10 Best Dry Cat Foods

There are thousands of dry cat food recipes out there, but they aren’t all created equal. We’ve put together a list of recommendations to help you get started in choosing the recipe that is best for your cat.

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Dry cat food offers a shelf-stable alternative to fresh food – it also tends to be a more economical option. Feeding is simple, you just scoop out the appropriate amount and dump it into your cat’s bowl. It’s easy to add flavor and moisture as well by soaking it in water or bone broth.

While dry cat food tends to have higher concentrations of carbohydrate than wet food, there are certainly brands that focus on animal sources of protein and fat.

A species-appropriate recipe will contain an animal-based protein as the main ingredient with as few plant ingredients as possible.

The Best Dry Cat Food Formulas in 2022

Now that you’ve been introduced to the basics about dry cat food, take a look at some of the options we recommend below.

1

Dr. Elsey's cleanprotein Chicken Formula Grain-Free Dry Cat Food

Rating

Price 25%
Size Variety 83%
Quality of Ingredients 85%
Customer Experience 84%
Nutrient Value 100%
Recall History 100%
Manufacturing Method 40%

Product info

Age Range:Adult Cost per day:$0.22

Company info

Company HQEnglewood, Colorado Parent companyDr. Elsey's

Overview

Formulated with high levels of protein, this dry food formula satisfies your cat’s carnivorous cravings while supporting optimal health. Fresh chicken and dried egg provide species-appropriate sources of animal protein, supplemented with pork protein isolate. Chicken fat provides a nutrient-rich source of essential fatty acids with salmon oil for omega-3s. This recipe is low glycemic and highly digestible.

Chicken, Dried Egg Product, Pork Protein Isolate, Gelatin, Chicken Fat (Preserved With Mixed Tocopherols), Flaxseed, Natural Flavor, Salmon Oil, Potassium Citrate, Calcium Carbonate, Fructooligosaccharide, Calcium Carbonate, Choline Chloride, Vitamins (Vitamin E Supplement, Niacin Supplement, D-Calcium Pantothenate, Vitamin A Acetate, Thiamine Mononitrate, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Riboflavin Supplement, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Biotin, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Folic Acid), Minerals (Ferrous Sulfate, Zinc Oxide, Calcium Carbonate, Manganous Oxide, Copper Sulfate, Iron Amino Acid Chelate, Manganese Amino Acid Chelate, Zinc Amino Acid Chelate, Copper Amino Acid Chelate, Sodium Selenite, Cobalt Carbonate, Ethylenediamine Dihydroiodide), Potassium Chloride, Mixed Tocopherols (Preservative), Taurine, Salt, Rosemary Extract.

Guaranteed Analysis

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Protein: 59%

Fat: 18%

Fiber: 4%

Moisture: 12%

Ash: 0%

Carb: 7%

Dry Matter Analysis

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Protein: 67.05%

Fat: 20.45%

Fiber: 4.55%

Ash: 8%

Carb: 7.95%

What We Like

  • Low carbohydrate content
  • To our knowledge, Dr. Elsey's has never had a product recall
  • Supplemented with chelated minerals for optimal nutrient absorption
  • Made with fiber-rich flaxseed
  • Doesn’t contain fillers, by-products, or artificial additives
  • Rich in species-appropriate animal protein
  • A good source of omega-3 fatty acids

What We Did Not Like

  • Expensive
  • Low in moisture
  • Contains a small amount of plant-based proteins
  • Some cats may be allergic to fish
2

Ziwi Peak Air-Dried Lamb Recipe Cat Food

Rating

Price 48%
Quality of Ingredients 93%
Customer Experience 74%
Nutrient Value 61%
Recall History 100%
Manufacturing Method 90%

Product info

Age Range:Adult Cost per day:$0.74

Company info

Company HQMt. Maunganui, New Zealand Parent companyZiwi Ltd

Overview

Gently air dried to preserve nutrition, this lamb recipe from Ziwi Peak is formulated with 96% meat, organs, bone, and New Zealand green mussels. Fresh lamb is the primary ingredient, supplemented with lamb organs and bone to ensure balanced nutrition. New Zealand green mussels support mobility with their natural content of glucosamine and chondroitin.

