The Best Cat Food for Indoor Cats: Reviewed and Ranked

Published: June 23, 2022

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Usually, experts recommend that most cats stay indoors. This is safest for local wildlife, but it also helps ensure the safety of your cat. There are many dangers in the outside world that your cat can be harmed by, such as cars and predators.

However, indoor cats don’t always get the exercise they need. Plus, indoor cats may be more likely to graze, as their food will always be available. For this reason, you may want to consider using exceptional indoor cat food for your feline.

Still, not all indoor cat foods are equal. There is a lot of variance between them. Therefore, you’ll need to consider which food may be best for your cat carefully. Take a look at our reviews below to help you choose.

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  1. Purina Beyond Simply Indoor Wild-Caught Salmon
  2. Purina Beyond Simply Indoor Wild-Caught Salmon
    • Includes high protein levels
    • Salmon, which includes omega-fatty acids that contribute to skin and fur health, is the first ingredient
    • Salmon is better for some cats with food sensitivities
    • Grain-free
    • Includes fewer calories and fat, making it optimal for indoor cats that get little exercise
    Check Chewy Check Amazon
  3. Wellness CORE Grain-Free Indoor Chicken & Chicken Liver Recipe Canned Cat Food
  4. Wellness CORE Grain-Free Indoor Chicken & Chicken Liver Recipe Canned Cat Food
    • Wet food contains high moisture levels, which can help prevent UTIs and other health issues
    • Wet food keeps cats feeling fuller longer, so they snack less and eat fewer calories
    • The first two ingredients are chicken and chicken liver, for the lean protein your cat needs
    • This company uses chicken broth instead of water for a higher nutritional content
    • Grain-free
    Check Chewy Check Amazon
  5. Blue Buffalo Freedom Indoor Kitten Chicken Grain-Free
  6. Blue Buffalo Freedom Indoor Kitten Chicken Grain-Free
    • Formulated to meet indoor kittens' unique nutritional needs
    • Contains high levels of essential nutrients, including DHA
    • Made with high levels of protein, including chicken and chicken liver
    • Free from grain, gluten, corn, wheat, and soy
    Check Chewy
  7. Nutro Wholesome Essentials Chicken & Brown Rice Senior
  8. Nutro Wholesome Essentials Chicken & Brown Rice Senior
    • Contains high levels of taurine and antioxidants, which may help prevent some age-related illnesses
    • The first two ingredients are chicken and chicken meal
    • This high-protein formula does not include any GMO ingredients
    • Nutro sources ingredients only from trusted suppliers, which reduces the chance of recalls
    Check Chewy Check Amazon
  9. Blue Buffalo Wilderness Indoor Hairball & Weight Control
  10. Blue Buffalo Wilderness Indoor Hairball & Weight Control
    • Combat hairballs
    • Fiber comes from natural sources
    • Grain-free
    • Primary protein is from animal sources
    Check Chewy Check Amazon
  11. ACANA Indoor Entrée Adult Dry Cat Food
  12. ACANA Indoor Entrée Adult Dry Cat Food
    • Includes high levels of meat, starting with deboned chicken and chicken meal
    • Also includes herring, chicken fat, and deboned rabbit
    • Contains L-carnitine, which may help your cat maintain a healthy weight
    • EPA, DHA, taurine, and omega-fatty acids round out the nutritional profile
    • The only downside is the price, but you are paying for higher-quality ingredients
    Check Chewy Check Amazon
  13. Purina ONE Indoor Advantage Adult Dry Cat Food
  14. Purina ONE Indoor Advantage Adult Dry Cat Food
    • Includes relatively high levels of protein and nutrients despite its low price
    • Formulated specifically for indoor cats
    • Turkey is the first ingredient
    • Features a lower fat content, which helps felines maintain a healthy weight
    • Also includes high levels of fiber to prevent hairballs and promote healthy digestion
    Check Chewy
  15. Solid Gold Let's Stay In Chicken, Lentil & Apple Grain-Free Indoor Cat
  16. Solid Gold Let's Stay In Chicken, Lentil & Apple Grain-Free Indoor Cat
    • Formulated for active indoor cats
    • The recipe does not feature decreased fat or calories like many other foods for indoor cats
    • Includes high levels of fiber to prevent hairballs
    • Probiotic support regulates your cat's digestive system
    • Does not include soy, wheat, or corn
    Check Chewy Check Amazon

1. Best Overall: Purina Beyond Simply Indoor Salmon Cat Food

For most cats out there, this formula by Purina is by far the best option out there. It features incredibly high protein levels and features salmon as the first ingredient. Salmon includes many omega-fatty acids, vital for your cat’s skin and coat.

