6 Best Low Ash Cat Foods


best low ash cat food

If you’ve ever spent any amount of time reading a pet food label, you’ve probably noticed that ash or crude ash shows up under the guaranteed analysis…

What the heck?

So why is there ash in cat food? Ash actually describes the amount of mineral nutrients in your cat’s food. These are things like phosphorous, calcium, zinc, magnesium, and iron which are essential for your cat’s health. So while there’s no cat food without ash, the amount does vary between brands.

Does that mean ash is okay or even a good thing?
Not exactly.

The Big Problem With Ash in Cat Food

So if ash is just a bunch of necessary minerals, what’s the problem?

The first issue is that these minerals and micronutrients should only make up a small part of your cat’s diet. For example, the National Animal Supplementation Council says that cats only need 0.6% of their diet to be calcium but it’s not hard to find popular cat food brands with as much as 7.07% total ash content. That turns those extra minerals from healthy additional to just filler.

But it gets worse.

As veterinary nutritionist Dr. Daniel Carey explains “In the 1970s, a correlation was made between urinary tract disease in male cats and too high an ash content in cat food. Later, it was determined that only magnesium–one particular mineral in that ash content–was responsible.”

The high magnesium content can form stones that eventually blocks the urethra. This is an extremely dangerous condition, which is more common in male cats, that can quickly become life-threatening.

Low Ash Foods For Urinary Health

Since the connection between magnesium (in the form of ash) and urinary issues isn’t up for debate, many cat owners opt for lower magnesium cat food for their male cats. Whether it’s a prescription from a veterinarian or a preemptive approach to urinary health many cat owners are looking for low ash options. You’ll also notice that many of the low ash options on the market are also branded as urinary health diets.

But low ash cat food isn’t just for urinary health. Ash content can also give you a general idea of the overall quality of the food and it’s fair to say that a cat food with high ash probably has more filler. It’s reasonable to take a proactive approach and limit ash and micronutrients like magnesium before your cat has a problem rather than reacting after the fact.

Wet Vs Dry Food

There’s also more ash found in dry food than wet food. Primarily because of the type of processing that dry food goes through which produces more ash. So if you’re looking to reduce overall ash content start by focusing on wet food.

Still, some cats might not like wet food and I know that my cat Debbie won’t eat any kind of wet food. She won’t even touch high-quality freeze-dried food if it’s had water added! Wet food might not make sense for your household either or your preferred feeding style. That’s why I’ve also included a few dry food options so you’re still covered.

Just remember, that dry food will have more ash than wet food so unless there’s a reason why wet food won’t work for you it’s probably best to focus on canned food to keep ash content down.

What Is Considered Low Ash or Low Magnesium?

Before we dive into the actual foods we need to establish a definition of what low ash actually means. Based on my research, I wasn’t able to come up with a standard industry definition and after speaking with a few veterinarians about low ash foods it doesn’t sound like there is a standard at all. The big reason for that is because when it comes to managing urinary issues with diet, it isn’t ash that’s being tracked as much as the micronutrients that make it up with the most notable one being magnesium.

But for this article, we’ll be considering an ash content of 2.6% as low. Remember, some ash is needed in order to provide critical micronutrients so we wouldn’t want to go down to zero ash unless these nutrients were being provided in some other form.

When it comes to magnesium, we’ll go based on the guidelines provided by veterinarian Dr. Debra Primovic who explains “the best low magnesium cat food is one that has less than 0.12% magnesium on a dry matter basis.”

How Can I Tell How Much Ash Is In The Food?

It’s not easy to figure out how much ash is actually in the food. While many brands will include the ash content right on the label many don’t. Unfortunately, it’s not something that’s easy to calculate either.

I’ve done as much research as possible to figure out just how much ash is in each food including contacting the individual food company in some cases. But I’ve also decided to play it safe in many instances and left out quality brands that likely have low but I just wasn’t able to confirm the actual amount.

That means every food on this list has the amount of ash listed and if I couldn’t find the ash content or I just wasn’t sure then it didn’t make it on this list.

Do I Need A Prescription?

In some cases, your veterinarian may recommend a prescription diet like Hills C/D Urinary Diet or Royal Canin SO. While you can still order these foods at online retailers like Amazon, it will require veterinarian approval- which is very simple and straightforward. I’ll be reviewing these along with other foods that serve as an alternative but you should also work with your veterinarian to find the right food for your cat. Especially if your cat has a history of urinary blockages or other urinary issues.

