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The best dry cat foods are meat-rich -- and grain-free

Most dry cat foods are made largely from grain, with little fresh meat (if any). Some experts say that can cause obesity, diabetes and other diseases in cats, which are strict carnivores that haven't evolved to eat much grain.

But a few companies make dry cat foods that are mostly high-grade meat -- and no grain. It's important to note, though, that some veterinarians say cats shouldn't eat dry food at all, because their low thirst drive doesn't allow them to get enough moisture unless they eat wet food. Other vets have no problem with dry food, however.

Orijen's dry cat food is easily the best you can buy, experts say. This Canadian company hires local farmers and fishermen to deliver the ingredients fresh daily: wild-caught fish, cage-free chicken and turkey, local fruits and veggies. Orijen blends in organs, cartilage and wildflower botanicals to mimic whole prey and wild forage.

But while there's no grain in sight, Orijen dry cat foods can be pricey. Orijen Cat and Kitten Formula (Est. $25 for a 5-lb. bag) is the least expensive variety; Orijen 6 Fish costs $1 more, followed by Orijen Regional Red (Est. $30 for a 5-lb. bag) , which lists "boneless wild boar" as its first ingredient.

However, if a premium food costs significantly less than this, it usually contains grain. Nature's Logic Feline Dry Kibble -- Chicken (Est. $27 for a 7.7-lb. bag) costs less pound-for-pound than Orijen, but it also lists millet as its second ingredient.

Still, Nature's Logic is all-natural -- even its vitamins and minerals come from whole foods like cranberries and blueberries, not synthetic supplements -- and the company says it's "over 60 percent animal protein." Like Orijen, Nature's Logic has a strong food safety testing program. Nature's Logic also makes highly rated canned and frozen raw foods; Orijen produces no wet cat food at all.

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Orijen 6-Fish Grain-Free Dry Cat & Kitten Food, 5 lb
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New: $25.06
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NATURE'S LOGIC/ NL Enterprises - FELINE CHICKEN KIBBLE 7.7LBS
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New: $34.99
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Orijen Regional Red Dry Dog Food 5 Lb.
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New: $22.98
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