Walmart is a shopping behemoth across the United States and Canada, and they can sell you everything under the sun, including a large range of cat food.
Walmart is known for being one of the most cost-effective stores for everything they sell, and this is no different for cat food. You can easily pick up a large bag of cat food from Walmart for less than $20.
However, for those who take an interest in their feline friend’s health, you may want to think twice about that cheap cat food and consider all the available options from Walmart.
The quality of the ingredients, the nutrition they provide, and the safety and recall history of a brand are all important factors to consider when choosing a cat food formula, especially from Walmart.
Is Walmart Cat Food Safe?
When people think of lower-cost pet food, they immediately think of safety or quality issues that have plagued the industry over the previous decades.
Brands like Ol’Roy or Kibbles N’ Bites have had several recalls and are some of the most popular dog food recipes sold at Walmart stores.
It is true that many of the cat food brands sold at Walmart have issued recalls in their past, and for some, there have been several recalls.
However, Walmart is a huge company with a reputation to maintain, and as a consequence, they take safety issues very seriously. If there are recalls issued for pet food products that are sold at their stores, you can guarantee that they will be removed from the shelves in no time.
For this reason, you should not be overly concerned that pet food bought from Walmart is more unsafe than food bought from other pet food suppliers.
Does Walmart Sell High-Quality Cat Food?
While it may surprise many, Walmart does, in fact, sell several high-quality cat food brands and recipes. While Walmart used to stock mostly lower-cost and quality brands, they have expanded to more premium brands.
This expansion into the premium market has almost certainly been driven by consumer demand for higher-quality cat food products.
However, that doesn’t mean that Walmart has a large selection of higher-quality cat food recipes like Chewy or Petflow might. Popular brands like Orijen, Taste of the Wild, Instinct, Tiki Cat, and Victor are all missing despite their impressive offerings.
What Cat Food Should I Avoid At Walmart?
As we mentioned earlier, Walmart has historically sold many of the low-quality or ultra-cheap pet food brands, and it should not surprise you that these offer poor nutrition and ingredient quality.
Prime examples of cat food brands that you should avoid include Meow Mix, Cat Chow, 9 Lives, and Friskies.
These brands often use high proportions of dense plant-based ingredients such as grains which bulk out their recipes with carbohydrates. Most cats would be much better off with food and a diet high in animal or fish-based protein and fat.
You can learn more about the importance of appropriate nutrition for cats in our Cat Food Guide.
If their poor nutrition and ingredient selection wasn’t bad enough, several of these brands had undergone several recalls, including some for Salmonella Contamination, Inappropriate Levels of Vitamins and Minerals, and Packaging Issues.
Should I Buy My Cat Food At Walmart?
For many, Walmart is a simple and efficient choice for buying their cat food as they regularly visit Walmart stores, groceries, and other supplies.
Some counter this by saying that you shouldn’t purchase your pet food from large retail stores like Walmart or PetSmart and should instead support smaller local pet food stores.
However, for others who visit stores like Walmart less frequently or don’t have smaller independent stores nearby, you may want to consider buying your pet food online from some of the large pet food websites like Chewy and Petflow.
These online stores offer very competitive pricing as well as subscription services which provide further discounts and convenience.
Best Cat Food At Walmart
Crave With Protein From Chicken & Salmon Indoor Adult Review
Most cat owners will be unfamiliar with the brand Crave and this is fair considering the brand only launched in 2017. However, Crave’s owners, Mars PetCare, are far from newcomers to the industry and own other popular brands like Pedigree, Royal Canin, Whiskas, and Iams.
Crave was purpose-built to appeal to pet owners who are more aware of their pet’s nutritional needs and do not want to feed lower-cost food filled with grains and other plant-based ingredients.
This is reflected in the nutrition offered by their recipes which is in line with brands that are far most costly and considered to be “premium.”
You can learn more about Crave and its evolution and growth since its launch in our Crave Brand Review.
