As a cat owner, you know just how…well…particular felines can be. You may dish out a pretty penny on some fancy cuisine just to have your cat give you a big no thanks. Providing them a dry kibble diet that pleases their taste buds while being healthy can be a challenge.
But we’ve done the hard work for you. We’ve rounded up reviews on the 10 best dry cat foods we could find—most of which are even picky-kitty approved. You’re on your way to giving your purring pal wholesome nutrition that they will beg you for (probably at an unreasonable hour). Now let’s get going on our best dry cat food reviews!
A Quick Comparison of the Winners in 2023
|Best Overall||American Journey Grain-Free Cat Food||
|Best Value||Wysong Epigen Starch-Free Chicken Formula||
|Premium Choice||Dr. Elsey's Clean Protein Rabbit Recipe||
|Tiki Cat Born Carnivore Chicken & Egg Dry Cat Food||
|Blue Buffalo Wilderness Grain-Free||
The 10 Best Dry Cat Foods
1. American Journey Grain-Free Dry Cat Food – Best Overall
Our favorite is the American Journey Grain-Free Dry Cat Food. This recipe has mouth-watering chicken and turkey with no grains to upset the belly of your kitty. Deboned turkey is the first ingredient, so you know it’s wholesome and protein-rich.
This food has 395 calories per cup with 40% crude protein, 15% crude fat, 4% crude fiber, and 10% moisture. Moisture is crucial since cats typically don’t drink enough water.
Grain-free means this recipe is completely void of wheat, corn, or soy, which can upset a cat’s natural process of digestion. Instead, the product has healthy antioxidants, fatty acids, and amino acids to keep your feline active and strong.
Though American Journey obtains its ingredients from trusted sources worldwide, each bag is manufactured in US facilities. The price is friendly for most buyers. And the kibble is in tiny bits, so it’s easy to chew for young, capable adults as well as elderly cats.
All in all, we think this is the best dry cat food of the year.
- 40% crude protein
- Well-rounded nutrition
- Easy to chew
- Highly digestible
- Not all ingredients are from USA
2. Wysong Epigen Starch-Free Chicken Formula Grain-Free Dry Dog & Cat Food – Best Value
We think Wysong Epigen Starch-Free Chicken Formula Grain-Free Dry Dog & Cat Food is the best dry day food for the money. It’s an all-around nutritious recipe that is friendly to your wallet while still providing a terrific diet for your companion.
This recipe has organic chicken as the first ingredient, and a whooping 60% protein content. The formula contains only 15% crude fat, 4% crude fiber, and 10% moisture. There are 489 calories per cup.
The macronutrients in this formula have an ultra-high protein content. The formula is free of starches, grains and other gluten-filled additives that will irritate certain feline digestive tracts.
It is loaded with probiotics, prebiotics, enzymes, antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals, providing solid sustenance to various parts of the body.
However, Wysong Epigen is made with unprecedented protein levels and a highly nutrient-dense recipe that may not be right for all cats. The formula should be introduced gradually to prevent digestive upset. This formula should is not ideal for cats suffering from kidney disease.
- Ultra-high protein content
- Grain-free, starch free
- Not ideal for cats with kidney disease
3. Dr Elsey’s Clean Protein Rabbit Recipe Grain-Free Dry Cat Food – Premium Choice
Dr. Elsey’s Clean Protein Rabbit Recipe Grain-Free Dry Cat Food takes our premium product placement for the best dry cat food. This product is packed food with 58% of protein, and 18% fat content this formula is based on natural whole meat rabbit, chicken, and pork to help your cat maintain its muscle mass and feel satisfied. This formula is free from grains, gluten or fillers, and low glycemic, with only 4% of carbohydrates this is a dry food truly formulated for your little carnivores’ nutritional requirements. Low to no oxalate content prevents oxalate crystals and bladder stones formation to protect your kitten’s urinary health. The formula is enriched with taurine, vitamins, minerals, and Omega 3 fatty acids to cover all of your cat’s nutritional needs.
The only downside of this product is the price, but rest assured you will be paying for very good quality ingredients.
- 58% crude protein
- Meat based
- Grain free
- Low glycemic index
4. Tiki Cat Born Carnivore Chicken & Egg Grain-Free Dry Cat Food
Tiki Cat Born Carnivore Chicken & Egg Grain-Free Dry Cat Food is an excellent choice for your furry friend. The baked kibble delivers more than contains 43% crude protein, 19% crude fat, and 10% moisture. The protein source is 80% animal to mimic a carnivore’s prey, the first ingredient is deboned chicken and the formula does not contain any animal by-products. This low-carb recipe contains no GMO ingredients, artificial colors, or flavors. The formula delivers great quality ingredients is free from rice, corn, soy and comes at a very good price. And is proved as good even for picky eaters.
