Contents of Article
- What is the Best Cat Food by Price?
- Top Recommended Cat Food Brands by Price
- Best Super Premium Cat Food
- Best Premium Wet & Dry Cat Food
- Best Affordable Wet & Dry Cat Food
- Best Budget Cat Food
- Best Cheap Cat Food
Being a cat owner means that you are responsible for meeting all of your cat’s basic needs and sometimes that can become expensive. Taking your cat to the vet once or twice a year is a must but the most important thing you can do to preserve his health is to feed him a high-quality cat food. Unfortunately, many people do not understand the significance of quality nutrition for the health and wellbeing of their cats, or they do not realize that some cat foods simply do not offer much in the way of nutritional value. It is also fairly common for cat owners to shop for cat food by price.
While there is nothing wrong with having a budget and sticking to it, you shouldn’t compromise your cat’s nutrition for the sake of spending a few extra dollars. In fact, skimping on cat food could actually end up costing you more in the long run because if your cat doesn’t get the quality nutrition he needs, he could develop all kinds of health problems. You don’t necessarily have to spend a small fortune on cat food each month, but buy your cat the highest quality cat food you can consistently afford. To help you find the best cat food for your budget, here is a breakdown of some of the top cat food brands arranged by price.
What is the Best Cat Food by Price?
- Castor & Pollux Organic Dry Cat Food
- Orijen Grain-Free Dry Cat Food
- Newman’s Own Organic Wet Cat Food
- Evanger’s Super Premium Wet Cat Food
- Petcurean Go! Grain-Free Fit + Free Cat Food
- Wellness Complete Health Grain-Free Wet Food
- Blue Buffalo BLUE Dry Cat Food
- Under the Sun Wet Cat Food
- Diamond Naturals Dry Cat Food
- Purina Beyond Wet Cat Food
- Whole Earth Farms Dry Cat Food
- Tiki Cat Wet Cat Food
- Meow Mix Dry Cat Food
- Friskies Wet Cat Food
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What Factors Influence the Price of Cat Food?
If you walk into the pet store and pick two bags of cat food off the shelf, one that costs $15 and another that costs $35, you might not immediately be able to tell what makes them different. After all, any bag of cat food you pick up is going to have the company name and the name of the product printed in large letters, probably with some additional claims about the product and its benefits. The information you really need to pay attention to, however, can be found on the back of the bag – here is where the truth about cat food products lies.
On the back of any pet food package you will find several things including an AAFCO statement of nutritional adequacy, a guaranteed analysis, and an ingredients list. As you may already know, the American Association of Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) plays a role in regulating the manufacture and sale of pet food and animal feed. AAFCO has established nutrient profiles for dogs and cats in different life stages according to their minimum nutritional requirements. If a pet food product meets those minimum requirements for the intended life stage, the package will carry a statement of nutritional adequacy that reads something like, “[Product Name] is formulated to meet the nutritional levels established by the AAFCO Cat Food Nutrient Profiles”.
If the pet food you are looking at carries a statement like the one listed above, you can rest assured that it will meet your cat’s nutritional needs as a staple diet. Products that do not carry this statement may be cheaper than those that do, but they are only intended for use as supplements, meal toppers, or treats. You need to remember as well that just because a product carries an AAFCO statement of nutritional adequacy, it doesn’t necessarily mean that it is a high-quality product. You need to look at the guaranteed analysis and the ingredients list for that. These two parts of the pet food label give you the most important information you need to know about the product and they also have the largest impact on the product’s price.
The guaranteed analysis is simply a breakdown of the nutrient content of a pet food product. Every pet food product is required to list the crude protein, crude fat, crude fiber, and moisture content but they can also include information about essential amino acids and other nutrients. Keeping in mind that cats require a minimum of 26% protein in their diet (30% for kittens) and 9% fat, products that contain values higher than these minimums are generally higher in quality that those that only meet the minimum requirement. This also means that products that exceed the bare minimum tend to be higher in price as well since higher protein content is usually correlated with higher meat content and meat-based ingredients are more expensive than grains and other carbohydrates.
