There’s no ignoring the fact that a lot of cat food brands are just downright expensive. We want to give our cats the best of everything, but most of us have ummed and ahhed at some point or other over whether we can cough up the dough that some premium brands are asking for.
The good news is that with a bit of research and a keen eye for a bargain, you can find affordable cat foods that your fluffy friend will love and that, in some cases, will last you for quite a long time.
We had a look around for options on the UK pet food market that won’t break the bank and found a variety of wet foods and dry foods worth considering. Check out the below reviews for more.
A Quick Comparison of Our Favourites in 2023
|Best Overall||Purina One Bifensis Dual Defence||
|Best Value||Whiskas Fish and Meaty Selection||
|Premium Choice||Applaws Natural Cat Food in Broth||
|Best for Kittens||IAMS Delights Wet Food for Kittens||
|Vet’s Choice||Royal Canin Indoor Adult Cat Food||
The 9 Best Budget Cat Foods in the UK
1. Purina One Bifensis Dual Defence – Best Overall
|Main ingredients:||Chicken (17%), dried poultry protein, whole grain wheat (17%), maize|
|Calories:||2 kcal/100 g|
Though certainly not the cheapest of our picks, our best overall budget cat food in the UK pick comes in a 6 kg pack—a size that typically lasts several weeks, at least, depending on your cat’s needs. With a focus on dental care, Purina claims that this formula can reduce tartar by up to 40%.
It contains Bifensis bacteria to support the immune system and targets overall health including urinary, bone, skin, and digestive health. According to user reviews—of which there were many positive ones—this formula is great value for money and most cats are more than happy with the taste. Some have also noticed positive changes in their cat health-wise.
On the other hand, some users mentioned that the seal on the packaging is poor, and some noted that their bags arrived damaged.
2. Whiskas Fish and Meaty Selection – Best Value
|Main ingredients:||Meat and animal derivatives (36%) of which 94% are natural, including 4% chicken/salmon/beef/tuna in chunks, minerals (0.6%), vegetable protein extracts, oils and fats (including 0.1% sunflower oil)|
|Calories:||74 kcal/100 g|
Our best budget cat food for the money pick is this mega pack of Whiskas fish and meaty pouches. This box contains 40 pouches in four different flavors (chicken, salmon, beef, and tuna) to offer your cat a bit of variety. It contains omega-6 fatty acids and minerals to support the coat, skin, and urinary tract. We consider this a pretty good deal at a very reasonable price.
User reviews are overwhelmingly positive for the Whiskas fish and meaty pack, with praise for the value for money, palatability, and product condition. The only potential con is that your cat may not like all the flavors in the box, resulting in waste. However, if your cat appreciates a variety of flavors, this pack is worth considering.
3. Applaws Natural Cat Food – Premium Choice
|Main ingredients:||Varies by recipe (tuna fillet, chicken breast, ocean fish, chicken with cheese). Tuna fillet recipe: tuna fillet (75%), rice (6%), fish broth (19%). Please check each recipe for more information.|
|Protein content:||Tuna fillet recipe: 14%|
|Fat content:||Tuna fillet recipe: 1%|
Who says your cat can’t enjoy gourmet food on a budget? Though not a complete diet, these tins of Applaws can be fed alongside dry food as a treat or to add some variety to your cat’s diet. Made with natural ingredients, this multipack contains 12 pouches in four different flavors. The food comes in a hydrating broth and meat or fish makes up the highest percentage of ingredients in each recipe.
Most user reviews point to a positive experience with the Applaws selection, the general consensus being that the recipes are tasty and high in quality. The price was mentioned as an issue, though. This pack is our premium pick because it’s not the cheapest as far as budget foods, but it’s still high-quality complementary food that’s far from the most expensive.
4. IAMS Delights Wet Food for Kittens – Best for Kittens
|Main ingredients:||Meat and animal derivatives (28% chicken), oils and fats (0.2% fish oil), derivatives of vegetable origin (0.6% beet pulp fiber minerals)|
This pack of 12 chicken in gravy pouches is for kittens from one month to 12 months old. Formulated to support the digestive and immune system and vision, heart, muscle, and bone development as your kitten grows, these complete meals weigh 85 g per pouch and come at a pretty low price compared to many other brands.
There is an abundance of great reviews for this cat food. Some users mentioned that they’ve noticed a positive difference in their kitten’s coat condition and others said it has gone down well with their fussy eaters. On the other hand, some users wished for more variety of flavors in the box.
5. Royal Canin Indoor Adult Cat Food – Vet’s Choice
|Main ingredients:||Dehydrated poultry protein, rice, wheat, maize|
|Calories:||3,534 kcal/kg, 325 kcal/cup|
Our vet’s choice on this occasion is Royal Canin’s Indoor adult cat formula. Though not what we’d call an inexpensive option, the 4 kg bag should last for several weeks. It’s formulated for indoor cats that aren’t quite as active as an outdoor cat would be and is designed to be easy to digest (with L.I.P) and to improve stool quality. The fat content is described as “moderate” to match your cat’s activity levels.
Having purchased this product in the past for our own cats and feeding it for years, our experience was that it helped reduce stool odor, and the fluffy recipient approved of its taste. Other users commented that their cats also found it tasty, and it was even enjoyed by fussy cats. On the downside, it is the most expensive of our picks.
