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10 Best Budget Cat Foods in Canada (2023) — Reviews & Top Picks

grey cat licking lips after eating cat food from bowl inside on floor

How lucky are we to have cats in our lives! Our cats give us so much and ask for little in return — except for complete devotion. An important part of looking after a cat is ensuring that they are on a good diet. But pet food is expensive, and sometimes we need to find food that doesn’t break the bank.

We know how time consuming and cleaning it can be to find a new food for your cat, so here are reviews of 10 of the best budget cat foods for Canadians. Hopefully, you’ll find a great new food that your cat will enjoy and won’t lighten your wallet too much.

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A Quick Comparison of Our Favorites in 2023

Image Product Details
Best Overall
Winner
Iams Proactive Health Adult Hairball Care Cat Food Iams Proactive Health Adult Hairball Care Cat Food
  • Feature iconMain ingredient is chicken for strong muscles
  • Feature iconPrebiotics and beet pulp help with hairballs
  • Feature iconOmega-3 and -6 for healthy skin and coat
  • Best Value
    Second place
    Meow Mix Original Choice Cat Food Meow Mix Original Choice Cat Food
  • Feature iconInexpensive
  • Feature iconIncludes flavours of salmon, chicken, turkey, and ocean fish
  • Feature iconAdded antioxidants and essential vitamins and minerals
  • Premium Choice
    Third place
    Purina ONE Dry Indoor Advantage Cat Food Purina ONE Dry Indoor Advantage Cat Food
  • Feature iconFor indoor cats, so high in protein and low in fat
  • Feature iconSupports strong muscles and a healthy heart
  • Feature iconNatural fibre minimizes hairballs
  • Best for Kittens
    Iams Proactive Health Kitten Dry Food Iams Proactive Health Kitten Dry Food
  • Feature iconChicken is the main ingredient
  • Feature iconContains DHA for brain and vision development
  • Feature iconAntioxidant-rich vitamins E and A for immune system support
  • Vet’s Choice
    Cat Chow Naturals Dry Cat Food Cat Chow Naturals Dry Cat Food
  • Feature iconVet’s choice
  • Feature iconHigh in protein with chicken as the main ingredient
  • Feature iconOmega-6 for healthy skin and coat
  • The 10 Best Budget Cat Foods in Canada

    1. Iams Proactive Health Adult Hairball Care Cat Food — Best Overall

    Iams Proactive Health Adult Hairball Care Dry Food

    Main ingredients: Chicken, chicken by-product meal, ground whole-grain corn
    Protein content: 32%
    Fat content: 14%
    Calories: 399 kcal/cup

    The overall best budget cat food in Canada is Iams Proactive Health Adult Hairball Care Cat Food. It features real chicken as the first and main ingredient, which helps support a cat’s muscles. This formula also helps reduce hairballs with the inclusion of fibre in the form of prebiotics and beet pulp. Omega-3 and -6 have been added to the mix for a soft and healthy coat, along with vitamin E for immune system support. It also doesn’t have any artificial colours or preservatives.

    The flaws with this food are that picky cats out there might not want to eat it and that it doesn’t help all cats with hairballs.

    Pros
    • Main ingredient is chicken for strong muscles
    • Prebiotics and beet pulp help with hairballs
    • Omega-3 and -6 for healthy skin and coat
    • Vitamin E for a strong immune system
    • No artificial preservatives or colours
    Cons
    • Not all cats will eat it
    • Doesn’t help all cats with hairballs
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    2. Meow Mix Original Choice Cat Food — Best Value

    Meow Mix Original Choice Dry Cat Food

    Main ingredients: Whole ground corn, soybean meal, chicken by-product meal
    Protein content: 30%
    Fat content: 11%
    Calories: 310 kcal/cup

    Meow Mix Original Choice Cat Food is the best budget cat food in Canada for the money. This one has been a long-time favourite for many cats! It contains the flavours of chicken, salmon, turkey, and ocean fish, as well as added antioxidants and essential vitamins and minerals. Even picky cats seem to love eating Meow Mix.

    However, meat isn’t the main ingredient — corn and soy are instead. It also has artificial colours.

    Pros
    • Inexpensive
    • Includes flavours of salmon, chicken, turkey, and ocean fish
    • Added antioxidants and essential vitamins and minerals
    • Picky cats seem to love this food
    Cons
    • Meat is not the primary ingredient
    • Includes artificial ingredients
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    3. Purina ONE Dry Indoor Advantage Cat Food — Premium Choice

    Purina ONE Indoor Advantage Adult Dry Cat Food

    Main ingredients: Turkey, chicken by-product meal, corn gluten meal
    Protein content: 38%
    Fat content: 9%
    Calories: 372 kcal/cup

    Purina ONE Dry Indoor Advantage Cat Food is our premium choice pick, which means it’s a bit expensive but still affordable. It’s formulated for indoor cats, so it’s high in protein with turkey as the main ingredient, and it’s low in fat and helps support a healthy heart and strong muscles. It uses a blend of natural fibres to help minimize hairballs and includes four antioxidant sources for a stronger immune system. Overall, this food will help indoor cats by reducing hairballs and maintaining a healthy weight.

