best dry cat food

Featured Image via publicdomainpictures.net

Do you want to be a good cat parent? Of course you do! You know that being the best includes how you feed them, so you're looking for the best food possible.

Homemade wet food using ingredients found in cats' natural prey is actually best, but who has the time or kitchen space for that?

Canned food is excellent, but for many cat parents, it's too expensive. So then you go looking for the best dry cat food for your beloved furry friend.

But you discover that there are about nine hundred billion choices out there, all claiming to be the best dry cat food available. It can be overwhelming!

How do you choose? Don't panic; we're here to help. But first, let's figure out other reasons why you would choose dry cat food.

Product

Image

Check Price

Taste of the Wild Rocky Mountain Grain-Free Dry Cat Food

Taste of the Wild Grain Free High Protein Real Meat Recipe Rocky...

Image via Amazon

Orijen Cat and Kitten Formula

Orijen Dry Cat and Kitten Food 4 Pound Bags. (2 Pack) Biologically...

Image via Amazon

Natural Balance Limited Ingredient Dry Cat Food

Natural Balance L.I.D. Limited Ingredient Diets Dry Cat Food, Green...

Image via Amazon

Nutro Wholesome Essentials Indoor Adult Cat Food

NUTRO WHOLESOME ESSENTIALS Adult Indoor Natural Dry Cat Food for...

Image via Amazon

Royal Canin Indoor Adult Formula

Royal Canin Indoor Adult Dry Cat Food, 7 lb

Image via Amazon

BLUE Buffalo Wilderness High Protein Grain-Free Cat Food

Blue Buffalo Wilderness High Protein Grain Free, Natural Adult Indoor...

Image via Amazon

Nulo Freestyle Cat and Kitten Formula

Nulo Adult & Kitten Grain Free Dry Cat Food With Bc30 Probiotic...

Image via Amazon

Dr. Tim's All Life Stages Formula

Dr. Tim'S Premium All Natural Pet Food Chase All Life Stages Cat...

Image via Amazon

How We Reviewed

We went to websites with veterinarian-written articles on pets, such as PetPlace.com and PetMD, to gather information on cats' nutritional needs.

We also went to FelineNutrition.org and Our Cats' World for more specific information on those needs.

To compile our list of the best dry cat food, we went to manufacturer websites, and sites like Consumer SearchDr. Fox Magazine, and The Happy Cat Website to see their recommendations.

Best Dry Cat Food: Top 8 Brands

With all of that said, what is the best dry cat food? Let's get to it, shall we?

Mount Hagen Organic 

Taste of the Wild Grain Free High Protein Real Meat Recipe Rocky...
  • Discontinued size by manufacturer
  • A taste of the wild with ROASTED VENISON and SMOKED SALMON; optimal amino acid profile, HIGH QUALITY PROTEIN rich for...
  • High protein ingredients with added vitamins & minerals; fruits and vegetables as SUPERFOODS for hard-working...

If the best dry cat food is what you want, Taste of the Wild's Rocky Mountain Grain-Free Dry Cat Food ranks up there. Yes, its primary ingredient is chicken meal, which we understand may turn you off at first. But before you walk away, consider this:

It also contains other types of animal protein, including venison and salmon. You'll find a variety of vitamins and nutrients included in Taste of the Wild's food as well.

Customers rave about this food. Some say that their cats vomit less. Many others say this food is great for finicky cats, which means less hassle for you.

However, some people found their cats didn't like it. The primary complaint is that their cats just won't eat it. A couple of people complained that the food itself has a bad smell.

Orijen Cat and Kitten Formula

Orijen Dry Cat and Kitten Food 4 Pound Bags. (2 Pack) Biologically...
  • Orijen Dry Cat and Kitten Food 4 Pound Bags. ( 2 Pack ) Biologically Appropriate Cat Food by Orijen. 8 Pounds Total
  • Premium cat and kitten food made with free-run chicken and turkey, wild-caught fish, and cage-free eggs
  • Dry cat food nourishes cats according to their biological and evolutionary needs with 40% protein and 19% carbohydrates

Orijen Cat and Kitten Formula dry cat food is excellent, with animal protein making up 40 percent of the food. Carbohydrates only make up 19 percent of it. When it comes to finding the best dry cat food, you should give Orijen a hard look.

Furthermore, if you're conscious of animal welfare, you'll love the fact that Orijen uses cage-free eggs, free-run poultry, and wild-caught fish for their protein sources.

People who feed this food to their cats love the way it makes their fur feel. Many like the fact that the low-carb nature of this food means less odor in litter boxes. One even said that Orijen is one of the few foods to which her cat isn't allergic. If your cat has food sensitivities, this may help with that.

Some people don't like this food, though. Their primary complaint is that this food makes their cats throw up frequently. It's also expensive. 

Natural Balance Limited Ingredient Dry Cat Food

Natural Balance L.I.D. Limited Ingredient Diets Dry Cat Food, Green...
  • Contains 1 - 10 Pound Bag of Dry Cat Food
  • Limited ingredient diet with a single animal protein source
  • Duck is a high-quality protein that helps maintain strong muscles

You might think that something named "Natural Balance" is anything but quality. However, in this case, in your search for the best dry cat food, you should put this one on your list.

