Updated: February 21, 2021 by Kristen Chapple
Finding the best affordable food for your cat is not easy. Typically positioned on the lower end of the price range, it is not surprising to find that some of these foods are laden with fillers and even harmful chemicals. But this should not scare you because we are here to help.
We looked carefully into the market, identified the best cheap cat food, and reviewed them. So, read through our reviews to pinpoint the food option that is ideal for your fur babies. It is time to remove the guesswork out of the equation!
The Best Cheap Cat Foods Are:
|1. IAMS Proactive Health Healthy Adult Cat Food
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|2. Triumph Premium Chicken ‘N Liver
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|3. VICTOR Mers Classic Multi-Pro Dry Cat Food
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|4. American Journey Turkey & Chicken Recipe Grain-Free Dry Cat Food
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|5. Rachael Ray Nutrish for Cats
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|6. Weruva Cats in the Kitchen Cuties Variety Pack Grain-Free Canned Cat Food
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|7. Diamond Naturals Kitten Formula Dry Cat Food
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|8. Stella & Chewy's Chick Chick Chicken Dinner Morsels Freeze-Dried Raw Cat Food
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|9. Purina Beyond Simply Chicken & Oatmeal
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1. IAMS Proactive Health Healthy Adult Cat Food – Best Inexpensive Cat Food
This IAMS Proactive Health Healthy Adult cat food is our favorite, and the first pick in our list. Coming from IAMS, we were not surprised because the brand has become one of the top recommendations by vets and animal nutritionists for outstanding quality.
What we liked most about the food is that it is prepared using real chicken meat, which makes it rich in essential amino acids and to have a lovely flavor.
When preparing this cat food, IAMs targeted whole cat health. In addition to using high-quality chicken meat, they also included dried egg products, fish oil, and chicken fat that helps to build lean and healthy muscles. With this food, you are sure of nurturing a little bouncy cat athlete in your home.
Another notable thing about IAMS Proactive Health Healthy Adult cat food is that it is enriched with Omega-6 and Omega-3 fatty acids.
These fats work with different minerals to help your cat develop smooth and attractive fur. Remember that since it is dry food, you need to supply the cat with ample water supply.
- Protein: 42.2%
- Fat: 20%
- Carbohydrates: 24.4%
- Enriched with probiotics for better gut health
- Crunchy kibble texture helps to keep the teeth tartar-free and clean
- Formulated for overall good health
- Not recommended for cats below one year
2. Triumph Premium Chicken ‘N Liver — Best Quality Affordable Wet Cat Food
Trailing our first pick closely is this Triumph Premium Chicken ‘N Liver cat food, which has also won praise from far and wide for quality.
It is one of the best cat foods that you can get on a budget because of its fairly good macronutrient profile. Its flavor is also remarkable, and our cats loved every minute on the plate.
This cat food is prepared with 45.5% protein, which we found high enough and good for most felines. You will also like the fact that the proteins are drawn from multiple sources, such as ocean fish, chicken, and pork liver. These sources, especially the liver, are nutrient-dense, something that you will rarely find in many budget foods.
To make the food more balanced and helpful to your cat’s body system, the formula also contains ample minerals and vitamins.
When you start using the food on your cats, it only takes a short moment for new smooth and fuller fur to appear. In our case, our cats started developing lovely new fur in the first week.
- Proteins: 45.5%
- Fats: 27.3%
- Carbohydrates: 13.6%
- Proteins are derived from real chicken, pig, and fish meat
- Presents a well-balanced combination of proteins, vitamins, and carbohydrates
- Sold affordably
- You can easily combine it with hard food
- High carb and fat content can result in overweight cats
- Not good for young cats
Are you searching for affordable cat food that can be used for both adult and young cats? Look no further than this VICTOR Mers Classic Multi-Pro Dry Cat Food.
The food is formulated to help cats to maintain a healthy weight and enjoy every moment with you.
The main ingredient in this food is protein, which is derived from real meat. By including beef meal, pork, fish meal, and chicken meal, VICTOR ensured that your cat gets all the amino acids needed for good health.
It is because of this combination of amino acids that the food is considered okay for both young and old felines.
