This is good news. You are the cat’s best friend. You need to feed them the correct cat food. Not just dog food. There are many choices when it comes to cat food. Tim Julien DVM, chief medical officer at Paz Veterinary, Austin, Texas, says that cats are often viewed and fed as smaller dogs. “It turns out that cats are not small dogs. Cats are strict carnivores, meaning they have a reduced ability to use and digest carbohydrates.

What is the best cat food to feed your obligate carnivore? We asked experts to help you choose the right cat food for your cat.

How to find the best cat food

Cat food should be approached in the same way as breakfast. Bruce Kornreich DVM, director of the Cornell Feline Hospital in Ithaca (New York), says, “You need food which is complete, balanced, and appropriate for your cat’s life-stage.”

Kornreich suggests that you look for a nutritional adequate label from The Association of American Feed Control Officials, a non-profit that evaluates what’s in pet foods and animal feed. Kornreich stresses that cats should eat meat as a part of a balanced diet.

Kornreich says that if meat or meat by-products appear in the first ingredient list, it means the food has sufficient animal source ingredients to supply essential amino acids. However, cats cannot live solely on meat.

Shelly Ferris DVM, regional director of Petco Veterinary Services, states that cats need to be able to get nutrients such as calcium, phosphorus, and Vitamin D from other sources.

She suggests looking for cat food that contains “natural whole ingredients” such as fruits, vegetables, and high-quality carbohydrate sources like potatoes, oats, or rice.

Julien from Paz Veterinary explains what to avoid. He focuses on dyes that make food more appealing (cats perceive colors differently), and “exotic ingredients” like kangaroo or lentils which are “less well-studied in cats.”

There are many types of cat food you should consider

There are many options for cat food, and they don’t stop at the register. Subscriptions and farm-to-bowl companies now deliver cat food directly to your home.

Wet and canned cat food is better than dry.

Because dry cat food is easier than wet, it is popular. Ferris says dry cat food is more cost-effective and odorless. It can also be stored for long periods without spoiling.

Julien also points out that dry cat food can have higher carbohydrate levels than wet food. You should think about all of the sourdough that you have been baking at home. Also, consider how much carbohydrate your cat is consuming. Julien says that an active cat can use carbohydrates to provide energy, but that a sedentary cat (aka indoor cat) will store more carbs as fat.

Wet food can be more difficult to store and must be refrigerated after it is opened. It may help cats to get more water, and the smell may tempt a picky cat. Kornreich says that canned or wet food is a better choice for cats with different lifestyles and ages.

Are you a senior, an adult, or a kitten?

When it comes to cat food, cats can be divided roughly into three age categories: senior, adult, and kitten.

Julien suggests that you consult your veterinarian to determine which cat belongs in each bucket. Ferris says that kittens require more energy-producing nutrients, such as fats and proteins, and more vitamins and minerals than adult cats. These nutrients are provided in the correct amounts by formulas designed for kittens.

Barf Pet Foods will transition from kitten kibbles and adult food by their first birthday. Ferris advises pet owners to slowly introduce a new food over the course of a week in order to avoid upsetting your cat’s stomach. Adult cat food is likely to be lower in calories than kitten food, and senior cat food (which can make sense for cats over ten years old) will likely be tailored towards your cat’s specific health — they may have difficulty chewing or reduced taste and smell.

Shop for high-rated cat food

1. Purina LiveClear Probiotic Chicken and Rice Formula

This dry food is made with chicken and rice as the first ingredients. It is designed to help maintain a healthy hair and digestive system. The sixth ingredient is dried egg product. It’s designed to reduce allergic reactions in cats.

2. Purina Cat Chow Complete dry Cat Food

This dry food mix has 25 vitamins, minerals and is made up of chicken by-product meal (chicken by-product meal) and ground yellow corn (ground yellow corn).

3. Iams Proactive Healthcare Indoor Weight & Hairball Management

Dry food for cats aged at least 12 months. The first three ingredients are chicken, chicken byproduct meal, and corn grits.

4. Hill’s Prescription Diet k/d Chicken & Vegetable Stew

This wet food was designed to support your cat’s healthy kidneys. A stew of chunks of chicken is made with spinach, carrots, and pea protein.

5. PetGuard Organic Chicken & Vegetable Formula

This canned, dry food contains organic chicken, water, and organic turkey. You can also find organic carrots and cranberries in this canned, wet food.

6. Fancy Feast for Gravy Lovers Ocean Whitefish and Tuna Feast

Cats need to hydrate just as much as humans. This wet food starts with fish broth. Next comes ocean whitefish and wheat flour. It can be eaten as a meal, or as a topping for dry food.

7. Hill’s Science Diet Adult Indoor Chicken recipe

This dry food is for adult cats aged between one and six years old. It contains chicken as the first ingredient. Dryed beet pulp is a source of fiber that will help your feline friend stay healthy.

8. Friskies Classic Pate Poulet Platter

Pate is soft, consistent food. Friskies tabs poultry by-products and turkey are the first ingredients in this wet food that is designed to give your cat more water.

9. Royal Canin Kitten Food

For kittens younger than 12 months, small slices of chicken liver, chicken by-products, and chicken liver can be prepared. Ferris says, “It is important to find food that your kitten likes.” Ferris adds, “Kittens need food that is easy to digest so they don’t feel irritable because their digestive systems are less developed.”

10. Open Farm Turkey Rustic Mix

Open Farm is one example of a farm-to-bowl company. It combines human-grade ground Turkey with cranberries, dandelion greens, and other ingredients to make this wet food. It can be used to top dry food or as a dinner side dish.

11. Smalls Fresh Beef Minced

Smalls is a new home subscription service that allows you to take a quiz and determine the best food for your cat. This online cat food company will then deliver the wet food mix to your home, which could include lean ground beef, beef liver, green beans, peas, and beef heart.