Best Cat Food Without Carrageenan


best cat food without Carrageenan

Carrageenan is a food additive used to stabilize and thicken canned cat food. It also finds it’s way into a long list of human foods like chocolate milk, ice cream, and most alternative dairy products.  Carrageenan is the extract of red seaweed called Irish Moss and has been used in cooking for hundreds of years but has recently been studied as a possible cause for a long list of gastrointestinal problems and even cancer. But, as is often the case in the confusing world of nutrition, there’s also been studies showing that these findings (and the studies behind them) are flawed.

Regardless of the possible complications, carrageenan has been found to be non-digestible and without any real nutritional value, it’s only purpose is to thicken, fill, and improve the texture of wet food. Said another way, there’s no one arguing for the health benefits of carrageenan only the possible negatives. So it might make the most sense to simply avoid it when possible.

But here’s the good news: while carrageenan is a prevalent food additive, you still have plenty of options to avoid feeding it to your cat. This especially true as more and more pet food companies are reacting to consumer demand.

We’ve put together the 7 best wet cat foods without carrageenan along with plenty of information to help you make the best decision for you and your feline friend.

Is Carrageenan Only In Canned Cat Food?

Carrageen is typically only found wet or canned cat food since it’s used to thicken, emulsify and give wet food it’s texture. For that reason, we’ll be focusing on (mostly) wet foods without carrageenan for our list.

Best Carrageenan Free Cat Food

We’re going to cover 7 of our favorite carrageenan-free foods but if you want to get straight to the point and pick up some carrageenan free food these are our favorites:

  1. Best Overall: Dr. Elsey Clean Protein
  2. Runner Up: Merrick Backcountry
  3. Best Without Carrageenan or Guar Gum: Tiki Cat Puka Puka Luau Succulent Chicken
  4. Alternative Option: Stella & Chewy
  5. Premium Option: NomNomNow
  6. Premium Alternative: Feline Natural Beef & Hoki Feast
  7. Best On A Budget: American Journey Landmark 
  8. Budget Alternative: Taste of the Wild 

What Is Carrageenan In Cat Food?

Carrageenan is a food additive that helps thicken and stabilize cat food. While it’s also used in many human foods, it’s commonly found in wet or canned cat foods. What makes things more difficult, is that it can very hard to actually identify carrageenan in your cat’s food since it goes by so many names. The most common forms you’ll see in your cat’s food are Chondrus extract, Chondrus crispus, and Red Marine Algae. I’ve put together a full list of possible carrageenan names at the bottom of this page.

Two Types of Carrageenan

As if the entire controversy surrounding carrageenan wasn’t confusing enough, there’s another important distinction to be made between degraded and undegraded carrageenan. In the world of chemistry, degraded means to “simplify or breakdown a molecule into smaller parts.” This degraded version of carrageenan is a well-known carcinogen and that’s not up for debate at all.

While undegraded carrageenan is approved for use in food and while there is still debate, is overall considered to be safe. The problem is, according to Cornucopia that when food grade carrageen was tested for the presence of degraded carrageen some sources showed as much as 25% degraded carrageenan. Remember, degraded carrageenan is a confirmed carcinogen and there’s really no one debating that.

Can Carrageenan Be Avoided In Cat Food?

With this much ambiguity around carrageenan, it’s probably best to simply avoid it altogether. Especially when you consider the findings of Cornucopia that suggest degraded carrageenan is making its way into food-grade supplies.

But here’s the good news. While carrageenan is a prevalent additive, you have plenty of options to avoid it. I’ve put together X of our best options for steering clear of carrageenan.

8 Best Canned Cat Foods Without Carrageenan

We’ve put together 7 of your best options for carrageenan-free cat food including several options that don’t feature any thickening agents at all in case. As always, we’re looking for food that is species-appropriate, which means as many animal-based protein sources as possible with no animal by-products, grains, soy, or corn.

