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Best Grain Free Cat Food for 2020

For cat owners across the world, grain-free food now seems to be the optimum diet choice for little moggies and for some it’s the only diet that will ever be good enough for their prized pussycat!

This is naturally a reflection of our own recent choices to follow low-carb and gluten-free diets, but there’s still potential to get things very wrong when it comes to buying quality food for your kitty.

Science shows that cats need a mix of all the key food groups to live a healthy lifestyle and so it’s therefore vital that if choosing a grain-free diet, you ensure it is one which provides nutrients of the highest grade!

This is because grain-free diets need to suitably replace the health benefits lost by removing grains, ensuring your cat is not missing out on total nourishment!

To help you pick a suitable grain-free choice, we’ve analysed a whole host of options, putting together a definitive list which boasts the best in grain-free, nutritional substitutes.

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    Our Top Picks

    Image Product Details
    James Wellbeloved Adult Dry Cat Food Turkey & Veg
    • Omega acids to help revive glossy coat
    • Natural antioxidants to boost immune system
    • Ideal for cats with sensitive skin & stomachs
    Check Price
    Wainwright’s Complete Grain Free Turkey Dry Food
    • Cranberry extract for healthy urinary tract
    • Linseed for skin rejuvenating omega fats
    • Yucca to control stool odour
    Check Price
    Wainwright’s Complete Grain Free Adult Wet Cat Food
    • Sweet potato carb for slow-release energy
    • Fish oil for a great omega 3 & 6 source
    • Easily digested & hypoallergenic
    Check Price

    The Top 10 Best Grain Free Cat Foods Reviewed

    1.
    Lily’s Kitchen Delicious Chicken Complete Natural Dry Food

    Lily’s Kitchen is one of our favourite pet foods brands period and whatever their recipe, it’s always committed to being the most nutritious nosh possible for your purrfect pal!

    This dry chicken kibble is no different, with a delightfully intoxicating roast chicken scent that won’t offend the owner’s nostrils and will opposingly entice any kitty in the vicinity!

    Offering a fantastically balanced meal, it’s high-protein with 68% free-run chicken and offal, meaning it’s a great source of taurine, an essential acid for promoting pussy heart health!

    Also free of all artificial additives, it’s top-notch ingredients also boast a wide range of vitamins and minerals to boost nutrient intake.

    These include vitamins A, D and E, plant fibre to prevent hairballs, cranberries for urinary tract health and plenty of salmon oil to promote a shiny, glossy coat.

    Our favourite ingredient though? A sizable, herby helping of seaweed and parsley, which fights plaque for healthier teeth and best of all, freshens up fishy cat breath!

    Features

    • Freshly made with 67 Percent chicken and 0.5 Percent salmon oil
    • Contains essential taurine, vital for you cat's health
    • Added vitamins and chelated minerals to help maximise nutrient absorption

    Specifications

    • Weight: 2 Kg
    • Dimensions: 31 x 36 x 20.2 cm

    2.
    Arden Grange Adult Sensitive Cat Food With Fish

    At Arden Grange, they’re well aware that nutrition is of the utmost importance, but they’re also smart enough to know that palatability is just as crucial.

    There’s nothing more frustrating than serving up a completely balanced and healthy moggy meal only for Mr. Tibbles to turn his nose up at it and so this Adult Sensitive Cat Food from Arden Grange is taste-tested by the team’s own pets to ensure kitty-certified satisfaction!

    Grain-free and full of tasty white fish and potatoes, this dry food is designed to give maximum digestibility and keeps flavours and ingredients simple to offer the lowest allergenicity possible!

    Wheat gluten, soya, beef and dairy-free, it’s a great choice for those with sensitive skin and stomachs, but there’s also plenty of health-boosting bonuses for those who aren’t suffering from sensitivity issues.

