Best Indoor Cat Food

Our Picks for The Best Cat Food for Indoor Cats

When you take your cat to see the veterinarian, he probably asks you whether the cat is an indoor cat or an outdoor cat. The answer to this simple question will give your veterinarian a lot of information about your cat. For example, indoor cats are less likely to be exposed to dangerous diseases and parasites than outdoor cats – they are also likely to be a little less active than outdoor cats. Both of these factors play a role in determining your cat’s overall health and wellbeing.

Choosing a quality pet food product for your cat is not as easy as just walking into the pet store and picking a bag off the shelf – you need to consider your cat’s unique nutritional needs. While the general nutritional requirements for all cats are the same, indoor cats have slightly different needs when it comes to certain things like calorie content and fiber content. To help you understand your indoor cat’s unique nutritional needs you will find an overview of cat nutritional requirements as well as tips for finding the best indoor cat food below.

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The Nutritional Needs of Indoor Cats

Before you can understand the unique nutritional needs of indoor cats you should be familiar with the nutritional requirements for cats in general. Cats are obligate carnivores which means that their bodies are physically adapted to deriving nutrition from animal products rather than plant products. Meat is the foundation of any quality diet for cats and it should be supplemented with animal-based fats for concentrated energy with limited carbohydrate content. In the wild, the only carbohydrates cats eat usually comes from the stomach contents of their prey. This means that it has already been partially digested which makes it easier for the cat’s body to handle.

When it comes to protein for cats, the best sources are fresh meats, meat meals, poultry, fish, and eggs. The first ingredient for any quality cat food product (for indoor AND outdoor cats) should be some kind of animal protein. One thing you should be aware of when it comes to commercial cat food products is that fresh meats contain up to 80% moisture – when the whole product is cooked into kibble, the actual volume of protein for their ingredient is likely to be much lower. Meat meals, on the other hand, have already been cooked down to a moisture content around 10% – this makes meat meals a more highly concentrated source of protein than fresh meats. Many quality cat foods start with fresh meat as the first ingredient but list a named meat meal as the second ingredient.

In addition to quality animal proteins, cats need plenty of healthy fats in their diet as well. Fats are the most highly concentrated source of energy available for cats – one gram of fat contains 9 calories (a unit of energy) while protein and carbohydrates contain just 4 calories per gram. Like proteins, fats for cats should come from quality animal sources. For example, salmon oil or chicken fat would both be quality sources of animal fat while flaxseed or canola oil would best be used as a supplementary source of fat. Plant-based fats and oils are not necessarily bad for cats, but animal-based fats are more biologically valuable. In addition to providing your cat with energy, fats also help to support his immune system health as well as healthy skin and coat.

For carbohydrates, you have to realize that your cat’s ability to digest carbohydrates is very limited. So, you want the cat food you choose to have a low level of carbohydrates and the carbs that are included should come from highly digestible sources. Corn, wheat, and soy ingredients offer very limited nutritional value to cats and they have a high risk for triggering food allergies – these ingredients are best avoided. Certain whole-grain carbohydrates like brown rice, oats, and quinoa, on the other hand, can be digestible for cats as long as they are cooked. You can also find grain-free cat foods made with complex carbs like sweet potato, green peas, or tapioca. In the end, you just want your cat’s food to provide enough carbohydrate to meet his needs for dietary fiber while also providing a natural source for certain vitamins and minerals.

What to Look for in a Quality Indoor Cat Food

Now that you understand the nutritional needs of cats you can start to learn about the differences between indoor cat food and outdoor cat food. One of the key differences for indoor cat food is a reduced calorie content. While some indoor cats are fairly active, they generally do not get as much exercise as outdoor cats. Maintaining a healthy weight is extremely important for cats, both indoor and outdoor, because overweight and obesity can increase the cat’s risk for serious health problems. When choosing a reduced-calorie cat food, however, you need to be very careful. Some pet food manufacturers reduce calorie content by bulking up the food with non-nutritive fillers. You want to find a product that includes enough protein to support your cat’s lean muscle mass with moderate fat content to reduce calories and low carbohydrate content.

