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5 Best Budget Cat Foods in 2021 – Reviews & Top Picks
If you have cats at home, we assume you consider them part of the family and do as much as you can to provide them with the best.
It is for this reason that feline owners are increasingly offering their mustached companions “high-end”, “natural”, organic, or even grain-based foods without genetically modified organisms (GMOs), without additives, nor preservatives.
These dedicated owners are also willing to pay the price: on average, they spend $500 a year just to feed their cats! However, as our evaluation of cat food shows, it is quite possible to fill the kitten’s bowl with a quality product that meets its nutritional needs at an affordable price. You don’t need to spend lots to feed your felines well, and we can prove it to you.
Check out the five best budget cat food options we’ve handpicked to help you find the one that will make kitty and your wallet happy!
A Quick Comparison of Our Favorites
|Best Overall||Purina Cat Chow Complete Dry Cat Food||
|Best Value||Iams ProActive Health Dry Cat Food||
|Premium Choice||Hill's Science Diet Dry Cat Food Chicken and Brown Rice Recipe||
|Best for Kittens||Whole Earth Farms Grain-Free Healthy Kitten||
|Cat Chow Naturals Grain-Free with Real Chicken Dry Cat Food||
The 5 Best Budget Cat Food – Reviews & Top Picks 2021
1. Purina Cat Chow Complete Dry Cat Food – Best Overall
|First ingredient:||Chicken by-product meal|
In general, veterinarians recommend cat food high in protein, good sources of fat, and low in carbohydrates. In addition, cats need taurine, arginine, niacin, preformed vitamin A, and specific types of essential fatty acids; otherwise, they can suffer from serious health problems. This is why Purina Cat Chow Complete Dry Cat Food is the best overall option due to the quality of its ingredients, the reputation of the brand, and its low price. However, this cat food also contains corn and other grains, which does not make it a low-carb option. Nevertheless, since chicken is the first ingredient on the list, the protein content is higher, which limits the possibility of weight gain.
2. Iams ProActive Health Dry Cat Food – Best Value
You can’t go wrong with Iams. This option is ideal for indoor cats and owners who want to buy a reputable brand without having to break their piggy bank. Not only is chicken the number one ingredient, but it’s also formulated to help cats maintain a healthy weight and reduce hairballs. However, this option is only for indoor cats; don’t buy it if your pet spends his day exploring your neighborhood, as he may need extra calories.
3. Hill’s Science Diet Dry Cat Food, Adult, No Corn, Wheat or Soy Chicken and Brown Rice Recipe – Premium Choice
Hill’s Science Diet Dry Cat Food isn’t exactly a cheap option, but because it is made with very good quality protein and is grain, wheat, and soy-free, your cat will be satisfied with less food. This means you’ll be able to last longer without having to buy another bag, making it a better option in the long run. Plus, since Hill’s Science Diet is recommended by vets, you can be sure your cat is getting all the essential fatty acids they need to thrive. However, despite all the good things packed in this bag, some cat owners have reported that their kitten does not like this food. So, to make sure you don’t waste money on an entire bag that will end up in the trash, you should ask your vet for a sample before purchasing.
4. Whole Earth Farms Grain-Free Healthy Kitten – Best for Kittens
|First ingredient:||Chicken meal|
Whole Earth Farms Grain-Free Healthy Kitten is a great, affordable option for your new kitten. This dry food combines premium ingredients, natural and whole, which allows the optimal development of your new furry friend. The added taurine aids in the development of sight and healthy heart function, in addition to aiding digestion. However, the carbohydrate content (dry potatoes) is a little high, which may promote weight gain in some kittens. You will therefore need to keep an eye on the portions you are giving your pet.
5. Cat Chow Naturals Grain-Free with Real Chicken Dry Cat Food
|First ingredient:||Chicken by-product meal|
If your cat has a sensitive stomach or is prone to weight gain, then Cat Chow Naturals Grain-Free is an excellent and affordable option. Indeed, it is composed of whole and natural ingredients, with good quality protein and without grains, which will keep your kitty full for longer. However, although “real chicken” is said to be the first ingredient, the label also mentions “by-product meal” after the word chicken, which can be misleading. Besides, some cats, especially senior cats, may find these kibbles a bit hard to chew.
Things To Consider When Choosing the Best Budget Cat Food
The cat is a very delicate animal, which makes it vulnerable to its diet. His diet must therefore be more balanced to avoid ailments such as urinary disorders. What’s more, by giving him quality food, you increase the chances of improving his health once he gets old.
Besides, unlike the Nutrition Facts tables found on foods intended for human consumption, the composition of pet food (referred to as “guaranteed analysis” on kibble bags) is not regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Therefore, on a voluntary basis, this industry complies with standards set by the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO), a North American group of scientists who make recommendations. According to this standard, four nutritional elements must appear on food bags: the minimum levels of protein and fat as well as the maximum levels of moisture and fiber.
Importance of Taurine and Magnesium
Should You Buy Cat Food From Your Vet?
To feed a healthy cat, there is no need for products sold by veterinarians. In fact, the food sold in such establishments is mainly intended for animals with specific therapeutic needs. When it comes to high prices, you should know that you are also paying for quality nutritional advice when you buy your food from the vet. In addition, these kibbles are, in many cases, subjected to clinical trials, which are excessively expensive to carry out. Such tests make it possible, among other things, to document whether the food is well digested by the animal.
What should you take away from all this information? If your cat is healthy, you can easily buy him food from a supermarket or pet store without paying an exorbitant price. Nevertheless, be sure to read the ingredient list carefully so that your cat can benefit from all the elements necessary for his overall health.
If you are on a tight budget, you can still provide quality food for your dear pet feline. According to our reviews of the options available on the market, Purina Cat Chow Complete Dry Food is the best overall, at a more than affordable price. Iams ProActive Health also offers an attractive combination of price and quality, while Hill’s Science Diet Dry Cat Food is the more expensive option but advantageous in the long run. Either way, don’t neglect your kitten’s annual visits and routine checkups, as this will determine whether your pet will ultimately need more expensive food to treat specific health issues.
Featured Image Credit: Okssi, Shutterstock
Genevieve is a biologist and science writer. Her deep love for capuchin monkeys, pumas, and kangaroos has taken her worldwide to work and volunteer for several wildlife rehabilitation centers in Bolivia, Guatemala, Canada, and Australia. As a Canadian expat, Genevieve now lives in Argentina, where she wakes up every morning to horses and cows saying hello from the vast plain next to her home office window. She is the proud mom of three rescued dogs, Lemmy, Nala, and Pochi, and a frisky kitten, Furiosa. Having the privilege of sharing her knowledge and passion for animals of all kinds is what makes her fulfilled and happy.
- A Quick Comparison of Our Favorites
- The 5 Best Budget Cat Food – Reviews & Top Picks 2021
- 1. Purina Cat Chow Complete Dry Cat Food – Best Overall
- 2. Iams ProActive Health Dry Cat Food – Best Value
- 3. Hill’s Science Diet Dry Cat Food, Adult, No Corn, Wheat or Soy Chicken and Brown Rice Recipe – Premium Choice
- 4. Whole Earth Farms Grain-Free Healthy Kitten – Best for Kittens
- 5. Cat Chow Naturals Grain-Free with Real Chicken Dry Cat Food
- Buyer’s Guide