    The fish content means it’s naturally higher in essential omega 3 and 6 fatty acids than standard foods and a combination of cranberry extract, glucosamine, MSM, chondroitin and prebiotics deliver a vitality bomb of gut-boosting, bone-strengthening goodness!

    Features

    • 4 Kg mega value bag!
    • White fish for low allergenicity and high digestibility
    • Naturally higher in omega acids

    Specifications

    • Weight: 4 Kg
    • Dimensions: 46 x 25 x 13 cm

    3.
    AVA Sensitive Skin & Stomach Grain Free Adult Cat Food

    Thanks to their veterinary-approved certification, it doesn’t ever get much healthier than AVA products, who believe that an owner’s love for their cat should be matched by the care taken to produce their food.

    This Sensitive Skin & Stomach recipe is a project made from passion and expertise, aiming to provide both smooth digestion and a rejuvenated, glowing coat condition.

    Hypoallergenic and made with gentle, natural ingredients, it’s completely free of wheat, wheat gluten, soya, pork and dairy, while using only the most quality of protein sources to protect sensitive stomachs.

    Then, to help combat flaky and irritated skin, it’s high fish oil content ensures a rich source of Omega fatty acids, which not only repairs and revives dull skin and hair, but also boosts heart health, as well as brain and kidney function.

    But guess what… there’s more!

    Not content with just helping sensitivity issues, AVA’s recipe also looks to offer optimum cat health, with vegetable fibres to prevent hairballs, MOS and FOS prebiotics for gut health, yucca to reduce stool odour and added glucosamine and chondroitin for joint health and mobility.

    That probably explains the veterinary recommendation…

    Features

    • Optimal mineral balance to promote urinary health
    • Optimum ratios of Calcium and Phosphorus help maintain strong teeth and bones
    • Contains MOS and FOS probiotics to maintain internal body health

    Specifications

    • Weight: 1.5 Kg
    • Dimensions: 38 x 19 x 12 cm

    4.
    Nature’s Menu Country Hunter Multipack Cat Food

    For those who swear by a slightly more raw and natural diet for their kitty but still don’t want them anywhere near grains, Natures Menu may well be the best choice for you.

    Leading experts on raw cat diets, Natures Menu offers a range of award-winning and convenient complete and balanced meals, meaning there’s no need to cook up your own natural diet inspired cat food!

    Nourishing, easily digested and made with human-grade meat and wholesome ingredients, the Country Hunter selection is made with 96% quality meat sources with an added selection of raspberries, cranberry and spirulina.
    Sealed and steam-cooked in its packaging, these pouches lock in the flavours and natural goodness for a taste sensation that cats love and added catnip, yucca and green tea extract promises an added boost of natural nutrition.

    Perfect for fussy and allergy sensitive cats, this is the raw diet alternative you’ve been searching for, entirely free of grains and unnatural ingredients!

    Features

    • 12 x 85 g pouches
    • Grain and gluten free food with nothing artificial
    • Made with 96% human grade meats, no derivatives

    Specifications

    • Weight: 12 x 85 g
    • Dimensions: 14 x 20 x 93 cm

    5.
    James Wellbeloved Adult Dry Cat Food Turkey & Veg

    James Wellbeloved by name, well-beloved by nature.

    One of our favourite brands of cat food, our man JW puts a lot of love into his pet food recipes and utilises the most simple ingredients possible to help promote a nature-inspired cat food.

    This means it contains everything they need and nothing they don’t into one tasty and naturally hypoallergenic meal that helps felines feast on a truly nutritious and well-balanced kitty kibble!

    Created without cereals and using an irresistible Turkey & Veg ingredient list, it’s a winning combination of high-protein and vitamins that’s ideal for cats suffering from sensitivity issues.

    Just some of its great features include a blend of dietary fibre for firmer poo, chicory to maintain healthy gut flora, and the antioxidant arsenal of pomegranate, green tea and rosemary to ensure an unbeatable immune system!

    It’s a tabby tea that’s as delicious as it is vitalicious!

