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If you just brought a cat home from the shelter and looking to get premium food or simply looking to switch your feline to something better, you may have been overwhelmed by the number of options available. Anyone who has had cats knows that many foods fail to live up to the claims on their packaging, and they can also be damaging when fed to felines because of their inferior quality/filler ingredients.
So, to help you narrow your search, we’ll discuss our top five selections of the best high protein cat food and what to look for in a quality high protein cat food. We'll also answer just why do cats need more protein and other related questions.
The Top Rated High Protein Cat Foods on the Market
- Features LifeSource Bits—a blend of antioxidants, vitamins and minerals.
- High-protein recipe is packed with real chicken.
- Real, farm-raised chicken is the very first ingredient.
- Uses the finest ingredients from around the world.
- Primary ingredients are among the highest biological value proteins available.
- Ingredient profile is no-to-low oxalate to help prevent calcium oxalate crystals and bladder stones..
- Features probiotic support for gut health.
- Includes a unique blend of functional superfoods for overall immune support.
- Made without corn, wheat, artificial flavors or colors.
- Features real cage-free chicken as the #1 ingredient.
Please continue reading for more in-depth reviews
5. Diamond Naturals Active Chicken Meal & Rice Formula Dry Cat Food
Diamond Naturals Indoor Formula Dry Cat Food is designed to be suitable for all feline breeds. The food is enhanced with superfoods and probiotics intended to support the growing feline's development and health. You may also feed the food to active adult cats, pregnant and nursing kitties, and kittens to boost their development and health.
Unlike most pet/feline foods on the market today, the formula is made with real cage-free chicken, real vegetables such as kale and carrots, and actual fruits like blueberries and coconuts.
For improved vision, cognition, and overall health, it is fortified with natural DHA and taurine and is also high in protein and fat to support the needs of the active, young, and growing feline.
Finally, the meal is made in the USA, family-owned, and made with ingredients the brand claims are from trusted domestic and global sources.
What we liked
- Its high protein content (40%) from cage-free chicken
- The product is enriched with vitamins and minerals derived from natural foods and also omega-fatty acids essential for healthy and shiny fur.
- The formula is rich in prebiotics and probiotics needed for healthy digestion and immunity
- It is competitively-priced for a product in its quality range
A cat food by Solid Gold, a known pet food manufacturer, Solid Gold Indigo Moon Dry Food is both gluten and grain-free, and unlike many cat foods, it is high in protein and low in carbohydrates and plant ingredients.
The food enjoys many positive reviews on retail sites, and this is likely related to its high animal protein content. The meal also contains concentrated plant protein from potatoes alongside other beneficial ingredients like omega-3 fatty acids from salmon oil and prebiotic fiber and probiotics for healthy gut health.
What we liked
- The meal is not excessively-price
- Free of the excess carbs present in many other food brands
- Formulated and manufactured by a known brand
- Free of fillers and other potentially harmful additives
Made in the United States, Dr. Elsey’s Cleanprotein Grain-Free Dry Cat Food is free of legumes, potatoes, and other plant-based ingredients common in many adult feline foods. The food’s carbohydrate content is also kept minimal (less than 10%) as the brand relies on gelatin as the only binding agent.
On the protein content, the meal contains chicken as its main ingredient, followed closely by eggs, and pork protein isolate for easy digestion/absorption.
What we liked
- Low carbs content
- Free of fillers commonly added in many commercially-made cat foods
- Rich in protein and other beneficial nutrients for cats
- Free of gluten, grains/legumes
What we didn’t like
- The relatively high cost
This cat food by Crave is formulated with salmon as its first ingredient and primary protein source. The meal is prepared free of chicken by-products, corn, wheat, soy, and other potential inflammation-causing ingredients usually advised against for feline consumption.
For healthy development, better immune health, and the formation of lean muscles, the meal contains essential nutrients without the filler ingredients commonly included in many commercially produced meals.
