Updated: March 12, 2021 by Kristen Chapple
As a cat owner, there is no doubt that you want to be sure you are feeding your cat the very best dry cat food you can get your little paws on. But hold on, cats can be finicky, and their food preferences vary widely.
Some will prefer wet foods while others will only munch kibble. But dry food comes with several advantages over wet food:
- It’s less messy
- Can be left out for cats to feed on freely
- It’s good for their teeth
- Storage is pretty easy
While the benefits are evident for all to see, picking the best option is not simple because of the sheer number of brands and products out there, all claiming to be good food.
To help you with this, we selected the best dry food for cats and reviewed them. So, keep reading to learn more and pick the food option that will revitalize your cat’s life.
Table of Contents
- The Best Dry Cat Food Reviews Are:
- 1. Nulo Dry Cat Food
- 2. Dr. Elsey’s Cleanprotein Formula Dry Cat Food — Recommended Best Dry Food for Cats
- 3. Stella & Chewy’s Freeze-Dried Raw Cat Food – Runner Up
- 4. Wellness Complete Dry Cat Food
- 5. Ziwi Peak Air-Dried Dry Cat Food
- 6. Hill’s Science Diet Dry Cat Food
- 7. Purina Cat Chow Naturals Dry Cat Food
- 8. Rachael Ray Nutrish Natural Dry Cat Food
- 9. Kirkland Signature Dry Cat Food
- Best Dry Cat Food Buying Guide
- Final Thoughts
The Best Dry Cat Food Reviews Are:
|1. Nulo Dry Cat Food||Check Current Price|
|2. Dr. Elsey's Cleanprotein Formula Dry Cat Food||Check Current Price|
|3. Stella & Chewy’s Freeze-Dried Raw Cat Food||Check Current Price|
|4. Wellness Complete Dry Cat Food||Check Current Price|
|5. Ziwi Peak Air-Dried Dry Cat Food||Check Current Price|
|6. Hill’s Science Diet Dry Cat Food||Check Current Price|
|7. Purina Cat Chow Naturals Dry Cat Food||Check Current Price|
|8. Rachael Ray Nutrish Natural Dry Cat Food||Check Current Price|
|9. Kirkland Signature Dry Cat Food||Check Current Price|
When looking for cat food, it is prudent to appreciate that they are obligate animals, which means that they prefer high-protein diets. This was the primary focus used to formulate this Nulo Dry Cat Food. It contains all-natural ingredients that will make your cat feel like it is in the wild again.
Just like wild felines that do not consume grains, this dry cat food is grain-free. Instead of using high-carb sources such as tapioca and potatoes, the food relies on healthy ingredients such as red lentils and yellow peas.
Another outstanding thing about this food brand is that it is prepared with patented BC30 probiotics that help to guarantee better health of the digestive system. These probiotics help to ensure the food is digested efficiently, all the nutrients absorbed, and reduce the risk of diseases.
To make the food balanced and more effective in promoting better health, the formulation is enriched using calcium, phosphorous, and vitamins. Within days of starting to use this food, our cats started changing into happier and more playful pets. Even their old fur fell off as new and fuller ones appear.
- Protein content: Maximum 83%
- Protein sources: Animal-based (turkey or protein)
- Carbs sources: Grain-free
- Additional ingredients: BC30 probiotics, calcium and phosphorous
- It is a grain-free formulation with no soy or wheat
- High protein cat food for a healthier body and stronger muscles
- Uses BC30 probiotics that increase the efficiency of food digestion
- Rich in minerals and vitamins
- The taste is not appealing to animals
2. Dr. Elsey’s Cleanprotein Formula Dry Cat Food — Recommended Best Dry Food for Cats
Top on our list of the best foods for your cat is Dr. Elsey’s Cleanprotein Formula Dry Cat Food, a feast that will leave your cat asking for more. When we gave this food to our cats, we started seeing changes almost immediately. The old fur started falling off, and a new fuller and attractive coat appeared.
Unlike many grain-free foods in the market today, this food has no potatoes, legumes, or other plant-based ingredients. Instead, the food uses gelatin as the main binding agent.
This works in two ways. One, the carbs provide all the energy that your cat needs. Two, the carbs are released slowly so that your cat feels more energized for longer without risking getting overweight.