Best Low Ash Cat Food

We’re going to cover 6 foods in total but if you want to get straight to the point and pick up some low ash food you can see our favorites here:

  1. Best Overall: Tiki Cat Puka Puka Luau
  2. Budget Alternative: Weruva Mideast Feast
  3. Best Prescription: Royal Canin Urinary SO
  4. Best on a Budget: Taste of the Wild Rocky Mountain Recipe
  5. Best Low Ash Dry Food: Dr. Elsey’s Clean Protein
  6. Best for Sensitive Stomachs: Hound and Gatos

Best Overall: Tiki Cat Puka Puka Luau

Sale
Tiki Cat Luau Grain-Free, Low-Carbohydrate Wet Food with Poultry or Fish in Consomme for Adult Cats...
2,261 Reviews
Tiki Cat Luau Grain-Free, Low-Carbohydrate Wet Food with Poultry or Fish in Consomme for Adult Cats...
  • GRAIN FREE NUTRITION – Cats are carnivores, so give your cat the meat and seafood she craves with each...
  • HIGH MOISTURE CANNED FOOD – Count on the high moisture content of each can of Luau to give your cat the...

Pros:

  • Completely free of all thickening agents including xanthan gum, guar gum, and of course carrageenan
  • Simple recipe with ingredients you can immediately recognize just by looking at the food

Cons:

  • Features sunflower seed oil as the third ingredient instead of more species-appropriate animal fats
  • Some cats may prefer traditional pâté style foods

Nutritional Snapshot:

  • 1.6% Max Ash Content

Tiki Cat is one of my favorite wet food brands on the market and something I frequently recommend. They’re able to find a great balance of price and quality ingredients while staying true to your carnivorous cat’s natural way of eating. The best part of their line is the Puka Puka Luau cat food which looks more like a can of shredded chicken for human consumption than the traditional brown lump of cat food you might expect.

When it comes to ash, this cat food is well within our definition of low ash with a max content of 1.6%. This cat food is also one of the few that doesn’t feature any of the traditional thickening agents like guar gum or xanthan gum which is an extra bonus for the cat owner that’s looking to avoid fillers or preservatives as much as possible.

Tiki Cat offers a great balance of quality ingredients, minimum fillers, and low ash at a price point that’s very competitive. However, the Puka Puka Lua line is by far their best product so I highly recommend you specifically go with it over the other flavors which don’t all have the same high nutritional standards. You can read my complete review of Tiki Cat (including all the flavors) here which covers this in detail.

As always, let’s take a deeper look at the first 5 ingredients to better understand the food.

1. Chicken

One look at what’s inside the can will make it very clear that chicken is the first and main ingredient. As I said, it looks more like a can of shredded chicken for human consumption than it does a can of cat food! Check out a picture here on Amazon.

2. Chicken Broth

Broth is a typical ingredient in any wet food and it’s to be expected here. If you’re looking for low ash for urinary issues, the extra broth is never a bad thing as hydration is an important part of urinary health.

3. Sunflower Seed Oil

Sunflower seed oil is a good source of fats for your cats but it’s not going to compare to something like fish oil. Still, the inclusion of this over animal-based sources of fat does help keep the price down even though I’d rather see a more carnivore-friendly fat source.

4. Tricalcium Phosphate

Tricalcium phosphate is an anti-caking agent that also helps balance the overall pH of your cat’s food. A balanced pH profile is another important component to overall urinary health but this ingredient also allows Tiki Cat to avoid more common agents like guar gum and xantham gum.

5. Taurine

Taurine is an amino acid and an absolute requirement for your cat.

Complete Ingredients and Guaranteed Analysis

Here’s the complete list of ingredients in the Puka Puka Luau recipe:

Chicken, Chicken Broth, Sunflower Seed Oil, Tricalcium Phosphate, Taurine, Choline Chloride, Potassium Chloride, Sodium Chloride, Magnesium Sulfate, Zinc Amino Acid Chelate, Iron Amino Acid Chelate, Vitamin E Supplement, Ascorbic Acid, Thiamine Mononitrate (Vitamin B1), Niacin (Vitamin B3), Manganese Amino Acid Chelate, Vitamin A Supplement, Copper Amino Acid Chelate, Calcium Iodate, Calcium Pantothenate, Sodium Selenite, Riboflavin Supplement (Vitamin B2), Vitamin B12 Supplement, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride (Vitamin B6), Folic Acid, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Biotin, Vitamin K3 Supplement.