Let’s get started with our best overall pick.

Best Overall: Dr. Elsey Clean Protein

Pros:

  • Only 4% carbohydrate content with no fruits, vegetables, or carbohydrates
  • Exceptionally high protein content with 90% of all sources coming from animals
  • A perfect recall history with ZERO recalls

Cons:

  • It’s more expensive than some budget cat foods but you really do get what you pay for

Dr. Elsey’s Clean Protein has built a reputation online as one of the best filler-free cat foods. With an impressive 4% carbohydrate content and no fruits, vegetables, grains, or by-products it’s one of the most high-quality and species-appropriate wet foods on the market.

So how does it avoid carrageenan?

Dr. Elsey’s uses agar-agar (ingredient number 7) as a thickening agent and gelling agent. According to PetFoodIndustry.com, agar-agar makes a great alternative to the more popular carrageenan or guar gum emulsifiers. So while Dr. Elsey isn’t avoiding thickening agents altogether, as some foods on our list, they’re using one that has a solid reputation for being safe. Speaking of safety, Dr. Elsey’s brand of cat food hasn’t been recalled since the company started in 2017.

Overall, Dr. Elsey’s Cleand Protein wet food isn’t just a great cat food without carrageenan, it’s a solid choice for cats by any metric. If you’re interested in ordering some, click here for the latest price on Amazon. 

Let’s take a closer look at the first 5 ingredients and see why I like this cat food so much.

1. Chicken

Your cat is a carnivore and we always want to see a high-quality named protein as the number one ingredient on the list.

2. Chicken Broth

Broth is a typical ingredient in any wet food and it’s always a plus when the broth matches the same animal source as the main protein.

3. Chicken Liver

Liver is another great ingredient since it’s animal-based, species-appropriate, and nutrient-dense. It’s also good to see that the first three ingredients are all from the same protein source since it can help ease digestion for your cat.

4. Dried Egg Product

Eggs are a highly biologically available ingredient and another good source of animal protein for your cat.

5. Natural Flavor

Natural flavor is a non-nutritious but natural flavor additive. It typically has very little impact on the overall diet. You can read the complete definition on the FDA’s website here.

Complete Ingredients and Guaranteed Analysis

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

Chicken, Chicken Broth, Chicken Liver, Dried Egg Product, Natural Flavor, Salmon Oil, Agar-Agar, Tricalcium Phosphate, Barley Grass, Choline Chloride, Potassium Chloride, Salt, Taurine, Turmeric, Dried New Zealand Green Mussels, Zinc Proteinate, Iron Proteinate, Magnesium Proteinate, Niacin Supplement, Vitamin E Supplement, Copper Proteinate, Sodium Selenite, Thiamine Mononitrate, Manganese Proteinate, Vitamin A Supplement, Calcium Pantothenate, Riboflavin Supplement, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Biotin, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Ethylenediamine Dihydroiodide, Folic Acid.

Here’s the guaranteed analysis:

  • 11% Protein
  • 9% Fat
  • 1.5% Fiber
  • 78% Moisture

Dr. Elsey’s Clean Protein Formula Canned Food Summary

Dr. Elsey’s Clean Protein Formula is one of the best cat foods on the market. While it does feature a thickening agent there are no concerns over the safety of agar-agar. Dr. Elsey’s also features very low carbohydrates, no fruit and veggie fillers, and no by-products. So as I’ve already mentioned, Dr. Elsey’s isn’t just a good cat food without carrageenan is a great food brand across any measurement.

