raw options
Raw is considered the most easily digested, nutrient-available form of cat food.
Low starch, grain free
USDA meat
Variety of formulas to choose
MED daily feeding cost compared to others on this list.
IMPORTANT: Add water to ensure proper amounts of food and moisture; Cats can get dehydrated & accidentally overeat if you don’t add water.
All raw dehydrated foods are in 2nd place because they require added water to be healthy and many people may overlook this.
Includes ground bones—not recommended for cats with kidney issues or constipation
Meets (exceeds) minimum nutritional levels established by the AAFCO.com.
Tiki Cat Hanalei Luau Wild Salmon, canned
tikisalmon Todays best cat foods  reviews of canned and raw options
Sources through environmental fishing practices; seafood sustainability and food safety guidelines
Manufactured in a human food factory (quality is visible—looks and smells like human food)
Omega 3’s
No carrageenan
No BPA in cans
Low starch, grain free
MED daily feeding cost compared to others on this list
In 2nd place because contains large fish, so should not be fed exclusively due to concerns about accumulated ocean pollution toxins and/or extra iodine affecting thyroid health over time.
No longer contains menadione (controversial synthetic vitamin K).
Note: Avoid the TikiCat formulas that have grain (rice) in them. (This Wild Salmon one doesn’t have it.)
Life’s Abundance Instinctive Choice canned
Lifes Abundance Instinctive Choice Cat Food sm Todays best cat foods  reviews of canned and raw options
Simple ingredients, include organic chicken
Omega 3s (fish oil)
No carrageenan
Very low starch, grain free
No BPA in cans
US ingredients only
MED-HIGH daily feeding cost compared to others on this list.
In 2nd place because Instinctive Choice is manufactured in a Simmons Food facility – Simmons bought Menu Foods. (However, dreadful 2007 Menu Foods incidents/recall was related to foods with wheat gluten from China. This food does not contain wheat gluten or ingredients from China.)
Most cats love this food.
I can only find it online–by the case. I suggesting getting their trial size first.
You can save money & time with their auto-ship option.
 
Weruva Grain Free Pouches
 Todays best cat foods  reviews of canned and raw options
No carrageenan
Simple ingredients
Grain free
Responsive customer service
Certified GMO-free
HIGH daily feeding cost compared to others on this list.
In 2nd place because contains starch, making carb count a bit higher than 1st place foods.
Beef is from Australia & New Zealand. Fish is from international waters, except for Tilapia, which is farmed in Thailand. Chicken is from Thaliand.
Manufactured in Thailand in human-food processing facility.
Wellness Healthy Indulgence pouches with GRAIN FREE labels only
wellness pouches 150x150 Todays best cat foods  reviews of canned and raw options
Grain free
High moisture
Less fuss than cans
No carrageenan
VERY HIGH daily feeding cost compared to others on this list.
Instructions say feed 2 pouches for every 5 lbs of cat, so an active 10 lb cat would need 4 pouches per day – that’s a lot.
In 2nd place because contains starchy ingredients, making carb count a bit higher than first place foods.
CAUTION: The pouches not labeled Grain Free contain oat fiber, which is gluten-free in this case, but may not be the most digestible substance for cats.

 

If your cat’s favorite natural cat food didn’t make the list…

Many cat foods almost made this list. There were so many foods, I had to be brutal in selecting.

See These natural cat foods didn’t make the “best” list: here’s why (includes the Runner Ups!).

Maybe I missed a food. Let me know if you have questions–I won’t always be able to answer every question personally, but I will add foods you ask about to my “To Be Researched” list.

I also started a list best dry cat foods here–with some health caveats.

Resources

Where to find these foods

  • Only Natural Pet Store (carries most of these foods – affiliate store chosen for their reasonable prices)
  • Amazon.com and Petfooddirect.com carry many of these foods.
  • Many brands are available online directly from the company that makes them
  • Your local pet food store (especially if holistic) may have some brands
  • Whole Foods carries Primal cat food

How to get your cat to eat new foods?

Resources for making cat food

Making your own raw cat food can cost even less than the packaged raw cat foods, and is one the healthiest things you can do for most cats.

However, it is absolutely essential that you do it right, and add proper nutrients—serious health problems could result if you don’t add the right nutrients.

Easiest way to get started making your own cat food with the right nutrients is to use a good supplement product like a Feline Instincts mix: You just order one of their mixes. Alnutrin is also a good supplement source for homemade cat food. If you’re in Canada or Europe TC Feline may be ideal for you. Others can get TC Feline in the US here. All these sources provide recipes and instructions so it’s not a mysterious process!

Some experts say you shouldn’t use store-bought meat (unless you cook it before adding supplements) because there are concerns about bacteria. Instead, they say you should grind your own or order from source that freezes immediately after cutting or grinding: Hare-Today carries many types of meats.

Tips: The No Bones About It or Alnturin with Calcium mixes are best for cats who have constipation issues. Feline Instincts and TC Feline also both have bone-free special mixes and recipes for cats with kidney problems.

Your experience? Let’s talk!

None of these foods are perfect, but they met my “best of” criteria. However, every cat has different needs, just like you and I do.

I welcome your experiences, opinions, and contributions in the comments below.

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1,184 Responses to Today’s best cat foods–reviews of canned and raw options

  1. Yongqing October 28, 2014 at 10:34 am #

    Does anyone have any experience with the new formula of Holistic Select Grain Free canned? The ingredients and price both look pretty good. No carrageenan etc.

  2. Thxie October 27, 2014 at 2:39 pm #

    I know raw foods have many benefits over canned or dry food. I having been searching good food for my cats and dogs for couple of years now. I used to try to feed my cats and dogs for raw food. I switched back to canned food for cats and dry food for dogs after I read USFDA’s report. here’s a link of one http://www.fda.gov/AnimalVeterinary/ResourcesforYou/AnimalHealthLiteracy/ucm373757.htm

    I have been told by many “animal nutritional specialist” that FDA is not familiar with pet health and so on.

    I am interested to know about your opinion on these kinds of report from FDA.

  3. Rachel Ellsworth Bradley October 27, 2014 at 8:38 am #

    Thanks much for this report! I looked up the supplements listed above that you would add to your own raw meat to make cat food and all 3 have powdered egg yolks! That means they all contain oxidized (ie. rancid) cholesterol! That’s very dangerous. I wouldn’t eat it and I wouldn’t feed it to an animal either. Does anyone know of a supplement that doesn’t contain the powdered egg yolk? I could add my own fresh yolk that hasn’t been so processed.

  4. Larry October 15, 2014 at 1:56 pm #

    Hi, Has anyone fed or have any thoughts for Wild Calling dry and canned cat food?

    • Bonnie Magallanes October 15, 2014 at 7:57 pm #

      I feed one of my cats Wild Calling, usually the one that says Magic Meadow, as that is the one she likes the best. I didn’t know Wild Calling made dry food for cats. I would say the canned food is of good quality.

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