The Best Indoor Cat Foods of 2021
- Our Top List
- 1. Purina Beyond Grain free Adult Food
- 2. 9Lives Indoor Complete Cat Food
- 3. Purina Friskies Indoor Adult Wet Food
- 4. Iams Proactive Health Food
- 5. Blue Buffalo Health Natural Adult Food
- 6. Diamond Naturals Indoor Real Meat Recipe Food
- 7. Hill’s Science Diet Dry Cat Food for Indoor Cats
- 8. Purina ONE Indoor Advantage Food
- 9. Hill’s Science Diet Dry Cat Food for Indoor Kittens
- Final Verdict & Review
- Purina Beyond Indoor Cat Food
- Buying Guide
We know that our pets can be independent, yet love to cuddle at the same time. We respect that our felines still have an innate desire to hunt prey, and we work to provide toys that meet that drive.
However, we still love to spoil our cat friends. We also know they need a special diet, particularly if they are always indoors. Cat lovers know that our pets tend to be finicky, and we work to provide them with food that is both nutritious and tasty at the same time.
We cat lovers know that not all cat food is created equally. We are also informed enough to know that the most expensive food isn’t necessarily the highest quality of food nor is the cheapest food the worst when it comes to nutrition.
This guide is intended to help you make an informed decision on the healthiest food for your cat.
Our Top List
Price / Value
Purina Beyond Grain free Adult Indoor Cat Food
9Lives Indoor Complete Cat Food
Purina Friskies Indoor Adult Wet Cat Food
Iams Proactive Health Indoor Cat Food
Blue Buffalo Health Natural Adult Indoor Cat Food
Diamond Naturals Indoor Real Meat Recipe Dry Cat Food
Hill’s Science Diet Dry Cat Food for Adult Indoor Cats
Purina ONE Indoor Advantage Adult Cat Food
Hill’s Science Diet Dry Cat Food for Indoor Kittens
Purina’s Beyond Grain-Free food is one that is conveniently sold in most grocery stores, and its quality is superb. I actually came across this particular food in a bit of a pinch. My two cats, who were otherwise healthy, were on a pricier name-brand food since they were kittens. Yet, almost daily, they experienced horrible vomiting episodes. We won’t even discuss their litter box.
I had read a little about this particular brand, and I decided to try it one afternoon while grocery shopping. Not only did my cats love the taste, but the vomiting stopped. Furthermore, the litter box odor immediately got better! I would highly recommend this brand based on its ease of access (you don’t have to special order it or go to a pet food store) plus its appeal to cats.
- Appeals to even finicky cats
- Can be found at a variety of stores
- Good value for the price
Most of us grew up with Morris the Cat as the spokeskitty for this product. In fact, because this product is one that is found everywhere from the local dollar store to pet food specialty stores, then you may not believe that the 9Lives brand is one that is nutritionally sound.
While 9Lives Indoor Complete is cheaper than other foods you would find at the pet store, this product does contain lean protein and a variety of B vitamins which promote feline healthy weight and energy.
Keep in mind, however, that this product does use some ingredients that aren’t organic, such as gluten and bone meal. At the same time, cat owners resoundingly give this food a four-star rating!
- Most cats like the taste
- Low price, easy to find the product at a variety of stores
- Contains fillers
All cats are carnivores, so a wet food is often a natural favorite. However, not all wet foods contain healthy ingredients.
The Friskies Indoor Adult cat food not only promises a great taste for your kitty, but also natural ingredients that give you the reassurance that your feline friend is getting all the proper minerals and vitamins she needs!
The chief ingredient in this wet food is real poultry or seafood, but be aware that there are meal by-products included in this food as well.
If you have an older cat that doesn’t always want to eat (or a finicky cat of any age), then you can pair this food with an organic dry food.
- Tastes and smells great
- Contains vegetables such as spinach
- Contains folic acid and other supplements that are beneficial to your cat
Iams products are often associated with healthy eating for pets. The Proactive Indoor Weight and Hairball Control variety not only contains real animal protein as the chief source of nutrition, but it also contains absolutely no fillers, artificial preservatives, or harmful chemicals. Furthermore, this food contains no wheat; the formula includes probiotics that aid in digestion and help to prevent instances of hairballs.