Runner Up: Merrick Backcountry Grain-Free Morsels

Merrick Backcountry Grain Free Real Meat Wet Cat Food Turkey (24) 3oz pouches
412 Reviews
Merrick Backcountry Grain Free Real Meat Wet Cat Food Turkey (24) 3oz pouches
  • #1 Ingredient Is Real Deboned Turkey
  • Grain-Free Nutrition With No Gluten Ingredients For Easier Digestibility

Pros:

  • The first six ingredients are all animal-based
  • Many flavors to pick from including Beef, Duck, Rabbit, and Whitefish

Cons:

  • Contains guar gum which some cat owners may prefer to avoid

Our runner up is Merrick Backcountry wet cat food. This food does contain guar gum (ingredient number 9 in the turkey recipe) as an alternative to carrageenan. While still an ingredient with some controversy, guar gum doesn’t have nearly the same level of accusations thrown at it and the Cornucopia Institute actually lists as a safe alternative to carrageenan. While their possible bias is obviously clear, pet food companies like Young Again and I And Love And You both come to the defense of guar gum as a potentially beneficial ingredient.

If you’re looking to steer clear of ANY thicken agent, check out the rest of the canned cat foods on this list.

Merrick is in our runner up a spot because while it isn’t the perfect cat food it does represent a great balance of quality and price. For starters, the first six ingredients all come from animal-based sources which put it well ahead of most competition. It’s also not a budget option but the price is certainly competitive. So if you’re okay with guar gum and looking for a great carrageenan cat food that balances quality and budget check out Merrick Backcountry on Amazon by clicking here.

I’ve mentioned the quality ingredients several times now, so let’s take a closer look at the first five ingredients for the turkey recipe.

1. Deboned Turkey

We always want to see a named animal protein as the first ingredient. This is a high-quality animal-based protein and exactly what we’d expect to see.

2. Turkey Broth

Broth is a typical ingredient for wet cat food and animal-based broth is always preferred.

3. Chicken Broth

My main criticism of the top 5 ingredients is the inclusion of two types of broth but the rest of the ingredients do a good job compensating for this.

4. Turkey Liver

This is our third turkey ingredient and another nutritious animal-based protein source.

5. Deboned Chicken

I really like seeing another quality animal-based protein within the top 5 ingredients. It’s pretty unusual to see an ingredient like deboned chicken somewhere besides the first spot and it makes a great addition to this formula.

Complete Ingredients and Guaranteed Analysis

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

Turkey: Deboned Turkey, Turkey Broth, Chicken Broth, Turkey Liver, Deboned Chicken, Dried Egg Whites, Potato Starch, Natural Flavor, Guar Gum, Sodium Phosphate, Salt, Potassium Chloride, Taurine, Salmon Oil (Preserved With Mixed Tocopherols), Choline Chloride, Minerals (Iron Amino Acid Chelate, Zinc Amino Acid Chelate, Copper Amino Acid Chelate, Manganese Amino Acid Chelate, Sodium Selenite, Potassium Iodide), Calcium Carbonate, Sodium Carbonate, Vitamins (Vitamin E Supplement, Thiamine Mononitrate, Niacin Supplement, D-Calcium Pantothenate, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Riboflavin Supplement, Vitamin A Supplement, Biotin, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Folic Acid), Inulin, Rosemary, Sage, Thyme, Rosemary Extract.

Here’s the guaranteed analysis:

  • 9% Protein
  • 2.5% Fat
  • 1.2% Fiber
  • 80% Moisture

Merrick Backcountry Summary

Because of the inclusion of guar gum, which some carrageenan-conscious cat owners may also want to avoid, we’ve had to put Merrick Backcountry as a runner up to our best overall. Still, this recipe features a long list of animal-based ingredients, avoids carrageenan, and has great value overall.

 

Best Without ANY Thickening Agent (Including Guar Gum, Xanthan Gum and Carrageenan)

Tiki Cat Luau Grain-Free, Low-Carbohydrate Wet Food with Poultry or Fish in Consomme for Adult Cats...
433 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 formula could work well for cats with sensitive stomachs

Cons:

  • Features sunflower seed oil as the third ingredient instead of more species-appropriate animal fats

Not every Tiki Cat recipe is carrageenan-free, but the Puka Puka Luau flavor that I’ve selected here is. Instead of taking the form a nice pâté, this thickener-free cat food shows up looking like shredded chicken with ingredients that you can actually see. This food is extremely simple. It’s basically chicken in its own broth with healthy fats and micronutrients added in. That makes this food highly species-appropriate and low carbohydrate.

