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Best Cat Food For Indoor Cats (2024): 8 Healthy Options Rated

Posted in: Cat Food - Last Updated: January 8, 2024 - Author: Rebekah Carter
Posted in Cat Food 
Last Updated: June 8, 2023  
Author:  Rebekah Carter

I have an unintentional indoor cat! "Unintentional? What on earth are you on about?", I hear you ask! I'll explain in a moment, but rest assured, it's this that means I know what the best cat food for indoor cats is, from personal experience...

Here's why! I have a fabulous tabby, called Milly, who is quite possibly the laziest cat I have ever had, and I've had a lot of lazy cats! She's always had the option to go out. The windows and doors are constantly left open, but we will always find her asleep on the freshest pile of washed clothes she can find! (Sound familiar?)

best cat food for indoor cats

You'll love this...we've even taken her to the vet to see if she has any medical issues but, in the vets words, "She is perfectly healthy. Sorry to say this, but Milly is just an exceptionally lazy cat!"

So, we have an 'unintentional' indoor cat - which means we know a fair bit about indoor cat foods. The last thing I want for Milly is her to become overweight or unhealthy. I have been forced to look into an indoor cats nutiritional needs, in depth, and the aforementioned vet has had plenty of input too. So this is our "unintentional" take on the best cat foods for indoor cats.

Choosing the right food for your cat is one of the best ways to make sure they remain fit and healthy throughout their lives. It is also a significant factor in helping a cat to live as long a life as possible.

Cats need access to specific nutrients and minerals to fuel their active lifestyle, whilst at the same time avoiding anything harmful to them. While all our feline friends deserve a high-quality meal plan, indoor cats do have slightly different requirements to their outdoor counterparts.

So it is important to think careful when deciding on the best cat food for indoor cats.

It’s generally a good idea to buy any cat a diet high in protein, because cats need protein more than practically any other substance. However, you’ll also need to be cautious about how much fat is available in a feline’s diet. Indoor cats tend to be less active than their outdoor alternatives, which makes weight gain and obesity more of an issue.

Best Cat Food For Indoor Cats

Best Overall

Hill's Science Diet Adult Indoor Cat Food, Chicken Recipe Dry Cat Food, 7 lb. Bag

Hill's Science Diet Adult Indoor Cat Food

Best Cat Food For Indoor Cats

Best Overall Choice

Hill's Science Diet Adult Indoor Cat Food, Chicken Recipe Dry Cat Food, 7 lb. Bag

Hill's Science Diet Adult Indoor Cat Food

Hill's Science Diet Adult Indoor Cat Food is specially designed for indoor cats, and focuses on your indoor cat's unique nutritional needs and promoting a healthy weight and metabolism.

This indoor cat food contains a balanced blend of nutrients to support muscle maintenance, immune function, and organ health, while also helping to control those dreaded hairballs.

Plus, we have found that most cats absolutely adore the flavour of this food so they getting the best out of this particular specialised food.

We tested the recipe for 1 to 6 year old cats, but if your indoor cat is older there is an equally good recipe for 7+ aged cats.

3 Top Indoor Cat Food Picks – Best, Value & Premium

So, that's our number one choice, but we would definitely suggest arming yourself with an array of different indoor cat food options. Indoor kitties may get quickly bored of their food so you will need to consistently mix their diet up. 

With that in mind, check out the others on this list and don't just take our word for it. Go out there and try them. You will soon find out which ones are for your indoor bundle of joy.

