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Best Grain Free Cat Food (2023): Top Rated Wet And Dry Picks

Posted in: Cat Food - Last Updated: November 8, 2022 - Author: Rebekah Carter
Posted in Cat Food 
Last Updated: November 8, 2022  
Author:  Rebekah Carter

Today, we’re comparing and reviewing some of the best grain-free cat food picks for 2023. We’ll be looking at a range of food options that are both complete, and nutritionally balanced. 

Plus, we’re focusing on factors like different flavors, formulas, vitamin content, and overall quality. 

best grain free cat food

Grain-free cat food is a popular choice among pet owners who want to ensure their kitty gets nothing but the best and a s strong immune system.

A grain-free diet can be an excellent way to keep a cat with digestive issues and allergies well-fed. It also means you can avoid some of the common unnecessary fillers used on other foods. While grain-free meals aren’t a requirement for every cat, they can help some of our feline friends to live happier, healthier lives. 

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

A grain-free recipe will potentially contain chicken, chicken liver, turkey, tuna, green beans, peas, chicken hearts, spinach, kale, carrots, rye, lentils, cranberries, and many other protein-rich and high-quality carbohydrates.

So, as you can see, grain-free isn't too limited. 

And still super healthy!

Best Grain-Free Cat Food: Our Overall Choice 

Our top best grain-free cat food choice is the Purina Beyond Natural Grain-Free food

This food includes superb levels of wild-caught whitefish, and a range of added vitamins, nutrients, and minerals. 

Purina Beyond Natural Grain-Free food also is also free from additives and preservatives and perfect for cats with sensitive stomachs.

3 Top Grain-Free Cat Food Picks - Best, Value & Premium

When assessing the dozens of grain-free cat food options available on the market today, we noticed a handful of options that really stood out from the crowd. We chose these options based on their affordability, nutrient content, and overall pet appeal. 

To create our list, we’ve checked out some of the top-rated and most popular grain-free foods on the market. Each of the options we’ll cover has been tried and tested by committed pet parents, and their beloved kitties. 

Our Top 3 Choices

Best Overall

Purina Beyond Grain Free, Natural Dry Cat Food, Simply Grain Free Wild Caught Whitefish & Cage Free Egg Recipe - 11 lb. Bag

Purina Beyond Grain Free

  • Real protein is the number one ingredient
  • Included vitamins, minerals, and probiotics
  • Grain, and gluten-free

Best Value

Wellness CORE Grain Free Canned Cat Food, Chicken, Turkey & Chicken LiverPate, 5.5 Ounces (Pack of 24)

Natural Balance L.I.D. Limited Ingredient Diets Dry Cat Food

  • Easy-to-use dry kibble
  • Limited ingredients
  • Various flavor options to choose from

Premium Choice

Natural Balance Limited Ingredient Diet Green Pea & Salmon | Grain-Free Dry Adult Cat Food | 2-lb. Bag

Wellness CORE Grain-Free Wet Cat Food

  • Omega blend for skin and fur health
  • No grain, soy, or wheat
  • No artificial ingredients or additives

Let’s dive in.  

1. Purina Beyond Grain Free (Best Overall Pick)

Purina Beyond Grain Free, Natural Dry Cat Food, Simply Grain Free Wild Caught Whitefish & Cage Free Egg Recipe - 11 lb. Bag

This high-protein grain-free dry cat food is ideal for kitties who like to graze on their food throughout the day. 

The crunchy kibble preserves well, so you don’t have to worry about changing the food every hour or two.

Plus, it contains plenty of great ingredients, like real wild-caught whitefish, natural probiotics, and various vitamins and minerals.

Not only is this cat food free from grain, but it also includes absolutely no artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives. 

This ensures you can give your cat the best quality of nutrition, without having to worry about a higher risk of allergic reactions or tummy issues.

Pros

  • Real protein is the number one ingredient
  • Included vitamins, minerals, and probiotics
  • Grain, and gluten-free
  • No artificial colors, preservatives, or flavors
  • Easy to serve throughout the day

Cons

  • Quite heavy and difficult to transport
  • Includes quite a lot of vegetable components

2. Natural Balance L.I.D. Limited Ingredient Diets Dry Cat Food (Best Value)

Wellness CORE Grain Free Canned Cat Food, Chicken, Turkey & Chicken LiverPate, 5.5 Ounces (Pack of 24)

With a variety of tasty flavors to choose from, including duck, chicken, venison, and salmon, this grain-free cat food is sure to appeal to all tastes. 

The limited-ingredient product is ideal for kitties on a specific diet to help minimize allergic reactions and gastrointestinal issues. Plus, the number one ingredient is real protein, ideal for maintaining strong muscles.

This complete and balanced food is great for adult cats of all breeds, and comes with added minerals and vitamins to support good skin, fur, and bone health. 

