Top 10 Best Dry Cat Foods of 2019

Our Review Process

Our reviews are based on extensive research and, when possible, hands-on testing. To stay objective and avoid biases, we don’t accept free products or write sponsored posts. Each time you make a purchase through one of our independently-chosen links, we’ll receive a percentage of the proceeds. Read More here.
The best dry cat food has low carbohydrate content, emphasizes species-appropriate animal protein over protein from plants, and is free of artificial ingredients that could hurt your cat.

best dry cat foods

Because it defies dry food stereotypehttps://www.wwwallaboutcats.com/cat-food-reviews/high-protein-low-carb-canned-cat-foods with its low starch content and species-appropriate protein, we’ve selected Dr. Elsey’s cleanprotein™ dry cat food as the best dry cat food on the market.

Read on for our list of the top 10 best rated air-dried, freeze-dried, and traditional dry cat food brands. After exploring our product roundup, you’ll learn about the good and the bad of dry food and how to make it part of a healthy feline diet.

Top 10 Best & Healthiest Dry Cat Foods on the Market

ImageProductFeatures
aac-table__image

Top Pick

Dr. Elsey’s cleanprotein™ Grain-Free Dry Cat Food
  • Extremely low carbohydrate content
  • Made primarily from species-appropriate animal ingredients
  • One of the most nutrient-dense dry foods on the market
Check Price
aac-table__image

Best Premium

Ziwi Peak Air-Dried Cat Food
  • Minimally processed foods harness the nutritional value of fresh meat
  • Virtually zero carbohydrate content
  • Made from high-quality New Zealand ingredients
Check Price
aac-table__image
  • Species-appropriate animal protein concentration
  • Low plant content compared to traditional dry foods
  • Contains a variety of meat, organs, and bone
Check Price
aac-table__image

Best freeze dried

Stella & Chewy’s Freeze-Dried Raw Morsels
  • The nutrition of raw meat in a shelf-stable, safer format
  • Great for cats transitioning to a healthier moisture-rich diet
  • Low in carbohydrates
Check Price
aac-table__image

Best for Indoor Cats

Wellness CORE Air-Dried Grain Free Dry Cat Food
  • Relatively low carbohydrate content
  • Air-dried foods retain the nutrient value of fresh meat
  • No artificial ingredients
Check Price
aac-table__image

Best High Protein

Tiki Cat Born Carnivore Dry Cat Food
  • Made primarily from nourishing animal protein sources
  • Contains delicious, nutrient-rich liver
  • Doesn’t rely on low-value plant protein
Check Price
aac-table__image

Best low carb

Solid Gold Indigo Moon® Dry Cat Food
  • Relatively low carbohydrate content
  • Made primarily from species-appropriate animal protein sources
  • Free from artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives
Check Price
aac-table__image

Best for older cats

Orijen Dry Cat Food
  • Minimal protein from plants
  • Captures the natural nutritional value of fresh meat
  • Heavy concentration of species-appropriate animal ingredients
Check Price
aac-table__image

Best for sensitive stomach

Acana Regionals Dry Cat Food
  • High percentage of meat ingredients
  • No artificial ingredients
  • Whole prey ratios of meat, organs, and bones
Check Price
aac-table__image

Budget Pick

Simply Nourish Source Grain-Free Dry Cat Food
  • The most affordable option on this list
  • Emphasizes whole named meats and meat meals rather than by-products
  • No artificial ingredients
Check Price

1. Dr. Elsey’s cleanprotein™ Grain-Free Dry Cat Food

Dr. Elsey's cleanprotein Chicken Formula Grain-Free Dry Cat Food

Buy On Chewy
Buy On Amazon

Read Our Full Brand Review

Dr. Elsey’s dry cat food stands out from the competition with its emphasis on nourishing, high-value protein, grain-free formulations, and an almost unprecedented lack of starchy binders. At least 90% of the protein in each recipe comes from animal sources, meaning that they offer species-appropriate nutrition for your carnivorous cat making it on the the top premium cat foods on the market today.

Their dry food is available in two recipes—chicken and salmon. Both contain less than 10% carbohydrate content. That’s unheard of among dry foods.

Dr. Elsey’s cat food has never been recalled.

Top Recipe: Dr. Elsey’s cleanprotein Chicken Formula Grain-Free Dry Cat Food

This recipe features chicken as the main ingredient. Instead of using starchy ingredients like corn or potatoes, the manufacturer relies on gelatin as a binder.

