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10 Best Cat Foods for Indoor Cats in 2021 — Reviews & Top Picks

Indoor Cat Near Food Bowl_shutterstock_New AfricaIf your precious cat lives indoors, then it’s worth considering buying them food that’s specifically designed for indoor cats. Their needs can vary considerably from their relatives that roam outside. Typically, indoor cats aren’t as active, so they can put on weight quickly. If you’ve noticed that your indoor cat getting a little rounder, now might be the time to act!

Indoor cats can also suffer from more hairballs due to the increased amount of time that they spend grooming. The good news is that there are plenty of cat foods formulated with the specific nutritional needs of indoor cats in mind. The bad news is that there are so many to choose from, you might feel overwhelmed and be unable to make up your mind.

That’s where we come in! We’ve rounded up 10 of our favorite brands. Our reviews contain information about nutritional profiles, ingredients, and specific health issues that each food is designed to help combat.


A Quick Comparison (updated in 2021)

Image Product Details
Best Overall
Winner
Iams ProActive Health Indoor Iams ProActive Health Indoor
  • Value for money
  • Contains 10% reduced fat
  • Includes fiber for hairball control
  • Best Value
    Second place
    Purina Friskies Indoor Delights Purina Friskies Indoor Delights
  • Great value for money
  • Contains 30% protein and 9% fat
  • Contains antioxidants
  • Premium Choice
    Third place
    Blue Buffalo Wilderness Indoor Blue Buffalo Wilderness Indoor
  • Contains 38% protein and 16% fat
  • Includes LifeSource bits
  • Free from artificial colors
  • Purina Cat Chow Indoor Purina Cat Chow Indoor
  • Available in four bag sizes
  • Good value for money
  • Contains 30% protein and 9.5% fat
  • Blue Buffalo Healthy Gourmet Pate Blue Buffalo Healthy Gourmet Pate
  • Contains 10% protein and 6% fat
  • Real chicken as the first ingredient
  • Choose from three case sizes
  • The 10 Best Cat Foods for Indoor Cats

    1. Iams ProActive Health Indoor Dry Cat Food — Best Overall

    Iams ProActive Health Indoor Dry Cat Food

    As our best overall choice, we highly recommend the Iams ProActive Health Indoor Dry Cat Food. This food is designed to be easily digested and includes real chicken as the first ingredient. It also contains 10% less fat than Iams original kibble formulas, helping you control your indoor cat’s weight. This kibble is designed to provide complete and balanced nutrition for adult cats over the age of 1 year.

    This dry kibble contains a blend of carbohydrates from whole grains, beets, and rice. These are all designed to help keep your kitty feeling fuller for longer, reducing the chance that they come to raid their food bowl just after eating! These ingredients also add healthy fiber, which can reduce the incidence of hairballs and keep litter box smells to a minimum. As a bonus, the crunchy texture of this kibble helps clean tartar and plaque off your cat’s teeth as they eat.

    Pros
    • Value for money
    • Choose from four bag sizes
    • Contains 10% reduced fat
    • Includes fiber for hairball control
    • Kibble texture helps clean teeth
    • Contains 30% protein and 11% fat
    Cons
    • Contains chicken by-product meal

    2. Purina Friskies Indoor Delights Dry Cat Food — Best Value

    Friskies Indoor Variety Pack Canned Wet Food

    If you’re looking for the best cat food for indoor cats for the money, then we recommend the Purina Friskies Indoor Delights Dry Cat Food. This palatable kibble contains flavors of salmon, chicken, garden greens, and cheese. As a complete and balanced food, it can be fed as the only food to adult cats and will provide all the nutrition that they need. Bear in mind that any cat on a kibble-only diet should have their water intake monitored so you know if they’re staying hydrated enough.

    This kibble contains less fat than the comparable Friskies option for outdoor cats, helping you manage your indoor cat’s weight while still helping them feel full and satisfied. As a budget choice, the compromise here is that the first ingredient is ground yellow corn, not real meat. The protein source for this kibble is chicken, meat, and fish meal. That’s expected for a kibble in this price range, though.

