Best Quality Cat Food at Walmart

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Stuck in the cat food aisle at Walmart and struggling to find something worth bringing home?

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This Walmart cat food buyer’s guide will help you make a smart decision. We’ve studied the brands available at Walmart and rounded up a list of the best cat foods they sell.

Note that this list isn’t representative of the best cat food on the market. If you’re interested in choosing truly excellent food, refer to our guide to the best healthy cat food.

Best Wet Cat Food at Walmart

The following foods might not be available at a Walmart in your area, but they’re available on Walmart.com and some, if not most, Walmart stores. If you want to make sure that a product is available at your store, request in-store pickup or call your Walmart in advance.

Fancy Feast Classic Paté

This budget brand from Purina is available at Walmart, other big box stores, and grocery stores.

Though most Fancy Feast recipes contain artificial colors and animal by-products, they’re meat-based and, in many cases, more species-appropriate than products with premium status. As a bonus, most cats love the way Fancy Feast tastes.

To avoid starchy thickeners, stay away from stew-style recipes and look for Fancy Feast Classic Paté.

Top Recipe: Fancy Feast Classic Paté Chicken Feast

First 5 Ingredients: Chicken, Poultry Broth, Liver, Meat By-Products, Fish

This popular canned cat food is made primarily from chicken, followed by poultry broth, liver, meat by-products, and fish. Though the first ingredient is clearly labeled as chicken, most of the ingredients are vaguely-named. This means that it’s difficult to gauge ingredient quality and control potential allergens.

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The food contains a few artificial ingredients, including artificial flavor and added color. Because the dye is referred to as “added color”, it’s impossible to know which dye is used and how it might affect your cat.

Instead of controversial carrageenan found in some other Fancy Feast recipes, this paté is thickened with guar gum.

Overall, this is a meat-based, high-protein cat food with moderate carbohydrate content.

Pros
  • High protein content
  • Primarily made from animal-sourced protein
  • Relatively low carbohydrate content
  • Free of carrageenan
Cons
  • Contains artificial colors
  • Made with artificial flavors
  • Primarily made from vaguely-named animal ingredients
Click here to find out if Fancy Feast cat food is in stock at a Walmart near you.

Purina ONE Grain-Free

Despite being more expensive, Purina ONE’s wet cat food recipes are similar to those offered by Friskies and Fancy Feast. Purina ONE canned foods are meat-heavy and generally species-appropriate but include questionable ingredients like meat by-products, artificial colors, and artificial flavors.

Top Recipe: Purina ONE Grain Free Formula Classic Chicken Recipe

First 5 Ingredients: Chicken, Water Sufficient for Processing, Liver, Fish, Meat By-Products

This canned food from Purina ONE is made primarily from chicken with several types of mystery meat, including anonymous liver, fish, and meat by-products. Because it contains vaguely-named protein sources, it’s not the best choice for cats with food allergies and sensitivities.

In addition to meat ingredients, the food contains several controversial additives. One is “added color”. Since we don’t know specifically which dyes are used in the food, it’s impossible to know if they’ll trigger sensitivities or cause other problems. Color isn’t the only thing in this food that’s artificial—it contains both natural and artificial flavors. The food contains guar gum as a binder and is carrageenan-free.

Overall, this is a meat-based food and relatively species-appropriate in terms of macronutrient distribution, but the presence of artificial ingredients and anonymous proteins makes it a less-than-ideal choice. Still, it’s one of the best options at Walmart.

Pros
  • Chicken is the first ingredient
  • Meat-based, carnivore-appropriate food
  • Low carbohydrate content
  • No carrageenan
Cons
  • Contains artificial colors and flavor
Click here to find out if Purina ONE cat food is in stock at a Walmart near you.

Friskies Paté

This popular budget brand is a staple in Walmart’s cat food aisle. You’ll probably see a variety of both dry and wet Friskies foods. Avoid Friskies kibble—it’s chock-full of corn, corn gluten meal, and other undesirables.

Friskies canned food, however, is an acceptably meat-heavy choice with plenty of moisture. Friskies wet food contains artificial colors and by-products, so it’s probably not the best choice for long-term feeding, but it works in a pinch.

The trick to buying Friskies wet food is opting for the paté recipes rather than Tasty Treasures and Savory Shreds. The patés have lower carbohydrate content than their shredded and chunked counterparts.