See full list of ingredients
Chicken, Dried Egg Product, Pork Protein Isolate, Gelatin, Chicken Fat (Preserved With Mixed Tocopherols), Flaxseed, Natural Flavor, Salmon Oil, Potassium Citrate, Calcium Carbonate, Fructooligosaccharide, Calcium Carbonate, Choline Chloride, Vitamins (Vitamin E Supplement, Niacin Supplement, D-Calcium Pantothenate, Vitamin A Acetate, Thiamine Mononitrate, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Riboflavin Supplement, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Biotin, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Folic Acid), Minerals (Ferrous Sulfate, Zinc Oxide, Calcium Carbonate, Manganous Oxide, Copper Sulfate, Iron Amino Acid Chelate, Manganese Amino Acid Chelate, Zinc Amino Acid Chelate, Copper Amino Acid Chelate, Sodium Selenite, Cobalt Carbonate, Ethylenediamine Dihydroiodide), Potassium Chloride, Mixed Tocopherols (Preservative), Taurine, Salt, Rosemary Extract.
See Nutritional Info

Guaranteed Analysis:

Crude Protein59.0% min
Crude Fat18.0% min
Crude Fiber4.0% max
Moisture12% max
AshN/A

What We Liked:

  • Extremely low carbohydrate content
  • Made primarily from species-appropriate animal ingredients
  • One of the most nutrient-dense dry foods on the market

What We Didn’t Like:

  • One of the most expensive cat foods available
  • Like other dry foods, it doesn’t offer adequate moisture

2. Ziwi Peak Air-Dried Cat Food

Ziwi Peak Air-Dried Mackerel & Lamb Cat Food

Buy On Chewy
Buy On Amazon

Read Our Full Brand Review

This cat food looks more like chunks of jerky than bits of kibble—it’s made in a different way than other foods. A gentle twin-stage air-drying technique destroys pathogenic bacteria while leaving the meat’s nutrient value intact.

Ziwi Peak cat foods are made in New Zealand from ingredients raised or grown on what the company describes as ethical local farms. All recipes contain 96% or more fresh meat, organs, bones, and New Zealand green-lipped mussels.

While the food is more expensive than most others on the market, it’s very nutrient-dense, so you’ll theoretically need to feed less at each meal.

Top Recipe: Ziwi Peak Air-Dried Mackerel and Lamb

This recipe features mackerel, lamb, and a variety of lamb organs. While most other foods rely on synthetic vitamins and minerals to replace nutrients lost in cooking, this food harnesses the nutritional power of heart, tripe, liver, lung, kidney, and bone. With virtually no plant content, this recipe is extremely low in carbohydrates. The food’s carbohydrate content stands around 4%. That’s less than most canned foods.

See full list of ingredients
Mackerel, Lamb, Lamb Heart, Lamb Tripe, Lamb Liver, Lamb Lung, New Zealand Green Mussel, Lamb Kidney, Lamb Bone, Lecithin, Inulin from Chicory, Dried Kelp, Minerals (Dipotassium Phosphate, Magnesium Sulfate, Zinc Amino Acid Complex, Copper Amino Acid Complex, Iron Amino Acid Complex, Manganese Amino Acid Complex, Sodium Selenite), Salt, Preservative (Citric Acid, Mixed Tocopherols), Vitamins (Choline Chloride, Thiamine Mononitrate, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Folic Acid, Vitamin D3 Supplement), DL-Methionine, Taurine.
See Nutritional Info

Guaranteed Analysis:

Crude Protein43.0% min
Crude Fat25.0% min
Crude Fiber02.0% max
Moisture14.0% max
Ash 12.0% max

What We Liked:

  • Minimally processed foods harness the nutritional value of fresh meat
  • Made from high-quality New Zealand ingredients
  • Virtually zero carbohydrate content
  • 95% of the protein in each meal is bioavailable

What We Didn’t Like:

  • At just 14% moisture, this food is no substitute for a hydrating canned, homemade, or raw diet
  • Extremely expensive
  • Not every cat will like the jerky texture

3. The Real Meat Company Grain-Free Air-Dried Cat Food

The Real Meat Company 90% Lamb Grain-Free Air-Dried Cat Food

Buy On Chewy
Read Our Full Brand Review

This air-dried food is similar to the Ziwi Peak product mentioned above, but it has some significant differences.

First, there’s a difference in plant ingredient concentration. Their recipes have a carbohydrate percentage of about 17% on an as-fed basis. Their recipes feature 90% muscle meat and organs mixed with vitamins, minerals, and fruit and vegetable ingredients.

Finally, you’ll notice a price difference between Ziwi Peak and The Real Meat Company. The Real Meat Company air-dried food is significantly cheaper.

The Real Meat Company foods have never been recalled.

Top Recipe: The Real Meat Company 90% Lamb Grain-Free Air-Dried Cat Food

This recipe contains lamb, lamb lung, liver, heart, and bone, along with pumpkin, parsley, vitamins, minerals, and added amino acids. At $14.72 for a 14-oz bag, it’s about 22% cheaper than Ziwi Peak’s mackerel and lamb recipe.

