As a certified pet nutritionist, I do not typically recommend a canned only diet as best nutrition for your cats. However, if you can't currently feed your cats a fresh cooked or raw diet, choosing a quality brand of canned food can certainly be adequate to allow your cat to live a life free of preventive diet-related illness. So, let's get right into it:
These brands were chosen based on the following guidelines:
- Free of top allergy-producing ingredients; gluten, soy, dairy, wheat, carrageenan.
- Whole food ingredients, no meat by-products.
- Species appropriate ratio of protein/fat/carbs. (at least 90% protein)
- Affordably priced.
- Available at retailers and online throughout US.
- Companies not regularly involved in pet food recalls.
- Meets AAFCO (American Association of Feeding Control Officials) nutrition requirements for “All Life Stages;” kittens, pregnant moms, nursing moms, adults and seniors; versus, nutrition for “Adult Maintenance” only which is not ideal nutrition.
- Formulates at least 4 different sources of proteins for canned cat food; cats should ideally have 6 or more proteins they eat frequently on rotation. (i.e. duck, turkey, rabbit, quail, chicken, lamb, venison, whitefish, salmon, beef, elk, goat, kangaroo).
The list is in order of least cost to most cost. Please note that the higher cost does not necessarily mean the formulation is any better; each brand selected produces a very good formulation, some of the higher priced brands do offer products with higher-end free-range and grass-fed or human grade meats, and included higher priced added ingredients like green lipped mussels.
1. Whole Earth Farms canned: $0.18 per oz.
2. Nulo canned: $0.23 per oz. (in the large 12.5 oz. cans)
3. Redbarn canned: $0.24 per oz.
4. Merrick canned: $0.30 per oz.
5. Dr. Elsey’s canned: $0.31 per oz.
6. Only Natural Pet canned: $0.36 per oz.
7. Organix canned: $0.37 per oz.
8. Natures Variety canned: $0.40 per oz.
9. Caru boxed: $0.42 per oz.
9. Rawz canned: $0.48 per oz.
10. Ziwi Peak: $0.54 per oz.
11. Feline Natural: $0.57 per oz.
These additional formulas did not make my official list because they are formulated only for "adult cats maintenance," not nutrition for all life stages. However, they do make very good overall formulas so I recommend feeding them as a “back-up” food, or simply as an adjunct to the other brands to increase your cats variety of proteins and formulas.
1. Dave’s canned: .18 cents/oz.
2. Koha canned: .36 cents/oz.
3. Open Farm box: .46 cents/oz.
Sincerely, your PetCoach