    Pros
    • Great value for money
    • Choose from three different bag sizes
    • Contains 30% protein and 9% fat
    • Made in the U.S.A.
    • Contains antioxidants
    Cons
    • Corn as the first ingredient
    • Contains colorings

    3. Blue Buffalo Wilderness Indoor Dry Cat Food — Premium Choice

    Blue Buffalo Wilderness Indoor Dry Cat Food

    As our premium choice, we recommend the Blue Buffalo Wilderness Indoor Dry Cat Food. This food contains a high level of protein at 38%, most of which comes from the real deboned chicken as the first ingredient of this food. This helps your kitty build lean muscle, but it is combined with a lower fat content than Blue Buffalo’s equivalent kibble for outdoor cats, helping your indoor cat maintain a healthy weight. This formula is grain-free and made without soy, corn, or wheat.

    As with every Blue Buffalo kibble, this contains LifeSource bits, a blend of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that help support your indoor cat’s immune system to help them feel their best. However, you’re on a budget or have multiple cats to feed, then this may work out to be too expensive per portion.

    Pros
    • Contains 38% protein and 16% fat
    • Real chicken as the first ingredient
    • Grain-free
    • Includes LifeSource bits
    • Free from artificial colors
    Cons
    • Expensive
    • Contains peas, which can trigger allergies

    4. Purina Cat Chow Indoor Dry Cat Food

    Purina Cat Chow Healthy Weight Dry Cat Food

    The Purina Cat Chow Indoor Dry Cat Food is a great value choice of dry kibble designed specifically for indoor cats. With fewer calories and a higher level of fiber, this kibble helps keep your indoor cat’s weight at a healthy level and controls hairballs at the same time. Purina Cat Chow contains 25 essential minerals and vitamins to help your cat look and feel their best, while you can be confident that they’re receiving complete and balanced nutrition in every bite.

    It also contains antioxidants to help support your cat’s immune system, and it has a palatable taste that cats love. As it’s a budget option, this kibble uses chicken by-product meal as the primary protein source. This isn’t a problem, some cat owners prefer to avoid this ingredient, so it’s worth being aware of. This does contain real chicken, but further down the ingredients list.

    Pros
    • Contains added fiber for hairball control
    • Available in four bag sizes
    • Good value for money
    • Contains 30% protein and 9.5% fat
    • Made in the U.S.A.
    Cons
    • Contains chicken by-product meal
    • Contains flavorings
    • Contains colorings

    5. Blue Buffalo Healthy Gourmet Pate for Indoor Cats

    Blue Buffalo Healthy Gourmet Pate for Indoor Cats

    The Blue Buffalo Healthy Gourmet Pate for Indoor Cats contains a blend of high-quality ingredients designed to help your indoor cat feel and look their best. The first three ingredients are real chicken, chicken broth, and chicken liver, all providing plenty of protein to help your indoor cat build healthy lean muscle and control their weight due to the low fat content.

    With a high moisture content of 78%, this is a great choice if you want to make sure your indoor cat stays hydrated and healthy. The pâté texture is palatable, so it can be a good option for fussy cats. This provides complete and balanced nutrition for adult cats, so you can feed it on its own, but it can also be used as a topper for kibble. You can buy this wet pâté texture food in three can sizes: 3-ounce, 5.5-ounce, and 12.5-ounce. The smaller cans create a great deal of waste, so we’d advise against those if you’ve got multiple cats to feed!

    Pros
    • Contains 10% protein and 6% fat
    • Real chicken as the first ingredient
    • Choose from three case sizes
    Cons
    • Contains guar gum
    • Expensive
    • Small cans create a great deal of waste

    6. Rachael Ray Nutrish Indoor Complete Dry Cat Food

    Rachael Ray Nutrish Indoor Complete Dry Cat Food

    Rachael Ray Nutrish Indoor Complete Dry Cat Food is packed with beneficial ingredients to help your indoor cat look and feel great. The small kibble size is specifically designed to be easy for your cat to eat, while delivering big flavor and plenty of crunch. This contains U.S.A. farm-raised chicken as the first ingredient, as well as a blend of superfoods, vitamins, and minerals to provide all the nutrition that your cat needs.

    Lentils are added as a natural fiber source to help your cat feel fuller for longer without craving more food and putting on weight. This kibble also contains blueberries and cranberries, which are packed with antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals. Even better, it’s also supplemented with dandelion greens that containp. The only thing that we don’t like about this kibble is that it does contain a small amount of coloring and dried peas, which can trigger allergies in some cats.

