10 Best Budget Cat Foods – Low Cost but Quality

Reviews September 5, 2019
Best Budget Cat Foods

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10 Best Budget Cat Foods – Low Cost but Quality

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Best Budget Cat Foods

Are you searching for an inexpensive cat food that is good for your cat but even better for your budget? Of course buying the highest quality cat food you can consistently afford is ideal, because a cheap bag of cat food is not always the best choice in the long run.

Over time, low quality cat food can lead to issues like vitamin and mineral deficiencies or weight gain, especially in older cats.

If you are on a tight budget but want to give your fur babies a nutritious food, then finding the best budget cat foods that are high protein, low carb is key.

To help you out, we compiled this list of the best budget cat foods you can buy on a budget without sacrificing quality.

At a Glance:  Best Budget Cat Food to Buy

IMAGEPRODUCT
  • Does not contain fillers
  • Supports cats digestive systems
  • Chicken is 1st ingredient
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  • Real salmon is 1st ingredient
  • No artificial flavors or preservatives
  • No by products or fillers
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  • Turkey is 1st ingredient
  • No by products used
  • Grain free
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  • Has added vitamins and antioxidants 
  • No artificial flavors, colors or preservatives
  • Made with cage-free chicken
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  • Real duck is the first ingredient
  • Contains no corn, wheat, or soy
  • Grain free
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How We Researched The Best Budget Cat Foods

  • We spent several days researching the best budget cat foods
  • We considered over 20 budget cat foods and fine tuned it down to the 10 reviewed in this article
  • We did this by reading hundreds of reviews, watching videos and comparing the features of each budget cat food.

10 Best Rated Budget Cat Foods Reviewed

#1 IAMS Proactive Healthy Adult

Product Info:

  • Price: ~$1.2/ Ib
  • Food Type: Dry
  • Made in: USA
  • Protein: 32%
  • Fat: 15%

The Good

  • Does not contain fillers
  • High quality protein used
  • Supports cats digestive systems
  • Chicken is 1st ingredient
  • Veterinarian recommended

The Bad

  • May make some cats gassy
  • Some cats refuse to eat it

IAMS Proactive Healthy Adult is a hearty cat food kibble formula that contains high-quality chicken protein as the first ingredient.

It is needed for your cats lean muscle maintenance and to maintain a healthy weight. It also has added fiber blend, which includes probiotics and beet pulp to help with nutrient absorption.

This affordable dry cat food is enriched with antioxidants which help support cats with a healthy immune system. It also contains 0% fillers as well as and seven essential nutrients to assist with a healthy cat heart.

IAMS does claim there are no fillers in this recipe, but corn meal is listed in the ingredients and there is no nutritional value for cats in corn.

What makes IAMS stand out from other cat food kibble is it is veterinarian recommended and guarantees your satisfaction with its products or they will replace the product or refund your money.

#2 Rachael Ray Nutrish for Cats

Product Info:

  • Price: ~$1.3/ Ib
  • Food Type: Dry
  • Made in: USA
  • Protein: 34%
  • Fat: 14%

The Good

  • Real salmon is 1st ingredient
  • No artificial flavors or preservatives
  • No by products or fillers
  • Added vitamins, minerals and Taurine

The Bad

  • Does contain meal
  • Price seems to keep increasing

Rachael Ray Nutrish Real Salmon & Brown Rice Recipe is made with simple and natural ingredients. Salmon, which is the number one ingredient, combined with vegetables and essential vitamins, minerals and taurine is beneficial for your cats health.

Also there is no ground corn, wheat, soy, by products or fillers in this recipe. Beet pulp is added for fiber and prebiotics are added to aid in healthy digestion, while Taurine, an essential amino acid, supports normal heart muscles functions and eyesight.

As an extra bonus, a portion of proceeds from each sale of Nutrish is donated to The Rachael Ray Foundation, which helps animals in need through Rachael’s Rescue. This is ideal if you want to give back and save on “budget” cat food.

#3 American Journey Turkey & Chicken Recipe

Product Info:

  • Price: ~$2.08/ Ib
  • Food Type: Dry
  • Made in: USA
  • Protein: 40%
  • Fat: 15%

The Good

  • Turkey is the first ingredient
  • Grain Free
  • Contains essential amino acids
  • No by products used

The Bad

  • Kibble size is small
  • Some cats do not like it

American Journey Turkey and Chicken Recipe Grain-Free Dry Cat Food is a grain-free dry food designed for active cats. Made without grains, this kibble features real, deboned turkey as the first ingredient, wholesome fruits and vegetables, as well as deboned chicken.  This kibble has antioxidants for a healthy immune system, taurine for healthy eyes and heart, and omega fatty acids for skin and coat health.