This brand name has a great deal of trust, but there are those who say their cat prefers the cheaper cat foods with fillers. However, for the price, this is one of the healthiest and quality made products available. It can be found at most any retail location, so you don’t have to order it from the veterinarian or go to a specialty store to find it.
- Quality ingredients
- No fillers, but some finicky cats won’t eat the product
- No harmful dyes or gluten
Blue Buffalo is fast becoming a recognizable name in pet food. By recognizable, I mean dependable and trusted. Like Iams, Blue Buffalo is becoming available at a wide variety of retailers, and pet parents like the fact that it is made from all-natural ingredients.
Blue Buffalo touts its ingredient list as having “real meat as the first ingredient,” and this is important. The first component on a list of ingredients is the one item that there is the most of in a product. So, by saying real meat is the first ingredient, that means your cat’s food is made up of healthy, organic ingredients.
There are no animal or vegetable by-products in this product. Word to the wise, however, many feline pet parents state that their cats have experienced urinary health issues after several months on this food.
- Real meat ingredients in addition to added vitamins and minerals
- Can be purchased at retail stores, but it is a little pricey
- Some cats experienced urinary health problems after a few months of consuming the product
Diamond Naturals is another company which strives to provide customers with a premium product. However, Diamond Naturals Indoor Real Meat Recipe does not use real meat as its first ingredient.
The provided list states “chicken meal” as the first ingredient. Chicken itself is the second product listed. Furthermore, although Diamond Naturals does state that the manufacturer adds fiber and certain vitamins and minerals, unhealthy fillers such as cellulose, bisulfate, and chloride are also on the ingredient list.
This food does contain probiotics, which help to promote the health of your cat’s digestive health.
- Contains probiotics, but also contains fillers
- Not available at local retailers, must order or purchase from a pet food supply store
- Some pet parents say cats refuse to eat the food
This brand is repeatedly recommended by veterinarians for its quality ingredients that support not only digestive health, but also skin and coat health as well. Like other high quality products, Hill’s Science Diet does not include fillers, dyes, or other harmful chemicals.
What sets this product apart is the fact that this product contains antioxidants, which promote cell repair. Another important feature of this product is the fact that this product is made in the United States, and as such, the product is held to a different standard of quality.
- Made in the USA, must follow guidelines of the FDA
- Formulated by over 100 veterinarians
- Contains antioxidants that promote cell repair
Real meat is the first ingredient in this food. There are no fillers, dyes, or other harmful ingredients in this product. Purina has added natural vitamins and supplements as well as healthy fatty acids that promote digestive health and help prevent hairballs.
In addition, this recipe contains a whopping 42% of protein that help to prevent obesity and build lean muscle.
- Real meat is the first ingredient
- Promotes healthy digestion and healthy weight
- Purina adds important vitamins and minerals
While most of the products featured in this review are for adult cats, feeding your kitten a healthy diet is just as important as maintaining the health of your adult cat. In some ways, properly feeding your kitten is even more important because of your little one’s developing brain and growing body.
Hill’s Science Diet Dry Cat Food for Kittens is specially formulated to promote brain health in your growing kitty. Like the adult version of the Hill’s Science Diet cat food, this product is made in the USA and must follow certain guidelines.
In order to promote healthy brain development, Hill’s Science Diet included DHA obtained from fish oil in this kitten food. Furthermore, there are vitamins and minerals which encourage healthy weight and strong bones.
- Specially formulated for your kitten’s first year of life
- Promotes healthy bones and teeth
- Includes DHA, which assists in developing healthy eyes and a healthy brain
For the money, availability and quality, the Purina Cat Food is the overall recommendation of this reviewer. This food is made with quality ingredients, cats like it – even the pickiest cats, at that, and not only is it available at a wide variety of retail outlets, the price is great! My own experience with this product causes me to recommend it, especially if you have a cat that has a choosy palate.
What should you do when looking for a quality cat food? Should price be a consideration? Generally, quality outranks price.
Also, there are many foods specific for various types of cats and their health, such as hypoallergenic pet food or diabetes related food. For those of us who like to eat organic (which is healthier), there are also many organic food options for cats.
Weight is another consideration. I see a lot of cats out there on window sills that are quite bulky and could benefit greatly from being fed a diet cat food to manage their weight.
