Best Grain Free Cat Food – Top 10 Products
by Jessi LarsonWe hope you love the products we've carefully selected to recommend! As an Amazon Associate we earn a small share from qualifying purchases.
Finding the best grain free cat food is no easy task. To help you in your search, we’ve rounded up the top 10 picks in both the dry and wet categories.
Why is grain free cat food good for your feline friend?, you may ask.
For starters, cats are carnivores and their bodies are designed to digest and metabolize protein and fat – not carbohydrates. Foods with grains are often harder for them to process.
Also, grain free cat food can be a good option for cats that have allergies, sensitive stomachs or skin problems.
Not all foods are created equal, however. Here are our top recommendations.
Best Grain Free Cat Food
Our list of the best grain free cat food is determined by user reviews from pet owners across the country. We analyzed ratings and comments from real cat owners who feed this food to their beloved pets.
These products received the highest reviews and are great at satisfying a cat’s nutritional needs.
5 Best Dry Grain Free Cat Food Picks
Purina Beyond Simply Grain Free Natural Cat Food
Available in four different varieties and three different bag sizes, Purina Beyond is an excellent grain free cat food for adult cats.
In addition to being completely grain free and gluten free, it has no artificial flavors, colors or preservatives. It also boasts no additives such as corn, soy and poultry by-products.
Instead, this pick is a high-protein food with wild-caught tuna, salmon, ocean whitefish and Icelandic char as the main ingredients. The food also contains natural probiotics that aid in a cat’s digestive health.
Eggs, sweet potatoes and cranberries round out the remaining all-natural ingredients.
Blue Buffalo Wilderness Grain Free Dry Cat Food
Blue Wilderness recognized that cats are carnivores and has developed this meat-rich dry food with that in mind.
As the principal ingredient, you can choose from real chicken, duck or salmon. Healthy fruits and vegetables make up the rest. Omega 3 and 6 other fatty acids help keep a healthy coat and skin.
Formulated for adult cats, it also contains Blue Wilderness’s acclaimed Lifesource Bits, a blend of antioxidants, vitamins and minerals that support a healthy immune system and fulfill a cat’s life stage requirements. There are no meal-based additives or artificial flavors and preservatives in this bag!
Instinct Raw Boost Grain Free Cat Food Recipe
Another top pick for best grain free cat food is the Instinct Raw Boost Grain Free Cat Food Recipe.
Cats get a special treat with this grain-free kibble because the manufacturer has added freeze-dried pieces of raw meat to it. Choices include cage-free chicken, cage-free duck and wild-caught salmon.
Available in four different bag sizes, Instinct Raw Boost benefits cats of all life stages. The result is a mix high in protein, probiotics and omegas to promote healthy digestion and a healthy, sleek coat and skin.
Plus, this product is 100% made in the U.S.A. and contains no grains or artificial additives or preservatives.
Whole Earth Farms Grain Free Dry Cat Food
Lacking any poultry by-products and artificial colors, flavors and preservatives, this offering from Whole Food Farms is made in the U.S. and offers several high-protein varieties for cats to enjoy. The main ingredients: chicken, duck, turkey, salmon, tuna or whitefish.
Even better, Whole Earth has created blends specially formulated for indoor adult cats and for kittens as well.
This all-natural dry food is also developed with affordability in mind so you don’t break the bank keeping your cat fed nutritiously.
Taste of the Wild Rocky Mountain Grain-Free Recipe
The name of this one isn’t kidding. Depending on which of the three flavors you get (Canyon River, Lowland Creek or Rocky Mountain), your cat will be eating food made from trout and smoked salmon, quail and roasted duck, or roasted venison and smoked salmon.
At the same time, it’s loaded with all-natural fruit, vegetable, antioxidant and fatty acid ingredients to boost energy and maintain coat health.
Lean, strong muscles are the target with this blend that is close to 50% pure protein.
5 Best Wet Grain Free Cat Food Picks
Wellness Natural Grain Free Canned Cat Food
Moving on to the best grain free cat food in the wet category, one of our top picks is Wellness Natural Grain Free Canned Cat Food.
Most cats love gravy and broth, and the manufacturers got it right here by mixing tuna and shrimp in broth for a meal that will have your cats going crazy.
High in protein and highly flavorful, this food also helps solve hydration issues. Many cats do not take in enough fluids on their own, so the tasty broth helps them get both proteins and essential fluids.
Tiki Cat After Dark Grain-Free Wet Cat Food
Tiki Cat is another company operating first and foremost from the reality that cats are carnivores.
As a result, they’ve created food high in protein, enticing in scent and flavor and minus all the filler grains and carbs a lot of other manufacturers offer.
With 12 different flavors, all containing real meat, your cat is sure to find something it loves. Each one also comes in a broth that cats love and which helps them replenish their fluid levels.
Merrick Purrfect Bistro Grain Free Wet Cat Food
You can’t go wrong with this high-protein, grain-free, pâté-style wet food. In addition to providing several flavor varieties, Merrick went out of their way to also offer blends specially made for kittens and indoor seniors. There’s even a surf and turf for your feline gourmand!
