The Best Cat Foods (Kitten, Adult, Senior)

Written by Susan Olayode
Updated: February 10, 2023
© iStock.com/Oksana Osypenko

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Key Points

  • The #1 Best Overall cat food is CRAVE Grain Free High Protein Indoor Adult Cat Food.
  • When you’re shopping for the perfect cat food, consider your cat’s life stage (kitten, adult, or senior), flavor preferences, and essential nutrients.
  • In this review, we considered two types of cat food: wet and dry. We included charts listing the pros and cons of each for your convenience.

As a cat parent, you probably know that your cat’s nutritional requirements will change as your cat moves from one life stage to the next: kitten, adult, and senior. As a result, finding the best food for your cat could be a bit challenging.

One important thing to keep in mind is that cats are obligate carnivores. This means that they cannot survive without protein. Your cat must have protein in its diet. That’s why some of the best cat foods have a high protein content.

There are also some important nutrients that a cat needs that it cannot produce in its body. These nutrients also have to be a part of their food. Some of these include certain amino acids like taurine and arginine and vitamins, including A, B, and D3 .

In order to make your search for the best cat food, we conducted extensive research and reviewed the best foods for cats at every stage of their life. So, without further ado, let’s help you find the right food for your feline friend!

  1. Crave with Protein from Chicken Adult Grain-Free
    • Features high-quality protein from chicken and salmon
    • Meat is the #1 ingredient
    • Grain-free
    • Includes essential nutrients for building muscle, aiding healthy digestion, and immune system support
    • Does not include chicken by-product meal, corn, wheat, or soy
    Check Chewy Check Amazon
  2. Purina Cat Chow Complete Dry Cat Food
    • This high-quality cat food is budget-friendly
    • Rich in protein from chicken and fish sources
    • It contains 25 vitamins and minerals, plus essential nutrients, including fatty acids and taurine
    • It helps to build strong muscles
    • Features healthy carbs for energy
    Check Chewy Check Amazon
  3. American Journey Turkey & Chicken Grain-Free
    • This food is pricier than some others, but it's packed with protein that cats need
    • The protein content is 40%
    • The first three ingredient are turkey, turkey meal, and chicken meal
    • Fortified with essential fatty acids, calcium, taurine, and phosphorus.
    • Also includes wholesome fruits and vegetables
    Check Chewy
  4. Sheba Perfect Portions Grain-Free Multipack
    • This wet formula in convenient single-serving portions
    • Contains chicken and poultry liver
    • Includes fewer carbohydrates, which makes it perfect for adult cats
    • High moisture content helps keep your kitty hydrated
    • Does not contain grains, corn, wheat, soy, artificial flavors, or preservatives
    Check Chewy Check Amazon
  5. Royal Canin Feline Health Nutrition Kitten Thin Slices in Gravy Canned Cat Food, 3-oz, case of 24
    • Contains thin slices of meat in gravy
    • Best for kittens between 4 to 12 months
    • Added fish oil for omega fatty acids
    • Good for healthy digestion
    Check Chewy Check Amazon

A-Z-Animals’ Top Picks for the Best Cat Foods (Kitten, Adult, Senior)

#1 Best Overall: CRAVE Grain Free High Protein Indoor Adult Cat Food

CRAVE Grain Free High Protein Cat Food is our best overall cat food in this review. This high-protein(40%) formula is specially formulated for indoor cats and features protein from chicken and salmon. The first ingredient is real chicken for the flavor your cat loves and the protein they need to develop and maintain muscle.

This grain-free recipe includes quality carbohydrate sources from non-grain sources for energy. It also includes essential nutrients to aid digestion and support your cat’s immune system health.

CRAVE dry cat foods contain no grain, corn, wheat, or soy protein.

Some pet parents reported that their cats didn’t like this food. Others said that the kibble was too large.

Pros and Cons of CRAVE Grain Free High Protein Indoor Adult Cat Food

ProsCons
This grain-free dry recipe is specially formulated to indoor cats.Some reviewers reported that their cats didn’t like this food.
It features 40% protein, including protein from chicken (the first ingredient) and salmon to build and maintain healthy muscles.Others said that the kibble was too large.
It includes grain-free carbohydrate sources for energy.
Essential nutrients aid digestion and support immune system health.
This recipe is free from grain, corn, wheat, and soy protein.
Best Overall
Crave with Protein from Chicken Adult Grain-Free
  • Features high-quality protein from chicken and salmon
  • Meat is the #1 ingredient
  • Grain-free
  • Includes essential nutrients for building muscle, aiding healthy digestion, and immune system support
  • Does not include chicken by-product meal, corn, wheat, or soy
Check Chewy Check Amazon

2. Best Budget: Purina Complete Dry Cat Food

We love how Purina Complete Cat Food manages to stay inexpensive while providing your cat with the best ingredients. This high-protein cat food delivers 100% complete, balanced nutrition starting with chicken by-product meal to support strong muscles. This recipe also includes healthy carbs that your cat requires for energy and omega-6 fatty acids to keep your cat looking and feeling its best.

