As opposed to dogs, cats are obligate carnivores and require specific nutrients found only in meat-based products. Therefore, it’s crucial that cat food comes from a manufacturer with pet nutrition specialists on staff.
AAFCO requires that meat-containing products, like tuna or chicken, must comprise at least 95 percent of their weight, while other ingredients must be limited as much as possible to minimize added carbohydrates like grains and starchy vegetables.
1. Blue Buffalo
Blue Buffalo Cat Food is an ideal option for cat owners who desire high-end nutrition without spending hours feeding their felines. Each recipe features real meat as the foundation ingredient and also uses quality ingredients without using red flag ingredients like carrageenan, unnamed meat meals or sodium nitrates as fillers or additives.
Many of their recipes are grain-free, making them suitable for cats with allergies or sensitive stomachs. Furthermore, they offer numerous formulas tailored specifically towards weight management, hairball control, sensitive skin treatment, and kitten recipes.
Blue Buffalo stands out among competitors as having one of the industry’s highest safety and quality records, taking great care to source meat that doesn’t contain animal by-products or low-grade cuts. They even successfully sued Purina over their use of such by-products; although Blue Buffalo had some recalls in 2007 under ownership by Wilbur-Ellis who imported protein tainted with melamine which caused recalls that year.
2. Made by Nacho
Chef and food enthusiast Bobby Flay recently introduced Made by Nacho, his premium cat food line named after Nacho the cat he loves so dearly. Each recipe for Wet and Dry Kibble, Freeze-dried Protein Treats and freeze dried Protein treats has been meticulously created by Bobby himself; his cats have even their own veterinarian Dr. Katja Lang helping ensure each product provides high-quality nutrition.
Made by Nacho’s kibble recipes use cage-free chicken as their primary protein source, along with grass-fed beef and sustainably caught salmon, in addition to fruits and veggies such as cranberries, kale, pumpkin, and apple. In addition, Made by Nacho offers bone broth toppers that provide concentrated sources of flavorful nutrition while adding extra hydration for their pet companions.
Each recipe from Made by Nacho is handcrafted in the United States using locally and globally-sourced ingredients, creating delicious gourmet meals that your cat will absolutely adore! Plus, signing up for their email list gets you an exclusive 15 percent discount off your initial order!
Orijen offers some of the highest-quality dry and canned cat foods on the market, sold through independent pet specialty retailers as well as online. Their online store also features an impressive selection of their products; however, Orijen remains one of the more expensive brands on the market.
One can of Orijen 6 Fish contains six species, such as acai, Atlantic mackerel, herring, silver hake and trout. It boasts high protein and fat contents with lower than average caloric intake per serving.
Orijen cat food offers unique recipes by combining fresh and raw meats with dehydrated ingredients, providing more nutrients and flavor than dried-meat-only offerings. Plus, their recipes contain whole fish, chicken organs and vegetables such as collard greens, kale and mustard greens – giving your cat optimal nutrition!
Orijen offers food that contains nutrient-rich power greens for added nutritional benefits compared to brands that utilize high glycemic grains, and their ingredients come from local farms in Alberta, Canada for processing. Plus, Orijen exclusively manufactures its two brands in their own kitchen so there are no concerns that your cat’s chow is sharing space with lesser reputable products from other brands!
4. Ziwi Peak
Ziwi Peak cat food features fresh and natural ingredients from New Zealand. Each recipe includes at least 92 percent meat–poultry, beef, lamb and fish such as mackerel and hoki from New Zealand waters; there are even recipes using rabbit or venison game meats which many cats find more digestible.
Ziwi Peak manufactures its dry food in facilities located in Mount Maunganui and Christchurch that adhere to stringent livestock and animal welfare requirements. Furthermore, their food chemistry lab tests for yeast, mold and heavy metal contamination in order to guarantee products that are both nutritious and safe for cats.
Ziwi Peak’s canned foods offer organ and bone proteins only normally available through whole prey diets – providing essential nutrition for felines. Furthermore, these low carb meals do not contain artificial preservatives, colors or flavors; all products from Ziwi Peak are produced in New Zealand and sold globally through independent pet specialty retailers and holistic veterinarian offices.
Instinct began as a raw food brand and still adheres to these nutritional principles today. Their wet and dry food offerings contain high levels of protein with limited carbs. Grain- and gluten-free varieties are available, and no artificial flavors or preservatives are used; proteins come from cage-free chicken, wild-caught salmon, grass-fed lamb/venison/rabbit are provided from sustainable farms while their vegetables/fruits are non-GMO.
Instinct’s raw products are freeze-dried to eliminate most moisture content, and are considered “biologically appropriate.” Pouches or medallions of these foods are provided. Their Raw Boost line adds chunks of freeze-dried raw meat for extra protein in each pouch or medallion.
Nature’s Variety, an independent pet food company with headquarters in St Louis and Lincoln Nebraska respectively, produces Instinct pet food as one of their brands for cats. Their products emphasize using responsibly-sourced ingredients; protein sources are predominantly from within the US with some coming from New Zealand Australia France Italy while none come from China.