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10 Best Budget Cat Foods in Canada – 2023 Reviews & Top Picks

Kathryn Copeland

By Kathryn Copeland

british short-haired cat eating dry cat food

Owning a pet is one of the most rewarding experiences that you’ll ever have, but it can also take a bite out of your finances. If you’re on the lookout for new food for your cat but are hoping to find a cat food that isn’t tremendously expensive, you’ve come to the right place.

We made this list of 10 of the best cat foods in Canada that should fit your budget, so you won’t need to spend your free time finding the right one. We hope that these reviews will help you find a food that your cat will love and will also be easy on your wallet.

A Quick Comparison of Our Winners of 2023

Rating Image Product Details
Best Overall
Winner
IAMS Proactive Health Adult Dry Cat Food IAMS Proactive Health Adult Dry Cat Food
  • Salmon is the main ingredient
  • High in fibre, prebiotics, and beet pulp
  • Omega-6 fatty acids
  • Best Value
    Second place
    Friskies Chef’s Blend Dry Cat Food Friskies Chef’s Blend Dry Cat Food
  • Essential fatty acids for coat and skin health
  • Taurine and vitamin A for eye health
  • Picky cats enjoy this food
  • Premium Choice
    Third place
    Purina ONE True Instinct Grain-Free Purina ONE True Instinct Grain-Free
  • Whole chicken is the main ingredient
  • Added minerals and vitamins, including calcium
  • Four sources of antioxidants
  • Best for Kittens
    Purina ONE Healthy Dry Kitten Food Purina ONE Healthy Dry Kitten Food
  • High in protein
  • Whole chicken is the main ingredient
  • DHA for vision and brain development
  • Vet’s Choice
    Purina Cat Chow Naturals Indoor Purina Cat Chow Naturals Indoor
  • Vet’s choice for best economical cat food
  • Whole chicken is the main ingredient
  • Natural source of fibre for hairballs
  • The 10 Best Budget Cat Foods in Canada

    1. IAMS Proactive Health Adult Dry Cat Food – Best Overall

    IAMS Proactive Health Adult Dry Cat Food

    Main ingredients: Salmon, chicken by-product meal, whole-grain corn
    Protein content: 32%
    Fat content: 15%
    Calories: 387 kcal/cup

    IAMS Proactive Health Adult Dry Cat Food is our pick for the best overall budget cat food in Canada. It has salmon as its main ingredient and is high in protein, which will give your cat strong muscles and plenty of energy. It is high in fibre and has prebiotics and beet pulp, which support the digestive system. It also includes omega-6 fatty acids for healthy coat and skin. The crunchy kibble helps reduce tartar and plaque buildup on your cat’s teeth, and it does not contain fillers or artificial colours and flavours.

    The only problem with this cat food is that it might cause gastrointestinal problems in some cats.

    Pros
    • Salmon is the main ingredient
    • High in fibre, prebiotics, and beet pulp for digestion
    • Healthy skin and coat with omega-6 fatty acids
    • Kibble texture helps keep teeth healthy
    • No fillers, artificial colours, or flavours
    Cons
    • Might cause gastrointestinal issues in some cats

    2. Friskies Chef’s Blend Dry Cat Food – Best Value

    Friskies Chef’s Blend Dry Cat Food

    Main ingredients: Corn, chicken by-product, meat, and bone meal
    Protein content: 30%
    Fat content: 12%
    Calories: 402 kcal/cup

    The best budget cat food in Canada for the money is Friskies Chef’s Blend Dry Cat Food, which means it’s cheaper than the already inexpensive foods on this list. It has essential fatty acids for your cat’s skin and coat and added taurine and vitamin A to aid your cat’s eyes. The recipe is Chef’s Blend, which includes tuna, turkey, beef, salmon, chicken, eggs, and cheese. Even the pickiest cats can enjoy this food.

    Unfortunately, this food doesn’t contain whole meat and does include artificial colours and preservatives.

    Pros
    • Inexpensive
    • Essential fatty acids for coat and skin health
    • Taurine and vitamin A for eye health
    • Picky cats enjoy this food
    Cons
    • Doesn’t contain whole meat
    • Includes artificial colours and preservatives

    3. Purina ONE True Instinct Dry Cat Food – Premium Choice

    Purina ONE True Instinct Grain-Free Dry Cat Food

    Main ingredients: Chicken, pea starch, cassava root flour
    Protein content: 35%
    Fat content: 14%
    Calories: 356 kcal/cup

    The Purina ONE True Instinct Grain-Free Dry Cat Food is our premium choice, which means it’s one of the pricier foods on this list, but it’s not nearly as expensive as many others. Whole chicken is the first and main ingredient, and it’s high in protein. It includes added essential minerals and vitamins, including all-important calcium. It has four different sources of antioxidants that help support your cat’s immune system and fatty acids for skin and coat health. It doesn’t contain any artificial flavours, colours, or preservatives.

