What is the Best Cat Food for Indoor Cats?

Wet Cat Food Diet

Everyone wants to make sure they are feeding their cat the best food possible, but there is no one-size-fits-all choice that works for all cats and circumstances. Instead, you’ll need to consider your pet’s health, lifestyle and food preferences to make the best possible choice.

This is especially important when trying to find the best cat food for indoor cats, who spend their entire life inside the walls of your home. Indoor cats have unique needs that outdoor cats do not, which you must consider when making your cat-food-buying decisions.

Analysis & Award Winners

Best Overall Indoor Cat Food: Wellness Complete Health Natural Dry Indoor Cat Food

Complete Health Grained Dry Cat Food
Wellness Complete Health Natural Dry Indoor Cat Food

Wellness Complete Health is a reasonably priced, yet nutritious food that is one of the best indoor cat foods on the market. Made with top-notch ingredients, such as deboned chicken and ground barley, Wellness Complete Health would be a great choice for almost any cat; however, it also features many ingredients that specifically address the needs of indoor cats.

For example, the recipe is rich in omega-3 fatty acids to help ensure healthy skin and fur and reduce shedding volume (which may help reduce the formation of hairballs). Additionally, Wellness Complete Health is fortified with L-Carnitine, which may help keep your indoor cat’s weight under control.

Wellness Complete Health is also made with glucosamine and chondroitin to help protect your cat’s joints, and cranberries are used to help supply phytonutrients for your cat’s overall health.

However, Wellness Complete Health provides all of these things without including any problematic ingredients, such as wheat, corn, soy, meat by-products, artificial flavors, colors or preservatives.

  • Pros: High-quality ingredients, and a recipe designed for your indoor cat. Includes probiotics.
  • Cons: Some cats find it unpalatable, but this can occur with any food.
  • Bottom Line: Very good ingredients, and slightly less expensive than Hill’s Ideal Balance Indoor recipe.

Top Quality Indoor Cat Food: Blue Buffalo Life Protection Indoor Hairball & Weight Control

Blue Buffalo Indoor Hairball Control
Blue Buffalo Indoor Hairball & Weight Control Natural Adult Dry Cat Food

Blue Buffalo Indoor Hairball & Weight Control is a USA-made food that is packed with great ingredients. Deboned chicken tops the list, but it also includes things like flaxseed and menhaden fish meal, which are both rich in omega-3 fatty acids.

Blue Buffalo is also manufactured with L-carnitine, which may help keep your cat’s body weight at the appropriate level, despite the low levels of exercise most indoor cats enjoy. Blue Buffalo also includes several different fiber sources, such as barley and bran, and probiotics to help encourage digestive health and the easy passage of hair.

But because the things you leave out of a cat food are just as important as the things you put in, Blue Buffalo skips most of the junk that other foods include in their recipes. You won’t, for example, find any corn, wheat, soy, in the recipe, nor any artificial colors, flavors or preservatives.

However, it still manages to provide your cat with a balanced diet, thanks to the real fruits and vegetables – including sweet potatoes, carrots, blackberries, and apples, among others – featured in the recipe.

Blue Buffalo is even made with cranberries to help ensure your cat’s urinary tract remains healthy and works as it should.

Simply put, this collection of ingredients is far superior to that of the other foods reviewed. Were it not for its slightly higher price tag than Wellness Complete, Blue Buffalo would have also taken the “Best Overall Indoor Cat Food” award.

  • Pros: Best combination of ingredients and characteristics among those reviewed. Includes probiotics.
  • Cons: Slightly more expensive than Wellness Complete Health.
  • Bottom Line: Includes all of the things you’d want in a premium indoor cat food. Easily the highest quality product reviewed.

Best Bang for the Buck: Hill’s Science Diet Indoor Dry Cat Food

​Hill's Science Diet
Hill’s Science Diet Dry Cat Food

Hill’s Science Diet Indoor Cat Food is a nutritious, yet affordable choice that should help your indoor cat live a long, healthy life. Despite its relatively low cost (approximately $2.11/pound), Hill’s Science Diet features real chicken as the first ingredient, unlike a lot of similarly priced foods, which rely on chicken meal or corn as the first ingredient.

Hill’s Science Diet also includes several fiber sources for digestive health and L-Carnitine, which may help prevent obesity for under-exercised, indoor cats.

Hill’s Science Diet Indoor formula is made with all-natural ingredients and fortified with all of the vitamins, minerals and amino acids a healthy cat needs. This means that it contains no artificial colors, flavors or preservatives.

While Science Diet’s ingredients aren’t quite as good as some of the other foods reviewed here, it’s low price helps to offset these minor deficiencies, and make it a great choice for indoor cat owners on a budget.