Here’s the guaranteed analysis.

  • 16% Protein
  • 2.6% Fat
  • 0% Fiber
  • 80% Moisture

Tiki Cat Puka Puka Luau Summary

Overall, Tiki Cat’s Puka Puka Luau is great cat food with a silly name. It features low overall ash content, minimal carbohydrates and an excellent list of ingredients. However, make sure you stick with the Puka Puka line as Tiki Cat products can have a surprising amount of variation between them.

You can click here to check out the latest price and read the Amazon reviews.

 

Budget Alternative: Weruva Mideast Feast

Weruva Classic Cat Food, Mideast Feast With Grilled Tilapia & Whole Meat Tuna In Gravy, 5.5Oz Can...
1,418 Reviews
Weruva Classic Cat Food, Mideast Feast With Grilled Tilapia & Whole Meat Tuna In Gravy, 5.5Oz Can...
  • Mideast Feast (5.5oz cans, pack of 24) Featuring chunks of hand-flaked off the bone Tilapia, in gravy....
  • Weruva Classic Cat Food - The original lineup of our timeless, natural recipes inspired by the rescue...

Pros:

  • High-moisture content which is positive for cats with urinary issues
  • Multiple animal proteins within the first 5 ingredients

Cons:

  • Includes a carbohydrate in the form of potato starch within the first 5 ingredients
  • Some cats may not like how liquidy the food is

Nutritional Snapshot:

  • 1.5% Max Ash Content

Weruva Mideast Feast is another great low-ash option for cats. It’s a bit more budget-friendly than our number one pick but it also has a slightly lower ingredient with the inclusion of a few Potato Starch within the first 5 ingredients. Still, with 1.5% ash content, high-moisture of 84%, and a focus on quality protein sources Weruva is an excellent option.

Like Tiki Cat, most Weruva products feature ingredients that you can actually see and recognize instead of a brownish pâté. While this doesn’t inherently make the food better, it can help you rest a little easier since you at least have some idea of what you’re feeding your cat.

However, it’s the runner-up for reason. So let’s take a look at the first 5 ingredients to learn more about what’s inside this diet.

1. Tuna

Tuna is an excellent first ingredient and exactly what we’d expect. We always want to see an animal-based protein as the first ingredient and tuna is certainly that. It’s also an excellent source of quality fats and taste that cats generally love.

2. Water Sufficient For Processing

While most wet foods include an animal-based broth, Weruva keeps costs down by using water. It’s interesting to note that it’s described as “sufficient for processing” but also appears as the second ingredient which means there’s a good amount of water in this food. That’s further supported by the high 84% moisture count. But if you’re looking for low ash food for urinary issues that’s not necessarily a bad thing as increased hydration can help overall urinary health.

3. Tilapia

I always like seeing multiple high-quality protein sources in the top 5 ingredients so it’s good to see tilapia as the third listed ingredient. It’s a readily-available fish that’s another source of quality fatty acids for your cat.

4. Potato Starch

As the grain-free cat food craze continues we continue to see more non-grain carbohydrates popping up. Potato starch is one of the more common ones and it’s still a carbohydrate which is not something we want to see in the top 5 ingredients. Still, this does help keep the overall cost of the food down and that’s why Weruva is the budget-friendly alternative to our number one pick.

5. Sunflower Seed Oil

Sunflower seed oil is an acceptable alternative to other fatty acid sources. As always, animal-based fat sources that cater to your carnivore kitty are preferred.

Complete Ingredients and Guaranteed Analysis

Here’s the complete list of ingredients in the Mideast Feast recipe:

Tuna, Water Sufficient For Processing, Tilapia, Potato Starch, Sunflower Seed Oil, Calcium Lactate, Xanthan Gum, Tricalcium Phosphate, Choline Chloride, Taurine, Vitamin E Supplement, Zinc Sulfate, Thiamine Mononitrate (Vitamin B1), Nicotinic Acid (Vitamin B3), Calcium Pantothenate, Vitamin A Supplement, Manganese Sulfate, Riboflavin Supplement (Vitamin B2), Pyridoxine Hydrochloride (Vitamin B6), Copper Sulfate, Ferrous Sulfate, Folic Acid, Potassium Iodide, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Menadione Sodium Bisulfite Complex (Source of Vitamin K), Biotin, Vitamin B12 Supplement.

