If you have an indoor cat, you know it has different needs than an outdoor cat. Outdoor cats spend much of their time hunting and watching over their territory. These cats burn many more calories than indoor cats that spend most of their day sleeping and lounging around. As more cats are spending their entire lives indoors, as they should, more people are asking what type of food is the best. We’ve chosen several different brands to review for you so you can see the difference between them. We’ll give you the pros and cons we experienced while using them, and we’ll also tell you how our cats liked them. Keep reading while we look at ingredients, vitamins, omega fats, taurine, and more to help you make an informed purchase.
A Quick Comparison of Our Favorites
The 7 Best Cat Foods for Indoor Cats – Reviews & Top Picks 2021
1. Iams ProActive Health Indoor Weight & Hairball Care Dry Cat Food – Best Overall
|Package Size:||22 pounds|
Iams ProActive Health Indoor Weight & Hairball Care Dry Cat Food is our pick as the best overall cat food for indoor cats. It has a high protein content which will provide your pet with plenty of energy and the building blocks for strong muscle. It has chicken listed as its first ingredient and also contains omega fatty acids and taurine.
The only downside we experienced while reviewing Iams ProActive Health Indoor was that some of our cats wouldn’t eat it and would try to hold out until we gave them something different.
2. Rachael Ray Nutrish Indoor Complete Chicken with Lentils & Salmon Recipe Natural Dry Cat Food – Best Value
|Package Size:||14 pounds|
Rachael Ray Nutrish Indoor Complete Chicken with Lentils & Salmon Recipe Natural Dry Cat Food is our pick as the best cat food for indoor cats for the money. It features chicken as the first ingredient, which helps provide your cat with 34% protein per serving. It also contains real fruits and vegetables, like cranberries, pumpkin, blueberries, dandelion, and beet pulp. Fish oil provides omega fats and also contains taurine.
The biggest downside we experienced while reviewing Rachael Ray Nutrish Indoor is that some cats don’t like it. It also seemed to leave our cats feeling hungry sooner than some other brands.
3. Blue Buffalo Indoor Health Chicken & Brown Rice Recipe Adult Dry Cat Food – Premium Choice
|Package Size:||15 pounds|
Blue Buffalo Indoor Health Chicken & Brown Rice Recipe Adult Dry Cat Food is our premium choice cat food for indoor cats. It provides your cat with 32% protein by using deboned chicken as its first ingredient and other protein sources, like peas. Besides the meat ingredients, it also contains omega fats and real fruits and vegetables, like carrots, sweet potatoes, blueberries, and kelp. However, there are no genetically modified corn or soy products that can upset your cat’s stomach and leave your cat feeling hungry.
Once again, the biggest downside to the Blue Buffalo Indoor brand is getting the cats to eat it. We also felt that the kibble was a little large for some of our cats.
4. Hill’s Science Diet Indoor Kitten Dry Cat Food – Best for Kittens
|Package Size:||7 pounds|
Hill’s Science Diet Indoor Kitten Dry Cat Food is our pick as the best kitten food for indoor kittens. It has chicken listed as its first ingredient and provides your kitten with 33.5% protein to help your pet develop into a strong cat. Real fruits and vegetables like broccoli, apples, carrots, and cranberries add powerful antioxidants to your cat’s diet that will help boost the immune system and prevent them from catching a disease.
We liked serving our kittens Hill’s Science Diet, but it is quite expensive, and at nearly 550 calories per serving, it can quickly add weight to your pet which is good when they are a kitten, but you’ll want to switch to something else when they become fully grown.
5. Purina ONE Indoor Advantage Adult Dry Cat Food
|Package Size:||22 pounds|
Purina ONE Indoor Advantage Adult Dry Cat Food is a popular brand of cat food that you can find in most stores. It lists turkey as its first ingredient and provides your act with 37% protein per serving. It includes several vitamins and minerals, including the important ones, like vitamins A, D, and E. Your cat will also receive the required omega fats and taurine.
It was easier to get our cats to try Purina ONE Indoor than several other brands, but it still wasn’t some of our cat’s favorites. We also found that it has corn and soy listed near the top of the ingredients list, so your cat might get hungry sooner than normal.