Here are our top selections for kitty owners in search of overall performance, budget-friendly, and premium indoor cat foods:

Our Top 3 Choices

Best Overall

Hill's Science Diet Adult Indoor Cat Food, Chicken Recipe Dry Cat Food, 7 lb. Bag

Hill's Science Diet Adult Indoor Cat Food

  • All natural ingredients made in the USA
  • Vet recommended with high-quality protein
  • Good for weight, and hairball management thanks to natural fiber

Best Value

IAMS PROACTIVE HEALTH Adult Indoor Weight Control & Hairball Care Dry Cat Food with Chicken & Turkey Cat Kibble, 22 lb. Bag

IAMS Proactive Health Adult Indoor Weight & Hairball Control Dry Cat Food

  • Fortified with Omega fatty acids
  • High-quality protein with 10% less fat than IAMS adult
  • Controls weight and reduces hairballs

Premium Choice

Wellness CORE+ Grain Free Canned Cat Food, Chicken & Chicken Liver Indoor Recipe, 3 Ounces (Pack of 12)

Wellness CORE Grain-Free Indoor Chicken & Chicken Liver Recipe Canned Cat Food

  • High-quality wet cat food with lots of moisture
  • Superior ingredients, including lean meat and animal protein
  • Fortified with nutrition for healthy skin and fur

Our 7 Best Indoor Cat Food Picks

That chart gives you a quick link for what we rated as our top 3, but let's go into detail on each of those and a few others and start exploring some of the most effective options on the market. We've chosen these indoor cat foods for their excellent nutritional structure, and their ability to support cat health.

1. Hill's Science Diet Adult Indoor Cat Food - Best Overall

Hill's Science Diet Adult Indoor Cat Food, Chicken Recipe Dry Cat Food, 7 lb. Bag

I'll start with my best pick as, at the end of the day, that's really what you want to know...and why! 

Milly, our unintentional indoor cat, put on about a kilo in weight and friends and family who visited the house were noticing and beginning to say, "oh wow, Milly's put on a bit of weight!"

Now, I didn't see this weight gain at all. Being around them every day it's sometimes difficult to gauge if your cat is piling on the grams!

A few people mentioned this, so I thought it was time to look at her diet. She doesn't get much exercise so I knew the calorific content would be important.

I had heard that the Hill's Science Diet Adult Indoor cat food had a good reputation, and I checked with her vet who gave it the thumbs up, so I gave it a whirl.

She loved the flavour of this indoor formula, it was an easy transition and within a few months of monitoring her weight we saw that it was well on the way back down to a healthy and consistent level.

To date she has almost lost that kilo she gained, loves playtime, and has not had any health issues.

But she is still ultra lazy - but that's just her! 

I think we all know that Hills is one of the most highly recommended names in the cat food world and they are best-known for creating amazing-quality cat foods for all kinds of felines.

This 'puuurticular' Hill’s Science cat food is specially made for indoor cats. It is formulated to fuel the needs of adult cats without the most active lifestyle. The natural fibers help to promote healthy digestion too, which means you shouldn’t have to dread cleaning out the litter box as often. 

With protein as the number one ingredient, Hill’s Science dry indoor cat food will support your kitty’s energy levels and keep them feeling their best.

The fiber also helps to reduce the need for snacking in between meals, which should help with weight control.

It ticks all the lazy indoor cat boxes for us! 

One important thing to note is that Hills goes the extra mile with this indoor dry cat food. They make one version (that we link to here) for adult cats from 1 to 6 years of age and another recipe for cats over the age of 7.

That gives me even greater confidence as they have altered the formula slightly in the 7+ recipe so that your older adult cat will get the right nutireints for that stage of life.


  • All natural ingredients made in the USA
  • Vet recommended with high-quality protein
  • Good for weight, and hairball management thanks to natural fiber
  • Excellent for indoor cats with limited exercise options
  • Easy to digest kibble


  • Only one flavor available

2. IAMS Proactive Health Adult Indoor Weight & Hairball Control Dry Cat Food - Best Value

IAMS PROACTIVE HEALTH Adult Indoor Weight Control & Hairball Care Dry Cat Food with Chicken & Turkey Cat Kibble, 22 lb. Bag

Next on our list is the affordable and effective IAMS Proactive health cat food which tackles several issues with one meal. Affordability, balanced nutrition for less active cats, hairball control - and our test cats love the taste! 

I have have included this for two reasons. Firstly, specialised cat food can be expensive, especially as the cost of living at present is abnormally high!

And secondly, cats tend to get bored of foods (I know that our Milly does) and it's important to rotate the foods to avoid their diet becoming stagnant.

