High Protein Cat Food

Cat food with high protein content and fewer carbs is often recognized as better for cats because they are carnivores. High protein diets are beneficial for cats as proteins are building blocks of muscles and are cornerstone of their diet, together with fat.

high protein cat food

However, how much protein is enough? What does it mean “high protein cat food” – high compared to what? To answer all your queries and clarify misconceptions, we have created a thorough guide on high protein cat foods. You can learn everything about the protein-rich diet in this guide. We have also selected and reviewed several most common products from the range and singled out high protein cat food that we see as the best choice currently on the market.

What is High Protein Cat Food?

You must already know that cats are obligate carnivores. This means animal tissue is their fundamental biological requirement to ensure good health and wellbeing. If left on their own, cats would certainly seek out birds or mice or similar prey. 

High protein cat food for older cats is different from regular adult cat food. Typically cat foods contain 26% protein, while according to the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO), for healthy growth and reproduction in cats, their foods must contain at least 30% protein. This protein proportion must be on a Dry Matter Basis, meaning moisture content not taken into account.

Generally, with adult cat food, the required protein amount is the bare minimum. In contrast, protein-rich foods contain a balanced proportion of this fundamental nutrient for cats.

Hydrolyzed protein / Novel protein Cat Food

Some cats might have allergic reactions to common sources of protein. This might manifest itself in vomiting or skin/coat issues. If you notice this is happening with your cat, consult your vet and use elimination diet to test if the food is the source. We have prepared an extensive guide on best hypoallergenic cat food for you.

Advantages of High Protein Cat Food:

There are numerous benefits of using a high protein cat diet. 

  • Protein has a key role needed for the balanced growth of cellular material
  • Amino acids, like taurine, are crucial for many functions of cats’ organisms
  • Proteins are what claws, fur, muscles, and skin are made of 
  • Proteins are required to form hormones, enzymes, neurotransmitters, and some parts of the immune system.
  • A protein-rich diet mimics your cat’s natural diet out in the wild (the reason why veterinarians and nutritionists suggest quality protein sources.)
  • It reduces diabetes risk in felines 
  • It helps reduce obesity in cats. Feeding a  low protein diet with a lot of grains can promote obesity among the domestic felines. This is why a high protein grain free cat food would be beneficial for your pet
  • Can help cats with hyperthyroidism.

If you are looking specifically for cat food that has increased amount of amino acid taurine – we have prepared a list of cat food with taurine for you.

Disadvantages of High Protein Cat Food

There’s generally no harm in feeding your cat a high protein diet. 

  • Frequent protein diet can develop kidney disease in cats (as kidneys filter out the excessive protein)
  • Cat’s suffering from kidney disease, diabetes, or obesity; require regular checkups and proper recommendations for the daily meal requirements

Find more info on best cat food for kidney issues.

How to Choose the Best High Protein Low Carb Cat Food

High Protein Food for Kittens (0-1yr):

Kittens are like a powerhouse of energy and have completely different dietary requirements than older cats. They need more protein, minerals, vitamins, and amino acids in their diet. Therefore, they must receive 30 to 40% of their energy from protein. Kittens will definitely benefit from a high calorie diet made just for them.

Cat Food With Protein for Adult Cats (1-6yr):

A majority of adult cats need around 35 to 40% of the protein in their diet. You can opt for high protein low carb wet cat food because it contains more fresh meat sources than dry food. Regular adult cat food falls short at this requirement as it generally contains 20 to 35% protein, while well-balanced diets offer 35 to 45% protein. High protein diets contain up to 58% protein per meal dry matter weight.

High Protein Diet for Senior Cats (7+ years):

Senior cats are at a greater risk of developing chronic kidney disease, among other issues that are caused by ageing. It’s widespread in old cats. Feeding high protein cat food can damage their kidneys more, while too little protein can lead to muscle mass loss. So, the best thing to do is focusing on feeding quality protein instead of quantity. You must check out the ingredient list. If the first ingredient is lamb, chicken, or another protein, it offers good quality protein.

High Protein Wet/Canned Cat Food vs. Dry Cat Food

It is important to note that converting meat into dry kibble requires the addition of some filler. When you make meatballs at home, don’t you add bread crumbs? Ok, that might be a bit far off comparison, however one has to note that these products might have potentially more dry matter carbs.

