20 Best Budget-Friendly Cat Food

As a cat owner, ensuring your feline companion’s diet is balanced and nutritious is of paramount importance. However, the best cat foods often come with a hefty price tag. Here, we’ll explore the best cat food options for those on a medium to low budget, combining quality nutrition with affordable prices.

1. Nulo Freestyle Dry Cat Food

Nulo is a highly-recommended brand offering a balanced blend of ingredients beneficial to your cat’s health. At about $3.3 per pound when bought in larger bags, it provides excellent value for money. Its protein-rich formulation ensures your cat gets essential nutrients for muscle growth, while the grain-free recipe caters to those with sensitivities.

2. Wellness CORE Grain-Free Cat Food

Wellness CORE is another brand that strikes a perfect balance between cost and quality. Its grain-free formula is enriched with premium proteins and a blend of essential vitamins and minerals. While it may be more expensive than Nulo, its superior ingredient list makes it worth considering for those able to stretch their budget slightly.

3. Fancy Feast Classic Pate

An affordable wet food option, Fancy Feast Classic Pate, offers good value for money. The range provides diverse flavor options to suit even the pickiest eaters while ensuring a high-quality protein source. This option is particularly beneficial for cats requiring additional hydration in their diets.

4. Rachael Ray Nutrish Natural Dry Cat Food

This brand offers a good overall option for budget dry cat food. It boasts natural ingredients and a decent nutritional profile, providing essential vitamins and minerals. It’s also fortified with taurine, an essential amino acid crucial for your cat’s heart and eye health.

5. Taste of the Wild Grain-Free Cat Food

Taste of the Wild offers a protein-rich, grain-free cat food at a reasonable price. Its recipes are inspired by the diet of wild cats, focusing on quality meat sources and natural antioxidants from fruits and vegetables.

6. Sheba Perfect Portions Wet Cat Food

Sheba provides an affordable wet food option, ideal for cats who prefer a soft texture and added moisture in their diet. Each serving is perfectly portioned to prevent waste, making it an excellent choice for single-cat households.

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7. Trader Joe’s Canned Cat Food

If you have a Trader Joe’s nearby, their canned cat food offers excellent value for money. Not only is it cheaper than many leading brands, but its nutritional profile stands up to scrutiny, offering a balanced diet for your cat.

8. Purina Pro Plan Dry Cat Food

Purina Pro Plan offers a cost-effective dry food option. The brand has a wide range of specialized diets catering to various needs like urinary health, hairball control, and weight management, making it a versatile option.

9. NutriCare Dry Cat Food

For those on a tight budget, NutriCare offers a ‘budget-friendly’ dry food option. It’s produced by the makers of Aozi and offers a basic yet nutritionally sound option for cat owners.

10. Natural Balance Limited Ingredient Dry Cat Food

Natural Balance presents an affordable cat food option that focuses on limited ingredients to reduce the chances of food allergies or sensitivities. Each formula comprises a single animal protein source and a handful of easily digestible carbohydrates, making it an excellent option for cats with sensitive stomachs.

11. Merrick Purrfect Bistro Grain-Free Dry Cat Food

The Merrick Purrfect Bistro line serves up protein-rich, grain-free meals that replicate a cat’s natural diet. The food is packed with omega fatty acids for a healthy coat and skin, and fortified with vitamins, minerals, and probiotics for overall health. This brand may cost slightly more than others but is worth considering for its quality.

12. Orijen Dry Cat Food

Orijen provides a biologically appropriate diet with a variety of fresh, locally sourced meat. While it is slightly pricier, the food’s high protein content, minimal use of plant-derived ingredients, and the absence of harmful additives make it worth every penny.

13. Fancy Feast Gravy Lovers Wet Cat Food

If your cat has a preference for wet food, Fancy Feast Gravy Lovers offers a flavorful and budget-friendly option. The gravy-based meals provide extra hydration and can be a great supplement to dry food.

14. Bonito Flakes Cat Treats

For affordable yet nutritious treats, Bonito flakes – made from dried fish – are a fantastic choice. These treats are not only a favorite among cats but are also packed with protein and taurine, contributing to your cat’s overall nutrition.

15. Nutrisca Grain-Free Dry Cat Food

This brand offers an affordable cat food option that doesn’t skimp on quality. Nutrisca’s recipes are grain, potato, and wheat-free, focusing instead on real meat, vegetables, and nutritious legumes.

16. Tiki Cat Wet Food

While it may be slightly more expensive, Tiki Cat is a popular brand offering high-quality, high-moisture canned food, ideal for cats who need extra hydration. The brand focuses on using whole, non-rendered meats and fish in their recipes, providing a rich source of natural protein for your cat.

17. Solid Gold Dry Cat Food

Known for its holistic approach to pet food, Solid Gold offers a range of affordable dry cat food options. Its formulas are enriched with superfoods like pumpkin, blueberries, and almond oil, offering a balanced and nutritious diet that supports immune system health, digestive health, and overall well-being.

18. Thrive Cat Food

Although Thrive may not be the cheapest brand on the market, its emphasis on high meat content and minimal artificial additives makes it a worthwhile investment for cat owners prioritizing quality nutrition on a budget.

19. Aldi’s Canned Cat Food

For those with access to Aldi’s stores, their canned cat food provides a great budget option. It’s competitively priced and offers a range of flavors that even the pickiest eaters can’t resist.

20. Butcher’s Blend Raw Cat Food

Lastly, if you’re considering a raw diet for your cat, Butcher’s Blend provides a cost-effective solution. Their range includes different protein options, offering a more natural and ancestral diet option for cats.


