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

UPDATE October 2015  (Several new additions, some movement from 2nd to 1st place. See October 2015 changes noted here.)

The cat food world changes A LOT. When I have time, this list is updated. Meanwhile, 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 and answer FAQ’s about it here.

My main concern with cat food is how it affects:

To me, these issues are even more important than the quality and source of the micro-ingredients in a food and who manufactures the food. Of course, I would never use a cat food created in China, but high quality pet food canning plants are few and far between even in the US. Now, there are some small ingredients I’ve taken a great interest in – such as carrageenan and BPA. This is because there may be life-threatening problems associated with these substances if they are consumed regularly over time. On the other hand, people ask about a lot of ingredients, like guar gum, that are not – to my knowledge thus far – known to be a big risk.

I think it’s easy, out of concern for your cat, to lose sight of the forest for the trees. So for me it’s about minimizing risk while keeping the higher priorities (above) in perspective and making sure we have enough good options to choose from.

If your cat has IBS symptoms or digestive issues

See How treatment-resistant feline IBS symptoms healed in one month and What to feed cats with feline IBS, diarrhea, or frequent hairballs.

Today’s best cat foods

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 with weakened immunity, some vets recommend avoiding raw meat as a precaution against bacteria.

Tip: On mobile, click the “+” signs for more info on each food.

FIRST PLACE
CANNED OR RAW CAT FOODS

WHAT’S
TO LOVE

COST

SPECIAL
CONCERNS & TIPS

Radcat RAW Frozen
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!)
Ziwipeak Canned Cat Food  Ziwipeak Canned
Meat ingredients are sourced from grass-fed farming with no hormones or antibiotics used. No BPA in can lining. No carrageenan (removed). Very low starch, grain free.
Sourced only from fully traceable, approved New Zealand farms. Manufactured in company-owned facilities in New Zealand

 

HIGH
They listened -removed carrageenan!
Primal, RAW
frozen
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.
Includes Montmorillonite Clay (from Azomite) that is tested as contaminant-free.
While Primal contains more plant matter than I like to see in a cat food (making it more complicated for digestion), the fact that it’s raw outweights that issue and keeps it in the 1st tier.
Nature’s Variety Instinct LID (Limited Ingredient) canned

