Best Cat Food for Indoor Cats
Although it may not seem like such a big thing, there is a huge difference between kitties who only live indoors, and those who split their time lazing around the house and tearing up the neighbourhood! It is fair to say that indoor cats get much less of an opportunity to stretch their paws, and this less-active lifestyle can mean that some indoor cats can easily begin to gain weight and suffer from health problems, such as obesity and diabetes.
Having a feeding regime which is suited to indoor cats, in addition to keeping your kitty active, are two major considerations for indoor cat owners. This is why we are going to give you the low-down on the best cat food for indoor cats which will nourish your cat and keep the weight off!
- 1 What to Look For When Feeding House Cats
- 1.1 Protein is Vital
- 1.2 Don't Avoid Fats
- 1.3 Cut Out the Carbs
- 1.4 Add Extra Moisture
- 1.5 1. Weruva TruLuxe Grain-Free Canned Cat Food
- 1.6 2. Halo Spot's Pate Grain Free Wild Salmon Cat Food
- 1.7 3. Blue Buffalo Freedom Grain-Free Indoor Adult Chicken Recipe
- 1.8 4. Wellness Complete Health Natural Grain Free Dry Cat Food
- 1.9 5. Royal Canin Feline Health Nutrition Indoor Adult Dry Cat Food
- 1.10 6. Blue Healthy Gourmet Wet Cat Food
- 1.11 7. Purina Friskies Indoor Wet Cat Food
- 1.12 Indoor Cat Lifestyle
- 2 How to Shed an Indoor Cat’s Weight
What to Look For When Feeding House Cats
Cats are obligate carnivores and they need meat to survive. As a cat owner, you should try to replicate your kitty’s wild diet with specially designed food. When choosing cat food for your sofa-dwelling furball, these are 4 great points to remember.
Protein is Vital
Again, cats are obligate carnivores – I can’t stress that enough! Cats must eat meat, but so many cat owners aren’t aware of this. An adult cat needs two to three times more protein than dogs. A cat in the wild would primarily feed off of smaller animals, which results in a high-protein intake. Of course, an indoor cat cannot hunt, so they are reliant on us humans to provide them with all the protein they need.
- Raw or cooked plain meat (chicken, lamb, turkey) are great protein sources for your kitty. See Can Cats Eat Raw Chicken for further information.
- Canned food is the next best alternative to raw and cooked meats. Canned foods typically have a good amount of protein, but check the label!
- Dry cat kibble contains some protein, but not very much. Dry kibble protein content usually does not exceed 30%.
Don't Avoid Fats
We as humans are conditioned to think that fats are bad and have become obsessed with low-fat foods and diets. Cats are not humans and rely on fats as their primary energy source, whereas we humans use carbohydrates for our energy. Fats are critical for a kitty’s good health, and you should not avoid fats when buying cat food – if a cat food has a lot of fat in it, that is not a bad thing.
- Cats need omega fatty acids (3, 6 and 9) for their immune system, joint function, muscle development and skin health to name a few.
- Omega-3 is very important for cats and they should get around 250mg per day! Omega-3 can be found in foods such as fish and flax.
Cut Out the Carbs
Cats really don’t need carbohydrates… not at all! They have no nutritional need for them, period. In the wild, cats would never ever come across carbohydrates as they do not naturally eat wheat, grains or corn, and very rarely eat fruits and vegetables. However, most dry foods and kibbles use corn, wheat and other grains as fillers to bulk the food up.
- Cats cannot digest carbohydrates properly so, by feeding your cat high-carb dry food, they are missing out on the good stuff: protein and fats.
- When you see a food which contains high amounts of carbohydrates, put it back down and never look at it again!
Add Extra Moisture
Cats get lots of their moisture from wet food which can be as much as 75% water content. But, kibble is generally less than 10% water, if that, and for indoor cats, especially ones who eat a lot of dry food, it is important to add extra moisture to their diet; cats will rarely drink enough water from their bowls alone. If your cat has an exclusively dry diet, consider supplementing the food with canned food so that your cat gets enough water in his or her diet.
The best cat food for indoor cats is not necessarily the most expensive brand. The nutrients your indoor kitty needs to stay healthy can be found in a number of regular cat food products and, since indoor and outdoor kitty lives are so different – this is a factor you need to take into account.
