Everything to Know About Cat Kibble

What is Cat Kibble?

A cat peeks at the camera from between two bags of Earthborn Holistic cat food

Cat dry food is crunchy, baked cat food bites often called kibble. High quality cat kibble is a convenient way to feed your furry friend a healthy, balanced diet. Whether you’re looking for a chicken or fish-based recipe, small kibble cat food, large kibble cat food, or something somewhere in between, finding a dry cat food recipe for your feline can seem overwhelming. However, with so many options available, you’re sure to find a crunch kibble option that your cat will love.

And if crunchy isn’t your cat’s style but you’d like to still feed kibble for the convenience or cost factor, soft dry food for cats or soft kibble cat food can be created from crunch kibbles by adding in a variety of mixers which we’ll touch on later.

What to Look For in Dry Cat Food

If you’re looking for a healthy dry cat food, there are several things on the cat food label you should pay attention to. Learning what to look for on a food label will help you make an educated decision about your cat’s food.

Two cats sit on an outside work bench and eat out of a cat food bowl

First is the ingredients list. Familiarizing yourself with the ingredients list on your cat’s food bag will tell you a lot about not only what’s in the food, but the quality of the food as well. You always want to make sure the first ingredient is a meat protein like “chicken” or “chicken meal”

Second is the guaranteed analysis. The guaranteed analysis is a breakdown that specifies the minimum or maximum levels of nutrients like protein, fat, fiber and moisture. These are the AAFCO’s four basic nutritional guarantees. In cat foods, the maximum per­centage of ash (the mineral com­ponent), as well as the percentages of taurine and mag­nesium are included in the Guaranteed Analysis as these nutritional values are vital to a cat’s health. By looking at the guaranteed analysis, you’ll be able to tell if you’re looking at a high protein dry cat food.

A woman sits outside holding a cat in one arm and a bag of Wild Sea Catch cat food in another

Other things you might look for that can be found on the label are hairball control claims, if it’s a low carb dry cat food, whether the food is for indoor or outdoor cats, or if it’s for all life stages.

In the end, when it comes to what is the best and healthiest dry cat food there is no one-size-fits-all answer. The fact of the matter is that all cats, like humans, are different and require different nutritional needs. Making sure that you’re feeding something that works for your cat is the most important thing to consider when choosing a healthy dry cat food.

A cat wearing a pink bandana sits on a table next to a bag of Feline Vantage cat food and a teacup bowl

Choosing the Best Cat Kibble

If you’re wondering what is the best dry cat food for your cat, it’s important to consider your cat’s individual needs first. A grain-free diet might be working great for your best friend’s cat, but your own kitty might not like even the best grain-free dry cat food, so it’s important to take into consideration that your cat will have unique needs. With any high quality dry cat food, making sure that it has all of the essential nutrients your cat needs to thrive should be the top priority.

How Much Dry Food Should I Feed My Cat?

How much dry cat food per day you should feed your cat varies based on several factors including your cat’s age, weight, environment, activity level, and other health factors. On any cat food label you will be able to find a feeding chart that shows how much dry kibble to feed cats. The chart is usually based on your cat’s age and weight and will tell you how much to feed per day in cups. 

That being said, feeding charts are meant to be used as a starting point when determining how much to feed your cat because they don’t take into consideration the other factors like environment, activity level, and any other health issues your cat may have. For this reason, it’s always recommended to work with your vet to determine exactly how much kibble you should feed per day. 

Once you do determine how much to feed, it’s important to stick to a feeding schedule. Some people find that free feeding works better with cats than dogs, but finding a schedule and sticking to it will typically be better for your cat’s metabolism. If it’s easier, you can even buy a cat food dispenser to automatically dispense a portion of food at a set time. 

How Long Does Dry Cat Food Last?

How long dry cat food is good for varies by brand. With proper storage, our Earthborn Holistic cat food bags are typically good for 18 months after they’re produced. Once opened, though, pet food starts to go bad so it’s important to make sure you’re properly storing and disposing of food as needed:

A cat watches closely as a human pours cat kibble into a bowl

How long does unopened dry cat food last? As mentioned before, how long cat food is good varies by brand. How long your dry cat food lasts once opened can be determined based on the expiration date on the bag. 