Even though it doesn’t market itself as a limited ingredient diet, it actually fits this description too with chicken as the only protein source. Overall, this Tiki Cat recipe is a great option for cat owners who want to find a simple, straightforward diet that’s not only carrageenan free but also free of all thickening agents. You can check the latest price for this specific flavor on Amazon by clicking here.

Let’s take a deeper look at this Tiki Cat recipe by reviewing the first five ingredients.

1. Chicken

If you look at the food (you can see a picture here) it’s pretty clear that chicken is the main ingredient. It’s always great to actually see the ingredients in your cat’s food and without any kind of thinking or emulsifying agent, it’s easy to do with this recipe.

2. Chicken Broth

Broth is to be expected in any wet or canned food and Tiki Cat is no different.

3. Sunflower Seed Oil

While sunflower oils aren’t going to have the same benefits as a fish oil for your cat, it’s still a healthy source of fats for your cat. Still, this is our main issue with Tiki Cat and I’d love to see an animal-based fat source here instead.

4. Tricalcium Phosphate

Tricalcium phosphate is an anti-caking agent that also helps balance the overall pH of your cat’s food.

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 turkey 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

This Tiki Cat recipe is one of the more unique canned food options on the market. Besides of course being carrageenan-free, it’s one of the few to also not contain any kind of gum (like guar or xanthan). Overall, this simple recipe is a great option for the cat owner that wants to avoid any non-nutritious additives.

Alternative Option: Stella & Chewy’s Freeze Dried Dinner Morsels

Stella & Chewy's Freeze-Dried Raw Chick, Chick, Chicken Dinner Morsels Grain-Free Cat Food, 8 oz bag
3,375 Reviews
Stella & Chewy's Freeze-Dried Raw Chick, Chick, Chicken Dinner Morsels Grain-Free Cat Food, 8 oz bag
  • Only the good stuff! Cats naturally crave meat, much like they ate in the wild. That's why every batch of...
  • Made in the USA - Stella & Chewy's Freeze-Dried Raw Chick, Chick, Chicken Dinner's all-natural recipe is...

Pros:

  • 98% of the ingredients are animal sources
  • Gives you the option to feed as a high-moisture wet food or a convenient dry kibble

Cons:

This unique food from Stella & Chewy isn’t exactly wet food- but it isn’t dry kibble either. Instead, this is a freeze-dried food is a little of both. Inspired by a raw diet, you can serve it as dry kibble or add water to get many of the benefits of wet food. While it does contain dried kelp (ingredient 16), it doesn’t contain any carrageen. You can learn more about the big difference between the two in this article.

Besides the convenience and flexibility that this food offers, Stella & Chewy’s freeze-dried food also has high-quality ingredients with 98% of the food coming from animal sources. There’s also a handful of probiotics mixed in that also help prevent bacteria growth in this partially raw formula. Again, we aren’t just looking for foods that are carrageen-free alone: we also want to find foods that also healthy for your cat! This unique cat food from Stella & Chewy’s certainly fits the bill and you can check the latest price on Amazon by clicking here. 

Let’s look a little closer at what’s inside this freeze-dried food by reviewing the first 5 ingredients in the chicken morsels recipe:

1. Chicken (Ground With Bone)

While we typically don’t see bones included in a cat food recipe, bones can provide several nutritional benefits. But as I’ve already mentioned, it can also increase the phosphorous content which may not be best for some cats.

2. Chicken Liver

Chicken liver is nutrient-dense and species-appropriate which makes it a solid ingredient in this recipe.

3. Chicken Gizzard

Gizzards are another ingredient that we don’t frequently see in cat food recipes but it’s a good source of animal fats and proteins as well as another nice addition to this food.