    Features

    • Omega acids to help revive glossy coat
    • Natural antioxidants to boost immune system
    • Ideal for cats with sensitive skin & stomachs

    Specifications

    • Weight: 1.5 Kg
    • Dimensions: 35.5 x 17.5 x 10 cm

    6.
    Applaws Adult Cat Food Chicken & Salmon

    Despite having a puntastically poor name, Applaws is a cat food not to be sniffed at – and no we don’t mean it smells!

    Boasting one of the highest meat and low carb contents, Applaws is a complete dry cat food made from 80% protein-rich chicken and salmon with the other 20% composed of vegetables and natural extracts.

    This low carbohydrate recipe better reflects a cat’s natural diet and encourages the development of lean muscle tissue and helps to promote better weight management.

    It’s also free of derivatives, fillers, sweeteners and unnecessary additives to ensure ultimate wellbeing for your moggy.

    Naturally hypoallergenic and full of prebiotics and probiotics for smooth digestion, it also boasts taurine for eye and heart health as well as added calcium and phosphorus for strong teeth!

    Features

    • World’s first 80% meat dry cat food
    • 100% cereal free
    • Seaweed extract for healthy mineral content

    Specifications

    • Weight: 2 Kg
    • Dimensions: 45 x 23 x 13 cm

    7.
    Wainwright’s Complete Grain Free Turkey Dry Food

    Proudly developed here in the UK, Wainwright’s recipes are the best in British pet food and prevent common cat allergies by offering food that’s free of wheat and mixed proteins.

    This complete balanced dry food is a Turkey recipe that your kitty will love, with a cavalcade of vitamins and minerals to help keep them fit as a fiddle.

    With high-protein turkey and slow-release energy from sweet potatoes, it also contains linseed oil to keep coats glossy, yucca to control stool odour and seaweed to provide a sucker punch of important trace elements.

    It’s nutritious, delicious and easily digested superfood!

    Features

    • Cranberry extract for healthy urinary tract
    • Linseed for skin rejuvenating omega fats
    • Yucca to control stool odour

    Specifications

    • Weight: 1.5 Kg
    • Dimensions: 37 x 20 x 10.5 cm

    8.
    Nature’s Menu Cat Meal Multipack

    An essential meaty feast for those looking for a more natural, raw diet alternative for your prized pussycat, this Nature’s Menu selection features three supremely nutritious meal types, boasting the best in ethically sourced human grade meat.

    Grain-free and 70% protein, these tasty tabby teas also include essential minerals such as taurine to ensure your cat gets everything they need to keep that life counter at nine till the end of time!

    With Chicken & Turkey, Beef & Chicken and Chicken with Salmon and Tuna flavours, there’s plenty of flavours here to keep mealtimes varied and interesting!

    Features

    • 12 x 100 g pouches
    • Chicken & Turkey, Beef & Chicken and Chicken, Salmon & Tuna flavours
    • Raw ingredients steam cooked to lock in nourishment

    Specifications

    • Weight: 1.2 Kg
    • Dimensions: 14 x 9 x 3cm

    9.
    AVA Optimum Health Grain Free Adult Cat Dry Food

    Another quality AVA product, this kitty kibble aims to step up your cats advanced nutrition with its Optimum Health recipe, designed to support digestive health with probiotics and +Imuvita immune-boosting ingredients.

    Using ideal levels of protein and freshly prepared ingredients, it’s a grain-free dry food that provides an extra tasty chicken flavour for cats, with essential omega acids for the skin and hypoallergenic properties to help those with sensitivity issues.

    There’s also a unique blend of vitamins and minerals included, with optimum ratios of Calcium and Phosphorus for healthy teeth and bones, and added Glucosamine and Chondroitin to help support joint condition and general mobility!

    If your moggy struggles with hairballs, it’s vegetable fibres even help attract shedding hair, aiding their passage through the stomach.

