In this day and age, most of us are looking for ways to be as environmentally friendly as possible. As we learn more and more about sustainable practices, it influences us to make the necessary changes in our lives to help promote eco-friendliness and make this world a better place for us and future generations.
You can even choose eco-friendly options when it comes to your cat’s food. Certain brands within the industry are implementing more and more sustainable practices. So, here’s a look at 10 of the best eco-friendly cat foods on the market today.
A Quick Comparison of Our Favorites in 2022
10 Best Eco-Friendly Cat Foods
1. Castor & Pollux– Best Overall
|Organic Chicken, Water Sufficient for Processing, Organic Chicken Liver, Organic Dried Peas, Organic Coconut Flour
|185 kcal/5.5-oz can
Castor & Pollux is an eco-friendly brand that offers organic, sustainable pet foods that are easy to find both online and in stores. Their canned cat food is rich in moisture and full of healthy, organic ingredients that come directly from sustainable farms right here in the United States, which is why it gets our pick as the best overall eco-friendly cat food.
This food features real chicken as the first ingredient and is designed for all life stages. It is formulated without corn, soy, wheat, or other grains. It is rich in healthy amino acids for skin and coat health, and the blend of vitamins and minerals comes from organic whole food sources.
Castor & Pollux provides transparency with their ingredients, has recyclable packaging, and any foods containing fish are MSC Certified for sustainable fishing practices.
The biggest complaint about Castor & Pollux was that some cats completely refused to eat the food, whether it be due to taste or texture, and that cans will sometimes arrive dented. These are common complaints you find with most food options and overall, this product is well-received and highly reviewed among most cat owners.
2. Tender & True– Best Value
|Organic Chicken, Organic Chicken Meal, Organic Tapioca Starch, Organic Pea Flour, Organic Dried Pea
|3,500 kcal/kg; 350 kcal/cup
One of the best sustainable cat food brands that will give your great value for your money is Tender & True. This company is a leader in the natural pet food industry, has a great reputation, and will not break the bank.
All Tender & True’s food is made in the United States from locally sourced ingredients. Their ingredients are fully traceable, and they are Global Animal Partnership Certified, meaning their animals are humanely raised.
This dry cat food is well balanced and crafted for all life stages. It features organic chicken and organic chicken meal as the first two ingredients. It is also rich in protein, which is exactly what your little carnivore needs.
They are formulated without any GMOs, corn, soy, wheat, or any artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives. Aside from the fact that the packaging is not recyclable, the only downside reported among cat owners is that some cats will completely turn their noses up to the food.
3. Open Farm – Premium Choice
|Chicken, Turkey, Whitefish Meal, Herring Meal, Garbanzo Beans
|5500 kcal/kg, 312 kcal/level scoop
Open Farm is undoubtedly one of the most sustainable, eco-friendly brands on the market. This company is dedicated to the health and welfare of animals and the transparency behind its ingredients. Every ingredient on the bag can be traced all the way back to its origin, which is why this gets our pick as the premium choice for eco-friendly cat food.
This company supports humane farming practices and gets 90 percent of its protein from ethically sourced meat without the use of any by-products. Not only are the ingredients in this recipe locally farmed and certified humane, but they are also MSC Certified for sustainable fishing practices.
This food is very high in protein for healthy muscle growth and maintenance and is formulated with superfoods and prebiotic fiber for digestive and overall health. Real chicken and turkey are the first two ingredients, followed by whitefish meal and herring meal.
Open Farm also features recyclable packing and checks all the boxes except for being USDA-certified organic. Overall, this is high-quality food and many cat owners rave about how much their cats love it.
4. Orijen Kitten Food– Best for Kittens
|Chicken, Turkey, Salmon, Whole Herring, Chicken Liver
|4120 kcal/kg, 515 kcal per/cup
Orijen is a brand that is produced by Champion Pet Foods which won an Eco-Excellence award in 2017. The top five ingredients in all Orijen’s food are always fresh or raw animal protein sources. They promise that their ingredients are always regionally sourced, and they are MSC Certified for sustainable fishing.
