If you went back in time 50 years, you’d be shocked by the limited cat food options available on the market. Many people didn’t even feed their cat commercial food back then!
In recent years, the cat food market has exploded. You can find cat foods for just about every feline, including some holistic options.
Of course, what counts as “holistic” varies from person to person. Does the protein have to come from farm-raised animals? Do all veggies have to be GMO-free? Each person will have a different answer.
There is no regulation around the use of the word “natural” or “holistic,” so you have to be fairly careful when shopping. You never know what a particular brand means by holistic until you read the ingredient list.
We reviewed 10 different types of holistic cat foods below. Many of these foods use higher-quality ingredients, like farm-raised chicken. However, what each brand means by holistic varies from product to product.
A Quick Comparison of Our Favorites in 2023
|Best Overall||Tiki Cat Variety Pack Cat Food||
|Best Value||Purina Beyond Salmon Dry Cat Food||
|Premium Choice||Smalls Fresh Raw Human-Grade Cat Food||
||Click to Save 40% Use code: Excitedcats2023|
|Instinct Chicken Pate Canned Cat Food||
|ORIJEN Original Dry Cat Food||
The 9 Best Holistic Cat Foods
1. Tiki Cat Aloha Variety Pack Grain-Free Wet Cat Food – Best Overall
|First Five Ingredients:||Flaked Tuna, Tuna Broth, Pumpkin, Tilapia, Sunflower Seed Oil|
Tiki Cat isn’t a well-known brand. However, they produce very high-quality cat food. Most of their foods are available as variety packs, like the Tiki Cat Aloha Friends Variety Pack Grain-Free Wet Cat Food. We choose to review the first recipe listed in the variety pack as an example of what they offer. Most of their formulas are quite similar, though.
This formula is primarily made up of tuna, with some tilapia thrown in for good measure. Pumpkin is also included – a high-quality veggie that includes many nutritious benefits for cats. It may also help with digestive issues, making this wet food a solid option for cats with sensitive digestion.
We prefer wet food for cats, as it provides much of the moisture they need. Cats are designed to receive much of their moisture needs from their prey animals, and this formula mirrors that.
Much of this moisture is added by tuna broth, which increases the overall nutritional content of the food. Broth contains vitamins and minerals, while water does not. Therefore, we prefer broth for all wet foods.
Sunflower oil is added higher on the ingredient list to improve the omega fatty acid content of this food. These fatty acids are essential for supporting your feline’s coat and skin health.
This formula is non-GMO and free from corn, wheat, and soy. With all these factors combined, we can easily name this the best overall holistic cat food you can purchase.
- Uses tuna broth
- High levels of animal protein
- Sunflower oil for high omega fatty acids
- Free from corn, wheat, and soy
- Only available in variety packs
2. Purina Beyond Grain-Free Whitefish & Egg Dry Cat Food – Best Value
|First Five Ingredients:||Hake, Chicken Meal, Cassava Root Flour, Dried Egg Product, Pea Starch|
Purina isn’t often considered a natural, premium brand. However, they have one of the lowest recall rates on the market, making them one of the safest foods available. They have also recently started making their Beyond product line, which is higher-quality than most of the other options out there.
The Purina Beyond Simply Grain-Free Wild-Caught Whitefish & Egg Recipe Dry Cat Food is one such product.
This particular formula includes hake and chicken meal as the first two ingredients. These are high-quality options for any feline, especially since the use of fish raises the omega fatty acid content of this food considerably.
There are many non-meat ingredients in this food. For the most part, this includes quality options like eggs. However, the company does practice ingredient splitting with their pea listing. They list both “pea protein” and “pea starch” around the middle of the list. If these ingredients were listed together as “peas” (like they should), they would likely appear much higher on the list.
Based on the ingredient list and price, this is the best holistic cat food for the money. It’s quite inexpensive compared to other options.
- No corn, wheat, or soy
- Limited Ingredient diet
- Hake and chicken meal
- High in omega fatty acids
- High amounts of peas
- Includes higher levels of non-meat ingredients
3. Smalls Fresh Bird Holistic Cat Food – Premium Choice
|First Five Ingredients:||Chicken Thigh, Chicken Breast, Chicken Livers, Green Beans, Peas|
Smalls Fresh Bird Recipe offers an excellent source of protein that is low in fat and high in nutritional value. The diet is quite palatable, with both white and dark meat included in the mix. We liked that it also has kale, which provides a decent source of fiber that cats need even though they are obligate carnivores.
