We analyzed 1,759 cat food formulas and found only 145 that were produced by a trustworthy brand with high-quality, risk-free ingredients.
Cat food conversations are littered with passionate opinions concerning whether or not cats should eat like they do in the wild or if they should avoid carbs, if they should consume dry food for better dental health or if they should eat wet food for better hydration, and the like. For the average cat owner, the ongoing debates make it challenging to figure out what a healthy diet looks like for a domestic cat. To find the best food for your cat, it’s essential to figure out which opinions are rooted in science, which are long-standing myth, and which are somewhere in between.
We spent 300 hours researching the cat food industry and digging deep into the science of what cats need for their optimal diet. We surveyed 97 veterinary professionals and 437 cat owners; we read dozens of articles and studies; and we analyzed the ingredients of more than 1,700 cat food formulas — all to discover what matters most in picking out the best cat food.
We concluded that quality ingredients — that is, whole proteins that are free of harmful or controversial substances — are the one most important characteristic of the best cat food formulas. Based on our extensive research, we designed a method for reviewing cat food and finding products made with quality ingredients and produced by reliable brands.
We examined more than 100 brands. Only 37 of them produced at least one approved formula.
To illustrate the ingredient disparity between brands, we put together a graphic that compares the first 10 ingredients of popular grocery brands and those in the approved formulas from one of our favorite recommended brands. The results speak for themselves.
When we made our picks for best cat foods, we examined all varieties: dry, wet, dehydrated, freeze-dried, and homemade.
The perfect feeding regimen for domesticated cats is probably not known yet, and with any condition where there is not a cut-and-dry treatment or cure, there are a lot of opinions by the researching scientists, veterinarians, and pet owners.