LIDcat_duck_5oz_0
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
Manufactured in US at APHIS EU Certified plant.
MED daily feeding cost compared to others on this list.
Recently moved from 2nd place to 1st place tier because the Montmorillonite Clay is tested to be toxin-free. According Nature’s Variety rep: “Our vendor tests the Montmorillonite Clay used in our diets for toxins and it is guaranteed toxin-free.” 
LID formulas are best as they have more simple ingredients than other Nature’s Variety canned recipes.
Wild Calling Canned Cat Food  Wild Calling
Grain-free
No artificial anything
Ingredients source in the US
Very low carb
No carrageenan
Family-owned
MED-LOW
Readers have reported that Wild Calling uses the Evanger’s Illinois plant for canning their formulas. Personally, I don’t consider this a big risk, but some are uncomfortable with it. In 2010, Evangers was found by the FDA to be using dishonest practices in their own formulas. While this is appalling, it had nothing to do with their plant’s canning of other small brands. And, it has been corrected. In my opinion, this food has too many good features to overlook because they need to use one on of the few available US pet food canning  plants (Evangers) to package their food.
Weruva Grain Free Cats in the Kitchen (cans + pouches)
No carrageenan
Simple ingredients
Grain-free
Responsive customer service
Certified GMO-free
Made in human-food processing facility
No BPA in can lining
MED -HIGH daily feeding cost compared to others on this list.
Moved from 2nd to 1st place because no longer contains starch ingredient.
Beef is from Australia & New Zealand. Fish is from international waters, except for Tilapia, which is farmed in Thailand. Chicken raised in Thaliand.
Manufactured in Thailand in human-food processing facility.
Tiki Cat Koolina Luau canned and Puka Puka Luau (both chicken) tikiKoolkinapuka_pukatiki
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
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 darwins
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  
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  
No BPA in can lining
No carrageenan
Low starch, grain free
Claim human-quality
US food and factory
MED daily feeding cost compared to others on this list.
There is a misprint on some cans that indicates the product contains Vitamin D2. I have been contacted by the owner of Hound & Gatos, who assures me that it is a misprint; the product still contains D3, not D2. We assume the misprint will be corrected on future labels.
Holistic Select Grain Free Canned Holistic Select Grain Free canned
Grain free
Ingredients are US only, with exception of Duck from Germany, Lamb from New Zealand
MED
Several plant ingredients, however these are all in powder form, making them simplier for cat digestion.
Readers have reported a rumor (yet to be confirmed) that Holistic Select uses the Evanger’s Illinois plant for canning their formulas. Personally, I don’t consider this a big risk, but some are uncomfortable with it. In 2010, Evangers was found by the FDA to be using dishonest practices in their own formulas. While this is appalling, it had nothing to do with their plant’s canning of other small brands. And, it has been corrected. In my opinion, this food has too many good features to overlook because they need to use one on of the few available US pet food canning  plants (Evangers) to package their food.
PAW NATURAW RAW frozen PAW_NATURAW
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
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.
Includes Montmorillonite Clay (from Azomite) that is tested as contaminant-free.
Ziwipeak, Raw air-DEHYDRATED  
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.
FirstMate Limited Ingredient Canned  FirstMate - limited Ingredient
BPA free
Made in Vancouver, Canada
Uses free-range chicken. Vitamin and mineral supplements are sourced from North America, Germany and France.
Meats sourced from US, except Duck from Germany, Lamb from New Zealand/Australia.
MED
In 2nd place because contains some starch, making carb count slightly higher.
Party Animal Canned Cat Food  Party Animal
Grain free
Hand-crafted in small batches
Organic protein sources, oils, fruits, vegetables.
Made in USA
MED
In 2nd place because it contains several plant ingredients ingredients (harder for cats with sensitive digestion)
Merrick LIMITED INGREDIENT Canned Cat Food  Merrick
Meats sourced in the US
Grain free
Simple ingredients (easy to digest) 
MED
In 2nd place because Merrick was bought by Purina in 2015. They say the company will still operate independently with no changes. The takeover process will take many months. For these reasons, I would say the product is probably still fine for now, but after 2016, let’s revisit what’s happening with Merrick and the quality of its ingredients.  (If you notice anything, let me know.)
Feline Caviar Wet Food  Feline Caviar
Grain free
No GMO’s
Omega 3:6
Free-range chicken
Ingredients sourced from U.S. with the exception of lamb meal and venison meal from New Zealand; kelp from Norway
HIGH
In 2nd place because Feline Caviar uses the Evanger’s Illinois plant for canning their formulas. Personally, I don’t consider this a big risk, but some are uncomfortable with it. In 2010, Evangers was found by the FDA to be using dishonest practices in their own formulas. While this is appalling, it had nothing to do with their plant’s canning of other small brands. And, it has been corrected. In my opinion, this food has too many good features to overlook because they need to use one on of the few available US pet food canning plants (Evangers) to package their food.
Feline Natural Raw Freeze Dried by K9
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
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.
Stellas Freeze Dried RAW

