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10 Best Eco-Friendly Cat Foods in 2022 — Reviews & Top Picks

orange cat eating wet food

Our pets do create a serious dent in the environment, unfortunately. Just like us, our pets have to eat. Growing and producing this food produces a lot of waste and has a significant impact on the environment. Luckily, though, if you are more environmentally conscious, there are several foods out there that may be fitting.

You can find foods that are GMO-free, which typically means that fewer pesticides were used to grow the food. Furthermore, you can also find biodegradable food and companies that are more careful in their environmental impacts.

Below, we’ve listed some of our favorite environmentally-friendly cat foods so that you can feel a bit better about what you feed your cat.

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A Glance at Our Top Picks (2022 Update)

Image Product Details
Best Overall
Winner
Applaws Chicken Selection in Broth Applaws Chicken Selection in Broth
  • Feature iconHigh meat content
  • Feature iconChicken as the first ingredient
  • Feature iconNo additives in food
  • Best Value
    Second place
    Halo Holistic Chicken & Chicken Liver Recipe Halo Holistic Chicken & Chicken Liver Recipe
  • Feature iconIncreases metabolic rate
  • Feature iconCompletely natural ingredients
  • Feature iconUtilizes organ meats for added nutrition
  • Premium Choice
    Third place
    Tiki Cat Velvet Mousse Wet Cat Food Tiki Cat Velvet Mousse Wet Cat Food
  • Feature iconMousse texture
  • Feature iconLow in carbohydrates
  • Feature iconHigh-protein
  • Tiki Cat Aloha Friends Wet Cat Food Tiki Cat Aloha Friends Wet Cat Food
  • Feature iconIncludes pumpkin
  • Feature iconIncludes omega fatty acids
  • Feature iconUses real broth instead of water
  • Purina Beyond High Protein Organic Chicken Dry Cat Food Purina Beyond High Protein Organic Chicken Dry Cat Food
  • Feature iconAntibiotic-free
  • Feature iconUSDA organic chicken
  • Feature iconProduced in eco-friendly facilities
  • The 10 Best Eco-Friendly Cat Foods

    1. Applaws Chicken Selection in Broth – Best Overall

    Applaws Chicken Selection in Broth

    Main Ingredients: Chicken Breast, Chicken Broth, Rice
    Protein Content: 15%
    Fat Content: 0.5%
    Calories: 37 kcal/can

    The Applaws Chicken Selection in Broth is a great option for most felines, especially if you’re trying to be environmentally conscious. It is crafted with as few ingredients as possible, so it is good for your cat and the environment. There are a few different recipes available, but they all have chicken as the first ingredient. However, the other ingredients are different.

    Most of these meals are made of meat. However, some of them do include a small amount of rice and other ingredients. Some include pumpkin and cheese instead of rice. You can select a single recipe for your cat to consume, or you can switch it up between recipes for some added excitement.

    There are absolutely no additives in this food. Therefore, this recipe is a great option for many cats, especially if they are a bit more sensitive to additives. With all of these benefits, it is easily the best overall eco-friendly cat food out there.

    Pros
    • High meat content
    • Chicken as the first ingredient
    • No additives in food
    • Various recipes available
    Cons
    • Only available in cans
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    2. Halo Holistic Chicken & Chicken Liver Recipe – Best Value

    Halo Holistic Chicken & Chicken Liver Recipe

    Main Ingredients: Chicken, Chicken Liver, Dried Egg Product, Dried Peas, Dried Chickpeas
    Protein Content: 32%
    Fat Content: 13%
    Calories: 397 kcal/cup

    Made with mostly chicken products, Halo Holistic Chicken & Chicken Liver Recipe is a protein-dense option for your feline. It contains a variety of different meat sources, including chicken and chicken liver. It also includes dried egg, which includes a range of different nutrients and proteins. All the meat used in this food is whole meat and cage-free. Therefore, it is quite environmentally friendly.

    All of the other ingredients are also non-GMO products and do not come from factory farms. Therefore, this is one of the most environmentally-friendly cat foods out there.

    There are no artificial ingredients or meat meals in this food. All the ingredients have a place and add extra nutrition to this food. There are no fillers or anything of that sort. We also liked that this formula is designed to increase your cat’s metabolic rate, so it can be useful for overweight and obese cats.

    However, because so many cats are obese or overweight, this food is suitable for the large majority of cats out there. It is also extremely inexpensive. Therefore, it is the best eco-friendly cat food for the money.