The above Chicken & Salmon recipe includes a minimum of 40% protein and 16% fat which makes the vast majority of the formula protein and fact-based, rather than carbohydrates.
This impressive nutrition is thanks to a large portion of Chicken and Chicken Meal which make up the bulk of the recipe. However, these are joined by a smaller portion of Salmon Meal and Chicken Fat.
However, providing impressive nutrition at a competitively low price does come at a cost, and Crave is forced to use some vegetable by-products like Pea Protein and Potato Protein.
These vegetable by-products boost the overall proportion of protein with plant-based protein, which some believe is inferior to animal-based protein. However, the proportion of animal-based protein in this recipe is still significant and should not be dismissed.
Rachel Ray Nutrish Peak Rustic Woodlands Recipe Review
Rachel Ray Nutrish is a more established pet food brand that was partly founded by the celebrity chef and television personality Rachel Ray. Nutrish has several sub-brands, including Savory Bites, Peak, and Super Premium.
Nutrish is another brand that is priced very competitively, with the opportunity to pick up a 14lb bag of food for as little as $20. However, Nutrish has other recipes that are slightly more pricey and come in around $25-$30 for a large bag.
You can read more about Rachel Ray Nutrish, including its product range and ingredient selection, in our Rachel Ray Nutrish Brand Review.
The above Peak recipe is one of these and one of the brands’ most premium offerings. Similar to Crave, this recipe offers very impressive nutrition for its price point with a minimum of 40% protein and 14% fat.
This high proportion of protein is a vital component of a cat’s diet and aligns with their natural diet. The proportion of fat is smaller than Crave but still notable. By coming in slightly lower, it could be more appropriate for less active cats such as Indoor cats.
The ingredient choices for Rachel Ray Nutrish Peak recipes are almost identical to Crave and include a large portion of Chicken and Chicken Meal.
This is joined by a smaller portion of Turkey Meal, Egg Product, Turkey Meal, and Turkey, which makes the selection of meat ingredients quite large.
On the plant-based front, this formula utilizes a mix of Lentils, Pea Protein, Pumpkin, Peas, Sweet Potato, and more. These plant-based ingredients combine to provide a modest proportion of carbohydrates, fiber, and plant-based protein.
Pure Balance Wild & Free High Protein Chicken Recipe Review
Pure Balance may be more familiar to regular Walmart shoppers and has become a core feature of the pet food section of many Walmart stores.
Pure Balance is a Walmart exclusive brand, and you can not purchase it from popular pet food websites like Chewy and Petflow. This exclusivity forces shoppers interested to head to their local Walmart stores or to visit their website.
Similar to Crave, Pure Balance is a relatively new addition to the market and has been around for less than a decade. It offers recipes with impressive nutrition and ingredient selection but doesn’t price itself out of its target market.
You can learn more of the specifics of Pure Balance and why it has succeeded in our Pure Balance Brand Review.
As is the case with most cost-effective cat food, Chicken is the recipes’ primary ingredient and is not in short supply. Similar to other brands, Pure Balance utilizes a mix of Chicken and Chicken Meal rather than just Chicken.
These Chicken ingredients contribute to an impressive minimum of 40% protein; however, the proportion of fat is lower than some others mentioned here at a minimum of 9%.
Similar to what we mentioned earlier, a lower proportion of fat can be advantageous to cats who need a less calorie-dense diet, such as senior cats.
While the plant-based ingredients present are similar to other recipes, Pure Balance does utilize a large portion of starch ingredients like Potatoes and Tapioca, which are dense sources of carbohydrates.
However, Pure Balance doesn’t just produce dry cat food like the above but also has a range of wet/canned cat food such as the below.
Pure Balance Pro Indoor Pate Chicken & Rice Formula Review
Wet cat food can be a lifeline for many as not only is it extremely appealing to many cats, but it can also help them take on sufficient moisture, which is a common issue.