Only the Chicken, Duck, and Turkey are Menadione-free.
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
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
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)
ADDICTION Carrageenan-free formulas only: Duck, Venison, Buffalo, Rabbit, Turkey
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
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
ORGANIX Grain-Free Canned Cat Food Organix
GMO-free certified.
Organic (meats and protein sources as well as flaxseed, cranberries and carrots)
No carrageenan
Made in USA
omega-6 and 3 fatty acids,
No artificial preservatives, growth hormones or antibiotics in organic ingredients—ever
MED
In 2nd place because Organix is owned by Merrick, which was bought by Purina in 2015. They say the company will still operate independently with no changes. The takeover process will take many months. For these reasons, I would say the product is probably still fine for now, but after 2016, let’s revisit what’s happening with Merrick and the quality of its ingredients. (If you notice anything, let me know.)
 Impulse by Halo   Impulse by Halo
No grains
No BPA in can lining
No rendered meats
Includes omega 3 + 6
Ingredients sourced in US, except lamb from New Zealand and peas from Canada
Includes a Quail formula, which is a good novel protein for cats with digestive tracts requiring alternatives (it also contains chicken though)
MED-HIGH
A little dry – try mixing a splash of water
Moved to 2nd place because Impulse now uses D2 instead of D3. While I’ve disqualified other foods because of they contain D2, I am revisiting this decision because we don’t have all the facts yet on D2 vs. D3. However, we know D2 is not utilized as easily, especially in cats, and there was a study that found mortality rate went slightly up in humans taking D2 and DOWN in humans taking D3 – see Mercola article.
Also, the president of the Vitamin D Council is anti-D2: “If you take ergocalciferol…[D2]…be warned…It does not normally occur in the human body and is probably a weak agonist at the receptor site, meaning it may actually partially block vitamin D actions. Ergocalciferol is the villain in most of the reported cases of [Vitamin D] toxicity in the world’s literature.”

 

Great Life Essentials canned  greatLife
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 Illinois plant for canning their formulas. Personally, I don’t consider this a big risk, but some are uncomfortable with it. In 2010, Evangers was found by the FDA to be using dishonest practices in their own formulas. While this is appalling, it had nothing to do with their plant’s canning of other small brands. And, it has been corrected. In my opinion, this food has too many good features to overlook because they need to use one on of the few available US pet food canning  plants (Evangers) to package their food.
SOJOS Freeze Dried Raw  SOJOS
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
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
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 Food after Menu Foods messed up big time in 2007. (I personally don’t think this is much of a risk though because Simmons is not Menu Foods and the 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.
Wellness Healthy Indulgence pouches with GRAIN FREE labels only
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.

While all of these cat food choices are unbiased and based solely on what I would buy, I have started to allow some links on this page to be affiliate links in order to keep this blog funded.

Most cats resist unfamiliar food at first! Buy and try SMALL at first AND use these smart tips to help your cat accept new foods:

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

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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1,389 Responses to Today’s best cat foods–reviews of canned and raw options

  1. Jennifer S October 27, 2015 at 2:34 pm #

    I just took a cat from a animals foster. What food is the best for him? I have no idea, this is the first cat for me. I just want him to be happy, healthy and full of energy. Internet is full of advice, i’m confused

    • Annie November 25, 2015 at 3:28 pm #

      This page a great source of information. I’m sure you’ll find something your cat likes. If your cat is OK eating raw, then I rec you try that since it is the best. Do not try Tiki, they changed their formula and the food now has black specks in it. My cats abhor it now. good luck!

  2. Melissa November 6, 2015 at 10:38 am #

    Have a food recommendation for cats with stage 1 ckd and possible food allergies? He’s 9 years old and just put on Royal Canin renal dry and wet but his allergies seem worse. More itching and more frequent vomiting. Any help would be great!!!

    • Anonymous November 16, 2015 at 4:23 pm #

      If your cat won’t eat raw, then give him only canned food. The moisture content and texture is like raw meat. Dry food is not a species appropriate diet for any cat. I buy Merrick Limited Ingredient and Whole Paws canned food. Whole Paws contains careggenan, but at least it doesn’t have fruits and vegetables. I also give my cat Feline Natural freeze dried raw.