  • 12% Protein
  • 1.4% Fat
  • 0% Fiber
  • 84% Moisture

Weruva Mideast Feast Summary

Weruva is an often underlooked cat food brand that brings a lot of good things to the table. When it comes to low ash, the Mideast keeps ash content low at 1.5% while keeping price manageable. However, part of the reason they’re able to pull this is off is by adding less than ideal ingredients into the top five in the form of potato starch. It’s a pretty mild compromise overall and this high-moisture food is still a good budget-friendly option.

You can find the latest price and check out reviews from other cat lovers on Amazon by clicking here.

 

Best Prescription Diet: Royal Canin Feline Urinary SO

royal canin low ash prescription diet

Buy On Chewy

Pros:

  • Specifically designed to help with urinary issues which is perfect if you’re going low ash to manage urinary issues
  • Overall positive reviews
  • Most cats seem to like the taste

Cons:

  • Not budget-friendly
  • Requires a veterinarian prescription to purchase

Nutritional Snapshot:

  • 2.6% Max Ash Content

Royal Canin SO is my pick for the best low ash food that requires a prescription and surprisingly it’s one of the few prescription urinary diets that’s actually low ash. That’s because a urinary diet does more than just manage ash and priority for preventing urinary concerns comes down to magnesium and pH. Hills Science Diet C/D is one of the top competitors in terms of urinary prescription diets and according to Chewy it has an ash content of 5.7%. That doesn’t mean it can’t be effective for urinary issues (and it has a long history of success) but it does mean that we can’t consider low ash based on our standards.

Royal Canin on the other hand comes in at only 2.6% ash content which is at the high end for our definition. The ingredients of Royal Canin aren’t that impressive but neither are any of the other prescription urinary diets and I believe Royal Canin is still the best of the bunch. Especially compared to Hills Science Diet C/D which has corn gluten, rice, and corn starch all within the first eight ingredients.

But when you get a prescription diet, you’re paying more for the specific formulation than you are quality ingredients. A proper urinary diet provides appropriate magnesium levels, a healthy pH balance, and can help dissolve struvite stones which are a common cause of urinary blockages So while you’re looking at more than the pure list of ingredients, you still can’t ignore what’s inside!

Finally, as is the case with most prescription diets, Royal Canin isn’t the most budget-friendly option. I’ve found that when it comes to prescription diets, Chewy generally has better stock and availability and you can see the latest price on Chewy by clicking here.

Let’s look even closer at Royal Canin SO by reviewing the first 6 ingredients.

1. Water Sufficient For Processing

Water as the first ingredient isn’t great but considering how important hydration is for urinary healthy it’s a little more acceptable. Still, it seems strange to me when companies list “Water Sufficient for Processing” as a top ingredient while other companies seem to be producing their food with much less water! I’d prefer to see a quality animal-based protein as the number one ingredient.

2. Pork By-Products

Our second ingredient is unfortunately a by-product.

But what exactly is a by-product?

The Association of American Feed Control Officials defines meat by-products as including, but limited to, “lungs, spleen, kidneys, brain, livers, blood, bone, partially de-fatted low-temperature fatty tissue, and stomachs and intestines freed of their contents.” So while it’s not great it shouldn’t include any hair, teeth or hoofs. Overall, by-products aren’t the end of the world but we’d much prefer to see them way down the list of ingredients and not within the first 5.

3. Pork Liver

Live might be considered a by-product according to some but it can be a valuable and nutritious ingredient in many diets. It’s a great source of vitamin A and certainly matches up with our carnivorous cat’s natural diet. Veterinarian Jennifer Coates, when writing about the value of organ meat for cats, explains that  “When you think about it, organ meats, including the kidneys, liver, heart, etc., are a normal part of the feline diet. When cats kill mice or other prey items, they eat most, if not all, of the body, including the internal organs.”

Overall, it’s an acceptable ingredient but even better when it’s supported by other high-quality ingredients.

4. Chicken By-Products

Another by-product but this time from chicken sources.

