In our ultimate low carb cat food list, we’re only covering the BEST low and no carb cat food offerings. Why? It’s because cats are obligate carnivores. That means that they need meat to survive. Cat food manufactures add additional items for their cost savings benefits and not for the health of your cat.
Feeding your cat a high protein diet is almost always the best way to improve their health, and in this article we’re going to go over some of the best high protein diet options out there for cats. There’s also a couple of carb free cat food choices on the list so you can totally ditch the extras too! These options will of course be the most expensive, but if you’re okay with a grain free low carb alternative then you can save a little money while still providing excellent nutrition to your cat.
What should you look for when choosing a low carb cat food?
The elimination of common grains like corn and wheat is of course the first step, but you should be aware that even foods marketed as grain free contain carbs in most cases. These companies usually replace the corn with a more nutrient rich veggies substitute, but you should still be careful that they are not filling it with yet another carbohydrate under the guise of a healthier diet.
When shopping for your cat’s new food make sure to check the ingredients list thoroughly. Manufacturers are required to list ingredients used in order of prominence. So, if a grain or replacement grain item like sweet potatoes or peas shows up too high on the list, then you could be buying a food that is comprised mostly of non-meat items anyway.
Look for whole meat items like Salmon, Chicken or duck as the first and hopefully the first three ingredients in the list so that you can be sure that you are getting an adequate amount of meat protein. The protein rating on cat foods will include proteins acquired from vegetables products like peas as well, limiting the amount of meat you’re getting. When searching for a good low carb cat food you should try to limit this as much as possible.
Should you feed wet or dry?
While feeding dry foods is convenient, it is better to feed your cats wet food. The reason is that cats tend to get a lot of their moisture through eating, and if they eat only dry food it can have negative health consequences for them. When cats are lacking moisture in their diet they can acquire struvite crystals. These crystals appear in the urine, and they can actually cause blockages that can be fatal if not treated immediately. Feeding a wet food diet helps to greatly reduce this risk, and it can help your cat against kidney related ailments as they get older.
If you don’t want your cat’s entire diet to be comprised of wet foods for cost reasons, then you could consider doing a mix. For example, you could feed your cat a portion of wet food in the morning, and then feed them a serving of dry food in the evening. If your cat is a picky eater then it can also be beneficial to mix these items to make the dry food more attractive to them. However, if they decide to not eat immediately then the food is likely ruined. Feeding separately prevents this, as if they don’t feel like eating you can simply put the food away for later without the dry being soggy.
What’s the difference between canned and freeze dried?
The benefit of freeze dried food is that it is typically raw, and it adds a good deal of flavor to your cat’s diet. A raw diet can be very enticing to cats who are picky eaters, and raw diets can also have some great nutritional benefits. It’s also very easy to find low carb freeze dried foods since they are typically entirely meat based. Freeze dried meals also offer the convenience of dry food, but with the ability to add water to essentially make it a wet food when you feed it to your cat. Most cats are perfectly happy to eat this way, but if you have a sick cat who may have a weakened immune system, such as an animal suffering from cancer, then a raw diet may not be advisable.
There is always a risk with raw products, no matter how small, that a food-borne illness could be contracted. Healthy cats have no problems fighting off the occasional stray bacteria in their food, but this risk is more dangerous for sick animals as their weaker immune system could have greater difficulties in fighting off any bugs, further adding to their woes. For them, it may be best to choose a canned food option. Canned foods are always cooked, and that eliminates any food risks for them.
While Beanietoes believes that wet food is the way to go when feeding your cat, we also realize that sometimes the cost of doing this can be too much for some pet parents. There are of course also some cats who prefer dry food, and it can be a chore getting them to eat anything else. Never fear, because we’ve added a low carb dry cat food list to the end of the article just for you! Click here to jump to the dry cat food list!
Best Carb Free Cat Food Options
If you want to feed your cat completely carb free, then there are some great options out there. Beanietoes has done the work for you and weeded through the vast array of foods out there to find the ones that are truly carb free without any added junk in them. These products feature only meat ingredients, high protein and zero carbohydrates. It’s even better than a low carb cat food list, this is our NO carb cat food list!
Ketogenic Pet Food
This pet food brand is actually formulated to be fed to either cats or dogs. This may seems odd at first, but the reason cats can’t eat traditional commercial dog food is because there’s too much filler and they won’t be able to get enough nutrients. That’s not a problem with this brand, because it’s composed entirely of freeze dried meat proteins. There are no corns, grains or any other carbohydrates taking up space here and robbing your cat of vital nutrients.