Lamb, Lamb Heart, Lamb Tripe, Lamb Liver, Lamb Kidney, Lamb Lung, New Zealand Green Mussel, Lamb Bone, Lecithin, Inulin from Chicory, Dried Kelp, Minerals (Dipotassium Phosphate, Magnesium Sulfate, Zinc Amino Acid Complex, Copper Amino Acid Complex, Iron Amino Acid Complex, Manganese Amino Acid Complex, Sodium Selenite), Salt, Preservative (Citric Acid, Mixed Tocopherols), Vitamins (Choline Chloride, Thiamine Mononitrate, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Folic Acid, Vitamin D3 Supplement), DL-Methionine, Taurine.

Guaranteed Analysis

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Protein: 35%

Fat: 33%

Fiber: 2%

Moisture: 14%

Ash: 12%

Carb: 4%

Dry Matter Analysis

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Protein: 40.7%

Fat: 38.37%

Fiber: 2.33%

Ash: 13.95%

Carb: 4.65%

What We Like

  • Low carbohydrate content
  • To our knowledge, Ziwi has never had a product recall
  • Gently air-dried to preserve nutrition
  • Contains dried kelp as a natural source of essential nutrients
  • Contains lamb tripe for added palatability
  • Green-lipped mussel is added as a source of glucosamine and chondroitin
  • Doesn’t contain fillers, by-products, or artificial additives
  • Rich in species-appropriate animal protein

What We Did Not Like

  • Low in moisture
  • Contains a small amount of plant-based proteins
  • Doesn’t receive consistently positive customer reviews
3

Instinct Ultimate Protein Grain-Free Cage-Free Chicken Recipe Freeze-Dried Raw Coated Dry Cat Food

Rating

Price 25%
Size Variety 100%
Quality of Ingredients 76%
Customer Experience 84%
Nutrient Value 84%
Recall History 100%
Manufacturing Method 40%

Product info

Age Range:Adult Cost per day:$0.22

Company info

Company HQLincoln, Nebraska Parent companyM.I. Industries

Overview

Coated with freeze-dried chicken, this dry food is packed with protein and loaded with flavor. A full 95% of this recipe’s protein comes from chicken while chicken fat is the primary source of added fat. This recipe contains a limited list of main ingredients, making it highly digestible. It also contains probiotics to support healthy and regular digestion.

Chicken, Tapioca, Chicken Fat (preserved with Mixed Tocopherols and Citric Acid), Ground Flaxseed, Natural Flavor, Dried Tomato Pomace, Dried Whey Protein Concentrate, Dicalcium Phosphate, Potassium Chloride, Salt, Vitamins (Vitamin E Supplement, Niacin Supplement, L-Ascorbyl-2-Polyphosphate, Thiamine Mononitrate, d-Calcium Pantothenate, Vitamin A Supplement, Riboflavin Supplement, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Folic Acid, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Biotin), Montmorillonite Clay, Choline Chloride, Minerals (Zinc Proteinate, Iron Proteinate, Copper Proteinate, Manganese Proteinate, Sodium Selenite, Ethylenediamine Dihydriodide), Taurine, Freeze Dried Chicken, Freeze Dried Chicken Liver, Pumpkinseeds, Freeze Dried Chicken Heart, Dried Bacillus coagulans Fermentation Product, Rosemary Extract.

