The best foods for cats should contain a high amount of protein and moisture whilst maintaining a low level of carbohydrates. Low quality (and generally cheaper) dry cat foods typically have have the opposite make up to this as they generally have a low amount of meat content. In this guide, we explore some of the better options available to you, what you should consider when choosing one, and review the best dry cat foods in the UK.
If you are looking for the best wet cat foods you can check out our best wet cat food guide.
Best Dry Cat Food
We’ve compiled the best rated dry cat foods from this guide for easy viewing. You can view a full breakdown of our reviews further down this guide.
What ingredients should I look for in dry cat food?
Legally, cat food manufacturers are required to list their ingredients in order of the highest proportion first (i.e. the ingredient that makes up the largest percentage of the cat food will be listed first). For this reason, you should take note of the first few ingredients listed on the back of the cat food, paying particular attention to:
- Large amounts of meat protein – Cats are naturally carnivorous and generally thrive on animal proteins. Look for foods with proteins making up 30% or more of the food. The higher the meat content, the better the food (but often the more expensive!). Look for named meats (e.g. chicken, or beef) rather than extracts or derivatives.
- High amounts of moisture – dry cat foods are typically lower in moisture than wet cat foods (15% vs 70-80% in wet food). Cats are generally poor drinkers, and often don’t drink as much as they should. Look for foods with high moisture content and make sure your cat has a fresh source of water (a bowl of water or a water fountain if your cat prefers moving water).
- Low amounts of Carbohydrates – excess of carbs can cause weight and muscle problems. Look for foods with lower levels of carbs to increase the chance of your cat remaining lean and healthy.
Dry Cat Food Reviews
These are our top dry cat foods in the UK, including great options for cats with dental health issues, sensitive stomachs or hairballs. We have included major cat food brands in our reviews including Purina, IAMS and Whiskas. Our dry cat food reviews are ordered by overall rating from highest to lowest.
1. Purina ONE Bifensis Adult Dry Cat Food Chicken
The Purina ONE Bifensis Adult Dry Cat food comes out on top of our list as the best overall dry cat food. It is rich in chicken (17%) and whole grain (17%) which will ensure a high level of protein and will ensure your cat gets a wholesome meal. At 34% protein, and with only 14% fat content, this food came out highly rated based on its nutritional benefits.
Purina ONE has all the essential vitamins and minerals that will guarantee your fussy cats stay healthy. Developed by vets and nutritionists, Bifensis is a unique nutritional formula with beneficial bacteria scientifically proven to help support your cats natural defences. The minerals promote a healthy urinary tract while the omega six fatty acids give your cat a glossy coat and healthy skin.
The kibble measures just under 1cm in width (as shown in the images below), and is one of the easier foods we tested to crunch. The food itself has a very light odour compared to other foods, and this was our cat testers top choice when presented with our top 4 choices.
The food is rich in vitamin D which helps to strengthen your cat’s bones, and it is the best option for indoor cats since they rarely go out to get their daily vitamin D intake from the sun.
2. Scrumbles Adult & Senior Chicken Dry Cat Food
Protein Content: 34%
Fat Content: 20%
Scrumbles Adult and Senior dry food is an exceptional dry cat food, and our favourite premium dry cat food. The kibble contains a huge 75% chicken and 20% rice, meaning the dry food is rich in protein (34%). This food is gluten, soy and dairy free and is made with 100% natural ingredients.
The kibble was the smallest that we tested (measuring between 6-7mm each) which made it the easiest to crunch and eat (our cats hoovered it down!). The kibble didn’t have as strong an odour as the other dry cat foods that we tested, so is a great choice if you’re fed up of the smellier cheaper alternatives.
Scrumbles kibble has over 1 billion live bacteria which helps to support the immune system and form gut friendly pick up poos. The food includes added cranberries to support a healthy urinary tract and to support a healthy skin and coat.
Our cats absolutely loved Scrumbles Chicken dry food, and the quality of the food is clear (its also available in Chicken & Salmon flavour, and a separate mix for kittens). It is however the most expensive food that we reviewed, which pushed it down to second in our ratings. Overall the food is an excellent choice, and we love that it is made of natural ingredients and made with our cats health in mind.
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3. WHISKAS Dry Cat Food for Adult Cats
Protein Content: 30%
Fat Content: 12.4%
The Whiskas 1+ Dry Cat Food for Adult Cats comes out as our best value dried cat food. It is a great value option for a complete and balanced dry cat food. Understandably, this cat food has a lower percentage (4%) of animal protein to make it more affordable, but provides everything your cat nutritionally needs for a long and happy life.
This cat food for adult cats contains various essential oils, vitamins, and minerals that promote the overall health of your cat. Chicken is the main protein and milk is also included in the form of dried milky treats which act as a source of calcium and phosphorous for your cat.