While the product is marketed as suitable for all life stages, some senior cats refuse to eat these hard kibbles. Pre-hydrating it for added moisture and softness might be a good idea especially for senior cats.
- 80% of protein sources are animal origin
- No GMO, artificial colors or flavors
- No corn, soy or wheat
- Kibbles might be too hard for senior cats with dental problems
5. Blue Buffalo Wilderness Grain-Free Dry Cat Food
Blue Buffalo has quite a reputation for keeping your kitty’s diet as natural as possible. While they’re a bit pricier than some other options, Blue Buffalo Wilderness Chicken Recipe Grain-Free Dry Cat Food doesn’t disappoint in terms of content. This recipe is tailored to help your feline maintain lean muscle mass for optimal agility.
The first two ingredients are deboned chicken and chicken meal, providing a healthy dose of necessary proteins. This recipe is made up of 40% crude protein, 18% crude fat, 4% crude fiber, and 9% moisture. There are 433 calories per cup.
Replacing certain grains—like wheat, corn, and soy—Blue Buffalo uses sweet potatoes and peas instead. That provides your kitty with necessary carbohydrates without irritating their GI tract.
This recipe also has Blue’s famous LifeSource Bits that are little vitamin-packed pieces in each bag. They’re loaded with vitamins, minerals, and superfoods that cater to your cat’s nutrition while offering a yummy kick.
- LifeSource Bits
- Grain, filler, and by-product-free
- Whole proteins
- Contains pea
- 26.7% carbohidrate content
6. ORIJEN Original Grain-Free Dry Cat Food
Original Cat from ORIJEN Original is a grain-free Dry Cat Food. With 40% protein and 20% fat, this formula is based on 90% premium meat and fish ingredients making it a biologically appropriate diet for a carnivore animal.
With chicken, turkey, and whole mackerel as their first ingredients, this recipe is also made with whole prey animal ingredients, including organs and bone. This product is coated with freeze-dried liver, making it very palatable to cats.
The only downside of this food is that not all cats accept it so if your cat is used to a specific diet make sure you do the transition slowly.
- Made with a whole prey animal
- Coated with freeze-dried liver
- Grain free
- Not all cats accept it
7. Taste of the Wild Rocky Mountain Grain-Free Dry Cat Food
Taste of the Wild Rocky Mountain Grain-Free Dry Cat Food is an exceptional recipe to consider. Taste of the Wild aims to imitate a cat’s natural diet so they can thrive. In this recipe, they add in scrumptious venison and salmon, which are considered novel proteins.
This recipe has a whopping 42% crude protein, 18% crude fat, 3% crude fiber, and 10% moisture. Each cup of food contains 390 calories and each bag also has over 80 million live probiotics and prebiotics for gut health.
Rather than using potentially irritating grains, this recipe uses sweet potatoes and pea protein. It contains real fruits and vegetables, loading it up with antioxidants, fatty acids, and fiber.
Chicken meal is the first ingredient, while it is despite an advertising focus on roasted venison and smoked salmon recipe. So, don’t be fooled by the label into thinking it only uses those protein sources. Some kitties may show sensitivities to chicken protein, so just keep this in mind when you purchase.
- Live probiotics and prebiotics
- Very high protein content
- Uses real fruits and vegetables
- Chicken meal used
8. ACANA Meadowlands Grain-Free Dry Cat Food
ACANA Meadowlands Grain-Free Dry Cat Food’s first three ingredients are fresh or raw chicken and turkey, 70% of this formula comes from animal ingredients. Containing 33% crude protein, 17% crude fat, and 12% moisture, this formula is coated with freeze-dried chicken and turkey liver as a flavor enhancer. The product is enriched with vitamins, minerals, natural preservatives, and probiotics. It contains no artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives.
This recipe could be higher in protein, otherwise, it has all the goodies to get your guy or gal through life. It will help to keep their coat soft, too, since it’s packed with omega fatty acids. Glucosamine helps keep joints healthy.
The downside of this formula is that it contains 30% of vegetable-origin ingredients, it’s more than we would like to see on a carnivore’s diet, however is free of corn, soy, or wheat.
- The first three ingredients are fresh or raw chicken and turkey
- Enriched with vitamins, minerals, probiotics, and omega fatty acids
- Added glucosamine helps keep joints healthy
- No corn, soy or wheat
- 30% vegetable ingredients
Related Read: 9 Lives Cat Food Review: Recalls, Pros & Cons
9. Rachael Ray Nutrish Natural Dry Cat Food
If you want to leave it to the chef, try Rachael Ray Nutrish Natural Dry Cat Food. This recipe is chicken and brown rice, where the chicken is farmed in the US. It’s also the number one ingredient, so you know your cat is getting a nutritious protein source to keep their muscles lean.
