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10 Best Poultry-Free Cat Foods in 2024 – Reviews & Top Picks

Luxifa Le

By Luxifa Le

cat eats dry food from a large bowl Cats are obligate carnivores which means they need to consume animal proteins to get all the necessary nutrition. Chicken is a cost-efficient and delicious way to get your cat all the nutrients required to be healthy.

However, not all cats can have poultry. Some are allergic—poultry is one of the most common cat allergies, believe it or not—and others don’t like chicken. For these cats, poultry-free food formulas can be a literal lifesaver. Pet parents with picky or allergic cats will find themselves pouring over reviews trying to find the best food options for their cats.

Finding food without poultry or poultry by-products can be difficult. Even if a food isn’t marketed as being chicken flavored, there might still be poultry products in the formula. For cats with allergies, this could be harmful or even fatal. Always make sure to check the ingredients label to look for sneaky poultry products!

Disclaimer: The foods reviewed here were chosen because they have certain characteristics that might help with some of the causes or consequences of this medical condition. However, they are not a medical treatment or a substitute for medical treatment. Keep in mind that each medical case is different and what works for some pets may not work for others. Your veterinarian is the right person to advise you on the best diet for your pet’s individual case.

A Quick Glance at Our Favorites (Updated 2024)

Rating Image Product Details
Best Overall
Winner
Smalls Human-Grade Fresh Cat Food Smalls Human-Grade Fresh Cat Food
  • USDA certified
  • High-protein
  • Trial offer
  • Budget Buy
    Second place
    Natural Balance L.I.D. Natural Balance L.I.D.
  • Grain-free
  • High protein
  • Salmon as a top ingredient
  • Third place
    Go! Solutions Carnivore Go! Solutions Carnivore
  • Extremely high protein content
  • A doctor oversees the nutrition manager
  • No by-product meals or artificial preservatives
  • Taste of the Wild PREY Taste of the Wild PREY
  • Grain and pea free
  • Limited recall history
  • Angus beef is the first ingredient
  • Instinct Limited Ingredient Instinct Limited Ingredient
  • Clear ingredient label
  • Competitive price point
  • Made with farm-raised rabbit
  • The 10 Best Poultry-Free Cat Foods

    1. Smalls Human Grade Fresh Cow Cat Food – Best Overall

    Smalls Human Grade Fresh Cow

    Food Type: Smooth & Ground options
    Weight Options: 11.5 oz
    Other Dietary Specifications: Grain-free
    Other Ingredient Options: Chicken, Turkey

    Smalls is the best overall poultry-free cat food. The Smalls cat food brand emerged in 2017 and has developed a reputation as one of the best human quality cat food options in the market. All of their cat food is inspected by animal nutritionists and is USDA-certified. Their human-grade cat food is fresh and comes in a variety of textures, including minced and pate.

    Smalls foods uses high protein meats that are sourced sustainably to maximize nutrient deficiency. The brand offers a food Subscription Service, which means that you don’t have to leave the kitchen to feed your cat healthy and wholesome food options. If you are new to the cat food brand, you can try their trial offer to determine which options your cat likes best. You can easily cancel your subscription or make changes such as switching the recipes, changing quantities, or skipping shipments. Many reviewers mention the awesome customer service provided by the brand, with mentions of easy order accommodations and seamless delivery being at the forefront.

    One downside to Smalls is that since it is a human-grade pet food subscription service, it’s a bit pricey compared to other foods.

    That said, we choose Smalls as our number one choice for the best poultry-free cat food on the market today.

    Pros
    • High-protein
    • Human-grade food
    • USDA-certified
    • Trial offer
    Cons
    • A little pricier than other kibbles

    2. Natural Balance L.I.D. Green Pea & Salmon Recipe – Budget Buy

    Natural Balance L.I.D.

