Tabby cat eating his best dry cat food on a blue bowl

Are you struggling to find the best dry cat food for your capricious kitty?

It’s easy to be overwhelmed by all the healthy cat foods available on the market or get mislead by all the cheap ones.

But don’t worry, we’re here to help you made the best selection with our reviews of the top 5 best options.

Start with a quick glance at our list, then keep reading for all of the details.

READ MORE: Can Cats Eat Almonds?

BEST DRY CAT FOOD Top Picks at a Glance

If you see the value in these products and choose to purchase via my referral links, I may earn a small commission at no extra cost to you.

Don’t have time? Here is a quick comparison of our favorites!

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Editor's Choice: BEST HIGH PROTEIN DRY CAT FOOD
best dry cat food by Wysong
BEST DRY FOOD FOR KITTENS
Instinct Original Kitten Grain Free Recipe with Real Chicken Natural Dry Cat Food, 4.5 lb. Bag
BEST CAT FOOD FOR OLDER CATS
wellness grain-free cat food
BEST FOR SENSITIVE CATS
Dr. Elsey's Cleanprotein Chicken Formula Dry Cat Food, 6.6 Lb
BEST BUDGET
Iams ProActive Health Healthy Adult Original with Chicken Dry Cat Food
Top Benefit
High-quality protein percentage comes from real chicken
More than 70% of real animal ingredients
Full of minerals, vitamins, and antioxidants for a strong immune system
Contains all-natural ingredients, no artificial color, and no major allergen
Contains natural fibers
Editor's Choice: BEST HIGH PROTEIN DRY CAT FOOD
Preview
best dry cat food by Wysong
Top Benefit
High-quality protein percentage comes from real chicken
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BEST DRY FOOD FOR KITTENS
Preview
Instinct Original Kitten Grain Free Recipe with Real Chicken Natural Dry Cat Food, 4.5 lb. Bag
Top Benefit
More than 70% of real animal ingredients
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BEST CAT FOOD FOR OLDER CATS
Preview
wellness grain-free cat food
Top Benefit
Full of minerals, vitamins, and antioxidants for a strong immune system
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BEST FOR SENSITIVE CATS
Preview
Dr. Elsey's Cleanprotein Chicken Formula Dry Cat Food, 6.6 Lb
Top Benefit
Contains all-natural ingredients, no artificial color, and no major allergen
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BEST BUDGET
Preview
Iams ProActive Health Healthy Adult Original with Chicken Dry Cat Food
Top Benefit
Contains natural fibers
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Top 5 Best Dry cat Food in 2021 with Reviews

As specialists explain, “cats are obligate carnivores.” In other words, they thrive best on a diet rich in protein, moderate fat content, and little carbohydrates. 

Cats also can’t make certain amino acids on their own. That’s why the best dry cat food should contain a nice variety of minerals, essential acids, and taurine. 

Unfortunately, many dry cat foods have very little nutritional value for your kitty, despite what it says on the label.

They’re full of carbohydrates, fillers, artificial color, and harmful ingredients.

But we’re here with the best dry cat food reviews to help you find the right brand for your feline friend.

#1 Best High Protein Dry Cat Food: Wysong Epigen 90 Starch-Free Grain-Free Formula

best dry cat food by Wysong

As we already said, cats’ natural diet consists mainly of protein with little fiber and little carbohydrates (1-2%).

Wysong knows this and has manufactured one of the best high-protein dry cat foods on the market.

It’s an excellent choice for cat parents looking for the best natural adult dry cat food with high-quality real ingredients.

Standout Features

  • Starch-free formula
  • 5 lb bag
  • Grain-free
  • Organic chicken recipe
  • Suitable for all breeds

Now, let’s looks at the top benefits and drawbacks at a glance, then we’ll go over them in more detail.

Benefits & Drawbacks at a Glance

BenefitsDrawbacks
Protein derived from organic chickenPricey
Resembles cats’ ancestral dietMay cause diarrhea at first
Grain-free/starch-free, no artificial preservativesKibble too hard for seniors
Controls hairballs

Wysong’s Benefits for Cat Owners

Wysong’s starch-free product contains over 60% of protein derived from organic chicken, 15% fats, no carbohydrates, and fresh fruit/vegetables.

But what does this mean for your kitty?

The Wysong Epigen 90 is formulated to resemble your cat’s ancestral diet closely.

Its high-quality protein percentage comes from real chicken to sate your cat’s hunger with a small portion.

Moreover, the first ingredient is organic chicken, and the formula has a great crude fiber percentage for optimal digestive health.

Wysong also impresses with us their grain-free/starch-free formula with no artificial preservatives, artificial flavor, or chemicals.

The recipe uses citric acid/ mixed tocopherol as natural preservatives and coconut oil for hairball control and reduced inflammation.

The low carbohydrate content is also great for maintaining a healthy weight and can also be an excellent choice for diabetic cats.

But wait – there’s more.

This best dry cat food brand contains extra probiotics, vitamins, minerals, omega 6-fatty acids, and omega 3-fatty acids.

It also has antioxidants for a shiny coat and healthy skin.

More importantly, one reviewer notes that their cat “cleans the dish every night.”

epigen 90 dry cat food

Drawbacks

Some cat owners note that their cats had diarrhea after switching to Epigen 90 or their cats refuse to eat it or were sick for a few days afterward.

Some reviewers also point out that the kibble is too hard for senior pets, so it isn’t the best cat food for older cats.

epigen 90 dry cat food

What Makes This Brand Unique?

  1. Most cat food best brands contain around 30-40% of protein. But Wysong Epigen grain-free formula boasts more than 60% of animal-sourced protein with no artificial ingredients.
  2. Wysong’s dry kibble doesn’t use cheap fillers, such as pea protein, to buff their percentage. They rely on animal protein sources of the highest quality.
  3. This best protein cat food also has no carbohydrates, no grains, and no starch.

Updated Features

Wysong has upgraded their formula to eliminate starches and create a complete cat/dog dry food that provides all the necessary vitamins and minerals for optimum health.

Compared to other Wysong products, the Epigen 90 has organic chicken as the 1st ingredient, not chicken meal, and better protein/animal fat balance.