Finding the best cat food on a budget doesn’t mean compromising on your pet’s health. With a bit of research, you can find options that deliver high-quality nutrition without breaking the bank. The brands listed above have managed to strike a good balance between affordability and nutrition, ensuring your cat can enjoy a well-rounded diet regardless of your budget. As always, consider your cat’s specific dietary needs and consult your vet before making any significant changes to their diet.


What Should I Feed My Cat On A Budget?

When feeding your cat on a budget, it’s essential to balance cost and nutritional value. Dry cat food such as Nutrisca Grain-Free Dry Cat Food or Merrick Purrfect Bistro Grain-Free Dry Cat Food are good choices as they offer balanced nutrition at a relatively low cost. If your cat prefers wet food, options like Fancy Feast Gravy Lovers or Aldi’s Canned Cat Food are affordable and palatable for most cats. Remember to consult with your vet to ensure the food you’re choosing meets your cat’s specific dietary needs.

What is the Cheapest, Healthiest Way to Feed a Cat?

The cheapest, healthiest way to feed a cat is typically through a mixture of high-quality dry and wet cat food. Dry food like Natural Balance Limited Ingredient or Solid Gold can be a cost-effective base for your cat’s diet, supplemented with wet food such as Tiki Cat or Fancy Feast for added moisture and variety. Providing treats like Bonito Flakes can also add nutritional value without breaking the bank.

What is the Number 1 Healthiest Cat Food?

Determining the number 1 healthiest cat food depends largely on your cat’s specific needs, including age, breed, health status, and personal preferences. However, brands like Orijen Dry Cat Food and Thrive Cat Food are often cited for their high protein content, minimal use of artificial ingredients, and commitment to replicating a cat’s natural diet.

What is the Best Food for Cat Everyday?

For daily feeding, it’s important to choose a cat food that is balanced, nutritious, and well-liked by your cat. Dry food like Nutrisca Grain-Free or Merrick Purrfect Bistro Grain-Free provide balanced nutrition that can be left out for your cat to graze on throughout the day. Wet food, like Tiki Cat or Fancy Feast, can be offered once or twice a day for added hydration and variety. Always consult with your vet to create the best feeding routine for your individual cat.

Is Grain-Free Food Better for Cats?

While some cats may benefit from grain-free food, especially those with specific allergies or sensitivities, it’s not necessary for all cats. Cats are obligate carnivores, meaning they thrive on a diet high in animal protein. While some grain-free foods provide this, it’s important to focus on the overall protein content and quality of the food rather than just whether it is grain-free or not.

Does Wet Cat Food Help with Hydration?

Yes, wet cat food is an excellent source of extra hydration, especially for cats who are not avid drinkers. Wet food contains up to 80% water, making it a great way to supplement your cat’s water intake. This can be particularly beneficial for cats prone to urinary or kidney issues.

How Can I Ensure My Cat Gets a Balanced Diet?

Ensuring a balanced diet for your cat involves offering a variety of high-quality commercial cat foods that are rich in animal protein, low in carbohydrates, and supplemented with essential vitamins and minerals. Regular vet check-ups are important as they can provide personalized advice based on your cat’s health status, age, weight, and activity level. They can also suggest any necessary dietary changes or supplements.

How Often Should I Feed My Cat Wet Food?

How often you feed your cat wet food can depend on a few factors, including their age, weight, health, and personal preference. Generally, it’s beneficial to feed adult cats wet food once or twice a day in conjunction with a regular supply of dry food for grazing. However, always consult with your vet for advice tailored to your cat’s specific needs.

Are There Any Health Risks Associated with Cheap Cat Food?

While budget-friendly cat food can be a great option, it’s important to be aware of potential health risks associated with lower-quality options. Some cheaper brands may use fillers like corn and wheat, or “meat by-products,” which are less nutritious than whole meats. These may lead to obesity, digestive problems, or even more serious health conditions over time. Always check the ingredient list to ensure you’re providing a balanced diet.

Can I Make Homemade Cat Food to Save Money?

Homemade cat food can be a cost-effective alternative to commercial cat food, provided it meets all the nutritional requirements of your cat. It allows you to control the quality of ingredients and avoid preservatives or fillers. However, it’s crucial to consult with a vet or a pet nutrition expert when planning a homemade diet to ensure it’s balanced and complete.

Is It Safe to Feed My Cat the Same Food Every Day?

Cats can eat the same food every day, provided the food is complete and balanced for their life stage. However, some cats may prefer variety, and different foods can offer different nutrients. Rotating between a few high-quality brands or introducing wet food alongside dry can be a good strategy to ensure a varied diet.

Does My Indoor Cat Need a Different Type of Food?

Indoor cats may require a different diet due to their generally lower activity levels compared to outdoor cats. There are specific indoor formulas available on the market that are lower in calories and higher in fiber, to help maintain a healthy weight and control hairballs. However, every cat is unique, and their diet should be tailored to their specific needs, lifestyle, and preferences.

Should Kittens and Senior Cats Eat the Same Food?

Kittens and senior cats have different nutritional needs and should not eat the same food. Kittens require a diet high in protein and rich in various nutrients for proper growth and development. On the other hand, senior cats often need lower-calorie food to prevent weight gain and may benefit from additional supplements to support joint health and cognitive function. Always choose a cat food appropriate for your pet’s life stage.

How Much Should I Feed My Cat to Maintain a Healthy Weight?

The amount you should feed your cat depends on several factors including their age, weight, activity level, and the type of food they’re eating. As a general guideline, most adult cats need about 20 calories per pound of body weight to maintain their weight. However, individual needs can vary greatly, so it’s best to consult with a vet for personalized advice.

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