The main ingredients of this top-rated cat food are chicken, egg, and pork, which are rich in all amino acids that your cat requires. Furthermore, the food is enriched with salmon oil, natural flaxseed flavor, vitamin supplements, and other minerals such as D-Calcium Pantothenate.
- Crude proteins: Minimum 59%
- Protein sources: Chicken, pigs, and eggs
- Crude fiber: Maximum 4.0%
- Moisture: 12.0 Maximum
- Prepared with high proteins and low carbohydrates
- It is one of the nutrient-dense dry foods out there
- It does not contain common inflammatory ingredients
- Can be fed on cats of different ages
3. Stella & Chewy’s Freeze-Dried Raw Cat Food – Runner Up
Coming close to our first pick is this Stella & Chewy’s Freeze, a popular food formulated to mimic what your cat would get if it was living in the wild. We liked the food’s natural formulation with 98% cage-free chicken, organs, and bones because it allows your cat to be natural.
In addition to chicken, the food also contains probiotics and supplements that help to enhance the health of your cat’s intestines and promote efficient absorption of nutrients. This is why it has become a common recommendation by vets, especially for cats that have been experiencing digestion-related issues.
To keep your cat’s immune system stronger and enhance its eyesight, the food is rich in omega fatty acids, natural oils, and essential minerals. Particularly, we liked the food because it contains ample minerals, including Vitamin A, Niacin, Riboflavin, and Folic Acid.
- Crude protein: Minimum 45%
- Crude fiber: Maximum 5%
- Moisture: Maximum 5%
- Formulated with high protein levels from real meat
- Best for adult cats
- A great option for cats transitioning to wet-food
- Prepared with nutrients to strengthen your cat’s immune system
- The level of phosphorus content is too high
- Some cats dislike the freeze-dried texture of the food
This Wellness Complete Dry Cat Food is another remarkable feline food prepared to make every meal unforgettable for your cat. The main ingredient used to prepare the cat food is chicken, which we found very effective in the development of lean cat muscles.
The chicken flavor also makes the food very appealing to cats. When we introduced this food to our cats, even those that had refused other foods could not have enough.
One of the common challenges in cats is urinary tract infections. But this food is prepared using cranberries for better health not just for the urinary tract, but the kidneys and liver too.
The food is prepared using cranberries that are rich in vitamin C and tannins that help to prevent the development of infections in the urinary tract system. The food also contains antioxidants and high quantities of Omega 3-fatty acids for a strong immune system.
- Fiber content: Maximum 3%
- Proteins source: Chicken
- Fiber sources: Flaxseed and cranberries
- Nature of food: dry
- Not suitable for small cats
Coming next on our list of the best dry food for cats is this air-dried dry cat food from Ziwi Peak. For Ziwi Peak, the focus of formulating this food was to offer cat owners something different, and more delicious.
Unlike most foods where the kibble is extruded, Ziwi Opted for air drying. The processing method involved twin-stage dehydration that destroys all bacterial but leaves the nutrients intact.
Another outstanding thing about this Ziwi Peak dry cat food is that it is one of the most species-appropriate options you will get out there. The food is prepared using 96% fresh meat, bones, organs, and green-lipped mussels. This guarantees your cat of all the essential proteins and energy.
Ziwi Peak also deviated from the common formulations that mainly rely on synthetic vitamins. Instead, the food uses lungs, bones, liver, heart, and tripe to supply the vitamins as well as the minerals that your cat needs.
The high protein design and no-grain formulation have made this pet food one of the most revered options by vets and pet owners.
- Crude proteins: Minimum 43%
- Crude fiber: Maximum 2.0%
- Moisture: Maximum 14%
- The food is minimally processed to retain most nutrients for your cat
- Prepared from high-quality ingredients
- It is a low-carb dry cat food
- The food can be fed to cats of most ages
- Free from antibiotics, and growth hormones
- Very expensive
- Some cats do not like the jerky appearance
This Hills Science Diet Indoor Dry Cat Food is another premium-rated dry cat food specifically formulated for indoor felines. However, we must indicate that our outdoor cats really enjoyed it.
The formula used to prepare this food is the result of years of work or over 220 vets, pet nutritionists, and scientists who want to ensure that your cat only gets the best.
The most notable thing about this dry food for cats is its high-protein content derived from natural sources. The proteins are carefully balanced to ensure that your cat will get all the energy it needs when indoors.