    Besides being pricey, it doesn’t help all cats with hairball issues.

    Pros
    • For indoor cats, so high in protein and low in fat
    • Supports strong muscles and a healthy heart
    • Natural fibre minimizes hairballs
    • Four antioxidant sources for a strong immune system
    • Helps maintain a healthy weight
    Cons
    • Somewhat expensive
    • Doesn’t help all cats with hairballs
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    4. Iams Proactive Health Kitten Dry Food — Best for Kittens

    Iams Proactive Health Kitten Dry Food

    Main ingredients: Chicken, chicken by-product meal, ground whole-grain corn
    Protein content: 33%
    Fat content: 21%
    Calories: 484 kcal/cup

    Iams Proactive Health Kitten Dry Food is a great option for kittens. It has the right balance of protein and fat for kittens and features chicken as the main ingredient to help support those growing muscles. It has DHA, a nutrient found in a mother cat’s milk that helps with brain and vision development. It also has vitamins A and E to support a stronger immune system. It’s nutritionally complete for growing kittens and doesn’t contain any fillers or artificial flavours or preservatives.

    The cons of this food are that while the company states that the food doesn’t have fillers, it technically does, and that it might cause stomach upset in some kittens.

    Pros
    • Chicken is the main ingredient
    • Contains DHA for brain and vision development
    • Antioxidant-rich vitamins E and A for immune system support
    • No fillers or artificial ingredients
    Cons
    • Actually has a few fillers
    • Might cause stomach upset in some kittens
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    5. Cat Chow Naturals Dry Cat Food — Vet’s Choice

    Cat Chow Naturals Dry Cat Food

    Main ingredients: Chicken, corn gluten meal, chicken by-product meal
    Protein content: 38%
    Fat content: 13%
    Calories: 430 kcal/cup

    Our vet chose Cat Chow Naturals Dry Cat Food for its high protein content, as real chicken is the main ingredient. This food is a balanced diet for cats of all ages. It contains omega-6 for a shiny coat and healthy skin and natural fibre to help with hairball control. It also doesn’t include any artificial preservatives, colours, or flavours.

    However, it is expensive, and some picky cats might not want to eat it.

    Pros
    • Vet’s choice
    • High in protein with chicken as the main ingredient
    • Omega-6 for healthy skin and coat
    • Includes natural fibre for hairball control
    • No artificial ingredients
    Cons
    • Expensive
    • Picky cats might not like it
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    6. Iams Proactive Health Adult Dry Cat Food

    IAMS Proactive Health Healthy Adult Cat Food

    Main ingredients: Salmon, chicken by-product meal, whole-grain corn
    Protein content: 32%
    Fat content: 15%
    Calories: 387 kcal/cup

    Iams Proactive Health Adult Dry Cat Food has salmon as the main ingredient, which makes it high in protein. It’s also high in fibre with beet pulp and prebiotics, which work together to support the digestive system. It has omega-6 for a lustrous coat and healthy skin and doesn’t contain any fillers or artificial flavours or colours.

    The only con with this food is that it might cause gastrointestinal issues in some cats.

    Pros
    • Salmon is the primary ingredient
    • High in fibre, beet pulp, and prebiotics for healthy digestion
    • Omega-6 for healthy coat and skin
    • No fillers or artificial ingredients
    Cons
    • Might cause stomach upset in some cats
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    7. Whiskas Perfect Portions Seafood Selections Wet Cat Food

    WHISKAS Perfect Portions Seafood Selections

    Main ingredients: Chicken, water, salmon
    Protein content: 9% and 7%
    Fat content: 5% and 2%
    Calories: 38 and 35 kcal/serving

    Whiskas Perfect Portions Seafood Selections Wet Cat Food has two flavours, tuna and salmon. They come in convenient peel-and-serve trays, so you don’t have to worry about refrigerating leftovers — each tray is one serving. It also doesn’t contain any fillers or artificial colours or flavours.

    But while the trays are convenient, they aren’t as environmentally friendly as most other packaging. Also, some cat owners might find that peeling these trays is a bit of a challenge. You might even accidentally spray yourself with cat food gravy!

    Pros
    • One tray is one serving, so no leftovers
    • Two flavours
    • Made with real meat
    • No artificial colours or flavours
    Cons
    • Packaging not environmentally friendly
    • Some owners might find trays difficult to open
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    8. Fancy Feast Wet Pâté Variety Pack Cat Food

    Fancy Feast Wet Cat Food

    Main ingredients: Liver, chicken, fish broth
    Protein content: 11%
    Fat content: 5%
    Calories: 92 kcal/can

    Fancy Feast Wet Pâté Variety Pack Cat Food gives you three different flavours to try: salmon and shrimp, beef, and liver and chicken. It’s in pâté form with gravy juice and is suitable for cats in all life stages. The first ingredients in all three recipes are real meat, so it’s rich in high-quality protein. It’s a balanced diet with essential vitamins and minerals, and most cats love to eat it.