The recipe is enhanced with 25 essential vitamins and minerals to support your feline friend’s overall health.

This formula includes several grains, including corn, whole grain wheat, and rice, so if your cat requires a grain-free option, please select a different one from our list.

Reviews for this product were overwhelmingly positive, but a couple of reviewers said that their cats got sick after eating it.

Pros and Cons of Purina Complete Dry Cat Food

ProsCons
This cat food is affordable yet includes quality ingredients.It includes grains, so it’s not appropriate for a grain-free diet.
The first ingredient is chicken by-product meal to support strong muscles.A couple of reviewers said that their cats got sick after eating it.
It includes healthy carbs for energy and omega-6 fatty acids to keep your cat feeling and looking its best.
It’s fortified with 25 essential vitamins and minerals that are necessary for your cat’s overall health.
The recipe includes grains.
Best Budget
Purina Cat Chow Complete Dry Cat Food
  • This high-quality cat food is budget-friendly
  • Rich in protein from chicken and fish sources
  • It contains 25 vitamins and minerals, plus essential nutrients, including fatty acids and taurine
  • It helps to build strong muscles
  • Features healthy carbs for energy
Check Chewy Check Amazon

3. Best Premium: American Journey Grain-Free Cat Food

While it’s a bit more pricey than other recipes in our review, American Journey Grain-Free Cat Food (a Chewy brand) is packed full of the protein your cat needs. Boasting about 40% protein content, the first three ingredients of this food are deboned turkey, turkey meal, and chicken meal. This premium cat food also contains omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids to support healthy skin and a glossy coat. Other nutrients include calcium to support strong bones and taurine to support eye and heart health.

This recipe provides a precise blend of antioxidants and nutrient-rich veggies and fruits such as carrots and pumpkin. And what it doesn’t include is just as important as what it does; it’s completely free from wheat, corn, soy, poultry by-product meals, artificial colors, artificial flavors, and artificial preservatives. It was, however, processed in a facility that processes grains, so trace amounts may be present. If your cat is sensitive or allergic to grains, you may want to choose another recipe from our list.

According to reviews, while most cats liked this food, some did not. And some felines experienced health issues, most commonly vomiting, after eating it.

Pros and Cons of American Journey Grain-Free Cat Food

ProsCons
This premium cat food, which is a Chewy brand, is 40% protein.Although it’s grain-free, it is manufactured in a facility that also processes grains, so it’s probably not a good option for felines that are allergic or sensitive to grain.
The first three ingredients are deboned turkey, turkey meal, and chicken meal.Some cats didn’t like it.
The recipe also includes omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids for skin and coat healthA few cats experienced health issues after eating it, most commonly vomiting.
Calcium is included for bone health and taurine for eye and heart health.
It includes antioxidants and nutrient-rich fruits and veggies like pumpkin and carrots.
It’s free from wheat, corn, soy, poultry by-product meals, artificial colors, artificial flavors, and artificial preservatives.
Best Premium
American Journey Turkey & Chicken Grain-Free
  • This food is pricier than some others, but it's packed with protein that cats need
  • The protein content is 40%
  • The first three ingredient are turkey, turkey meal, and chicken meal
  • Fortified with essential fatty acids, calcium, taurine, and phosphorus.
  • Also includes wholesome fruits and vegetables
Check Chewy

4. Best for Seniors: Sheba Perfect Portions Cat Food

Sheba Perfect Portions Cat Food features paté-style wet food in twin-pack trays. This variety pack includes three flavors that cat adore: chicken, turkey, and beef. The food trays are easy to use: just snap, peel, and serve. You don’t even need a food bowl!

These delicious recipes are made without grains, corn, wheat, soy, artificial flavors, or preservatives. And they’re appropriate for cats in every stage of life: kitten, adult, and senior. The first ingredient is chicken for the protein your cat needs at every age. Water is the second ingredient to provide essential hydration, which senior cats often don’t get from drinking water.

A few reviewers said that the trays were difficult to open and were messy.

