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10 Best Cat Foods at PetSmart in 2023 — Reviews & Top Picks


With over 1,500 stores, online shopping, and AutoShip options to rival Chewy, PetSmart is a popular choice for all of your pet supply needs. As a big chain store with considerable stock, PetSmart has an overwhelming variety of cat food to choose from. We’ve thoroughly searched their website to find the perfect formula for your feline and compiled reviews of the best ones, so you don’t have to wade through aisles of cans and kibble. This way you can spend more time at home chilling with your cat while they enjoy their new favorite meal.

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A Look at Our Winners in 2023

Image Product Details
Best Overall
Nulo MedalSeries All Life Stages Wet Cat Food Nulo MedalSeries All Life Stages Wet Cat Food
  • Feature icon Available exclusively at PetSmart
  • Feature icon All of the top five ingredients are meats
  • Feature icon Free from grains, corn, wheat, and soy
  • Best Value
    Second place
    Purina ONE Tender Selects Adult Cat Dry Food Purina ONE Tender Selects Adult Cat Dry Food
  • Feature icon Includes prebiotic fibers
  • Feature icon Budget-friendly
  • Feature icon Free from artificial ingredients
  • Premium Choice
    Third place
    Wellness Complete Health Cat Food Natural Grain-free Pate Wellness Complete Health Cat Food Natural Grain-free Pate
  • Feature icon Tasty and nutritious blend of chicken and fish
  • Feature icon Bestseller for a natural wet cat food
  • Feature icon Free from by-products, grains, corn, soy, and artificial ingredients
  • Best for Kittens
    Blue Buffalo Wilderness Kitten Wet Cat Food Blue Buffalo Wilderness Kitten Wet Cat Food
  • Feature icon Diverse nutrient blend
  • Feature icon Grain-free
  • Feature icon Good price
  • Merrick Backcountry Adult Wet Cat Food Merrick Backcountry Adult Wet Cat Food
  • Feature icon Whole meat chicken and turkey
  • Feature icon No corn, grain, or soy
  • Feature icon All-natural
  • The 10 Best Cat Foods at PetSmart

    1. Nulo MedalSeries Wet Cat Food – Best Overall

    Nulo MedalSeries All Life Stages Wet Cat Food

    Main Ingredients: Turkey, Chicken, Turkey liver, Turkey broth, Tuna
    Protein: 11%
    Fat: 5%
    Calories: 1,239 kcal/kg

    Nulo MedalSeries is a consciously natural cat food that’s free from grains, corn, wheat, and soy—all commonly GMO ingredients your cat doesn’t need. While you might find the Nulo brand on other pet shop shelves, the MedalSeries is a PetSmart exclusive, which is a perk if you prefer to shop at their store.

    Nulo MedalSeries All Life Stages earned our vote for the best overall cat food at PetSmart because it’s AAFCO-certified to meet the dietary requirements for kittens and adults, and the top 5 ingredients were all nutritious meats, with no by-products listed.  In general, cats are usually more impressed with wet cat food than dry kibble, and we believe the turkey, chicken, and tuna combination is palatable to most felines.

    The higher price may lead you to think Nulo is a more expensive food than others on our list, but it costs average. The reason for the higher price is because it comes in a can that’s almost twice as big as standard sized cans. This is fantastic news for a multi-cat household that’s trying to reduce their environmental impact, but it might inconvenience someone who only has one small kitten to feed or is trying to use the food as a meal topper since canned food is difficult to store.

    • Available exclusively at PetSmart
    • All of the top five ingredients are meats
    • Free from grains, corn, wheat, and soy


    • Comes in a larger can that’s hard to store

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    2. Purina ONE® Tender Selects Adult Cat Dry Food – Best Value

    Purina ONE® Tender Selects Adult

    Main Ingredients: Chicken, Rice flour, Chicken by-product meal, Corn gluten meal, Beef fat preserved with mixed tocopherols, Soybean meal
    Protein: 34%
    Fat: 15%
    Calories: 3,942 kcal/kg

    Our best value option, Purina ONE, feeds your cat on a budget while still giving them real chicken as the first ingredient. This food does contain chicken by-product meal, but we’re relieved that it lists chicken as the protein source instead of giving a murky “meat by-product” label that could include any number of animals. We believe whole foods are better than by-products, so we wouldn’t prefer any at all. However, by-products are a cheap source of protein, which helps keep the cost of this food low.

    Purina ONE scores above comparable budget options by excluding artificial ingredients and including prebiotic fibers to promote a healthy gut. If your cat doesn’t like the chicken & rice flavor that we reviewed, PetSmart also sells a salmon & tuna flavor that they might prefer.

    We’re not huge on the lengthy list of filler ingredients such as corn, soy, and wheat. But again, this is common in cheaper cat foods so we’re willing to live with it. On the plus side, nearly 40,000 cats have given this formula a five-star rating, which is pretty good for picky kitties. Overall, we feel that it’s the best cat food at PetSmart for the money.

