5 Best Low Carb Dry Cat Foods

Low carb dry cat food contains a smaller percentage of carbohydrates compared to other traditional cat food options. While regular cat food can have up to 35 percent carbohydrates, the low carb alternative limits the number of carbohydrates to 12 percent or less.

Since cats are carnivores, they only require a small number of carbs in their diet, while the protein intake should be high.

Our top choice is Tiki Cat Born Carnivore. It contains real chicken as the first ingredient and offers 44 percent average protein, higher than many name brands.

Both dry and wet low-carb cat foods are available on the market, each with their own set of pros and cons. Veterinary experts agree that there is no simple answer to the question, “Which type is better?” because every case is different. The best choice for your cat will largely depend on his needs and preferences.

Top 5 picks for low carb, dry cat food


1. Tiki Cat Born Carnivore Dry Cat FoodOur top pick!

Tiki Cat Born Carnivore - 5.6 lbs. - Chicken Luau


  • 44 percent of protein
  • Formulated with baked meats, flaxseed, and nutritious fish oils
  • Rich flavor
  • No grains and plant proteins
  • No by-products or fillers


  • Hard consistency - can be difficult for cats to chew

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Tiki Cat Born Carnivore is an excellent low carb dry cat food option because it contains nutritional elements such as baked meats, pumpkin, flaxseed, and salmon oil. It also has 44 percent protein, which ensures a healthy, protein-rich diet for cats.

What’s particularly compelling about this brand is their baking technique.

This dry cat food is free of corn, rice, wheat, and potatoes. They offer several flavor combinations for both fish and meat lovers, including chicken, fish luau, chicken and fish luau, chicken and egg luau, and turkey and peas luau.

2. Dr. Elsey’s Cleanprotein Formula Dry Cat Food



  • The first ingredient is real meat
  • Free of gluten, grain, soy, corn, vegetables, or GMOs
  • Low oxalate content
  • Appropriate for kitties of all life stages


  • For cats with sensitive or missing teeth, this kibble may be too hard

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Dr. Elsey’s Cleanprotein high protein kibble is veterinarian-formulated. Made with only meat and animal proteins, Cleanprotein low carb dry cat food comprises 59 percent protein. This recipe is low in oxalate levels, making it a good choice for cats with kidney issues.

3. CRAVE Grain Free High Protein Dry Cat Food

CRAVE Grain Free Indoor Adult High Protein Natural Dry Cat Food with Protein from Chicken & Salmon, 10 lb. Bag


  • Contains 40 percent of protein
  • Formulated for indoor cats
  • No artificial colors or preservatives
  • Adult and kitty formulations available
  • Four flavors available


  • Not entirely grain free – be cautious if your cat is allergic to grains

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Crave cat food uses a protein-rich formula with real meat or fish as its primary ingredient. It doesn’t contain any artificial colors or preservatives.

The high level of protein this food contains (40 percent) aids in digestion and muscle development, increasing cats’ energy levels

You can choose between adult and kitty formulation, depending on the age of your cat. Also, there are four flavors available: chicken, chicken and salmon, salmon and ocean fish, and turkey, chicken, and duck.

4. Nulo Grain Free Dry Cat Food

Nulo dry cat food contains 83 percent of protein, which ensures a rich flavor, and it provides the necessary amino acids for a healthy diet. It’s a perfect mixture of high protein and low carb ingredients, as it uses only low glycemic ingredients, such as chickpeas, sweet potato, and lentils.

The small, disk-shaped kibble has a smooth texture that cats will certainly find appealing. There are four flavor combinations to choose from: chicken and cod, turkey and duck, duck and lentils, and salmon and lentils.

Nulo’s formula is suitable for cats with sensitive tummies because it contains a patented BC30 probiotic, which improves gut flora, digestion and boosts overall immunity. You can also choose between formulations for kittens, adult cats, and indoor cats.


  • 83 percent of protein
  • Low carb ingredients like chickpeas, sweet potato, and lentils
  • BC30 probiotic supports healthy gut flora
  • Formulations for kittens, adult cats, and indoor cats
  • No grains, artificial colors, or preservatives


  • Strong odor

5. WELLNESS CORE Natural Grain Free Dry Cat Food

Wellness Core’s grain free formula is high protein and low in carbs. It has 80 percent more animal protein than regular dry cat food.

Made with turkey, chicken, whitefish, and herring, this delicious recipe also includes a healthy, wholesome vegetable dose. The added essential vitamins and minerals help support overall health and disease-resistance by boosting your cat’s immune system.


