Japanese cat food, unfortunately, leaves a lot to be desired. Even the “premium” and often vet-recommended Japanese brands are packed with carbohydrate fillers and preservatives. The carb fillers are cheap for manufacturers but not good for your cat, much like junk food for humans.
Thankfully there are some foreign brands of cat food sold in Japan that are of much higher quality than the Japanese brands. In particular my family has found that brands made in Canada, New Zealand, and France seem to have government-enforced quality standards and strict labeling requirements. You may find other countries with similar standards but we have been most comfortable with the above three countries.
I’m not sure if our cats are just spoiled but they seem to like variety so we rotate through different flavors and brands. Right now their favorite is ACANA Pacifica and they gobble it up like there’s no tomorrow! We also have a couple of different NOW FRESH flavors on hand to either mix in with the ACANA or to just give them the occasional change. They tend to like seafood options more than anything else (no surprise there I guess…) but some other flavors have been hits as well. Some brands have smaller packages you can buy to see what your cat likes before you spend more on larger sizes. Here are ACANA’s 340g cat food sampler sizes.
You may need to try several flavors and/or brands before you find what your cat craves but thankfully there are quite a few options available! Japanese cat owners are also becoming more demanding in regards to food so there is some hope that the Japanese standard brands might improve over time. Until then, imported food is the way to go!