Merrick Cat Food Reviews: All the Feline Favorites

 

I am a firm believer in the adage that you are what you eat, and just as I am very careful about what I put in my own body, I am also very careful about what I feed my cat. This often involves finding brands that share my philosophy of high-protein, grain-free, species appropriate foods, and that I can trust to deliver foods that match their marketing hype.

One brand that recently caught my attention is Merrick, which has been making dog food for over 30 years and started making cat food as well in 2013. Joining in the game so late, they have been able to incorporate a lot of industry learning about cat food into their lines, and the result is a strong, natural brand.

Read on to discover more about Merrick and for my top five Merrick cat foods.

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At a Glance: Top Merrick Cat Food

Merrick’s Backcountry grain-free morsels represent the best of their wet foods, but it also comes with quite a hefty price tag. Their Purrfect Bistro pate is also a good wet food choice if you are looking for something more affordable. All of Merrick’s dry cat foods are pretty solid choices as far as dry cat foods go. But if you looking for something a bit special, try their Backcountry raw infused dry food as a way of introducing raw nutrition into your cat’s diet.

Here are all the products featured in this review

 

Merrick Cat Food Reviews

Merrick offers a wide range of products for cats at every life stage, but below I have picked my top five Merrick cat foods for adult cats.

 

Merrick Backcountry Grain-Free Morsels in Gravy Real Rabbit Recipe Cuts Cat Food Pouches

While this wet food from Merrick is actually their lowest in protein, it is their best quality wet food, and therefore unsurprisingly their most expensive.

The recipe is based on fresh muscle meat and organ meat – organs, especially liver, provide cats with much-needed nutrients. There is no meal or animal by-products in this recipe, or indeed any of Merrick’s wet food recipes. It achieves its high protein level by mixing a variety of different meat protein sources, just as you would expect from a premium wet food.

This is fine for the majority of cats, but some cats find it difficult to digest these kinds of mixed meat meals. It would be good if this was made clearer on the packaging so that pet parents could make more informed choices.

 

Pros

  • High in protein
  • Combines muscle meat with organs for the best nutrition
  • Enriched with salmon oil to provide essential fats
  • Grain-free
  • Enriched with essential vitamins, minerals, amino acids, and probiotics
  • Free from artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives
  • Variety of flavors available

 

Cons

  • Contains a mix of meats not listed in the recipe name
  • Price

 

Nutritional Profile

  • Crude protein 9% minimum
  • Crude fat 3% minimum
  • Crude fiber 1.2% maximum
  • Moisture 81% maximum

 

The recipe is grain-free, and grains have not just been replaced with other unneeded carbohydrates, which is great. It is also free from all artificial additives and enriched with all the nutrients and probiotics that we have come to expect from premium cat foods.

Finally, it also comes in a pretty extensive range of flavors. This is great when you find a cat food that you like as it is not generally good for your cat to eat the same foods every day, as it is the foods that they eat most often that they are likely to develop sensitivities or allergies.

Overall: Quality Mixed Protein

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Merrick Purrfect Bistro Grain-Free Chicken Pate Canned Cat Food

This more affordable Purrfect Bistro wet food recipe from Merrick is also high in fiber, mixing muscle and organ meat, but from a limited range of sources that are clearly shown on the packaging. It is also grain-free, packed with nutrients and probiotics, free from all the bad artificial stuff, and comes in a wide variety of flavors.

 

The red flag with this dish for me, and why it did not make it to number one on my list, is that it is thickened with guar gum and carrageenan. Carrageenan is a controversial ingredient as it may contribute to inflammation and is a potential carcinogen. But it is up to each pet parent to decide how they feel about this ingredient.

 

Pros

  • High in protein
  • Combines muscle meat with organs for the best nutrition
  • Enriched with salmon oil to provide essential fats
  • Grain-free
  • Enriched with essential vitamins, minerals, amino acids, and probiotics
  • Free from artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives
  • Variety of flavors available

 

Cons

  • Thickened with Carrageenan

 

Nutritional Profile

  • Crude protein 10% minimum
  • Crude fat 5% minimum
  • Crude fiber 1% maximum
  • Moisture 78% maximum

 

Overall: Affordable Quality Protein

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Merrick Backcountry Grain-Free Chicken Pate Canned Cat Food

A third good wet food from Merrick is their pate Backcountry line. It is higher in protein than the first two wet cat foods on this list, it doesn’t mix its meat sources, and it is free from potentially carcinogenic ingredients.