There is 34% crude protein, 14% crude fat, 4% crude fiber, and 9% moisture in this bag. In each cup, there are 386 calories. The first three ingredients are chicken, chicken meal, and corn gluten meal.
Rachel Ray delivers only the essential, wholesome nutrients your cat needs to thrive. There is no wheat or soy in this recipe. It’s also free of artificial flavors and preservatives, cutting out harmful additives.
This best-rated dry cat food recipe is packed with vitamins and minerals like biotin, zinc, and omega fatty acids. Beet pulp and amino acid helps to keep their GI tract and heart running smoothly. This isn’t a limited ingredient or gluten-free selection.
- US farm-raised chicken as the first ingredient
- No harmful additives
- Packed with vitamins and minerals
- Not for certain allergies or intolerances
10. Nutro Wholesome Essentials Indoor Adult Dry Cat Food
Nutro Wholesome Essentials Indoor Adult Dry Cat Food is loaded with the good stuff. Nutro focuses on clean nutrition, including only the most beneficial ingredients for your feline to enjoy. This particular recipe is for indoor cats, ensuring they get the proper formula.
This bag of food has 33% crude protein, 16% crude fat, 7% crude fiber, and 10% moisture. There are 378 calories per cup. Farm-raised chicken is the number one ingredient so you know your cat is getting the right protein from healthy sources.
This cat food is full of needed antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, and fatty acids. There are no added GMO ingredients—void of soy, wheat, corn, and animal by-products.
The natural fiber in the formula helps indoor cats stay regulated. The kibble is somewhat larger than other brands. So, if you have a kitty that has trouble chewing, it may not be the best option for them.
- Formulated for indoor cats
- Aids in digestion
- Large kibble may be hard to chew
Buyer’s Guide: How to Select the Best Dry Cat Food
We, as humans owned by our cats, must satisfy their tastes and make sure they’re healthy simultaneously. The two can be hard to blend sometimes. It seems the tastier the food, the worse it is for your feline. So, how do you combine the two to create the purr-fect best dry cat food diet?
First, you need to understand a bit about your cat’s digestive system, so you know just what they need to thrive. Each cat will have a different palette and appetite, but there are some common denominators across the board. Let’s discuss the ins and outs of cat nutrition.
Cats Are Carnivores & Why It Matters
Cats eat mostly meat. They are obligate carnivorous creatures, meaning their diet should consist of at least 70% meat. Sure, it may seem like some cats want to take a bite out of everything you’re snacking on. But a cat’s body does much better on a mostly meat-diet.
Of course, when you buy a bag of dry kibble, you’re going to see added ingredients that aren’t meat. That’s because house cats can’t simply go hunt every time they’re hungry to satisfy their need. So each recipe is crafted to give your pet a well-rounded eating experience according to their lifestyle.
That doesn’t mean, however, that you should feed your cat a diet full of fillers and artificial additives. Certain ingredients are harmful long-term for any cat—not just those with allergies or sensitivities.
What Factors Make Dry Kibble Top-Notch?
According to Chewy, dry kibble should have a minimum of 26% protein for adult cats. As a general rule of thumb, the first ingredient on the back of the back should be a protein source, whether it’s a whole protein or a meat meal. Cats need the benefits of animal protein more than any other ingredient on the label.
If you can, avoid food with a long list of fillers, by-products, or artificial flavors. These additives have no nutritional value for your cat and can trigger unwanted side effects or long-term health problems.
- Whole protein, ideally as the first ingredient
- High fiber to regulate the GI tract
- Low-to-no fillers—especially avoid soy, wheat, and corn
- Healthy carbohydrates
- Probiotics and prebiotics
- Antioxidants, like fruits and veggies
- Fatty acids, like omega-3 and omega-6
Ideally, your cat should have nothing artificial that you can’t pronounce or trace in their cat food.
Active vs Inactive Cats
The activity level of your cat has a lot to do with the food you select. If you have an extremely active cat, you will want to give them a food that is high in calories, carbohydrates, and protein. They will need the extra oomph to replenish their bodies of the nutrients they deplete.
The opposite is true of sessile housecats. If you have a lackadaisical, nap-loving feline, they won’t need nearly as much caloric intake. But they will need an adequate amount of fiber so that their digestive tract operates efficiently.
An imbalanced diet on either die of the spectrum can make your kitty too thin or lead to extra fat.
Cats Don’t Get Enough Moisture in Their Diet
Because cats naturally get hydration from their prey, they don’t think to drink enough water. Even though cats have been domesticated for eons, they still don’t always remember to hydrate appropriately.
Dry kibble doesn’t provide a lot of moisture since it is baked, dehydrated, and packaged to last. So, they will still need a constant supply of clean, fresh water available at all times.