    Food Type: Dry, Wet
    Weight Options: 4 & 10 lbs bag; 5.5 oz cans
    Other Dietary Specifications: Grain-free
    Other Flavor Options: Duck, Venison, Turkey
    The best poultry-free cat food for the money that we could find is Natural Balance L.I.D. It’s hard to beat Natural Balance’s formulas at that price point. Natural Balance L.I.D features a high protein content at 30% crude proteins. Natural Balance’s foods are a favorite amongst pet parents as a low-cost-of-entry high-protein option, and their L.I.D line has a wide variety of poultry-free options for pet parents to choose from.
    Pros
    • High protein
    • Grain-free
    • Competitive pricing
    Cons
    • Food usually has a higher content of meat meal rather than meat
    • Not pea-free

    3. Go! Solutions Carnivore Lamb + Wild Boar

    Go! Solutions Carnivore

    Food Type: Dry
    Weight Options: 3, 8, & 16 lbs
    Other Dietary Specifications: Grain-free
    Other Flavor Options: Salmon & Cod, Duck
    Go! Solutions addresses a problem pet parents have raised over the years: the lack of doctors involved in the formulation of cat foods. Go!’s nutrition manager has a Ph.D. in companion animal nutrition, and it shows. Go! Solutions Carnivore boasts a stunning 42% crude protein content, higher than any other food on this list. This level of species-appropriate nutrition comes at a high cost, but it’s worth every penny for those willing to take the dive!
    Pros
    • Extremely high protein content
    • The first two ingredients are meats
    • A doctor oversees the nutrition manager
    Cons
    • High cost of entry

    4. Taste of the Wild PREY Angus Beef Formula

    Taste of the Wild PREY cat food

    Food Type: Dry
    Weight Options: 6 & 15 lbs
    Other Dietary Specifications: Grain-free
    Other Flavor Options: Quail & Duck, Trout & Salmon, Venison & Salmon
    Taste of the Wild is an up-and-coming pet product brand that has become a favorite of many pet parents. Their Angus Beef cat food is poultry and grain-free. It also lists Beef as the primary ingredient. One of the most attractive features of Taste of the Wild is its limited recall history. Taste of the Wild was part of a recall by Diamond Pet Food in 2012 and hasn’t had any recalls since. Pet parents can rest assured that Taste of the Wild takes proper precautions to keep their pets safe.
    Pros
    • Limited recall history
    • Grain and pea free
    Cons
    • 15% of their Chewy reviews are 1-star reviews

    5. Instinct Limited Ingredient Grain-Free Rabbit Recipe

    Instinct Limited Ingredient

    Food Type: Dry, Wet
    Weight Options: 4 & 10 lb bags; 5.5 oz cans
    Other Dietary Specifications: Grain-free
    Other Flavor Options: Salmon, Turkey
    Another great choice for poultry-free cat food is Instinct’s Limited-Ingredient Diet. Instinct’s Limited-Ingredient Diet comes in three flavors—Rabbit, Turkey, and Salmon—made for cats with allergies. Instinct also has canned food within their Limited-Ingredient line for the picky eaters that won’t eat dry food. Each Limited-Ingredient food contains one protein source and one vegetable source. All the other ingredients are vitamin and mineral supplements to ensure that the food delivers balanced nutrition for your cat. Their food is also coated with freeze-dried raw proteins that your cat will love!
    Pros
    • Competitive price point
    • Clear ingredient label
    • Made with farm-raised rabbit
    Cons
    • Not pea-free

    6. Orijen Six Fish Blend

    Orijen

    Food Type: Dry
    Weight Options: 4 & 12 lbs
    Other Dietary Specifications: Grain-free
    Other Flavor Options: Regional Red (Boar, Beef, Lamb), Tundra (Goat, Boar, Meat, Seafood & Fish)
    Orijen’s cat foods claim to have 85-90% animal protein content, perfect for obligate carnivores. They also make sure that the first five ingredients of every cat formula are high-quality protein sources like raw meat and organs. Their Six-Fish blend is exactly what it says on the tin. The first six ingredients are fish meats and organs, which provide essential nutrients that cats can’t get from other sources. Orijen’s foods are a little more expensive than the average cat food, and you’re paying for the quality of the ingredients.
    Pros
    • 85-90% animal proteins
    • Primarily made of high-quality meats
    Cons
    • High cost-of-entry

