What DRY food do you feed your cat(s), and their ages? I need something more affordable but good.

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2 Boys & A Girl
Thread starter
Nov 9, 2021
I fed my two cats Taste of the Wild dry food (River Canyon, though they have a couple other options) most of their life (tried a few other grain free brands during the first 2 years of their life back in 2007-2009 when I was in college), but then Taste of the Wild stayed the most affordable. I found that many speciality brands' prices would increase back then.

However, I will say, both of my cats, now 14 years-old, have early stage kidney disease (CKD). I know this is incredibly common among indoor senior cats and it seems moisture has a lot to do with it. I've been doing a lot research since this diagnosis months ago and they now eat NowFresh dry for seniors (low phosphorus, etc.). I highly recommend if you have the funds and time to feed your cats wet food, do it as much as possible. Mine now are sure to get half their daily calories from wet food and eat various Weruva / BFF wet formulas that are chicken based (I typically feed them the "ground" chicken-based line cause they're old and have a harder time with the big chunks). They actually have always eaten BFF and Weruva, but I now stay away from tuna formulas and make sure they're on the low phos. and low sodium options. I wish I would have started considering more moisture, low phosphorus, and low sodium a few years ago. Any future cats I have will probably always be on low phosphorus and low sodium diets if I can help it, a lot more moisture, and when they hit the senior age, I will make this a priority.

Quality protein is super important! The big brand and prescription diets are filled with junk (lots of animal "meal" and carb and grain fillers in the first ingredients, not enough protein, carbs, and I see pork parts thrown in... which I never ever see pork in most decent quality wet and dry foods). The food thing has honestly consumed me lately – affordable, quality protein and ingredients, meeting specific nutrient levels, low on allergens, etc. Luckily my cats don't seem to have a chicken allergy. Though, the dry food I've always fed are "novel" protein based. NowFresh is pretty pricey, but I don't have much of a choice now and still need to have a little kibble around for the mornings (my cats are 15 and 18 pounds, so a wet food only diet would be $$$).

See if Taste of the Wild fits what you're looking for! Would be fine for kittens and adults. I have many friends that switched to it over the years.

I also have a rescue foster kitten that I'm feeding Fussie Cat for a little dry each day – the quail and duck formula. However, he's mostly getting wet food because hydration is key and he's small so not as costly as my big cats. Fussie Cat is more affordable than NowFresh's kitten formula, but still a little pricey. It also has "meal" in the first three ingredients (which honestly, is hard to find without at lower price points), but grain free and a novel protein. Worth checking out.

For kittens, doesn't need to be "kitten" specific as long as it says all life stages, but some kitten formulas are better in terms of calories and fat, but I've also found the kitten and all life stages of the same brand to be pretty similar (example brand "Instinct"), so just read the ingredients and % of nutrients. If not kitten specific, you may just need to feed them more.

I've haven't used these in recent years and they don't meet my cats' needs now, but in my research these are some brands I considered with my seniors in the last couple years and my rescue kitten that could be worth looking into: Soild Gold, Tiki Cat (pricey), I and Love and You, Whole Earth Farms, Merrick (see below).

Also, formulas with pumpkin are great for sensitive stomachs! You can even feed small amounts of plain yogurt (no added sugar!) and plain pureed pumpkin (no additional ingredients) to your cats as snacks. My seniors love them both as an occasional treat (not meal). I also highly recommend getting a formula with added omegas and probiotics (Taste of the Wild has these). I also have wild fish oil to add to my cats' wet food for omegas and to benefit their skin (only one likes it though). I used to add powdered probiotics back in the day as well.