    • Helana November 19, 2015 at 2:57 pm #

      Melissa – I suggest you try Tanya’s CRF site – http://www.felinecrf.org/. This is a very comprehensive site which deals with all aspects of ckd, and I highly recommend joining their support group as there are people from around the world who have incredible knowledge about ckd and other problems. I joined the group to help my cat when doctors in my area turned out not to know much, and they made it possible for him to have a great life. As well, on the left side of the home page is an index of sorts, and foods are listed according to phosphorus levels. Your cat is in stage 1, and I feel that there are definitely alternatives to a prescription renal diet, most of which are crap. The support group will definitely help you with this. – Helana

  3. Laura Rollins November 15, 2015 at 9:14 am #

    My 2 cats were ADDICTED to Merrick Beef Pate canned food until Purina bought them out. They are both picky and wouldn’t eat anything else. Now anything with a date of July 2017 or later (produced in July 2015, coincidentally when the purchase went through), they won’t touch. They smell it and walk away. Merrick insists they haven’t changed anything, but I know they have changed something.

  4. Anonymous November 16, 2015 at 4:40 pm #

    I don’t understand why there are fruits and vegetables in cat food. Cats will sometimes chew on my plants when they’re sick to induce vomiting. Cats can’t digest carbohydrates. There’s a lot of research that shows low carbohydrate /ketogenic diet prevents and even reverses chronic diseases in humans. Cats are obligate carnivores.

    • Humberto Picardi December 13, 2015 at 10:22 pm #

      There is a school of thought that ascertains that SOME fiber is beneficial for cats. Their argument is that wild cats get a little from the stomachs of their typically omnivorous preys. This school recommends feeding cats tiny amounts of pumpkin to help their regularity. I believe the jury is out on results

      • Mestena December 14, 2015 at 5:52 am #

        I give my dogs organic pumpkin once a week. As for cats, I read the extra fiber can be good to help pass hairballs, so I started giving some to my cats to see if they would eat it as well. They absolutely LOVE it!!! They get about 1 teaspoon once a week.

  5. MH November 17, 2015 at 9:28 am #

    Just wanted to put out a warning that there is carageenan in the sardine formulas for Tiki Cat. Extremely disappointed for their lack of transparency–it’s not listed on their website but it’s listed on the cans. I was excited to find smaller fish formulas but probably wouldn’t have bought them if they’d listed carageenan as ingredients on the Tiki Pet website. It’s also omitted in the ingredient list on Chewy.com.

    • Mestena November 17, 2015 at 9:55 am #

      Very sad news, but thank you for letting us know!

      • MH January 21, 2016 at 8:59 am #

        I contacted Tiki Cat and it turns out their CURRENT formulas omit carageenan but their old formulas had it. And unfortunately, shelf life for product is usually 3 years and a lot of big retailers carry the product for that length of time if it’s not sold–so the likelihood of getting old formulas is pretty high.

  6. Jerilin November 20, 2015 at 5:39 pm #

    I am wanting to try Wild Calling varieties but several Amazon reviews have me questioning that decision as supposedly the quality is inconsistent per the amount of sauce or gravy included and cats aren’t always eating it because of this? What are your opinions people who are feeding Wild Calling (recently) Should I give it a try? Also Tiki Cat-am about to order Puka Puka and Koolina Luau for the first time. Saw comments about black specks in the chicken but some were saying it’s just from the vitamins/supplement they add. Anyone know/heard anything about this? Lastly has anyone tried rawfeedingmiami yet and would you recommend?

    • Bonnie November 23, 2015 at 4:09 pm #

      I feed one of my cats Wilding Calling, the one that is labeled “Magic Meadow”. She loves it and won’t eat anything else. It is a great food.

      • Elisabeth November 25, 2015 at 7:11 am #

        Hi there… I also feed my cats ‘Wild Calling’ canned food. My senior cat who has kidney disease, she loves the salmon and my boy who has chronic crystal problems loves the rabbit. ‘Wild Calling’ is a blessing for my cats and my pocket book, they really didn’t enjoy the veterinary food that they had been eating for years. I know how hard it is to find the best quality food for our cats, as I have a cattery. With a cattery, with multiple cats and health/eating issues, it can be confusing and hard to find one brand that is good and liked by all. Also, I want to say ‘Thank You’ for this wonderful blog and website; it’s been a great resource.