Considerations and Tips

  • Wysong Epigen 90 formula provides balanced nutrition both for cats and dogs, so you don’t have to buy separate dog food.
  • The kibble is small in size, which is great for most cat breeds. However, be careful if you have a cat that tends to swallow the granules whole.
  • Remember to provide enough fresh water and introduce the food slowly to avoid stomach upset.
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READ MORE: Baby Food for Cats: Is it Okay to Feed Them?

#2 Best Dry Food for Kittens: Instinct Grain-Free Kitten Food with Real Chicken by Nature’s Variety

Instinct Grain Free Kitten Food, Original Kitten Recipe Natural Dry Cat Food or Wet Cat Food

Most kittens do best on a wet cat food diet. But if you’re looking for the best dry cat food for kittens, consider Instinct’s Original Grain-Free formula.

Standout Features

  • Grain-free formula
  • Cage-free chicken
  • Freeze-dried raw coating
  • 4.5 lb bag
  • Suitable for all breed sizes

Benefits & Drawbacks at a Glance

BenefitsDrawbacks
70% real animal ingredientsMay cause loose stools
Made from cage-free chickenKibble is a bit large for a kitten food
No artificial ingredientsA bit pricey for multiple cat owners
Cat love the freeze-dried raw coating

Instinct’s Benefits for Cat Owners

Instinct’s recipe includes cage-free chicken as the primary ingredient and has more than 70% of real animal ingredients.

The rest 30% percents are fresh vegetables and fruits, all-natural.

As such, Instinct’s chicken cat food boasts over 47% estimated protein content, higher than the other popular brands like Blue Buffalo.

It provides a balanced meal for kittens without artificial components, flavoring, or allergens to trigger food sensitivity. And it’s made of real cage-free chicken.

Moreover, each kibble is coated in freeze-dried raw to provide the best possible nutritional value. The extra flavor makes it irresistible for kittens.

Best of all, the formula contains essential vitamins, omega fatty acids, and probiotics for better digestion, a strong immune system, and a healthy coat.

The chicken recipe also provides enough calories for growing kittens, who need plenty of energy to grow up big and strong.

Moreover, Instinct is made in the USA, and the ingredient list shows minimal fillers, making it an excellent choice for any pet parent.

And as reviews indicate, kittens “can’t wait to eat it.”

Instinct Grain Free Kitten Food, Original Kitten Recipe Natural Dry Cat Food or Wet Cat Food

Drawbacks

Some kittens don’t handle the raw coating very well and can have loose/soft stools, as Amazon user reviews indicate.

Several pet owners also noticed a difference in the kibble size and complained that it was more suitable for an adult cat.

Due to the high-quality ingredient, Instinct is also not the most affordable food, especially if you’re raising a big litter of kittens.

What Makes This Brand Unique?

  1. This chicken recipe dry cat food boasts higher than average protein content compared to other kitten brands.
  2. It uses high-quality meat – cage-free chicken, along with turkey meal and menhaden fish.
  3. It’s one of the few that uses natural ingredients and produces kibbles with raw coating.
  4. And buyer reviews are very favorable, calling it “the best brand money can buy.”
Instinct Grain Free Kitten Food, Original Kitten Recipe Natural Dry Cat Food or Wet Cat Food

Updated Features

Nature’s Variety is committed to producing the highest quality product meal, keeping it as close to cats’ natural diet as possible.

They have incorporated the raw food element in all their brands and continue to research/develop their formulas.

Considerations and Tips

  • Consider feeding your kitten a mix of Instinct’s dry and wet formula for optimum health and body weight.
  • The company gives you a 100% guarantee, as per their website’s statement. You can return the bag if you’re not satisfied with it. Just keep the receipt.
  • Check Instinct’s Limited Ingredient Diet if you have cats with food sensitivity.
Instinct Original Kitten Grain Free Recipe with Real Chicken Natural Dry Cat Food, 4.5 lb. Bag
  • KITTEN GRAIN FREE CAT FOOD WITH CAGE FREE CHICKEN: Instinct Original is made with 81% real animal ingredients and nutritious oils; 19% vegetables, fruits and other wholesome ingredients. Cage free chicken is the #1 ingredient - for energy to grow & play.
  • NATURAL KITTEN FOOD: Instinct Original dry cat food for kitten is made with probiotics for digestive & immune health and omegas for healthy skin & soft fur. Made without grain, potato, corn, wheat, soy, by-product meals, artificial colors or preservatives
  • THE FIRST RAW COATED KIBBLE FOR KITTEN: Our grain free, natural cat food offers complete & balanced nutrition for kittens. Each piece of kibble is coated in freeze dried raw for nutrition & taste. Delicious flavors that even picky kitties will love.
  • POWER OF RAW INGREDIENTS: Our kitten food is made with the real nutrition of raw. Raw is natural, made from real meat & whole food ingredients, protein packed & minimally processed. Made in the USA with the finest ingredients from around the world.
  • INSTINCT, THE RAW BRAND: We craft dry & wet cat food from real ingredients. Compare Instinct to Blue Buffalo, Fancy Feast, Hill's Science Diet, Royal Canin, Rachel Ray, Natural Balance, Merrick, Purina One, Friskies, Wellness, Iams, Purina Beyond & Weruva

#3 Best Cat Food for Older Cats: Wellness Complete Health Grain-Free Dry Cat Food

wellness grain-free cat food

Senior cats aren’t as active as kittens and have a slower metabolism than adults.

They need kibble crafted to suit their special needs.

As you’ll discover, Wellness Complete Health is the ideal choice for seniors cats and won’t disappoint you with its quality.

Standout Features

  • Grain-free recipe
  • Chicken or salmon flavor
  • Supports joint health
  • 5.5 lb bag
  • Urinary health
  • It contains Vitamin A, Vitamin C, and Vitamin E

Benefits & Drawbacks at a Glance

BenefitsDrawbacks
Highly digestibleHigher carb count
Supports a healthy immune systemNot ideal for weight management
Includes glucosamine and chondroitin
Helps improve coat health

Wellness Complete Benefits for Cat Owners

Wellness Complete Health is one of the best dry cat foods for older cats because it’s full of minerals, vitamins, and antioxidants for a strong immune system.

It’s a great source of vitamin A, vitamin E, calcium, phosphorus, omega 3- and 6-fatty acids, and taurine.

