Steer Clear: 6 Cat Food Brands to Avoid?





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Robert Taylor

Are you a cat owner who wants only the best for your beloved feline companion? If so, you’ve likely researched and pondered the ideal cat food.

The choices can be overwhelming, from canned versus kibble to deciphering nutritional elements like taurine and arachidonic acid. And, of course, there’s the added concern of whether the brand you choose meets AAFCO standards.

But fear not! In this article, we’ll alleviate your worries by shedding light on some of the worst cat food brands to avoid. Your furry friend’s well-being is our priority, so let’s embark on this journey together.

What Determines the Quality of a Cat Food Brand?

It’s essential to understand that there are other factors besides the brand of cat food itself. Instead, the ingredients within the cat food truly matter, and these can vary from brand to brand.

Cat food brands that feature subpar ingredients are undeniably the worst choice. This is primarily because they incorporate inexpensive components, often including preservatives, fillers, and harmful chemicals that can harm cats’ health.

How do we determine the quality of cat food?
How do we determine the quality of cat food?

Furthermore, cat food lacking essential vitamins and nutrients wastes your hard-earned money. Consequently, it’s crucial to take into account the following factors when selecting cat food:

  • The nutritional content of the food;
  • The type of protein utilised;
  • The source of the proteins (whether they are natural or artificial);
  • The kind of oil employed;
  • The presence of preservatives, additives, and other chemicals;
  • The food’s processing method.

6 Cat Food Brands to Avoid

6 Cat Food Brands to Avoid
6 Cat Food Brands to Avoid


Purina undeniably enjoys widespread popularity in the market. However, despite its fame, certain aspects of its products may leave you dissatisfied.

Take, for example, Kit and Kaboodle, particularly their dry cat food. While it boasts multiple vitamins such as B1 and A, as well as Niacin, and includes minerals like copper sulphate, it still needs to meet the expectations of many customers.

One notable concern is the inclusion of grains, like corn gluten meal, in the ingredients. Although some argue that there is no conclusive evidence that grain-based food harms cats, veterinary nutritionists often advise against it due to potential allergies in some felines.

In certain cases, products, especially Kit and Kaboodle’s dry cat food, have been known to trigger issues such as bloating, vomiting, and coughing in some cats. Consequently, many cat owners have opted to discontinue purchasing this particular product.

Blue Buffalo

We tested Blue Buffalo’s canned cat food options, and while some have a high moisture content, there are concerns worth considering.

Blue Buffalo’s products contain fishy ingredients, which may not be ideal for maintaining your cat’s health. They include Carrageenan and unspecified fish oil in their ingredients.

Their canned products proudly state the absence of corn, soy, or wheat, which can appeal to many cat owners. However, customers have reported that these products’ unpleasant odour repels their cats. So, consider Blue Buffalo a subpar cat food brand.

Although it claims to contain flaked food in gravy, it’s more accurate to say it’s primarily dry food with minimal gravy.

Blue Buffalo appears to adhere to its claims, but this may not necessarily be a positive feature.

9 Lives

We noticed the presence of Tender Morsels with Real Chicken In Sauce in the 9 Lives product lineup. It’s worth noting that 9 Lives uses meat by-products, which are not considered high-quality ingredients.

Furthermore, this product contains food starch and wheat flour, which don’t provide any nutritional value and add bulk to the food.

Another concerning component in Tender Morsels is soy protein, which can be problematic for customers, especially if their cat has allergies.

We recommend exploring healthier cat food options and avoiding this brand. Your feline companions deserve a higher quality diet that suits their refined tastes.


Established 86 years ago, this long-standing American brand was expected to deliver high-quality pet products. Many assumed that its years of experience would have led to flawless production. Unfortunately, that’s not the case.

One significant drawback is the inclusion of Carrageenan in their products. Prolonged consumption of Carrageenan has been linked to cancer and inflammation, making it imperative to keep your pets far away from such items.

Furthermore, their packaging raises concerns. In today’s era, plastic pouches seem outdated and environmentally unfriendly. While the formula might have room for improvement, the continued use of plastic is simply unacceptable.

Some consumers have reported finding maggots in their Whiskas products, and there have been reports of cats developing allergies after consumption. Additionally, these products contain potentially carcinogenic substances, such as caramel colour.


Friskies, a Purina brand focused on producing wet or canned cat food rather than traditional dry cat food, is widely available and ranks among the leading producers of affordable wet cat food in the United States.

Regrettably, Friskies shares several similarities with another Purina brand discussed in this article, namely Purina Cat Chow. 

While Friskies recipes may include some named meat components like Chicken, they often incorporate unspecified meat elements like Meat By-Products or Liver.

These ambiguous ingredients lack transparency and cannot be counted on as a reliable source of essential nutrition for cats.

