Which is the best cat food for your cat? My picks for the top cat foods for 2016 are chosen for their higher quality ingredients and their approximation to a cat's natural diet in the wild - mainly the kinds of foods cats hunt. No, the the top 5 foods don't contain rats and rabbits; but they do consist almost totally of protein, the same high grade protein that is sold for human consumption - no fillers or by-products.
Unlike the top 5 rated dog food products I reviewed in a separate article, unfortunately only one of the 5 top cat food brands received a 5-star rating. Does that mean that pet food companies are trying harder to match demands for top quality dog foot then they are for cat food? I wonder...
I think the lower ratings may be in part due to the fact that cats have more complicated dietary needs than dogs. For example, the percentage of carbs needed in a cat's diet can depend on a variety of factors including the age of the cat. And there is a variety of opinions by experts on what is ideal for cats. What is consistent is the agreement that cats need high quality proteins to flourish.
If you can afford it, we like and suggest you consider the Stella & Chewy line of cat foods. They are a premium cat food and the prices are a bit higher, but we think they are well worth the premium. If a premium cat food does not fit in your budget, we recommend the 5 more affordable and widely available cat foods listed here:
How We Picked Our Top 5 Recommended Cat Foods
This is a list of the top 5 best cat foods that are popular and thus readily available in most grocery and pet stores and ones that are relatively more affordable. This is not a list of the absolutely best cat foods you can feed your cat with almost unlimited time or unlimited budget. If you want to feed your cat the highest quality food possible, you would need to make your own cat food or buy one of the super premium higher priced cat foods. So this is a list focused on cat foods that are overall good values and easy to purchase.
The Pet Food Review recently announced its top 5 cat food picks for 2016. I like the quality of the reviews from this source and use their recommendations as my starting reference. I took their top 5 picks, double checked the ingredient lists looking for human grade ingredients and then scoured the reviews and comments from users on Amazon, Walmart and Petsmart to come up with our own ranking and list. (If you are curious as to what we think are the worst cat foods, take a look at our picks for the Top 8 Worst Cat Foods.)
Based on this analysis, here are my picks for Top 5 Best Cat Foods To Feed Your Cat:
'Yes, Orijen received a 5-star rating from Pet Products Review, and it's well-deserved, considering it is nourishing and 'biologically appropriate.' Orijen, which comes in dry and wet formulas and a variety of protein choices for cats and kittens, has a 75 percent protein content to a 25 percent fruit and vegetable content. In terms of high quality proteins, we are talking about things like real eggs, free range antibiotic free chicken and fresh wild caught fish. It is also grain free. Customers say that their pickiest of cats love this brand; the only negative comments are about the higher price of it as compared to some other cat foods. Clearly, the higher quality ingredients require the higher price tag. Orijen does not make a canned diet for cats. (See reviews and buy Orijen cat food here.)
Taste of the Wild is another cat food brand that cats seem to like, which is always a plus for cat owners. Owners like it too, although some would prefer to have chicken as the main ingredient rather than chicken meal. But the reviewers support the brand, noting that it is less expensive than Orijen, but suggest that Taste of the Wild is great nutrition for a good price. Grain free, Taste is made in dry and canned versions. (See reviews for and buy Taste of the Wild Cat Food here.)
Reviewers and cat owners like the fact that Halo looks and smells like human food, especially, of course, the canned Halo. But some cats may not be attracted to the canned food for some reason, and some seem to prefer the dry version. Halo does use all human grade products, adds vitamins and minerals to the mix, and makes both grain and grain-free diets for your cat. There are no additional preservatives, fillers or artificial colors. Like some other pet foods, Halo was started by a cat owner who wanted to solve his own cat's (Spot) health problems. (See reviews for and buy Halo Cat Food here.)
Natural Balance is a solid choice for owners who are looking for a reasonably priced, readily available cat food sold dry and in cans. The drawback, as reviewers see it, is that the brand includes more carbohydrates than the other top brands, although it does contain plenty of natural, fresh proteins too. Cats seem to like it and owners often comment on their cats' fuller fur and additional muscle tone after lifting five pound dumbbells. (See reviews for and buy Natural Balance Cat Food here.)
A notch or two high from human-grade pet food is organic pet food, and that's what Newman's Own includes. It's all organic, from beef to rice to even a special process for rendering the chicken fat. Cats and owners seem to love it, and the reviewers like it too. Although protein is the number one ingredient in Newman's Own, reviewers seem less thrilled with the levels of grains and veggies in the food. Some cat owners report that their cats 'eat around' the grains and veggies, but cats, after all, are carnivores.... Taurine, an essential amino acid for cats, a well as pro-biotics are an added benefit of Newman's Own. (See reviews for and buy Newman's Own Cat Food here.)
Cats need a high quality protein rich diet in order to live a healthy and long life. These 5 cat foods are some of the best available of the more popular and affordable cat foods and we recommend them for your cat.
Other Great Cat Foods
As mentioned above, we recommend you look at the Stella & Chewy brand of premium cat food. There are also some other premium cat foods that are not as widely available but still worth considering as well if you are willing to search for them in stores or order them online. Some folks argue that these less well known cat foods are of a much higher quality and use a better manufacturing process than the more popular cat foods listed above (since manufacturers for almost all of those mentioned above have had manufacturing issues or product recalls in the past).
These premium cat foods are not always more expensive than the popular cat foods and certain flavors are better deals in terms of pricing. They all use high quality human grade or organic proteins as their primary ingredients, they don't have unwanted preservatives, formulations or dyes, and are made by manufacturers with good to excellent reputations. The reviews (when available) are usually rave reviews for these cat foods.
Our favorites of the smaller brand cat foods are by:
Addiction Cat Food (you can see reviews and order it here)
Blackwood Cat Food (you can see reviews and order it here)
By Nature Cat Food (you can see reviews and order it here)
Eagle Pack Cat Food (you can see reviews and order it here).
Earthborn Holistic Cat Food (you can see reviews and order it here)
Honest Kitchen Cat Food (you can see reviews and order it here)
Like with human diets, higher quality foods will make a huge difference in the well being and health of your cat. All of the top cat foods we recommend are well like by many cats. But each cat is different and will have preferences. So if any one of the foods recommended above does not seem to be well liked by your cat, don't give up. Just try another quality brand or perhaps even a different flavor in the same brand. You are sure to find one that one that is great for your cat and that your cat will love.
If you pick one of these tasty foods, your cat is likely to squeal out "Yumm Yum Yum" like this adorable kitty.
If you are curious about what are the worst foods for your cat, check out our picks for 8 Worst of the Popular Cat Foods.
Originally published March 2012 and updated yearly. Last updated June 2016.