There’s also no grain, which makes this pet food highly digestible.

Wellness Complete Health also contains glucosamine and chondroitin. These are great for your cat’s joint health.

The added cranberries also support your feline friend’s urinary health.

Moreover, the first ingredient is a deboned chicken with no artificial flavors/colors that can be hard to digest for senior cats.

Best of all, Wellness Complete Health has over 39% crude protein to ensure your senior cat has enough energy and adequate calorie intake.

Furthermore, the omega 3 fatty acid and the omega 6 fatty acid are great for maintaining coat health and smooth fur.

And it’s got plenty of crude fiber for optimal digestion.

As several customers note, the bag has a seal to keep it fresh as long as possible and avoid stinking up the house.

Drawbacks

While Wellness has a great protein/fat ratio, its carbohydrate content is above average, which isn’t great for weight management.

But that can be a plus if your pet struggles with weight loss.

A couple of reviewers also state that the food has amazing qualities, but their cats refused to eat Wellness Complete Health at all.

What Makes This Brand Unique?

  1. Unlike other best dry cat food for seniors cats we’ve reviewed, this brand has a grain-free chicken recipe with real meat and high protein content.
  2. It’s full of essential nutrients to support a senior cat’s metabolism, joints, and urinary tract.
  3. It doesn’t contain chicken liver, which we’ve seen in other products while searching for the best dry cat foods for senior cats.
wellness cat food nutrients and benefits

Updated Features

Wellness Complete Health is available in natural chicken flavor and fish (salmon) to offer more options for capricious older cats.

It’s also a grain-free dry cat food, unlike some of the other recipes for adult pets available from Wellness Natural.

Considerations and Tips

  • Dry food has too little moisture content, making it hard for cats with teeth problems to chew. Consider mixing the dry food with a bit of wet to give it extra moisture.
  • If your cat has hairballs, check Wellness Natural dry cat food for hairball control.
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#4 Best for Sensitive Cats: Dr. Elsey’s Cleanprotein Adult Cat Food

Dr. Elsey's Cleanprotein Formula Dry Cat Food

Most owners think it’s normal for cats to vomit from time to time.

However, according to specialists, “gastrointestinal disturbances are commonly caused by poorly digestible foods.”

Cheap dry food fillers such as wheat, grains, and artificial coloring often upset a cat’s stomach.

So, switching your cat to a highly digestible food can improve their digestive health. 

In these cases, there’s no better choice than Dr. Elsey’s Cleanprotein dry cat food since they use fresh ingredients with no artificial flavors. 

Standout Features

  • Chicken/salmon flavor  
  • Gluten-free
  • Grain-free food
  • Available in 2lb or 6.6 lb bags
  • Suitable for all breeds 

Benefits & Drawbacks at a Glance

BenefitsDrawbacks
High protein & no carbs from fillersPricey
Made for sensitive stomachsMay cause stinky loose stools
Add vitamins & amino acids
Helps maintain a healthy weight

Dr. Elsey’s Benefits for Cat Owners

Dr. Elsey’s formula impresses us with its high content of animal-based protein, a moderate percentage of animal fat, and no carbohydrates from fillers.

It’s perfect for any kitties with sensitive stomachs since the recipe contains all-natural ingredients, no artificial color, and no major allergens.

Instead, you get real chicken/fish meat as the first ingredient. Both are excellent sources of protein for an obligate carnivore, such as your cat. 

The recipe also includes dried egg product, fish oil, Vitamin B2 supplements, Vitamin D3 supplement, and plenty of other essential amino acids.

As such, Dr. Elsely’s formula promotes healthy digestion, provides omega 3-fatty acids for healthy skin and lustrous coat.

It also helps you manage your cat’s body weight.

But wait – there’s more.

This natural dry cat food is available in small bags of 2 pounds or a large one of 6.6 pounds, and it’s suitable for all life cycles!

Customers’ reviews are also highly positive, with one Reddit user sharing, “Dr. Elseys is the best extruded dry food.”

Dr. Elsey's Cleanprotein Formula Dry Cat Food

Drawbacks

The biggest drawback of Dr. Elsey’s cat kibble is that it’s more expensive than other high-quality brands. 

Some owners also complain that the protein content is too high and causes loose stools, diarrhea, and stinky poop. 

What Makes This Brand Unique?

  1. Dr. Elsey’s special formula contains a minimum of 59% protein above the average percentage of most brands.
  2. This best dry cat food is one of the few gluten-free formulas with no questionable or controversial ingredients. 

Updated Features

Dr. Elsey’s premium cat food is available in two flavors – salmon and chicken, but we’d like to see more variety in the future.

That’s because chicken/fish are common food allergies in cats

Fortunately, the manufacturer has several wet food options with duck, rabbit, ocean white fish, beef, turkey, and chicken. 

Dr. Elsey's Cleanprotein Formula Dry Cat Food

Considerations and Tips 

  • Introduce the food slowly since it can cause stomach problems in cats not used to high protein content.
  • Combine Dr. Elsey’s dry and wet food for optimum feline health. 
  • Check Dr. Elsey’s cat litter if you’re looking for a natural, dust-free product.  
Dr. Elsey's Cleanprotein Chicken Formula Dry Cat Food, 6.6 Lb
  • 90+% Of Protein Is Animal Based
  • High Protein Optimizes Body Condition For All Cats
  • Primary Ingredients Are Among The Highest Biological Value Proteins Available
  • 100% Grain Free And Gluten Free Omega 3 Fatty Acids

#5 Best Budget: Iams Proactive Health Adult Dry Cat Food

Iams ProActive Health Healthy Adult Original with Chicken Dry Cat Food

When you’re feeding many cats, it’s not always possible to go for the highly-rated, well-priced product. 

If you need something affordable without compromising quality, you can’t go wrong with Iams Proactive Health.

Standout Features

  • Available in several sizes – 3.5 lb, 7 lb, 16 lb, or 22 lb. 
  • Natural fiber
  • Fresh meat as the first ingredient
  • Chicken or salmon flavor

Benefits & Drawbacks at a Glance

BenefitsDrawbacks
Very affordableContains animal by-products
Easy to find in supermarketNot good for weight management
Loaded with vitamins & amino acids
Good for sensitive stomachs

Iams Benefits for Cat Owners

While affordable, Iams Proactive Health food for cats still has clearly named protein source as the first ingredient.

