The Best Tasting Cat Food for Picky Cats

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best tasting cat food for picky cats
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If you have a picky cat who has turned its nose up to every food you have offered, you are not alone! If you’re looking for the best tasting cat food for picky eaters, you’re in the right place.

Cats are generally pickier than their dog counterparts when it comes to food, and for good reason. Cats are predominantly carnivores, which means they crave high-protein diets. Where as dogs and humans, for example, are omnviores meaning they eat all different types of food.

Quality ingredients, smell, and texture are all very important to cats when it comes to wet or dry cat food. It’s important to make sure you’re providing your cat with high-protein cat food that provides your cat with a balanced meal.

Whether it’s dry or wet cat food, let’s dive into the best tasting cat foods to try if you have a picky eater.

Best Tasting Wet Cat Foods for Picky Eaters Overview

  1. Best Tasting Wet Cat Food: Fancy Feast Gravy Lovers Chicken Feast Canned Cat Food
  2. Best Premium Wet Food: Wellness CORE Signature Selects Flaked Skipjack Tuna & Shrimp Entree in Broth Grain-Free Canned Cat Food
  3. Best Value Wet Food: Sheba Perfect Portions Seafood Pate Variety Pack Grain-Free Cat Food Trays
  4. Best Limited Ingredient Wet Food: Blue Buffalo Basics Limited Ingredient Grain-Free Canned Cat Food
  5. Alternative: Instinct Limited Ingredient Diet Grain-Free Pate Real Turkey Recipe Natural Wet Canned Cat Food

Best Tasting Dry Cat Foods for Picky Eaters Overview

  1. Best Tasting Dry Cat Food: American Journey Chicken Recipe Grain-Free Dry Cat Food
  2. Best Premium Dry Cat Food: Blue Buffalo Wilderness Chicken Recipe Grain-Free Dry Cat Food
  3. Best Value Dry Cat Food: Purina Cat Chow Naturals Original Dry Cat Food
  4. Best Limited Ingredient Dry Cat Food: Natural Balance L.I.D. Limited Ingredient Diets Green Pea & Chicken Formula Grain-Free Dry Cat Food
  5. Alternative: Taste of the Wild Canyon River Grain-Free Dry Cat Food

Best Tasting Wet Food for Picky Eaters

If you’re looking for the best tasting cat food for picky cats in dry food form, check out this list for a few great options to get started.

Fancy Feast Gravy Lovers Chicken Feast Canned Cat Food

Best Tasting Wet Cat Food

First 5 ingredients: Poultry Broth, Chicken, Liver, Wheat Gluten, Meat By-Products

Nutrient Breakdown: Protein 9% min, Fat 2% min, Fiber 1.5% min, Moisture 82% max, Ash 3% max, Taurine 0.05% min

Calories: 67kcal/can

Special Diet: N/A

Key Feature: The recipe features real chicken for high-protein nutrition while the thick gravy adds flavor and moisture

Fancy Feast Gravy Lovers is designed to increase your cat’s eating experience which can make it an attractive option if you have a picky cat. The blend features real chicken and broth as its top ingredients to give your cat the protein they need. Gravy is added to enhance the flavor of the wet food, while also being enhanced with vitamins and minerals to give your cat the nutrients they need.

Fancy Feast Gravy Lovers also provides small bites to improve the texture of the food making it more appealing to cats. You can serve your cat the canned food alone or add it on top of dry cat food. We chose Fancy Feast Gravy Lovers blend as the best tasting wet cat food because of it’s well-loved recipe and high ratings among cat owners.