In addition, it contains high natural fibers that help to improve the efficiency of food digestion and nutrients absorption in the guts. You will also like the formula because the food does not have flavors or preservatives.
The food also comes with vitamins and minerals that help in three ways: strengthening the immune system, promoting smooth fur development, and enhancing the cat’s sense of sight. In just a couple of weeks, our cats’ eyesight had improved so much, and they enjoyed playing even in pitch darkness.
- Protein: Minimum 31%
- Fat: Minimum 13%
- Moisture: 8.0%
- Good for adult cats between one and six years
- Formulated with high fiber content for healthy digestion
- Prepared with natural, high-quality proteins that help with building lean muscles
One of the most respected brands in the animal foods niche is this Purina Cat Chow, which has, for years, been formulating high-quality animal products.
This Purina Cat Chow Naturals Dry Cat Food is a manifestation of the company’s love for cats and determination to ensure they get healthy treats all the time. Most people who try this food indicate it is a new discovery, and their cats look forward to the next meal.
The food is formulated using high-quality proteins derived from poultry. The protein is rich in proteins and low on fats, allowing your cat to develop lean muscles and stay healthy.
To make the food even healthier, it is formulated with essential fatty acids that will help your cat to have a lovely shiny coat and a stronger immune system.
Any cat’s food cannot be complete without having all essential minerals and vitamins. Purina Cat Chow knew this and formulated the food using 25 essentials that help in keeping the bones strong, blood development, better eyesight, and brain cell development.
- Protein: Minimum 38%
- Fiber: Maximum 5.4%
- Moisture: 12.0%
- Good for both young and adult cats
- Prepared with high-protein content from real chicken
- Does not contain preservatives or flavors
- Formulates using Omega-6 for healthier skin and shiny coat
- Results in foul-smelling droppings
The last dry cat food to make our list is this Super Premium food from Rachael Ray Nutrish. The food is carefully formulated to help your cat experience “being in the wild” right at your home. Most pet owners who have used this food come back with one report: “the food is awesome.
All the ingredients used to prepare this dry food for cats natural and have the purpose of making the food balanced and enjoyable. The main ingredients used to prepare the food include chicken, whitefish, and salmon, all of which are known for helping felines develop lean muscles. To make the food more complete, it also contains wholesome veggies, essential minerals, and taurine.
By including ingredients from the sea, especially salmon and whitefish, this food contains huge amounts of Omega fats that help to promote a stronger immune system.
If your cats are young, the high supply of Omega 6 fats will also enhance their brain development. It is because of this that your vet is likely to recommend this Super Premium food from Rachael Ray Nutrish.
- Protein: Minimum 34%
- Fat: Minimum 14%
- Prepared with no preservatives or flavors
- Uses premium proteins ingredients for better health of your cat
- Good for both young and adult cats
- High-fat content can result in increasing weight in your cats
If you are looking forward to feeding your cat on dry food on a budget, this Kirkland Signature Dry Cat Food will be a great option. And what was impressive about the cat food is that although it has a low price tag, its formulation would perfectly fit a higher price tag.
For example, unlike most low-cost or cheap cat food options in the market that have low-value animal products, the Kirkland Signature Dry Cat Food is prepared using chicken and rice formula.
In addition to its significant level of protein content, the formula also contains useful minerals and vitamins that help to strengthen the immune system, promote the development of stronger muscles, and good sight.
To optimize nutrients uptake from the gut and reduce gut related problems, the food also contains beneficial probiotics and antioxidants.
Another outstanding thing about this food is that it is suitable for cats of all ages. So, if you have many cats at different stages like us, some young and others old, you simply make one order for all of them. You will also not risk young cats taking food meant for senior cats.
- Guaranteed protein level: Minimum 30%
- Main protein sources: Chicken
- Crude fiber: Maximum 3.0%
- Water content: Maximum 10%
- Can be fed to cats of different ages
- It does not contain potentially harmful preservatives and artificial colors
- Contains high levels of carbohydrates
Best Dry Cat Food Buying Guide
Your cat is an obligate carnivore, which relies on high-protein food for all its nutritional needs. Therefore, when selecting dry food for your feline, you should look for the model that closely mimics the natural food that the cat would get if it were in the wild.
So, here is how to select the ideal dry cat food for your feline:
Look For Cat Food With The Right Nutrients
When manufacturers prepare food, they are required by law to indicate the right quantities of different ingredients clearly.
