TOP 10 Dry Food for Cats

  • By:

    Dr. Sara Ochoa
    Dr. Sara Ochoa

    Author: Dr. Sara Ochoa

    Dr. Sara Redding Ochoa is a veterinarian with many years of experience and higher education. During her time in veterinary school she was able to learn form some of the most well-known veterinarians from all over the world. Sara lives happily with her husband Greg and her babies Ruby the schnoodle, and Bam-Bam her bunny. Dr. Sara Redding Ochoa has a passion and love for animals that makes her a wonderful asset to our team.

    View all 10 articles Learn about our editorial process and veterinary review board.
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  • Updated on: 11/18/2020

Are you looking for the best dry food to feed your cat? There are many food brands that are available for your cat that it may take you hours to find the best cat foods. Do not worry; we have spent the time to find the top 10 dry cat foods. 

best dry food for cats review@iryna-burch / FreePik

Best Dry Cat Food Recommended by Vet

These are the TOP 10 best dry cat foods on the market that our vet recommends feeding to your cat. We have broken these foods down into different categories to help you choose the best food brand for your cat’s specific needs.

Products

Benefits

Link

Our Top Pick


hills science diet dry cat food

1. Hill's Science Diet Dry Cat Food, Adult, Chicken Recipe

  • Complete and balanced nutrition

  • Chicken as the first ingredient

  • Does not contain artificial preservatives, colors, or flavorsNew List Item

Runner Up


purina pro plan savor adult shredded blend chicken rice formula dry dog food

2. Purina Pro Plan SAVOR Adult Dry Cat Food With Probiotics

  • High protein of 40%

  • Chicken main ingredient

  • Contains rice

  • Live probiotics 

  • Vitamin A and fatty acids 

Best Budget


purina one tender selects blend adult dry cat food

3. Purina ONE Tender Selects Blend Adult Dry Cat Food

  • Contains no fillers

  • Crunchy and good for your cat's teeth

Best Natural


rachael ray nutrish super premium dry cat food superfood blends

4. Rachael Ray Nutrish Super Premium Dry Cat Food, SuperFood Blends

  • No corn, soy, wheat, or fillers

  • All-natural food

  • Has added vitamins and minerals

Best Premium


royal canin feline health nutrition indoor adult dry cat food

5. Royal Canin Feline Health Nutrition Indoor Adult Dry Cat Food

  • Reduce odor in your cat's stool

  • Promotes stronger teeth and bones

  • Decrease hairballs

  • Keeps your cat at an ideal body weight

Best Grain-Free


blue buffalo wilderness high protein grain free natural adult dry cat food

6. Blue Buffalo Wilderness High Protein Grain Free, Natural Adult Dry Cat Food

  • The first ingredient is chicken

  • Antioxidant-rich fruits

  • Additional protein from chicken meal and fish meal

  • No fillers, preservative or artificial flavors

Best Soft


meow mix tender centers dry cat food

7. Meow Mix Tender Centers Dry Cat Food

  • Soft and crunch kibble

  • Contains salmon and white meat 

  • Includes nutrients essential for health

  • Complete and balanced 

Best Raw


instinct raw boost healthy weight grain free recipe natural dry cat food

8. Instinct Raw Boost Healthy Weight Grain-Free Recipe Natural Dry Cat Food

  • No artificial colors or preservatives

  • Different varieties

  • Contains supplements to help with skin and digestion

  • Grain-Free

Best for Senior Cats


nutro wholesome essentials adult and senior dry cat food chicken

9. Nutro Wholesome Essentials Adult & Senior Dry Cat Food, Chicken

  • Indoor adult cat food

  • Contains farm-raised chicken and brown rice

  • Has added proteins that are needed for strong muscles

  • Is a healthy weight formula to prevent obesity

  • Contains fatty acids for healthy skin and coat

Best for Kittens


orijen high-protein grain-free premium quality meat dry kitten food

10. ORIJEN High-Protein, Grain-Free, Premium Quality Meat, Dry Kitten Food

  • Made from high-quality protein

  • Grain-Free

  • Contains fresh fruits and vegetables

*Ratings are formed by the author of the article based on own research and combined with customer reviews.

Best Dry Food for Cats Reviews

These are the top picks for the best dry cat food that you can feed your cat.  

