Dry cat food is a common choice for cat owners due to it being cheaper, easier to store, and slower to perish out in the open when compared to wet cat foods; but you already know that! We looked at a load of the best dry cat foods available today to bring you this list of options that we think are worth buying.
Based on our research, the best dry food for cats is BLUE Wilderness Indoor Chicken Dry Cat Food, which is delicious, full of protein and entirely grain-free. Our readers agree.
Many owners have concerns over nutrition when it comes to choosing dry cat food over wet food, but by making sure you purchase food from a respected brand, you can rest assured that it is nutritionally complete.
Our expert picks aim to make the choice easy for you. Read on to discover which dry cat foods we recommend, and a list of the dry cat foods our readers love.
- 1 The 6 Top-Rated Dry Cat Food Comparison
- 2 The Best Dry Cat Foods (Top Recommendations)
- 2.1 1. BLUE Wilderness Indoor Chicken Dry Cat Food — Best Dry Cat Food
- 2.2 2. Hills Science Diet Indoor Dry Cat Food — Best Premium Dry Food
- 2.3 3. Purina Cat Chow Naturals Dry Cat Food — Best Selling Dry Food
- 2.4 4. Purina ONE Urinary Tract Health Dry Cat Food — Best Budget Buy
- 2.5 5. Rachael Ray Nutrish Natural Dry Cat Food — Best Natural Formula
- 2.6 6. Blue Freedom Grain-Free Adult Dry Food — Best for Sensitive Stomach
- 3 How To Choose The Best Dry Cat Food For You
- 4 Is Dry Cat Food Better Than Wet?
The 6 Top-Rated Dry Cat Food Comparison
|Best Overall||Blue Buffalo Wilderness Indoor Chicken Recipe Grain-Free Dry Cat Food||38.0% (min)||16.0% (min)|
|Best Premium Dry Cat Food||Hill's Science Diet Adult Indoor Chicken Recipe Dry Cat Food||31.0% (min)||13.0% (min)|
|Best Selling Food||Cat Chow Naturals Indoor with Real Chicken & Turkey Dry Cat Food||38.0% (min)||9.0% (min)|
|Best Budget Buy||Purina ONE Urinary Tract Health Adult Formula Dry Cat Food||31.5% (min)||12.5% (min)|
|Best Natural Option||Rachael Ray Nutrish Natural Salmon & Brown Rice Recipe Dry Cat Food||34.0% (min)||14.0% (min)|
|Best Sensitive Stomach Dry Food||Blue Buffalo Freedom Indoor Adult Chicken Recipe Grain-Free Dry Cat Food||32.0% (min)||14.0% (min)|
Though calorie content differs significantly in the products listed above, the feeding portions usually account for this. High protein cat food is typically higher in calories, and as a result, is fed in smaller portions.
The Best Dry Cat Foods (Top Recommendations)
Going into this next section, keep in mind that the highest valued macronutrient for felines is protein. They survive off a diet that consists almost entirely of protein in the wild, so it should be reflected in their meals at home.
This is what separates the average options from the very best dry cat foods available. Here is a list of the best dry cat food, each with a high protein content to promote a healthy weight and minerals that support a strong immune system.
1. BLUE Wilderness Indoor Chicken Dry Cat Food — Best Dry Cat Food
Protein: 38.0% (min) | Fat: 16.0% (min) | Fiber: 6.0% (max) | Moisture: 9.0% (max)
Delicious, grain-free and packed full of protein. Blue Wilderness has produced an absolute stand out contender for the best dry cat food ever.
BLUE’s dry cat foods are “cold-formed”, a process that avoids excess heat to ensure the ingredients don’t lose their nutritional value. Much like what happens if you cook vegetables on high heat – they lose some of the heat-sensitive nutrients.
The TRUE BLUE promise gives you peace of mind that the protein comes from natural, real chicken instead of any nasty by-product. It also promises that their foods contain no artificial flavoring or colors, and no grain, wheat or soy!
It’s ingredients clearly list the sources of all proteins, fats and amino acids which gives you peace of mind that they’re coming from natural sources. Best of all, it’s totally grain-free, so if your cat has any allergies to grains you can rest assured they’ll be perfectly safe eating this food.
Supposedly inspired by the diet of the lynx, this tasty cat food really is the perfect blend of high quality, tasty ingredients, and health benefits, making it the best there is.
Our readers heavily agree with us on this pick. We’ve received excellent feedback across the board for Blue Buffalo’s Wilderness range in particular, but this food has been more popular with our readers than we could have imagined. Blue Buffalo Wilderness Indoor Chicken review.
2. Hills Science Diet Indoor Dry Cat Food — Best Premium Dry Food
Protein: 31.0% (min) | Fat: 13.0% (min) | Fiber: 6.0% (min) | Moisture: 8.0% (max)
Hill’s Science Diet Dry Cat Food is designed specifically for indoor cats, but our outdoor cats love it too!
It’s precisely balanced nutrition is the result of the work of more than 220 veterinarians, scientists and pet nutritionists. Super high-quality ingredients mean that you can be sure there are no artificial flavors or preservatives and that only the best sources of protein are used.
We noticed a big improvement in the softness of our cat’s coat when switching to Hill’s Science Diet, and we’ve seen talk around the web that suggests we aren’t alone in making that discovery. Price-wise, it’s incredible value for money when you consider it provides an equal (if not greater) amount of health benefits when compared to even the most expensive brands.
Lean proteins help maintain muscle in indoor cats and keep them at an ideal weight. It’s also available in multiple formulas, each tailored to the needs of cats of all ages (yes, they make some of the best kitten food!). We can’t recommend this food highly enough, despite its indoor cat label, it’s perfectly suitable for both indoor and outdoor cats. Hill’s Science Diet Adult Indoor Dry review.
3. Purina Cat Chow Naturals Dry Cat Food — Best Selling Dry Food
Protein: 38.0% (min) | Fat: 9.0% (min) | Fiber: 5.4% (max) | Moisture: 12.0% (max)
At the time of writing this review, Purina’s Cat Chow Naturals is the best selling dry cat food around. It’s no surprise to us.
It contains plenty of natural fiber that helps to control hairballs by moving hair through your cat’s system. We love that it has absolutely no artificial flavors or preservatives and is made from real meats that are clearly listed in its ingredients.
The 358 kcal/cup is also very modest, with the right portion control it could definitely be a viable weight control food for your cat. Because of the low caloric density, your cat will feel more full after consuming less calories. As with most of Purina’s products, it comes in a variety of flavors and formulas each designed for cats of different age ranges and weights.
The real meat ingredients in this food ensure your cat is getting natural, animal-sourced proteins that are packed full of the building blocks they require to live a healthy life. Dry cat is often guilty of using plant-based proteins which aren’t as good, but this is a good example of a food containing plenty of animal-based proteins. Purina Cat Chow Indoor Dry food review.
4. Purina ONE Urinary Tract Health Dry Cat Food — Best Budget Buy
Protein: 31.5% (min) | Fat: 12.5% (min)
Purina’s ONE Dry Cat Food is designed to promote good urinary tract health. It manages this by reducing urinary pH levels and providing a low magnesium content.
Suited for adult cats, it contains healthy omega-6 fatty acids that boost the sheen of your cat’s coat and aids in keeping skin healthy.
Purina is a well known respected brand, and you can be assured that all of the contents are of the highest quality. Real poultry or fish is used which provides the best natural sources of protein. They promise a “0% filler” food, meaning that each and every ingredient found in this dry cat food has a purpose.
It’s available in a variety of other formulas designed at other health needs, from hairball prevention to sensitive digestion systems. Purina’s special health formulas are fantastic, but shouldn’t be used as a cure for any illness in the same way a prescription food would be used. Speak to your vet first if you have any health concerns.
5. Rachael Ray Nutrish Natural Dry Cat Food — Best Natural Formula
Protein: 34.0% (min) | Fat: 14.0% (min)
Packed full of natural prebiotics that aid in cat digestion, this food from Rachael Ray is the perfect option for those owners who are looking for the best natural dry cat food.
