8 Eco-Friendly Cat Foods To Make All 9 Lives Sustainable
The cat’s out of the bag—eco-friendly cat food is here to support planet-friendly purring.
In addition to providing ethical, humane, and nutrient-rich meals for our feline friends, it also helps clean up the act of the cat and dog food industry.
The global pet food industry has a carbon footprint (er, paw print) of 106 million tonnes of carbon dioxide. If it were a country, it would be the 60th highest emitter.
But it doesn’t have to be this way. There are companies filling pet food bowls around the globe with eco-friendly cat foods that are better for the planet.
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Eco-Friendly Cat Food Brands We Paw-sitively Love
With some of the best organic food for cats, the Castor & Pollux ORGANIX range is packed with USDA organic meat and superfoods and is free of artificial preservatives, corn, soy, and wheat.
Paving the way towards more eco-friendly packaging for cat food, Open Farm has partnered with TerraCycle so that cat owners can recycle the packaging on their human-grade cat food for free.
To find out how we hunted down the purr-fect eco-friendly cat food, pounce down to the end of the article.
The Full List Of Sustainable Cat Food Brands
- The Honest Kitchen | Visit Store
- Castor & Pollux ORGANIX | Visit Store
- Lily’s Kitchen | Visit Store
- Tender & True | Visit Store
- Halo | Visit Store
- ZIWI | Visit Store
- Petcurean | Visit Store
- Open Farm | Visit Store
1. The Honest Kitchen
The Honest Kitchen’s Best Human-Grade Cat Food
Price Range: $7–$64
Humanely raised free-range chicken, Marine Stewardship Council-certified fish, organic grains, and non-GMO produce are some of the ingredients that The Honest Kitchen is cooking up for cats of all life stages.
With some of the best organic wet cat food around, theirs features recognizable ingredients like dandelion greens, salmon, duck, blueberries, and carrots.
You won’t find any fillers or artificial flavors, colors, or preservatives on the ingredient list.
The dehydrated and dry cat food are no different, and they also offer cat treats, protein-packed toppers, and supplements to support the overall health and wellness of our feline friends.
For kitties with a refined palate, you can impress them with “câté” (read: chicken, turkey, salmon & turkey, beef & chicken, or salmon & cod pâté).
About The Honest Kitchen
With a dog constantly suffering from ear infections, Lucy Postins began exploring food ingredients, and eventually formulated her own line of human-grade cat and dog food.
Unlike most brands, The Honest Kitchen’s pet food isn’t made of 4D meats (dead, dying, diseased, or disabled).
In addition to being fit for human consumption, The Honest Kitchen ethically and transparently sources non-GMO and largely organic ingredients—84% of which are from North America.
This Certified B Corp’s cat food is crafted with a vet nutritionist to support healthy stools, urinary tract health, healthy digestion, and more.
The eco-friendly cat food company also offers a special discount for 501(c)3 nonprofit animal shelters and rescues.
Also available on Chewy
2. Castor & Pollux ORGANIX
Castor & Pollux ORGANIX’s Sustainable Cat Food USA
Price Range: $43–$53
Organic meat is the #1 ingredient in the eco-friendly cat foods offered by ORGANIX.
The organic free-range chicken meal or turkey meal base is supplemented with nutrient-packed and USDA-certified organic superfoods. These include brown rice, blueberries, coconut flour, flaxseed, dried egg, coconut oil, and cranberries.
Both eco-friendly wet cat food and dry varieties are available. While some formulations are designed for kittens, most are suitable for adult cats and all life stages.
You’ll never find wheat, corn, or soy in ORGANIX products.
Since 2003, ORGANIX by Castor & Pollux, has been America’s #1 organic pet food.
They boast the only complete line of USDA organic certified cat and dog food.
As a maker of #PurposefulPetFood, their products are cooked with love in an organically certified USA kitchen.
Also available on Amazon
3. Lily’s Kitchen
Lily’s Kitchen’s Sustainable Cat Food UK
Price Range: £1–£93
Lily’s Kitchen is the best place to turn for the most eco-friendly cat food in the UK. They’re not available in other countries.
You can shop by age or special diet, or simply peruse the range of wet food, dry food, treats, selection boxes, and extras.
Harnessing the “power of proper food,” their recipes are free of bone meal, meat meal, and rendered meat. Instead, offal—high in amino acids like taurine—is used.
It’s paired with herbs and botanicals, such as antioxidant-rich marigold petals and mineral-rich burdock root.
Ingredients are freshly prepared and minimally cooked to retain most of their natural benefits.
About Lily’s Kitchen
Inspired by Lily, company founder Henrietta’s dog, Lily’s Kitchen is here to provide pets with wholesome ingredients and vet and nutritionist-backed recipes.
Everything is made with love—and ethically-sourced ingredients. Some are organic, though not all.
