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The Best Cat Food for Indoor Cats: Our Top 7 Picks

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

Best Indoor Cat Food Summary

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.

Why Do Indoor Cats Need Special Food?

The main reason indoor cats require indoor cat food is that an indoor cat’s needs will be different than an outdoor cat’s needs.

They require fewer calories due to a lower activity level, and an indoor formula will be more likely to be formulated for weight control. Also, shedding in indoor cats can be slower, which is why indoor formulas help with hairball control.

Best Indoor Cat Food Formulas Reviewed

There are many brands and types of food for indoor cats. With so many choices, it can be hard to pick the right one for your feline friend. To make things easy, we have selected and reviewed the best cat food for indoor cats.

Smalls Cat Food

best wet cat food

Get it on Smalls

Summary: Smalls is a cat food subscription service company that opens with a one-minute survey to determine your cat’s needs. From there, they recommend a cat food option that is made fresh with fresh human-grade ingredients or freeze-dried raw and shipped right to your door, making this one of the best cat food brands. It satisfies the cat’s nutritional needs, prevents obesity, and has excellent moisture content. Plus, based on the needs, it can be made as cat or kitten food.

Type: Fresh and freeze-dried raw

Best for: Cats of all life stages

Price: $9/11.5 oz unit

Pros

  • Made with human-grade, natural ingredients
  • Carefully formulated for optimal health
  • Personalized meals and plans
  • Convenient subscription service
  • Safe, for kittens, adults, and senior cats

Cons

  • It is more expensive than other options on the list

Ingredient Analysis: The ingredients are sustainably sourced from the United States and Canada to ensure premium grade products with each order. Ingredients like chicken thigh, chicken breast and liver, green beans and peas, and only enough water to be sufficient for the production process make this one of the best and cleanest sources of nutrition for your cat on the market today.

Review: Reviews on this product were difficult to find or trust since most of them are on the Smalls website and are all 5-star ratings. That being said, this is overall the best cat food for indoor cats. 

The Honest Kitchen Grain-Free Turkey and Chicken Clusters

The Honest Kitchen Grain-Free Turkey and Chicken Clusters

Get it on The Honest Kitchen     Get it on Amazon

Summary: A family-run business with headquarters in the US, The Honest Kitchen creates nutritious pet food formula using only minimally processed, human-grade ingredients. These vitamin-rich clusters were created in cooperation with a veterinary nutritionist using a variety of natural ingredients, cage-free turkey and chicken, and a probiotic boost to aid with your cat’s digestion.

The Honest Kitchen Grain-Free Turkey and Chicken Clusters are made with excellent ingredients to support your cat’s overall health and wellness. This recipe includes cranberries to support your cat’s urinary health, probiotics to achieve good digestion, and flax seeds to reduce hairballs and keep a healthy coat. This is such a suitable grain-free recipe for indoor cats.

Type: Dry cat formula

Best for: Cats of all life stages

Price: $7.99/lb

Pros

  • All-natural, 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

Ingredient Analysis: The recipe contains fenugreek seed, taurine, and dried organic kelp—all of which are rich in powerful antioxidants that aid in the overall well-being of your cat. With cage-free turkey and chicken, along with turkey liver, potatoes, and salmon oil, this dry cat formula is laden with healthy proteins and other nutrients necessary for boosting your feline’s immune system.

Review: Satisfied pet owners report that after their cats’ consistent consumption of The Honest Kitchen Grain-Free Turkey and Chicken Clusters, their energy levels and overall well-being have improved. Their cats have also maintained healthy digestion and optimal skin and coat health. 

Hill’s Science Diet Adult Indoor Cat Food

best cat food for indoor cats

Get it on Amazon      Get it on Chewy

Summary: Using high-quality protein sources, like chicken, this indoor cat formula is formulated to fit the energy demands of an indoor cat’s day-to-day life and contains fibers to control hairballs and make litter box cleaning easy. It comes in dry and wet cat food varieties and offers a selection of flavors to keep your cat excited and engaged at mealtime.

Type: Dry cat food

Best for: Adult cats

Price: $1.75/lb

Pros

  • Chicken as the first ingredient
  • With natural fiber for digestion support
  • No by-product meals and artificial ingredients
  • Excellent quality at an affordable price
  • Made in the USA with global ingredients

Cons

  • Contains grains that may cause allergies

Ingredient Analysis: Using a blend of high-quality protein sources from chicken, chicken liver, and fish, this dry cat food offers support for healthy muscle function and a high overall dietary quality. However, the addition of grains, with grains being two of the first three ingredients, can be cause for concern as cats sometimes do not respond well to gluten or grains.