5. Chicken Liver

Once again, we see liver. While liver can be good in moderation and it’s not ideal to see it as such a major part of this diet’s ingredients.

6. Chicken

We don’t see a quality meat ingredient until ingredient 6. While I’d prefer to see this as the first ingredient it’s still good to see it at all.

Complete Ingredients and Guaranteed Analysis

Here’s the complete list of ingredients in the Royal Canin SO recipe:

Water Sufficient For Processing, Pork By-Products, Pork Liver, Chicken By-Products, Chicken Liver, Chicken, Pork Plasma, Powdered Cellulose, Wheat Flour, Natural Flavors, Wheat Gluten, Calcium Sulfate, Salt, Fish Oil, Carob Bean Gum, Carrageenan, Potassium Chloride, Sodium Tripolyphosphate, Xanthan Gum, Taurine, Sodium Bisulfate, Dl-Methionine, Vitamins [Dl-Alpha Tocopherol Acetate (Source Of Vitamin E), Thiamine Mononitrate (Vitamin B1), Biotin, Niacin Supplement, D-Calcium Pantothenate, Folic Acid, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride (Vitamin B6), Riboflavin Supplement, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Vitamin D3 Supplement], Marigold Extract (Tagetes Erecta L.), Trace Minerals [Zinc Oxide, Zinc Proteinate, Ferrous Sulfate, Calcium Iodate, Copper Sulfate, Manganous Oxide, Sodium Selenite].

  • 10.5% Protein
  • 2.5% Fat
  • 2% Fiber
  • 81% Moisture

Royal Canin SO  Summary

Royal Canin SO is my pick for the best of the low ash prescription diets but it’s not a food I’d recommend unless it was recommended by a veterinarian to manage urinary problems. While it does a good job at what’s it’s designed to do, which is prevent crystal build-up, the list of ingredients is surprisingly low quality considering the typical price. Still, if you’ve got a cat with urinary issues and you want to stick with low ash options, Royal Canin SO is probably your best bet.

As I’ve mentioned before, Chewy is generally a better option for prescription diets and you can see the latest price by clicking here.

 

Best On A Budget: Taste of the Wild Rocky Mountain Wet Food

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Taste of the Wild Rocky Mountain Grain-Free Recipe with Salmon and Roasted Venison in Gravy Wet...
725 Reviews
Taste of the Wild Rocky Mountain Grain-Free Recipe with Salmon and Roasted Venison in Gravy Wet...
  • A Taste Of The Wild With Roasted Venison; Real Salmon Is #1 Ingredient In A Stew; Optimal Amino Acid...
  • Premium Ingredients With Added Vitamins & Minerals; Fruits And Vegetables As Superfoods For Hard-Working...

Pros:

  • Budget-friendly
  • All 6 of the first ingredients are animal-based protein sources
  • Popular among cats (at least according to reviews)

Cons:

  • Contains pea flour and potato starch but they are further down the ingredient list.

Nutritional Snapshot:

  • 1.8% Max Ash Content

Taste of the Wild is one of my favorite cat food brands because it does a great job staying budget-friendly without making too many compromises in terms of ingredients. While it is a step down from a truly premium brand, there’s nothing wrong with Taste of the Wild, and with 1.8% ash content in the Rocky Mountain flavor it makes a great low-ash budget option.

It’s grain-free but does contain some peas and potato starch. Still, the high protein content of 44% (with moisture removed) earned it a spot on my list of the best foods to reduce shedding. Taste of the Wild is able to keep the price down by including two types of broth within the first five ingredients and while this isn’t always desirable if you’re looking at low ash cat food for urinary support then higher moisture content isn’t a bad thing at all.

The only downside is that Taste of the Wild does contain pea flour and potato starch. These are at least a bit further down the list of ingredients as ingredients 7 and 8 but they’re still carbohydrate sources that cats just don’t need.

If you want to learn more about the entire Taste of the Wild brand in my full review here. But first, let’s take a look at the first 6 ingredients so we can really get an idea of what’s inside Taste of the Wild Rocky Mountain and why I think it’s a good low ash budget option.

1. Salmon

Taste of the Wild does a great job focusing on animal-based proteins and the first ingredient on every one of their foods is animal protein. That’s important for your carnivorous kitty and not only salmon a great source of protein but it’s also a great source of fatty acids.