    Pros
    • Choose from three bag sizes
    • Contains 34% protein and 12% fat
    • Real chicken as the first ingredient
    Cons
    • Contains coloring
    • Includes peas, which can trigger allergies

    7. Iams Perfect Portions Indoor Turkey Recipe Pate Wet Food

    Iams Perfect Portions Indoor Turkey Recipe Pate Wet Food

    The Iams Perfect Portions Indoor Turkey Recipe Pate Wet Food is a great option if you’re looking for a convenient way of feeding wet food without having to leave cans open. With chicken, turkey, and poultry liver as the first three ingredients, this tasty pâté is designed to provide all the protein that your indoor cat needs, minus the calories that could mean they will put on a bit too much weight.

    This wet food is made in the U.S.A., and besides plenty of meat, it contains other beneficial ingredients, including fiber and prebiotics, to help support your cat’s digestive system. It’s also enriched with vitamin E, which acts as an antioxidant to help boost your cat’s immune system. While these single-serve trays are undoubtedly convenient, they do also create plastic waste, especially if you’re feeding multiple cats. This formula is suitable for both adult cats and kittens, but we’d recommend feeding young kittens a wet food that’s specifically designed for that life stage.

    Pros
    • Grain-free
    • Veterinarian approved
    • Contains 9.5% protein and 5% fat
    Cons
    • Plastic trays create waste
    • Expensive
    • Contains egg, which can trigger allergies

    8. Hill’s Science Diet Adult Indoor Dry Cat Food

    Hill's Science Diet Adult Indoor Dry Cat Food

    Hill’s Science Diet Adult Indoor Dry Cat Food is specifically designed for adult indoor cats aged 1 to 6 years old. It includes real chicken as the first ingredient, supplemented with natural fiber from beet pulp. This helps support digestive health, helps reduce the chance of your cat suffering from hairballs, and can make litter box odors less obvious. It also contains a blend of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, all designed to help your cat’s immune system function at its best.

    This kibble isn’t grain free and does contain peas, which can trigger allergies in some cats. It’s also expensive, which can soon add up if you’re feeding multiple cats. It contains powdered cellulose as the fourth ingredient, which is basically a filler and doesn’t provide any nutritional benefits for your indoor cat.

    Pros
    • Chicken as the first ingredient
    • Contains 31% protein and 13% fat
    • Made in the U.S.A.
    Cons
    • Expensive
    • Contains chicken liver flavor
    • Not grain-free
    • Some cats don’t like the flavor

    9. Friskies Indoor Variety Pack Canned Wet Food

    Friskies Indoor Variety Pack Canned Wet Food

    Friskies Indoor Variety Pack Canned Wet Food is a great choice if you’re looking for a value pack of large cans to keep your indoor cats stocked up on wet food for a good amount of time. This pack contains three flavors: chicken and turkey casserole, saucy seafood bake, and homestyle turkey dinner. They’re all designed to provide plenty of flavor and have lower fat and calorific content to help your indoor cat maintain a healthy weight.

    As a budget canned food, this contains a few lower-quality ingredients that you might want to be aware of. This does have real meat, but it also has meat by-products, which some cat owners prefer to avoid. It also contains powdered cellulose, which is a filler with no nutritional value. Some of the recipes also contain artificial flavors. All varieties contain rice grains, which some cats pick out rather than eat.

    Pros
    • Good value for money
    • Contains 9% protein and 2% fat
    • Meat as the first ingredient
    Cons
    • Contains meat by-products
    • Contains powdered cellulose
    • Contains artificial flavors
    • Some cats pick out the rice grains

    10. Nutro Wholesome Essentials Indoor Adult Dry Cat Food

    Nutro Wholesome Essentials Indoor Adult Dry Cat Food

    Nutro Wholesome Essentials Indoor Adult Dry Cat Food contains real farm-raised chicken as the first ingredient, blended with natural fiber to help encourage healthy digestion and reduce the chance of your cat suffering from hairballs. It’s also supplemented with omega-6 fatty acids to help your cat’s coat and skin stay healthy from the inside out.

    This kibble is free from GMO ingredients, corn, wheat, soy, meat by-products, or any artificial flavors and colors. While the ingredients are first-class, some cats don’t seem to like the flavor of this kibble, so you’d be better off buying a smaller pack to see if your cat likes it first. The kibble is also quite large, so some smaller breed cats can have trouble eating it comfortably.