There are no grains, additives, or fillers included, so you can ensure your cat only gets the best.

Pros

  • Easy-to-use dry kibble
  • Limited ingredients
  • Various flavor options to choose from
  • Real protein as the number one ingredient
  • Included vitamins and minerals

Cons

  • Very strong smell
  • The food can deteriorate in some conditions

3. Wellness CORE Grain-Free Wet Cat Food (Best Premium)

Natural Balance Limited Ingredient Diet Green Pea & Salmon | Grain-Free Dry Adult Cat Food | 2-lb. Bag

For wet food fans, Wellness CORE is a brilliant grain-free pick. Available in a range of flavors, this food comes in a pate texture, making it ideal for cats of all ages. 

The food includes protein as the number one ingredient, with extra fortified vitamins and minerals, and an omega blend for healthy coats.

There’s no grain, soy, or wheat to worry about. Plus, the product is free from artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives. 

Thanks to the unique moisture texture, this food is also an excellent way to give your cats an extra dose of hydration, if they don’t spend much time at the water bowl. 

As an added bonus, it supports good immune health, healthy teeth, and bones.

Pros

  • Omega blend for skin and fur health
  • No grain, soy, or wheat
  • No artificial ingredients or additives
  • Extra fortified vitamins and minerals
  • Soft pate texture

Cons

  • Loses it’s appeal quickly once served
  • May have a strong smell

Our Alternative Picks

If the three options above aren’t well-suited to your cat, there are still a host of fantastic grain-free foods to choose from. Our team also highlighted the following options for those in search of high protein, dry food, wet food, and diets for indoor cats.

4. Purina Beyond Grain Free Wet Food (Best Wet Food)

Purina Beyond Grain Free, Natural Pate Wet Cat Food, Grain Free Chicken & Sweet Potato Recipe - (12) 3 oz. Cans

Made with chicken as the number one ingredient, this delightful pate food is great for kitties of all ages, as it’s easy to eat and digest.

The wholesome recipe is free from grains, but packed full of fantastic vitamins and minerals, thanks to added foods like sweet potato

Great for a feline friend with a sensitive stomach, the Purina Beyond Grain food contains no artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives.

It also contains extra nutrients like taurine, Vitamin A, and zinc to keep your kitty healthy and strong.

Pros

  • Easy-to-eat pate texture
  • No corn, wheat or soy included
  • Poultry as the number one ingredient
  • Wholesome vegetables for vitamins and minerals
  • No artificial additives

Cons

  • Can go dry quite quickly when left out

5. Instinct Original Grain Free (Best Dry Food)

Instinct Original Grain Free Recipe with Real Chicken Natural Dry Cat Food, 5 lb. Bag

This grain-free kibble from Instinct Original features cage-free chicken as the number one ingredient. In fact, the recipe includes 81% real animal ingredients, and 19% vegetables, fruits, and other wholesome ingredients.

The food includes probiotics for healthy digestion, and omega for skin and coat support. It also has no artificial additives or preservatives. 

Unlike most kibble options, these dry biscuits are coated in freeze-dried raw meat to enhance the nutritional value and the taste. 

There’s also a variety of great flavors to choose from.

Pros

  • Coated in freeze-dried raw food
  • 81% real animal ingredients
  • No grains, additives, or fillers
  • Included probiotics and omega fats
  • Long-lasting kibble

Cons

  • Pellets may be large for some cats

6. Blue Buffalo Wilderness High Protein (Best High Protein)

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

Cats need protein in their diet more than any other ingredient, as obligate carnivores. So if you’re looking for a high-protein solution, this could be the perfect option

This dry cat food is packed with real chicken, and contains absolutely no grains or additives. 

The product also includes special “LifeSource bits” which are a blend of carefully selected vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants chosen by veterinarians to improve cat health.

The food even helps your kitty to maintain a healthy and consistent body weight

Pros

  • Great for weight management
  • All-natural ingredients
  • High in protein
  • Antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals included
  • Pellet-style food

Cons

  • Limited flavor options
  • LifeSource bits can be a bit large for some cats

7. Blue Buffalo Blue Freedom Grain-Free Mature Indoor

Blue Buffalo Freedom Grain Free Natural Indoor Mature Dry Cat Food, Chicken 11-lb

Another excellent choice from Blue Buffalo, the Freedom food is made specifically for indoor cats, and their unique dietary needs. 

The recipe includes real chicken as the number one ingredient and is formulated to support mature cats with reduced calorie needs, so it’s great for weight maintenance. 

Like most Blue Buffalo foods, this product also comes with LifeSource bits included, so your kitty can get a fantastic blend of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants in every bite.

The food is also rich in fiber, to assist your cat with better digestion.

