Choosing Sustainable Cat Food: Everything a Pet Owner Should Know

Choosing Sustainable Cat Food: Everything a Pet Owner Should Know

Everyone knows that if you put good food into your body, you enjoy health benefits. Of course, the same goes for cat food and cats — but what if your cat food could help the environment while also being good for your cat?

Here are our tips for finding eco-friendly cat food that reduces you and your pet’s carbon footprint. 

What Is Sustainable Pet Food?

The word “sustainable” can mean many different things; what’s considered sustainable one day could change as technology and sustainability practices cause standards to evolve.

When it comes to the pet food industry, sustainability comes in many shapes and sizes and encompasses the following (and beyond):

  • Sourcing ingredients from suppliers who minimize the use of pesticides
  • Using thoughtfully sourced protein that prioritizes animal welfare
  • Using low-emission manufacturing
  • Using recyclable packaging

You’ve probably heard terms like those above used before, but what do they actually mean on a granular level? We’ll break down a few of the most important factors in detail and how they affect sustainability below. 

Ethically-Sourced Ingredients

Ethically sourced ingredients balance production with sustainability so that the land that gives us, and our cats, food prospers in the process.

A good way to tell if the ingredients in your cat food are ethically sourced is to look for certified humane, non-GMO project verified, GAP Certified, or B Corp labels on your pet food bags.

When ingredients are produced on a massive scale, they provide abundant supplies. However, the practices that allow for a large amount of product to be available also affect the environment much more than traditional farming methods. Sustainable products prioritize farming methods that leave the land the same or better than it was to start with, like solar-powered operations.

Environmentally-Responsible Packaging

The shipping process greatly contributes to the overall carbon footprint of a cat food company.

Specifically, shipping by truck, train, or even ship can create a large amount of emissions that offset other sustainable practices like ethically sourced ingredients and eco-friendly processing.

Recyclable packaging is one way to make the shipping process more sustainable.

The Main Benefits of Choosing Sustainable Cat Food

With all those pieces of the formula for eco-friendly cat food listed out, you might be wondering what you get out of buying it other than peace of mind. Here are just a few of those benefits:

Nutritional Value

In many cases, sustainable farming and processing means putting high-quality above high output. For your cat, that means they’re getting more whole food ingredients and fewer fillers, additives, and preservatives than they would in regular dry cat food.

That matters because cats are obligate carnivores, which means their digestive systems are meant to extract their nutritional needs primarily from meat. While plants and other foods do make up a less significant part of their diets, cats need meat in order to derive the nutrients needed for a healthy diet.

However, since animals that provide meat are more expensive to raise and process, some cat food brands add fillers like corn, wheat, soy, or meat by-products to replace the higher-quality ingredients you would expect to be in their foods. 

Sustainable cat foods use ingredients like free range chicken and other thoughtfully sourced meats, grains, and non-GMO fruits and veggies that positively impact the environment while also providing high-quality nutrition.


Nutritious ingredients aren’t only good for your cats. They’re good for the places they come from too.

No matter what type of farming you’re doing, you’re pulling nutrients from the environment in one way or another. Sustainable farmers ensure that their methods replace what they take by creating diverse farms that allow many different types of crops and animals to grow there.

Some farms focus on a single crop at a massive scale to be more efficient and profitable. But farms must use more tools like pesticides to raise a single crop. Raising a single crop on a large scale also depletes the environment of specific nutrients rather than a broad spectrum like a biodiverse farm would.

Animal Welfare

While cats need meat in their diets, those animals should still be treated humanely and raised to be healthy. That’s why the most ethical farms let their animals be free range and eat foods that match their natural diets without adding growth hormones.

Not only does raising animals humanely by allowing them to eat high-quality feed and live healthy lives through practices like free range farming, but it also makes for a cleaner product — which is good for your cat and the planet!

How To Identify a Sustainable Cat Food Brand

Now that you know more about what sustainable pet food is, let’s examine how you can identify brands that adhere to these standards. A cat food brand prioritizes sustainability if they:

  • Have transparent production practices: When looking at pet food brands’ websites and packaging, you’ll want to see details like non-GMO ingredients and certifications from authorities on humane farming practices and organic foods. You may also see the term human grade, which means that the cat food is made in a facility that meets all the same consumption standards as human food.