They formulate their goods to contain whole prey items including organs and bone, which closely mimic your cat’s natural diet. This food is packed in protein and much higher in moisture than your average dry cat food.
This kitten food is well-balanced and formulated to meet their nutritional needs for healthy growth and development. The kibble is small and appropriately sized for those tiny teeth. They use prebiotics and other natural food sources for digestive and immune support.
The downside to Orijen in terms of eco-friendliness is that they are not USDA-certified organic, their packaging is not recyclable, and they have no certified humane practices. This food is highly reviewed among many cat owners, though it’s a bit pricey.
5. Go! Solutions Carnivore
|Chicken Meal, De-Boned Chicken, De-Boned Turkey, Duck Meal, Turkey Meal
|4,298 kcal/kg, 473 kcal/cup
Go! Solutions Carnivore comes from the Canadian=based company known as Petcurean. The first five ingredients in this formula are from real animal sources including chicken, turkey, and duck. The formula is extremely rich in protein for healthy muscle development and maintenance.
Their ingredients are from traceable, local sources and they are MSC Certified for sustainable fishing practices. This formulation is crafted for cats of all ages and features digestive enzymes, probiotics, and prebiotic fiber to support healthy digestion and overall immune function.
Go! Solutions Carnivore is made without any by-products or artificial preservatives and is crafted by a team of pet nutritionists to ensure it meets a cat’s dietary requirements. The packaging is recyclable, and the company donates its products to rescues and shelters.
While they do not use organic ingredients and do not have any certified humane practices, the company states they are optimizing business practices to reduce their environmental footprint and contribute to a more sustainable future. Their foods are affordable when compared to some other competitors.
6. Ziwi Peak
|Chicken, Water Sufficient for Processing, Chicken Liver, Chicken Heart, Chickpeas
|1325 kcal/kg; 113 kcal/3-oz can, 245 kcal/6.5-oz can
Ziwi Peak is a New Zealand brand that is committed to eco-friendly practices. This chicken recipe canned cat food features real chicken as the first ingredient and contains organ meat for a well-rounded, whole prey approach that gives your cat a well-balanced moisture-rich diet.
All meats from Ziwi Peak are either free range or wild caught and are ethically and sustainably sourced and completely free of TSPP, BPA, and carrageenan. This recipe contains no cheap fillers or added carbohydrates like potato or soy ingredients that do nothing for a cat’s health.
Not all of Ziwi Peak’s packaging is recyclable, nor do they use organic ingredients or have any certified humane practices, but they do have their fair share of sustainable practices that many cat food brands do not. They are on the expensive side and aren’t as popular in the United States yet but are certainly worth checking out.
7. Halo Chicken Recipe Pate
|Chicken, Chicken Liver, Chicken Broth, Natural Flavor, Spinach
|1,299 kcal/kg, 203 kcal/5.5-oz can
Halo is a brand that is certainly worth mentioning when talking about eco-friendly practices. They do not source any of their meats from factory farming and use non-GMO produce in their formulas. They are part of the Global Animal Partnership and do not use any artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives and their cans are BPA-free.
This canned pate is rich in protein and moisture, making it ideal for your cat. Even the most finicky of eaters will happily scarf this down. We like that chicken, chicken liver, and chicken broth are the top three ingredients. We aren’t too fond of natural flavors being in the top five ingredients since they go through many chemical processes despite being natural in origin.
Halo’s ingredients are traceable, and their cans are fully recyclable. Not all meats are locally sourced, which can be a deterrent for some. Overall, Halo does offer up some good quality cat food with some noteworthy eco-friendly practices to top it off.
8. Tiki Cat
|Chicken, Chicken Broth, Sunflower Seed Oil, Calcium Lactate, Dicalcium Phosphate
|63 kcal/2.8-oz can, 134 kcal/6-oz can, 225 kcal/10-oz can
Taki Cat is another New Zealand-based brand that participates in sustainable practices to be more eco-friendly. All food from Tiki cat is sustainably sourced and packaged in human-grade certified facilities. The fisheries used by the company are part of the International Seafood Sustainability Foundation or ISSF.
