Wild cats largely prey on rodents, birds, and other small animals, so poultry is an appropriate protein choice. Chicken may be one of the most common ingredients in cat food, but it doesn’t work for every cat. It’s one of the most common triggers for food allergies in cats and some just don’t like the flavor.
Whether your cat has grown tired of his current diet or you’re looking for a novel protein that won’t aggravate his allergies, turkey might be a good choice.
In this guide, we’ll explore the nutritional benefits of turkey for cats and review some factors to consider when shopping for turkey cat food. You’ll also see our recommendations for the best cat food with turkey on the market.
At a Glance: Best Cat Foods With Turkey To Buy
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.
- Made with a single source of high-quality animal protein
- Contains no added carbohydrate from plant ingredients
- Herring oil provides an animal-based source of omega-3s
- First four ingredients are protein-rich animal ingredients
- Made with humanely-raised poultry and sustainably sourced fish
- Free from animal by-products and artificial additives
- Two animal-based sources of protein as the first ingredients
- Formulated for gentle digestion for cats with sensitivities
- Supplemented with probiotics, antioxidants, and essential nutrients
- Made with a single source of high-quality animal protein
- Rich in moisture to support your cat’s hydration
- Salmon oil provides an animal source of essential fatty acids
- Made with two high-quality sources of animal protein
- Supplemented with nutrient-rich pork liver
- High moisture content to support your cat’s hydration
Why Should You Trust Us?
Over the last several years, we’ve spent countless hours testing the most popular pet products on the market, including cat food, cat treats, cat litter, and more. We’ve written in-depth reviews of our favorite brands as well as dozens of roundups to help you choose the right product for your cat.
Having reviewed 229 of the world’s most popular cat food brands and hundreds 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 many popular cat foods.
Nutritional Benefits Of Turkey For Cats
Protein should be the primary component of your cat’s diet, but your cat needs other nutrients as well. Healthy fats provide twice the amount of energy as protein in the form of calories, and it helps your cat’s body transport and utilize nutrients. Carbohydrates play no role in a species-appropriate diet for cats.
Because cats are obligate carnivores, animal-based ingredients are best.
These include muscle meat, organ meat, and bone. Turkey is a species-appropriate protein source for cats, and it has the added benefit of being a novel protein for many cats.
Turkey is a type of poultry. Much like chicken, it’s rich in protein but low in fat and calories. Per 20-gram serving, turkey contains just 29 calories with 6 grams of protein and 0.5 grams of fat. In addition to these macronutrients, turkey is rich in phosphorus, potassium, sodium, selenium, and magnesium.
As a lean source of protein, turkey is a great option for cats who need a low-calorie diet. This may be the case for cats who are overweight or obese as well as those struggling with feline diabetes.
Not only is turkey a healthy food for cats, but it has an appealing flavor and aroma. As a carnivore, your cat prefers the taste of animal ingredients. He may eat cheap, high-carb foods but many of these products utilize artificial flavors to make the food more appealing. Real turkey is a much healthier option.
What To Look For In Turkey-Based Cat Food
When shopping for cat food, it’s imperative that you keep your cat’s nutritional needs in mind. Most cat foods in the U.S. are formulated in accordance with AAFCO recommendations which ensures that the product meets your cat’s minimal requirements for essential nutrients.
But you want to find a cat food formula that exceeds those minimal requirements, especially for animal protein. Turkey is an excellent source of protein for cats.
One of the benefits of turkey in comparison to meat like beef and pork is that it has a high protein to fat ratio – this makes it a low-calorie option. Because it is so low in fat, however, you’ll need to look for supplemental sources in your cat’s food.
Animal-based fats are the most biologically appropriate source for cats, so look for things like chicken fat or salmon oil. Make sure the recipe contains plenty of omega-3 fatty acids to support your cat’s skin and coat – omega-3s also help protect your cat’s cardiovascular health.
It’s also worth checking the calorie content of the cat food. It is often a benefit that turkey is very lean, but if your cat doesn’t need to lose weight a diet too low in calories could be problematic. Turkey-based cat foods that contain supplemental fats may be the best option.
Finally, remember that it’s just as important to determine what ingredients are NOT in the recipe as those that are.
Avoid cat foods made primarily with animal by-products or vaguely named ingredients like poultry meal. Foods that contain low-value grains like corn, wheat, and soy should be avoided at all costs, as are foods that contain high levels of carbohydrate.
Look for a recipe that doesn’t contain artificial colors, flavors, or dyes and remember that animal protein should always be the first ingredient.
The Best Turkey Cat Foods: Our Top Picks
Now that you understand the basics of turkey food for cats and some of the cases in which it might be recommended, you’re ready to see our top picks.
Keep in mind as you review these recipes that not all of them are single-protein formulas. If your cat suffers from food allergies or sensitivities, he may benefit from a limited ingredient cat food that is made with a single source of novel animal protein like turkey.
Cats who don’t have food allergies may do just fine with a recipe that contains turkey and other proteins. The most important thing is to choose an animal-based formula that provides all the protein, fat, and essential nutrients your cat needs.
Providing a nutritious diet is the best thing cat owners can do to keep their cat healthy and well. When it comes to choosing a cat food, there is an endless array of options to choose from. A great way to narrow the field is to shop based on protein.
Turkey is a high-quality protein that is animal-based, making it species appropriate for cats. It’s also a novel protein for many cats, simply meaning that many cats haven’t tried it yet. If your cat is allergic to common proteins like chicken or beef, turkey might be a good choice.
No matter what kind of protein you choose for your cat, take the time to evaluate the individual recipe to make sure it meets your cat’s nutritional needs in a safe and healthy way.