See full list of ingredients
Lamb, Lamb Lung, Lamb Liver, Lamb Heart, Parsley, Pumpkin, Rosemary, Inulin (from Chicory), Ground Lamb Bone, Vegetable Glycerin, Taurine, Choline Chloride, Mixed Tocopherols (Vitamin E Supplement), Zinc Proteinate, Zinc Sulfate, Iron Sulfate, Vitamin E, Iron Proteinate, Selenium Yeast, Copper Sulfate, Nicotinic Acid, Calcium Pantothenate, Copper Proteinate, Manganese Proteinate, Vitamin A Supplement, Vitamin K1, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Manganous Oxide, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Ethylenediamine Dihydriodide (Source of Iodine), Riboflavin Supplement (Vitamin B2), Thiamine Mononitrate (Vitamin B1), Pyridoxine Hydrochloride (Vitamin B6), Folic Acid.
See Nutritional Info

Guaranteed Analysis:

Crude Protein34% min
Crude Fat22.0% min
Crude Fiber2.0% max
Moisture15% max
AshN/A

What We Liked:

  • Species-appropriate animal protein concentration
  • Contains a variety of meat, organs, and bone
  • Low plant content compared to traditional dry foods
  • Economical compared to other air-dried foods

What We Didn’t Like:

  • Contains an unnecessary amount of plant ingredients
  • Some cats won’t like the jerky texture
  • Low moisture

4. Stella & Chewy’s Freeze-Dried Raw Morsels

Stella & Chewy's Chick Chick Chicken Dinner Morsels Freeze-Dried Raw Cat Food

Buy On Chewy
Buy On Amazon

Read Our Full Brand Review

These freeze-dried morsels from Stella & Chewy’s capture the natural nutrient value of raw meat while destroying potentially-harmful bacteria. The freeze-drying process makes the food shelf-stable like kibble and gives the morsels a crunch.

This food is a great option for kibble addicts transitioning to a high-moisture diet. You can gradually add warm water to your cat’s meals until the raw morsels have been fully rehydrated.

Stella & Chewy’s cat food was recalled twice in 2015 due to potential listeria contamination.

Top Recipe: Stella & Chewy’s Chick Chick Chicken Dinner Morsels Freeze-Dried Raw Cat Food

These freeze-dried morsels are made primarily from ground chicken meat and bone along with liver and gizzard. Botanicals, probiotics, and supplements are included in addition to the nutrient-rich meat. Each meal has an estimated carbohydrate content of 17%.

See full list of ingredients
Chicken (Ground With Bone), Chicken Liver, Chicken Gizzard, Pumpkin Seed, Potassium Chloride, Sodium Phosphate, Choline Chloride, Fenugreek Seed, Dried Pediococcus Acidilactici Fermentation Product, Dried Lactobacillus Acidophilus Fermentation Product, Dried Bifidobacterium Longum Fermentation Product, Dried Bacillus Coagulans Fermentation Product, Taurine, Tocopherols (Preservative), Dandelion, Dried Kelp, Zinc Proteinate, Iron Proteinate, Vitamin A Supplement, Vitamin E Supplement, Niacin Supplement, Copper Proteinate, Riboflavin Supplement, Sodium Selenite, D-Calcium Pantothenate, Biotin, Manganese Proteinate, Thiamine Mononitrate, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Folic Acid, Vitamin B12 Supplement.
See Nutritional Info

Guaranteed Analysis:

Crude Protein45.0% min
Crude Fat25.0% min
Crude Fiber5.0% max
Moisture5% max
AshN/A

What We Liked:

  • The nutrition of raw meat in a shelf-stable, safer format
  • Great for cats transitioning to a healthier moisture-rich diet
  • Low in carbohydrates
  • Premium protein

What We Didn’t Like:

  • Some plant content
  • Some cats won’t like the freeze-dried texture

5. Wellness CORE Air-Dried Grain Free Dry Cat Food

Wellness CORE Air Dried Natural Grain-Free Indoor Recipe Dry Cat Food

Buy On Chewy
Buy On Amazon

Real Our Full Brand Review

Wellness CORE is the company’s line of grain-free pet foods. They’re marketed towards the natural foods consumer and emphasize species-appropriate nutrition. As such, these recipes are light on plant protein and plant ingredients in general and are free from artificial ingredients. Nonetheless, their air-dried dry food is one of the more plant-rich products in the air-dried category.

Wellness pet foods have been recalled several times. Wellness was recalled twice in 2017, once in 2012, and again in 2011. The 2011 recall is the only one that involved the CORE line. In February of that year, the company recalled 21.6 million cans of Wellness cat food due to inadequate levels of thiamine.

Top Recipe: Wellness CORE Air Dried Natural Grain-Free Indoor Recipe Dry Cat Food

This is one of the most popular Wellness CORE air dried cat food recipes. It’s made with 70% chicken and turkey, which is a better meat concentration than some other dry foods, but not particularly impressive. Likely because it’s marketed for indoor cats, the food is heavy on fiber, containing tomato pomace, pea fiber, and ground flaxseed. Altogether, the food’s carbohydrate inclusions add up to about 19% of the total nutrient content.