With a diversity & inclusion policy and an environmental policy that highlights initiatives like using recyclable packaging and renewable energy, it’s no wonder Lily’s Kitchen is a Certified B Corp.
4. Tender & True
Tender & True’s Certified Humane Cat Food
Price Range: $13–$74
Certified humane and locally-sourced chicken and turkeys from the USA form the basis of what goes into Tender & True’s bagged and canned cat food, some of which is USDA-certified organic.
This #1 ingredient is followed by a blend of natural ingredients, antioxidants, minerals, and vitamins—no corn, wheat, or soy.
If it’s not chicken and turkey, then it’s certified sustainable seafood: MSC-certified ocean whitefish or tuna. These poultry-free cat foods are also grain-free.
Both dry and wet cat food are available.
About Tender & True
With pet food that’s “certifiably better” than the rest, Tender & True’s line of cat and dog food is made with certified humane and organic ingredients.
In 2014, they became the first Global Animal Partnership (GAP) certified pet food company and remain the only brand with a full range of humane sustainable cat food and dog food that meets GAP standards.
Tender & True is independently owned and based in the Midwest. They have personal relationships with the fisheries and growers they source ingredients from.
Also available on Amazon
Halo’s Ethical Cat Food USA
Price Range: $13–$57
With a line-up that includes sustainable wet cat food, dry food, and treats, Halo has something for every feline friend.
In addition to a range of preferred whole-meat proteins (chicken, red meat, salmon, or lamb), they also offer options with or without grains.
Only non-GMO fruits and vegetables are used, and all recipes are free of artificial ingredients and preservatives.
Some of the wet and dry cat foods are free from foods commonly associated with sensitivities (or simply not tolerated by picky eaters): chickpeas, peas, lentils, potatoes, and poultry.
Their Halo Holistic line has certifications from the Global Animal Partnership and Marine Stewardship Council, meaning that some of the pet foods are animal and planet-friendly, too.
Halo is “all about empowering pet motherhood for the world’s happiest pets and their moms”.
They believe that pets are the best kids, and they provide healthy eco-friendly pet foods to unapologetically show that.
Their pet foods are made with high-quality, thoughtfully-sourced ingredients and cooked in the USA.
For more than 30 years, they’ve based their recipes on natural, science-based nutrition, partnering with vet and nutrition experts for recipe development.
Also available on Amazon
ZIWI’s Ethical Cat Food
Price Range: $30–$98
Featuring high ratios of meats, organs, bones, and seafood, ZIWI’s ethical raw cat food range recognizes that all cats are obligate carnivores.
It features 92-96% New Zealand protein—including free-range, grass-fed meats, locally-sourced poultry, and sustainable seafood from highly-ranked fisheries. Only raw meats are used, which are gently air-dried to lock in goodness.
Recipes feature unique proteins like mackerel, lamb, venison, beef, and chicken.
Superfoods like organic kelp are added to give your cat’s food added nutritional value.
Every ZIWI recipe is free of unwanted carbohydrates and chemical preservatives.
ZIWI started with Peter Mitchel, a passionate free-range deer farmer. He supplied big pet food companies with venison, but quickly realized that it was being blended with cheap carbohydrates to form less nutritious and highly processed kibble.
So, he decided to make something better. ZIWI partners with farmers and fishermen who follow leading animal welfare standards (like New Zealand’s Five Freedom Principles).
The recipes are handcrafted in small batches in ZIWI’s very own kitchens.
ZIWI may be based in New Zealand, but luckily for dog and cat owners around the world, their products are available globally.
Also available on Amazon
Petcurean’s Ethical Cat Food Canada
Price Range: $55
Petcurean helps pet parents with their daily feeding duties and offers plenty of products for all types of cats.
Their eco-friendly cat foods come in wet and dry options for every size and stage of life, including some designed for unique dietary needs, and a GATHER range made with USDA organic ingredients.
If you’re looking for true organic chicken, rest assured the GATHER cat food uses 100% USDA-certified organic chicken along with peas, flaxseed, oatmeal, and barley.
It’s packed with complex carbohydrates, omega fatty acids, and antioxidant-rich ingredients like cranberries. You won’t see artificial ingredients, GMOs, animal byproducts, or any wheat, corn, or soy in the ingredient list.
All of their healthy food options are minimally processed, made with premium-quality meats and fish, and free of animal byproducts or meat meals.
Petcurean began as a little family operation in the Fraser Valley of British Columbia, Canada.
A lot of thought goes into their pet food recipes: which farmer, rancher, or producer they’ll source from; what veggies and fruits will be included; and what flavors will satisfy the pickiest of eaters.
Their certified and organic ingredients must meet their five key sustainability pillars: humane animal welfare; protection of water supplies; protection of producer livelihoods; preservation of natural resources; and preservation of biodiversity.
