Best Pea Free Cat Food : Top Foods with No Plant Protein

How do you find grain-free food that isn’t packed with peas? In this article, you’ll find foods that don’t contain peas, legumes, or any significant sources of plant protein.

Particularly among grain-free dry foods, almost every ingredient list mentions peas, pea fiber, or pea protein.

Peas are a source of starch and help to give kibble its structural integrity in lieu of traditional grains. However, peas and other plant proteins have come under some level or scrutiny as of late due to some findings loosely tying its consumption with enlarged hearts in pets.

The ingredient labeled “pea fiber” is a source of soluble fiber. Pea protein is a concentrated source of protein.

What’s the problem with peas?

The answer depends on who you ask. Some say that peas are a good source of protein, fiber, and carbohydrates.

Some point out digestibility concerns. Peas are high in oligosaccharides, phytase, and lectin proteins. The first are prebiotics and can cause flatulence. Phytase and lectin can interfere with nutrient absorption, but it appears that cooking and processing eliminate those problems.

Others maintain that cats, as obligate carnivores, shouldn’t consume legumes or vegetables of any variety.

Animal vs. Plant Protein: Is There a Difference?

Fresh, raw prey contains all the amino acids that cats require, but cooking changes that. Most cat food manufacturers use a combination of complementary plant and animal proteins along with crystalline amino acids to achieve the full spectrum of amino acids cats need.

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Each of these protein sources has a slightly different bioavailability level. Biological availability is one of the most important, yet difficult to calculate, determinants of a cat food’s quality.

Proteins with a high biological value are easy on your cat’s body, minimizing the strain on detoxifying organs and supporting healthy muscle mass. Because your cat’s body utilizes the protein efficiently, they create less waste and less odor in the litter box.

But how do you know which proteins are most bioavailable for cats?

Currently, it’s not clear which protein sources are best for cats. It appears that cats who eat meat-based diets have smaller stools and less fecal odor, both signs that their diet is relatively bioavailable. This aligns with the idea that cats are obligate carnivores and should therefore thrive on meat-centric diets.

Best Pea Free Cat Food – Top 7 Best Products

The following are six grain-free dry and canned foods made without any peas or other legumes. They emphasize animal-sourced protein with minimal protein from plants.

Like all of the best cat foods, the following foods meet our nutrition standards. They’re high in protein with low carbohydrate content and low-to-moderate fat content. None of them contain artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives, and they’re free of added sweeteners. They’re all produced by reputable companies with a history of product quality and safety.

Top 4 Best Dry Cat Foods Without Peas

Smalls Freeze-Dried Raw Bird

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Smalls Cat Food

First 5 Ingredients: Finely ground chicken with bone, chicken heart, chicken liver, chicken gizzard, chicken egg

Smalls Freeze-Dried Raw Bird recipe is a high-protein, low-carbohydrate diet that’s perfect for adult cats of all breeds. This nutritionally balanced cat food is pea free.

It contains human-grade natural ingredients including goats milk and a multiple high quality areas of the chicken; including heart, liver and gizzard. If you choose this food for your cat, you can have peace of mind knowing that it is formulated to meet the nutritional levels established by the AAFCO Cat Food Nutrient Profiles for maintenance. – Buy It


  • Pea-free
  • Human-grade
  • High protein


  • More expensive than other foods

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

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

First 5 Ingredients: Chicken, Dried Egg Product, Pork Protein Isolate, Gelatin, Chicken Fat (Preserved With Mixed Tocopherols)

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

Dr. Elsey’s cleanprotein™ foods are so different from most other dry foods that it’s difficult to make a cat food roundup without mentioning them. They are exceptionally low in carbohydrates and use animal-sourced gelatin as the primary binding agent. This means that peas and other common high-carbohydrate binders aren’t necessary.

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This cat food doesn’t contain pea protein or other concentrated sources of plant protein. Instead, 95% of the food’s protein content is from species-appropriate animal sources.