  • Pros: Lists real chicken as the first ingredient. Made in the USA.
  • Cons: No probiotics included in recipe.
  • Bottom Line: Excellent value for an above average cat food.

Characteristics of Good Indoor Cat Foods

Indoor cats have slightly different nutritional needs than outdoor cats do, thanks to the differences in lifestyle the two cats enjoy. For example:

  • Indoor cats often suffer from a lack of exercise. This predisposes them to obesity, which can lead to cardiovascular problems, diabetes, and other illnesses. Because obesity can be very difficult to correct, it is much wiser to avoid obesity in the first place, rather than trying to help your cat lose weight later. Accordingly, indoor cat foods should be formulated with obesity prevention in mind.
  • Because indoor cats must use a litter box, it behooves you to select a food formulated to reduce the odor of your cat’s feces. Some indoor formulations address this by tweaking the recipe, while others go even further, and strive to reduce the volume of waste produced. Good indoor cat foods will help keep your home smelling better in addition to keeping your cat healthier.
  • Many indoor-cat food recipes also take strides to help hairballs pass through your cat’s digestive system, rather than coming back out the way they went in. They often accomplish this by including several fiber sources in a recipe, as well as including omega fatty acids to ensure a healthy coat.
  • Good foods for indoor cats should also possess all of the traits any good pet food does. This means that they should feature a fresh, real protein as the first ingredient, and they should exclude unnecessarily problematic ingredients, such as artificial colors, which may cause food allergies. Good foods also avoid including unidentified meat meals and byproducts in their recipes.

There are a lot of competing interests to weigh when trying to choose a pet food, and it isn’t always easy to compare two similar foods. Just do your best to select the best choice and remember to keep the concepts in mind the concepts mentioned above as you hunt for the best cat food for your indoor cat.

Always Work with Your Veterinarian

While you don’t necessarily need to consult your vet before picking a pet food, it is always important to keep your vet in the loop regarding your pet’s diet. Be sure to discuss your cat’s specific needs, as some medical conditions can worsen from ingredients that wouldn’t cause most pets harm. For example, omega-3 fatty acids are a healthy addition to the diet of many cats, but they can cause health problems in others.

Additionally, your veterinarian can help you monitor your indoor cat’s weight – a subject about which many owners have blind spots. Of course, you should always contact your veterinarian immediately if your cat becomes sick, especially if illness immediately follows a switch in food.

Making the Switch

It’s always wise to switch your cat’s food gradually when changing her food. This will help avoid intestinal upset, and gradually condition your cat to the new food’s flavor. This is especially important for cats that are known to be finicky, as it may help reduce the chances that they’ll reject the food.

Most authorities recommend changing foods over a 7- to 10-day period, although it may take even longer for particularly picky pets. Start by providing your cat with a bowl primarily comprised of her old food, and gradually mix in increasing amounts of the new food with each meal.

Best of the Rest

Natural Balance Indoor Ultra Dry Cat Food

Natural Balance
Natural Balance Indoor Ultra Dry Cat Food

Natural Balance Indoor Ultra is a reasonable if uninspiring choice for your indoor cat. Although it isn’t one of the best indoor cat foods available, it does contain several fiber sources to help hairballs pass naturally, and cranberries to help protect your cat’s urinary tract.

However, the most troubling characteristic of the recipe is its reliance on chicken meal –the first listed ingredient – instead of real chicken. Natural Balance is, however, relatively inexpensive, so budget-minded shoppers may want to consider it as a valid option.

Royal CANIN Feline Health Nutrition Indoor Intense Hairball 34

Royal Canin Feline Health Nutrition Indoor
Royal Canin Feline Health Nutrition Indoor Intense Hairball 34 Dry Cat Food

Royal CANIN Feline Indoor Intense Hairball is not one of the better choices available for indoor cats. It’s recipe is primarily based on chicken meal, rather than chicken. While chicken meal is not necessarily a bad ingredient, real chicken is preferable.

Unfortunately, chicken doesn’t appear on the ingredients list until the sixth spot, which is hardly ideal. However, it does include several fiber sources to help eliminate hairballs, as well as fatty acids to support skin and coat health.

Additionally, Royal CANIN is rather expensive. In fact, it is the most expensive of the foods reviewed here. Given the lack of chicken as a primary ingredient, this is rather disappointing.

Picking a food for your indoor cat requires a little more care than if you were picking a food for an outdoor cat, but that doesn’t mean it needs to be a difficult process. Just look over the best-rated options, consider your pet’s specific needs, and make the best choice you can.

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My name is Puka and I am a great cat lover and a cat owner of two lovely cats. I have owned many cats till now and have dedicated many years to nurturing and caring cats. Through this blog, I am here to share my knowledge and experience about cats.


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