Their chicken flavor, for instance, contains chicken, chicken meal, and chicken fat as their protein and fat sources.

They limit their ingredients, and they avoid simple carbs like starches, which can reduce your cat's risk of gaining too much weight or becoming diabetic on this food.

Customers love it. One customer says that their cats stopped biting and scratching themselves after switching to Natural Balance. Overall, cat parents say their cats enjoy the food and that it keeps them healthy and active with soft, shiny coats.

Those who don't like it mostly say their cats just won't eat it, although a few say their cats started vomiting and having diarrhea after switching to this food.

However, vomiting and diarrhea is a common problem when changing your cat's diet, especially if you don't do it gradually. 

Nutro Wholesome Essentials Indoor Adult Cat Food

NUTRO WHOLESOME ESSENTIALS Adult Indoor Natural Dry Cat Food for...
  • Contains one (1) 14 lb. bag of NUTRO WHOLESOME ESSENTIALS Indoor Cat Adult Chicken & Brown Rice Recipe Natural Cat Food...
  • Real chicken is the #1 ingredient in this delicious indoor cat food that’s rich in nutrients and full of flavor
  • Wholesome cat kibble that features natural fiber for healthy digestion

Nutro partners up with farmers and suppliers, so they know their ingredients come from trustworthy sources.

The top ingredient on their chicken and brown rice flavor is -- you guessed it -- chicken. Second ingredient is chicken meal, and then you get into everything else.

The fact that its primary ingredient is high-quality animal protein puts this one on the best dry cat food list. Furthermore, Nutro ensures that their food contains no wheat or soy, which are things that can irritate your cat's digestive system.

Many customers have fed this food to their cats for years. Even senior cats do well on this food. One customer says her cat used to eat Science Diet and threw up all the time. After switching to Nutro, the vomiting stopped.

People who don't like this food say their cats won't eat it. Some say that they believe Nutro changed something in their formula because their cats loved it until just recently. 

Royal Canin Indoor Adult Formula

Royal Canin Indoor Adult Dry Cat Food, 7 lb
  • Royal Canin Indoor Adult Dry Cat Food is formulated for healthy cats 1-7 years old
  • Helps move hairballs formed while grooming through a cat's digestive system with an optimal blend of fibers
  • Controlled calorie content adapted for an indoor cat’s leisurely lifestyle and big appetite, helping them maintain a...

Royal Canin is a well-known brand with quality attached to its name. Like Taste of the Wild, their primary ingredient is chicken meal, but there are several other sources of animal protein near the top of the ingredient list as well.

This particular formula is intended for cats from 1 to 7 years old but is suitable for cats who are up to 10 years old.

Royal Canin also adv​​ertises this food as one that helps move hairballs through a cat's digestive tract, which means you may have less vomit to step in when you get up in the morning.

Another reason why you should consider this food is that it can reduce the size and smell of your cat's stools. Nobody likes a stinky litter box, and scented litter doesn't always help with that.

In fact, this is one thing that Amazon customers love about Royal Canin. They also like their cats' improved fur condition and appetite.

Those who don't like this food mainly complain of vomiting. However, there are also several complaints that the company changed its formula and their cats don't like it.

BLUE Buffalo Wilderness High Protein Grain-Free Cat Food

Blue Buffalo Wilderness High Protein Grain Free, Natural Adult Indoor...
  • PACKED WITH REAL CHICKEN: Made to feed your feline’s wild side, this high protein cat food is packed with more of the...
  • GRAIN FREE INDOOR CAT FOOD: BLUE Wilderness grain free indoor cat food is specially formulated to help meet the unique...
  • WITH LIFESOURCE BITS: This formula contains BLUE’s exclusive LifeSource Bits – a precise blend of antioxidants,...

BLUE Buffalo has established itself well in the healthy-cat food industry. Their food uses real chicken as the primary protein source (although chicken meal is its second ingredient).

Like Orijen, this food has a higher ratio of animal protein to carbs and fats than most dry foods.

Their food also contains other all-natural ingredients, including a proprietary blend of vitamins and nutrients essential to your cat's health. If you're looking for the best dry cat food that's grain-free, you should have BLUE Buffalo on your list.

Cat parents rave about this food because their cats have more energy, less vomiting, and less stinky litter boxes. They like the quality of the food itself, and it seems their cats do, too.

People who don't like this food mainly complain about vomiting, which, as we've mentioned above, is a widespread complaint among cat parents who have recently switched foods. A few dislike the fact that the larger bag isn't resealable.

One says that this food isn't good for cats with allergies, especially skin allergies.

Nulo Freestyle Cat and Kitten Formula

Nulo Adult & Kitten Grain Free Dry Cat Food With Bc30 Probiotic...
  • GRAIN-FREE recipe contains no corn; wheat; soy; white potatoes; tapioca; artificial colors, flavorings or preservatives....
  • HIGH MEAT/LOW CARB proprietary formula 80% animal-based protein for more amino acids and better flavor using fewer carbs...
  • PATENTED BC30 PROBIOTIC supports healthy gut flora to aid digestion. This lactic-acid producing bacteria also enhances...

