Best Salmon Cat Food

Housecats may not catch salmon in streams very often, but they certainly seem to enjoy the flavor! Salmon is an extremely popular ingredient for dry and wet cat food.

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When served raw, salmon can be bad for cats, but in general when included in a healthy cat food, amongst a varied diet of other foods, salmon is perfectly safe for cats, and they really enjoy it.

It can be hard to narrow down all the different cat foods on the market, so we’ve done our research and compiled a list of the best salmon cat foods for you to feed your feline friend.

Read on to learn more about our favorite cat foods that contain salmon, as well as more information on our recommendations and answers to some common questions.

Top 7 Best Salmon Cat Foods

Check out our favorite picks for cat food featuring salmon as a primary ingredient:

Blue Buffalo Indoor Health Salmon & Brown Rice Recipe Adult Dry Cat Food

Blue Buffalo (or just BLUE, depending on how they’re advertising it) produces many different types of cat food, but this is easily one of their highest-rated products. The salmon and brown rice mix has a minimum 32% cure protein, which is reasonable although relatively average for dry cat food.

Like other Blue Buffalo products, it also contains nutrient-focused supplements within the food designed to support a complete diet.

The extra supplements are something of a rarity in dry cat food, which usually have identical kibbles throughout the process. Depending on your cat’s personality, they may pick out the supplements or ignore them and eat the rest of the food.

Blue Buffalo Mix Nutritional Facts

The first thing you may have noticed about this product is that it’s not grain-free. That’s been a popular trend in recent years, primarily because cooked grains can be bad for a cat’s digestive system. Notably, however, brown rice is tolerable in limited amounts and can provide some support for their digestion.

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There’s some confusion between the ideas of “filler” material in pet food and “unhealthy” ingredients. Rice has minimal nutritional value for cats because they mainly need protein, but this product meets the required standards for crude protein as a percent of its composition. The rice is used primarily to help cats feel full when they eat enough and to provide structure, flavor, and texture.

That said, this recipe is for adult cats; avoid giving any cat food with rice to kittens because it can lead to under-nourishment.

Meow Mix Wild Salmon Grain-Free Dry Cat Food

Perhaps most famous in the past for their advertisement jingles, Meow Mix has been in the pet food industry for a long time and has learned a lot about cat food over the years.

This mix comes in 3-lb, 6-lb, and 13.5-lb bags, and it’s free of common allergens like corn and wheat to help minimize the chance of having an allergic reaction. Personally, I think the 13.5-lb bag is a little large, but I do appreciate it when companies offer large-size bags for families that have multiple cats and go through a lot of pet food.

Meow Mix Wild Salmon Recipe Nutritional Facts

This product is 36% minimum crude protein, which is relatively average for dry cat food. However, while it is a salmon recipe, this product actually as more chicken by-product meal, peas, soy flour, and beef fat than salmon, which means it’s less of a pure salmon product and more of a salmon-containing product.

This isn’t unusual or inappropriate in the pet food industry, but it does highlight the need to pay attention to what’s actually in cat food, regardless of what the front of the bag says about it. Ingredients lists aside, public reviews for this product are exceptionally positive and suggest that most cats will enjoy it a lot.

My Little Lion 96% Salmon Recipe Grain-Free Canned Cat Food

Okay, first, some clarity: As a wet cat food, this has a broth/gravy component to it, and that is not solid salmon. However, the actual nutritional component of this cat food is mostly salmon, with additional vitamins and supplements necessary for healthy feline development. My family’s cats don’t like wet cat food very much, but this product has so far garnered quite a lot of praise from families who have tried it.

My Little Lion markets this product in 3-oz and 5.5-oz cans. In my research, the larger cans are a significantly better value for the money spent, so I recommend buying these and storing any extra wet food in an airtight, refrigerated container. You can safely store opened wet cat food for up to five days in the fridge, but after that, it’s better to throw it out.

My Little Lion Salmon Can Nutritional Facts

This is a limited-ingredient product that is almost entirely salmon and water for processing, as well as taurine and other vitamins and minerals. This is relatively rare for wet cat food, which usually includes a mix of different protein sources. The limit on ingredients is particularly helpful for cats who have allergies to other common ingredients, such as chicken or beef, and that alone makes this product a strong contender for our list.

Merrick Purrfect Bistro Bon Appetit’s Grain-Free Salmon Recipe Morsels in Gravy Adult Cat Food Pouches

Now that’s a product name we won’t have any trouble remembering. Pouches have become an increasingly popular alternative to cans in recent years, and for a good reason. A poorly-made can could injure your cat when you open it, while wet food poured out of a bag has no container-related threats at all.

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This particular product includes 9% crude protein overall, although this is a bit deceptive because the presence of the mixed broth lowers the protein percent. As far as the actual food element of each pouch goes, Merrick notes that they have about 74% protein and fat, with only 26% of each pouch containing carbs, vitamins, minerals, and so on. That’s a fairly reasonable spread of ingredients.

Merrick Grain-Free Salmon Recipe Nutritional Facts

While this is a flavorful and interesting product, it’s not higher on our list for one reason in particular: It’s not a complete food. This product is mainly a supplement designed to be given to adult cats alongside their other foods. That’s not inherently a bad thing—there’s value in having easy supplements for feline diets—but I can’t put a cat food at the top of this list unless it’s a primary nutrition source.