Available in both salmon and brown rice or chicken and brown rice, this natural food is a very good value choice for adult cats. Both flavors contain real meat and no artificial flavors or preservatives.
It’s a really easy brand to get behind, not only because of the “all natural” mentality but also because a portion of proceeds from sales goes to the Rachael Ray Foundation, which at the time of writing has donated a staggering $21 million to various pet charities. Good on you Rachael!
It comes in bags of 3, 6 and 14 pounds so there are plenty of buying options regardless of how many kitties you’re caring for. Click through using the button above to see just how many customers consider this to be one of the best dry cat foods around, you’ll be astounded.
6. Blue Freedom Grain-Free Adult Dry Food — Best for Sensitive Stomach
Protein: 32.0% (min) | Fat: 14.0% (min)
Free from grains and gluten based foods, this dry food from BLUE is perfect for those looking for the best holistic cat food.
It’s widely reviewed as having qualities that provide a drastic improvement in fur and coat health. Not only will it make your kitty all soft and silky in a matter of days it will also help maintain a healthy weight.
The gentle and digestion-friendly ingredients mean it’s a great dry food for cats with sensitive digestive systems. Certain breeds, such as the sphynx, for example, have notoriously sensitive tummies. This would be our pick for those breeds.
Remember that as always, no cat food can provide the full intended health benefits unless portions are managed properly. That responsibility is yours, not your cats!
How To Choose The Best Dry Cat Food For You
Many low quality dry cat foods contain fillers, artificial preservatives and other nasty stuff that are not a part of your cat’s natural diet. These usually manifest themselves in the forms of grains and wheat based ingredients. To ensure you’re getting the best nutritional value for your cat when buying a kibble based food, look for the following:
Specific Protein Source In Ingredients
With so many cat food brands offering and advertising high protein formulas, you need to make sure they’re being clear about where that protein comes from.
Simply saying that it’s sourced from “meat” is not sufficient, it’s best to look for products that explicitly list the source such as salmon, lamb, chicken. Bonus points for those brands that list even more specific organs, liver for example.
By-product meats are generally of poorer quality than regular meat sources. They aren’t bad, even some of the best and most respected food brands use by-product meats to bump up the protein content, they just add a layer that makes the meat sources hard to trace.
Specific Fat Source In Ingredients
As with above, a named fat source gives you peace of mind that these important nutrients don’t come from an artificial source.
If you’re looking for a cat food for older cats, you should keep fat levels to a minimum as they are usually less active and can struggle with digestion.
Cat food that contains taurine adds an extra level of benefit to your cat’s diet. Studies suggest that adequate amounts of taurine in a cat’s diet give the best chance of avoiding eyesight degeneration and heart disease. It’s been commonplace in cat food for a number of years, so there’s nothing to worry about despite the chemical-sounding name.
Low or No Carbohydrates
Dry cat food is especially susceptible to being packed with “filler” ingredients that are often made up of wheat or corn. These act to keep the dry food glued together, but grains are not a natural part of a cat’s diet. Your best bet is to aim for natural dry cat food that labels itself as grain free.
This ensures the carbohydrate levels in the food are low and you get more healthy protein for your money, everyone’s a winner.
Is Dry Cat Food Better Than Wet?
There’s no right or wrong answer for this, and it’s common for people to have strong opinions on the matter without much to back it up.
To be frank, both premium wet and dry foods for cats are nutritionally very similar. By premium, we mean any foods manufactured by brands that have earned excellent reputations over many years.
The biggest difference (and biggest arguing point) is that the dry options obviously do not provide the same amount of moisture content as their wet counterparts.
Purina suggests that a cat who eats solely dry cat food should drink roughly one cup of water per ten pounds of body weight in a 24-hour window. This is one of the reasons that it’s becoming increasingly popular to either provide a combination of both wet and dry food or to make use of a drinking fountain that ensures cats stay hydrated regardless of their food diet.
At the end of the day, the best cat food for you comes down to preference (of both yourself and your cat). You can definitely combine the two to get the best of both worlds and keep mealtimes exciting for your cat.
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