Best Grain-Free Cat Food: 7 Vet-Preferred Picks

Published October 7, 2020
Woman feeding for her cat

Choosing the best grain-free cat food is essential for your kitty's nutrition, especially if she has special dietary needs or restrictions. Too much protein can be bad for a cat's kidneys, and cats do require some carbohydrates to be healthy. A grain-free cat food needs to have the right carbohydrate and protein balance to support proper nutrition. These seven grain-free cat food options are the best on the market.

Is a Grain-Free Diet Good for Cats?

There are reasons to use a grain-free cat food for your kitty, but it's not the ideal choice for all cats. Most cats do not benefit from a grain-free diet, and if you choose a grain-free diet, you should pay attention to the carbohydrate and protein balance. An article published in the journal Veterinary Sciences examined how many carbs a cat needs for proper nutrition and concluded there is no minimum carbohydrate requirement for cats, although cats function better with some carbohydrates in their diet. Grain-free cat food has pros and cons you should consider:

  • Cats with specific health conditions, such as food allergies, asthma, and diabetes, may benefit from a grain-free food if recommended by their veterinarian.
  • Grain-free foods are sometimes lower in carbohydrates, and this can also benefit cats who are overweight.
  • For owners with severe food allergies or conditions like Celiac disease, a grain-free cat food can eliminate the possibility of cross contamination in your home.
  • Not all grain-free cat food have the same nutrient balance, so it's important to choose a quality food.
  • Grain-free cat food can be more expensive.

Choosing the Best Grain-Free Cat Foods

The key to choosing a great grain-free cat food is considering your priorities. If your cat has a special health condition, you may need a food that addresses that specific need. If your cat is a picky eater, you need a food option cats find irresistible. Above all else, you need a grain-free food that vets consider a healthy alternative to a regular cat food. Based on grain-free cat food reviews and nutrient data, these are the best options to try.

Best Grain-Free Wet Cat Food - Only Natural Pet Grain-Free Pate

If your cat eats wet cat food but you want to try a grain-free diet, Only Natural Pet Grain-Free Pate is a great choice. It retails for about $24 for a case of 24 cans and is extremely well rated by those who have tried it. These are a few of the reasons it might be right for your kitty:

  • Without added fillers or grains, this wet cat food offers all the protein, amino acids, and other nutrients your cat needs.
  • Only Natural Pet Grain-Free Pate is low in iodine to help support thyroid health.
  • It offers a good balance of protein and carbohydrates to help keep your cat healthy without grains.
  • It has fats and amino acids that help your cat maintain a soft and sleek coat.
Only Natural Pet Grain-Free Pate Canned Wet Cat Food

Best Grain-Free Dry Cat Food - Raw Paws Salmon Kibble

A grain-free dry cat food needs to be enticing and have a proper nutrition balance at the same time. Raw Paws specializes in healthy alternative pet foods, and their fully cooked Grain-Free Salmon Kibble is an excellent choice if you want an affordable and healthy grain-free option. It retails for just under $39 for an eight-pound bag, and it has these benefits:

  • Grain-Free Salmon Kibble has 32% crude protein, which is an essential nutrient for cats.
  • It included probiotics and prebiotics to help your cat's digestion function at the optimal level.
  • This food is approved by the Association of Animal Feed Control Officials.
  • Grain-Free Salmon Kibble includes a variety of natural ingredients like potatoes and blueberries, as well as amino acids for strong bones and a sleek coat.
    Grain-Free Salmon Kibble for Cats

Best Grain-Free Cat Food for Picky Eaters - Taste of the Wild Cat Food

Designed to mimic the natural balance of protein and carbs a cat would get in the wild, Taste of the Wild is a good choice for cats who won't eat just anything. This grain-free dry cat food has almost five stars on Amazon, where many people share that their picky eaters loved this brand. It retails for about $31 for a 14-pound bag. These are some reasons it may be right for your kitty:

  • Taste of the Wild is 42% protein from animal sources like venison and salmon.
  • It includes probiotics for good digestive health.
  • This food has the amino acids, vitamins, and minerals to help your cat thrive.
  • The delicious taste is irresistible, even to finicky cats.

Best Grain-Free Cat Food for Indoor Cats - Blue Buffalo Freedom

Indoor cats get less exercise than their outdoor counterparts and may have a more limited diet without the addition of wild prey. Blue Buffalo Freedom dry cat food is formulated to support the nutritional health of indoor kitties without using any grains. It retails for about $29 for an 11-pound bag and has these benefits:

  • It's highly rated on Amazon, where users have given it almost five stars and rave about how cats find it delicious.
  • It's specially formulated to keep body weight in check while not using grains.
  • Blue Buffalo Freedom is all natural.
  • It contains all the vitamins, minerals, and amino acids your indoor cat needs for good health.

Best Grain-Free Cat Food for Asthma - Blue Buffalo Wilderness Wild Delights

If your cat is struggling with feline asthma, you should always talk to your vet to see if there are medications that can control the condition or environmental changes you can make to help. In addition to great vet care, many cat parents experiment with a grain-free diet, and there are anecdotal reports of it being very successful. Blue Buffalo Wilderness Wild Delights is a good option to try. It retails for about $25 for a case of 24 cans. You may want to try it for these reasons:

  • Wet food is a way to get additional fluids into your cat, which may help with wheezing.
  • Blue Buffalo Wilderness Wild Delights is high in protein and includes no grains.
  • It has the nutrient balance needed to support your cat's digestive system and respiratory system.
  • Kitties love the taste and texture, according to reviewers.

Best Grain-Free Cat Food for Diabetes - CRAVE Grain-Free High Protein Cat Food

You should always consult with your vet before changing your diabetic cat's food, but grain-free cat food may be a good choice. Cats with diabetes can benefit from a lower level of carbohydrates in their food, according to the World Small Animal Veterinary Association World Congress. The key is to choose a grain-free cat food that does not skimp on protein and that doesn't substitute extra non-grain carbohydrates for the missing grain. CRAVE Grain-Free High Protein Cat Food is a good choice. It sells for about $27 for a 10-pound bag and has these benefits:

  • Protein is the first ingredient, and this food is 40% protein.
  • It's rated extremely well, with almost five stars on Amazon. Users say their cats love it.
  • It includes vitamins and minerals to support your cat's health and appearance.
  • There are no artificial flavors.

Best Grain-Free Cat Food for Kidney Disease - Wellness Natural Cat Food

If your cat has kidney disease, you should talk to your vet about the best diet to help improve his or her quality of life. VCA Hospitals notes that cats with kidney disease have specific dietary requirements, including a need for less protein, more moisture, and less phosphorus. Wellness Natural Wet Cat Food is a good option to try after consulting your vet. It retails for about $39 for a case of 12 large cans. These are some reasons to consider it:

  • This wet cat food helps your cat consume additional moisture, which is important for kidney function.
  • It includes cranberries to help support the urinary system, including the kidneys.
  • It is made with high quality protein but doesn't have especially high levels of protein that can be harmful to cats with kidney disease.
  • It also includes fats, amino acids, and minerals to support all your cat's systems.

Keep Your Furry Friend Happy and Healthy

If you decide to feed your cat a grain-free food, one of these options may be ideal. You can also make your own cat food that doesn't include grain. Either way, it's important to check in with your vet before you switch to a grain-free diet. Your cat's health is important and choosing the best food is a big part keeping your furry friend happy and healthy.

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Best Grain-Free Cat Food: 7 Vet-Preferred Picks