6 Best Foods for Feeding Feral Cats

Nutrition May 13, 2020

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6 Best Foods for Feeding Feral Cats

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Feral cats need commitment to proper care and long-term feedings. Once you become a “colony manager” the cats become dependent on you. This means feeding the most highly nutritious food food at the best price.

Dry cat food is most popular when feeding colonies of feral cats, mainly because it is less expensive, easy to transport and won’t freeze in cold weather. Feral cats will benefit from animal proteins a quality cat food has to offer, but need higher calories than an average house cat.

Keep reading to learn more about the best cat foods for feeding feral cats as well as their pros and cons.

How We Researched The 6 Best Foods for Feeding Feral Cats

  • We spent several days researching the best cat food for feeding feral cats
  • We considered over 10 cat foods and fine tuned it down to the 6 reviewed in this article
  • We did this by reading hundreds of reviews, watching videos and comparing the features of each cat food

Comparison Chart

IMAGEPRODUCT
  • Real animal protein #1 ingredient
  • Helps with digestion
  • No by products or fillers
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  • High Protein
  • Healthy carbohydrates
  • 100% grain free
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  • High in protein
  • Made with no meals
  • Supports digestive health
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  • Real whitefish is 1st ingredient
  • Made without corn, wheat or soy
  • Grain free
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  • Does not contain fillers
  • Supports cats digestive systems
  • Chicken is 1st ingredient
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  • No artificial flavors or preservatives
  • Non GMO
  • No by-products
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Ingredients to Look For

When looking for the best foods for feeding feral cats there are a few items to check for on the label.

  • Quality Protein Source – This is the most important ingredient and should be listed first. Look for chicken, turkey, lamb, salmon, etc. They can be followed by named organs such as, chicken liver, chicken heart, both rich sources of taurine.
  • Low Carbohydrates – Since cats are obligate carnivores, they need a meat source to survive but they do not need carbohydrates. Some cats may have problems digesting some carbohydrates and many food allergies are triggered by the carbohydrate content of foods. It is always ideal to stay away from cat food that contains fruits, vegetables, and/or grains.
  • Fat Source – Always look for a named fat source, like chicken fat. You may also see sunflower oil, or other oils listed, usually in premium foods.
  • Vitamins and Minerals – Vitamin C  and Vitamin E  are often added as preservatives, along with other vitamins and minerals.
  • Omega-3 – Increased levels of Omega-3 fatty acids work in to decreasing inflammation and help support kidney health.
  • Taurine – Taurine is an amino acid that can be readily produced by the human body. But, cats need a dietary source of taurine for good health. Taurine deficiency can cause a heart disease called dilated cardiomyopathy. Cat food manufacturers usually add taurine to cat food for this reason.

The Best Foods for Feeding Feral Cats Reviewed

#1 Rachael Ray Nutrish Natural Dry Cat Food

Product Info:

  • Price: ~$1.4/ UB
  • Food Type: Dry
  • Made in: USA
  • Protein: 34%
  • Fat: 4.0%

The Good

  • Real animal protein #1 ingredient
  • Helps with digestion
  • No by products

The Bad

  • Does contain rice
  • Low moisture food
  • Contains corn meal

Nutrish cat food formula is made with simple, natural ingredients, like real U.S. farm-raised chicken. Protein from an animal source is the number one ingredient, combined with wholesome brown rice, vegetables, essential vitamins, minerals and taurine.

There is no ground corn, wheat or soy in this cat food. The recipe includes quality proteins like chicken, salmon and whitefish, as well as wholesome veggies. This is a well balanced kibble for feral cats and won’t break the bank.

This food also contains a wholesome fiber source that naturally provides prebiotics to help maintain healthy digestion. This quality protein, dry cat food formula provides essential nutrients to help maintain healthy organs and lean muscles.