Weruva TruLuxe Grain-Free Canned Food is a pretty above-average cat food based off of its nutritional analysis and ingredients alone. Weruva’s TruLuxe formulas come in plenty of flavours and blends, including: salmon; kawakawa tuna; beef & pumpkin; and basa. We’re going to take their ‘Peking Ducken’ blend for our nutritional analysis, which contains two brilliant sources of high-quality protein: chicken and duck.
These proteins are coated in a tasty gravy, which cats go nuts for! Chicken and duck are not the only top ingredients, though. Weruva’s Peking Ducken blend lists potato starch as a top ingredient, which is a common bulk-adding filler and is not something which is required in your cat’s natural diet.
Strangely though, this food contains more protein than average and also has significantly less carbohydrates than average – how Weruva have managed that is amazing, given the presence of potato starch!
Calorie Breakdown: 29% fat, 62.2% protein and 8.8% carbohydrates.
Based off of nutritional analysis, this particular food’s primary ingredient is salmon. Salmon is considered a high-quality protein source and has added chicken and chicken liver, so this cat food most definitely ticks the box as far as protein is concerned. Bonus points are awarded for salmon being the primary ingredient, which means this food also has a natural and plentiful source of Omega-3.
Halo Spot’s Paté Grain Free Wild Salmon Cat Food is not your standard cat food. In fact, it is very above-average in many different areas.
Also, this cat food does not list any by-products or nasty bulking agents, such as fillers, within its top ingredients. By-products are a far inferior and low-quality ingredient which is used in cheaper cat foods in lieu of good, wholesome ingredients. Cats do not need ingredients which are just used for the sake of bulking up a product so, gram for gram, your cat is getting a lot more nutritional value out of this food.
Calorie Breakdown: 42.8% fat, 38.7% protein and 18.5% carbohydrates.
BLUE Buffalo Freedom Grain-Free Indoor Adult Cat Food is specially formulated for indoor cats, which is an indicator of its good quality ingredients. This formula lists chicken and chicken liver as its primary protein sources. Both chicken and chicken liver are wholesome protein sources. Plus, chicken liver provides a healthy fat source.
This food does not have any by-products or bulking agents in it either. As a result, this food has a very low carbohydrate content which is great news because – as we have discussed – carbohydrates are not necessary in your kitty’s diet.
When breaking down this food’s nutritional values, it has a lesser amount of protein than other cat food brands in the indoor-food market and is higher in fat. This food also contains guar gum and carrageenan which are additives considered by some to contribute to some feline medical conditions.
Calorie Breakdown: 53.9% fat, 30.7% protein and 15.4% carbohydrates.
Wellness Complete Health Natural Grain Free Dry Cat Food is a dry food which is quite average; not amazing but not terrible either. Strangely enough, this food beats BLUE Buffalo’s above formula in the protein department but falls down on the carbohydrate count.
This dry food has three primary ingredients: salmon; menhaden fish meal; and herring meal. Salmon, as you know by now, is a quality protein source which provides a high amount of protein and essential Omega-3 fatty acids. Menhaden and herring fish meal are also good protein sources, too.
Although this is a dry food, Wellness do not list any by-products, fillers or bulking agents in its top ingredients which is uncommon for dry food. This does not mean that they are not present, however, and you should consult the label before committing to a purchase. As this is a dry food, there is a larger amount of carbohydrates and significantly less moisture than you would find in canned food.
Calorie Breakdown: 40.6% fat, 35.3% protein and 24.1% carbohydrates.
Royal Canin Feline Health Nutrition Indoor Adult Dry Cat Food is specially formulated for indoor cats. When you are looking at cat food, the first three to five ingredients can tell you lots about the quality of the product, as they make up most of the actual product. Ideally, you should be seeing quality protein sources as the first ingredient at least, and no cheap filling agents such as starches and by-products until you are far down the ingredients list.
Although this food’s primary ingredient is chicken meal – a quality protein source – it lists brown rice, corn, corn gluten meal and rice as its top ingredients. These ingredients, as well as being a source of carbohydrates, are used as bulking agents and your cats do not need these foods in their diets. They are usually used to maintain the shape of kibble.