Review: Reviews on Amazon are widely in favor of the food. With 85% of over 10,000 reviews being five stars, it is clear many consumers are satisfied with their purchase. A common theme in critical reviews, however, is customers who receive “bad batches” when ordering on Amazon, and they recommend buying in-store over online.

Blue Buffalo Wilderness Indoor Dry Cat Food

best cat food for indoor cats

Get it on Amazon      Get it on Chewy

Summary: The high-protein kibble recipe Blue Buffalo uses in this grain-free adult cat food is geared for your indoor cat by providing the necessary amino acids and carbohydrates it needs to be healthy. They use chicken as the first ingredient, meaning it is the most common ingredient in the product and includes what they call “life source bits,” which are made of antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals to support your cat’s immune system, bones, and teeth.

Type: Dry, cold-formed cat food

Best for: Adult cats

Price: $3.20/lb

Pros

  • Chicken is the first ingredient
  • Cold-formed and with the brand’s LifeSource Bits
  • Includes antioxidants and vitamins for immune support
  • Made grain-free and without by-products
  • Contains no artificial flavors or preservatives

Cons

  • Higher in calories than other indoor cat foods

Ingredient Analysis: With chicken as the first ingredient and the inclusion of omega fatty acids, this dry pet food is a great choice for those looking to use a grain-free food. The largest cause of concern is the use of oil of rosemary, however, it is in such small portions and is the last ingredient on the list that it is unlikely to cause adverse reactions.

Review: With 85% of the 6,800 reviews on Amazon rating this five stars, it is a fan favorite. Consumers claim it has helped with their cat’s vomiting and helped their cat’s litter box become easier to clean. The most common complaint is an apparent lack of quality control, with some buyers describing the food as “dusty” or saying it is” not what it used to be.”

IAMS Proactive Health Adult Indoor Dry Cat Food

iam proactive

Get it on Amazon      Get it on Chewy

Summary: Whether you’re buying the salmon or chicken recipes of this indoor cat food, you will be buying a product made with zero fillers that will help reduce hairballs and maintain a healthy weight. A reasonable price combined with high-quality ingredients and a focus on natural protein sources makes this dry cat food one of the best choices out there.

Type: Dry cat food

Best for: Adult cats, weight management, hairball control

Price: $1.54/lb

Pros

  • Helps with weight and hairball control
  • Supports healthy heart, skin, and coat
  • Increase metabolism with the use of L-carnitine
  • Fish oil for omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids
  • Made in the USA with World’s finest ingredients

Cons

  • Not suitable for grain-sensitive cats

Ingredient Analysis: The formula’s first ingredient is chicken. It is specifically formulated to give your cat complete nutrition with no fillers. The food is made with by-products, however, and grains. Both of which may turn off some potential buyers.

Review: Out of the 27,000 reviews, 85% were five stars. The five-star reviews often noted how their finicky cats would actually eat the food, and even owners of senior cats claimed it helped their aging feline eat more than what they would prior. Critical reviewers were quick to point out the use of grains and by-products.

CRAVE Grain Free Indoor Adult Natural Dry Cat Food

crave

Get it on Amazon      Get it on Chewy

Summary: A variety of flavor options ensure your cat will not get bored with this food. It is made with chicken or salmon as the first ingredients and is free from by-products and grains. The food is also free from artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives. With over 40% of meat-derived and high-quality proteins, the food is suitable for adult cats of all breeds and sizes.

Type: Dry cat food

Best for: Indoor adult cats older than one year

Price: $3.00/lb

Pros

  • Grain-free, and made without animal by-products
  • High-protein formula for lean muscle and healthy body
  • With flaxseed and pea, and potato proteins
  • Ingredient analysis on the back of the packaging
  • Provides healthy carbs without the use of grains

Cons

  • Relatively high in carbs when compared to other high protein foods

Ingredient Analysis: When the first product is animal proteins, it generally means the ingredients have been thought out to cater to your cat’s dietary needs. Most people will be able to recognize the majority of the ingredients in the first half of the list, which is usually a good sign. The inclusion of rosemary extract can have some consumers concerned, as it did with the other foods on this list containing rosemary extract, but overall this is a very well-rounded list of ingredients.

