What are the Best Inexpensive Cat Foods?

ImageProductFeaturesPrice
Open Farm Surf & Turf Freeze-Dried

Open Farm Surf & Turf Freeze-Dried

Contains a special blend of 98% grass-fed beef, wild-caught salmon, and nutrient-rich organ meat.

Get 20% Off Open Farm
The Honest Kitchen Grain-Free Clusters

The Honest Kitchen Grain-Free Clusters

Free from grains and suitable for cats with sensitive stomach and digestion issues. 

Get 30% Off The Honest KitchenGet on Amazon
JustCats Fish & Chicken

JustCats Fish & Chicken

This recipe meets AAFCO standards and is ideal for cats of all life stages as a meal or food topper.

Get on JustFoodForDogs
Smalls Cat Food

Smalls Cat Food

Human-grade cat food with quality ingredients and delivery service available at an affordable price.

Get on Smalls
Rachael Ray Nutrish Premium Natural

Rachael Ray Nutrish Premium Natural

One of our top picks when it comes to inexpensive cat food; also a popular choice on Amazon and Chewy.

Get on AmazonGet on Chewy
Blue Buffalo Wilderness Natural Adult

Blue Buffalo Wilderness Natural Adult

This cat food is a great protein source and caters to the nutritional needs of your cat.

Get on AmazonGet on Chewy
Purina Friskies Dry Cat Food Seafood Sensations

Purina Friskies Dry Cat Food Seafood Sensations

Made with whitefish, salmon, and other ocean fish, this dry cat food is flavorful and improves cat’s health.

Get on AmazonGet on Chewy
Meow Mix Original Choice Dry Cat Food

Meow Mix Original Choice Dry Cat Food

With high protein content, this dry cat food supplements your cat’s diet in an affordable package.

Get on AmazonGet on Chewy
Purina Fancy Feast Grain-Free Pate

Purina Fancy Feast Grain-Free Pate

Great for the overall health of your cat and contains real meat, which is a source of high-quality protein.

Get on AmazonGet on Chewy
Blue Buffalo Indoor Health Natural Adult

Blue Buffalo Indoor Health Natural Adult

This high-quality cat food contains no by-products and helps your cat maintain a healthy weight.

Get on AmazonGet on Chewy
Instinct Original Grain-Free Recipe Dry Cat Food

Instinct Original Grain-Free Recipe Dry Cat Food

Packed with fatty acids, taurine, omega-3s, and real chicken, it's a nutritious delight for your cat.

Get on AmazonGet on Chewy

What Should I Look for in Cheap Quality Cat Food?

There are four crucial ingredients that need to be in every cheap cat food. These include:

  • Animal Protein. The protein in your cat’s food should be from a recognizable source. These can include beef, venison, fish, or poultry. If the first ingredient simply states ‘meat’ or ‘meat by-product,’ cat owners should look for some other brand that contains chicken, turkey, lamb, or salmon.
  • Taurine. Taurine is an essential amino acid that should be a crucial ingredient in your cat’s meals. It helps to improve vision, boost immunity, helps with digestion, and helps maintain normal pregnancy and fetal development.
  • Micronutrients. Depending on your cat’s needs, the food needs to contain supplements that like probiotics, fatty acids, vitamins, minerals, carbs, animal protein, fish oil, and enzymes.
  • Water. Finally, your cat’s pet food should contain an adequate amount of water to ensure hydration. This helps control hairballs in your furry friend and ensures easy cat litter cleaning. Water in meals is also great in senior cats who tend to drink less water in general. Moisture-free dry cat food is generally not recommended.

What Ingredients Should Not be in Cheap Cat Food?

While most brands offer cat foods made using beneficial ingredients, there are some ingredients that should be avoided in general. Avoid cheap cat food formulas with these ingredients: 

  • Meat By-Products. Any meat by-products, chicken, or bone meal are not recommended by the FDA despite being a prominent source of protein and taurine.
  • Artificial Preservatives and Additives. BHA, BHT, ethoxyquin, and propyl gallate are some chemical additives that could have potential health risks to cats.
  • Fillers. Carbohydrate fillers, such as cornmeal, are not recommended for older cats and cats with diabetes. However, if the cheap cat food contains less than 50 percent fillers, it is considered safe.