There are some oils added here for additional nutrients, and of course Taurine, which all cats need supplemented to them. These foods also feature only a single protein item, making them an excellent choice for animals which have allergies or are sensitive to certain food items. The company actually makes two products. The one pictured is the freeze dried meat product, but they also have a “keto kibble” which has similar nutritional guidelines but with the addition of a small amount of veggie items such as dried beat pulp and flax seed. These will of course add some carbohydrates to your cat’s diet. It does not specify the exact carbohydrate count, but it should be rather negligible as these ingredients are rather low on the list. However, the freeze dried product is likely the best option for a carb free cat food on the market, as most others add some degree of carbs to the recipe. You can see the full ingredients list and read reviews for this product at Amazon.
Coming in at second place in the no carb category is Feline Naturals. This excellent food brand from New Zealand actually has two products. They have a high-quality freeze dried offering that uses 99% meat with some added supplements, and they also have a canned product. The canned product is the more interesting offering here, because many of the high protein diets also tend to be low moisture since they are freeze dried. While you can add water to them, this often has a much different taste and texture which some cats may not like. If your cat is particularly choosy about his or her food, then Feline Natural’s canned option may be the way to go.
Their canned foods come in several different flavor profiles, and they are made of 99% chicken, lamb, venison and organ meats. Canned foods contain plenty of fluids which helps your kitty to combat troublesome urinary issues and aid in digestion. Organ meats also tend to add flavor to the food, stimulating the appetite of cats who are typically not big eaters.
Keep in mind that they do have multiple canned products. One of these is simply a “booster” that you mix with dry food to aid in hydration. It is however not a complete diet, and shouldn’t be fed to your cat as anything but a supplement. So, be sure you are purchasing the correct product as linked above. If you already have a dry food your cat likes though, then you can of course use the booster to help your cat in avoiding struvite crystals. Though it would likely be more beneficially and the same price to simply give them a half and half ratio of a dry and canned food if you planned to feed them that way. You can see the full ingredients list for these products here.
Ziwi Peak is the last item on our no carb list. This company from new Zealand creates their food products using only high quality meat cuts like lamb, beef, chicken and venison. There are no grains, carbs, rice or gluten products to be found here, and the only additive other than meat is a small but of kelp. It’s so far down the ingredient list that it would be a negligible ingredient though.
The company offers a couple of products for your to choose from including a freeze dried option and a canned option which will offer your cat greater moisture content if that is a concern for you. Pet parents should keep in mind then when switching to a diet such as this it may take time for your cat to adjust. Especially if they have not been eating an all meat diet previously. You may even need to mix it with their old food initially until they are used to eating it. Check out the full ingredients list for these products here!
Need some carb free cat treats to go with that?
Finding zero carb cat treats can be a real challenge, because so many of them are packed with sugar and other junk ingredients. You may even be surprised to learn that many of the cat treats at your local grocery store contain no meat at all and are made entirely of corn or flour! However, we’ve got a pick for you that’s good and good for your feline friend.
Looking for some tasty no carb treats to go with your kitty’s new food? Fresh Is Best offers an entire line of freeze dried meat treats for pets. They can be fed to cats or dogs, and almost all of them (except the beef and veggie morsels) contain nothing but the stated meat product! You can choose from many different products including duck hearts, liver bites, salmon steak pieces and more.
These products are preserved by being dehydrated. You can feed these to your cat as is or you can re-hydrate them with water. As a bonus, organ meats are very healthy, and they can add a ton of valuable nutrients to your cats diet. It’s also usually pretty easy to get animals to eat these kinds of foods as well. Plus, you can avoid all of the carb filled junk treats at the big box stores. You can see a wide variety of these treats and verify the ingredients list yourself here!
Alternative Low carb cat food list
There are some cases where you may want to feed your cat more protein, but an entirely meat diet is not possible. This may be a possibility if your cat has a digestive issue, and they may require a little more fiber to avoid having their stomach be a mess all the time. There are some helpful ingredients for this such as pumpkin which can aid in settling their stomach, and while low carb is healthy it doesn’t mean you necessarily have to abandon them entirely! So, here’s our top picks for low carb diets without being entirely meat based. Here’s our low carb cat food list, these foods are still great, but they do feature some healthier carbohydrates.
