What is the Best High-Protein Cat Food?

ImageProductFeaturesPrice
Open Farm Homestead Turkey & Chicken

Open Farm Homestead Turkey & Chicken

Sustainable chicken and turkey blend with non-GMO cranberries and dandelion greens for nourishment.

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The Honest Kitchen Minced Chicken

The Honest Kitchen Minced Chicken

Premium quality high-protein cat food recipes made with human-grade quality and safety standards.

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JustCats Fish & Chicken

JustCats Fish & Chicken

This recipe naturally supports your cat’s hydration and is perfect for adult cats of all breeds.

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Smalls Cat Food

Smalls Cat Food

High-protein cat food with selected, minimally processed protein sources for maximum nutrients.

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IAMS PROACTIVE HEALTH High-Protein Adult

IAMS PROACTIVE HEALTH High-Protein Adult

This is our pick for the best overall high-protein cat food because it is complete, tasty, and budget-friendly.

Get on AmazonGet on Chewy
Blue Buffalo Wilderness High-Protein

Blue Buffalo Wilderness High-Protein

Most-reviewed, grain-free cat food on Amazon with high protein and health-boosting antioxidants.

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Purina ONE High Protein

Purina ONE High Protein

This affordable high-protein formula supports healthy metabolism and weight control.

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CRAVE Grain Free Indoor Adult High Protein

CRAVE Grain Free Indoor Adult High Protein

Made with real chicken as the first ingredient made specifically to suit the needs of indoor cats.

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Purina ONE True Instinct High Protein

Purina ONE True Instinct High Protein

This high-protein cat formula is easily digestible, supports high energy levels, and healthy skin & coat.

Get on AmazonGet on Chewy

Do Cats Need High Protein Cat Food?

Yes, high-protein cat food is necessary for felines.

Cats are obligate carnivores, meaning they need high-quality animal protein for energy, growth, and maintenance. As carnivores, cats require real meat for optimal health and wellness.

Cats can handle small amounts of certain carbohydrates, so some foods will contain things like sweet potatoes and brown rice for a carb source. This is okay but ideally, high-protein cat food should be at least 30% protein to ensure the cat is reaching its nutritional requirements.

Is High-Protein Food Good for Cats?

Yes, high-protein cat food is good.

Cats need a high-protein diet to live but there are other benefits as well. Here we have listed some of them:

  • Reduced Obesity Risk. High-protein cat food helps your cat feel fuller sooner and stay fuller longer meaning your cat will naturally eat less and be able to more easily maintain a healthy weight.
  • Reduced Diabetes Risk. Higher protein cat foods will generally have lower carb content. Lower carbohydrate content in cat food means your cat’s blood sugar will be more stable.
  • Weight Loss Support. As stated above, high protein foods are lower carb and more satiating than foods with higher carb contents. This encourages your cat to eat less, thus reducing their weight to a more manageable level.

The Best High-Protein Cat Food Reviewed

From regular adult cat food to freeze-dried kitten food, high-protein formulas come in different forms and flavors. To help pet parents find the best option for their pets, we have reviewed the best high-protein cat foods.

open farm homestead grain free formula

Summary: Whether indoors or out, cats respond very well to this high-protein Open Farm Homestead Turkey & Chicken Dry Cat Food. Thanks to a combination of sustainably farmed chicken and turkey and useful nutrients like non-GMO cranberries and dandelion greens, this nourishing dry cat food supports your cats’ healthy digestion. Get 20% off your first auto-ship order with code VET20.

Type: Dry cat food

Best for: Cats of all life stages

Price: $7.00 per lb (based on a 4lb variant)

Pros
  • 20% off your first auto-ship order with code VET20
  • High in protein and fresh turkey & chicken
  • Includes cranberries and dandelion greens to promote UTI health
  • Source of prebiotic fibers to support healthy digestion
  • Free from potatoes and any rendered poultry or meat meals
  • 100% traceable ingredients
Cons
  • No significant cons

Ingredient Analysis: This recipe contains humanely-raised turkeys and chickens, as well as non-GMO cranberries, non-GMO chickpeas, coconut oil, and pumpkin. All of these are rich in essential nutrients and vitamins that are vital for full immune support. 