The Best Cheap Cat Foods Reviewed

There are many affordable cat and kitten foods. To help owners find the best match for their pets, we have reviewed some of the best-selling cheap cat food formulas on the market.

Open Farm Surf Turf Freeze Dried Raw Cat Food

Summary: A highly affordable and cost-efficient feline formula, this recipe is both an irresistible meal-mixer and a delectable balanced meal for your beloved cat! Open Farm’s Surf & Turf recipe contains a special blend of 98% grass-fed beef, wild-caught salmon, and nutrient-rich organ meat including beef hearts, beef liver, and beef bones, a true prey-model diet your cat will surely love. Get 20% off your first auto-ship order with code VET20.

Type: Freeze-dried cat formula

Best for: Cats of all life stages

Price: $2.78/oz

Pros
  • 20% off your first auto-ship order with code VET20
  • An affordable high-protein cat formula
  • Gently freeze-dried, never cooked, easy-to-feed pure raw nutrition
  • 100% Non-GMO, grain-free, & legume-free
  • Made with humanely-raised, grass-fed beef and sustainably caught wild salmon, 100% traceable ingredients, and organic fruits & vegetables 
  • Free from antibiotics, hormones, and steroids
Cons
  • No significant cons

Ingredient Analysis

  • Wild-Caught Pacific Salmon: Wild-Caught from the deep cold waters of the North Pacific Ocean, Open Farm’s Oceanwise-recommended salmon is high in quality protein and contains long-chain omega-3 fatty acids like EPA and DHA.
  • 100% Animal Welfare Certified Beef: Open Farm’s humanely raised beef is pasture-raised, grass-fed, and grass-finished by ranchers on family farms. Grass-fed beef is a quality protein that is high in vitamin E.
  • 100% Animal Welfare Organ Meat (Liver & Heart): Organ meat provides an excellent source of nutrient-dense nutrition, and is rich in natural vitamins and minerals to help your pet thrive.

Review: Satisfied customers are well-pleased by Open Farm’s Surf & Turf recipe. They reported that their cats, even the extremely picky eaters, love this formula a lot and they don’t have problems eating this on a regular basis. 

The Honest Kitchen Grain-Free Chicken and Whitefish Clusters

Summary: A highly-affordable cat food, these grain-free clusters from The Honest Kitchen were developed in collaboration with a veterinary nutritionist utilizing a combination of natural foods, cage-free chicken, whitefish, and a probiotic boost to aid in digestion and bowel movement in cats.THK’s Grain-Free Chicken and Whitefish Clusters recipe is produced with premium components to support the general health and wellbeing of your cat. This mixture contains cranberries, probiotics, and flax seeds to help your cat’s urinary health, digestion, and maintenance of a healthy coat. Customers can also get 30% off on their first orders of $30+ using code VETERINARIANS30.

Type: Dry cat formula

Best for: Cats of all life stages

Price: $5.99/pound

Pros
  • 30% off on first orders of $30+ using code VETERINARIANS30
  • All-natural, Non-GMO ingredients
  • Has higher protein and fiber content
  • No preservatives, artificial colors, fillers, and meat meals
  • Human-grade quality
  • Boosts energy levels and improves digestion
Cons
  • Rich in carbohydrates and calories
  • High fat content

Ingredient Analysis

  • Whitefish: Its essential fatty acids can aid in alleviating the symptoms of skin irritation and damage in cats.
  • Fenugreek Seed: Among other advantages, these seeds’ high antioxidant content may aid with the symptoms of feline asthma.
  • Taurine: This is essential for good immune function, appropriate gestation and fetal development, normal vision, digestion, and heart muscle function in cats. Taurine is a necessary amino acid for cats.
  • Dried Organic Kelp: This is a natural source of iodine and trace minerals, and it supports thyroid in cats, helps them manage their weight, strengthens their immune systems, and helps them keep good skin and coat.

