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Home > Cats > 7 Best Foods for Outdoor Cats in 2024 – Reviews & Top Picks

7 Best Foods for Outdoor Cats in 2024 – Reviews & Top Picks

White Persian Ragdoll mix cat eating dry kibbles

Outdoor cats are adventurous creatures, exploring the world at their own pace and embracing their natural instincts, which means they expend a great deal of energy and require high-quality food to keep them healthy. However, finding the right brand for your pet can be challenging with so many options available. If you need a little help, keep reading for reviews of the most popular brands. The short buyer’s guide will also help you find the best option for your pet as you shop!

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A Quick Look at Our Favorites of 2024

Image Product Details
Best Overall
Winner
Iams ProActive Health Healthy Adult Iams ProActive Health Healthy Adult
  • Natural fiber and prebiotics
  • Omega fatty acids
  • Balanced for all ages
  • Best Value
    Second place
    Purina Beyond White Meat Chicken & Egg Purina Beyond White Meat Chicken & Egg
  • Steroid-free chicken
  • Added vitamins, minerals, and nutrients
  • Limited ingredients
  • Premium Choice
    Third place
    Blue Buffalo Wilderness Chicken Recipe Blue Buffalo Wilderness Chicken Recipe
  • High-protein recipe
  • Omega fatty acids
  • LifeSource Bits
  • Hill’s Science Diet Kitten Tender Chicken Recipe Hill’s Science Diet Kitten Tender Chicken Recipe
  • Pre-portioned
  • Tasty gravy
  • Easy to open
  • Farmina N&D Prime Chicken & Pomegranate Recipe Farmina N&D Prime Chicken & Pomegranate Recipe
  • Primarily animal protein
  • Balanced diet
  • Real fruits and vegetables
  • The 7 Best Foods for Outdoor Cats

    1. Iams ProActive Health Healthy Adult Dry Food — Best Overall

    Iams ProActive Health Healthy Adult Dry Food

    Main ingredients: Chicken, chicken by-product meal, ground whole-grain corn
    Protein content: 0% min
    Fat content: 0% min
    Calories: 3,746 kcal/kg, 399 kcal/cup

    Iams ProActive Health Healthy Adult Original With Chicken Dry Cat Food is the best overall food for outdoor cats. It has chicken as the main ingredient and contains many other healthy items, including eggs, beets, and taurine. Fish oil helps provide healthy omega fats, and the vitamins and minerals are balanced for all ages. Natural fiber and prebiotics work to stabilize your cat’s digestive system.

    The downside to Iams ProActive is that it is more costly than many other brands on this list, and some cats won’t like it.

    Pros
    • Natural fiber and prebiotics
    • Omega fatty acids
    • Balanced for all ages
    Cons
    • Expensive
    • Some cats don’t like it

    2. Purina Beyond White Meat Chicken & Egg Recipe Cat Food — Best Value

    Purina Beyond White Meat Chicken

    Main ingredients: Chicken, chicken meal, pea protein
    Protein content: 0% min
    Fat content: 14.0% min
    Calories: 3,588 kcal/kg, 394 kcal/cup

    Purina Beyond White Meat Chicken & Egg Recipe Grain-Free Natural Dry Cat Food is the best food for outdoor cats for the money. It uses steroid-free chicken as the first ingredient, and the limited-ingredient recipe is less likely to cause an allergic reaction or upset your pet’s stomach. There are no artificial colors or preservatives, only added vitamins, minerals, and nutrients that will work to keep your pet healthy.

    While many cats enjoy Purina Beyond, some won’t. Customers also complained about the large kibble size that turns some cats off.

    Pros
    • Steroid-free chicken
    • Added vitamins, minerals, and nutrients
    • Limited ingredients
    Cons
    • Some cats don’t like it
    • Large kibble

    3. Blue Buffalo Wilderness Chicken Recipe Cat Food — Premium Choice

    Blue Buffalo Wilderness Chicken Recipe Cat Food

    Main ingredients: Deboned chicken, chicken meal, pea protein
    Protein content: 0% Min
    Fat content: 0% Min
    Calories: 3,832 kcal/kg, 443 kcal/cup

    Blue Buffalo Wilderness Chicken Recipe Grain-Free Dry Cat Food is our premium choice food for outdoor cats. This high-protein recipe features deboned chicken as a main ingredient and contains many other great elements, including peas, eggs, potatoes, alfalfa pellets, blueberries, and cranberries. It provides your cat with healthy omega fatty acids and contains LifeSource Bits, a blend of antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals that help keep your pet healthy.

    The only complaints concerning this Blue Buffalo food are that it’s quite expensive, especially if you need to feed several cats, and that some cats won’t like it.

    Pros
    • High-protein recipe
    • Omega fatty acids
    • LifeSource Bits
    Cons
    • Expensive
    • Some cats won’t like it

    4. Hill’s Science Diet Kitten Tender Chicken Recipe Cat Food

    Hill’s Science Diet Kitten Tender Chicken

    Main ingredients: Water, chicken, pork liver, wheat flour
    Protein content: 8.0% min
    Fat content: 3.0% min
    Calories: 77 kcal/2.8-oz pouch

    Hill’s Science Diet Kitten Tender Chicken Recipe Cat Food is our pick as the best food for outdoor kittens. It has real chicken as the main ingredient, and there’s a tasty gravy that your kitten will love. It’s packed with healthy ingredients, including pork liver, egg whites, and chicken liver, and fish oil helps provide important omega fatty acids. This brand is also high in moisture, so it will help your kitten stay hydrated, and there are plenty of vitamins and minerals, including antioxidants. The pre-portioned packages are easy to open and help prevent overfeeding.

    The main downside to Hill’s Science Diet kitten food is that some kittens won’t like it, and many owners complained that their kittens would only eat the gravy.

    Pros
    • Pre-portioned
    • Tasty gravy
    • Easy to open
    • Contains antioxidants and omega fats
    Cons
    • Some kittens won’t like it

    5. Farmina N&D Prime Chicken & Pomegranate Recipe Dry Food

    Main ingredients: Boneless chicken, dehydrated chicken, sweet potatoes
    Protein content: 44% min
    Fat content: 20% min
    Calories: EM Kcal/lb. 1907 – Mj/lb. 7.98 412 Kcal/cup

    Farmina N&D Prime Chicken & Pomegranate Recipe Adult Cat Dry Food contains plenty of protein, primarily from boneless chicken, making it healthy and easy for your pet to digest. It also includes fruits and vegetables, including carrots, apples, oranges, blueberries, and pomegranates, providing a unique flavor that many cats enjoy. The recipe provides a balanced diet, eliminating the need for additional supplements.

    The cons of Farmina N&D include that it is expensive, especially when feeding multiple cats, and that like any brand, some cats won’t like it.

    Pros
    • Primarily animal protein
    • Balanced diet
    • Real fruits and vegetables
    Cons
    • Expensive
    • Some cats won’t like it

    6. Fancy Feast Grilled Seafood Feast Variety Pack Canned Cat Food

    Main ingredients: Fish broth, ocean fish, wheat gluten, liver
    Protein content: 0% min
    Fat content: 0% min
    Calories: 833 kcal/kg 71kcal/can

    Fancy Feast Grilled Seafood Feast Variety Pack Canned Cat Food is a great choice for cats that prefer wet food, and it can help them stay hydrated, especially on hot days. This brand offers three flavors in the same pack, so there is a better chance that your cat will like it. Each serving provides balanced nutrition, with many high-quality ingredients, like liver, chicken, ocean fish, tuna, and shrimp.

    The downside to Fancy Feast is that it can get quite expensive, especially since the portion size is 1 can per 2.5 pounds of body weight, meaning your cat will need several cans daily. Also, like any food, your cat may not like one or more of the flavors. Many customers say that their cat only has one favorite, and other cats like to just lick off the gravy and leave the rest.

    Pros
    • Variety pack
    • Hydrates your pet
    • Balanced nutrition
    Cons
    • Expensive
    • Some cats only eat the gravy

    7. Purina Cat Chow Naturals Original

    Purina Cat Chow Naturals Original

    Main ingredients: Chicken, corn gluten meal, chicken by-product meal
    Protein content: 0% min
    Fat content: 0% min
    Calories: 3,740 kcal/kg, 398 kcal/cup

    Purina Cat Chow Naturals Original is a great choice when you need high-quality cat food that provides all the important nutrients. It contains 25 essential vitamins and minerals that will help keep your cat healthy and happy. The balanced formula is suitable for all ages, helps with hairball control, and has no artificial colors, preservatives, or flavors.

    While it can be easier to get many cats to try this brand than many other healthy foods, some customers complained that it gave their cats diarrhea, so you must transition them slowly and watch for problems.

    Pros
    • Hairball control
    • 25 essential vitamins and minerals
    • Balanced nutrition
    Cons
    • Some cats get diarrhea

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    Buyer’s Guide: Choosing the Best Food for Outdoor Cat

    homemade cat food with pork and potatoes cats eating
    Image credit: Florian Bollmann, Pixabay

    Nutritional Requirements

    Outdoor cats have unique nutritional needs due to their active lifestyle. Look for cat food that balances protein, healthy fats, and carbohydrates to support their energy levels and muscle maintenance. Try to find brands that provide essential vitamins and minerals, including taurine, omega-3 fatty acids, and antioxidants for overall health.

    High-Quality Ingredients

    Choose brands that use real meat as the primary protein source. Avoid foods with fillers, by-products, artificial additives, or excessive grains, as these may not provide adequate nutrition for outdoor cats. Read the ingredient list, and choose products with named meat sources like chicken, salmon, or turkey listed first.

    Life Stage and Health Condition

    When selecting outdoor cat food, consider your cat’s age, activity level, and specific health conditions. Kittens, adult cats, and senior cats have varying nutritional requirements. If your cat has allergies, sensitivities, or specific dietary needs, choose specialized formulas, or consult a veterinarian for recommendations.

    Moisture Content

    Outdoor cats may have increased hydration needs, especially in warm climates. Wet or canned cat food can be beneficial because it provides additional moisture, promoting proper hydration and urinary tract health. Consider incorporating wet food and dry food into your cat’s diet, especially in the summer.

    Transition Period

    When introducing a new cat food, gradually transition your cat by mixing small amounts with their current food to help prevent digestive upsets, and allow them to adjust slowly to the new diet.

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    Conclusion

    Iams ProActive Health Healthy Adult Original With Chicken Dry Cat Food provides a balanced diet with natural fiber, prebiotics, and omega fats, which is why it is our pick as the best overall outdoor cat food. The Purina Beyond White Meat Chicken & Egg Recipe Grain-Free Natural Dry Cat Food provides steroid-free chicken and limited ingredients on a budget, while Blue Buffalo Wilderness Chicken Recipe Grain-Free Dry Cat Food is our premium choice and contains LifeSource Bits that will help keep your pet healthy. Hill’s Science Diet Kitten Tender Chicken Recipe Cat Food is pre-portioned and well suited to kittens, while Farmina N&D Prime Chicken & Pomegranate Recipe Adult Cat Dry Food has a unique flavor that your cats would enjoy.


    Featured Image Credit: ONUTTO, Shutterstock

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