7 Best Human Grade Cat Foods in 2021
Human-grade cat food has superior quality. But is it something your cat actually needs for his or her wellbeing? I tested and picked the best options in this guide. Not only you will learn what is a human-grade cat food, but also learn the tips and hacks on how to choose the best one.
Top 7 Human Grade Cat Foods in 2021
The company founded by two friends and pet lovers offers freshly-cooked food for cats and dogs. Their recipes are based on fresh meat ingredients, for example, Chicken Chow Meow includes chicken thigh, breast, and liver. Also, it contains fiber-rich products, such as carrot, asparagus, and spinach. Each recipe is enriched with essential vitamins and minerals. Thus, it’s a perfect solution for the daily feeding of cats.
No artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives have been used. This food is suitable for cats of all ages and breeds. It has a well-balanced ratio of protein and carbs. However, plant-based components might cause allergic reactions or stomach disorders in some cats.
Related guide: Top cat food delivery services (Nom Nom Now is among them)
- All-natural ingredients and fresh meat;
- Contains vitamins and minerals.
- Some plant-based components might cause allergy.
- Type of food: Wet, Fresh
- Ingredients: Chicken Thigh, Chicken Breast, Chicken Liver + Vegetables
- Protein: 18%
- Calories: 33 calories/ounce
This wet food recipe is suitable for the daily nutrition of cats and includes 100% human-grade ingredients combined with home-cooked meals. The formula is based on salmon, fish broth, turkey, tapioca starch, and egg whites. A few superfoods serve as the source of fiber: carrots, sweet potato, apples, and dandelion greens. Also, there is the whole spectrum of vitamins and minerals, as well as taurine and Omega fatty acids.
None of the ingredients are sourced from China, they are wholesome and cooked on slow temperatures to preserve the taste and nutritional value. No grains, GMO, gluten, and preservatives have been used. The formula is recommended to cats of all life stages.
- 100% natural ingredients;
- Contains the whole gamut of vitamins and minerals;
- Produced and packed in the USA.
- The texture is quite runny, much water inside.
- Type of food: Wet
- Main ingredients: Salmon, Fish broth, Water, Turkey
- Protein: 9%
- Calories: 134 kcal per pack
This human grade dry cat food is recommended for pets suffering from severe allergic reactions, especially to meat, milk, and other animal-based products. The formula is based on soy protein and rice starch – they contain neutral proteins and are generally safe for all cat breeds. Also, there are vitamins and minerals included: these nutrients contribute to stronger health and resistance to sensitivities. No other plant-based components except for soy and rice were used.
This recipe is recommended to be served for 3-8 weeks when a cat has strong allergic reactions, and the owner figures out a suitable meal option. This food from Purina is not designed for long-term use because it lacks some crucial ingredients, and the quality of the protein sources is not perfect.
- Suitable for cats with serious allergic reactions;
- Does not cause stomach disorders;
- The optimal amount of fiber and protein.
- Not suitable for long-term feeding;
- Protein is sourced from soy.
- Type of food: Dry
- Ingredients: Rice starch, hydrolyzed soy protein, minerals
- Protein: 35.5%
- Calories: n/a
This dehydrated cat food has an all-natural recipe based on 70% free-range chicken, so it can be served to adult and senior kitties. The processing is minimal, and a well-balanced amount of protein, moisture, and fiber makes this food suitable for cats of all breeds. The formula is based on dehydrated chicken, eggs, potatoes, and various superfoods (flaxseed, pumpkin, spinach, cranberries).
No GMO, by-products, or preservatives have been used. The recipe is to be served defrosted, and you should also add water to make it softer and more palatable. This meal can be combined with other cat foods and be a part of the daily diet. It is appropriate for all life stages.
- Made of all-natural components;
- High protein content;
- No soy, GMO, artificial ingredients.
- Requires defrosting and cooking (adding water).
- Type of food: Dehydrated
- Ingredients: Dehydrated Chicken, Eggs, Potatoes
- Protein: 39%
- Calories: 576 kcal per cup
This is a high-quality, high-protein recipe that’s based on the ingredients sourced from New Zealand: lamb, lamb by-products (lung, kidney, liver) and green mussel. The recipe includes chickpeas and dried kelp as the source of fiber. There’s the whole gamut of vitamins and minerals added for sustaining health.
No artificial preservatives and flavors, soy, and grains have been added. TSPP, BPA, and carrageenan have not been included, as well. This formula is suitable for cats of all life stages and breeds. This is a pate-style food with a sufficient amount of moisture, so it’s an optimal choice for cats with dental problems, too.
- High protein content;
- The optimal amount of vitamins and minerals;
- Ingredients sourced from New Zealand.
- Not suitable for senior cats with stomach problems;
- Flavors are not always appealing.
- Type of food: Wet
- Ingredients: Mackerel, Water, Chickpeas, Green Mussel
- Protein: 12%
- Calories: 199 kcal/can
The recipe from Lotus is an all-natural product that includes everything a cat needs, and nothing extra. The formula is based on venison and venison broth, and also features carrots and potato starch for better digestion. It contains the whole gamut of vitamins and minerals, as well as folic acid and biotin. No artificial preservatives, colors, and flavors are added.