Guaranteed Analysis

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Protein: 47%

Fat: 17%

Fiber: 3%

Moisture: 10%

Ash: 0%

Carb: 23%

Dry Matter Analysis

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Protein: 52.22%

Fat: 18.89%

Fiber: 3.33%

Ash: 8%

Carb: 25.56%

What We Like

  • Rich in protein
  • To our knowledge, Instinct has never had a product recall
  • Freeze-dried food retains the nutritional value of raw meat
  • Supplemented with chelated minerals for optimal nutrient absorption
  • Contains health promoting ground flaxseed for fiber
  • Doesn’t contain fillers, by-products, or artificial additives

What We Did Not Like

  • Expensive
  • High in carbohydrates
  • Low in moisture
  • Contains plant-based proteins
  • Freeze dried cat food requires rehydration, which is time-consuming
4

Wysong Optimal Vitality Dry Cat Food

Rating

Price 52%
Size Variety 83%
Quality of Ingredients 71%
Customer Experience 79%
Nutrient Value 91%
Recall History 100%
Manufacturing Method 40%

Product info

Age Range:Adult Cost per day:$0.15

Company info

Company HQMidland, Michigan Parent companyWysong Corporation

Overview

If you’re looking for a protein-packed recipe to support your cat’s wellness, this dry food from Wysong is a great option. It contains 50% protein, primarily from chicken meal and organic chicken, with nutrient-rich chicken fat as the primary added fat source. This recipe delivers a blend of omega fatty acids from fish oil, coconut oil, and chia seeds with probiotics thrown in to support your cat’s digestion.

Chicken Meal, Organic Chicken, Turkey Meal, Pea Protein, Potato Protein, Peas, Chicken Fat (preserved with Mixed Tocopherols), Flaxseeds, Dried Plain Beet Pulp, Natural Flavor, Sesame Seeds, Montmorillonite Clay, Crab Meal, Dried Whey, Coconut Oil, Chia Seeds, Salt, Taurine, Calcium Carbonate, Calcium Propionate (a preservative), Dried Tomato Pomace, Choline Chloride, Yeast Extract, Organic Barley Grass Powder, Dried Blueberry Powder, Dried Yogurt, Dried Kelp, Apple Pectin, Dried Kale, Dried Spinach, Dried Carrots, Fish Oil, Citric Acid (a preservative), Inulin, Mixed Tocopherols (a preservative), Rosemary Extract, Yeast Culture, Minerals (Potassium Chloride, Zinc Proteinate, Zinc Sulfate, Ferrous Sulfate, Iron Proteinate, Copper Sulfate, Copper Proteinate, Manganese Sulfate, Manganese Proteinate, Sodium Selenite, Calcium Iodate), Vitamins (Ascorbic Acid [source of Vitamin C], Vitamin E Supplement, Niacin Supplement, Calcium Pantothenate, Vitamin A Supplement, Thiamine Mononitrate, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Riboflavin Supplement, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Biotin, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Folic Acid), Dried Aspergillus Oryzae Fermentation Product, Dried Enterococcus Faecium Fermentation Product, Dried Lactobacillus Casei Fermentation Product, Dried Lactobacillus acidophilus Fermentation Product, Dried Bacillus Subtilis Fermentation Product, Dried Lactobacillus Plantarum Fermentation Product, Dried Lactobacillus Lactis Fermentation Product, Pepper.

Guaranteed Analysis

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Protein: 50%

Fat: 14%

Fiber: 5.5%

Moisture: 10%

Ash: 0%

Carb: 20.5%

Dry Matter Analysis

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Protein: 55.56%

Fat: 15.56%

Fiber: 6.11%

Ash: 8%

Carb: 22.78%

What We Like

  • To our knowledge, Wysong has never had a product recall
  • Supplemented with chelated minerals for optimal nutrient absorption
  • Contains dried kelp as a natural source of essential nutrients
  • Doesn’t contain fillers, by-products, or artificial additives
  • Rich in species-appropriate animal protein
  • A good source of omega-3 fatty acids

What We Did Not Like

  • Low in moisture
  • Contains a small amount of plant-based proteins
  • Some cats may be allergic to fish
5

Tiki Cat Born Carnivore Chicken & Egg Grain-Free Dry Cat Food

Rating

Price 29%
Size Variety 100%
Quality of Ingredients 77%
Customer Experience 81%
Nutrient Value 76%
Recall History 100%
Manufacturing Method 40%

Product info

Age Range:Adult Cost per day:$0.20

Company info

Company HQCharleston, Illinois Parent companyPetropics Inc.

