While the United States set the standard for quality pet food long ago, several other countries have stepped into the ring. With premium ingredients, strong quality standards, and commitment to sustainability, Canadian pet food companies give US-based brands a run for their money.
But which products are the best for your cat? We’re bringing you a list of the highest-quality cat foods available in Canada. All products we recommend are based on personal experience, customer reviews, customer feedback, and a lot of research.
At A Glance: Best Cat Food To Buy In Canada
Want a quick look at the best cat foods reviewed in this article? In the comparison table below, we’ve highlighted some of the most important features of each product. You’ll find more detailed information about each product later in the article.
- Rich in species-appropriate animal protein
- Packaging is reclosable and recyclable
- Highly digestible, rich in moisture for hydration
- Limited list of simple, digestible ingredients
- Rich in high-quality animal protein
- Plenty of moisture to support your cat’s hydration
- Rich in species-appropriate animal protein
- Freeze-dried to retain flavor and nutritional value
- Covered by a 90-day money-back guarantee
- Packed with high-quality sources of animal protein
- Rich in moisture, easily digestible for cats
- Supplemented with salmon oil for omega-3 fatty acids
- Made with regional, non-GMO ingredients
- Multiple sources of high-quality animal protein
- Supplemented with probiotics for healthy digestion
- Made with biologically appropriate muscle meat and organs
- Free from fillers, by-products, and artificial additives
- Locally sourced ingredients including free-range meat and eggs
Why Trust Cats.com
I’ve spent the past four years studying feline nutrition and have tested hundreds of cat food formulas, but mostly US brands. To write this guide, I began by researching the Canadian pet food industry to get an understanding of how the manufacture, importation, and exportation of pet food is regulated. From there, I performed an in-depth search to identify the best pet food brands made in Canada.
Relying on manufacturer websites, third-party review sites, in-depth customer reviews, and product information, I narrowed down the options. The brands I’ve selected produce high-quality, species-appropriate diets for cats and have a strong history of customer satisfaction. All of the products featured here have been personally purchased and tested by members of our team.
What Makes Canadian Cat Food Different?
While it’s easy to stick to what’s familiar, what’s familiar isn’t always best. Consumers in the United States demonstrate strong brand loyalty, and we love to see that “Made in the USA” callout on a label.
But as a responsible pet parent, all you want is what’s best for your cat. While shopping around for high-quality cat food, you may come across big-name brands made in Canada and find yourself wondering: what’s the difference?
Functionally speaking, there is little difference between American cat food and Canadian cat food.
All cats have the same nutritional requirements, so commercial cat foods are all formulated to meet your cat’s nutritional needs. In fact, the voluntary organization that promotes pet food nutritional standards in Canada uses the standards set by AAFCO.
That being said, not every country has the same manufacturing regulations as the United States.
We’ll talk more about how Canada’s pet food industry is regulated later in this article, but for now suffice it to say that Canada does have a federal regulatory agency that oversees the manufacture, labeling, and sale of both human and pet food products.
For now, however, let’s talk about a few details that make Canadian pet food different.
First and foremost, Canada has different natural resources than the United States which means you may see a focus on different ingredients, especially proteins. It’s not uncommon for Canadian pet food to feature a lot of fish and seafood as well as poultry like duck and game meats like venison.
You may also notice that many of the top-shelf Canadian pet food companies focus on sustainability and ethical sourcing of ingredients.
It’s no secret that Canada is head and shoulders above the United States when it comes to sustainability. While statistics vary from one province to another, 79% of Canada’s electricity comes from eco-friendly sources. By 2025, vehicle greenhouse gasses are expected to be half of what they were in 2008. If you’re looking for an eco-friendly pet food company, Canada is a great place to start your search.
There’s a lot to love about Canadian pet food companies, but it’s always your job as a responsible pet owner to make an informed decision. We’re here to help you learn the ins and outs of the Canadian pet food industry and to introduce you to some of the best cat food in Canada.
In addition to performing our own qualitative analysis of the brands reviewed here, we submitted samples for analysis at an ISO 17025-certified food testing and analysis lab.
We bought the products at full retail price, and the entire testing process was funded by Cats.com without direct input or influence from the companies involved.
Analytical testing in a food chemistry lab gives us the exact macronutrient and micronutrient content of each recipe. The tests also look at microbial content, yeast, mold, and heavy metals, helping you ensure that you’re only putting the best in your cat’s bowl.
The Best Cat Food In Canada: Our Top Picks
Now that you have a better understanding of what sets Canadian cat food apart, you may be curious to learn more about some of the specific brands. Below you’ll find a list of some of our favorite Canadian pet food companies with a quick recipe review from each brand.
How Is Canadian Cat Food Regulated?
In the United States, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has the final say when it comes to the manufacture and marketing of most food products, both for people and pets. The Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) has set the standard for what is considered “complete and balanced” for dogs and cats, though they don’t have any regulatory power.
Organizations like these help keep American pets safe and help American pet owners make smarter choices about what they feed their pets. So, what’s the Canadian equivalent?
While the FDA’s reach doesn’t extend beyond U.S. borders, Canada has their own industry watchdogs.
The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) is “dedicated to safeguarding food, animals and plants, which enhances the health and well-being of Canada’s people, environment, and economy.” The CFIA is a regulatory agency that was created in 1997 to consolidate the delivery of all food safety, animal health, and plant health regulations in the country.