Cheaper brands of high protein dry cat food contain grains as the primary filler source because they are inexpensive. However, grains cannot provide balanced nutrition to your feline. Such foods may be a good source of fiber but not protein. Let’s not forget that cats cannot digest grains efficiently. 

Some grains get transformed into glucose and cause obesity of metabolism issues.

High protein foods generally don’t contain grains, and as filler, these may contain potatoes, sweet potato, peas, or other types of vegetables and fruits. The filler isn’t a bad thing, but these ingredients may not be always easily digestible for your cat.

On the other hand, high protein canned cat food requires minimal binding agents or fillers, and hence, it is a better and more nutritious option. The moisture content in wet food is higher than in dry cat food. Your cat will require more water after consuming dry cat food to compensate for the lack of moisture content. Do check for signs of dehydration in your cat if they regularly eat dry kibble.

What to Consider when choosing High Protein Cat Food – Wet/Canned?

You should consult your vet because every cat has different dietary requirements at different stages of their life. Kittens need higher protein and carb proportion, whereas seniors need lower protein content. Consulting your vet is particularly crucial if your feline has kidney disease, metabolism, or is overweight.

Whether you want to switch from dry to wet cat food or between different dry or wet canned food brands, the best strategy would be to start slowly. Feed the new food at a gap of 3 to 4 days and gradually increase its frequency. 

Top 10 Best High Protein Cat Dry and Wet Foods – Reviews

1. Blue Buffalo Wilderness High Protein Grain Free, Natural Adult Cat Food

blue buffalo high protein grain free

Blue Buffalo has catered to the needs of your cat by creating a formula that is high in natural proteins along with having zero grains. As carnivores, cats have a high bodily requirement for meat, which is fulfilled by the natural chicken found in Blue Buffalo’s high-quality protein cat food. To fulfill the cat’s carbohydrates needs, Blue Buffalo’s food comes with a mix of sweet potatoes plus peas. There is an absence of protein by-products, any artificial additives, or preservatives. The food contains essential fatty acids that keep your feline’s coat shiny and thick. The packet is a full twelve pound of protein fun for your cat, which for the price is not bad at all. 


  • Grain-free diet
  • Natural chicken
  • Comes with peas and sweet potato
  • No protein by-products, additives, or preservatives
  • Increased fatty acids to keep fur shiny


  • No cons


Deboned Chicken, Chicken Meal, Pea Protein, Menhaden Fish Meal (source of Omega 3 Fatty Acids), Chicken Fat (preserved with Mixed Tocopherols), Dried Egg Product. 

Guaranteed Analysis:

  • Protein: 44.0% min
  • Fat: 20% min
  • Fiber:  4.4% max
  • Moisture: 9% max

2. Tiki Cat Born Carnivore Grain-Free Dry Cat Food

Tiki Cat Born Carnivore Grain-Free high protein Dry Cat Food

Cats who are picky eaters are not easy to feed. Tiki Cat Born Carnivore Grain- Free high in protein and low carb dry cat food answer such worries. It is the ideal feed for your feline as it is enriched with high levels of good proteins plus other nutrients that your cat needs. It is made with pure chicken and some organ meat. The chicken is real and contains no by-products.

On top of that, it is appetizing, with a delicious flavor making your cats purr with happiness. There are minimal carbohydrates, such as pumpkin, salmon oil, and flaxseeds. Your cat will be healthy, lean, high on energy, and content with its feed. 


  • 80% protein from animal sources
  • No by-products
  • Non-GMO ingredients
  • Minimal carbohydrates


  • No cons


Deboned chicken, chicken meal, dehydrated chicken liver, dried egg product, ground whole flax seeds, tapioca flour.

Guaranteed Analysis:

  • Protein: 52.0% min
  • Fat: 22% min
  • Fiber:  7% max
  • Moisture: 9.1 % max
  • Taurine: 0.3%

3. Nature’s Variety Instinct Original Grain-Free Recipe Natural Dry Cat Food

instinct grain free high-protein

This is exactly what your cat needs. It is formulated based on the diet cats in their wild past would take. It mainly consists of pure meat, targeting the carnivorous nature of felines. If your cats are weak overall or have weakened muscles, this diet will help overcome those issues. The dry high protein cat food will not only aid your pet in achieving a lean muscular body but also boost up their energy levels. This recipe contains fruits, vegetables, along with many natural oils that provide suitable nutritional feed. It is easy to digest, as there is an absence of grains. It also contains the correct amount of antioxidants and fatty acids for a better-looking coat.