It also doesn’t have as many cheap fillers as other commercial brands and the label shows very little controversial ingredients.

That’s great if you’re looking for something inexpensive to sate your cat’s hunger without upsetting their sensitive digestive system. 

Iams’s dry cat food also contains natural fibers, Vitamin B1, Vitamin B6, Vitamin B12, and Riboflavin supplement (Vitamin B2). 

It also boasts plenty of essential amino acids and minerals, which are great for your cat’s overall health, digestion, and skin. 

Moreover, Iams is a cat food company whose products you can find easily, not only online but also at your local supermarket. 

And as one Amazon reviewer notes, “cats love it.” 

Drawbacks

Iams’s Proactive Health has several controversial ingredients, such as chicken by-product meal and whole grain corn.

Usually, by-products encompass animal parts not suitable for human consummation, such as beaks, talons, etc.

So, don’t expect human-quality ingredients.

Moreover, corn isn’t part of your cat’s natural diet and is rich in carbohydrates. That’s bad for weight management or diabetic cats. 

What Makes This Brand Unique?

  1. Unlike most cheap cat food brands, Iams premium adult cat food has a good protein/fat/carbohydrates balance and doesn’t use any artificial coloring agents.
  2. The first ingredient is real named meat, which we consider a big advantage. Other cheap brands, such as Friskies, use yellow corn and cornmeal as first ingredients. 
  3. It boasts several supplemental ingredients to support your cat’s health and provide adequate nutrition. 
Iams ProActive Health Healthy Adult Original with Chicken Dry Cat Food nutrients

Updated Features

Iams has a great variety of dry kibble, crafted to support your feline health through all life stages and meet cats’ unique dietary needs.

They’ve upgraded their recipe to provide a higher protein percentage with fewer fillers and eliminate artificial coloring/flavoring. 

Considerations and Tips 

  • If your cat has stomach problems, try Iams chicken and turkey dry cat food.
  • You can call Iams nutritional specialists toll-free. 
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6. Best for Weight Control: Blue Buffalo Weight Control Dry Cat Food

Blue Buffalo Weight Control Natural Adult Dry Cat Food, Chicken & Brown Rice

Obesity is a massive issue within the cat owner community. 

But dry foods like Blue Buffalo Weight Control Dry Cat Food can help get your cat back on track. 

Its excellent high-protein formula will develop lean muscles and shed weight. 

Plus, it’s versatile as this dry food is suitable for all lifestyles.

Attributes

  • High-protein from real chicken
  • Omega 3 & 6 fatty acids
  • Natural ingredients
  • No by-products
  • Blends vet-approved minerals, vitamins, and antioxidants
  • Whole grains
  • Garden veggies
  • Fruit

Measurements

  • 7-lb bag
BenefitsDrawbacks
Excellent for weight management Can upset sensitive stomachs 
Promotes a healthy, shiny coat
Supports a robust immune system
Encourages lean muscle development
Approved for all life stages

How it Compare to Others and Why

Its excellent balance of calories and protein makes it a perfect fit for weight control. You aren’t going to find another dry food that can compete with it. 

Meanwhile, it doesn’t lack in other areas. Its ability to support a robust immune system and provide a shiny coat are always welcomed attributes.

Expert Tips

  • “Try adding water to the food if your cat’s unresponsive.”
  • Don’t expect your cat to shed weight quickly. If it’s happening in a healthy way, it should be about 1 pound a month.
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Blue Buffalo Weight Control Natural Adult Dry Cat Food, Chicken & Brown Rice 7-lb
  • REAL MEAT FIRST: Blue Buffalo dry cat food always features real meat as the first ingredient; High-quality protein from real chicken helps your cat maintain strong muscles; Plus, it contains wholesome whole grains, garden veggies and fruit
  • FOR WEIGHT MANAGEMENT: Our weight control cat food is made with an optimal blend of protein and calories to help your cat achieve and maintain an ideal body weight; Plus, it contains omega 3 & 6 fatty acids to promote a shiny coat and healthy skin
  • WITH LIFESOURCE BITS: This formula contains BLUE's exclusive LifeSource Bits - a precise blend of antioxidants, vitamins and minerals carefully selected by holistic veterinarians and animal nutritionists, to support immune system health
  • NATURAL CAT FOOD: BLUE dry cat food is made with the finest natural ingredients enhanced with vitamins and minerals; It never contains chicken (or poultry) by-product meals, corn, wheat, soy, artificial flavors or preservatives
  • Contains one (1) 7-lb. bag of BLUE Weight Control Natural Adult Dry Cat Food, Chicken & Brown Rice

7. Best for Preventing Hairballs: Royal Canin Hairball Care Dry Food

Royal Canin Hairball Care

Hairballs are one thing that cats and humans can agree are disgusting nuisances. 

Nobody wants to hear their cat hacking up one of these gross hairballs. 

But Royal Canin’s Hairball Care Dry Food is a simple solution to this issue.

Its unique blend of dietary fibers can stop hair from building up in a cat’s stomach. 

Attributes

  • High-protein with chicken meal (first ingredient)
  • Blend of dietary fibers
  • High-fat content
  • Various vitamins (A, B1, B12, C, etc.)
  • Contains fish oil, taurine, and rosemary extract 
  • Omega 3 & 6 fatty acids

Measurements

  • Available in 3-lb, 6-lb, and 14-lb
BenefitsDrawbacks
Controls hairball developmentContains corn and wheat
Ideal for sensitive stomachs
Promotes healthy digestion
Reduces plaque build-up
Suitable for cats one year or older

How it Compare to Others and Why

Cat owners everywhere have been trying to find a way to prevent hairballs. This formula’s blend of dietary fibers and other ingredients has proven effective. 

Moreover, you can’t say enough about its ability to help your cat’s teeth. Multiple customers have provided rave reviews about its effect on their cat’s teeth. 

