The 10 Healthiest Cat Food Options to Dish Out on a Budget

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  • It is not a substitute for the help of a professional veterinarian.

You don’t have to break the bank to feed your cat well. As a loving cat owner, you can meet your cat’s basic nutritional needs by purchasing the healthiest cat food at an affordable price.

This is where we come in. To help you, we’ve put together a list of foods that combine quality and affordability. But before we get into the details, let’s talk about a few things to consider when looking for the healthiest cat food.

What to look for in healthy cat food

It’s important to understand your cat’s nutritional needs before you start shopping. Start talking to your vet about it. They can recommend the types of food that are best for your cat based on their breed, age, and health status.

All cats need a balance of animal protein and healthy fats and essential nutrients in their diet. The quality and quantity of the ingredients largely determine the price of cat food, but a higher price does not always guarantee better quality.

When you go to the store (or shop online) to choose the best food for your cat, look closely at the ingredients listed on the packaging. Typically in dry food, look for:

  • High quality animal protein (at least 30%)
  • Healthy animal fats (approx. 15-20%)
  • Digestible carbohydrates and fiber.
  • Vitamins, minerals, enzymes and essential fatty acids

Wet food contains a high proportion of water, but should also contain a high proportion of the high-quality animal proteins and fats listed in the ingredients. (For example, the wet foods on our list below contain between 8% and 10% animal protein, lower percentages than dry foods, but this is due to the high water content.)

Keep in mind that regulators don’t do a good job of defining the term “natural” on a label. “By-products” can be perfectly healthy leftovers from the production of food grade food or offal. If you want to stick with cat food made in the USA, look for the words “made in the USA”. In the box. If the food contains ingredients from other countries (e.g. New Zealand lamb), these will be indicated on the packaging.

The level of animal protein in the feed, as well as the overall quality of the feed, are factors that drive up the price you pay. We were looking for quality food but also at affordable prices.

Note: Buying in bulk is tempting, but be careful. Dry foods begin to lose their nutrient integrity as soon as you open the bag. If you want to stock up, avoid investing in a huge bag of kibble and opt for two smaller bags. Unopened wet cat food has a shelf life of up to two years. But once you’ve broken the seal, it only lasts about five days in the fridge.

10 healthier cat food options on a budget

While it’s up to you to find the right balance of quality and affordability, luckily there are plenty of great options. These are our best and healthiest cat food options for pet owners on a budget.

Weruva products are available in many tasty variants. High-quality animal protein is the key ingredient, followed by a balanced blend of vitamins, minerals and heart-healthy taurine. Choose from 3, 5.5, and 10 ounce cans.

Weruva Leg Licking Chicken

Weruva Paw Licking Chicken Formula

Paw Lickin’ Chicken is a high protein recipe with shredded chicken in a delicious gravy.

This Purina Beyond recipe features fresh salmon as the main ingredient and chicken meal as an additional source of concentrated protein. Designed for indoor cats, this dry food also contains grain-free carbohydrates and beneficial supplements. It’s available in 3, 5, or 11 pound bags.

Purina Beyond 500 Salmon Healthy Cat Food Recipe

Purina Beyond Dry Cat Food (Salmon)

An abundance of tasty salmon makes this high-protein dry food a healthy option for adult indoor cats.

If your cat prefers wet food, this grain-free chicken recipe is high in protein for muscle building with lots of antioxidants and omega-3s for general health. Choose from 3 ounce or 5.5 ounce cans.

Merrick Purrfect Bistro Pate in a tin

Merrick Purrfect Bistro Canned Pot Pie (Chicken Recipe)

This attractive chicken pot pie will keep your cat happy and healthy at an affordable price.

Chicken is the first ingredient in this Rachael Ray Nutrish kibble, making it an affordable yet high-quality kibble. American chicken is combined with healthy brown rice, vegetables, essential vitamins, minerals and taurine. Find it in bags of 3, 6 or 14 kilos.

Rachael Ray Nutrish Croquettes Recipe

Rachael Ray Nutrish Croquettes Recipe (Chicken)

Free range chicken provides protein and flavor in this dry food with brown rice and vegetables.

Chewy’s house brand, American Journey, is one of the healthiest cat food options for buyers on a budget. Provides a healthy, natural diet with meat as the first ingredient, and fresh fruits and vegetables provide digestible sources of key nutrients.

American Journey Salmon Dry Food

American Journey Dry Cat Food (Salmon)

Cats love American Journey dry food. This one offers a delicious grain-free salmon recipe.

Buy chewable

This popular grain-free kibble is made in the USA with chicken, turkey, peas and potatoes. It’s a complete salty meal that’s also nutritionally balanced.

Cat food with chicken without whole grain

Whole Earth Farms Dry Cat Food (Chicken)

This grain-free option is one of the most nutritious and affordable dry cat foods on the market. And the cats love it!

Made with premium animal protein, these kibbles feature seared venison and smoked salmon in a recipe designed to provide balanced nutrition the way nature intended. One of the healthier options on our list, this cat food comes in 5 or 14 pound bags.

Dry cat food Taste of the Wild

Dry cat food Taste of the Wild Rocky Mountain

This premium yet affordable venison and salmon recipe offers great flavor and nutrition.

This high-protein pie from Wellness features chicken as the first ingredient in a grain-free, nutrient-dense recipe packed with antioxidants, taurine, vitamins and minerals. It is available in 3, 5.5, and 12.5 ounce cans.

Feel-good pate for cats with chicken flavor

Wellness Complete Health Canned Cat Food (Chicken Starter)

This chicken pâté for adult cats is high in protein and contains vitamins, minerals and taurine.

With chicken at the top of the list, these Iams treats will energize your cat and help her live her best life. Not only is this dry food healthy and tasty, it also benefits your cat’s teeth by removing plaque.

IAMS ProActive Health cat food

Iams ProActive Health Indoor dry cat food

An affordable and healthy option for your cat, this dry food is packed with prebiotics, fiber and omega fatty acids.

This grain-free wet food consists of salmon and trout and contains fruit and vegetables. It is made in the USA and is available in 3 or 5.5 ounce cans.

Flavor of canned wild cat food

Taste of the Wild Canyon River Canned Cat Food (Trout & Salmon)

Salmon and trout combine for a meal packed with protein and flavor that won’t break the bank.

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Tips to save money on cat food

Looking for other ways to supplement your cat food spending? Many online retailers, such as Chewy, Petco, and Amazon, offer discounts for purchasing memberships. Best of all, you don’t have to worry about getting to the shop – food is delivered right to your door on a regular basis.

Manufacturers also often post coupons on their websites, and some offer discounts and bonuses. Coupons and discounts are another great way to ensure your cat is getting the food they need at an affordable price.

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