Cat owners, listen up:
I have a question for you! How do you decide what dry cat foods to buy for your furry feline friend(s)?
Some of you will proudly say that you go with this or that brand, and you will list the all-natural ingredients, the fact that there are no preservatives, and that your cat absolutely loves meal-time because the taste of her cat food is wonderful.
Some of you might say you go with whatever cat foods brands your vet recommended, you know it’s grain-free, but you don’t really remember what it’s called, but it comes in a red bag…or maybe it’s a blue bag?
Finally, some of you will say you have no idea how you decide, because you buy whatever cat foods are cheapest, and that may change from week to week depending on what is on sale at your grocery store.
Fair enough; at least you answered with honest responses. Here’s what you absolutely need to know, though: all dry cat foods are not created equal. Not even a little bit.
Some cat food brands are cheaply made and offer little to no nutritional value. Other brands may be decently made but may contain an ingredient that disagrees with your cat, like grain or soy. Some brands are high-quality, feature only the purest ingredients (and all-natural meat protein is the first ingredient). These high protein dry cat foods, full of essential vitamins and minerals, don’t have to be expensive either. They may even be on sale. It’s all about KNOWING exactly what is in your cat’s food and how it affects him.
So, what cat food is the best?
We are here to help! Here are our top seven recommendations for the best dry cat food, along with how to choose the best cat food for your furry friends.
Best Dry Cat Food Reviews
1. BLUE Buffalo Wilderness Indoor Chicken Recipe Dry Cat Food
Our top choice is BLUE Buffalo Wilderness Indoor Chicken Recipe Dry Cat Food! Now, that’s a mouthful (pun intended), but seriously, we love this cat food for many reasons, the first one being that it is made with REAL chicken, not the fake stuff. Plus, it is grain-free, which is good for cats who have allergies or difficulty digesting grains.
Inspired by a cat’s wild nature, BLUE Wilderness is loaded with antioxidant-rich LifeSource Bits, a blend of vitamins and minerals, superfoods, omegas, Taurine, and essential amino acids for your kitty to stay as healthy as possible.
Here are some more details of BLUE Buffalo:
- High protein content: chicken is the main ingredient to support muscles and give energy
- Available in other flavors such as duck, salmon, rabbit, red meat, and trout
- 100% grain-free, corn-free, and soy-free, so this food is good for kittens with food allergies
- No artificial flavors or preservatives
- Natural fiber and probiotics blend to help maintain good digestion and a healthy weight
- Packed with omegas, amino acids, and LifeSource Bits to help support a strong immune system
- Includes omega-3 and six fatty acids for healthy skin and coat
- Includes Taurine which is necessary for strong vision and heart health
- Each cup contains 410 calories with 38% protein, 16% fat, 6% fiber
- Available in two, five, or 11 lbs. bags
- Made in the USA
BLUE stands by their “True BLUE Promise” that they only use the “finest natural ingredients,” including “protein-rich real meat,” “NO chicken (or poultry) by-product meals,” and “NO corn, wheat or soy.”
2. Purina ONE Tender Selects Blend with Real Chicken Dry Cat Food
Purina ONE is a popular brand of cat (and dog) food; in fact, in 1987, this company was the first brand in grocery stores to include real meat as the #1 ingredient in their dry cat foods.
Purina ONE Tender is another excellent choice for dry cat food, and here’s why: not only will your cat enjoy the crunch bites, she will love the added meaty tender morsels made with real chicken! Purina ONE is recommended by veterinarians because it is made with absolutely no fillers and because of the extra meaty, high protein shreds!
