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Here Are The Best Budget Cat Foods

We don't always have a lot of cash to spend on cat food.

While many cat owners would love to buy quality tuna and caviar for their feline companion, most households simply cannot afford it.

Fortunately, some low-cost cat foods are of great quality. When shopping for low-cost cat food, you must make certain sacrifices. No high-quality cat chow is going to be cheap!

The secret is to know where to cut corners while still providing quality food for your cat. This post will teach you how to accomplish just that.

BestForPets' (bestforpets.org) reviews cover some of the best budget cat foods on the market, and our buyer's guide will assist you in selecting the best option for your cat.


Overall Winner: Wellness Complete Health Grain-Free Dry Cat Food

Wellness Complete is one of the more reasonably priced brands available. They do, however, include high-quality components in their compositions.

The first three elements in this formula are derived from beef. Deboned chicken comes first, followed by chicken meal and turkey dinner. All of these ingredients are excellent choices for our felines.

A high percentage of animal protein is uncommon in low-cost cat food. While this is not the cheapest cat chow available, the price is unheard of. This is essentially why we think it’s the best overall budget cat food.

Although the formula is grain-free, it does contain some starchy potatoes. It also contains no meat byproducts, artificial flavors, colors, or preservatives. It does not contain any maize, wheat, or soy. Every element has a purpose.

This food, like all Wellness formulations, is created in the United States. However, ingredients are supplied from all around the world.

The main disadvantage of this recipe is that it contains peas. Peas are abundant in protein, which is why they are commonly used in pet feeds.

They do not, however, deliver the same high-quality protein as animal-based protein. When looking at the protein content, keep in mind that not all of it is of high quality.

Overall, we believe this is the greatest affordable cat food in terms of price, not quality.


  • Grain-free
  • There is plenty of animal meat included.
  • Artificial flavors, colors, and preservatives are not used.
  • There will be no corn, wheat, or soy.
  • Obesity prevention may be possible.


  • Peas are abundant in this product.


Whitefish & Tuna Dry Cat Food by Whole Earth Farms – Best Value

Whole Earth Farms Grain-Free Real Whitefish & Tuna Recipe Dry Cat Food is the finest value for money among all cat meals on the market. It does, however, have many of the main attributes that we look for when assessing cat food.

As an example, the first ingredient is animal meat. Whitefish dish is an excellent choice for any feline. It is extremely nutrient dense and has already had a significant amount of moisture removed.

It’s also high in omega fatty acids, which can help your cat’s hair and skin. Several more animal meats are also included in the component list. For example, chicken meal appears as the fourth ingredient.

While tuna is mentioned in the recipe name, it does not appear until much later in the ingredient list. This formula contains all of the necessary nutrients. It is supplemented with a variety of vitamins and minerals.

There is no maize, wheat, soy, or by-product meal added. Artificial substances are also missing from the ingredient list. The cat food is manufactured in the United States.

The ingredients, on the other hand, are acquired from all over the world.


  • The first ingredient is whitefish meal.
  • High in protein derived from animals
  • It is free of corn, wheat, and soy.
  • Grain-free


  • Dried peas and starchy vegetables are abundant.


Premium Choice Taste of the Wild Grain-Free Dry Cat Food

We recommend Taste of the Wild Canyon River Grain-Free Dry Cat Food for people looking for a higher-quality cat food.

This formula is grain-free and contains a lot of high-quality components. It is also free of chicken, which is vital for cats that are allergic to chicken.

Trout is the first ingredient, followed by ocean fish meal. Both of them give your cat with the healthful fats and protein he or she requires to thrive.

The fats contain omega fatty acids, which can promote the condition of the coat and skin. Should your feline suffer from joint difficulties, these healthy fats may help.

For antioxidant support, real fruits and vegetables are used. This chemical aids in the prevention of oxidative damage, which has been connected to a number of ailments.

Prebiotics are also incorporated to help with digestion. If your cat has digestive problems, you should look at this product.

The important minerals are chelated, making them easier to absorb for our cats. In other words, your cat will benefit more from the nutrients in this cat food.

As you may think, this meal is pricier than other options. However, it certainly falls under the budget category.


  • The first ingredient is trout.
  • Grain-free
  • Natural fruits and vegetables are offered.
  • Mineral chelated


  • A little more costly


Can Cat Foods Purina ONE Turkey, Chicken, and Tuna Variety

Purina is a good low-cost cat food brand. Their ONE brand is slightly more expensive than their other lines since it contains higher-quality ingredients.

Purina ONE True Instinct Turkey, Chicken, and Tuna Variety Pack Canned Cat Food comes in three different tastes to help diversify your cat’s diet.

The ingredients in each recipe vary somewhat, but they are all comparable. Tuna broth is the first component in the tuna recipe, followed by tuna. Because this cuisine is strong in moisture, having broth as the first ingredient isn’t surprising.

As the third ingredient, wheat gluten is included. This additive is of poor quality. It is a protein-rich byproduct of wheat. As a result, it increases the overall protein composition of this product by using lower-quality protein.

Because of the fish, this recipe is high in omega fatty acids, which may benefit cats with joint problems. Some antioxidants are also contained, giving some protection against oxidative stress.

While this recipe is more expensive than some other low-cost options, the inclusion of high-quality meat products throughout the ingredient list makes it well worth the extra cost. The value is excellent for the price.


  • The first ingredient is whole meat.
  • Moisture content is high.
  • Throughout, high-quality meat components are used.
  • Antioxidants and omega fatty acids are abundant.


  • Wheat gluten is present.
  • Slightly more pricey than comparable alternatives.


Natural Cat Chow Dry Cat Food with Chicken and Turkey for Indoors

Cat Chow is known for producing low-quality products, yet their Cat Chow Naturals Indoor with Real Chicken & Turkey Dry Cat Food is superior to their competitors.

The first ingredient listed is chicken. As you may think, this is a good choice for most cats. However, the component list deteriorates after that. Corn gluten meal and brewer’s rice are prominently included on the list.

These aren’t very nutritious for our felines. They do, however, provide a lot of plant-based protein, which isn’t the ideal choice for cats.

This food’s overall protein level is quite high, especially when compared to similar brands. However, keep in mind that much of this protein is plant-based rather than animal-based.

Fiber helps to keep your cat fuller for longer, which is especially important for overweight cats.

There are no artificial flavors or preservatives. This formula is also totally nutritionally balanced, with plenty of extra vitamins and nutrients incorporated.


  • Protein-rich diet
  • The first component is whole chicken.
  • Fiber content is high.


  • Many protein-rich plant components are provided.
  • Byproducts were included.

Buyer's Guide: Choosing The Best Budget & Low-Cost Cat Food

Purchasing low-cost cat food is a delicate balancing act. On the one hand, you don’t want to spend too much money on expensive food.

On the other hand, you don’t want to choose a diet that is deficient in nutrients and does not meet all of your cat’s nutritional requirements.

In this section, we’ll show you where you can safely take corners and save money, as well as when you should stick to your guns.

Ingredients for Meat

When shopping for cheap cat food, you’ll come across brands with low-quality meat ingredients. Because our cats are supposed to eat predominantly meat, the quality of the meat is critical.

A premium, boutique meat like bison has minimal value over chicken or another common ingredient. As a result, feel free to save money by selecting a food featuring chicken or beef over anything “special.”

Meat meals are also an excellent choice. Because the nutrient content has been eliminated, they are more nutritionally dense than whole meat.

Avoid those that do not list meat as the first ingredient. This does not have to be whole meat, but it should be some kind of meat.

By-products aren’t necessarily dangerous, and they can’t always be avoided in low-cost cat food. They should not, however, be the primary source of protein. The major problem is that you have no idea what by-products are.

Wherever feasible, avoid using unknown meat ingredients. There is no way of knowing what an ingredient is if it states “meat by-product meal.” Anything might happen!

The Brand

It is critical to know who makes the food. Purina, for example, has been in the pet food business for a very long time and has had very few severe recalls. Their food is probably safer.

However, many tiny businesses, such as Blue Buffalo, market themselves as higher-quality but have significantly more recalls.

Don’t be afraid of a larger firm just because it’s bigger. Your first priority should be to select safe food for your cat.

Larger corporations frequently have the resources to:

  • Use animal nutritionists.
  • Carry out critical safety protocols
  • They routinely test their meals.
  • Maintain their facilities
  • Check the finished products

All of this adds up to safer food for your cat.

Nutritional Guidelines from AAFCO

Cat meals are not need to adhere to any specific rules. The Association of American Feed Control Officials, or AAFCO, does police some of the terminology they use.

For example, if their goods do not match the nutritional requirements, they cannot be promoted as a complete meal. Before you buy cat food, look for the AFFCO seal.

There is no way to tell if it is nutritionally complete for your feline if it is not packaged. Be wary of items that appear to be entire meals but are labeled as “supplements” (sometimes in tiny letters).

Fats that are beneficial

Your cat was created to be a carnivore, which means it thrives on a meat-based diet. Meat is primarily composed of two components: fat and protein.

We’ve already talked about protein sources, but fat sources are as vital.

Food should ideally contain animal fat or an extremely fatty whole meat, such as salmon. Fat improves the taste of meals and adds the extra fat that is often lacking in meat alone. Cats should acquire the majority of their calories from fat.

Seek out high-quality fats, such as omega fatty acids. Natural animal fat is usually preferable to fat derived from a vegetable source, such as flaxseed.

Artificial Substances

Even if you’re shopping on a budget, there’s no excuse to buy a formula containing artificial components.

Artificial colors are not required. Our cats don’t mind what color their food is. If it’s included, it’s to entice people to buy it, not to keep our cats healthier.

Artificial preservatives are sometimes utilized, however some of them have been related to negative health effects. For example, ethoxyquin has been associated to liver problems.

The FDA, however, has concluded that it may be used in trace levels. Long-term exposure, on the other hand, is not advised.


You don’t have to spend a fortune to provide your cat with high-quality cat food. There are several cat foods on the market that are suited for your feline and less pricey than others.

BestForPets (bestforpets.org) recommends Wellness Complete Health Grain-Free Indoor Healthy Weight Chicken Recipe Dry Cat Food for most cats.

This recipe is less expensive than others, yet it also contains high-quality components. For example, the first component is deboned chicken.

If you need something cheap, try Whole Earth Farms Grain-Free Real Whitefish & Tuna Recipe Dry Cat Food.

It is less priced than other alternatives while still containing surprisingly high-quality ingredients. It also has a lot of protein, which is always a benefit.

Choosing cat food is usually difficult. It can be even more difficult if you have a limited budget.

Hopefully, our reviews of the best budget cat foods have assisted you in determining which options are ideal for your pet.

Author Image

Dr. Deborah Fletcher

Deborah R. Fletcher, DVM, is a skilled veterinarian with more than 15 years of experience dealing with companion and exotic animals. She has experience caring for a variety of animals, including household cats and dogs, reptiles, birds of prey, and even primates. Dr. Fletcher is a valuable part of the BestForPets team, where she contributes to their aim of providing pets and their owners with the finest possible treatment and services.

Veterinarian (DVM) Dr. Deborah Fletcher


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