So, before you can make a decision about the preferred cat food to buy, you need to check these ingredients carefully:
If you checked closely, the dry cat food products we have reviewed have high protein content. The best cat food should have high-protein content that can help them meet all their nutritional needs.
But unlike in the wild where the wild animals hunt and take their food raw, the commercial feeds differ slightly because they are mostly pre-cooked.
Vegetables and Fruits
While it is true that cats are obligate animals whose digestive systems are not made for grains, it is still crucial to ensure that they have ample energy supply.
The best option for this supply is veggies and fruits such as carrots, zucchini, berries, and apples. But again, this should still be in small quantities!
Good Fats And Minerals
Like any other animal, whether in the wild or domesticated at home, cats rely on their immune system to fight diseases and stay healthy. Therefore, the food you select should have ample supplies of Omega 3 fats, Omega 6 fats, Vitamin C, and essential nutrients.
Even as you look for the best ingredients in the dry food for cats, it is important it important to also be on the lookout for the products that might be harmful to your cat.
We must indicate here that most dry cat foods have won a “negative tag” because manufacturers use a lot of fillers. So, if you notice cat food with artificial colors and flavors, carb fillers, and chemical preservatives, stay away from them.
Only Go For The Food Prepared By Top Brands
As more people appreciate the need to keep their felines happy, the demand for their food has shot up, prompting more companies to enter the market. While this is a good thing because it has brought about more choices, it has made identifying the best foods difficult.
It is because of this that you can no longer trust any dry cat food labeled “best” because some brands use it as a tact to trick customers into buying their products.
Buy Dry Cat Food Based On The Animal’s Age
Cats, just like people, have varying nutritional requirements depending on their age. So, what age is your cat? If the cat is small, it implies that it is still growing and playful and requires a lot of energy.
Therefore, you need to look for foods that help to promote this growth and early development. The formulation of such food should have a lot of proteins, enough carbs, and essential minerals.
But if your cat is old, from seven years and above, the chances are that different organs, such as bones and eyesight, are starting to become poor.
Besides, the cat is likely to be getting less active. So, the best food should have ample proteins and minerals, especially calcium and phosphorous to support the aging bones. Furthermore, the food needs to have ample vitamins, Omega 3 fats, and supplements to help support the immune system.
Look For Dry Cat Food Approved By AAFCO
Today, the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) is the trusted and most respected organization in determining the right food formulation.
The organization is made by vets and animal experts from different entities, including vet schools, government agencies, and interested groups. The recommendations of AAFCO are used in most states, and you should only go for the food models with its label.
When you select food for your cat, the truth is that everything comes down to cost. If you check the price range of most dry food for cats, you will realize that most of those with premium ingredients attract a higher price tag.
However, this does not mean that all the high-priced dry cat foods are of high-quality, and the low-priced ones are poor. To determine the right priced cat food, you should start by reviewing the formulation and then check the price.
Even The Dry Food For Cat Is Not Ideal
As an obligate carnivore, it is important to appreciate that dry food is not ideal for your cat. If the cat was living in the wild, it would get most of the nutrients from killing other animals.
Therefore, you need to appreciate that even though the best foods try to mimic what happens in the wild, it is not ideal.
So, even with the right formulation, you still need the following:
Ample Supply Of Water
If the food is dry, your cat needs to have an ample supply of clean water all the time. The water comes in handy in promoting efficient digestion and keeping the body well dehydrated.
Combine The Dry Food With Wet Food
If you stick to dry food alone, there is a danger of your cat getting bored with it. So, make sure to combine the dry cat food with wet food and home-prepared meat. But you should never give a cat raw meat because it raises the risk of infections!
Factor Your Vet’s Recommendation
If your cat has a specific condition, such as allergy or sickness, your vet will advise you on the type of food to go for and what to avoid. When such recommendations are given, make sure to stick to them strictly when selecting food for your cat.
Whether you’re looking for food for a kitten or an older cat, its health largely depends on the food you give it. In this post, we have bought you the best dry food for cats reviews from the best brands.
They not only have the best ingredients, such as a high percentage of proteins and low quantities of carbs but also come in a wide price range. So, no matter your budget, you are sure of getting the ideal food for your lovely cat.
Even though all the nine dry food for cats that we reviewed in this post are outstanding (we liked them, and our cats loved them more), Nulo was the best of them. It has high protein content, low carbs, and cats love it.