Pros and Cons of Sheba Perfect Portions Cat Food

ProsCons
This paté-style wet food is packaged in twin-pack trays that are easy to open and serve.A few reviewers said that the trays were difficult to open and were messy.
The variety pack includes three flavors: chicken, turkey, and beef.
They’re made without grains, corn, wheat, soy, artificial flavors, or preservatives.
You can feed them to kittens, adults, and senior cats.
The first ingredient is chicken for protein.
Best for Seniors
Sheba Perfect Portions Grain-Free Multipack
  • This wet formula in convenient single-serving portions
  • Contains chicken and poultry liver
  • Includes fewer carbohydrates, which makes it perfect for adult cats
  • High moisture content helps keep your kitty hydrated
  • Does not contain grains, corn, wheat, soy, artificial flavors, or preservatives
Check Chewy Check Amazon

5. Best for Kittens: Royal Canin Kitten Slices in Gravy

This veterinarian-recommended food is specially formulated for kittens up to 12 months old. It provides complete and balanced nutrition for kittens in a gravy food featuring small, thin slices that are tailor-made for tiny kitten mouths.

It provides immune system support with a blend of antioxidants, including vitamin E. High-quality protein and prebiotics support digestive health and helps balance intestinal flora for optimal stool quality. And the formula supports the high-energy needs of kittens during their intense one-year growth period.

The main complaint from customers was that this kitten food is too expensive.

Pros and Cons of Royal Canin Kitten Slices in Gravy

ProsCons
This veterinarian-recommended food is made especially for kittens up to a year old.The main complaint from customers was that this kitten food is too expensive.
It provides complete, balanced nutrition in a gravy food with thin, small slices perfectly sized for kittens’ tiny mouths.
High-quality protein and prebiotics support digestive health and help balance intestinal flora for optimal stool quality.
It supports the high energy needs of kittens during their intense first year of growth.
Best for Kittens
Royal Canin Feline Health Nutrition Kitten Thin Slices in Gravy Canned Cat Food, 3-oz, case of 24
  • Contains thin slices of meat in gravy
  • Best for kittens between 4 to 12 months
  • Added fish oil for omega fatty acids
  • Good for healthy digestion
Check Chewy Check Amazon

Choosing the Best Cat Foods: What to Look For

When selecting the best food for your cat, there are many factors you have to consider. Some of them include your cat’s age, any flavor preferences your cat might have, and what nutrients the food contains.

Life Stage

Your cat’s nutritional requirements will change throughout its life. For example, a kitten requires nutrients in specific amounts to facilitate its brief-but-intensive growth period. Seniors require less of some nutrients and more of others as their bodies age. You should keep this in account when choosing the best food for them. This is also why our list contains great food options for kittens, adults, and senior cats.

Flavor Preferences

It should come as no surprise that some cats are picky eaters. This could make finding the best food for them a bit of a challenge. One way to work around this is to try different protein sources to see which your cat enjoys. Your cat could also have a preference to wet food over dry food.

Essential Nutrients

The important nutrients your cat needs to survive include protein, vitamins, amino acids, and minerals. Some of these, like the amino acid taurine, your cat does not naturally produce. The perfect diet should contain these ingredients and more.

The Different Types of Cat Foods: Pros and Cons Compared

There are many different kinds of cat food in the market. We have two main variations on this list: wet cat food and dry cat food. Knowing the pros and cons of each type can help you better decide which is best for your cat.

Wet Cat Food

ProsCons
Great for cats with missing teeth.A bit on the expensive side.
Provides extra moisture for your cat.Harder to preserve after opening.
Available in a large variety of flavors.Not great for you cat’s oral health.
Great source for protein. Better than dry food.It can be a bit messy.

Dry Cat Food

ProsCons
Great for nibbling.Could lead to dehydration.
Easy to preserve after opening.Tends to have a lower protein content and a higher starch content.
Great for your cat’s oral health.Leaving food out for grazing can lead to your cat whibeing overweight if they are not good at portion control.
You can buy a huge amount to last long.It can be harder to digest for some cats because of the higher carb content.
Can be left out for grazing in instances where you are not around. 

Up Next

The Best Cat Foods (Kitten, Adult, Senior) FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) 

What are the top five healthiest cat foods?

Choosing healthy food for your cat is a great decision. There are many brands that you can trust in this regard. Some of them include Purina, American Journey, Royal Canin, Sheba, and CRAVE.

Who makes the most nutritious cat food?

There are many brands that carry nutritious cat foods. For this review, our best overall is CRAVE Grain Free High Protein Indoor Adult Cat Food.

What brand of dry cat food is the best?

When it comes to great dry cat food, we’d choose to go with Purina. They make many wonderful formulas at extremely affordable prices.

What is the healthiest cat food for an indoor cat?

Royal Canin makes great cat food that is formulated for indoor cats. If you’re searching, we’d recommend trying out this brand’s indoor cat food.

Thank you for reading! Have some feedback for us? Contact the AZ Animals editorial team.