The Best Grain-Free Cat Food in 2021

best grain free cat food

Cats are obligate carnivores with a high dependency on animal meat protein. Unlike humans, cats do not have salivary amylase, which breaks down most grains in the mouth for better digestion. That’s why you should feed them what mirrors the food they would hunt for in the wild.

On that note, I will help you invest in your kitty’s health with the best grain-free cat food available on the market in 2021.

To set us off, here’s a summary of the top 6 best grain-free cat food options:

best grain free cat food

Benefits of a Grain-Free Diet for Cats

Let’s take a look at the benefits of grain-free cat food that owners should understand for their feline babies.

Boosts Immunity

The biggest problem with cat food is allergies to grains such as corn. In most cases, pet parents don’t properly read the ingredients section and will bring home unsuitable products. With a grain-free diet, your cat will enjoy their food more and will grow healthier and happier with a stronger immune system. 

Saves Money

With a healthy cat around the house, you will have more time to think of better financial projects. On the contrary, a sickly feline may lead to you spending more on vet fees and specialized food combinations to support the intake of the drugs. 

Better Bonding

As any pet owner knows, cats have a deep sentimental attachment to their owners. Cat language can be tough to understand when they are sick. A grain-free diet improves their health and creates more happy times within the house. 

Longer Life

No one wants to experience the early death of their pets, though it’s eventually inevitable. Grains can make cats sick and reduce their immunity, exposing them to numerous ailments. That reduces their lifespan, leading to the possibility of early death. 

Cons of a Grain-Free Diet for Cats


As you remove the grains from the food, something should fill the vacuum. Unfortunately, some of these fillers do more damage than the grains. Excess fat and artificial preservatives, starch, and coloring end up damaging the internal organs of cats. 


Grain-free cat food comes at a higher fee that may be slightly above the budget of some owners. As long as you’re sure about the quality and price of the ingredients, it may be worth it to spend more on your kitty’s health. If you have good knowledge of ingredients, you can attempt to make this nutritious food at home and save some cash.  

What To Consider When Buying Grain-Free Cat Food

  • Growth stage: Buy suitable food for the age of your cat to ensure they’re getting the right nutrients.
  • Ingredients: Look for animal protein as the main ingredient. 
  • Filler content: Artificial flavors have preservatives that harm cats.
  • Bone and inner organs: They enhance the texture and add more vitality.
  • Wet or dry food: Wet food costs slightly more than dry but is more hydrating.
  • Shelf life: Buying smaller packaging helps in storing for longer feeding.

Cutie cat thinking of essential nutrients in cat food.

Growth Stage

Like all animals, different life stages for cats have their nutritional needs. 

Kittens need more nutrients for their immunity, better cell structure, and formidable growth compared to adults. Adult cats have a vibrant hunting life in the wild, so they require more energy and sharp eyesight for survival. It’s also their reproductive stage, so they require more nutrition for better procreation. 

Older cats will need a less vibrant food diet than the first two stages of their lives. Since they are more prone to diseases and old age cell degeneration, you should seek to boost their bone vitality. Engage your pet’s doctor to know what you need to buy for a healthy diet at that time. 


Premium grain-free cat food must have meat protein as the main ingredient. It may be one or a variety of animal meat in one serving. A balanced diet for any feline needs to have high-quality meat protein, fatty acids, and amino acids. 

Then strive to check for a combination of lean meat such as poultry and rabbit meat for protein and amino acids, and fish for omega fatty acids. Bone and inner organs enhance the texture and make the food more flavorsome to cats.

Some meat products may contain high phosphorus levels, which can be dangerous for your cat. A blend of essential vegetables or their oils can regulate the balance.

Lastly, check on the expiry dates on each can or bag, especially if you’re planning to stock up for a while.


Not all alternatives to grains can be easy to digest for cats. Some, such as pea protein, if not well prepared, can cause stomach upset. It’s best to adhere to the preparation guidelines on the packaging for optimal feline health. 

Additives and Preservatives

Canned food may have fillers or foodstuff that boost the animal’s health. 

While this is beneficial, there is a catch. Most canned food may have artificial additives that are harmful to your cat. 

Watch out for preservatives such as butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT) and butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA). Studies show that these two common preservatives have agents that cause cancer and internal organ damage in cats. 

Appealing Flavor

Cats can be picky when it comes to food, especially when you try to introduce some other kind of composition. Unfortunately, as you may well know, not all highly nutritional food is appetizing to eat. Therefore, scratch your head to find the best flavor that your cat loves. 

It may sound tedious, but it’s a matter of trial and error to find what your cat likes. Well, that’s the sacrifice to pay if you need to see your feline friend live longer. 

Want to hear a little secret?

Have a seven-day plan to introduce your cat to the new flavors. It will take some patience and good observation to understand what to change along the way. Eventually, you will know what, how, and when to prepare what your cat likes. 