First, the most important thing to do when choosing a commercially made dry cat food is to study the ingredients. At this point, I’d like to educate you a little on the typical ingredients you’ll find in a dry pet food. The information might surprise you.
Previously in the review I mentioned looking at the first ingredient on the listing. Whatever that ingredient is, be it poultry or chicken by-product, that ingredient is the greatest as far as the amount of that item goes inside the dry cat food. If the first ingredient is poultry or salmon, then the bulk of a piece of kibble is made up of dried meat. This is healthy and good for your cat. However, if any meat by-product is the first ingredient, then you do not have real meat as the primary ingredient in the dry food.
Remember, cats are carnivores, so meat as the first ingredient means that your cat is getting a more appropriate diet.
Next, look at the list of ingredients that follow that initial meat or by-product. Are those ingredients chiefly vegetables? If so, you can be sure that your cat is getting a well-balanced diet.
Here are some ingredients to watch out for as they are artificial preservatives or other chemicals that can be harmful to your kitty. Look for these acronyms: BHA and BHT. BHA is butylated hydroxyanisole, a chemical preservative. It is a known carcinogen in a number of animals, and, in lab tests, this chemical has been shown to cause damage to the livers and kidneys of mice.
California’s Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment placed BHA on a list of Reproductive Toxicants as well.
Look for food grade products in the list of ingredients, and consider low carb options as well as options without grains. This means all those “by-products.” The Food and Drug Administration, or FDA, published certain guidelines for pet food products. When a company uses food grade products (read: PET food grade), they can add the previously mentioned ingredients legally to any pet food product. These chemicals are cheap preservatives, and they are in dry pet food for a reason.
The meal and animal meat by-products mentioned above tend to begin molding after so long on a shelf, particularly under certain temperatures and humidity. The aforementioned chemicals are placed in the final product to prolong the shelf life of this commercial pet food, but the damage these chemicals can do to a beloved pet is not worth the money you’ll save buying cheaper pet food.
Another chemical preservative that is mentioned in this article is ethoxyquin. It is deemed unsafe to include in human food (it can be harmful if swallowed by itself and can cause skin irritation after direct contact), but this preservative is commonly included in commercially made dry pet food. Manufacturers have become wise to consumers who read labels, and now they work to include this chemical under other ingredients. “Fish meal” is a prime example. Yet another reason to look for real meat as an ingredient and not a by-product such as bone meal or animal meat meal.
Look for common, but toxic, dyes in the list of ingredients. Blue 2, Red 40, and Yellow 5 and 6 are all highly unsafe for human or pet consumption. Consider how dog food typically looks, especially the cheaper varieties. Have you ever noticed that sometimes the food is red or green in color? This is strictly for visual appeal to pet owners, not the pet! Most animals are colorblind, so the addition of these harmful chemicals is truly a disservice to your pet and has no nutritional value whatsoever.
Rendered fat is another ingredient that you should look for and steer away from when choosing a dry cat food. After a time, this product can develop salmonella, which is a form of food poisoning. Some rendered fat has also been found to contain heavy metals, and this will cause great digestive suffering for your beloved four-legged friend.
The FDA allows for a small amount (read: harmful) of contaminants to be included in your cat’s dry food. While the list of contaminants won’t likely be included in the ingredient list, look for organically grown ingredients that are Made in the USA (this means the ingredients are grown, harvested, and manufactured in the United States).
Avoid pet foods that contain the aforementioned ingredients, which are typically very cheap to purchase. The best choice is an organic pet food that has no preservatives, no fillers, no corn or gluten (choose a food with long grain rice or sweet potatoes as a source of fiber), and no harmful chemicals such as those listed above.
The most expensive brand need not always be the safest for your beloved kitty. As demonstrated in the review above, one of the most expensive brands (and the most difficult to find as you normally must purchase from your vet or the pet supply store) contains the fillers and preservatives that are harmful to cats. Look for a brand, such as the Purina Beyond variety, which offers quality ingredients for a reasonable price. Your cat will thank you for choosing such a healthy food!
We are the Pet Cat Friends, a dedicated group of pet loving bloggers and product testers for all your meowy needs. We research, test, and review cat related products with the help of our collective 21 cats. Feel free to leave us feedback and treats!