Top 5 Carrageenan Free Cat Food

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carrageenan free cat food


As cat owners, we all want the best for our furry companions, especially when it comes to their diet and well-being. When you search for carrageenan-free cat food, you’re taking a crucial step toward your pet’s health.

Carrageenan is a common additive in many pet foods, which has raised concerns among cat owners and experts alike due to its potential health effects.

However, finding carrageenan-free cat food can be tough, with ingredient labels that are often more confusing than helpful.

That’s where Lover Cat Better steps in. We’ve done the hard work, so you don’t have to. After days of researching and consulting with vets, we create this list of cat foods for you.

Our top recommendation is Tiki Cat After Dark, a brand both cat lovers and vets praise. But we recognize that every cat and cat family is unique, so feel free to choose the food that best suits your needs.

Let’s get started!

Quick Overview: Top Carrageenan-Free Cat Food

Here’s a snapshot of our top recommendations:

Understanding Carrageenan

Navigating the cat food aisle, you’ve likely encountered the term ‘carrageenan.’ But what exactly is it, and why is it a concern for your cat’s health? Let’s delve deeper.

What is Carrageenan?

Carrageenan is a substance derived from red seaweed, commonly used in the food industry as a thickener or stabilizer.

In cat food, it’s often added to give wet food that appealing, jelly-like consistency, especially gravy and pate-based cat foods. However, the story doesn’t end with its functional benefits.

While being excellent for texture, it offers no nutritional value to our feline friends and the implications for your cat’s health are worth examining.

2 Types of Carrageenan

Carrageenan is categorized into two types: degraded (poligeenan) and undegraded.

The degraded form is recognized as a “possible human carcinogen” due to its link to higher rates of colon cancer in lab animals.

Food-grade or “undegraded” carrageenan is considered “Generally Recognized as Safe (GRAS)” by the FDA and is defined as an acceptable emulsifier, stabilizer, and thickener by the AAFCO.

Why is Carrageenan Bad for Cats?

Some studies found that both food-grade and degraded carrageenan can increase free radicals, directly cause intestinal inflammation, disrupt insulin metabolism, and potentially contribute to the development of cancer.

Even though some scientists question the findings, as cat owners, we never want to risk our cats’ health.

5 Best Carrageenan Free Cat Food

Now you might have a deeper understanding of carrageenan, let’s dive into the best food we choose for you. Every one of them is above the average wet food on the market.

Best Overall: Tiki Cat After Dark

tiki cat after dark

  • Price: $0.75/oz
  • Primary Ingredients: Chicken, Chicken Broth, Chicken Liver, Chicken Gizzard, Chicken Heart.
  • Guaranteed Analysis: Crude Protein (min) 12%, Crude Fat (min) 2.2%, Crude Fiber (max) 0.7%, Moisture (max) 83%.
  • Special Diet: Grain-Free, High-Protein, Pea-Free, No Corn No Wheat No Soy, Natural, Non-GMO
  • Customer Ratings: 4.5 out of 5 stars on Amazon with 2,222 ratings.
  • Artificial Additives: None.
  • Thickeners Other than Carrageenan: None.
  • Recall History: No.

Tiki Cat After Dark provides a diet that closely mimics a cat’s natural prey diet. The high protein content supports lean muscle mass, while the moisture-rich formula aids in hydration and urinary health.

The absence of grains, carrageenan, and harmful additives makes it an ideal choice for cats with sensitivities or allergies.

Its low-calorie content is particularly beneficial for indoor cats or cats needing weight management.

It also offers a variety of textures and flavors to suit cats of all life stages.

As one of the most frequently recommended cat food across several online communities, cat owners appreciate its high-quality ingredients.

However, some cats prefer pate over shreds. And some users on both Amazon and Chewy have reported packaging issues.

For those concerned about the controversial Vitamin K3 supplement (Menadione), it’s worth noting that Tiki Cat discontinued the use of this ingredient a few years ago.

What We LikeWhat We Didn’t Like
High in ProteinHigher price
Low in CaloriePackaging issue
Grain-free
Animal-based main ingredients

Runner Up: Ziwi Peak Canned Cat Food

ziwi peak canned cat food

  • Price: $0.78/oz
  • Primary Ingredients: Lamb, Water Sufficient for Processing, Lamb Lung, Lamb Kidney, Lamb Liver.
  • Guaranteed Analysis: Crude Protein (min) 9.5%, Crude Fat (min) 6.0%, Crude Fiber (max) 2.0%, Moisture (max) 78%.
  • Special Diet: Grain-Free, No Corn No Wheat No Soy, Limited Ingredient Diet, Non-GMO, High-Protein, Pea-Free, Natural
  • Customer Ratings: 4.3 out of 5 stars on Amazon with 1,496 ratings.
  • Artificial Additives: None.
  • Thickeners Other than Carrageenan: None.
  • Recall History: No.

