I’m going to be going over my top seven recommendations for the best dry cat foods of 2022. Over the last several years I’ve done a lot of cat food reviews. We’ve also sent off over 23 different recipes to a lab and at that laboratory, they did a number of tests on each of these recipes including a microbiological test a nutrient analysis, and testing for heavy metals.
And so based on all of that research and testing, I wanted to bring you an updated list for 2022. Sharing the recipes and brands that I think are going to be the best this year. There will be navigation so you can jump to reviews of specific brands, and I’ll be segmenting each of these reviews based on specific needs.
So you can jump to my pick for the best food for weight loss for example. Or the best food if you’re on a budget. Hopefully, that’ll help you to kind of pick through the article, and get to exactly what you need. So with that said let’s jump on into my top 7 recommendations.
7. Dr. Elsey’s Cat Food
If you’ve watched our site before you’ll know that generally, we’re recommending a low carbohydrate diet, maybe 10 carbohydrates on a dry matter basis or less. And generally, you can’t really find that in dry food. So Dr. Elsey’s Cat Food does something different from the majority of dry cat food brands and keeps that carbohydrate content quite low. In the analysis I got from the lab, we found that the food was 17% protein 19% fat, and just 3% carbohydrates which is practically unheard of in dry cat food.
They accomplished this by using gelatin as a binder instead of using any kind of starch, and this manages to keep the carbohydrate content really low. That’s going to make it a good choice, even for cats who have diabetes, and while of course, no dry food is going to deliver the moisture your cat needs. This is certainly a more species-appropriate and meat-rich choice than the vast majority of dry foods on the market.
The food is also intended to have highly digestible protein sources. So this particular recipe features chicken as its first ingredient and contains some dried egg product. And then it also contains pork protein isolate, which is supposed to be a highly digestible source of protein. In addition to this chicken recipe, you can get it in turkey, salmon, and rabbit recipes. But I’ve noticed that all of them contain multiple proteins. So they’re probably not going to be the best choice if your cat has any food sensitivities. To the ingredients included. At $8.15 cents per pound, this food is pretty expensive and the price has gone up over the last year or so. So if you’re looking for something a bit cheaper, it’s probably not going to be the best choice.
6. Kirkland Signature Super Premium Maintenance Cat Food
I would recommend my budget recommendation, which is Kirkland Signature Super Premium Maintenance Cat Food. So while this food isn’t perfect and there are two kinds of big issues with it one is that it’s high in carbohydrates and the other is that it seems to be manufactured by diamond. Which are a huge cat food manufacturer and one of the biggest companies in this industry. And which has been involved in a number of recalls in the past. Aside from these two issues, the food is offering several things that you’re not generally finding in budget-friendly food. One of them is that it includes clearly named proteins so we’re seeing chicken at the beginning of that ingredient list as well as the chicken meal we’re not seeing generic animal byproducts or meat byproducts.
These ingredients don’t really tell us what’s in the food. And then we’re also seeing some nice added ingredients like probiotics, that we’re not typically seeing in the budget for your cat foods. If you live near a Costco store and you have a membership it’s going to be pretty accessible. So as for nutrient composition, our test found that it was 41% protein, 16% fat, and 43% carbohydrates, on a dry matter basis. Again that’s quite high in carbohydrates.
So that’s not going to be ideal. But again considering the types of ingredients that they’re using, it seems like it is a pretty good choice compared to other budget foods. And again affordability is really this food’s main selling point. So I found it on the Kirkland website for $1.48 per pound. But the price is going to be significantly lower if you can find it in a local Costco wholesale.
5. ZIWI Peak Air-Dried Cat Food
Kind of on the opposite end of the price spectrum is my top recommendation if you’re looking for air-dried food. Which are ZIWI Peak Air-Dried Cat Food. This is a new Zealand-made brand. And their foods are known for really low carbohydrate content, and high inclusions of meat ingredients. Overall they’re just offering way more species-appropriate nutrition compared to a typical dry food. You can see on the ingredient list that the food contains mackerel lamb, lamb tripe, and lamb liver. So it’s offering a variety of organs that we seldom see in cat food outside of byproducts.
And so this is offering a really rich variety of species-appropriate meat-sourced nutrition. Overall the lab test results looked good. Because it contains some fish I noticed that some of those heavy metals were coming up a little bit higher. But again this seems to be kind of typical for a fish-based food. And then the nutrient distribution was looking pretty good as well. So according to this test, the food was 50% protein, 38% fat, and just 2% carbohydrates on a dry matter basis. My cats didn’t really like this particular recipe. They preferred the chicken recipe from Ziwi and a number of other varieties are available from this line and all of them offer the kind of similar nutrition.
This food is a bit more expensive than the others on this list at about $22.80 cents per pound. Quite expensive, but you will be feeding your cat a bit less of it not enough to make it no longer an expensive option it’s quite a pricey dry cat food. So you’ll have to decide if that’s going to be worth the investment for you.
4. Tiki Cat Born Carnivore Low Carb Grain Free Dry Cat Food
If you’re trying to help your cat lose weight. You might like the Tiki Cat Born Carnivore Low Carb Grain Free Dry Cat Food. Like a lot of tiki cat’s wet recipes, this food is a little bit lower in fat and a little bit lower in calories compared to comparable products. And it tends to be a relatively good option if you’re trying to help your cat lose weight. Now I really wouldn’t recommend dry cat food in general for weight loss. Wet food tends to be a lot more satisfying it tends to work a lot better for weight loss.
