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Best Cat Food in 2023 – Top 5 Brands for Optimal Feline Health

Choosing the right cat food is vital to ensure the health and safety of your fur baby. A balanced diet is key and affected by many factors, including the age and breed of your cat.

With so many different dietary requirements and cat food brands on the market, it’s no wonder the pet food aisle can be a little overwhelming. Fortunately, we’ve done the research to make a list of the 5 best cat foods available in 2023.

We know cats can be finicky, so we make it simple by providing an overview of the five best dry and wet cat food brands and their benefits, along with tips on how to get the best nutrition for your sweet pet. A well-informed pet parent makes for a happy, healthy cat.

Top 5 Best Cat Food Options in 2023

1. Best Overall Cat Food: Smalls

Smalls is revolutionizing the cat food industry with its high-quality, human-grade fresh and freeze-dried raw cat food formulas. It’s been voted the #1 healthiest cat food and is veterinarian approved.

This innovative cat food brand is based on a subscription model, so you conveniently receive a fresh batch each month. Different plans are available, and you can start by taking a one-minute quiz to figure out the best one for your cat.

You probably already know the typical cat food you find at the supermarket is full of filler ingredients, too many carbs and other ingredients that may be downright harmful. Smalls focuses instead on creating high-protein cat food without any unnecessary fillers. You can explore their human-grade fresh food, which is customizable for even the pickiest cat.

This brand offers four different proteins including fish, bird, cow and other bird, which makes their product one of the best wet cat food on the market. If you notice that your cat is very particular when it comes to texture, this is great news. You can pick up a recipe with a minced mouthfeel, one with a pate-like texture or one that has a shredded meat mouthfeel. Other options include turkey liver chopped in with finely diced turkey thigh and skin.

The dry food option created by Smalls is a freeze-dried raw cat food. Since kibble usually lacks nutrients, Smalls takes a different approach with freeze-drying raw food. It’s the best dry cat food you can add to your pet’s diet. You can choose between three proteins: bird, other bird or water bird.

The bird recipe incorporates finely ground chicken, bone, heart, liver and gizzard. Your cat also gets to enjoy chicken egg, goat milk, water, eggshell membrane and even herring oil. If your favorite feline friend is used to crunchy food, this is a fantastic alternative to the mystery-meat bags of cat food you find at your local grocery store.


  • Vet-approved cat food
  • Customizable recipe
  • Human-grade fresh
  • Freeze-dried raw


  • Contains some vegetable protein sources and vegetable oil in some recipes

What Customers Say:

Customers have nothing but good things to say about Smalls. They notice right away how their cats’ fur starts getting much healthier and shinier after eating these cat foods. Another change that customers notice in their cats is their energy levels. They rise and become a lot livelier than before. They also love the convenience of a subscription model because it’s a set-it-and-forget-it type of situation.

They don’t have to worry about picking up cat food for their fur babies and can count on the reliability and quality Smalls delivers. One customer shares that her cat’s breath is much better and its stools are also not so offensive. Even picky cats gravitate to these cat foods more than they did to their previous options.


To start, take a quick quiz so Smalls can tailor a meal plan option specifically for your cat. They see their cat food as an opportunity to help your pet with whatever they need. First, you choose your recipes and get a trial box with the cat food so your kitty can try it. There’s no upfront commitment.

If you notice that the cat food needs to be altered, no problem. You can make changes based on your cat’s food preferences. Once you’re all set up, schedule your monthly deliveries so that you get the freshest cat food at the same time every month. You can also pause your deliveries or cancel your subscription at any time.

Learn more at

2. Best for Cats with Allergies: JustFoodForDogs JustCats Fish & Chicken

Although the name of this company may throw you off a little bit, this cat food brand does have a JustCats Fish & Chicken canned food option that’s ideal for adult cats. This wet food formula provides a high protein chicken meal source that is gluten-free and grain-free. This is a great alternative if your cat has allergies or a sensitive gastrointestinal tract.

This high-protein formula includes wild-caught Alaska pacific cod, chicken thighs, and chicken hearts. It even contains chicken liver and sardines for a complete and balanced diet. This moisture-rich cat food is helpful for cats that don’t drink enough water.