After checking the guaranteed analysis, the ingredients list is the final place to go to determine the quality of a product and to see whether its price is an accurate reflection of that quality. If a product is on the higher end of the price spectrum, you should expect to see at least one high-quality animal protein as the first ingredient, though more is always better. The product should also contain plenty of healthy animal fats with no grains and minimal carbohydrates. The more carbohydrates a cat food product contains, the lower the price and the lower the quality. Not all products that contain grains are low in quality and/or price, but you need to remember that cats are obligate carnivores so they have a very limited ability to digest and absorb nutrients from plant products. Added supplements like chelated minerals and probiotics are also indicators of a higher quality product and are usually correlated with a higher price tag as well.
Top Recommended Cat Food Brands by Price
Now that you have a better understanding of what goes into commercial cat foods and what factors affect their price, you may be curious to know exactly how much cat food costs at different price points. Even among super premium cat foods at the high end of the spectrum and cheap cat foods at the low end, there is still a great deal of variety in price. The cat food brands reviewed below represent one of the best brands at each price point.
Best Super Premium Cat Food
|Castor & Pollux Organic Dry Cat Food
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|Orijen Grain-Free Dry Cat Food
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|Newman’s Own Organic Wet Cat Food
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|$1.43/5.5 oz can|
|Evanger’s Super Premium Wet Cat Food
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|$1.87/5.5 oz can|
Best Dry Super Premium Cat Foods
Castor & Pollux Organic Dry Cat Food
If you are looking for an all-natural cat food that doesn’t contain any artificial ingredients or by-products, Castor & Pollux Organic Dry Cat Food is the way to go. Castor & Pollux is the leader in organic and natural pet food, so you can feel good knowing that any of their products would be a great choice for your cat. This brand offers both traditional and grain-free dry foods made with premium, organic ingredients like chicken, turkey, salmon, spinach, brown rice, and more. You can purchase Castor & Pollux Organic Dry Cat Food in 4-pound and 12-pound bags – the larger bags cost around $40. For a 6 to 8-pound cat, the recommended daily serving is about ½ cup. Each 12-pound bag contains enough food to last about a month and a half, so your average monthly cost is around $27.
Orijen Grain-Free Dry Cat Food
The Orijen brand of cat food is known for producing biologically appropriate diets – products that mimic the natural evolutionary diet of wild cats. All of Orijen’s products are meat-rich and carbohydrate-limited in addition to being grain-free. Each super premium cat food recipe features unmatched fresh meat inclusions in keeping with WholePrey ratios – that means that fresh meat is included as well as organ meats and raw bone. Orijen offers five recipes for dry cat food: Cat & Kitten, Six Fish, Regional Red, Tundra, and Fit & Trim. You can purchase Orijen grain-free dry cat food in a variety of different sizes but the large 15-pound bag is the most cost-effective option. A 15-pound bag of Orijen grain-free dry food costs about $75, depending on the recipe. A 6 to 8-pound cat will eat about ½ cup per day and each 15-pound bag contains about 60 servings – that averages to a monthly cost around $37.50.
Best Super Premium Canned Cat Food
Newman’s Own Organic Wet Cat Food
Though you may be more familiar with the Newman’s Own brand for their salad dressings, this company also produces some high-quality pet products including organic wet cat foods. Newman’s Own Organic Wet Cat Food comes in several flavors, made with premium meats like turkey, chicken, and beef. There are traditional as well as grain-free options including several 95% recipes which feature high inclusions of USDA organic meats. You can buy 5.5-ounce cans of Newman’s Own Organic Wet Cat Food in cases of 24 for about $38 which correlates to an average price of $1.60 per can. When fed as a staple diet, one can will feed a cat up to 10 pounds for one day which translates to a monthly cost around $48.
Evanger’s Super Premium Wet Cat Food
The Evanger’s brand of pet food markets themselves as a super premium cat food brand. With more than 70 years of experience in the pet food industry, this company definitely knows what they are doing. Evangers offers a wide variety of super premium cat food recipes including original and grain-free options and a generous assortment of wet foods. Not only are Evanger’s wet cat foods high in protein, but they are made with novel proteins like duck, rabbit, and quail, all supplemented with fresh fruits and vegetables as natural sources for key nutrients. Evanger’s super premium cat food comes in 5.5-ounce, 6-ounce, and 13-ounce cans, depending on the recipe.
You can buy 5.5-ounce cans of Evanger’s Super Premium Cat Food in cases of 24 for about $45 which correlates to an average price of $1.90 per can. When fed as a staple diet, one can will feed a 6 to 8-pound cat for one day which translates to a monthly cost around $57.
