Best Cat Food Consumer Reports, Tips, Reviews, Ratings, and Guides in 2022
As a responsible cat owner, it’s important to make sure your pet is eating a diet that is both healthy and satisfying. That’s why you should always consult Consumer Reports when looking for the best cat food brands. CR’s independent ratings will help you find the right food for your furry friend. So whether your cat is a picky eater or has special dietary needs, there’s sure to be food that meets her needs and exceeds your expectations. Thanks for choosing Consumer Reports as your go-to source for information on the best cat foods!
What is cat food?
Cats are obligate carnivores, which means they must eat meat. While cats have adapted to excrete some of the excess protein in their diets, they still need to consume about 30% more protein than dogs do. For centuries, cat owners believed that cats could live on a diet of nothing but meat. However, experts now believe that carbohydrates are just as important for your cat’s well-being. You may have noticed that many cat food brands contain plant-based proteins rather than just meat. These carbs help provide your pet with energy without making her fat, while also offering essential vitamins and minerals she can’t get from meat alone.
Most Common Types of cat food:
Canned: This type of cat food has high moisture content and is sold in cans, so it contains about 75% water. Canned food is often more expensive than dry staple food but may also provide greater satiety for your pet because of its higher water content. It can be served as-is or easily mixed with dry staple food to give your pet variety in taste and texture.
Dry: Dry staple foods contain very little moisture; usually between 10 and 12 percent. Because they lack sufficient moisture, these types of cat foods must be combined with water before serving to ensure that your pet gets enough hydration from her meal. Dry foods are generally lower in cost and provide fewer calories, making them ideal for cats that are prone to obesity.
Sticky: Sticky foods tend to have a very chewy texture that helps remove tartar from your pet’s teeth as she eats. These types of cat food also clean your pet’s teeth by getting between the cracks in her teeth, stopping bacterial build-up before it can cause gingivitis or other dental diseases.
Mixers/moisturizers: If you want to mix dry staple food with moist canned food, look for moisteners specifically designed for this purpose that keep ingredients separate until they’re ready to be served. These foods usually contain more carbohydrates than other types of wet cat food because carbohydrate content gives them their jelly-like consistency once they’re mixed with water.
Semi-Moist: This type of food is usually made in the form of a biscuit. Semi-moist foods are highly palatable because they are processed to maintain their softness and chewiness, so your pet keeps eating. They may also contain high amounts of sugar, which makes them very appealing to cats. However, these types of cat food are often low in nutrients so be sure to give them along with other types of food that provide more vitamins and minerals for maximum health benefits.
Frozen or refrigerated: Freeze-dried or freeze-dried/dehydrated foods must be kept frozen until use, but once thawed can be stored at room temperature for several days before being fed to pets. These types of cat food are often dry, crunchy treats made with real meat. They may be completely nutritionally balanced or serve as a complement to staple foods like kibble.
What should you know about cat food?
See labels carefully before buying your pet’s food, and always read reviews first! See what other animal owners have experienced when feeding their pets, the same brand you’re considering.
If your cat is already used to dry food, do not switch her diet suddenly to canned varieties! Throw away all the old food she has, then introduce new foods into her diet slowly; this will help reduce upset stomachs or vomiting that could occur if she becomes ill from changing food types too quickly.
Make sure you read all labels on cans of cat food. Some brands might contain more carbohydrates than meat protein; this isn’t good for your furry buddy and could lead to serious health problems. If you’re not sure about what you’re buying, ask your vet for a recommendation or look at some reviews online.
When storing cat food in the cupboard, make sure the bag is sealed tightly so that it doesn’t attract pests such as mice and ants! Always place dry pet foods in an air-tight container so they don’t absorb moisture from humid weather. This will keep them fresh and safe for consumption by your kitty when she’s hungry! 5) If your furry friend has very sensitive skin or allergies, try switching her diet to grain-free options; these can be hard to find but are often more beneficial than regular dry food to help reduce the chances of stomach problems happening.
If you are choosing to give your cat dry food, try buying the brand that contains the fewest carbohydrates! The lower the amount of carbs, the better-quality nutrition she’ll be getting. You can always ask your vet which brands might work best for your pet’s specific needs.