 Just imagine if you had to eat grilled chicken and broccoli every day for months on end! 

Our Milly loves the flavor. Although I've experimented with different indoor cat foods before, she frequently showed disinterest in them. However, when it comes to IAMS, she gobbles it down.

I also like the fact that this particular cat food is also enriched with all the essential nutrients necessary for my indoor cat's well-being.

Iams proactive indoor cat food will help to maintain your cat’s weight, and prevent overeating, while simultaneously minimizing hairballs.

The food, available in both chicken and salmon flavors, comes with animal protein as the number one ingredient to support healthy muscles for your cat. 

The IAMs indoor cat solution comes with L-carnitine for maintaining a healthy metabolism, and extra fiber prevents hairballs by keeping the digestive system working perfectly.

The high-quality protein in this dry cat food is great for your kitty, and they will benefit from 10% less fat than alternative cat foods too. There’s even Omega 3 and 6 acids included.


  • Fortified with Omega fatty acids
  • High-quality protein with 10% less fat than IAMS adult
  • Controls weight and reduces hairballs
  • Burns fat and maintains healthy metabolism
  • Protein as the number one ingredient


  • Some owners think it's not effective on hairballs

3. Wellness CORE Grain-Free Indoor Chicken & Chicken Liver Recipe Canned Cat Food - Premium Choice

Wellness CORE+ Grain Free Canned Cat Food, Chicken & Chicken Liver Indoor Recipe, 3 Ounces (Pack of 12)

We're not big spenders when it comes to the more expensive gourmet or premium type foods. There is a BIG reason why! We have often found with indoor cats that once served gourmet foods they will then turn their nose up at all the other types of food given to them. 

This has happened to us with multiple cats on several occasions so we are speaking from experience.

They become picky eaters, super fussy, and that can be a rather expensive road to go down.

HOWEVER, we do treat them once very couple of months or so and I definitely think that is the more sensible route to follow. Mix it up now and again!

Over the years we have tried a wide selection of premium cat foods with Milly, and Cleo (our previous indoor cat), and we found that they LOVED Wellness CORE grain free cat food. And so they should.

Wellness CORE grain-free cat food is delicious, easy to eat, and ideal for indoor cats. With protein as the number one ingredient, you know your kitty is getting the ingredients necessary for strong, healthy muscles.

Superior ingredients include lean meats, fruits, and healthy fats to keep your cat in great condition too. 

The recipe in this cat food comes from passionate nutrition experts, and you can even choose from a range of flavors, to ensure your cat doesn’t get bored.

With less fat, to help keep your kitty lean, the Wellness CORE cat food also has the added benefit, as an indoor specific wet food, of offering plenty of healthy hydration for your furry friend.

If you're looking for the best wet cat food for indoor cats, this would be our top pick.


  • High-quality wet cat food with lots of moisture
  • Superior ingredients, including lean meat and animal protein
  • Fortified with nutrition for healthy skin and fur
  • Range of great flavors
  • Urinary health support included


  • Quite a small can size
  • Strong smell

4. Purina ONE Indoor Advantage Adult Cat Food

Purina ONE Natural, Low Fat, Weight Control, Indoor Dry Cat Food, +Plus Indoor Advantage - 22 lb. Bag

You can't run a test of the best indoor cat food without including this formula from Purina. It has an excellent reputation and has been very poular for a long time.

The Purina ONE Indoor advantage indoor cat food can tackle a range of issues quickly and conveniently for your cat. It has 10% less fat than the standard Purina formula which immediately aids weight control. And it does this without limiting quality protein that your cat needs.

The number one ingredient of this food is real turkey, so you know you’re getting the right dose of high quality protein.

This impressive product can help with everything from weight control to hairball management, while keeping your indoor kitty as healthy as possible. 

The Purina ONE antioxidant blend means you can get all kinds of immune system support for your cat too, which is great if you’re worried about any potential ailments. It's also carrying the correct nutrients for strong muscle and heart health.

This well-formulated cat food has excellent reviews on Amazon and Chewy for good reason. The thing we hear most often from cat owners is that there are very few cats that don't like the taste!