    • Adria November 27, 2015 at 4:27 am #

      I’ve recently introduced Wild Calling! into my cat’s diet. He wasn’t a fan of the rabbit, but he also wasn’t a fan of ZiwiPeak’s rabbit and lamb (which I bought a whole set of 12 6 oz cans of) and I think I’m coming to the conclusion that he just isn’t a rabbit guy. However he loved Wild Calling’s turkey and usually eats it all. I’ll be buying more from them again.

      If my cat’s hesitant to try a new food I sprinkle some crumbled up bonito flakes on it or a Wellness Kittles treat (which I used to get him off of Friskies treats my father got him onto). It usually sells it for him.

      • Bonnie December 11, 2015 at 10:34 pm #

        Wild Calling is great cat food. Flavor wise, I think Magic Meadow and Cabin Fever are the best ones. The ingredients all seem good to me. A lot better than some that are out there. Hard food wise, I feed the cats Orijen cat & kitten.

  7. Adria November 23, 2015 at 5:46 pm #

    I’ve just learned that ZiwiPeak recently added tetrasodium pyrophosphate to some of its recipes, including the latest batch of canned venison I bought. Thoughts, impacts on its list placement? I’m feeling pretty bummed over it, especially with having felt like I was getting what I was paying for (in a good way) with its high-end price.

    • Jerilin November 23, 2015 at 6:55 pm #

      I also noticed that and am very bummed as well. It’s what keeped me from purchasing it :( Maybe we should send customer service an email and hope they remove it? I am about to purchase Tiki Cat regular and Gourmet Carnivore because it’s literally the only commercial food I’ve found that has ingredients I agree with and also has close to >50% protein, <40% fat and less than 10 percent carbs :/ If my cats don't eat Tiki Cat going to look at raw options. (Rad cat and hare today) It's so frustrating :/

      • Adria November 25, 2015 at 4:26 am #

        I still have 16 3 oz cans, in my third bulk order from them via Amazon (the ingredient list there wasn’t updated yet)! The venison seemed to be my cat’s favorite food, now I suppose I can chalk that up to this stuff enticing him to eat.

        I put so much effort into research, now I guess I’ll always be double-checking before buying…

  8. Lynda K. Kline November 27, 2015 at 8:31 pm #

    Hello, Liz – Hoping you have time to read some of these comments. Admire you so incredibly much for all the cat food research you’ve done over the years &’ continue to do, to say nothing of maintaining this internet blog that is a source of as much or more information than any decent website I’ve come across numerous searches.

    What is of overriding importance to me is the phenomenal education I got as a result of having a companion/service cat who had diabetes as well as only 3 teeth when I adopted her at the age of 6. She indeed had one of the major health issues noted in the first -bullet under your major concern about how car food affects 3 groups of feline health issues. However, the lack of teeth added a whole new level of struggle to feed her the high quality diet necessary for her optimal health & vitality. She wouldn’t eat any canned food but pâté – understandable with 3 teeth. Unfortunately pâté is the easiest place for primarily profit oriented cat food manufacturers to hide the garbage they put in those cans in order to get away with using less higher quality ingredients. Sadly I didn’t discover the extent of the problem until she completely stopped eating the canned food I was giving her. It was Wellness (didn’t know then how far they’d fallen from the respected position they one held) & Nature’s Variety – primarily chicken & turkey. Decided to find out what was causing her to creep up to her food bowl as though something was going to hurt her. In fact it was & had as I soon discovered. I simply picked up her food dish & began running my finger through the pâté in her bowl. Next thing I knew I’d cut my finger badly enough to bleed on a bone chip. There were lots of those in my lengthy search for something safe & decent to feed her. Many of the bone chips I found were quite large – one half the size of my small fingernail. The small ones were the most dangerous, though. Harder to find & avoid, but very sharp & painful when encountered. I bought the finest (tightest mesh) heavy duty strainer I could find, ending up straining endless bone chips, flax seed chips, carrots & rubbery pieces of animal innards out of countless brands of supposedly high quality cat foods available in pâté form – unfortunately including Ziwi Peak, Nature’s Variety LID & numerous others highly recommended to me until I got so sick of it I bought as efficient a blender as I could afford. There is no oven, therefore no stove top in my very compact efficiency studio unit, she wouldn’t eat any of the frozen or dehydrated raw I tried, so I puréed Applaws in the blender with crushed freeze dried chicken or salmon to enhance flavor, high quality feline vitamins, a little wheat grass powder & a little Greek yogurt. She ate it & came down to 1/2 the dose of insulin she was getting when I adopted her. If there’s anything else you may be interested in hearing about my “incredible journey,” & can find time, please feel free to contact me by the email address I’ll be providing below. Best regards, Lynda. ( loving cat mom)