4. Pumpkin Seed

Pumpkin seeds wouldn’t be our number one pick in terms of being species-appropriate, but they do add a handful of fiber and other micronutrients.

5. Potassium Chloride

Potassium Chloride is used to balance the pH of your cat’s food and provide an additional source to potassium to provide a more balanced nutrient profile. 

Complete Ingredients and Guaranteed Analysis

Below is the complete list of ingredients inside the chicken morsel flavor of Stella & Chewy’s freeze-dried food. It’s worth noting that this food add many probiotics that not only keep the food bacteria-free but can also help with your kitty’s digestion.

Chicken (Ground With Bone), Chicken Liver, Chicken Gizzard, Pumpkin Seed, Potassium Chloride, Sodium Phosphate, Choline Chloride, Fenugreek Seed, Dried Pediococcus Acidilactici Fermentation Product, Dried Lactobacillus Acidophilus Fermentation Product, Dried Bifidobacterium Longum Fermentation Product, Dried Bacillus Coagulans Fermentation Product, Taurine, Tocopherols (Preservative), Dandelion, Dried Kelp, Zinc Proteinate, Iron Proteinate, Vitamin A Supplement, Vitamin E Supplement, Niacin Supplement, Copper Proteinate, Riboflavin Supplement, Sodium Selenite, D-Calcium Pantothenate, Biotin, Manganese Proteinate, Thiamine Mononitrate, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Folic Acid, Vitamin B12 Supplement.

Here’s the guaranteed analysis for Stella & Chewy:

  • 45% Protein
  • 25% Fat
  • 5% Fiber

Stella & Chewy Summary

You typically have to make a choice between wet, dry, or raw when it comes to feeding your cat. Stella & Chewy tried to give you all three in one high-quality and carrageenan-free food. Overall, it’s a great option for cat owners who want to try something different and get closer to a raw diet without everything that goes into it.

Premium Option: NomNomNow Cat Food Delivery

NomNomNow is a premium food delivery service that uses human-grade ingredients and is completely free of thickeners. You can actually see and easily identify just about every ingredient in the food and the meals are lightly cooked in order to help preserve nutrient density. While there are a handful of vegetables that show up in both the chicken and fish recipes, the food is still very much low carb and a great option for most cats.

NomNomNow also portions out the food based on your cat’s weight and activity to help you find the perfect balance of calories. If you’re interested in learning more, you can check out their diets here. 

Pros:

  • Human-grade ingredients and prepared in small batches
  • Calories are balanced for your specific cat
  • Ingredients that you can actually identify in the food

Cons:

  • Not low cost

Let’s take a closer look at the first five ingredients inside the fish feast recipe

1. Tilapia

As always, we want to see a named animal protein source as our number one ingredient. Tilapia is a good source of not only protein but also omega-3 fatty acids.

2. Salmon

It’s great to see another quality protein source on this and salmon is of course also high in protein and omega-3 fatty acids.

3. Beef Fat

Beef fat is less common in cat food but it’s an excellent animal-based source of fat.

4. Cassava Root

Cassava Root is a source of micronutrients but does contain some carbohydrates. I’d much prefer to see another animal-based protein or fat here.

5. Carrots

NomNomNow does feature more veggies than I’d like to see but carrots do have a variety of micronutrients and are low in carbohydrates. However, cats can’t actually get vitamin A from carrots so this ingredient has limited function.

Complete Ingredients and Guaranteed Analysis

Here’s the complete list of ingredients in the fish feast recipe:

Tilapia, salmon, beef fat, cassava root, carrots, dicalcium phosphate, calcium carbonate, salt, taurine, choline bitartrate, zinc gluconate, ferrous sulfate, vitamin E supplement, copper gluconate, manganese gluconate, vitamin A supplement, thiamine mononitrate (vitamin B1), selenium yeast, riboflavin (vitamin B2), vitamin B12 supplement, cholecalciferol (source of vitamin D3), potassium iodide.

