The 8 Best Premium Dry Foods to Buy for Cats in 2018

Delicious and nutritious options for your feline friend

Young kitten eating from blue bowl
Benjamin Torode / Getty Images

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Providing nourishing food for your cat is key to a long, healthy life. Plus, they have to actually enjoy the food, too. Perhaps they prefer salmon over chicken, or need a grain-free diet to ensure a calm stomach. Whatever dry food you choose for your cat to nosh on, all of the types we’ve provided here are delicious and nutritious.

  • 01 of 08

    Best Overall: Natural Balance Limited Ingredient Dry Cat Food

    With a variety of flavors and protein sources, Natural Balance Limited Ingredient Dry Cat Food is sure to satisfy your cat’s taste buds. Each flavor has limited ingredients to ensure healthy digestion and limit upset stomachs. Plus, the first ingredients always include green peas and the main meat source—chicken, duck, salmon, or venison. All of the flavors are grain free, and provide a balanced, daily nutrition that includes omega-3 and six fatty acids for a shiny, healthy coat, with fiber and protein for easy digestion and sustained energy. Varieties include green pea and chicken, green pea and duck, green pea and salmon, green pea and venison, as well as a salmon and chickpea indoor formula, and a turkey and chickpea indoor formula. Bag sizes include 2, 4.5, 5, 8, and 10 pounds.

  • 02 of 08

    Runner-Up, Best Overall: Rachael Ray Nutrish Natural Dry Cat Food

    Rachael Ray’s Nutrish Natural Dry Cat food is a high-quality choice for adult cats that want a natural meal without wheat. Flavors include salmon and brown rice or chicken and brown rice. Both contain real meat as the first ingredient, and don’t contain ground corn, wheat, soy, poultry by-products, nor artificial flavors or preservatives. Your cats will get plenty of fiber and prebiotics that aid in digestion, including beet pulp and taurine, an amino acid that supports a healthy heart and healthy vision. Bag sizes include 3, 6, and 14 pounds.

  • 03 of 08

    Best for Weight Management: Blue Buffalo Life Protection Dry Adult Cat Food

    Sometimes we overload our furry friends with treats. If that’s the case and your little guy or gal needs to slim down, feed them Blue Buffalo Life Protection Dry Adult Cat food in the chicken and turkey flavors, or the Chicken Weight Control Formula, which is available in seven and 15 pound bags. Both have high-protein, deboned chicken (with no by-product) as well as a plethora of whole grains and veggies, like brown rice, spinach, pomegranate, and apples, to provide antioxidants and vitamins.

    Want to take a look at some other options? See our guide to the best cat food for weight management

  • 04 of 08

    Best Grain Free: Purina Beyond Natural Grain Free Ocean Whitefish and Egg Recipe

    For a grain-free food that isn’t crazy pricey, go with Purina’s Beyond Natural Grain Free Ocean Whitefish and Egg dry cat food. There is no ground corn, wheat, or soy added to this kibble, and no artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives. In fact, ocean whitefish is the first ingredient, followed by chicken meal and pea protein. Ocean whitefish provides amino acids, while chicken, pea protein and eggs provide lean protein. The entire meal also provides fiber and carbohydrates for energy, as well as a complete set of daily vitamins and minerals. Bag sizes include 3, 5, and 11 pounds.

    Continue to 5 of 8 below.
  • 05 of 08

    Best for Older Cats: Blue Buffalo Wilderness High Protein Dry Cat Food

    In each of the flavor varieties of the grain-free Blue Buffalo Wilderness High Protein Dry Cat food, your cat will get LifeSource Bits, special kibble pieces that contain specific vitamins and minerals to keep your adult cat healthy and active. Along with vitamins and minerals and high-quality pure protein, the kibble also contains sweet potatoes for complex carbs, cranberries, blueberries, and carrots that contain antioxidants to support the immune system, and other essentials that aid in healthy muscles, hair, heart, eyes, and digestion. Flavors include chicken, duck, and salmon. Bag sizes include 2, 2.5, 5, 6, 11, and 12 pound bags.

  • 06 of 08

    Best Raw: Nature’s Variety Instinct Raw Boost Grain Free Natural Dry Cat Food

    If you are sticking with a raw diet for your feline friend, opt for Nature’s Variety Instinct Raw Boost Grain Free Dry food. Varieties of this food come in chicken, duck, and rabbit. All meals include high-protein kibble mixed with raw, freeze-dried meat. Plus, your cat will receive prebiotics for healthy digestion, omega-3 and six fatty acids for a smooth coat, and antioxidants for a healthy immune system. No grain, potatoes, corn, wheat or soy, and no artificial colors or preservatives. Bag sizes include 2 pounds, 4.5 pounds, 5 pounds, 10 pounds, and 11.3 pounds.

    Take a peek at some of the other best frozen and freeze-dried raw cat foods you can buy.​

  • 07 of 08

    Best for Kittens: IAMS Proactive Health Kitten Dry Cat Food - 7lbs

    Courtesy of Target

    If you’ve got an itty bitty kitty, you want yours to get off on the right foot food wise. This blend by IAMS is designed specifically for cats under one year of age and has the same nutrition as their mother’s milk. The first ingredient is chicken and it’s made with omega 3 DHA, antioxidants, prebiotics and beet pulp — all the things your kitten needs to grow into a strong, happy and healthy cat.

    But it’s not just good for them, kittens love it too. Some customers say it’s the only dry cat food their kittens will eat. Some love it so much that several reviewers report their furry little friends tearing into the bag just to get some more. Bag size is seven pounds.

  • 08 of 08

    Best Organic: Newman's Own Organics Advanced Formula Chicken

    Courtesy of Walmart

    When you want only the purest nutrition for your cat, there’s this organic dry cat food from Newman’s Own. Yep, the same company that makes those delicious, healthy salad dressings, also makes cat food so good they claim humans will be jealous of it. We’re not sure we’d go that far, but it does sound like a treat for any cat.  

    Made with organic chicken, vegetables and grains, it’s full of protein and is good for cats young and old alike. You won’t find any artificial additives inside. Bag size is 4.75 pounds. Cat owners rave about this food, particularly for cats who have digestive issues or other health problems. It’s definitely pricier than other cat foods, but devoted customers say it’s worth it.