JustFoodForDogs is completely transparent in their ingredients and production processes. The company is focused on providing natural cat food free of grains and fillers. This greatly benefits your cat’s health because it’s not subject to unnecessary ingredients in the food, which can cause digestive distress and increase allergic reactions. This chicken meal recipe is perfect for cats with mild allergies or sensitive stomachs.


  • Suitable for cats with sensitive tummies
  • Gluten-free and grain-free
  • High-protein cat food


  • Some cats may not enjoy this cat food consistency

What Customers Say:

Customers rate this cat food 4.1 out of five stars. They are pleasantly surprised when they present it to their cats. Although some cats are pickier than others, they take to it right away. Customers report that this cat food is also a great option for any cat, whether it has a sensitive stomach or allergies.

One customer shares that she has the pickiest cat you could ever meet. After trying expensive canned cat food, she switched up the texture but kept having trouble getting her cat to eat. Based on her veterinarian’s recommendation, she picked up this cat food, and its magical chicken meal formula has been doing wonders ever since.


JustCats Fish & Chicken has 42 calories per ounce. You can purchase it in an 18-ounce can. A one-time purchase is available to test this cat food out with your pet. JustFoodForDogs offers a 100% satisfaction guarantee. The cat food recipe contains 12% crude protein, 4.5% crude fat, 0.5% crude fiber, and 74% moisture.

Learn more at

3. Highly Digestible: Hill’s Science Diet (Dry) / Hill’s Science Diet (Wet)

Hill’s Science offers two great options for cats with sensitive stomachs. Hill’s Science Diet Adult Sensitive Stomach & Skin Chicken & Rice Recipe is a dry food designed for kitties prone to digestive issues. While chicken is the first ingredient in this formula, it also contains added FOS, a prebiotic fiber. This makes it extra gentle on your cat’s stomach and super digestible.

Along with being tasty and crunchy, this recipe also helps to support skin and coat health, incorporating both vitamin E and omega-6 fatty acids.

If you prefer a wet food option, you can try Hill’s Science Diet Adult Light Liver & Chicken Entree Canned Cat Food. This savory cat food recipe delivers the delicious flavor of liver and chicken to keep your cat satiated. It also incorporates key nutrients that help control hunger and maintain a healthy weight.

Not all cat foods incorporate ingredients like taurine that help maintain vision and heart function, but this one does. You can also rest assured there are no artificial flavors or preservatives in this canned food. It’s particularly suitable for cats between one and six years old.


  • Gentle on the stomach
  • Zero artificial flavors or preservatives
  • Supports skin and coat health
  • Supports vision and heart function


  • Some customers mentioned some damage to the products during shipping, but customer service helped sort it all out

What Customers Say:

95% of customers who have tried the adult dry food would recommend it. They mentioned that their pets loved it and would definitely buy more. This dry food is found to be good for pets with sensitive stomachs, even if it’s sometimes a bit messy to eat.

Customers of the wet cat food option report improvement in their pet’s sensitive stomach in a short amount of time, and the product has a good texture. It also helps with their pet’s weight control.


The Chicken & Rice Recipe dry food is available in different sizes ranging from a 3.5-pound bag up to a 15.5-pound bag. The wet cat food is available in a case of 24 2.9-ounce or 5.5-ounce cans. You can auto-ship and save an extra 5% when you purchase from Chewy.

Learn more about Hill’s Science Diet

4. Best High Protein – Purina Pro Plan (Dry) / Purina Pro Plan (Wet)

Purina Pro Plan Chicken & Rice Formula offers a high-protein dry food enhanced by probiotics, making it one of the best cat food choices. It’s a chicken and rice, high-protein cat food formula with real chicken as the first ingredient. A tasty chicken meal that will delight your feline friend! It also contains natural prebiotic fiber to support your cat’s digestive health. This dry cat food incorporates vitamin A and omega-6 fatty acids that nourish your cat’s skin and makes for a healthy coat. It also contains tons of antioxidants to keep your cat’s immune system strong and healthy.