The food itself has a variety of sizes and flavours, meaning it adds a good level of variety for your cat. The pack contains both the largest and smallest kibble that we tested (14mm and 8mm) and had a great crunch that will be excellent for your cats teeth. Despite the cheaper cost, this food was extremely popular with our cat testers, with all 4 cats happily eating it with none refusing it.
Whiskas tasty fill pockets help to clean your cats teeth with a gentle abrasive effect. Whiskas recommend that you combine this food with 2 pouches of wet food, but it can also be used in a dry food only diet.
4. IAMS for Vitality Hairball Reduction Dry Cat Food
Protein Content: 35%
Fat Content: 14%
IAMs for Vitality Hairball Reduction Dry Cat Food is our top pick for cats that struggle with hairballs. With 41% dried chicken and turkey as the main ingredient, this food is protein rich (89% animal protein) which ranks as the highest on our list. The high protein level, combined with the high quality of the food make this one of the pricier options which drops it down our list on value.
The food has a tailored fibre blend to minimise hairball formation and to improve digestion. With no fillers, artificial colours or flavours, this crunchy kibble is a high quality food with tailored mineral levels to aid healthy teeth.
The food itself was one of the tougher foods that we tested, as it was particularly difficult to crunch. It was similarly sized to other foods measuring approximately 1cm in length, and didn’t have a particularly strong odour. 3 out of 4 of our cat testers were happy to eat the food, with one cat trying it but ultimately refusing it.
Taurine is one of the essential components in Iams, which are useful for maintaining a healthy heart and eyes, and regular consumption of this cat food will give your feline friend a lovely silky coat.
5. James Wellbeloved Dry Cat Food
Protein Content: 33%
Fat Content: 16.5%
This brand of dry cat food for adults is loved by many people because it is made from natural foods with no artificial flavours. That makes it a bit pricey compared to the regular cat foods in the market. It comes in a 10kg (or 4kg) pack which can feed two adult cats for three months.
Fish meal (27.5%) is the main protein which and it has been combined with rice as the carbohydrate to give your cat energy. Protein (33% of this food) helps to keep your cat lean and muscular, and that is why most adult dry cat foods contain large portions of protein compared to carbs (16.5% fat content).
The food itself is one of the smellier foods that we tested, with a strong fish smell (other flavours are available). This was particularly attractive to our cats, but it could put you off if your cat food is located near to busy parts of your house. The kibble has a unique shape and was particularly easy to crunch. The food was a hit with all 4 of our cat testers who were happy to gobble this one up!
The food boasts benefits that include helping to your cat to develop a shiny coat, and supporting a healthy gut flora. The food is particularly good if your cat has a sensitive stomach or particularly smelly poo. For the price, this food is a great all rounder.
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6. Go-Cat Adult Cat Food Tuna Herring and Veg
Most cats love tuna and what better way to make them happy than to buy them cat food made of tuna chunks. This dry cat food is affordable, and it comes in a 10kg bag which makes it economical compared to purchasing smaller packets.
Tuna is the main protein in this dry cat food, and it ensures your cat stays lean. The tuna-shaped biscuits are crunchy, and the different colours also play a significant role in intriguing the cats.
The vegetable proteins help in maintaining the overall health of the cat, and there are added minerals and vitamins like vitamin A which improve your cat’s eyesight, ferrous sulphate which boosts your cat’s blood count, calcium which strengthens bones and taurine which promotes a healthy heart.
The most appealing part of this brand of adult dry cat food is the fact that the tuna biscuits remain moist even after opening the bag. Therefore, you won’t have to worry about the quality of the food you are feeding your cat.
7. Harrington’s Cat Food
If your cat is suffering from digestion issues, this is the best dry cat food for them. It has been specially formulated with probiotics that improve your cat’s digestion, and they also get rid of flatulence and bloating.
It is also pocket-friendly, and chicken is the main protein while the rice serves as a carbohydrate. The primary role of carbohydrates is to give your cat energy. However, you should be keen not to feed your cats with too many carbs since they, might become obese, especially if you are keeping an indoor cat.
Omega 3 supplements that boost immunity are also included together with calcium and phosphorous which promote healthy and sharp teeth. This adult dry cat food comes in a 2kg bag which makes it portable in case you have to travel with your cat.
8. Purina Pro Plan Cat Food
This adult dry cat food is one of the best brands in the market for cats with sensitive stomachs. The prebiotics will boost your cat’s digestive system, and the crunchiness of the biscuits will strengthen your cat’s teeth.
Most cats like the chicken flavor and regular consumption of this dry adult cat food will help control the hairball menace. Your cats will end up with beautiful skin and on top that, this brand of dry cat food has been specially formulated to promote healthy kidneys. Therefore, your cat’s urinary system will be in excellent condition.
The price is fair considering the quality of the cat food and most cat owners who purchased it for their cats ended up loving it.