    Pros
    • Increases metabolic rate
    • Completely natural ingredients
    • Utilizes organ meats for added nutrition
    • Includes dried egg and other quality ingredients
    Cons
    • Not good for picky eaters
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    3. Tiki Cat Velvet Mousse Wet Cat Food – Premium Choice

    Tiki Cat Velvet Mousse Wet Cat Food

    Main Ingredients: Tuna Broth, Tuna, Mackerel, Dried Egg, Sunflower Oil
    Protein Content: 14%
    Fat Content: 2%
    Calories: 82 kcal/pouch

    For those that only want the best of the best for your feline, we recommend Tiki Cat Velvet Mousse Wet Cat Food. It is available in a wide range of flavors in a variety pack, which allows you to switch things up for your feline regularly. Many picky cats love this food because you can switch flavors regularly.

    This wet food is a mousse, which means that it is extremely smooth. Some cats like this texture, but others do not. It is a matter of what your cat prefers. The mousse is extremely high-protein and made from a variety of meats. For instance, their tuna flavor includes a variety of different meats, including tuna, mackerel, and dried eggs.

    These formulas are naturally low in carbohydrates because they are mostly made of meat. They do not contain any corn, wheat, or rice. White potatoes and other starchy veggies are also not included.

    Pros
    • Mousse texture
    • Low in carbohydrates
    • High-protein
    • Contains almost exclusively animal protein
    Cons
    • Expensive
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    4. Tiki Cat Aloha Friends Wet Cat Food

    Tiki Cat Aloha Friends Wet Cat Food

    Main Ingredients: Flaked Tuna, Tuna Broth, Pumpkin, Tilapia, Sunflower Seed Oil
    Protein Content: 11%
    Fat Content: 1.8%
    Calories: 57 kcal/can

    Like most Tiki Cat foods, the Tiki Cat Aloha Friends Wet Cat Food is sold as a variety pack. Some cats are extremely sensitive when they are regularly switched between meals. However, others prefer the variety that many different foods provide. Therefore, you’ll need to consider your cat’s own needs.

    This food includes pumpkin, which has been known as a great option for digestive health. Sunflower oil is also added. This ingredient is extremely high in omega fatty acids, increasing your cat’s coat health. If your feline has poor skin or coat health, then this food may be exactly what they need.

    We love that this food is made with real broth. Broth contains more vitamins and nutrients than water, so it is typically the best option for cat food. Plus, the broth will make it tastier, so picky cats may like it more.

    Pros
    • Includes pumpkin
    • Includes omega fatty acids
    • Uses real broth instead of water
    • No grains or GMO ingredients
    Cons
    • High fish content may include excess mercury
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    5. Purina Beyond High Protein Organic Chicken Dry Cat Food

    Purina Beyond High Protein Organic Chicken Dry Cat Food

    Main Ingredients: Chicken, Chicken Meal, Cassava Root Flour, Pea Starch, Dried Egg
    Protein Content: 33%
    Fat Content: 15%
    Calories: 414 kcal/cup

    Purina Beyond High Protein Organic Chicken Dry Cat Food contains high levels of antioxidants, which can help support your cat’s immune system. Furthermore, it also includes chicken as the first ingredient. This chicken is completely antibiotic-free and doesn’t contain any growth hormones. The chicken is also USDA organic. Therefore, it is much more environmentally friendly than other options out there.

    It is carefully crafted to not include any corn, wheat, or soy. It also does not include any by-products, which do have a lower nutritional value than whole meat. Instead, it utilizes whole chicken and other sources of quality animal proteins.

    We loved that it is made in Purina-owned facilities, which is efficient. Because they take careful care of the efficiency of their products, this food is easily one of the most eco-friendly options on this list. However, you are paying a bit extra for this cat food.

    Pros
    • Antibiotic-free
    • USDA organic chicken
    • Produced in eco-friendly facilities
    Cons
    • More expensive
    • Has been reported to be smelly
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    6. Tender & True Organic Chicken & Liver Recipe

    Tender & True Organic Chicken & Liver Recipe

    Main Ingredients: Chicken, Chicken Meal, Tapioca Starch, Pea Flour, Dried Peas
    Protein Content: 38%
    Fat Content: 15%
    Calories: 350 kcal/cup

    Most foods on this list are canned. If you’re looking for a dry food option, then you may want to take a look at Tender & True Organic Chicken & Liver Recipe. The first ingredient is chicken, followed by chicken meal as the second ingredient. Both of these chicken sources are sourced from US farms and certified by the Global Animal Partnership. Therefore, it is far more environmentally friendly than most options on the market. The chicken is also humanely raised and slaughtered.

    This recipe is completely balanced and designed to include everything that your cat needs inside a little package. It comes with all of the added nutrients and vitamins that most cat foods do, but they are sourced from environmentally-friendly sources.

    It is made in the United States and is completely free from corn, soy, and wheat. No artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives are added, either. You can feed it to cats of all life stages, as it is nutritionally dense enough for kittens and adults alike.

