Today’s best cat foods–reviews of canned and raw options

UPDATE March 2016  (Merrick removed because they were bought by Purina in 2015 and I’ve heard too many complaints about the food since. Earlier update: new additions and some m ovement from 2nd to 1st place in the October 2015 changes noted here.)

The cat food world changes A LOT. When I have time, this list is updated. Meanwhile, you can help others by sharing info in the Comments. 

Scratching your head in the cat food aisle? I’ve been there.

In fact, I’ve become a bit obsessive about how to choose the best cat food. I hope the hours of research and time I put into it will help you–and your cat. If you’re curious, I explain how I selected these cat foods here and answer FAQ’s about it here.

My main concern with cat food is how it affects:

To me, these issues are even more important than the quality and source of the micro-ingredients in a food and who manufactures the food. Of course, I would never use a cat food created in China, but high quality pet food canning plants are few and far between even in the US. Now, there are some small ingredients I’ve taken a great interest in – such as carrageenan and BPA. This is because there may be life-threatening problems associated with these substances if they are consumed regularly over time. On the other hand, people ask about a lot of ingredients, like guar gum, that are not – to my knowledge thus far – known to be a big risk.

I think it’s easy, out of concern for your cat, to lose sight of the forest for the trees. So for me it’s about minimizing risk while keeping the higher priorities (above) in perspective and making sure we have enough good options to choose from.

Today’s best cat foods

If your cat has special health issues, please be sure to consult with a good vet about their food. If your cat has an illness with weakened immunity, some vets recommend avoiding raw meat as a precaution against bacteria.

Tip: On mobile, click the “+” signs for more info on each food.

FIRST PLACE
CANNED OR RAW CAT FOODS

WHAT’S
TO LOVE

COST

SPECIAL
CONCERNS & TIPS

Radcat RAW Frozen
Omega 3s (fish oil)
Simple formula
Most ingredients are organic or pasture-raised.
Raw is considered most easily digested,
nutrient-available form of cat food.
Very low starch, grain free
VERY HIGH compared to others on this list.
HOWEVER, this is because the recommend serving size is larger than the serving size recommend for other raw products.
AND Rad Cat says some cats may not need as much as they recommend, depending on cat size and activity level.
TIP: You can get 4 for the price of 3 of any Rad Cat size at Pet food Express stores (at least in California). Saves a bundle!
Not quite as convenient to serve as other raw food because it’s
not pre-portioned
Good news for cats with constipation: Uses organic egg shell calcium instead of ground bones, so it may be more suitable for cats with constipation. (Works best for our cat who can’t digest ground bone!)
Ziwipeak Canned Cat Food  Ziwipeak Canned
Meat ingredients are sourced from grass-fed farming with no hormones or antibiotics used. No BPA in can lining. No carrageenan (removed). Very low starch, grain free.
Sourced only from fully traceable, approved New Zealand farms. Manufactured in company-owned facilities in New Zealand

 

HIGH
They listened -removed carrageenan!
Primal, RAW
frozen
Some ingredients are organic (not the meats though).
Small company focused solely on quality pet food.
Omega 3s (fish oil)
Raw is considered most easily digested, nutrient-available form of cat food.
Very low starch, grain
LOW daily feeding cost compared to others on this list.
Includes ground bones—not recommended for cats with
kidney issues or constipation.
Tip: See their helpful food portion calculator provided online (it’s challenging to calculate amounts without it)
Uses water High Pressure Processing to kill bad bacteria while preserving the enzymes that make raw food nutrients so available.
Includes Montmorillonite Clay (from Azomite) that is tested as contaminant-free.
While Primal contains more plant matter than I like to see in a cat food (making it more complicated for digestion), the fact that it’s raw outweights that issue and keeps it in the 1st tier.
Nature’s Variety Instinct LID (Limited Ingredient) canned