    • Includes prebiotic fibers
    • Budget-friendly
    • Free from artificial ingredients
    • Available in two flavors

    • Loaded with corn, grain, and soy fillers
    • Contains chicken by-product meal

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    3. Wellness Complete Health Cat Food – Premium Choice

    Wellness Complete Health Cat Food

    Main Ingredients: Chicken, Chicken liver, Whitefish, Chicken broth, Herring
    Protein: 11%
    Fat: 5%
    Calories: 1,027 kcal/kg

    Our premium choice features a delicious blend of chicken and fish that’s sure to please your cat. Wellness Complete Health is the #1 bestselling natural grain-free wet cat food at PetSmart, and we can see why. In addition to the hearty meat choices, this food features added vitamins to make sure your feline stays in tip-top shape. There are no by-products, grains, or artificial ingredients.

    Unfortunately for any new kittens joining your clan, this formula is intended for adult-only maintenance. Kittens wouldn’t thrive on this food because they require extra nutrition to support them as they grow. Wellness Complete Health seems to be listed for a fair price—not cheap, but about what we would expect from a high-quality cat food.

    • Tasty and nutritious blend of chicken and fish
    • Bestseller for a natural wet cat food
    • Free from by-products, grains, corn, soy, and artificial ingredients

    • Not formulated for all life stages

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    4. Blue Buffalo® Wilderness™ Wet Cat Food – Best for Kittens

    Blue Buffalo® Wilderness™ Kitten Wet Cat Food

    Main Ingredients: Salmon, Chicken, Fish broth, Chicken liver, Pea flour
    Protein: 5%
    Fat: 7%
    Calories: 1,191 kcal/kg

    Your new kitten will purr out of its new appreciation for salmon, chicken, and fish in this scrumptious gravy loaf from Blue Buffalo. A rich blend of added vitamins, minerals, and amino acids provides your kitten with the nutrients it needs to grow. This food is formulated for cats up to one years old. While it won’t hurt your cat if they can’t stop eating it, kitten food typically features more calories than necessary for an adult.

    We like how this food is free from grains, corn, and soy. It’s modestly priced, especially given that it’s a higher quality than some other kitten recipes that are packed with fillers. However, we feel like peas are an unnecessary carb that could’ve been left out.

    • Real chicken, salmon, and fish
    • Diverse nutrient blend
    • Grain-free
    • Good price

    • Contains peas

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    5. Merrick® Backcountry® Adult Wet Cat Food

    Merrick® Backcountry® Adult Wet Cat Food

    Main Ingredients: Deboned chicken, Chicken broth, Turkey broth, Chicken liver, Deboned turkey
    Protein: 9%
    Fat: 3%
    Calories: 926 kcal/kg

    We like how chicken and turkey are repeated as the first five ingredients in this food from Merrick. Simple, whole ingredients provide the protein—as opposed to by-products—and this product is free from corn, grain, and soy. However, we don’t like how potato starch was included because cats don’t need carbs.

    Merrick Backcountry is an all-natural choice that doesn’t use any artificial flavors or preservatives. To fortify your cat’s dietary needs, this formula packs on some vitamins, minerals, and amino acids essential for your feline friend, including taurine. While this recipe contains the nutrients sufficient for indoor or outdoor cats, it’s not intended for kittens.

    • Whole meat chicken and turkey
    • No corn, grain, or soy
    • All-natural

    • Contains potato starch
    • Adult-only

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    6. Applaws Wet Cat Food

    Applaws Wet Cat Food - Natural, Limited Ingredient, Seafood

    Main Ingredients: Tuna filet, Fish broth, Rice
    Protein: 15%
    Fat: 5%
    Calories: 564 kcal/kg

    This three-ingredient natural food by Applaws is about as basic as you can get. Tuna, fish broth, and rice provide a safe option for cats who may have a lot of allergies or who are picky eaters. Although this recipe is marketed as a topper, some pet parents have fed this food alone to their cat for years with no issue. Since cats are obligate carnivores and it’s largely meat-based, we don’t see a problem with this approach. You should always talk to your vet first though before switching to any new food.

    Applaws takes the cake for the most expensive food on the list at over $2 per can. However, we think it’s worth it considering there are no preservatives, fillers, or by-products. The biggest consideration would be serving size if this is going to be your cat’s sole diet. One can per day might not be enough if it’s being used as a meal replacement, which will raise the overall expense.