See full list of ingredients
Deboned Chicken, Deboned Turkey, Peas, Gelatin, Natural Flavor, Tomato Pomace, Vegetable Glycerin, Pea Fiber, Salt, Dried Cultured Skim Milk, Sunflower Lecithin, Ground Flaxseed, Chicory Root Extract, Zinc Propoinate, Potassium Citrate, Choline Chloride, Calcium Chloride, Mixed Tocopherols Added to Preserve Freshness, Cranberries, Cranberry Extract Powder, Cranberry Fiber, Vitamin E Supplement, Zinc Proteinate, Zinc Sulfate, Taurine, Ferrous Sulfate, Iron Proteinate, L-Carnitine, Calcium Carbonate, Niacin, Glucosamine Hydrochloride, Chondroitin Sulfate, Copper Sulfate, Copper Proteinate, Manganese Proteinate, Manganese Sulfate, Vitamin A Supplement, Sodium Selenite, Thiamine Mononitrate, D-Calcium Pantothenate, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Riboflavin, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Biotin, Calcium Iodate, Dried Kelp, Yucca Schidigera Extract, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Folic Acid, Ascorbic Acid (Vitamin C), Rosemary Extract, Green Tea Extract, Spearmint Extract (This Is A Naturally Preserved Product).
See Nutritional Info

Guaranteed Analysis:

Crude Protein32.0% min
Crude Fat22.0% min
Crude Fiber4.0% max
Moisture20% max
Ash N/A

What We Liked:

  • Relatively low carbohydrate content
  • Air-dried foods retain the nutrient value of fresh meat
  • No plant protein fillers
  • No artificial ingredients

What We Didn’t Like:

  • On the expensive side
  • Contains more plant ingredients than necessary
  • Wellness CORE has been recalled
  • No dry food is adequately hydrating

6. Tiki Cat Born Carnivore Dry Cat Food

Tiki Cat Born Carnivore Chicken Luau Grain-Free Dry Cat Food

Buy On Chewy
Buy On Amazon

Read Our Full Brand Review

The recipes in Tiki Cat’s Born Carnivore line contain 44% protein on average. They’re advertised as high-protein, low-carbohydrate baked kibble foods. They’re grain-free and made without by-products. In contrast to many other dry foods that rely on plant fillers to boost the protein content, Born Carnivore foods contain little or no plant protein.

Tiki Cat has never been recalled.

Top Recipe: Tiki Cat Born Carnivore Chicken Luau Grain-Free Dry Cat Food

This food is primarily made from deboned chicken, chicken meal, and chicken liver, combined with tapioca starch, chickpeas, flaxseed, and whole peas. These plant inclusions contribute to the food’s approximate 18% carbohydrate content.

See full list of ingredients
Deboned Chicken, Chicken Meal, Dehydrated Chicken Liver, Dried Egg Product, Tapioca Flour, Ground Whole Flaxseed, Whole Chickpeas, Whole Peas, Natural Salmon Flavor, Chicken Fat (Preserved With Mixed Tocopherols And Citric Acid), Brewer’s Dried Yeast, Natural Chicken Flavor, Calcium Sulfate, Choline Chloride, Chicory Extract, Salmon Oil, Taurine, Pumpkin, Iron Sulfate, Zinc Sulfate, Niacin Supplement (Vitamin B3), Vitamin E Supplement, Manganese Sulfate, Copper Sulfate, Vitamin A Acetate, Thiamine Mononitrate (Vitamin B1), Calcium D-Pantothenate, Riboflavin Supplement (Vitamin B2), Pyridoxine Hydrochloride (Vitamin B6), Biotin, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Folic Acid, Calcium Iodate, Sodium Selenite, Rosemary Extract.
See Nutritional Info

Guaranteed Analysis:

Crude Protein46.0% min
Crude Fat20.0% min
Crude Fiber3.0% max
Moisture10.0% max
AshN/A

What We Liked:

  • Relatively low in carbohydrates
  • Made primarily from nourishing animal protein sources
  • Contains delicious, nutrient-rich liver
  • Doesn’t rely on low-value plant protein

What We Didn’t Like:

  • Contains minimally-nourishing plant ingredients
  • No dry food is adequately hydrating

7. Solid Gold Indigo Moon® Dry Cat Food

Solid Gold Indigo Moon with Chicken & Eggs Grain-Free Dry Cat Food

Buy On Chewy
Buy On Amazon

Read Our Full Brand Review

Indigo Moon® is Solid Gold’s line of grain-and-gluten-free dry cat food. The foods are relatively high in protein with lower concentrations of carbohydrates and plant ingredients than found in other dry foods.

Solid Gold food was recalled once. In 2012, the company recalled selected dog foods products due to suspected salmonella contamination.