    However, while it doesn’t have fillers, it does include soybean meal and pea starch, which are under investigation as potential heart disease problems1.

    Pros
    • Whole chicken is the main ingredient
    • Added minerals and vitamins, including calcium
    • Four sources of antioxidants support the immune system
    • No artificial ingredients
    Cons
    • Expensive
    • Includes soybean meal and pea starch

    4. Purina ONE Healthy Dry Kitten Food – Best for Kittens

    Purina ONE Healthy Dry Kitten Food

    Main ingredients: Chicken, corn gluten meal, rice flour
    Protein content: 40%
    Fat content: 18%
    Calories: 462 kcal/cup

    Purina ONE Healthy Dry Kitten Food is an excellent option for kittens under the age of 1. It includes real chicken as the first and main ingredient, and it’s got the right amount of protein to support a growing kitten’s muscles. It has added DHA for developing brains and vision and four antioxidant sources, which include vitamins A and E, for a stronger immune system. It’s easy to digest and doesn’t include any artificial preservatives or colours.

    One issue is that it does contain a few fillers, and some kittens might end up with stomach upset.

    Pros
    • High in protein
    • Whole chicken is the main ingredient
    • DHA for vision and brain development
    • Immune system support with four sources of antioxidants
    • No artificial ingredients
    Cons
    • Has fillers
    • Might cause stomach upset

    5. Purina Cat Chow Naturals Indoor Dry Cat Food – Vet’s Choice

    Purina Cat Chow Naturals Indoor Dry Food

    Main ingredients: Chicken, corn meal, brewers rice
    Protein content: 34%
    Fat content: 9%
    Calories: 371 kcal/cup

    Our veterinarian chose Purina’s Cat Chow Naturals Indoor Dry Food as the best economical cat food. Whole chicken is its primary ingredient, and it has a natural source of fibre to help cats with hairballs. It’s high in protein and is formulated to promote a healthy weight. It doesn’t contain artificial flavours, colours, or preservatives.

    It is pricey compared to some other foods and isn’t as high quality.

    Pros
    • Vet’s choice for best economical cat food
    • Whole chicken is the main ingredient
    • Natural source of fibre for hairballs
    • Maintains a healthy weight
    • No artificial ingredients
    Cons
    • Pricey
    • Not as high quality as some other foods

    6. Fancy Feast Wet Cat Food, Grilled Variety Pack

    Fancy Feast Wet Cat Food, Grilled Variety Pack

    Main ingredients: Chicken, tuna, salmon
    Protein content: 11%
    Fat content: 2%
    Calories: 71 kcal/can

    Fancy Feast Wet Cat Food, Grilled Variety Pack, provides you with three different recipes, which is great for cat parents who might be trying to figure out what flavours their cats enjoy. This variety pack has morsels of tuna, salmon, and chicken in gravy, which are grilled and slow-cooked, making for a tasty meal for most cats. It also contains added vitamins and minerals, including vitamin B6 and taurine.

    However, it has artificial colours and flavours, and some cats might get stomach upset from this food.

    Pros
    • Three different flavours in one pack
    • Grilled meat slow-cooked in gravy
    • Added vitamins and minerals, including vitamin B6 and taurine
    Cons
    • Might cause stomach upset
    • Includes artificial colours and flavours

    7. Meow Mix Variety Pack Wet Cat Food

    Meow Mix Poultry & Seafood Variety Pack Wet Cat Food

    Main ingredients: Chicken and liver, turkey and giblets, tuna and crab
    Protein content: 12%
    Fat content: 1.8%
    Calories: 62 kcal/cup

    Meow Mix Poultry & Seafood Variety Pack Wet Cat Food is a variety pack with three flavours: turkey and giblets, chicken and liver, and tuna and crab. It has added vitamins and minerals, including vitamin K, thiamine, and folic acid, for overall body and coat health. It is also a favourite for many cats!

    However, some cats might experience stomach upset, and some cat owners find this food to be on the stinky side.

    Pros
    • Three flavours cooked in gravy
    • Added vitamins and minerals, including folic acid, thiamine, and vitamin K
    • Cats love eating it
    Cons
    • Might cause stomach upset
    • You might find it stinky

    8. IAMS Proactive Health Indoor Dry Cat Food

    IAMS Proactive Health Indoor Weight & Hairball Care Dry Cat Food

    Main ingredients: Chicken, chicken by-product, corn grits
    Protein content: 30%
    Fat content: 11%
    Calories: 302 kcal/cup

    IAMS Proactive Health Indoor Weight & Hairball Care Dry Cat Food has whole chicken as the main ingredient and works well for indoor cats that might have weight and/or hairball issues. This is accomplished with L-carnitine, which helps burn fat and supports a healthy metabolism. It is rich in omega acids for healthy skin and coat and includes beet pulp, which helps with hairballs.