Here’s what you will get with Purina ONE Tender Selects Blend:
- “Fun-shaped kibble” has a crunchy texture that helps with tartar control
- Real chicken is the first ingredient for lean protein
- Nice combination of crunch and meat that even the pickiest cats will love
- Made with essential vitamins and minerals, Taurine, and omega-6 fatty acids
- Made with no fillers: all ingredients are essential to your cat’s overall health
- Available in a 3-lb. bag, 7-lb. bag, 16-lb. bag, or 22 lb. bag
- Each cup contains 366 calories, with 34% protein, 13 % fat, and 2% fiber
- Made in the USA
With all-natural ingredients, essential nutrients, and of course, chicken, Purina ONE Tender Selects Blend is the way to go to give your cat a tasty, balanced diet while supporting her immune system!
3. Rachael Ray Nutrish Natural Chicken & Brown Rice Recipe Dry Cat Food
If you have watched Racheal Ray, the American celebrity chef’s cooking shows, you know her passion for flavor! However, she’s also passionate about pets, so she’s combined her cooking expertise with love for animals and created “Rachael Ray Nutrish,” a line of great-tasting, high-quality foods for cats and dogs.
Rachael uses real ingredients when cooking, so of course, she uses real ingredients in her recipes for her cat food. Her Nutrish Natural Chicken & Brown Rice Dry Cat Food contains the highest quality of seafood or poultry and wholesome fruits and vegetables to ensure your cat gets the best nutrition and flavor!
Here’s what we love about Rachael Ray Nutrish Chicken & Brown Rice Recipe:
- The number one ingredient is 100% natural U.S. farm-raised chicken
- Wholesome brown rice and vegetables and essential vitamins and minerals
- No ground corn, wheat, soy, fillers, or artificial flavors or preservatives
- Contains yeast which is a source of B vitamins, proteins, Zinc, and Biotin which not only reduce shedding but help support healthy skin and fur
- Contains added beet pulp for fiber and prebiotics that help with digestion
- Contains Taurine, an essential amino acid that supports heart functions and eyesight
- Available in a 3-lb bag, 6-lb bag, or 14-lb bag
- Made in the USA
Rachael Ray doesn’t skip corners or skimp on flavor, ever, and the same goes with her cat foods. Your furry friend will gobble down the Nutrish Chicken & Brown Rice Recipe Cat Food because it is delicious, and you can rest assured knowing it is fresh and full of vitamins and minerals.
4. Hill’s Prescription Diet c/d Multicare Urinary Care with Chicken Dry Cat Food
Hill’s Prescription Diet began with the belief that nutrition can positively impact some health issues. What began as a theory by one veterinarian has now been proven through extensive studies by a team of over 220 vets, food scientists, and Ph.D. nutritionists. This team developed a line of therapeutic pet food named Hill’s Prescription Diet.
If your cat has bladder or urinary issues, Hill’s Prescription Diet c/d Multicare Dry Cat Food may be your answer to provide the balance of nutrients she needs. Sometimes an excessive amount of minerals can create crystals in the urine, which may lead to bladder stones in cats. If not treated, they can lead to more serious problems, not to mention they are incredibly painful.
- Formulated by veterinarians
- Clinically tested nutrition to lower the most common urinary issues in cats by 89%
- Promotes desirable urine pH levels in cats
- Dissolves struvite stones (in an average of 27 days, but as few as seven days)
- Reduces the risk of struvite and calcium oxalate stones
- Balanced levels of magnesium, calcium, phosphorus, potassium citrate, and Omega-3 fatty acids
- This cat food requires veterinary authorization
- Available in a 4-lb bag, 8.5-lb bag, or a 17.6-lb bag
Developed by nutritionists, veterinarians, and years of research, the Hill’s Prescription Diet formula helps support your cat’s urinary tract health with the perfect balance of vitamins and minerals to heal most lower urinary tract conditions.
5. Purina ONE Urinary Tract Health Adult Formula Dry Cat Food
Like we mentioned in our No. 2 rating, Purina ONE is a well-known pet brand that carries a myriad of various blends that promote overall health in cats and dogs. This company also carries a dry cat food line that addresses health concerns, common for cats like excessive hairballs, sensitive stomachs, and urinary tract support.