    Pros
    • Uses non-GMO ingredients
    • Chicken as the first ingredient
    • Contains 33% protein and 14% fat
    Cons
    • Expensive
    • Contains peas, which can trigger allergies
    • Large kibble size makes it difficult for some cats to eat
    • Some cats don’t like it

    Buyer’s Guide

    If you’re wondering what indoor cat food is going to suit your cat the best, we’re here to help! Our guide has all the information you need to figure out exactly what you should be looking for when choosing the best food for your cat’s needs. An indoor cat fed with regular cat food may put on weight and be in danger of becoming obese.

    What makes indoor cat food different from regular cat food?

    Indoor cat food tends to contain fewer calories and fat than standard cat food. This is because most indoor cats are less active than their outdoor counterparts, so they burn fewer calories than cats who go outdoors regularly.

    Indoor cat food formulations also tend to contain a higher level of protein, which can help decrease the chance of your cat suffering from hairballs and keep their digestive system functioning as effectively as possible.

    How many calories does my indoor cat need?

    The answer to this question will depend on the following factors:

    • Your cat’s breed
    • Their activity levels
    • Their age
    • Their health conditions
    • Their weight
    • Their metabolism

    On average, indoor cats need fewer calories than outdoor cats, but that’s accounted for within the nutritional profile of indoor cat food. As a rough guide, most cats require 20 calories per pound of bodyweight.

    The best place to start is to look at the feeding guidelines of the particular brand that you’re looking to buy. You can then adjust your cat’s rations up or down from this, depending on their condition. Your vet will be able to help you calculate how many calories your cat should be getting, as well as assess their body condition score.

    Should I feed my indoor cat wet or dry food?

    That’s up to you and the preferences of your cat! Some cats love wet food, and it can be more palatable for fussy cats. It also adds moisture to your cat’s diet, helping them stay hydrated and healthy. Wet food is more expensive and takes up more room to store. It’s also best not to leave it out all day, as it can spoil.

    Dry kibble is cost-effective and easy to store. Many cats will be quite happy eating a mainly dry food diet. Cats don’t have a high thirst drive, so if they’re fed only dry food, they can be prone to becoming dehydrated. You might need to monitor your cat’s water intake or consider buying a cat water fountain to encourage them to drink more.

    One compromise that many cat owners settle on is to feed a combination of both wet and dry food. You can leave dry kibble out for your cat to graze on throughout the day and feed them a small portion of wet food once or twice a day. If you decide on this approach, then remember to adjust the amount of each food so you’re not overfeeding your cat.

    You’ll need to adapt any feed regime to suit your cat and their individual needs. For example, if your cat is slightly overweight and tends to eat all their food in one go, then leaving out a large portion of dry kibble when you’re at work probably isn’t a good idea! You could invest in an automatic feeder to dispense a small amount of kibble at predetermined intervals throughout the day.

    Cat Lounging

    How to change your cat’s food

    Once you’ve decided on a new brand of food for your indoor cat, make sure to buy it before your old brand completely runs out. It’s best to introduce a new food over about a week, to give your cat’s digestive system a chance to adjust.

    We recommend mixing the two foods, starting with 25% of the new food and 75% of the old food and gradually increasing the amount of new food and decreasing the amount of old food. Keep an eye on your cat’s overall behavior, as well as their litter box habits. If they seem to be tolerating the new food as its percentage increases in their diet, then you’re all good to make a complete switch!

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    Final Verdict

    As the best overall cat food for indoor cats, we selected the Iams ProActive Health Indoor Dry Cat Food. Containing real chicken blended with healthy fibers and all the vitamins and minerals that your indoor cat needs to stay healthy, this is a great choice.

    As the best value choice, we recommend the Purina Friskies Indoor Delights Dry Cat Food. This kibble provides all the balanced nutrition that your indoor cat needs, but stays within budget by using meat meal and corn rather than real meat.

    Hopefully, our reviews and buyer’s guide have helped you narrow down your choice of which indoor cat food is going to suit your precious feline the best. Whichever you choose, whether you go for wet food, dry kibble, or a combination of both, you can rest assured that any of our choices will keep your indoor cat in the best of health.