Why would you want a food with some carbs in it? Some animals could have difficulty digesting diets that are no carb. If your cat has frequent upset stomach issues, then it’s possible that a food with an easy to digest and stomach settling addition like pumpkin may be better for them. This will of course depend on your individual cat.
This brand is actually a premium pet food delivery company. They make some of the best foods for cats on the market, and while they are not entirely carb free, they are very healthy. Everything is cooked fresh every week, and then it’s delivered right to your door. If your kitty is going low carb for weight loss, then you’ll also be happy to know that all of their foods come in pre-packaged portions that are tailored specifically to your cat so they get the best possible nutrition and the right amount of calories at every meal. Their foods are also extremely limited in ingredients, making them an excellent choice for kitties who have food allergies or problems keeping their food down. Below you can see the ingredients for their lowest carb recipe, the fish feast.
Right away you’ll notice that there’s only five main items in this food. Everything is human grade, and extra fresh. Looks almost good enough for people to eat doesn’t it? This recipe also has the benefit of being particularly palatable for picky cats, because you’d be hard pressed to find one that won’t eat salmon. Your cat will also get some healthy fish oils which can help with inflammation and joint pain in older animals and give a glorious shine to their coat. NomNomNow really is the best of the best, and if you want to feed your cat the very best, then this is the one. Interested in treating your feline friend like a kitty king or queen? You can learn more about this awesome food and see just how affordable it is to feed your cat a fresh food diet here.
Wysong has been offering excellent and nutritionally balanced pet foods for decades, and they likely cared about pet health before most manufacturers did. They have several foods which may actually be suitable for a low carb diet for your cat, but we’re going to focus on Archetype. This is a high-quality freeze dried food that is formulated to be fed to either cats or dogs. This is because it contains no fillers, and the majority of the ingredients are purely meat protein based. Their food is also one of the most affordable freeze dried products on the market, and it makes it super easy to feed your cat an affordable and yet highly nutritious raw diet without the hassle of formulating it yourself. If you purchase it directly from the manufacturer, then you can also save an additional 10% using their auto-ship program.
This food comes in several different flavor profiles including rabbit, quail, pollock and chicken. Having a wide array of both novel proteins and popular ones makes it a good choice for both picky eaters and cats with food allergies. Since these recipes focus on just one protein item and the ingredients are extremely limited, it makes it easy to treat food allergies. While the ingredients list may look a little longer than you’re used to, this product is almost entirely meat based, coming in at 95% of whatever protein you choose. The rest is filled with marginal amounts of nutrients and some healthier fruits and veggies to round out your cat’s diet. You can see the full ingredients list and learn more about this wonderful pet product here.
Stella and Chewy’s
This food is made mostly high quality freeze dried meat proteins, but it also adds pumpkin. The addition of pumpkin can be beneficial for pets who have digestive issues, and if your fur baby has trouble with vomiting, constipation or diarrhea, then this might be a good option for them. Pumpkin seeds can also support urinary health if you’re worried about kidney disease in a cat that’s getting on in their years. Freeze dried meat is also pretty tasty to kitties, and this food could be a good choice for a cat that has low appetite and digestion problems.
The recipes are 98% meat, but they also contain probiotics, a booster that promotes healthy gut bacteria which aids in digestion. This could be particularly useful for older pets who may have troubles with this due to other ailments or medications. It should be noted however, that pet parents have reported that there seems to be a lot more veggie ingredients in newer recipes which are not always listed online. While none of these ingredients are a problem, you should review the updated list to make sure these items are acceptable for your specific animal. The exact ingredients your getting could be iffy with this brand so be careful. You can check out the reviews and the ingredients list here.
Primal Freeze Dried Nuggets
This dehydrated product features 91% meat with a nice portion of healthy veggies thrown in to give your cat some added nutrients and fiber. Simply add water to this freeze dried product to turn it into a high quality wet food for your cat. Primal makes it more convenient to feed your cat a raw food diet, and they are a little more affordable than some other options on the list.
Primal offers your cat the “whole prey item approach” including important items like whole meat, organs and bones. Everything is raised in the USA and New Zealand, and they avoid using any meat produced using antibiotics or hormones. This product comes in several flavors so it’s easy to find something your cat will eat, and unlike many other entries, their recipes include salmon which is particularly tasty to cats who are finicky eaters. Some of the other products on our list, while good, often feature novel proteins like venison and lamb. While there’s nothing wrong with these proteins, they are often unfamiliar to domestic cats, and in some cases they may refuse to eat them. If you feel this may be the case for your pet, then opting for a flavor profile they are more familiar with like salmon or chicken may be better. You can browse all of their available options and see the ingredients list here.
