You asked for it, you got it: a big update to Today’s Best Cat foods page.
Sometimes I think keeping up with the changing cat food landscape could be a full-time job. Which is why I’m thankful to all of you who have commented with questions, suggestions, and information about various foods, and for a nice woman named Bobbi who helped me gather up a ton of research and format more room in the tables on the Best Cat foods page.
My main concern with cat food is how it affects:
- cat metabolism in regards to diabetes and weight
- cat kidney and urinary health
- cat digestive system, IBD, and intestinal cancer prevention
To me, these issues are even more important than the quality and source of the micro-ingredients in a food and who manufactures the food. Of course, I would never use a cat food created in China, but high quality pet food canning plants are few and far between even in the US. Now, there are some small ingredients I’ve taken a great interest in – such as carrageenan and BPA. This is because there may be life-threatening problems associated with these substances if they are consumed regularly over time. On the other hand, people ask about a lot of ingredients, like guar gum, that are not – to my knowledge thus far – known to be a big risk.
I think it’s easy, out of concern for your cat, to lose sight of the forest for the trees. So for me it’s about minimizing risk while keeping my higher priorities (above) in perspective and making sure we have enough good options to choose from.
Ok, let’s get to it!
Nine wet cat foods have been added
More options for you and your cats! These are the new foods you’ll now see on the Today’s Best Cat foods page, all grain-free and carrageenan-free:
ADDED TO FIRST PLACE
- Ziwipeak canned – Lots of good things to say about this food, and they removed the carrageenan!
- Impulse by Halo canned – US ingredients, includes a Quail formula (good novel protein)
- Holistic Select Grain-Free canned – Ingredients from US, Germany, and New Zealand
- Wild Calling canned – Ingredients sourced in the US; very low carb, affordable*
ADDED TO SECOND PLACE (see Today’s Best Cat foods page for the reasons these are in second place):
- FirstMate Limited Ingredient canned
- Party Animal canned
- Feline Caviar wet food **
- Merrick LIMITED INGREDIENT canned***
- ORGANIX Grain-Free canned – Organic ingredients; made in USA; GMO-free***
*Readers have reported a rumor (not confirmed as yet) that Wild Calling uses the Evanger’s Illinois plant for canning their formulas. Personally, I don’t consider this a big risk, but some are uncomfortable with it. In 2010, Evangers was found by the FDA to be using dishonest practices in their own formulas. While this is appalling, it had nothing to do with their plant’s canning of other small brands. And, it has been corrected. In my opinion, this food has too many good features to overlook because they need to use one on of the few available US pet food canning plants (Evangers) to package their food.
**In 2nd place because uses the Evanger’s Illinois plant for canning their formulas. Personally, I don’t consider this a big risk, but some are uncomfortable with it. (See my note above.)
***In 2nd place because Merrick was bought by Purina in 2015. They say the company will still operate independently with no changes. The takeover process will take many months. For these reasons, I would say the product is probably still fine for now, but after 2016, let’s revisit what’s happening with Merrick and the quality of its ingredients.
Remember, check Today’s Best Cat foods page for all the reasons each of these are in second place.
Two cat foods moved UP from the 2nd tier to the first tier
Here’s what moved up and why:
- Weruva Cats in the Kitchen pouches – A good GMO-free food with simple ingredients; moved up because no longer contains starches.
- Nature’s Variety Instinct LID (Limited Ingredient) canned – Another good GMO-free food with simple ingredients, manufactured in the US. Moved up because the Montmorillonite Clay in the product is tested to be toxin-free. According to Nature’s Variety: “Our vendor tests the Montmorillonite Clay used in our diets for toxins and it is guaranteed toxin-free.”
And a few foods that didn’t make it
A few grain-free wet foods I examined didn’t quite make the cut. Here they are (with the primary “why” in parentheses):
Nulo Freestyle (contains Vitamin D2 instead of D3 )(2022 UPDATE: Nulo now uses D3 and is added to “Best” list)
- Red Barn (contains Vitamin D2 instead of D3)
As I always say, none of these foods are perfect, but they met my “best of” criteria. Bear in mind though that every cat has different needs, just like you and I do, so what’s great for one cat may not be so grand for another.
Check out images of the best cat foods (which helps when you’re at the store) and more details about them on Today’s Best Cat foods.
From our cats to yours: Bon appetit!
A note about changes earlier in the year: A couple other small changes occurred earlier this year… Hound & Gatos was removed under false pretense, then added back to list: the vitamin D2 showing on some of their can labels turned out to be a (unfortunate) misprint. Bravo was removed because they aren’t currently making a raw cat food product guaranteed to meet AAFCO minimum nutrient level guidelines; at this time their raw cat food requires extra supplements to be sufficient for your cat.