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The Best Grain-Free Cat Food: Our Top 7 Picks Reviewed

Charles Grisham
By Charles Grisham
Medically reviewed by Ivana Crnec, DVM
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See our advertising disclosure.

What is the Best Grain-Free Cat Food?

Smalls Cat Food
  • Smalls Human-Grade Fresh is protein-rich and picky cat-friendly. 
  • Our ingredients are USDA-certified, humanely-harvested, and sustainably-sourced—no BPAs, preservatives, fillers, or mystery-ingredients, ever.Smalls Freeze-Dried Raw retains the nutritional benefits of a raw, high-protein diet.

What is Grain-Free Cat Food?

Grain-free cat food is a cat food made without the use of things like corn, wheat, soy, oats, barley, or rice. It is available in any form of cat food, from kibble to pate to raw food.

Is Grain-Free Food Better for Your Cat?

Not necessarily. Some cats do not need grain-free food – grains are actually one of the least likely causes of food sensitivities. Most cats’ allergies stem from intolerances to beef, dairy products, and fish.

However, grain sensitivities and allergies are possible. Plus, grains are not part of the cat’s natural diet, and for some cats, they can be hard to digest and process.

If you are not sure whether a grain-free cat diet is a better choice for your feline friend, it is advisable to talk to your trusted veterinarian.

The Best Grain-Free Cat Food Reviewed

There are dozens of different grain-free cat food options. With so many foods, it is hard to find the right one for your feline friend. To help narrow the search, we have reviewed some of the market’s best-sellers.

Smalls Cat Food

Smalls Cat Food

Get it on Smalls

Summary: Smalls Cat Food is a human-grade pet food brand offering complete and balanced meals for cats. They are made with all-natural and nutrient-dense ingredients that are fresh or freeze-dried to preserve their nutritional values. The brand offers three protein options (Bird, Other Bird & Cow) and three textures (smooth, ground, and pulled).

Type: Fresh & Freeze-dried cat food

Best for: Cats of all life stages

Price: $1.25-1.93/meal

Pros

  • All-natural ingredients
  • Human-grade and homemade recipes
  • High-protein and grain-free formulas
  • Easily digestible and delicious
  • Three flavors and three texture options

Cons

  • No significant cons

Ingredient Analysis: The Chicken Recipe contains chicken, chicken liver, green beans, peas, chicken hearts, and kale. The Other Birds Recipe contains turkey thigh, turkey liver, green beans, peas, and kale. The Cow Recipe contains beef, beef liver, green beans, and spinach. All recipes are enriched with vitamins, minerals, and taurine.  

Review: Pet parents love this cat food brand. They say the meals are always fresh and delicious. Plus, their cats seem to be healthier and happier after switching to Smalls Cat Food.

The Honest Kitchen Grain-Free Chicken and Whitefish Clusters

The Honest Kitchen Grain-Free Chicken and Whitefish Clusters

Get it on The Honest Kitchen     Get it on Amazon

Summary: The grain-free clusters from The Honest Kitchen were developed in collaboration with a veterinary nutritionist utilizing a combination of organic foods, cage-free chicken, whitefish, and a probiotic boost to aid in digestion and bowel movement in cats.These grain-free clusters are produced with premium components to support the general health and wellbeing of your cat. This mixture contains cranberries, probiotics, and flax seeds to help your cat’s urinary health, digestion, and maintenance of a healthy coat.

Type: Dry cat formula

Best for: Cats of all life stages

Price: $5.99/lb

Pros

  • All-natural and non-GMO ingredients
  • Has higher protein and fiber content
  • No preservatives, artificial colors, fillers, and meat meals
  • Human-grade quality
  • Boosts energy levels and improves digestion

Cons

  • Rich in carbohydrates and calories
  • High fat content

Ingredient Analysis: The chicken and whitefish clusters recipe from The Honest Kitchen, which employs high-quality ingredients sourced from all over the world, is perfect for your cat. It contains fenugreek seed, taurine, and dried organic kelp, all of which are rich in powerful antioxidants that promote the overall health of your cat. To strengthen your cat’s immune system, this grain-free cat food mix also includes salmon oil, cage-free chicken, whitefish, potatoes, and other healthy ingredients. Additionally, it contains whitefish, which has necessary fatty acids that can aid in the recovery of a cat’s skin damage and irritation.