Expert Tips

  • You can combine this dry food with their wet food alternative. It’ll fight against the dehydration issue that can come from an only dry-food diet.
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Royal Canin Hairball Care Dry Cat Food, 6 lb bag
  • CATS PRONE TO HAIRBALLS: Royal Canin Hairball Care Dry Cat Food is tailored nutrition for cats 1 year and older prone to hairballs
  • HAIRBALL MANAGEMENT: Rather than hairballs building up in a cat’s stomach and being regurgitated, this hairball treatment formula helps move hair the cat swallows through the GI tract
  • SPECIAL FIBER BLEND: A specific blend of dietary fibers helps control hairball development for digestive health
  • HEALTHY DIGESTION: Helps manage hairballs that can lead to digestive sensitivities
  • MIX WITH WET FOOD: This adult cat food is the perfect complement to Royal Canin Hairball Care Thin Slices in Gravy Wet Cat Food

8. Best Ethically-Sourced Option: Open Farm Wild-Caught Salmon Dry Cat Food

Open Farm Wild-Caught Salmon Grain-Free Dry Cat Food,

Open Farm Wild-Caught Salmon Dry Cat Food is a bit unique with its approach. 

This brand uses 100% traceable ingredients, starting with humanely caught wild salmon. 

They’re much more upfront about what’s inside their cat food. 

It also helps that cats love this food because of its salmon-based taste quality.  

Attributes

  • Fish-based formula made with wild-caught salmon
  • Ocean whitefish meal and herring meal (2nd and 3rd ingredients)
  • Grain-free 
  • High-protein 
  • 100% traceable ingredients 
  • Locally sourced veggies and fruits
  • Natural superfoods (coconut, pumpkin, etc.)

Measurements

  • Available in two sizes: 4-lb bag or 8-lb bag
  • 37% protein minimum 
BenefitsDrawbacks
Uses responsibly-harvested fish  Higher in carbs than other choices 
No harmful additives 
Cats love the salmon taste
Suitable for all life stages
Promotes urinary tract health 

How it Compare to Others and Why

Every single ingredient of this formula is traceable for buyer comfort. Your cat won’t be eating something you aren’t aware of, like with other subpar cat foods. 

You can also expect this formula to be a favorite among cats. It’s a salmon-based food that almost every cat will love. 

Don’t overlook its ability to promote better urinary tract health, either. It’s just another way this food continues to ensure your cat remains in good shape. 

How the Product Evolved 

Open Farm wasn’t a fan of other cat dry food brands not being open about their ingredients. So everything about their product’s formula is disclosed and easily accessed by potential buyers. 

Open Farm Wild-Caught Salmon Grain-Free Dry Cat Food, Responsibly Sourced Pacific Salmon Recipe with Non-GMO Superfoods and No Artificial Flavors or Preservatives, 4 lbs
  • SUSTAINABLY CAUGHT FISH: Our crunchy Pacific salmon recipe is made with wild-caught fish using Ocean Wise recommended proactive fishing practices that don't disturb the sensitive ecosystem, so you can feel good about the food in your cat’s bowl.
  • SCIENCE BASED WELLNESS: Open Farm Wild-Caught Salmon Dry Cat Food's healthy formula provides both indoor and outdoor cats complete protein for muscle growth, high prebiotic fiber for digestive health, and a taste that felines love at any life stage.
  • LOCAL PRODUCE MIX: Feed them a feast using simple, garden fresh cranberry and dandelion green for essential vitamins and urinary tract health. We never add any artificial stuff in order to nourish your cat with every advantage nature has to offer.
  • FROM FARM TO BOWL: Cats crave meat by natural instinct, so our recipe makes it the first ingredient. We skip the grain, corn, wheat, and soy in favor of simple superfoods like non-GMO pumpkin, carrot, and coconut oil for whole diet balance.
  • 100% TRANSPARENCY: As a part of our commitment to transparent sourcing practices, we provide owners with the ability to trace the origin of every ingredient using the lot number on the bag, because where pet foods come from shouldn’t be a mystery.

9. Best Air-Dried Cat Food: ZIWI Peak Air-Dried Cat Food

ZIWI Peak Air-Dried Cat Foo

The ZIWI Peak Air-Dried Cat Food is our most expensive choice. 

However, there’s an excellent reason for its costly price. 

Its high-protein formula consists of top-notch mackerel and free-range lamb.

Your cat will be foaming at the mouth to get their teeth on this kibble. 

Attributes

  • High-protein (96% wild-caught mackerel and free-range lamb)
  • Air-dried ingredients
  • Grain-free
  • Offers a superfood boost (green mussels, organic kelp, and green tripe)
  • No antibiotics or hormones in the included meat
  • No cheap fillers

Measurements

  • Available in two sizes (14-ounce or 2.2-lb)
BenefitsDrawbacks
Suitable for all life stagesExpensive
Reduces shedding
Promotes heart and brain health
Helps with joint pain
Great for sensitive cats

How it Compare to Others and Why

Aside from the high-protein diet, it has several added health benefits. Every cat owner will love its proven ability to reduce shedding and usability with sensitive stomachs. 

It’s also known for promoting better heart and brain health in cats. So you won’t find a cat out there who wouldn’t benefit immensely from this food.

Expert Tips

  • Suitable for use as a “topper for a nutrition and flavor boost” on other foods.
ZIWI Peak Air-Dried Cat Food – All Natural, High Protein, Grain Free & Limited Ingredient with Superfoods (Mackerel & Lamb, 2.2 lb)
  • HIGH PROTEIN, NUTRIENT DENSE: Authentic whole-prey ratios, featuring 96% wild-caught Mackerel and free-range Lamb, Organs, Bone, and New Zealand Green Mussels. Safely air-dried ingredients that deliver nutrition and mouth-watering taste for cats.
  • GRAIN-FREE, LOW CARB: Premium cat food with only 2 protein sources and no added carbohydrates, ideal for food sensitive cats. NO cheap fillers such as grain, potato or peas, which are linked to obesity, food allergies, and other health concerns.
  • 10% SUPERFOOD BOOST: Cold-washed Green Tripe, New Zealand Green Mussels, and Organic Kelp; holistic ingredients to support digestion, healthy weight, reduced shedding, joint health, plus essential taurine to promote heart and brain health.
  • TOPPER or COMPLETE MEAL for ALL LIFE STAGES: Perfect as a topper for a nutrition and flavor boost, and ideal as a complete meal for peak nutrition and health; optimized from kittens to senior cats, including indoor and outdoor cats.
  • ETHICAL and SUSTAINABLE: ZIWI sources only 100% free-range, grass-fed, grass-finished meats, and wild-caught seafoods, all from New Zealand farms and pristine oceans. Farmed without added hormones, antibiotics, or growth promotants.