2. Fish Broth

It’s common to see broth as the second ingredient in most wet foods and I always like to see an animal-based broth rather than plain water or anything vegetable related. While animal-based broths aren’t going to add much to the overall nutritional profile of the food it can improve the general taste which is obviously an important part of the food! After all, what good is quality cat food if your cat won’t eat it!

3. Chicken Broth

Normally, I’d be a bit more critical of two broths but this part of the reason that Taste of the Wild is able to stay a budget-friendly option. If you’re looking for a low ash option because of urinary concerns then higher moisture content isn’t going to be a problem either.

4. Chicken Liver

We talked a lot about organ meat in the Royal Canin section and overall something like chicken liver can be a great addition to cat food as long as it’s a supporting ingredient and not a primary one. It’s a good source of vitamin A for cats and it’s a great addition to this recipe.

5. Chicken

Quality proteins are always great but most foods don’t add them this far down the list of ingredients so I’m happy to see chicken within the top five ingredients! The AAFCO defines poultry as the “clean combination of flesh and skin with or without accompanying bone.” They go on to say that “it is the parts of the bird as you would find if you purchased a whole chicken or turkey at the grocery store. Frankly, it often consists of the less profitable parts of the bird, such as backs and necks. Another solid ingredient!

6. Dried Egg Whites

Eggs are one of the more biologically available protein and are even considered a feline superfood by some. It’s another great ingredient and I’m happy to see that even six ingredients into the list we still have animal-based sources of protein.

Complete Ingredients and Guaranteed Analysis

Here’s the complete list of ingredients for the Rocky Mountain recipe:

Salmon, Fish Broth, Chicken Broth, Chicken Liver, Chicken, Dried Egg Whites, Potato Starch, Pea Flour, Smoked Salmon, Roasted Venison, Peas, Ocean Fish, Guar Gum, Natural Flavor, Sunflower Oil, Sodium Phosphate, Salt, Potassium Chloride, Inulin, Tomatoes, Blueberries, Raspberries, Taurine, Dl-Methionine, Choline Chloride, Iron Amino Acid Chelate, Zinc Amino Acid Chelate, Thiamine Mononitrate, Yucca Schidigera Extract, Vitamin E Supplement, Copper Amino Acid Chelate, Manganese Amino Acid Chelate, Sodium Selenite, Niacin Supplement, D-Calcium Pantothenate, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Riboflavin Supplement, Vitamin A Supplement, Biotin, Potassium Iodide, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Folic Acid.

Here’s the guaranteed analysis with moisture removed:

  • 44.4% Protein
  • 16.6% Fat
  • 8.3% Fiber

Taste of the Wild Rocky Mountain Recipe

Whatever lens you use, there’s a lot to like about Taste of the Wild Rocky Mountain recipe. With a budget-friendly price, protein-rich ingredients, and a very low ash content of 1.8% it makes a great low ash budget option but also a great overall cat food.

You can see the latest price and pick up via Prime on Amazon by clicking here.

 

Best Low Ash Dry Food: Dr. Elsey’s Clean Protein

Dr. Elsey's Cleanprotein Grain Free High Protein, Low Carb Dry Cat Food, Chicken
1,725 Reviews
Dr. Elsey's Cleanprotein Grain Free High Protein, Low Carb Dry Cat Food, Chicken
  • 90+% Of Protein Is Animal Based
  • High Protein Optimizes Body Condition For All Cats

Pros:

  • Perfect recall history
  • Super-hight protein
  • Relatively low ash for dry food

Cons:

  • Not budget-friendly

Nutritional Snapshot:

  • 6.52% Max Ash Content
  • 0.07% Magnesium

Dr. Elsey’s Clean Protein is an excellent dry cat food by any standard. Originally a litter company, Dr. Elsey has a decades-long history of helping our feline friends and eventually transitioned his way into the cat food industry where they produce species-appropriate canned wet and dry kibble. The Dr. Elsey brand has helped hundreds of shelters by providing free litter kits that are designed to help cat parents deal with inappropriate urination. While that doesn’t change anything about their food, it’s clear Dr. Elsey and his brand are the real deal when it comes to loving and caring for cats!

