Balanced nutrition is essential for the health and wellbeing of cats around the world. Unfortunately, the availability of high-quality pet food varies greatly from one country to another.
As part of the European Union (EU), the pet foods made and sold in Ireland are subject to certain standards for quality.
In this guide, we’ll explore the basics of what your cat needs in terms of nutrition. We’ll also compare pet food regulations between the U.S. and Ireland then provide you with a generous list of pet food brands we recommend in Ireland.
At a Glance: Best Cat Food To Buy in Ireland
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.
- Three of the first five ingredients are animal-based
- Two sources of nutritious animal-derived fat
- Prebiotics and probiotics for healthy digestion
- Very low carbohydrate content
- Doesn’t contain artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives
- Affordably priced around £50 per pouch
- Highly affordable and readily available
- Doesn’t contain artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives
- Chicken fat provides a nutritious source of essential fats
Now that you’ve been introduced to our top picks for the best cat food in Ireland, let’s take a closer look at your cat’s nutritional needs and some details about the pet industry in Ireland. From there, we’ll delve into the details of our recommendations.
Why Should You Trust Us?
Having reviewed over 225 of the world’s most popular cat food brands and hundreds of of formulas. We spent hours researching, contacting pet food companies, and analyzing labels. With the help of our cats, we also got hands-on experience with a few foods.
Between reviewing specific brands and researching feline nutrition, we’ve learned which brands and products are worth buying and putting in your cat’s bowl.
Based on that experience, we’ve chosen the 10 products described below as the best cat food you can buy in 2022.
The Basics of Feline Nutrition
We’re not going to get into too much detail here, but it’s important to cultivate an understanding of your cat’s basic nutritional requirements when shopping for cat food.
The most important thing you need to remember is that cats are obligate carnivores. This means that they are biologically designed to consume other animals. Unlike dogs who have a limited ability to digest plant matter, cats do not possess the enzymes needed to break down plants and their needs for animal-based protein are very high.
In addition to plenty of protein, cats require a moderate level of healthy fat in their diets. Again, this fat should come from animal sources and should provide essential fatty acids as well as a balance of omega-3s and omega-6s.
Generally speaking, the fewer plant ingredients (and the lower the carbohydrate content) in your cat’s food, the better. You should also avoid low-value grains like corn, wheat, and soy as well as artificial additives like flavoring, colorants, and preservatives.
Learn more about your cat’s nutritional needs in our in-depth article here.
How Is Pet Food Regulated in Ireland?
In the United States, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is responsible for regulating pet foods. The FDA creates and enforces regulations regarding quality, ingredients, and labeling.
While the FDA has regulatory power, the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) is the organization trusted by pet food manufacturers to set the standards for nutritional adequacy. Through years of testing, AAFCO has established nutrient profiles for dogs and cats which establish the minimum requirements for crude protein, crude fat, and essential vitamins and minerals.
In the European Union, there is no legislation written specifically for pet foods.
There are three regulatory bodies in the European Union:
- The Council
- The European Parliament (EP)
- The European Commission (EC)
Each of these bodies has the power to produce legislation, but most legislation is sponsored jointly by at least two of them. Like AAFCO in the U.S., the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) is an influential part of the process, despite having no power to directly write legislation.
While there isn’t any legislation written directly for pet foods, there are a number of directives that pet food manufacturers are encouraged to follow. In recent years, however, there has been an increasing move toward the enforcement of regulations rather than the suggestion of directives.
Legislation produced for livestock feed includes provisions for pet foods.
It’s important to mention that while there aren’t specific regulations for pet food as a whole, the EU does regulate the materials used in their manufacture.
These materials are divided into three categories:
- Materials of animal origin
- Materials of non-animal origin
Regarding materials of animal origin, all ingredients must be fit for human consumption. Any food containing animal by-products must be labeled with “not fit for human consumption,” even if animals from which those ingredients are derived are approved for human consumption.
Materials of non-animal origin include cereals, vegetables, and fruits as well as the derivatives thereof. Additives include nutritional supplements as well as probiotics, flavoring agents, colors, and preservatives.
Pet food manufacturers in the EU must be approved or registered with their national authority. If materials of animal origin are used in the product, they must be approved by the relevant veterinary authority. Labeling and marketing regulations for pet food fall under the same general regulations that apply to most consumer products.
While pet food in Ireland is, in practice, less strictly regulated than in the U.S., there are standards in place to ensure quality and safety. These regulations are constantly being updated and it seems there’s a movement toward legislation that specifically applies to pet food.
The Best Cat Food in Ireland: Our Top Picks
Our top two picks for the best cat food in Ireland are all formulated and manufactured in Ireland. These brands focus primarily on meat as the main ingredient along with animal-based fats and other natural ingredients. The remaining brands on this list are made in the EU or widely available in pet stores throughout countries with membership.
Other Popular Brands In Ireland
Our top picks for the best cat food in Ireland are primarily made in Ireland or elsewhere in the UK. You can, however, find certain brands that are popular in the U.S. in some Irish pet stores and from online retailers that ship to Ireland.
While these brands are wildly popular, we generally don’t recommend most of them. These brands are formulated with high concentrations of plant ingredients (including plant protein concentrates) which are not particularly species-appropriate. Many contain corn, wheat, and soy ingredients as well as vaguely named animal produces like animal digest and meat by-products.
That being said, here are another handful of popular brands available in Ireland:
The Irish cat food market offers a generous variety of options. While there seem to be a limited number of brands headquartered and manufactured in Ireland, the selection is much more varied when you include UK-based brands and U.S. brands sold online.
When selecting a cat food, the most important thing to consider is your cat’s requirement for balanced nutrition. While Europe’s pet food regulations are a little behind the U.S., there are still set standards for ingredient quality.
If you’re not sure what to feed your cat, consider one of the two brands based in Ireland that we’ve recommended as our top picks. Should those not be practical or affordable, the remaining picks on our list may be more economical for your needs.