Top Recipe: Solid Gold Indigo Moon® High Protein Wild Alaskan Pollock & Eggs Recipe Grain-Free Dry Cat Food

Animal proteins are central to this recipe, but the formula does contain potato protein, which is a concentrated plant protein source and not particularly bioavailable. The total carbohydrate content of this recipe is around 22%, which is lower than many other dry foods.

See full list of ingredients
Ocean Fish Meal, Chicken Meal, Peas, Chicken Fat (Preserved with Mixed Tocopherols), Potato Protein, Alaskan Pollock, Tapioca, Flaxseed, Dried Eggs, Natural Flavors, Tomato Pomace, Potassium Chloride, Taurine, Choline Chloride, Salmon Oil (Preserved with Mixed Tocopherols), Dried Chicory Root, Carrots, Pumpkin, Parsley, Apples, Cranberries, Blueberries, Lettuce, Celery, Beets, Watercress, Spinach, Broccoli, Spearmint, Vitamin E Supplement, Almond Oil (Preserved with Mixed Tocopherols), Sesame Oil (Preserved with Mixed Tocopherols), Yucca Schidigera Extract, Dried Kelp, Thyme, Lentils, Vitamin A Supplement, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Zinc Sulfate, Niacin, Ferrous Sulfate, L-Ascorbyl-2-Polyphosphate (Source of Vitamin C), Calcium Pantothenate, Thiamine Mononitrate, Copper Sulfate, Riboflavin, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Manganese Sulfate, Zinc Proteinate, Folic Acid, Calcium Iodate, Manganese Proteinate, Copper Proteinate, Sodium Selenite, Biotin, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Rosemary Extract, Dried Lactobacillus Acidophilus Fermentation Product, Dried Enterococcus Faecium Fermentation Product, Dried Lactobacillus Casei Fermentation Product.
See Nutritional Info

Guaranteed Analysis:

Crude Protein42.0% min
Crude Fat20.0% min
Crude Fiber3.0% max
Moisture10.0% max
AshN/A

What We Liked

  • Relatively low carbohydrate content
  • Made primarily from species-appropriate animal protein sources
  • Free from artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives

What We Didn’t Like:

  • Contains potato protein, a concentrated source of plant protein
  • No dry food is adequately hydrating

8. Orijen Dry Cat Food

Orijen Regional Red Dry Cat Food 4# Bag With Beef, Goat, Boar, Lamb, Pork and Wild Mackerel

Read Our Full Brand Review

All Orijen cat foods are 90% meat and 10% vegetables, fruits, and botanicals. Instead of relying on synthetic vitamins and minerals to replace nutrients lost during cooking, Orijen foods rely on food ingredients to achieve necessary nutrient values. Half of the meats are fresh or freeze-dried raw, locking in the natural nutrients in the meat. The foods also contain nutrients from fruits, vegetables, and botanicals.

Orijen foods would rank closer to the top of this list were it not for customer satisfaction issues. Since the company moved operations from Alberta, Canada to the United States, customers say that the food’s quality also went south. Some say that the food smells bad, some say it made their pets sick, and others complain of quality control problems like hair in the food and soggy bags.

Orijen cat food has been recalled once. In 2008, mandatory irradiation treatment lead to a series of cats falling seriously ill in Australia, prompting a recall of Orijen cat food sold in the country.

Top Recipe: Orijen Regional Red Dry Cat Food

This recipe is 90% meat, organs, and cartilage from beef, boar, goat, and sheep, with 10% of the recipe consisting of a wide variety of fruits, vegetables, and supplemental ingredients. It’s a meat-heavy recipe with an estimated carbohydrate content of 17%.

See full list of ingredients
Deboned Beef, Deboned Wild Boar, Deboned Goat, Deboned Lamb, Lamb Liver, Beef Liver, Beef Tripe, Wild Boar Liver, Deboned Mutton, Beef Heart, Whole Atlantic Mackerel, Deboned Pork, Goat Meal, Beef Meal, Lamb Meal, Mackerel Meal, Whole Red Lentils, Whole Pinto Beans, Beef Kidney, Pork Liver, Mutton Meal, Cod Meal, Beef Fat, Herring Meal, Natural Pork Flavor, Whole Green Peas, Whole Green Lentils, Whole Navy Beans, Whole Chickpeas, Pork Heart, Pork Kidney, Pollock Oil, Lamb Tripe, Lentil Fiber, Wild Boar Cartilage, Beef Cartilage, Whole Pumpkin, Whole Butternut Squash, Choline Chloride, Mixed Tocopherols, Dried Kelp, Zinc Proteinate, Kale, Spinach, Mustard Greens, Collard Greens, Turnip Greens, Carrots, Apples, Pears, Freeze-dried Beef Liver, Freeze-dried Beef Tripe, Freeze-dried Lamb Liver, Freeze-dried Lamb Tripe, Pumpkin Seeds, Sunflower Seeds, Thiamine Mononitrate, Chicory Root, Turmeric, Sarsaparilla Root, Althea Root, Rosehips, Juniper Berries, Dried Lactobacillus Acidophilus Fermentation Product, Dried Bifidobacterium Animalis Fermentation Product, Dried Lactobacillus Casei Fermentation Product.
See Nutritional Info