This energy-dense dry food is much more expensive than most at $32.89 for a 6.6 lb bag. Though some say that the cost is balanced by its density, others say that their cats ate just as much and the food became cost-prohibitive. – Buy It


  • Pea-free
  • Low in carbohydrates
  • Virtually free of plant ingredients
  • Made primarily with species-appropriate animal protein


  • Expensive
  • No dry food provides the hydration your cat needs

Instinct by Nature’s Variety Ultimate Protein Grain-Free Cage-Free Chicken Recipe Dry Cat Food Review

Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

First 5 Ingredients: Chicken, Tapioca, Chicken Fat (preserved with Mixed Tocopherols and Citric Acid), Ground Flaxseed, Natural Flavor

While most Nature’s Variety Instinct foods are like typical grain-free dry foods and contain peas, this Ultimate Protein formula is pea-free. Instead, tapioca appears to be the primary carbohydrate source.

Nature’s Variety claims that this food offers “unmatched digestibility” for optimal nutrient absorption, but qualifies this bold statement by adding that this digestibility is only unmatched by the “leading premium natural brand”. Ninety-five percent of the food’s total protein content comes from chicken.

Like other Nature’s Variety Instinct dry foods, this kibble is infused with the “pure, real nutrition of raw”. The kibble is tumbled in crushed, freeze-dried chicken, giving it enhanced flavor and nutritional value. – Buy It


  • Chicken is the primary protein source
  • Grain-free
  • Relatively low in carbohydrates
  • Made without peas or other legumes


  • Contains plant ingredients not necessary for carnivorous cats
  • No dry food provides the hydration your cat needs

Ziwi Peak Air-Dried Venison Cat Food Review

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

First 5 Ingredients: Venison, Venison Tripe, Venison Heart, Venison Lung, Venison Liver

This meat-based food is grain-free and doesn’t contain any peas or other starchy binders. It doesn’t need to. Instead of using the extrusion process that gives kibble its crunch and uniform shape, Ziwi Peak air-dries their food. This process results in a food that’s rich in meat with virtually no plant content.

In addition to New Zealand venison meat, organs, and bones, the food contains locally-sourced green-lipped mussel as a natural source of glucosamine and chondroitin. These animal ingredients constitute 96% of the total recipe.

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Ziwi Peak foods are nutrient and energy-dense and quite expensive. The company says that their density allows cats to eat less, meaning that a small bag will last for a long time. – Buy It


  • Exceptionally low in carbohydrates
  • Free of peas and other legumes
  • Grain-free


  • Expensive
  • Not all cats will like the air-dried texture
  • No dry food provides the hydration your cat needs

Top 3 Best Wet Cat Foods Without Peas

Peas and similar ingredients aren’t necessary to give wet food its structure, so pea-free wet cat food is easy to find. In fact, if you’re struggling to find a dry food without peas, switching to wet food will multiply your options and make life easier. Plus your cat will get plenty of water and stay effortlessly hydrated.

Wellness CORE 95% Turkey Grain-Free Canned Cat Food Review

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

First 5 Ingredients: Turkey, Water Sufficient For Processing, Cassia Gum, Xanthan Gum, Ground Flaxseed

Wellness CORE 95% Turkey Grain-Free Canned Cat Food

While Wellness CORE dry foods make frequent and liberal use of peas and pea protein, their canned foods don’t. Their 95% meat line is a particularly meaty option. As the name suggests, this canned food is 95% turkey meat with meat contributing virtually all of the food’s protein content.

The remaining 5% of the food is dedicated to binders and ground flaxseed, along with essential vitamins, minerals, and amino acids.

It’s a low-carbohydrate food with a simple, meat-centric recipe ideal for those who want to nourish their cat according to their carnivorous needs. – Buy It


  • Free of peas
  • Primarily made from animal protein sources
  • Low carbohydrate content
  • 95% turkey meat


  • Contains multiple gums as binders
  • Contains flaxseed

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

Rating:  5 out of 5 stars

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

This straightforward chicken-based recipe relies on meat as a sole source of protein with no pea protein. It’s also free of any other legumes or vegetables.

The food features shredded chicken meat in a sunflower seed oil broth. Added vitamins, minerals, and amino acids make the food nutritionally complete.

The food is high in animal protein with virtually no carbohydrate content. – Buy It


  • Primarily made from nourishing chicken meat
  • Pea-free with minimal plant ingredients
  • Low in carbohydrates


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

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