Wellness CORE Signature Selects Flaked Skipjack Tuna & Shrimp Entree in Broth Grain-Free Canned Cat Food

Best Premium Wet Cat Food

First 5 ingredients: Tuna, Tuna Broth, Water, Mackarel, Shrimp

Nutrient Breakdown: Protein 10% min, Fat 3% min, Fiber 1.0% max, Moisture 85% max, Ash 2% max, Taurine 0.05% min, Magnesium 0.025%. max

Calories: 130 kcal/can

Special Diet: No Corn, No Wheat, No Soy, Grain-Free, Pea-Free

Key Feature: Includes real tuna as a high-quality fish protein source

Packing a punch with protein, WELLNESS Core Signature Canned Food is a great option for cat owners looking to provide their cats with a tasty and balanced diet. Not only does this canned food include real tuna as the primary ingredient, but it’s also packed with other sources of protein and sunflower oil to provide your cat with a healthy coat.

Sheba Perfect Portions Seafood Pate Variety Pack Grain-Free Cat Food Trays

Best Value Wet Cat Food

First 5 ingredients: Chicken, Water, White Fish, Poultry Liver, Chicken Broth

Nutrient Breakdown: Protein 9% min, Fat 5% min, Fiber 1.5% min, Moisture 81% max, Ash 3% max, Taurine 0.06% min (varies based on flavor)

Calories: 38 kcal/can

Special Diet: Gluten-Free, Grain-Free, No Corn, No Wheat, No Soy, Pea-Free

Key Feature: Food comes in easy to serve trays

Sheba Perfect Portions Wet Cat Food Variety Pack is a good option if you’re looking to test your picky cat’s taste buds. The variety pack includes 3 flavors: Signature Seafood, Delicate Salmon, and Tender Whitefish & Tuna, so you can try out different flavors.

Each recipe has a light texture and full flavor to accommodate even the pickiest eater’s needs. The wet food is packaged in trays that you can easy to peel open and serve right to your cat.

Blue Buffalo Basics Limited Ingredient Grain-Free Canned Cat Food

Best Limited Ingredient Wet Food

First 5 ingredients: Turkey, Turkey Broth, Turkey Liver, Potatoes, Natural Flavor

Nutrient Breakdown: Protein 8% min, Fat 6% min, Fiber 1.5% max, Moisture 78% max, Fatty Acids 0.9% min, Vitamins E and C

Calories: 101 kcal/3 oz. can

Special Diet: Sensitive Digestion, Indoor, Limited Ingredient Diet, Gluten- FreeNo Corn, No Wheat, No Soy, Grain-Free

Key Feature: Features a smooth texture and uses real turkey as the single animal protein

Blue Buffalo Basics Limited is a great option for cat owners who are looking to provide their cats with a grain-free, high-protein diet. This canned food is made from real turkey and contains no extra additives or preservatives, making it a simple choice for your feline friend.

If you’re looking for a more affordable Limited Ingredient Diet wet food then Blue Buffalo Basics is a good starting place. We chose Blue Buffalo as the best limited ingredient wet cat food because of its quality ingredients, price point, and high ratings.

Instinct Limited Ingredient Diet Grain-Free Pate Real Turkey Recipe Natural Wet Canned Cat Food

First 5 ingredients: Turkey, Turkey Broth, Turkey Liver, Peas, Pea Protein

Nutrient Breakdown: Protein 11.5% min, Fat 7% min, Fiber 2.0% max, Moisture 76% max, Fatty Acids 0.75% min

Calories: 108 kcal/3 oz. can

Special Diet: Sensitive Digestion, Limited Ingredient Diet, Gluten- FreeNo Corn, No Wheat, No Soy, Grain-Free

Key Feature: The first ingredient is cage-free turkey to provide your cat with an easily digestible, flavorful protein that provides your cat with all the essential amino acids needed

Instinct Limited Ingredient Diet is one of the best tasting cat foods for picky cats with limited ingredients. If your cat has a food sensitivity or is a picky eater in general, Instinct’s LID with one animal protein and bare essentials recipe may be a good choice to try. Even though the ingredients are more limited, the blend still includes essential amino acids for your cat’s coat as well as vitamins and minerals to give your cat a complete and balanced diet.