Overview

If you’re looking for a protein-rich formula your cat will love, look no further. Packed with protein from fresh chicken, chicken meal, and dried chicken, this recipe is full of natural chicken flavor. This recipe contains two animal-based fats – chicken fat and salmon oil – to provide a balance of heathy fats. It’s made with only non-GMO ingredients in a formula that is completely free from artificial colors and flavors.

Deboned Chicken, Chicken Meal, Dehydrated Chicken, Dried Egg Product, Tapioca, Natural Chicken Flavor, Ground Whole Flaxseed, Chickpeas, Peas, Chicken Fat (Preserved With Mixed Tocopherols And Citric Acid), Brewers Dried Yeast, Calcium Sulfate, Choline Chloride, Inulin (Prebiotic), Salmon Oil, Pumpkin, Taurine, Ferrous Sulfate, Zinc Sulfate, Vitamin E Supplement, Niacin Supplement (Vitamin B3), Copper Sulfate, Vitamin A Supplement, Manganese Sulfate, Thiamine Mononitrate (Vitamin B1), D-Calcium Pantothenate, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride (Vitamin B6), Biotin, Riboflavin Supplement (Vitamin B2), Vitamin B12 Supplement, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Calcium Iodate, Folic Acid, Sodium Selenite, Rosemary Extract, Ascorbic Acid (Preservative), Citric Acid, Tannic Acid.

Guaranteed Analysis

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Protein: 43%

Fat: 19%

Fiber: 3.5%

Moisture: 10%

Ash: 0%

Carb: 24.5%

Dry Matter Analysis

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Protein: 47.78%

Fat: 21.11%

Fiber: 3.89%

Ash: 8%

Carb: 27.22%

What We Like

  • To our knowledge, Tiki Cat has never had a product recall
  • Doesn’t contain fillers, by-products, or artificial additives
  • Rich in species-appropriate animal protein
  • A good source of omega-3 fatty acids

What We Did Not Like

  • High in carbohydrates
  • Low in moisture
  • Contains a small amount of plant-based proteins
  • Some cats may be allergic to fish
6

Go! Solutions CARNIVORE Grain Free Chicken

Rating

Price 69%
Quality of Ingredients 81%
Customer Experience 75%
Nutrient Value 71%
Recall History 100%
Manufacturing Method 50%

Product info

Age Range:Adult Cost per day:$0.89

Company info

Company HQBritish Columbia, Canada Parent companyPetcurean Pet Nutrition

Overview

When it comes to protein, this dry cat food from Go! Solutions has it in spades. The first seven ingredients are all species-appropriate sources of animal protein from chicken, turkey, duck, and fish. This recipe is loaded with natural flavor and provides an ideal balance of protein and healthy fat. To support your cat’s healthy digestion, this recipe is supplemented with probiotics while antioxidant-rich cranberries support urinary tract health.

Chicken, Chicken Liver, Chicken Broth, Turkey Broth, Turkey, Tapioca, Duck, Dried Egg Whites, Flaxseed, Cassia Gum, Guar Gum, Sodium Tripolyphosphate, Pumpkin, Cranberries, Salmon Oil, Vitamins (Vitamin A Supplement, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Vitamin E Supplement, Niacin, Thiamine Mononitrate, D-Calcium Pantothenate, Riboflavin, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Folic Acid, Biotin, Vitamin B12 Supplement), Minerals (Zinc Proteinate, Iron Proteinate, Copper Proteinate, Manganese Proteinate, Calcium Iodate, Sodium Selenite), Taurine, Potassium Chloride, Choline Chloride, Salt.