You may not be as familiar with Nulo as you are with other brands. Don't pass it over, though, if you want the best dry cat food. Their protein content makes up 40 percent of their ingredients, putting them up there with the highest quality cat foods.

In fact, their first four ingredients are chicken, chicken meal, cod, and turkey meal. You'll be hard-pressed to find that in most dry cat foods.

Nulo's food also has Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids. Most cat foods only contain Omega-6 acids.

Nulo makes its food into small disk shapes, which they say creates a texture cats and kittens love. Some cats have texture issues, so food with a pleasing texture helps out with that.

Customers on Amazon say that their cats like the size of the kibbles, with one saying that it's easier for his older cat to chew. Many even prefer it over BLUE Buffalo, which has a similar quality as Nulo.

However, there are those whose cats don't like it at all and won't eat it. A couple of people mention their cats developing health problems from this food.

Dr. Tim's All Life Stages Formula

Dr. Tim'S Premium All Natural Pet Food Chase All Life Stages Cat...
  • High Protein, Low Carbohydrate Formula With L-Carnation Added To Promote The Ideal Lean Body Weight
  • Unique Fiber Combination May Aid With Immunity And Can Limit Hairball Production
  • Dha And Epa From Ocean Fish Oil Can Help With Inflammation, Immune And Brain Function, Heart Health And Shedding

Dr. Tim's models their All Stages dry cat food after what cats would eat in the wild. That's in line with the philosophy behind raw cat food; it's similar to what they would eat out in nature.

This kind of thing is ultimately what makes the best dry cat food. And since you want the best dry cat food for your cat, considering what they would eat naturally should factor into your decision.

Dr. Tim's top ingredient is chicken meal, but it also contains chicken liver meal and catfish meal, along with other sources of animal protein and vitamins.

This food isn't grain-free (it contains brown rice), but its overall protein content is 37 percent. That's slightly lower than Nulo and Orijen, but still pretty good.

Customers who bought this food from Chewy say it's helped their cats' energy levels and coat condition. In general, most customers say their cats enjoy it.

People who don't like this food mostly say that their cats don't like it. A couple of people say their cats were interested in the shape of the kibble but wouldn't eat it.

Why Feed Dry Cat Food?

Some say that dry cat food is bad for cats. You may have even had someone tell you, “Don’t feed your cat dry food -- ever.”

Here’s the thing, though:

Dry food is more convenient than canned food, and certainly a lot more convenient than making your own cat food. It’s also more economical, given the amounts in which you can buy it and its long shelf life.

You can help increase its freshness and shelf life with your own containers, too. But, you still need to look for high-quality food because your cat still needs proper nutrition.

Here's What to Look for to Find the Best Dry Cat Food

The first and most important thing you should look for when searching for the best dry cat food is food that has real meat as the first ingredient.

Why?

young cat

Image via PIxabay

Cats need meat far more than carbohydrates. The lower-quality the food, the more carbs they're likely to have. In fact, the worst foods out there are full of carbs.

High-quality food will have animal protein listed as its primary ingredient. Poultry is best, but other animal protein will suffice as well.

You should also consider your cat's life stage and health conditions. Kittens need the higher protein and calorie content of kitten food to support their growth properly.

Senior cats and geriatric cats need different nutritional balances than cats in their prime, plus they may have trouble chewing dry cat food.

A cat with kidney disease may need a lower-protein diet, while a cat with diabetes needs a lower-carb diet. So keep these things in mind, too.

Other Things to Consider When Searching for the Best Dry Cat Food

Have you heard that grain-free cat food is better for your cats than foods that contain grains? That's not necessarily true.

cat with short hair

Image via PIxabay

Keep this in mind:

The issue isn’t grains -- it's carbs. Grain-free foods often substitute starches like potatoes for grains, so your cat isn't getting any more protein than it would in foods with grains. If you're worried about it, search for lower-carb dry cat food.

Also, don't dismiss animal by-products. Hearts, livers, kidneys, and bones are all by-products, and they contain good levels of nutrients like taurine, vitamin A, and calcium.

Remember to do some research to be sure which by-products you're getting, though.

Where You Can Buy Dry Cat Food?

orange  cat

Image via Pixabay

Dry cat food is everywhere; at your grocery store, pet stores, and online. If you're looking for something specific, you can call your vet or ask your cat-parent friends who use it where they get it.

What to Put in Your Cat's Bowl?

While all of these are outstanding dry cat foods, we feel that these stood out as the best selection.

Like people, cats have their own tastes so that some cats won't pick one product over another. We suggest you try some and see what your cat likes.

If you decide to switch your cat over to this food, do so gradually. It will help prevent irritation in their tummies, and it helps them get used to the new taste.

Which dry cat food do you think is the best? Does your cat agree? Let us know in the comments!





LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here