Here’s the guaranteed analysis:

  • 18% Protein
  • 6% Fat
  • 0.5% Fiber
  • 72% Moisture

NomNomNow Summary

NomNomNow is a great food choice but doesn’t feature the kind of commitment to species-appropriate that we might expect (or want). Still, it’s a solid choice due to the small-batch manufacturing process and human-grade ingredients. It’s also free of carrageen and other thickening agents which makes is a great option for pet owners who want to avoid additives.

Premium Alternative: Feline Natural Beef and Hoki Feast

Feline Natural BPA-Free & Gelatin-Free Canned Cat Food, Beef & Hoki 3oz 24 Pack
139 Reviews
Feline Natural BPA-Free & Gelatin-Free Canned Cat Food, Beef & Hoki 3oz 24 Pack
  • High in meat. Low in carbs. Grain-free. Free from all gelling agents, the only thing we add is fresh,...
  • Even the pickiest of eaters are drawn to the natural flavors of Feline Natural. That is because cat’s...

Pros:

  • With only 20 ingredients, this recipe has fewer fillers
  • Includes unique and nutritious ingredients from organ meat
  • No gelling agents used which makes this food free of additives like guar gum or xanthan gum
  • High fat and high protein content is closer to a cat’s natural diet

Cons:

  • Premium cat food comes with a premium price and this diet ships from New Zealand

Feline Natural makes one of the most unique but still species-appropriate diets on the market. While it’s not unusual to see beef in other ingredients, Feline Natural includes a variety of organ meats that provide a unique source of essential vitamins and minerals for cats.

All Feline Natural recipes (and not just the Beef & Hoki recipe featured here) are made without peas, lentils, starches, unnatural additives, extra flavors or gelling agents- that of course includes carrageenan but also a lot of other unwanted extras.

And it really shows when you look at the very short list of only 20 ingredients.

Now let’s dive a little deeper into the first 5 ingredients and see what makes this recipe so unique.

1. Beef Heart

Beef heart is the first of several organ meats we’ll see on this list and not only is it animal-based (and therefore species-appropriate) according to the veterinary school at UC Davis it’s also quite high in taurine.

2. Hoki

While we may occasionally see beef on the ingredients list, hoki is not so common. This large fish is mostly found around New Zealand and Australia and makes for a great source of protein and fats for your cat.

3. Beef

Beef is an excellent ingredient for your little furry carnivore.

4. Beef Kidney

Another organ meat, veterinarian Dr. Coates explains that “kidneys can provide high levels of vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin D, calcium, iron, phosphorus, and sodium.”

5. Beef Liver

Just like the other organ meats on this list, beef liver is nutrient-dense and makes a great addition to this carrageenan-free recipe.

Complete Ingredients and Guaranteed Analysis

Here’s the full list of ingredients inside the Beef & Hoki feast recipe:

Beef Heart, Hoki, Beef, Beef Kidney, Beef Liver, Beef Blood, Sunflower Oil, Flaxseed Flakes, New Zealand Green Mussel, Dried Kelp, Taurine, Vitamin E Supplement, Magnesium Oxide, Zinc Proteinate, Copper Proteinate, Manganese Proteinate, Thiamine Mononitrate, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Folic Acid, Water added for processing.

Here’s the guaranteed analysis:

  • 9.1% Protein
  • 6.3% Fat
  • 0.2% Fiber
  • 81% Moisture

Feline Natural Summary

Feline Natural is a great option not only for avoiding carrageenan but also for avoiding additives and fillers in general. It also helps that it’s got some of the highest-quality ingredients that you can find a commercial cat food.

The only downside is that this premium cat food may be a bit over budget for some cat owners. But if you’re interested, you can check out the latest price on Amazon by clicking here.