Review: Satisfied customers who purchased The Honest Kitchen Grain-Free Chicken and Whitefish Clusters reported that their cats’ overall health and energy levels improved. Furthermore, the digestive, skin, and coat health of their cats have remained outstanding.

JustCats Fish Chicken

Summary: JustCats fish and chicken recipe is formulated with high levels of animal protein such as wild-caught Alaska Pacific cod, chicken thighs, chicken hearts, chicken liver, and sardines. These real ingredients offer the perfect blend of vitamins and minerals along with omega-3 fatty acids and healthy fats for balanced nutrition. This recipe meets AAFCO standards and is ideal for cats of all life stages as a meal or food topper. 

Type: Wet cat food formula

Best for: Adult cats

Price: $14.29

Pros
  • Gluten-free and grain-free
  • Ideal for cats with allergies or sensitivities
  • 42 calories per ounce and low in carbohydrates
  • Meets AAFCO standards for adult cat nutrition
  • Made with a nutrient blend of vitamins and minerals
Cons
  • Only available in one flavor

Ingredient Analysis: 

Wild-caught Alaskan Pacific cod: This is an excellent source of low-fat protein with omega-3 fatty acids.

Chicken thighs, chicken hearts, and chicken liver: Since cats are true carnivores this recipe also includes organ meats that help build muscle and maintain good health. They also help support digestion and the immune system.

Tapioca starch: Tapioca starch is the only carbohydrate source and is easily digested. It is an excellent source of iron, manganese, and calcium and acts like a fiber to help maintain gut health.

Whole Atlantic sardines: These sardines are sourced from the purest and cleanest waters in the Atlantic. Sardines are also high in omega-3 fatty acids to help maintain healthy skin and coat.

JustCats nutrient blend: This blend includes Calcium Carbonate, Salt, Potassium Chloride, Potassium Iodide, Zinc Amino Acid Chelate, Iron Amino Acid Chelate, Copper Amino Acid Chelate, Choline Bitartrate, Manganese Gluconate, Vitamin E Supplement, d-Calcium Pantothenate, Niacinamide, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Folic Acid, Biotin, Riboflavin, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Thiamine Mononitrate.

Review: With an overage rating of 4.2 on their website, pet parents are raving about JustCats food and state that it is “great cat food.” Customers also say that it even helped with their cat’s digestion, regulating healthy stools.

Smalls Cat Food

Summary: Smalls Cat Food is a human-grade cat food brands that delivers the meals right to the doorstep. It offers three recipe flavors (Bird, Other Bird & Cow) and three texture options (smooth, ground, and pulled). The recipes are complete, nutritionally balanced, AAFCO-approved, and suitable for cats of all ages. 

Type: Fresh & Freeze-dried cat food

Best for: Cats of all life stages

Price: $1.25-1.93/meal

Pros
  • Homemade, human-grade cat food
  • Protein-rich and nutrient-dense formulas
  • Three flavor and three texture options
  • Affordable price tag and discounts
  • No grains, fillers, or artificial additives
Cons
  • No significant cons

Ingredient Analysis

  • Chicken Recipe: Contains chicken, chicken liver, green beans, peas, chicken hearts, and kale. Plus, it is enriched with vitamins, minerals, and taurine.
  • Other Birds Recipe: Contains turkey thigh, turkey liver, green beans, peas, and kale. Plus, it is enriched with vitamins, minerals, and taurine.
  • Cow Recipe: Contains beef, beef liver, green beans, and spinach. Plus, it is enriched with vitamins, minerals, and taurine.

Review: Cat owners are noticing an improvement in their cats’ physical health and mood after using Smalls. They are also happy with the convenience of the brand and affordable subscription plans.

Rachael Ray Nutrish Premium Natural Dry Cat Food

Summary: This cat food is made with simple and natural ingredients. Additionally, it also contains added vitamins, minerals, and nutrients that enhance your cat’s health. The food includes real salmon as the #1 ingredient in addition to brown rice, vegetables, and essential amino acids. This provides the required nutrition to your kitten and cat and promotes their growth. Additionally, it contains no added poultry by-product meal or fillers.