Furthermore, Friskies heavily relies on low-quality grain ingredients in its formulations, including Wheat Gluten, Soy Flour, and Modified Corn Starch.

These heavily processed components contribute significant levels of carbohydrates that are unnecessary in a cat’s diet and can lead to health issues such as obesity.


Sportmix, a well-established dog food brand in operation since the 1920s and owned by Midwestern Pet Foods, which oversees Earthborn Holistic and Pro Pac, has ventured into the cat food market as part of its expansion strategy.

Despite its origins in catering to sporting and working dogs with specific high protein and fat requirements, Sportmix’s cat food offerings could have been better in terms of nutrition.

For instance, Sportmix’s Original Recipe cat food contains a minimum of 30% protein and 10% fat, just slightly above the AAFCO minimum standards.

This deficiency in protein and fat content can be attributed to their ingredient list, which heavily relies on grains like corn, corn gluten meal, soybean meal, and wheat.

Fortunately, Sportmix doesn’t use unspecified meat and fish ingredients and instead includes items like Chicken By-Product Meal, Chicken Fat, and Menhaden Fish Meal.

Top Cat Food Brands You Can Trust (Our Recommendations)

Top Cat Food Brands You Can Trust
Top Cat Food Brands You Can Trust

You may need clarification about finding cat food brands that meet high standards. Well, here’s some good news – brands out there will make your feline friends purr in delight, knead with satisfaction, and cozy up with you. These brands excel in every aspect of quality.

Below, we’ve highlighted a selection of such exceptional brands. Let’s take a closer look:


Every product from Smalls adheres to AAFCO guidelines. What sets their food apart is its human-grade quality, making it safe for humans to consume.

Smalls offers many options, from fresh cat food to frozen choices. Their protein sources are derived from animals, which is ideal for our carnivorous companions.

Another noteworthy feature is the high moisture content in Smalls cat food, which aids digestion and appeals to its appeal.

Most importantly, Smalls cat food avoids harmful additives and cheap fillers. This is a rarity in the industry, as many brands compromise on quality. Smalls consistently delivers on its promise of excellence, making their loyal customers feel like they’ve hit the jackpot.

Royal Canin

Royal Canin offers a diverse range of premium dry cat food options designed to meet the specific needs of different cat categories, including purebred cats, neutered cats, indoor or outdoor cats, and picky eaters, in addition to options tailored to various life stages. 

Most cats readily accept these products, and many cat owners appreciate the satisfaction their pets derive from their daily meals.

Dry cat food, often called “kibble,” is generally the most convenient and budget-friendly choice for nourishing healthy cats. However, the quality of dry cat food can vary, with lower-priced options typically containing less carefully selected ingredients. 

Lily’s Kitchen

When it comes to pleasing picky cats, having a diverse selection of options from different brands can be quite beneficial. 

For instance, the Purina Gourmet line offers more than fifty choices, but Lily’s Kitchen stands out with its 25 different wet and dry cat food varieties, and there’s a good reason for their popularity. These products are carefully crafted using natural ingredients that appeal to cats.

If you’re looking for more alternatives, Sheba offers moist cat food with a wide range of ingredients, from fish to various types of meat. 

They come in various formulations, including gravy, jelly, flakes, loaf, slices, and soup, giving you the flexibility to provide your cat with different meal options.


What should I do if feeding my cat a questionable brand?

If you suspect your cat’s current food is subpar, consult your veterinarian for advice on transitioning to a healthier diet. Gradual transitions and monitoring your cat’s health during the process are important.

Can homemade cat food be a better alternative?

Homemade cat food can be viable, but it requires careful planning and ensuring your cat gets all the necessary nutrients. Consult your vet or a veterinary nutritionist for guidance if you’re considering this route.

What resources can help me stay informed about cat food brands to avoid?

Keep an eye on websites that track pet food recalls, such as the FDA’s or independent pet food review websites. Joining online cat owner forums can also provide valuable insights from other cat owners.

Is organic or natural cat food always a better choice?

Not necessarily. While organic or natural cat food can be a good option, it’s important to scrutinise the ingredients and nutritional content. Not all organic or natural brands are created equal, so read labels carefully.


We made an effort to inform you about the lowest-quality cat food brands. Despite a worldwide pandemic, the competition in this sector has intensified, making your decision more difficult than ever. 

As you explore the brands in this rapidly growing industry, it’s important to establish specific criteria for your pet and not be swayed by the flashy marketing tactics employed by these companies. Every pet has unique nutritional requirements, so selecting their food carefully is crucial.

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Robert Taylor

I love cats, I have more than 10 years of experience in raising cats. I want to share with everyone useful knowledge about cats.

Robert Taylor

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