(Last Updated On: August 13, 2019)

Any pet owner can relate to having their pets best interest at heart. Their health, happiness and energy levels are of the highest importance to all of us! But with so many products on the market promising different benefits and making bold claims about their superiority it can be a challenge for a pet owner to know where to start!

Today we will be giving honest accounts of different grain free cat food products to aid you in making the best decision for your cat’s health!

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My Top Picks for the Best Grain Free Cat Food

NUTRO Natural Choice Grain Free Adult Dry Cat Food

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This product is formulated without grains or non-grain carbohydrates and in instead supplemented with salmon or duck for a flavorful, allergen-free meal. The product promises all day energy from potatoes and lean proteins and will be beneficial in the digestion process for cats with grain sensitivities. It promises to deliver a wealth of minerals and vitamins to ensure your pet is living its most healthy life.

Cats love the flavor and it has proven to be a suitable option for pets with sensitive stomachs and a picky attitude towards food. Many advocates swear that their cats have softer coats and a happier disposition after switching to this cat food!

The number of cats who enjoyed this cat food far outweigh the cats who had negative reactions.

Merrick Before Grain #1 Chicken Dry Cat Food

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Merrick Before Grain is designed without grains and is chock-full of USDA approved meats and potatoes. The product is unique because it also offers blueberries and other fruits for a dose of antioxidants. Salmon is also incorporated to provide your cat with healthy fats and proteins.


This is one of our favorite choices for a natural, grain free cat food. Pet owners love that the large bagged version stays fresh and can feed families with lots of cats! Some pet owners swear that this formula has encouraged their pet to lose weight at a healthy rate. Some pet owners mention that the flavors are not a hit with all cats. And they wish they had not invested in the larger bag without testing it out first. 

Wellness Natural Grain Free Wet Canned Cat Food


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These pet foods come in pate format and include high quality ingredients like fruit and vegetables. The pate texture offers your pet moisture intake and easy digestion. The product promises to improve five vital signs of health: Skin and Coat; Digestive Health; Eyes, Teeth and Gums; Energy; and Immunity.

Cats love the flavor and texture of this pate style cat food! Many pet owners also lauded the larger sized cans which saved them money and lasted for a few separate meals. It seems this formula does not agree with cats who are extra sensitive.

Orijen Grain Free Regional Red Dry Cat Food


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Orijen promises to deliver an experience akin to what your cat would have encountered in the wild- food your cat evolved to eat. This includes berries, ranch raised bison and wild boar. All of their ingredients are passed for human consumption and is based on protein packed meats and minimal simple carbohydrate fillers to stabilize your cat’s blood sugars and promote muscle strength.  

Some pet owners swear that this product has brought their pet back from ill health! They love the combination of legumes, fish and different nutrients. Pet owners consider this one of the healthiest cat foods on the market!

Some pet owners complain that there are too many filler ingredients, like legumes, and not enough meats. Some pet owners also find the kibble a bit large and believe the product would benefit from smaller sized kibble more suitable for smaller cats.

Merrick Purrfect Bistro Grain Free

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The key ingredient in Merrick’s products are meat or poultry. They are free of corn, wheat, soy and gluten. This is a good grain free option that is also verified gluten free and for pets who need a protein heavy diet for strength and energy.

Pet owners swear that this food is a hit with all of their cats, ranging in ages and breeds. Cats love the wetter texture of the canned version and the fun variety of flavors like Thanksgiving dinner. Some pet owners find that after the formula was changed a few years ago the consistency and quality of the product has deteriorated.

Pure Vita Grain Free Chicken Cat Food

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Chicken is combined with fruits and vegetables for a well rounded, tasty meal. The formula promotes digestive health and a balanced diet for cats. Pure Vita products are vitamin enriched for extra support for your cat’s everyday life. One of the best options for sensitive, allergy prone cats. It is easy to digest and even cats who do not love dry cat food love it. Many pet owners have noticed that their pets have less sensitive skin and shinier coats after converting to Pure Vita.

Of all the cat foods we reviewed this one had the least negative feedback associated with it. One small issue that arose is that the packaging is not ideally designed and that sealing it shut can be a challenge. This promotes staleness and wastage of the product.

Pinnacle Peak Protein Grain-Free Cat Food


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Pinnacle Peak is dedicated to natural ingredients combining a variety of fats, proteins and carbohydrates for a complete, balanced meal that includes the total food pyramid. Cranberries are included for vitamins and omega 3 fatty acids are incorporated to promote total health for your cat.

Pet owners believe this is one of the best options for a holistic grain free cat food. Cats with allergies are well suited to Pinnacle Peak because of its balanced, nutrient dense recipe. Some pet owners consider it one of the best dry cat food options on the market for sensitive cats and picky cats!


