Do you know that the best dry cat food for your kitty should be chosen specifically for your cat’s needs based on many factors? What we’re saying is that reading the Amazon cat food reviews is not enough to make the perfect pick.
You should also bear in mind the age, activity level, weight, special conditions (such as food sensitivities, digestive health, cat’s blood sugar, etc.), of your pet.
Then, you need to analyze the top-rated dry cat food on the market according to the needs of your cat: the nutrients and vitamins, caloric content, flavors, ingredients quality. Check the prices, customers’ reviews, safety records, veterinarian recommendations. You can even make a dry cat food comparison chart to make that perfect choice for your beloved feline…
But WHY WASTING so much TIME? If we’ve already done that job for you!
Also, you’ll find an easy step-by-step guide on how to choose the right cat food, introduce it to your cat’s diet, how to control the water balance, and lots of other topical issues.
So, are you ready to make your first step to the wholesome healthy nutrition for your purring pal they will greatly enjoy? Scroll down and just follow the lead of our expert team:
Top 11 Best Dry Cat Foods
Blue Buffalo Weight Control Natural Adult Dry Cat Food
3,323 kcal/kg, 346 kcal/cup
Chicken & Brown Rice
Protein: 30% Fat: 10% Fiber: 9% Moisture: 9%
Weight Control, No Corn No Wheat No Soy
Status: Best vet recommended cat food
Entirely free of poultry by-product meals, corn, wheat, soy, artificial flavors, and preservatives, this best Blue Buffalo cat food meets the nutritional standards established by the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO), which makes it the very best option out of top cat food brands.
Blue Buffalo Weight Control Natural Adult Dry Cat Food is a well-balanced and complete meal, which was specially crafted to help adult cats maintain the healthy body weight thanks to a perfect amount of calories and protein, on top of which there are selected antioxidants, minerals, vitamins chosen by veterinarians and nutritionists.
Real deboned chicken as the first ingredient, along with brown rice, omega-3, and omega-6 fatty acids, vegetables, and fruit make this Blue Buffalo cat food also the best cat food for dandruff, best cat food for shedding, premium cat food to support the immune system.
All these benefits are packed into a delicious formula that cats adore.
- Uses real deboned chicken (high-quality protein)
- Contains garden vegetables and fruit
- Processed with less heat to preserve the nutritional value of the ingredients
- Formulated without artificial preservatives
- Supports healthy skin, a lustrous coat, immune system, and healthy oxidative balance.
- The bag isn’t resealable
- Rather pricey
Hill’s Science Diet Adult Indoor Dry Cat Food
Protein: 31% Fat: 13% Fiber: 12% Moisture: 8%
Status: Best cat food for indoor cats
This is one of the most nutritious dry cat food for cats between the ages of one and six. It tastes like homemade cat food with natural chicken flavor, which you cook with love, but it’s also high protein cat food, created to keep your kitty in its healthiest condition.
Made in the USA in line with vet and nutritionists’ requirements, Hill’s Science Diet Adult Indoor Cat Dry Cat Food supports stomach health, cat’s immune system, maintains healthy skin and reduces the occurrence of hairballs.
- Made in the USA
- Natural, high-quality ingredients without any artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives
- Antioxidant and vitamin blend
- Natural fiber for hairballs control
- Promote digestive health
- Isn’t suitable for overweight cats
Purina ONE Tender Selects Blend Adult Dry Cat Food
4,060 kcal/kg, 366 kcal/cup
Turkey, Chicken, Poultry
Protein: 34% Fat: 13% Fiber: 2% Moisture: 12%
Status: Best adult cat food
If you pick pet foods with animal proteins, let them be natural protein only. To avoid food allergies, support sensitive stomachs, maintain healthy skin and teeth, this very best Purina cat food for indoor cats will come in handy.
This hypoallergenic dry cat food is vet-recommended, and every ingredient has a purpose – only the essentials are included: vitamins, minerals, and taurine for overall health; omega-6 fatty acids for healthy skin and soft coat.
A fun crunchy texture is not only adored by cats, but it also invests in the dental health of cats.