American Journey is made in the USA with ingredients from around the world, and no poultry by-product meal, corn, wheat, soy or artificial preservatives.

#4 Diamond Naturals Indoor Formula Dry Cat Food

Product Info:

  • Price: ~$1.40/ Ib
  • Food Type: Dry
  • Made in: USA
  • Protein: 32%
  • Fat: 14%

The Good

  • Made with cage-free chicken
  • Promotes digestion
  • No artificial flavors, colors or preservatives
  • Has added vitamins and antioxidants

The Bad

  • Contains chicken meal
  • Rice used as filler
  • High in carbohydrates

Diamond Naturals Indoor Formula Dry Cat Food. Each Diamond Naturals dry formula is enhanced with probiotics to support your furry friend’s development and overall health.

This dry cat food is designed for indoor cats and is made with real cage-free chicken and real fruit and vegetables including peas, kale, blueberries and coconut. It is enhanced with omega fatty acids to help promote healthy skin and a shiny coat, plus antioxidants and taurine for overall well-being.

#5 Purina Beyond Duck & Sweet Potato Pate

Product Info:

  • Price: ~.30/ oz
  • Food Type: Wet
  • Made in: USA
  • Protein: 10% min
  • Fat: 5% min

The Good

  • Includes real duck as the first ingredient
  • Contains no corn, wheat, or soy
  • Grain free recipe
  • No artificial flavors or preservatives

The Bad

  • Fish ingredient not identified
  • Some cats refuse to eat this recipe

Purina Beyond Duck & Sweet Potato Pate Recipe Grain-Free Canned Cat Food is made with real tasty duck as the first ingredient, there’s also plenty of vitamins and minerals, plus nutritious sweet potato. All Purina Beyond Grain-Free foods contain no corn, wheat, or soy and is crafted without artificial colors, flavors or preservatives. If your cat does not fancy duck then they offer several other recipes that are just as beneficial for your cats health.

Purina states that all high-quality ingredients are purposely selected by their in-house pet nutritionists.

#6 Eagle Pack Natural Dry Cat Food

Product Info:

  • Price: ~$2.8/ Ib
  • Food Type: Dry
  • Made in: USA
  • Protein: 32%
  • Fat: 14%

The Good

  • Made with premium natural ingredients
  • Great for indoor adults cats
  • Omega fatty acids helps control shedding
  • Helps maintain weight
  • Made in USA

The Bad

  • Contains meal
  • Some cats refuse to eat
  • Somes cats have allergic reaction to yeast

Eagle Pack Natural Dry Cat Food, Chicken Meal Formula is formulated with protein, fats and carbohydrates combined with antioxidant support and omega fatty acids to support cats who live primarily indoors. No corn, wheat, meat by-products, artificial colors, flavors or preservatives are listed in the ingredients, while chicken meal, rice and peas are in the top positions. Although this inexpensive cat food is on the pricier side of the “budget” foods, it is an all around balanced and nutritious product for a kibble cat food.

This recipe is made in the USA and with over 25 years of producing pet food, Eagle Pack uses quality ingredients, like real proteins.

#7 Weruva Cats in the Kitchen Kitty Gone Wild Salmon

Product Info:

  • Price: ~.50/ oz
  • Food Type: Wet
  • Made in: UK
  • Protein: 10% min
  • Fat: 1.6% min

The Good

  • Grain-free, carrageenan-free, gluten-free
  • Balanced blend of amino acids
  • Salmon, tuna, and sardines top ingredients
  • No hormones used

The Bad

  • May make some cats gassy
  • Some cats refuse to eat it

Weruva Cats in the Kitchen Kitty Gone Wild, Wild Salmon Au Jus Grain-Free Canned Cat Food is made with wild salmon, tuna, and sardines as the top ingredients.

This recipe has the right protein your cat needs for healthy muscles. It is formulated with a balanced blend of vitamins, minerals and heart-healthy taurine, and every easy-open can is a complete meal. This recipe does not contain artificial colors, artificial preservatives, or anonymous meat ingredients.

