What is the best cat food for outdoor cats?
I have tested top market products and found Purina Pro Plan Chicken & Turkey Favorites Variety Pack Canned Cat Food to be the best cat food for outdoor cats overall.
As a feline Nutritionist and pet owner, I have bought various foods for my cats. My main concern always was how to provide the best nutrition for my pet.
With so many options available on cat food shelves, it is easy to be overwhelmed with the best cat food for outdoor cats.
Today, the cat is the second most typical pet in America, in terms of sheer numbers (cold water fish hold the top spot!) There are now an estimated 85.8 million in the USA. (1)
What to remember about cat nutrition:
- Cats are obligate carnivores, which means they need their nutrients from animal products.
- As hunters, they consume prey with high amounts of protein, small amounts of fat, and very few carbohydrates.
- They also require other nutrients, including vitamins, minerals, fatty acids, and amino acids.
- Cats in the wild get most of their water intake from their prey, so they are reluctant to drink water. This is important to remember when choosing dry or wet food for your cat.
A balanced and nutritious diet is an excellent start to a long and happy life.
Best cat food for outdoor cats
Because different life stages lead to different needs for your furry friend, we select the best food for outdoor cats from when they are kittens to when entering old age. Have a look!
- Purina Pro Plan Chicken & Turkey Favorites Variety (Best Cat Food For Outdoor Cats Overall)
- American Journey Kitten Minced Chicken Recipe (Best Cat Food For Outdoor Cats For Kittens)
- Tiki Cat Puka Puka Luau Succulent Chicken (Best Cat Food For Outdoor Cats For Adults)
- Fancy Feast Senior 7+ Chicken, Beef & Tuna Feasts Variety Pack (Best Cat Food For Outdoor Cats For Seniors)
- Instinct Original Grain-Free Recipe with Real Chicken Freeze-Dried Raw Coated Dry Cat Food (Best Cat Food For Outdoor Cats Dry Formula)
Best Cat Food for Outdoor Cats Review
Best cat food for outdoor cats overall
Top 5 ingredients
Chicken & Rice Entree in Gravy: Water Sufficient For Processing, Chicken, Wheat Gluten, Liver, Meat By-Products
Turkey & Rice Entree in Gravy: Water Sufficient For Processing, Turkey, Wheat Gluten, Liver, Meat By-Products
White Meat Chicken & Vegetable Entree in Gravy: Water Sufficient For Processing, Chicken, Wheat Gluten, Liver, Meat By-Products
Appetite Stimulation, High-Energy, Immune Support, Itch & Redness Remedy, Skin & Coat Health
Chicken & Rice Entree in Gravy:
Crude Protein 11.0% min, Crude Fat 2.0% min, Crude Fiber 1.5% max,
Moisture 80.0% max
Turkey & Rice Entree in Gravy:
Crude Protein 11.0% min, Crude Fat 2.0% min, Crude Fiber 4.0% max,
Moisture 10.0% max
White Meat Chicken & Vegetable Entree in Gravy:
Crude Protein 10.0% min, Crude Fat 2.0% min, Crude Fiber 1.5% max,
Moisture 82.0% max
Chicken & Rice Entree in Gravy: 71 kcal/can
Turkey & Rice Entree in Gravy: 71 kcal/can
White Meat Chicken & Vegetable Entree in Gravy: 65 kcal/can
Overall, cats that go outdoors
- A high-quality protein cat needs to fuel daily activities.
- Essential nutrients to support the immune system.
- 25 essential vitamins and minerals and the amino acid taurine support overall health and well-being.
- Omega 3 and 6 for a healthy, shiny coat.
- The variety pack contains three flavors to choose from.
Annie 105, Read More
We all know how fussy cats can be. I had them eating fancy feast for a while, but they did not finish the food in their dishes, and finally, I had to look for another kind.
I read all the reviews online for the Purina pro plan, and they were excellent. So last month I ordered two boxes to try.
Well, they have been an enormous success. Never a mortal left in their bowels, and they get excited when I go to feed them. I can highly recommend it.
Bea, Read More
I started the Purina Pro Plan from a recommendation from my vet, who said the food is high quality at an affordable price.
I started with the Pro Plan Focus (chicken and rice) for Spayed and Neutered cats, and then I switched to the Purina Pro Plan.
My cat liked the food better and ate it in one sitting. It also helps with his gastro issues.
Karin, Read More
I have trouble finding food my old cats will eat, let alone not vomit back up. My cats can eat an entire small can each, and it all stays down!
They are also gaining much-needed weight, and their coats are improving too. Thank goodness I finally hit the jackpot!!!
Best cat food for outdoor cats for kittens
Top 5 ingredients
Chicken, Chicken Broth, Water Sufficient for Processing, Chicken Liver, Dried Egg White
Grain-Free, No Corn No Wheat No Soy, High-Protein
Crude Protein 10.0% min, Crude Fat 3.5% min, Crude Fiber 1.5% max, Moisture 82.0% max
- Bites of chicken are the first ingredient.