- Real chicken is the first ingredient (provides protein for strong muscles)
- Combines crunchy bites and tender morsels
- Keeps teeth clean and healthy
- Made in the USA
- No fillers – good for allergies and food intolerances
- Has strong smell
Royal Canin Indoor Adult Dry Cat Food
3,534 kcal/kg, 325 kcal/cup
Protein: 27% Fat: 15% Fiber: 5.7% Moisture: 8%
Best weight control cat food
This low-protein dry cat food is meant for indoor adult cats only and, actually, it’s the best option in this category in the premium dry cat food segment. It’s formulated with a blend of fiber for digestion and weight maintenance.
The right amount of chicken meal, animal fat, vegetable fiber, carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals make this food highly digestible. This dry cat food won’t let your beloved kitty fall into obesity (which is very likely for indoor cats).
On the contrary, this formula will keep the healthy weight, disrupt the seasonal cycle of fur growth and increase shedding, manage hairballs.
- A special combination of fibers encourages intestinal transit and facilitates the elimination of hairballs.
- Rich in fiber, protein, vitamins, and minerals
- Moderate fat content for lazy indoor cats.
- Comes in 3-, 7-, or 15-pound bags.
- L.I.P. digestive science innovation
Tiki Cat – Born Carnivore Chicken, Herring & Salmon – Best dry cat food for allergies
3795 kcal/kg, 482 kcal/cup
Protein: 57% Fat: 26.2% Fiber: 4.6% Moisture: 13.2%
High-Protein, Grain-Free, No Corn No Wheat No Soy, GMO-Free, Natural
Tiki Cat Born Carnivore Chicken, Herring & Salmon is crafted with real meat, without GMO or any artificial colors and flavors. Moreover, it contains over 47% protein, 80% of which is animal-based. Meanwhile, the carbs are rather low, which makes this Tiki Cat edition the best low carb dry cat food for diabetic cats.
Also, you’ll find no corn, no wheat, no soy, and no any animal by-products in here. And by the way, Tiki Cat has grain-free kitten food options too.
Tiki Cat Born Carnivore Chicken, Herring & Salmon is primarily made from deboned chicken, chicken meal, and chicken liver, combined with tapioca starch, chickpeas, flaxseed, and whole peas.
And another bonus: unlike most other dry cat foods, the Tiki Cat features great flavor without artificial ingredients! The secret is in baking the kibble to paw-fection.
- Low in carbohydrates
- High-quality protein sources – doesn’t rely on low-value plant protein
- Non-GMO ingredients only
- Free from artificial colors and flavors
- No animal by-products
- Contains delicious, nutrient-rich liver
- The plant ingredients are minimally-nourishing
Ziwi Peak Air-Dried Dry Cat Food – Best air-dried cat food
4800 kcal/kg, 273 kcal/scoop
Mackerel, Lamb, Meat, Seafood & Fish
Protein: 44.8% Fat: 26% Fiber: 2.1% Moisture: 14.6% Ash: 12.5%
Limited Ingredient Diet, No Corn No Wheat No Soy, Grain-Free, Pea-Free, Non-GMO, High-Protein, GMO-Free, Natural
What’s special about this meal from Ziwi? It’s air-dried using a twin-stage dehydration technique, which destroys pathogenic bacteria but keeps maximum nutrients, though.
Ziwi Peak Air-Dried Dry Cat Food is dry cat food without chicken, which automatically makes it a great variant for allergic cats striving for grain free diets. This recipe features a mixture of fresh meat and fish meal: mackerel, lamb, and a variety of lamb organs. Eventually, the source of vitamins and minerals is not synthetic – they come from the heart, tripe, liver, lung, kidney, and bones.
The food also features 10% superfood inclusions of cold-washed green tripe, New Zealand green mussels, and organic kelp.
But despite it can be considered as dry cat food with high moisture content, just 14% moisture is still no substitute for a hydrating canned food or raw diet.
Ziwi Peak is a perfect option for your cat’s wellbeing.
- Natural ingredients come from ethical New Zealand farms
- Minimally processed (air-dried) keeps the nutritional value of ingredients
- Super low carbohydrate content
- 95% of the bioavailable protein in each meal
- Nutritious and digestible as a completely raw diet
- Superfood inclusions
- Extremely expensive
- Some cats are picky about the jerky texture
Rachael Ray Nutrish Natural Cat Food – Best natural cat food
3,635 kcal/kg, 386 kcal/cup
Protein: 34% Fat: 14% Fiber: 4% Moisture: 9%
If you want your cat to eat like in the best catstaurants, look no more: Rachael Ray Nutrish Natural Cat Food is what you need. With natural farm-raised chicken as the first ingredient, wholesome brown rice, and vegetables, it tastes like a specialty from a chef.
