A cat eating a piece of food out of a human's hand

Why Choose Cat Food Made in the USA?

As French author Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin so aptly put it, "Tell me what you eat, and I will tell you what you are." While people assume that this quote is only meant for humans, the truth is, it also applies to your feline friend. 

If you're here wondering whether food made in the USA is the best choice for your pet, you're taking a step in the right direction. 

Cat food made in the USA is quickly becoming a top choice for many cat lovers, as it adheres to high safety standards, thanks to America’s strict quality control regulations for pet food

If you're concerned about your pet's nutrition, here’s a look at what “Made in the USA” means and why so many cat parents are choosing U.S.-made foods.

What Does It Mean When Cat Food Is Made in the USA?

You've likely come across the "Made in the USA" tag when shopping for your cat’s food. But what exactly does it mean?

This label indicates that the food is regulated by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and meets its sourcing and production guidelines. According to the FTC, a product with this label should be "all or virtually all" made in the U.S.

The FTC isn't the only body that regulates pet food in the U.S. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) also regulates these products through the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FD&C Act).

This act requires all pet food manufacturers to maintain sanitary conditions during production. It also states that the food must be safe to eat, carry a truthful label, and have no harmful ingredients.

To ensure manufacturers comply with the act, the FDA conducts risk-based inspections. Manufacturers who don't adhere to the set rules can face warning letters, recalls, and even prosecution.

These strict requirements are why cat food made in the USA is one of the safest options for your little friend.

What Do Similar Phrases Mean on Cat Food Labels?

When shopping for healthy cat food, it's normal to assume that any product with a tag that mentions America or the USA is locally made with U.S.-sourced ingredients.

There are a variety of similar-looking labels, all with different meanings:

  •  Made in the USA:  This indicates that final assembly or processing occurs in the U.S. Some ingredients and processing can come from outside the U.S., but according to the FTC, it must be a negligible amount.

  •  Manufactured in the USA:  This phrase focuses on manufacturing, including processes like mixing and packaging products. However, it doesn't guarantee that the ingredients are sourced in the USA.

  •  Distributed by "company in the U.S.": The focus here is on distribution. The company named may simply be acting as a supplier, so the food could be sourced from or made in other regions.

  •  Sourced in the USA:  This label implies that the ingredients are obtained from within the U.S. However, it doesn't necessarily mean that the product is manufactured in the country.

  •  Made in America:  This includes Americas outside of North America (Central America, South America, Mexico, Canada) and doesn't necessarily indicate that all processing and ingredient sourcing happened in the U.S. For example, a product made with U.S.-sourced ingredients could be assembled in Mexico and still carry the "Made in America" label.

Does Made in the USA Mean Ingredients Are Only from the USA?

There's a common misconception that the phrase "Made in the USA" implies that all the ingredients used in the pet food are locally sourced. However, this isn’t necessarily true.

"Made in the USA" manufacturers sometimes source products globally. For example, the taurine and vitamin C used in some pet foods are sourced from overseas since there's a limited supply in the U.S. A few years ago, manufacturers had to purchase lamb from New Zealand and Australia — again, because of limited supply.

Another misconception is that the label inherently means that the pet food contains high-quality ingredients. While the U.S. has strict regulations regarding pet food production, the quality of ingredients used is dependent on the manufacturer's sourcing practices.

Just because a product has ingredients of U.S. origin doesn't automatically mean it's superior to the rest. In fact, countries like Taiwan and Canada have higher standards for packaging and producing cat food. This means their products may be better than some of the products that use locally sourced ingredients.

So it's important for pet owners, especially those looking for natural diets for cats, to assess products' ingredients before purchasing. By assess, we don't mean simply checking the country of origin — we mean going deeper and looking at a manufacturer's sourcing practices.

Do their suppliers use pesticides? Can you track their supply chain to see where the ingredients come from? Is the company transparent about its ingredient sourcing and production? Do they use artificial preservatives and other harmful additives?

You may just find that globally sourced ingredients are better than what’s available in the U.S. There are pros and cons of locally sourcing ingredients vs. importing them.

 Pros of local ingredients

  • It's easy to verify the farming practices used.

  • Shorter transportation times often mean fresher ingredients and a lower carbon footprint.


  • They're typically more expensive.

  • Manufacturers may face supply limitations.

 Pros of imported ingredients

  • They may be more affordable when imported from countries with low production costs.

  • They're available in a broader supply than local ingredients.


  • It's difficult to verify the farming and production practices employed.

  • They raise companies' carbon footprints, especially when transported over long distances.

Why Do Some Companies Avoid Cat Foods Made in China?

Many brands that care about quality avoid sourcing from China, as it has very lax food regulations, which increases the risk of contamination. This is evident from the 2007 melamine crisis in which contaminated pet food from China resulted in thousands of pet deaths. 

More recently, there have been concerns about toxic dog food in China as manufacturers opt for cheap, dangerous ingredients in place of high-quality ones to maximize their profits. 

With the high number of incidents (one is already too many) regarding China and pet food, the public is increasingly concerned about foreign-produced pet foods, especially those from China.


So, many reputable brands have policies in place regarding ingredient sourcing and product labeling. They use the "Made in USA" label only after sourcing from reputable countries (not China) and testing the ingredients for quality control. 

How To Find Out Where Your Pet Food Ingredients Are Sourced and Where It’s Made

The FTC, FDA, and the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) require pet food manufacturers to provide ingredient information on their labels. So this is a great place to start when looking for cat food sourcing and production information. 

  • Look for claims like "Made in the USA" or "Sourced in the USA" on the product's label to determine where the ingredients came from and where it was manufactured. 