    Pros
    • No wheat or soy
    • For all life stages
    • Chicken as the first ingredient
    Cons
    • Expensive
    • Only one flavor available
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    7. Merrick Purrfect Bistro Hairball Control

    Merrick Purrfect Bistro Hairball Control

    Main Ingredients: Deboned Chicken, Chicken Meal, Turkey Meal, Sweet Potatoes, Potatoes
    Protein Content: 32%
    Fat Content: 14%
    Calories: 371 kcal/cup

    The Merrick Purrfect Bistro Hairball Control is a cat food that is specifically designed and cooked in the United States. It contains a high level of natural fiber that seriously improves many cats’ digestive systems. Many cats need quite a bit of fiber to help regulate their digestive system.

    Therefore, this formula adds plenty of pea fiber and inulin. All of these ingredients can help improve hairball control. Therefore, if your cat has hairball problems, then you may want to switch to this formula.

    With deboned chicken as the first ingredient, this food is high in protein. It does include some veggies, including starchy veggies. However, it is completely grain-free. The food is designed as highly digestible, so it works well for many cats.

    Pros
    • Highly digestible formula
    • High in fiber and inulin
    • Chicken as the first ingredient
    Cons
    • Grain-free (so it may not be good for all cats)
    • Extremely expensive
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    8. Castor & Pollux PRISTINE Grain-Free Chicken Recipe

    Castor & Pollux PRISTINE Grain-Free Chicken Recipe

    Main Ingredients: Chicken, Chicken Broth, Water, Chicken Liver, Turkey
    Protein Content: 9%
    Fat Content: 3%
    Calories: 76 kcal/pouch

    Out of all the cat food brands out there, Castor & Pollux is one of the more premium options and is often touted as one of the best you can purchase. Castor & Pollux PRISTINE Grain-Free Chicken Recipe is, therefore, a solid option for many cats. However, it is extremely expensive and likely isn’t best for all cat owners.

    It does include mostly chicken meat, including both chicken broth and liver. We liked that it included chicken broth instead of water, which increases the nutritional value of the food. The chicken included is free-range and organic. It is raised in a humane way with access to fresh air and sunlight. Therefore, Castor & Pollux is typically considered to be an eco-friendly company.

    This formula is also grain-free and contains no corn, soy, or wheat. It is also gluten-free, which may make it suitable for more sensitive felines. It also contains absolutely no artificial flavors or preservatives.

    Pros
    • No artificial flavors or preservatives
    • Eco-friendly chicken as the main ingredient
    • Chicken broth used instead of water
    Cons
    • Expensive
    • High protein content isn’t suitable for all cats
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    9. Nutro Wholesome Essentials Chicken & Brown Rice Recipe

    Nutro Wholesome Essentials Chicken & Brown Rice Recipe

    Main Ingredients: Chicken, Chicken Meal, Pea Protein, Whole Brown Rice, Chicken Fat
    Protein Content: 36%
    Fat Content: 17%
    Calories: 386 kcal/cup

    The Nutro Wholesome Essentials Chicken & Brown Rice Recipe is a cheaper recipe that is designed with chicken as the main source of protein. Both chicken and chicken meal are included high on the ingredient list, providing your feline with tons of vitamins and minerals.

    This formula is designed primarily for senior cats so it includes plenty of added nutrients that your felines might need, such as taurine and antioxidants. It is one of the better options out there for senior cats, especially if you want an eco-friendly option.

    However, the one serious downside of this food is that it includes pea protein as the third ingredient. Because this ingredient is concentrated, this food likely contains very high levels of plant-based protein, which isn’t always the best option for cats.

    Pros
    • Designed for senior cats
    • Chicken and chicken meal included
    • Added taurine and antioxidants
    Cons
    • Pea protein included
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    10. Primal Chicken & Salmon Formula Nuggets

    Primal Chicken & Salmon Formula Nuggets

    Main Ingredients: Chicken, Chicken Livers, Salmon, Organic Pumpkin Seeds, Organic Sunflower Seeds
    Protein Content: 49%
    Fat Content: 26%
    Calories: 128 kcal/oz

    When looking at premium food to feed their cats, many people look for raw or freeze-dried food. Primal Chicken & Salmon Formula Nuggets typically fit into this category. It primarily utilizes chicken and salmon as the main protein sources, though it also includes chicken liver for added nutrients. The chicken is hormone and steroid-free, making it more environmentally friendly than other options.

    It includes added vitamins and minerals to ensure that your feline is receiving complete and balanced nutrition. Unlike most freeze-dried meat, these nuggets can be utilized as your cat’s whole meal. They are not just a supplement.

    Plus, this food is crafted in the United States from sustainable ingredients.

    However, this food is extremely expensive. For the most part, this is because it contains way more meat than other options on the market. It is also very dry and low in moisture. Cats have evolved to get a portion of their water needs from the food they eat, and this formula does not provide that at all.

    Plus, many cats do not like the dryness of this food. It is a bit like kibble, but the overwhelming dryness can get to some cats.