It was created by combining three previously separate federal government departments:
- Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada
- Fisheries and Oceans Canada
- Health Canada
Like the FDA, it’s the CFIA’s responsibility to enforce the various acts and regulations that impact the food industry – that includes pet food. One of the primary regulations the CFIA is responsible for enforcing is the Food and Drugs Act. First passed in 1920 and revised in 1985, this act regulates the production, import, export, transport, and sale of food, drugs, contraceptive devices, and cosmetics.
But does the CFIA actually enforce any of these regulations? It’s unclear.
Over the past several years there have been several reports on Canada’s failure to regulate their pet food industry. A representative of the CFIA told a Global News reporter, “Pet food safety and hygiene are the responsibility of the pet food manufacturers.”
While regulations for pet food do exist, they appear to be much less detailed (and less strictly enforced) than the regulations for human products.
The CFIA doesn’t require inspection or verification of pet food products manufactured and sold in Canada. For products exported to the United States, manufacturers must provide documentation to U.S. regulatory authorities, though much of that documentation is based on honesty.
In the previously mentioned Global News Report, Dr. Daniel Joffe, national medical director of VCA Canada comments that, because Canada’s pet food industry is largely based on the honor system with a lack of enforcement, there’s room for dishonesty. Additionally, veterinarian Dr. Maureen Harper states that the fact that the industry is largely unregulated puts pets in harm’s way.
If Canadian pet owners can’t trust the CFIA to ensure the safety of pet food products, who can they trust? Some say the PFAC is the best place to turn.
Nutritional Adequacy of Canadian Pet Food
More specific to the pet food industry, the Pet Food Association of Canada (PFAC) is a voluntary organization that acts as the national voice of Canada’s pet food industry.
Much like AAFCO, the PFAC represents pet food manufacturers as well as the companies that supply the pet food industry with ingredients, products, and services. While the PFAC has no regulatory authority, it helps its members comply with federal regulations.
More importantly, they help their members follow AAFCO nutritional guidelines. What does that mean? Any Canadian pet food that meets PFAC requirements also conforms to AAFCO nutritional standards.
Keep your cat’s carnivorous needs in mind.
It’s important to keep in mind that American pet food companies are not required to seek AAFCO endorsement, but it certainly helps. Aside from adhering to AAFCO’s nutrient profiles, pet food companies can get the AAFCO stamp of nutritional adequacy by completing a food trial.
Here at Cats.com, we don’t consider AAFCO to be the ultimate authority on pet nutrition. While their cat nutrient profiles are supported by decades of research conducted by the National Research Council (NRC), they represent the minimum requirements for pet nutrition.
Your cat deserves better than the bare minimum.
While an AAFCO statement of nutritional adequacy is certainly a good place to start (and a great way to eliminate some really poor-quality pet foods), it’s still important to have an understanding of your cat’s nutritional needs and how different pet foods meet them – or don’t.
For example, AAFCO recommends a minimum crude protein content of 26% and crude fat of 9% for adult cats, based on a dry matter basis.
If you consider the fact that cats are obligate carnivores and biologically designed to subsist on a whole prey diet, your cat’s ideal diet is closer to 52% protein and 46% fat. Cats simply aren’t designed to consume a plant-based diet, though that’s what most commercial cat foods are.
The average commercial cat food contains as much as 55% carbohydrate.
If you want to feed your cat the kind of diet he’s designed to thrive on, your best bet is a properly formulated raw or homemade food. Fresh cat food offers exceptional quality as well. Unfortunately, all three of these options are pretty expensive and it’s not in every cat owner’s budget.
For those who want to support their cat’s long-term health and wellness with quality nutrition, there are still plenty of commercial options worth considering. If you live in Canada, some of those options are pretty great. Just take a closer look at some of the healthiest recommendations above!
- The 10 Best Dry Cat Food In Canada
- The 7 Best Wet Cat Food In Canada
- The 10 Best Cat Treats In Canada
- The Best Cat Insurance In Canada
As a responsible cat owner, your cat’s long-term health and wellness is your top priority. While regular vet appointments and adequate opportunities for exercise and enrichment are essential, the best thing you can do to support your cat’s wellness is to feed him a high-quality, nutritionally balanced diet.
No matter where your cat’s food is made, it’s important to ensure that it is nutritionally adequate and produced in accordance with federal standards for quality and safety. The trouble with Canadian pet food is that while federal regulations do exist, they don’t appear to be consistently enforced.
That leaves the ultimate responsibility on your shoulders.
As a pet owner, you must do your due diligence to choose a high-quality product from a reputable company. Don’t trust everything you read on the label, either. Review the company’s website to find information about ingredient sourcing, manufacturing processes, and quality assurance. Look for evidence of product recalls and spend some time reading customer reviews.
Want more? Check out our guide to the best cat food here.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do I know if a cat food is made in Canada?
While food regulations differ between the U.S. and Canada, you can expect pet food products to indicate their country of manufacture somewhere on the label. Many will say “Made in Canada” somewhere, or you’ll simply see the address for the brand listed. Keep in mind that some companies that are technically based in Canada, production might occur elsewhere.
Is Canadian cat food safe?
The production and sale of pet food is regulated in Canada by the CFIA, roughly equivalent to the FDA in the United States. Pet food manufacturers are required to adhere to certain standards for safety and quality, though there is some question whether the CFIA actually enforces those regulations. You can always check for Canadian pet food recalls through the Government of Canada’s website.
Is Canadian cat food healthy for my cat?
While quality may vary from one product to another, you can assume that any pet food product carrying a PFAC endorsement also meets AAFCO cat or dog nutrient profiles. Keep in mind that these profiles only account for the minimal nutritional requirements of pets and they do not have any bearing on the quality of the ingredients used to meet those requirements.