Purina ONE Urinary Tract Health Cat Food is also a good choice for kitties who may have urinary issues. This formula is made with real chicken and low levels of magnesium that support your cat’s urinary health. Vet-recommended, Purina ONE contains a balanced blend of vitamins, minerals, Taurine, and omega-6 fatty acids to promote healthy skin and fur and overall health.
- Special blend of ingredients and low magnesium levels reduce urinary pH in cats
- Made with real chicken that provides high protein content: 31 grams of lean protein per cup
- Provides balanced nutrition with vitamins, minerals, Taurine, and omegas
- Added antioxidants to build your cat’s immunity
- No artificial flavors, colors, or fillers
- Delicious and the crunchy bites keep your cat’s teeth white and clean of tartar
- Each cup contains 452 calories, with 31% protein, 12.5% fat, and 2.0% fiber
- Available in 3.5-lb bag, 7-lb bag, 16-lb bag, or 22-lb bag
- Made in the USA
If your cat already has crystals or a urinary tract infection, our No. 4 rating, Hill’s Prescription Diet, is your best choice. If your cat has minor urinary issues, Purina ONE Urinary Tract Health is an excellent option. It can be used as a preventative as well and does not need a prescription for purchase.
6. Hill’s Science Diet Adult Sensitive Stomach & Skin Chicken & Rice Recipe Dry Cat Food
“Lifelong health starts with science” is Hill’s Science Diet motto, which rings true in all the pet food they create. Hill’s Science Diet Adult Sensitive Stomach & Skin Dry Cat Food is specifically formulated for adult cats with sensitive stomachs or skin. Like all of our other recommendations, this nourishing adult dry cat food is made with all-natural meat first. Other ingredients include rice, eggs, and a blend of omega-6 fatty acids that are easy on your cat’s digestive system.
Every ingredient meets the rigorous requirements for purity and nutritional content, which exceed industry standards. Not only is this formula nutritious, but it is also taste-tested by the pets at the Pet Nutrition Center to make sure they whole-heartedly approve! Check out everything Hill’s Science Diet has to offer:
- Made with all-natural chicken
- Designed for cats with sensitive stomachs or skin
- Easy to digest
- Promotes healthy skin and coat
- No artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives
- #1 Veterinarian recommended
- Taste-tested and approved by pets at the Pet Nutrition Center
- Each cup contains 524 calories, with 29% protein, 17% fat, and 3.0% fiber
- Available in a 3.5-lb bag, 7-lb bag, and 15.5-lb bag
- Made in the USA
Customer reviews repeatedly confirm Hill’s Science Diet’s claims that their formula works well for cats with stomach or skin issues. Many say their cats are no longer sick to their stomachs and that their skin and fur is shiny and healthy! If your feline suffers from digestive or skin issues, Hill’s Science Diet cat food may make all the difference.
7. Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Gastrointestinal Fiber Response Dry Cat Food
Our final recommendation is Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Gastrointestinal Fiber Response Dy Cat Food. That’s a mouthful to say, and it has a lot of great benefits for your kitty with long-or short-term digestive issues.
This formula includes a blend of soluble and insoluble fibers to support gastrointestinal problems. Omega-3 fatty acids, EPA and DHA from fish oil work to promote and relax your cat’s GI tract while providing him with a healthy, balanced diet.
Like our number 4 recommendation, this cat food requires a veterinary authorization. It’s easy, though; all you need to do is provide your vet’s information during checking out online, and Royal Canin will follow up to confirm.