    Veterinary approved, is there anything this cat food can’t do?

    Features

    • Hypoallergenic recipe
    • Vegetable fibres provide hairball control
    • Added glucosamine & chondroitin for joint health

    Specifications

    • Weight: 2 Kg
    • Dimensions: 38 x 19 x 12 cm

    10.
    Wainwright’s Complete Grain Free Adult Wet Cat Food

    While dry food is certainly easier for us owners to deal with, it’s well known that wet food is often that little bit more palatable for cats, with an irresistible smell and saucy flavour!

    This wet food from Wainwright’s uses high-quality ocean fish to provide a meal naturally higher in omega oils and a secondary ingredient of sweet potato to offer slow-release energy throughout the day!

    Naturally hypoallergenic, it’s free from wheat, beef, pork, dairy produce, eggs and soya as well as unhealthy additives so you can be assured that only the highest quality ingredients have been used.

    It can also help immeasurably with those pussycat problems no one wants to talk about, with added cranberry and yucca extracts promoting healthy urinary tracts and less odorous stools!

    It’s a delicious wholesome meal with all the vitamins and minerals your cat needs!

    Features

    • Sweet potato carb for slow-release energy
    • Fish oil for a great omega 3 & 6 source
    • Easily digested & hypoallergenic

    Specifications

    • Weight: 12 x 85 g
    • Dimensions: 14 x 10 x 2cm

    Buying Guide

    Why Choose Grain-Free Cat Food

    Feeding your cat a grain-free diet is not essential for their health, as unlike us humans, very few cats would ever have a grain allergy or intolerance (although in rare cases it has been known).

    Its popularity is therefore slightly unusual and is likely subconsciously tapping into our own shopping preferences, as we are often swayed by foods free from just about anything which sounds nasty or troublesome for our tummies!

    Therefore, when shopping for our moggies, we can’t help but replicate our own choices when it comes to food – after all, you just want the best for them.

    Fans of the grain-free diet claim that the reason they are better for cats is because things like rice and wheat never had a place in the natural diet of cats.

    Some people are also keen to feed their cats lower carbohydrates as there is conflicting research about how well cats digest them – with some claiming they do so just as well as dogs and others suggesting they struggle. However, it’s important to note that grain-free food doesn’t mean carb-free and while many boast a high-protein, low-carb ingredient list, plenty of other grain-free food includes starchy carbs like potatoes!

    Although they probably don’t elevate your cat’s digestion as much as you’d hope by not containing grains, a positive about grain-free food is that they often attempt to be as natural and healthy as possible. This means they are often packed with tons of digestive aiding ingredients, vitamins, minerals and elements which can improve the lifestyle and health of your cat.

    It’s added ingredients, therefore, do have a lot of benefits in terms of helping gut health, joint health or coat repair, but ultimately, switching your cat to a grain-free diet is not necessary.

    The decision to switch to a grain-free way of life is down to you though, and you may find your cat finds such meals more palatable over any other option.

    We do however recommend consulting with your vet before turning your kitty onto any new diet as they will be able to tell you whether it’s a wise dietary decision based on your pet’s age, health and other unique factors!

    Features To Look Out For

    High in Protein

    Cats are obligate carnivores and so the bulk of their diet needs to be protein to keep their muscles strong and appetite satisfied!

    If you’re looking to feed them a more natural meat-based diet, you’ll obviously want to find grain-free foods approaching levels of 80% or more protein content with a small number of fats and carbs included.

    If you suspect your cat is suffering allergies, beware that animal meats are actually the most common type of food allergy – not grains! This means it can often be wise to go for ‘novel’ rarely used meats which your cat has the least chance of being allergic too as opposed to beef, fish and chicken.

    Carbohydrate Source

    If you’re looking to escape carbohydrate content for your cat, remember that grain-free doesn’t always mean carb-free! Plenty of grain-free food includes starchy carbs like potatoes or peas, which means your cat wouldn’t really be avoiding anything in their diet!