What we liked
- The meal contains real salmon for its protein and omega-3 and 6 content
- Free of grains and other inflammation-triggering ingredients
- Free of filler ingredients like chicken by-products
- Made in the US with known and natural ingredients
According to the brand, the food is inspired by the lynx’s diet and, as such, is high protein and entirely free of grains. Unlike many feline foods, it is packed with real chicken to help build and maintain lean muscle. The meal contains carbohydrates from sweet protein and peas, which the brand says are essential for fueling your feline’s daily activities.
The formula is also enhanced with LifeSource Bits – a formulation containing a blend of antioxidants, minerals, and vitamins to support the immune system, overall health, and performance.
What we liked
- It contains real chicken without the by-products
- Rich in essential omega fatty acids necessary for supporting skin and fur health, amongst other benefits
- Free of potentially inflammatory ingredients like corns, wheat, soy, and artificial preservatives and flavors
- It contains antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals
- Enjoys many positive reviews online
Why Do Cats Need More Protein?
For several reasons! Like in humans and other animals, protein is essential as it is responsible for building muscles, organs while also playing a role in your feline’s immune system, metabolism, and hormones. Also, felines are obligate carnivores and cannot easily digest veggies, just like their wild relatives, the tigers.
What Is a High Protein Cat Food?
While there is no standard classification of what qualifies a food as a high-protein meal for animals, many believe that it refers to meals with a higher protein content than the others on the market.
On appearance, most “high-protein” meals do not look different visibly from “regular” meals; the protein compositions are usually what makes them different.
Key Factors to Look For in a Premium High Protein Cat Food
There are specific requirements and features you want to look out for when purchasing your feline’s food, and we will discuss these requirements here;
While any good quality protein cat food will do for many cats, you must remember that cats are picky and will avoid certain foods if they dislike the flavor. Ensure that the food you pick for your cat is as flavorful as it is protein-rich if you want your pet to eat it.
Even though cats need their proteins, they also need minerals and vitamins to thrive. Certain nutrients such as taurine are essential requirements in every high-protein meal for cats. Before purchase, check that the meal meets the minimum requirements for vitamins, minerals, and amino acids.
Since ingredients are the raw materials from which your feline derives the essential nutrients, you want to make sure you check to ensure that the first ingredients are animal-derived and make up not less than half of the meal’s total ingredients.
You want the best quality meal for your cat, but you also want to consider your budget. Thankfully, many good-quality meals are reasonably priced, so you should be able to get an excellent high protein meal for your feline without overspending.
Best High Protein Cat Food: How We Picked
To make our top selections of the best protein cat food, we considered the following factors;
Carb content; while carbs have their uses, cat owners must remember that they are obligate carnivores and, as such, do not do well when fed an excessive amount of carbs and fat. In fact, no cat should be fed a high carbohydrate diet, and good quality cat food should contain less than 10% carbs.
The meals were also completely free of grains. While grains may not be directly dangerous for felines, they can easily trigger inflammation, and a cat’s digestive system is not designed to digest grains.
Protein quality was another feature we considered in this review. We also opted for foods made chiefly with animal-sourced proteins instead of those made with plants. Aside from our feline’s digestive systems being more suited for this type of protein, it contains all of the essential amino acids cats need to thrive, which the plant protein does not.
We opted for food free of artificial flavors and other ingredients that can affect your feline’s health in the long run. We excluded foods containing ingredients like artificial colors, preservatives, and fillers from our list.
Finally, we looked at the brand. Brand history and reviews are qualities you want to take into consideration when selecting a high protein cat food, and most on our list had no history of food recalls (to the best of our knowledge)
Our top selection Blue Buffalo Wilderness Chicken Recipe, Grain-Free Dry Cat Food, met many of the requirements. The product is by a popular brand and enjoys many positive reviews online. Amongst other qualities, we liked that it is not excessively priced and is fortified with LifeSource Bits – a formulation by the brand containing a blend of ingredients rich in antioxidants, minerals, and vitamins to support the immune system and overall health and performance.
About the Author
Kirsten created The Pet Handbook with the aim of sharing her knowledge about pets, pet food, healthy habits, and more. All of her advice is based on years of her own experience with her pets, and feedback that she has received from grateful readers about her tips. If you want to know more please read the About Me page.