The Best Dry Cat Food

As the owner of a cat, you want to know that you are feeding your cat the right type of food. Cats can be a bit finicky, and their tastes vary widely. Some cats prefer wet food, while others will only eat dry food. Dry food has the advantage of being less messy than some wet foods, so many cat owners like to rely on it exclusively. Others offer a mix of food, with dry food being just part of their cats’ diets.

We have taken a close look at dozens of dry cat foods. We’ve separated them into categories and chosen the best of the best to suggest to our readers. We looked at which type of kitties the foods were each best-suited for, how nutritious their ingredients were, and how cat owners seemed to like them.

Best Dry Cat Food Overall
Blue Buffalo Wilderness Adult Dry Cat Food
Packed with real chicken, this food is sure to satisfy your cat’s need for protein.

Our top pick went to Blue Buffalo Wilderness Adult Dry Cat Food. This is a grain-free food that is a great source of chicken, a lean protein that cats need for nutrition and energy. It also contains antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals for your cat’s continued good health. This is the 12-lb bag; it also comes in smaller sizes.

The 5 Top-Rated Dry Cat Food

Editor's PicksBrandRating
Best Dry Cat Food OverallBlue Buffalo Wilderness Adult Dry Cat Food4.6
Best Dry Kitten FoodPurina ONE Healthy Kitten Formula Kitten Food4.8
Best Budget Buy9Lives Plus Care Dry Cat Food4.9
Best for Sensitive StomachsHill’s Science Diet Dry Cat Food, Sensitive Stomach & Skin4.5
Best for Indoor CatsRachael Ray Nutrish Superfood Blends Dry Cat Food4.6

*All ratings are from Amazon and might change over time.

Best Dry Cat Food Overall: Blue Buffalo Wilderness Adult Dry Cat Food

Blue Buffalo Wilderness Adult Dry Cat Food is our favorite among all of the dry cat foods. Because it contains no grain, there’s plenty of room for the nutritious ingredients your cat needs. The main ingredient is chicken, which provides plenty of lean protein. Carbohydrates, which provide additional energy, include sweet potatoes and peas. This brand also includes Lifesource Bits, a blend of antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals developed by holistic veterinarians to improve your cat’s health.

Some of the ways that Blue Buffalo cat food can improve the health of your kitty include helping to develop healthy muscle, boosting skin and coat health, and supporting the immune system. Omega fatty acids, the Lifesource Bits blend, and a high ratio of real meat (in this case, chicken) give your cat the nutritional boost she needs.

Blue Buffalo Wilderness Adult Dry Cat Food Key Features:

  • Chicken is the first ingredient
  • Lean protein source
  • No grains
  • Contains healthy veggies
  • Contains omega fatty acids
  • Improves skin health
  • Supports the immune system

Best Dry Kitten Food: Purina ONE Healthy Kitten Formula Kitten Food

Best Kitten Food
Purina ONE Healthy Kitten Formula Kitten Food
High protein and no fillers make this food perfect for kittens.

Purina ONE Healthy Kitten Formula Kitten Food made our top pick for dry foods formulated for young cats. Its primary ingredient is chicken, which is a good form of protein for kittens. It also has no fillers, which is important when you need to maximize the nutrition in every bite that your little kitten takes. The kibble is crunchy, making it appealing to cats and also boosting your kitty’s oral health.

One of the ingredients that makes this formula perfect for kittens is DHA. It is the same nutrient found in the milk that they drank before weaning, and it helps to promote good vision and brain development. Another nice feature is that Purina ONE makes cat food for older cats, too, so it will be easy to transition your kitten over when she’s ready.

Purina ONE Healthy Kitten Formula Kitten Food Key Features:

  • Main ingredient is chicken
  • Contains no fillers
  • Crunchy, good for teeth
  • Contains DHA
  • Easy to transition to adult food later

Best Budget Cat Food: 9Lives Plus Care Dry Cat Food

Best Budget Dry Cat Food
9Lives Plus Care Dry Cat Food
Budget-friendly, complete nutrition for your adult cat.

If you are looking for a budget-friendly dry cat food, we recommend 9Lives Plus Care Dry Cat Food. This is a food for adult cats and offers all of the nutrients a cat needs for good health. It helps maintain good urinary pH, which can keep your cat’s urinary tract healthy. If your cat suffers from urinary problems, ask your veterinarian if this food would be an appropriate choice. The manufacturer recommends that you do not mix this food with other types of food that are not formulated for urinary health, as that could allow your cat to develop urinary issues.

It also contains vitamin E and selenium, two nutrients that help boost your kitty’s immune system. The food is formulated to promote healthy digestion. Each order comes with 2x 12 pound bags of 9Lives Plus Care Dry Cat Food, which equates to a measly $0.07 per ounce!

9Lives Plus Care Dry Cat Food Key Features:

  • Formulated for urinary health
  • Budget-friendly
  • Contains vitamin E and selenium
  • Boosts the immune system
  • Made for good digestion
  • Tuna and egg flavor

Best Dry Cat Food for Sensitive Stomachs: Hill’s Science Diet Dry Cat Food, Sensitive Stomach & Skin

Best Dry Cat Food for Sensitive Skin
Hill's Science Diet Dry Cat Food, Sensitive Stomach & Skin
Support your cat’s sensitive digestive system with Hill’s Science Diet.

Does your cat have a sensitive stomach? If so, Hill’s Science Diet Dry Cat Food, Sensitive Stomach & Skin is our pick for you. It contains a gentle source of fiber that encourages the development of beneficial gut bacteria, and it’s also highly digestible. It can help with nutrient absorption and will also make cleaning out the litter box easier.

In addition to helping with your cat’s sensitive stomach, this food is great for kitty’s skin and coat, thanks to vitamin E and omega 6 fatty acids. There are no artificial preservatives, colors, or flavors, and it is made in the USA with high-quality global ingredients. The first ingredient is chicken and it has a taste that is appealing to cats.

Hill’s Science Diet Dry Cat Food, Sensitive Stomach & Skin Key Features:

  • Contains prebiotic fiber
  • Encourages the development of beneficial gut bacteria
  • Highly digestible for sensitive stomachs
  • Good for fur and skin
  • Contains vitamin E and omega 6 fatty acids
  • First ingredient is chicken

Best Dry Cat Food for Indoor Cats: Rachael Ray Nutrish Superfood Blends Dry Cat Food

Best Dry Food for Indoor Cats
Rachael Ray Nutrish Superfood Blends Dry Cat Food
Help support a healthy weight with this indoor cat food.

Indoor kitties are sure to love Rachael Ray Nutrish Superfood Blends Dry Cat Food, our top pick for dry cat food for indoor cats. This one is made with chicken, lentils, and salmon, for a flavor cats love. The lentils help with your cat’s healthy weight, which is an important consideration when choosing a food for indoor kitties, who are generally less active than cats who go outside.

Pumpkin and dandelion greens are ingredients that contain prebiotics, which foster healthy digestion. The addition of berries boost your cat’s immune system, and it also contains vitamins, minerals, and amino acids your furry friend needs for good overall health. There is no corn, wheat, soy, fillers, or artificial colors or preservatives.

Rachael Ray Nutrish Superfood Blends Dry Cat Food Key Features:

  • Formulated for indoor cats
  • Chicken is the first ingredient
  • Promote healthy digestion and healthy weight
  • Contains prebiotics
  • Nothing artificial

Who Should Buy Dry Cat Food

If you own a cat, you already know that there are a lot of options when it comes to what to feed him! There are food delivery services that deliver food, there’s raw cat food (and you can read a review of the best raw cat foods here), canned cat food, and so on. For cats with special dietary needs, there are urinary health cat foods, some of which are described below. We also have published a review of the best grain-free cat foods.

Dry cat food is simple to use: Just pour it in the bowl and change once or twice daily. You don’t have to worry about it going bad in the span of a day, and it is less likely than wet foods to attract pests. It is also easy to store. If you have a cat, it’s a good idea to have dry cat food on hand, whether it’s a staple of his everyday diet or something you use when you have a catsitter or travel. Many cats prefer dry cat food because they enjoy the crunch, too.

Best Dry Cat Food Overall
Blue Buffalo Wilderness Adult Dry Cat Food
Packed with real chicken, this food is sure to satisfy your cat’s need for protein.

Important Features to Consider

When deciding which type of dry cat food to purchase, you’ll want to keep a few considerations in mind. Here are some features to think about.

  • Dietary needs. The most important feature to consider is whether the food you are looking at will meet your cat’s unique needs. If your cat requires a grain-free diet, needs a low-ash food, or is pregnant, you’ll want to be sure that the food you choose will provide the appropriate vitamins and nutrients.
  • Flavor. Cats are notoriously picky, and you’ll need to make sure that your cat likes the flavor of the food you choose. Popular flavors that most cats like include chicken and fish, but you might need to experiment with your cat.
  • Ingredients. Depending on your feelings about nutrition, what your vet recommends, and your cat’s needs, you might need to look for certain ingredients, such as omega fatty acids for coat health or a specific type of fiber for a sensitive stomach.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is dry cat food good for cats?

Dry food can be good for cats. It is crunchy, which is great for oral health. It’s also not likely to spoil, which makes it a good choice in a variety of circumstances. And it’s easy for owners to use, which is a plus! The main downside is that dry food can contribute to dehydration. Be sure to offer your cat fresh water at all times to help prevent dehydration. You can also use a cat water fountain, which reminds kitties to drink.

How do you keep dry cat food fresh?

Store your cat food in an airtight container in a cool, dry place, such as in a pantry. Do not leave the food somewhere damp, like in a basement that is prone to high humidity. Always close up the container completely after scooping or pouring out food. Also, don’t buy bags or boxes of food that you won’t be able to use up within several weeks; once they’re opened, they should be used promptly to prevent staleness.

How much dry cat food should I feed my cat? 

Check the bag of cat food to see what the manufacturer recommends as far as how much to feed your cat. Note that that amount will be how much to feed your cat each day, not at each feeding. There is also usually a range; if your cat is overweight, use the smaller end of the range, and if your cat is underweight, use the larger end of the range. You can let your cat free-feed (put the food out in the morning and let your cat eat what he wants throughout the day) or you might choose to break it up into 3-4 feedings per day, picking up the dish in between meals. Talk to your vet about which approach would be best for your cat.

How can I soften my cat’s dry food?

If your cat requires a softer consistency, you can still use dry cat food and soften it. The easiest way is to simply add a bit of water to the food and allow it to absorb the water. Do this immediately before feeding, and pick up the food after your cat eats. Moistened food will go bad more quickly than dry food. Another way to moisten your cat’s food is to simply add a bit of canned or wet food (preferably one with a gravy) to the dry food.

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