But if you do want to use dry food careful portions of this recipe could be a good option. There are a couple of recipes in the born carnivore line this particular one contains debone chicken and chicken meal as its primary ingredients cats tend to like this recipe it tends to be pretty appetizing. And in my tests from the lab, everything looked okay. And the nutrient distribution came out at 52% protein, 18% fat, and 18% carbohydrates on a dry matter basis. So overall this nutrient distribution is looking pretty good definitely on the lower fat side. But also on the lower carb side which is pretty nice. At $4.49 this food is kind of expensive. But I would say it’s kind of moderately priced for this kind of so-called natural premium marketplace.
3. Open Farm Grain-Free Dry Cat Food
My next recommendation is going to be my favorite ethically sourced recipe, there are some brands that are taking extra steps to make food that is held to a slightly higher standard than the competition. And one of those brands is an Open Farm. So it’s a relatively new Canadian brand. And they offer a relatively small selection of dry foods in a number of recipes. All of which are held to pretty stringent standards when it comes to sourcing. So all of their suppliers are held to a certain set of standards according to a number of different organizations.
This particular recipe contains wild pacific salmon, ocean white fish meal, herring meal, and then garbanzos as its first several ingredients. And their other recipes tend to follow kind of a similar recipe blueprint. According to our lab tests, everything generally checked out. And the nutrient analysis showed that it was 44% protein about 16% fat and 29% carbohydrates on a dry matter basis. If for whatever reason you’re comfortable with higher carbohydrate food. And you’re prioritizing that ethical sourcing. Then this recipe from the open farm could be a good option. At $6.87 cents per pound, this food is a bit more expensive than a lot of the competition.
2. Instinct Grain Free Kitten Food, Original Kitten Recipe Natural Dry Cat Food
My next recommendation is going to be for those of you who have kittens. Our last year’s recommendation is no longer available. So I had to find a new one and I like this one a lot better. So it is Instinct Grain Free Kitten Food, Original Kitten Recipe Natural Dry Cat Food. And what I like about this recipe is that it’s relatively low in carbohydrates.
Of course, it’s formulated to meet your kitten’s dietary needs. And it seems to be kind of a meat-based recipe. The recipe contains chicken, turkey meal, menhaden fish meal, and then peas as its first several ingredients. And everything looked good from the lab. Converting those macronutrient values to a dry matter basis. We’re seeing that the food is 48% protein 24% fat and 16% carbohydrates. And overall yeah that’s not perfect. But it’s pretty good for dry cat food. So if you are looking for dry food for your kitten this could be a good option. The food is currently priced at about $5.56 cents per pound on chewy. So a little bit more expensive than some of the other foods listed here. But I certainly think that it’s again one of the best kitten foods on the market.
Again dry cat food is really not nutritionally ideal, generally, it's higher in carbohydrates, which as we've seen is inherently low in moisture. Which can lead to problems with urinary tract health. There are a number of reasons why you would want to avoid dry cat food. Given that dry cat food is probably the most popular type of food here in the united states and that so many of us have cats who are kind of kibble addicts. A big question I see in the comments is how I get my cat to transition from dry to wet food. And one solution to consider is to start transitioning your cat from dry food to freeze-dried food it's kind of an intermediate step. These foods can be rehydrated to whatever consistency you prefer so you can add a little bit of water. It'll become kind of like a saturated bit of cereal and so for some cats, this can be a better alternative than just moistening their dry food. It also improves the nutrient distribution of their diet. And it can be a good step towards a wet diet. Start adding more and more water and eventually your cat can be on that good high-moisture diet.
1. Stella & Chewy’s Freeze-Dried Raw Cat Dinner Morsels
And so for those of you who are in that position, I would recommend Stella & Chewy’s Freeze-Dried Raw Cat Dinner Morsels. In this case, I’m going to be recommending their chick chick chicken recipe. But they have a wide variety of other recipes with a variety of protein sources. They have a lot of options for cats with food sensitivities single protein recipes. So lots to choose from and all of them are nutritionally excellent.
This particular recipe contains chicken with bone, chicken gizzards, chicken liver, and then some pumpkin for added fiber. And according to our lab test, everything checks out it. Looks like a nutritionally solid food, without a lot of issues going on in terms of microbes or heavy metals. We found that it was 58% protein 27% fat and 3% carbohydrates on a dry matter basis. It’s looking nutritionally about exactly where you want the cat food to be.
So overall it’s looking quite good. This food is about $36.32 cents per pound. So again pretty expensive, but then again it’s significantly lighter and less dense than the other foods listed here. You can feed your cat less by weight each day. So by my estimates, it’s probably going to cost somewhere between three and maybe five dollars a day depending on which recipe you choose. It is definitely more expensive than typical dry food. But maybe not quite as expensive as you would assume looking at the price of the bags.
So that’s it for my recommendations. I hope that you found this roundup helpful. And that it gave you a better idea of some of the best dry cat foods you can buy in 2022. If you would like to see more roundups like this one as well as in-depth reviews of specific cat food brands and reviews of many other products. Please go and comment down below. So thank you so much.