Review: According to satisfied customers, The Honest Kitchen Grain-Free Chicken and Whitefish Clusters have increased their cats’ energy levels and general wellbeing. Their cats have also maintained excellent digestive, skin, and coat health.

Open Farm Grain-Free Dry Cat Food

Open Farm Grain-Free Dry Cat Food

Get it on Amazon      Get it on Open Farm

Summary: This dry cat food is made with 100% traceable and responsibly sourced ingredients. It comes in several flavors, including wild-caught salmon recipe, pasture-raised lamb recipe, cats of the season whitefish recipe, and homestead turkey & chicken recipe. The formula is boosted with superfood ingredients like coconut oil and pumpkin. The recipe is made to provide complete and balanced nutrition for adult cats.

Type: Dry cat food

Best for: Adult cats

Price: $9.00/lb

Pros

  • High in protein and fresh salmon
  • With sustainably sourced, non-GMO ingredients
  • Rich in dietary fiber for digestive support
  • Cranberries and dandelion for UTI health
  • No artificial flavors, colors, or preservatives

Cons

  • More expensive than similar products

Ingredient Analysis: Wild pacific salmon, ocean whitefish meal, and ocean herring meal are the first three ingredients in this product, ensuring a high-protein food rich in omega fatty acids. Chickpeas and red lentils provide readily digestible carbohydrates, while dandelion and pumpkin add prebiotics. The non-GMO cranberries are a great source of antioxidants and support urinary tract health.

Review: With almost 400 reviews on Amazon, this grain-free cat food has an average of 4.5 stars. Nearly 90% of buyers rate this four or 5-stars because of the high-quality human-grade ingredients, low levels of phosphorus levels, and the effect this food had on their cats’ dandruff and skin allergies. However, some customers say they got a completely different food when buying on Amazon as opposed to when they purchased it directly from Open Farm.

CRAVE Grain-Free Adult Natural Dry Cat Food

CRAVE Grain-Free Adult Natural Dry Cat Food

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Summary: This kibble is made with real meat as the first ingredient and contains low amounts of carbs. It comes in three different recipes and protein sources – chicken, chicken & salmon, salmon & ocean fish. It provides all of the essential nutrients a carnivore needs. It contains no by-products or fillers and is suitable for cats with sensitive stomachs. The kibble is crunchy and comes in three bag sizes – 2 lb, 4 lb, and 10 lb.

Type: Dry cat food

Best for: Adult cats

Price: $2.87/lb

Pros

  • Protein-rich (40%) formula
  • Real chicken is the first ingredient
  • Cat-friendly kibble size and texture
  • No fillers, by-products, and soy
  • Budget-friendly price

Cons

  • Some cats may dislike peas

Ingredient Analysis: The first ingredient in the food is always an animal protein like real chicken or real salmon. These are great for protein and fatty acids. To additionally boost the protein content, it uses pea protein and potato protein. Dried plain beet pulp, split peas, and lentils offer dietary fiber and digestible carbs. The formula has mineral and vitamin supplements for complete nutrition.

Review: This grain-free cat food has over 7,000 reviews, and 90% of them are four and five-star ratings. Cat owners were happy with the effect this food had on their cats’ issues, claimed their old cats could eat it without digestive upsets, and the overall quality was great. One-star reviews mention that the formula gave their cats urinary tract crystals, with one expressing dissatisfaction with the inclusion of potassium chloride in the formula.

Purina Beyond Grain-Free Natural Dry Cat Food

Purina Beyond Grain-Free Natural Dry Cat Food

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Summary: This dry cat food is made with wild-caught whitefish, cage-free eggs, and accents of sweet potatoes. It is both grain and gluten-free and suitable for cats with sensitive tummies. Plus, the formula contains natural probiotics for additional digestive health. Each ingredient in the food can be traced back to its source. The food is available in one flavor and three bag sizes – 3 lb, 5 lb, and 11 lb.