Top Recipe: Friskies Turkey & Giblets Paté

First 5 Ingredients: Meat By-Products, Water Sufficient for Processing, Turkey, Poultry By-Products, Fish

On the bright side, this is a meat-based food with minimal plant matter. It’s protein-rich and most of that protein is sourced from species-appropriate animal parts.

The dark side? Most of that meat is a by-product or vaguely named. This makes it hard to determine digestibility values and suggests that the meat may not be of the highest quality. If you have a cat with food allergies or sensitivities, the vagueness of this ingredient list won’t help you to avoid the proteins that make your cat’s symptoms flare up.

The food contains a small amount of rice, which is nutritionally unnecessary and increases the food’s carbohydrate content. Both artificial colors and flavors make an appearance on the ingredient list, bringing with them potentially negative health effects.

It’s thickened with guar gum and carrageenan. The latter may cause inflammation, making it an undesirable additive.

Overall, this isn’t the best food you could give your cat, but it’s a relatively species-appropriate, moisture-rich choice ideal for short-term feeding or a tight budget.

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Pros
  • High moisture
  • High protein content
  • Primarily made from animal protein sources
  • Low carbohydrate content
Cons
  • Made primarily from vaguely-labeled ingredients
  • Contains artificial colors
  • Contains artificial flavors
  • Contains carrageenan
Click here to find out if Friskies cat food is in stock at a Walmart near you.

Best Dry Cat Food at Walmart

If you’re set on buying dry cat food at Walmart, here are the best brands and products you can find. Remember that it’s more difficult to find good dry food than good wet food and that becomes even more of a challenge when you’re restricted to the selection at Walmart.

Besides the fact that no dry food can give your cat the hydration they need, dry foods tend to have high carbohydrate content and a relatively high percentage of protein from plants, meaning that they’re typically less digestible, less satisfying, and less species-appropriate than canned foods.

Pure Balance Grain-Free

This Walmart-exclusive brand offers a variety of grain-free dry cat foods.

Compared to other kibble sold at Walmart, Pure Balance dry foods are carnivore-appropriate with generous doses of meat and meat meals. The foods are marketed as grain-free, but if you’re strict about avoiding grains, don’t forget to flip over the bag and read the ingredient list before choosing Pure Balance food. Ironically, one of their recipes is “grain-free with brown rice”.

All Pure Balance foods are free of artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives. Pure Balance offers a variety of limited-ingredient foods, making it a good option for cats with allergies or food sensitivities.

Top Recipe: Pure Balance Grain-Free Wild & Free Turkey Dry Cat Food

First 5 Ingredients: Turkey, Chicken Meal, Peas, Turkey Meal, Dried Egg Product

This food is primarily made from animal-sourced protein. The ingredient list begins with chicken, turkey, and dried egg product. Potato protein is also on the ingredient list, but it’s the ninth ingredient and comes after all of the meat ingredients, suggesting that it’s not a major part of the food’s total protein content.

The food is made from named meats only—no vaguely-labeled by-products or rendered meals here. Though it’s not a limited-ingredient food, this transparency can help allergic or food-sensitive cats avoid trigger proteins.

Altogether, this Walmart-exclusive food is one of the best dry cat foods available at the store.

Pros
  • Made primarily from animal protein
  • Made from specifically-named animal ingredients
  • No animal by-products
  • No artificial ingredients
Cons
  • Excessive plant content
Click here to find out if Pure Balance Grain-Free cat food is in stock at a Walmart near you.

Rachael Ray Nutrish PEAK

Rachael Ray Nutrish cat foods represent a middle point between the types of foods you’d find in independent pet specialty stores and the typical budget food sold at Walmart. Rachael Ray Nutrish’s PEAK line is slightly higher in protein and animal matter than their standard dry foods, making them a superior choice for cats.

While Rachael Ray Nutrish foods are sold in many Walmart stores, the PEAK line may not be available, so you may need to request an in-store pickup or check with your local Walmart before you go in.

Top Recipe: Rachael Ray Nutrish PEAK Natural Grain Dry Cat Food, Grain Free Woodland Catch Recipe with Chicken, Trout & Salmon

First 5 Ingredients: Chicken, Chicken Meal, Menhaden Fish Meal, Dried Peas, Pea Protein

This Rachael Ray PEAK food features chicken, chicken meal, and menhaden fish meal as the first three ingredients. The food also contains pea protein as the fifth ingredient, so not all of the food’s protein is animal-sourced.

