Best Venison Cat Food

The idea of a house cat taking down a deer is a little amusing, so I often smile a little when I see venison as a chosen ingredient on a bag of cat food.

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Now, cats may end up eating some venison in the wild if they find a reasonably fresh carcass, but this isn’t a type of meat they hunt for themselves. That makes it more rare dietary choice, and thus a fantastic option for cats who are allergic to other sources of protein.

If your cat enjoys the taste of venison, you might be researching some of the brands and foods that have venison as an ingredient. Look no further, we’ve answered some questions about venison cat food and provided our top picks for the venison-loving felines in your life.

Top 7 Best Venison Cat Food

Deer is an excellent protein option for cats, so here are our top choices for venison cat food:

Taste of the Wild Rocky Mountain Grain-Free Dry Cat Food

Taste of the Wild’s Rocky Mountain recipe is a high-protein dry cat food, sold with at least 42% crude protein. That’s significantly more than the majority of its competition. However, perhaps more relevantly, this is also the brand of cat food that my family buys for one of our cats.

Taste of the Wild Blend Nutritional Facts

Despite its prominence on this list, Taste of the Wild’s Rocky Mountain mix isn’t a primarily-venison food source. Instead, it’s a blend of venison, salmon, and chicken, with chicken being the most prominent ingredient. The reason for this is that venison itself is a wet, low-protein ingredient, so high-protein mixes like this one must have other ingredients if they want to meet the high standards for dry pet food.

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This is something you’ll see in a lot of other pet foods, so don’t consider other protein sources disqualifying if your pet happens to enjoy a particular ingredient or flavor. On the other hand, this is also why you should always check and read labels; if your cat is allergic to something, food may not be safe even if it advertises one or two protein sources you know are good for your cat.

Natural Balance Limited Ingredient Diets Green Pea & Venison Grain-Free Dry Cat Food

If the variety of ingredients in our #1 choice is an issue, here’s an option that might solve that. Natural Balance’s L.I.D. Pea & Venison blend is, as the name suggests, dry food that carefully minimizes the number of ingredients in order to provide safe food for pets who are allergic to other sources of protein. For this product, the protein comes exclusively from venison and peas, with additional minerals and other supplements added in (like for most other pet foods).

Natural Balance Blend Nutritional Facts

This product has a minimum of 30% crude protein, which is noticeably lower than our #1 choice. That’s the low-protein nature of venison kicking in; in fact, the crude protein amount is below most other dry cat food blends, too.

Cats need protein for energy, so active cats that get up and move around a lot need a higher-protein diet. That makes this blend a better choice for cats with calm and relaxed personalities. If they don’t need as much energy, they won’t have to eat as much of this food.

Nutro Max Adult With Savory Venison Chunks in Sauce Canned Cat Food, 3-oz

Variety is important on a list of the best cat foods, especially because cats are picky eaters and won’t all enjoy the same things. In many cases, this is partially due to their exposure and experience as kittens.

Simply put, you can never be entirely sure what a cat will or won’t like. Nutro Max’s venison chunks blend is a wet food normally sold in cases of 24, with a guaranteed minimum of 8% crude protein and a maximum of 82% moisture.

Nutro Max Blend Nutritional Facts

As you can see from the protein percentage, this has a much lower protein-by-volume than pretty much any dry cat food. That doesn’t mean it’s not healthy, though. The moist part of wet cat food is often a gravy of sorts, with additional nutritional value all its own. The moisture can also help reduce the amount cats need to drink, which is a little closer to their natural diets.

Despite the name and the generally high quality of this product, however, it’s much like our #1 choice in that it’s not a purely venison-based product. This wet food also has significant amounts of chicken, beef, and pork in it for a diverse blend of ingredients.

Personally, I don’t think that’s a bad thing for average pets, but you might want to consider a different product if you want (or need) to focus on venison to the exclusion of other ingredients.

Hill’s Prescription Diet d/d Skin/Food Sensitivities Venison & Green Pea Formula Dry Cat Food

Here’s another limited-ingredient option. This product is rated extremely high by owners, but the fact that it’s a prescription food (and thus not necessarily a good choice for all cats) makes it harder to put any higher up this list. It’s also more expensive than most of the alternatives. Despite these negatives, however, the Hill’s blend is an excellent choice for cats who have various skin or food sensitivities.

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Hill’s Prescription Diet Blend Nutritional Facts

This product is relatively low in protein for dry cat food, with just 27% meeting the definition for crude protein. It’s also a rarity in that it has a vegetable as the first ingredient, rather than meat. Most dry cat foods don’t do that, although it’s hard to argue with the medical results for cats that need additional help. Like our #2 choice, this is a limited-ingredient product, making it an excellent choice for owners who want to avoid allergy-causing components.