Taste of the Wild
TASTE OF THE WILD Rocky Mountain Grain-Free Dry Cat Food, 14-lb bag - Chewy.com (also in most pet food stores – speciality stores and now in Petco and Petsmart, also on Amazon)

TASTE OF THE WILD Lowland Creek Premium Real Meat Recipe with Roasted Quail & Duck Grain-Free Dry Cat Food, 14-lb bag - Chewy.com (newer formula)

Solid Gold
SOLID GOLD Winged Tiger with Quail & Pumpkin Grain-Free Sensitive Stomach Adult Dry Cat Food, 6-lb bag - Chewy.com

I and Love and You
I AND LOVE AND YOU Naked Essentials Digestive Support Chicken & Pumpkin Recipe Dry Cat Food, 3.4-lb bag - Chewy.com (I think Target also sells this brand online now, and I've seen in human health food stores even)

Merrick (adult)
MERRICK Purrfect Bistro Complete Care Grain- Free Sensitive Stomach Recipe Dry Cat Food, 12-lb bag - Chewy.com

Whole Earth Farms
WHOLE EARTH FARMS Grain-Free Real Chicken Recipe Dry Cat Food, 10-lb bag - Chewy.com (good grain-free lower cost option)

Wellness – I considered for dry for my foster kitten, but ultimately wanted limited animal protein sources, ideally no chicken, beef, or fish (potential allergens).

WELLNESS Complete Health Natural Grain Free Deboned Chicken & Chicken Meal Dry Kitten Food, 5.5-lb bag - Chewy.com

I also feed a few ferals cats on my block that I unfortunately had to switch to a lower cost option and have been doing Rachel Ray's Nutrish (chicken and brown rice) for a couple months now.

Hope this helps you!
Thank for all of that info, it is very very helpful.

My cat is 7ish and the kittens are going on 7 months. (2 boys and a girl) Inside and outside. Sometimes they get their own "wet" food.

Aren't the boys more prone to get the kidney and crystal issues or is that either gender? Not sure if you came across that info.

Also, Are any of the products you listed above the " low phos. and low sodium options..." that you mentioned. I'd love to know what you found out.

I thought I read that pumpkin can help a cat that is constipated, so I'd watch that.

I had an indoor cat that lived to 17 and although I wish I gave her canned food more often, back then I only gave it to her on special occations/holidays and I don't recall but I doubt the dry food options they have today they may not have had 20+ years ago.

Lazy Orange House Cat

TCS Member
Young Cat
Sep 20, 2021
Ontario, Canada
The many Iams recalls: Iams Pet Food Recall History (Fully Updated, Constantly Monitored)
Pet-food related deaths, (with one of the involved brands being Iams) in 2007, 2008, and 2013

Blue Buffalo is a notoriously poor brand, with significantly more pet deaths than Iams. BB is also one of the brands that was under investigation by the FDA for causing heart disease in cats and dogs. Many vets and vet nutritionists also think BBs marketing/claims are highly misleading, and show a lack of understanding in what 'species appropriate' means. They've also previously lied about the composition of their pet food, so who knows if they're currently being honest about it.

Thanks for this; I didn't see the reply until now and its hours later.


Minion to Gypsy since October 2016
Top Cat
Jan 24, 2017
Central Illinois, USA
:hellocomputer:When former neighborhood stray Gypsy adopted us 5 yrs ago I researched and chose Purina One Hairball Formula since the 1st ingredient is meat and there had never been any recalls. Blue & Iams both had alot. It's still reasonably priced and we free feed as she doesn't overeat (she gets wet 2 or 3 times a day)
I have to be careful since the little stinker will chew holes in the bag to get at it! Except for our eyeglass earpieces and the occasional inkpen she doesn't chew on anything else she's not suppose to including houseplants! Vet guessed her at 1 or 2 back then so she is 6 or 7 now. Healthy and happy at 11 lbs of muscle and floof :tongue::heartshape:
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minish first..
Alpha Cat
Nov 21, 2016
Minish is 6 and I give her wet and dry. For dry food, I use grain free products and check for maximum real meat content. Brands may be different in Europe and US but I will list them in case you look up: origen, acana , farmina n&d, fitmin purity (fitmin has best content). All were OK minish has incredible fur, sparkling eyes, gets the zoomies after meals. I try to have her drink by offering broth with cooked meat in it or adding some warm water to her wet food