Guaranteed Analysis

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Protein: 10%

Fat: 5.5%

Fiber: 1%

Moisture: 78%

Ash: 0%

Carb: 5.5%

Dry Matter Analysis

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Protein: 45.45%

Fat: 25%

Fiber: 4.55%

Ash: 8%

Carb: 25%

What We Like

  • High moisture content
  • To our knowledge, Go! has never had a product recall
  • Supplemented with chelated minerals for optimal nutrient absorption
  • Made with fiber-rich flaxseed
  • Doesn’t contain fillers, by-products, or artificial additives
  • Rich in species-appropriate animal protein
  • A good source of omega-3 fatty acids

What We Did Not Like

  • High in carbohydrates
  • Contains a small amount of plant-based proteins
  • Some cats may be allergic to fish
7

Solid Gold Indigo Moon with Chicken & Eggs Grain-Free High Protein Dry Cat Food

Rating

Price 62%
Size Variety 100%
Quality of Ingredients 71%
Customer Experience 89%
Nutrient Value 73%
Recall History 62%
Manufacturing Method 40%

Product info

Age Range:Adult Cost per day:$0.13

Company info

Company HQChesterfield, Missouri Parent companySolid Gold Health Products for Pets, Inc.

Overview

Formulated with plenty of protein from chicken and eggs, this dry cat food recipe is designed to support your cat’s optimal health and wellness. With probiotic support for gut health and functional superfoods for immune support, this recipe will keep your cat healthy and strong. Salmon oil provides plenty of skin- and coat-supporting omega-3s while canola oil offers high omega-6 content to balance it out.

Chicken Meal, Potatoes, Canola Oil (Preserved with Mixed Tocopherols), Peas, Chicken, Dried Eggs, Ocean Fish Meal, Natural Flavor, Carrots, Potassium Chloride, Pumpkin, Salmon Oil (Preserved with Mixed Tocopherols), Vitamins (Vitamin E Supplement, L-Ascorbyl-2-Polyphosphate (Source of Vitamin C), Niacin, Calcium Pantothenate, Riboflavin Supplement, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Thiamine Mononitrate, Vitamin A Supplement, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Biotin, Folic Acid), Taurine, Minerals (Zinc Sulfate, Ferrous Sulfate, Copper Sulfate, Manganese Sulfate, Zinc Proteinate, Manganese Proteinate, Copper Proteinate, Sodium Selenite, Calcium Iodate), Blueberries, Cranberries, DL-Methionine, Choline Chloride, Dried Chicory Root, Rosemary Extract, Dried Lactobacillus Acidophilus Fermentation Product, Dried Enterococcus Faecium Fermentation Product, Dried Lactobacillus Casei Fermentation Product.

Guaranteed Analysis

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Protein: 42%

Fat: 20%

Fiber: 3%

Moisture: 10%

Ash: 0%

Carb: 25%

Dry Matter Analysis

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Protein: 46.67%

Fat: 22.22%

Fiber: 3.33%

Ash: 8%

Carb: 27.78%

What We Like

  • Supplemented with chelated minerals for optimal nutrient absorption
  • Doesn’t contain fillers, by-products, or artificial additives
  • A good source of omega-3 fatty acids

What We Did Not Like

  • High in carbohydrates
  • Low in moisture
  • Contains plant-based proteins
  • Some cats may be allergic to fish
8

Instinct Limited Ingredient Diet Grain-Free Recipe with Real Rabbit Freeze-Dried Raw Coated Dry Cat Food

Rating

Price 25%
Size Variety 100%
Quality of Ingredients 69%
Customer Experience 82%
Nutrient Value 57%
Recall History 100%
Manufacturing Method 40%

Product info

Age Range:Adult Cost per day:$0.22

Company info

Company HQLincoln, Nebraska Parent companyM.I. Industries

Overview

Cats with food allergies and sensitivities often require a limited ingredient diet. Not only does this Instinct recipe contain a short list of main ingredients, but it is made with a single source of animal protein, and a novel one at that. With rabbit meal as the primary ingredient, this recipe is protein-packed and easy to digest. Plus, the kibbles are sprayed with freeze-dried rabbit for a boost of flavor and added protein.