To nurture an active and playful cat, you need to promote the development of lean muscles, and this food does exactly that. It is formulated with L-carnitine that helps to convert fat into energy for supporting lean muscle development.
Furthermore, the food is enriched with Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids, Vitamin E, and lysine that help to keep the immune system of the cat strong.
- Proteins: 35.2%
- Fat: 17.6%
- Carbohydrates: 33.8%
- Prepared with protein-rich ingredients such as pork and fish meal
- Formulated to help your cat develop healthy skin and shiny coat
- Well balanced with vitamins, minerals, and amino acids
- Suitable for cats of all stages
- Carbohydrates content is very high
You like turkey, don’t you? Cats also like turkey, and American Journey wanted to ensure that your cat can enjoy every meal-time with this Turkey & Chicken Recipe Grain-Free Dry Cat Food.
The food is formulated to supply your active cat with all the proteins and energy it requires for healthy living. Furthermore, the food rocks a unique flavor that is loved by most cats.
Every time you look at your cat, it is important to appreciate that it is an obligate feline that has evolved over time to rely on meat alone.
It is because of this consideration that this food is formulated with high-protein content of 44.4%. The proteins used in the food are sourced from turkey, chicken, and fish that help to make every meal into a feast.
To make the food more helpful to your feline, American Journey went a step further and included essential minerals and vitamins, which help to keep your cat’s immune system healthy all the time.
- Proteins: 44.4%
- Fat: 16.7%
- Carbs: 25.6%
- With real turkey meat as the first ingredient
- Formulation is grain-free with no corn, soy or wheat
- Prepared with carefully selected ingredients that are sourced from trusted suppliers
- Carefully balanced with mineral, vitamins, proteins and carbohydrates for a healthy cat
- Formulated for active adult cats
- The food contains mixed Tocopherols as a preservative
Coming next in our list is this Rachael Ray Nutrish for Cats food, a feast designed using simple ingredients, yet rich in all the nutrients that your cat needs.
The food recipe is inspired by the Rachael’s Kitchen, which has cut a name for creating top of range recipes for both people and animals. Particularly, we were impressed by the unique balance of the ingredients used in the recipe.
Every ingredient used to prepare this food has a purpose. Indeed, Rachael Ray Nutrish took the idea of cat nutrition a notch higher by ensuring that the food has a combination of top-rated proteins and vitamins.
The food is prepared using whitefish, chicken, and salmon that are rich in all the amino acids that your cat needs. In addition, the food contains wholesome veggies, minerals, and Taurine.
This combination guarantees three things: stronger cat immunity, lean muscles, and healthy skin. This was more than we would have anticipated from any cat food that is priced this low.
- Protein: 34%
- Fat 14%
- Nature of food: Dry
- Crude fiber: 4.0%
- Prepared with high-quality proteins, including farm-raised chicken
- Does not contain ground corn, soy, or wheat ingredients
- Has no artificial preservatives or flavors
- Rich in vitamins and essential mineral for a healthy cat
- Crunchy texture helps to remove tartar from the cat’s teeth
- Only recommended for adult cats
To make your cat the best friend, the first thing that you need to think about is food. Weruva thought of it too and formulated this Grain-Free Canned Cat Food.
The ingredients of this food are aimed at mimicking what wild cats get when they make a kill in the jungle. Indeed, even our cats that did not like other meals could not have enough of this food.
The most notable thing about this food is that it is formulated for building your cat’s lean muscles, and ultimately making it a little “athlete.” The main ingredients used to prepare the food include chicken and chicken broth, which help to supply essential amino acids that your cat needs.
To make the food well-balanced, the formula also includes other top ingredients, such as tuna, sunflower seed oil, and pumpkin.
If you ask professional vets out there, they will tell you that every cat food should have ample vitamins to make your feline strong in fighting diseases. It is because of this that this food comes with essential minerals and vitamins, such as Vitamin E, Vitamin Ba, and Vitamin D3.
- Crude proteins: Minimum 10%
- Crude fat: 1.6%
- Fiber: 0.5%
- Minimally prepared to make your cat feel natural
- Free of GMOs, gluten, corn, or soy
- All the ingredients are well balanced to guarantee your cat whole-body health
- Sold in packs of 12 cans
- It may make some cats gassy
Most of the foods that we have looked at in this list are formulated for adult cats, and you might be wondering: “What about kittens?”