The recipe also contains green beans and peas, which we didn’t like. According to the FDA, the jury is still out about the feasibility of these ingredients in dog and cat foods. We also had concerns about it being a raw diet because of the risk of foodborne illnesses, which is also on the American Veterinary Medical Association’s (AVMA) radar.
It’s worth noting that Smalls issued a voluntary recall of some of its products earlier in 2021. We suggest following the package instructions about feeding your cat this food. Make sure to pick up your pet’s bowl promptly once your kitty finishes eating.
- High-quality protein
- Low fat content
- Kale for fiber
- Decent moisture percentage
- Green beans and peas in the recipe
- Recall history
4. Instinct Original Grain-Free Pate Real Chicken Canned Cat Food
|First Five Ingredients:||Chicken, Turkey, Chicken Liver, Chicken Broth, Ground Flaxseed|
The Instinct Original Grain-Free Pate Real Chicken Recipe Wet Canned Cat Food is quality wet food for any feline out there. It utilizes chicken and turkey as the main protein source – including a variety of organ meats and chicken broth.
Ground flaxseed is included to raise the omega fatty acid content, promoting your cat’s skin and coat health.
The large majority of this food is meat – just like it should be. In fact, 95% of this recipe comes from an animal product. Only 5% are veggies, including peas and carrots. These occur much further down the ingredient list.
This formula is completely free from grain, corn, potatoes, wheat, soy, and by-products. Artificial colors and preservatives are also absent from the ingredient list. If you’re looking for a formula that mirrors your cat’s natural diet, this is it.
As obligate carnivores, cats are designed to live off mostly meat – and that’s exactly what this brand includes.
However, this food is considerably more expensive. That’s what happens when your feline is consuming mostly meat. Compared to grains and veggies, meat is considerably costly.
- High in animal meats
- Free from grain, potatoes, corn, and wheat
- Cage-free chicken as the first ingredient
- Not good for sensitive stomachs (due to the richer ingredients)
5. ORIJEN Original Grain-Free Dry Cat Food
|First Five Ingredients:||Chicken, Turkey, Whole Mackerel, Turkey Giblets (Liver, Heart, Gizzard), Flounder|
There isn’t much to dislike about the ORIJEN Original Grain-Free Dry Cat Food. The ingredient list is full of high-quality meats ranging from turkey to flounder. Eggs are also included, as are an array of different organ meats.
You aren’t going to find a much better ingredient list!
The protein content is extremely high. At 40%, it is much higher than most of the other formulas on the market. The same could be said for the fat content, which is at 20%.
With a freeze-dried coating, this formula is extremely tasty for many cats. It may be considerably more palatable than most other foods out there (though, of course, we haven’t tried it!). Many owners reported that their picky cats loved this food.
With so many positive qualities, you’re probably wondering why it didn’t land higher on our list.
Firstly, this food is extremely expensive. Most people can’t afford it. That’s what happens when you shove so much quality meat into cat food.
Secondly, the kibble is quite large. Some little cats may not be able to handle the bigger pieces.
- High-quality ingredients included throughout
- Protein content at 40%
- Freeze-dried coating for taste
- Extremely expensive
- Large pieces
6. Fancy Feast Gourmet Naturals Beef Pate Canned Cat Food
|First Five Ingredients:||Beef, Meat Broth, Liver, Chicken, Fish|
Fancy Feast is a relatively popular brand. If you think of wet cat food, this brand is probably quite high on the list. The Fancy Feast Gourmet Naturals Beef Recipe Pate Canned Cat Food is a pretty good natural recipe – though it isn’t our favorite.
As a wet food, it is high in moisture. This higher water content is helpful for some felines, especially if they are prone to urinary tract infections.
However, to bring up the moisture content, “meat broth” is added as the second ingredient. There is nothing wrong with broth. It includes extra nutrients that water just doesn’t have! But we have no idea what sort of meat this broth is from. It’s mystery broth, in other words!
This formula is considerably less expensive than other options, though. Some pet owners may decide to look past the inclusion of mystery broth due to the lower price.
The other ingredients are pretty high-quality, though there are some other vaguely named options. Consider “liver” and “fish,” for instance. It isn’t terribly clear what those ingredients are.