    7. American Journey Salmon

    American Journey Salmon

    Food Type: Dry, Wet
    Weight Options: 5 & 12 lbs; 3, 5.5, &12.5 oz
    Other Dietary Specifications: Grain-free
    Other Flavor Options: Duck, Turkey
    American Journey is a famous pet food brand that boasts species-appropriate nutrition for cats and dogs. Their cat formulas have a 40% protein content for every recipe and are sourced and produced in the USA. The first ingredient in American Journey’s foods is meat, but a higher concentration of meat by-products may leave some pet parents feeling cautious about the food.
    Pros
    • Made in the USA
    • 40% protein content
    Cons
    • Higher concentration of meat by-products than desirable

    8. Blue Buffalo Limited Ingredient Diet Fish & Potato

    Blue Buffalo Limited Ingredient

    Food Type: Dry, Wet
    Weight Options: 5 & 11 lbs; 3 & 5.5 oz
    Other Dietary Specifications: Grain-free
    Other Flavor Options: Duck, Turkey
    Blue Buffalo is an industry favorite and a trusted brand by pet parents globally. Their limited-ingredient diet fish diet is completely poultry-free and made with allergen-sensitive cats in mind. However, Blue Buffalo has been known to sneak a higher-than-desirable concentration of lower quality ingredients into their foods. The second ingredient in their fish formula is a meat meal which can put some pet parents off.
    Pros
    • Trusted brand
    • Grain-free
    Cons
    • Higher concentration of low-quality ingredients

    9. Acana Wild Atlantic

    Acana Wild Atlantic

    Food Type: Dry
    Weight Options: 4 & 10 lbs
    Other Dietary Specifications: Grain-free
    Other Flavor Options: Bountiful Catch (Salmon, Catfish & Other Seafoods)
    Acana’s Wild Atlantic blend is special because it’s specifically advertised as being “chicken-free.” The labeling for chicken-free blends hasn’t caught on much, but we can always appreciate it when a company goes out of its way to look out for those of us with allergen-sensitive cats. Acana’s cat foods boast a 75% concentration of high-quality meat products to ensure species-appropriate nutrition for our obligatorily carnivorous friends. Not only is the concentration of meat products high, but there’s a wide variety of meat products in each blend to give your cat variety with every bite.
    Pros
    • 75% meat products
    • 36% protein content
    • Chicken-free labeling
    Cons
    • Relatively expensive
    • 27% of pet parents gave this a 1-star review

    10. Canidae Limited Ingredient Grain Free Pure Sea Recipe

    Canidae Limited Ingredient

    Food Type: Dry
    Weight Options: 5 & 10 lbs
    Other Dietary Specifications: Grain-free
    Other Flavor Options: None
    Canidae is primarily famous for their dog foods for which they are named. However, their cat foods have a small but dedicated following. Their foods are high-protein and grain-free but, like some other foods on the list, have a worryingly high concentration of low-quality ingredients that can leave some pet parents feeling nervous about feeding them to their cats.
    Pros
    • High protein
    • Grain-free
    Cons
    • High concentration of low-quality ingredients

     

    Buyer’s Guide: Choosing the Best Poultry-Free Cat Foods

    How to Choose a Poultry-Free Cat Food

    Regardless of what your reasoning is, choosing a new cat food can be a daunting prospect. We love our pets and want the best for them, which means becoming more informed about the foods we feed them.

    Consider a Limited-Ingredient Formula

    Limited-ingredient formulas are made especially for cats with food sensitivities. Whether your cat is allergic or detests chicken, a limited-ingredient food will be made specifically with no chicken and chicken by-products. Their focus on cats with allergies means they’ll take special precautions against cross-contamination as well.