  • Has a mix of animal-based proteins
  • High protein
  • Contains probiotics and prebiotics for gut health
  • No fillers, additives, and other junk like animal by-products
  • Rich in antioxidants and omega fatty acids
  • Fortified with vitamins and minerals


  • Tiny kibble pieces
  • Not for kittens
  • Contains phosphorus

Why do cats need low carb foods?

There are several reasons why you may decide to reduce the number of carbohydrates in your cat’s diet. Vets recommend food that is low in carbs and fiber for cats that suffer from diabetes, as research has shown that this type of diet helps them eliminate the need for insulin.

Another reason for switching to a low carb diet is obesity, so if your cat struggles with their weight, your vet may recommend giving them food that has a low percentage of carbohydrates.

You may also choose to introduce your cat to low carb dry cat food because it resembles their natural way of feeding. Cats’ digestive system is programmed to appreciate food rich in proteins but lacks large amounts of carbs, so providing them with a diet that satisfies their natural needs goes a long way in ensuring your cat lives a long and healthy life.

Insulin Basics for your Diabetic Cat

What to consider when buying low carb cat food?

The quality of ingredients

It’s essential to check the list of ingredients before you choose a particular product. Food that is high in protein and low in carbohydrates should have meat as a primary ingredient.

You should also avoid cat food with animal by-products, fillers, or grains, such as wheat and corn, as these ingredients don’t have nutritional value and may pose a risk to cats that are allergic to grains. Another thing to bear in mind is the percent of starch present because large amounts of starch contain high carbohydrates and sugar levels.

Nutritional analysis

It’s always a good idea to check the label before purchasing a product, especially if you’ve never tried it before. The optimal amount of protein in low carb food starts at 50 percent and above, while the number of carbs shouldn’t be higher than 12 percent.

You can also use AAFCO Nutrient Profiles, which contain the recommended percentages of each nutrient, as listed by the Association of American Feed Control Officials.

best cat food for diabetic cats

Dry cat food versus wet cat food

Dry cat food and wet cat food each come with their perks and shortages, and while both types are nutritious, the better option may depend on various factors, such as your cat’s overall health condition, taste, and budget.

Wet cat food – the good

Wet cat food is stored in cans, and it often comes in portions that are fit to measure, which many cats love. This type of food is rich in moisture, so it increases a cat’s daily water intake. This is particularly beneficial for cats with kidney issues as it prevents the formation of urinary crystals, and it helps them remain hydrated throughout the day.

Wet cat food – the bad

On the other hand, canned food needs to be stored properly to stay fresh. In case of open cans, you’ll need a lid that fits the can perfectly so that the food doesn’t go bad and to prevent its smell from spreading inside the fridge. Some cats prefer warm meals, so you may need to heat their canned food before they can eat it.

Additionally, canned cat food is often more expensive than its dry counterpart because it comes in larger volumes, putting a strain on a limited budget.

Dry cat food – the good

Dry cat food can be stored longer than wet food, which makes it more budget-friendly. It comes in bags that will keep the food fresh for as long as the date on the packaging specifies, provided you reseal them properly after you’ve opened them.

Dry food works great for cats that prefer free-choice feeding, which means you leave a bowl of food at their disposal, and they can snack on it whenever they’re hungry. However, if you have an overweight cat, you may consider using a measuring cup to control their portions.

Dry cat food – the bad

Although dry cat food is a quality source of protein, it doesn’t contain the same amounts of water as wet food, making digestion harder and causing problems in cats with urinary issues. Also, it may be challenging for older cats with dental issues, so it may be more suited for kittens.

Ultimately, the choice of food you make will depend on your cat’s needs and taste. If you’re unsure which food is the best option, you can try mixing both types to get the best of both worlds while still paying attention to the portions’ size.

What is the lowest carb dry cat food?

Grain free canned and low carb dry cat food is the lowest in carbohydrates. If your cat refuses to eat canned food, grain free dry cat food is still the best option.

What is the best dry food for a diabetic cat?

According to PetMD.com, the ideal cat food for a diabetic cat is high in protein, “Most canned cat foods are already high in protein and low in carbs. But many dry cat foods are made with starch, which makes them higher in carbohydrates. Your vet may suggest that you switch to a specially formulated cat food or an all canned-food diet.”

How many carbs are in dry cat food?

There are certain times when you need to calculate how many carbs are in dry cat food. Visit this article for a calculator.

Top takeaway

Low carb dry cat food comes with many benefits, including low levels of carbohydrates and high protein levels, which are essential for a healthy diet and particularly beneficial for cats with diabetes, provided the amount of starch is low. Luckily, there are plenty of such products on the market, and today our top choice is Tiki Cat Born Carnivore. It contains real chicken as the first ingredient and offers 44 percent average protein, higher than many name brands.

Alina Prax