- High in moisture
- Free from artificial flavors, colors, and preservatives
- Some vaguely named ingredients
- Lower protein and fat content
7. Farmina Natural & Delicious Chicken Grain
|First Five Ingredients:||Boneless Chicken, Dehydrated Chicken, Sweet Potatoes, Chicken Fat, Dried Whole Eggs|
For those without a budget at all, Farmina Natural & Delicious Chicken Grain may be a good option. However, they are extremely expensive – and the value isn’t exactly there either. You can find cheaper brands that provide similar benefits.
This recipe starts with boneless chicken, followed by dehydrated chicken. After that, the formula is a series of quality, non-meat ingredients. For instance, both eggs and chicken fat make an appearance. This formula also includes quite a lot of sweet potatoes.
If you base it on the pre-cooked weight, 70% of this food is from a meat source and 97% of the listed protein comes from animals.
This formula is completely free from GMOs, peas, lentils, pea protein, chickpeas, and added plant oils. The ingredients overall are extremely high-quality, but you are going to pay a pretty penny for them.
There are some complaints about this food being unpredictable. Some pet owners noticed differences between bags. This may just be natural variation – or it could be a sign of poor-quality control. With that said, this brand has currently not experienced any recalls.
- 97% animal protein
- 70% of ingredients from animal sources
- Free from GMOs, lentils, peas, pea protein, chickpeas, and added plant oils
- Extremely expensive
- Some problems with consistency
8. Weruva Mideast Feast Tilapia in Gravy Grain-Free Canned Cat Food
|First Five Ingredients:||Tuna, Water Sufficient for Processing, Tilapia, Potato Starch, Sunflower Seed Oil|
Weruva Mideast Feast with Grilled Tilapia in Gravy Grain-Free Canned Cat Food isn’t made by a very popular brand. However, their formulas are quite high-quality.
This recipe includes mostly tuna and tilapia. Both of these ingredients are quality options for most felines. They are quite tasty and provide high levels of omega fatty acids to support coat and skin health.
There are absolutely no grains in this recipe. It is 100% grain-free and includes no GMOs or MSG. If you’re looking for a natural formula, you really can’t get much more natural than this.
However, there are a few downsides to this formula as well. It includes water to increase the moisture content – not broth. Therefore, the nutritional content is a bit lower than you may find with other wet foods. They don’t have the added broth to boost the vitamin and mineral content.
The fat content is also a bit lower than most. Cats need higher levels of fat to thrive. While the fat included is likely high-quality due to the inclusion of fish, we would have liked to see more of it.
- Completely natural
- Chicken-free (for cats with allergies)
- Water instead of broth
- Low-fat content
9. Fussie Cat Premium Tuna with Prawns
|First Five Ingredients:||Tuna, Water Sufficient for Processing, Prawns, Sunflower Seed Oil|
The Fussie Cat Premium Tuna with Prawns cat food isn’t as popular as many of the other brands we’ve reviewed. It also isn’t as widely available, though you can find it in many online stores. However, it is a suitable natural option.
This wet food may appear slightly more expensive than other options. However, it comes with more cans, so you aren’t actually paying anything more. Actually, this food is priced pretty affordably.
This formula is potato and grain-free. It doesn’t contain peas, either. According to the ingredient list, it is also free from chicken – though it isn’t labeled “chicken-free” by the company.
With tuna as the first ingredient, this food includes high levels of omega fatty acids. These are important for your feline’s skin and coat health. They can prevent some skin issues and keep your feline’s coat soft.
On the surface, this food may seem like a great option. However, it is missing many of the features we look for in holistic cat food.
Firstly, it isn’t non-GMO. The products included are likely from a GMO source.
It also doesn’t include probiotics, which are important for your cat’s gut health. While probiotics are often missing from low-quality cat foods, it is quite disappointing that this somewhat expensive cat food doesn’t include any.
- High-quality animal protein
- High in omega fatty acids
- Potato and grain-free
- Contains GMOs
- No Probiotics
Buyer’s Guide: How to Choose the Best Holistic Cat Food
“Holistic” is a bit of a vague term for cat food. The term isn’t regulated by any organization, so any company can use it to mean anything they want. This makes shopping for holistic cat food a bit complicated.
The only way to know whether something is holistic or not is to check the ingredient list. You can’t always go off of what the company states on the front of the bag.
In this section, we’ll discuss the ins and outs of holistic food, as well as how to select one for your feline.
What Is Holistic Cat Food?
Truthfully, it depends on who you ask! Different people have different definitions of holistic. It’s important to consider what you’re actually looking for when purchasing this type of cat food.
With that said, the term “holistic” usually implies some common traits.
