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Home > Cats > 11 Best Eco-Friendly Cat Foods in 2024 – Reviews & Top Picks

11 Best Eco-Friendly Cat Foods in 2024 – Reviews & Top Picks

persian cat eating dry food

In this day and age, most of us are looking for ways to be as environmentally friendly as possible. As we learn more and more about sustainable practices, it influences us to make the necessary changes in our lives to help promote eco-friendliness and make this world a better place for us and future generations.

You can even choose eco-friendly options when it comes to your cat’s food. Certain brands within the industry are implementing more and more sustainable practices. So, here’s a look at the best eco-friendly cat foods on the market today.

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A Glance at Our Top Picks (2024 Update)

Image Product Details
Best Overall
Winner
Smalls Cat Food Subscription Smalls Cat Food Subscription
  • Made with high-quality, USDA-approved ingredients
  • Eco-friendly packaging and cooking methods
  • Delivered on your schedule
  • Budget Buy
    Second place
    Tender & True Tender & True
  • Global Animal Partnership Certified
  • Formulated for all life stages
  • Made in the United States from locally sourced ingredients
  • Third place
    Open Farm Open Farm
  • Every ingredient is traceable
  • Certified humane practices
  • MSC Certified for sustainable fishing
  • Best for Kittens
    Orijen Kitten Food Orijen Kitten Food
  • The first five ingredients are animal protein
  • Uses whole prey formulation
  • Kibble is appropriately sized for kittens
  • Go! Solutions Carnivore Go! Solutions Carnivore
  • Made from locally sourced ingredients
  • MSC Certified
  • Recyclable packaging
  • The 11 Best Eco-Friendly Cat Foods

    1. Smalls Cat Food Subscription – Best Overall

    Main Ingredients: Turkey thigh (skin-on), turkey liver, green beans, peas
    Protein: 16% min
    Fat: 8.5% min
    Calories: 1415 kcal/kg

    How pet food packaging affects the environment is a big concern for many pet owners—and understandably so. If you’d like to try a cat food subscription service that uses eco-friendly packaging, cooking methods, and sources ingredients sustainably, Smalls Cat Food Subscription is our pick for the best overall eco-friendly cat food.

    Smalls Cat Food is a cat food subscription service that delivers vet-approved fresh and freeze-dried meals to your door on a schedule that you set. The USDA-certified ingredients that go into Smalls’ food are described as “all-natural” and “human grade” and the meals are made in Illinois, Wisconsin, and Minnesota with a gentle cooking process. There are no fillers, BPAs, or preservatives in Smalls’ cat food.

    According to Smalls, it sources its ingredients in the U.S. and Canada to reduce carbon emissions and favors a gentle cooking process to save energy. Moreover, the packaging your cat’s meals come in is carbon neutral, recyclable, and utilizes a corn-based insulation system that is biodegradable.

    Smalls offers a variety of protein types and you can choose what does and doesn’t go into your cat’s foods based on their needs and preferences. To sum up, we admire Smalls’ dedication to environmentally-friendliness and its strong focus on quality and customizability.

    Smalls’ food can be refrigerated for up to 7 days or frozen for up to 12 months, but if you’re not keen on the idea of having to defrost the food each time it comes out of the freezer, Smalls might not be the best option for you.

    Above is the nutritional content for the Smalls Cat Food Fresh Ground Other Bird, but they offer a range of other options for you to choose from.

    Pros
    • Made with high-quality, USDA-approved ingredients
    • Eco-friendly packaging and cooking methods
    • Delivered on your schedule
    • Customizable meal plans
    • High in protein
    Cons
    • Needs to be defrosted if frozen

    2. Tender & True– Budget Buy

    Tender & True

    Main Ingredients: Organic Chicken, Organic Chicken Meal, Organic Tapioca Starch, Organic Pea Flour, Organic Dried Pea
    Protein: 30% min
    Fat: 18% min
    Calories: 3,500 kcal/kg; 350 kcal/cup

    One of the best sustainable cat food brands that will give your great value for your money is Tender & True. This company is a leader in the natural pet food industry, has a great reputation, and will not break the bank.

    All Tender & True’s food is made in the United States from locally sourced ingredients. Their ingredients are fully traceable, and they are Global Animal Partnership Certified, meaning their animals are humanely raised.

    This dry cat food is well balanced and crafted for all life stages. It features organic chicken and organic chicken meal as the first two ingredients. It is also rich in protein, which is exactly what your little carnivore needs.

    They are formulated without any GMOs, corn, soy, wheat, or any artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives. Aside from the fact that the packaging is not recyclable, the only downside reported among cat owners is that some cats will completely turn their noses up to the food.

    Pros
    • Global Animal Partnership Certified
    • Formulated for all life stages
    • Made in the United States from locally sourced ingredients
    • No GMOs, artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives
    • Reasonably priced
    Cons
    • Packaging is not recyclable
    • Some cats wouldn’t eat the kibble

    3. Open Farm

    Open Farm

    Main Ingredients: Chicken, Turkey, Whitefish Meal, Herring Meal, Garbanzo Beans
    Protein: 41.0% min
    Fat: 20.0% min
    Calories: 5500 kcal/kg, 312 kcal/level scoop

    Open Farm is undoubtedly one of the most sustainable, eco-friendly brands on the market. This company is dedicated to the health and welfare of animals and the transparency behind its ingredients. Every ingredient on the bag can be traced all the way back to its origin.

    This company supports humane farming practices and gets 90 percent of its protein from ethically sourced meat without the use of any by-products. Not only are the ingredients in this recipe locally farmed and certified humane, but they are also MSC Certified for sustainable fishing practices.

    This food is very high in protein for healthy muscle growth and maintenance and is formulated with superfoods and prebiotic fiber for digestive and overall health. Real chicken and turkey are the first two ingredients, followed by a whitefish meal and a herring meal.

    Open Farm also features recyclable packing and checks all the boxes except for being USDA-certified organic. Overall, this is high-quality food and many cat owners rave about how much their cats love it.

    Pros
    • Every ingredient is traceable
    • Certified humane practices
    • MSC Certified for sustainable fishing
    • Recyclable packaging
    • Real chicken and turkey are the first two ingredients
    • Formulated without by-products
    Cons
    • Expensive
    • Not organic

    4. Orijen Kitten Food– Best for Kittens

    Orijen Kitten Food

    Main Ingredients: Chicken, Turkey, Salmon, Whole Herring, Chicken Liver
    Protein: 40% min
    Fat: 20% min
    Calories: 4120 kcal/kg, 515 kcal per/cup

    Orijen is a brand that is produced by Champion Pet Foods which won an Eco-Excellence award in 2017. The top five ingredients in all Orijen’s food are always fresh or raw animal protein sources. They promise that their ingredients are always regionally sourced, and they are MSC Certified for sustainable fishing.

    They formulate their goods to contain whole prey items including organs and bone, which closely mimic your cat’s natural diet. This food is packed in protein and much higher in moisture than your average dry cat food.

    This kitten food is well-balanced and formulated to meet their nutritional needs for healthy growth and development. The kibble is small and appropriately sized for those tiny teeth. They use prebiotics and other natural food sources for digestive and immune support.

    The downside to Orijen in terms of eco-friendliness is that they are not USDA-certified organic, their packaging is not recyclable, and they have no certified humane practices. This food is highly reviewed among many cat owners, though it’s a bit pricey.

    Pros
    • The first five ingredients are animal protein
    • Uses whole prey formulation
    • Kibble is appropriately sized for kittens
    • Rich in protein
    • MSC Certified
    • Regionally sourced ingredients
    • Made in the United States
    Cons
    • Not organic
    • Packaging is not recyclable
    • Not certified humane
    • Pricey

    5. Go! Solutions Carnivore

    Go! Solutions Carnivore

    Main Ingredients: Chicken Meal, De-Boned Chicken, De-Boned Turkey, Duck Meal, Turkey Meal
    Protein: 46% min
    Fat: 18% min
    Calories: 4,298 kcal/kg, 473 kcal/cup

    Go! Solutions Carnivore comes from the Canadian=based company known as Petcurean. The first five ingredients in this formula are from real animal sources including chicken, turkey, and duck. The formula is extremely rich in protein for healthy muscle development and maintenance.

    Their ingredients are from traceable, local sources and they are MSC Certified for sustainable fishing practices. This formulation is crafted for cats of all ages and features digestive enzymes, probiotics, and prebiotic fiber to support healthy digestion and overall immune function.

    Go! Solutions Carnivore is made without any by-products or artificial preservatives and is crafted by a team of pet nutritionists to ensure it meets a cat’s dietary requirements. The packaging is recyclable, and the company donates its products to rescues and shelters.

    While they do not use organic ingredients and do not have any certified humane practices, the company states they are optimizing business practices to reduce their environmental footprint and contribute to a more sustainable future. Their foods are affordable when compared to some other competitors.

    Pros
    • Made from locally sourced ingredients
    • MSC Certified
    • Recyclable packaging
    • Rich in protein
    • Affordable
    Cons
    • Not organic
    • Not certified humane

    6. Castor & Pollux

    Castor & Pollux

    Main Ingredients: Organic Chicken, Water Sufficient for Processing, Organic Chicken Liver, Organic Dried Peas, Organic Coconut Flour
    Protein: 9.0% min
    Fat: 5.0% min
    Calories: 185 kcal/5.5-oz can

    Castor & Pollux is an eco-friendly brand that offers organic, sustainable pet foods that are easy to find both online and in stores. Their canned cat food is rich in moisture and full of healthy, organic ingredients that come directly from sustainable farms right here in the United States.

    This food features real chicken as the first ingredient and is designed for all life stages. It is formulated without corn, soy, wheat, or other grains. It is rich in healthy amino acids for skin and coat health, and the blend of vitamins and minerals comes from organic whole food sources.

    Castor & Pollux provides transparency with their ingredients, has recyclable packaging, and any foods containing fish are MSC Certified for sustainable fishing practices.

    The biggest complaint about Castor & Pollux was that some cats completely refused to eat the food, whether it be due to taste or texture, and that cans will sometimes arrive dented. These are common complaints you find with most food options and overall, this product is well-received and highly reviewed among most cat owners.

    Pros
    • Rich in protein and moisture
    • Made with organic ingredients
    • Real chicken is the first ingredient
    • Sustainably sourced and traceable
    • Recyclable packaging
    • Made for all life stages
    Cons
    • Some cats may not like the taste/texture
    • Cans may arrive dented if shipped

    7. Ziwi Peak

    Ziwi Peak

    Main Ingredients: Chicken, Water Sufficient for Processing, Chicken Liver, Chicken Heart, Chickpeas
    Protein: 9.0% min
    Fat: 5.5% min
    Calories: 1325 kcal/kg; 113 kcal/3-oz can, 245 kcal/6.5-oz can

    Ziwi Peak is a New Zealand brand that is committed to eco-friendly practices. This chicken recipe canned cat food features real chicken as the first ingredient and contains organ meat for a well-rounded, whole prey approach that gives your cat a well-balanced moisture-rich diet.

    All meats from Ziwi Peak are either free range or wild caught and are ethically and sustainably sourced and completely free of TSPP, BPA, and carrageenan. This recipe contains no cheap fillers or added carbohydrates like potato or soy ingredients that do nothing for a cat’s health.

    Not all of Ziwi Peak’s packaging is recyclable, nor do they use organic ingredients or have any certified humane practices, but they do have their fair share of sustainable practices that many cat food brands do not. They are on the expensive side and aren’t as popular in the United States yet but are certainly worth checking out.

    Pros
    • Rich in moisture
    • Real chicken is the first ingredient
    • Whole prey approach with organ meat
    • No fillers or added carbohydrates
    • All meats are free range or wild caught (fish)
    Cons
    • Expensive
    • Not organic or certified humane
    • Not all packaging is recyclable

    8. Halo Chicken Recipe Pate

    Halo Chicken Recipe Pate

    Main Ingredients: Chicken, Chicken Liver, Chicken Broth, Natural Flavor, Spinach
    Protein: 11% min
    Fat: 9% min
    Moisture: 78% max
    Calories: 1,299 kcal/kg, 203 kcal/5.5-oz can

    Halo is a brand that is certainly worth mentioning when talking about eco-friendly practices. They do not source any of their meats from factory farming and use non-GMO produce in their formulas. They are part of the Global Animal Partnership and do not use any artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives and their cans are BPA-free.

    This canned pate is rich in protein and moisture, making it ideal for your cat. Even the most finicky of eaters will happily scarf this down. We like that chicken, chicken liver, and chicken broth are the top three ingredients. We aren’t too fond of natural flavors being in the top five ingredients since they go through many chemical processes despite being natural in origin.

    Halo’s ingredients are traceable, and their cans are fully recyclable. Not all meats are locally sourced, which can be a deterrent for some. Overall, Halo does offer up some good quality cat food with some noteworthy eco-friendly practices to top it off.

    Pros
    • Part of the Global Animal Partnership
    • No factory farming practices
    • Non-GMO produce only
    • Traceable ingredients
    • Chicken, chicken liver, and chicken broth are the first 3 ingredients
    Cons
    • Natural flavor within the first 5 ingredients
    • Not organic
    • Meat isn’t always locally sourced

    9. Tiki Cat

    Tiki Cat

    Main Ingredients: Chicken, Chicken Broth, Sunflower Seed Oil, Calcium Lactate, Dicalcium Phosphate
    Protein: 16% min
    Fat: 2.6% min
    Calories: 63 kcal/2.8-oz can, 134 kcal/6-oz can, 225 kcal/10-oz can

    Taki Cat is another New Zealand-based brand that participates in sustainable practices to be more eco-friendly. All food from Tiki cat is sustainably sourced and packaged in human-grade certified facilities. The fisheries used by the company are part of the International Seafood Sustainability Foundation or ISSF.

    This recipe is poultry based with real antibiotic-free shredded chicken and chicken broth as the first two ingredients, so not only is it packed full of protein, but it’s also rich in moisture for proper hydration. This food is ideal for cats of all ages, making it an excellent choice for any life stage.

    This food is not organic, but it is GMO-free and also contains no grains or gluten. Tiki Cat can get expensive if fed exclusively but can also be used as a topper. The biggest downfall reported among fellow cat owners is that some cats would rather lick the juices of the food but refuse to eat the shredded chicken.

    Pros
    • Chicken and chicken broth are the first two ingredients
    • GMO-free
    • Sustainably sourced ingredients
    • Packaged in human-grade facilities
    Cons
    • Not organic
    • Can get pricey
    • Some cats may refuse to eat

    10. ORIJEN Original Grain-Free Dry Cat Food

    ORIJEN Original Grain-Free Dry Cat Food

    Main Ingredients: Chicken, Turkey, Whole Mackerel, Turkey Giblets (Liver, Heart, Gizzard), Flounder, Chicken Liver
    Protein: 40% min
    Fat: 20% min
    Calories: 4120 kcal/kg, 515 kcal/cup

    Aside from the kitten food mentioned above, Orijen has other foods meant for adult cats that are also worth mentioning. This original recipe is protein rich and has chicken, turkey, mackerel, turkey giblets, and chicken liver as the first five ingredients. These foods may be a bit expensive, but the quality is there.

    Like other Orijen recipes, this one features whole prey nutrition, which is great for cats and helps mimic their natural diet. All products are made in the United States using regionally sourced ingredients. The company features the MSC Certification for using suppliers with sustainable fishing practices.

    This formulation is freeze-dried coated, which will be extra enticing to your kitty and it’s one of the few dry foods that don’t have many complaints about the difficulty of picky eaters. Orijen doesn’t utilize organic ingredients or recyclable packaging, so while they don’t have as many sustainable practices as some of the other competitors, they are certainly worth mentioning.

    Pros
    • The first five ingredients are animal protein
    • MSC Certified
    • Regionally sourced ingredients
    • Made in the United States
    • Rich in protein
    Cons
    • Not organic
    • Not certified humane
    • Packaging is not recyclable
    • Expensive

    11. ACANA Homestead

    ACANA Homestead

    Main Ingredients: Deboned Chicken, Chicken Meal, Turkey Meal, Oatmeal, Whole Peas
    Protein: 33% min
    Fat: 16% min
    Calories: 3760 kcal/kg, 429 kcal/cup

    Like Orijen, Acana is also made by Champion Pet Foods and their sustainability practices include regionally sourced ingredients and MSC Certification. The Homestead recipe for cats is a healthy canned food variety that has chicken, chicken liver, and chicken broth as the first three ingredients.

    There are no artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives in their foods, which is a huge plus. The recipe features 65 percent of small prey ingredients that are packed full of protein, essential amino acids, and omega fatty acids that support overall health.

    Acana explains that they have a specific network of farmers, ranchers, and fisheries that supply their ingredients. They are not organic or certified humane, and the packaging is not recyclable, which is disappointing on the eco-friendliness front, but they have some noteworthy sustainable practices, and this food comes highly reviewed by many cat owners.

    Pros
    • Regionally sourced from a network of suppliers
    • MSC Certified
    • 65 percent small prey protein
    • Rich in protein
    • Real deboned chicken is the first ingredient
    Cons
    • Not organic
    • Packaging is not recyclable
    • Not certified humane

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    Buyer’s Guide: How to Choose Eco-Friendly Cat Foods

    How to Identify Eco-Friendly Cat Foods

    Eco-friendly foods can be hard to pin down. We all know that marketing isn’t always completely honest and will use keywords to sway us in a certain direction, that’s why it’s best to know your stuff. Sustainable practices in the pet food market can be harder to come by, though many companies are starting to see the importance and the demand. Not all companies are going to be eco-friendly across the board, some will fall short in some areas while excelling in others. Here are some tips on recognizing verifiable eco-friendly practices.

    Certifications

    There are a few different certifications you can keep a lookout for when you are shopping for eco-friendly cat food.

    USDA Organic

    Any food that features a USDA Certified Organic label must be certified by a USDA-certified agency that is responsible for ensuring that the animals are provided organic feed and have access to the outdoors and that all produce is grown without genetically modified organisms (GMOs), most synthetic fertilizers, herbicides, and insecticides.

    Certified Humane

    The Certified Humane label shows that the humane standard has been met. This ensures that animals raised for food are not abused and have access to the outdoors, proper space requirements, and access to shelter. The certification also covers slaughter practices that are thought to be humane, though this is met with controversy. 

    Cat eating cat food in bowl
    Image Credit: Sweetlouise, Pixabay

    MSC Certification

    An MSC certification on a pet food label shows that the fisheries they use meet the international standard for sustainable fishing practices. Fish and other seafood from certified fisheries will carry the blue MSC label. 

    Global Animal Partnership

    The Global Animal Partnership is one of the largest animal welfare food labeling programs in the United States and throughout North America.  This is a nonprofit organization that promotes the welfare of farm animals by using third-party certifiers to audit farms and their welfare practices.

    Local Sourcing

    Locally sourced food ensures that the food products have not traveled great distances or have been frozen or refrigerated for an extended period. Both shipping and refrigeration put a strain on the environment by way of fossil fuels and the emission of greenhouse gases.

    Ingredient Transparency

    Ingredients transparency and traceability allow consumers to ensure the honesty behind the ingredients in their food products from their origin throughout the manufacturing process. If your cat food company offers fully traceable ingredients, it’s a good sign they are committed to sustainable, eco-friendly practices.

    Gray cat eating from the bowl
    Image Credit By: Skrypnykov Dmytro, Shutterstock

    Recyclable Packaging

    We all know that recycling is very beneficial and one of the key factors in environmental friendliness. Recycling reduces the amount of waste sent to landfills, conserves natural resources, and allows for repurposing. Check to see if the packaging for your cat’s food is recyclable. Most canned food options are but bagged food can be more of a challenge to find.

    Charity Donations

    Check to see if the cat food company provides any charitable donations toward eco-friendly causes such as animal shelters, animal welfare organizations, or other charities dedicated to sustainability.

     

    Can My Cat be Vegetarian or Vegan?

    A question that has been often asked in recent years is whether cats can be switched to a vegetarian or vegan diet. This is due to a lot of humans switching over to plant-based diets to promote a more positive impact on the environment.

    Cats are obligate carnivores that should not be fed a vegetarian or vegan diet. Their systems are not designed to properly digest plant material and unlike dogs, which are omnivorous, cats get all of their needed nutrients directly from meat sources.

    Remember to always talk to your veterinarian if you ever have questions about your cat’s diet. Find yourself an eco-friendly cat food and implement other sustainable practices as a cat owner, which we will go over below.

    a calico cat eating from metal bowl at home
    Image Credit By: Jaromir Chalabala, Shutterstock

    Sustainable Habits for Cat Owners

    Other than choosing a more eco-friendly cat food brand, here are some other ways you can implement sustainability into cat ownership, take a look:

    Use an Eco-Friendly Cat Litter

    It’s not just cat food that can be eco-friendly, you can also look into swapping your traditional cat litter for a more environmentally friendly version. There are many different types available including pine, corn, paper, grass seed, and more. Cats can be particular with litter, and you’ll want to find the type that works best for your household.

    Keep Your Cat Indoors

    It may seem harmless to allow your cat to wander outdoors, but it is incredibly bad for the environment to allow cats to roam free outside. Cats may be wonderful pets, but they are an immense threat to local wildlife. Cats have contributed to the extinction of over 63 species of wild mammals, birds, and reptiles worldwide. For the sake of our natural world, these domestic pets need to remain true to their domestication by staying indoors.

    Spay or Neuter Your Cat(s)

    It is extremely important to have your cats spayed or neutered. Due to the severe pet overpopulation issue, over half a million shelter cats are euthanized each year in the United States alone. Every cat owner must do their part to put a stop to this seemingly endless tragedy. Spaying and neutering not only prevents unwanted litters but has many health and behavioral benefits.

    Adopt from a Local Shelter or Rescue

    If you are looking into adding a new four-legged family member to your household, opt for adoption. Shelters and rescues are overloaded with the number of strays and owner surrenders that make their way into the shelters. Adoption is a very rewarding experience that not only saves the life of your new pet but opens up room for another to be saved as well.

    Use Sustainable Cat Toys

    It’s no secret that cats love their toys. One way to implement environmentally friendly practices is by either creating your cat toys by repurposing other materials around the house, choosing gently used, secondhand cat toys, or opting for eco-friendly toys that are made from a brand that uses recycled materials and provides recyclable packaging. It may seem small, but every little bit helps.

    Hepper 360 Cat Feeder, Stainless Steel, Anti-Chew...
    179 Reviews
    Hepper 360 Cat Feeder, Stainless Steel, Anti-Chew...
    • NO MESS - The 360° tray on this cat food and water bowl set has a raised design to catch and...
    • WHISKER FRIENDLY - Shallow and wide metal containers with flat bottoms ensure your kitty can enjoy...
    • CHEW-SAFE MATERIALS - Kittens and cats love chewing on silicone and soft rubber - but it's a choking...

    High-quality cat food is an important part of fostering a long and healthy life for your cat but the right cat food and water dish will promote good posture, offer whisker relief, and aid in good digestion. The Hepper NomNom Cat Bowl is our favorite bowl since it offers all of the above and is beautifully crafted to meet modern home stylings. The wide tray design catches any food and water spills and the entire setup is dishwasher safe. Learn more about the Hepper NomNom Cat Bowl here.

    At Pet Keen, 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!

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    In Conclusion

    Smalls Cat Food Subscription is a great brand that uses sustainably sourced ingredients and comes in eco-friendly packaging, Tender & True is locally sourced, Global Animal Partnership certified, and will give you great value for your money, and Open Farm is one of the most well-known eco-friendly brands on the market that focuses on ingredient transparency and animal welfare.

    As you can see, not all foods will meet the same eco-friendly criteria. Regardless of which food you ultimately decide on, these all play a part in more sustainable practices and get great reviews from fellow cat owners.


    Featured Image Credit: Patrick Foto, Shutterstock

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