9. Thrive Premium Plus Cat Food
This dry cat food is meant for cats with sensitive stomachs and allergic to certain foodstuffs. It is wheat and gluten free and the protein content is very high to ensure your cat stays lean.
It is a good product if you have an obese cat and you would like them to lose weight. The protein will help build up your cat?s muscles, and in return, they will be able to burn fats faster leading to the weight loss.
The carbohydrates constitute a small percentage, and they are essential for giving your cat energy. The main sugars here are sweet potatoes which are healthy carbs, since they are not refined. Refined carbohydrates typically lead to additional weight gain.
Thrive premium plus cat food is very affordable, and the bag is resalable. Therefore, your cat’s food will remain fresh and moist. Continuous consumption will give your cat a soft, shiny coat and you can mix it once in a while with wet food to ensure your cats stay hydrated at all times.
10. Purina Pro Plan Dry Cat Food – Veterinary Diets
All cats need to have proteins in their diet and like humans too; some cats do get allergic reactions when they eat proteins. Purina Pro Plan dry cat food has factored in those cats, and they can safely consume this product. The proteins have been broken down into very small bits that cannot mediate an allergic reaction.
This adult dry cat food is also famous for boosting urinary tract health, and some clients have given positive reviews of their cat’s urinary tract problems improving after purchasing this product.
It is also recommended for cats with digestive tract problems, and it helps control bloating and smelly cat litter. Regular feeding will improve your cat’s digestion tremendously.
The 3.5kg bag will serve you for at least one month depending on the size of your feline friend, and the best part is that the food resembles rice crispies. Your cat will definitely have a fun time munching.
The price is not too high, and you are guaranteed value for your money. This dry cat food for adult comes with a lot of added benefits in addition to filling up your cat’s stomach.
Why Dry Cat Food?
Dry cat food resembles biscuits, and they do not contain as much water like wet foods. However, they are equally important, and they have several benefits too. Some of the benefits include;
- They are more economical to buy. Dry cat foods are far cheaper than canned food, and they last for a longer duration as long as you use a reputable cat food storage container.
- Dry foods help to strengthen the cats’ teeth compared to wet food which are too moist. Since cats don’t brush teeth like humans (unless you are using a cat toothbrush), the cat biscuits indirectly help to clean the cats’ teeth as they chew.
- Dry cat foods take a longer time to digest therefore they stay in your cat’s stomach for a long period. Your cat will remain full, and they will not need to keep eating every few minutes.
- Unlike wet foods, you can leave the dry food on the cat’s bowl without worrying that they will become dry since they are already dry.
- Dry foods maintain their freshness for an extended period compared to wet foods which should be consumed within two hours of opening the can making them a great option if you use an automatic cat feeder
- Dry cat foods are not prone to attracting bacteria if they are left in an open bowl compared to regular homemade food or canned food. After your cat is done eating, the remaining wet food should be discarded since it will not be safe after an extended period of exposure. The bacteria present in the environment may lead to food poisoning.
How we chose which dry cat foods to review
We have tried a lot of dry cat foods with our cats over the years, so we have plenty of experience of the good and the bad.
When choosing which products to review we tried to choose a variety of products that fitted different price brackets, whilst also considering the following:
- Highest rated products based on real customer reviews
- Offering a complete diet for your cat
- Is the food from the most reputable brands on the market?
- Is the food easily available from supermarkets and shops?
How we tested the dry cat food
Each food featured in this guide has been purchased, tested and eaten by real cats!
Before sending the food out to be tested with real cats, we bought all 9 foods featured in this guide. We opened each food and compared them side by side, testing its size, crunch and smell and nutritional value. We offered our cats each of the 9 cat foods to identify those that the cat was drawn to first.
Once this process had been completed, we shortlisted 4 leading products that were then sent out to our real cat testers. Each of the testers completed a set list of questions, returning their pros and cons and feedback on each product. Once this process had been completed, we then combined this data with the nutritional benefits of each food before rating them from 1st to 9th.
What else should you consider?
The main drawback of dry food is the lack of moisture that your cat will gain from eating it. Cats naturally aren’t great water drinkers and often get dehydrated.
Vets generally recommend that you feed your cat a mix of both dry and wet cat food to help hydrate your cat.
If you will only be feeding your cat dry cat food, you should ensure your cat has sufficient fresh water, and if your cat doesn’t drink from still water, you could look at a cat water fountain to try to persuade them to drink more.
It is advisable to feed your cat with both dry foods and wet foods. You should strike a balance between the two since too much of each type could come with complications.
Too much of dry food could lead to constipation while too much of wet food can lead to your cat having loose bowel movements.
You should also note that dry foods contain a much lower amount of protein compared to wet foods. Therefore, you should be feeding your cat with healthy proteins once in a while like homemade chicken. This is to make sure that your cat does not become malnourished.