- Natural ingredients. In many cases, these sorts of formulas include only natural ingredients. The food should only include whole foods such as meats, fruits, veggies, and whole grains. In many cases, more meat is expected – since that’s what cats naturally eat.
- Enriched with extra supplements. Many holistic foods are designed to support your cat’s whole health, so they often include extra vitamins and nutrients. For instance, omega fatty acids are a common addition. Many include oils to support the food’s fat content.
- Free from artificial ingredients. As you might expect, most holistic foods do not include any artificial ingredients. This includes hormones, dyes, antibiotics, and pesticides. By-products are typically absent as well, though these don’t technically match the definition of “artificial.”
Why Should Cat Parents Choose Holistic Cat Food?
There are many arguments for – and against – holistic cat food. It mostly depends on what you’re trying to achieve with your feline’s food, as well as what definition of holistic the food is using.
- A healthier cat. Usually, the main reason pet parents choose holistic food is because they believe it is healthier. To an extent, this is true. Holistic foods are often free from pesticides like BHA and BHT, which can be potentially harmful to your feline’s health. However, there aren’t any studies done on whether or not holistic food, in general, is better for felines or not.
- High-quality ingredients. Many cat owners consider natural, organic ingredients to be higher-quality than other options. In some cases, this is true. After all, pesticides aren’t good for use or our felines in higher amounts. However, just stating that a food is made with natural ingredients doesn’t necessarily mean that the ingredients are higher-quality. It’s important to read the label!
- Supports better practices. You may purchase holistic cat food to support better industry practices, like farm-raised protein sources. While this may or may not be reflected in your cat’s health, it can make a difference in the wider world.
What Cat Foods are Really Holistic?
The easiest way to determine which foods are holistic and which aren’t is to check the ingredient list. Preferably, it should contain mostly meat. This meat should be from a natural source. In many holistic foods, the meat will be farm-raised or organic.
This isn’t necessarily always true, though. Check if organic and farm-raised meats are important to you.
Next, you should check for added preservatives and colors. These tend to hide among the long list of added vitamins and minerals common in most cat foods. However, sodium nitrate is a common preservative that usually appears at the end of the list. Colors are labeled as “red 3” or something similar.
The minerals and vitamins included will be artificial – that’s just how the food remains nutritionally complete for your cat.
- Propylene glycol
- Calcium ascorbate
- Butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA)
- Butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT)
- Artificial flavors and colors
While some companies may label their food “holistic” even if it includes these ingredients, most of us wouldn’t consider these ingredients holistic.
For the most part, judging whether or not a cat food is holistic will include studying the ingredient list for these artificial ingredients. We’ve already done this job for you in the reviews above. However, if you’re out and about looking at cat food, it’s essential to check the ingredient list before you simply go off of what’s on the market.
Want to see more cat food reviews? Check out our review page here!
There are many foods out there that claim to be “holistic.” However, there is not an official definition for this word. Therefore, companies can use it to mean whatever they want.
For this reason, checking the ingredient list is essential.
We recommend Tiki Cat Aloha Friends Variety Pack Grain-Free Wet Cat Food as the best holistic cat food on the market. It includes high-quality ingredients and is mostly just made of meat. The ingredients are non-GMO, and it is free from corn, wheat, and soy.
For those on a budget, you may want to consider Purina Beyond Simply Grain-Free Wild-Caught Whitefish & Egg Recipe Dry Cat Food. This recipe includes a lot of animal ingredients while remaining cheaper than other options on the market.
Hopefully, our reviews and explanation helped you choose the perfect holistic cat food for your feline.
Featured Image Credit: sweetlouise, Pixabay
- A Quick Comparison of Our Favorites in 2023
- The 9 Best Holistic Cat Foods
- 1. Tiki Cat Aloha Variety Pack Grain-Free Wet Cat Food – Best Overall
- 2. Purina Beyond Grain-Free Whitefish & Egg Dry Cat Food – Best Value
- 3. Smalls Fresh Bird Holistic Cat Food – Premium Choice
- 4. Instinct Original Grain-Free Pate Real Chicken Canned Cat Food
- 5. ORIJEN Original Grain-Free Dry Cat Food
- 6. Fancy Feast Gourmet Naturals Beef Pate Canned Cat Food
- 7. Farmina Natural & Delicious Chicken Grain
- 8. Weruva Mideast Feast Tilapia in Gravy Grain-Free Canned Cat Food
- 9. Fussie Cat Premium Tuna with Prawns
- Buyer’s Guide: How to Choose the Best Holistic Cat Food