Plus, many cats with food sensitivities do better on salmon than other meats. This recipe also includes no grain and features only limited ingredients. For this reason, it is excellent for cats with sensitivities.

Because this formula is specifically designed for indoor cats, it includes fewer calories and fat than other recipes out there. Therefore, this formula works best for cats who just lay around all day.

Best Overall
Purina Beyond Simply Indoor Wild-Caught Salmon
  • Includes high protein levels
  • Salmon, which includes omega-fatty acids that contribute to skin and fur health, is the first ingredient
  • Salmon is better for some cats with food sensitivities
  • Grain-free
  • Includes fewer calories and fat, making it optimal for indoor cats that get little exercise
Check Chewy Check Amazon

2. Best Wet Food: Wellness CORE Indoor Chicken Cat Food

For most cats, wet food works best. It includes high moisture levels, which can prevent UTIs and other common feline problems. Plus, wet food helps keep cats fuller for longer, leading to less snacking and calorie consumption.

Chicken and chicken liver make up the first two ingredients in this food. These ingredients provide lean protein that your feline needs to thrive. This company uses chicken broth instead of water, with higher nutritional content. Plus, turkey and turkey broth are also included.

Despite having no grains, this food includes high amounts of peas. These veggies are high in protein, which is something to keep in mind when looking at the protein content of this food.

Best Wet Food
Wellness CORE Grain-Free Indoor Chicken & Chicken Liver Recipe Canned Cat Food
  • Wet food contains high moisture levels, which can help prevent UTIs and other health issues
  • Wet food keeps cats feeling fuller longer, so they snack less and eat fewer calories
  • The first two ingredients are chicken and chicken liver, for the lean protein your cat needs
  • This company uses chicken broth instead of water for a higher nutritional content
  • Grain-free
Check Chewy Check Amazon

3. Best for Kittens: Blue Buffalo Freedom Indoor Kitten Chicken Recipe

Kittens need specialized nutrition as they are still growing. Therefore, it is vital to feed your kitten food designed for kittens until they stop growing. Blue Buffalo specifically designed this food for indoor kittens. It contains high levels of vital nutrients, including DHA.

This food contains chicken and chicken liver as the first few ingredients. They contain high amounts of protein, which your kitten needs to thrive. Chicken broth appears on the list instead of water, raising the nutritional content of the cat food.

Furthermore, this food doesn’t contain grains, gluten, corn, wheat, or soy. Therefore, this food works for cats that have sensitivities to these problems.

Best for Kittens
Blue Buffalo Freedom Indoor Kitten Chicken Grain-Free
  • Formulated to meet indoor kittens' unique nutritional needs
  • Contains high levels of essential nutrients, including DHA
  • Made with high levels of protein, including chicken and chicken liver
  • Free from grain, gluten, corn, wheat, and soy
Check Chewy

4. Best for Seniors: Nutro Wholesome Essentials Chicken & Brown Rice Recipe

For older felines that are starting to show their age, you may want to look at this recipe by Nutro. It contains high levels of taurine and antioxidants, which may help prevent some more common age-related diseases. For instance, taurine is vital for heart health, but many felines don’t get enough of it as they age.

This formula includes chicken and chicken meal as the first two ingredients. Therefore, this food mainly contains lean chicken, leading to high protein content. Antioxidants prevent oxidative stress, which is related to many different diseases.

We love that this food does not contain any GMO ingredients. This company sources its ingredients from trusted suppliers to reduce the chance of recalls and manufacturing mishaps.

Best for Seniors
Nutro Wholesome Essentials Chicken & Brown Rice Senior
  • Contains high levels of taurine and antioxidants, which may help prevent some age-related illnesses
  • The first two ingredients are chicken and chicken meal
  • This high-protein formula does not include any GMO ingredients
  • Nutro sources ingredients only from trusted suppliers, which reduces the chance of recalls
Check Chewy Check Amazon

5. Best for Hairballs: Blue Buffalo Adult Indoor Hairball Control

All sorts of felines get hairballs, including outdoor cats. However, this formula prevents hairballs explicitly in indoor cats. It features deboned chicken as the first ingredient, providing high levels of lean protein.