Rabbit Meal, Peas, Tapioca, Canola Oil (preserved with Mixed Tocopherols and Citric Acid), Rabbit, Natural Flavor, Coconut Oil, Montmorillonite Clay, Taurine, Choline Chloride, Potassium Chloride, Vitamins (Vitamin E Supplement, L-Ascorbyl-2-Polyphosphate, Niacin Supplement, Thiamine Mononitrate, d-Calcium Pantothenate, Vitamin A Supplement, Riboflavin Supplement, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Folic Acid, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Biotin), DL-Methionine, Minerals (Zinc Proteinate, Iron Proteinate, Copper Proteinate, Manganese Proteinate, Sodium Selenite, Ethylenediamine Dihydriodide), Freeze Dried Rabbit, Salt, Pumpkinseeds, Rosemary Extract.

Guaranteed Analysis

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Protein: 35%

Fat: 19%

Fiber: 5.5%

Moisture: 9%

Ash: 0%

Carb: 31.5%

Dry Matter Analysis

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Protein: 38.46%

Fat: 20.88%

Fiber: 6.04%

Ash: 8%

Carb: 34.62%

What We Like

  • To our knowledge, Instinct has never had a product recall
  • Freeze-dried food retains the nutritional value of raw meat
  • Supplemented with chelated minerals for optimal nutrient absorption
  • Doesn’t contain fillers, by-products, or artificial additives

What We Did Not Like

  • Expensive
  • Low protein content
  • High in carbohydrates
  • Low in moisture
  • Contains plant-based proteins
  • Freeze dried cat food requires rehydration, which is time-consuming
9

Wellness CORE Grain-Free Indoor Formula Dry Cat Food

Rating

Price 25%
Size Variety 100%
Quality of Ingredients 75%
Customer Experience 75%
Nutrient Value 80%
Recall History 33%
Manufacturing Method 40%

Product info

Age Range:Adult Cost per day:$0.23

Company info

Company HQTewksbury, Massachusetts Parent companyWellPet LLC

Overview

Formulated to support the nutritional needs of indoor cats, this Wellness dry food recipe features deboned chicken as the first ingredient. This recipe is completely free from animal by-products and fillers, made with numerous sources of species-appropriate animal protein. The primary source of added fat is nutrient-rich chicken fat and the overall carbohydrate content is below average for a dry cat food formula.

Deboned Chicken, Turkey Meal, Chicken Meal, Peas, Potatoes, Tomato Pomace, Ground Flaxseed, Chicken Fat (preserved with Mixed Tocopherols), Natural Chicken Flavor, Chicory Root Extract, Choline Chloride, Cranberries, Taurine, Vitamin E Supplement, Glucosamine Hydrochloride, Chondroitin Sulfate, Dried Kelp, L-Carnitine, Zinc Proteinate, Mixed Tocopherols added to preserve freshness, Zinc Sulfate, Calcium Carbonate, Niacin, Iron Proteinate, Ferrous Sulfate, Yucca Schidigera Extract, Vitamin A Supplement, Copper Sulfate, Thiamine Mononitrate, Copper Proteinate, Manganese Proteinate, Manganese Sulfate, d-Calcium Pantothenate, Sodium Selenite, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Riboflavin, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Biotin, Calcium Iodate, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Folic Acid, Ascorbic Acid (Vitamin C), Dried Lactobacillus plantarum Fermentation Product, Dried Enterococcus faecium Fermentation Product, Dried Lactobacillus casei Fermentation Product, Dried Lactobacillus acidophilus Fermentation Product, Rosemary Extract, Green Tea Extract, Spearmint Extract.