Every variety is filled with real deboned meat and essential fatty acids that build strong muscles, aid digestion and keep coats and skin healthy.
Merrick also recommends and offers dry foods that complement the wet foods for a balanced, healthy diet.
Purina ONE Natural Grain Free Pate Wet Cat Food
You can choose from beef, chicken, turkey and ocean whitefish when you go with this all-natural, high-protein wet food from Purina. It’s also packed with essential vitamins, minerals and other nutrients.
Pull-top cans make it easy to prepare meals. And Purina is so confident in the quality that they offer the 28-Day Challenge: within 28 days, you’ll see good energy, a healthy coat, bright eyes, and great teeth and gums.
On top of all that, this grain free cat food minimizes hairballs, which is something no cat owner will complain about!
Weruva B.F.F. Omg – Best Feline Friend Cat Food
Oh my gravy! Your cat is going to love this mixture of real meat in several different options all with thick, tasty gravy. The bowl will be so clean that you might forget you even fed your cat, which could be its plan!
While your cat gets all its needed protein, antioxidants, vitamins and minerals, it will also get an important hydration boost. And there’s nothing artificial here: All ingredients come from sustainable sources so that you can feel as good as your cat does.
Why Do Some Cats Need Grain Free Food?
As we discussed above, no cat needs grains in their diet. All felines are obligate carnivores, which means that in the wild they only eat meat.
That said, many cat food manufacturers include grains as an ingredient because they’re an inexpensive way to add nutrients and starch to your cat’s diet. The most common grains you’ll find in cat food are wheat, barley, rice and corn.
Some people choose a grain free diet for their cats out of concern for their cats’ health. Although grain allergies in cats are rare, they do sometimes happen, and you should be aware of the symptoms of an allergic reaction.
If your cat displays any of the symptoms listed below, bring them to your veterinarian to have them screened for allergies.
- Excessive scratching
- Patches of hair loss where the cat has over-groomed
- Skin inflammation
- Gastrointestinal distress, such as vomiting
- Sores and scabs on your cat’s skin
Keep in mind that food allergies are not the only issue that can cause these symptoms, so it’s crucial to consult your veterinarian to rule out other causes.
Another reason to feed your cat a grain free diet is if you or another human in the house are sensitive to gluten. Gluten is a protein found in many types of grain that can cause serious autoimmune reactions in humans with celiac disease.
While cats don’t get celiac disease, many humans who have it choose to feed a grain free diet to their cats in order to avoid cross-contamination in the household. Do note that not all gluten-free cat foods are also grain free, as there are many gluten-free grains, such as rice.
What to Look for in a Grain Free Cat Food
The most important question when looking for any cat food is whether the food will be good for your cat.
Every cat has their own dietary needs. Where one may need a diet geared toward kidney health, another may need a low-calorie food or a specific type of protein, and so forth.
Kittens and nursing mothers will need more calories than adult cats. That said, there are a few questions to ask when you look for a new cat food, no matter what your cat’s needs are.
- Is the food approved by AAFCO? The Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) sets a list of requirements for any animal food sold commercially. AAFCO examines pet foods and studies their ingredients to make sure that they will provide a complete, balanced diet.
- Does the food have enough protein? Every cat needs a reliable source of protein. Without sufficient protein in their diet, cats can develop a serious, life-threatening disease called dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM).
Specifically, cats need an amino acid called taurine. Most commercially available cat foods include supplemental taurine for this reason. No matter what food you choose, it should have taurine listed as an ingredient.
- What is the mix of proteins, carbohydrates, fat and fiber? A veterinarian will help you determine what your cat needs. Once you know that, you’ll be better equipped to read the labels on your cat food.
Some foods have a lot of protein but not much fiber, while others have lower protein content but a wider variety of other nutrients.
How to Choose the Right Food for Your Cat
The variety of foods available for cats can be overwhelming, even when you are only looking at grain free options. Here are a few questions to help you narrow down your search.
- Wet or dry? Wet food helps keep your cat hydrated, but dry food is easier to store and can be better for their dental health.
Many people feed their cats a mixture of wet and dry food. And some cats will only eat wet food and will carefully pick around any kibble you give them.
- What does your vet recommend? As mentioned earlier, there are a lot of specialty diets available for cats. Your veterinarian will tell you if you need to find one for your cat, whether it’s for their kidney health, blood sugar, digestive issues or anything else.
Knowing your priorities on this front will help you figure out what options are available.
- What will your cat eat? You could find the most nutritious food for your cat, that has the exact right balance of ingredients, but it won’t do your cat any good if they won’t eat it!
You may have to mix some of the new food with their old food for a while or experiment with different flavors or brands.
- What are the first five ingredients listed? Obviously you won’t find any grains on the ingredients list of a grain free cat food, but on any food, the top ingredients should be some kind of meat product.