LIDcat_duck_5oz_0
Meats sourced from US and New Zealand
(except rabbit)
No carrageenan
Very low starch, grain free
No BPA in 5.5oz and 3 oz cans
GMO free
Manufactured in US at APHIS EU Certified plant.
MED daily feeding cost compared to others on this list.
Recently moved from 2nd place to 1st place tier because the Montmorillonite Clay is tested to be toxin-free. According Nature’s Variety rep: “Our vendor tests the Montmorillonite Clay used in our diets for toxins and it is guaranteed toxin-free.” 
LID formulas are best as they have more simple ingredients than other Nature’s Variety canned recipes.
Wild Calling Canned Cat Food  Wild Calling
Grain-free
No artificial anything
Ingredients source in the US
Very low carb
No carrageenan
Family-owned
MED-LOW
Readers have reported that Wild Calling uses the Evanger’s Illinois plant for canning their formulas. Personally, I don’t consider this a big risk, but some are uncomfortable with it. In 2010, Evangers was found by the FDA to be using dishonest practices in their own formulas. While this is appalling, it had nothing to do with their plant’s canning of other small brands. And, it has been corrected. In my opinion, this food has too many good features to overlook because they need to use one on of the few available US pet food canning  plants (Evangers) to package their food.
Weruva Grain Free Cats in the Kitchen (cans + pouches)
No carrageenan
Simple ingredients
Grain-free
Responsive customer service
Certified GMO-free
Made in human-food processing facility
No BPA in can lining
MED -HIGH daily feeding cost compared to others on this list.
Moved from 2nd to 1st place because no longer contains starch ingredient.
Beef is from Australia & New Zealand. Fish is from international waters, except for Tilapia, which is farmed in Thailand. Chicken raised in Thaliand.
Manufactured in Thailand in human-food processing facility.
Tiki Cat Koolina Luau canned and Puka Puka Luau (both chicken) tikiKoolkinapuka_pukatiki
Very low starch, grain free
Manufactured in a human food factory
USDA certified chicken
Very simple ingredients– easy on digestion
No BPA in cans
No carrageenan
MED daily feeding cost compared to others on this list.
Made inThailand at a human food factory.  USDA certified chicken.
Feline’s Pride RAW Frozen
Good variety of selections: Cornish hen, turkey, chicken, duck, and more
Simple recipe (best digestion)
Omega 3s (fish oil)
Recommended by Feline
Nutrition Education Society

and Elizabeth Hodgkins, DVM is also a fan
Low starch, grain free
MED (when extra shipping costs are added) daily feeding cost compared to others on this list.
Order online at www.felinespride.com
Includes ground bones—not recommended for cats with
kidney issues or constipation.
Darwins RAW frozen darwins
All meats are hormone-and antibiotic-free and free-range
Claim human-quality ingredients
Raw is considered the most easily digested, nutrient-available form of cat food.
Low starch, grain free
Simple recipe (best for digestion)
MED-LOW
Lab-tested to meet and exceed AAFCO guidelines
Includes ground bones—not recommended for cats with
kidney issues or constipation
Pure Vita canned  
Grain free, low starch
Fairly simple ingredients
Manufactured at company-owned US plant
Fish meal is cetified ethoxyquin-free
No carrageenan

 

 