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In addition to watching the calorie content of your indoor cat’s diet, you also need to make sure that your cat gets a balance of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. These fatty acids can be found in various kinds of fish as well as certain plants. Many indoor cat foods include fatty acid supplements or fish oils to help meet your cat’s needs. Again, however, you have to strike the right balance between adequate fat content and too much fat when it comes to the calorie content of the food. In order to check the fat content of an indoor cat food formula all you have to do is look at the guaranteed analysis on the package. The guaranteed analysis will show you the minimum values for crude fat, crude protein, and crude fiber as a percentage so you can make a direct comparison between different recipes.

Something else you may want to look for in a quality indoor cat food is decent fiber content to help minimize hairballs. Indoor cats tend to spend more time lounging and grooming themselves than outdoor cats which means that they ingest a higher volume of hair. In most cases, the cat’s digestive system is able to handle the hair, passing it through the digestive system so it can be removed from the body through the feces. In some cases, however, the excess hair is vomited up. Making sure that your cat gets enough fiber in his diet will not only help to regulate his digestion in general, but it may also help to reduce hairballs. Increasing your cat’s fiber intake doesn’t necessarily mean switching to a carb-heavy cat food – there are plenty of high-protein and grain-free cat foods that still have decent fiber levels from complex carbs like sweet potato and tapioca starch. If hairballs are a serious problem for your cat you may want to consult your veterinarian to rule out an underlying condition.

Dry Food vs. Wet Food for Indoor Cats

At the end of the day, it is up to you whether you choose to feed your cat a dry food or a wet food diet. There are pros and cons for both options, so do a little research before you make your decision. One important factor to consider is how closely the food approximates the biological diet of cats. In the wild, cats follow a whole prey diet – whole prey consists of about 70% water along with raw meat, organs, and raw bone. Most traditional kibbles, on the other hand, have a moisture content closer to 10%. Many kibbles are also fairly carb-heavy, making them a little bit difficult for your cat’s body to digest properly. This is not the case with grain-free cat foods and high-protein recipes, for the most part.

Another risk associated with dry cat food for indoor cats is the fact that it tends to be fairly high in calories. Several studies have shown a correlation between dry food-only diets for cats and obesity. Indoor cats have a tendency to be less active than outdoor cats, so owners need to pay closer attention to their cat’s diet and weight. In many cases, however, maintaining a healthy weight for cats is as simple as rationing the food or switching to a reduced-calorie formula. Still, you need to make sure that your cat’s basic nutritional needs are being met.

One of the main benefits associated with wet cat food is that the average moisture content is 78% – this is much closer to the texture and moisture content of wild prey than the average dry kibble. Many wet cat foods are also higher in fat content than dry foods which is important for the cat’s healthy skin and coat, not to mention immune system health. In many cases, wet cat foods are also lower in carbohydrate content than dry foods, though there are exceptions to the rule. Many cats also find wet foods more palatable and it is easier to chew for older cats. In the end, however, it is up to you which option you choose for your indoor cat. Many cat owners feed their cats a staple diet of dry kibble supplemented with a spoonful of wet food daily.

Top Recommended Indoor Cat Food Brands

When it comes to choosing a quality pet food product for your indoor cat you need to have some idea what you are looking for. To help you get started with your search, consider one of the top-rated cat food brands below which offer indoor cat formulas.

Food Price Nutrition Rating
NomNowNow-ChickenSmalls for Smalls Fresh Chicken Pate
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Varies A+ 5 stars
NomNowNow-ChickenNomNomNow Chicken Chow Meow
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Varies A+ 5 stars
Wellness CORE IndoorWellness CORE Indoor
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$3.16/lb A+ 5 stars
Nutro Natural Choice IndoorNutro Natural Choice Indoor
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$2.00/lb A 5 star
Blue Buffalo IndoorBlue Buffalo Indoor
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$2.13/lb A+\ 5 stars
Natural Balance Indoor Ultra Meal FormulaNatural Balance Indoor Ultra Meal Formula
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$2.13/lb A- 5 stars