The manufacturer did not add grains, soy, or peas. Thus, the formula would be great for cats with a sensitive stomach and digestion issues. It can be served to adult cats, seniors, and even sensitive kitties. This is a great human grade canned cat food for daily nutrition.
- Contains all-natural ingredients;
- High quality of meat components;
- Optimal protein amount.
- Type of food: Wet
- Ingredients: Venison, Venison broth, carrots
- Protein: 13%
- Calories: 84.1 kcal/2.5 oz can
These nuggets are freeze-dried cat and dog treats – they are made with meat (100% sirloin beef) and cheese, and don’t contain anything else. No grains, soy, or peas were added. No artificial flavors or preservatives have been used, the formula is great for cats of any age and breed.
The product is proudly made in the USA under FDA inspection. It offers an optimal balance of protein and calories and is safe for the majority of cats, regardless of their breed, and age. A portion of 4-5 treats per day would be a great addition to the cat’s diet.
- Contains only two ingredients;
- No artificial components were used;
- Low calorie amount;
- Suitable for cats of all breeds and ages.
- Does not contain vitamins and minerals;
- Lactose in cheese might cause stomach disorders.
- Type of food: Freeze-dried
- Ingredients: Beef Sirloin & American Cheese
- Protein: 71%
- Calories: 6 calories
Is human grade cat food always the best?
Just like organic food, human-grade products are not always the best decision. This solution is not equally suitable for all cats.
Here are several crucial points you should consider before making the final decision:
1. It depends on components
Organic or human-grade food sounds like a good idea. However, it depends on the components. As we know, cats are carnivores and prefer meat. Hence, 100% natural food with beans, wheat, corn, and other grains is not good for cats – it might cause allergic reactions or stomach disorders. Although you choose human-grade food, you must make sure that it’s appropriate for your feline friend.
The formula should be suitable from a biological standpoint. For example, it should include a lot of meat (organ meats would be good, as well), be devoid (or contain a minor amount) of carbohydrate fillers, and feature all essential vitamins and minerals.
2. ‘No’ to low-quality meat sources
“Will any meat source do?” – pet owners ask. Absolutely no. As a rule, there are no low-quality meat components in high-quality cat food. Choose the recipes with fresh meat of definite origin (chicken, pork, beef, turkey, etc.) and organ meats (also denoted as ‘liver’, ‘heart’, and so on). Such components as dried eggs are also okay. Meat meal is considered to be appropriate for cat food, but not for human-grade recipes.
Avoid the foods with vague formulations like ‘meat’, ‘organs’, ‘animal by-products’. You should know exactly what the recipe consists of. This way, you will avoid contamination and problems with health.
3. Avoid corn and grains
Although we, humans, eat the whole spectrum of grains, those might be dangerous for feline health. They cause allergy, digestion problems (constipation and diarrhea), and other problems in sensitive pets. While there is usually no such ingredient as corn in quality cat foods, some other plant-based components (fruits, veggies, berries) might not be what you expect.
Hence, when you choose human-grade cat food, ensure that there is a minor amount of plant-based materials, and the recipe contains the same nutrients you’d buy in a grocery store.
Checklist for choosing perfect human-grade food
There are three things you should be aware of:
- Make sure that your cat is getting the best ingredients with quality sources;
- Note that some ingredients in cat food are not of the same quality as what humans eat. For example, the corn used in feline recipes is of way lower quality and is not what humans are ready to eat;
- Attention to the meet components. Make sure that fresh meat and organs are used. You don’t want to have 4D livestock (dead, dying, diseased, disabled), roadkill, and other questionable sources of animal-based protein.
All things considered, it’s hard to say whether human-grade food is better from the standpoint of bioavailability and effects on cats’ health. However, you can be sure that the ingredients used in human-grade food are of the best quality.
Real benefits human grade cat food cat offer
When it comes to human-grade cat food, it might seem to be similar in components to regular recipes. However, in this case, the legal regulations applying are stricter, so the manufacturer’s goal is to abide by the laws and make sure that the ingredients edible by humans are produced of high-quality ingredients and pose a lower risk of contamination than the components made for pets.
Thus, the manufacturers should carefully choose their products and ingredients. In human-grade food, this quality not just complies – it exceeds the requirements and regulations of the FDA and the AAFCO. This is definitely positive for your pet, but it’s not the only advantage. All that means that companies use high-quality ingredients for the production of pet food, and formulas are safe.
To sum it up, human-grade food has the following advantages:
- It exceeds the regulations and standards set by AAFCO and FDA;
- It consists of meat and fish of the best quality;
- It does not include questionable components, such as by-products, meat meal, and other animal-sourced ingredients that might be dangerous for health.
When it comes to cooked human grade cat food fresh recipes are made of pure meat, organs, and vegetables or fruit, so they never contain preservatives and have pretty appealing flavor.
How to choose the best human grade cat food?