To prevent hairballs, this formula includes high levels of fiber. This ingredient helps regulate your cat’s digestion and may help prevent hairballs, as it makes it easier for your cat to digest them. Omega fatty acids are included as well, improving skin and coat health.

Like all Blue Buffalo recipes, this formula includes LifeSource bites. These small bits include antioxidants and a range of vitamins to help your feline stay healthy. However, they don’t notably include anything you can’t find in other dog foods.

Best Overall
Blue Buffalo Wilderness Indoor Hairball & Weight Control
  • Combat hairballs
  • Fiber comes from natural sources
  • Grain-free
  • Primary protein is from animal sources
Check Chewy Check Amazon

6. Best Premium Choice: Acana Indoor Entree Adult Dry Cat Food

We recommend this formula by Acana as a premium choice for those without budgets. It includes high levels of meat, starting with deboned chicken and chicken meal. Herring, chicken fat, and deboned rabbit are also included, which raise the protein content even higher. You’ll find far more meat in this recipe than in others, which is largely why it is so expensive.

This food contains high nutrients that may improve your cat’s health. For instance, this formula includes L-carnitine, which may help your feline maintain a healthy weight. EPA, DHA, and taurine are also included.

We love the inclusion of omega fatty acids. These fatty acids help improve your cat’s skin and coat health.

The only major downside of this food is the price. However, this food contains high levels of protein and animal meats. You’re paying for the higher quality ingredients.

Best Premium Choice
ACANA Indoor Entrée Adult Dry Cat Food
  • Includes high levels of meat, starting with deboned chicken and chicken meal
  • Also includes herring, chicken fat, and deboned rabbit
  • Contains L-carnitine, which may help your cat maintain a healthy weight
  • EPA, DHA, taurine, and omega-fatty acids round out the nutritional profile
  • The only downside is the price, but you are paying for higher-quality ingredients
Check Chewy Check Amazon

7. Best Budget Option: Purina ONE Indoor Advantage

Purina is well-known for being a budget brand. However, it includes relatively high levels of protein and nutrients. The brand’s deficient level of recalls makes it one of the safest brands around.

Therefore, while this food does cost less, it remains high-quality and a suitable option for most cats.

They’ve created this formula specifically for indoor cats. With turkey as the first ingredient, it features high levels of lean protein. It features a lower fat content, which helps felines who have trouble maintaining a healthy weight. Plus, this formula includes high levels of fiber, preventing hairballs, and regulating your cat’s digestion.

Best Budget
Purina ONE Indoor Advantage Adult Dry Cat Food
  • Includes relatively high levels of protein and nutrients despite its low price
  • Formulated specifically for indoor cats
  • Turkey is the first ingredient
  • Features a lower fat content, which helps felines maintain a healthy weight
  • Also includes high levels of fiber to prevent hairballs and promote healthy digestion
Check Chewy

8. Best for High-Energy Cats: Solid Gold Let’s Stay In Chicken Dry Cat Food

Not all indoor cats are laidback. Some can be quite active and playful. For those felines, we recommend this formula. While it is specifically designed for indoor cats, it does not feature decreased fat or calories as other indoor formulas do.

It includes high levels of fiber, preventing hairballs. Plus, probiotic support regulates your cat’s digestive system and may help cats with mild digestion problems. Many cats do very well on probiotics, though it is difficult to find a food that contains them.

This food doesn’t contain any controversial ingredients, like soy, wheat, and corn. Instead, the formula relies heavily on chicken and turkey meal. Quick sources of energy like lentils and peas are also included.

Best for High-Energy Cats
Solid Gold Let's Stay In Chicken, Lentil & Apple Grain-Free Indoor Cat
  • Formulated for active indoor cats
  • The recipe does not feature decreased fat or calories like many other foods for indoor cats
  • Includes high levels of fiber to prevent hairballs
  • Probiotic support regulates your cat's digestive system
  • Does not include soy, wheat, or corn
Check Chewy Check Amazon

Choosing the Best: What to Look For

You need to consider many things when choosing indoor cat food. None of these formulas are made the same, so not all of them will work for your cat. Nutrition, calorie content, life stage, price, and brand are vital components to consider.

Let’s take a look at each of these factors in turn.

Nutrition

Cats need precise nutrition to thrive. As obligate carnivores, they require quite a bit of meat to survive, high in protein and amino acids. Many nutrients they need are only available in meat, such as taurine. Therefore, high-meat cat foods are typically best.