  • Supports a healthy heart and strong muscles
  • Minimizes hairballs
  • Helps promote a strong immune system
  • Natural fiber blend for digestion
  • Real turkey as number 1 ingredient


  • Can go stale quite quickly

5. Smalls Cat Food (Human-Grade Fresh & Freeze-Dried Raw)

smalls best cat food for indoor cats

If you're not familiar with Smalls cat food...you should be! It's a wonderful human grade cat food that is NOT actually available on the shelves of your local supermarket!

Smalls is a super efficient cat food delivery service that offers fresh, human-grade ingredients such as chicken, turkey, and fish in either a wet fresh food or a freeze dried raw (similar to, but nutritionally more dense, than dry kibble).

Smalls is an excellent choice for indoor cats for a whole range of reasons. 

Firstly, their human-grade fresh cat food consists of protein-rich, low-carb recipes that focuses on the specific nutritional needs of indoor cats.

These recipes feature high-quality ingredients like chicken, turkey, and fish, ensuring a balanced and healthy diet.

Additionally, Smalls provides detailed feeding recommendations based on the cat's calorie requirements, allowing for personalized portion control to suit your indoor cat.

The inclusion of moisture-rich formulas (in the human-grade fresh) supports proper hydration and digestion, which can be particularly beneficial for indoor cats who may have limited access to water sources.

We love Smalls cat food and, if your budget allows, it's well worth trying with your indoor cat or cats.


  • Human grade cat food
  • High water content
  • Delivered to your door
  • Real, high-quality animal protein


  • Limited protein options (chicken, turkey, beef)
  • Not portioned individually

6. Blue Buffalo Freedom Grain Free Natural Adult Indoor Wet Cat Food Pate & Flaked 

The best cat food for indoor Cats

In this indoor cat food test, we've picked both a wet and a dry cat food from Blue Bufflao. Both are excellent options from a brand renowned for their quality food and high standards. Let's start with their wet indoor cat food.

Like most high-quality indoor cat foods, the Blue Buffalo Freedom grain free food features protein as its number one ingredient, in the form of real chicken.

There are also many extra fruits and vegetables included in the recipe to give your cat access to crucial vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.

The pate-style food is wonderfully easy to eat for cats of all ages, and you can rest assured that the locally sourced ingredients are always excellent quality.

Completely wheat-free, the Blue Buffalo cat food has no by-products and extras to worry about. There aren’t any artificial flavors or preservatives, but this also means the food may not stay fresh for long after you put it out (so use smaller portions).

This wet food pate is available in both fish and chicken versions and is a highly recommended wet food for indoor cats.

The only downsides are that it can be expensive if it's your cat's main recipe and, as with all canned cat food, there is a risk of some cans being so dented with online deliveries that you'll have to throw them away (or deal with getting a refund).


  • Real chicken and fish
  • High quality protein
  • Carefully balanced fat and calories
  • High moisture content


  • Can be expensive
  • Some dented cans in online deliveries

7. Purina Cat Chow Hairball, Healthy Weight, Indoor, Natural Dry Cat Food

Purina Cat Chow Hairball, Healthy Weight, Indoor, Natural Dry Cat Food, Naturals Indoor - 13 lb. Bag

Many of the top indoor cat foods focus on addressing specific problems indoor cats might have, such as hairballs.

The Purina cat chow hairball mixture specifically supports indoor cats by giving them the fiber they need to process food correctly. Aside from handling furballs, the Purina Cat Chow mix also comes with ingredients to support a healthier weight, such as high protein and low fats.

Real chicken is the number one ingredient, and there’s turkey included too. 

For extra peace of mind, Purina ensures there are no artificial flavors or preservatives included with their dry indoor cat food.

The mix comes with omega fatty acids for improved skin and hair health, so you can rest assured your cat is getting full and balanced nutrition here.

It's not entirely grain free, although the corn meal used is a minor ingredient by volume. That might be enough to put some cat owners off in pursuit of grain free. However, the overall healthy profile of this food does mostly make up for that small amount of grain.