- It contains quality protein to support the nutritional needs of growing kittens.
- Flaxseed and fish oil for healthy coat and skin health.
- Includes nutrients such as DHA and AHA to support healthy brain and eye development.
- Omega-3 and 6 fatty acids for skin and coat health.
- Made without corn, soy, wheat, poultry by-product meal or artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives.
Nick, Read More
I looked for new food with better quality ingredients that my cats would enjoy while not breaking the bank. Both of my cats are rescues, and they were used to a dry food diet that consisted of grocery store brands.
My cats loved that food, but I knew the ingredients weren’t the best, and I was feeding them the equivalent to fast food. I tried a lot of higher-end brands, but they didn’t seem to take to those.
I tried this one as a last resort before giving up and going back to the fast-food versions. One cat loved it right away, and by the end of day 1, the other cat was sold. I’m happy to find something I can feed and feel good about.
Kali, Read More
I’ve been having so much trouble getting my kitten to eat any wet food at all… 4 different brands, and she barely eats half a can per sitting at six months old.
I plopped this stuff into her bowl, and she devoured the entire thing in one go and was still licking her bowl clean after she finished. Highly recommend
Carolyn, Read More
This brand is new to me, as I’ve been searching for a kitten food that’s the same consistency as the Royal Canin Thin Slices in Gravy.
A.J. is more affordable, has the same consistency, just different colors, and has better ingredients.
My female kitten loves R.C., but I only want the best ingredients possible, so when I saw Chewy carrying this new brand, I immediately had to give it a try!
So far, it’s going great, she ate the whole plate, and I can tell she enjoyed it like R.C. I’m also taking care of another kitten who loves everything except pate wet food (my kittens hate that consistency), and he DEVOURED that food, no crumbs lol.
Needless to say, if you’re on you’re last rope of kitten food to try, sincerely give this your last shot. You will not be disappointed!
P.S. this is for CHEWY *impeccable packing/delivery time. I was not expecting my package the very next day. You guys are AMAZING*
Best cat food for outdoor cats for adults
This product is a bit on the expensive side. However, I love the ingredients list and the fact that it has a 0% carb content.
Top 5 ingredients
Chicken, Chicken Broth, Sunflower Seed Oil, Calcium Lactate, Dicalcium Phosphate
No Corn No Wheat No Soy, High-Protein, Gluten-Free, Low Glycemic, Grain-Free, Pea-Free, GMO-Free, Natural
Crude Protein 16.0% min, Crude Fat 2.6% min, Crude Fiber 0% max, Moisture 80.0% max
134 kcal/6-oz can
- Hormone and antibiotic-free.
- Shredded chicken as the first ingredient.
- High protein to support healthy muscles.
- Sunflower oil is rich in omegas that nourish the skin and coat.
- Contains essential amino acids, vitamins, minerals, and taurine for important nutritional balance.
- Made with real chicken broth: it provides essential moisture.
- No grains, gluten, carbohydrates, starches, or flour.
Danika, Read More
I love that the containers are small to portion out how much I give my cat.
After doing lots and lots of research on cat food and ingredients, I’m happy to have found Tiki Cat because I know my cat is getting delicious food that is good for her!
kimvie21, Read More
In the last two years since I got my youngest cat, I have struggled endlessly to find something they all love.
Talk about impossible. I think I found maybe two kinds of cat food they will eat at this point, and right now, one of them is out of stock, so I’m really in trouble.
However, the one thing they do love is this Tiki formula. I think they love it better than the other things they won’t eat because this is the only food that they will completely clean their plate.
The only downside is. Unfortunately, this can only be a treat because the food is so expensive and you only get a small number of cans in each can there’s a small amount of food.
This food is perfect for their nutritional needs, and it would even help them drop a few pounds because it is a healthier choice than the other foods they do like and eat.
If only this food were more affordable, I would make this the only staple in their diet.
Nicknack, Read More
I thought they would love this one as it looks like “human” food.
However, one cat prefers more pate, so it wasn’t his favorite. I try to buy food that works for both.
So if your picky eater likes pate, this probably won’t be the best choice. However, it looks and smells great! Go figure!!!!