Type: Dry cat food

Best for: Kitten and Adult cats

Price: $1.7/pound

Pros
  • Made with real salmon
  • Includes beet pulp, a wholesome fiber
  • Contains brown rice, vegetables, and amino acids
  • No added poultry by-product
  • Easy to chew and swallow
Cons
  • Might cause digestive troubles in some cats
  • The flavor might not suit some cats

Ingredient Analysis

  • Salmon: This is the primary source of protein and also the main ingredient of this food. It helps build muscles and improves your cat’s immunity.
  • Fish Meal: This is a replacement for whole meat and therefore adds flavor to the meal.
  • Corn Gluten Meal: This is a great flavoring agent for your cat’s food, but it is not considered a healthy ingredient by many vets.
  • Brown Rice: This is a great source of antioxidants and fiber, which improves digestion. It also contains carbohydrates that provide energy to your cat.

Review: This cheap cat food is easy to chew and swallow. It offers a crisp, crunchy texture and wholesome flavor that is loved by most cats. Reviewers give this cheap cat food 4.6 out of 5 stars.

Blue Buffalo Wilderness Natural Adult Dry Cat Food

Summary: This dry cat food is available in a range of flavors and pack sizes, ensuring there will be the right fit for your cat. It is made with real salmon to cater to your cat’s natural instincts. This also helps your cat build and maintain muscle mass which makes them a lot more active and healthy. Additionally, it is also packed with omega-3 & omega-6 fatty acids that support skin and coat health. The food also contains a precise blend of antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals, which further improve your cat’s health.

Type: Dry cat food

Best for: Kitten and Adult

Price: $2.8/pound

Pros
  • High protein cat food
  • Helps build and maintain lean muscle mass
  • Contains healthy carbohydrates
  • Supports skin and coat health
  • Supports immune system health
Cons
  • Contains peas which might not suit some cats
  • The packaging could be better

Ingredient Analysis

  • Deboned Salmon: This is a great source of protein and helps build more muscles that promote an active lifestyle.
  • Chicken Meal: This is also a prominent protein source and a great flavoring agent that keeps your cat craving more food.
  • Pea Protein: This is another great source of protein and is used to add volume to the kibble to make it more filling.

Review: This cheap cat food is great for building immunity and contains no chicken (or poultry) by-product meals, corn, wheat, soy, artificial flavors, or preservatives. Reviewers give this cheap cat food 4.7 out of 5 stars.

Purina Friskies Dry Cat Food Seafood Sensations

Summary: This cat food offers an ocean flavor that cats love. It is also accented by a seaweed flavor for that added punch. It contains vitamins and minerals in each serving, ensuring your kitty gets a balanced diet. Additionally, the cat food is available in a crunchy texture that will keep your cat coming back for more. Just pour a serving into your cat’s bowl and watch them run towards you for every meal.

Type: Dry cat food

Best for: Kitten and Adult

Price: $1/pound

Pros
  • Offers a tempting texture
  • 100% complete and balanced nutrition
  • Made with delicious seafood texture
  • Essential vitamins and minerals in every serving
  • Contains ocean fish, salmon, tuna, and crab flavors
Cons
  • Contains poultry by-product meal
  • Contains added colors

Ingredient Analysis

  • Corn Gluten Meal: This is a great flavoring agent for your cat’s food, but it is not considered a healthy ingredient by many vets.
  • Bone Meal: This is used to add flavor and density to the cat food. It also is a source of protein but is generally not considered very healthy.
  • Poultry By-Product Meal: This is a protein source but is not considered very healthy for cats in the long run.
  • Yellow 6: This is an added dye for coloring the cat food. It has been linked to cancer-causing properties.

Review: This cheap cat food contains various essential nutrients and supplements that improve your cat’s health. The flavors and textures are also loved by most cats. Reviewers give this cheap cat food 4.8 out of 5 stars.

Meow Mix Original Choice Dry Cat Food

Summary: Available in a variety of sizes, this dry cat food offers a range of flavors, including Chicken, Salmon, Turkey & Ocean Fish blended together in one mix. It is available in the form of pellets and offers balanced nutrition to your cat, making it a great addition to their diet. It is also a great source of essential vitamins and minerals that boost your cat’s immunity and give them a shiny coat. The food is made in the USA.