    • Three simple ingredients
    • No preservatives, by-products, or fillers

    • Expensive

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    7. Simply Nourish® Original Cat Wet Food

    Simply Nourish® Original Cat Wet Food

    Main Ingredients: Chicken, Chicken broth, Water sufficient for processing, Chicken liver, Dried egg product
    Protein: 5%
    Fat: 3%
    Calories: 865 kcal/kg

    If your feline prefers to sink their teeth in some shredded chicken instead of scooping a pate, this wet food recipe by Simply Nourish will suit their fancy perfectly. This formula exceeds expectations for its modest price by excluding by-products, corn, and grains. We don’t like how potato starch is included because cats can live without carbs (and should as much as possible). However, we let it slide given that the other benefits far outweigh that one negative.

    If your cat isn’t digging chicken, Simply Nourish Original Wet Cat Food comes in two other flavors, Turkey, and Chicken & Tuna. It’s also worth noting that Simply Nourish is a PetSmart exclusive, so this store is the place to shop if your cat hungers for more.

    • High protein
    • Available in 3 flavors
    • Average price

    • Contains potato starch

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    8. Merrick® Purrfect Bistro® Adult Wet Cat Food

    Merrick® Purrfect Bistro® Adult Wet Cat Food

    Main Ingredients: Deboned chicken, Chicken broth, Chicken liver, Natural flavor, Dried egg product
    Protein: 10%
    Fat: 5%
    Calories: 1,132 kcal/kg

    Merrick Purrfect Bistro caters to your kitty by offering 9 flavors for them to choose from, preventing you from chronically dealing with an opened, untouched can of food that’s eventually dumped into the garbage.

    Real meat tops the ingredient list, followed by natural flavor. While we’d rather see natural flavor than artificial flavor, we do wish it could be replaced by an ingredient that would also add nutritional value. Other than that, we had no serious complaints. We thought that this food seemed like a good choice for a fair price.

    • First three ingredients feature real chicken
    • Available in 9 flavors to suit any picky eater
    • Good quality for average price

    • Natural flavor is a top ingredient

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    9. Nulo MedalSeries All Life Stages Dry Cat Food

    Nulo MedalSeries All Life Stages Dry Cat Food

    Main Ingredients: Deboned turkey, Turkey meal, Chicken meal, Deboned cod, Whole peas
    Protein: 41%
    Fat: 20%
    Calories: 496 kcal per cup

    This dry formula is another winner by Nulo that features real meat as the first ingredient. We like how this recipe includes probiotics to support healthy digestion, and doesn’t include fillers such as corn, soy, or wheat. While the description says it doesn’t include by-products, it technically does because meat meals are ground bone, which are humanly inedible. We wish that those ingredients could’ve been more real meats instead of by-products, but we’re content knowing that they came from chicken and turkey instead of an unknown meat source.

    We appreciate how cod is added for extra nutrition, as well as a wide variety of vitamins, minerals, and amino acids. Unlike most of the foods on our list, Nulo MedalSeries All Life Stages Dry meets the nutritional requirements for kittens and adults, so it’s ready for your kitten to enjoy as soon as they’re old enough to consume solid food.

    While this dry food option might be less expensive than wet food, it’s certainly not a cheap option. However, the ingredients list is very impressive considering most cat food is loaded with fillers, so we think the price is reasonable. The only other questionable thing we noticed is that peas are one of the top ingredients, which isn’t a particularly helpful ingredient for cats since they’re rich in carbs.

    • Real meat is the first ingredient
    • Includes added probiotics, vitamins, minerals, and amino acids
    • Free from corn, wheat, and soy
    • Formulated for all life stages

    • Contains meat meal, which is a by-product
    • More expensive than most dry food options
    • Contains peas as a main ingredient

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    10. Nature’s Variety® Instinct® Original Cat Food

    Nature's Variety® Instinct® Original Cat Food

    Main Ingredients: Chicken, Chicken meal, Turkey meal, Menhaden fish meal, Peas
    Protein: 41%
    Fat: 21%
    Calories: 4,300 kcal/kg

    If you’re looking for a dry, grain-free food that’s formulated for all life stages, Nature’s Variety is a good choice that won’t break the bank. Real chicken is the first ingredient, followed by meat meals from chicken, turkey, and fish. While we wish these proteins were whole meats instead of meals, which are ground bones, we’re glad they’re not plant-based proteins such as soy that are found in many dry cat foods.

    Probiotics, vitamins, minerals, and amino acids supplement this well-rounded diet, along with a few fruits and vegetables. While peas aren’t exactly harmful, there definitely could’ve been a better choice as a main ingredient since they’re starchy. This food meets the nutritional needs for cats of any age, but the relatively high calorie content might not make this recipe the most appropriate choice for elderly, obese, or diabetic cats.

    • Formulated for all life stages
    • Real chicken is the first ingredient
    • Features probiotics

    • Peas are one of the first ingredients
    • Most of the meats are meals
    • Higher calorie food not suitable for obese or diabetic cats

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    Buyer’s Guide – Choosing the Best Cat Food at PetSmart

    Cats Are Obligate Carnivores

    Although some cats and dogs may be similar in size, they’re built very differently at the biological level. While dogs might not thrive on a diet that mostly consists of grains, fillers, and plant-material, cats would quickly die from the lack of vitamins and amino acids.

