If 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 and provided you with our top picks for best cat foods for indoor cats.. 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 2022)
|Best Overall||Smalls Fresh Cow Recipe Raw Cat Food||
||Click to Save 33%|
|Best Value||Purina Friskies Indoor Delights||
|Premium Choice||Blue Buffalo Wilderness Indoor||
|Iams ProActive Health Indoor Dry Cat Food||
|Purina Cat Chow Indoor Dry Cat Food||
The 10 Best Cat Foods for Indoor Cats
1. Smalls Fresh Cow Recipe — Best Overall
The Fresh Cow Recipe from Smalls is a great premium choice for your indoor feline. The recipe features a whopping 90% lean, human-grade, ground beef, which makes up 68.32% of the food total. It also contains 10% beef liver and beef heart, all of which give the food a 21.6% crude protein content overall. The food is also packed with healthy vegetables like green beans, spinach, and peas, plus all the additional vitamin and mineral supplements your cat needs to thrive like vitamins A, D3, B12, and minerals calcium, phosphorus, and magnesium. The food is available in a minced or pate recipe to suit your cat’s unique preferences.
The only issues we found with this food are the high price, as well as the fact that some of the overall protein content comes from peas.
2. Purina Friskies Indoor Delights Dry Cat Food — Best Value
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.
To conclude, we think this is the best indoor cat food for the money.
3. Blue Buffalo Wilderness Indoor Dry Cat Food — Premium Choice
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.
4. 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.
All in all, we think this is the best cat food for indoor cats (and the best dry cat food for indoor cats).
5. Purina Cat Chow Indoor 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.
6. 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!
7. 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.
8. 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.
9. 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.
10. 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.
Buyer’s Guide: Finding the Best Cat Food for Indoor Cats
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 fiber, 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:
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 indoor cats require around 20 calories per pound of body weight.
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 cat 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.
How to change your cat’s food to the best dry cat food for indoor cats
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!
Want to see more cat food reviews? Check out our review page here!
Final Verdict: What is the Best Cat Food for Indoor Cats?
As the best overall cat food for indoor cats, we selected the Smalls Fresh Cow Recipe. 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.
Featured Image Credit: New Africa, Shutterstock
- A Quick Comparison (updated in 2022)
- The 10 Best Cat Foods for Indoor Cats
- 1. Smalls Fresh Cow Recipe — Best Overall
- 2. Purina Friskies Indoor Delights Dry Cat Food — Best Value
- 3. Blue Buffalo Wilderness Indoor Dry Cat Food — Premium Choice
- 4. Iams ProActive Health Indoor Dry Cat Food
- 5. Purina Cat Chow Indoor Dry Cat Food
- 6. Blue Buffalo Healthy Gourmet Pate for Indoor Cats
- 7. Rachael Ray Nutrish Indoor Complete Dry Cat Food
- 8. Iams Perfect Portions Indoor Turkey Recipe Pate Wet Food
- 9. Hill’s Science Diet Adult Indoor Dry Cat Food
- 10. Friskies Indoor Variety Pack Canned Wet Food
- Buyer’s Guide: Finding the Best Cat Food for Indoor Cats
- Final Verdict: What is the Best Cat Food for Indoor Cats?