Guaranteed Analysis

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Protein: 45%

Fat: 18%

Fiber: 3%

Moisture: 10%

Ash: 0%

Carb: 24%

Dry Matter Analysis

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Protein: 50%

Fat: 20%

Fiber: 3.33%

Ash: 8%

Carb: 26.67%

What We Like

  • Supplemented with chelated minerals for optimal nutrient absorption
  • Contains health promoting ground flaxseed for fiber
  • Contains dried kelp as a natural source of essential nutrients
  • Doesn’t contain fillers, by-products, or artificial additives
  • Rich in species-appropriate animal protein

What We Did Not Like

  • Expensive
  • High in carbohydrates
  • Low in moisture
  • Contains a small amount of plant-based proteins
  • Doesn’t receive consistently positive customer reviews
  • The brand has had multiple recalls over recent years

Why Should You Trust Us

As dog parents ourselves, we understand how hard it is to choose the right dry cat food with so many recipes available on the market in 2022. So how do you navigate past marketing claims to get real facts?

That’s where we come in. With over 534 recipe reviews, Pet Food Sherpa is the largest database for dog food recipe reviews overseen by a vet nutrition specialist.

Our team has analyzed over 534 dry cat foods and selected the 10 best recipes, we then used our pet food algorithm to determine the scores for each recipe.

You should keep in mind that no single dry cat food is right for all cats. Instead, use our list as a research tool to help you make a better-informed decision on your cat’s diet.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. How much dry food to feed a cat?

How much you feed your cat depends on a variety of factors including age, size, activity level, and body condition. Kittens require more protein and calories than adult cats, as do cats who regularly get a lot of exercise. If your cat is already overweight, he may need less food than a cat of healthy weight, while cats that are pregnant or lactating may need more calories than the average cat.

Because cats are smaller than dogs – and because calorie content varies greatly between recipes - it often makes sense to think about your cat’s daily requirements in terms of calories rather than the number of cups. Keep in mind as well that your cat’s caloric requirements may differ depending on their alteration status (whether they’ve been spayed or neutered).

Here’s a quick chart to give you an idea how many calories your cat needs:

Weight Healthy Weight – Spayed/Neutered Healthy Weight - Intact Prone to Weight Gain In Need of Weight Loss
5 lbs. 157 kcal/day 183 kcal/day 131 kcal/day 105 kcal/day
7.5 lbs. 210 kcal/day 245 kcal/day 175 kcal/day 140 kcal/day
10 lbs. 260 kcal/day 303 kcal/day 216 kcal/day 173 kcal/day
12.5 lbs. 298 kcal/day 362 kcal/day 258 kcal/day 207 kcal/day
15 lbs. 354 kcal/day 413 kcal/day 295 kcal/day 236 kcal/day
17.5 lbs. 396 kcal/day 462 kcal/day 330 kcal/day 264 kcal/day
20 lbs. 440 kcal/day 513 kcal/day 367 kcal/day 293 kcal/day

Keep in mind that your cat’s caloric requirements can range by as much as 50% from these recommendations. If you’re not sure how much you should be feeding your cat, you can always ask your veterinarian. It’s also important to check the calorie content of your cat’s food so you can better determine whether the feeding recommendations on the label are appropriate.

2. How much wet and dry food to feed a cat?

Many cat owners choose to feed their cats a mixture of wet and dry food. Dry food is generally more affordable than wet food and it comes with the convenience of being shelf stable. Wet food, on the other hand, tends to be higher in protein and moisture with lower carbohydrate content.

Feeding your cat a blend of wet and dry food can help provide nutritional balance as well as dietary variation. Cats can get bored eating the same thing every day, so a diet of the same dry food day after day may cause your cat to eventually turn up his nose. Swapping out a few meals a week with wet food or adding some wet food to his dry food diet can make life more interesting.