As one of the few brands prioritizing eco-friendly cat food packaging, their commitment extends beyond ingredients. They work with the packaging industry to encourage research that will result in 100% recyclable packaging.
Currently, the dry cat food packaging’s interior liner is made from non-recyclable material (but is essential since preservatives aren’t used to keep the food fresh).
Their GATHER line uses packaging that is 30% plant-based (sugarcane) and their wet cat foods come in cans that are 100% recyclable or Tetra Pak recyclable packaging made with FSC-certified paperboard.
They’re carbon-neutral, too, which you can read more about in their Sustainability Impact Report.
8. Open Farm
Open Farm’s Sustainable Cat Food Packaging & Products
Price Range: $35–$45
Open Farm’s sustainable cat products include dry food, wet food, liquid broths, and toppers.
Their humanely raised meat and exclusively wild-caught fish recipes include chicken, turkey, beef, whitefish, lamb, pork, salmon, and venison.
For human grade cat food, there’s the Rustic Blends wet cat food options: Harvest Chicken; Wild-Caught Salmon; Homestead Turkey; Chicken & Salmon; and Grass-Fed Beef—all blended with bone broth, pumpkins, and carrots.
Providing the ultimate traceability, you can enter the lot code or product name of each product to trace each ingredient to its source.
About Open Farm
Open Farm is a woman-owned company inspired by founder Jacqueline’s search for ethical pet food produced with humane farming practices. Along with her husband and brother-in-law, she turned to high-quality ingredients to create it.
Working with third-party bodies, their ingredients have ethical and sustainable certifications from the Global Animal Partnership, Certified Humane, and Ocean Wise.
100% of their farms meet strict animal welfare standards.
By 2030, Open Farm pledges to reduce its carbon footprint by 42%. For immediate impact, they have offset the emissions of their direct operations and product manufacturing. They also purchase Renewable Energy Credits (RECs) to cover 100% of the electricity used across their operations.
With some of the most eco-friendly packaging for cat food, they’ve pioneered the first nationwide (and free!) recycling program with TerraCycle. All Open Farm flexible food packaging can be recycled.
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Why Sustainable Cat Food?
They may be small and cuddly, but cats have an environmental paw print comparable to humans.
According to a 2017 study assessing the impact of the 163+ million dogs and cats in the US, researchers found that our furry friends consume about 33% of the amount of animal-derived calories that humans do.
This means that through their diets, our fur babies are associated with the significant use of land, water, biocides, phosphates, and fossil fuels.
Their food is known to release up to 64 million tons of CO2 equivalent greenhouse gas emissions, namely nitrous oxide and methane (which is actually 25x more potent than CO2).
When these animal-derived ingredients aren’t produced in a sustainable and ethical way, they can be associated with depleted land, agricultural runoff, and factory farms with abysmal conditions for other animals—like cows, chickens, and lambs.
Worse, when cat food companies use recipes made up of more than 50% corn, rice, and wheat, it can be linked to biodiversity loss and heavy reliance on agricultural inputs (water, fertilizer, pesticides).
But is grain-free cat food or a vegetarian or vegan diet better?
Why do vets not recommend grain-free cat food?
Grains in cat food have been given a bad rap in recent years. As obligate carnivores, a cat’s diet should consist primarily of high-quality meat protein.
Many believe that grains (and other plant-based foods) are not a natural food type for these animals and should be avoided or at least kept to a minimum.
However, there’s no conclusive evidence that grains are always a bad thing, and they can provide important nutrition. To sort the wheat from the chaff, we have to look a little closer at the ingredients lists and ask why they’ve been included.
In low quality cat food, grains, and other carbohydrates such as peas and potatoes, are often added as fillers to bulk it out and decrease the cost. But at what expense to a cat’s health?
In recent years, many brands have moved away from using corn, rice and wheat as cheap filler ingredients, offering “grain-free” pet food instead. When the focus is on producing foods with a high meat content using good quality meats, this is all well and good.
The problem is that some brands have merely swapped out the grains for other cheap fillers and there is potential evidence linking grain-free meals to worsened heart conditions.
The bottom line: not all “grain-free” cat foods are created equally. Look for ones that prioritize a high meat content and avoid unnecessary fillers, whether grain-based or otherwise.
Vegan and vegetarian diet for cats
What about vegan cat food? Can cats just go plant-based to support the planet?
No; as obligate carnivores, cats thrive on meat-based diets. In the wild, this includes small prey like rodents, and even large prey, such as deer.
While domesticated cats may only “hunt” the light from your laser pointer, they still require a similar diet—unlike dogs which can eat a meat-free diet.
As members of the Carnivora (flesh devourer) order of mammals, cats are unable to synthesize or convert fatty acids, amino acids, and specific vitamins, which means they must get them from animal protein, like meats and organics.
This is why it’s important to look for high-quality meat ingredients and cat food with sustainable fish to provide balanced nutrition.