10. Best for Cats with Allergies:  Instinct Limited Ingredient Dry Cat Food

Instinct Limited Ingredient Cat Food, Limited Ingredient Diet Natural Grain Free Dry Cat Food

Instinct’s Limited Ingredient Dry Cat Food has become a favorite for cats with allergies. 

This option only uses one protein and one vegetable to limit potential flare-ups.

You can’t overlook its freeze-dried raw coating, either.

It provides the kibble with a more incentive-filled taste for even the pickiest eaters.

Attributes

  • Only uses one protein (rabbit meal) and one vegetable (peas)
  • Grain-free
  • No artificial preservatives or flavors
  • Coated in freeze-dried raw
  • Made in the USA

Measurements

  • Available in four sizes (4.5-lb, 5-lb, 10-lb, and 11-lb)
BenefitsDrawbacks
Ideal for cats with allergiesBad packaging 
Easily digestible ingredients 
Smaller, firmer stools
Increases cat energy 
Solid for weight control
Improves coat and skin

How it Compare to Others and Why

The product’s limited formula makes it more straightforward than other options. As a result, it’s perfect for cat allergies or sensitive stomachs.

Some owners have even noticed it has improved their cat’s energy. So if you have a lazier cat with a weight problem, this limited formula could be a suitable fit. 

Expert Tips

  • Store the food in a separate container to solve the packaging issue. Make sure the container has a trustworthy seal. 
Instinct Limited Ingredient Diet Grain Free Recipe with Real Rabbit Natural Dry Cat Food, 10 lb. Bag
  • GRAIN FREE CAT FOOD FOR CATS WITH SENSITIVITIES: Instinct Limited Ingredient cat food is made with 1 protein & 1 vegetable. No grain, dairy, eggs, chicken, beef, fish, sweet potato, potato, chickpeas, corn, wheat, soy, artificial colors or preservatives.
  • NATURAL CAT FOOD WITH FARM RAISED RABBIT: Crafted for cats with food allergy, our Limited Ingredient Diet is made with simple ingredients like farm raised rabbit, a healthy, easily digestible protein that provides all the essential amino acids.
  • THE FIRST RAW COATED KIBBLE: Instinct Limited Ingredient dry cat food is cat food where every piece of kibble is coated in freeze dried raw for nutrition and taste.  Delicious, healthy flavor that cats to kittens crave.
  • POWER OF RAW INGREDIENTS: Our cat food is made with the pure, real nutrition of raw. Raw is natural, made from real meat & whole food ingredients, protein packed & minimally processed. Made in the USA with the finest ingredients from around the world.
  • OUR BEST CAT FOOD FOR ALLERGIES: We craft dry & wet cat food from real ingredients. Compare Instinct to Blue Buffalo, Fancy Feast, Hills Science Diet, Royal Canin, Rachel Ray, Natural Balance, Merrick, Purina One, Friskies, Wellness, Iams, Beyond & Weruva

11.  Best For Picky Eaters: Solid Gold Indigo Moon Holistic Dry Cat Food

Solid Gold - Indigo Moon - High Protein & Grain-Free - Holistic Dry Cat Food for All Life Stages

Picky cats are a nightmare for paranoid cat owners. 

But Solid Gold’s Indigo Moon Holistic Dry Cat Food has seemed to beat even most picky eaters.

Its chicken-based formula has a way of making every cat love it. 

Thankfully, there are other healthy additives to ensure it’s a complete and balanced formula. 

Attributes

  • Chicken main ingredient  
  • 20 nutrient-rich superfoods (carrots, pumpkin, cranberries, etc.)
  • No by-products
  • Grain-free
  • Gluten-free
  • Living probiotics 
  • Omega 3 and 6 fatty acids 
  • High-protein
  • Healthy monounsaturated fats (olive oil, canola oil, etc.)

Measurements

  • Available in three sizes (3-lb bag, 6-lb bag, 12-lb)
  • 42% protein
  • 20% fat
BenefitsDrawbacks
Uses USA-sourced chickenPotato is a top-five ingredient 
Every cat seems to love itSmells worse than other options
Suitable for all breeds and life stages
Great for skin and fur health
Supports the immune system and digestive system

How it Compare to Others and Why

The taste provided by this option seems to separate it from other choices. It was rare when I came across a review saying their cat wouldn’t eat it.

More importantly, various owners of picky cats praised its ability to entice them. You don’t often see so many owners agree about something like this issue. 

The product’s high-protein percentage (42%) and various superfood additives are another standout trait. It should have no problem providing your cat with the necessary nutrients.

Expert Tips

  • Might be better for outdoor cats because of the smell. 
Sale
Solid Gold - Indigo Moon with All Natural Chicken & Egg - Grain Free & Gluten Free - High Protein Holistic Dry Cat Food for All Life Stages - 3lb Bag
  • Contains (1) 3 lb bag of solid gold Indigo moon with chicken & Egg
  • Holistic Grain and gluten free dry cat Food ideal for cats and kittens of all life stages and all sizes
  • Formulated with 20 nutrient rich superfoods like carrots, pumpkin, cranberries, blueberries, Broccoli, almond oil, kelp and lentils
  • Holistic grain and gluten free dry cat food ideal for cats and kittens of all life stages and all sizes
  • Formulated with 20 nutrient rich superfoods like carrots, pumpkin, cranberries, blueberries, broccoli, almond oil, kelp and lentils
  • Fiber-rich peas provide a highly digestible energy source and balance the overall ash content
  • Healthy, monounsaturated fats such as olive oil, canola oil, and salmon oil for overall skin and coat health
  • No meat by-product meal

12. Best Organic Option: Castor & Pollux Organix Dry Cat Food

Castor & Pollux Organix Grain-Free Organic Chicken & Sweet Potato Recipe Dry Cat Food By Castor & Pollux

Our final option is an entirely organic choice made with all-natural ingredients. 

It begins with organic free-range chicken as its first ingredient for a solid taste profile. 