Review: Many cat owners describe this as the best cat food they’ve given to their felines. To quote one great review, “This is a terrific food. High-quality proteins, low carbohydrates, high in essential taurine. My picky eater, who will only eat dry food, loves this food, and goes right to his fountain to drink after eating it, giving him the hydration he needs.”

The Honest Kitchen Minced Chicken in Bone Broth Gravy

Summary: A high-protein wet cat food that surely meets your cat’s nutritional and taste criteria, The Honest Kitchen Minced Chicken in Bone Broth Gravy is produced from just the freshest ingredients. This humanely-produced cat formula contains delectable chunky, minced cage-free chicken, along with essential nutrients and amino acids.

This mixture has a balanced ratio of omegas, which is crucial for keeping your cat’s skin and coat healthy. Additionally, it contains a lot of protein and other mild components that support your cat’s digestion and regular bowel movements. Customers can also get 30% off on their first orders of $30+ using code VETERINARIANS30.

Type: Wet cat food

Best for: Cats of all life stages

Price: $2.99/5.5oz

Pros
  • 30% off on first orders of $30+ using code VETERINARIANS30
  • All-natural, Non-GMO ingredients
  • Rich in moisture and protein
  • No additives, artificial colors, and meat meals
  • Human-grade quality
  • Promotes regular bowel movement
Cons
  • Its strong gravy flavor might not be favorable for some cats

Ingredient Analysis: Composed of cage-free minced chicken, carrots, blueberries, and pumpkin, this wet cat formula is rich in protein and essential nutrients for healthy growth and enhanced immunity. Combined with Yucca Schidigera extract, turmeric, and salmon oil, this wet cat food is filled with vitamins and antioxidants that are helpful in your cat’s digestive and urinary health.

Review: Dedicated consumers claim that among all commercial wet food formulas, their cats prefer this recipe from The Honest Kitchen. They stated that by constantly feeding their cats THK’s Minced Chicken in Bone Broth Gravy each day, their feline’s immune system has grown stronger.

JustCats Fish Chicken

Summary: JustCats food uses fresh ingredients from high-quality proteins from Alaska Pacific cod and whole Atlantic sardines. Since cats are true carnivores this recipe also includes organ meats that help build muscle and maintain good health. This recipe naturally supports your cat’s hydration and is perfect for adult cats of all breeds. 

Type: Wet cat food formula

Best for: Adult cats

Price: $14.29

Pros
  • Great source of healthy fats and is high in protein 
  • Ideal for cats with allergies or sensitive GI tracts
  • Moisture-rich and naturally hydrating
  • Meets AAFCO standards for adult cat nutrition
  • Made with a nutrient blend of vitamins and minerals
Cons
  • Only available in one size

Ingredient Analysis: The first ingredient in this recipe is Wild-caught Alaskan Pacific cod which is naturally hydrating and protein-rich. Since cats are true carnivores this recipe also includes organ meats including chicken thighs, chicken hearts, and chicken liver which help build muscle and maintain good health. Whole sardines are also added to this formula which are high in Omega-3 fatty acids. JustCats cat food also includes a nutrient blend full of vitamins and minerals. 

Review: With an overage rating of 4.2 out of 5, even the pickiest eaters will love JustCats. Many pet parents state that they struggled to find food their cats liked but now they look forward to meal time. Whether using it as a complete meal or a food topper, cats gobble it up every time.

Smalls Cat Food

Summary: Smalls Cat Food offers human-grade recipes for cats. They are made with all-natural and nutrient-dense ingredients that check the AAFCO standards. The recipes are easily digestible and loaded with animal-sourced protein. The brand offers three protein options (Bird, Other Bird & Cow) and three textures (smooth, ground, and pulled).

Type: Fresh & Freeze-dried cat food

Best for: Cats of all life stages

Price: $1.25-1.93/meal

Pros
  • Human-grade, all-natural ingredients
  • High-protein and nutrient-dense formulas
  • Simple and easy-to-digest recipes
  • Promote healthy skin and shiny coats
  • Three flavors and three texture options
Cons
  • No significant cons

Ingredient Analysis: The Chicken Recipe contains chicken, chicken liver, green beans, peas, chicken hearts, and kale. The Other Birds Recipe contains turkey thigh, turkey liver, green beans, peas, and kale. The Cow Recipe contains beef, beef liver, green beans, and spinach. All recipes are enriched with vitamins, minerals, and taurine.  

Review: Cat owners are satisfied with the Smalls Cat Food recipes. They say the food works wonders and their cats love the taste.

IAMS PROACTIVE HEALTH High-Protein Adult Dry Cat Food

Summary: This high-protein dry cat food is made with healthy fiber to maintain weight and for hairball control. A prebiotic and probiotic blend fortified with calcium is suited for indoor and outdoor cats. It is available in three different sizes and uses chicken as the first ingredient. A well-rounded vitamin profile of calcium and magnesium helps strengthen teeth and bones while omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids promote a healthy coat.

Type: Dry cat food

Best for: Adult cats

Price: $2.49/lb

Pros
  • Good for both indoor and outdoor cats
  • 100% complete and balanced
  • Supports digestion, skin, coat, and heart health
  • Fortified with calcium and antioxidants
  • No fillers and artificial preservatives
Cons
  • There is only one flavor on Amazon
  • Calories are a little high per cup of this food

Ingredient Analysis: The protein sources are wholesome and complete with amino acids, like taurine, necessary for a cat’s health. The addition of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids makes a good, well-rounded dry cat food, although, we are not crazy about the use of artificial colors.

Review: 80% of reviews on Amazon are 5 stars, amounting to around 2,600 five-star reviews. These reviewers are happy with this high-protein cat food and how their cat responded to it with one person even calling it “prescription grade.” The most common theme among one and two-star reviews is that it seems to have made their cats ill.

Blue Buffalo Wilderness High-Protein, Natural Adult Dry Cat Food

Summary: This high-protein dry food is available in three flavors and a handful of sizes. It is highly reviewed on Amazon and contains real salmon, duck, or chicken. Mixed in the kibble are life-source bits of vitamins, antioxidants, and minerals that have been crafted by holistic vets to support immune health. The ingredients in this food never contain animal by-products or grains.

Type: Dry cat food

Best for: Indoor cats

Price: $3.20/lb

Pros
  • Several flavors to choose from
  • 30% protein, antioxidant-rich recipe
  • Animal proteins are the first ingredient
  • With blueberries and cranberries
  • No artificial flavors
Cons
  • The chicken recipe is often out of stock
  • Has some vegetable fillers

Ingredient Analysis: The chicken & salmon ingredients are the first two ingredients. We like this as it indicates the food is made of high-quality protein. However, the use of peas and tapioca starch, though not necessarily bad, is not the best choice for fillers.

Review: A whopping 85% of over 14,500 reviews on Amazon and over 1,000 reviews on Chewy rate this high-protein cat food five stars. They made claims it did everything from curing dander to helping their senior cat eat again. Only 2% give this product one star but they state they believe this food is responsible for giving their cat bladder stones.

Purina ONE High Protein, Healthy Weight Dry Cat Food

Summary: This cat food is available in wet, dry, and a mixture of both. It comes in four flavors and a wide variety of sizes and is made using up to 42% protein in the formula to help maintain a healthy weight. L-carnitine is added to help metabolize fat and all of this comes at the lowest price per ounce of any food on this list.

Type: Dry and wet

Best for: Adult cats and cats needing weight control

Price: $1.46/lb

Pros
  • Turkey is the first ingredient
  • With 42% protein content
  • Helps maintain a healthy weight
  • Comes in a wet cat food option
  • Made in the USA
Cons
  • Contains grains
  • Many flavors are often out of stock

Ingredient Analysis: Overall, the ingredients in this food are okay. Real chicken and turkey are the first ingredients and we like that as it makes this a protein-rich food. However, we’re not crazy about the chicken by-product meal or the corn gluten meal as there are better quality ingredients that could have been used in their places.

Review: Over three-quarters of the reviews are five-star. They state the reason they liked this high-protein cat food is their finicky cats enjoyed it and it does its job in helping to maintain a healthy weight in their cats. One and two-star reviewers were not happy with the inclusion of grains in the ingredients of this product with one consumer even stating “helps your cat lose weight because they’d rather starve than eat this.”

CRAVE Grain Free Indoor Adult High Protein Natural Dry Cat Food

Summary: This dry cat food is available in three package sizes and three flavors including chicken & salmon, chicken, and salmon & ocean fish. Real chicken and salmon are the first ingredients and the high protein content helps satiate your cat. Tapioca starch and split peas are added for carbs and vitamin supplements are included for a healthy and balanced diet. This food is specially formulated for indoor cats to be lower in calories and filling so your cat does not overconsume.

Type: Dry cat food

Best for: Indoor cats of all life stages

Price: $3.79/lb

Pros
  • Real chicken is the first ingredient
  • Grain-free formula with 40% protein
  • Added vitamins and minerals
  • Supports the immune system
  • No corn, soy, wheat, and by-products
Cons
  • Processed chicken fat is added
  • More expensive than some others on this list

Ingredient Analysis: Chicken and chicken meal are the first two ingredients, giving this a high protein content to meet a cat’s needs. However, the inclusion of salt, split peas, and processed chicken fat is questionable and the vitamin profile is missing vitamin A.

Review: Three-quarters of reviewers praised this high-protein cat food for “solving their problems” with their cat’s digestive issues. Some claimed it had saved their cat’s life by improving skin issues and weight problems. Those who were more critical of the food, however, cited reasons like urinary tract blockage and some of the chemicals used were too harsh for their liking.

Purina ONE True Instinct High Protein, Grain-Free Dry Cat Food

Summary: This food is available in a variety of flavors and package sizes. It comes in dry and wet versions that use real whitefish as the first ingredient. This food is made with zero fillers or grains and uses pea starch and soybean meal as a source of carbohydrates. It is supplemented with vitamins and minerals for a complete and balanced nutritional profile and includes up to 12% moisture for hydration.

Type: Dry cat food

Best for: Adult cats

Price: $2.03/lb

Pros
  • Fairly limited ingredient list
  • Real whitefish is the first ingredient
  • Grain-free pet food
  • Highly digestible formula
  • With 35% protein content
Cons
  • Uses canola meal in the recipe
  • Plant proteins for boosted protein content

Ingredient Analysis: Whitefish is the first ingredient. That makes this food high in protein and We aren’t a fan of the use of canola meal and preserved beef fat as it takes away from the “natural” in natural ingredients.

Review: Most of the customers who bought this high-protein cat food gave it five stars. One consumer even requested a 6th star with which he could rate this food as he was so pleased with it while many others say it helped their cats with sensitive stomachs. The majority of negative reviews revolved around Purina’s parent company, Nestle, and the fact the food isn’t made in the USA.

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How do I Know if a Cat Food is High-Protein?

If the first ingredient is an animal product like deboned chicken, whole fish, or turkey then it is a good chance the food is high in protein. Typically, anything with at least 30% protein is considered high protein.

High-protein cat food formulas may cause allergic reactions if the cat is unable to completely break down the amino acids that make up the protein.

Hydrolyzed protein cat food is prescription pet food for instances where the cat has a “diagnosed sensitivity that is expressed through the skin, or diagnosed with inflammatory bowel disease or food intolerance” according to hemopet.org. These are prescribed for some sensitivities where a high-protein food is over the counter.

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

How Much High-Protein Cat Food Should I Feed My Cat?

Check the manufacturer’s label to see what their recommendations are as they will likely be fairly accurate. You can, however, figure out how much protein will fit your cat’s needs on your own.

To find this number we take the cat’s healthy weight and multiply it by 2. That is a rough estimate of the number of calories of protein your adult cat requires each day.

The amount of protein required in your cat’s diet will vary depending on your cat and its age. For example, senior cats require less protein than younger cats as older cats do not exert themselves as often. Talk to your vet if you are unsure about how much to feed your cat.

author avatar
Charles Grisham