This is our review of the best cat food for picky cats in 2023.
As a cat owner, it’s important to make sure your feline friend is getting all of the nutrients they need. But because they’re obligate carnivores, cats have slightly higher standards than dogs–and some cats are pickier than others.
If you’re looking for some new food for your finicky cat, you’ve come to the right place. We’ve done some research on a variety of products and have narrowed down the best cat food for picky cats.
Regardless of your cat’s age, texture preference, or food sensitivities, there’s likely to be something on this list that’ll have them licking the bowl clean.
- Item form: Wet
- Ingredients: Tuna
- Item form: Dry
- Ingredients: Salmon
- Item form: Dry
- Ingredients: Chicken
- Item form: Gravy
- Ingredients: Chicken
- Item form: Dry
- Ingredients: Chicken
How We Picked Cat Foods For Picky Cats
While researching the appropriate cat food for picky cats, we considered two main qualities: ingredients and nutritional value.
We made sure to choose cat foods with high animal protein content. As carnivores, cats will generally want something that tastes like freshly hunted prey; so when you choose cat food with animal protein as a main ingredient, they’ll be more likely to enjoy it.
We also considered the nutritional value of these featured cat foods; each item on this list has plenty of animal protein and other essential nutrients.
Once you find a food that your picky cat likes, you will probably want to stick with it–so it’s important to find one that’ll keep them nourished.
Best Cat Foods For Picky Cats
1. Tiki Cat Aloha Friends Variety Pack
Tuna is the first ingredient of every flavor in this variety pack, so you don’t have to worry about any unnecessary fillers. Other protein sources include tilapia and even shrimp! Overall, Tiki Cat Aloha is high in essential proteins that your cat needs to thrive.
Another major component in this cat food is pumpkin, which provides antioxidants. These are important for your cat’s health, as they can help strengthen their immune system.
Pumpkin also includes fiber, which promotes a healthy digestive system. So if your cat struggles with constipation or other stomach issues, this food may be an excellent choice.
Because this is a wet food, it is more likely to appeal to picky cats than dry food. Though some owners may view this as a downside, its strong and fishy smell makes it all the more appetizing for your furry friend.
Wet food can also keep your cat well-hydrated, which helps prevent urinary issues in the long run.
Because this product is a variety pack, you can try out a few different flavors to see which one your cat likes best. Even the pickiest eaters are likely to enjoy at least one of these flavors.
With its excellent nutritional value and appealing flavors, it’s safe to say this is the best food for picky cats.
- Has a scent that picky eaters are more likely to enjoy
- Helps the digestive system and urinary tract
- High in antioxidants
- Multiple flavors to choose from
- Meat is the first ingredient
- Has a scent that’s pleasant for cats, but not for cat owners
2. Taste of the Wild Canyon River
Seafood-loving cats will enjoy this cat food because trout is the very first ingredient. Not only is trout high in protein, but it also contains plenty of omega fatty acids.
These fats can help keep your cat’s skin healthy and their fur glossy and soft. There are no fillers either, so you can expect every ingredient to add flavor and valuable nutrients.
Another notable component of this cat food is sweet potatoes. This root vegetable is an excellent source of fiber and antioxidants, making Taste of the Wild a perfect choice for kitties with sensitive stomachs or weak immune systems.
As far as dry food goes, it’s safe to say that this is the best dry cat food for picky eaters.
- High in fiber, omega fats, and antioxidants
- The seafood taste is appealing to picky cats
- Includes prebiotics to help digestion
- It’s a dry food, which can lead to urinary issues
3. Royal Canin Feline Health
Its first ingredient is chicken meal, giving this food a strong poultry flavor that cats love. It also includes brown rice, which is beneficial for kittens with sensitive digestive systems.
Many kittens struggle to adapt to solid food, but this food from Royal Canin makes it fairly easy. The kibbles are small and easy for tiny kitten mouths to chew.
It is also very high in protein, antioxidants, fiber, and other essential vitamins that a growing kitten needs to thrive.
Overall, this food has a texture and scent that cats will find appealing. If you are raising a kitten, it’s important to give them both dry and wet food, so let this tasty cat food be their introduction to dry kibble!
- Has an appealing texture and scent
- First ingredient is chicken
- Great for kittens with sensitive stomachs
- One of the most expensive products on this list
- Contains grains
4. SHEBA Perfect Portions Entrees
It has a pungent scent that humans may not enjoy, but cats find simply delicious. The main components are chicken, fish, and livers, all of which are flavorful and high in taurine, an essential amino acid for carnivores.
Another notable component of this cat food is fish oil; this is an excellent source of omega fats, which keep your cat’s skin and fur clean and healthy. It also contains vitamin D, which is especially important for indoor cats who may not get as much sunlight.
Not only is this food tasty and nutritious, but serving it is pretty convenient. Sheba Perfect Portions Entrees come in small packages that you can simply peel open and scoop into your cat’s food dish, making feeding time easier than ever.
Overall, this is the best wet cat food for picky cats. You can serve this as a meal on its own, or if you’re trying to transition your dry food-loving cats over to wet food, you can easily mix it in with dry kibble as well.
And because this product comes in a variety pack, there’s a good chance they’ll enjoy at least one of the flavors.