Never forget to take care of yourself while taking care of your furry friend; leaving her alone for too long without adequate food or attention could lead to depression and other serious health problems related to loneliness or lack of exercise!
As much as possible, buy natural foods with no added colors or preservatives whenever you can so you know exactly what is in each can. This will ensure that your cat is not ingesting chemicals or substances that could cause medical problems.
If you need to feed your cat medication, try making a small Popsicle from her food and adding the pills inside; this will make it easier for her to swallow the medicine without thinking about it! You can also place meat tenderizer into wet food and serve it up in a way she’s used to consuming every day.
Some cats might like soft foods better than dry kibble; if yours swipes the bowl clean when given canned meal options, go ahead and switch over gradually. This can take some time but will help transition your friend slowly to avoid stomach issues such as vomiting, and diarrhea caused by sudden dietary changes.
Make sure you keep track of the expiration date for all your cat’s food! Feed her on a schedule, no more than once or twice per day- if she starts to gain excessive weight, then consider switching food types again.
To keep your kitty healthier and happier overall, try giving them bits of chicken or turkey that you’ve cooked up in the microwave with their daily meals; this will supply some extra protein while ensuring they get fewer fillers from their diet.
Always remember to contact your vet when you notice any sudden changes in behavior or health with your furry friend! If she isn’t eating normally anymore, seems sluggish, has diarrhea or is vomiting regularly, or appears depressed most of all time; these are signs that tell you it might be time to change what you are feeding her. A little variety might not be a bad thing but remember that too much of anything can make your cat sick or cause more serious health problems in the future! Your vet will help give you an honest answer on whether your kitty should transition onto new food types gradually or entirely switch over right away.
Make sure all the water bowls around the house are clean whenever possible so she doesn’t have to drink out of dirty or moldy containers; you can also opt for getting a pet water fountain that will filter and condition the liquid before it reaches your feline’s tongue.
As much as possible, stay away from giving your kitty too many treats throughout the day! This could lead to weight gain and an eventual lack of interest in her regular food choices because she thinks they aren’t tasty enough anymore.
When switching food types, always do so gradually over time to avoid stomach issues such as vomiting, and diarrhea caused by sudden dietary changes. Mix new kibble into wet foods- add more of the old brand than what is required for the cat to eat it up all at once until she gets used to having this in her dish. Once the transition is complete, you should have a happy and healthy feline friend who doesn’t have to worry about being picky about her food!
Make sure your furry friend always has access to clean water so she can drink whenever she feels thirsty- if not, consider getting a pet fountain that will filter and condition the liquid before it reaches your kitty’s tongue.
Put out only one bowl of food per day for her unless you want an overweight cat with bad eating behavior habits; this could lead to obesity which may also cause health problems for them in the future such as diabetes or heart disease down the road.
Factors to Consider before buying cat food:
What should you look for when choosing cat food?
Protein: Look for meats that are higher in protein but lower in fat. Cats cannot process much fat, unlike dogs, so most foods should be lower-fat options. Some great proteins to look at can be found by checking outposts like this one.
Carbohydrates: Like any pet, your cat needs carbohydrates which provide her with energy and help hold body tissues together. But she also has unique nutritional requirements because high carbohydrate levels might cause gastrointestinal upset or diabetes gut issues due to their effects on insulin levels. Keep an eye out for low-carbohydrate foods without sacrificing nutrients. You can learn more about what’s good here, but some examples include chicken, tuna, salmon, cottage cheese, and eggs (the whites).
Vitamins & Minerals: A cat’s body cannot make some essential vitamins like Vitamin A, so she needs to get them from food or supplements. Because cats have sensitive stomachs, foods that are high in fiber are not recommended. Look for canned foods specifically designed for kittens with less than 1 percent of crude fiber.
Canned vs Kibble: Cats require more moisture in their diets than dogs do, so canned food might be a better option for your pet because it contains up to 78 percent water compared to the 10 percent of kibble. As mentioned earlier, feeding canned food can also help you control your cat’s caloric intake since it has less fat and carbohydrates than dry food does. But if your pet has a history of urinary tract infections, you might need to switch her over to dry food.
