The 20 Worst Cat Foods of 2018

Your pet cat is as much a part of the family as you are. Therefore, pet owners do whatever it takes to keep their cats healthy and strong. Unfortunately, many pet owners don’t take the time to look at the ingredients label on food packages. These tell you a lot about how good or bad the cat food is. It’s important to pay attention to what your cat is eating to ensure that it’s getting proper nutrition. To help you get started on the right direction, we’ve listed 20 of the worst cat foods this year. Avoid these at all costs and opt for something better altogether.

Royal Canin Indoor Adult Dry Cat Food

Chicken meal may be a good source of protein typical in commercial cat foods, and this Royal Canin Dry Can Food has chicken meal listed as its first ingredient. However, the following ingredients aren’t as appealing. The second ingredient is corn, and while it gives cats the needed calories, corn doesn’t give much as far as nutritious value is concerned. Next, it contains brewer’s rice, which is basically just low quality rice that has no nutrients either. It does contain brown rice, pea fibers, and beet pulp, but they’re mostly in traces. Everything else is either just empty calories or supplemental nutrients. There’s not enough nutritional value in this cat food for it to be good enough for any furry friends. The terrible part is it’s not the cheapest brand either. You can definitely get something much better for the same amount of money you’d be paying for this Royal Canin cat food.

Purina Cat Chow Indoor Dry Cat Food

Cats are naturally carnivores. They need to eat meat. And if you’re giving them cat food that doesn’t have meat as its primary ingredient, then you’re not giving them what they need at all. This Purina Cat Chow lists corn meal as its first ingredient. Corn meal is considered to be the finely ground bits of the entire corn kernel. Eating whole corn kernel is nutritious for cats, but corn meal is actually considered to be highly allergenic. In addition, the main meat component of this cat food is a poultry by-product meal, which is basically the ground and rendered carcasses of slaughtered poultry. This might include feet, necks, and everything else that’s not their feathers. Poultry by-product meal is not meat. It is probably one of the lowest quality ingredients you can ever find in cat food.

Purina Kit & Kaboodle Original Dry Cat Food

Another Purina cat food makes it on this list. This dry cat food features 4 tasty flavors: Chicken, Liver, Turkey, and Ocean Fish. While at first glance it may seem like you’re giving something nice to your cat, flipping to the ingredients box should change your mind. The first ingredient two ingredients are listed as ground yellow corn and corn gluten meal. Any corn products are typical in pet foods, but they’re not good as the foremost ingredients. They lack certain amino acids that cats need to maintain good health, and corn just don’t have the nutritional value at all. Also, the meat component of this cat food comes as the 4th ingredient in the form of meat and bone meal. Meat and bone meal are again just rendered products from carcass and tissues. They’re obviously not the best meats that you can give your cats.

Fancy Feast Gourmet Savory Chicken and Turkey Dry Cat Food

Adding “gourmet” and “savory” in a product’s name doesn’t make it better at all. Take for example this Fancy Feast product. It sounds great by name alone, but reading the ingredients list will make any owner put this product back on the shelf. Fancy Feast may be a known cat food name, but if they’re using brewer’s rice as a primary ingredient, they’re no good at all. Brewer’s rice is one of the lowest quality rice products there are out there. Its second most prominent ingredient is poultry by-product meal, which is just grounded up bits and pieces of various animal parts. As a general rule, if it’s something you wouldn’t put in your own food, you shouldn’t have it in your cat’s food as well. You can see chicken and turkey somewhere down the ingredients list, but they’re probably in just small traces—not enough to actually give your cat nutrition.

Iams ProActive Health Healthy Adult Original with Chicken Dry Cat Food

You may see poultry as the first ingredient of this cat food, but make sure you read more before you pay. It’s actually poultry by-product meal, which you should know by now is not a very good ingredient. There’s actually no meat product in this cat food, and that’s not a good thing especially since cats are carnivorous animals. You might see ingredients that have the word “meat” or “animal” in them, but all of those are just rendered products that actually give nothing nutrition-wise and are not even meat at all. All other ingredients are along the lines of corn meal and brewer’s rice. They supplement the nutrition, but there’s nothing better than the nutrients you can get from natural ingredients.

Friskies Indoor Delights Dry Cat Food

Ground yellow corn, corn gluten meal, chicken by-product meal, meat and bone meal, and soybean meal are the first five ingredients of this cat food. Recognizing two of them as corns, you know these are just calorie fillers. The chicken by-product is just another calorie filler, as well as the rest. That means that there’s absolutely no nutrition in any of the prominent ingredients of this cat food. In addition, they’re using soybean meal as the primary source of protein, but it’s actually one of the worst quality protein fillers you can use in cat food. The use of soybean meal is actually just a way for companies to boost protein numbers without providing any real substantial protein to the product. It’s an illusion to nutrition, and if you didn’t know your ingredients, you’d easily be fooled by this ingredient list.