Purina Pro Plan Complete Essentials Adult Turkey & Vegetable Entree is a carefully crafted wet cat food made with real turkey blended with vegetables in gravy. This canned food contains the optimal protein levels that keep your cat’s body in great condition. Plus, it incorporates antioxidants for a healthy immune system and vitamin A plus taurine to help your cat maintain great eyesight. The omega-6 fatty acids are there for skin and coat health, making it a great balanced high-protein canned cat food.


  • Optimal protein levels
  • Supports a healthy immune system
  • Supports digestive health
  • Nourishes skin and coat


  • Sometimes, these products go out of stock due to popular demand

What Customers Say:

Customers rate the dry food 4.7 out of five stars. 97% of them would recommend it to a friend. The most popular sentiment is that cat owners are pleased that their cats enjoy this dry cat food. Several of them received a recommendation from their veterinarians for this specific formula.

Customers who have tried the wet food also rate it highly and recommend it. They praised its high moisture content. The turkey bits look tender and the veggies are a plus. While some people keep their pet on a wet cat food-only diet, most mix kibbles and wet food.


The dry food is available in a Chicken & Rice formula and a Salmon & Rice formula. Different bag sizes are available ranging from a 3.5-pound bag up to a 16-pound bag.

The wet food is available in different recipes as well. We highlighted the Turkey & Vegetable option, but there is also a White Meat Chicken & Vegetable and Beef & Chicken option among others. You can pick these up in a case of 24. Either select 3-ounce cans or 5.5-ounce cans.

Learn more about Purina Pro Plan

5. Best for Weight Management: Royal Canin Indoor Adult (Dry) / Royal Canin Feline Care Nutrition (Wet)

Royal Canin Indoor Adult is an adult dry cat food formula for indoor cats and a fantastic option for managing the weight of your furry companion. Since indoor cats tend to lead leisurely lifestyles, it’s important they don’t consume too many calories. This dry food offers controlled calorie content and highly digestible proteins.

This formula provides hairball relief with an optimum blend of fiber. It helps cats pass any hair they ingest through their digestive system, making it a great recipe if your cat has medium to long fur.

Royal Canin Feline Care Nutrition is a wet food option that provides a balance in your cat’s diet — especially if she suffers from a sensitive stomach. It contains high-protein meat in gravy combined with a blend of vitamins and minerals to maintain your cat’s healthy weight.

This is a great wet food option if your cat has a sensitive tummy. It helps your pet to integrate nutrients better and the highly digestible proteins promote optimal stools. It’s a complete and balanced wet food that also pairs well with dry cat food if you prefer to give your cat a little bit of both.


  • Balanced high-protein formula
  • Controlled calorie content
  • Highly digestible
  • Contains a blend of vitamins and minerals


  • The wet food consistency varies per batch, which may be upsetting for texture-specific kitties

What Customers Say:

Many customers have tried different cat foods over time, landed on this one, and stayed. 94% of customers who tried the dry cat food recommended it to a friend and those who tried the wet food rated it 4.5 out of five stars. Many comments that their cat’s stools are noticeably firmer after using this product. There are also reports about reduction of symptoms in some cats diagnosed with irritable bowel disease.


The dry cat food is available in two options according to your adult cats life stages: adult dry cat food and adult 7+. It comes in different sizes ranging from a 2.5-pound bag up to a 15-pound bag.

The wet food is available in three different textures: thin slices in gravy, loaf and sauce, and chunks and gravy. You can pick up 3-ounce pouches in a case of 12, 3-ounce cans in a case of 24, or 5.1-ounce cans in a case of 24.

Learn more about Royal Canin

How We Made This List

To create this list of the best cat food brands, we considered many different factors in detail, including:

Ingredients List

A balanced diet is an essential part of your cat’s overall health. What you feed your pet today affects how its organs respond later in life.

Sometimes, cats have food allergies, so it’s important to consider all the ingredients that go into your cat’s diet. An essential ingredient is animal protein. Cats need to eat meat, and they should be eating real meat.

Along with having a solid protein source, your cat’s food also needs to include a good amount of fat. Although some plant-based protein may be included in cat food, it’s critical that our furry companions get most of their nutrients from animal proteins and fat. Some canned cat food includes both meat and fish proteins and are rich in natural oils.