    Pros
    • High meat content
    • Complete and balanced diet
    Cons
    • Strange texture
    • Extremely dry
    • Expensive

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    Buyer’s Guide: How to Pick the Best Eco-Friendly Cat Foods

    Once upon a time, finding eco-friendly cat food was nearly impossible. However, there are now several companies that provide quality, eco-friendly cat food that your feline will love. Still, with so many options to choose from, it can be challenging to find the perfect option for your cat.

    In this guide, we’re going to take a look at everything you need to keep in mind when finding the perfect cat food for your feline.

    Canned vs. Kibble

    a cat with dry and canned cat food
    Image Credit: Alena Menshikova, Shutterstock

    You’ll likely notice that there are a lot of canned foods on this list. That is for a good reason—typically, canned cat food is better¹ than kibble. Cats evolved to get a portion of their moisture needs from the prey they eat. They do not necessarily have the same thirst reflex that we have. Therefore, if cats eat kibble, it is very common for them to be dehydrated.

    However, choosing canned or kibble is not always cut and dry. Some cats benefit from having constant access to food, and wet food cannot be left out for extended periods. On the other hand, canned food is often more expensive as well.

    You need to consider everything about the cat food and choose the best option you can afford. Sometimes, that will be dry food—and that’s okay!

    Calorie Content

    Cheaper cat foods may have a lower calorie content and be less filling than other foods. Therefore, while cheaper foods may be cheaper upfront, your cat may actually overeat them. When looking for savings, be sure that you are taking a look at the calorie content too. You don’t want to end up spending more later.

    Of course, the ingredients in the food matter, too. Less digestible cat food may technically have the same number of calories, but that doesn’t mean that your feline is actually absorbing all of those calories.

    Meat

    Cats are obligate carnivores, which means that they need meat. This is unlike dogs, who are designed to prefer meat but don’t necessarily need it. Cats do.

    Therefore, we recommend choosing a cat food that is at least mostly made of meat. Other ingredients like fruits, veggies, and grains can also be included, but the majority of the food should be made from meat.

    Of course, the quality of the meat also matters. Meat meals are preferred, as they are basically concentrated meat products. The meat is cooked down to remove much of the moisture content. Therefore, meat meals are actually higher in protein and nutrients than whole meats, which have high water content. However, in wet foods, whole meat will often be included because it has a high moisture content.

    Meat by-products are not necessarily bad. However, there is no way to tell they are exactly what they are, as the term “by-product” is very broad. Therefore, they should be avoided when possible.

    Choose the Correct Life Stage

    A cat’s nutritional needs will change as they age. Therefore, you will need to choose the food that is specifically designed to meet your cat’s current nutritional needs. There are three basic life stages that you will typically notice when shopping:

    • Kittens: Kittens need higher nutritional needs than adults, as they are still growing. DHA and fatty acids are especially important, as these help build your cat’s brain.
    • Adult: Adults need less protein and fat than kittens, as they are not growing and often not as active, either. Therefore, this stage is more focused on portion control and avoiding health problems.
    • Senior: Technically, senior cats do not need special nutrition from adult cats. However, they often have specific health problems that certain added nutrients might help. Therefore, many senior cat foods are simply adult cat foods with added nutrients. Some may also be even lower in calorie content since senior cats are often not very active.

    Grains vs. No Grains

    Siamese cat eating dry food from a bowl
    Image Credit: catinrocket, Shutterstock

    Grains are quite controversial. However, they are not typically a poor choice, as long as they are used appropriately. In fact, grain-free food may actually be harmful, as grains function as excellent sources of carbohydrates. Without enough carbohydrates, your feline may not get enough energy from their food.

    Of course, there are other sources of carbs in their food. Veggies and fruits are also carbs, and often take the place of grains in grain-free foods. However, they can also be harmful in high amounts.

    One common myth is that cats are allergic to grains. However, food allergies are usually linked¹ to a protein source, like dairy or beef. While cats can be allergic to grains, this is relatively rare.

    Whole grains can be a great source of many nutrients, including fatty acids and fiber. When grains are included in your cat’s food, they should be whole and not refined.

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    Conclusion

    We reviewed many different eco-friendly cat foods that your feline might enjoy. Out of all of them, we highly recommend Applaws Chicken Selection in Broth. This wet food has a simple recipe and contains mostly meat. There are several recipes to choose from, so you can change your cat’s food regularly.

    Halo Holistic Chicken & Chicken Liver Recipe is less expensive and a very suitable option for cats that need dry food. It includes large amounts of meat and is nutritionally complete. Therefore, we recommend it for those on a budget, or those that simply prefer dry food.

    We hope that one of the cat foods we reviewed is suitable for your feline and meets your environmental needs!

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    Featured Image Credit: Pixel-Shot, Shutterstock

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