    Unfortunately, Fancy Feast contains artificial flavours and colours, and it might cause stomach upset in some cats.

    Pros
    • Three flavours in the variety pack
    • Pâté form with gravy juice
    • Suitable for cats in all life stages
    • First ingredients are made with real meat
    Cons
    • Contains artificial ingredients
    • Might cause stomach upset in some cats
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    9. Whiskas Meaty Selections Dry Cat Food

    Whiskas Meaty Selections Dry Cat Food

    Main ingredients: Ground whole-grain corn, chicken by-product meal, wheat
    Protein content: 30%
    Fat content: 14%
    Calories: 383 kcal/cup

    Whiskas Meaty Selections Dry Cat Food has kibble with large crunchy pockets filled with extra meaty treats. This food is a balanced diet for adult cats and contains ingredients that help support a healthy immune system. It also doesn’t include artificial colours or flavours.

    However, it has been known to cause stomach upset in some cats, and the first ingredient is ground corn, not a meat source.

    Pros
    • Kibble with added crunchy pockets
    • Balanced diet for adult cats
    • Supports a healthy immune system
    • No artificial ingredients
    Cons
    • Might cause stomach upset in some cats
    • First ingredient is not meat
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    10. Purina Friskies Pâté Greatest Hits Wet Cat Food

    Purina Friskies Pâte Greatest Hits

    Main ingredients: Fish, meat by-products, water
    Protein content: 10%
    Fat content: 5%
    Calories: 179 kcal/can

    Purina Friskies Pâté Greatest Hits Wet Cat Food is a pâté variety pack that has four recipes: chef’s dinner, salmon, turkey and giblets, and seafood supreme. It has essential vitamins and minerals, including taurine and vitamin E, making it nutritionally balanced. Friskies has long been a favourite brand for cats.

    Unfortunately, this food has been known to cause stinky poop in some cats, and it does contain artificial flavours and colours.

    Pros
    • Four flavours in pâté form
    • Includes taurine and vitamin E
    • Favourite for many cats
    Cons
    • Might cause stinky poop
    • Includes artificial ingredients

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    Buyer’s Guide: How to Choose the Best Budget Cat Foods

    Before you make up your mind, check out this buyer’s guide. There are several tips that might help you in your final decision.

    Price

    The cheaper the food, the more likely that it was made with low-quality ingredients. As the adage goes, “you get what you pay for.” That said, not all inexpensive foods are low quality. Sometimes, buying online can save you money because you can find deals, and you also have the convenience of having it delivered straight to your door.

    Shopping with Amazon, for example, can end up saving you money, particularly if you are a Prime member, as this will give you free shipping for almost everything. But bear in mind that many items are sold on Amazon through vendors, which is why you’ll notice many price fluctuations. Just keep an eye on your favourite food for the right price, and try checking your local pet or grocery store to compare prices.

    Wet or Dry or Both

    Many cats prefer eating canned food because it’s tastier and meatier. The benefit of wet food is that it is high in moisture, which is an essential part of a cat’s diet. It is also an effective way to help cats lose weight or at least maintain a healthy weight. Dry food is also a great addition to a cat’s diet because it works to keep their teeth clean. Therefore, many cat owners like to give their cats both.

    tabby cat eating cat food out of bowl inside
    Image Credit: Africa Studio, Shutterstock

    Ingredients

    We know that there’s a great deal of concern over by-products, wheat, corn, and soy in cat food. For the most part, though, pet food manufacturers use ingredients that are designed to provide optimum health benefits to pets. These ingredients do add a certain amount of nutritional benefit. This is why you should speak to your vet before putting your cat on a grain-free diet. For some cats, going grain free can lead to health conditions.

    That said, cats are obligate carnivores, so they require meat from an animal in order to thrive. For this reason, it’s best to get food that has meat as the first ingredient, but it should at least be within the first three ingredients.

    Talk to Your Vet

    Before you make the switch to new cat food, talk to your vet first. This is especially important if your cat has any medical issues. Your vet will be able to recommend food that they believe will benefit your cat the most. Just remember to tell them that you’re on a budget.

    They can also advise you on how to transition your cat to the new food. Switching your cat to a new food too quickly can result in gastrointestinal upset.

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    Final Thoughts

    Iams Proactive Health Adult Hairball Care Cat Food is our overall favourite budget cat food for reducing hairballs and using chicken as the main ingredient. Meow Mix’s Original Choice Cat Food is excellent for cats that tend to be picky eaters, and it’s one of the most affordable cat foods out there.

    Purina’s ONE Dry Indoor Advantage Cat Food is our premium choice pick because it includes four antioxidants and turkey as the main ingredient. If you have a kitten, try Iams Proactive Health Kitten Dry Food, which has all the essential vitamins and minerals for a growing kitten. Finally, our vet chose Cat Chow Naturals Dry Cat Food for its high protein content and the fact that it doesn’t have any artificial preservatives, colours, or flavours.

    Hopefully, these reviews have helped you find a food that your cat enjoys and that fits into your budget.

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    Featured Image Credit: mik ulyannikov, Shutterstock

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