This food also contains a lot of allergens such as soya oil, wheat gluten and egg-based ingredients. With a whopping 45.5% of this food’s calorie content coming from carbohydrates, it is not the best indoor food out there. That being said, however, it is far better than some dry foods which contain less than 10% protein.
Calorie Breakdown: 28.3% fat, 26.2% protein, 45.5% fat.
BLUE Healthy Gourmet Wet Cat Food is specially formulated for more mature cats, but it is suitable for indoor cats of all ages and stages of life.
As you may have guessed, the primary ingredient of this chicken entrée formula is… chicken! A common, wholesome and versatile protein source which is one of the most popular cat food ingredients. In addition, this food contains chicken liver which is both a source of protein and fat. In addition to these, other top ingredients include brown rice which is usually used as a filler; cats have no real need for brown rice.
The protein count in this food is quite respectable, and the low amount of carbohydrates makes this a great option for indoor cats who are looking a bit weighty. There is a very high amount of fat, however, which may not be suitable for your individual cat.
Calorie Breakdown: 51% fat, 35% protein and 14% carbohydrates.
Friskies Indoor Wet Cat Food is a very popular and well-recognised American brand. This food comes in a variety of flavours, including turkey, chicken and salmon. For this review, we are going to look at the ‘Herbed Salmon Entrée’ formula.
Friskies have used salmon as its primary ingredient, which is a quality protein and source of Omega-3 fatty acids. However, this product lists many by-products as its top ingredients, including some meat by-products (type of meat unspecified.) Meat by-products are typically considered as a lesser-quality ingredient. In addition, this food contains rice and corn bran, which are used as fillers and also are potential allergens.
On nutritional analysis, Friskies’ Herbed Salmon Entrée has less protein and more carbohydrates than average, probably due to the presence of fillers. There is still a decent amount of protein and fat though, so this is a suitable food if you keep your indoor cat active. This is not a good food for sofa-loving kitties, though!
Calorie Breakdown: 33.1% fat, 31.8% protein and 35% fat.
Indoor Cat Lifestyle
There are lots of benefits related with keeping your cat indoors. For example, cats which take liberties and roam around the streets are at an increased risk of injury through fights with other cats, or through interactions with other humans. Cats are also natural explorers, and it is not unheard of for them to get stuck in tight gaps or – the classic – getting stuck up trees.
Cats graze on food naturally, it’s just what they do. If there is dry food left out, they will eat it intermittently throughout the day. As your kitty nibbles away at the dry food, you probably fill it back up with fresh food. Because of this, it is so easy to lose track of what your kitty has eaten.
Plus, kitties who live indoors typically eat too much and don’t exercise enough, so it is even more important to take special care and attention when feeding your indoor cat.
How to Shed an Indoor Cat’s Weight
Because indoor cats are very sedentary and don’t exercise as much as outdoor cats, it is easy for them to put on weight. Cats do not look in the mirror and get self-conscious like us humans and will happily eat whatever you put in front of them. This means that indoor cats are much more prone to weight gain, and it is important to make sure your indoor kitty stays active, so the extra pounds don’t start piling on!
These are some of the steps you can take to keep your indoor kitty slender –
- Cut down on edible treats – these should be used as rewards, sparingly.
- Cats love to chase and hunt things down, so a laser pointer is a great tool to keep your cat active indoors, and it involves minimal effort from you. Plus, it’s fun!
- Make sure your cat has plenty of vertical space it can use to jump and climb on things – this quickly burns extra calories.
- If you’ve got a particularly lazy cat, keep the litterbox, food bowl and water bowls in different parts of the house – perhaps even on different levels – so your kitty has no choice but to move around the house a lot.
- Exercise wheels are a good choice if you have limited room in your house. See our article on the Best Cat Exercise Wheel for more information!
Indoor cats require a different diet, the best foods for indoor cats are high in protein, have medium levels of fat and are low in carbs – due to their less active lifestyles. There are plenty of foods, both specialist and non-specialist, which contain all the nutrients and macronutrients an indoor cat needs, without all the nasty additives or extra carbohydrates which add on extra pounds.
Wet food is always preferable to dry food as it always contains less carbohydrates; the less carbohydrates you give an indoor cat the better, as these add on weight and your cat has no use for them. If you’ve got a particularly pudgy kitty, consider taking steps to exercise him or her more to burn extra calories.