Special Diets: Cats can be prone to certain health conditions such as diabetes and kidney disease, so any cat food that is specially formulated for older or more active pets may help keep them healthy and strong!
If you’re concerned about the ingredients in cat food, organic pet foods might be a good option for you! USDA certification means that only natural food sources were used to create your kitty’s dinner. This includes no antibiotics, hormones, or animal by-products. Also, many “grain-free” options are certified organic.
Cats can be picky eaters, so finding a food that she likes is key! If your pet has been eating the same food for some time and suddenly decides to stop eating it, don’t panic. Cats can experience what is called “dishabituation,” which occurs when they become bored of their regular foods and need something new to stimulate them. Switching up textures might help her stay interested in her meals but introduce these changes over several days rather than radically changing what your cat eats overnight.
Cats might also like solid chunks of meat in their food, rather than foods that contain shredded meat or sauce. If you’re looking into canned varieties, all meats should be tender and served in gravy; this will entice your pet to eat the meal with no issues!
Price: No matter what food you give your cat, always consult with your veterinarian to find out how much she should be eating daily. After this, you can choose the best option for her within your budget! Some cats might need to eat some more expensive brands of food because they might have existing health problems such as diabetes or pancreatitis.
Convenience: You might find that some foods are easier to prepare than others. For example, if you’re trying to watch your weight, you might be better off feeding her canned food because it only takes a minute to prepare; no cooking or heating up is necessary! However, if she needs certain medications in her diet or helps with hairballs, you’ll need food that is more convenient for you. If she eats dry food, make sure it’s easy for you to store and serve. Always read the label to find out how much water should be added before feeding the meal.
Some cats might fall into that older age group, meaning they might need special food to keep them strong. You’ll find that some foods are specifically designed for either adult (1-7 years) or adult healthy (8+ years) uses. If your pet seems lethargic and is begging for more food than usual, ask the veterinarian about switching her diet!
If you’re very concerned about the quality of ingredients in your cat’s food, you can always ask your veterinarian to recommend a brand that is either organic or manufactured by a reputable company.
Taste: Just like humans, cats have their tastes! Some pets are attracted to fish flavors, while others might prefer poultry or beef over other meats. The most common protein source for cats is meat from chicken, lamb, salmon, and tuna.
Nutritional value: Do not feed your kitty human foods unless they are leftovers that have been stored safely! Some foods might be healthy for us but very dangerous for them; for example, chocolate or onions can cause serious health problems if consumed by cats.
Size of kibble: When choosing the best food for your pet, you’ll want to consider her size in general. A large cat will need larger pieces in its diet, while a smaller cat can get away with softer chunks in its meal.
Activity level: Your pet might be very active and burn off more energy than most other felines; in this case, it’s important to make sure they are getting enough calories daily to remain healthy!
Hairballs: If your pet is suffering from hairballs regularly, then you should switch his food to one that includes special fiber that helps ease the problem. You can also speak with your vet about hairball treats that you can give him at any time to ward off the problem.
Digestibility: You’ll find that some cat foods are more digestible than others, and if your pet is having issues with constipation or diarrhea it might be because she’s eating something difficult for her system to process. If you suspect this might be the case, talk to your vet about switching brands!
Undesirable Ingredient: Please do not feed your cat any food that contains the following as their main ingredient: cooked bones, blood meal, corn gluten meal, soybeans or soybean meal, wheat middlings, or wheat bran. These foods can cause serious problems for your pet!
The Pros and Cons of Cat Food:
You can often find good quality cat food for a decent price.
There are many brands available at different price points.
Many cats enjoy eating cat food.
Cats will eat more than they need when there is free access to dry food. Make sure you measure out the daily portion size carefully! This might not be an issue if your pet is active or tiny in stature but could be a problem if they are overweight.
Even though there is a great variety of food brands out there, some cats might still refuse to eat what you give them. If this is the case, make sure your pet is otherwise healthy and isn’t going through any medical issues before switching the flavor or brand of their food!
What about Natural Cat Food?