Smalls for Smalls Fresh Chicken Pate

Smalls for Smalls is a human grade cat food company. The food is specially formulated based on a profile you fill out when you sign up. The food is delivered to your doorstep, which is about as convenient as it gets! Among the benefits of fresh food are a shinier coat, more energy, and a less fragrant litter box. Cats are primarily carnivores, so they get most of their nutrition from the meat in their food. Smalls for Smalls recipes are all protein first, so you know your cat is getting optimal nutrition during every meal. Another thing to think about is the fact that cats actually get most of their hydration from their food, as well. Smalls for Smalls Fresh Chicken Pate has a high water content, which means your cat will stay hydrated and healthy. If the ingredients aren’t good enough for humans, they aren’t good enough for cats, either, according to Smalls for Smalls, so when you subscribe, you know you are giving your cat food you can feel good about from a company you can trust.

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NomNomNow Chicken Chow Meow

Much like Smalls for Smalls, NomNomNow cat food is human-grade and restaurant quality, making it one of the best choices for your cat. When you sign up for the service, you complete a profile all about your cat, and NomNomNow will create a specially designed recipe just for your pet, as well as a customizable delivery schedule.

Human grade, fresh food is gaining popularity for pets because people are realizing that a whole food diet has a lot of great benefits. Not to mention the convenience of the delivery service makes it hard to pass up. NomNomNow foods are high in protein and high in moisture, something that is beneficial for cats as they usually need high protein diets, and they get a lot of their water intake through their food.

The chefs who customize your cat’s recipe will take into consideration their lifestyle, so you know that your indoor cat will be getting enough calories to stay healthy and strong, but not so many that they are gaining weight or becoming unhealthy.

At NomNomNow they believe that feeding pets well is the best way to prevent and even combat chronic disease, so you can rest-assure that if you are feeding your cat NomNomNow, they are going to lead a healthy, active life.

Wellness CORE Indoor

The Wellness cat food brand was founded more than 80 years ago, getting its start with the release of oven-baked dog biscuits. What began as a simple family-owned company has blossomed into one of the biggest brands in the natural pet food industry. The Wellness brand was revitalized during the 1990s with the help of a team of animal nutritionists, veterinarians, and scientists who set out to create a line of all-natural pet food products made with carefully sourced ingredients in healthy recipes. Today, all of Wellness’ products are free from corn, wheat, and soy ingredients and they don’t contain any artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives. Wellness pet foods are made with whole foods in carefully formulated recipes designed to nourish the whole body health and wellness of cats and dogs.

When it comes to quality cat food products, Wellness offers several different product lines. The Wellness CORE line of products is entirely grain-free and it includes four dry cat food recipes – one for kittens, one original formula, one indoor formula, and a third formula made with multiple protein sources. The Wellness CORE Grain-Free Indoor Formula is nutrient-dense, made with deboned chicken, chicken meal, and turkey meal as the first three ingredients. This recipe contains gluten-free and grain-free carbohydrates like potatoes, peas, and tomato pomace as well as healthy fats like chicken fat and ground flaxseed. This Wellness CORE Grain-Free Indoor Formula contains 20% fewer calories than the Original formula and it is supplemented with antioxidants, omega fatty acids, and probiotics – everything your indoor cat needs to remain happy and healthy.

Nutro Natural Choice Indoor

The Nutro Natural Choice pet food company was founded in 1926 and ever since the company’s inception they have been a leader in the pet nutrition industry. Nutro makes it their mission to provide cats and dogs with healthy, natural nutrition that comes from fresh, wholesome ingredients. This company offers a wide variety of different products and they follow the strictest standards for quality and safety. Their recipes are designed with input from a dedicated team of nutrition experts to ensure that each and every product is tailored to meet the specific nutritional needs of pet in the designated life stage. In addition to offering puppy- and kitten-specific formulas, Nutro also offers recipes for adult pets, senior pets, and pets with food sensitivities. They also offer a variety of indoor and outdoor formulas for cats in particular.