Like other grain-free foods, this kibble omits common grains like corn, soy, and wheat, instead featuring dried peas, tapioca, and dried sweet potato as binders.

The food is free of artificial ingredients.

Overall, this is a relatively high-protein, low-carbohydrate food.

Pros
  • Relatively low carbohydrate content
  • Made primarily from animal protein sources
  • Free of artificial ingredients
Cons
  • High in plant content
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Click here to find out if Rachael Ray Nutrish PEAK cat food is in stock at a Walmart near you.

Crave Grain-Free

Mars Petcare introduced this brand of grain-free cat and dog foods in 2017.

All Crave dry cat foods include meat as the first ingredient and are grain-free with no corn, soy, or wheat. Most of their foods provide 40% protein, but not all of that protein is from animals. Crave foods contain pea protein, potato protein, and other concentrated sources of plant protein.

Top Recipe: Crave Grain-Free with Protein from Chicken Adult Dry Cat Food

This Crave kibble is grain-free and made without any corn, wheat, or soy. Chicken is the first ingredient—no chicken by-product meal in sight. It’s made from natural ingredients and doesn’t contain any artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives.

Chicken and chicken meal are the first two ingredients. Pea protein is third. The prominence of this concentrated plant protein means that a generous amount of the 40% protein comes from plant sources. Later on the ingredient list, you’ll find potato protein and dehydrated alfalfa meal, both plant protein concentrates.

Overall, the food is high in protein and low in carbohydrates compared to other dry foods.

Pros
  • Relatively meat-rich
  • No artificial ingredients
  • Relatively low carbohydrate content
Cons
  • Contains several sources of plant protein
  • Excessive carbohydrate content
Click here to find out if Crave cat food is in stock at a Walmart near you.

Choosing the Best Quality Cat Food at Walmart

There’s one trick that makes it easy to find decent food at Walmart or any other store that only sells cheap cat food. Ignore the kibble and go straight for the cans and pouches of wet food.

Many companies sell reasonably high-quality wet cat food at a low price, but it’s hard to find a high-quality dry cat food that isn’t sold exclusively through pet stores and specialty retailers.

Luckily for Walmart shoppers, the cheapest canned foods are sometimes more carnivore-appropriate than premium wet and dry foods.

Though they contain lower-grade ingredients like animal by-product meal and some contain potentially hazardous additives, economy wet food brands seldom contain unnecessary plant ingredients. Unlike expensive brands you’d find at Petco or your local independent pet specialty retailer, these brands keep it simple. Instead of adding cranberries, carrots, spinach, and potatoes to their canned food, most contain little more than meat or meat by-products, binders, and supplements.

Don’t assume that every cheap canned food is a good choice for your cat. Read the label closely to spot hazardous additives. Many of these foods contain artificial ingredients, including colors, flavors, and preservatives. Some contain carrageenan, a potentially inflammatory binding agent.

Most of the cheap dry foods you’ll find at Walmart are full of corn, artificial colors, artificial flavors, wheat, and other ingredients that wouldn’t fall into the “high-category.

If you want to feed your cat a minimally-processed, carnivore-appropriate dry food, avoid budget brands like Kit & Kaboodle, Meow Mix, Special Kitty, or Purina Cat Chow.

Instead, you’ll have to settle on mid-range brands like Merrick, Pure Balance, Rachael Ray Nutrish, and Crave. These foods aren’t perfect, but they’re slightly better than the rainbow-hued crunchies that take up most of the shelf space on the Walmart cat food aisle.

If you aren’t satisfied with anything you see on the cat food aisle, consider pushing your cart to Walmart’s meat department.

Raw or cooked meat makes a great treat or temporary meal replacement, and if you get a good vitamin premix or recipe, you can turn almost any meat into complete and balanced cat food.

Homemade raw or cooked cat food is more economical than comparably high-quality commercial food. Sometimes, it’s even cheaper than budget foods. If you’re shopping at Walmart to save money, homemade cat food may be a low-cost solution that doesn’t force you to sacrifice quality for savings. Click here to learn more about making safe, healthy cat food at home.

Mallory Crusta

Mallory Crusta offers simple, honest knowledge about natural cat care and products that work so that you can spend less time researching natural cat care and more time having fun with your cat. She blogs about it at WildernessCat.com.

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