BLUE Wilderness Denali Dinner with Wild Salmon, Venison & Halibut Grain-Free Dry Cat Food

You know, I’ve always been amused by the lengthy product names we often see in cat foods. Companies want you to pay attention to specific ingredients, though, and this particular mix offers an excellent blend of land-based and sea-based protein sources. This is mainly a fish-based food with added chicken meal to meet additional protein requirements, so like our #1 choice, it’s not a top option for pure venison if that’s what you’re looking for.

 

BLUE Blend Nutritional Facts

BLUE’s dry cat food blend is similar to most other dry cat foods, but it also contains what they like to call LifeSource Bits. This is a marketing term that just means “additional stuff we put in to help keep your cat healthy”, and the bits themselves are visibly distinct from the rest of the cat food.

This is also why BLUE’s blend has noticeably more ingredients on the label than many of its competitors, with rarer ingredients like parsley, dried kelp, and blueberries.

These ingredients aren’t inherently bad for cats, though some pet owners prefer simpler foods. In fact, while we usually think of cats as hunters, they can still digest many plant-based foods like blueberries in order to get antioxidants, fiber, and water. I suppose the point I want to make is that longer ingredient labels aren’t inherently bad, although they do run the risk of triggering allergies.

Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Selected Protein Adult PV in Gel Canned Cat Food, 5.6-oz

Another wet cat food, this is a premium choice for cats with food sensitivities and focuses almost entirely on venison, venison by-products, and pea flour. If you’ve read this far, you may be wondering why peas are such a popular ingredient in pet foods.

Put simply, peas are a cat-friendly source of carbohydrates, fiber, amino acids, and antioxidants. Despite some popular rumors, peas are not simply a low-cost filler meant to help pet food companies lower costs. Rather, they’re an excellent way to help eliminate grain from pet foods while still providing carbs and other important nutrients.

Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Nutritional Facts

This is another venison-based blend designed to help cats who have food or skin sensitivities. However, as the name suggests, it’s also a vet-exclusive product, and they won’t sell it to you without approval from a qualified veterinarian.

That makes it very hard to put this product as one of our top recommendations—it doesn’t matter how good the food is if you can’t buy it—but this is a good choice if your vet recommends it.

Instinct by Nature’s Variety Original Grain-Free Real Venison Recipe Natural Wet Canned Food

I spent some time debating which product to include at the end of this list. I settled on this product because it has a very high percentage of venison for wet cat food (not counting the broth in each can), and that makes it a more focused alternative to some of the other options on this list. That said, buyers rate it a little lower than they do all the other products on this list, but that’s true for wet cat food in general.

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This product comes in 3-oz and 5.5-oz cans. The smaller cans offer better value at the price I checked, and it’s often easier to feed a cat an entire small can at once instead of half of a larger can. Prices can vary by shop, though, so be sure to check your supplier for the best deal.

If you buy the larger cans, you can store the unused part of each can in a cold environment (40 F or less) using an airtight container. Most wet cat foods can last for up to five days in the fridge, but you should throw them out if you haven’t used them by that point.

Instinct Real Venison Recipe Nutritional Facts

This is a relatively high-protein mix for wet cat food, with a minimum of 13% crude protein and 78% moisture. The fat content is a bit low at 7%, too, which makes this a little lower on that end than some of the alternatives.

I don’t think this is the only food a cat should have in their diet because limited ingredients may not provide everything a cat needs, but it’s worth considering if you’re looking for a high-protein wet cat food. Note that this product does have a lot of pork liver, though. That’s not inherently bad, but as always, it’s important to know the ingredients.

Best Venison Cat Food FAQ

Here are answers to some common questions about venison cat food.

What Types Of Cats Hunt Deer?

The biggest feline predators for deer are the bobcat in North America and the lynx in Eurasian areas. Small cats rarely hunt larger prey like deer, although they might occasionally scavenge from larger predators when they have the opportunity.

Incidentally, bobcats are actually a type of lynx. While most people regard them as separate species due to their moderately different appearances,  they are related creatures. Bobcats are notably more aggressive than their cousins and may attack prey significantly larger than they are.

Can Cats Become Allergic To Venison?

Yes. Cats can develop allergies to any type of protein they eat, including chicken, beef, pork, fish, and venison. Venison allergies are relatively rare in felines, but since they can happen, you should always check the labels of your food to help narrow down potential causes.

Note that cats may not be allergic to certain foods right away. It can take months or years for an allergy to develop in a cat fully, so the only thing you can do is pay attention and continue looking for signs of allergies.

Can I Give Raw Venison To My Cat?

You can, but you shouldn’t. Household cats often have different immune systems than wild cats, and raw meat can carry bacteria, parasites, and other problems. If you want to feed whole cuts of venison to your cat, cook it to at least 145 degrees internally (about medium-rare). Do not judge how done the meat is by looking at its color or the clock; the only safe way to evaluate meat is to use a thermometer.

Chelsea Kuhel

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