Best dry cat foods (with caveats)

eating dry food1 300x225 Best dry cat foods (with caveats)

NOTE: As of 2013, this dry food list is not  updated (except EVO was recently removed due to several recalls). The wet food list is updated more often.

ALSO: Please avoid feeding the high-protein DRY foods listed on this page to cats with kidney trouble or elder cats who are vulnerable to kidney trouble.

I like people who want to find the best food for their cat, because I have come to believe that cat food choice alone can actually prevent diseases and extend a cat’s life.

It’s important to know that many cat health & nutrition experts do not recommend dry kibble cat food because:

  • it’s more of a strain on kidneys and urinary system over time (because it’s dehydrating) and could lead to health problems
  • the extrusion process of creating dry cooked food results in a less digestible protein
  • most dry cat foods have a lot of carbs, which are particularly fattening for indoor cats
  • most have grains, which can wreak havoc on a cat’s digestive system over time (possibly leading to IBD and lymphoma, I believe)

Having said all that:

  • there are some quality low-carb, grain free dry cat foods–listed below
  • feeding dry cat food on a rotation basis (eg, wet food at night, dry in the morning) or only occasionally (eg, when you are rushed) may be a reasonable compromise

For the purists who believe kibble should not even be discussed, I understand where you are coming from, but here’s where I’m coming from:

I provide this list because I know most people (and mainstream vets) choose dry cat food at least some of the time and I want to make sure that these people can at least help their cat avoid diabetes and digestive diseases (possibly even intestinal lymphoma) by making better dry food choices.

To find out more, see the post on how I selected these foods.

A good alternative to these dry foods is the raw dry cat food ZiwiPeak, listed in Best canned and raw cat foods.

If your cat has special health needs, please be sure to consult with a good vet about their food.

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

BEST
DRY CAT FOODS

WHAT’S
TO LOVE

COST

SPECIAL
CONCERNS & TIPS

Orijen
grain free  orijen 150x150 Best dry cat foods (with caveats)
  • Meats are certified free of antibiotics and
    artificial hormones; sustainably farmed. Fish are wild-caught.
  • Grain free, low-medium starch (about 17%)
  • Low cost compared to others on list
For kidney and urinary health, use dry food only occasionally or in rotation with wet food. 
Several experts say dry foods are too dehydrating for cats with kidney problems.
Young Again 50/22, dryyoungagain 150x150 Best dry cat foods (with caveats)
  • Target pH is in ideal range for urinary
    health (generally 6 – 6.5 pH)
  • Includes omega 3’s from fish oil. To
    preserve health qualities, it’s added after cooking.
  • US-sourced meat
  • Small company, passionately advocates
    preventing feline diabetes and more through low-carb, grain free food.
  • Low starch, grain free
  • Low cost compared to others on list
Contains active dry yeast (don’t feed if cat has yeast allergy)
For kidney and urinary health, use dry food only
occasionally or in rotation with wet food
. 
Tip: I can only find it online, directly from the Young Again site.
Several experts say dry foods are too dehydrating for cats with kidney problems.
Made with “pork protein concentrate,” a new term that raises questions for some. Young Again explains that it is pork with collagen extracted, leaving behind “highly digestible pork meat which is 80% protein, 10 % fat and very low in ash.”

 

Nature’s Variety Instinct dry **Chicken
or turkey/duck formula(not
rabbit formula)
Instinct 150x150 Best dry cat foods (with caveats)
  • Target pH is in ideal range for urinary
    health (generally 6 – 6.5 pH)
  • Meats sourced from US and New Zealand
    (except rabbit)
  • Semi-low (17%) starch, grain free
  • Med-low cost compared to others on this
    list
For kidney and urinary health, use dry food only occasionally or in rotation with wet food.
Avoid the Rabbit formula, as the rabbit is processed in China.
Several experts
say dry foods are too dehydrating for cats with kidney problems.
Wellness
Core grain free drywellness core dry 150x150 Best dry cat foods (with caveats)
  • Target pH is in ideal range for urinary
    health (generally 6 – 6.5 pH)
  • Grain free, low-medium starch (about 17%)
  • Medium cost compared to others on list