MED daily feeding cost compared to others on this list.
Good news: Though formula includes potato starch, the carb percentage remains very low (under 5%).
Good news: Controversial ingredient Menadione (synthetic K) was removed from product.
Hound & Gatos canned  
No BPA in can lining
No carrageenan
Low starch, grain free
Claim human-quality
US food and factory
MED daily feeding cost compared to others on this list.
There is a misprint on some cans that indicates the product contains Vitamin D2. I have been contacted by the owner of Hound & Gatos, who assures me that it is a misprint; the product still contains D3, not D2. We assume the misprint will be corrected on future labels.
Holistic Select Grain Free Canned Holistic Select Grain Free canned
Grain free
Ingredients are US only, with exception of Duck from Germany, Lamb from New Zealand
MED
Several plant ingredients, however these are all in powder form, making them simplier for cat digestion.
Readers have reported a rumor (yet to be confirmed) that Holistic Select uses the Evanger’s Illinois plant for canning their formulas. Personally, I don’t consider this a big risk, but some are uncomfortable with it. In 2010, Evangers was found by the FDA to be using dishonest practices in their own formulas. While this is appalling, it had nothing to do with their plant’s canning of other small brands. And, it has been corrected. In my opinion, this food has too many good features to overlook because they need to use one on of the few available US pet food canning  plants (Evangers) to package their food.
PAW NATURAW RAW frozen PAW_NATURAW
Raw is considered the most easily digested, nutrient-available form of cat food.
Organic meats!
Low starch, grain free
Variety of formulas
MED daily feeding cost compared to others on this list.
Formulated to meet the nutritional levels established by the AAFCO.
Includes ground bones—not recommended for cats with
kidney issues or constipation
They also have a freeze-dried raw cat food that looks good.

 

SECOND PLACE
CANNED OR RAW CAT FOODS

WHAT’S
TO LOVE

COST

WHY 2nd PLACE
& TIPS

Primal Freeze Dried RAW
More convenient than raw frozen food.
Raw is considered the most easily digested, nutrient-available form of cat food.
Low starch, grain free
Some ingredients are organic (not the meat)
LOW daily feeding cost compared to others on this list.
IMPORTANT: Add water  –  Cats can get dehydrated & accidentally overeat if you don’t add water.
All raw dehydrated food are in 2nd place because they require water to be healthy and many people may overlook this.
Includes ground bones—not recommended for cats with
kidney issues or constipation.
Includes Montmorillonite Clay (from Azomite) that is tested as contaminant-free.
Ziwipeak, Raw air-DEHYDRATED  
Omega 3s (fish oil)
No hormones and antibiotics
8% more moisture than most dry foods–more if you add water.
More convenient than raw frozen food.
Raw is considered the most easily digested, nutrient-available form of cat food.
Low starch, grain free; nice simple ingredients
LOW daily feeding cost compared to others on this list.
IMPORTANT To support kidney and urinary wellness in healthy cats, I would not serve this without mixing in some water.
All raw dehydrated food are in 2nd place because they require water to be healthy and many people may overlook this.
Includes ground bones—not recommended for cats with
kidney issues or constipation.
Several experts say dry foods are too dehydrating for cats with kidney problems.
FirstMate Limited Ingredient Canned  FirstMate - limited Ingredient
BPA free
Made in Vancouver, Canada
Uses free-range chicken. Vitamin and mineral supplements are sourced from North America, Germany and France.
Meats sourced from US, except Duck from Germany, Lamb from New Zealand/Australia.
MED
In 2nd place because contains some starch, making carb count slightly higher.
Party Animal Canned Cat Food  Party Animal
Grain free
Hand-crafted in small batches
Organic protein sources, oils, fruits, vegetables.
Made in USA
MED
In 2nd place because it contains several plant ingredients ingredients (harder for cats with sensitive digestion)
Feline Caviar Wet Food  Feline Caviar
Grain free
No GMO’s
Omega 3:6
Free-range chicken
Ingredients sourced from U.S. with the exception of lamb meal and venison meal from New Zealand; kelp from Norway
HIGH
In 2nd place because Feline Caviar uses the Evanger’s Illinois plant for canning their formulas. Personally, I don’t consider this a big risk, but some are uncomfortable with it. In 2010, Evangers was found by the FDA to be using dishonest practices in their own formulas. While this is appalling, it had nothing to do with their plant’s canning of other small brands. And, it has been corrected. In my opinion, this food has too many good features to overlook because they need to use one on of the few available US pet food canning plants (Evangers) to package their food.
Feline Natural Raw Freeze Dried by K9
More convenient than raw frozen food.
Raw is considered the most easily digested, nutrient-available form of cat food.
Low starch, grain free
Nice simple ingredients are easy on digestiom (if you add water as instructed –
cats accidentally overeat if you don’t)
Clean New Zealand sourced ingredients
LOW daily feeding cost compared to others on this list.
IMPORTANT: Stir in warm water (at about body temp); don’t have to wait to serve. Cats can get dehydrated & accidentally overeat if you don’t add water.
All raw dehydrated are in 2nd place because they require added water to be healthy and many people may overlook this.
Includes ground bones—not recommended for cats with
kidney issues or constipation.
“Has been tested and exceeds the AAFCO minimum requirements” – including taurine. (Shane Bartlettf, K9 Natural Food)
Honest Kitchen GRACE DEHYDRATED
grace-grain-free-cat-food-4lb
Only pet food legally allowed to call themselves “human grade” (they won a lawsuit). Company owned US plant is certified for organic and kosher products by the state of California.
Meat is steamed at low temperatures to kill pathogens while conserving nutrient quality, then dehydrated.
Grain free
LOW daily feeding cost compared to others on this list.
In 2nd place because contains starchy ingredients, making carb count a bit higher than first place foods. NOTE “Grace” is lower in carbs and simpler in ingredients than “Prowl”
You need to add water soak it for about 15-20 minutes before serving.
Introduce gradually. Texture is unique–some cats resist it. Ours like it better with ground turkey added.
Tip: Best deal I found on a trial
size
is at their online store.
Stellas Freeze Dried RAW