Meow Mix Original Choice Dry Cat Food

The first few ingredients of this Meow Mix product are much of the same as the rest, except for a new ingredient: Beef Tallow (preserved with mixed Tocopherols). There are a couple of things you might be asking about this product. What is it and what are Tocopherols? Beef tallow is basically rendered beef saturated fat. The fatty acids from beef tallow can be beneficial to your cat, but it really shouldn’t be one of the primary ingredients of your cat food. Tocopherols, on the other hand, are a family of vitamin E compounds that naturally exist in foods. However, the Tocopherols in this cat food are not a nutritional source but a preserver for the beef tallow—something that’s common practice. So there really is nothing special about this ingredient, and it’s not something that should drive you to buy this cat food for your cat.

9Lives Indoor Complete Dry Cat Food

There’s a pattern among these cat foods that’s beginning to surface at this point. They’re all mostly made up of calorie fillers—things that will just fill up your cat. But none of them really have anything substantial to offer. This 9 Lives product has absolutely no real meat ingredient, which we already established is essential to cats’ diets. If there’s no real meat ingredient, then there should be at least another good source of protein. However, they’re using soybean meal to adjust the protein numbers of the product instead of just using soybean itself to add more protein value. You’ll find all the vitamins and other nutrients tacked on to the cat food, but the most essential ingredients in any of these cat food products should be the first five on the list. None of this product’s first ingredients have any nutritional value at all.

Whiskas Indoor Cat Chicken Flavor Dry Cat Food

On the ingredient list of this Whiskas cat food product, we see much of the same. Poultry by-product meal, corn gluten meal, soybean meal, etcetera. We do see listed a dried plain beet pulp. Beet pulp is commonly used as a wholesome fiber source for commercial cat foods. It can also provide probiotics to help promote healthy digestion in your cat. While this may sound like a good thing, it isn’t enough to have one good ingredient on a whole ingredient list. It lacks too much of nutritional value that the beet pulp just can’t make up on its own. You can also argue that the lack of good ingredients makes the dried plain beet pulp a necessity. Otherwise, your cat might end up getting sick in the gut every time it eats this cat food.

Special Kitty Gourmet Formula Dry Cat Food

There it goes again—the “gourmet formula” addition to attract cat owners. However, there’s absolutely nothing gourmet about this cat food. As a matter of fact, the formula is one that mixes bad with mediocre ingredients. To start off, this Special Kitty product uses poultry by-product meal as its first ingredient. This is the primary food component your cat will be eating with this product. When they listed animal fats as one of the ingredients, they even had to justify the ingredient to explain that this is a good source of Omega Fatty Acids. While that may be true, it shouldn’t be the only good thing that your cat food has. They even have “Natural Flavor” listed as an ingredient. We’re not even sure what that means, but Special Kitty probably thinks it makes their ingredients sound much better. It doesn’t.

9Lives Tender Morsels

What makes a particular cat food a good choice for cats to begin with? There are some questions you should ask yourself when looking for high quality cat food. Is it organic? If the answer is yes, then you’re off to a good start. This 9 Lives product is not organic at all. So that’s not a good start. There are some other questions you should ask yourself. Does it use rendering products? Does it use synthetic preservatives? Does it use food dyes? If the cat food answers yes to any of these, then that’s no good news, and Tender Morsels is a strong yes for all of these questions. Lastly, you have to ask if the product uses quality primary ingredients. Of course, 9 Lives uses absolutely no quality primary ingredient. That solidifies this product as one of the worst cat foods out there.

Friskies Canned Pate

If you go to Friskies’ website to check out this canned pate, you’ll read a 5 out of 5 star rating for this product. That’s hard to believe especially since this cat food product checks all the boxes for things that cat foods shouldn’t be or shouldn’t have. This canned pate is probably the worst food you can give your cat. It has absolutely no quality ingredients; it uses everything synthetic that can be used as food; it uses dyes and rendered products. But most importantly, this product contains carrageenan, a chemical compound that is used as a stabilizing component in foods. Aside from the fact that it has no nutritional value, carrageenan is also completely indigestible. This means that consuming it can result to digestive and intestinal problems for your cat. That should be enough for you not to buy this for your cat.

Hill’s Science Diet Cat Food

Hill’s is just as popular a brand as some of the other ones on this list. Hill’s promotes itself as the #1 recommended cat food because of its ingredients list. This particular product does check some positive boxes. It does list chicken as a primary ingredient, which is better than anything else we’ve seen on the list so far. The rest of the primary ingredients aren’t as appealing—it’s more of the mealy stuff such as corn gluten meal and chicken meal. It also uses dried beet pulp and powdered cellulose for fiber, and it has natural pork fat for omega fatty acids. All of that is good, but they’re all overturned by the fact that the product also contains carrageenan, which we just discussed to cause a lot of gastric and digestive issues for your cat.

