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Updated: 21 Apr 2022

Best and worst cat food brands

From Felix to Whiskas – we reveal which cat food brands offer the best value for money and the favourites that get cats purring.
Paula Flores

We've quizzed 1,558 Which? members about the cat food they use, to discover which brands they rate highly and which brands fail to impress their feline friends. 

Members told us what they thought of every aspect of their cat's food, from value for money to quality of ingredients and their cat’s reaction to the food.

Find out which cat food brand came out on top and which brands are considered poor, with unimpressive scores below 50%. 

Our survey helps you identify the cheap supermarket options worth buying (and those to avoid), as well as the brands that live up to their higher prices.

Plus, get expert advice on choosing the best cat food for your pet.

Which cat food brand is best?

Any commercially manufactured pet food in the UK labelled 'complete' that meets PFMA (Pet Food Manufacturing Association) guidelines will contain all the nutritional requirements for your pet.

Though, Justine Shotton, BVA President, does say that diets 'should be adapted to the cat's lifestyle, age, breed and any health conditions.' So it's worth speaking to a vet when you get a new cat.

Cat food brands rated by customers

Our unique survey reveals how popular cat food brands, including Iams, James Wellbeloved, Royal Canin, Purina One and Whiskas were rated by customers. 

Brands are rated on value, quality of ingredients and how much the cat liked the food, as well as overall satisfaction and likelihood of recommending.  

Cat food brands customer satisfaction survey ratings

Cat food brands customer satisfaction survey ratings

BrandCustomer scoreValue for moneyQuality of ingredientsVariety of flavours availablePet's reaction to the food
Aldi own-brand (112)
Applaws (105)
Asda (53)
Blink! (38)
Encore (102)
Felix (292)
Go Cat (233)

The results are based on an online survey of 3,122 members of the Which? Connect panel conducted in November 2021. Sample sizes in brackets. ‘-’ means not enough responses to include a star rating. Logged out results listed in alphabetical order.

Want more detail on how popular cat food brands compare? See our dedicated guides to Royal Canin, Purina One, Iams, James Wellbeloved and Whiskas cat food.

Best cheap cat food

Varying package sizes and different portion size recommendations makes it tricky working out how much your cat food is actually costing you each month.

We've compared the monthly cost of the most popular brands of cat food, as well as the best and worst scoring brands from our survey, based on an average 4kg cat on a simple dry food diet.

Cat food monthly costs compared

Log in now to compare monthly costs between Royal Canin, Purina One, James Wellbeloved, Meowing Heads and Whiskas cat food.

Don't forget to find out the best pet insurance for your cat. Also a dog owner? See the best dog food brands.

How to choose the best cat food

Choosing the right food can make all the difference to the health and happiness of your cat.  

Signs that your cat is eating a nutritious diet include:

  • clear and bright eyes
  • a shiny and dandruff-free coat
  • plenty of enthusiasm for life
  • a lack of excess body fat – you should be able to feel their ribs and see their waist.  

Cats choose their food based on smell, texture and how they feel once they start to digest it. They also like to 'graze' eating small amounts throughout the day, so it's best to leave food out for them (unless they are eating too much and putting on weight).

Commercial cat food is classed as either complete or complementary: complete foods provide a balanced array of vital nutrients and are a one-stop solution, while complementary foods need to be combined with other foods to form a complete balanced diet.

Which is healthier for my cat: dry or wet food?

There is some debate regarding whether one is better than the other. The BVA says 'there's not enough evidence to recommend one over the other, there are advantages to both. A vet will be able to recommend the most suitable diet.'

You can feed your cat wet food or dry food, or a mixture of both. 

‘Complete’ pet foods must, by law, contain all the nutrients in the right proportions that a pet needs for healthy bodily function. You can check on the PFMA website to find out whether your pet food brand's manufacturer is a member.

Beyond this, it's really about what your individual pet likes the taste of and how much you are willing to spend.

Wet vs dry cat food

Wet cat foods are very popular and are generally very appetising to cats. However, they are more expensive as the recommended feeding amounts are generally higher. In our member survey, 92% of cat owners said they feed a dry diet. Owners who feed their cat wet food should also monitor their pet's teeth, as wet foods tend to predispose them to dental disease. 

Dry foods are usually the most economical and easiest for you to feed and store. Dry cat food can be left out all day for your cat to nibble on and is beneficial for their teeth and gums. What's key is the amount you feed your furry companion, as pet obesity is rapidly on the rise. 

Here's what animal charity PDSA suggests you look for and what to avoid when choosing the right cat food.

Look for:

  • A complete and commercial cat food, that's part of the PFMA
  • Mea – cats can't be vegetarian as they need taurine that's found in animal protein
  • Life-stage feeding – buy something age-appropriate for your cat, such as kitten, senior etc.

Avoid:

  • Too many snacks
  • Milk – cows' milk contains sugar that cats find hard to digest, which can cause tummy upsets
  • Food scraps – can cause fussy cats at mealtimes and can unbalance their diet

If you plan to change your cat's diet it's best to slowly introduce the new food by mixing it with the old food over a week or so, to help them adjust.