To reduce the carbon impact of the meat industry, seek out locally-sourced and certified humane sources, for everything from chicken broth to chicken meal.
How Do You Feed A Cat Sustainably?
As you dump out yet another can of stinky, gray mush, you may find yourself asking, “What is the healthiest food to feed my cat?”
Just as it is when using sustainable foods to DIY your meals, it’s equally sustainable and nutritious when you play chef for little Simba.
Make your own eco-friendly cat food
The best eco-friendly cat food is likely a product of your own kitchen. You’ll be more likely to use real pieces of meat and seafood (not animal byproducts) and will generally have a better idea of what’s going into your cat’s food—and where it comes from.
Plus, when you use plastic-free food storage containers, you’ll have some of the most eco-friendly packaging for wet cat food around!
There’s an eco-friendly cat litter box full of recipes available online.
However, you do want to be sure that you ensure your cat’s nutritional needs are being met, including calcium and taurine.
Crushed eggshells or bone meal work for the former. For the latter, you’ll want to make sure that your kitty is getting the recommended amount of taurine per day, either in the form of supplements or through feeding raw animal hearts and livers.
Before pursuing this avenue, we strongly urge you to discuss the matter with your veterinarian first to ensure your cat is getting a nutritionally complete diet.
Buy in bulk
When you don’t have the time or space to make and store refrigerated homemade cat food, buying in bulk from sustainable natural cat food brands is the next best thing.
Not only is it cheaper to stock up on eco-friendly cat foods, but it’s better for the planet.
Bulk orders typically use less packaging and when you support the eco-friendly cat food industry through online retailers, a single order has a lower shipping footprint than multiple orders.
Just be sure you have plenty of space to store the dry or wet food and take some time to explore your options for the best eco-friendly cat food.
Pro-tip: Cats can be notoriously picky eaters and have a habit of going off their previously favorite food from time to time. To avoid waste, if you are doing a big order, make sure to vary the flavors to keep them keen!
How We Found The Most Sustainable Cat Food
Pets don’t have the ability to choose healthy and sustainable options for themselves. That’s why it’s up to us pet parents to ensure they grow up with only the best eco-friendly pet products.
When it comes to finding the cat’s meow in terms of the best ethical cat food brands, we considered what it was made with, how it was manufactured, and how it was packaged.
Sustainable cat food ingredients:
As with human food, a pet food label with recognizable ingredients is best—especially if they’re certified organic, locally sourced, or go easy on our natural resources in another way.
Organic canned cat food, like its dry counterpart, will be grown without chemical pesticides, herbicides, and fertilizers. Meat will be raised without growth hormones and antibiotics, and according to better animal welfare standards.
Animal welfare ethics can be further supported with third-party certifications, like the Global Animal Partnership (GAP).
Being GAP-certified means that the animals have more space, a safe and enriched environment, access to pasture and the outdoors, and are fed a healthy, vegetarian diet free of animal byproducts and added hormones or antibiotics.
Organic feed should also be absent any genetically modified organisms (GMOs).
There is a range of other certifications that help to ensure that meat and sustainable seafood cat food are, in fact, sustainable.
- Certifications: USDA Organic, Global Animal Partnership (GAP), Marine Stewardship Council (MSC), Certified Humane, Ocean Wise
Supply chain & labor practices:
Unfortunately, greenwashing is rife in the cat food—even humane cat food—industry, just like it is with human food.
Take the time to get to know your furry friend’s favorite ethical cat food companies. Look for evidence that they actually are ethical (i.e. traceable, transparent supply chain, domestic manufacturing, partnerships with ethical farmers/ranchers).
If they don’t live up to your expectations, demand better.
Green business practices:
While there’s still a long way to go with regard to eco-friendly cat food packaging, brands are making improvements and recyclable packaging is on the up.
While you’ll find canned food tins are often recyclable, it’s still somewhat rare to find environmentally-friendly cat food bags or even those made of recycled materials.
Through the use of carbon offset programs, a few brands are carbon-neutral.
Final Thoughts On Ethical Cat Food
Is someone purring for the best sustainable cat food?
Now you know how to ethically and sustainably satisfy their hunger meows. Think: organic ingredients, certified humane or free-range animal products, and no fillers or synthetic preservatives.
If you’re in a pinch and need an all-natural cat food STAT, here’s a quick summary of cat food brands to avoid (based on their use of unnamed animal-derived ingredients, low-cost plant-based fillers, and inappropriate cat nutrition):
- Royal Canin
- Meow Mix
- Blue Buffalo
As cat owners, we can’t always know what’s running through the minds of our feline friends, but we can take steps to feed them food that’s good for them, other animals, and our planet.
We’d be pawsitively thrilled if you’d pass this on to other cat lovers in your life! Let’s spread the word about the best eco-friendly cat food for our feline companions.