    Felines are obligate carnivores, which means they absolutely must eat meat to live. This is because their bodies can’t produce the necessary nutrients on their own, so they must source amino acids from another animal. Dogs, on the other hand, are simply carnivores. They mostly eat meat, but even canines in the wild are known to eat grains, berries, and vegetables. Cats also can’t process plant material as well as dogs can. While carbohydrates are a necessary part of the canine and human diet, they actually aren’t required for a feline.

    Cats Shouldn’t Eat Raw Meat

    Strictly speaking, your cat could actually survive on meat alone. However, most people opt for a commercial diet because of safety and convenience. A wild cat immediately kills and eats its prey, but meat from the butcher shop lies dead for days before it’s consumed. Unfortunately, bacteria can build up in the meantime, so you shouldn’t feed your cat raw meat. You can cook them meat as long as it doesn’t contain harmful spices and seasonings, but again, most cat parents prefer to serve their cats a pre-cooked meal as it usually saves time and money.

    Grain-Free Diets for Cats, or No?

    New studies suggest grain-free diets may be harmful for dogs because they’re linked to taurine deficiency, which leads to heart disease. Since taurine is vital for your cat’s health, you might conclude that grain-free diets are harmful for them as well. However, that’s not the case. Your cat specifically needs taurine from meat, not grains that its body can’t process well. Currently, there’s no scientific evidence against grain-free diets for cats. Their bodies seem more built for that lifestyle, so we opt for grain-free when possible.

    With all of these things in mind, we shopped on PetSmart’s website for food that featured meat as the first five ingredients, or at least most of them. Surprisingly, this wasn’t the case for the majority of big brand food, especially dry kibble. Most dry cat food contained a heavy amount of peas, potatoes, rice, or other starchy ingredients in the first three items on the list.

    russian blue cat eating dry food in bowl
    Image Credit: Felice Wölke, Unsplash

    What About By-Products?

    Some of these foods contained a lot of meat by-products, a controversial label that designates humanly inedible, animal feed grade meat. This can include bones, skin, or organs of the animal, but unfortunately, that’s not the worst part. The foods labeled with “meat by-product” as opposed to calling out the meat source such as “chicken by-product” can legally contain any animal deemed as a cheap choice of protein—including euthanized shelter cats.

    If the mere thought of your kitten eating a deceased homeless animal isn’t enough, add to the fact that your cat is ingesting some amount of the euthanasia drug pentobarbital every time it eats a meal. This is the reason we aim to avoid “meat by-products” at all costs. We even only include foods with a named source of meat by-products if the overall recipe has another compelling feature that offsets the unpleasant animal feed grade meat, such as a significantly cheaper price point or inclusive mix of vitamins.

    Wet vs. Dry Food

    As for wet food versus dry food, we’ve included a mixture of both because there are distinct advantages and disadvantages for each type. Felines typically fancy wet food over dry food. On the nutritional side, wet food hydrates cats which may be especially beneficial for older felines or cats with urinary problems. However, dry food is much cheaper and more convenient. Some cats may also crave the crunch.

    Nom Nom Cat Eating Grey Bowl

    Regardless of whether you feed your cat dry or wet food, you need a bowl that is sure to keep the mess contained—you can do just that with the Hepper NomNom Bowl.

    This is designed with your cat’s comfort in mind. The whisker-friendly bowls are low and wide to prevent whisker fatigue, and the wide catch tray ensures that all food stays exactly where it should—inside the bowl.

    At Excited Cats, we’ve admired Hepper for many years and decided to take a controlling ownership interest so that we could benefit from the outstanding designs of this cool cat company!

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    Out of all the foods we found at PetSmart, we were compelled to choose their exclusive Nulo Medalseries All Life Stages Wet Cat Food as our overall best choice because it featured the most natural, high-quality ingredients for a fair price. As a bonus, it’s formulated for all life stages, so you don’t have to wait for your kitten to enjoy the good stuff.

    If you’re on a budget, Purina ONE Tender Selects was our best value choice because it’s a dry food that’s extremely cost efficient. Wellness Complete Health Cat Food Natural Grain-free Pate made the list as our premium choice for its ingredients since it doesn’t contain any corn, grain, or potato fillers common to most cat foods.

    Hopefully, these reviews helped you to choose the best food for your cat and your budget. But if you decide to keep searching, you’ll discover that PetSmart has many tasty varieties to choose from to suit any cat’s taste, but we felt like these were the best choices to suit a cat’s naturally obligate carnivorous diet.

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    Featured Image Credit: Veera, Shutterstock