    • Cheryl January 17, 2016 at 6:21 pm #

      Amazing story Lynda I can’t believe you cut your finger on food we provide for our fur babies, we believe is safe and healthy for them! I have a diabetic cat and have no idea what food is the right one for him. I just went out today and purchased wellness low carb wet cat food and now questioning is this the right food for him. I read so many conflicting stories. Do you have any suggestions other than your ideal blending method.
      Sincerely
      Cheryl

      • Noelle January 28, 2016 at 11:45 am #

        Fancy Feast Purelys….My diabetic went into remission in 5wks with Vetsulin and Change in diet. 8 1/2 months later still in remission.

  9. Lynda K. Kline November 27, 2015 at 8:35 pm #

    First Mate sold out to Canadian Venture Capital Co. Major decrease in quality!

    • Mestena November 30, 2015 at 6:49 am #

      Really? When did this happen? It’s off topic, but I started feeding my oldest dog this food, as I want her eating the low phosphorus foods and you can’t find those easily. It also has the lower protein, which will be beneficial in another year or so.

  10. Lynda K. Kline November 27, 2015 at 8:46 pm #

    Weary beyond description of the “vegetable stuffing” the cat food manufacturers use to fill cans so they don’t have to fill them with high quality protein for OBLIGATE CARNIVORES who do not have the enzymes necessary to digest vegetable matter. It simply goes into a cat’s mouth, through the gastrointestinal tract & into the litter box without having had any effect whatsoever on the cat’s life.

  11. Rigo November 28, 2015 at 11:32 am #

    Thanks for this great list! I feed for dinner from the 1st place items on this list. For breakfast I feed them raw pork from Costco. It ranges between $1.49 and $2.19 a pound and they go nuts over it. The youngest of my cats were born in March of this year. The oldest we are guessing is about 8 or 9 years old. We have a total of 7. Since feeding raw pork they are solid with flealess shiny coats and full of energy! Give it a shot!

    • Ammie January 17, 2016 at 2:26 pm #

      Not against raw meat but would not chose pork for my animals, personally. (Look into the parasites that this can transmit!)

  12. rowan December 4, 2015 at 10:12 am #

    I would like to know what’s the best, high quality food, that I can use in an automatic food dispenser?
    I have a 6 year old Bengal female, that I just adopted.
    If I go away for the weekend, I want to make sure she’s still getting the nourishment she needs.

  13. new cat owner December 8, 2015 at 8:38 am #

    Some Weruva cans state “product of Thailand” (which you mention in your notes). Is this a concern as far as quality control? Not to mention the environmental impact of shipping product from halfway across the world (same with Australia and New Zealand).

  14. Elisabeth December 8, 2015 at 1:54 pm #

    Sorry, this is a bit off topic, just looking for some opinions on this. I have a senior cat (just turned 16Yrs), she strictly stays inside and doesn’t want anything to do with the other cats in the house. She was diagnosed with kidney disease about 4 years ago. She’s due for her annual check up, I was think of opting her out of getting any vaccinations. As I don’t want to subject her to more than she needs to handle. Opinions?