Only the Chicken, Duck, and Turkey are Menadione-free.
More convenient than raw frozen food.
Raw is considered the most easily digested, nutrient-available form of cat food.
Low starch, grain free
Nice simple ingredients are easy on digestion
MED daily feeding cost compared to others on this list.
All raw dehydrated are in 2nd place because they require added water to be healthy and many people may overlook this.
Avoid the seafood formulas, as they contain Menadione.
IMPORTANT: Add water; rehydrate for 1 minute.  Add water as instructed.
cats can get dehydrated & accidentally overeat if you don’t.
Includes ground bones—not recommended for cats with
kidney issues or constipation.
LOTUS canned
No carrageenan
No ethoxyquin in fish
Very low starch, grain free
All ingredients sourced from US, Canada,
New Zealand
Made in small batches in US
Claim not to have BPA in lining
Medium daily feeding cost compared to
others on this list.
In 2nd place because contains large fish (4th ingredient), so should not be fed exclusively due to concerns about accumulated ocean pollution toxins and/or extra iodine affecting thyroid health over time.
Taste of the WILD canned
No BPA in cans
No carrageenan
No ethoxyquin in fish
Low starch, grain free
MED daily feeding cost compared to others on this list.
In 2nd place because contains large fish, so should not be fed exclusively due to concerns about accumulated ocean pollution toxins and/or extra iodine affecting thyroid health over time.
Also contains small amount of menadione sodium bisulfite (controversial form of vitamin K)
ADDICTION Carrageenan-free formulas only: Duck, Venison, Buffalo, Rabbit, Turkey
Grain free
No carrageenan
Manufactured in company-owned New Zealand plant
MED daily feeding cost compared to others on this list.
In 2nd place because contains starchy ingredients, making carb count a bit higher than first place foods.
Also because many formulas large fish, so those should not be fed exclusively due to concerns about accumulated ocean pollution toxins and/or extra iodine affecting thyroid health over time.
Soulistic canned Carrageenan-free formulas only: Good Karma, Harvest Sunrise
Claims human-quality food sources and “free range” chicken
No GMOs
Grain free
No Carrageenan (Good Karma and Harvest Sunrise)
MED daily feeding cost compared to others on this list.
In 2nd place because contains starchy ingredients, making carb count a bit higher than first place foods.
Other carrageenan-free formulas were removed from this list because they contain controversial ingredient Menadione (synthetic K)
Manufactured in Thaliand at USDA-approved human food facility
You’ll find it at PETCO
ORGANIX Grain-Free Canned Cat Food Organix
GMO-free certified.
Organic (meats and protein sources as well as flaxseed, cranberries and carrots)
No carrageenan
Made in USA
omega-6 and 3 fatty acids,
No artificial preservatives, growth hormones or antibiotics in organic ingredients—ever
MED
In 2nd place because Organix is owned by Merrick, which was bought by Purina in 2015. They say the company will still operate independently with no changes. The takeover process will take many months. For these reasons, I would say the product is probably still fine for now, but after 2016, let’s revisit what’s happening with Merrick and the quality of its ingredients. (If you notice anything, let me know. I have already had too many complaints about the Merrick canned cat food and removed it from this list in March 2016. I believe Organix food has more of chance of maintaining quality thanks to certified organic standards.)
 Impulse by Halo   Impulse by Halo
No grains
No BPA in can lining
No rendered meats
Includes omega 3 + 6
Ingredients sourced in US, except lamb from New Zealand and peas from Canada
Includes a Quail formula, which is a good novel protein for cats with digestive tracts requiring alternatives (it also contains chicken though)
MED-HIGH
A little dry – try mixing a splash of water
Moved to 2nd place because Impulse now uses D2 instead of D3. While I’ve disqualified other foods because of they contain D2, I am revisiting this decision because we don’t have all the facts yet on D2 vs. D3. However, we know D2 is not utilized as easily, especially in cats, and there was a study that found mortality rate went slightly up in humans taking D2 and DOWN in humans taking D3 – see Mercola article.
Also, the president of the Vitamin D Council is anti-D2: “If you take ergocalciferol…[D2]…be warned…It does not normally occur in the human body and is probably a weak agonist at the receptor site, meaning it may actually partially block vitamin D actions. Ergocalciferol is the villain in most of the reported cases of [Vitamin D] toxicity in the world’s literature.”