Well, if you want to feed your baby cats on a budget, this Diamond Naturals Kitten Formula Dry Cat Food will not disappoint. It is carefully formulated to offer your little cuties with all the nutrients they need for proper growth.
The food is prepared using well-balanced nutrients meant to support whole-body health. The biggest percentage of the food is made from cage-free chicken.
This guarantees your cats of ample supply of amino acids needed to support strong bones, ligaments, brain, and immune system’s development. Further, the food is enriched with vitamins and powerful antioxidants derived from real vegetables and fruits.
To support healthy growth, your kitten should be able to absorb all the nutrients in the food you give it. This food is prepared with high-fiber content and probiotics that help to support a healthy gut for effective digestion and absorption of nutrients.
- Protein: 34% (minimum)
- Crude fat: 22% (minimum)
- Fiber: 2.0 (maximum)
- Prepared using cage-free chicken for high protein supply
- Enriched with antioxidants and vitamins
- Prepared with no artificial flavors or colors
- Does not contain wheat, corn, or soy
- Not suitable for adult cats
One of the cat foods that are cherished by cat owners and vets is this Stella & Chewy’s Chick Chick Chicken Dinner Morsels Freeze-Dried Raw Cat Food. It is an all-natural recipe prepared to offer cats what they would eat in the wild. The food is also tasty and most cats love it.
You will love this food formulation because of the main ingredients. Over 45% of the food is derived from high-quality protein sources such as chicken, chicken liver, bone, and chicken gizzard.
The effect of this formulation is that your cat will get a diet that is close to what its natural cousins, such as leopards, get in the wild. To make the food more effective in promoting better health of your cat, it is enriched with vitamins derived from 100% organic fruits.
Another outstanding thing about this food is that it is prepared from sustainably-sourced ingredients. This gives you the joy of knowing that your cat can fancy every meal without compromising the ecological balance.
- Crude proteins: 45% (minimum)
- Crude fat: 25% (maximum)
- Crude fiber: 5% (maximum)
- 100% natural ingredients
- Does not contain fillers, gluten, grains or preservatives
- Formulation helps to improve appetite and digestion
- Easy to prepare by simply using cool or warm water
- Sold in small quantities of only 18 ounces
The last high quality but cheap cat food to make our list is Purina Beyond Simply Chicken & Oatmeal. From the selection of proteins to enrichment with different minerals, most of the things about this cat food tick right. Indeed, we were surprised that this cat food is priced so low, because it perfectly fits a higher price tag.
The most notable thing about the cat food is that the primary ingredient is white meat from chicken sourced from Canada and the US. Indeed, even other sources of proteins such as eggs, pea protein, and chicken meal are equally healthy and can help your cat to get all the needed amino acids in the body.
Because it is formulated for adult cats, Purina went for high-quality whole grains such as barley, oatmeal, and brown rice. The carbs not only supply your cat with energy but also provide fibers that help to improve the cat’s digestive system.
You will also like the fact that the food does not contain wheat, corn, or corn, which have been associated with fast weight gain and diabetes.
- Protein: 40.9%
- Fat: 17.1%
- Carbohydrates: 27.2%
- Enriched with enough vitamins for your feline
- Formulated with proteins from real chicken and other high-quality sources
- Carefully prepared with no wheat, soy or corn
- With Taurine and essential minerals that help to promote eyesight and stronger immune system
- The carbohydrates content is very high
- Not suitable for young cats
Guide For Finding The Best Budget Cat Food
When looking for the best cheap cat food, it is important to appreciate that cats have varying nutritional needs. Therefore, it is prudent to look at your cat closely and order the food based on its age, special needs, or medical condition.
Here is our guide to help you pick the best food option for your cat:
Types Of Budget Cat Food
looking for top-quality cat food on a budget, it is important to understand that they fall in different categories, including the following:
Wet Cat Food
As the name suggests, wet food contains high moisture content and is meant to mimic what felines get in the wild. The best quality affordable wet cat food are prepared in a way that the bulk of the moisture is retained and nutrients are easily absorbed by the system.