From there, it adds superfoods and omega 3 fatty acids into the mix. 

Your cat’s then left with solid dry food capable of keeping them healthy. 

Attributes

  • Organic
  • Grain-free
  • Free-range chicken (1st ingredient)
  • Blend of superfoods (organic cranberries, organic coconut oil, and organic flaxseed)
  • Made in the USA
  • No corn, wheat, or soy
  • Omega 3 fatty acids

Measurements

  • Available in three sizes: 3-lb bag, 6-lb bag, and 10-lb bag
BenefitsDrawbacks
Cooked in a USDA organically certified kitchenNot the best for picky eaters
No harmful additives
Promotes healthy skin and fur
Prevents diarrhea 
100% satisfaction guarantee 
Suitable for all life stages and breeds

How it Compare to Others and Why

Its utterly organic formula puts this product in a special category. You don’t have to worry about any weird additives or harmful ingredients with this one. 

Buyers will benefit from its ability to work all life stages and breeds, as well. This aspect makes it a solid fit for multi-cat households. 

Expert Tips

  • Help your cat transition to the new food by mixing a little into their old food and “topping it with digestive support dry food toppers.“
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Things to Consider Before Buying the Best Dry Cat Food

Finding the perfect dry cat food can be a little challenging. But this guide will cover everything a person might need to look for when choosing an ideal option. 

So let’s not waste any more time and dive right into the first consideration. I promise this guide will ensure you choose excellent dry food for your favorite feline. 

cat enjoying his best dry cat food

Dietary Needs of Cats 

Cats fall into the category of obligate carnivores. In other words, your cat will need to consume a diet based on meat protein.

But their protein level will need to be a bit higher than other mammals like dogs. For instance, cats get crucial nutrients from meat that doesn’t come from plant-based foods such as:

  • Vitamin A
  • Vitamin B12
  • Arachidonic acid
  • Taurine 

Heart and liver issues can develop if they don’t get a steady supply of these vital nutrients. It could also lead to hearing loss and skin irritation. 

Most dry food manufacturers are aware of this issue when developing their formula. They ensure their food ends up being balanced and complete with the proper nutrients. 

However, some inferior brands still use plant-based proteins in their formulas. You’ll want to avoid these options by choosing a high-protein, meat-rich option. 

These dry foods will then ensure your cat gets delicious tasting food and sufficient amounts of meat-based protein. It’s a simple way to optimize your cat’s health.

Is the Formula Complete and Balanced?

As you can imagine, nutrients from meat proteins aren’t the only thing a cat’s diet requires. They also need a wide range of other nutrients to stay in top-notch health, such as:

  • Carbohydrates
  • Fats
  • Vitamins
  • Fatty acids
  • Amino acids
  • Minerals 

The balancing of these nutrients will depend on your cat’s age and lifestyle. As a result, choosing the perfect commercial dry food can provide peace of mind for owners. You’ll know the food being provided is offering the correct balance of calories and nutrients. 

Luckily, today’s cat food manufacturers have to meet specific nutritional regulations before selling their products. These rules were established by the AAFCO (Association of American Feed Control Officials).

If a formula is balanced and complete, an assurance provided by this organization will let a buyer know. You can then rest easy knowing the food promotes better cat health. 

Ingredients to Look For

One of the easiest ways to choose high-quality dry cat food is by reading the ingredients. As with human food, these items are listed in order of their proportional weight. 

Any top-tier cat food will have fresh fish or meat listed as its first ingredient. Concentrated meat meals should then come in second and third place. 

This positioning will indicate your chosen food probably contains enough animal-source ingredients. As a result, it shouldn’t have any issues supplying enough fatty and amino acids. 

Other notable ingredients to look out for are chicken fat, rice, cranberries, and salmon oil. Each of these inclusions will only make for better food quality. 

Ingredients to Avoid

Of course, there are common ingredients within dry food that aren’t great for a cat. Here’s a quick list of what ingredients to avoid when selecting kibble for your kitty: 

  • Artificial coloring and flavors (caramel coloring, Blue 2, Yellow 5, etc.)
  • Vitamin 3K
  • By-products (what are these by-products made of?)
  • Artificial preservatives like ethoxyquin, BHT, or BHA. These components help preserve a food’s freshness, but they can cause adverse reactions for your feline.
  • Any unidentified or unnamed animal sources that you aren’t 100% sure where they came from or what it is.
  • Sodium nitrate
  • Sodium nitrite
  • Rendered fat

If you see any of these ingredients, it’s best to move to new dry cat food. Instead, it’s a much better idea to choose an option filled with natural ingredients and other high-quality additions.

After all, your cat deserves a well-adjusted and healthy diet. It’s a simple way to help them remain in good shape and stay alive for a long time.

cat about to eat his dry food

Added Health Benefits

Every cat owner wants their cat to have a shiny coat, better digestion, or their litter box to contain smaller, firmer stools. High-quality dry cat food products can provide these health benefits within their complete and balanced formula. 

These benefits come from certain added ingredients, such as superfoods or extra supplements. It’ll help your cat look and feel their best when they’re roaming around the house. Some of them include:

  • Cranberries (helps support better urinary tract health)
  • Foods rich with omega fatty acids like flaxseed or salmon oil. These additions should help provide a shiny, soft coat and healthy skin.
  • Prebiotics like chicory root extract will optimize digestion. It allows your cat to get the most out of its meals.
  • Tomato pomace offers dietary fibers, which promote better intestinal health and firmer smaller stools.
  • Chondroitin sulfate and Glucosamine ensure better joint health. It’ll help maintain a cat’s mobility and activity levels. 
  • Vitamin A, Vitamin E, and other added vitamins promote a more robust immune system.
  • Probiotics to keep the healthy bacteria in your cat’s gut balanced. 

Age

Your cat’s age will be another determining factor. Dry cat foods are often explicitly designed and formulated for certain cat life stages and sizes.  

As a result, you’ll need balanced cat food based on your cat’s specific age. It’s an essential piece to making sure they get the right amount of nutrients.

Cost

Unfortunately, dry cat food isn’t the most affordable product available. These formulas are often a lot more expensive than cat owners realize.

It’s why each cat owner should build a budget to determine their exact needs. You can then choose a suitable quality brand within your budgetary range.