Guaranteed Analysis:

Crude Protein40.0% min
Crude Fat20.0% min
Crude Fiber3.0% max
Moisture3% max
Ash10.0% max

What We Liked:

  • Captures the natural nutritional value of fresh meat
  • Heavy concentration of species-appropriate animal ingredients
  • Minimal protein from plants

What We Didn’t Like:

  • After moving operations to Kentucky and reformulating the recipes, Orijen has received customer complaints
  • No dry food is adequately hydrating

9. Acana Regionals Dry Cat Food

Acana Regionals Grasslands Dry Cat Food

Read Our Full Brand Review

Produced by Champion Petfoods, Acana is the cheaper, less meat-heavy sister brand of Orijen.

All Acana Regionals foods contain 75% meat, 50% of which is fresh or raw. They incorporate five different fresh meats in “whole prey ratios” of muscle meat, organs, and bones. Instead of reaching nutrient requirements with the use of synthetic vitamins, minerals, and amino acids, Acana relies on the natural nutrient value of fresh meat and the nutrients in fruits, vegetables, and botanicals.

Acana foods haven’t been recalled.

Top Recipe: Acana Regionals Grasslands Dry Cat Food

Like all Acana recipes, the Grasslands formula is made with 75% lamb, bird, egg, and fish. Meat, organs, and cartilage are all included as part of the whole prey-inspired formula. The remaining 25% of the recipe is dedicated to vegetables, fruits, and botanicals. Zinc proteinate is the only synthetic supplement used in the recipe.

See full list of ingredients
Deboned Lamb, Deboned Duck, Whole Eggs, Lamb Meal, Catfish Meal, Goat Meal, Whole Green Peas, Red Lentils, Pinto Beans, Rainbow Trout, Lamb Fat, Chickpeas, Green Lentils, Whole Yellow Peas, Herring Oil, Quail, Duck Meal, Lentil Fiber, Natural Lamb Flavor, Lamb Tripe, Lamb Liver, Lamb Kidney, Duck Giblets (Liver, Heart, Kidney), Duck Cartilage, Dried Kelp, Whole Pumpkin, Whole Butternut Squash, Kale, Spinach, Mustard Greens, Collard Greens, Turnip Greens, Carrots, Apples, Pears, Freeze-dried Lamb Liver, Freeze-dried Duck Liver, Pumpkin Seeds, Sunflower Seeds, Choline Chloride, Zinc Proteinate, Copper Proteinate, Mixed Tocopherols (Preservative), Chicory Root, Turmeric, Sarsaparilla Root, Althea Root, Rosehips, Juniper Berries, Dried Lactobacillus Acidophilus Fermentation Product, Dried Bifidobacterium Animalis Fermentation Product, Dried Lactobacillus Casei Fermentation Product.
See Nutritional Info

Guaranteed Analysis:

Crude Protein35.0% min
Crude Fat20.0% min
Crude Fiber4.0% max
Moisture10.0% max
AshN/A

What We Liked:

  • High percentage of meat ingredients
  • Low carbohydrate content
  • No artificial ingredients
  • Whole prey ratios of meat, organs, and bones

What We Didn’t Like:

  • Some reviewers said that this Acana food made their cats sick
  • A formulation change may have reduced the palatability of Acana foods
  • Contains unnecessary fruits and vegetables
  • Low in moisture

10. Simply Nourish Source Grain-Free Dry Cat Food

Simply Nourish Source Fish & Chicken Recipe High-Protein Grain-Free Adult Indoor Dry Cat Food

Buy On Chewy
Buy On Chewy

Read Our Full Brand Review

This cat food consists of fish, poultry meals, chicken meat, potatoes, peas, and small amounts of other plant ingredients. While it does contain a fair amount of plant matter, it doesn’t appear that this recipe stoops to using plant protein as a cheaper alternative to species-appropriate animal protein.

In total, this food is about 24% carbohydrate. That’s far from ideal for an obligate carnivore, but better than the average kibble.