This best-rated food is also packed with vitamins and minerals like biotin, zinc, and omega fatty acids.
This blend results in supporting lean muscles, GI tract and heart running smoothly, healthy skin, soft and radiant fur, normal heart muscles functions and eyesight.
- US farm-raised chicken is the first ingredient
- No corn, wheat, or soy ingredients
- No poultry by-product meal or fillers
- No artificial flavors or preservatives
- Packed with vitamins and minerals (including omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids, calcium, zinc, and phosphorus)
- Not for certain allergies or food intolerances (contains gluten)
IAMS Proactive Health Adult Indoor Weight
3364 kcal/kg, 302 kcal/cup
Protein: 30% Fat: 13.5% Fiber: 8.3% Moisture: 10%
Indoor, Weight Control, Pea-Free, High Fiber
Status: Best cat food for hairballs
If obesity and hairballs are the issues of huge concern, this low-calorie IAMS Proactive Health Adult Indoor Weight & Hairball Control Dry Cat Food with only 302 calories per cup, will help your cat maintain a healthy weight and get rid of that annoying hairball trouble.
Another benefit is that this cat food helps to keep your cat’s teeth healthy and clean.
However, if your kitty is allergic, you’d better look for other gluten-free options of the best cat food for overweight indoor cats. Formulated with L-carnitine, it helps burn fat and support a healthy metabolism, while the fiber manages the hairballs before they even start.
- Manufactured in the USA
- High fiber helps reduce hairballs
- Reduces litter box smell
- Low-calorie content
- Not gluten or filler-free
Blue Buffalo Wilderness High Protein Dry Cat Food – Best cat food for older cats
3,832 kcal/kg, 443 kcal/cup
Protein: 40% Fat: 18% Fiber: 4% Moisture: 9%
Grain-Free, High-Protein, No Corn No Wheat No Soy
Not every cat can tolerate artificial flavors, preservatives, wheat, soy, corn, poultry by-product meals – not to mention senior cats. The older your purring pal becomes, the pickier you should be about its menu – and Blue Buffalo knows this.
Thus, this US-based brand crafted a purrfect recipe bearing all the aging cats’ issues in mind:
Slower metabolism (leads to the need for smaller portions and fewer calories)
Developing health issues
Obviously, to keep your elderly cat safe, you’d better opt for veterinarian-recommended cat food, which is not only stuffed with the best natural ingredients, antioxidant-rich superfoods, Omega-3, taurine, essential amino acids but also able to serve as the best urinary dry cat food.
What’s special about the Blue Buffalo Wilderness High Protein Dry Cat Food? The recipe was also enriched with special LifeSource Bits (a blend of antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals to support your kitty’s immune system, life stage requirements, and a healthy oxidative balance.)
Be ready to pay extra for all these unique features and treat your senior cat, since this product is more pricey compared to similar dry cat foods by other brands.
- Real chicken is the first ingredient
- BLUE’S ‘LifeSource Bits’ packed with vitamins, antioxidants, and minerals
- Whole proteins
- Grain, filler, and by-product-free
- Potato protein and pea protein – the healthy carbohydrates to fuel a cat
Stella & Chewy’s Chick Chick Chicken Dinner Morsels – Best freeze-dried cat food
4,360 kcal/kg, 182 kcal/cup
Protein: 56.3% Fat: 31.3% Fiber: 6.3% Moisture: 6.3%
Grain-Free, Gluten-Free, Limited Ingredient Diet, Raw, Pea-Free
Stella & Chewy’s Chick Chick Chicken Dinner Morsels is the most unique item on our list – and it’s not only in terms of the package design but also, much more importantly, the way these morsels are processed.
The freeze drying destroys all the potentially harmful bacteria, makes the food shelf-stable like kibble, and gives the snack a cool crunchy texture.
Thus, this dry cat food offers all the benefits of raw food nutrition with the convenience of freeze-dried preparation.
The morsels are made of ground chicken meat and bone, liver, and gizzard; 100% organic-certified fruits and vegetables.
Raw feeding like this supports an improved appetite, digestion, immune system, teeth, and gum health, skin and coat, can help relieve allergic reactions.