Petcurean GO! cat
GRAIN FREE FORMULAS ONLY

Grain Free Chick/Turkey/Duck
Grain Free Freshwater Trout

GoNaturalGrainFree 125x150 Best dry cat foods (with caveats)

  • Target pH is in ideal range for urinary
    health (generally 6 – 6.5 pH)
  • Hormone free Meats, US sourced; Fish is
    tested for heavy metals. No by-products.
  • Slow cooked at low temperatures (better
    for digestion and retaining nutrients)
  • Low starch, grain free
  • High cost compared to others on list
For kidney and urinary health, use dry food only occasionally or in rotation with wet food. (Did I say that enough?!)
Several experts
say dry foods are too dehydrating for cats with kidney problems.
Wysong Epigen
90
, dry 
Only Epigen 90 is recommended.(I
do not recommend standard Epigen, which has gluten)
epigen90 150x150 Best dry cat foods (with caveats)
  • Organic
  • Very low starch, grain free
  • High cost compared to others on list
Introduce slowly and gradually. Minimal-starch cooked food can require time for system to adjust to.
For kidney and urinary health, use dry food only occasionally or in rotation with wet food.
Several experts say dry foods are too dehydrating for cats with kidney problems.
Wysong Archetype (raw dry) archetype Best dry cat foods (with caveats)
  • Grain, free very low starch
  • 99% meat
  • Raw, cold-processed (using proprietary technology) that makes nutrients more digestible and available
  • Very high cost compared to others on list, but similar in cost to good canned foods!
Includes ground bones, which some cats have trouble digesting.
Ground bones may also not be ideal for cats with kidney disease (check with your vet).

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

See These natural cat foods didn’t make the “best” list: here’s why.

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

Let me know if you have questions. Looking for the Best canned and raw cat foods?

Resources

Where to find these foods

  • Only Natural Pet Store (carries most of these foods – affiliate store chosen for their reasonable prices)
  • Amazon.com also carries many of these foods and sometimes you can find good deals there
  • Many brands are available online directly from the company that makes them (like Young Again)
  • Your local pet food store (especially holistic stores) have some brands

How to get your cat to eat new foods?

Your experience? Let’s talk!

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

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

, , ,

133 Responses to Best dry cat foods (with caveats)

  1. Pamela Clark November 15, 2014 at 9:13 am #

    What do you think about the starch in Blue Basics Limited Ingredient Grain-Free Formula dry?

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Best Dry Cat Food For Diabetic Cats | your diabetes news - August 30, 2014

    […] Best dry cat foods (with caveats) | Natural Cat Care Blog – BEST DRY CAT FOODS WHAT’S TO LOVE COST SPECIAL CONCERNS & TIPS; Orijen grain free Meats are certified free of antibiotics and artificial hormones; sustainably …… […]

  2. Kibble suggestions -   - City-Data Forum - June 4, 2013

    […] I'm trying to wean mine (again) from kibble, and while I'm doing that I'm feeding them grain-free Blue Buffalo Wilderness. I wish they loved their grilled chicken in a can as much as they loved that stuff. Here's a blog entry that has some suggestions … Take them with a grain of salt. Best dry cat foods (with caveats) | Natural Cat Care Blog […]

  3. Cat DietCat Care Tips - November 3, 2011

    […] her for only the best Amazon Cat Diet Food Products    Amazon.com Widgets      Cat diet Cat diet is a very important in taking care of your cats. As a responsib…d2.googlesyndication.com/pagead/show_ads.js">    Cat dietCat diet is a very important […]

  4. Halo Spot's Stew Natural Dry Cat Food, Indoor Cat, Wild Salmon Recipe, 6-Pound BagCat Care Tips - September 26, 2011

    […] Price: $ 19.99 Price: $ 15.99 Never contains corn, wheat or wheat gluten Never contains rendered meat, poultry or fish, animal or…-ONdL._SL160_.jpg" /> Never contains corn, wheat or wheat […]

  5. How to Care Tips for Cats » Blog Archive » Best dry cat foods (so far) | Natural Cat Care Blog - August 23, 2011

    […] Link: Best dry cat foods (so far) | Natural Cat Care Blog […]

Love to hear your thoughts! Leave a Reply...