The price point was considered to be on the higher side for many pet owners. While it has an array of health benefits some pet owners still want a combination of nutrition and value in their cat food.

Best Grain Free Cat Food Buying Guide

What Is Grain Free Cat Food?

Pet food trends have been mimicking our food trends in recent years! Our interest in gluten free, sugar free and vegan choices is now reflected in the cornucopia of niche pet foods on the market. Some pet owners believe that grain causes sensitivities and allergies and can be detrimental to their cat’s health. But is there truth behind the marketing hype?

While cats with true grain allergies are rare minimizing grain intake for cats with no grain allergies will not have a negative impact on their health. In grain free cat food cornmeal and rice are often the key ingredients that replace grain.

While most cats do not demonstrate a true grain allergy, over 50% of cats in a focused allergy study did show sensitivity to animal products like fish and chicken! Before diagnosing an allergy there are key signs to look out for.

Excessive itching, hair loss, scabs and inflammations may be indicators that your cat is suffering from a sensitivity to the food it is eating.

Of course, I wholeheartedly recommend visiting a veterinarian before making a diagnosis. If you merely believe that a grain free diet will give your cat more energy and feel healthier than you are not alone! Many pet owners choose to go grain free because they believe it makes their pet perform better.

It is important to note, however, that there are no indicators that celiac disease, which impacts humans, also impact cats. It is important for the pet owner to know that grain free does not necessarily equal gluten free! Ingredients like potatoes, that include gluten, are often used as replacements in grain free cat food. But all of these carbohydrate rich ingredients are healthy for your cat!

Grain free does not necessarily indicate that a pet food is high in protein either. And your cat needs both whole carbohydrates and proteins to carry out the functions of everyday life, and to have energy left over for play and cuddles afterward!       

What To Look For

Does it meet Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) standards?

AAFCO establishes pet food guidelines and standards in America. When a pet food is marked with an AAFCO label it allows you, the consumer, to know that the product in question meets certain requirements.

You can have confidence as a consumer that the pet food will meet the nutritional standards and balance of nutrients that the AAFCO sets out as necessary for healthy cat food.

Understanding that your cat is Unique

Every cat has a similar foundation of nutritional requirements but every cat is unique in its preferences and sensitivities. Some cats love chicken, while others get indigestion from it, for example. Some pets will thrive off of grain based cat foods but some will enjoy optimal health when grain is replaced by another nutrient or base. 

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Get comfortable observing your cat’s mood and energy levels after eating different kinds of cat foods to gain a broader understanding of what kind of foods your cat has a better reaction to. She can’t tell you herself so it is key to be a proactive pet owner and observe her symptoms. Even keeping a cat food diary for a week’s time will be illuminating in noticing patterns and preferences!  

Is your cat food balanced?

While an AAFCO label is certainly your first point of reference for choosing a verified healthy option for your pet you must dig a bit deeper into the ingredient list. Hopefully, by now you have kept a cat food diary and have experimented with offering your pet both grain based and grain free foods.

This knowledge will prepare you for assessing a nutrition list with your pets best interests at heart! You’ll also have a clearer picture of what your cat actually enjoys eating! Ideally, you will find and AAFCO approved cat food that both meets your cat’s dietary requirements and/or grain free preference and also be tasty for your furry friend!

How To Feed Cats With Allergies

As we looked at above there are certain signs and symptoms to watch out for when it comes to diagnosing a cat’s food allergy. Is it grooming its own coat too much- to the point where she seems out of discomfort? Is she lethargic? Did you know that 60% of accounts of over scratching and itching in cats are food allergy related?

It is also important to diagnose whether your cat has an allergy or an intolerance. An intolerance will typically cause gastrointestinal symptoms while an allergy will have a broader set of impacts. A visit to a vet can establish the true reasons behind your pet’s symptoms.

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Reading Food Labels

When your cat has a diagnosed food allergy or sensitivity food labels will become your best friend. You can no longer choose an option merely because it is the cheapest option or because it was featured in a commercial as a revolutionary cat food. You will need to approach every purchase with your cat’s needs in mind.

Even if this entails spending an extra ten minutes in the pet food aisle it will be beyond worth it when your cat is radiant and happy!

Removal of Allergens

It is key to be diligent in approaching your cat’s allergy. You must be cautious to remove the allergen causing substance completely otherwise your cat will not experience the benefits of a healthier lifestyle. Even in small quantities the allergen will negatively impact your cat. This means throwing away any old cat food, even if you had stocked up on it, and replacing it with a more appropriate cat food.

Other food reviews: Read my Soulistic Cat Food Review