The Best Low-Carb Cat Foods of 2020
- Our Top List
- 1. Dr. Tim’s – Premium Natural Cat Food
- 2. Tiki Cat – Aloha Friends Food for Adult Cats & Kittens
- 3. Crave – Grain-Free High-Protein Cat Food
- 4. Ketogenic Pet Foods – Natural Dog & Cat Food
- 5. Tiki Cat – Born Carnivore Food
- 6. Purina Pro Plan – True Nature Wet Food
- 7. Dr. Elsey’s Cleanprotein Formula
- 8. Purina ONE Indoor Advantage Adult Food
- Final Verdict & Review
- Dr. Tim's Premium All Natural Pet Food
- Buying Guide
As carnivores, cats require a high amount of protein and small amount of carbohydrates in their diets. Some cats may be put on a low-carb diet because they are obese or have become diabetic. If you’re simply interested in helping your cat stay on a diet closest to their natural needs, the foods in this top list are what you’re looking for!
When you visit a pet store or even browse the Internet, the sheer number of food brands can be overwhelming. We’ve done the work for you by compiling the 8 best low-carb foods this year, all reviewed and studied for their benefits, including items such as protein content, fillers, nutrients, and more.
Our Top List
Price / Value
Dr. Tim’s – Premium Natural Cat Food
9.5 / 10
Tiki Cat – Aloha Friends Food for Adult Cats & Kittens
9.5 / 10
Crave – Grain-Free High-Protein Cat Food
9.5 / 10
Ketogenic Pet Foods – Natural Dog & Cat Food
9.5 / 10
Tiki Cat – Born Carnivore Cat Food
9.5 / 10
Purina Pro Plan – True Nature Wet Cat Food
9.5 / 10
Dr. Elsey's Cleanprotein Formula Dry Cat Food
9 / 10
Purina ONE Indoor Advantage Adult Cat Food
9.5 / 10
Hill’s Science Diet Dry Cat Food for Indoor Kittens
9.5 / 10
This product makes the cut because Dr. Tim’s Premium Natural Cat Food has received mostly 5- and 4-star ratings from customers. Not only do cats enjoy the taste of this food, switching to a low-carb diet with Dr. Tim’s Premium Natural Cat Food can cure pets of their diabetes and/or bladder crystals. Veterinarians also recommended Dr. Tim’s product.
Dr. Tim’s cat food is an economical choice, because it has meat as its first ingredient (which keeps cats satisfied). In addition, the food contains fish oils for heart health and top brain function.
- High-protein, low-carb formula with L-Carnation added to promote the ideal lean body weight
- Unique fiber combination that boost immunity and minimize hairballs
- DHA and EPA from ocean fish oil that help with inflammation, immunity and brain function, heart health and shedding
- Low-ash meat proteins, low magnesium and methionine levels may help maintain an acidic urine for urinary health
- This food was developed with the idea that cats are carnivores
This food also receives a mostly 5-star rating. Cats overwhelmingly approve of the taste provided by the real meat in the food. Even the fussiest cats like it. Feeding Tiki cat food to my senior cat digestive made a significant improvement.
It also saved my floor and carpets because my cat was no longer vomiting. Finally, the pumpkin included, which serves as mild fiber source, helped my cat ingest fewer hairballs and improve digestion.
- Grain-free cat food that provides complete, balanced nutrition in every pouch and it is ideal for cats at all life stages.
- High-moisture wet food, supplying your cat with supplemental water.
- Nutrient-rich real tuna is the first ingredient, providing the nutrition your cat needs and flavor she loves.
- Low-carb pumpkin, a mild fiber source.
- Protein- and nutrient rich cat food with real fish, meat, and grain-free ingredients.
My cats love the taste of this food and are satisfied by the high-protein content. This wet cat food comes with plenty of vitamins and minerals, which is important for keeping our cat in optimum health. Crave includes a 40 percent protein content and is grain free.
Crave Grain Free has no artificial flavors or preservatives, no artificial colors, and no grains or meat byproducts. The high-protein content aims to mirror our cat’s traditional carnivorous diet, which supports lean muscle, good digestion, and a healthy immune system. After two years of digestive issues, after switching to Crave Grain Free, the issue went away.
- Real chicken is the number one ingredient
- Grain-free cat food recipes are low-carb and inspired by a cat’s natural carnivorous diet
- High-protein cat food provides essential nutrients for developing muscle, and improving digestive and immune system health
- Contains no meat byproducts or grains
You can give this food both for dogs and cats. Our test cats love the taste, so the boring packaging can be forgiven 🙂
We recommend Ketogenic Pet Food because it contains organ meat, including beef liver and beef hearts, giving it a high-fat/high-protein content. Organ meat provides a beneficial mix of vitamins and minerals, and even if you don’t choose it as your pet’s main course, it works great as a supplement to their diet.
- Ketogenic pet foods varieties are meat based with plenty of protein and fat but no conventional starches
- Micronutrients and oils boost the nutritional value and help restore metabolic balance
- This product is made in the USA, and it exceeds the nutritional levels established by the AAFCO
What makes this food so great, is that it combines nutritious oils, including those taken from salmon. It has a low-carb content, making it an excellent choice for cats. Because cats don’t ingest water like dogs, it can be a little scary switching cats to a dry food diet.
