Best Cat Food Without Carrageenan

Before listing and reviewing five top-notch foods without carrageenan, let’s learn more about this common cat food ingredient and why you might want to avoid it.

Chewy Online Pet Supplies


Why Buy from Chewy?

Hint: They sent a card...

Read Story

Carrageenan in Cat Food

Carrageenan is a popular food additive derived from red seaweed. When cooked, it has a gelatinous texture that makes it an excellent stabilizer, emulsifier, and thickener. It’s used to improve the texture of a wide array of products. In cat food, it’s used to give wet foods a smooth, creamy texture.

Carrageenan goes by many different names and might be lurking in your cat’s food without your knowledge. You may find it listed on cat food labels as any of the following:

  • Algas
  • Algue Rouge Marine
  • Chondrus crispus
  • Chondrus Extract
  • Euchema species
  • Irish Moss Algae
  • Red Marine Algae

Quick Look : Top 5 Best Carrageenan-Free Cat Foods

FoodPriceRating
Tiki Cat Puka Puka Luau Succulent Chicken in Chicken Consomme Grain-Free Canned Cat FoodTiki Cat Puka Puka Luau Succulent Chicken Grain-Free Canned Cat Food
Read Reviews Next ArticleWhere To Buy Next Article
$2.42/6 oz canA+
First Mate Turkey Formula Limited Ingredient Grain-Free Canned Cat FoodFirst Mate Turkey Limited Ingredient Grain-Free Canned Cat Food
Read Reviews Next ArticleWhere To Buy Next Article
$2.19/5.5 oz canA+
Miko Chicken Recipe in Consomme Grain-Free Cat FoodMiko Chicken Recipe in Consomme Grain-Free Cat Food
Read Reviews Next ArticleWhere To Buy Next Article
$1.25/3 oz canA
Dr. Elsey's cleanprotein Chicken Formula Grain-Free Canned Cat FoodDr. Elsey’s cleanprotein Chicken Formula Grain-Free Canned Cat Food
Read Reviews Next ArticleWhere To Buy Next Article
$1.79/5.5 oz canA+
NomNomNow Chicken Chow Meow Cat FoodNomNomNow Chicken Chow Meow Fresh, Human-Grade Cat Food
Read Reviews Next ArticleWhere To Buy Next Article
$.53/ozA+

Why is carrageenan so controversial and can it harm your cat?

Since the 1960’s, the dangers of carrageenan have been observed, discussed, and disputed. While it’s been confirmed that one form of carrageenan causes inflammation, the other form is approved for use in food and is a popular additive in products for both pets and people. Yet its safety isn’t beyond question. Some argue that the widespread use of food-grade carrageenan is responsible for cancer, inflammatory bowel disease, and other inflammatory diseases.

ALSO READ:  How Much Food Should I Feed My Cat?

To fully understand the carrageenan problem, you need to know about the two types of carrageenan and the history of carrageenan research.

Degraded vs. Non-Degraded Carrageenan

Degraded carrageenan is derived from seaweed that’s been processed with alkali and degraded to a low molecular weight. The resulting product is commonly called degraded carrageenan or poligeenan. No one argues that degraded carrageenan is an inflammatory agent. The medical research community has used degraded carrageenan for decades to induce inflammation.  Lab animals are injected with it to test experimental trials of anti-inflammatory drugs.

Degraded carrageenan is considered a possible human carcinogen by the International Agency for Research on Cancer and is prohibited in food products.

Undegraded carrageenan, however, is approved for use in food and is generally considered safe. That said, the division between degraded and undegraded carrageenan isn’t always clean or clear. When an industry trade group assembled a working group to determine how much degraded carrageenan was present in samples of food-grade carrageenan, levels varied widely depending on which lab performed the testing. Most labs found at least traces of degraded carrageenan and one test showed that the food-grade carrageenan was, in fact, 25% degraded carrageenan.

And degraded carrageenan may not be the only concern. Several studies appear to demonstrate that food-grade carrageenan is linked to inflammation. According to the Cornucopia Institute’s “Organic Watergate White Paper”, a study published in Cancer Research found that “The undegraded carrageenan in the diet had an enhancing effect in colorectal carcinogenesis in rats.”

Ultimately, the jury is still out on the inflammatory effects of food-grade carrageenan, but the evidence suggests that it’s an additive worth avoiding. With so many foods available that don’t contain carrageenan, avoiding the risk is both prudent and easy to do.

Top 5 Best Cat Foods without Carrageenan

Four out of five of these cat foods were not made with any thickeners or stabilizers at all, so if you’re looking for a cat food without carrageenan or guar gum and other thickeners, this is the list for you.

In addition to not containing carrageenan, these foods reflect your cat’s natural dietary needs. They feature significant amounts of animal-sourced protein and minimal plant matter. They’re made without any artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives that might cause harm over time.

Tiki Cat Puka Puka Luau Succulent Chicken in Chicken Consomme Grain-Free Canned Cat Food Review

Rating:  5 out of 5 stars

ALSO READ:  Evo Cat Food Review

First 5 Ingredients: Chicken, Chicken Broth, Sunflower Seed Oil, Tricalcium Phosphate, Taurine

Tiki Cat Puka Puka Luau Succulent Chicken in Chicken Consomme Grain-Free Canned Cat Food

Not all of Tiki Cat foods are carrageenan-free, but Puka Puka Luau and some other recipes are. This particular formula features chicken as the primary ingredient. The chicken meat is shredded and set in a simple, unthickened broth enriched with sunflower seed oil and added vitamins, minerals, and amino acids.