 

Best On A Budget: American Journey Landmark

american journey landmark cat food without carrageenan

Buy On Chewy

Pros:

  • Great price with a 25% discount for first-time buyers
  • Scores well in terms of species appropriateness
  • American Journey has a perfect recall history with no recalls since they started in 2017
  • No guar or xanthan gum

Cons:

  • Limited reviews compared to other products on the market

For the best budget cat food without carrageenan, I’ve selected American Journey’s Landmark line of canned cat food. This Chewy only brand clearly states that their food is free of ” grains, wheat, corn, soy, carrageenan, synthetic flavor enhancers, or artificial flavors, colors, or preservatives.”

The list of ingredients is also excellent with no veggies or carbohydrates sneaking in. In fact, four of the first five ingredients are all based on fish sources. American Journey has also built a great reputation since it started in 2017 with ZERO recalls for any food or treat.

The price is also very budget-friendly at about $1.33 per can and at the time of writing first-time buyers can also get 25% which brings the cost to almost less than a $1 per can. If you’re interested in trying out American Journey Landmark, you can check the latest price on Chewy by clicking here. 

Let’s look a little closer at what’s inside the Tuna & Tilapia Recipe by reviewing the first five ingredients.

1. Tuna

Most cats love tuna (and fish in general) but just as important is seeing a species-appropriate ingredient in the number one position. Tuna is a great first ingredient that’s high in both protein and healthy fats.

2. Fish Broth

Broth is the expected ingredient and can have some nutritional value.

3. Seabream

Seabream is another type of fish and it’s great to see another quality protein source.

4. Tilapia

Another quality fish-based protein source. This food really does have a great list of top ingredients when you consider the price.

5. Sunflower Oil

While I’d like to see fish oil or another animal-based fat source, sunflower oil isn’t terrible.

Complete Ingredients and Guaranteed Analysis

Here’s the complete list of ingredients for this recipe:

Tuna, Fish Broth, Seabream, Tilapia, Sunflower Oil, Potassium Chloride, Tricalcium Phosphate, Magnesium Sulfate, Taurine, Choline Chloride, Salt, Vitamin E Supplement, Zinc Oxide, Reduced Iron, Niacin Supplement, Thiamine Mononitrate, Vitamin A Supplement, Sodium Selenite, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Manganese Sulfate, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Copper Amino Acid Complex, d-Calcium Pantothenate, Riboflavin Supplement, Biotin Supplement, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Folic Acid, Potassium Iodide, Menadione Sodium Bisulfite Complex (Source of Vitamin K).

Here’s the guaranteed analysis:

  • 12% Protein
  • 2% Fat
  • 1% Fiber
  • 82% Moisture

American Journey Landmark Summary

American Journey’s Landmark line of canned cat food is free of carrageenan, grain, wheat, soy, corn, and artificial flavors. The first 5 ingredients also do great at staying species-appropriate and the overall diet is very low carb. The price is also very budget-friendly which makes this a great option in the search for carrageenan-free cat food.

Budget Alternative: Taste of the Wild Rocky Mountain Recipe

Taste of the Wild Rocky Mountain Grain-Free Recipe with Salmon and Roasted Venison in Gravy Wet...
640 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
  • The first six ingredients are all animal-based ingredients

Cons:

  • Contains guar gum which some cat owners may want to avoid

Taste of the Wild is a great budget alternative if you’d like to stick with Amazon or just try something different in the search for cat food without carrageenan. While the ingredients are solid, this recipe does contain guar gum which some cat owners will want to avoid. While I don’t think this should entirely exclude this food from the list it does put in the runner up or alternative spot.

The first six ingredients are ALL from animal sources but the food also includes potato starch and pea flour which add to the overall carbohydrate profile.

Still, Taste of Wild makes a great budget-friendly and carraggeen-free option. You can check the latest price on Amazon by clicking here.

I’ve also mentioned the first several ingredients but let’s take a closer look by reviewing the first 5 in the Salmon & Roasted Venison recipe.

