The 8 Best Cat Foods For Exotic Shorthair Cats

By Nadine Oraby | 2023 Update

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Exotic shorthairs are some of the most popular cats in the USA and are loved for their affectionate nature and instantly recognizable punch-face.

However, the breed requires a special diet as they’re prone to obesity and dental issues due to their unique facial structure.

So which cat food should you choose for your Exotic shorthair?

Keep reading ahead to find out!

The Best Cat Foods For Exotic Shorthairs

Top ProductsRatingForm
1. Fancy Feast Gravy Lovers Poultry & Beef Feast Canned Cat Food4.5Wet
2. Blue Buffalo Wilderness Chicken Recipe Grain-Free Dry Cat Food4.7Dry
3. Tiki Cat Queen Emma Luau Grain-Free Canned Cat Food4.1Wet
4. Wysong Optimal Vitality Dry Cat Food4.3Dry
5. Purina Pro Plan True Nature Chicken & Liver Kitten Cat Food4.4Wet
6. Ziwi Peak Beef Recipe Canned Cat Food4.2Wet 
7. Stella & Chewy’s Salmon & Chicken Freeze-Dried Raw Cat Food4.4Freeze-Dried 
8. Earthborn Holistic Primitive Feline Natural Dry Cat & Kitten Food4.3 Dry

1. Fancy Feast Gravy Lovers Poultry & Beef Feast Variety Pack Canned Cat Food

Top 5 Ingredients: 1. Poultry Broth, 2. Turkey, 3. Liver, 4. Wheat Gluten, 5. Meat By-Products

Lots of delicious meaty flavors in hydrating canned meals — Fancy Feast Gravy Lovers is an excellent pick for the Exotic shorthairs. The cat food comes in a pack of 24 containing three different flavors; chicken, turkey, and beef, which are perfect for this picky cat. It’s made from small and juicy pieces of meat that are both easily chewable and extremely tasty.

Since the canned food also contains gravy, it acts as an additional source of hydration for Exotic shorthairs. The diet is also nutritionally balanced and delivers all essential macro and micro nutrients required by this breed to stay fulfilled. 

2. Blue Buffalo Wilderness Chicken Recipe Grain-Free Dry Cat Food

Top 5 Ingredients: 1. Deboned Chicken, 2. Chicken Meal, 3. Pea Protein, 4. Tapioca Starch, 5. Menhaden Fish Meal

Blue Buffalo Wilderness Chicken Cat Food is one option that we can recommend with our eyes closed. It’s made by one of the most reputable pet food brands in the world and perfectly fits the dietary criteria of Exotic shorthairs. The recipe contains a ton of premium-quality real chicken protein and helps maintain lean muscle and a healthy weight.

Aside from that, the cat food offers every nutrient that your cat could need, including vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, taurine, and omega fatty acids. Since the recipe is designed after a cat’s ancestral diet, it uses easily-digestible carbohydrates such as sweet potatoes and peas. And most importantly, it’s free from grains, corn, by-products, and artificial ingredients, making it the perfect option for Exotic shorthairs.

3. Tiki Cat Queen Emma Luau Variety Pack Grain-Free Canned Cat Food

Top 5 Ingredients: 1. Chicken Broth, 2. Tuna, 3. Salmon, 4. Sunflower Seed Oil, 5. Taurine

Tiki Cat Queen Luau Variety Pack Canned Food is an absolute treat for the most stubborn and picky Exotic shorthairs. The variety pack contains six different flavored canned foods, each containing juicy pieces of meat and consommé that also increase your cat’s water intake. 

Each Tiki Cat Luau Food can offer 100% balanced nutrition and deliver a range of micronutrients like taurine, vitamins, and minerals. It’s also an excellent option for Exotic shorthairs that are allergic or sensitive to certain ingredients since the recipe is free from grains, soy, MSG, and all artificial ingredients.

4. Wysong Optimal Vitality Dry Cat Food

Top 5 Ingredients: 1. Chicken Meal, 2. Organic Chicken, 3. Turkey Meal, 4. Pea Protein, 5. Chicken Fat

Wysong produces some of the most nutrient-dense and high-quality pet foods on the market, and their Optimal Vitality Dry Cat Food is no less. It features a 50/50 mix of fresh food and frozen bites that offer the benefit of both a dry and raw diet. At least 50% of the cat food comprises protein that helps nourish muscles and encourages healthy weight maintenance in Exotic shorthairs.

Aside from that, the cat food also has a low glycemic index and contains minimal carbohydrates. This proves effective in preventing diseases like obesity and diabetes in the long-term. Moreover, the recipe is enriched with probiotics, enzymes, omega fatty acids, and other micronutrients that aid numerous body functions such as digestion, coat health, and just overall well-being.