Iams Proactive Health Adult Premium Pate with Tender Beef

Another well-known brand uses words such as “proactive” and “health” to lure cat owners into thinking their company’s product is superior. As a matter of fact, the first five ingredients of this are the following: beef broth, chicken, meat by-products, chicken by-products, and beef. While it sounds much better compared to ones we’ve seen before, it lists beef broth as the primary ingredient. That’s like stating that water is the main ingredient but with beef flavors. It offers nothing nutritionally. It does have chicken as a second ingredient, but once the chicken has undergone the cooking process, it loses about 80% of its meat. Therefore, most of the “chicken” in this “chicken” ingredient has become water. In addition, this product still uses rendered meat by-products as ingredients. There shouldn’t be any reason why cat foods can’t just have whole meat products.

Purina Pro Plan Cat Food

In this Purina, we’ve got chicken listed as the first ingredient. As previously stated, while it’s a better option than most, majority of the actual chicken meat is lost during the process; so in the end, you’re left with mostly water as an ingredient. The rest of the primary ingredients in this Purina include brewer’s rice, poultry by-product meal, whole grain corn, and wheat flour. It still has a meat by-product and non-essential ingredients. Also, it has whole grain corn as one of the primary ingredients, which is a commonly known food allergen for cats. It’s odd that most of these cat foods have whole grain corn as an ingredient to begin with. We’re pretty sure that if companies are just looking for filler ingredients, there are far better options out there compared to one that can cause many cats severe allergies.

Royal Canin Feline Health Nutrition

Synthetic preservatives? Yes. Carrageenan? Yes. Quality primary ingredients? No. You’d have to ask these cat food manufacturers what they consider as nutrition in their cat foods. The primary ingredients of this product include chicken meal, brown rice, corn, corn gluten meal, and rice. You’d have to almost applaud them for including brown rice in their ingredients, but the rest is just disappointing. None of the primary ingredients scream nutrition at all. If this is all your cat is getting throughout the day, everyday, you’ll have a weak cat that’ll be prone to illnesses. This Royal Canin product has no real protein value and minimal vitamins and minerals. Even though your cat might gobble this up, it doesn’t mean that it’s getting the proper nutrition it needs. The only way to make sure that your cat is getting its daily nutritional requirement, you have to check the type of ingredients your cat food has.

Fancy Feast Filet Mignon Flavor Cat Food

We’re sure that your cat would love to have some filet mignon, but it’s not going to get that through a “filet mignon flavored” cat food. All that says to us is that it isn’t real filet mignon, and upon further inspection of the primary ingredients, our assumptions were confirmed. Ground yellow corn, corn gluten meal, poultry by-product meal, meat and bone meal, and animal fat—all of these are listed as the primary ingredients of this Fancy Feast product. There’s absolutely nothing substantial out of those. They’re actually all filler products. We can’t tell you either if they taste like filet mignon, but it doesn’t really matter. Even if your cat loved this flavor of food, there’s no reason to give this to your cat because it practically gives them nothing. It’ll be like giving your cat filet mignon flavored chips. They’ll satisfy with their taste and empty calories, but they offer nothing else.

Purina One Chicken and Rice Cat Food

With chicken as the first ingredient, you might think that this cat food is good enough. But further reading of the rest of the ingredients list will show that the rest of the ingredients are terrible. Brewer’s rice and everything else that’s synthetic makes up this ingredient list. There’s no real source of protein; there’s no real source of fiber; and there’s no real source of vitamins and minerals. Everything else is just added in to fillers as compounds. It’s sad to see that one of the more respected brands in pet food can’t put better ingredients in their products, especially if you’re paying such a premium for just one bag of food. You’d actually be paying for a bag of fillers if you buy one of these Purina One Cat Foods.

Friskies Ocean Whitefish Dinner

It’s more of the same story with this Friskies cat food. The same type of fillers make up this food, and the same type of non-protein and non-nutritional products is what your cat will be having if given this product. It’s cheap and affordable, but what you’re getting is cheap as well. Corn, as much as it’ll fill up your cat, is very difficult to digest. And remember the fact that your cats need meet; they’re carnivores. This product contains virtually no meat whatsoever. The artificial flavors added on to this product might make it taste good. But never trust your cat’s tastes to pick out nutritional value. That’s your role as a pet owner to figure out which cat food will be most nutritious for your cat.

Whiskas Purrfectly FISH Tuna Entrée Cat Food Pouch

Apart from the Whiskas Dry Food we discussed previously, this last product is an umbrella on the rest of the Whiskas cat foods in the market. If you can avoid Whiskas products, you should. You might swear that your cat loves this product because of the gravy, but you should know that there’s absolutely nothing good in what your cat is eating. For this particular type of Whiskas product, the top ingredients are sufficient water for processing, tuna, soy oil, tricalcium phosphate, and carrageenan. Off the bat, we already see a couple of things we don’t like: the carrageenan and the water. How much water do you need add to a product that it has to be top of the ingredients list? Water for processing shouldn’t even be an ingredient, but there it is on top of the ingredients list. What nutrients might your cat get from water that’s used for processing? Nothing much. It’s just getting water.

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