Best Tasting Dry Food for Picky Eaters

If you’re looking for the best tasting cat food for picky cats in dry food form, check out the list below for a few options to start with.

American Journey Chicken Recipe Grain-Free Dry Cat Food

Best Tasting Dry Cat Food

First 5 ingredients: Deboned Chicken, Chicken Meal, Tapioca Starch, Turkey Meal, Dried Egg Product

Nutrient Breakdown: Protein 40% min, Fat 15% min, Fiber 4% max, Moisture 10% max, Calcium 1.2% min, Phosphorous 1.0% min, Taurine 0.15% min, Fatty Acids 3.0% min

Calorie content: 405 kcal/cup

Special diet: Grain-Free, No Corn No Wheat No Soy, High-Protein

Key Features: High protein recipe made without poultry by-product meal or artificial preservatives

American Journey cat food focuses on using real meat first, whether it be chicken, salmon, duck, or turkey. This boost of animal-based protein is exactly what cats crave making American Journey a best tasting cat food among picky cats. Not only is this blend high-protein and grain-free, but it’s also packed with essential amino acids and antioxidants to keep your cat’s immune system and skin healthy.

We chose American Journey as our besting tasting dry cat food because of its high-quality, high-protein blend that’s sure to get your cat excited for meal time. The price point and high ratings by cat owners make it a great option for picky cats.

Blue Buffalo Wilderness Chicken Recipe Grain-Free Dry Cat Food

Best Premium Dry Cat Food

First 5 ingredients: Deboned Chicken, Chicken Meal, Pea Protein, Tapioca Starch, Peas

Nutrient Breakdown: Protein 40% min, Fat 18% min, Fiber 4% max, Moisture 9% max, Taurine 0.15% min, Fatty Acids 4% min

Calorie content: 443 kcal/cup

Special diet: Grain-Free, High-Protein, No Corn, No Wheat, No Soy

Key Features: High-protein recipe made with real chicken

If you’re looking for highly rated and tasty dry cat food, Blue Buffalo Wilderness High Protein is a great choice for your cat. Not only does this recipe include high-quality ingredients like real chicken, but it also features a blend of antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals to support your cat’s immune system.

Blue Buffalo Wilderness cat food is highly rated among cats and their owners for good reason. It’s a premium, tasty dry cat food that will help keep your cat healthy and happy. So if you have a picky cat, Blue Buffalo Wilderness is a great option to try.

Purina Cat Chow Naturals Original Dry Cat Food

Best Value Dry Cat Food

First 5 ingredients: Chicken, Corn Gluten Meal, Chicken By-product Meal, Rice, Soybean Meal

Nutrient Breakdown: Protein 34% min, Fat 13% min, Fiber 3% max, Moisture 12% max, Calcium 1.1% min, Phosphorous 1.0% min, Taurine 0.15% min

Calorie content: 398 kcal/cup

Special diet: High-Protein, Weight Control, Indoor, Natural

Key Features: A very highly rated blend that is high-protein

Purina Cat Chow Naturals is a highly rated cat food that many cat owners love. Its price point makes it more affordable and a good option to try out if you have a picky cat. The high-protein blend and natural ingredients make it a great option for your cat’s diet and well-being.

Natural Balance L.I.D. Limited Ingredient Diets Green Pea & Chicken Formula Grain-Free Dry Cat Food

Best Limited Ingredient Dry Cat Food

First 5 ingredients: Green Peas, Chicken Meal, Chicken, Chicken Fat, Pea Protein

Nutrient Breakdown: Protein 30% min, Fat 12% min, Fiber 4% max, Moisture 10% max, Taurine 0.1% min, Fatty Acids 3.0% min

Calorie content: 410 kcal/cup

Special diet: Grain-Free, Sensitive Digestion, Limited Ingredient Diet, No Corn, No Soy, No Wheat

Key Features: Single animal protein source of chicken to help cat’s with sensitivities

If you’re looking for a limited ingredient dry cat food, then check out Natural Balance LID. This highly-rated cat food was created with sensitive eaters in mind. The recipes single source of protein and limited ingredients help with your cat’s digestion as well as provide the essential vitamins and minerals needed to maintain your cat’s healthy eyes and heart.

