Criteria of Analysis
The analysis performed for each product is the same as for the Best Wet Cat Foods post from, where I evaluated and ranked each product on the basis of their published lists of ingredients and the guaranteed analysis.
For the purposes of this list, as reported by the manufacturer, dry cat food is any variety that contains less than 80 percent moisture. Varieties labeled as a raw, freeze-dried, dehydrated or frozen diet, however, have been excluded because those formulas are sufficiently different in the future to warrant their own list.
Specialty varieties were also excluded from this evaluation, in addition. All veterinary diets and products specifically developed for kittens or elderly cats are included in these specialty Katzen Trockenfutter. Cats requiring these specialized diets have their own specific dietary concerns, and different criteria should often be evaluated for their products.
Based on an analysis of its ingredient list, each product is given a score. The highest score is for those with a protein or protein meal (ie “chicken” or “chicken meal”) as their first ingredient. In their top 5 ingredients, products with named proteins and meals are also rated better than those products without. Land-based proteins are also rated more positively than proteins based on seafood – see this blog post for a thorough explanation of why. Also, note that in my evaluations, a generic “meat” or “fish” ingredient does not count as a protein; I find it rather suspicious that a producer is unable or unwilling to identify the protein source!
Products listing by-products in their top ingredient positions or bulk-adding fillers and grains are scored lower. Furthermore, any questionable preservatives included in the ingredient list will also decrease the score of the product.
Every commercially prepared cat food in North America, by law, must publish a ‘Guaranteed Analysis’ describing the percentages of protein, fat, fiber and moisture contained within the product. They do allow us to approximate and compare the total amount of protein and carbohydrates contained in each product, although these are not precise values.
Each product is also scored based on its nutritional analysis, similar to its ingredient score – products that have higher protein amounts and lower carbohydrate amounts reported in this nutritional breakdown are scored higher.
Of all the dry food products in our Kitten Trockenfutter Test, the 14 products below scored highest, each earning either 8 or more paws for their dietary levels and ingredient lists. All are high in protein and generally contain lower-priced fillers than products with lower ratings. Sadly, by their very nature, dry cat foods will contain a higher amount of carbohydrates than their canned food counterparts. However, apart from the carb content, all of the products listed below had other quality indicators that helped them score higher.
Note, however, that this is by no means the full list of the best products reviewed here. It is important to keep in mind that only the estimated values are the protein and especially the carbohydrate numbers. Although each cat food manufacturer is required by law to publish a Guaranteed Analysis defining the maximum values of fiber and humidity for each product in addition to its minimum values of protein and fat, precise nutritional percentages are not available and therefore all calculated values, including carbohydrates, are determined using these minimum and maximum published values and may vary from act to act. While a high score may be indicative of a product of greater quality, it is not a guarantee. The one that meets their individual needs is the best food for your cat.