  • Contains best meat sources
  • Aids in achieving a lean body
  • Easy to digest
  • Contains fatty acids and anti-oxidants


  • No cons


Real salmon, Chicken, Chicken Meal, Turkey Meal, Menhaden Fish Meal, Peas, Chicken Fat.

Guaranteed Analysis (% of dry matter):

  • Protein: 47% min
  • Fat: 25% min
  • Fiber:  3.3% max
  • Moisture: 9% max
  • Taurine: 0.3%

4. Purina Beyond Grain-Free, Natural, Adult Dry Cat Food

purina beyond grain free high protein

Nestle’s Purina has brought high protein dry cat food into the market. Their most famous produce over the years has been the Whitefish & Egg Recipe, which is perfect for your cats if they are fussy eaters. The product sources protein from best ingredients. It fulfils the required daily nutritional needs while being low cost and preservatives free. This food also contains a more generous amount of carbohydrates than what a cat requires typically, which might be the only downside we found.


  • Their products are based on organic protein ingredients that can be traced easily.
  • It is inexpensive
  • Free of preservatives


  • Limited flavor variety
  • High carbohydrate content


Ocean Whitefish, Chicken Meal, Dried Sweet Potatoes, Dried Egg Product, Pea Protein.

Guaranteed Analysis (of dry matter):

  • Protein: 40.0% min
  • Fat: 16.0% min
  • Fiber:  7.0% max
  • Moisture: 12.0% max
  • Taurine:  0.2% min

5. Taste of the Wild Grain-Free Premium High Protein Dry Cat Food Rocky Mountain – Roasted Venison and Smoked Salmon

This version of cat food consists of 42 percent of natural protein. It is suitable for cats of every kind and age. The combination of salmon plus the venison creates a healthy, nutritious meal for your furry friends. The food is packed with superfoods, vegetables, and fruits that add the right amount of other nutrients in the cat’s diet. A cat food high in protein that aids the digestive system as well as keep them lean. The only negative point of this product is that some of their packets are reported to having a foul stench. Overall this is a highly recommended cat food.


  • High protein content
  • Suitable for all types of cats
  • Contains superfoods
  • Good for digestion 
  • Affordable


  • Some packets reported to have a foul smell*

* our partners will exchange your goods since they guarantee quality.


Chicken meal, sweet potatoes, chicken fat, roasted venison, smoked salmon, ocean fish meal.

Guaranteed Analysis:

  • Protein: 47.0% min
  • Fat: 20% min
  • Fiber:  3.3% max
  • Moisture: 10% max

6. Crave Grain Free High Protein Dry Cat Food

Crave Grain Free High Protein Dry Indoor Cat Adult

Crave grain free high protein dry cat food provides real, 100% natural chicken. There is also an absence of wheat, soy, and corn. Feed your cat with a protein-rich diet, just like their ancestors would have eaten in the nature. Increased immunity levels, energy to do different activities, and a healthy body figure are some of the pros of feeding your cat with this high protein dry cat food. However, one drawback is that here is an unreasonably high content of carbs, and the amount of fat is a bit lower than AAFCO recommended cat food nutrition.


  • Indoor cat food formula
  • Hundred percent natural chicken
  • No wheat, soy, or corn
  • Formula mimcs natural cat diet
  • Can improve immunity


  • Carbohydrates content
  • Low fat content


Chicken, Chicken Meal, Pea Protein, Split Peas, Chicken Fat, Potato Protein, Salmon Meal, Dehydrated Alfalfa Meal

Guaranteed Analysis:

  • Protein: 44.0% min
  • Fat: 18% min
  • Fiber:  6.6% max
  • Moisture: 10% max

7. Purina One Natural Adult Canned Food

Purina One will leave your cat purring with satisfaction. It is a high in protein but low carb wet cat food that comes in canned form. Hundred percent real chicken, plus other vital ingredients that your cat requires, create a blend that your cat will love. Purina One might be a cheap option, but it has many artificial flavors, protein by-products, and preservatives as part of the ingredients. Such controversial ingredients are a red flag for some cat owners, we usually skip recommending such products, however, our cats just love it and don’t seem to have any digestive issues from the food. 


  • Hundred percent real chicken
  • Contains fatty acids and antioxidants 
  • Keeps cats lean
  • It is inexpensive


  • Contains chicken by-products, artificial flavors and preservatives


Chicken, Liver, Chicken Broth, Pork Lungs, Trout, Natural Flavors.