Type: Dry cat food

Best for: Kittens and Adult cats

Price: $1/pound

Pros
  • Complete and balanced nutrition
  • Provides all essential vitamins and minerals
  • High-quality protein helps support strong, healthy muscles
  • Made in the USA
  • Fresh ingredients used to manufacture this product
Cons
  • Contains grains that might not suit some cats
  • Contains meat by-products that are not considered healthy

Ingredient Analysis

  • Whole Ground Corn: While corn is considered healthy for cats, in the long run, it might not be very favorable for felines.
  • Soybean Meal: This is a filler and a flavoring agent that is used to increase the density of the cat food to make it more filling.
  • Chicken By-Product Meal: This is an unhealthy replacement for meat in order to provide protein. It is not recommended by most vets.

Review: This cheap cat food contains high levels of proteins. However, it contains some ingredients that are not considered very healthy for cats. Reviewers give this cheap cat food 4.8 out of 5 stars.

Purina Fancy Feast Grain-Free Pate Wet Cat Food

Summary: This cat food offers savory flavors that are adored by most cats. Additionally, it is available in a variety pack which will keep your cat more interested during every mealtime. It is made with a smooth, tender texture that your cat will be unable to resist and contains a formula blend that is free from grains. In addition to a great taste, your cat will also get the essential vitamins and minerals in every serving that are needed for improved health.

Type: Wet cat food

Best for: Adults

Price: $1/can

Pros
  • Made with turkey, chicken, and beef
  • Available in a variety pack
  • 100% complete and balanced nutrition
  • Pleasing pate texture
  • Offers large portion sizes
Cons
  • Contains meat by-products
  • Contains artificial flavors

Ingredient Analysis

  • Meat Broth: This is a great way to introduce flavor to the cat’s meal. It is also a great source of nutrients and forms the base of the meal.
  • Liver: This is a great source of iron and improves your cat’s immunity overall.
  • Fish: This not only adds flavor to the meal, but it is also a great source of antioxidants and offers anti-inflammatory properties.
  • Meat By-Products: This is used to increase the density of the meal and is not considered very healthy for cats by most vets.

Review: This is a protein-rich formula that is sure to be a hit with most cats. It is manufactured in the USA. Reviewers give this cheap cat food 4.7 out of 5 stars.

IAMS Proactive Health Adult Indoor Dry Cat Food

Summary: This cat food offers Weight and Hairball care for your indoor adult cat. The brand offers nutrient-rich cat food that builds strong muscles and provides your cat with healthy energy to play all day. It also contains L-carnitine, which burns fat and maintains a healthy metabolism. Thanks to a fiber-rich formula, this cat food also reduces hairballs before they start. It contains a superior flavor that most cats will find inviting.

Type: Dry cat food

Best for: Adults; Hairball and weight control

Price: $1.5/pound

Pros
  • Contains chicken as 1st ingredient
  • Helps burn fat and maintain a healthy metabolism
  • Offers diet and basic hairball care regimen
  • Contains optimal Omega-6 to Omega-3 fatty acid ratio
  • Contains a strong fiber blend with beet pulp
Cons
  • Contains by-products that are considered harmful
  • The flavor might not suit some cats

Ingredient Analysis

  • Chicken By-Product Meal: This is used to increase the density of the meal and is not considered very healthy for cats by most vets.
  • Corn Grits: While corn is considered healthy for cats, in the long run, it might not be very favorable for felines.
  • Dried Plain Beet Pulp: This is a great source of fiber and antioxidants. It also helps to increase the blood count in cats.

Review: This cheap cat food provides soft, shiny, and healthy coats to your cat. It also contains less fat content to prevent obesity. Reviewers give this cheap cat food 4.8 out of 5 stars.

tasteful adult indoor

Summary: This cat food is made using the finest natural ingredients that are enhanced with essential nutrients, vitamins, and minerals. It uses real meat as the primary ingredient and supplements using grains, veggies, and fruit, plus the brand’s exclusive, antioxidant-rich LifeSource Bits. It is also great if your cat has a sensitive stomach and gets allergic reactions to various ingredients. It is manufactured in the USA.