Ziwi Peak Lamb Recipe is designed to closely mimic a cat’s natural diet with its high-protein, moisture-rich content. Its limited ingredient list is great for reducing the chances of food sensitivities and allergies.

It’s packed with superfoods too! New Zealand green mussels provide natural chondroitin and glucosamine to support joint health. Plus, cold-washed green tripe and organic kelp are fantastic for digestion, maintaining a healthy weight, and even reducing shedding.

As cat owners, we love that most of the main ingredients are animal-based. However, it’s worth noting that chickpeas are quite prominent in the ingredient list. While they’re rich in carbohydrates and fiber, they might not be the best for digestion and could lead to gastrointestinal issues.

On Amazon and Chewy, most cat owners rave about this food, though a few have mentioned issues with the packaging and a strong smell.

What We LikeWhat We Didn’t Like
animal-based main ingredientsHigher price
Limited ingredient listA bit smelly
Contains superfoodContains chickpeas
Grain-free

Best Premium: Feline Natural Chicken & Lamb Feast

feline natural chicken and lamb feast

  • Price: $0.80/oz
  • Primary Ingredients: Chicken, Lamb Heart, Lamb Kidney, Lamb Liver, Lamb Blood
  • Guaranteed Analysis: Crude Protein (min) 9.6%, Crude Fat (min) 5.0%, Crude Fiber (max) 0.3%, Moisture (max) 82.5%.
  • Special Diet: Grain-Free, Gluten Free, No Corn No Wheat No Soy, High-Protein, Limited Ingredient Diet, Pea-Free, Non-GMO
  • Customer Ratings: 4.2 out of 5 stars on Amazon with 142 ratings.
  • Artificial Additives: None.
  • Thickeners Other than Carrageenan: None.
  • Recall History: No.

Feline Natural is definitely among the top cat foods out there, though it’s also on the pricier side.

Their Chicken & Lamb Feast lists Chicken as the first ingredient, boasting a composition of 99% chicken and lamb. It’s impressively high in protein and keeps carbs to a minimum.

Like Ziwi Peak, Feline Natural is packed with superfoods to boost overall health, and it includes Taurine, which is essential for eye health.

What really sets it apart is its abundance of chelated minerals, typically found only in the most premium cat foods.

Customers have shared glowing reviews about its positive effects on their cats’ appetite, digestive health, and the quality of their skin and coat. However, its premium price point is something to consider when evaluating its value for money.

What We LikeWhat We Didn’t Like
High-quality and limited ingredientsMost expensive food on the list
High in protein
Low in carbs
Rich in Taurine

Best Budget: American Journey Canned Cat Food

american journey landmark wet cat food
  • Price: $0.44/oz
  • Primary Ingredients: Fish Broth, Mackerel, Tuna, Sunflower Oil, Potassium Chloride (Various Recipe)
  • Guaranteed Analysis: Crude Protein (min) 12.0%, Crude Fat (min) 2.0%, Crude Fiber (max) 1.0%, Moisture (max) 82.0%.
  • Special Diet: Gluten Free, Grain-Free, Pea-Free, No Corn No Wheat No Soy, High-Protein
  • Customer Ratings: 3.6 out of 5 stars on Chewy with 202 ratings.
  • Artificial Additives: None.
  • Thickeners Other than Carrageenan: None.
  • Recall History: No.

American Journey, available exclusively through Chewy and PetSmart, takes pride in offering top-notch cat food without unnecessary additives or fillers, and the best part – it won’t break the bank.

Their Landmark Variety Pack is designed to mimic a prey-based diet, featuring a whopping 95% animal protein and broth.

The added moisture in the broth helps keep our feline friends well-hydrated, and the complete, balanced formula with essential vitamins, minerals, and taurine supports their overall health.

However, it’s worth noting that this food contains sodium selenite, a form of selenium that has raised some nutritional concerns.

Some cat owners love it for being an affordable carrageenan-free option, but reviews on Chewy are mixed. While some cats weren’t fans of the taste and refused to eat it, others raised concerns about its origin, being manufactured in Thailand instead of the US.

What We LikeWhat We Didn’t Like
High-quality ingredientsNot manufactured in US
High in animal proteinMixed review on Chewy
No animal by-products
Grain-free
Affordable

Best for Kitten: Tiki Cat Baby

tiki cat baby

  • Price: $0.75/oz
  • Primary Ingredients: Chicken, Chicken Broth, Sunflower Seed Oil, Chicken Liver, Salmon
  • Guaranteed Analysis: Crude Protein (min) 15.0%, Crude Fat (min) 5.5%, Crude Fiber (max) 2.0%, Moisture (max) 76.0%.
  • Special Diet: Grain-Free, High-Protein, Gluten Free
  • Customer Ratings: 4.4 out of 5 stars on Amazon with 355 ratings.
  • Artificial Additives: None.
  • Thickeners Other than Carrageenan: None.
  • Recall History: No.

Ah, Tiki Cat, they’ve done it again! It’s hard to deny that they’ve become one of our favorite brands. Just like their After Dark line, this food doesn’t contain carrageenan and maintains high-quality standards.

Now, let’s talk nutrition. This cat food boasts high protein and low carbohydrate content, providing our furry friends with precisely what they need. Especially designed for kittens, this recipe is high in calcium to phosphate, helping to prevent any unpleasant health issues while growing.

The only downside? Well, we’re not too thrilled that Sunflower Seed Oil is the third ingredient. Cats don’t really require plant-based omega fats, but the saving grace is that it still contains salmon oil.

Speaking from personal experience as a cat owner who’s fed this to my cats, they adore it. However, given its slightly higher price point, it might not be the best choice for those on a budget.

Unfortunately, we couldn’t gather as much customer feedback from Amazon and Chewy to provide a broader perspective.

What We LikeWhat We Didn’t Like
High-quality ingredientsSunflower seed oil as a main ingredient
High in Proteinhigher price
Low in carb
Grain-Free

How to Choose Cat Food Without Carrageenan

Selecting the right carrageenan-free cat food involves more than just avoiding one ingredient. Here’s how you can make the best choice for your feline friend.

Understanding Nutritional Requirements

  • Balanced Diet: Ensure the cat food offers a balanced diet, rich in proteins, medium in fat, and low in carbs. Cats are obligate carnivores, so look for foods with high-quality animal proteins as the main ingredient.
  • Age and Activity Level: Consider your cat’s life stage and activity level. Kittens, adults, and senior cats have different nutritional needs, as do active cats compared to more sedentary ones.

How to Identify Carrageenan in Label

Stay cautious! No carrageenan in the ingredient label does not necessarily mean no carrageenan at all. It might be listed under different names, some of the common names are:

  • E-407
  • Vegetable gum
  • carrageenan gum
  • Irish moss
  • Seaweed extract
  • Red seaweed extract
  • Thickeners
  • Gelling agents
  • Chondrus Extract

These are not even half its common names; you can always find more.

Avoid Harmful Additives

Apart from carrageenan, be aware of artificial additives like synthetic colors (e.g., Blue 2, Red 40), flavors, or preservatives (e.g., BHA, BHT, ethoxyquin). They also may lead to health problems and add no nutritional value to cats.

Trusted Brands Offering Carrageenan-Free Cat Food

Besides the products listed above, there are more brands that I found offering carrageenan-free cat food options:

  1. Tiki Cat
  2. Dr. Elsey’s
  3. Feline Natural
  4. Ziwi Peak
  5. Weruva – Cat’s In The Kitchen
  6. American Journey
  7. Nature’s Logic
  8. Nature’s Variety Instinct
  9. Blue Buffalo (Healthy Gourmet, Wilderness Wild Delights, Blue Bistro)
  10. Petcurean
  11. Avoderm Natural
  12. Kasiks
  13. Fromm Four Star Grain-Free
  14. Newman’s Own Organics Grain-Free
  15. Lotus
  16. Taste of the Wild
  17. Reveal (noted for fish and broth, and some chicken varieties)
  18. Koha LID (shredded foods, not the pates)

Raw Cat Food: A Natural Alternative

While there are commercial cat food options that are carrageenan-free, finding products completely devoid of any questionable ingredients can be challenging.

For cat owners who prefer to steer clear of any useless ingredients, raw food diets emerge as a compelling alternative.

The Appeal of Raw Food Diets

  • Mimicking Nature: Say goodbye to fillers and additives. Raw food diets aim to replicate a cat’s natural diet, focusing on raw meats, organs, and bones, which are rich in nutrients and enzymes.
  • Health Benefits: Cat owners, who feed raw food diets to their cats, report improvements in their cats’ health, including better digestion, healthier skin and coat, and more stable energy levels.

However, while raw diets have their benefits, it’s essential to make sure they’re nutritionally complete. Missing nutrients can cause health problems over time.

If you’re preparing raw meals, remember to maintain strict hygiene to avoid contamination. Always thoroughly clean utensils, bowls, and prep areas.

Commercial Raw Food Brands

If you’re worried about preparing raw food safely for your cats, and I know I am, you can consider reputable raw cat food brands. Carnivora and Natural Instinct are both excellent choices. However, be aware that Carnivora might only be available in Canada.

Remember, always consult your vet before transitioning your cat to a raw diet.

FAQs

What wet cat food does not contain carrageenan?

Foods and brands mentioned in our article do not use carrageenan, you can choose the one that suits you.

Does Fancy Feast wet cat food contain carrageenan?

Fancy Feast wet cat food does not contain carrageenan, but it does use other thickeners. Please read the ingredient list carefully.

What does carrageenan do to cats?

Carrageenan is a food additive that helps thicken and stabilize cat food. However, some evidence suggests that carrageenan may cause inflammation, gastrointestinal problems, and potentially cancer in cats. More research is needed to confirm the link between carrageenan and digestive issues in cats.

Does Friskies wet cat food have carrageenan?

Yes, for example, Friskies Farm Favorites contains carrageenan. But not all Friskies wet cat food uses carrageenan, please read the ingredient list carefully before purchasing.

Do Dry Foods Contain Carrageenan?

No, dry foods do not usually contain carrageenan, because it’s a thickener that is mostly used in wet or canned foods. However, dry foods may contain other additives or fillers that may not be beneficial for your cat’s health.

Does Whiskas cat food contain carrageenan?

Maybe yes, Whiskas uses the vague term – Gelling Agents in their ingredient list, but this does not rule out the possibility of carrageenan being the gelling agent.

Is carrageenan present in Royal Canin cat food?

Yes, it’s found in products like Royal Canin Kitten, Adult Instinctive, and Indoor.

Does Purina Pro Plan contain carrageenan?

Generally, no. However, the Friskies line, which is part of Purina, does contain carrageenan.

How can you avoid carrageenan in cat food?

  • Reading the ingredient list carefully and looking for carrageenan or its alternative names and being cautious about vague terms like ‘vegetable gum’ or ‘gelling agents’.
  • Choosing cat food brands that do not use carrageenan or other potentially harmful additives.
  • Making your cat food at home with fresh ingredients and no additives
  • Consulting your veterinarian for advice on the best diet for your cat

Does Hill’s Science Diet cat food have carrageenan?

No, carrageenan isn’t found in the Hill’s Science Diet.

Does Sheba cat food contain carrageenan?

No, Carrageenan is not present in Sheba wet cat foods. but they may use other thickeners.

What is a safe alternative to carrageenan?

There is no definitive answer to what a safe alternative to carrageenan is, as different additives may have different effects on different cats. However, some possible alternatives that are used as thickeners, stabilizers, or emulsifiers in cat food are:

  • Agar-agar: a plant-based gelatin derived from red algae
  • Guar gum: a fiber extracted from guar beans
  • Locust bean gum: a fiber extracted from carob seeds
  • Xanthan gum: a polysaccharide produced by bacterial fermentation
  • Pectin: a fiber found in fruits and vegetables

These alternatives may also have some drawbacks, such as causing digestive issues, allergies, or affecting nutrient absorption. Therefore, it’s best to consult your veterinarian before switching to a different cat food or adding any supplements to your cat’s diet.

Conclusion

As we wrap up our exploration of carrageenan free cat food, we hope this guide has shed light on finding the perfect option for your cat, ensuring they not only enjoy their meals but thrive on them.

If you’re still uncertain about the best food for your cat, consider trying our top pick, Tiki Cat After Dark. It’s a standout choice with its unbeatable combination of quality, taste, and nutrition.

Your journey with your cat is unique, and we’re here to support you every step of the way. Together, let’s make every meal a step towards health and happiness for your beloved cats.

Here’s to finding the perfect plate for your purring pals!

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