- Serving is quick and easy
- High in essential nutrients such as taurine and omega fatty acids
- One of the cheapest options on this list
- Contains artificial colors
5. Natural Balance
Green peas and chicken are the two main components of this cat food. Chicken provides taurine, an essential nutrient for carnivores. Chicken is also what gives this kibble its meaty flavor that will have even picky cats purring. The peas, on the other hand, help aid digestion and even add an extra boost of protein.
Another notable component of this cat food is salmon oil. This adds some fishy flavor to the food, as well as some essential omega acids for healthy skin and fur.
Natural Balance’s cat food recipe is all-natural and free of artificial dyes or flavors. It is also grain-free, which makes it even more friendly for cats with sensitive stomachs or allergies.
This healthy cat food will have your feline friends licking their lips and begging for more. Even picky cats are likely to enjoy its hearty chicken flavor!
- Great for cats with allergies or stomach sensitivities
- All-natural ingredients
- Does not have animal protein as the first ingredient
How Dry vs. Wet Cat Food Differs For Picky Cats
We featured both dry and wet cat food on this list. As a cat owner, you may be wondering–which one is better?
Overall, wet cat food is the best option for your cat’s health. Cats are very prone to dehydration, even if you have a water bowl available.
This is because cats are desert animals, which get most of their liquids from the food they eat. They lack the mechanism that humans have that tells them when they need to drink.
So when you give your cat wet food, you can help keep them hydrated.
There are some benefits to feeding your cats dry food, though. For instance, it is much more convenient than dealing with wet food. It is less messy and tends to lack the unpleasant odor that many cat owners dread when opening a can of wet food.
In addition, many cats simply prefer the taste of dry food over wet food. And when you are dealing with picky eaters, it is tempting to let them eat whatever they want.
However, the downsides of dry food are hard to overlook. Dry food diets put your cat at risk of dehydration, which can lead to health issues such as urinary tract blockages. Dry cat food also tends to have more fillers such as corn and grains, which can lower the quality and nutritional value.
So overall, wet food is a better option than dry food. But if you choose to feed your cat dry food, find something high-quality and make sure they have plenty of water available.
You could even soak their dry food in some water to help prevent dehydration.
What to Do If Your Cat Is Not Eating Their Food
If your cat is a finicky eater, there are a few ways you can get them to eat their food–even if it’s food they don’t particularly like.
For instance, you can purchase flavored gravies to pour on top of their food. This can make it taste and smell much more appealing. It also adds more liquid to your cat’s diet, which can help keep them hydrated.
You could also try mixing in a few of their favorite treats with the food they are struggling to eat. Of course, this should not become regular practice–too many treats can lead to health issues.
However, throwing in a few cat treats or a scoop of tuna to their food every once in a while can be a great way to help pique their appetite.
If your cat suddenly stops eating food they once enjoyed, it is possible the recipe changed or they simply grew tired of it; however, it could also be a sign that they are having trouble eating altogether.
If you find your cat is becoming more “picky” as of late, it may not be the food–it may be an underlying issue. Consider taking your cat to the vet if they are truly struggling to eat.
How to Make Sure My Cat Is Getting Enough Nutrition
Making sure your cat gets the right nutrition can be pretty difficult, even if they aren not a picky eater. So if your feline has a finicky palate, keeping them healthy can be all the more difficult.
To ensure that your cat is getting all of the essential nutrients, be sure to read the ingredients on their cat food labels. Avoid giving them anything with corn or other types of grains, as these are fillers that provide no nutritional value.
Taurine is essential for a cat’s health. To ensure they are getting enough of this amino acid, make sure that some type of animal product is the first or second ingredient on the list.
You should also consider your cat’s individual needs. Kittens have different dietary requirements compared to adults, and older cats with bad teeth may require special diets.
Even if it is difficult to find a food your picky cat likes, finding one that fulfills their nutritional needs should be your top priority.
Frequently Asked Questions
Still have questions? Here are the answers to a few common questions that owners of picky cats may be asking.
Finding the best tasting cat food can require some trial and error. Knowing your cat’s preferences can be difficult, but if you’ve had your cat for a while, you may have a general idea of what their preferences are. And if you’re trying to find food for your newly adopted cat, don’t be afraid to test a variety of cat foods to see what they like best.
Some cats prefer chicken, while others may like tuna or even beef. Once you discover your cat’s favorite protein, try to stick with a food that incorporates it.
In general, cats also tend to like food with a more pungent smell. This may be unpleasant to cat owners, but a strong smell makes cat food all the more enticing for your furry friend.
So if your cat has been turning their nose up at the odorless dry food, try going for the wet food–there’s a good chance they’ll like it better.
Yes, you can feed both wet and dry food to your cat. This is a great way to feed your cat if they enjoy dry food better than wet, while still ensuring that they stay properly hydrated.
You can alternate between dry and wet food, or even mix them together. Many cats simply love the texture of some juicy wet food scooped on top of dry kibble!
The amount of food you should feed your cat varies on their weight, age, and overall health. In general, the amount of daily food for a cat ranges between ⅓ a cup and ½ cup of food per day.
Many cat food packages will have a feeding chart on the back that can help you determine how much your kitty needs to eat.
However, if your cat is on a special diet or has health issues, it may be best to consult a vet. They can help determine how much your cat needs to eat every day.