Fancy Feast Senior 7+ Chicken, Beef & Tuna Feasts Variety Pack Canned Cat Food, 3-oz can, case of 12
Best cat food for outdoor cats for seniors
Top 5 ingredients
Chicken Feast Classic Pate Senior: Chicken, Fish, Meat By-Products, Liver, Chicken Broth
Beef Feast Classic Pate Senior: Beef, Fish, Meat By-Products, Liver, Beef Broth
Chicken Feast In Gravy Senior: Chicken Broth, Chicken, Wheat Gluten, Liver, Meat By-Products
Chicken Feast Classic Pate Senior
Crude Protein 11.0% min, Crude Fat 5.0% min, Crude Fiber 1.5% max, Moisture 78.0% max
Beef Feast Classic Pate Senior
Crude Protein 11.5% min, Crude Fat 5.0% min, Crude Fiber 1.5% max, Moisture 78.0% max
Tuna Feast In Gravy Senior
Crude Protein 12.0% min, Crude Fat 2.0% min, Crude Fiber 1.5% max, Moisture 79.0% max
Chicken Feast In Gravy Senior
Crude Protein 12.0% min, Crude Fat 2.0% min, Crude Fiber 1.5% max, Moisture 79.0% max
Chicken Feast Classic Paté Senior: 96 kcal/can
Beef Feast Classic Paté Senior: 95 kcal/can
Tuna Feast In Gravy Senior: 75 kcal/can
Chicken Feast In Gravy Senior: 78 kcal/can
Senior cats aged from 7+, who have different nutrient requirements
- Supports nutritional requirements for feline age seven or older.
- High protein for muscle strength.
- Antioxidants to support the immune system.
- Vitamin E for a shiny and beautiful coat.
FancyFeast, Read More
I tried this because Chewy was temporarily out of stock of my cat’s “normal” flavor.
Well, they LOVED this. It’s a nice variety with some minced, and some pate. They seem to enjoy them all equally. I will rebuy it.
MoCat, Read More
Our cats like this food, but it does not seem to keep them full as long as they are all pate and not minced and juicy.
They wake us up earlier when they have this one before bed at night, so we give them one can each instead of half a can. But they gobble it right up!
lemur88, Read More
I just discovered this Fancy Feast product for Seniors. My cat insists on having gravy or juice in his food, but he leaves the chunks (he’s a cat, go figure).
I think it’s excellent that Purina is putting out a Fancy Feast line for seniors. With this food, he eats both gravy and chunks! I hope there are more flavors to come, and maybe even a version that is primarily gravy-based for the seniors who’ve probably had multiple teeth extractions by later in life.
Best cat food for outdoor cats dry formula
My research concludes that wet food is better for cats than dry food. However, I include Instinct original here as every cat is different and might prefer dry food rather than wet.
Top 5 ingredients
Chicken, Chicken Meal, Turkey Meal, Menhaden Fish Meal, Peas
Digestive Health, Skin & Coat Health, Vitamins & Minerals
Crude Protein 41.0% min, Crude Fat 21.0% min, Crude Fiber 3.0% max,
Moisture 9.0% max
Adult cats who enjoy themselves going outdoors
- Cage-free chicken is the first ingredient for high animal protein to support strong, lean muscles.
- No grain, potato, corn, wheat, soy, by-product meal, artificial colors, or preservatives.
- Guaranteed levels of natural probiotics, natural omegas, and antioxidants to support digestive health, healthy skin and coat, and immune health.
- Made in the USA.
Steph, Read More
This is the healthiest food I could find that my cats love. It smells good and fresh. The switch from the kitten version to this is super easy as well.
My newly adopted shelter cat also loves this food. After only a few days of this, her coat feels much silkier and softer, and she has more energy!
Honestly, their coats are the softest and healthiest I’ve ever felt, no baths necessary, and I have never had a furball in the seven months I’ve been feeding this food. I mean, look at those ingredients! 100% recommend.
KitKat514, Read More
My cat was on a prescription diet for years and began to develop vomiting/diarrhea from eating it. The vet didn’t seem to think so, but I did.
In desperation to find something that would agree with her stomach/bowel issues, I decided to try Instinct original. She enjoyed the taste right away, and her bowels are back to normal, and no more vomiting.
LeeShay, Read More
I picked up the 5lb bag from our local pet store for my two cats to try, and they loved it. I saw some reviewers say that the 11lb bag food seems different. Some cats don’t seem to like it. I didn’t think much of it and purchased the 11lb bag anyway.
I ended up having the same experience. Neither of my cats would touch the food from the 11lb bag. I went back to the local pet store for another 5lb bag since I needed something quick, and they’re eating it again. I’ll continue to purchase this from Chewy but only 5lb bags. I hope the brand looks into this.
Buying Guide and Frequently Asked Questions
What to look for when buying best cat food for outdoor cats?
We have to consider some elements when buying the best cat food for outdoor cats.
This should be one of the first items on the ingredients list in your cat’s food. This will generally be chicken, turkey, rabbit, beef, and seafood in commercial cat food.
Also called Meat meal: ground-up parts from animal carcasses. This might include cheeks, feet, bones, etc., with more nutrients than regular meat.
For example, this can be vitamin A, D, zinc, and copper in chicken by-products.