#8 Purina Beyond Natural Grain Free Ocean Whitefish & Egg Recipe

Product Info:

  • Price: ~$1.9/ Ib
  • Food Type:Dry
  • Made in: USA
  • Protein: 35%
  • Fat: 14%

The Good

  • Real whitefish is 1st ingredient
  • Made without corn, wheat or soy
  • Grain free
  • No by-products

The Bad

  • Contains meals
  • High in sodium
  • On the high side of “budget” type food

Beyond by Purina dry cat food recipe contains real poultry and fish as the number one ingredient. There is never any corn, wheat or soy, poultry by-product meal, or added artificial colors, flavors or preservatives in this recipe. There is added Taurine, Vitamin E & A, to  help support normal heart muscle function and eyesight. This recipe is grain and gluten-free, and maybe beneficial for cats with sensitivities.

#9 NUTRO MAX Indoor Adult Dry Cat Food

Product Info:

  • Price: ~$1.5/ Ib
  • Food Type:Dry
  • Made in: USA
  • Protein: 30%
  • Fat: 15%

The Good

  • No by products
  • Promotes healthy skin and coat
  • No artificial flavors or preservatives
  • 100% money back guarantee

The Bad

  • Contains meal
  • Some cats have allergic reactions
  • Strong odor

NUTRO MAX CAT Dry indoor adult cat food is made with select ingredients, as well as omega fatty acids for balance and wellness on a budget. The first ingredient is chicken meal made from real chicken with most of the water and fat removed. It is made with real proteins, vitamin E, taurine, vitamin C, tomato, cranberries, and blueberries it provides an excellent source of antioxidants for a healthy cat diet. This food is made with easily digestible brewers rice and is available in weight control options for cats who maybe a little less active.

#10 AvoDerm Wild By Nature Cat Food

Product Info:

  • Price: ~$0.53/ Oz
  • Food Type: Wet
  • Made in: USA
  • Protein: 13%
  • Fat: 2%

The Good

  • No by products
  • All natural ingredients
  • High quality protein

The Bad

  • Some cats refuse it
  • Pricey
  • Soupy texture

Wild By Nature’s Avoderm Consommé is made with wild caught fish and is grain free. It provides a healthy balanced meal using added  vitamins, minerals and antioxidants to help support your cat’s immune functions and muscle development. AvoDerm Wild By Nature is also formulated to be rich in high quality fats and oils with a balanced Omega-6 to Omega-3 fatty acid ratio for healthy coat and skin. There is no by-products meals, artificial flavors, corn, wheat, soy, colors or preservatives in this cat food.

Reading the Label

As a cat owner, it is important to learn what to look for on cat food labels. By law, ingredients must be listed in decreasing order according to weight. Labels may also say the cat food is for certain life stages, growth or for indoor or outdoor cats.

In general, cats need a variety of nutrients to survive, including protein, water, carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals. Before buying a cat food always check the ingredients on the label.

One of the first 5 ingredients should always be a protein of some sort and not a by product (by products include items like: beaks, tainted meat, feathers, hooves, etc. ).

No more than 10% of the calories listed should come from carbohydrates (soy, peas, grains, potatoes, etc). Grain free is always ideal.

Affordable wet food is usually better for your cats than dry foods. Dry foods tend to be heavily processed and have high carbohydrate content with very little water content. We will discuss this in another article.

Here is a list of ingredients your cat’s food should contain:

  • Natural, whole-food ingredients
  • High-quality animal proteins (at least 30%)
  • Healthy, animal-based fats (about 15% to 20%)
  • Digestible carbohydrates and fiber
  • Essential vitamins, minerals, enzymes, and fatty acids
  • No by-products, fillers, or artificial additives
Remember, changing your cat’s food is not always a good idea. If your cat is on a prescription diet or is being treated for a medical condition, ask your veterinarian about brands that can be substituted to reduce your household costs.

Human Food

While table scraps and last nights left overs maybe a tasty treat for your cat, it should not take the place of qualified and healthy cat food containing the added vitamins and minerals your cat needs. Cats, in particular, need taurine, arginine, niacin, preformed vitamin A,  as well as specific types of essential fatty acids. Cats that are deficient in any of these quality cat food ingredients can suffer severe health problems.

Conclusion

There is no one-size-fits-all cat food and since some cats are more finicky than others, you may need to try several foods before your cat decides what he prefers.

Choose a high protein, low carb cat food that meets the basic nutritional needs of your cat, whether your cat is indoor, outdoor, overweight, kitten, adult or has medical issues. No matter what your cats preference, there is a quality budget brand that will meet the nutritional needs of your furry friend and not drain your bank account.

Amy is the founder of Cat Mania and a life long cat lover. She also writes for various other pet related websites. She is passionate about helping pet parents create a healthy and happy lifestyle for their fur-babies.
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