In order to make an informed decision, you should undergo a few simple steps.
Step 1. Check the list of ingredients
The quality and source of ingredients is the primary option to be taken into account. A recipe should contain a lot of meat. In wet food, its content should not be less than 35%. Ideally, 80% of meat components should be sourced from the whole animal (chicken, turkey, etc). Organs, such as liver, lung, or heart, are also acceptable, but should not exceed 10%. Plant-based components (vegetables, fruits, and seeds) should not exceed 10%.
Avoid foods with vague formulations (animal by-products, organs, etc.) and skip the recipes containing meals – those are not human-grade components. Artificial preservatives and colors also won’t do.
Step 2. Say ‘No’ to the formula based on grains
Even though different grains (rice, oat) are edible by humans, they might wreak havoc on the pet’s digestion and cause diarrhea or constipation. In sensitive pets, grains cause allergic reactions starting from itching and ending by chronic diseases and tumors.
It is okay to have some potato and peas in the recipe, but grains are potentially dangerous. It is up to you to decide whether you are ready to perform experiments with these components and switch your pet to a new diet.
Step 3. Make sure the recipe contains vitamins and minerals
Today, even home-cooked recipes are formulated to have all essential nutrients. Read the ‘Contents’ label to ensure the food contains vitamins H, K, B3, B5, B6, B2, B1 together with minerals (Zinc, Iron, Manganese, and others). Such nutrients as folic acid, Omega fatty acids, and taurine are crucial! Natural antioxidants (vitamin E and C) are important, as well.
Step 4. Check carbohydrates
Pay attention to two aspects: source and value of carbs. There might be up to 20-30% of carbohydrates in cat food, but the lower is the better. The worst source is grains, particularly corn – they cannot be digested properly, not mentioning that they elevate blood sugar level and load the pancreas. Vegetables, greenery, and unsweetened fruits are the best sources of carbohydrates.
Step 5. Check for allergens
Avoid the recipes with the following ingredients:
- chicken eggs;
- meat protein;
- preservatives and artificial colors/flavors.
Step 6. Consult with a vet
Ask your veterinarian whether the chosen formula is appropriate for your pet, whether it contains all nutrients, and which side effects it might pose.
Best human grade canned cat foods
Consider the following recipes for your furry friend:
- Caru Classic Wild Salmon & Turkey Stew Grain-Free Wet Cat Food;
- ZIWI Peak Wet Cat Food – Natural High Protein, Grain Free, Limited Ingredient Recipes;
- PureBites Mixers 100% Tuna & Salmon in Water Grain-Free Cat Food Trays;
- Lotus Just Juicy Venison Stew Grain-Free Canned Cat Food.
Alternatively, you can consider NomNomNow and Smalls fresh cat food delivery services.
Best human grade dry cat foods
The following dry cat foods are human-grade:
- Purina Veterinary Diets Feline HA Hypoallergenic Cat Food;
- Lotus Wholesome Chicken Grain-Free Recipe.
Also, you can try The Honest Kitchen Grain-Free Dehydrated Cat Food or Whole Life Just One Ingredient freeze-dried foods. If you are in search of treats, consider Life Essentials Sirloin Beef & Cheese Nuggets or chicken breast training snacks from Zesty paws.
What brands of cat food are human grade?
Human-grade cat foods are manufactured by Purina, Lotus, Ziwi Peak, Caru Classic, Whole Life, PureBites, and The Honest Kitchen. Smalls and NomNomNow offer freshly-cooked foods. Also, Only Natural Pet company offers natural broth to add up to the feline diet.
How do you know if cat food is human grade?
Check the list of contents. Human-grade food is made of ingredients that can be served to people: fresh and defrosted meat, organs, vegetables, and fruits. If a recipe has artificial preservatives or colors, meat meal, animal by-products, and components of questionable origin, it is not human-grade. Note that such foods are often labeled as ‘complying with AAFCO statements or FDA requirements’.
How to transition to human grade cat food?
First, consult with a veterinarian to make sure the chosen recipes are appropriate. Then start adding the human-grade food to the old one in 20/80 ratio. Gradually, you can increase the percentage of new food. The transition might take from a week to a month depending on the cat’s reaction. Watch the cat’s health and any symptoms or side effects appearing.
In a word
When you buy cat food you never know exactly what’s inside – cheating among mass-market manufacturers is a common occasion. As a caring pet owner, you want your cat to enjoy nutritious and safe food, and serving it human-grade recipes might be a serious step towards a healthy diet.
The market offers a few brands and great recipes formulated specifically to exceed the AAFCO and FDA requirements. They include meat and organs of the highest quality, so you can be sure your furry friend won’t deal with health problems after changing its diet. Worthy human-grade food does not guarantee total protection against allergy and digestion problems, but it is devoid of potentially dangerous ingredients.
However, it’s important to read the label attentively and choose recipes that don’t contain anything extra, like artificial preservatives and questionable components. The golden rule of choosing human-grade food is ‘read the contents list and never serve your cat what you wouldn’t eat yourself.