Best Premium Wet & Dry Cat Food
Dry – Petcurean Go! Grain-Free Fit + Free Cat Food
When it comes to high-quality cat foods, Petcurean is one of the biggest names in the business. There are four product lines of dry food under the Petcurean umbrella, but the Go! brand is the most unique, offering custom dietary solutions for cats with specific nutritional needs. Go! cat food from Petcurean comes in three recipes – one with maximum protein levels, one for preventive care, and one for cats with food allergies and sensitivities. For grain-free cat food, the Fit + Free Grain-Free Chicken, Turkey & Trout recipe is the way to go. For a 25-pound bag of Petcurean Go! Fit + Free Grain-Free Dry Cat Food, you will pay about $70. Cats weighing 6 to 8 pounds should be fed about 3/8 cup daily, so each 25-pound bag has enough food for about 4 ½ months which makes your monthly cost about $16.
Canned – Wellness Complete Health Grain-Free Wet Food
The Wellness brand of cat food offers excellent quality because they use only the freshest wholesome ingredients – they also follow a holistic approach to pet nutrition. The Complete Health line of products from Wellness is formulated with high-quality proteins and grain-free carbohydrates like sweet potatoes and various fresh fruits and vegetables. Wellness Complete Health Grain-Free Wet Food comes in a variety of flavors including chicken, turkey, salmon, beef, lobster, and more. You can buy 12.5-ounce cans of Wellness Complete Health Grain-Free Wet Food in cases of 12 for about $30 which correlates to an average price of $2.50 per can. When fed as a staple diet, one can will feed a 6 to 8-pound cat for two days which translates to a monthly cost around $37.50.
Dry – Blue Buffalo BLUE Dry Cat Food
The Blue Buffalo brand is one of the leading manufacturers of natural pet food products. This company offers four distinct product lines which makes it easy for you to choose the one that is right for your cat. Choose from an assortment of simple recipes made with all-natural ingredients in the BLUE line of cat foods or select a grain-free recipe from the Freedom line of products. The Wilderness line includes protein-rich formulas and the Basics line includes limited ingredient diets. The price of Blue Buffalo dry cat food varies from one product line to another and amongst the different recipes, but the BLUE line is the most affordable cat food line. A 15-pound bag of Blue Buffalo BLUE Dry Cat Food will cost about $30. Cats weighing 6 to 8 pounds should be fed about ½ cup daily, so a 15-pound bag will last you about 2 months, giving you a monthly cost around $15.
Canned – Under the Sun Wet Cat Food
The Canidae company is an independent and family-owned business dedicated to producing high-quality pet food products for dogs and cats. Canidae sources their ingredients from local suppliers as much as possible and uses only the freshest natural ingredients available. When it comes to their wet cat foods, Canidae offers several product lines but the Under the Sun line is specifically designed to offer affordable cat food products that don’t skimp on quality. Each recipe is made with a single source of animal protein and other farm-fresh ingredients. You can buy 3-ounce cans of Canidae Under the Sun Wet Cat Food in cases of 12 for about $12 which correlates to an average price of $1.00 per can. Cats weighing 6 to 8 pounds should be fed two cans daily which translates to a monthly cost around $60.
Best Affordable Wet & Dry Cat Food
Dry – Diamond Naturals Dry Cat Food
Although the Diamond Pet Food company gets a bad rap for using low-quality ingredients and for having numerous product recalls, the brand is not all bad. If you are looking for an affordable cat food that offers decent quality, consider the Diamond Naturals brand. This brand is a step up from the original Diamond brand which makes heavy use corn and wheat ingredients. In fact, it is marketed as a holistic pet food made with high-quality proteins and fresh fruits and vegetables. Diamond Naturals dry cat food is corn-, wheat-, and soy-free and comes in three recipes for kittens, indoor adults, and active cats. For an 18-pound bag of Diamond Naturals Dry Cat Food you will pay about $25. Cats weighing 6 to 8 pounds should be fed about ½ cup daily and each bag contains about 2 ½ months’ worth of food, giving you a monthly cost for this affordable cat food around $10.50.