If you’re going to feed your cat a mixture of wet and dry food, it’s a good idea to be intentional about the amounts. The simplest option is to do a 50/50 split. In this case, you can refer to the feeding recommendations for each product and just cut them both in half. If you prefer to use wet food more supplementally, go with a 25/75 split of wet to dry food.

3. Is dry food bad for cats?

When choosing a diet for your cat, it’s important to consider your cat’s nutritional requirements above all else. If the product you choose isn’t properly formulated to provide balanced nutrition for cats, the type of food won’t make a meaningful difference.

If you’re trying to decide between wet food and dry food for cats, there are some key points to consider. Dry food is generally a convenient and affordable option for pet owners, but it may not be the most species-appropriate choice for cats. Cats are obligate carnivores which means their natural evolutionary diet is meat-based. In fact, cats have very little ability to digest or derive nutrition from plant matter.

This is important to remember because dry food tends to be much higher in carbohydrates than wet food. Dry cat food is usually made through the process of extrusion which requires the use of starches and other binders to create the right consistency. Wet food, on the other hand, comes in a wide variety of textures and it doesn’t need to be solid enough to be shaped into hard kibbles.

Aside from the higher carbohydrate content, another potential problem with dry cat food is the low moisture content. Cats are already less likely to drink water on their own than dogs, so it’s a good idea to make up for that by including high moisture foods in your cat’s diet. Wet food typically contains at least 75% moisture while dry foods usually sit around 10%.

If it’s the best option for your budget and lifestyle, there’s nothing wrong with choosing a high-quality dry food for your cat. If wet food is an option, however – even if it’s only a supplemental part of your cat’s diet – it’s a great idea to include it.

4. How long does dry cat food last?

Dry cat food is preferred among many cat owners because it is easier to store than raw, fresh, or frozen food. While this type of food certainly has a longer shelf-life than many other options, it doesn’t last forever. Unopened packages of dry cat food generally last for 12 to 18 months.

When you purchase a bag of dry cat food, it’s a good idea to check the label. The label will generally tell you not only when the product was packaged but a date it should be used by. To ensure that your cat food stays fresh as long as possible, be sure to store it in a cool, dark, dry place like your kitchen pantry. The garage can be a good option as well, as long as it doesn’t get too hot or too cold.

Though dry cat food can last over a year when unopened, it starts to decline in quality and nutritional value as soon as you open it. Dry cat food generally contains preservatives to help keep it fresh, but exposure to air will start oxidizing the fats and breaking down other nutrients.

After you’ve opened a bag of dry cat food, it’s best to use it within 4 to 6 weeks. This may mean that you’ll need to buy smaller bags unless you have multiple cats and tend to go through cat food pretty quickly. Once you’ve portioned out dry cat food into your cat’s bowl, you can leave it out for up to 48 hours. After that, it’s best to discard it and replace it with fresh food.

5. Can you mix wet and dry cat food?

Whether you have a picky eater or you’re trying to moderate your pet food costs, you might think about mixing wet and dry cat food. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with this and, in fact, it can be a very good idea. Cats are notoriously picky eaters, so introducing some variety into a staple diet of dry food can be more interesting to your cat and can add a boost of nutrition as well.

If you’re going to provide your cat with a mixture of wet and dry food, think about how you’re going to do it. Will you go with a 50/50 blend or use the wet food more supplementally with a 25/75 split?

In terms of how to actually feed your cat a combination of wet and dry food, there are several options. One option is to feed your cat dry food at one meal and wet food at another. Another option is to serve the wet food on top of the dry food, or even side-by-side. If you’re trying to make dry food more palatable for your cat, you can even stir the two up together.

If you’re trying to soften dry food or make it more interesting for your cat by mixing in some wet food, look for a wet cat food that has some liquid in it. Recipes cooked in broth or gravy are a great option, as are wet cat food toppers and pouches.

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