The popularity of this food speaks volumes for how many owners are happy with it.


  • Great for reducing furballs with fiber
  • No artificial flavors or preservatives
  • Excellent access to vitamins
  • Suitable for weight management
  • Complete dry cat food


  • Not completely grain-free

8. Blue Buffalo Wilderness High Protein Grain Free, Natural Adult Indoor Dry Cat Food

Blue Buffalo Wilderness High Protein, Natural Adult Indoor Dry Cat Food, Chicken 11-lb

Our last pick is the dry indoor cat food option from Blue Buffalo.

As with their wet formula, this is made of the highest quality ingredients and has many cat owners who swear by it.

Blue Buffalo Wilderness cat food is a fantastic choice for indoor cats. Free from grain and packed with real chicken, this comprehensive dry food will help cats to maintain and build lean muscle mass, while keeping fat levels low.

The Blue Buffalo Wilderness cat food comes with special “Life Source” bits, which include vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants chosen by veterinarians. 

Completely natural, this Blue Buffalo cat food includes only the finest natural ingredients, with no artificial preservatives or flavors, no by-products or unnecessary carbs.

Though a little more expensive than some alternative cat food options, Blue Buffalo does offer good value.


  • Real chicken is the number one ingredient
  • Totally grain free and free from artificial substances
  • LifeSource bits for extra vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants
  • All natural and high-quality ingredients
  • Available in a range of bag sizes


  • Can be a little costly

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grey indoor cat eating dry indoor cat food

Indoor Cat Food - Buyers Guide

Indoor cat food is a meal chosen specifically for felines who spend most of their time indoors. In general, cats who spend most of their time indoors have a few advantages over outdoor kitties.

Keeping your cat indoors will mean they’re less likely to be exposed to various dangers. You won’t have to worry about an unexpected traffic accident, or a cat getting into a fight with other animals. 

Keeping your cat indoors will also reduce its exposure to various parasites, fleas, diseases, and other issues. Indoor cats appear to lead healthier lifestyles overall than their outdoor counterparts. However, this is only the case when you care for your cat properly – which means choosing the best cat food for indoor cats.

Because your cats can’t hunt outdoors, they won’t be finding extra sources of protein and fiber on a daily basis, so you need to make sure you’re giving your kitty the exact dietary support it needs. At the same time, you’ll need to think about how much you should be feeding your cat, as portion control can be tougher for an indoor animal.

ginger cat eating bowl of wet indoor cat food

What to Look for in the Best Indoor Cat Food

Ideally, an indoor cat food diet will be a varied, well-balanced menu of foods, both wet and dry.

We're always in favor of mixing up your cat's nutrition by sometimes giving a good wet cat food and then swapping to a quality dry cat food. This can be across meals in a single day, or just done every few weeks to keep their diet varied and interesting. This mixing up can be particularly helpful in feeding indoor cats to ensure they get a wide range of nutrients.

The most attractive indoor cat foods are rich in protein but won’t necessarily include a lot of carbohydrates or fat.

Although vegetables and fruits aren’t necessary, a small amount may help your kitty to access more nutritional substances, vitamins, and minerals.

For specific breeds of cats, there’s a good chance you’ll need to look for specific ingredients, like higher amounts of taurine, or cat foods designed to reduce hairballs. If you have an exotic cat, rather than just a standard moggy, it’s worth talking to your vet about their suggestions for potential diets.

Some points to look out for include:

