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Because their nutritionally complete tinned foods deliver plenty of species-appropriate animal protein, moisture, and nutrition without a lot of plant ingredients, we recommend Untamed Cat Food as the best cat food in the UK.
Keep reading for tips on what to look for in the best cat food and our other top picks for the ten finest foods for cats in the UK.
At a Glance: Best Cat Food in the UK To Buy
Want a quick look at the products 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.
What Really Matters in Cat Food?
The pet food industry has always been driven by trends, hype, and the idea that good cat owners will do anything to give their cats the best. In today’s market, that means an emphasis on all things natural, ancestrally-inspired, and real—whatever that means.
To get a better understanding of the UK pet food scene, I reached out to Dan Richardson of Tuxedo-Cat.co.uk. Dan confirmed that the thriving pet food market is increasingly driven by people who want to give their cats the finest nutrition.
“In recent years, a lot of new pet food companies have sprung up in the UK offering ethically sourced, grain-free (for cats) diets with carefully concocted blends of vegetables. These sorts of companies have seen lots of growth recently as they cater to the growing demand created by increased interest in FHC (fit for human consumption) pet food from health-conscious pet owners,” Dan explained.
With labels like “premium”, “ethically sourced”, and “high-quality” popping up everywhere and their meanings so vaguely defined, the cat food market can be almost as full of hype as the human supplement business.
To find the best food for your cat, you need to ignore the buzz and focus on what’s important.
What To Look For in Cat Food? — Qualities of the Best Cat Food
Activate your tunnel vision, blur out the trends, and zero in on what really matters. Whether your cat is young or old, slim or chubby, whether you’re a kale-eating yoga teacher or subscribe to New Scientist, the feline nutrition principles described below don’t change.
1. Species-Appropriate Macronutrients
The ingredient list is important, but before looking at a food’s ingredients, it’s vital to make sure that the food gets its macronutrients right. The three major macronutrients—protein, fat, and carbohydrates—are metabolized in slightly different ways by your cat’s body. Macronutrients are needed by the body in large amounts.
Multiple studies have shown that cats thrive on and enjoy a diet that’s rich in protein, with moderate fat and minimal carbohydrate content. A diet with 50% protein, 38% fat, and 2% carbohydrates (what your cat would eat in the wild) supports lean muscle mass and fuels your cat for long days of play.
In practical terms, this means you should look for food in tins and pouches, raw food, or even freshly-cooked meals. Because plant ingredients are a vital part of producing dry food, kibbles are notorious for high carbohydrate content.
Even Diabetes.co.uk—a well-regarded resource for people with diabetes—acknowledges that feeding your cat a dry diet may increase his chances of developing the disease (keep in mind that other factors, such as a sedentary lifestyle and old age, can increase the risk of diabetes in cats). Feeding your cat a wet diet effortlessly reduces carbohydrate content and helps to keep your cat healthy. It may also help prevent obesity by omitting excess calories from your cat’s diet.
2. Plenty of Moisture
Hydration is vital. Without enough moisture, your cat is at an increased risk of developing lower urinary tract disease, including bladder crystals and urinary tract blockages. Though a water bowl or fountain is essential, most cats don’t drink enough from them to compensate for a dry diet. Unless you feed her a high-moisture food, your cat will likely experience low-level chronic dehydration. Wet cat foods are nearly 80% water.
Particularly when you’re buying wet food for your cat, make sure that it’s nutritionally complete according to the guidelines established by the European Pet Food Industry Federation (FEDIAF). Many wet foods are considered “complementary” products and aren’t nutritionally complete for full-time feeding.
3. Safe Ingredients
Avoid any ingredients that could harm your cat. Potentially harmful ingredients include artificial colours, carrageenan, and some preservatives, including BHA, BHT, and ethoxyquin.
As a general rule, named ingredients like deboned salmon or chicken meal are preferable to vaguely named ingredients like poultry fat or meat meal. Although by-products aren’t necessarily bad, if you can’t tell what animal they come from, it’s a safe bet they aren’t going to be of very high quality.
4. Manufacturing Quality and Company Reputation
What’s in your cat’s food matters. So does who made it. Look for brands with clean recall histories, reputations for consistent quality control, and good customer service.
Our Top 10 Picks for the Best Cat Food in the UK
Want To Learn More About Feline Nutrition and How To Feed Your Cat the Best?
We have plenty of resources to help you become the savviest shopper on the cat food aisle. Check out our guides to the best dry food, best wet food, and kitten food or explore our collection of brand reviews and ratings.