How long does dry cat food last once opened?  Once opened, any food can begin to go stale and become less enjoyable for your pet. We recommend that you purchase the bag size your pet(s) will consume within about 4-6 weeks. Properly seal the food between feedings to reduce exposure. If your pet is unable to finish the bag in about 4-6 weeks, we suggest repackaging the food into smaller well-sealed bags or containers and freeze until it’s needed (just make sure to defrost it first!).

How long does dry cat food last in a bowl? While there’s no exact answer for how long your cat’s dry food can sit out in their bowl, our consumer affairs team likes to use crackers as an analogy. If you live in southern Florida and your house is typically pretty warm, crackers that have sat out open on your counter all day long in the heat probably wouldn’t taste the same as they would if you left them out for just a few hours. Think of your cat’s food in a similar way. Given your home’s environment, would crackers that have sat out the same amount of time taste different or stale after that long?

How Do I Get My Cat to Eat Dry Food?

A very common question for cat parents is, “how to get my cat to eat dry cat food?” If you have a pickier kitty that doesn’t seem to enjoy dry cat food recipes as much, there are a few things you can try to make their food a little more enticing. While soft food for cats tends to be more expensive than dry kibble if you’re feeding it as a whole meal, the price might be more manageable if you’re only buying a little at a time. Mixing wet and dry cat food is a great way to stimulate your cat’s appetite and is typically more financially feasible than feeding wet cat food as a whole meal. 

Dry Cat Food for Indoor Cats

A small cat reaches up to eat cat kibble out of a person's hand

The best cat food for indoor cats is one that takes into account their more sedentary lifestyle compared to that of outdoor cats. For that reason, when looking at cat food options for your indoor cat you’ll want to pay close attention to calories. Indoor cats typically have slower metabolism and burn fewer calories in a day than outdoor cats, so paying attention to calories and making sure you’re not overfeeding are important considerations. This is even more important if you’re looking for the best dry cat food for senior indoor cats, as senior cats will have an even slower metabolism. 

A kitten stands with its front paws on two cans of cat food and next to a bag of Earthborn Holistic cat food

Kittens, on the other hand, have a much higher metabolism (all of that energy has to go somewhere!), so they will typically require more calories than seniors to keep up with their quick growth. For this reason, the best dry cat food for young indoor cats has a higher calorie count. However, this doesn’t mean you should disregard feeding guidelines! Feeding your kitten too much is still very possible, so make sure you’re checking in with your vet regularly to make sure you’re feeding just enough food to give your kitten the energy it needs.

With any indoor cat food, you’ll want to look for an option with a high quality protein and something that’s high in fiber. If you’re looking for the best dry cat food for indoor cats with sensitive stomachs, we typically recommend a recipe with a high quality fish protein like Wild Sea Catch to make sure they’re getting plenty of Omegas to help with stomach upset. 

Best Dry Cat Food for Senior Cats

As mentioned earlier, the best senior cat food is typically a lower-calorie option food to compliment their slower metabolisms. For this reason, these recipes also tend to double as the best senior cat food for weight gain. In this case, we’d recommend our Primitive Feline recipe–it’s our lowest-calorie recipe and is made with lean turkey protein as the first ingredient.

A cat sits in a wicker basket with a bag of cat food

Best Dry Cat Food for Senior Cats with Bad Teeth

Typically for seniors, we like to recommend wet cat food. As cats age, they can develop dental problems that can make chewing crunchy kibbles difficult or uncomfortable. For this reason, wet cat food tends to be a good solution for seniors. However, wet cat food isn’t always as cost-effective as dry kibble. In cases where you’d still like to feed your senior kibble, you may look into soft dry cat food for seniors. While kibble is generally crunchy, there are ways to soften it to make eating it less difficult for your cat. These include using wet food as a mixer (we’d recommend our moist pouches in this instance since they have a bit more broth) or using a little bit of water to soften the kibbles. 

Best Dry Cat Food for Weight Loss

If you and your vet have determined your cat has packed on a few extra pounds, you might be wondering what is the best dry cat food for weight loss. In these cases, a diet cat food may be in order to help your feline friend lose a few pounds and get back to a healthy weight. While weight management cat food recipes do exist, the main thing you’ll want to look for in the best cat food for weight loss is low calories and low fat. Similar to weight management dog food, the best dry cat food for weight control will have considerably low calories and fat compared to other recipes from the same brand or product line. 

Wet vs Dry Cat Food: Which One Should I Choose?