Shelf Life

Sometimes you may feel like investing in a larger wholesale kind of purchase. I recommend that you buy several smaller quantities of canned food rather than a few larger ones. Preserved food tends to get worse after opening.

With smaller cans or bags, you will keep opening new ones as the rest stay fresh on the shelves or fridges. 


Like in all markets, cat food also has brands that are more marketable than the rest. Find what’s good in the market for a better experience. The rule of thumb is simple: do your research and find out if the brand has had a history of problems, and read customer reviews and ratings. Also, look for an AAFCO statement and food trials to see if the food has been tested. 

Ease of Preparation

The market provides numerous wet and dry cat food that may need some preparation before eating. If you’re strapped for time in your day-to-day life, find food that takes little time to prepare to keep the food fresh and reduce the loss of vital nutrients through heat or hot water addition. If possible, try grain-free food that you can serve directly from the fridge or at room temperature.

Avoid Human Food Treats

Unfortunately, this is a common thing with pet owners. 

Cats have a different digestive system from humans, so you can be harming your pet without your knowledge. If you have to, find grain-free treats that are close to their natural food or offer essential fats and oils such as omega or cod liver oils. 

The 6 Best Grain Free Cat Food Reviews

Two cats having grain-free lunch by the roadside

1. CRAVE Grain Free High Protein Dry Cat Food—Best Overall  

Crave Grain Free High Protein Dry Cat Food comes in numerous flavors and nutritional combinations to support all growth stages of your cat. It is one of the few cat foods that mirrors the needs of wild hunting cats, making it the top choice in this category, in my opinion. 

The wide range of poultry such as chicken, turkey, and duck offer both protein and vital amino acids. The salmon flavor adds omega fatty acids for vitality. Additional carbohydrates come from non-grain flavors such as pea and potato protein, which are palatable to cats. 

These cat food combinations boost strong muscle development, help in proper digestion, and elevate the immune system. With this option, your cat should have more energy and a healthier, longer life. 


  • All-round nutrition.
  • Wide variety of flavors and types.
  • Easy to prepare.
  • Appealing flavors.
  • Premium quality yet affordable.


  • Some pet owners reported stomach swelling after feeding their cats.
  • Owners complain that moisture levels are lower than other foods.

2. Taste of the Wild Dry Cat Food—Best for Seniors 

Some pet owners call it the best cat food for all ages, but I recommend it for older cats. This Taste of the Wild grain-free cat food comes with a high protein content from things such as smoked salmon, chicken meal, roasted venison, roasted quail, duck, and trout, among others, for a stronger body. These are highly digestible and give the food a rich taste that cats love.

Checking in on fillers, it doesn’t contain corn starch or artificial preservatives. Selected vegetables and legumes add antioxidants to help your cat with easy digestion and a better metabolism. Vitamins and minerals such as zinc, vitamin E, and selenium help boost the feline’s immunity for a longer life. 

Two vital amino acids, taurine and arginine, help in the development of stronger heart and eye muscles, better neurological transmitters, and reflexes. With omega fatty acids and proprietary probiotics, your cat will enjoy great energy and maintain an active life. 


  • Wide variety of tastes. 
  • High in protein and antioxidants.
  • Less trans animal fat or filler.
  • Natural fiber nutritional balance.
  • Increases a cat’s appetite.


  • Some pet parents reported diarrhea in their cats after use.
  • The packaging doesn’t have a resealing mechanism, which can make the food go stale quickly.

3. Blue Buffalo Wilderness High Protein—Best for Weight Loss 

For stronger muscles, cats need more exercise and less fat in their food. The Blue Buffalo Wilderness food comes with lean deboned poultry meat, which is rich in protein and amino acids. For carbohydrates, your cat will have sweet potatoes and edible vegetables for better digestion. 

Additional vitamins and fruit antioxidants regulate the metabolism and enhance the immunity for better oxidation of food. This allows the digestive system to utilize and burn more body fat for a lean structure. 

I highly recommend it for cats struggling with diabetes and obesity to keep their health under control. It’s also great to feed to your kitty to prevent these issues.


  • Easy to prepare.
  • Quality food nutritional combination.
  • Improves metabolism and digestion.
  • Enhances energy levels.
  • Gentle on sensitive stomachs.


  • Some pet owners reported a foul smell in the mouth after their cats ate the salmon variety.
  • Low moisture, so needs to be balanced with wet food or plenty of water.

4. Wellness CORE Natural Grain-Free Dry Cat Food—Best for Immunity and Vitality 

To have better immunity, your cat must eat well. That is why this product comes with a pleasant flavor for your cat to enjoy. With the main ingredients chicken and fish, your cat will have quality animal protein for better health and organ functions.