The Honest Kitchen is committed to transparent production processes. Check out our stance on quality assurance and learn more about how our standards set our pet food above the rest!

  • Practice eco-friendly ingredient sourcing: Look for information about where the company gets its ingredients. Is it a factory farm or a sustainable one that uses free range farming, practices crop rotation, and uses renewable energy sources like wind and solar?
  • Companies that care about those details love to share them, so check for statements on their products or on their website for insights into their sourcing practices. You can find The Honest Kitchen’s statement about our commitment to ethical ingredient sourcing here!

  • Minimize packaging impact: Your typical wet cat food often comes in a can. Some wet cat food brands, like The Honest Kitchen, have changed that by delivering their product in easily recyclable and BPA-free Tetra Pak Boxes so that their entire production life cycle creates fewer emissions.

  • Try The Honest Kitchen for Sustainable Cat Food

    You don’t have to look far to find cat food with a low environmental impact since The Honest Kitchen checks all the boxes mentioned here! Let’s take a look at a few of our most popular sustainable cat food options that your feline friend will love.

    The Honest Kitchen’s Câté

    Our Grain Free Turkey Câté is made primarily from cage free turkey with a mix of fruit and veggies to deliver essential nutrients like fatty acids in a lean but delicious wet food. Packed in an eco-friendly, BPA-free Tetra Pak rather than a traditional aluminum can, this luxurious wet food is both tasty and great for the environment. 

    Of course, some cats are picky eaters. That doesn’t mean that even the pickiest cat can’t eat healthy — The Honest Kitchen has an entire line of grain free wet cat food that comes in a variety pack. Your cat will have their choice of chicken, turkey, beef, and fish so that they never get bored at meal time.

    Does your cat prefer chunks of high-quality meat with bone broth gravy? Try our  eco-friendly minced in gravy wet cat food line instead. 

    The Honest Kitchen’s Dehydrated Cat Food

    If you want to make the most of your next cat food, then dehydrated cat food is a great choice since it will last for longer without any artificial preservatives.

    Plus, dehydrated food has added sustainability and value, because it makes four times its weight once rehydrated! For example, a 2-pound box of food can make up to 8 pounds once mixed with water. Less weight also means that it takes less energy to ship dehydrated food, which lowers the footprint of transporting it. 

    The Honest Kitchen takes it a step further by packing its dehydrated food into FSC certified paperboard boxes that lessens our footprint even further. The Honest Kitchen has an excellent choice for dehydrated cat food thanks to our dehydrated grain free chicken and fish mix

    To make this food even better, we added free range chicken and wild caught fish to bone broth with a probiotic boost for an extremely nutritious and tasty meal! 

    The Honest Kitchen’s Dry Cat Food

    If dry cat food is the right choice for your cat, then The Honest Kitchen has you covered there as well. Like all our products, The Honest Kitchen’s dry cat food is 100% human grade and comes in a variety of flavors like chicken, turkey and chicken, and chicken and fish. 

    If that wasn’t enough, our dry food also has a probiotic boost along with non-GMO ingredients and thoughtfully sourced proteins. We process our kibble with gentle heat and pressure to use less energy and preserve more nutritional value than traditional kibble processing.

    Feed Your Cat Sustainable Food With The Honest Kitchen

    There are so many certifications, sustainable sources, and recyclable packages to look for that it can be overwhelming for pet parents to find a brand your cat loves as much as you do. 

    The numbers behind our product make it easy to see just how passionately we believe your cat food can be good for your cat and the planet. Last year we purchased more than 18,000,000 pounds of non-GMO produce and used 3,652,000 pounds of organic produce. 

    We also made sure that 100% of the virgin paperboard we used came from Sustainable Forestry Initiative-compliant sources, and 62% of our packaging is made from renewable materials while being fully recyclable itself. We even opened a new plant with a geographically central location in Topeka, KS, so our ingredients travel less distance from our partner farms to your cat’s bowl!

    The Honest Kitchen makes sustainable pet food easy with transparent and sustainable sources so you know exactly what you’re feeding your furry friend — and love it just as much as they do.

    Find your cat’s next favorite food at The Honest Kitchen!

    *Health Disclaimer: This post is educational in nature and doesn’t constitute health advice. Please consult your pet's veterinarian or other healthcare professional for specific guidance on this topic.
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