Ultimately, whether you choose to feed wet or dry cat food is a personal choice as long as the recipe meets your cat’s individual nutrition needs. That being said, we know there are other factors that come into play when choosing your pet’s food, so here are some general dry vs wet cat food pros and cons to consider as well:

A cat sits surrounded by Earthborn Holistic cat food while she licks her lips

Dry Cat Food Pros

  • Typically more convenient 
  • Lasts longer
  • Typically less expensive

Dry Cat Food Cons

  • Can be hit or miss for picky eaters

Wet Cat Food Pros

  • Better for picky eaters
  • Typically bought in smaller quantities
  • Can be better for senior cats

Wet Cat Food Cons

  • Typically more expensive
  • Shorter shelf life

A cat jumping up onto an outdoor bench where a bowl of cat food is waiting

Aside from these general pros as cons, our Earthborn recipes have specific pros and cons. For example, all three of our dry recipes are all life stages cat food whereas five of our canned recipes are balanced diets for all life stages, meaning you can get a little more variety for your kitten if you choose to feed wet food. If you have a kitten, making sure the food you choose meets cat nutrition requirements for kittens is another thing to take into consideration above all else. 

In some cases, when to feed a cat wet vs dry food also varies. If your cat is closer to kitten or senior age, they might tolerate wet cat food better than dry food. Once they’re considered an adult though, it may be better to switch them to dry cat food until they’re a senior. 

Mixing Wet and Dry Cat Food

As mentioned earlier, if you’re still having a hard time choosing between wet and dry cat food, mixing the two may be a more cost effective option if you have a picky cat but still want the benefits of both types of food like the shelf life of dry cat food but the palatability of wet cat food. 

A cat eats out of a teacup bowl while two bags of Earthborn Holistic cat food and a wet cat food pouch sits next to him

In terms of the mixing wet and dry cat food ratio, how much of each to use depends heavily on the two recipes. If the wet food recipe is higher in calories, you’ll want to make sure you’re balancing that with the proper amount of dry food to avoid unhealthy weight gain. For that reason, you’ll want to work with your vet to determine the ratio for your cat’s food if you’re mixing wet and dry food. In the end, making an informed decision about what type of food to feed your cat is an important one, but it is possible to get a little bit of the best of both worlds.

Our Earthborn Holistic Dry Cat Food Recipes

A cat puts his paws up on a shelf in attempt to reach a bag of Primitive Feline dry cat food

Primitive Feline

Our Primitive Feline recipe is an all life stages cat food make with high quality turkey protein. Primitive feline is a grain-free recipe crafted for all life stages and features added vitamins and minerals as well as balanced Omega-6 and Omega-3 fatty acids help promote healthy skin and coat for your cat or kitten. Blended with a healthy mix of fruits and veggies, this recipe is sure to please.

A cat bites the corner of a bag of Wild Sea Catch dry cat food

Wild Sea Catch

Wild Sea Catch is one of our top dry cat foods and is great for pet parents who want to feed a fish-based recipe. With Salmon Meal and Pacific Whiting Meal as the first two ingredients, this grain-free dry cat food recipe is formulated for all life stages so even your kitten can get great nutrition. Along with high-quality proteins, Wild Sea Catch features a healthy mix of fruits and vegetables and added vitamins and minerals to keep your cat happy and healthy.

A cat looks up at the camera and meows while a bag of Feline Vantage cat food and an empty bowl sits in front of them

Feline Vantage

Our Feline Vantage recipe is a whole grain dry cat food recipe crafted with high-quality chicken meal as the first ingredient. A blend of nutrient-rich grains, fruits, and vegetables like blueberries, carrots, apples, and spinach are combined with balanced Omegas and added vitamins and minerals to support your cat or kitten’s overall health in this tasty kibble recipe. Balanced levels of calcium and phosphorus also help build strong bones and teeth for all life stages.

Love Your Planet
We produce delicious food for your pet while creating awareness about our environment.
Love Your Planet

Love Your Planet

We produce delicious food for your pet while creating awareness about our environment.

Love Your Planet

Our Story
We mix together years of knowledge and lots of love to craft tasty meals for your pet.
Our Story

Our Story

We mix together years of knowledge and lots of love to craft tasty meals for your pet.

Our Story

Our Ingredients
We offer a wholesome approach to nutrition with ingredients that nourish the whole pet.
Our Ingredients

Our Ingredients

We offer a wholesome approach to nutrition with ingredients that nourish the whole pet.

Our Ingredients