Cat Food Type

The other factor we considered is the cat food type. Dry and wet cat foods are made available by most reputable brands. The best cat food is ultimately the one your pet enjoys eating. You can’t force a picky cat to gobble down the most nutritious food.

Look for a balance between finding the most nutrient-dense pet food and acquiescing to your cat’s palate. Some cat parents prefer to use dry and canned cat food together because it’s usually more cost-effective than only purchasing only wet food. Plus, it gives cats some variety in texture and better hydration.

Life Stage

The last factor we considered are the cat’s life stages. Obviously, kitten food differs from adult cat food; even adult cat food may be slightly different for senior cats seven years and older than for a younger adult.

Depending on your cat’s age, nutrient requirements will change. You perhaps noticed cat foods in the pet aisle offer a whole range of options. They include kitten food specifically designed for kittens under one year old. Once a cat turns one year old, it moves into the adult life stage until it’s about age six. At that stage, it needs a balanced diet that can be obtained by mixing dry cat food and canned food. Then, since older cats’ activity levels and metabolism tend to slow down, better caloric control is needed with calorically balanced formulas. That’s when these age 7+ cat foods come into play. You can find some pet food manufacturers that formulate their cat food especially for senior cats.

Things to Consider When Buying High-Quality Cat Food

Whether you’re considering dry food or wet cat food, it’s important to know what to look for before making your purchase. Below are a few things to remember to find the best cat food for your feline companion.

AAFCO Labeling

The Association of American Feed Control Officers (AAFCO), a group of experts in animal feed, suggests the recommended diet compositions for various animals. AAFCO does not regulate pet food, but it makes suggestions for diets to satisfy minimal nutrient compositions. This basic guideline serves to prevent the risks of malnutrition.

An AAFCO statement, also known as a nutritional adequacy statement, is printed on dry cat food labels and canned cat food if the manufacturer has chosen to abide by AAFCO requirements.

This is how you know that the food is complete and balanced for the indicated life stages. For example, adult cats should eat adult dry cat food (or wet food), while kittens and seniors should eat food specifically formulated for their needs. “Complete” means that the food incorporates all the nutrients your cat needs at its specific stage of life. “Balanced” means that all the nutrients are in perfect balance and ratio, so your cat isn’t getting too much or too little of a specific nutrient.

Confirm Guaranteed Analysis

Every cat food option you look at should have a guaranteed analysis breakdown. Here’s where you understand how much crude protein, fat, fiber, and moisture content is included in cat food.

Not all pet food is created equally. Some suppliers skimp on nutritious ingredients and use low-quality fillers instead. So make sure that there are vitamins and minerals included in your pet food and watch for any allergens. Check whether proteins are in sufficient quantities and are coming from actual real animal sources. As we mentioned, some plant-based proteins are okay, but they should never be the dominant protein source in pet food.

Check By-Products

You may have heard that byproducts are a big no-no, but so long as they’re highly digestible and nutritious, they’re not a bad ingredient to incorporate in pet food. For example, you may notice that the liver and lungs are included in your cat’s food. Byproducts don’t refer to anything else, like hair or horns.

These are certainly less popular ingredients for human-grade food, but some byproducts can be highly nutritious when incorporated into cat food. Ultimately, make sure you purchase dry cat food or canned cat food from a reputable pet food company because they’re the ones who decide which ingredients are incorporated into their recipes.

Satisfaction Guarantee

Another consideration when trying out new kitten food or adult cat food is the satisfaction guarantee. Cats are notorious for being picky eaters and we all know that you can’t force a cat to do anything, not even eat! If they sniff something that’s not to their liking or they have a particular preference for texture, there’s almost nothing you can do to get your cat to eat the food you place in front of it.

Pet food manufacturers know what you’re dealing with. Make sure that whenever you’re trying out a new recipe, the supplier offers some kind of satisfaction guarantee. Even with the subscription option that we highlighted as the number one pick in our list, you have a trial phase to give your pet some time to get used to a new type of cat food. This will avoid spending a ton of money upfront only to be left with unusable pet food.