 

Great Life Essentials canned  greatLife
Meats sourced from US
No carrageenan
Low starch, grain free
No GMOs

 

LOW daily feeding cost compared to others on this list.
In 2nd place because Great Life uses the Evanger’s Illinois plant for canning their formulas. Personally, I don’t consider this a big risk, but some are uncomfortable with it. In 2010, Evangers was found by the FDA to be using dishonest practices in their own formulas. While this is appalling, it had nothing to do with their plant’s canning of other small brands. And, it has been corrected. In my opinion, this food has too many good features to overlook because they need to use one on of the few available US pet food canning  plants (Evangers) to package their food.
SOJOS Freeze Dried Raw  SOJOS
Raw is considered the most easily digested, nutrient-available form of cat food.
Low starch, grain free
USDA meat
Variety of formulas to choose
MED daily feeding cost compared to others on this list.
IMPORTANT: Add water to ensure proper amounts of food and moisture; Cats can get dehydrated & accidentally overeat if you don’t add water.
All raw dehydrated foods are in 2nd place because they require added water to be healthy and many people may overlook this.
Includes ground bones—not recommended for cats with kidney issues or constipation
Meets (exceeds) minimum nutritional levels established by the AAFCO.com.
Tiki Cat Hanalei Luau Wild Salmon, canned
Sources through environmental fishing practices; seafood sustainability and food safety guidelines
Manufactured in a human food factory (quality is visible—looks and smells like human food)
Omega 3’s
No carrageenan
No BPA in cans
Low starch, grain free
MED daily feeding cost compared to others on this list
In 2nd place because contains large fish, so should not be fed exclusively due to concerns about accumulated ocean pollution toxins and/or extra iodine affecting thyroid health over time.
No longer contains menadione (controversial synthetic vitamin K).
Note: Avoid the TikiCat formulas that have grain (rice) in them. (This Wild Salmon one doesn’t have it.)
Life’s Abundance Instinctive Choice canned
Simple ingredients, include organic chicken
Omega 3s (fish oil)
No carrageenan
Very low starch, grain free
No BPA in cans
US ingredients only
MED-HIGH daily feeding cost compared to others on this list.
In 2nd place because Instinctive Choice is manufactured in a Simmons Food facility,  Simmons bought Menu Food after Menu Foods messed up big time in 2007. (I personally don’t think this is much of a risk though because Simmons is not Menu Foods and the dreadful 2007 Menu Foods incidents/recall was related to foods with wheat gluten from China. This food does not contain wheat gluten or ingredients from China.)
Most cats love this food.
I can only find it online–by the case. I suggesting getting their trial size first.
You can save money & time with their auto-ship option.
Wellness Healthy Indulgence pouches with GRAIN FREE labels only
Grain free
High moisture
Less fuss than cans
No carrageenan
VERY HIGH daily feeding cost compared to others on this list.
Instructions say feed 2 pouches for every 5 lbs of cat, so an active 10 lb cat would need 4 pouches per day – that’s a lot.
In 2nd place because contains starchy ingredients, making carb count a bit higher than first place foods.
CAUTION: The pouches not labeled Grain Free contain oat fiber, which is gluten-free in this case, but may not be the most digestible substance for cats.