Of course, the type of protein also matters. All protein sources should be named. “Chicken” and “beef” are great, but “meat” isn’t going to cut it.

Calorie Content

Indoor cats typically move less than outdoor cats. For this reason, they usually have problems with excessive weight gain. Many indoor formulas contain fewer calories for this reason.

However, this is not true for all indoor cats. Many indoor cats remain very active and need higher amounts of calories. Therefore, you’ll need to choose an indoor formula without lower calories in this case.

Life Stage

Cats don’t need the same nutrition all the time. Kittens require different nutrients than adults simply because they’re growing. As you’d imagine, a cat’s nutritional needs change over time. Therefore, you may have to change their food as they age.

If your cat is still growing, choose a kitten formula. Adult cats need an adult formula, while older cats may benefit from senior cat food. However, not all cats require senior food, mainly depending on their current health.

Price

The price of different cat foods varies widely. You can find cat food for as little as $3 a pound and food that costs $20 a pound. Luckily, most cats do great with food that costs somewhere in the middle.

You don’t want the cheapest food out there (it’s cheap for a reason). However, you do need to keep your budget in mind. There are some quality budget options, like the one we mentioned in our reviews above.

Brand

Before purchasing any foods, be sure to research the brand. Most cat owners don’t know anything about different brands beyond their advertising. Don’t let this be you. Food may look perfect, but the brand can easily send up red flags.

For instance, some brands tend to use lower-quality ingredients or source from sketchy suppliers. Some even get their ingredients from countries like China. Furthermore, some brands experience more recalls, which makes them less safe.

The Different Types of Indoor Cat Food: Pros and Cons Compared

Before choosing food for your cat, you should decide on the best type of food for your cat. There are several options, including dry food, wet food, raw food, veterinary diets, and freeze-fried foods. All of these have pros and cons, which we’ll look at below.

  • Dry food – In many cases, dry food remains the most popular option for cats. When you purchase food, most of your options are usually dry food.
  • Wet food – While not as popular as dry food, wet food contains more moisture, making it a more suitable option for many cats.
  • Raw food – Raw food has risen in popularity over the last few years. However, there is little research to back up the perceived benefits. Usually, this food is more expensive and must be refrigerated.
  • Veterinary diets – For felines with specific health problems, a veterinary diet is required. Often, these foods require a prescription, so speak to your vet if you believe your cat needs one.
  • Freeze-dried food – Somewhere between kibble and raw food, you’ll find freeze-fried food. These foods are made from meat that has been freeze-dried to turn it into kibble-like food and increase its shelf life.

Dry Food

ProsCons
AffordableLow water content
Allows for free-feedingOften contains less protein
Widely Available
Many different options are available.
Longer shelf life

Wet Food

ProsCons
Higher water contentMore expensive than dry food
Usually contains more proteinIt takes up more space in storage
Often low in fillersIt doesn’t allow for free-feeding
Long shelf life before opening
Appeases picky eaters
Suitable for cats with dental problems

Raw Food

ProsCons
Often very low in carbohydratesLittle research to back claimed health benefits
Usually single-proteinExpensive
Suitable for cats with dental problemsChallenging to store
Energy-denseIncreased chances of food-borne illnesses
It may be suitable for cats with diabetesChallenging to introduce older cats
Many claimed health benefitsNot always nutritionally complete

Veterinary Diets

ProsCons
Necessary for some health conditionsExpensive
May prevent future vet billsRequires a prescription
Wet and dry variations are usually availableOnly for cats with health problems
Can be purchased from the vet’s office

Freeze-Dried Foods

ProsCons
High in proteinExpensive
Rich in amino acidsNot always balanced
Usually grain-freeSome cats don’t like the texture
Suitable for cats with allergies
Often flavorful
Long shelf life

Verified Review: User Experience

Indoor cat food typically corrects several problems that are common in indoor cats. For instance, indoor cats gain excessive weight and produce lots of hairballs.

For this reason, many indoor cat foods have high fiber to prevent hairballs and lower calories from preventing weight gain. Many customers reported that they worked great in these regards.

Customers mainly reported that Nutro seemed easiest on their cat’s stomachs. One reported that it was the only food their cats could keep down. Therefore, this option is an excellent option for cats with sensitive stomachs.

Many cat owners loved the Purina Beyond cat food, as it is high in nutrients. However, some reported that it was a bit too big for their cat’s mouth. If you have smaller cats, this may be something to consider.

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