    Some issues are that not every cat will necessarily stop throwing up hairballs, and some pickier cats might not like eating this food.

    Pros
    • Contains L-carnitine aids in healthy weight
    • Beet pulp helps reduce hairballs
    • Omega acids for a healthy coat
    Cons
    • Won’t stop all hairballs
    • Some cats won’t like it

    9. Purina Friskies Pâté Greatest Hits Wet Cat Food

    Purina Friskies Pâté Greatest Hits Wet Cat Food

    Main ingredients: Fish, meat by-products, water
    Protein content: 10%
    Fat content: 5%
    Calories: 179 kcal/cup

    Purina Friskies Pâté Greatest Hits Wet Cat Food is available in four flavours: salmon, chef’s dinner, seafood supreme, and turkey and giblets. It has added minerals and vitamins, including vitamin E and taurine, making it nutritionally balanced. All recipes are a pâté and many cats enjoy this food.

    However, it does contain artificial colours and flavours, and it’s been known to cause somewhat stinky poop in some cats.

    Pros
    • Contains added taurine & vitamin E
    • Four pâté flavours
    • Cats love this food
    Cons
    • Contains artificial ingredients
    • Might cause stinky poop

    10. Whiskas Perfect Portions Wet Cat Food

    Whiskas Perfect Portions Seafood Selections Wet Cat Food

    Main ingredients: Chicken, water, salmon
    Protein content: 9% and 7%
    Fat content: 5% and 2%
    Calories: 38 and 35 kcal/serving

    Whiskas Perfect Portions Seafood Selections Wet Cat Food offers two different recipes, salmon and tuna, in convenient peel-and-serve trays. You don’t have to worry about refrigerating any leftovers, as each tray is one serving. It’s made with real meat and contains no fillers, artificial flavours, or colours.

    However, the packaging isn’t very environmentally conscious, and some people might find peeling the trays to be a bit challenging.

    Pros
    • One serving per tray, which means no leftovers
    • Two recipes
    • Made with real meat
    • No artificial flavours or colours
    Cons
    • Packaging not environmentally friendly
    • Difficult to peel open for some people

    Buyer’s Guide: How to Pick the Best Budget Cat Food in Canada

    Now that you’ve had the opportunity to see your options, check out this buyer’s guide. We cover a few points and offer tips that might help you make a decision.

    Price

    How much you pay for food will generally tell you about its quality. However, just because one brand of food is cheap, that doesn’t mean it’s also low quality. Also, online shopping can save you money, and you have the added convenience of having it delivered rather than lugging it home.

    However, keep in mind that many products are often sold through vendors, and the prices will fluctuate a great deal. You might need to wait to see if your cat’s favourite food will come down in price, or you might need to shop at a pet shop or grocery store.

    Ingredients

    There’s a great deal of talk and controversy about grains and by-products in cat food. For the most part, neither of these ingredients is bad for a cat. In fact, before you opt for a grain-free food, you should speak to your vet beforehand, as grains do add a certain amount of nutrition to your cat’s diet.

    A cat must eat animal protein to thrive, and most of that can come from by-products. You need to be wary of artificial colouring, though, which is simply unnecessary in pet food. It’s to make the food look more appealing, which is done more for us than our pets.

    Dry or Wet

    Most pets prefer wet or canned food. It’s tastier and adds extra moisture to your cat’s diet. It’s also effective at helping cats lose or manage a healthy weight. Adding dry food to your cat’s diet is also a good idea, though, as dry food is quite good at naturally cleaning your cat’s teeth. Many cat owners like to put both canned and dry cat food out for their pets every day.

    Speak to Your Vet

    If you are switching your kitty to a new food, it’s a good idea to speak to your vet before making your selection. This is essential if your cat has any health issues. Your vet can help you with your choice because they can recommend cat food that’s good for your cat and won’t cost you too much.

    You also need to transition your cat slowly to a new food, or they might end up with an upset stomach.

    Conclusion

    Our favourite overall budget cat food is IAMS Proactive Health Adult Dry Cat Food. It’s high in protein and fibre and has included beet pulp and prebiotics to support a healthy digestive system. Friskies Chef’s Blend Dry Cat Food is one of the cheapest cat foods out there and tends to go over quite well with most cats.

    Purina’s ONE True Instinct Grain-Free Dry Cat Food is our premium choice for its use of four different sources of antioxidants. Our favourite food for kittens is Purina ONE Healthy Dry Kitten Food, which is excellent for kittens under 1 year. Finally, our vet’s choice goes to Purina’s Cat Chow Naturals Indoor Dry Food as the best economical cat food that aids cats with hairball and weight issues.

    We hope that these reviews have helped you find a food that your cat absolutely loves and that you can afford.

    See also:


    Featured Image Credit: Chendongshan, Shutterstock

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