Should I feed my cat raw cat food? 

empty silver pet food bowl

Raw pet food has become more popular over the past few years (particularly for dogs), but experts don't generally recommend it, particularly DIY versions.

Justine Shotton of the BVA told us there is a risk of nutritional deficiencies with feeding raw food (eg low taurine in cats or high vitamin A), and risks associated with handling raw meats – both for pets and members of the household.

Some manufacturers produce frozen and freeze-dried raw cat food in both complete and complementary varieties, and the PFMA states that commercially prepared raw cat food marked as ‘complete’ has been formulated to provide the nutritional balance a cat needs in its daily diet, so if you are keen to switch, this is a safer bet.

Only 4% of members told us they feed their cat a raw food diet. Out of those, only 7% said they would never go back to dry or wet food.

See our guide to the best dog food brands.

Is my cat overweight?

Pet obesity is the top welfare concern for vets. According to Cats.org.uk, overweight cats are usually defined as being more than 15% over their ideal weight.

Cats put on weight by eating more food than they need, and it can take time and a bit of effort to get them back into shape. You can get diet pet food from the vet,  and many vets run weight control clinics that provide check-ups, some of which are free of charge, to help you to check if the diet is working.

Checking your cat's weight

Very thin

Very little muscle, jutting ribs, backbone and hipbones, no body fat

Underweight

A little fat over hipbones, can see ribs and backbone, obvious tucked-in waist

Ideal

Smooth, tucked-in waist, can feel ribs, backbone and hips but not prominent, abdominal fat pad just visible

Overweight

No waist, ribs, backbone and hipbones difficult to feel, enlarged abdominal fat pad

Obese

Round body, cannot feel ribs, backbone or hipbones, fat pad hanging under cat

cat looking for blue eyes

Is my cat obese? Spot the signs

Cats.org.uk suggests looking out for:

  • Fatty deposits on their limbs and face
  • Thicker fat pads over their ribs and spine
  • Hard to feel your cat's ribs due to fat covering them
  • Your cat's belly is rounded and may even have a 'pad' of fat that sags down
  • No obvious waist
  • Backbone may be covered with large fatty deposits and can't be felt or seen.

If you think your four-legged friend might be overweight, book in a visit with your local vet for advice and an action plan.

How much should I feed my cat?

Ensure you're feeding your feline the correct amount by measuring out each meal on a set of weighing scales. A few extra bits of kibble or jelly might not seem like a lot, but they can massively contribute to weight gain. 

Most commercial cat food comes with feeding guidelines on the packaging based on your cat's weight and activity levels. If you're unsure, ask your vet.

Your vet will be able to advise you on how often you should be feeding your cat, depending on its individual needs.

sleeping grey cat on bed

My pet has allergies, should I buy hypoallergenic cat food? 

Some pets appear to be sensitive or intolerant to certain ingredients and additives and this can cause a variety of problems.  

Common symptoms include, lethargy, aggressive or hyperactive behaviour, chronic skin and ear problems, slime and jelly being passed with the stools, and flatulence, bloating and weight gain or loss.  

The most common food intolerances appear to be colourings, sugars, wheat, milk and soya. Obviously not all pets are sensitive to these things, but if the effects keep re-occurring it’s best to consult your vet.

My cat's not eating

If your cat seems off their food, it's not necessarily them being fussy. 

Perhaps another animal or a new baby has been introduced to the family? Or you've recently bought a bowl or changed their feeding area? If a cat’s surroundings change suddenly, this can cause behaviour like going off their food. Give your cat a quiet, comfortable place to eat, away from noise and distraction if possible.

Even if your cat seems off their food, keep giving them food and fresh water, and keep an eye on their behaviour and it should go back to normal in a couple of days. If your cat seems healthy, happy and lively, has a good coat and clear eyes, there is generally little cause for concern.

If your cat is off their food for an extended period of time, make a trip to your vet.

What about cat treats?

Although they are less popular dog versions, cat treats are on the rise: 34% of our members already give treats on a daily basis and another 16% do it twice a day.  

However, treats also contribute to the daily amount of food you feed your pet so you should take this into consideration when measuring food. As Justine Shotton told us: 'Feeding too many treats can be a case of killing our pets with kindness.'

Ensure you're feeding your feline friend the correct amount by measuring out each meal on a set of weighing scales. 

One strategy the BVA shared 'Owners can keep some kibble and feed it during the day as treats. But, more than treats, pets love a cuddle and quality time with their owners.'

sleeping grey cat

Which? cat food survey

Which? customer scores are based on how satisfied customers are with the brand overall, and whether or not they’d recommend it if asked. 

To find out which are the best and worst cat food brands, in November 2021 we surveyed 3,122 Which? members who'd bought pet food recently and asked about their experiences with their chosen brand.

For more details on the most bought-from brands from above, visit our reviews of Royal Canin, Purina One, Iams, James Wellbeloved and Whiskas cat food.


This article uses insights from the Which? Connect panel, collected from research activities with our members. Find out how to get involved