5. Purina Pro Plan True Nature Chicken & Liver Kitten Formula Canned Cat Food

Top 5 Ingredients: 1. Chicken, 2. Liver, 3. Meat By-Products, 4. Fish, 5. Poultry By-Products

The protein-packed, easy-to-eat Purina Pro Plan True Nature Kitten Canned food is the perfect formula to put growing Exotic shorthair kittens on solid food. It provides tons of protein from different portions of real chicken, such as meat and liver, to aid muscle growth and increase energy levels in kittens.

Aside from that, the food also provides nutrients like DHA, vitamins, and minerals to enable brain, heart, and immune system development in kittens. The cat food also contains small bites designed to be easily chewed and swallowed by flat-faced breeds like Exotic shorthairs. Lastly, the cat food is free from grains and artificial ingredients, so your kitten only takes in the nutrients they need.

6. Ziwi Peak Beef Recipe Canned Cat Food

Top 5 Ingredients: 1. Beef, 2. Beef Lung, 3. Beef Liver, 4. Chickpeas, 5. New Zealand Green Mussel

Designed to mimic a cat’s diet in the wild, Ziwi Peak Beef Cat Food incorporates a bunch of natural ingredients to provide your cat with a protein-rich and hydrating diet. It utilizes all parts of beef for its protein content, including meat, bones, and organs, so your cat can derive a range of nutrients as they do from their prey. 

More so, the diet is grain-free and is nutritionally complete for all life stages of Exotic shorthairs. It uses a combination of natural foods and supplements to enrich your cat with micronutrients such as vitamins, minerals, and taurine. The food also contains glucosamine and chondroitin, which are essential to support joint health as Exotic shorthairs go through seniority.

7. Stella & Chewy’s Salmon & Chicken Dinner Morsels Freeze-Dried Raw Cat Food

Top 5 Ingredients: 1. Salmon, 2. Chicken, 3. Chicken Liver, 4. Chicken Gizzard, 5. Pumpkin Seed

Versatile and natural — Stella & Chewy’s Freeze-Dried Raw Cat Food offers the nutritional benefits of a raw diet with the convenience of dry kibbles in a single package. It’s made entirely out of raw ingredients, particularly raw proteins such as chicken and salmon meat, bones, organs. 

But instead of further processing, the food is preserved by freeze-drying which locks in the nutrients found in raw cat food. You can choose to feed the cat food as it is or rehydrate it with water to make the meal meatier and more hydrating for your cat. And like a true raw diet, this particular food is also free from grains, gluten, fillers, and artificial ingredients.

8. Earthborn Holistic Primitive Feline Grain-Free Natural Dry Cat & Kitten Food

Top 5 Ingredients: 1. Turkey Meal, 2. Chicken Meal, 3. Peas, 4. Chicken Fat, 5. Flaxseed

Earthborn Holistic’s Primitive Feline Dry Cat & Kitten Food offers an amazing, high-protein diet made from premium-ingredients to satisfy your adult cat or kitten’s nutritional needs. It uses a combination of turkey and chicken meal to support muscle growth and nourishment. 

The recipe is also enriched with fruits and vegetables that provide essential antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals to supports healthy organ functioning and stable growth. The cat food is free from grains and gluten, making it an excellent pick for sensitive Exotic shorthair kittens and adults. All of this is manufactured in the USA under strict quality standards to ensure you get your hands on nutritious and wholesome food each time.

Buyer’s Guide

Like any other breed, it’s essential to feed the Exotic shorthair a high-quality cat food with plenty of nutrients. Their basic nutritional needs are the same as any other cat; lots of protein, some amounts of fat, and various micronutrients. But there are some points where this breed’s diet differs, namely food form, hydration, and calorie intake.

Let’s see how you can buy the best cat food for your Exotic shorthair, and a few factors that you need to keep in mind while purchasing:

How to buy the best cat food for Exotic Shorthairs

Choosing a cat food is a complicated process for most owners, particularly if they’re new to Exotic shorthairs. However, there are only a few basic guidelines you need to follow in order to pick the best cat food for your pet. These are as follow:

1. Age

As cats go from being kittens to adults and then to seniors, their dietary requirements change. You can find a bunch of cat foods that are made for one life stage or all of them. 

Kittens should preferably be fed a kitten formula as it’s enriched with more nutrients. You could also choose to feed an adult formula if your kitten is older than 6 to 7 weeks but do talk to your vet about this. Adult cats have a lot of variety to eat from since most formulas are made for adults. As for senior cats, they can eat both adult and senior life stage food. They just need a reduced portion size to avoid becoming obese. 

2. Weight

Weight is a big concern when choosing cat food for Exotic shorthairs. This breed is at a high risk of becoming obese, so you need to make sure that their cat food contains lots of proteins, minimal carbs, and controlled calories. 

Whichever cat food you choose, talk to your vet about it. They will consider several factors, such as your cat’s current weight and calories in the cat food, and then advise you to feed a certain quantity to help your cat maintain a healthy weight. 

Special diet requirements of Exotic shorthairs

The basic diet of an Exotic shorthair is somewhat similar to other breeds. But there are certain factors that you need to consider before you purchase a cat food for them. They are as follows:

1. Soft and easy to chew food

Probably the most recognizable feature of the Exotic shorthair is their flat and broad face. This facial structure is only present in brachycephalic breeds such as Pugs, Bulldogs, and Persian cats, who are close cousins of the Exotic shorthair. While this ‘punch face’ structure does gives this breed a distinct look, it also makes it difficult for them to chew and swallow food. 

Because of this problem, Exotic shorthairs need to be fed something they can easily pick up and chew. Wet food is the best solution in this case. It’s much easier to chew than dry kibbles and has other benefits that we’ll discuss later. You can also choose a raw diet, but raw food is difficult to handle and poses a contamination hazard.

If you do plan to feed your cat a wet diet, remember to brush their teeth frequently. Choosing wet food takes away the tartar-removing benefit of dry kibble food. Since exotic shorthairs are already predisposed to dental issues, the last thing you want is for them to develop gum and tooth infections. 

2. Proper hydration to control PKD and stones

Most Exotic shorthairs suffer from a hereditary disease called Polycystic kidney disease. The condition causes cysts to develop in the kidneys, which impairs normal kidney function and can even lead to kidney failure. The Exotic shorthair breed is also susceptible to developing calcium oxylate stones that form due to lack of hydration. 

To counter both of these conditions, you need to make sure that your Exotic shorthair is fully hydrated at all times. PKD sometimes requires IV fluid injections, but drinking more water also helps immensely in combating the issue. Being well-hydrated also plays a role in flushing out excess minerals and toxins, which prevents the buildup of stones in the bladder.

There are two simple ways to increase your cat’s water intake; feed them wet food or make water more accessible for them. Wet food is an excellent option for Exotic shorthairs since it’s both easy to chew and helps control the kidney issues this breed suffers from. 

If you can’t afford a wet food diet, make water more accessible for your cat. Buy a pet water dispenser and place several bowls of water around your house. Cats prefer to drink from fresh water sources, such as dripping taps and running streams. A water dispenser mimics that same mechanism and has proven effective in increasing cats’ water intake.

3. Low carbohydrate and controlled calories

Like their Persian cat cousins, Exotic shorthairs also tend to be lazy couch potatoes. This puts them at a much higher risk of becoming obese if their diet isn’t controlled. Obesity can create multiple health issues in the long run for these cats, particularly diabetes, heart diseases, and osteoarthritis. 

To prevent your cat from gaining extra pounds, plan a proper feeding routine for them with your veterinarian. Ideally, you should give them two or three meals a day, but what’s even more important is that you stick to that routine. The average Exotic shorthair only needs about 70 kcal per kg to maintain a normal weight. If you go overboard with the quantity or feed them too many treats, they’re bound to become obese.

Another thing to remember is that Exotic shorthairs should be fed as few carbohydrates as possible. A good quality cat food should mostly consist of proteins and minimal carbohydrates from sources such as potatoes, peas, and other easily-digestible foods. Grains should be avoided at all costs since they’re empty calories and can cause allergies.


How much do Exotic shorthairs weigh?

An average Exotic shorthair male cat weighs around 12lbs (5.5kg), while a female cat weighs around 10lbs (3.5kg). Most of the mass of Exotic shorthairs is from their dense bones, so don’t mistake your cat to be overweight. 

Can Exotic shorthairs be fed dry food?

Yes, Exotic shorthairs can be fed dry food. But if your cat has a problem with swallowing dry food, you could try moistening their kibbles with some water or broth to make it easier for them to eat.

Do Exotic shorthairs need to be fed by hand?

No, Exotic shorthairs can easily eat through a normal cat bowl. Just make sure that the bowl isn’t too deep and doesn’t get in the way of your cat’s whiskers.

How much water should an Exotic shorthair drink?

The average cat needs about 3.5 – 4.5 ounces of water per five pounds of body weight every day. Considering that the average Exotic shorthair weighs around 10lbs, they would need roughly 7 – 9 ounces of water a day. 

How long do exotic shorthair cats live?

The average lifespan of an Exotic shorthair is between 10 to 15 years, depending on their health status, environment, and overall diet.