The Nutro Natural Choice Company recognizes that indoor cats have unique nutritional needs. The Nutro Natural Choice Indoor Cat Food is designed to deliver optimal nutrition with reduced calorie content to help your indoor cat maintain a healthy weight. The recipe is supplemented with natural fiber sources to help minimize hairballs and real meat or fish is always the first ingredient. When it comes to indoor formulas, Nutro offers four dry food options – two indoor adult recipes and two indoor senior recipes – all of which feature quality proteins like chicken and white fish. These indoor cat food recipes are loaded with fresh animal protein as well as digestible carbohydrates like brown rice. These formulas are also supplemented with chelated minerals which have been chemically bound to protein molecules, making them easier for your cat’s body to digest and absorb.

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Blue Buffalo Indoor

The Blue Buffalo Company has become a household name in the pet food industry. What started as a homemade product for a single dog has become a national brand and a leader in the natural pet food industry. Blue Buffalo offers four different lines of products (as well as a Natural Veterinary Diet line) with a wide variety of different flavor options and recipes to choose from. Though Blue Buffalo offers excellent variety, all of their products are designed to provide high-quality nutrition for pets. They follow the strictest standards for quality and safety, using only the freshest natural ingredients in their formulas. Blue Buffalo doesn’t use any corn, wheat, or soy ingredients and their recipes are free from artificial flavors, colors and preservatives.

The four product lines Blue Buffalo has to offer include the BLUE line of natural pet foods, the Basics line of Limited Ingredient Diets, the Freedom line of grain-free recipes, and the Wilderness line of protein-rich diets. When it comes to indoor cat food formulas, Blue Buffalo offers a wide variety of options across all product lines. There are four dry food options for indoor cat food in the BLUE line featuring premium proteins like chicken and salmon as well as digestible carbohydrates like brown rice. The Freedom line of grain-free options features three indoor recipes including one for healthy weight maintenance. The Basics line of Limited Ingredient Diets includes three recipes that are healthy for indoor cats and the Wilderness line of protein-rich diets offers three recipes. If you want to make sure that your indoor cat’s needs for protein are met, the Wilderness line of products is a great option.

Natural Balance Indoor Ultra Meal Formula

The Natural Balance pet food company was founded in 1989 by Dick Van Patten and it is based in Burbank, California. This company was started with the purpose of providing pets and their owners with quality food for a lifetime of health and happiness. The Natural Balance Company set itself apart from other brands by developing their formulas using sound scientific principles and nutritional truths. They offer a wide variety of products, but each one is formulated with premium ingredients and designed to offer optimal nutrition. The Natural Balance Company puts the health and safety of pets first which is why they only use the best ingredients – they also put their products through rigorous testing to ensure both quality and safety. When it comes to cat food formulas, Natural Balance offers an assortment of grain-free, healthy-weight, high-protein, limited-ingredient, and indoor formulas.

For Indoor cat food, Natural Balance offers two dry food options, one canned cat food, and six pouch cat foods. The two dry food options are Indoor Ultra Chicken Meal & Salmon Meal and Indoor Ultra Rabbit & Salmon Meal. Both of these recipes are made with high levels of protein with 22% less fat than the Original Ultra dry formula to help support healthy weight maintenance in indoor cats. These recipes feature a unique blend of natural fibers to support healthy digestion and to minimize hairballs as well as omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids for healthy skin and coat. The Ultra Premium Indoor Canned Cat Formula features real chicken, chicken broth, and chicken liver as well as salmon and ground brown rice – it is complete and balanced for kittens as well as adult and senior cats. The six pouch cat food formulas designed for indoor cats feature proteins like turkey, chicken, duck, salmon, and tuna with optimal levels of grain-free carbohydrates and no artificial additives.

Quality nutrition is just as important for indoor cats as it is for outdoor cats, though their specific needs may vary slightly. All cats need a quality diet that is high in protein with moderate fat content and low carbohydrate content. If you need help choosing a quality indoor cat food for your cat, consider one of the top-rated brands reviewed above.

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