6. Go-Cat Adult Dry Cat Food Chicken and Duck
|Main ingredients:||Cereals, meat and animal derivatives, vegetable protein extracts, oils and fats|
|Calories:||5 kcal/100 g|
If you’re looking for something long-lasting for a decent price, this chicken and duck dry food is worth looking over. Nutritionally complete, this recipe is formulated to support the urinary tract, teeth, bones, skin, and coat. It also supports the digestive system and contains essential fatty acids, minerals, and vitamin D.
Users were impressed by the large bag size, value for money, and how it quickly became a firm favourite with their cats. One user did mention that they consider the biscuits a little hard, so be mindful of that possibility if you have cats with dental issues.
7. Sheba Fine Flakes in Jelly Mega Pack
|Main ingredients:||Varies by flavor. Chicken recipe: meat and animal derivatives (45%, inc. 4% chicken), minerals, various sugars|
Another great value-for-money option, this Fine Flakes poultry selection by Sheba comes with 40 pouches in various flavors—turkey, chicken, duck, and poultry (10 packs of each) in “melting” jelly. It’s suitable for both adults (over one year) and senior cats and is nutritionally complete. The product description notes that the Fine Flakes recipes were developed in collaboration with vets and scientists.
Positive reviews highlight the product’s great value for money, easy-to-open packaging, and appropriate portion sizes. On the downside, some users mentioned that it’s easy for the pouches to leak.
8. Gourmet Wet Cat Food Pouches in Gravy
|Main ingredients:||Varies by flavor. Tuna and whole shrimp recipe: Meat and animal derivatives, vegetable protein extracts, mollusks and crustaceans (4% whole shrimps), fish and fish derivatives (tuna 4%)|
|Protein content:||Varies by flavor. Tuna and whole shrimp recipe: 13%|
|Fat content:||Varies by flavor. Tuna and whole shrimp recipe: 3%|
|Calories:||8 kcal/100 g|
This Ocean Collection box of mini fillets in gravy might be the perfect choice for seafood-loving cats. A change from the more standard chicken, beef, and salmon recipes, this box contains four fishy flavor blends: tuna and whole shrimps, plaice and whole shrimps, white salmon and whitefish, and ocean fish and tuna.
User reviews are overwhelmingly positive, with particular emphasis on how much it’s appreciated by fluffy connoisseurs, and, once again, value for money. On the other hand, some users commented that the contents are a bit hard to get out of the pouch.
9. Amazon Brand Solimo Dry Cat Food
|Main ingredients:||Cereals (maize), meat and animal derivatives: ca. 28%, fish and fish derivatives (min 4% salmon, min 4% tuna in fish-shaped kibble), vegetable protein extracts (min 3% maize protein)|
|Calories:||350 kcal/100 g|
Our final pick for the best budget cat foods in the UK is Amazon brand Solimo’s salmon, tuna, and vegetable recipe. This dry food was developed by nutritionists and veterinarian-checked, which adds an extra layer of reassurance we can all appreciate. It contains biotin and zinc to support healthy skin and a shiny coat and vitamin D for healthy bones.
According to several user reviews, cats are loving it and the large pack size is very much appreciated. That said, a few users did mention issues with the zip lock on the bag. A strong smell was also mentioned, so it might not be the best choice if stronger cat food smells make you nauseous.
Buyer’s Guide: Picking the Best Affordable Cat Food
Sometimes, it can be hard to make a choice between cat foods that are really inexpensive and cat foods that are a little pricier than you’d hoped for but that have other benefits, such as being long-lasting or higher in quality.
One of the most important things to consider is your cat’s life stage. Adult cats should not be eating food formulated for kittens and vice versa as they won’t get the correct amount of nutrients they need for their life stage. Cat food should always be meat-based—never vegetarian because cats are obligate carnivores.
For your cat’s main diet, make sure the food you’ve chosen is nutritionally complete. To find this out, you’ll want to check the packaging. Complementary foods can’t be given as the main diet—only to supplement the main diet. Cats Protection in the U.K. recommends looking for brands that are members of the PFMA (Pet Food Manufacturing Association).
On a final note, in this post, we’ve mentioned a lot of cat foods with one of the main ingredients listed as “meat and animal-derived products”. If you’re curious about what these are, they’re cuts of meat that are not fit for human consumption (i.e. hearts, kidneys, lungs, etc.).
However, according to Vet Direct, meat and animal-derived products contain nutrients that can benefit cats. Vet Direct also explains that meat and animal-derived products are strictly regulated in the United Kingdom and are also veterinary inspected.
Time to bring it all in. To review, our best overall budget cat food pick is Purina One’s Bifensis Dual Defence chicken and whole grains recipe, which comes in a 6 kg bag and has been highly reviewed by cat parents.
Our best value for the money choice was the Whiskas Fish and Meat Selection Pack of 40 in various flavors, and our premium choice was the Applaws Mixed Selection in Broth—a complementary cat food to supplement your cat’s dry food.
For kittens, we selected the IAMS Delights Chicken in Gravy Recipe and our vet’s choice was Royal Canin’s dry food for indoor cats. We hope these reviews have helped you get a broader picture of the budget cat foods on the UK market right now. Good luck!
- See also: How to Save Money on Cat Food