#2 Blue Wilderness Dry Cat Food

Product Info:

  • Price Range: ~$2.8/ Ibs
  • Food Type: Dry
  • Made in: USA
  • Protein: 40%
  • Fat: 18%

The Good

  • High Protein
  • Healthy carbohydrates
  • 100% grain free

The Bad

  • Price on the high side
  • Pieces maybe very hard to chew

This kibble is great for feral cats because of its a high protein, with no grains, recipe. This food is also free of gluten’s and is good for all stages of cats lives.

This food has combined natural ingredients, a precise blend of vitamins, minerals and is antioxidant-rich. It contains no by-product meals, no corn, wheat or soy and nothing artificial.

It is not only made with high-quality protein but natural fiber sources, meaning this recipe is made to support weight control in cats. The addition of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants is made to support a cat’s healthy immune system no matter the age or breed.

#3 Instinct Ultimate Protein Grain-Free Dry Cat Food

Product Info:

  • Price Range: ~$7.2/ lb
  • Food Type: Dry
  • Made in: USA
  • Protein: 47%
  • Fat: 17%

The Good

  • High in protein
  • Made with no meals
  • Supports digestive health

The Bad

  • Many cats refuse to eat
  • Does contain forms of vegetable

Instinct Ultimate Protein Grain-Free Cage-Free Chicken Recipe Freeze-Dried Raw Coated Dry Cat Food was created to closely mirror the benefits of a raw diet in cats. It has a high amount of protein from real meat and contains absolutely no animal meal.

It also includes guaranteed levels of live, natural probiotics, natural omegas, vitamin e and antioxidants that all cats need.

This dry cat food is a protein-rich kibble that’s highly digestible and great for skin, coat, and immune systems which is beneficial for cats who live outdoors.

#4 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 ingredients. There is no corn, wheat or soy, poultry by-product meal, or added artificial colors, flavors or preservatives in this recipe.

There is added Taurine, as well as 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.

This high-protein dry cat food is 100% complete and balanced with high-quality ingredients and would be a cost effective meal choice for feral cats.

#5 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 helps cats maintain lean muscle and 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 can help support feral cats immune systems. It also contains 0% fillers as well as and added essential nutrients to keep a cats heart healthy.

IAMS 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.

#6 NUTRO Wholesome Essentials

Product Info:

  • Price: ~$1.5/ Ib
  • Food Type:Dry
  • Made in: USA
  • Protein: 33%
  • Fat: 16%

The Good

  • No by products
  • Non GMO
  • No artificial flavors or preservatives

The Bad

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

NUTRO Dry Cat Food recipe lists a high-quality protein source first and is made with non-GMO ingredients. It features real salmon, natural fiber for healthy digestion, and essential antioxidants for a healthy immune system which is what feral cats need.

This kibble is also rich in lean protein and omega-6 fatty acids to support healthy skin and a soft, shiny coat. It contains no corn, wheat, or soy protein, no chicken by-product meal, and no artificial preservatives, flavors, or colors.

Conclusion

Committing to care for feral cats can take a lot of work but may be rewarding. Your offerings of food and other resources will help these cats stay healthy and happy.

*This article is for informational purposes only. It’s not intended to be a substitute for professional veterinary advice, diagnosis, or treatment.

Frequently Asked Questions

Will feral cats go away if I feed them?

No. They will most likely to come back as they grow more desperate to find something to eat. Even though
cats may be feral, cats are still domesticated creatures that rely on humans for food.

How can I feed feral cats so that other animals do not get the food?

It is recommended that you feed the cats on a daily schedule and remove the food after a
short time. Providing a covered feeding station may help keep birds away from food. Feeding during daytime will keep animals like raccoons and skunks away.

How can I care for a feral cat?

You can provide a homemade shelter for them to stay safe in all year round. Providing food and water on a regular schedule is important for their healthy survival as well. Consider notifying a TNR (trap, neuter, return) program.

How can you tell if a cat is feral?

Stray cats are active during the day while feral cats are primarily nocturnal. Feral cats show hostility in a fearful situation and will run away if approached. Stray cats may appear disheveled because they are accustomed to being cared for while a feral will be well groomed due to being on their own.

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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