They applied the same back-to-nature approach that helped them succeed in the litter space to their cat food which features some of the highest protein content you can find in a dry kibble. But high-protein content alone isn’t enough as you can always push this number up using plant-based proteins, most commonly from peas. But 95% of the protein in the dry kibble recipe for chicken and 93% for the salmon flavor all comes from animal sources which means there’s not only a lot of protein but it’s also high-quality.

But what about ash content?

As I mentioned already, there’s always going to be more ash in dry kibble as compared to wet food but with an ash content of 6.52% Dr. Elsey’s Clean Protein has some of the lowest ash content available in dry food.

When you combine a low ash content with everything else that this food has going for it, it’s a clear winner when it comes to the best dry food with low ash. Just remember, that if you’re looking at low ash for urinary issues you’ll need to look for more than just a low ash content and magnesium becomes a big factor. To see how Dr. Elsey stacks up there, we can compare them to the Hills Dry Kibble C/D Urinary Diet which has a range of 0.04% to 0.09% magnesium. Dr. Elsey’s chicken flavor on the other hand contains 0.07% magnesium which is in the middle of the possible range! Still, that shouldn’t be considered medical advice, and be sure to consult your veterinarian if you’re cat has active urinary issues.

Let’s learn more about Dr. Elsey’s Clean Protein chicken flavor by looking at the top five ingredients!

1. Chicken

We’d expect nothing less from a diet that calls itself “Clean Protein”! Chicken is an excellent first ingredient and a great source of biologically available and high-quality protein for your cat.

2. Dried Egg Product

Eggs are a highly biologically available ingredient and another good source of animal protein for your cat. It’s always good to see two quality protein sources as the first two ingredients on the list.

3. Pork Protein Isolate

Protein isolate, of any kind, is a pure form of protein and according to the folks at Chewy is “less likely to cause food sensitivity reactions.” Essentially, protein isolates greatly increase the overall protein content of the recipe by focusing on adding protein without much else.  This is another animal-based ingredient and adds to our list of quality protein sources in this formula.

4. Gelatin

While most dry cat foods used vegetables, starches, and grains (which are clearly not species-appropriate for your carnivore) Dr. Elsey’s recipe instead uses gelatine. While gelatin can have a variety of sources it’s typically animal-based and comes from the collagen of animals (usually cows and pigs). While it does provide a minor source of protein, it’s more important for what it lets the recipe avoid which is unneeded vegetables and fruits.

5. Chicken Fat

This a great animal-based fat source and it also means that all five of the first ingredients in this recipe are animal-based as long as you include gelatin.

Complete Ingredients and Guaranteed Analysis

Here’s the complete list of ingredients in the chicken recipe:

Chicken, Dried Egg Product, Pork Protein Isolate, Gelatin, Chicken Fat (Preserved With Mixed Tocopherols), Flaxseed, Natural Flavor, Salmon Oil, Potassium Citrate, Calcium Carbonate, Fructooligosaccharide, Calcium Carbonate, Choline Chloride, Vitamins (Vitamin E Supplement, Niacin Supplement, D-Calcium Pantothenate, Vitamin A Acetate, Thiamine Mononitrate, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Riboflavin Supplement, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Biotin, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Folic Acid), Minerals (Ferrous Sulfate, Zinc Oxide, Calcium Carbonate, Manganous Oxide, Copper Sulfate, Iron Amino Acid Chelate, Manganese Amino Acid Chelate, Zinc Amino Acid Chelate, Copper Amino Acid Chelate, Sodium Selenite, Cobalt Carbonate, Ethylenediamine Dihydroiodide), Potassium Chloride, Mixed Tocopherols (Preservative), Taurine, Salt, Rosemary Extract.

Here’s the guaranteed analysis:

  • 59% Protein
  • 18% Fat
  • 4% Fiber
  • 12% Moisture

Dr. Elsey’s Clean Protein Formula Dry Food Summary

I’m a big fan of Dr. Elsey’s Clean Protein Formula has made its way to number one on many of my best-of lists including the best cat food to manage shedding or the best cat foods without fillers.  But it’s also the clear winner when it comes to the best dry kibble with low ash.

With low carbohydrates, high protein, and low magnesium this chicken formula really does it all!

You can see the latest price and read more reviews on Amazon by clicking here.