    • Jerri K December 13, 2015 at 9:31 pm #

      I believe you are wise to opt out of getting vaccines for your senior cat. I am of the believe that over vaccination is a huge problem in feline health. Most vets won’t vaccinate cats over age 7 unless there is a compelling reason to do so (outdoor cat). I have never given my cats rabies vaccines.

      • Elisabeth December 14, 2015 at 4:53 am #

        Thank you so much for your reply. That’s exactly what I decided to do and I didn’t get any grief for my vet. Her (Muschi) appointment this past weekend (Dec12/15) went well. I just need to wait for the results from her geriatric blood panel.

  15. Kathie December 11, 2015 at 10:27 am #

    I’m really new to this as I just switched my cats to canned food because it took a long time to convince my husband that dry food is just not good for the cats. Anyway, I switched my cats to Nutro minced chicken because it’s grain free, no carrageenan and no vegetables (in my research so far, I have found no evidence that cats need any kind of vegetables in their diet). According to a carb calculator website that I found, it’s fairly low in carbs. Am I way off base here? I’m so confused and trying to learn about the cat food without spending a small fortune to feed my 4 cats. I don’t see it listed on the lists for good cat foods. Is there a list of the “bad” ones? I’m new to this site.

  16. Lisa December 12, 2015 at 8:37 am #

    I wanted to write about an important observation I just made. I’ve been scouring the internet the past 48 hours looking for the best canned food for my cat. She’s picky about texture and can only eat poultry, so I only look at products that are shredded or cubed. It seemed that almost every product that was highly recommended was inaccurate for the same reason: they had carrageenan in them even though they were specifically listed as not having it in the recommendations. So I started looking at the other textures (pate and minced), and they didn’t have carrageenan in them! I felt it important to let fellow cat lovers know and hopefully the listings will be updated accordingly to minimize confusion. Thank you Liz for creating such a helpful resource <3

  17. CatOwnerClub December 17, 2015 at 1:05 am #

    Not sure anyone is aware of this: http://truthaboutpetfood.com/voluntary-withdrawal-hills-science-diet-canned-pet-food/. If you are feeding your pet Hill’s Science products, better take a read.

  18. Green December 24, 2015 at 5:05 pm #

    Merrick changed the ingredients – I no longer recommend it. They replaced the dried eggs with pea protein. My rescue cats started getting sick. I found another brand of limited ingredient canned food it’s called Dave’s Naturally. I only buy the three ounce cans. There are no fruits or vegetables in the ingredients list. The cats really like the Turkey and Giblets. 

  19. H December 24, 2015 at 5:31 pm #

    Carnivores only eat meat from herbivores like deer and rabbit. Herbivores eat only plants. Cats have no biological need for carbohydrates. Cats sometimes chew on plants when their sick to make themselves throw up.

  20. Garrett L December 31, 2015 at 10:44 pm #

    Concern with ZiwiPeak cat food: I read and can confirm that the formulas have changed and now include Tetrasodium Pyrophosphate

  21. Garrett L January 1, 2016 at 12:32 pm #

    As I searched through the different kinds of Nature’s Variety Instinct LID, I found comments within the last several months about bone shards that are large enough to do damage being found inside cans. This was for 2-3 types. There were also comments about this happening a few years ago. After seeing the comments and picture I came across, I stopped checking and decided that I should buy cat food from another company.

  22. Michelle S January 2, 2016 at 7:20 pm #

    I’m adopting two 4 month old kitten next week and searching for food options! I’m considering Ziwipeak, Raw air-dehydrated. It is okay to mix this with water to rehydrate, correct?

    • Mestena January 3, 2016 at 6:57 am #

      Others more experienced than I am can respond as well. If you feed a dehydrated raw, you must add water to rehydrate. The cats need the water.