Many brands label themselves as natural or holistic. There is no official definition of either term, so they are often misleading! Always talk to your veterinarian before choosing a brand for your pet.
Is Dry Food Better Than Wet Food?
Dry food is great for cats because it helps keep their teeth strong and clean. There are some canned foods available now with special toothbrushless formulas, but most vets recommend dry food as the best choice for overall feline health.
What’s the Best Cat Food Brand?
When trying to pick out the best cat food brand, always ask yourself what type of protein is included in the kibble and how digestible that protein will be for your pet. Also, consider if the food has the appropriate fiber content for your pet’s needs.
What about Cat Food Allergies?
Cats who are allergic to certain ingredients might do better on a special diet if their symptoms are severe, but most cats can tolerate their regular food without any problem! If you suspect that your pet is having issues with its current brand or flavor of cat food, always take her to see your vet rule out any other possible causes before switching brands. Ask your vet for a recommendation of the best food to feed your pet.
Are There Any Benefits to Raw Food Diets for Cats?
There is no evidence to support the idea that a raw food diet is any better than dry or canned food for cats! Most vets will agree that it’s much easier to feed your pet a good quality kibble and ensure that they receive all the nutrients they require because there are specific standards set by the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) as well as nutritional requirements as laid out in the National Research Council’s Nutrient Requirements for Cats.
Can I feed this cat food to my cat with bladder issues?
If your cat has issues with bladder crystals or stones, it might be best to feed them a specialized food that can help dissolve the issue. However, always check with your vet before doing so; they need to diagnose what type of stone(s) is present and if any other health conditions would prevent you from switching brands of food!
How much wet or dry food should I feed my cat?
Cats should be fed twice daily and should always have access to an appropriate-sized bowl of water! Many people ask how many calories their cat should eat per day. This can vary depending on your pet’s age, weight, activity level, and metabolism as well as the brand of food you choose. However, as a rule of thumb, most cats can maintain their weight eating around 125 calories per day for every 1 pound they weigh every day.
Is there any special type of food I need to feed my kitten?
Kittens need cat food that contains lots of protein and fat (around 50% protein and 40% fat!) in comparison to adult cats which only require around 20% protein and 28.5-35% fat. Be sure to put out a bowl of food specifically for your kitten because they are more prone to obesity due to their high protein intake!
What’s the best way to encourage my cat to eat its new food?
Just like dogs, cats can sometimes be fussy about their food! Start by introducing a small amount of the new brand of kibble in with your pet’s current flavor/brand before slowly increasing the amount of new food while decreasing the old. If your pet eats too quickly, try mixing in some warm water with the new food to make it softer and less crunchy.
How long can I leave my pets’ uneaten food out for?
Canned or pouched wet cat food should be eaten within an hour if you won’t be able to refrigerate it! Otherwise, dry cat food should always be stored in an airtight container in a cool, dry place so that it won’t spoil.
Why is my cat sometimes refusing to eat its canned food?
Most cats will refuse canned foods if they are not served at the right temperature! Make sure that your pet’s bowl of canned food has been sitting out at room temperature for a few minutes before feeding.
Is it best to feed my cat by leaving food out all day?
There is no reason to leave your pet’s bowl of dry or wet food down constantly throughout the day. This practice can decrease the likelihood that your pet will eat its entire daily portion of food as well as create bad eating habits! Provide one solid meal per day and take away any leftover canned food from earlier in the day. And always have an appropriate-sized bowl of fresh water available as well as a litter box nearby as some cats will refuse to go outside their litter boxes if they’re too far away!
What is the best cheap cat food?
Canned foods tend to be slightly cheaper than their dry counterparts, but they might not always be available in all stores. Some brands that you can find in any store and are usually easy on your wallet include Friskies Specialties (not all formulations), Cesar, Meow Mix Original Choice, and Fancy Feast Broths (in gravy).
Cats require a high protein, a moderate-fat diet with little to no carbohydrates. The best way to monitor your cat’s nutritional intake (besides your vet visits) is to look at the label of any food you buy and make sure that it has the AAFCO statement showing what percentage of each nutrient is provided per “meal”!