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Cat foods compared

By Siobhan Chan

Is it worth spending extra on luxurious food for your feline friend? Find out what your cat needs in its diet.

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Choosing the right kind of food for your cat is vital for making sure it gets the nutrients it needs to stay healthy. But with hundreds of choices in the supermarket, it can be hard to know what to buy - and how much to spend. 

So what do you need to consider when you're deciding what food is best for your cat? To find out, we asked Dr Teresa Hollands, nutrition lead at the University of Surrey's School of Veterinary Medicine, to give us her expert verdict on well-known brands of wet and dry cat food. 

Read on for our comparison of the top brands of cat food and find out how they stack up when compared to a premium product. 

And for more on how to save money on pet care, see our guide to cat insurance reviews.

Standard vs premium: cat foods compared

We investigated brands with a standard and a premium cat food, to find out whether the diet is any better when you pay more. Because each cat food has different feeding instructions on the pack, you should watch out for a false economy with some products, where you may have to feed your cat more of a cheap product because each gram of it contains fewer nutrients. We've worked out how much it really costs to feed your cat every year using widely available brands. 

We also looked at the claims made on the packaging and give our expert verdict on whether premium food is worth the extra expense. 

Which? members can log in to access the tables below. If you're not already a member, take a £1 trial to Which? to get instant access to our cat food tables.

Dry cat food - GoCat
Products compared GoCat Complete
Pet food cat food Purina GoCat Complete
GoCat Crunchy and Tender
Pet food cat food Purina GoCat Complete
Price £2.27 for 825g £3 for 800g
Protein per day Subscriber only content Subscriber only content
Cost per year Subscriber only content Subscriber only content
Claims GoCat promises high-quality protein for toned muscles, and essential minerals and vitamins for healthy teeth and bones. Urinary tract health is supported by the right balance of minerals, the packaging claims. 'Contains crunchy kibbles, to help maintain healthy teeth and gums, and some softer, more tender kibbles that provide extra nutrition to your cat. They are richer in meat, proteins and vitamin D, which help maintain muscle tone and strong bones.'
Expert verdict Get our expert view - log in or take a £1 trial to Which?
Wet cat food - Gourmet
Products compared Gourmet Gold
pet food cat food gourmet gold
Gourmet Solitaire
pet food cat food gourmet solitaire
Price 50p for 85g 75p for 85g
Protein per day Subscriber only content Subscriber only content
Cost per year Subscriber only content Subscriber only content
Expert verdict Get our expert view - log in or take a £1 trial to Which?

Key things to look for when buying cat food

If you choose a 'complete' cat food, it should contain all the vitamins and minerals that your cat needs to stay healthy. A 'complementary' cat food doesn't contain all the essential nutrients a cat needs, so it's likely you'll have to supplement complementary food with complete food.

The ingredients on the packaging are listed in order of quantity, so if meat is at the top of the list, it means the product contains more meat than any other ingredient. If the front of the packaging names one type of meat or any other food, such as rice or vegetables, the ingredients list has to state how much of it is actually in the food. So a cat food 'with chicken' must tell you the percentage of chicken it's made up of. 

Cats’ dietary needs differ from dogs' needs as they are obligate carnivores, which means they must eat meat to survive. They also need taurine, a nutrient found in meat that has to be specifically added to cat food.

Protein in cat food can come from meat sources, which naturally contain more taurine, or from cereals such as wheat. When cat foods contain more cereal than meat, extra taurine must be added.

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