While all of these cat food choices are unbiased and based solely on what I would buy, I have started to allow some links on this page to be affiliate links in order to keep this blog funded.

Most cats resist unfamiliar food at first! Buy and try SMALL at first AND use these smart tips to help your cat accept new foods:

If your cat has IBS symptoms or digestive issues

See How treatment-resistant feline IBS symptoms healed in one month and What to feed cats with feline IBS, diarrhea, or frequent hairballs.

If your cat’s favorite natural cat food didn’t make the list…

Many cat foods almost made this list. There were so many foods, I had to be brutal in selecting.

See These natural cat foods didn’t make the “best” list: here’s why (includes the Runner Ups!).

Maybe I missed a food. Let me know if you have questions–I won’t always be able to answer every question personally, but I will add foods you ask about to my “To Be Researched” list.

I also started a list best dry cat foods here–with some health caveats.

Resources

Where to find these foods

  • Only Natural Pet Store (carries most of these foods – affiliate store chosen for their reasonable prices)
  • Amazon.com and Petfooddirect.com carry many of these foods.
  • Many brands are available online directly from the company that makes them
  • Your local pet food store (especially if holistic) may have some brands
  • Whole Foods carries Primal cat food

Resources for making cat food

Making your own raw cat food can cost even less than the packaged raw cat foods, and is one the healthiest things you can do for most cats. However, it is absolutely essential that you do it right, and add proper nutrients—serious health problems could result if you don’t add the right nutrients. Here’s the scoop!

 

Your experience? Let’s talk!

None of these foods are perfect, but they met my “best of” criteria. However, every cat has different needs, just like you and I do.

I welcome your experiences, opinions, and contributions in the comments below.

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1,419 Responses to Today’s best cat foods–reviews of canned and raw options

  1. Iman April 8, 2016 at 7:59 pm #

    Hello,

    My cat eats nature variety raw chicken food ever since she was a kitten. What are your thoughts on this brand? Also recently the vet found crystals in her urine and they are usually caused by feeding cats dry food. Do you think the raw food caused this?

  2. speed1liteGP April 9, 2016 at 5:49 am #

    I don’t know if it’s available in the USA but I feed my 2 guys Petcurean Go! brand (Made in Canada and the US). The ingredients are simple and none of their cat formulas contain Carrageenan and the cans are BPA free.

  3. PB April 22, 2016 at 9:28 am #

    Ziwipeak now contains D2 rather than D3..The cans with and expiration date of 2019 all have D2. The cans with a 2018 expiration date still have D3.

  4. Bonnie April 22, 2016 at 9:37 pm #

    What do you think of BFF cat food?

  5. Jamie April 24, 2016 at 6:12 pm #

    Thank you so much for this website! I have been trying to find cat food with good ingredients without bpa can lining for a while. All of your details are so helpful! Your site is a wonderful resource!

  6. Linda Motschiedler April 25, 2016 at 2:36 pm #

    I’ve been reading this blog since my cat was diagnosed with IBD. I already switched her to Orijen dry and she and my other cat took to it right away as my cats were used to dry food. I was looking for a new canned food and was going to try Natures Variety Instinct LI first but someone on this site talked about sharp bones in it so I have been trying Wild Calling for about a week now. I would just mention that this food also has some small bone fragments in it but I am not so sure it is a problem. However, I have encountered a problem in that my 2 cats are small and with the 5 oz can I always have leftovers and they will not eat them (refrigerated or room temp) so I am wasting too much food. Apparently this food does not come in a smaller size AND you must buy it in mixed flavors by a case of 12. Any suggestions?

    Thinking of trying Natures Variety LI which seems to come in 3 oz cans. I wish you could buy a few single cans just to try it!

    • Mari April 25, 2016 at 4:21 pm #

      Nature’s Variety LI Pork doesn’t have bones in it almost at all.

      • hpicardi April 25, 2016 at 4:29 pm #

        bones? I have never seen bones in Nature’s Variety Turkey LI (that’s the only one I feed). On another note, my mini tigers will eat anything I feed them (thank the Lord!) but as far as left over food I generally put it in a ziplock bag, smooth the food out and dip it in hot water for 2-3 minutes. And the warm (not hot) food seems to be much more appealing. Hope that helps!

        • Linda Motschiedler April 27, 2016 at 9:50 pm #

          Thx for that suggestion and I will try it. My Natures Variety LI came today and I did NOT see any bones in it. My cats seemed to like the turkey. Sorry I listened to that post but she even showed a pic of all the bone fragments! Thanks again!

  7. animaux April 27, 2016 at 5:54 pm #

    Thanks for a great breakdown here. Wanted to add that I believe Party Animal is canned by Evangers, which is why we stopped feeding it not long after it came out. Too bad, though, because our cats enjoyed it.

  8. BlackJena April 29, 2016 at 1:03 pm #

    I have recently reduced my wet food choices from Weruva & Applaws, & Fromm down to just Nature’s Variety Instinct LID & Wild Calling. I would like to caution people about their canning practices which seem to be problematic at the moment. Do these companies use the same co-packer? I have found issues such as rusty spots near the seal, a white coating over the top of the food once opened, orange/greasy/gelatinous film on the food and a strange bumpy surface, and also a watery and odd jagged pattern in the food which is not normal with these brands. I recently bought the Wild Calling Alligator and was hard pressed to find a can without rust. In the end I could only find two in the whole store. I also had a problem finding cans of NV without dents or damage. Three of the four stores I shop at have issues. One store owner had to return all her Nature’s Variety to the distributor because of can damage. This is a product integrity issue. I have taken photos and plan to contact these companies because I am throwing out a lot of food, and consequently, lots of money! I don’t mind paying extra, but I’m not in the business of making donations to corporations for substandard products. I really need an immediate alternative. My cats require a limited ingredient diet and I am troubled by the recent issues with my fav two brands. Please do not feed your pet anything that looks suspicious. There are very real issues that left unchecked, may make your pets sick, or worse. Please stay vigilant, and share any experiences you may have had with these brands. Thanks so much!

    • humberto picardi April 29, 2016 at 1:42 pm #

      I experienced MANY issues with crushed cans of NV LID (turkey) last year, ordering from Petco.com (and sometimes even on in-store purchases at petco). This year I have not seen a SINGLE crushed can coming from chewy.com. The NV packaging seems the same. I believe that the outside packaging/warehouse handling at the different re-sellers is the problem. Of course, I can’t be sure if the manufacturer improved THEIR processes just at the time I switched re-sellers

      • josinger14 April 29, 2016 at 1:52 pm #

        I had the same experience with purchasing from Petco. No problems with chewy.com on the NV LID either turkey or the lamb. Our cats love this food also. Another great thing about Chewy is if there are problems they take care of their customers extremely well. they will replace any cans of food that are dented. I love Chewy. Wonderful customer service!!!

        • humberto picardi April 29, 2016 at 2:00 pm #

          In all fairness to Petco they also replaced/refunded any dented cans (with option to get refund at local store). But my time investment was huge….

    • Geo55 April 30, 2016 at 5:00 pm #

      Did you know….that pet food companies are ‘allowed’ by the FDA to use alternative meat(s) other than what’s listed on the label? They can do this for up to 6 months with no penalty. Yet another travesty of the pet food (feed) industry. I really feel for people who need to avoid certain ingredients to have healthy cats. So important to exercise as much care as possible and remain vigilant!

  9. Molly April 30, 2016 at 12:42 am #

    I cannot tell you how grateful I am for this post and for the continuous energy you put into keeping it up-to-date. It’s one of my favorite bookmarks, and I refer back to every time I change food. My cat has struggled with a combination of dietary sensitivities, but (knock on wood) we’ve been in good shape for over 2 years now. Every time I rotate her food, I refer back to this post. A thousand thank-yous for all of your efforts!

  10. Terri April 30, 2016 at 6:35 pm #

    Thank you so much for all the research you’ve done on these foods. My cat has food allergies and as a result suffers from intermittent IBS and has had two bouts of pancreatitis. He went from 18 lbs, yes too big, but with his wide build and he’s on steroids for asthma, vets never complained too much, but when the food allergy kicked in at its fullest he went down to 12lbs. The vet said he cannot lose anymore weight. The Vet food was the worst and he finally refused to eat any of it. He was vomited 2-3 times a week. I switched to Blue buffalo as everyone said it was great. He was on it for a year, did great and then he started vomiting. I found bone fragments in the food and the consistency changed so I stopped giving it to him. I believe they’re no longer making the BB Mature Limited Ingredient anymore and there are many reports of people’s pets getting sick on BB. When I returned the cans Petco said they’d pulled it off the shelves. It was a nightmare finding something new. The holistic vet recommended Merrick Limited ingredient. He didn’t love it, but he ate it and the vet said that they shouldn’t love their food, it’s simply nourishment and they just need to eat it and do well on it. I don’t know why we think our cats have to love food for it to be good, but basically the opposite is true if it’s too good to them, there are usually unhealthy additives. Well he did great on Merrick until last week. His weight has been stable and he was looking healthy. I bought 8 cases of 24 at the end of last year which must have been the last pre-purina batch. I ordered a new batch last week, 4 cases of 24. I opened a can and it was soupy, smelled stronger than usual, but he actually was demanding it more than usual. I gave it to him, but he vomited on can 3 and developed diarrhea. I usually taste the food, but didn’t this time as I’d tasted the Merrick in the past and it was fine. No flavor at all really. Something said taste the food as I felt like something was wrong. It tasted very metallic and a bit like it was spoiled. It was awful. He’s on the duck as we were staying away from turkey and chicken and it’s hard finding LI rabbit or vennison these days. But considering I was desperate, I went to petsmart and bough the NV Instinct LI Turkey. I wasn’t giving him another can of the Merrick Duck. The vet expressed concern over Purina purchasing them last year and she was right. I’m not sure what they’re doing differently but it made my cat sick. I hope he adjusts to the Instict LI and that the turkey doesn’t make him sick. Tried it in the past and he refused to eat it. He ate it today with no issues. I was scared that the NV Instict LI wouldn’t make the grade and I’m glad it has. I just hope now that he will continue to eat it and there’s no vomiting or IBS flare up. You’ve given me a great new perspective about healthy cat food and I really appreciate it. Sorry for the long post.

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