Type: Dry cat food

Best for: Adult cats

Price: $3.32/lb

Pros

  • With meat, eggs, and sweet potatoes
  • Gluten-free and grain-free recipe
  • Added probiotics for digestive support
  • No artificial flavors or preservatives
  • 100% traceable ingredients

Cons

  • Contains canola meal and sunflower oil

Ingredient Analysis: The first two ingredients are hake and chicken meal, a good indication this is protein-rich cat food. Pea protein and dried egg products supplement the protein content and add fiber, carbs, and fatty acids to the blend. Sweet potatoes are used as a carbohydrate source but are used in relatively small amounts, while a mix of vitamin supplements rounds up the cat’s diet. The only ingredients we dislike are canola oil and sunflower oil.

Review: 95% of the over 5,400 reviews on Amazon rate this grain-free cat food with 4 or 5 stars. Numerous buyers state they made the switch from Hill’s Science Diet and Purina Pro Plan after they became intolerant to some ingredients, and this food has cleared up those sensitivities. The few negative remarks mostly repeated the same points that cats won’t eat it or that there were bugs in the food upon delivery.

Taste of the Wild Grain-Free Recipe Dry Cat Food

Taste of the Wild Grain-Free Recipe Dry Cat Food

Get it on Amazon      Get it on Chewy

Summary: This is a limited ingredient, grain-free pet food that uses Angus beef as the primary source of lean animal protein. The added probiotic blend makes the formula easy to digest and fit for cats with sensitive stomachs. It also promotes healthy skin and coat. The food is complete and balanced for cats of all life stages – from kittens to adults to senior cats.

Type: Dry cat food

Best for: Cats of all life stages

Price: $4.53/lb

Pros

  • With Angus beef and lentils
  • Rich in omega fatty acids
  • Contains probiotics (80 million CFUs)
  • Can be used as a kitten food
  • Includes probiotics
  • Available in large bags (15-pounds)

Cons

  • Sunflower oil is one of the key ingredients

Ingredient Analysis: There are three key ingredients in this food – beef, lentils, and sunflower oil. Beef is a great source of protein and animal fats for carnivores. Lentils provide prebiotics and easily digestible carbohydrates. The formula is enriched with dried fermentation products from beneficial bacteria. The only ingredient we dislike is sunflower oil – it adds fatty acids but may not be the best fit for cats.

Review: There are fewer reviews of this grain-free cat food than some of the others on this list, but the majority of them are positive. The 4 and 5-star reviews are happy that their cats enjoy this food and like the fact that it is grain-free. Critical remarks state their cat won’t eat the food and a small number of customers complain that the ingredients list does not seem transparent enough.

Weruva Truluxe Grain-Free Canned Cat Food

Weruva Truluxe Grain-Free Canned Cat Food

Get it on Amazon

Summary: Made with real meat, this delicious wet cat food has a pleasing pate texture that all cats love. The ingredients for the food are sourced sustainably, and the recipes are produced in human-grade facilities. This wet canned food is available in a wide variety of flavors and in 3 and 6-ounce cans (in packs of 24 cans) and is made to provide complete and balanced nutrition. It is formulated to be suitable for cats of all life stages.

Type: Wet cat food

Best for: Cats of all life stages

Price: $3.17/can

Pros

  • Supports healthy hydration
  • Grain, gluten, and carrageenan-free
  • Minimally processed ingredients
  • Available in variety packs
  • Small, family-owned cat food company

Cons

  • A bit pricey for canned food

Ingredient Analysis: Overall, the ingredients in this food are excellent. It is made with sustainably sourced meats like grass-fed beef and cage-free chicken. The fruits and vegetables are used to add fiber, carbs, and vitamins, and each of them is selected for its high digestibility. We particularly like the fact that, unlike most wet cat foods, the formula does not contain carrageenan.

Review: The reviews on this grain-free cat food are very limited, but the ones that are provided by cat owners are high – there are no reviews under four stars. Customers are satisfied with the overall quality and the ethical sourcing of the ingredients. They explain they are happy that their cats are excited when served this highly nutritious food.

Blue Buffalo Freedom Grain Free Natural Indoor Dry Cat Food

Blue Buffalo Freedom Grain Free Natural Indoor Dry Cat Food

Get it on Amazon      Get it on Chewy

Summary: This dry food is made with real chicken as the first ingredient. It is formulated to give complete and balanced nutrition for adult cats and comes in two different flavors – chicken and fish. The formula includes Blue Buffalo’s hallmark signature – the health-boosting LifeSource Bits that are concentrated morsels of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. It supports easy digestion, healthy weight, and strong immunity. The kibble comes in two bag sizes – 5 lb and 11 lb.