If you’re looking for a simple dry cat food recipe to try out with your picky cat, then Natural Balance LID is a good option to start with.

Taste of the Wild Canyon River Grain-Free Dry Cat Food

First 5 ingredients: Trout, Ocean Fish Meal, Sweet Potatoes, Potatoes, Pea Protein

Nutrient Breakdown: Protein 32% min, Fat 16% min, Fiber 3% max, Moisture 10% max, Taurine 0.15% min, Fatty Acids 2.7% min

Calorie content: 350 kcal/cup

Special diet: Grain-Free

Key Features: Made with protein from fish to support the cat’s bones and joints.

Taste of the Wild Canyon River Cat Food is another great option for cats who are picky eaters. This recipe is grain-free and features fish protein instead of meat. Fish often feature more omega-3 fatty acids than poultry which help to support keep a cat’s coat and skin healthy.

If your cat doesn’t have a taste for poultry products, then this fish-focused recipe may be a good substitute to try out.

What to look for when searching for the best tasting cat food

When looking for the best tasting cat foods for your picky cat, there are a few key factors to consider: ingredients, texture, smell, and size. While dogs have a reputation for eating anything and everything, cats are not wired the same way and tend to have more opinions about the food they’re eating.

Let’s break down all of the important things to look at when searching for the best tasting cat food.

Ingredients (Protein, Fat, Carbohydrates)

Cats are carnivores at heart and they are going to be happier and healthier with high-protein diets. In the wild, a cat’s diet is predominantly small rodents that they’ve hunted, so if you give them cat food that is lacking protein they’re sure to notice.

When picking out cat food for your cat, you want to make sure that the blend contains high-quality protein and is also grain-free. Ingredients like wheat and corn are empty fillers for your cat and should be avoided as possible.

Texture

Your cat may have a preference for the texture of the cat food. This can be a big factor in feeding your cat wet food vs dry food.

It can be good to balance both wet and dry food in your cat’s diet, but you may find your cat drawn to wet cat food because of its softer texture and added moisture. If that’s the case you can always try adding a little water to the dry cat food to see if that improves the texture for your feline friend.

Smell

Smell is a huge factor in a cat’s preference for food. Cat foods with higher quality ingredients tend to be more aromatic. When you open up the dry cat food bag or wet cat food cans are you hit with a wave of cat food smells? If you don’t smell anything then your cat may not be either which can make the food less appetizing.

Is dry or wet food better?

wet food vs dry food picky cats

There’s no clear-cut answer on if dry food or wet food is better for cats. There are pros and cons to both.

Wet food is higher in moisture than dry cat food, which can be an added benefit to keeping your cat hydrated. However, you should always have fresh water available for your cat regardless of diet. So, if they are eating dry food only that is fine as long as they have access to water.

Wet cat food tends to be more expensive and more perishable once opened. With dry cat food, you can pour a bowl for your cat and leave it out, while with wet you will need to throw away the food if your cat doesn’t consume it all.

If you decide to put your cat exclusively on wet or dry food, just make sure the brand you’re choosing provides balanced nutrition.

Why are cats picky eaters?

To understand why cats are picky eaters, we must look at what drives their feeding instincts. Cats are predominantly carnivores which means they prefer a high-protein diet. This is different than dogs and humans, who are omnivores that eat pretty much everything in their diets.

Cats are naturally driven to eat foods that have a high protein to fat ratio of 1 to 0.4. This means they will seek out this balance of food sometimes even regardless of smell or taste. Finding a wet or dry cat food that is balanced and nutritious is key to keeping your cat happy and healthy.

Cats are also highly driven by taste, texture, and smell, unlike dogs who tend to consume a majority of what’s placed in front of them. This means that when introducing a new food, your cat may immediately have strong feelings about it without seemingly having given it a chance.

Besides the quality of food, let’s take a look at other factors that may affect whether your cat is a picky eater.

Does your cat like to eat alone or in a group?

If you have more than one cat and feed them altogether, that may be the reason why one or more of your cats aren’t eating as much. While humans like to eat socially with other humans, cats are generally solitary hunters and eaters.

If your cat doesn’t seem to be eating much at meal times, try separating their food bowls in different areas of your home. Your cat may just prefer to eat by themselves rather than with other cats.

Do you have the food in the best location?

If your cat is being a picky eater and not eating what you’ve put out, try changing up the location. If you’ve put the cat food in a location that has a lot of activity going on and foot traffic, your cat may not feel comfortable eating there.

Try moving the cat food bowl to a quieter location more out of the way and see if that helps your cat eat more of their food.

Is your cat eating out of the right bowl?

Another change you can try if you have a picky cat is to change out their cat food bowl. You can try raising or lowering their current cat bowl or buying a bigger bowl to see if there is an ergonomic reason why they aren’t eating their food.

Is your cat having digestion issues?

If your cat isn’t eating their food, it’s always a good idea to consult your vet. Your cat could be dealing with digestion issues or other health issues causing them not to eat. Consult your vet if you are concerned your cat isn’t eating, especially if they have suddenly stopped eating food they used to have no issues with.

When should you worry about a cat that’s a picky eater?

If your cat suddenly stops eating the cat food they’ve always had, this may be a good time to consult your vet. Your cat could be having other health issues that are causing them not to eat.

If you have tried different types of foods and still can’t get your cat to eat them, then consult your vet. You want to make sure your cat is getting the nutrition they need and if they aren’t eating any of their food their health could suffer.

When in doubt consult your vet, that’s what they’re there for.

Can you do anything to the food to make it taste better?

Because smell is such an important part of a cat’s eating experience, you want to make sure you’re serving the wet cat food at the right temperature. (Be careful that you don’t make it too hot.)

Warming up wet cat food can enhance its smell, making it more appetizing for your cat.

If your cat isn’t eating their dry cat food, you can try adding water to it so that it is more easily eaten. It could be that your cat doesn’t like the texture or hardness of the food. You can also try mixing in some wet cat food with dry food as many cats prefer wet food over dry food.

There are also some cat food toppers out there you can buy to add on top of your current dry or wet food.

Do cats get bored eating the same food every day?

You may be wondering if your cat will get bored eating the same food every single day. This comes down to the preference of the cat. Some cats are content with the same dry cat food every single day while others can get bored with the same offering.

If you have a picky cat eater on your hands try mixing up their diet by serving wet cat food at some meals and dry cat food at others. Be careful if you’re constantly swapping different cat foods out as that can be hard on a cat’s stomach to digest.

How to transition your cat to a new food

If you’re looking to transition your cat to new cat food, it’s important to do this slowly over a few days. Cat’s digestive systems can be sensitive, and if you make the swap all at once then you may cause your cat digestive problems with their new food.

To transition your cat to a new food, add a little bit of the new food into their old food at each meal. Every time you feed them add less of their older food and more of the new food until you have completely phased out the old cat food. This will help them gradually adjust to the new food.

What’s next?

If you’re looking for a great tasting cat food for your finicky cat, then choose a wet and dry cat food from this list to start incorporating into your cat’s diet. It’s important to slowly integrate new foods to keep digestive issues at bay. Remember, that it may not just be a certain brand of cat food your cat has a preference for, it could be the flavor choice. Try out variety packs with chicken, fish, or turkey flavors to test your cat’s preference.

Use this complete guide to cat essentials if you’re looking for a complete list of everything you need for a new cat.

Related: The Best Cat Food for Outdoor Cats

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