See full list of ingredients
Fish, Chicken Meal, Turkey Meal, Deboned Chicken, Dried Potatoes, Dried Peas, Canola Oil (Preserved with Mixed Tocopherols), Flaxseed Meal, Tomato Pomace, Dried Egg Product, Natural Flavor, Pea Fiber, Salt, Vitamins (Vitamin E Supplement, L-Ascorbyl-2-Polyphosphate, Niacin Supplement, Vitamin A Supplement, d-Calcium Pantothenate, Thiamine Mononitrate, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Riboflavin Supplement, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Folic Acid, Biotin, Vitamin B12 Supplement), Choline Chloride, Dried Chicory Root, Dried Cranberries, Dried Carrots, Dried Sweet Potatoes, Taurine, Minerals (Zinc Sulfate, Ferrous Sulfate, Calcium Iodate, Copper Sulfate, Manganese Sulfate, Calcium Carbonate, Sodium Selenite, Calcium Iodate), L-Carnitine, Vegetable Oil, Rosemary Extract.
See Nutritional Info

Guaranteed Analysis:

Crude Protein39.0% min
Crude Fat16.0% min
Crude Fiber8.0% max
Moisture10.0% max
AshN/A

What We Liked:

  • The most affordable option on this list
  • Minimal plant protein
  • Emphasizes whole named meats and meat meals rather than by-products
  • No artificial ingredients

What We Didn’t Like:

  • Contains generically-named “fish” without specifying the fish species used
  • Contains more plant ingredients than the other foods on this list
  • Low moisture

Dry food isn’t the best thing you can feed your cat. Here’s how to choose you choose the right dry food and give your cat a healthy diet.

Dry cat food isn’t the ideal diet—it never provides adequate hydration and is usually packed with carbohydrates. Compared to other types of cat food, it’s often made with a large amount of low-value plant protein.

If you have to feed dry food, here are a few tips to help you do it better.

Incorporate it into a rotational feeding plan.

Rotating kibble with wethomemade, or raw food will keep your cat from turning into a dry food addict and promotes healthy moisture intake.

Click here for our guide to the best wet and canned cat food on the market.

Invest in a water fountain to encourage your cat to drink more.

Cats who eat dry food drink more water than those who eat a high-moisture diet, but that doesn’t mean that they’re better hydrated. In fact, one study found that cats who ate wet food took in more water despite not drinking anything at all.

Even dry-fed cats may be hesitant to drink from a bowl. Cats instinctively avoid still, potentially stagnant water. A water fountain appeals to your cat’s preference for well-aerated moving water.

Click here for our guide to the best cat water fountains.

You may add water, goat’s milk, or cat milk to increase the moisture content of your cat’s food—but don’t leave it out for long.

Many dry foods are contaminated with mycotoxins, which thrive in warm, damp environments. If you do choose to add moisture directly to your cat’s dry food, make sure that your cat eats all of it within a few hours. It’s also a good idea to supplement your cat’s diet with probiotics if your cat is suffering from digestive or urinary tract issues.

Don’t rely on dry cat food to keep your cat’s teeth clean.

Though it may be better for your cat’s dental health than a soft canned diet, dry cat food alone will not prevent periodontal disease. To keep your cat’s teeth healthy, brush their teeth daily and consider taking them in for professional cleanings. The best dental cat treats may also help.

Choosing the Best Dry Cat Food

Choose high-protein, low-carbohydrate dry food if possible.

Your cat is an obligate carnivore and thrives on a high-protein diet with moderate fat and little or no carbohydrate matter. No cat needs a high-carbohydrate diet.

Dry cat food is notorious for high carbohydrate content. Starches help to bind kibble, so high-carb ingredients are a physical necessity in the extrusion process.

Not all dry foods are extremely high in carbohydrates, however. A few extraordinary products cut back on carbohydrates and emphasize the animal ingredients your cat needs.

Carbohydrate content is not listed on cat food labels, so we’re forced to calculate it based on other nutrient values. When choosing the cat foods listed above, we used the carbohydrate calculator provided here. If ash content was not available for a given food, we used 3% as a default. Actual carbohydrate values may differ from these estimates.

Don’t be fooled by the grain-free trend.

Cat food brands know that consumers are afraid of corn, wheat, and soy, so they’ve created a new generation of overpriced junk food.

Swapping corn and wheat for sweet potatoes and peas does absolutely nothing nutritionally significant for your cat’s health. Most cats are not gluten intolerant and, contrary to popular belief, grains are not the leading cause of feline allergies.

Also Read: Best grain free cat food

Pay attention to protein quality.

Many dry cat foods emphasize low-value proteins rather than species-appropriate protein from meat. These ingredients are less digestible than meat-sourced protein and they can contribute to the waste load on your cat’s kidneys. Low-quality proteins include plant ingredients like potato protein, corn gluten meal, wheat gluten, and pea protein.

Animal by-products are also a source of less-than-optimal protein, so you should also avoid them.

Look for dry food sold by a reputable company.

Recall History

A company’s recall history gives you insights into their safety standards and trustworthiness. A recall isn’t always indicative of a bad company, but a history of frequent recalls, deception, and secrecy is a bad sign.

Customer Experience

Read customer reviews to evaluate other customers’ experience with both the company and the food they produce. Ensure that the company provides good customer service by calling their support line. A 2-minute phone call can tell you a lot about a cat food company.