- All the nutrition of raw meat in a shelf-stable safe form
- High-quality protein sources
- Great for transition to a moisture-rich diet
- Low in carbohydrates
- No grains, gluten, fillers, artificial preservatives, or colorings
- The freeze-dried texture is not favored by some cats
- Not an option for senior cats because of rather high phosphorus content
Meow Mix Original Choice Dry Cat Food – Best cheap cat food
3,500 kcal/kg, 308 kcal/cup
Chicken, Turkey, Salmon, Poultry, Seafood & Fish
Protein: 31% Fat: 11% Fiber: 4% Moisture: 12%
Besides being the best cheap dry cat food, Meow Mix Original Choice is also the best tasting dry cat food. This tried and tested classic recipe provides your feline friend with a well-rounded diet of all the essential nutrients they need.
This food is meant to maintain adult fully grown cats throughout the day, providing all the essential nutrients.
The product is packed with wholesome ingredients: chicken, turkey, salmon, ocean fish. And all that goes in a very budget-friendly price.
However, you should be concerned that this recipe contains wheat, soy, corn gluten meal, animal by-products – so, only healthy cats without any digestive or allergic conditions will take to the formula fine.
- 100% complete and balanced nutritious diet for adult cats
- Provides all the essential vitamins and minerals
- Made by a trusted USA company
- Lots of flavors
- Not for allergic and sensitive cats
- Artificial additives included
Keep Your Kitty Hydrated – Consider Investing in Water Fountain
Modern cats don’t get enough moisture in their diet – both those who eat wet and dry food. But, obviously, those adult cats who eat wet cat food take in more water even if not drinking anything at all.
As for the feline friends eating dry kibble, which was baked, dehydrated, and packaged to last, they definitely need a constant supply of fresh, clean water available all the time to stay hydrated.
However, another problem is that cats, despite being domesticated for ages, still instinctively tend to avoid still, potentially stagnant water. That’s why a water fountain is always a great idea: it will satisfy your cat’s need in well-aerated moving water as well as guarantee the proper water balance for felines that eat dry cat food.
What to know before you buy dry cat food
Nowadays, it’s a real challenge to pick the one, very best product for your kitty out of numerous brands and varieties of dry cat foods. We are here to make this choice easier for you. SO, first, let’s clear up some basic points:
- The food should be not only tasty for your pet, but also beneficial for their health simultaneously
- The food should be specifically designed for the age and size of your kitty (kitten dry food, adult cat dry foods, senior cats food, etc)
- The food MUST suit your cat’s dietary restrictions, needs, or conditions (allergies, sensitivities, weight issues, etc)
What other factors should you bear in mind when looking for the best dry foods? Here are the key features to consider:
Protein content and quality
All the top dry cat food brands on our list feature a high-quality animal protein source. The point is that all the essential amino acids for cats are found in meat only – that’s why having a pea protein or potato protein is not enough for a kitten food.
Another thing to pay attention to is the quality of animal protein. First ingredients such as real chicken, lamb, turkey, salmon, and tuna are all rich in protein, while by-products, chicken meal or turkey meal, liver, heart, and so on are not the best protein source for a kitty: it can feel full but without any nutritious value.
Since cats are obligate carnivores, their nutrition should be based on animal products only. Opt for cat foods with higher amounts of protein and lower amounts of carbohydrates reported in the nutritional breakdown. Also, there should also be a variety of other vitamins, minerals, fatty acids, and amino acids.
Such a contradictory point! Indeed, the anti-grain fad has lots of proof of the corn and wheat potential negative effect on cats. However, we’re also unsure if it’s safer to consume high-carbohydrate grain-free kibble instead. Swapping grains with potatoes and peas can be important for cats with specific health issues, however, for a healthy feline friend, this replacement won’t do anything nutritionally significant.
The concern is that many grain-free foods use other potentially harmful ingredients, which are associated with an increased risk of DCM.
Thus, you should be really precise when choosing a grain-free product for your cat if they really have a health condition that requires the replacement of grains.
What to look for in quality dry cat food?
The 1st Five Ingredients on the Label Matter
When looking for the best pet food for your cat, remember to check if meat, meat by-products, or seafood are listed as the first ingredients on the label. If you see these ingredients listed first, this food is likely to contain enough protein for your cat.