Pros

  • Good for weight maintenance and digestion
  • Formulated for senior indoor cats
  • Grain, and additive free
  • Chicken as the number one ingredient
  • Included vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants

Cons

  • Limited flavor options
  • Kibble can be quite large
Grain free cat food

Buyers Guide

While there are plenty of grain free cat food options on the market today, choosing the right option for your feline friend can be complicated.

To help you make the right decision, we’ve put together a quick and concise guide covering what you might need to know. 

Why Buy Grain Free Cat Food?

The first point we should cover is that grain-free cat food isn’t a necessity for a cat. A lot of people assume cats shouldn’t eat grain because they’re not generally exposed to it in the wild.

However, while cats don’t need grain to survive, they can easily digest it in most cases without a problem. 

In fact, grain can provide your cats with extra fiber, which helps to prevent hairballs. Plus, it’s packed with useful ingredients like iron, calcium, folate, thiamine, niacin, riboflavin, and more.

In fact, grain can provide your cats with extra fiber, which helps to prevent hairballs. Plus, it’s packed with useful ingredients like iron, calcium, folate, thiamine, niacin, riboflavin, and more.

While a grain-free cat food may be labeled as a “holistic” option for your cat, it’s really only necessary in certain circumstances.

For instance, you might choose a grain-free food when your cat:

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  • Has digestive issues: If your cat struggles with digestion problems like inflammation or irritable bowel disease, your vet might recommend switching to a limited-ingredient diet with fewer grains. However, it’s best to talk to your vet about whether grain elimination is necessary to keep your cat healthy.
  • Doesn’t like grain food: Cats don’t necessarily need grains to survive, so if your cat tends to turn their nose up at foods with a lot of added grain, you can always consider going grain-free as an alternative. Some kitties are very picky eaters.
  • Has allergies: Although it’s more common for cats to have allergies to specific animal proteins, they can also be allergic to certain grains. If your cat appears to suffer from symptoms whenever they eat grain-based foods, you might want to switch meal options.
Top grain free cat foods

Things to consider with Grain Free food

When choosing a grain-free food for your cat, the most important thing you’ll need to consider is your kitty’s preferences. All cats have specific tastes for certain ingredients, flavors, and meals. So, keep this in mind.

It’s also worth ensuring you understand your cat’s specific dietary requirements, as cats of various ages, breeds, and backgrounds can require certain foods. 

It’s also worth making sure any grain-free cat food is:

  • Complete: A grain-free cat food should contain all of the macronutrients your cat needs to thrive, including fat, fiber, protein, and a wide selection of vitamins and minerals. Complete foods can be either wet or dry, depending on your cat’s preference.
  • Balanced: Finding a balanced cat food means choosing something with the right blend of natural vitamins, minerals, and anti-oxidants for your feline friend. Balanced foods may include fortified vitamins, and vegetables or fruits, alongside animal protein.
  • Free from fillers: Fillers, unlike grain, have no benefit for your cat, and simply make them feel fuller faster. This could mean they don’t get the right amount of nutrients from their meals, because they’re so full on unnecessary ingredients.
  • Additive free: Avoid cat foods with any unnecessary additives, like artificial flavors, colors and preservatives. These can increase your cat’s chances of a negative reaction to a cat food, and may cause allergic responses in some cases.
  • High in protein: Your cat food should always include a high-qualityanimal protein source. To ensure your food contains enough protein, make sure the animal ingredient is the number one item listed on the back of the label.
Best grain-free cat foods

FAQs

What foods should cats avoid?

Just because grain isn’t necessary for cats, doesn’t mean they automatically need to avoid it, unless they have a prior condition.

Rather, you should focus on keeping your cat away from dangerous foods like raw eggs and meet, onions, garlic, and chemical additives. 

What are the benefits of grain free cat food?

Grain free foods can be easier for cats to digest if they already have inflammatory stomach, gut issues, kidney disease, or food allergies.

They can also be less likely to exacerbate certain allergic reactions and responses in cats who have sensitive stomachs. 

Does grain free food cause heart problems in cats?

Grain-free diets have been implicated in rising numbers of cardio problems for both cats and dogs.

However, this is usually the case when the food is not complete and balanced. If you ensure your cat is getting the right amount of nutrients in every meal, they shouldn’t have any problems?

Should cats eat grain free?

There’s nothing to say cats should never eat grain, and very little to suggest that grain-rich foods offer a lot of benefits.

Grain isn’t necessary for cats, but it’s not necessarily harmful either, unless your cat has an existing issue which prevents them from eating grain. 

Best Grain Free Cat Food: Summary

Finding the best grain-free cat foods for your kitty can be tough, particularly if you have a picky cat. Fortunately, there are plenty of options designed to give your cat a healthy, rich, and balanced diet. 

Our number one choice is the Purina Beyond Natural Grain-Free food, with fantastic quantities of wild-caught whitefish, and a range of added vitamins and minerals.

This food is free from additives and preservatives and ideal for sensitive cat stomachs.

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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.

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