Better health provides for keen eyesight, good digestion, and fewer urinary ailments. Additionally, your feline friend will enjoy extra amino acids, vitamins, and probiotics for healthy skin. 

With a wide range of selections of wet and dry cat food, your cat will have what they need for a healthy, disease-free life. The food is approved by the AAFOC and is ideal for indoor cats that have fewer hours of exercise. 


  • Quality poultry ingredients.
  • Good taste.
  • Promotes vitality.
  • Increases appetite.
  • Improves the cat’s digestive system.


  • Owners complain of foul poop after digestion.
  • Some users reported grain traces in the food.

5. ORIJEN Dry Cat Food, Grain Free, Premium Fresh—Best for Kittens 

Kittens need more nutrition than any other growing stage in a cat’s life. ORIJEN Dry Cat Food provides the nutritional requirements to help a kitten develop strong and healthy. 

Fresh and raw ingredients from the most nutrient-dense, succulent parts of the prey such as animal meat, inner organs, bones, and cartilage all go to make a healthy balanced diet for growing cats. Selected oils and vital amino acids complement the gaps that the animal protein misses in the food. 

As picky and messy feeders, kittens can refuse good food for various reasons. This product offers 15 fresh and raw ingredients in every recipe, so your cat is almost eating raw food, which is tasty and nutritious.


  • Highly nutritious raw ingredients.
  • Easy to prepare.
  • Easy to chew for kittens.
  • Supports better digestion.
  • Smells fresh to cats.
  • Blends well with other wet grain-free cat food.


  • Some pet owners reported stomach upsets in their kittens.
  • Bigger bags don’t have a zip-top for sealing.

6. Hill’s Science Diet Dry Cat Food—Best Vet Recommendation 

Sometimes the best person to recommend what to give your cat should be a vet. As adult cats often suffer from numerous stomach issues, this product works to restore the natural balance of gastric bacteria for better digestion. 

The Hill’s Science Diet food combination has a balance of salmon, poultry, essential vegetable oils, and amino acids to boost the natural vitality of your cat. With sprinkles of legumes and vegetables, your cat’s beneficial gut bacteria and balanced microbiome will be supported. 

The natural fibers in the food combination are easily digestible to fasten the recovery process. With a blend of omega fatty acids and vitamin E, your cat will have fewer gastric and skin problems. 


  • Better bowel movement.
  • Balances the acidity levels in the body.
  • Eliminates skin allergies.
  • Improves the cat’s appetite.
  • Clinically approved.


  • Some owners reported a change in the food formula. 
  • Slightly pricier than similar brands.

Frequently Asked Questions

Curios cat wondering what to ask about the best raw food

Are Allergies vs Food Intolerance the Same?

Though they may sound familiar, these two are not the same. So how does one know the difference?

Allergies are abnormal body reactions that occur when the cat’s immune system is weak to fight certain allergens or foreign elements. The most common is the inability to digest certain elements in some foods.

The symptoms differ from one cat to another, but most experience symptoms such as itchy skin, redness of the skin, swollen glands, and hair loss. 

Food intolerance is not permanent as it comes when your cat cannot hold the food in the stomach for certain reasons. These may be spoiled food or indigestible food, or a sensitivity to a certain ingredient. Although your cat may be restless and uncomfortable, they will improve after a short while.

Is Dry or Wet Grain-Free Cat Food Best?

Both dry and wet food have significant benefits for your cat. As a cat parent, you need to understand the nutritional needs of your pet. That way, you can decide how to balance between dry and wet food. 

Also, your financial budget can dictate how you feed your cat. Wet food is usually slightly higher in price than dry cat food. All the same, find a way to mix the two for greater vitality. 

What Flavors Do Cats Like?

Cats can recognize several tastes and flavors, so they decide what they enjoy and what they don’t. They are close to human children in that aspect. 

What may be good today may not be as appealing tomorrow. Several things make food attractive to cats, such as the aroma, temperature, color, and level of hunger at the time. 

Keep trying routine feeding to understand what your cat likes and dislikes. It may not be precise, but you will have a glimpse from the pattern. 


Good nutrition starts with understanding the dietary needs of your feline friend. The best food is that which does not cause sicknesses or any discomfort to your cat. That’s why it’s good to avoid any grains in your cat’s diet. 

That said, we have come to the close of our review journey. On that, the  CRAVE Grain Free High Protein Dry Cat Food carries the top honors as the best grain-free cat food in 2021. Your cat will benefit from the nutritious combination, better flavors, and healthy vitality. 

Whatever you decide on for your cat’s best, remember to consult your vet for in-depth advice. 

Disclaimer: This article includes affiliate links. If you choose to purchase any of the products we’ve discussed in this article, we may receive a small commission.

Olivia Davis

Olivia is the editor-in-chief at Cat Food Tip. She's in charge of making sure that every post is up to standards and contains accurate information that's comprehendable and fun for readers.

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