This recipe is poultry based with real antibiotic-free shredded chicken and chicken broth as the first two ingredients, so not only is it packed full of protein, but it’s also rich in moisture for proper hydration. This food is ideal for cats of all ages, making it an excellent choice for any life stage.
This food is not organic, but it is GMO-free and also contains no grains or gluten. Tiki Cat can get expensive if fed exclusively but can also be used as a topper. The biggest downfall reported among fellow cat owners is that some cats would rather lick the juices of the food but refuse to eat the shredded chicken.
9. ORIJEN Original Grain-Free Dry Cat Food
|Chicken, Turkey, Whole Mackerel, Turkey Giblets (Liver, Heart, Gizzard), Flounder, Chicken Liver
|4120 kcal/kg, 515 kcal/cup
Aside from the kitten food mentioned above, Orijen has other foods meant for adult cats that are also worth mentioning. This original recipe is protein rich and has chicken, turkey, mackerel, turkey giblets, and chicken liver as the first five ingredients. These foods may be a bit expensive, but the quality is there.
Like other Orijen recipes, this one features whole prey nutrition, which is great for cats and helps mimic their natural diet. All products are made in the United States using regionally sourced ingredients. The company features the MSC Certification for using suppliers with sustainable fishing practices.
This formulation is freeze-dried coated, which will be extra enticing to your kitty and it’s one of the few dry foods that don’t have many complaints about the difficulty of picky eaters. Orijen doesn’t utilize organic ingredients or recyclable packaging, so while they don’t have as many sustainable practices as some of the other competitors, they are certainly worth mentioning.
10. ACANA Homestead
|Deboned Chicken, Chicken Meal, Turkey Meal, Oatmeal, Whole Peas
|3760 kcal/kg, 429 kcal/cup
Like Orijen, Acana is also made by Champion Pet Foods and their sustainability practices include regionally sourced ingredients and MSC Certification. The Homestead recipe for cats is a healthy canned food variety that has chicken, chicken liver, and chicken broth as the first three ingredients.
There are no artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives in their foods, which is a huge plus. The recipe features 65 percent of small prey ingredients that are packed full of protein, essential amino acids, and omega fatty acids that support overall health.
Acana explains that they have a specific network of farmers, ranchers, and fisheries that supply their ingredients. They are not organic or certified humane, and the packaging is not recyclable, which is disappointing on the eco-friendliness front, but they have some noteworthy sustainable practices, and this food comes highly reviewed by many cat owners.
Buyer’s Guide: How to Choose Eco-Friendly Cat Foods
How to Identify Eco-Friendly Cat Foods
Eco-friendly foods can be hard to pin down. We all know that marketing isn’t always completely honest and will use keywords to sway us in a certain direction, that’s why it’s best to know your stuff. Sustainable practices in the pet food market can be harder to come by, though many companies are starting to see the importance and the demand. Not all companies are going to be eco-friendly across the board, some will fall short in some areas while excelling in others. Here are some tips on recognizing verifiable eco-friendly practices.
There are a few different certifications you can keep a lookout for when you are shopping for eco-friendly cat food.
Any food that features a USDA Certified Organic label must be certified by a USDA-certified agency that is responsible for ensuring that the animals are provided organic feed and have access to the outdoors and that all produce is grown without genetically modified organisms (GMOs), most synthetic fertilizers, herbicides, and insecticides.
The Certified Humane label shows that the humane standard has been met. This ensures that animals raised for food are not abused and have access to the outdoors, proper space requirements, and access to shelter. The certification also covers slaughter practices that are thought to be humane, though this is met with controversy.
An MSC certification on a pet food label shows that the fisheries they use meet the international standard for sustainable fishing practices. Fish and other seafood from certified fisheries will carry the blue MSC label.