If you’re choosing cat food for a sensitive stomach, chicken meal or turkey meal are not the best options among the top 5 ingredients.
Finally, the top ingredients on the label influence the flavor of the food.
Food for obligate carnivores has to be high-protein with moderate fat and little or no carbohydrates.
Since dry cat food is notorious for high carbohydrate content, it’s better to calculate it before purchasing (most manufacturers don’t provide this information on the label.)
Match the dry food you choose to your cat’s life stage: dry kitten food has to meet the nutritional needs of kittens as they grow and develop; active adult cats need a balanced diet to keep them healthy and happy; older cats also have special diet criteria based on their condition.
As we’ve mentioned at the previous stage, dry foods should be picked specifically for the needs of the cat, so, obviously, the activity level of an indoor cat is completely different and requires less energy and nutrition than cats walking outside.
This is a matter of taste and all you can do to find the perfect product for your feline friend is to try and test.
Amino acids, vitamins, and minerals are essential for your cat to thrive – so, the food should meet the minimum daily requirements to keep the immune system, skin, fur, teeth, and overall health of your kitty, as well as provide them with energy for the day.
Value for money
Since the best dry cat food is mostly rather pricey, value for money is also an issue of concern. In our list, most of the products are the best value for money.
You should definitely avoid foods with artificial flavors, colors, and preservatives, especially if your cat is allergic or sensitive. Opt for natural dry cat foods with animal-sourced flavors and safe preservatives.
We looked for dry cat foods manufactured by reputable and vet-recommended companies only. However, if your kitty has some particular health concerns like hairballs, extra weight, indigestion, urinary tract issues, first contact your veterinarian to discuss your cat’s diet.
What is the best dry cat food?
Our top pick is the Blue Buffalo Weight Control Natural Adult Dry Cat Food.
What is the best cat food recommended by vets?
Besides the Blue Buffalo’s products, Hill’s Science Diet Adult Indoor Dry Cat Food and Ziwi Peak Air-Dried Dry Cat Food are highly recommended by veterinarians.
What is the best dry cat food for adult cats?
Purina ONE Tender Selects Blend Adult Dry Cat Food is the formula that addresses all the needs of a healthy adult cat.
What is the best and healthiest dry cat food?
The healthiest dry cat food is one rich in high-quality protein, without a lot of veggies, and free of artificial additives.
What is the best dry cat food for older cats?
Tiki Cat – Born Carnivore Chicken, Herring & Salmon is one of the best options for senior cats.
How much dry cat food should I feed my cat?
Every dry cat food has this information on the packaging, so check it for your specific product based on the weight of your cat. You can also check with your vet if have any doubts. On average, an adult cat eats around a quarter of a cup of dry food twice a day.
What ingredients should you look for in premium dry cat food?
Whole animal protein as the first ingredient, high fiber, minimum fillers (preferably grain free), low and healthy carbohydrates, probiotics, prebiotics, antioxidants (fruits and veggies), fatty acids (omega-3 and 6)
Can dry cat food go stale?
Yes. Remember to check the “best by” date, keep it in the original packaging, seal the bag properly after use to avoid air exposure, and store your food in a cool, dry place.
How much you can expect to spend on dry cat food?
On average, you can expect to pay around $8-16 for a four-pound bag of premium dry food each month. You can also find more budget-friendly dry pet food options ($5-8 per bag).
Can you mix wet and dry cat food?
Mixing dry and wet cat foods is a great trick if your cat is too picky to eat the kibble.
You can mix both every day or only offer wet food on occasion: this decision is up to the cat, pet parents, and maybe your wet as well.
Why Should I Give My Cat Dry Food Instead of Wet, Canned, or Raw?
Canned and wet cat food is higher in calories, can lead to dental issues like plaque, tartar, tooth decay, and periodontal disease, and is also more expensive than dry kibble. However, dry cat food also has some drawbacks, so the answer is somewhere in the middle.
So, what is the best dry food for most adult cats? Our top dry food choice is the Blue Buffalo Weight Control Natural Adult Dry Cat Food and Hill’s Science Diet Adult Indoor Dry Cat Food. However, if you’re looking for a more budget-friendly option, consider Meow Mix Original Choice Dry Food.
However, every dry food variant on this list is worth your attention, so as pet owners you have the final word. Hopefully, our reviews made your purchase easy and purrfect!