Want to learn more about feline nutrition and choosing the best food for your cat? Click here for our guide to the overall best cat food on the market.

Best Dry Cat Food Overview

ProductMade InPriceProtein SourcesProtein %Caloric Content
Dr. Elsey’s cleanprotein™USA~$4.9/IbChicken, Egg & Pork59.0554 kcal/cup
Ziwi Peak Air-DriedNew Zealand~$1.34/OzMackerel & Lamb43.0273 kcal/scoop
The Real Meat CompanyUSA~$1.05/OzLamb34.0724 kcal/cup
Wellness CORE Air DriedUSA~$14.25/IbChicken, Turkey & Peas32.0419 kcal/cup
Stella & Chewy'sUSA~$2.1/OzChicken45.0182 kcal/cup
Tiki Cat Born CarnivoreCanada~$4.05/IbChicken & Dried Egg46.0495 kcal/cup
Solid Gold Indigo MoonUSA~$2.14/IbChicken Meal42.0455 kcal/cup
Orijen Regional RedCanada~$9.45/Ibbeef, wild boar, goat & lamb40.0N/A
Acana Regionals GrasslandsUSA~$4.8/Ibdeboned duck, eggs, lamb, goat, catfish, peas,& lentils33.0N/A
Simply Nourish SourceUSA~$1.7/IbFish, Chicken & Turkey39.0374 kcal/cup

About the author


Mallory Crusta is a writer and adventurecat enthusiast on a mission to make cats’ lives extraordinary. She’s one of the founders of Wildernesscat – a site for happy, healthy, and adventurous cats who are fueled by nature. Visit Wildernesscat for radically natural cat nutrition, home remedies, and lifestyle inspiration.

9 thoughts on “Top 10 Best Dry Cat Foods of 2019

  1. AvatarMike

    My cats are only about 3 years old. I have been feeling like buying 80 cents per pound purina and kit and kabootal food is not worth the savings versus how much i value my guys(and girl). At the same time i dont want to spend $50 for a 16 pound bag of food. What is the best food for indoor cats(ages 2-4 year old) at about 2$ a pound? I dont want to overspend on crap thats marketed as good food, but also dont wont to buy garbage for them. I started buying rachel ray and other brands that are about 14$ for around 5 pounds of food. They dont eat as much of it as quickly as the cheap stuff. I am not sure if they dont like it, or its its just making them more satisfied.

    Reply
  2. AvatarScott Williams

    Dear Mallory;
    There is one brand of both dry and wet cat foods that is consistently passed over on all the “top” lists and it’s wrong. I feed Akiko, my 2 year old jet black DSH nothing but Performatrin Ultra, food and treats. It’s made in Canada from all Canadian ingredients, and is grain free and very high in animal protein, nutrients and minerals, quite comparably to high end brands like Blue . Also, if you buy it in Canada it’s lower priced than the brands like Blue. More and more Canadian veterinarians are telling there pet owners(Performatrin makes dog food as well) to switch to Performatrin Ultra because it’s just that good. I know Aikiko is very healthy and happy with it, and that’s good enough for me.

    Thank-you for your time;
    Scott Williams

    Reply
  3. AvatarMallory Crusta

    Hello Scott!

    Thanks for bringing Performatrin Ultra to my attention! I took a look at the product selection and it does appear that it’s an above-average cat food—nutritionally on par with some of the brands on this list of the best dry food. Again, I appreciate you leaving a comment and will keep Performatrin in mind for future “top” lists.

    All the best to you and Aikiko,

    Mallory

    Reply
  4. AvatarIdan

    Hello,
    It is sad that a lot of good US brands aren’t sold outside of the US and are extremely expensive to import.
    I would like to point out you are a bit inconsistent in that you rated Orijen 8 and Acana 9, while giving Acana a better grade in your Full Brand Review.

    Reply
  5. AvatarMallory Crusta

    Hello Idan,

    Thanks for your comment! Where are you from? I may be able to recommend a few good brands that are available in your country. Also, thanks for pointing out that discrepancy. This article was written before the brand reviews and should be updated for consistency.

    Purrs,

    Mallory

    Reply
  6. AvatarJay

    My vet cautioned me about grain free foods. The heart problems showing up in dogs due to lack of taurine in grain free food is also a concern for cats. Can you recommend a quality dry food that is not grain free? Thank you!

    Reply
    1. AvatarBrittney

      My cats eat grain free and their food absolutely contains taurine. It’s an essential ingredient for cat foods. Just read the ingredients label. If taurine is one of the last ingredients listed then it doesn’t contain much. The higher on the ingredients list that taurine appears, the more that food contains!

      Reply
  7. AvatarAubrey

    My vet recommended royal canin and said that grain free may cause heart disease but I wonder about vet’s motives (feeding pets unhealthy food gives them more business). I bought some tiki cat at the pet health food store instead. Interested in checking out Dr. Elsey’s instead. I was using 4health before.

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *