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Home > Ask A Vet > 10 Best Vet-Recommended Cat Foods in 2024 – Reviews & Top Picks

10 Best Vet-Recommended Cat Foods in 2024 – Reviews & Top Picks

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Dr. Lauren Demos Photo

Written by

Dr. Lauren Demos

Veterinarian, DVM

The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

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Bengal cat eating

Cats are fussy eaters, right? Not necessarily. Sometimes it is simply a matter of finding the food that they want to eat, rather than forcing them to eat what we think they should!

We spend lots of time thinking about food for ourselves, but only recently has cat food taken on the same attention in mainstream life. But it makes sense. Just like not all people like the same flavors or textures of foods as others, why should all cats? And with all the different types of cat food that are now on offer, ranging from traditional cat foods to home delivery options, having different options has never been easier.

However, picking the right food can be a more challenging part of the process. So, here are some reviews of some options that we like, to help you find the right food for your feline friends!

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A Glance at Our Top Picks (2024 Update)

Image Product Details
Best Overall Dry
Winner
Royal Canin Indoor Adult Royal Canin Indoor Adult
  • High quality ingredients
  • Most cats like the triangular kibble shape
  • Even picky cats often like the flavor
  • Best Overall Wet
    Second place
    Purina Pro Plan Focus Purina Pro Plan Focus
  • Easy to find online or in stores
  • Balanced nutrition for indoor cats
  • Best Value
    Third place
    Purina Cat Chow Naturals Purina Cat Chow Naturals
  • Easy to find online or in store
  • No artificial flavors, colors, or preservatives
  • Formulated to help with hairballs
  • Best Canned Food Variety Pack
    Friskies Classic Pate Variety Pack Friskies Classic Pate Variety Pack
  • Good selection of different flavors
  • Great value
  • Best Gravy Cat Food
    Fancy Feast Gravy Lovers Turkey Feast Fancy Feast Gravy Lovers Turkey Feast
  • Great on its own, or can be used as a kibble topper
  • Most cats love extra gravy!
  • Smaller can size means less waste for cats that don’t eat a lot in a single sitting
  • The 10 Best Vet-Recommended Cat Foods

    1. Royal Canin Indoor Adult – Best Overall Dry

    Royal Canin Indoor Adult Cat Food

    • Optimal fiber content to help prevent hairballs
    • Proteins easily digested to promote healthy stools
    • Helps to prevent obesity for indoor cats
    • Kibble designed to help dental health
    • Ideal for cats 1-7 years of age
    • Great value

    Royal Canin is a well-known brand of pet food, and rightly so. Their foods are designed by a team of veterinarians and veterinary nutritionists, so the food is both well-liked by cats, and provides them with a healthy, balanced diet. This food combines great value for the indoor cat, meeting their needs for caloric intake, dental health, and even helping with hairballs. It’s a convenient option that is tasty and healthy, so it gets our recommendation for the best overall dry cat food.

    Pros
    • High-quality ingredients
    • Most cats like the triangular kibble shape
    • Even picky cats often like the flavor
    Cons
    • Made for adult cats, so not ideal for kittens or senior cats
    • Dry food, which some cats might not like

    2. Purina Pro Plan Focus – Best Overall Wet

    Purina Pro Plan Focus

    • Made with real salmon
    • Added fiber helps with hairball control
    • No artificial colors or preservatives
    • Great all-around food that is a great value

    Purina is a traditional maker of pet foods, so it has a long reputation in the industry for making quality foods. This is one of the best-wet cat foods for the money, balancing both quality and value. And it’s easy to find, making it a great option for all-around feeding. It can also be made part of a diet if you choose to feed a combination of wet and dry.

    Pros
    • Easy to find online or in stores
    • Balanced nutrition for indoor cats
    Cons
    • May not be ideal for cats that don’t like fish
    • Some cats get gassy or develop smelly stools with fish-based foods
    • Chunky texture may not be a favorite of some cats

    3. Purina Cat Chow Naturals – Best Value

    Purina Cat Chow Dry Cat Food, Naturals Original

    • The number one ingredient is real chicken
    • Great all-around food that is a great value
    • 100% balanced and complete nutrition for indoor cats

    Another Purina winner, again, for multiple reasons. This food is easy to find in most stores and is backed by the reputation of one of the leading pet food manufacturers. The balance of ingredients, availability, and cost make this our top choice for the best-value cat food!

    Pros
    • Easy to find online or in-store
    • No artificial flavors, colors, or preservatives
    • Formulated to help with hairballs
    • Contains whole grains
    Cons
    • Contains a chicken and fish protein mix, so it may not be ideal for cats that don’t like one or the other
    • The bag isn’t resealable

    4. Friskies Classic Pate Variety Pack – Best Canned Food Variety Pack

    Friskies Classic Pate Variety Pack

    • Pate texture that most cats love
    • Highly reputable brand

    Friskies is another pet food brand that has been tried and tested for many years, with cats still loving the many flavors they produce. For cats that prefer a variety of flavors (who wouldn’t?), this multi-pack of canned food offers variety at a great value. Better, this variety pack is easy to find at most stores, online, or in person. The tops are easy to open, as well.

    Pros
    • Good selection of different flavors
    • Great value
    Cons
    • Not well-suited for cats that don’t like pate-textured wet foods
    • Mixed proteins may not be suitable for cats with fish or poultry allergies

    5. Fancy Feast Gravy Lovers Turkey Feast – Best Gravy Cat Food

    Fancy Feast Gravy Lovers Turkey Feast

    • Formulated specifically for cats that love gravy
    • Still a 100% nutritionally balanced diet
    • Reputable brand

    For a brand that mixes quality and value, Fancy Feast is a great go-to. Easy-pop cans in a smaller size make great meals or accompaniments for cats that aren’t chowing hounds. The extra moisture from the gravy and the canned food make this a great choice for overweight cats, as well as for cats that could benefit from the higher moisture content of canned food.

    Pros
    • Great on its own, or can be used as a kibble topper
    • Most cats love extra gravy!
    • Smaller can size means less waste for cats that don’t eat a lot in a single sitting
    Cons
    • May be difficult to find in stores
    • Some cats will lick the gravy and leave the meat!

    6. Science Diet Adult Sensitive – Best Overall for Sensitive Stomachs or Skin

    Hill's Science Diet Adult Sensitive Stomach & Skin Chicken & Rice Recipe Dry Cat Food

    • Chicken is #1 ingredient
    • Contains prebiotic fibers to help with digestion

    Science Diet Adult Sensitive is a great choice for some cats that just seem to have a tougher time finding food that agrees with them. Whether that means a cat with chronic food upchucking, constantly itchy skin, or stools that are always a bit on the soft side, this food might be the next thing worth trying.

    Pros
    • Can help cats that are chronic vomiters stop vomiting
    • Also supports skin health with added omega fatty acids
    • Some cat owners report improved, healthier stools when their cat eats this food
    Cons
    • Not appropriate for cats with chicken allergies

    7. Iams Proactive Health Sensitive – Best Alternative Value for Sensitive Cat

    IAMS Proactive Health Sensitive Digestion & Skin

    • Easy to find in most pet stores, or online
    • Great value for a sensitive cat food
    • Made with poultry as the main ingredient

    Another choice for cats with sensitive skin or GI systems, which also offers unbeatable value, is Iams Proactive Health Sensitive. This dry food also uses a combination of prebiotic fibers to support healthy digestion, as it is made to be easily digestible.

    Pros
    • Can help with chronic vomiting issues
    • Can help firm soft stools
    • Cats with dry or itchy haircoats may seem improvement with this food
    Cons
    • Shouldn’t be mixed with other dry foods to achieve the best results
    • Not appropriate for cats with poultry allergies

    8. Royal Canin Dental Diet – Best Prescription Dental Diet

    Royal Canin Dental Diet

    • A dry food made specifically to help with a cat’s dental health
    • Additionally helps to prevent struvite and calcium oxalate urinary crystals

    Tooth brushing at home can be a nightmare when it comes to cats, though it can be a helpful way of addressing dental disease before it becomes a major issue. Therefore, if tooth brushing isn’t an activity loved by your cat, Royal Canin Dental Diet can be a great alternative to help them maintain optimal dental health.

    Pros
    • Suitable as a main diet, as a treat, or as a diet topper
    • One of the best ways to help with oral health; is clinically proven to reduce plaque buildup
    • Contains fibers to help with hairball prevention
    • A good alternative for cats that don’t like or won’t allow tooth brushing at home
    Cons
    • Only available from veterinarians
    • Some cats don’t like, or won’t chew, the large kibble
    • Not suitable for cats that already have dental disease

    9. Science Diet Dental Diet – Best Non-Prescription Dental Diet

    Science Diet Dental Diet

    • Good choice if you’re not sure your cat will like a dental food
    • No artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives

    For owners or cats that aren’t sure if they are going to like dental foods, Science Diet Dental Diet can be a great non-prescription option, which can be found in many pet stores.

    Pros
    • Doesn’t require a prescription
    • Still aimed at improving dental health by providing proven tartar control
    Cons
    • Some cats find the kibble too large
    • Picky cats may not like the taste

    10. Tiki Cat Succulent Chicken – Best Grain-Free Wet Food

    Tiki Cat Puka Puka Luau Succulent Chicken

    • The first ingredient is hormone and antibiotic-free shredded chicken
    • Added vitamins, minerals, and fatty acids to help nourish skin and haircoat

    Tiki Cat is a newer cat food brand that was originally known for its wild and realistic-looking cat food concoctions. Fast forward to the current selection, which looks more like human food than cat food, and you have a winner with many cats and cat owners alike.

    Pros
    • Nutritionally balanced so can be fed as primary food, or in combination with others
    • Minimal additives
    Cons
    • Picky eaters might avoid
    • Not easily found in many stores

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    Buyer’s Guide

    Ultimately, how do you pick good food for your cat? Hopefully, the above list introduced some of the foods we favor in our own feline households. That said, there are always multiple factors to consider when picking the right food for your cat. Reading consumer reviews on multiple sites, and asking friends, your vet, and other cat owners what they feed can give you some consensus on what certain cats may like (or not like). After that, it starts to get a bit more interesting.

    Cats can certainly have personal preferences, just like people. They may prefer dry over wet food, or a certain texture. For instance, a cat may not like all wet foods, just chunky ones, or just pates. It is important to try many different options when your cat is young, if possible, to find out exactly what they like.

    For instance, flavors can also be an important factor for cats. So, if they don’t like poultry-based food, try out a seafood or beef recipe to see if you get a different response.

    Cats can also have preferences for certain kibble sizes and shapes. Some of this can be dictated by the breed of cats. For example, shorter-faced cats, like Persians, may prefer different kibble characteristics than a Maine Coon cat. If you do have a purebred cat, consider asking your vet if a breed-specific diet is an option, as they often take these specific factors into consideration.

    Next, you want to ensure you meet any specific medical needs your cat may have. This can include conditions such as food allergies, which hugely impact what food choices your cat may have. Other medical issues can include chronic kidney disease, which might need restricted minerals or higher moisture or protein contents. Cats with liver disease, are underweight or overweight, and those recovering from illnesses, are all other categories of cats that might need a specific diet or type of food. Generally, these are selected with help from your cat’s vet.

    maine coon cat eating
    Image By: Fayzulin Serg, Shutterstock

    Even when picking a general food for a happy, healthy adult cat, it is hugely important to consider the company making the food you purchase, in addition to the value, availability, and your cat’s like or dislike of the food on offer.

    Unfortunately,  in recent years, pet foods have made the news for containing imbalanced vitamins and minerals, or for being contaminated with bacteria—all of which you don’t want your cat eating. Some of these ended up in recalls in recent years. For instance, Melamine, an organic compound, was substituted for protein from an ingredient supplier to a number of brands in the early 2000s—making many cats and dogs quite sick. Unfortunately, some even died as a result of the severity of the contamination.

    Avoid contaminated cat foods by sticking to the brands that have been around for a long time, as they are often more likely to catch issues with food batches early on, or to prevent them altogether. Boutique foods may sound fun and good for your cat, but that isn’t always the case. Remember, we still don’t know nearly as much about pet nutrition as we would like. Just because there is medical data available with regard to people (for instance, gluten allergies), it doesn’t always mean the same information translates to our pets. If in doubt, talk to your cat’s vet!

    Cat eating from a ceramic bowl
    Image By: Sweetlouise, Pixabay

    When purchasing food, know food is usually at a better value when purchased in larger quantities. Once you know what your cat likes, this can be an easier process. Keep in mind that many pet food brands do offer satisfaction guarantees. This generally means that, if you purchase food and your cat doesn’t like it, they will refund a portion of the purchase price. Some companies, such as Royal Canin and Science Diet, will often refund the entire purchase price, with certain conditions. There are mixed opinions about whether you should stick only to one food, or alternate between different kinds to get your cat used to different foods. Every cat is different, so it’s worth speaking with your vet to see what works best for you and your cat.

    When transitioning your cat to a different food, there are some general rules of thumb for switching from one to the other, in order to prevent gastrointestinal upset. Traditionally, this was to start with a 75:25 blend of old and new foods, and gradually swap this ratio around every 24-48 hours, until only feeding them the new food. This isn’t always the suggestion anymore. If you think about it—we can go from eating Thai food to burgers, to Mexican food—often without any ill effects. So why should our pets be any different? That’s not to say that some cats don’t have extra sensitive systems. So find what works best for your cat, and stick to that route!

    Final thoughts about cats, and comparing wet (or canned) food versus dry food. Whether in packets, pouches, or cans, wet food is a great option to include in your cat’s daily diet. Canned wet food, by nature, contains higher water content than dry food.  With cats, higher water content is believed to promote urinary tract health. This can become even more important in cats with chronic kidney disease, or issues with certain urinary stones or crystals.

    Hepper 360 Cat Feeder, Stainless Steel, Anti-Chew...
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    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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    Final Thoughts

    Picking a cat food is not a simple challenge, but hopefully, these reviews help make the process slightly easier. We’ve picked out top choices, for a combination of availability, taste, and value—plus, they are simply good healthy foods to feed your cat.

    Our choice for the best overall dry food for adult cats is Royal Canin’s Indoor Adult. We love how most cats find it tasty, and it meets all the needs of a typical indoor cat—including calorie control, hairball help, and healthy ingredients. Its rave reviews indicate that it should be a strong consideration as a new dry food for your cat.

    Equally important, we found that Purina Pro Plan Focus wet food was the best overall canned food for cats—not only for taste, but also for being easy to find in stores or online, and for keeping cats healthy.

    For best value overall, we like Purina’s Cat Chow Naturals—a classic dry food found at pet and grocery stores alike, making it easy to grab in a hurry, and also well-liked by most cats. This food has the added benefit of not having artificial ingredients or coloring, making it a great alternative for those looking to be a bit more health savvy.


    Featured Image Credit: AJR_photo, Shutterstock

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