Feed Your Cat for Less: 4 Recommended Foods to Try

By Louis DeNicola, Cheapism.com

They say dogs are man's best friend, but taking a stroll down the pet-food aisle makes it clear that cats are equally esteemed companions. From home-style turkey dinner with brown rice and garden greens to a grilled chicken and beef feast in gravy, owners treat their pets to feline cuisine with descriptions that could make a human mouth water. The low-cost cat foods below will provide your cat a nutritious meal and leave you with enough dough for a nice dinner for yourself.

Cats can love cheap cat food!

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  • Trader Joe's Premium canned cat food (starting at 69 cents per 5.5-ounce can) contains no byproducts and represents an excellent value for consumers with an outpost of the specialty grocery chain nearby. Reviews posted online reveal that customers find the quality particularly impressive considering the low price point. Cats are reportedly pleased as well, enjoying the texture and three flavors: chicken, tuna, and turkey.
  • Purina One Smartblend Adult Variety (starting at $27 for a 16-pound bag) is more readily available, and even fussy cats have been known to favor the protein-rich blend. This dry Purina One cat food comes in salmon and tuna or chicken and rice flavors, as well as kitten, mature, indoor, and hairball-control varieties.
  • Friskies Meaty Bits (starting at $11 for a 24-pack of 5.5-ounce cans) offers another option for cat owners looking for cheap canned food. Some reviewers note that in certain varieties the "meaty bits" are animal byproducts. Still, plenty of cats come running at the sound of a can opener or refuse to eat other food after trying this one.
  • Taste of the Wild Feline Formula (starting at $28.50 for a 15-pound bag) is one of the only dry budget cat foods that doesn't use grains for filler. Fruits and veggies are the only carbs, while fish or chicken meal provides much of the protein content. Some owners have noticed improvements in the health of their cats since switching to the brand.

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Some cat owners prefer to primarily feed their pets dry food, which is more economical, and use wet food as an occasional treat. Other owners, especially those with picky cats, turn to cans as the main food source. Wet food is often considered better for cats because it provides more moisture and good protein content. Without adequate water, cats can suffer from a variety of ailments, including kidney disease. Although a constantly refreshed water dish helps prevent such issues for cats on a dry-food diet, animal experts say cats are hard-wired to get hydration from food, not by drinking water.

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Ultimately the food you buy will be a joint decision between you and your cat. Even the cheapest variety is a waste of money if a cat won't eat it. As the owner, it's up to you to make sure the food is nutritious and contains the highest quality ingredients you can afford. Read the labels, which by law must list ingredients by relative weight. Look for animal protein at the top and try to keep grains and other fillers to a minimum.

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