    While providing our feline companions with high-quality food is paramount, selecting the right food and water bowl is equally important. The modern yet practical design of our Hepper NomNom Cat Bowl combines cat-catered features, like whisker-friendly shallow dishes and slight elevation, with a contemporary style aimed at protecting your floors from messy eating and drinking. The NomNom is entirely dishwasher safe and was thoughtfully created with your cat’s health and well-being in mind. 

    Hepper 360 Cat Feeder, Stainless Steel, Anti-Chew...
    169 Reviews
    Hepper 360 Cat Feeder, Stainless Steel, Anti-Chew...
    • NO MESS - The 360° tray on this cat food and water bowl set has a raised design to catch and...
    • WHISKER FRIENDLY - Shallow and wide metal containers with flat bottoms ensure your kitty can enjoy...

    Double Check All the Ingredients

    Just because the food isn’t advertised as being made of chicken doesn’t mean there aren’t any chicken or chicken by-products in the food. If the food isn’t made with allergen sensitivity in mind, there may also be a risk of cross-contamination. If you aren’t sure what an ingredient is made of or the component is vaguely labeled, this could be a bad sign for a cat with poultry sensitivity.

    Check with Your Vet

    If you aren’t sure where to start, ask your veterinarian. They’ll have a good idea of what products are on the market and which ones best satisfy your cat’s needs. Your vet will also be able to help you formulate a specific meal plan to help your cat get all of the necessary nutrients they need to live a long and healthy life.

    Bengal cat near food bowl
    Image Credit: Svetlana Rey, Shutterstock

    Best Alternative Sources of Animal Proteins

    Beef

    Beef is an excellent source of protein for cats. It has a wealth of natural antioxidants and minerals like zinc and iron that your cat needs in its diet. Beef is also an excellent source of taurine, which cats need to support healthy eyes, digestion, and immune systems.

    Fish

    Fish are a fantastic low-fat alternative to chicken. Fish formulas are packed to the gills with calcium and omega fatty acids, promoting healthy bones and making your cat’s coat silky smooth.

    Rabbit

    Rabbit meat is a low-calorie and low-fat white meat alternative for your cat’s primary protein source. Rabbit also contains less sodium than other meats and is an excellent source of phosphorous and calcium.

    Lamb

    Lamb is another popular alternative protein source for cats. It’s red meat like beef because it contains more myoglobin than white meats. Just like beef, it’s jam-packed with essential antioxidants, minerals, and taurine.

    Turkey

    While turkey may not be an option for cats who are intolerant or allergic to poultry, it can be a cost-efficient alternative for pet parents of picky eaters who don’t like chicken. Turkey is nutritionally similar to chicken but has fewer calories.

    Can My Cat Have Hydrolyzed Chicken Protein?

    Hydrolyzed chicken protein is a broken-down form of the amino acids that are present in chicken. Veterinarians recommend it for cats sensitive to poultry because the hydrolyzed protein doesn’t trigger poultry allergies as chicken meat does.

    What About Eggs?

    An intolerance to poultry doesn’t necessarily mean that your cat is intolerant to eggs. Eggs are a fantastic source of protein and nutrients that cats need to thrive. However, if your cat is impatient with poultry, your veterinarian may recommend that you avoid egg products in your cat’s food as a precaution.

    cat eating boiled eggs and broccoli
    Image Credit: Anastasiya Tsiasemnikava, Shutterstock

    Conclusion

    Choosing a new food for our furry friends can be a monumental task. Since they rely on us, we can’t help but want to select the best and never disappoint them. Unfortunately, when your cat can’t eat one of the most common pet food ingredients, there’s a lot of research to be done. Pet parents looking for a chicken-free diet will want to consider our best overall choice, Smalls Human Grade Cat Food If you’re on a tighter budget, Natural Balance L.I.D was our best budget item. Last but certainly not least, Go! Carnivore got two thumbs up as the third option for poultry-free cat food. Hopefully, you’ve found some new information and will be well on your way to a happy, chicken-free life with your cat.


    Featured Image Credit: AlexanderDubrovsky, Shutterstock

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