- Formulated to help manage common GI sensitivities in your cat
- Helps with digestive issues including vomiting, diarrhea, or lack of appetite
- Highly digestible proteins and prebiotics to help maintain good bacteria in the gut
- Omega-3 fatty acids, EPA and GHA soothe GI tract
- Includes a blend of fibers for healthy GI tract and optimal stool quality
- Supports urinary health with the S/O index
- One cup contains 361 calories with 29% protein, 13% fat, and 4.7% fiber
- Available in an 8.8-lb bag
Many happy customers sang Royal Canin Veterinary Diet’s Dry Cat Food’s praises. Several said they had tried “everything” for their cats who suffered from GI issues, and that this food was a lifesaver. If your kitty deals with stomach problems, this one is worth your while to check out. Do remember, you need to have it approved by your vet, but Royal Canin makes that process as easy and simple as possible.
You probably have questions. We have answers! Keep reading for all you need to know about buying the dry cat food for your kitty.
Is Dry Cat Food Better Than Wet Cat Food?
This question has been debated by cat owners since the
origins of commercial cat food. Some cats owners insist that wet cat foods are
better because they are “meatier,” and often, dry cat foods contain “fillers”
that serve little to no nutritional value.
The truth is that cat owners should base their decisions on
ingredients. Some wet cat foods offer essential vitamins, minerals, and
nutrition, while other brands fall short. Likewise, some dry foods are balanced
and meet every nutritional need in a cat, and other brands are of poor quality.
That’s why there is no clear answer as to whether dry or cat
food is “better.” The question is, does the dry (or wet) cat food feature the
vitamins and minerals that my cat needs?
I will add that most cats prefer the taste of wet food over
dry food, but there are lots of great brands of dry cat foods that are equally
delicious. Also, there’s nothing wrong with feeding your cat both wet and dry
food, as long as you don’t overfeed her. For example, many cat owners will give
their cat a can of wet food a day and a cup of dry food to graze on throughout
What Should I Look For In a Dry Cat Food?
This is a great question, as many cat owners don’t think much about what type of dry cat food they buy. They may buy “whatever’s on sale” or “whatever she has always eaten.” While these are not illogical reasonings, all cat owners should know that all dry cat food is not created the same, and to keep a cat healthy and happy, you should look for certain qualities in dry cat food.
Here are some factors to keep in to ensure you’re buying the best dry cat food:
You should match your cat’s life stage to the dry food you choose to feed them. For example, you would not feed a kitten the same type of food you would feed an active adult cat or your senior citizen cat. Typically, dry kitten food is suitable for kittens through one year. Cats from one year and up should be fed adult dry cat food.
Your cat needs specific nutrients to live a healthy life, including vitamins, minerals, and amino acids. Taurine is an important amino acid that your cat needs to absorb through her diet. Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids are essential for your cat’s heart health and also support her skin and coat. Look for the best dry food that meets at least the minimum daily requirements for vitamins, minerals, and amino acids.
Moderate to High Protein
We hear about the value of protein all the time in our diets, and it is the same for your cat’s diet. Protein is good for the weight maintenance of your cat. Ensure that the food you buy has an animal protein as the first ingredient listed.
If your cat has any health concerns, like stomach issues or skin issues, look for dry cat food that is specifically designed to help with these concerns. Allergies are also common among cats, so it is important to take those (if any) into account.
Grain-free brands can help with allergies or cats who have difficulty digesting grain. In addition, opt for a grain-free brand if your cat is prone to overeating or has a low activity level.
If your cat suffers from a health issue, your best bet is to have her examined by your vet and then ask for dry food recommendations that may help support her health ailments.
Let’s be honest: cats can be the pickiest eaters. Not all, of course, but many of them are super finicky when it comes to food. If you have a picky cat, you will need to experiment with different protein sources and ingredients to find a good dry cat food that she will love.
Frequently Asked Questions About Dry Cat Food
How much dry food should I feed my cat?
The best way to determine how much dry foods you should feed
your cat is by her weight. If you haven’t taken her to the vet lately and don’t
know her exact weight, you can step on your bathroom scale and record the
number. Then, while holding your cat, step on the same scale. Subtract the
first weight from the second weight, and there’s your cat’s weight.
On the back of each package, you will see how much food to
feed your cat based on her weight. For example, a 15-lb cat needs ½ cup to ¾
cup of dry food a day. However, do know that your cat’s nutritional needs may
vary depending on her age, metabolic age, and daily activity.
Also, if you solely feed your cat dry food, make sure to give
her plenty of fresh water. Dry cat food does not contain water (while canned
cat food is typically 70% to 80% water), so if you are just feeding her dry
food, she needs lots of water.
What are the benefits of grain-free dry cat food?
Cats are carnivores and don’t need carbohydrates like those
in grain, which is why many cat owners opt for grain-free cat food brands. Grain-free
cat brands are great for cats with allergies or for cats who are prone to
overeating. Grain-free dry cat food will
ensure your cat is more of what he needs, and less of what he doesn’t.
What time of day should I feed my cat?
Cats’ digestion times are short compared to ours. That’s why
they tend to be hungry throughout the day. There is no “right” time of day to
feed your cat, but it should at least one to two times a day. Remember, kittens
need to be fed more often than adult cats.
Can I mix dry and wet cat food for my cat?
Yes, you can mix dry and wet cat food to give your cat extra
variety, texture, and flavor. Also, research studies have shown that mixing wet
and dry foods may be beneficial in other ways as well.
When you feed your cat wet food, you are increasing her water
intake, resulting in more urine. More urine means minimizing crystal or urinary
stones, thus supporting urinary tract health.
When you mix dry and wet food, you are providing a healthy
balance of proteins, fats, and carbohydrates, which helps satisfy your cat and
maintains a good metabolism.
Can dry cat food go bad?
Yes, dry cat foods can go bad, just like any food. For
optimal freshness, store your cat’s dry food in a cool, dry location with a
temperature less than 80 degrees Fahrenheit. If dry cat food is kept in an
airtight container, it will last longer. All dry cat food includes an
expiration date on the package, so be aware of when yours expires.
Also, once it is in your cat’s bowl, it should be left longer
than 48 hours because once it is open to moisture in the air, it can start to
Do I need to feed my indoor cat differently than my outdoor
Indoor and outdoor cats have the same basic nutritional
needs, but generally, indoor cats have lower activity levels and should eat
less than outdoor cats. Dry cat food brands made specifically for indoor cats
tend to be lower in calories, and many are grain-free. Some indoor cat brands
also feature formulas that reduce hairballs since indoor cats get these more
often than outdoor cats.
Are there other cautions about dry cat food that I should know about?
Read and Understand the Labels
The most important ingredients are the first five that are listed. The first ingredient should be a meat protein such as chicken, turkey, beef, etc. Beware if you see just “meat” with no identifier on what type of meat it is.
Avoid cat foods with “by-products” in it. By-products generally provide no nutrition, and they are what we call “fillers.”
Artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives are not healthy for your cat. These additives are to keep food from going bad quickly, but there is no need for them in healthy dry cat food.
Also, be aware of ingredients such as corn, wheat, and soy. According to veterinarians, these carbohydrate sources are not good for your cat and can cause allergies. Your cat is better off with carbs such as brown rice or sweet potatoes.
Each dry cat food should have a section that says, “Guaranteed Analysis Explained,” which ensures the food has the nutrition levels that are on the label of protein, fiber, fat, and moisture.
Generally, the shorter the list of ingredients, the healthier the cat food is.
Some companies advertise their cat foods with general words such as “natural” or “quality.” These words are great if they are actually true. However, some words do not live up to their definitions when it comes to dry cat food. Make sure you read labels and understand what you are reading. If you are not sure what a word means, look it up. Google helps with everything, you know!
The Bottom Line
You should have a good idea of why cats need the best dry cat food and how you, as a cat owner, can find cat foods perfect for your furry feline. The bottom line is that you have the knowledge, the tools, and seven recommendations of excellent choices in the best dry cat food.
Now, let me ask you, how do you decide what dry cat food to buy for your furry feline friend(s)?