What every best Cat Food has:
- More meat, less grain in the top five ingredients.
- No corn, wheat or soy as carbohydrate sources.
- No artificial preservatives.
Susan Thixton reviews and rates cat foods based on their first five ingredients. If Thixton deems all five to be quality ingredients, the food gets 5 paws; four quality ingredients, 4 paws, and so on. (Wet food can earn a maximum of 4 paws because the extra water or broth -- although beneficial -- doesn't count as a quality ingredient here.) Thixton reports on each company's manufacturing facilities, supply chains, controversial ingredients, etc. This is an excellent site for checking out specific brands, both big and small.
Thixton also maintains this blog, where she digs deep into the world of pet food and nutrition, researching ingredients, reporting on news and recalls, and more. Selected reviews from PetsumerReport.com are reprinted on occasion, though one hasn't been added since 2014. Thixton also offers a subscription-based list of foods that she would personally feed a pet; it includes 11 cat food brands.
The FDA posts pet food recalls on its website, organized by date. This is the place to find out whether a cat food you're using -- or are considering using -- has been recalled.
This is an excellent site for all-around cat information. Franny Syufy names her choices for the best canned cat foods in this list, all of which she says "could form a sound basis for your cat's diet." Although each cat food gets only a short write-up, the site does address almost every imaginable question about cat food, and the background information articles are helpful.
Here, Syufy lists the best dry cat foods. She says she would feed any of them to her cats and personally rotates through several of the named foods. She recommend to alternate these foods with "premium canned food for a well-balanced diet for your cat."
Although Lisa Pierson, a veterinarian, is a proponent of feeding cats a raw-meat diet, her site includes comprehensive information about selecting a high-quality commercial wet cat food based on its nutritional profile. To aid in that, she has put together a Cat Food Composition chart that lists each food's caloric distribution (what percent of calories come from protein, fat, or carbs), phosphorous content and calories per can. She no longer recommends specific foods, but does list food that are not recommended because their maker was not willing to share nutrient analysis data. No dry foods are recommended at all.
This website analyzes cat foods based on their ingredients and provides ratings for quality and price. Each food is discussed, and the editors comment on strong points and weak ones. Cat foods are listed alphabetically rather than by score, but there are also lists that name the best cat foods and best grain-free cat foods. However, the site rates only dry food varieties, not canned, and reviews date from 2014 or earlier.
Here, you'll find reviews (with star ratings) for many popular cat food brands on the market. A wide variety of cat food brands are rated, with five selected to be included in a list of the "best" cat foods, though some that rate just as well -- and in some cases higher -- don't make the cut and the reasons are not explained.
This helpful tool at 1800PetMeds.com compares cat foods' ingredients -- both premium and supermarket brands. It's easy to search and compare up to three foods at a time, and a handy chart lets you know which ingredients each food has and why it's good or bad. The advice here matches up well with other reliable sources, but only a limited number of foods is included.
Amazon.com sells everything from supermarket cat food to high-quality brands and varieties that are hard to find anywhere else. Cat foods of all types often get hundreds of reviews, while a handful draw thousands. Some reviews are short and not very helpful, but others go into long detail about what makes a cat food good or bad.
Chewy.com is another destination where you can find feedback for a wide variety of cat foods. Some foods have fewer reviews than at Amazon.com, and some have more, so it's not unusual to see dozens or even hundreds of owner-written opinions for a given variety.
Cat food sold at OnlyNaturalPet.com skew toward the higher-end varieties. Several of the natural foods sold here have amassed more than 100 reviews. Most get fairly high ratings.
This is the website of Petco, a large chain of pet supply stores. Many cat foods get no more than a handful of reviews, though others get more considerable feedback. Reviews tend to be brief, but customers can say whether they would recommend the cat food.
Originally written in 2010, but updated several times since, this list contains both top choices and solid second place choices. Liz Eastwood explains her criteria and priorities for including foods in the list. Each food is annotated with information on its pluses, cost, and any special concerns or tips to be aware of.
Like most other sites that review cat food, Reviews.com analyzes the ingredient lists to find top choices. It also considers factors such as recall history and country of origin of some products. The site's admittedly strict criteria eliminates a number of foods that score well elsewhere. Brands that are disqualified are listed, and the reasoning behind those decisions is given. The final list includes 145 formulas from 36 brands.