Natural Balance Indoor Ultra Chicken Meal & Salmon Meal Formula Dry Cat Food

This is an indoor cat blend offering a mix of chicken and salmon for protein, as well as brown rice and oat groats for substance. At 30% crude protein, this mixture is relatively low for dry cat food, making it a better choice for cats who don’t move around as much and don’t need a higher-protein mix of ingredients.

Natural Balance’s mix also has a variety of other ingredients, including spinach, carrots, and various potato products, which help give it a more distinctive flavor.

Natural Balance Indoor Mix Nutritional Facts

Like some of our earlier entries, this food is primarily chicken and uses salmon as a supporting ingredient rather than the highlight of its composition. It also has fewer pea-based ingredients than most pet foods, replacing that with brown rice and oats for a distinctively different composition.

Overall, this is a solid (if somewhat low-protein) choice. I find that it’s particularly helpful as an alternative to some other food blends, especially if they have ingredients like beef or pork that are triggering allergic reactions in your cat.

In other words, this isn’t my first choice for a salmon cat food (or it would be higher on the list), but it’s worth considering if you’re looking for a food that’s a little different.

Fancy Feast Gourmet Naturals Wild Alaskan Salmon Recipe Plus Coconut Milk Grilled Chunks in Gravy Grain-Free Canned Cat Food

Here we have another phenomenally-long product name. At 11% minimum crude protein, this is relatively dense for canned cat food, and the meaty portion of each can is supported by fish broth, liver, chicken, and coconut milk. This is an interesting (and relatively rare) blend of ingredients, and while it’s not a pure-salmon option, it does have more salmon in it than most of the competition.

Fancy Feast Gourmet Naturals Nutritional Facts

This is a popular product overall, with a lot of vitamins and minerals to support healthy diets. That said, you can expect to go through cans fairly quickly, so you may want to use these to supplement an alternative food instead of using them as the entirety of your cat’s diet.

However, the part that can make some people turn away from this product is the relatively high amount of wheat gluten. This can be dangerous for humans with gluten allergies, and that’s one of the reasons I didn’t put this product higher on the list. Cats can tolerate gluten in moderate amounts, but they still need plenty of animal-based protein, so always make sure they’re getting enough of that from whatever cat foods you choose to buy.

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Purina Cat Chow Naturals Original Dry Cat Food

As one of the largest pet food companies, it’s no surprise Purina has some salmon-flavored options. The emphasis here is on flavor because there’s a relatively low amount of salmon in this recipe compared to most of the others on our list. That makes it a better choice for cats who enjoy the flavor of salmon but also need to meet other nutritional needs, and a poorer choice for cats who want more real salmon.

Purina Cat Chow Naturals Nutritional Facts

This dry blend has 34% minimum crude protein, which is about average for dry cat food. It also features chicken and beef for protein, as well as corn, rice, soybeans, and wheat as additional components.

This is a very broad list of ingredients, so if your cat has any allergies at all, this food may trigger those allergies. That’s one of the main reasons this product is low on our list, despite the overall popularity of the product.

However, Purina also markets this as a complete food – that means your cat won’t need any additional supplements or alternative foods in order to get the nutrition they need. The same can’t be said for some of the other products on this list, so if you’re worried about providing the right nutrition, this can do a lot to ease your mind.

Best Salmon Cat Food FAQ

Here are some of the most common questions people have about salmon cat food.

Is Salmon Bad For Cats?

No. While some people spread rumors that fish is bad for cats, some cat breeds actively hunt salmon when they have the opportunity and consume them without issue.

That said, raw salmon can be bad for cats, especially if it contains bacteria or parasites. Also, dogs are susceptible to salmon poisoning. If you have a mixed-pet household, consider avoiding cat food with salmon in it just in case. Cooked fish should not be the majority of a cat’s diet, but you can make it as an occasional treat. In these cases, make sure to cook it to at least 145 degrees as measured by an internal thermometer.

Why Do So Many Salmon Cat Foods Have So Little Salmon In Them?

Salmon-flavored cat foods have less salmon than other ingredients for a variety of reasons. The biggest reason is that chicken (the most common ingredient in many salmon-containing foods) is simply more dense in protein than fish is, and all cat food products must adhere to minimum standards for protein content.

Salmon-focused blends can find it hard to meet these standards if salmon is the primary ingredient, so companies add large amounts of chicken or other protein-dense meat. While it’s true that pet food producers like saving money, they don’t use chicken just to cut costs. There are regulatory guidelines in play here, and all manufacturers tread carefully around those.

What Types Of Cats Eat Salmon In The Wild?

The main feline hunter of salmon is the bobcat, which can bat salmon straight out of the water when they’re spawning in rivers and other areas. Salmon are only present for part of the year, so they’re more of an occasional side-dish rather than a primary source of nutrition.

Despite that, salmon is an extremely popular ingredient for dry and wet cat food. Exact numbers are difficult to come by because companies add and remove products regularly, but it’s usually one of the most popular ingredients alongside tuna, chicken, and turkey.

Chelsea Kuhel

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