  • Assess the ingredient list — regulatory bodies require ingredients to be listed in descending order by weight. So manufacturers list the most abundant ingredients first. 

  • Assess the origins of each ingredient — some manufacturers provide this information on the label. If they don't, engage with them to understand their sourcing practices. You can reach out by email, find them on social media, or look at their website for product information. 

The Honest Kitchen publishes all production and sourcing information on our site to ensure pet parents understand what goes into their feline friends' food. Everything from The Honest Kitchen is made in the United States with globally sourced, nutritious, non-toxic ingredients (not from China).


Our reason for going global is that we aim to deliver the best quality ingredients, which aren't always available in the U.S. But not to worry! Every ingredient imported meets FDA standards for pet foods.

The Honest Kitchen also goes a step further in terms of quality to ensure all products are human grade. All of our pet food is legally approved as nourishment for humans, as it contains human grade ingredients and is prepared in human food facilities. 

Further, the manufacturing, packing, and holding of our food are in accordance with code 21 CFR 110 of Current Goods Manufacturing Practices (CGMP), as well as United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) regulations, which help ensure the safety of human food.

How Ingredient Sourcing Impacts Bioavailability

If you're in the market for healthy and sustainable cat food, it's important to consider bioavailability. Bioavailability is the measure of how foods are digested and used for physiological processes like growth and development. Higher bioavailability means better nutrient accessibility.

The source and quality of ingredients can affect pet food's bioavailability, as they have a direct impact on its nutritional profile. For example, food with high-quality animal protein has a higher rate of digestion and absorption than low-quality meat by-products, as it has a high concentration of amino acids.

In terms of sourcing, the agricultural practices employed by suppliers can affect bioavailability because they impact ingredients' nutritional value.

For example, regions with strict regulations on the use of pesticides can produce more natural ingredients, enhancing the bioavailability of the resulting pet food. Similarly, areas with healthy soil can produce more bioavailable plant-based nutrients than those with unhealthy soil.

Our Top Made-In-The-USA Cat Recipes with Globally Sourced Ingredients

Products from The Honest Kitchen exemplify our commitment to quality and global sourcing ethics. As highlighted in our 2023 Impact Report, The Honest Kitchen prioritizes pet health by only sourcing high-quality non-GMO produce.

We also uphold "The Honest Difference" by only using ingredients that can be incorporated into healthy human foods.

With our transparency in ingredient sourcing and manufacturing processes, you don't have to guess whether certain foods are good for your pet. A quick look at each recipe’s description will provide all the answers you need.

So if you’re looking for high-quality, nutritious, USA-made food for your cat, check out these top recipes from The Honest Kitchen:

The Honest Kitchen's Clusters Dry Cat Food

If you're searching for the best dry cat food, The Honest Kitchen's Clusters collection is a top contender. Each recipe is full of thoughtfully sourced protein and veggies, along with high-quality probiotics and omega-3 fatty acids, to promote your feline's health.

Depending on your product choice, ingredients may include turkey, lentils, eggs, chicken, peas, white fish, and chicken liver. All of these ingredients are great choices for pet owners looking for that extra boost of protein for their little friends.

And, as you can guess from the ingredients, Clusters come in turkey and chicken recipes, so you can always switch things up for your pet if they're a picky eater.

The Honest Kitchen's Dehydrated Cat Food

Our Dehydrated Cat Food options are the perfect choice if you're in the market for nutrient-rich, shelf-stable cat food. The recipes contain a wide range of ingredients, including dehydrated chicken, potatoes, sweet potatoes, turkey, white fish, spinach, and pumpkin.

As with the dry cat food options, they're available in high-protein, real meat chicken and turkey flavors, allowing you to bring some variety to your pet's meals. Plus, they’re suitable for all life stages and contain a limited number of ingredients to help with any sensitivities.

The Honest Kitchen's Wet Cat Food

If you want to increase your cat’s water intake, The Honest Kitchen's wet cat food selection has you covered. Whether your pet loves Câté (Pâté) or Minced, you'll find an excellent variety of recipes with quality ingredients like salmon, turkey, pumpkin, cod, fish broth, chicken, beef, duck, and bone broth. 

Câté (Pâté) options are best if your cat loves a uniform consistency in their food, while minced is ideal if they prefer "crumbles" in their gravy or need a topper for their dry food. Whatever choice you go for, there are numerous flavors, including natural vegetable, chicken, and turkey — or get a variety pack and try them all! 

The Honest Kitchen's Smittens Cat Treats

Want some treats to help you train your little friend or simply reward them for being cute? Our Smittens cat treats are exactly what you're looking for! They're not only delicious but also nutrient-rich thanks to their high-quality ingredients, which include dehydrated herring, cranberry, rosemary extract, dehydrated white fish, and sea salt.

With multiple flavors to choose from, you can experiment to find what your feline likes best before settling on any one of them. Whatever you choose, you can be sure your little friend will be smitten (pun intended)!

Find the Perfect Match for Your Cat with the Honest Kitchen

Cat foods made in the USA are a superior choice thanks to the strict regulations imposed by the FDA and FTC. But it’s also important to check any potential food's label and research the manufacturer to ensure they source high-quality ingredients and adhere to safe manufacturing processes. 

With The Honest Kitchen, you can rest assured that your cat's nutritional needs and wellness are in the right hands. We pride ourselves on our commitment to providing high-quality, nutritious, human grade cat food that’s made in the USA and free from GMOs, artificial preservatives, and fillers. 

Ready to improve your feline friend's diet? Explore our wide range of "Made in the USA" cat  food recipes today! 

Back to Blog