While sunflower seed oil doesn’t fit into a strictly carnivorous menu, the food is generally meat-focused with virtually zero plant ingredients and extremely low carbohydrate content. – Buy It

Pros

  • Primarily made from nourishing chicken meat
  • Free from carrageenan and other thickeners
  • Simple recipe is a good choice for cats with food sensitivities
  • Low in plant ingredients

Cons

  • Contains sunflower seed oil, which isn’t the most species-appropriate fat source

First Mate Turkey Formula Limited Ingredient Grain-Free Canned Cat Food Review

Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

First 5 Ingredients: Boneless Turkey, Water Sufficient for Processing, Potato, Chicken Liver, Calcium Carbonate

First Mate Turkey Formula Limited Ingredient Grain-Free Canned Cat Food

FirstMate is one of the few brands that doesn’t use thickeners in any of their products.

Because it lacks any thickening agents, this food has a looser texture than the average pate. The company describes it as similar to applesauce.

The recipe features turkey, chicken liver, and potato in addition to the standard array of vitamins and amino acids. The protein is primarily sourced from animal ingredients with 96% of the total protein from free-run poultry and the remaining 4% coming from vegetable ingredients.

The food is manufactured in the company’s own facility in British Columbia. – Buy It

Pros

  • A great option for cats who prefer pate-style foods
  • Free from any thickeners
  • Made primarily from animal ingredients
  • Rich in animal-sourced protein

Cons

  • Contains potato

Miko Chicken Recipe in Consomme Grain-Free Cat Food Review

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

First 5 Ingredients: Chicken, Chicken Broth, Sunflower Oil, Potassium Chloride, Tricalcium Phosphate

Miko Chicken Recipe in Consomme Grain-Free Cat Food

Miko is a Chewy house brand offering a small line of wet cat foods. All of these foods are free of carrageenan, nor do they contain any grains, corn, wheat, soy, or starches. This chicken cat food has a simple recipe similar to those offered by Tiki Cat. It contains nothing but chicken, chicken broth, sunflower oil, and vitamins, minerals, and amino acids.

Chewy is currently offering 50% off your first order of Miko food. – Buy It

Pros

  • Free from carrageenan and other thickening agents
  • Made primarily from species-appropriate, protein-rich chicken
  • A high-moisture, nourishing recipe

Cons

  • Miko offers a relatively limited selection of foods and may not be appropriate for cats with allergies or food sensitivities
  • Contains sunflower seed oil, which isn’t the most species-appropriate fat source
ALSO READ:  Best Cat Food For Exotic Shorthair Cats

Dr. Elsey’s cleanprotein Chicken Formula Grain-Free Canned Cat Food

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

First 5 Ingredients: Chicken, Chicken Broth, Chicken Liver, Dried Egg Product, Natural Flavor

Dr. Elsey's cleanprotein Chicken Formula Grain-Free Canned Cat Food

This food from Dr. Elsey’s cleanprotein is a highly-appetizing pate made with chicken, chicken liver, and “natural flavor” for added palatability. Thanks to its minimal plant content, this food is 4% carbohydrates, meaning that it’s low-carb enough for cats with diabetes and anyone who wants to avoid starch.

This is the only recipe on this list that contains any gums or thickeners. It contains agar-agar, which is a gelatinous thickener derived from red algae. While similar to carrageenan, agar-agar is chemically different and lacks carrageenan’s inflammatory reputation. – Buy It

Pros

  • Free from carrageenan
  • Low in carbohydrates
  • Rich in nourishing animal ingredients

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Agar-agar is an unnecessary ingredient

NomNomNow Chicken Chow Meow Cat Food Review

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

First 5 Ingredients: Chicken Breast, Thigh, and Liver, Asparagus, Carrot, Spinach, Cantaloupe

NomNomNow Chicken Chow Meow Cat Food

NomNomNow cat food is free from binders and thickeners. It’s a homemade-style food with a moist, flaky texture. If your cat likes to eat baked or boiled chicken meat as a treat, they’ll probably like the natural texture and taste of this food.

NomNomNow is made primarily from fresh, human-grade chicken. Though fruits and vegetables take up space on the ingredient list, the food is only about 10% carbohydrate.

Note that NomNomNow is not your traditional cat food. It’s a cat food subscription service that allows you to receive monthly or weekly deliveries of fresh cat food. The food is made in small batches in the company’s human-grade kitchen, portioned out according to your cat’s needs, and then shipped fresh to your house. – Buy It

Pros

  • Convenient meal delivery service
  • Human-grade food
  • Primarily made from fresh chicken meat and liver
  • Free from carrageenan and other thickeners

Cons

  • Contains multiple plant ingredients
  • One of the most expensive foods on the market

Other Brands that Refuse to Use Carrageenan

In addition to the products listed above, here’s a list of cat food brands and lines that don’t use carrageenan. The companies may change their formulations at any time, so check the food maker’s site to confirm the absence of carrageenan before you make a purchase.

  • Nature’s Logic
  • Nature’s Variety Instinct
  • Blue Buffalo Healthy Gourmet
  • Blue Wilderness Wild Delights
  • Blue Bistro
  • Petcurean
  • Avoderm Natural
  • Kasiks
  • Weruva
  • Petropics
  • Fromm Four Star Grain-Free
  • Newman’s Own Organics Grain-Free
  • Lotus
  • Taste of the Wild
  • Ziwi Peak

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.

View all posts

Add comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

We Send Recall Notices, Product Reviews, and Special Deals Straight To Your Inbox. No Kitten.

Sign up and join thousands of cat lovers in receiving news, coupons and cute kitties via email.

You're in! As a thank you enjoy 30% Off your next purchase at Chewy.com.

{"popup_ID":2939,"when_popup_appear":"exit","delay":"","x_second":"","x_scroll":"","disappear":"","exptime":"","hideclsbtn":"","clsonesc":"1"}