The 7 Best Natural Commercial Cat Foods (so far)
by Liz-cat, UPDATED Dec 29, 2010
What’s the best packaged cat food ever? Every premium or “natural” cat food package claims to be THE ONE. But it turns out that many of these cat foods have unhealthy starch levels, some have artificial ingredients, and some of them are impossible to get your cat to eat.
That’s why it wasn’t easy, but I finally found 7+ natural cat foods that are:
- Free of artificial preservatives, flavors, colors, ingredients
- Free of potentially risky ingredients like avocado and garlic
- Grain-free – Grains are not natural for cats to digest and tend to weaken their immune system over time; some cats develop grain sensitivities that appear as digestion or skin problems.
- Truly low-carb/starch (less than 17%) – This was the hardest one because starches are sneaky. Even most holistic and so-called grain-free options have too many carbs for indoor cats. For example, Royal Canin Green Peas and Duck (grainless) dry food is 35% carb.
- Taste-approved by both of our cats, Phil and Joel – This is the 2nd hardest standard – our cats are so different from each other that it’s rare to find foods they both like.Where possible, I chose organic. I wanted to make “organic” and “free-range” a qualification, but I could not find any organic grain-free, low-carb dry foods. For example, an dry food called “By Nature Organics” has three grains listed as high-level ingredients. That’s really unfortunate! For cats, I think that grain-free and low-carb are even more important than organic, so this is what we’ve got to work with for now. The good news is that I’m sure great new products are on their way.
Ready for the list?
The 3 Best Natural Canned Cat Foods
Newman’s Organic grain free canned foods. Our cats really only like the Liver one. (Note that Newman’s makes other canned foods that have rice in them – they are not ideal, but better than most dry foods.) It’s best to look for these grain-free ones:
Evanger’s Organic Turkey and Butternut Squash. This seems to be the only Evangers canned cat food that is grain-free, but it’s a nice clean recipe.
Innova EVO 95% Canned Cat Food: High quality. Starch-free: It would be very hard for a cat to get fat eating this! But it’s delicious..so Phil and Joel say. EVO 95% bumped out Natural Balance LID for the top 7 because they keep the ingredients even more simple and clean.
The 3 Best Natural Dry Cat Foods
Important caveat with grain-free dry foods: For some cats, these dry foods must be supplemented with a good insoluble fiber source like canned pumpkin or carrot, otherwise constipation may develop to a point that borders on life-threatening. Just ask our cat Joel – but he doesn’t want to talk about it! Also, for best hydration, consider rotating between dry and wet food daily. These caveats do not apply to all – our cat Phil can eat these foods as is. Check the litter box regularly for several days and you’ll know. (Fun!)
Instinct has about 16% carbs, so it’s not the perfect choice for overweight indoor cats, but in rotation with canned food, it’s a great option. Our cats love the taste.
EVO Adult and Kitten Dry Cat Food is only about 7 -10% carbs so it’s ideal for getting overweight indoor cats to a healthy weight. But it’s sooo low on fiber and moisture that for indoor cats I would not feed it without supplementing canned pumpkin and rotating with canned food.Young Again: Joel and Phil have just approved Young Again, a new food that is hard to find in stores – we ordered from their site. It’s not organic or free range, but it’s designed by a vet and I like their firm grasp on the fact that carbs cause feline obesity and ill health. They are so bold as to say that on their 14% carb cat food, “your cat will begin losing excess body fat, and will in turn, begin developing better muscling, as well as a softer, more kitten-like coat. She will have more energy… Cats that were couch-potatoes will begin playing, exploring and even jumping and climbing!”
The Best Natural Raw Cat Food
Rad Cat Raw. I choose Rad Cat because it’s the only raw option I could find that doesn’t have ground bones in it. (The ground bone products brought Joel’s digestive system to a complete and dangerous stop.) In addition, it’s full of free-range and organic ingredients! However, this product is expensive…inspiring use to want to make it ourselves instead.
This list will grow and evolve
So keep in touch (Facebook page) to stay up on discoveries. For example, Wysong is releasing a new product in 2011 called Epigen 90. As they say, this gluten-free, starch-free formula “Can make a dramatic difference in virtually any health condition” and “More closely resembles the food your pet is designed to eat.” (I cannot recommend their current -original- Epigen because it has wheat gluten in it. Let’s wait to see the upcoming Epigen 90 version.)
If you can’t find the food you want at a local pet food store, look for a holistic store. Also, the online Only Natural Pet Store* carries most of these foods – and their prices seem reasonable. For tips on HOW to get your cat to switch foods, see How to Improve an Overweight Cat’s Health in 30 daysDid I missed any great commercial natural cat foods? Please let me know at Liz-cat
* If you happen to purchase through this link, it supports Liz-cat’s blog. (at no extra cost to you). Thank you!This article is from Natural Cat Care with the consent of Liz who authors the Natural Cat Care Blog (www.naturalcatcareblog.com), a blog about caring for our feline soul companions.