Guaranteed Analysis (of dry mass):

  • Protein: 50.0% min
  • Fat: 23% min
  • Fiber:  7% max
  • Moisture: 78 % max
  • Taurine: 0.3%

8. Lams Proactive Health Kitten Dry Cat Food

Lams Proactive Health Kitten Dry Cat food caters to the food requirements of your little young kittens. If you want your teeny tiny kitten to blossom into a healthy adult cat, then this product is the best for your kitten. It contains the same ingredients and hence is a dupe for a mother’s feed. It has high protein content with natural meat. The food is incorporated with various Vitamins plus minerals such as taurine for better eyesight. The size and taste of the food are kitten friendly, helping them to grab the food easily. A happy and healthy kitten guaranteed. The only negative about this is that we cannot feed this to adult cats.


  • Good for kittens
  • Imitates mother cat’s feed
  • Taurine for better vision
  • Kitten friendly portions


  • Not suitable for adult cats


Chicken, Chicken By-Product Meal, Ground Whole Grain Corn, Corn Grits, Corn Gluten Meal, Dried Beet Pulp, Salmon

Guaranteed Analysis (of dry matter):

  • Protein: 37% min
  • Fat: 23.3% min
  • Fiber:  3.3% max
  • Moisture: 10% max
  • Taurine: 0.19%

9. Hill’s Science Diet Adult Wet Cat Food

Hill's Science Diet Adult Wet Cat Food

This is a wet food that provides adequate hydration for your cat. It is enriched with proteins, which energizes your cat in addition to fulfilling its dietary needs. It has most of the nutrients that your cat requires, which aids in maintaining a balanced diet. The best thing about it is the yummy taste of the tuna, accompanied with a delicious gravy. It is vet recommended as it is excellent for a feline’s digestive system. The only flaw regarding this cat food is that it is not recommended to feed it to kittens or a cat who is in gestation or is feeding her kittens. It is also not suitable to provide it to older cats.


  • Improved hydration
  • High protein content
  • Maintains balanced diet
  • Recommended by vets


  • Adult cat formula only – not to be fed to pregnant cats, kittens, and senior cats


Water, tuna, chicken, pork liver, wheat flour.

Guaranteed Analysis:

  • Protein: 40% min
  • Fat: 26.6% min
  • Fiber:  3.9% max
  • Taurine: 0.42%

10. Natural Balance L.I.D. Limited Ingredient

Natural Balance L.I.D. is suitable for all your cats’ needs. The perfect high protein dry cat food to give to your feline as its main component is chicken. All the bodily dietary demands are satisfied through it. It comprises many different high-end chicken ingredients plus fatty acids for a better looking, shiny fur for your pet cat. It also uses green ingredients to ensure better digestive health. Various vitamins plus minerals are also found to meet the requirements. The food is examined comprehensively in the laboratories to guarantee safety. Having a limited variety of flavors is a small drawback for this product. Another negative would be the too much kibble particles found in the food.


  • Contains fatty acid for a shiny coat
  • Aids digestion
  • Laboratory checked


  • Limited flavor variety
  • Too much kibble dust


Chicken, Chicken Meal, Peas, Pea Protein, Chicken Fat (Preserved with Mixed Tocopherols), Brewers Dried Yeast, Natural Flavor

Guaranteed Analysis:

  • Protein: 41% min
  • Fat: 16.6% min
  • Fiber:  4.4% max
  • Taurine: 0.16%

Best High Protein Cat Food FAQ

Is high protein cat food suitable for cats?

Yes, indeed. High protein cat food is very beneficial, especially for cats in the growing age. It mimics the natural diet, which they have been evolved to consume. Protein is vital for the development and repair of muscle mass and helps your cat maintain an ideal weight.

Which protein is the best for cats?

Chicken, lamb, poultry, beef, fish, meat, or liver are the best sources of protein for your cat.

What percentage of food should be protein?

For kittens, the protein percentage should be 30-40%. Adult cats must consume 35-40% protein, and senior cats will need high quality protein rather than a higher percentage.

Which cat food has higher meat content?

Dry cat food generally has higher meat content, whereas wet food has a high moisture content.

Can a high protein cat diet cause kidney issues?

Protein can make it harder for cats with kidney issues. It can make chronic kidney disease worse because it increases the workload on kidneys. In case of kidney disease you must listen to the vet who will most likely also recommend some of the prescription cat food products.