Low carb dry cat food options
While canned or freeze dried will always be the best way to cut carbs from your cat’s diet, there are a few suitable dry foods which are lower in carbs. If feeding your cat freeze dried or canned foods all the time is simply out of the budget, then you can try one of these more affordable, yet healthier dry food options. If you’d like your cat to have the benefits of wet food without adding a great deal of cost to your budget, then it’s okay to feed them part of their diet as wet or re-hydrated freeze dried meat, and then part of it as dry food as well. This helps your cat to get added liquids and nutrients without breaking the bank. Here’s our low carb dry cat food list!
Ketogenic Pet Food
Ketogenic pet food makes our list again thanks to their other product. If their freeze dried offering is outside of your budget, then they also have a low carb kibble product. This offering gives you a full 18 pounds of food, which goes a long way for a cat! Similar to their freeze dried offering, this food is also nutritionally dense enough to be fed to both cats and dogs. It’s comprised of mostly chicken with some other trace ingredients such as beet pulp. Dry foods will always have some degree of other ingredients needed to make them a “kibble”, but this is likely one of the lowest carb options you’re going to find for a dry low carb cat food.
At over 60% protein, it contains double the protein of most other brands. Not only is it grain free, but it’s also free from other commonly used starches like potatoes and peas. If your cat has primarily been eating a corn based food up to this point, then it would likely be a good idea to introduce them to this food slowly by mixing it with their old food. Swapping foods too fast can lead to stomach upset and bouts of vomiting or diarrhea. You can see the full ingredients list for this product here.
Nulo Cat Food
This affordable cat food brand offers a dry food that is very low in carbohydrates. It focuses on providing healthy whole meats like duck and turkey. The recipe does feature veggies, but they are pretty far down the list. In fact the first four ingredients on the list are all meat proteins, which is excellent. This brand also features more beneficial veggies in their recipes like peas rather than potatoes or tapioca like some other brands. Nulo is also very affordable, and if you need a way to offer your cat a lower carb diet that won’t break the bank, then this is a good option for you to consider.
While their recipes come in a variety of flavors, this may not be the best options for kitties with allergies. The reason being that all of them contain multiple proteins. For many animals with allergies, this can present a problem, not only in diagnosing the allergy but also because many of them are actually sensitive to digesting too many proteins. If you believe your cat is sensitive to this, then a more focused dry food, like our first dry option may be a better bet. However, if your cat has no such sensitivities, then Nulo may be an excellent and affordable choice for them. You can check the ingredients and read product reviews from other pet parents for this product here.
Wysong Epigen Dry
Wysong’s popular Epigen food also comes in a dry formula. It is predominately composed of chicken and turkey, but it also features some healthy oils and a few vegetables which add nutrients for your cat. This food is also starch free. However, if you have a look at the ingredients list you’ll notice that ‘potato protein’ is listed. While potatoes are a starch, this ingredient isn’t really whole potatoes. It’s a product derived from the liquid from them to add more protein. The addition of this ingredient is questionable, and it does take away from the meat protein content you’re giving your cat obviously, but it is not harmful or really adding carbs to your pet’s diet.
This diet is very high in protein, and it eliminates all of the problem items which are common to dry cat foods. It’s also very affordable, and you can save even more buy purchasing it directly from the manufacturer and using their auto-ship program to save yourself a cool 10% on each shipment. If it wasn’t for the addition of the potato protein this item would honestly be higher up the dry list, because Wysong does make quality products. This food is also acceptable for both feline and canine consumption, and it’s not a bad choice if you need to cut carbs on a budget. You can see the entire ingredients list, and even see the explanation behind each of them here!
By the way, if you’re interested in feeding your cat a mixed diet of both wet and dry, then Wysong also has a canned version of Epigen. This product is comprised almost entirely of meat, and it’s meant to be fed as a sort of supplement with a companion dry food like this one or the Arcehtype raw diets. By combining the canned version and the dry, you can easily give your cat a healthier, lower carb diet without spending a ton of money. Both are high quality products and worth a look. You can check out the Epigen canned varieties here if you’d like to mix and match.