Review: Thousands of people rated this food 5 stars, with some even telling stories about how their cats will break into the cabinets in which they store the food to get to it in between meal times. While the majority of positive reviews were less story-based, they still praised the food for helping to solve stool and skin issues. The critical reviews seemed to be more about the delivery or the quality control regarding the 10-pound bag rather than the food itself, but those who did complain about the food were mostly confused about their cat’s reaction to the food and why they wouldn’t eat it.

Rachael Ray Nutrish Indoor Natural Dry Cat Food

rachael ray

Get it on Amazon      Get it on Chewy

Summary: Using a “superfood blend” of animal proteins, cranberries, pumpkin, and lentils, this food is geared to provide all of the nutrition and energy your indoor cat needs to live a healthy life. The use of brewers rice in the food offers a healthy form of carbohydrates for energy and animal proteins as the first ingredients ensure total nutritional coverage for your adult cat into their senior years.

Type: Dry

Best for: Indoor adult cats

Price: $1.47/lb

Pros

  • Excellent protein content with added superfoods
  • Supports healthy weight loss and control
  • Rich in natural prebiotics for healthy digestion
  • Antioxidant-rich berries for immunity
  • Contains amino acids and omega fatty acids

Cons

  • Includes gluten which may be an issue with some cats

Ingredient Analysis: While ingredients such as animal protein, cranberries, pumpkin, and lentils are the priority of this food, the “superfood blend” is fantastic as it offers antioxidants and micronutrients that may be difficult for your cat to get from other food. It is rich in mineral and vitamin supplements (vitamin A and vitamin E). However, the use of corn gluten can concern some cat owners as it is not ideal for a cat’s diet.

Review: Many of the thousands of reviews were glowing. They made claims about improvements in their senior cats, overweight cats, and cats with sensitive stomachs. Overall, this is one of the best dry cat foods for owners on a budget. Some customers complained about the dishonest corn-free label on the front of the bag. They stated it was clearly noted there was no corn, yet on the back, there was corn gluten in the ingredients.

Purina ONE Natural Senior Indoor Dry Cat Food

purina one

Get it on Amazon      Get it on Chewy

Summary: Chicken is the first ingredient in this formula made specifically for senior cats. As your cat ages, it can have issues digesting as much protein as it used to when it was younger, and this food reflects that with its inclusion of brown rice and a larger amount of crude fiber than you will find in most foods formulated for younger cats. This will help aid the digestive system. The diet supports overall health and helps prevent hairball issues.

Type: Dry

Best for: Adult cats older than 7 years

Price: $1.78/lb

Pros

  • Supports strong muscles and a healthy heart
  • Promotes optimal energy levels
  • With added vitamins and minerals for older cats
  • No fillers and harmful additives
  • Made in the USA for senior cats

Cons

  • This product contains grains that may not be suitable for some cats

Ingredient Analysis: This food is specifically designed for older cats who need digestion support, and the inclusion of a higher amount of crude fiber and gluten is there to aid the digestive system as well as animal protein to provide your cat with all of the amino acids it needs to live an active life. Overall, this is a good fit for most adult cats reaching into their later life stages, although corn gluten and whole wheat gluten may be seen as a downside in the ingredients list.

Review: There were zero one-star reviews on Amazon and zero one or two-star reviews on Chewy. This is a good indication cat owners are pleased with this product by Purina. Chewy even states on their site that 100% of buyers would recommend it to a friend.

What is the Healthiest Cat Food for an Indoor Cat?

Smalls Cat Food is our top pick as the best cat food for indoor cats.

The brand uses human-grade whole foods and offers fresh and freeze-dried raw options that ship directly to your door, so you always have the highest quality food at the ready for your feline friend.

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 Should I Look for in Food for Indoor Cats?

When looking for the best cat food for indoor cats, you need to consider several factors such as:

  • First Ingredient. High-quality cat foods must have animal proteins as their first ingredient. As obligate carnivores, cats thrive on meat-based protein sources.
  • Ingredient Quality. All ingredients in the best cat food for indoor cats must be of premium quality and carefully blended into the optimal mix for the cat’s nutritional needs.
  • Micronutrients. The ingredient list should include nutrients like vitamins, minerals, probiotics, prebiotics, fatty acids, and antioxidants. They are found in fruits, veggies, and fish oils.
  • Nutritional Value. The best cat food for indoor cats will be high in meat proteins and low in carbohydrates. This is because indoor cats are prone to obesity.
  • Life Stage. You need to make sure the food you are getting is suitable for your cat’s age. The adult cat’s needs are different from those of kittens and senior cats.
  • Food Type & Taste. It is also important to check what type of food your cat likes best – dry or wet cat food. The taste is also an essential factor to consider.