Talk to Your Vet

As with any major decision regarding your cat’s food, make sure you talk to your vet about changes to its diet. This is especially important if you are considering changing kitten food because kittens are growing and need very specific nutrients to become adult cats in a healthy way.

Your vet is also aware of any health conditions your cat may have, so they can always give you the best recommendation. If your cat has allergies or a sensitive stomach, certain foods in this list are better suited for them than others.

Monthly Cost

Pets have their own expenses, so make sure that you budget out the monthly cost of whatever type of food you are thinking of switching over to. With a subscription-based model, you know exactly how much you’re paying every month. This can be really convenient, especially because it takes one less thing off your monthly to-do list.

If you’re considering dry cat food, wet food, or a combination of both, make sure to tally up those totals, so you know how much you’re going to spend on a regular basis. Of course, you want to give your cat only the best of the best, but if something is outside of your budget, just go down to the next tier in terms of the recommendations and stick with something that works comfortably for your budget and for your cat’s tummy.

How Much Food Should I Feed My Cat?

How much food you give your cat depends on your cat’s life stage and weight. With kitten food, you should follow your vet’s recommendations. So long as you have high-quality dry cat food, you can feed adult cats between 1/3 and 1/2 a cup of cat food every day. Usually, with an 8-ounce cup of food, that’s a total of 500 calories. Remember to pay attention and ensure that you feed high-quality food with real meat as the first ingredient.

For heavier cats over 10 pounds, you may need to switch over to 3/4 to one cup of dry food daily. This is because they’re larger animals and they need more calories and nutrients on a regular basis. If you’re feeding wet food, most cats need somewhere between four and five ounces of wet food per day. Make sure that if you combine your dry cat food and wet food, you compensate for the difference in calories and feed appropriately.

How to Transition Your Cat to a New Food

Just like you got your cat to transition to kitten food after kitten milk, transitioning an adult cat takes a little time because they already have their habits established. The best way to do this is to mix a little bit of the new food in with some of the old food. For example, you can add a little bit of dry food to wet food or vice versa. They’ll pick up on familiar flavors and notice something new, but they’ll gobble it down because it tastes familiar.

Over the course of two weeks, slowly start introducing more of the new food and less of the old food. This subtle transition is your best bet — not just because your cat might be picky but also because it helps protect them from any stomach discomfort that may occur with sudden changes in diet.

How Long Can a Cat Go Without Food?

Cats are much like humans in that they can survive a longer period of time without food than they can without water. Typically, a healthy cat can go about two weeks without food. However, cats get weaker during this time and face serious health consequences. However, cats can only go about three days without drinking water. They must remain hydrated. So make sure your cat is always drinking enough water, especially if you feed it dry food.

Do Cats Get Bored of the Same Food?

Cats can become bored of eating the same foods. Introducing different textures and flavors is wonderful, but it also comes at a cost. Switching your cat’s food too often can lead to gastrointestinal upset. However, you can incorporate variety by providing them with dry food, wet food, and treats for special occasions. When you have a standard baseline for the foods they enjoy, you can pick up similar recipes and try them to see how your cat responds.


Can cats eat human foods?

Cat foods are better for cats than human foods, especially because human foods have sneaky ingredients that can be toxic for cats (think garlic and onion). There are some safe foods, however. Your cat can enjoy oily fish like mackerel, bananas, and melon if offered sparingly.

Is canned tuna good for cats?

Cat foods are more nutritionally balanced than your typical can of tuna. Although it’s a good source of protein, it’s not an ideal source of food for cats. In a pinch, it’s better than nothing, but it shouldn’t be given in high quantities or regularly. It’s better to purchase cat food formulated for cats.


All cats no matter their age or breed require a balanced diet, so choosing the best cat food for your furry friend is important. We’ve provided a list of 5 of the best dry and wet cat food brands in 2023 to help you find the best match for your pet. While this list is a good start, remember it’s always important to read the label on your cat food to ensure it fits your pet’s needs.

Whether you’re in the market for dry cat food that’s grain-free or canned cat food with added vitamins, these five cat food brands have what your kitty needs to stay happy and healthy. Try them out and see which one is your cat’s favorite!