The above recipe is designed for indoor cats, but Pure Balance also has wet cat food recipes with other groups such as senior cats, kittens, and those with sensitive skin or digestion.
Chicken and Chicken Liver are this formulas primary ingredients and are present in a substantial portion. The Chicken Liver is an excellent addition on top of the traditional Chicken cuts and can further enhance the flavor and palatability of the recipe.
Outside of this Chicken, the recipe contains a small portion of fish and yet smaller portions of Brewers Rice, Powdered Cellulose, and Dried Beet Pulp.
All three of these ingredients are worthy of their own discussion, and we have in-depth articles on them that you can refer to; see the below links.
Purina Beyond Simply Indoor Wild Caught Salmon, Egg & Sweet Potato Recipe Review
For long-time pet owners, brands like Crave and Pure Balance may be unfamiliar, but almost all pet owners are aware of Purina.
Purina is one of the giants of the industry and has been a staple of pet food stores and veterinary practices for decades. They produce a range of pet food at varying price points as well as food for specialized health problems that have to be prescribed by a vet.
However, even Purina is innovating and has launched a new brand in recent years known as Beyond. Beyond, like others mentioned here, aims to appeal to pet owners who want a better diet for their pets as well as a simplified ingredient list.
You can learn the fine details of Purina’s newest brand as well as the Purina backstory in our Purina Beyond Brand Review.
What makes Purina Beyond even more interesting is its venture into the Organic pet food space. They have an organic dog food recipe and an organic cat food recipe which is extremely rare.
The above Indoor Salmon recipe from Purina Beyond is a prime example of their appealing nutrition and ingredient selection.
Salmon is the recipe’s primary ingredient and is present in an impressive proportion size. Salmon is not just an excellent source of fish-based protein and fat but also contains high levels of the beneficial Omega 3 Fatty Acids.
Many believe that these Omega 3 Fatty Acids can provide cats with several health benefits, such as an improvement in the condition of their skin and fur.
Purina Beyond plays it safe when it comes to plant-based ingredients and once again utilizes legumes like Peas and Starches like Tapioca and Sweet Potato.
Purina One True Instinct High Protein With Real Chicken Review
Last but not least is another brand from Purina, but this time it is one of their staples. Purina One has been around since the 1980s, and while its recipes have evolved over time, they are a reliable and affordable option.
Purina One doesn’t have quite the impressive advertising or packaging as Purina Beyond, but to contrast this, they have much more research and testing of their products which is one of Purina’s biggest selling points.
This research ensures that the nutrition and ingredients found in their recipes are suitable for cats and can provide them with the nutrition they need.
The True Instinct recipes from Purina One are their own take on a high protein formula and include higher proportions of meat ingredients than their other recipes.
The above Chicken recipe utilizes Chicken as its main ingredient along with Chicken Meal like many of the other recipes featured here.
Purina One then utilizes the same legumes and starch ingredients that we have already discussed in Peas and Tapioca but what does make them unique is their use of Soy.
Soy is a grain ingredient and is regularly seen in Purina recipes but is rarely used by other pet food brands as many do not approve of its widespread use.
Like other brands discussed here, Purina One also has a wet/canned cat food range, and one recipe in particular from this range stands out from the crowd.
Purina One Chicken Recipe Premium Review
What makes this recipe impressive is its choice of ingredients and the nutritional profile those ingredients contribute towards.
The recipe uses a mixture of Chicken, Liver, Pork Lungs, and Trout. While this combination is quite unusual, the end result is an extremely large portion of animal-based ingredients that are high in protein and fat.
The overall proportion of protein and fat is a minimum of 11% and 5%, respectively, thanks to these ingredients, which is far above average when compared to other similar wet cat food recipes.
Outside of these ingredients, this recipe does not contain any plant matter or any gums, or other binding agents commonly seen in other wet cat food recipes.
This could make this recipe ideal for those cats who struggle with many plant-based ingredients and need to exclusively eat meat or fish content.