      As for the canned foods you mentioned, look at the listing on these pages. I don’t know anything about Halo foods or the Holistic Select, but the Hound & Gatos mentions above that it has Vitamin D2 vs. Vitamin D3 (cats need D3 is my understanding) and the Natures Variety is okay but does have a controversial ingredient – montmorillonite clay.

      I looked for canned foods that were free of Carrageenan (causes cancer) or heavy fish. Unfortunately, that severely limits your choices.

      I got so frustrated with it all that I slowly converted 2/3 cats over to raw and am still working on the third cat conversion.

      • Adria January 3, 2016 at 1:19 pm #

        Hound & Gatos HAS A MISPRINT LISTING D2, It HAS D3.

        • Michelle S January 8, 2016 at 2:06 pm #

          Thanks, guys. I found a great cat food at Whole Foods today. It is in their refridgerated pet food section. It’s in the shape of kibbles and they are moist. I called the company and the person I spoke with said the carbohydrates are 3.3%. It’s Nature’s Fresh Grain Free Chicken and Ocean Whitefish.
          Here are the ingredients:
          Chicken, Chicken Liver, Ocean Whitefish, Natural Flavors, Carrots, Pea Protein, Eggs, Spinach, Pea Fiber, Vinegar, Salt, Taurine, Beta-Carotine, Taurine, Celery Powder.
          Vitamins:
          Choline Chloride, Vitamin E Supplement, Niacin, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Thiamine Mononitrate, Calcium Pantothenate, Riboflavin, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Biotin, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Folic Acid.
          Minerals:
          Dicalcium Phosphate, Calcium Carbonate, Iron Proteinate, Zinc Proteinate, Manganese Proteinate, Copper Proteinate, Calcium Iodate, Sodium Selenite.

          – See more at: http://freshpet.com/products/naturesfreshwholemealsforcatschicken/#sthash.n2n55zYN.dpuf

  23. Michelle S January 2, 2016 at 7:44 pm #

    I’m also considering Halo Impulse, Nature’s Variety LID, & Hound and Gatos if anyone has opinions on those. Probably rotating them.

    • Michelle S January 2, 2016 at 7:48 pm #

      AND Holistic Select!

      • Shelly January 22, 2016 at 9:09 am #

        I switched my two kiddos to Holistic Select months ago and stick to the grain free non-fish formulas in the 3oz. cans. So far, so good. I will admit with a bit of guilt, they also get Holistic Select’s Chicken Meal Recipe dry food as an overnight/early AM meal which helps us avoid the 4AM “wake-up call”.

        As for the other brands you mentioned, I fed Hound & Gatos for a few months, but my boy gained so much weight it was alarming, and my girl had too many upset tummy episodes with that brand. I had several cases of food that looked really funky (actually disgusting), which supposedly were production issues with how the supplements were added. Regardless of the owner’s assurances, those got tossed. Incidentally, that was a brand that I found large pieces of bone in the pate. I would not recommend this food.

        I was about to try Halo’s Impulse, but as I posted here last year, I had concerns over their D supplements and just didn’t like the response I got from the company. I wouldn’t dismiss this as a possible food however, since I don’t have personal experience with it.

        Nature’s Variety LID seems to be a good food, but neither of my two will eat it.

        There is also another food I’ve had some success with, and that is Nature’s Logic. They do not add any synthetic supplements and say that all vitamins and minerals are derived naturally from the food ingredients used. Honestly, I really prefer to use this food, but my two don’t always agree, especially with the canned food. I still keep some of their dry on-hand to alternate with the Holistic Select.

        Best of luck!

  24. RS January 18, 2016 at 12:36 am #

    Can anyone comment on why Blue Wilderness is not on the runner ups list with the low-end Blue Buffalo lines?
    Also wanting to point out Pride by Instinct and Vigor by Halo.

    • Bonnie January 18, 2016 at 10:41 pm #

      What do you think of Young Again’s no carbohydrate dry cat food?

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

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