For example, most of them are slightly heated to remove pathogens and retain moisture without destroying nutrients. Then, they are packaged in sachets, tins, or pouches, and their descriptions can go with names such as meatloaf, jelly, gravy, and chunky.
Dry Cat Food
This is another common type of cat food that you will get in the market. It is prepared by sterilizing the main ingredients and removing the bulk of the moisture.
Some dry cat food should be served dry, while others should be pre-moistened before offering to your feline. But even when you moisten it, make sure to always provide your feline with an ample supply of clean water.
If you have senior cats with delicate teeth or want the feline to practice its teeth, the dry food will be a great option. Furthermore, it will not mess up your room, and it can also be left for the cat to eat when you are away.
Just like with wet foods, it is not uncommon to see some cats refusing to eat the same types of dry food. The best thing when considering dry and wet cat food is ensuring that your cat has both. This will provide the cat with diversity in both texture and nutrients.
No matter which brand of food you select, always ensure it has ample supply of the right nutrients for your cat. Here are the main considerations:
For years, most felines, including cats, have evolved into obligate animals. This means that their systems are conditioned to rely on a diet of high protein content. Similarly, you should look for food that is rich in proteins to satisfy the cats’ growth and health needs.
Because cats are tuned to live mainly on meat, you should go for the food that is grain-free or low on carbohydrates. To ensure that the cat food is balanced, most manufacturers avoid high-carb grains like soy and go for carbs derived from fruits such as raspberries and blueberries.
But even with the fruit carbs, it is important that the carbs are as low as possible to prevent the cat from developing diabetes or becoming overweight.
Vitamins and Minerals
Cats, like other living animals, rely on their immune system to protect themselves from diseases and infections. Therefore, you need to ensure the selected food has all the essential vitamins, including Vitamin C, Vitamin D, and Vitamin E.
In addition, the cat food should have ample supply of minerals such as phosphorus and calcium for healthy teeth and stronger bones.
Omega Fatty Acids
Every cat owner would love his/her cat to have full, smooth, and attractive fur. To achieve this, you need to ensure the cat has an ample supply of Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids.
Other Ingredients of Importance
In addition to the above ingredients, you should check for the food prepared with Taurine that helps with eyesight and good reproductive system development. Also, some manufacturers add probiotics that help to enhance the good health of the intestines.
Does Your Cat Require A Special Diet?
Kidney problems are very common in many cats, especially the older ones. To counter the problem, it is advisable to go for the food that is formulated using high-quality animal proteins as opposed to vegetable sources.
Also, younger and older cats might require you to consider special diets to address special health needs. For example, older cats should be provided with food rich in calcium and phosphorus to help improve their bones and ligaments.
Other conditions that you should be on the lookout for when selecting cheap food for your cat include dry hair, hairballs, sensitive stomach, urinary tract infections, and excess weight.
One of the best methods of establishing if a specific brand of food is of high-quality is checking for appropriate certification. In the US, the certification is done by the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO).
This is an accredited advisory group that draws its members from the federal agencies and vet organizations. It is mandated to oversee healthy animal feeds production and labeling.
Because AAFCO standards are accepted in most states, you should only go for the food that they recommend. So, check for labels such as “complete and balanced” from AAFC before making a decision to buy a specific type of food.
Buy From The Right Manufacturer
Brand is another crucial consideration when selecting cat food on a budget. Notably, some food manufacturers are only interested in making high profits with little concern for your cats.
This is why we recommend that you stick with brands whose commitment to quality is beyond reproach. Good examples include IAMS, Diamond Pet Food, and Weruva.
Note that this does not imply that new brands cannot produce the best quality affordable wet cat food or dry food. But identifying such brands will require in-depth research, particularly to determine their commitment to quality and customer value.
The health of your cat largely depends on the food you use. As we have demonstrated in our reviews above, you can feed your cat on top-rated food without breaking your bank.
The reviews have brought out high-quality cat foods that are prepared with all the ingredients that your feline requires for good health. In addition to having low price tags, the foods are made by top brands that have made their names for quality.
While we stand with the nine best affordable cat foods in our reviews above (they are outstanding in every sense), the Proactive Healthy Adult Cat Food from IAMS is the best of them all. It is formulated with high-quality protein and contains all ingredients that your feline needs for better health.