Halo Spot's Stew Wholesome Chicken Recipe
Halo Spot's Stew Wholesome Chicken Recipe

Best canned cat food

Halo Spot's Stew Wholesome Chicken Recipe looks remarkably like a home-cooked stew for people. Experts say its chunks of butcher-quality meat are great for cats.
See our full review

Natural Balance Indoor Cat Formula
Natural Balance Indoor Cat Formula

Best-value canned cat food

Natural Balance Indoor Cat Formula includes some cost-cutting grain. But it also has lots of premium-quality meat -- at a cheaper-than-premium price.
See our full review

Trader Joe's Chicken, Turkey and Rice Dinner
Trader Joe's Chicken, Turkey and Rice Dinner

Supermarket canned cat food

With no byproducts and nothing artificial, Trader Joe's Chicken, Turkey and Rice Dinner and other flavors offer near-premium quality. The value is hard to beat as it sells for around half of comparable foods.
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Orijen Cat and Kitten Formula
Orijen Cat and Kitten Formula

Best dry cat food

Although some experts say cats need wet food to stay hydrated, others have no problem with a high-quality dry food. Made from fresh Canadian meats, fish, eggs and produce, Orijen Cat and Kitten Formula's grain-free, natural ingredients make it the best dry you can buy.
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Taste of the Wild Rocky Mountain Feline Formula
Taste of the Wild Rocky Mountain Feline Formula

Best-value dry cat food

Unlike supermarket cat kibble -- which is usually a stew of corn, soy and byproducts -- Taste of the Wild Rocky Mountain Feline Formula is free of all of the above. Meat is the main ingredient, which experts say is far better for cats.
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Newman's Own Organics Chicken and Brown Rice
Newman's Own Organics Chicken and Brown Rice

Organic cat food

Newman's Own Organics Chicken and Brown Rice uses USDA organic, "human-grade" ingredients. It costs a little more than some comparable cat foods, but all profits go to animal charities.
See our full review

Nature's Logic Canine and Feline Frozen Food Chicken
Nature's Logic Canine and Feline Frozen Food Chicken

Frozen raw cat food

Nature's Logic Canine and Feline Frozen Food is as close as you can get to raw prey -- in convenient frozen patty form. It's all-natural, made from high-quality raw meats, organs and eggs. It costs about the same per feeding as premium canned food, too.
See our full review

Est. $18 for a 3-lb. bag Estimated Price
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See a side-by-side comparison of key features, product specs, and prices.

Cat Food Runners Up:

Evo Cat and Kitten Food Est. $1.35 for a 5.5-oz. can

4 picks including: About.com, CatInfo.org…

Nature's Variety Instinct Raw Chicken Formula Est. $21 for a 3-lb. bag

4 picks including: CatInfo.org, PetsumerReport.com…

Wellness Chicken Formula *Est. $1.50 for a 5.5-oz. can

4 picks including: About.com, CatInfo.org…

Merrick Cowboy Cookout Est. $1.40 for a 5.5-oz. can

4 picks including: About.com, CatInfo.org…

Weruva Paw Lickin' Chicken Est. $1.65 for a 5.5-oz. can

4 picks including: About.com, CatInfo.org…

Fancy Feast Classic Chicken Feast Est. 65 cents for a 3-oz. can

3 picks including: Petco.com, CatInfo.org…

Feline's Pride Gourmet Chicken Est. $26 for a 3-lb. bag

3 picks including: CatNutrition.org, CatInfo.org…

Nature's Logic Feline Dry Kibble -- Chicken Est. $27 for a 7.7-lb. bag

3 picks including: About.com, PetsumerReport.com…

Natural Balance Original Ultra Est. $17 for a 6-lb. bag

2 picks including: About.com, Amazon.com…

Canidae All Life Stages Formula Est. $1.60 for a 5.5-oz. can

2 picks including: CatInfo.org, PetsumerReport.com…

Wysong Au Jus Chicken Est. $1.55 for a 5.5-oz. can

2 picks including: PetsumerReport.com, TracieHotchner.com…

Evo Turkey and Chicken Formula Est. $22 for a 6.6-lb. bag

2 picks including: About.com, Christian Science Monitor…

California Natural Chicken and Brown Rice Formula Est. $15 for a 5-lb. bag

2 picks including: About.com, PetsumerReport.com…

Finding great cat foods for every budget

In the wild your cat would get perfectly balanced, ideal nutrition, neatly wrapped into one small package: a mouse. Commercial cat foods essentially try to replicate that delicate balance of proteins, fats, vitamins and minerals. Some do a surprisingly accurate job, critics say. We found good cat foods at every price point -- from 60-cent canned supermarket cat food to $40 bags of frozen gourmet duck for your cat.

Among cat foods, there are three main choices:

  • Dry cat food can be convenient, but some veterinarians say dry-fed cats don't get enough moisture. Others say dry food works fine. Meat-rich dry cat foods with little or no grain are the critics' choice for carnivorous cats. Top brands cost $13 to $25 for a 5-pound bag.
  • Canned cat food comes closer to a cat's wild diet, reviews say. It's wet, and it usually packs more meat and less starch than dry food. Gourmet cat foods use human-quality meats and veggies; expect to pay about $1.50 for a 5.5-ounce can of these ultra-premium brands, versus 60 cents for the best supermarket cat food we found (Trader Joe's).
  • Raw frozen cat food does the best job impersonating prey. Raw meat and organs are ground up in exact proportions to give cats all the nutrients they need. Prices vary wildly, depending on what species your cat dines upon. The Best Reviewed frozen raw cat food offers varieties ranging from chicken at $18 for a 3-pound bag, up to $25 per bag for frozen rabbit.

Finding the best cat foods in every category comes down to evaluating each one based on the quality of its ingredients, safety (history of recalls, etc.) and value. Critics aren't shy about pointing out the foods that fall short. Our expert sources scrutinize cat food labels and closely follow cat food recall news. Cat owners fill in the final pieces of the puzzle -- whether cats seem healthy while eating a certain food they enjoy, for instance, or whether they turn up their finicky noses at it.

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