Canned – Purina Beyond Wet Cat Food
Similar to the Diamond Pet Food company, Purina also sometimes has a negative reputation for being a low-quality brand. The fact of the matter is, however, that there are many brands that fall under the Purina name. One of Purina’s mid-range brands is Purina Beyond, a line of natural pet foods made with quality ingredients but sold at an affordable price point. Purina Beyond offers both original and grain-free options, all made with real meat as the first ingredient. To stretch your budget a little further with this cat food, try feeding a combination of dry food and Purina Beyond Wet Cat Food. You can buy 3-ounce cans of Purina Beyond Wet Cat Food in cases of 12 for about $12 which correlates to an average price of $1.00 per can. Cats weighing 6 to 8 pounds should be fed about 1 ½ cans per day which translates to a monthly cost around $45.
Best Budget Cat Food
|Whole Earth Farms Dry Cat Food
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|Tiki Cat Wet Cat Food
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|$1.52/2.8 oz can|
Dry – Whole Earth Farms Dry Cat Food
The Whole Earth Farms brand of cat food is made by Merrick Pet Care and it is their affordable line of budget cat food. This cat food brand still uses all-natural ingredients but their products are not as expensive as many natural pet foods on the market. Whole Earth Farms offers four different recipes for dry cat food, all of which are grain-free and made with real meat as the first ingredient. There is one kitten-specific recipe and the remaining three are formulated for all life stages. For a 10-pound bag of Whole Earth Farms Dry Cat Food you will pay about $22. For cats weighing 6 to 8 pounds, the daily feeding recommendation is about 2/3 cups. A 10-pound bag of Whole Earth Farms Dry Cat Food will last for about 30 days, so your monthly cost will be about $22.
Canned – Tiki Cat Wet Cat Food
The Tiki Cat brand of pet food only offers wet cat food products – they do not make dry food. According to the company website, Tiki Cat was the first true gourmet cat food to hit the market, featuring human-grade meats and seafood. If you review the ingredients lists for some of Tiki Cat’s products, you will find some high-quality ingredients but you will also find that this brand uses a lot of synthetic supplements to balance out their recipes. If you are looking for a budget cat food that still offers decent quality, Tiki Cat wet cat food may be a good option. You can buy 3-ounce cans of Tiki Cat Wet Food in cases of 12 for about $10 which correlates to an average price of $0.83 per can. When fed as a staple diet for cats weighing 6 to 8 pounds, the recommended daily portion is about 1 ½ cans. This translates to a monthly cost around $37.50.
Best Cheap Cat Food
|Meow Mix Dry Cat Food
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|Friskies Wet Cat Food
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|$.47/5.5 oz can|
Best Cheap Dry Cat Food – Meow Mix Dry Cat Food
Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you are probably familiar with the singing cat commercials advertising the Meow Mix brand. When it comes to inexpensive cat food, Meow Mix is the brand that many cat owners gravitate toward. Not only is it a cheap cat food, but Meow mix offers a wide variety of different product choices. You should be aware, however, that inexpensive cat food like Meow Mix is generally made with low-quality ingredients such as meat by-products and inexpensive grain-based fillers. Think carefully about whether you can afford something a little bit better. Meow Mix is a very cheap cat food – a 3-pound bag only costs about $4 and a 22-pound bag costs just $15. Cats weighing 6 to 8 pounds should be fed about ¾ cup daily, so a 22-pound bag contains about two months’ worth of food, making your monthly cost just $7.50.
Best Cheap Canned Cat Food – Friskies Wet Cat Food
When you think of cat food, one of the first brand names that comes to mind is probably Friskies. The Friskies brand is one of the most inexpensive cat food brands on the market and also one of the easiest to find – it also offers a huge variety of products. Although Friskies is a cheap cat food, you must remember that you get what you pay for. Friskies uses a lot of meat by-products in their recipes as well as corn, wheat, and soy ingredients. You will also find a lot of synthetic supplements used, though generally not high-quality ones like chelated minerals and probiotics. You can buy 13-ounce cans of Friskies Wet Cat Food in cases of 12 for about $14 which correlates to an average price of $1.17 per can. Cats should be fed about 1 ounce per pound of bodyweight, so a 13-ounce can will last a 6- to 8-pound cat about 2 days. That translates to a monthly cost around $18.
Remember, the quality of your cat’s diet is directly related to his health and wellness. If you don’t feed your cat a cat food that provides high-quality nutrition, his nutritional needs will not be met and there is no way that he can be healthy. To keep your cat as healthy as possible for as long as possible, make the commitment to feeding him the highest quality cat food you can consistently afford.