6. Cat Chow Indoor Hairball & Healthy Weight Dry Cat Food
|Package Size:||20 pounds|
Cat Chow Indoor Hairball & Healthy Weight Dry Cat Food is one of our cat’s favorite foods. It contains real farm-raised chicken and provides your pet with 30% protein per serving. It contains taurine that cats require, and this is one of our cat’s favorite brands.
We didn’t like Cat Chow Indoor because the farm-raised chicken is lower down the list than meat by-products and corn ingredients. It contains artificial colors that can trigger allergies in some pets, and there are no omega fatty acids that can help improve the coat of your cat as well as protect the skin.
7. Friskies Indoor Delights Dry Cat Food
|Package Size:||16 pounds|
Friskies Indoor Delights Dry Cat Food provides your cat with 30% protein and omega fats that will help improve your pet’s coat. It also has plenty of vitamins and minerals that help our cat receive a complete and balanced meal.
The downside to Friskies Indoor is that corn is the first ingredient that can lead to weight gain in your pet due to it being mostly empty calories. There is no real meat, and all of the protein comes from a meat byproduct. It also has artificial colors in its ingredients that can trigger allergies in some cats.
Related Read: 10 Best Dry Cat Foods – Reviews & Top Picks
One of the first things you should look for when choosing a cat food for an indoor cat is the amount and type of protein. We recommend choosing a brand that provides your kitten with at least 30% protein, so your cat will have the building blocks it needs for a strong and healthy body. Protein also helps your cat feel full for longer and gives them the energy they need to stay active.
We recommend looking at the ingredients list and choosing a food with real meat like chicken, turkey, or lamb listed as the first ingredient. Avoid choosing brands that have a meat byproduct listed higher than these other meats because it’s dried and ground meat that can be several years old.
Your cat is a carnivore and has no real need for carbohydrates. Some carbs, like corn and soy, can be harmful to your pet because they digest quickly and can leave your cat feeling hungry again sooner than it should. However, other carbohydrates like carrots, broccoli, blueberries, cranberries, and other fruits and vegetables can provide your cat with important nutrients if they don’t consume too much. The high fiber content in these foods can also help calm the stomach and regulate the water in the intestines, reducing constipation and diarrhea.
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Taurine is an important amino acid only found in animal proteins. Cats cannot produce this amino acid in their bodies, so your cat can only get it from eating these animal proteins. If taurine levels get depleted, it can affect the cat’s eyes, leading to retinal degeneration. It can also lead to problems with the heart.
Studies show that omega fats can be helpful to your cat by reducing inflammation, especially that which comes with old age. Omega fats also help with brain and eye development as well as coat and skin health. It helps reduce dandruff, dry skin, and irritation caused by insect bites. It can also help boost the immune system and promote heart health.
Fish oil is the primary source of omega fat, but you can also get them from flaxseed oil and other sources. You can even purchase supplements that you can add to the food.
Since your cat does not see as much activity as it does in the wild, you will need to keep a close eye on the number of calories in each serving. We prefer to keep the calories closer to 300 per serving, but if you are feeding a kitten, you can increase it to 400 or 500 calories, but you will need to keep a close eye on your cat’s weight to ensure it doesn’t get out of hand.
Unfortunately, more than 50% of cats over the age of four are obese, and this obesity can lead to several health problems, including diabetes, heart disease, and much more.
Related Read: 10 Best Wet Cat Foods – Reviews & Top Picks
When choosing your next cat food for indoor cats, we highly recommend our pick for the best overall. Iams ProActive Health Indoor Weight & Hairball Care Dry Cat Food features chicken as its first ingredient, and it provides your pet with 30% protein. It helps keep your pet’s coat shiny and healthy, and it also features a special formula that reduces hairballs. Another smart choice for cat food is our pick for the best value. Rachael Ray Nutrish Indoor Complete Chicken with Lentils & Salmon Recipe Natural Dry Cat Food features chicken as its first ingredient and provides real fruits and vegetables that provide natural probiotics.
We hope you have enjoyed reading over our reviews and found a few brands you would like to try out. If we have helped answer your questions, please share this guide to the best cat food for indoor cats on Facebook and Twitter.
Featured Image Credit: Lilia-Solonari, Shutterstock
Ed Malaker is a veteran writer who has contributed to a wide range of blogs that cover tools, pets, guitars, fitness, and computer programming. When he’s not writing, Ed is usually performing DIY projects around the house or working in the garden. He’s also a musician and spends a lot of time helping people fix their guitars and composing music for independent films.