1. Salmon

Salmon is a great source of healthy fats and protein as well as being species-appropriate for your little carnivore.

2. Fish Broth

As always, broth is an expected ingredient for any kind of canned food.

3. Chicken Broth

I like seeing another animal-based ingredient but would prefer to see muscle meat or fat source instead of more broth.

4. Chicken Liver

Chicken liver matches up with your cat’s natural diet, is full of nutrients, and makes a great ingredient in the top 5.

5. Chicken

Another great protein source really makes the top 5 ingredients stand out!

Complete Ingredients and Guaranteed Analysis

Here’s the complete list of ingredients for the Salmon & Roasted Venison 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:

  • 8% Protein
  • 3% Fat
  • 1.5% Fiber
  • 82% Moisture

Taste of the Wild Summary

While our number one best on a budget is probably the better option if you’re looking for a carrageenan cat food on a budget, Taste of the Wild is definitely a contender with a solid list of high-quality animal-sourced ingredients.

List of Carrageenan free brands

I hope you found a great carrageenan-free cat food for your cat within the 7 selections above. But if you want to keep doing your own research, you’ll find a list of carrageenan-free cat food brands below.

This list is specifically for entire brands of cat food that have announced they are carrageenan-free and not brands that only have one or two products without carrageenan. I’m also only listing brands that refer to carrageenan on their website so the list is actually shorter than what’s out there. But the goal here is to make it easy as possible for you to find carrageenan-free foods with a reliable confirmable reference to confirm it.

This isn’t intended to be a complete list (and recipes can change) but I’d love your help in growing it! If you know of a carrageenan-free cat food brand please email me at Logan [@] BetterWithCats.net and please include a link that confirms the food is carrageenan free.

Identifying Carrageenan In Cat Food

Part of the problem with identifying carrageen in cat food comes from the fact that it has so many names. Below, you’ll find more than 20 possible names all for carrageen. There are even more names here. Keep in mind, not all of these will find their way in cat food but I thought it was still worthwhile to mention all the forms that may appear in everything from skincare products to chocolate milk and of course pet food.

  • Algas
  • Algue Rouge Marine
  • Carrageen
  • Carageenan Gum
  • Carrageenin
  • Carragenina
  • Carragheenan
  • Chondrus crispus
  • Chondrus Extract
  • Danish Agar
  • Euchema species
  • Eucheuma Spinosum Gum
  • Galgarine
  • Irish Moss
  • Irish Moss Algae
  • Irish Moss Extract
  • Marine Colloids
  • Norsk Gelatin
  • Processed Eucheuma Seaweed
  • Red Marine Algae
  • Red Seaweed Extract
  • Vegetable Gelatin

Alternatives to Carrageenan

Most cat foods are going to use some kind of thickening agent. While there are unique options (like Tiki Cat’s Puka Puka) it’s important to consider carrageenan alternatives in your search for the best cat food for your feline. What you don’t want to do is trade one bad ingredient for another, so let’s break down exactly what carrageenan does for your cat’s food and some of the alternatives on the market.

Agar-Agar

While agar-agar does come from red algae, it has a different molecular makeup compared to carrageenan and doesn’t have the same carcinogen concerns behind it. Both PetFoodIndustry.com and the Cornucopia Research Institue list agar-agar as a positive alternative to carrageenan. Because both carrageenan and agar-agar come from red seaweed, there’s a lot of confusion on the internet where people are calling these two the same things.

While similar in source and function I’m not aware of any study that suggests agar-agar has anywhere close to the same health concerns are carrageenan.

Guar Gum

Guar gum has been shown across a number of studies to be healthy in animals across and has even been shown to improve glucose levels and body weight. Still, it’s not clear how guar gum affects cats over the long term and one of the biggest concerns is dental health. It’s been argued that the stickiness of guar gum causes wet food to get stuck on your cat’s teeth more easily and lead to more rapid dental disease.

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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