Type: Dry cat food

Best for: Adults; Hairball and weight control

Price: $2.5/pound

Pros
  • Contains high-quality protein from real chicken
  • Contains whole grains, garden veggies, and fruit
  • Formulated to support indoor cats
  • Contains omega 3 & 6 fatty acids
  • Contains a unique blend of antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals
Cons
  • Contains chicken meal along with deboned chicken
  • Contains pea protein which is used as a filler

Ingredient Analysis

  • Chicken Meal: This is used to increase the density of the meal and is not considered very healthy for cats by most vets.
  • Brown Rice: This is a great source of antioxidants and fiber, which improves digestion. It also contains carbohydrates that provide energy to your cat.
  • Pea Protein: This is another great source of protein and is used to add volume to the kibble to make it more filling.

Review: This cheap cat food contains delicious and protein-rich deboned chicken as its first ingredients. It also offers two flavor varieties. Reviewers give this cheap cat food 4.8 out of 5 stars.

Instinct Original Grain-Free Recipe Dry Cat Food

Summary: This high animal protein, grain-free, is a great cat food option. It is made using only premium ingredients that your cat will love. It contains raw meat, fruits, vegetables & other wholesome ingredients. Additionally, it is also minimally processed, ensuring that the constituent nutrients are not destroyed. This cheap cat food also has a long shelf life because it has been freeze-dried.

Type: Dry cat food

Best for: Kittens and Adult cats

Price: $4.5/pound

Pros
  • Made with 81% real animal ingredients
  • Supports healthy digestion
  • Contains no artificial colors or preservatives
  • No grains, potatoes, corn, wheat, and soy
  • Protein-packed and minimally processed
Cons
  • Expensive choice in contrast to some other products
  • The packaging could be better

Ingredient Analysis

  • Turkey Meal: This is an ingredient that is used to add density to the food. It also adds a turkey flavor that is loved by most cats.
  • Chicken Meal: This is also used to increase the density of the meal and is not considered very healthy for cats by most vets.
  • Peas: This is another great source of protein and is used to add volume to the kibble to make it more filling.

Review: This cheap cat food offers increased energy & vitality to your cat. It also improves your cat’s coat and makes it more shiny and healthy. Reviewers give this cheap cat food 4.6 out of 5 stars.

PETLIBRO Granary Camera Monitoring Feeder
  • Easy-to-clean, food-grade stainless steel bowl
  • Smart app control and 1080P HD Camera
  • Built-in advanced microphone and speaker 
  • Motion detection, smart notifications, and indicators
  • Use the code Vets15 for 15% off

How Much Should I Spend on Cat Food?

There is no specific answer to this question. However, it is estimated that pet parents spend around $50 per month on pet food. However, this just includes their everyday meals. You can always add to this number by including treats, chews, and supplements.

It is a myth that only expensive cat food is great for cats. If you trust your brand and if your cat approves, even a budget cat food can sustain your furry friend and improve their quality of life.

Open Farm Cat Food
  • Ingredients are 100% obsessively sourced and cooked to perfection.
  • Dry cat food: healthy high meat, and low carb to appeal to any picky palate.
  • Wet cat food: 100% human-grade, ethically sourced meat for vital moisture.
  • Freeze-dried cat food: 92%-98% meat, organ, and bones for high protein.
  • Bone broths and probiotics elevate your cat's meal.
  • Get 20% off your first auto-ship order with code VET20

Is it Cheaper to Feed Cats Wet or Dry Food?

Generally, dry food is cheaper for cats in contrast to wet food. This is because it takes more effort to package the wet food. Additionally, it is also more difficult to preserve wet food as it is more prone to developing bacteria and other pathogens.

Dry food is not only easy to store, but it is also easy to carry around and acts as a great way to fill your cat’s tummy.

One thing that needs to be mentioned here is that both wet and dry foods can also be used together for the best effect.