Global Animal Partnership
The Global Animal Partnership is one of the largest animal welfare food labeling programs in the United States and throughout North America. This is a nonprofit organization that promotes the welfare of farm animals by using third-party certifiers to audit farms and their welfare practices.
Locally sourced food ensures that the food products have not traveled great distances or have been frozen or refrigerated for an extended period. Both shipping and refrigeration put a strain on the environment by way of fossil fuels and the emission of greenhouse gases.
Ingredients transparency and traceability allow consumers to ensure the honesty behind the ingredients in their food products from their origin throughout the manufacturing process. If your cat food company offers fully traceable ingredients, it’s a good sign they are committed to sustainable, eco-friendly practices.
We all know that recycling is very beneficial and one of the key factors in environmental friendliness. Recycling reduces the amount of waste sent to landfills, conserves natural resources, and allows for repurposing. Check to see if the packaging for your cat’s food is recyclable. Most canned food options are but bagged food can be more of a challenge to find.
Check to see if the cat food company provides any charitable donations toward eco-friendly causes such as animal shelters, animal welfare organizations, or other charities dedicated to sustainability.
Can My Cat be Vegetarian or Vegan?
A question that has been often asked in recent years is whether cats can be switched to a vegetarian or vegan diet. This is due to a lot of humans switching over to plant-based diets to promote a more positive impact on the environment.
Cats are obligate carnivores that should not be fed a vegetarian or vegan diet. Their systems are not designed to properly digest plant material and unlike dogs, which are omnivorous, cats get all of their needed nutrients directly from meat sources.
Remember to always talk to your veterinarian if you ever have questions about your cat’s diet. Find yourself an eco-friendly cat food and implement other sustainable practices as a cat owner, which we will go over below.
Sustainable Habits for Cat Owners
Other than choosing a more eco-friendly cat food brand, here are some other ways you can implement sustainability into cat ownership, take a look:
Use an Eco-Friendly Cat Litter
It’s not just cat food that can be eco-friendly, you can also look into swapping your traditional cat litter for a more environmentally friendly version. There are many different types available including pine, corn, paper, grass seed, and more. Cats can be particular with litter, and you’ll want to find the type that works best for your household.
Keep Your Cat Indoors
It may seem harmless to allow your cat to wander outdoors, but it is incredibly bad for the environment to allow cats to roam free outside. Cats may be wonderful pets, but they are an immense threat to local wildlife. Cats have contributed to the extinction of over 63 species of wild mammals, birds, and reptiles worldwide. For the sake of our natural world, these domestic pets need to remain true to their domestication by staying indoors.
Spay or Neuter Your Cat(s)
It is extremely important to have your cats spayed or neutered. Due to the severe pet overpopulation issue, over half a million shelter cats are euthanized each year in the United States alone. Each and every cat owner must do their part to put a stop to this seemingly endless tragedy. Spaying and neutering not only prevents unwanted litters but has many health and behavioral benefits.
Adopt from a Local Shelter or Rescue
If you are looking into adding a new four-legged family member to your household, opt for adoption. Shelters and rescues are overloaded with the number of strays and owner surrenders that make their way into the shelters. Adoption is a very rewarding experience that not only saves the life of your new pet but opens up room for another to be saved as well.
Use Sustainable Cat Toys
It’s no secret that cats love their toys. One way to implement environmentally friendly practices is by either creating your own cat toys by repurposing other materials around the house, choosing gently used, secondhand cat toys, or opting for eco-friendly toys that are made from a brand that uses recycled materials and provides recyclable packaging. It may seem small, but every little bit helps.
Castor & Pollux is a great brand that uses sustainably sourced organic ingredients and can easily be found online or in stores, Tender & True is locally sourced, Global Animal Partnership certified, and will give you a great value for your money, and Open Farm is one of the most well-known eco-friendly brands on the market that focuses on ingredient transparency and animal welfare.
As you can see, not all foods will meet the same eco-friendly criteria. Regardless of which food you ultimately decide on, these all play a part in more sustainable practices and get great reviews from fellow cat owners.
Featured Image Credit: Patrick Foto, Shutterstock