Quick comparison chart

Soft dry food for catsSoftness ScoreIngredients ScoreCalories, kcal
Meow Mix Tender Centers Dry Cat Food97325
Blue Buffalo Wilderness High Protein Grain Free87410
Purina Kitten Chow Nurture Kitten Dry Cat Food67370
Purina ONE Tender Selects Blend Adult Dry Cat Food76364
Iams Proactive Health Healthy Senior Dry Cat Food87325
Rachael Ray Nutrish SuperFood Blends Dry Cat Food87371
Wellness Core Air Dried Natural Grain Free Dry Cat Food87445
Instinct Original Grain Free Recipe Natural Dry Cat Food78505
Taste of the Wild Grain Free High Protein Real Meat Recipe78390
Nulo Adult & Kitten Grain Free Dry Cat Food with BC30 Probiotic77486
Nutro Wholesome Essentials Kitten Dry Cat Food78439
Purina Friskies Tender & Crunchy Combo Adult Dry Cat Food75389
Hill’s Science Diet Dry Cat Food, Adult 11+ for Senior Cats, Indoor66394

How to choose the best soft dry cat food?

Step 1 – Check how soft it is

The softness of dry cat food may vary. Your goal is to find kibbles that will be easy to chew for your cat. While pieces with a soft center are a perfect solution, there’s not much choice, and the ones available have drawbacks in the contents. Read customers’ reviews and choose smaller kibbles – they are easier to chew for felines.

Step 2 – Check the brand reputation 

There’s a huge variety of cat food brands present on the market. Soft dry food is often offered by unpopular manufacturers. Study the brand reputation and recall history to make sure its products could be safely served to cats. 

Step 3 – Check if it’s AAFCO approved 

The Association of American Feed Control Officials is the major regulator of pet food quality in the States. It has certain guidelines on the contents and nutritional value of pet products. Although it does not grant any licenses, seeing “Formulated according to AAFCO statements” label on cat food is one more proof of its quality.

Step 4 – Check the essential nutrients

It’s not enough to figure out a good texture – cat food should be nutritious enough. Watch the amount of protein: it should be in the range of 30-40%. High-protein foods are recommended for kittens and seniors. Fat content should not exceed 15% because fattier products can lead to overweight.

When it comes to carbs content, there are no strict requirements for the percentage of nutrients. Instead, make sure that carbohydrate-rich products are not at the beginning of the contents list. If you see that wheat, soy, or corn are listed before meat, this is a low-quality cat food with a high amount of fillers. 

Step 5 – Make sure your cat likes the flavor

Unfortunately, the majority of soft cat food brands offer chicken and turkey recipes. If your cat is averted to such flavors, search for alternatives. You can find brands offering fish and mixed flavors. Buy a small package for a trial period and see how your four-legged pal reacts to it. 

Step 6 – Check the price 

With so many brands and options available around, it’s simple to find something that fits your budget. If you need cheap options, consider the food from Purina and Whiskas. Such brands as Hills’ Science and IAMS offer the best trade-off between the quality of components and cost. 


Is there any difference between soft dry and semi-moist cat food?

There is practically no difference between those types of products in terms of palatability – only texture varies. In this guide, we describe soft dry cat food, and there is a separate guide that reviews semi-moist foods.  

How to make dry cat food soft?

There is a separate guide on making dry cat food soft. Basically, it all boils down to adding some water. However, the formulas mentioned above are a good alternative to cooked recipes.

Where to buy soft dry cat food?

Each brand has its channels of distribution. You can find all the suitable products in one place – Amazon. It provides offers from different sellers together with complete descriptions of the products. 

At the end of the day 

If your furry friend has problems with teeth, you don’t have to force it to eat wet food. There’s a decent array of soft dry kibbles that can be served to pets of all life stages. They have all the necessary vitamins and minerals for proper nutrition together with a high amount of protein. After defining your cat’s nutritional needs, finding the right product with an excellent price/quality ratio is not hard.

Hopefully, this guide will help you pick a budget-friendly and safe option. You can discover even more suitable products by reading consumers’ reviews. There are plenty of dry foods in the form of small kibbles – this is a nice alternative to soft pieces of meat.  

I am Claudine, a College of Veterinary Medicine alumni and cat health & lifestyle specialist. In this blog, I share my personal experience and recommendations on improving cat’s diet, behavior, and both physical and psychological state.


  • Mike

    This is a really helpful website. Just one comment: According to five different replies to my Amazon question about “Hill’s Science Diet Dry Cat Food, Adult 11+ for Senior Cats, Indoor” (number 1 on the list), it is a “hard, crunchy kibble,” not a soft food at all.

    • Jimmie O'Chutt

      Hello Mike,
      Thank you for your feedback. We took your comment into account and improved the article.
      We also added the Kitten Chow which has very small kibbles that are easy to swallow for cats that do not chew their food.

  • Jennifer Stafford

    Hi there! Thanks for this article, I have a 10 year old cat that is having trouble eating both dry and wet food (vomiting frequently). He’s been to the Vet and had every test (checks out ok) and his teeth cleaned but still not eating, lost 5 lbs in 2 months. 😱 I’ve tried Rx food, you name it. He wants to eat but seems to have trouble chewing. Anyway, I just purchased the Rachael Ray dry food on your list and wanted to report that it is small, but hard, so we’ll see. On a whim I purchased a Rachael Ray wet food and he’s eating it voraciously! Hopefully he won’t throw up after he eats it.🤞🏽 I’m so afraid he’s going to starve to death. This article helped me find one thing he’ll eat, thank you!

    • MG

      Hi Jen! Sorry to hear about your kitty. Sounds like your cat is eating but can’t keep the food down. Doesn’t really sound like a chewing issue. My vet had recommended 1/4 tablet of pepcid AC and 1/4 tablet of Cernia for nausea. Talk to your vet. The most important thing is to get him to eat. Try rotisserie chicken or tuna! My cat has Lymphocytic Portal Hepatitis and imflammatroy bowl disease. She stopped eating and has high liver levels. Now that she is being weened off steroids, she won’t eat. But, she has been eating verocioulsy tempations cat snacks, dairy flavor. Now, I’m trying to figure out if it’s the dairy flavor or the soft texture for the snack that she loves so much hence stumbling onto this website. She liked the Purina ONe tender select, but won’t eat it anymore after a week. Best of luck!

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