    Carbohydrates also aren’t the evil that many cat food companies paint them out to be, and while a high-carbohydrate diet should never be a focus for a cat that thrives on protein and fats, it’s certainly not unhealthy for them to consume it in their diet, as the worst it will do is provide them with some much-needed energy!

    Omega Oils

    As previously mentioned, cats also thrive on fats, something grains ironically tend to provide with their good source of fatty acids. You’ll therefore see plenty of grain-free products utilising fish and linseed oils to provide omega acids. As a bonus, these often tend to give a cat a more glossy and healthy coat!

    Prebiotics/Probiotics

    These encourage the growth of good bacteria in the gut, aiding digestion.

    Joint Care (Glucosamine & Chondroitin)

    These ingredients help boost cartilage in the joints and strengthen bones and are most often included in recipes for mature or slightly older adult cats.

    Vitamins & Minerals

    Grains contain a lot of natural minerals such as iron, magnesium and selenium, so try and make sure your cat food contains plenty of vegetables or trace elements which can do the same job.

    Free of Artificial Ingredients

    If you’re going to the bother of making sure your cat’s food is free from grains, why would you pick one full of artificial and unnatural ingredients?!

    Price & Size

    The price of cat food can be expensive and it’s one of the big impacts on the annual cost of keeping a kitty. Think about how many times your cat eats per day to determine the size of kibble or amount of wet food pouches/tins you’ll need.

    On average, people spend £100 – £200 on cat food per year, so you ideally never want to pay more than £16 for a month’s supply!

    Other Buyers Ask...

    How can I tell if a cat food is grain-free?

    As so many cat foods feature hypoallergenic ingredients and claim to be free from every imagined nasty known to man, many cat owners often just assume grain-free means there is no rice in it.

    But just because it doesn’t have a portion of pilau in it doesn’t make it grain-free and so if it contains any of the following in its ingredients, it’s not free of grains:

    • Wheat
    • Corn
    • Barley
    • Oats
    • Rye
    • Soy
    • Rice

    This means you should never assume gluten-free or wheat-free labels also mean there’s no grains!

    Is grain-free the same as gluten-free?

    No! If your cat has a gluten allergy and needs gluten-free food, you don’t always have to buy a grain-free option.

    Gluten is a protein found in specific types of grains such as barley, wheat and rye. But gluten does not appear in things like rice.

    Essentially, grain-free food is always gluten-free, but many gluten-free options will still use grains.

    Is grain-free cat food harmful?: Grain-free Cat Food and Heart Disease

    Grain-free food has been dominating both the cat and dog markets for years now, which caused a lot of panic in 2019 when the US Food and Drug Administration found a possible link between grain-free pet food and heart disease.

    The FDA began investigating a possible link between the two after hundreds of owners reported cases of sudden and early dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM) in their canines and felines, with some animals dying from the heart defect.

    Between 2014 and 2019, the FDA received 515 reports of the disease, of which 91% of the dogs were on a grain-free diet. However, this is an early and preliminary link from a very small pool and so there still needs to be a lot more research conducted before an accurate conclusion can be made. After all, nearly every dog in the world is on a grain-free diet these days!

    In cats, however, the numbers have been much lower with just 9 reports of the same condition within the same time frame.

    This means as a cat owner you genuinely shouldn’t be too worried about the link, as it appears to only have been recognised in grain-free dog food so far.

    It’s also important to note that cats can still develop DCM if they have a lack of taurine in their diet, which is found naturally in proteins. This is why it is so important to have a high and quality protein source in their food!

    If you’re still concerned by the grain-free food reports, it’s best to talk to your vet about the best diet options for your kitty and to perhaps avoid grain-free diets until more is known.

    Remember that nourishment and nutrition is always the most important thing when it comes to feeding your cat and so grain-free food should only ever trump standard cat food if it boasts more vitality-boosting ingredients!