  • Animal protein: The majority of your cat’s calories should come from animal-based protein sources, including meat, and organs. Cats are obligate carnivores and simply won’t be able to thrive on a routine of eating vegetables and grains alone. Cats must get their protein intake from meat, so this should be the number one ingredient you look for.
  • Taurine: One of the most important compounds from animal protein, taurine cannot be found in plants. The substance is essential to protecting your cat and giving him or her the strength required to thrive in everyday life. A good regular dose of protein in your cat’s diet will help to prevent eye and heart problems, as well as issues with energy.
  • Water: This is something you’ll only really get in wet indoor cat foods, but it’s an important part of your cat’s diet. Cats generally don’t spend a lot of time drinking from bowls. Your feline friends will eat the majority of their water through moisture-rich protein and foods. If you’re feeding your kitty a mainly dry food diet, you’ll need to ensure you top this up with regular access to plenty of water. A cat water bowl fountain will ensure fresh running water at all times.
  • Fats: While we humans often try to avoid fats in our diets, they’re an important source of energy for cats, and a necessary part of their meals. Essential fats also include fatty acids like omega-3 and omega-6, which help the body heal and grow over time. Make sure there aren’t too many fats in your cat’s foods unless they get plenty of exercise. That means indoor cat foods should be lower in fats than standard recipes.
  • Fiber: A small amount of fiber is often a good option for pet parents seeking the right indoor cat food. While most cat foods don’t need a lot of excess fiber, an indoor cat could benefit from additional support for its digestive system.
indoor tabby cat eating best dry indoor cat food


Are there any ingredients in indoor cat food I should avoid?

All cats thrive best on a diet high in protein, and healthy fats, with a little fiber thrown in at times. However, your feline friend doesn’t need carbohydrates to thrive. Avoid any foods high in grains and vegetables which might not give your cat any extra nutritional value. It’s also worth staying away from meals using excessive artificial preservatives like BHT, BHA, and TBHQ. Artificial flavors aren’t ideal for your kitty either.

Is wet or dry indoor cat food best?

This is a topic of wet vs dry cat food is a significant debate in the cat ownership world. Both wet and dry cat foods have their pros and cons to consider. While dry indoor cat food is easy for your cat to nibble on through the day without the risk of it going bad, it’s not great for giving cats essential moisture. Wet indoor cat food has moisture, but it’s not as long-lasting. A combination of both wet and dry indoor cat food is usually the best choice for most cats.

How are indoor cat foods different?

Most cat foods have a similar selection of ingredients, indoor cat foods may be slightly more nutritious than a regular cat food, to ensure your feline gets the right vitamins and minerals. Protein is usually extremely high in indoor cat food, and you may find extra digestion helpers included within the food. Because cats indoors have a more leisurely lifestyle, they can struggle to process food easily without a little help. In addition, you'll likely see less fat in indoor cat foods as your indoor cat expends less energy.

How much should I feed my indoor cat?

Finding exactly the right portion size for your indoor cat can be a little tricky. Most experts recommend speaking to your vet about how to choose the right portions. Most indoor cat foods will also come with some guidance on the box for how much your cat should eat. However, different kitties have different requirements. Be particularly cautious with portioning if you have a specific breed of cat more likely to grow large (like a Maine Coon).

How do I know if my indoor cat is getting fat?

A more sedentary lifestyle is one of the biggest concerns facing indoor cats. It’s important to play with your cat regularly and keep them active, so they’re less likely to pack on the pounds. Your vet will be able to advise you on better cat foods to control weight if your cat starts to look a little too big.

Keep in mind, different cats are more likely to require different amounts of calories. A 5-pound cat might be at a healthy weight if you’re raising a Siamese. On the other hand, Maine Coons can weigh anywhere up to 20 pounds, and they wouldn’t be classed as “obese”.

two cats sniffing wet indoor cat food bowl

Best Indoor Cat Food: Final Verdict

Finding the best food for your indoor cat is likely to be a personal journey for you and your feline.

You’ll need to consider the specific needs of your kitty, as well as things like budget and portioning. For value and quality, we prefer the Hill’s Science Diet Adult indoor cat food.

 This amazing recipe is a huge hit with cats and comes with everything your feline needs to stay fit and healthy. You can even combine your indoor cat food from Hill’s Science with an accompanying wet food

Good luck finding the indoor cat food perfect for your indoor kitty.

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About the author

Rebekah Carter is a dedicated animal lover. Her Savannah cat, Roscoe, has a lot of attitude, while her Maine Coon, Dukino, is full of love. When not writing, she’s looking after her cats and researching ways to help them live their best possible life. Her passion for animals and natural skill for writing led her to pursue pet blogging.