This version of Tiki, however, is so nutrient and protein rich, our cats visit the litter box less often. Overall, I found less waste, less dust, and fewer crumbs than in commercial brands.
I also noticed a significant improvement in my cat’s coat; it became softer and shinier. And my cats definitely had more energy. This brand of Tiki was also recommended by my veterinarian because it’s a high-quality cat food and can help my cat manage her weight. Overall, she appears happier and healthier.
- Meat based food to provide high protein and high fat
- Real chicken as number one ingredient
- Low carbohydrates, and food baked to preserve nutrients and flavor
- Nutrient-rich superfoods, like pumpkin, flaxseed, and salmon oil.
- Forty-four percent protein, higher than many commercial brands
Purina Pro Plan’s wet cat food comes in a pâté or gravy and many other formulas that include varied sources of protein and grain-free options. The food contains 11 percent crude protein and only 3 percent carbohydrates, providing balanced nutrition. A low-carb diet can help your cat lose weight or maintain its healthy weight.
What I like most about this food is that it comes enhanced with immune system boosters and can be fed to kittens and adults. Purina Pro Plan Natural contains no artificial colors, preservatives, or artificial flavors. Each can has a high-protein content to support lean muscle, joint function, and cardiovascular health. My cats seemed to enjoy the different flavors, and I liked the different sizes and flavor options.
- Real bits of trout and salmon
- Multiple sources of high-quality protein, i.e., meat and fish
- Essential nutrients
- Grain free (no corn, wheat, or soy) recipe
Although this particular food is on the expensive side, it ends up saving you money because the food is so dense with protein. In other words, because the protein is dense I end up having to feed the cat less often.
Moreover, my cats seem to ingest the small food pellets easily, and there are no fillers in the recipe.
Although it’s a dry food, the high-protein, low-carb food recipe is moister than other brands. As an added bonus, Dr. Elsey (the company) provided good customer service. This is a more expensive cat food, but overall it costs less than feeding my cat a diet of high-quality wet food.
- Over 90 percent animal-based protein
- High-quality protein, including omega 3 fatty acids
- Grain-free recipe
Meow Mix Tender Favorites contains 68 percent protein and 3 percent carbs. It also includes a tuna and shrimp flavor, which contains 66 percent protein and 2 percent carbs.
My cats love this product so much that I can’t keep enough in the house. Also, it contains no grain meal or byproducts. Because my cat likes the taste of this food so much, I use it to hide her thyroid pill so she won’t notice the bitter taste. Even the fussiest cats like this food.
- Poultry and beef combinations in sauce
- 100 percent balanced nutrition for kittens and seniors
- Sealed stay-fresh, easy-open cups
Similar to humans, there are various reasons you might choose an organic low-carb food for your cat. We are omnivores while cats are carnivores, and they stay their healthiest on a high-protein, low-carbohydrate diet, which is also what you want if your cat is diabetic. This is not the recipe in most commercial cat foods.
If your veterinarian has prescribed such a diet for your cat because it is obese or diabetic, this food may be able to reverse these health issues. If you are marking the diet choice yourself, I highly recommend you have a chat with your veterinarian first to make sure it makes sense.
Low-carbohydrate cat food
This food contains a smaller percentage of carbohydrates when compared with commercial brands. If a cat food calls itself low-carb, it should contain no more than 12% carbohydrates. Although cats can digest carbs, they are not necessarily good for them. Cat food carbs usually include starchy vegetables and/or grains.
Calculating carbs in cat food
Manufacturers calculate the amount of carbs in their brand and show them on the nutrition label. Always check the label yourself. If you have a less than active cat, feeding them a diet of high-carb cat food can lead them to developing diabetes or weight problems. In the latter case, go for weight management food instead.
What to look for
- Be sure meat, poultry, or fish (i.e., high-quality protein) is the number one ingredient in the food. When an ingredient is the first listed, it makes up the bulk of the recipe.
- Avoid meat byproducts and fillers. Many manufacturers “bulk up” their cat food with non-nutritive ingredients like byproducts, grains, even ash. Your cat deserves real food.
- Did you know only 20% of the human population checks nutrition labels on human food? Well, it’s probably lower for pet owners.
- Be sure the protein content is about 50 to 60 percent or better, and the carbohydrate content is 12 percent or less.
- AAFCO Nutrient Profiles. This organization publishes recommended percentages of each nutrient. It’s a good idea to check any cat food you’re interested in against their recommendations.
These recipes resemble the diet (and nutrient profile) a cat would eat in the wild. In addition, as mentioned, if your cat has health issues or a sensitive stomach, your veterinarian may recommend a low-carb diet to get him or her back to what’s healthiest for them.
Protein versus carbohydrates
Educate yourself on the differences between high-quality protein, low-carb content, and regular commercial food. This mixture is a good ballpark range for quality food:
- Carbohydrates: 2.8% to 12%
- Fat: 22 to 36%
- Protein: 52% to 63%
Please note: your cat’s food should lay on the lower end of the carbohydrate spectrum because that most resembles its natural diet. If you are unable to find these exact ranges, just do your best. Sticking close to the high-protein low-carb ingredient balance works well for a cat with health problems, and even better for a healthy cat!
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!