5 Best Budget Cat Foods – Low Cost but Quality


Which cat food is good for your cat but even better for your budget? Buying a cheap bag of cat food is not always the best choice in the long run, since it 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 healthy and nutritious life, then finding a low cost and quality cat food is key.

Quick Links: Our Picks for The Best Budget Cat Foods

  1. Best Well Balanced Cat Food – IAMS Proactive Healthy Adult
  2. Best Grain Free Cat Food– Rachael Ray Nutrish
  3. Best Gluten Free Cat Food – Purina Beyond Natural Grain Free 
  4. Best Indoor Cat Food – Eagle Pack Natural Dry Cat Food
  5. Best for Skin & Coat – NUTRO MAX Indoor Adult Dry 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.

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:

  • Protein from meat poultry or fish
  • Amino Acids and most importantly taurine for heart health
  • Fatty acids such as omega 6 and omega 3
  • Vitamins A, D, E and K and water solubles C and B complex

Top 5 Best Budget Cat Foods Reviewed


Best Well Balanced

Iams Pro-Active Health

Does not contain fillers

Supports cats digestive systems

Chicken is 1st ingredient

Check Price

Best Grain Free 

Rachel Ray Nutrish

Salmon is 1st ingredient

No artificial flavors or preservatives

No by products or fillers

Check Price

Best Gluten Free

Purina Beyond Natural Grain Free

Whitefish is 1st ingredient

No corn, wheat or soy

Grain free

Check Price

Best Indoor

Eagle Pack Natural

Premium natural ingredients

Helps control shedding

Maintain weight

Check Price

Best for Skin & Coat

Nutro Max Indoor Adult

No by -products

Promotes healthy skin & coat

No artificial flavors or preservatives

Check Price

IAMS Proactive Healthy Adult


Iams is a hearty cat food formula that contains high-quality proteins for muscle maintenance. It also features a tailored fiber blend, including probiotics and beet pulp, to maximize nutrient absorption. This wholesome cat food, enriched with antioxidants for a healthy immune system, contains 0% fillers as well as seven essential nutrients for a healthy cat heart.

Veterinarians recommend IAMS for pets and IAMS does guarantee satisfaction with its products and will replace the product or refund your money. However, IAMS does claim no fillers but corn meal is listed in the ingredients.



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


Rachael Ray Nutrish

5 Best Budget Cat Foods

Rachael Ray Nutrish Real Salmon & Brown Rice Recipe is made with simple and natural ingredients. Salmon, which is the number one ingredient, combined with wholesome brown rice, vegetables and essential vitamins, minerals and taurine is everything your cat needs. Plus there’s no ground corn, wheat, soy, by products or fillers 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. That will make any pet owner feel good about spending a few extra bucks on “budget” cat food.


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

Purina Beyond Natural Grain Free Ocean Whitefish & Egg Recipe

Beyond by Purina dry cat food recipe contains real poultry or fish as the number one ingredient and never any corn, wheat or soy, poultry by-product meal, gluten or added artificial colors, flavors or preservatives. Purina is a long time, well known pet food producer and with 8 decades of experience created Beyond for pet nutrition in mind. With ocean whitefish as the #1 ingredient, no poultry by-product meal and the inclusion of Taurine, Vitamin E & A, this food is a healthy and nutritious choice for your cat.



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
  • Pricey for “budget” type food

Eagle Pack Natural Dry Cat Food



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.

Made in the USA and over 25 years of producing pet food, Eagle Pack uses quality ingredients, like real proteins. 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 cat food is on the pricier side of the “budget” foods, it is an all around balanced and nutritious product.


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

NUTRO MAX Indoor Adult Dry Cat Food



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. Made with real proteins, vitamin E, taurine, vitamin C, tomato, cranberries, and blueberries it provides an excellent sources of antioxidants for a healthy cat diet. This dry cat food provides the nutrients your cat needs at a great value. The first ingredient is chicken meal made from real chicken with most of the water and fat removed. This food is made with easily digestible brewers rice and is available in weight control options for cats who maybe a little less active.


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

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 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.


There is no one-size-fits-all cat food and since some cats are more finicky than others, you may need to try several before your cat decides what he prefers. Choose a cat food that meets the nutritional needs of your cat type, whether it be 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.

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.

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