Type: Dry cat food

Best for: Adult cats

Price: $4.50/lb

Pros

  • Real chicken or fish for the first ingredient
  • Cold-formed to preserve the potency
  • Contains the brand’s LifeSource Bits
  • No by-products and artificial preservatives
  • Helps with digestion and weight control

Cons

  • Limited flavor selection

Ingredient Analysis: Real chicken and fish are used as the first ingredients to provide excellent sources of protein and omega-fatty acids. Sweet potatoes are added for complex carbohydrates, and blueberries and cranberries are included for their antioxidants that support a cat’s immune system. We particularly like that the formula does not include fillers, by-products, and artificial ingredients like colors, flavors, and preservatives.

Review: With over 2,000 reviews on Amazon and 94% of them coming from 4 and 5-star ratings, many people are happy with this grain-free cat food. They are pleased it helped their cats with food allergies to feel better and that the higher fiber in this food helps to control hairballs. A small number of pet parents also expressed satisfaction with this food having fewer calories than the food they were previously feeding their cats. One and two-star reviews only made up 3% of the total reviews, but they all say more or less the same thing. They claim their cat had become sick after eating, and some said their vets had told them to steer clear of a grain-free diet.

Purina Cat Chow Natural Grain-Free Dry Cat Food

Purina Cat Chow Natural Grain-Free Dry Cat Food

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Summary: This grain-free diet is made with real chicken as the number one ingredient. The food is free from artificial ingredients and fillers, but it does contain quite a few plant-based ingredients. It is very high in omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, which support skin & coat health. This cat kibble comes in three bag sizes – 3 lb, 6 lb, and 13 lb and is fit for adult cats. Based on the manufacturer, every ingredient in the formula has a purpose.

Type: Dry cat food

Best for: Adult cats

Price: $3.00/lb

Pros

  • Real chicken for a high protein content
  • Made with 0% fillers
  • Rich in omegas for skin & coat health
  • No artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives
  • Very affordable price tag

Cons

  • Contains cassava root flour
  • Relatively low in crude fiber

Ingredient Analysis: Chicken is the first ingredient, which is great, but the second ingredient is a chicken by-product. This is an unnamed by-product, so it is difficult to know the reason for the ingredient or the nutrient content. Almost every ingredient after chicken by-product is plant-based. Canola meal, cassava root flour, and pea protein are relatively high on the list, and these may not be ideal for carnivores.

Review: With thousands of reviews, most of them being five stars, this grain-free cat food appears to be a good choice in the eyes of consumers. With 95% of reviews being four stars or higher, the main point they touch on is how much their cats enjoy the flavor of this food. Some say their cats with sensitive stomachs have seen improvement in their symptoms, and they are all happy this food does not come with a high-end price.

What Should I Look for in Grain-Free Cat Food?

When shopping for the best grain-free cat food, there are several things to consider:

  • Meat as First Ingredient. Cats are carnivores, so they require meat to live. High-quality grain-free cat food should have meat as the first ingredient. Many cat foods that market themselves as grain-free may, in fact, be grain-free, but the ingredients they use might also be less than ideal for your cat, so make sure meat is the first ingredient.
  • Organ Meats and Animal Products. Organ meat is a superfood for cats. It provides them with the vitamins and minerals they require that aren’t in muscle meat and may be in grains. If organ meat is in a food that is also labeled “grain-free,” it likely has the micronutrients your cat would have otherwise received from those grains.
  • Formulated by Experts. Animal nutritionists know what a cat will need to be healthy. Replacing grains with other vegetables as a carb source can be tricky and is best done by someone with in-depth knowledge of what a cat really needs, if not grains.

Are Grain-Free Cat Foods Gluten-Free?

Yes, grain-free cat food is always gluten-free. Gluten is found in some grains like wheat, barley, and rye. So, if the cat food is free from grains, it does not have a gluten source.

However, pet owners should understand that not all gluten-free foods are grain-free. For example, rice, millet, and amaranth are grains but they do not contain gluten.