It is important to have relatively high-fat content in your cat’s food as this helps with body insulation and protects internal organs.
They are perfect for a healthy coat and skin. They are also needed for proper digestion and cell function. Look for Omega 3,6, and 9 and flaxseed oil.
Grains and Carbohydrates
Cats are carnivores, which means they get their nutrients from the meat source as grains and carbs are not needed biologically for cat nutrition.
They can develop sensitivity and allergies when eating these ingredients. This might lead to digestive issues and runny stools. The best is to feed your cat wet food and quality dry food as a treat.
Vitamins, minerals, and amino acids.
There is a long list of nutrients your cat needs to lead a healthy life. Lucky for us, most of these are in meat and fish. A portion of quality meaty cat food will have necessary amounts added where necessary.
One particular amino acid has been highlighted recently- taurine.
Taurine is a critical amino acid for your cat. It is essential for normal vision, digestion, heart muscle function, normal pregnancy, fetal development, and a healthy immune system. (2)
It can not be stored in great amounts in a cat’s body, so make sure to have a quality meal every time.
How much should I feed my outdoor cats?
Feed an average-sized adult cat one can per 2 1/2 pounds of body weight daily. Refrigerate unused portions.
Kittens: Feed up to twice the adult amount.
Reproduction: Pregnant or nursing cats may require two to four times their regular feeding.
What not to feed my Outdoor cats?
It is tempting to treat your cat if you have developed a loving bond between your cat and yourself. It is important to remember that not all human foods, like table scraps and “human treats,” are good or healthy for a cat.
Feeding the wrong foods can be bad for a cat’s health. They might develop tummy upsets and severe digestive problems.
If you want to know which foods are inappropriate to feed your cat,
see our article 17 surprising ingredients bad for Cats and reasons to be cautious.
When should I change my Outdoor cat’s food from kitten to adult food?
When your cat is about 12 months old, you can switch to adult cat food. Cats no longer require extra calories, and nutrients kitten food has at this age.
Every cat is different and might reach adulthood sooner than others. If you are unsure if your cat has reached maturity, your local vet will assist.
How to transition my cat’s diet to the best cat food for outdoor cats?
When your cat is ready to try new food. Whether it is for health reasons or just wanting to try new flavors.
I would recommend a gradual change over ten days. Start by feeding 90% of their Old food and 10% of New food.
Each day, increase their portion of New food by 10% while decreasing their old food until 100% of their meal consists of their new food.
Frequently Asked Questions
In addition, some FAQs can shed some light on choosing the best cat food for outdoor cats.
How to look after my outdoor cats?
All cats need food, shelter, and warmth.
It is necessary to feed them age and nutrient-appropriate diets, especially for nursing and lactating mothers. Their coats will grow thick and warm to withstand colder days outdoors with good food.
If you feed your cat at night, be aware that other animals are active too. So food left out can be eaten by foxes, raccoons, and other night animals. If possible, wait until cats have finished eating and clear any uneaten food away.
Your cat needs about 3.5 to 4.5 ounces of water per 5 pounds of body weight every day. (3)
However, being an outdoors cat, it will be hard to monitor how much a cat has drunk in a day. My advice is to have clean, fresh water in a ceramic bowl available, especially if you are feeding dry food.
Cats like to sleep most of the day. Ensure they have a warm and quiet place to clean and sleep undisturbed. A warm blanket in a crawl space or an isolated shed will do the trick.
Living outdoors, your cat is more likely to contract infectious diseases. Ensure that you are up to date with your cat’s health shots.
Suppose you notice odd behavior in your cat while eating: vomiting, not chewing, or not eating at all. It is good to see a vet as this might hide your cat’s underlying health issue.
Read our article on how often to take my cat to the vet for extra details.
Wet vs. dry food vs. raw diet
Various opinions are available on which type of food is best for cats. See our article Is a Raw food diet for cats good? We compare three types of food for Pros and Cons.
Is my cat allergic to his food?
If you notice the below signs, it might be that your cat has a sensitivity or allergic reaction to food ingredients:
- Vomiting or diarrhoea
- Hair loss
- Scratching frequently
- Red skin in patches
- Chronic ear problems
This is harder to check for outdoor cats as they eat other foods and the one owner gives them.
If in doubt, see a vet for advice.
My vote for the best overall cat food for outdoor cats is Purina Pro Plan Chicken & Turkey Favorites Variety Pack Canned Cat Food. This cat food provides balanced nutrition for outdoor cats for a healthy and happy life.
This cat food includes high-quality protein to support an active outdoor cat. With 25 essential vitamins, minerals, and amino acids, including taurine, this sets up your outdoor cat for energy and immune system boost for their active lifestyle.
Omega 3 and 6 for a healthy coat help keep them warm whatever the weather.
Choose your best cat food for outdoor cats here: