Best* Grain Free Cat Food

From mindful eating to low-carb diets, health and wellness have taken center stage in recent years—and not just for humans. Pet parents realize that their cat’s diet can greatly impact their overall health, energy levels and lifespan.

For many pet parents searching for the best cat food, grain-free is an appealing option. But is it suitable for your cat? And how do you know which food to choose? We’re here to answer all your questions.

 
 

Grain-free Cat Foods: Pet Parent Faves

Grain-free cat treats and food are both made without the grains usually found in cat food: rice, oats, corn, wheat, rye and barley. It will also be free of all grain by-products like gluten, flour, starch and bran. Without these ingredients, the food is considered grain-free, no matter what else it contains.

Here are some of the best grain-free cat foods as rated by real Petco pet parents.

Applaws Complete and Balanced Grain-free Chicken Dry Cat Food

Applaws

Complete and Balanced Grain-free Chicken Dry Cat Food

Applaws is a small, independent company that’s been making delicious cat food and treats for ten years. Based on their reviews, they’re doing a great job.

Features:
  • Available in 4 lb. bags
  • Wholesome chicken breast is the first ingredient
  • Natural ingredients with added vitamins and minerals/li>
  • No artificial colors, flavors or preservatives
  • Sourced and made in the USA

WholeHearted Grain-free Salmon Formula Dry Cat Food

WholeHearted

Grain-free Salmon Formula Dry Cat Food

WholeHearted doesn’t just make some of the best grain-free dry cat foods—dog parents love them, too. Salmon is a popular pick for pets with allergies as it’s considered a “novel” protein.

Features:
  • Available in 2.5 lb., 5 lb. and 12 lb. bags
  • Real salmon is the first ingredient
  • Probiotics to maintain digestion
  • Omega-3 fatty acids for strong skin and coat
  • Antioxidants, vitamins and minerals to balance the diet
  • Whole veggies like spinach, carrots and kale

Orijen Grain-free Six Fish Premium High Protein Dry Cat Food

Orijen

Grain-free Six Fish Premium High Protein Dry Cat Food

Orijen is well-known for both its grain-free and high-protein foods, and this recipe provides both. At 40%, it’s one of the highest protein foods on our list.

Features:
  • Available in 4 lb. and 12 lb. bags
  • Six fish are the first six ingredients: whole Atlantic mackerel, whole Atlantic herring, flounder, Acadian redfish, Atlantic monkfish and silver hake
  • Special preparation ensures concentrated, rich nutrients
  • Quality animal ingredients and coated with freeze-dried liver
  • Probiotics, vitamins and minerals added
  • Infusions of gently freeze-dried cod liver enhance the flavor
  • Made in the USA with the world’s finest ingredients

Instinct Raw Boost Grain-free Recipe with Real Chicken

Instinct

Raw Boost Grain-free Recipe with Real Chicken

Instinct Raw Boost foods are one of the best grain-free dry cat foods because they combine raw ingredients with traditional kibble for a tasty, balanced diet.

Features:
  • Available in 2 lb., 5 lb. and 10 lb. bags
  • Cage-free chicken is the first ingredient
  • Contains protein-packed, freeze-dried bites of real chicken
  • Omega-3 and -6 fatty acids for a shiny coat
  • Boosted with antioxidants and probiotics for digestive support
  • Added vitamins and minerals
  • Made in the USA with the finest ingredients from around the world

Honest Kitchen Dehydrated Grain-free Chicken Cat Food

Honest Kitchen

Dehydrated Grain-free Chicken Cat Food

Honest Kitchen makes dehydrated foods that both dogs and cats find delicious. All you need to do is add warm water and wait three minutes.

Features:
  • Available in 2 lb. and 4 lb. packs
  • Free-range chicken is the first ingredient
  • Whole food ingredients like sweet potatoes and spinach
  • Human-grade and made in a human food facility
  • Added vitamins and minerals to support holistic health
  • Dehydrated—just add water for a delicious meal
  • Made in the USA with trusted sources from around the world

Honest Kitchen Dehydrated Grain-free Turkey Cat Food

Honest Kitchen

Dehydrated Grain-free Turkey Cat Food

With delicious pumpkin and cranberries, this Honest Kitchen recipe is more like a Thanksgiving meal than one of the best grain-free cat foods.

Features:
  • Available in 2 lb. and 4 lb. packs
  • High-quality, cage-free turkey as the first ingredient
  • Dehydrated food maintains nutrients and taste—just add warm water
  • Use it as a tasty topper for your cat’s dry food
  • No by-products, fillers, GMO ingredients or preservatives
  • Made following human-grade standards—not feed grade
  • Made in the USA with trusted sources from around the world

Wellness Complete Health Natural Grain-free Chicken Pate

Wellness

Complete Health Natural Grain-free Chicken Pate

The Wellness brand is the first on our list for the best grain-free canned cat foods. It’s always backed by their “100% Catisfaction Guarantee”—love it or return it.

Features:
  • Available in 3 oz., 5.5 oz. or 12.5 oz. cans and 12- or 24-packs
  • Chicken, chicken liver, turkey and chicken broth are the first ingredients
  • No carrageenan, a common thickener in wet food
  • No meat by-products or artificial flavors or colors
  • Essential vitamins and minerals for a balanced diet
  • Made in North America and backed by the Wellness Guarantee

Wellness Complete Health Natural Grain-free Kitten Wet Cat Food

Wellness

Complete Health Natural Grain-free Kitten Wet Cat Food

This Wellness recipe is specially formulated to provide the extra energy kittens need and a diet that supports immunity, the urinary and digestive tracts and the skin and coat.

Features:
  • Available in 3 oz. cans and 24-packs
  • Chicken, chicken liver, turkey and chicken broth are the first ingredients
  • Balanced calories, fat and protein
  • Added taurine for eye and heart development
  • Does not contain carrageenan, preservatives or artificial flavors or colors
  • Premium ingredients
  • Made in North America and backed by the Wellness Guarantee

Instinct Original Grain-free Pate with Real Chicken

Instinct

Original Grain-free Pate with Real Chicken

Instinct is known for their raw food, and their best grain-free cat food follows the same principles—real, whole ingredients and delicious flavors.

Features:
  • Available in 3 oz. and 5.5 oz. cans and 12- or 24-packs
  • The first ingredients are cage-free chicken, turkey and chicken liver
  • Wholesome fruits and veggies like carrots, kale, cranberries and blueberries
  • Does not contain potatoes like many other grain-free cat foods
  • No artificial colors or preservatives
  • Made in the USA with the finest ingredients from around the world

B.F.F. Originals Batch 'O Besties Variety Pack Wet Cat Food

B.F.F.

Originals Batch 'O Besties Variety Pack Wet Cat Food

B.F.F. stands for “Best Feline Friend,” and this brand’s recipes are definitely a treat for your cat. This variety pack is a great introduction for your cat.

Features:
  • Available in 3 oz. and 5.5 oz. cans and 8- or 12-packs
  • Four tuna-based flavors with chicken, salmon or pumpkin toppers
  • Cage-free, wild-caught and responsibly sourced ingredients
  • Vitamin supplements for added nutrition
  • No carrageenan, preservatives or MSG
  • Made in a human-grade food facility

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Learn More About Grain-free Cat Food

The reasoning behind the grain-free diet is that cats are carnivores that require high-protein, low-carbohydrate diets. Wild cats truly are carnivores—unlike dogs, who are actually omnivores, cats in the wild strictly eat meat. If your cat indeed requires more protein, you can also look into high-protein cat food.

Grain-free diets can also help with food allergies and intolerances, which are relatively common in cats. If you suspect a food sensitivity, putting your cat on the best grain-free dry cat food can be a good first step to figuring it all out. From there, you’ll use an elimination diet to determine the real culprit.

It’s important to note that grain-free doesn’t mean low-carbohydrate. Grain-free cat foods often contain other carbs, like potatoes and peas, and can be just as high in carbohydrates as regular food. To find the best grain-free cat food, be sure to check the ingredients list and follow the tips below.

Indoor cats are typically less active than outdoor cats and therefore need fewer calories per day. However, they can eat the same type of food as outdoor cats—you’ll just feed them less of it. Take a look at our list above for the best grain-free cat foods for any activity level, and adjust the amount you feed accordingly.

Like indoor versus outdoor cats, the main difference in a senior cat’s diet is that they usually require fewer calories and fat as their activity level declines. Dry food with 25–30% protein and 10% fat, or wet food with 8% protein and 4% fat, should provide the right balance. Senior cats might also need higher-quality ingredients, which tend to be easier to digest, or special food based on their medical issues, for example, food for kidney health. Some companies make grain-free foods specifically for senior cats, or you can check out the ingredients and analysis on the package.

*Based on petco.com sales data.