There are many factors to consider when choosing the best cat food for indoor cats but I suspect you’ve never thought of the one that sways my judgement most – smell. Yes, the smell of a cat food can be really unpleasant in a house or apartment. Some cat foods smell almost as bad as the resulting poop and yes, the smell of the food has a big effect on resulting poop odour. So here are some factors to consider when choosing which food to use for a cat that lives indoors.
Other factors to consider when choosing the best cat food for your indoor cat are of course quality, some foods simply aren’t complete nor good for your cat, and additives. Surprisingly, we’ve noticed a strong link between our cat’s behaviour and the quality of the food he eats. We have a cat that bites, certain foods seem to trigger this crazy behaviour, maybe in the same way that some foods and food additives can upset children. It could even be the sugar content of these cheaper cat foods, I don’t know. But on good food, our cat is a lot calmer and way less prone to random bite attacks.
Luckily, the best food, we’ve found, leads to a happy healthy cat, firmer stools, less smell and less mess. The solid stools and better behaviour are a really noticeable feature of the quality foods we use now. Our vet actually suggested the food we use for our indoor cat and it’s proved to be a good choice.
Best Cat Food For Indoor Cats
There are so many things to think about and all cats are different. They can also be picky eaters, but these are the basic considerations when choosing a cat food or kibble for your indoor cat.
What Cat Food Do We Use?
We struggled to find a low odour dedicated indoor kitten and then cat food locally. This one is advertised as ticking two of the three boxes.
Hills Science Diet Indoor Kitten Food
This is a 7 lb bag. It makes sense to buy kitten food in smaller quantities.
While our indoor cat was a kitten we tried a variety of foods, mostly dry food with occasional wet cat food. We found it was very important to keep him away from all human food as most things, from cheese to scavenged porridge, gave him diarrhoea. Not good for the cat, not good for the human environment. We’ve since learned that many cats are lactose intolerant. These days our indoor cat is well fed, happy, healthy and lower odour predominantly fed on the premium cat foods below. We take a look at many considerations in choosing cat food for indoor cats further down the page.
Once our rescue kitten became adult, this is the food we found worked best for him, and for us. We prefer to buy in bulk, online. The nearest pet shop that stocks quality cat food is a long way away, we get it delivered to our door, for free, when we buy larger quantities. In our case it was also cheaper to order online, but check this for yourself, maybe your local vet will stock it. Vets often recommend and sell these premium cat foods. Be absolutely certain to monitor expiration dates on your cat food if you’ll be buying in bulk for storage.
The more expensive cat foods have better bags and containers, so even odour from opened cat food boxes or canisters is reduced in our household. We used to find that ants would want to invade our cat food, but with resealable bags this hasn’t been a problem. You could, of course, invest in large air-tight storage containers if you felt the need. Air tight storage should help dry and semi dry food becoming rancid.
Royal Canin Indoor, Adult, Reduced Odour
This bag is about 7 lb, 3Kg.
Hills Science Diet Adult Cat Food.
This one isn’t marketed as low odour but the makers do state that it is easy clean up. We found the odour to be OK. A huge bag at around 15 lb, 7 Kg.
Premium or Cheap Cat Food for Your Indoor Cat
After much experimentation, we found that we all preferred premium cat food. Hills or Royal Canin as above. Some of the cheap cat foods aren’t nutritionally complete and contain fillers.
Free Choice Feeding for Indoor Cats
We’re home all day with our cat so we are rarely unable to feed him as required, but if you work long hours you’ll probably want to fill your cat’s bowl and give him the free choice option. This gets unpleasant quickly with wet cat food, particularly if there are flies or ants around. Free choice is a better idea with dry and semi-dry foods.
The Age of The Cat or Kitten and Stage of Life
Kittens, adult cats, seniors, pregnant mothers and lactating queens all have different nutritional needs. It is important to respond to these appropriately. Some cat foods are formulated to completely meet needs at any stage of life, others are more specific. You need to read the labels and compare nutritional value.
Dry Food or Wet Food for Indoor Cats
You can, indeed, buy speciality wet ( tinned or canned ) cat food for indoor cats. It’s not as simple as just wet or dry, semi-dry cat foods also exist. Some cats just don’t like dry cat food, we did once have one of those cats and it took months of adaptation to switch her to dry. Try not to let a cat get too set in her ways or, bored, with just one type of food.
As far as I can see this wet food is designed for indoor cats’ energy needs, not designed to be low odour. Wet, canned food is around 75% water and nutritional completeness varies. Do check the nutritional information on the label and always refrigerate opened cans of food. Unopened cans have a long shelf life but canned food is often more expensive than dry.
Even though wet food is so moisture-rich, your cat will still need fresh drinking water. Contrary to popular belief, cats shouldn’t drink cow milk. ( source)
Special Needs Cat Food
There are so many variations on cat food!
You can purchase special foods for sensitive skin, hair balls, urinary problems, obesity, diabetes and just about any disease or affliction your vet has diagnosed. Do talk to your vet, they know best and will be able to advise you. I can only tell you what has worked best for our cat and for us. If you’d like to check the science of feeding your cat, please refer to an authoritative article such as this one from Cornell University. We found it very helpful in choosing the best food for our indoor cat. The information we provide here simply reflects our experiences and isn’t meant as veterinary diet advice.