High-end pet foods are popping up everywhere from hardware stores to mom-and-pop grocery stores. While many of these super-premium formulas used to cater exclusively to canines, there’s now room at the table for feline friends as well. And good news for independent retailers: The trend toward holistic, natural foods will continue, as health-minded consumers look for brands that are transparent with sourcing and use human-grade ingredients and processing.
PRICE SCALE: $ $0 to $2 per lb / $$ $2 to $3 per lb / $$$ $3 to $4 per lb / $$$$ $4 + per lb
Back to Basics
Somewhere along the line, cat food became kind of complicated. Food manufacturers are back to putting the focus on meat — what most people agree cats should be primarily eating. These formulas put carnivorous needs front and center. If reading through these makes you hungry, fear not: They are fit for human consumption (though we recommend grilling a juicy steak instead).
Champion Pet Foods
Key features: New limited edition carnivore carnival contains a whopping six different meats from inspired by the Great North: venison, wild boar, Boer goat, Arctic char, duck and mutton.
Sales tip: Perfect for pet parents who want to maximize meat without having to go raw.
orijen.ca, (877) 939-0006
Holistic Health Extension Grain Free
Key features: Health Extension’s grain-free product line has seven flavors of dry and wet food. Shown here is Turkey & Salmon.
Sales tip: Bright and bold redesigned packaging. Available In: 1-, 4- and 15-pound bags.
healthextension.com, (631) 392-0606
Instinct Ultimate Protein
Key features: The paleo food of the cat world, Nature’s Variety cites kitty’s “ancestral diet” as inspiration for its formulas.
Sales tip: Ninety-five percent of the protein comes from real chicken and duck.
instinctpetfood.com, (888) 519-7387
If it’s good enough for astronauts, freeze-dried should be good enough for cats, right? Different from a dry food, dehydrated foods are gaining popularity as an easier and more affordable option to raw diets. These are less processed, easy to prepare and free up room in the freezer. Bonus: A little bit goes a long way, since the recipes expand with water.
Primal Freeze-Dried Formula Nuggets
Primal Pet Foods
Key features: Poultry, meat and game are antibiotic and steroid-free without added hormones.
Sales tip: Website has a feeding calculator, instructional videos and other resources.
primalpetfoods.com, (866) 566-4652
Stella & Chewy’s
Key features: The food is 98 percent meat, and salmon and cod variety features wild caught fish.
Sales tip: Easy-peasy feeding: For every cup of freeze-dried cat food, add half a cup of warm water, mix for a minute and serve.
stellaandchewys.com, (888) 477-8977
Grain Free Chicken Cat Food
The Honest Kitchen
Key features: Billing itself as 100 percent human grade ingredients, each 4-pound box has 11 pounds of chicken. Turkey formula also available.
Sales tip: A 4-pound box makes 12 pounds of food.
The health benefits of probiotics are gaining ground, and taking care of your “gut buddies” isn’t just for humans anymore. The idea is to introduce good bacteria into the cat’s digestive tract to promote a healthy immune system. Probiotics can be added in the manufacturing process or found in naturally occurring ingredients. Either way, it’s a bonus for the body.
Formulas for Life
Lucy Pet Products
Key features: Contains prebiotic balanced fiber, which is a blend of quinoa, pumpkin and chickpeas to aid in more beneficial gut buddies.
Sales tip: Brand-new formula, using scientific research, from reputable company with long track record in holistic pet products.
Adirondack Pet Food
Key features: Packed with probiotics, and no bad stuff.
Sales tip: Present this as an affordable option for pet parents on a budget who still want to offer quality.
adirondackpetfood.com, (888) 843-1738
TruFood Baked Blends
Key features: Four flavors, baked in small batches to minimize processing and maximize protein.
Sales tip: Contains some of the hottest ingredients in health food: Probiotics, coconut oil, chia seeds, turmeric and ginger to boost immunity and digestion.
wellnesspetfood.com, (800) 225-0904