Our Top Pick

1. Hill’s Science Diet Dry Cat Food, Adult, Chicken Recipe

hills science diet dry cat food

Hill’s Science Diet Dry Cat Food is complete and balanced nutrition, made for indoor cats. This food is made with real chicken as the number one ingredient with high-quality protein to help your cat maintain lean muscle. It contains no artificial preservatives, colors, or flavors.

Key benefits:

  • Complete and balanced nutrition
  • Chicken as the first ingredient
  • Contains a high-quality protein
  • Does not contain artificial preservatives, colors, or flavors

Pros

Cons

  • Chicken is the main ingredient
  • Does not contain artificial preservatives, colors, or flavors
  • None

Back to the chart

Runner Up

2. Purina Pro Plan SAVOR Adult Dry Cat Food with Probiotics

purina pro plan savor adult shredded blend chicken rice formula dry dog food

The first ingredient is a protein-packed chicken needed for strong muscular development in your cats. Purina Pro Plan’s Savor Dry Cat Food contains rice and lives probiotics to help support a healthy digestive system. It also contains vitamin A and fatty acids to give your cat beautiful skin and coat.

Key benefits:

  • Contains a high protein of 40%
  • Chicken is the main ingredient
  • Contains rice
  • Contains live probiotics for a healthy digestive system
  • Contains vitamin A and fatty acids for healthy skin and a shiny coat

Pros

Cons

  • High Protein
  • Helps support a healthy digestive tract
  • None

Back to the chart

Best Budget

3. Purina ONE Tender Selects Blend Adult Dry Cat Food

purina one tender selects blend adult dry cat food

This food is made with real ingredients, including real carrots and peas. It contains no artificial flavors or preservatives. This formula uses real salmon as the first ingredient to provide the protein your cat needs to support their strong muscles. Omega-6 fatty acids will help nourish and maintain healthy skin and a radiant coat. Purina ONE Tender Selects Blend Dry Cat Food has a great taste that your cat will love. 

This food contains a 100% complete and balanced nutrition needed for all adult cats. 

This food contains antioxidants that help supports a strong immune system, and the crunchy kibbles help decrease plaque build-up and help whiten teeth. This dry cat food contains no fillers. 

Key benefits:

  • The main ingredient is salmon
  • Contains no fillers
  • Crunchy and good for your cat’s teeth
  • Contains DHA

Pros

Cons

  • Cheaper option
  • Contains salmon which cats love
  • Does not contain the best source of protein

Back to the chart

Best Natural

4. Rachael Ray Nutrish SuperFood Blends Dry Cat Food

rachael ray nutrish super premium dry cat food superfood blends

This dry cat food is made from farm-raised chicken in the US as their first ingredient. 

This means that it has more real chicken in their food than any other ingredient. Rachael Ray Nutrish Natural Dry Cat Food does not contain ground corn, soy, wheat, or fillers. There are also no poultry by-product meals or artificial colors or preservatives in this food. This would make this a great diet for cats with allergies

The small-sized kibble is created to be easy for your cat to chew no matter their size. Most cats love the crunch they get with this food when eating. This crunch also helps keep your cat’s teeth clean. This cat food is all-natural and contains many added minerals, vitamins, and taurine needed to help keep your cat healthy. This dry cat food will keep your cat full and happy as it uses all-natural ingredients that you will love to feed your cat. This food is specially formulated for your cat’s demanding taste. This is one of the best dry cat foods where your cat will need a natural diet with complete nutrition.

Key benefits:

  • No corn, soy, wheat, or fillers
  • All natural food
  • Has added vitamins and minerals

Pros

Cons

  • Small Size kibble
  • No fillers
  • Added nutrients for a healthy cat
  • None

Back to the chart

Best Premium

5. Royal Canin Feline Health Nutrition Indoor Adult Dry Cat Food

royal canin feline health nutrition indoor adult dry cat food

Your indoor cat will require more nutrients and extra care. The Royal Canin Feline Health Nutrition Indoor Dry Cat Food has been made to fit these specific needs of an indoor cat, as well as their nutritional requirement. This is a great recipe that helps decrease the odor of your cats’ stool. Since your cat will not be exercise as much as a cat who lives outside, your cats will have a slower intestinal process, which will cause a smelly poop.

This brand is known for and offers a diet that has a highly digestible protein and comes with the appropriate fiber content. It also comes with special nutrients that can promote good digestion and help reduce the odor and quantity of your cats’ stool. This is formulated to have a moderate fat content that can adapt to the activity level of indoor cats. This is important to maintain and reach your cats’ ideal weight.

Because of the added fibers, this can also avoid the formation of hairballs. Aside from that, this meal can also help your cats to develop stronger teeth and helps them easily avoid different dental issues.

Key benefits:

  • Helps reduce to odor from your cat’s stool
  • Promotes stronger teeth and bones
  • Decrease the risk of hairballs
  • Help keep your cat at an ideal body weight

Pros

Cons

  • Designed specifically for indoor cats
  • High protein
  • The main ingredient is chicken meal

Back to the chart

Best Grain-Free

6. Blue Buffalo Wilderness High Protein Grain Free, Natural Adult Dry Cat Food

blue buffalo wilderness high protein grain free natural adult dry cat food

Blue Buffalo’s line of dry cat foods will always include deboned chicken as the main ingredient. It also contains a protein source of chicken meal and fish meal for extra protein for your cat. It has antioxidant rich fruits and vegetables, like carrots, cranberries, and blueberries. This food contains many healthy, complex carbohydrates such as peas, sweet potatoes, and potatoes.

This food never has any fillers, such as chicken by-products meals, corn, soy or wheat or artificial preservatives, and artificial flavors. All Blue Buffalo Wilderness foods contain their exclusive Life Source Bits. This is a precise blend of minerals, vitamins, and other antioxidants needed for a completely balanced cat food diet.

Key benefits:

  • Has deboned chicken as the first ingredient
  • Contains antioxidant rich fruits
  • Has additional protein from chicken meal and fish meal
  • Does Not contain fillers, preservative or artificial flavors

Pros

Cons

  • Grain-Free
  • No fillers
  • More Expensive

Back to the chart

Best Soft

7. Meow Mix Tender Centers Dry Cat Food

meow mix tender centers dry cat food

Meow Mix Tender Centers has a hard, crunchy exterior and a soft interior in each food piece. The textured kibble is made from salmon and white meat flavors that include essential nutrients to support your cat’s overall health. It is complete and balanced nutrition needed for your adult cats. 

Key benefits:

  • Soft and crunch kibble
  • Made with salmon and white meat flavors
  • Includes nutrients essential for health
  • Complete and balanced dry cat diet

Pros

Cons

  • Soft inside and crunchy outside
  • Cheaper option
  • Lower quality protein

Back to the chart

Best Raw

8. Instinct Raw Boost Healthy Weight Grain Free Recipe Natural Dry Cat Food

instinct raw boost healthy weight grain free recipe natural dry cat food

For cats that are eating a raw diet, a good choice is Instinct Raw Boost Healthy Weight Grain Free Dry Cat Food. This food comes in many different varieties, including chicken, duck, and rabbit. This diet has high-protein kibble mixed with raw, freeze-dried meat. With this diet, your cat will also be eating prebiotics that help them have healthy digestion, omega-3, and omega-6 fatty acids needed for a smooth coat and antioxidants for a healthy immune system. There is no grain, potatoes, corn, wheat, or soy, or no artificial colors or preservatives, making this a great choice for cats with food allergies.

Key benefits:

  • No artificial colors or preservatives
  • Different varieties
  • Contains supplements to help with skin and digestion
  • Grain Free

Pros

Cons

  • Full of protein
  • No preservative
  • Grain-Free
  • Raw diets can have human health hazards if not handled correctly

Back to the chart

Best for Senior Cats

9. Nutro Wholesome Essentials Adult & Senior Dry Cat Food, Chicken

nutro wholesome essentials adult and senior dry cat food chicken

NUTRO Indoor Dry Cat Food is developed to help keep your adult cats happy and healthy. It has a nutritious list of essential ingredients, such as farm-raised chicken and brown rice. The chicken provides your cat with protein needed for strong muscles and a great taste that your cat will love. It also is a healthy weight formula that will prevent your cat from becoming overweight. This food also contains fatty acids needed for healthy skin and coat.

Key benefits:

  • Indoor Adult cat food
  • Contains farm raised chicken and brown rice
  • Has added proteins that are needed for strong muscles
  • Is a healthy weight formula to prevent obesity
  • Contains fatty acids for healthy skin and coat

Pros

Cons

  • Helps fight obesity
  • High-quality chicken
  • Cats love the taste
  • None

Back to the chart

Best for Kittens

10. ORIJEN High-Protein, Grain-Free, Premium Quality Meat, Dry Kitten Food

orijen high-protein grain-free premium quality meat dry kitten food

Orijen Cat Food’s main ingredients are not just meats that your cats love but only the finest quality meat they can find from local sources to guarantee that their food is fresh. Every one of their products contains the need nutrients to help in your kitten growth and development.

Each recipe is made to make sure that your cat gets the correct amount of nourishment that they need. This means that they will have a lot of meat and protein in their diet.

The most major con seems to be the high price. This is very understandable since Orijen does not compromise on its quality. The meat is always high-quality and sourced responsibly, which may contribute to the expensive pricing.

Key benefits:

  • Made from high-quality protein
  • Grain-Free
  • Contains fresh fruits and vegetables

Pros

Cons

  • Filled with protein to keep up with your growing kitten
  • High price

Back to the chart

Dry Cat Foods Buying Guide

is dry food for cats better than wet foodPhoto by Paul Hanaoka on Unsplash

One of the most common mistakes made by cat owners is feeding either the incorrect amount or the wrong type of food altogether. You might think just because there is food in their bowl that you are feeding correctly. This simply is not the case. There are many different things to consider when providing for the health and well-being of your feline friend, such as:

  • The correct food, 
  • The right amount of food, 
  • The necessary nutrients to help your cat grow and stay healthy. 

1. Wet vs. Dry food, what is Better?

Dry food is easier for you to store for longer periods of time, and it is more beneficial for aiding in dental health because as a cat chews, the dry food scrapes along with the tooth, helping knock off any plaque or tartar build-up.

Wet food will tend to have more water content, which can be very important in cats that may have kidney disease or who are prone to urinary tract disease. Cats are known for not drinking water very frequently, so wet food can help supplement their water intake. Also, another thing to consider is canned food is a little more expensive than dry, but typically a can of wet food will provide the same number of calories per feeding as the usual recommended daily dry food amount. Furthermore, if your cat is a finicky eater, they may be more receptive to wet food because of the moisture, and it does tend to smell more appealing. 

To be honest, there really is no right or wrong answer as to which is better. Both quality wet and dry foods will provide all the necessary nutrients your cat needs to stay healthy. Dry food tends to be what most people feed their cats as it is much easier to feed. 

READ MORE: Wet vs Dry Cat Food – Which is Beter?

2. Risk of feeding too much

Overfeeding can be very unhealthy for cats. When cats are overfed the side-effects of obesity can be life-threatening. When a cat becomes obese from overfeeding health, you can see issues such as:

  • Heart disease
  • Diabetes
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Arthritis
  • Joint pain
  • Liver disease

If your cat can develop all of these symptoms at the same time of which the consequences may be irreversible and lead to life-long illness and even death. Most food packages contain a chart showing how much to feed your cat and how often, depending on your cat’s weight and size. If your cat is obese, it is important to feed for the amount of weight they ideally should be, not the weight they already are.

3. Risk of Feeding Too Little

There are many issues that your cats could face if they do not eat enough food. These are two of the most common issues veterinarians see if cats do not eat enough food.

Abnormal Bone Growth 

Feeding too little an amount of food, especially in the case of a growing kitten, can be exceedingly dangerous and life-threatening. When a kitten does not receive the proper number of calories, it simply will not have to energy to move around or the appropriate amount of calcium needed for their bones to grow. Sometimes, even if the diet is changed to the appropriate amount, bones’ damage can be permanent, resulting in the kitten never reaching full size. They will usually remain underdeveloped and be stunted in both organ and bone growth. This sometimes results in life-long health issues

Fatty Liver Disease or Hepatic Lipidosis

If your cat does go without the proper number of calories for too long, then things like fatty liver disease can result and result in extreme illness and death if not given veterinary treatment immediately. Fatty liver disease is when the body is forced to convert fat into energy because there are not enough calories present for the cat to function. The problem with this is cats rely on a high protein diet to function, so fat doesn’t convert well in the liver and simply starts to build-up greatly, reducing the liver’s ability to function, resulting in severe illness and death if untreated. Hepatic lipidosis can occur very quickly, usually within just 2 to 3 days without food

4. Getting the appropriate amount of nutrients

Cats, by nature, are carnivores. This means they will rely on a very high protein level in their diets for their bodies to function and maintain their health. As stated, before if the appropriate protein level is not met, then their bodies try to convert fat, which doesn’t bode well for them. Kittens are particularly sensitive to this as they need more calories than the typical adult cat so they can develop strong, healthy bones and muscles. 

5. Appropriate water intake

Your cat will need anywhere from 3 to 5 ounces of water daily to maintain a healthy body. Remember, though, that just because you do not see your cat drinking from the water bowl, it does not mean they are not getting any water. If you feed your cat wet food, then your cat may be getting enough moisture, so they may not need to drink from the water bowl as often. 

If you do see your cat drinking excessively, though, it is recommended to have them looked at by your local vet as this can be a sign of specific diseases. Diabetes and hyperthyroidism may both present with excessive drinking and are very common among cats. Both of these diseases can easily be diagnosed by your vet. 

READ MORE: Signs of nutritional deficiency in Cats

how to choose best dry food for my catImage by Deedee86 from Pixabay

FAQ about Dry Cat Diet

😸 How much dry food should I feed my Cat?

The amount of food you should feed is greatly influenced by your cat’s size and age. It is very important to feed your kitten 3-4 times daily until they are six months old. During this time, it is important to feed a food specially formulated for kittens to provide all the necessary nutrients, calories, and a high level of protein growing kittens need to thrive.  From six months to a year-old feeding can be decreased to twice daily but should still be kept to the kitten specific diets. After one year of age, your cat will be considered an adult. At this time, it is very important to switch their food to an adult diet. This contains better protein and fewer calories, which are not needed for growth. Kitten diets that contain more calories can rapidly cause obesity in an adult cat, which will result in all the diseases discussed earlier. It is always best to read the food manufacturer’s guidelines and recommendations to make sure you are not over or underfeeding your cat. 

🐈 How long does dry Cat food last?

Dry cat food can last for a year as long as it is stored properly in a cool and dry place. The longer you leave dry cat food out to the open air, the more likely mold and bacteria are going to be able to grow.  

Bugs are another factor that we have to consider when storing dry cat food. Make sure that your cat’s food is not open and attracting bugs.  

🐱 How to soften dry Cat food?

If your cat needs to eat soft cat food because they have dental issues or recently had a dental procedure, this can easily be done with dry cat food. Add a few tablespoons of water to your cat’s food. You want the food to be mixed in with the food but not floating in the water. Mix the water around with the food until all of the pieces are coated with water. These pieces will slowly start to absorb water and will become soft. You can feed this to your cat while they are recovering from any issues with their mouth.

🐾 What to do when your Cat will not eat their regular dry food?

If your cat does not eat their regular dry food, you can add a scoop of wet food to their food. This may entice them to want to eat their food. Some cats do not like to eat their food cold, either. Put a small amount of wet food on their dry food and put it in the microwave for just a few seconds. This helps the flavors and smell come out of the food and entice your cat to want to eat more.  

If your cat continues to not want to eat, it would be best to see your vet. A cat not eating for a few days can get fatty liver disease.  

😺 How to keep dry Cat food fresh?

It is best to keep your cat’s food in a tightly sealed container. This helps keep it fresh the longest. While many people like to purchase their cat’s food in bulk, this may not be the best. It is best to only buy 1 to 2 months’ worth of food at a time. This ensures that your cat’s food is always fresh.

READ MORE: Can cats be vegan?

Final Thoughts

So, when it comes to feeding your cat dry food, many things can be taken into consideration. These 10 dry cat foods are great to feed to your cat.  

It is always recommended to feed a quality diet that contains quality ingredients to ensure your cat receives all its necessary nutrients. Always talking to your vet about what diet is best for your cat. Especially if your cat is being treated for things like kidney or liver disease that require special diets. By feeding a good diet can help you keep them around for years to come.

ThePets is an informational website that features articles written by qualified veterinarians and professional writers. You can learn more about our editorial process. When selecting food for your pet, use Pet Food Finder, and search for the clinic to treat your pet using Vet Clinics Locator.

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