Wet Food: The Good and the Bad
Many cat owners—and cats—may think wet cat food is a better alternative to dry kibble.
There are sometimes one or two misconceptions people have about wet cat food. First, that it’s terrible for your cat. Second, it’s the only option for your cat, and they should never have dry kibble. Both are wrong. The answer lies somewhere in the middle.
Most cats are enormous fans of wet food. They may pick at their kibble, but they really seem to dive into a nice, smelly helping of canned cat food. But, this dietary selection also gets a pretty bad rap.
So, is it really so negative? Not necessarily. There are plenty of positives about eating canned food.
- Canned food gives your cat consistent moisture in their diet that they lack from dry kibble, providing up to 78% of their daily water intake.
- Canned food stimulates the appetite, appealing to even the pickiest of cats.
- It doesn’t spoil or dry out since it’s conveniently packaged in a sealed can.
But, as with anything else, there are some downsides, too.
- It’s higher in calories, causing weight gain in some cats.
- It is linked to potential dental issues like plaque, tartar, tooth decay, and periodontal disease.
- It tends to be more expensive than dry kibble.
There you have it—it’s not the best or the worst diet for your cat. Ultimately, it’s up to your unique situation and your cat’s relationship with food.
Want to see more cat food reviews? Check out our review page here!
Should You Add Wet Food to Dry Kibble?
A good medium is combining wet food with dry kibble. It’s a cool trick if your cat is too picky to eat the kibble. You add it to the bowl, and your cat will eat both if they’re evenly mixed without much hesitation.
Realistically, you can do both every day or only offer wet food on occasion. That decision is up to you and your cat. And maybe your vet—if they need to get involved in settling the dispute between the two of you.
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 Nom Nom 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!
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 Nom Nom 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!
Sensitive Cats: How to Choose
Cats can suffer from food allergies, just like us. Especially since grains, artificial additives, and preservatives aren’t part of their natural diet, it can cause some complications in their system. It’s not uncommon for cats to show no symptoms initially.
The most common allergies cats develop are protein sensitivities from beef, chicken, and fish. Also, since cats are lactose intolerant, they react to dairy products in their food. They can also exhibit bad reactions to artificial dyes, preservatives, and grain fillers like corn, soy, and wheat.
If you notice after switching their food that something isn’t quite right, make sure to keep an eye on the ingredients.
Food-Related Allergy Signs in Cats
Luckily, noticing signs of allergies is easy, even if it takes a while to pinpoint the trigger. These allergies can display with a wide array of physical signs ranging from mild to severe.
- Skin irritation
- Recurring ear infections
- Frequent hairball regurgitation
If you suspect your feline has a food allergy, work closely with your veterinarian to find the root cause. You can specially tailor a diet to suit their needs and avoid any further irritation.
Conclusion: What Is the Best Dry Cat Food?
Getting a dry kibble your cat will find tasty doesn’t have to be a daunting task. Even if you have to coax your kitty to eat it with a lovely wet food topper, the health benefits of kibble are essential. We think American Journey Grain-Free is the best dry cat food overall because of its nutritional content and availability.
But if you’re rolling on a budget, Wysong Epigen Starch-Free Chicken Formula Grain-Free Dry Dog & Cat Food is still a complete diet with the perk of price-friendliness. No matter what pick caught your eye, hopefully, our reviews have led you to a final purchase so your cat can get to crunching.
Featured Image Credit: Okssi, Shutterstock
- A Quick Comparison of the Winners in 2023
- The 10 Best Dry Cat Foods
- 1. American Journey Grain-Free Dry Cat Food – Best Overall
- 2. Wysong Epigen Starch-Free Chicken Formula Grain-Free Dry Dog & Cat Food – Best Value
- 3. Dr Elsey’s Clean Protein Rabbit Recipe Grain-Free Dry Cat Food – Premium Choice
- 4. Tiki Cat Born Carnivore Chicken & Egg Grain-Free Dry Cat Food
- 5. Blue Buffalo Wilderness Grain-Free Dry Cat Food
- 6. ORIJEN Original Grain-Free Dry Cat Food
- 7. Taste of the Wild Rocky Mountain Grain-Free Dry Cat Food
- 8. ACANA Meadowlands Grain-Free Dry Cat Food
- 9. Rachael Ray Nutrish Natural Dry Cat Food
- 10. Nutro Wholesome Essentials Indoor Adult Dry Cat Food
- Buyer’s Guide: How to Select the Best Dry Cat Food
- Cats Don’t Get Enough Moisture in Their Diet
- Wet Food: The Good and the Bad
- Should You Add Wet Food to Dry Kibble?
- Sensitive Cats: How to Choose
- Food-Related Allergy Signs in Cats
- Conclusion: What Is the Best Dry Cat Food?