Taste

It might sound a little weird to discuss how cat food tastes, but it remains an important quality. The truth is some cats are a little picky about what foods they will eat. 

Moreover, it can be difficult to get suitable dry cat food when switching from wet food. Foods with limited ingredients might not be used for these particular cats. They’re better for digestion issues, but they lack the taste other choices provide. 

Each cat owner might need to experiment with various ingredients/protein sources before finding a dry food their cat will eat.

Activity Level 

Your cat’s activity level will have an impact on its proper food choice. Owners with extremely active cats will want to give them food high in protein and calories.  

These ingredients will provide them with an extra kick to replenish their bodies after strenuous exercise. But those same food formulas won’t be a good fit for a lazy cat. 

Lazy cats don’t need as much caloric intake as an energetic, lively kitty. However, they will still need an adequate amount of fiber so that their digestion operates effectively. 

Packaging 

Your dry cat food’s packaging will have a massive impact on its freshness. Owners will need to choose an option that’s easily sealable. 

Otherwise, you’ll end up wasting a lot of cat food and money. I’ve found other customers’ reviews to be an effective way to evaluate a package’s performance. 

Cat owners tend to get a little mad when their chosen dry food doesn’t seal correctly. So use these adverse experiences to your advantage and avoid inconvenient options. 

You could also avoid the issue entirely by storing the food elsewhere. A sizable container or box with a sealable lid should be acceptable.

Size

How much dry cat food are you looking to purchase? Do you have multiple cats? These are questions worth answering before choosing a suitably sized bag. 

For instance, bulk buyers might be looking to purchase a bag that can last months. Of course, it’s a common solution for multiple cat owners, as well. 

But there’s no reason to purchase a massive bag for a single cat. You’d be better off choosing a 4.5-pound bag rather than a 22-pound monster.

Pros and Cons of Dry Cat Food

Cat owners have multiple food options to choose from, including wet food, dry food, and homemade food. You’ll need to know what dry food does better/worse than these other types when deciding whether it’s the best option for your home.

brown cat eating dry food

Pros of Dry Cat Foods

A primary reason cat owners opt for dry food is the low cost. The more expensive options are even often less costly than what you can expect from the other types.

Aside from the cost, dry food will have a positive effect on your cat’s teeth. Kibble food scrapes away plaque and food residue off their teeth, preventing tartar deposits. 

You can also expect dry food to keep your cat full for a more extended period. As a result, many owners find it more effective for weight management. 

Lastly, dry food has a longer shelf life as you can stock up on lots of food at once. It can also stay inside a cat’s food bowl without losing freshness for a long time. Wet food loses its freshness within only a couple of hours.

Cons of Dry Cat Foods

Most dry foods have a protein level that’s lower than wet foods. Due to this, it could be a bad fit for cats who require higher protein amounts for their very active lives.

Another issue is dry food doesn’t contain water, which could cause dehydration. This problem only exists if the owner fails to provide sufficient water. 

Experts recommend cats with specific health problems such as diabetes, UTIs, or kidney disease avoid dry food. 

Best Dry Cat Food FAQs

What Ingredients Should I Look For in Cat Food?

The first ingredient should be real named meat, such as chicken, salmon, beef, turkey, or rabbit. Avoid “by-products.” Watch for fillers, like corn or rice. Avoid artificial colorings and flavorings.
Look for a high percentage of fresh ingredients, omega 3-fatty acids, omega 6-fatty acids, folic acid, and antioxidants. Zinc, copper, and manganese are also essential for your cat’s skin, organs, and immune system. 

What’s the Best Dry Cat Food for Older Cats? 

senior cat eating nutritious cat food

The best dry cat food for senior cats should be rich in protein with sufficient carbohydrates, essential vitamins/minerals, and fresh ingredients. Please talk to your vet since senior cats can have specific dietary needs and require a diet for optimal urinary health.

What Cat Food to Avoid?

Avoid any cat food whose first ingredient isn’t named meat and any brand with too many carbohydrates among the first five listed ingredients.
Certain human foods are also toxic to cats, including garlic, onion, chocolate, grapes, and raisins. And contrary to popular opinion, cats are lactose-intolerant and can’t drink milk. So, avoid spoiling your cat with table scraps. Instead, get them high-quality cat food, homemade tuna treats, or chicken liver. 

How Much Dry Cat Food Should I Feed My Cat?

Follow the recommendation on the package of dry food. In general, if you’re feeding high-protein food, most cats will need between 1/3 to 1/2 of cups per day, based on the cat’s weight.
However, the daily feeding amount can vary, depending on your cat’s activity level and age. Talk to your vet if your cat always seems hungry or has a weight problem.   

Conclusion

Feeding cats dry kibble isn’t ideal, even when you have the best dry cat food brand.

That’s because many cats don’t drink enough water and are at risk of kidney problems.

The best dry cat food ensures your cat gets enough animal-sourced protein, necessary amino acids, and plenty of vitamins/minerals.

Just keep in mind that sometimes cats get bored with the same taste or get addicted to certain flavors/brands.

For optimal nutrition, consider adding wet food or homemade cat treats to your cat’s diet.

Final Recommendation

My final recommendation would have to be buying Wysong Epigen 90 Dry Dog & Cat Food. Its high-protein diet will ensure your cat gets everything they need. 

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cats smelling the dry food on bowl

What do you think about these best dry cat foods? Which one is the best-tasting dry cat food according to your kitty? Share below!

Grigorina S
Grigorina S

I’ve grown up surrounded by animals – dogs, cats, cows, goats, sheep, and horses and that has shaped me into what I am today – a crazy cat lady who always has a place for one more cat (or a dog). I’ve got two female cats – Kitty and Roni, and two tomcats – Blacky and Shaggy, but I also feed my neighbors’ cats when they come for a visit. I just can’t say no to them.

I discovered that writing is my vocation early in my school years. Since then I’ve taken part in several literature contests – writing horror and fantasy short stories and novellas.
For the past three years, I’ve been an ELS teacher, pouring my heart into showing children and teenagers how important English is for their future and trying to educate them how to treat their pets with care.

Find her on Instagram. Read her latest articles..

Learn more about Grigorina here

Last update on 2021-12-01 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API