 

Best for Sensitive Stomachs: Hound and Gato

Hound & Gatos Wet Cat Food, 98% Lamb & Liver, case of 24, 5.5 oz cans
74 Reviews
Hound & Gatos Wet Cat Food, 98% Lamb & Liver, case of 24, 5.5 oz cans
  • Irresistible 98% Lamb & Liver wet food for cats
  • Made in the USA with the world's best ingredients

Pros:

  • Perfect recall history with no issues
  • Carnivore friendly with a focus on animal proteins
  • Unique ingredients for cats that need novel proteins

Cons:

  • Premium low ash cat food comes with premium pricing
  • Non-animal based additives show up high on the list of ingredients

Nutritional Snapshot:

  • 2.5% Max Ash Content

When you have a cat that has multiple nutritional requirements, it can be very difficult to find the right kind of food. Heck, even without special needs it’s hard to find the right cat food for your furry friend!

But if your cat could benefit from a novel protein source, as some cats with sensitive stomachs do, but you also need low ash content then Hound and Gato might be a great fit.

We’ve already talked extensively about how important a carnivorous diet is for your cat and the founder of Hound and Gato, Will Post, is right there with us! According to a press release, Post explains that after extensive research he concluded that “I believe cats and dogs were created to eat 100 percent meat – just like in the wild.”

There are only a handful of pet food companies that are willing to make this claim and most of them are on this list.

What separates Hound and Gato from other foods on this list are the unique proteins that they offer. This can be great if your cat has a sensitivity to chicken or some other protein.

Most Hound and Gato recipes have 2.5% ash content which puts them within our definition of low ash cat food. Let’s take a look at the lamb and liver recipe which has a 2.5% ash content. We’ll take a look at the first five ingredients and you can also research further on Amazon by clicking here.

1. Lamb

As expected, the first ingredient in the lamb recipe is lamb. Lamb would most certainly be considered a novel protein and is a far cry from the typical poultry that your cat has likely been exposed to.

2. Lamb Broth

Just about every wet food has some kind of broth in it and this Hound and Gato recipe is no exception. I like seeing that the broth used matches up with the main protein ingredient.

3. Lamb Liver

We’ve talked about the benefits of organ meat in cat food already and we know that liver can be a great source of nutrients like vitamin A. But what I love here is that the liver is from the same source as the main protein. So while this diet isn’t marketed as a limited ingredient diet, it still fits the description by including only one type of protein.

4. Agar-Agar

Agar-agar is used as a gelling agent that helps keep food in a consistent shape. It’s not uncommon to see, especially in wet food, but sometimes agar-agar is mistakenly associated with an ingredient called carrageenan- which is one you want to avoid altogether. But according to PetFoodIndustry.com, “agar-agar may be a good replacement for gelling in canned pet foods.”

5. Calcium Carbonate

Calcium carbonate is a common food additive though it’s usually found a little further down the list of ingredients. It’s primarily used as an affordable source of calcium supplementation but it can also act as a preservative and help keep food fresh.

Complete Ingredients and Guaranteed Analysis

Here’s the complete list of ingredients in the lamp and liver recipe:

Lamb, Lamb Broth, Lamb Liver, Agar-Agar, Calcium Carbonate, Potassium Chloride, Choline Chloride, Tricalcium Phosphate, Salmon Oil, Taurine, Salt, Iron Proteinate, Zinc Proteinate, Manganese Proteinate, Copper Proteinate, Magnesium Proteinate, Sodium Selenite, Calcium Iodate, Thiamine Mononitrate, Niacin Supplement, Vitamin E Supplement, Calcium Pantothenate, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Riboflavin Supplement, Biotin, Vitamin A Supplement, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Folic Acid.

Hound and Gato Lamb and Liver Wet Food Summary

Hound and Gato is a great option for folks that want to keep the overall ash content low while still incorporating novel proteins like rabbit, duck, trout, and of course lamb into their cat’s diet.

The brand has a great perspective and everything I’ve seen from the owner and found shows a real passion for quality cat food. You can check out the latest price and read more reviews on Amazon by clicking here.

Closing Thoughts

Finding the right cat food is a complicated process that requires quite a bit of due diligence- especially if you’re looking for cat food with specific requirements.

I hope you learned more about ash in cat food and have a few good options to choose from!

Let me know what you think!

Logan M.

Logan has always loved everything about cats! Growing up with a family full of pets and a lifelong passion for animals he pursued work in the veterinary industry. After 10 years, he started BetterWithCats.net to help cat owners learn more about their feline friends.

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