note: the veterinary review in this article includes only the medical information in this article. the veterinarian reviewing this article does not personally endorse, recommend, or guarantee the efficacy or claims of any product mentioned in this article.
The best vet-recommended cat food is more than just a prestigious label. it is species-appropriate, made by a reputable company, and, if it is a prescription food, effective in its targeted therapy.
Because it has so many benefits for sick or underweight cats, we’ve chosen hill’s prescription diet a/d as the best overall vet-recommended food. In addition to Hill’s Prescription Diet, we reviewed four other vet-recommended cat food brands and chose the best recipes from each.
Before we get into the reviews, let’s take a critical look at the world of vet-recommended foods. We’ll explore which brands vets recommend, learn what makes vet-recommended foods special, and talk to vets about which foods they recommend.
At a Glance: The Best Vet-Recommended Cat Foods to Buy
Want a quick look at the products reviewed in this article? In the following comparison table, we have highlighted some of the most important features of each product. you will find more detailed information about each product later in the article.
why should you trust us?
Having reviewed over 195 of the world’s most popular cat food brands and hundreds of formulas. we spend hours researching, contacting pet food companies and analyzing labels. with the help of our cats, we also got hands-on experience with some foods.
Between reviewing specific brands and researching feline nutrition, we’ve learned which brands and products are worth buying and putting in your cat’s bowl.
Based on that experience, we’ve chosen the 6 products below as the best vet-recommended cat foods you can buy in 2022.
when you hear the words “veterinarian recommended cat food”, what brands do you think of?
you probably think of hill’s prescription diet, science diet, royal canin, iams or eukanuba and purina pro plan.
what do these brands have in common and why do so many vets trust them?
First, all of these brands are produced by companies with solid foundations. they are large, well-established companies with lots of money to spend manufacturing, researching, and developing next-generation products.
Secondly, these companies want to be recommended by veterinarians.
Veterinary endorsement and approval is invaluable if you want to become an authority brand. These brands have been establishing themselves as icons of scientific animal nutrition for decades. while its reputation owes something to merit, the role of marketing cannot be ignored.
Although we are starting to put together a picture of what vets generally recommend, vets are just as dynamic and varied as anyone else. not everyone agrees on nutrition. some don’t even recommend foods with the words “veterinarian recommended” on the label.
To understand what vets think about feline nutrition, I set out to talk to real vets about cat food, asking them how they choose the best food, which brands they trust, and what they feed their own cats.
this is what some veterinarians think about cat food
sara ochoa, dvm is a practicing veterinarian in east texas and a veterinary consultant for doglab.com. Sara says that when she chooses cat food, she looks for “an AAFCO statement that it’s a completely balanced diet,” adding that “there are certain lower-end foods that don’t meet these requirements.”
Recommended brands are science diet, royal canin, purina pro plan, and eukanuba. if these brands are too expensive for her customers, she recommends “any of the purina lines like purina one, or purina cat chow. I also recommend iams cat food from the grocery store.” What does Sara feed her own cat? scientific hill diet.
Dr. joanna woodnutt, mrcvs is a veterinarian living and working in the uk. when she is asked what she recommends for her clients, joanna emphasizes the importance of weight control, noting that “it is important to select the right food for the age and neuter status of her cat. I often find myself recommending a spay/neuter diet since they are slightly lower in calories and about 50% of cats are overweight. it’s hard to encourage a cat to exercise more, so it’s all about getting the right food.”
megan teiber, dvm is a practicing veterinarian in the chicago metropolitan area and a veterinary consultant for cat furniture brand tuft + paw. she notes that veterinarians have differing opinions about feline nutrition and that veterinarian recommendations may change as research brings the facts to light.
When he recommends a diet to his clients, he looks for foods that follow the AAFCO (Association of American Food Control Officials) and WSAVA (World Association of Small Animal Veterinarians) guidelines. specifically, it emphasizes that “among other criteria, wsava only recommends manufacturers that employ full-time veterinary nutritionists.” companies that meet this criteria include iams, hill’s, purina and royal canin.
after ruling out foods that don’t meet aafco and wsava standards, dr. teiber advocates a canned diet. “Canned food helps cats stay better hydrated, feel more satisfied and can prevent and control health problems such as obesity, cystitis (inflammation of the bladder) and diabetes. i generally recommend a low carb diet for most of my feline patients. canned foods are naturally higher in protein and lower in carbohydrates than most dry foods.”
Best Vet Recommended Cat Food: Our Top 6 Picks
In the next segment, we’ll review each of the top vet-recommended brands and their top recipes. while the brands were chosen strictly based on veterinarian recommendations, the best products were chosen based on the criteria outlined in our Best Overall Cat Food article.
here is a brief summary of the qualities we look for:
- minimal carbohydrate content
- high-quality animal protein
- high moisture content
- no potentially harmful additives
We’ll also look at some prescription cat foods. any prescribed food should live up to its promises, having shown benefit for cats suffering from the intended condition, whether it be obesity or kidney failure. Sometimes this means that a prescription food is good for sick cats, but falls short of the nutritional standards we would look for in other foods.
Whether it’s a prescription food or formulated for daily care, the best vet-recommended food goes beyond the label to provide world-class nutrition and benefits that are worth the price.
Your vet should be an ally in feline nutrition, an expert who can help you make smart decisions to ensure your cat’s long-term health.
Don’t be afraid to ask your vet critical questions about his nutritional recommendations. ask her how she chooses good food, which brands she trusts, and if she has a cat, what she feeds it. you and your vet should work together to understand the why behind the recommendations.
By maintaining a critical mindset, asking the right questions, and acknowledging your vet’s experience and limitations, you can be sure that both you and your vet are making the right decisions for your cat’s health.