Nevertheless, this recipe is lower down on my list because, as well as being high in animal-based protein, it is also relatively high in plant-based protein obtained from peas and potatoes. This artificially raises the protein level of the dish, as this protein offers little nutritional value to cats.

Unlike humans and dogs, that can produce the essential amino acids that we need from animal or plant protein, cats can only produce many of the essential compounds that they need from animal-based protein. Consequently, this plant protein is just empty filler.

 

Pros

  • High in protein
  • Enriched with salmon oil to provide essential fats
  • Grain-free
  • Enriched with essential vitamins, minerals, amino acids, and probiotics
  • Free from artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives
  • Variety of flavors available

 

Cons

  • Contains pea and potato protein
  • Price

 

Nutritional Profile

  • Crude protein 11% minimum
  • Crude fat 7% minimum
  • Crude fiber 1.2% maximum
  • Moisture 78% maximum

 

Overall: Animal and Plant Protein

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Merrick Backcountry Raw Infused Game Bird Recipe with Chicken, Duck and Quail Grain-Free Dry Cat Food

Moving onto dry foods, I actually really like the Merrick Backcountry raw infused dry food. It starts with a good quality dry cat food that is high in protein and made from a mix of deboned chicken with chicken, turkey, and salmon meal, as is common for dry cat foods. This kibble is free from anything artificial and is infused with all those good nutrients that we have come to expect.

What sets this food apart is that it also contains freeze-dried chunks of raw chicken, duck, and quail. Raw food is great for your cat as it is what they have evolved to eat naturally, and it has much more of the essential nutrients that they need, as many of these are lost in the cooking process.

Freeze-drying the meat retains these nutrients but gives it a longer shelf life. I would love to be able to just feed my cat raw food, but it would be both expensive and challenging (it is not as simple as cutting up raw chunks of meat for them), and this offers an easy and convenient way to introduce some raw meat into their diet.

 

Pros

  • High in protein
  • Enriched with chicken fat to provide essential fats
  • Grain-free
  • Enriched with essential vitamins, minerals, amino acids, and probiotics
  • Free from artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives
  • Variety of flavors available

 

Cons

  • Contains pea and potato protein
  • Price
  • Limited flavors available

 

Nutritional Profile

  • Crude protein 42% minimum
  • Crude fat 14% minimum
  • Crude fiber 4% maximum
  • Moisture 11% maximum

 

Overall: Raw Meat Nutrition

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Merrick Purrfect Bistro Grain-Free Real Chicken and Sweet Potato Recipe Adult Dry Cat Food

Finally, Merrick’s Purrfect Bistro dry cat food is a good quality dry cat food if you are looking for the basics. It is high in protein, grain-free, free of artificial additives, and enriched with essential nutrients.

The recipe does contain potato protein and dried whey protein concentrate, but it is difficult to find dry cat foods that do not contain these types of filler ingredients, which are needed to give kibble its texture and preservation.

 

 

Pros

  • High in protein
  • Enriched with chicken fat to provide essential fats
  • Grain-free
  • Enriched with essential vitamins, minerals, amino acids, and probiotics
  • Free from artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives
  • Variety of flavors available

 

Cons

  • Contains potato protein and dried whey protein concentrate

 

Nutritional Profile

  • Crude protein 40% minimum
  • Crude fat 14% minimum
  • Crude fiber 7.5% maximum
  • Moisture 11% maximum

 

Overall: Good Quality Basics

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About Merrick

The Merrick pet food brand dates back to 1988 when the Merrick family started making dog treats on their Texas ranch. Due to the popularity of their treats, they slowly started expanding their brand, finally branching out to cat food in 2013. While Merrick continues to operate as an independent business, it has been owned by Nestle Purina since 2015, and is therefore a sister brand of Friskies and other Purina pet food brands.

Merrick aims to make all-natural food for animals based on five promises about its ingredients and manufacturing process. These promises are:

  1. To partner with local growers to support local communities and ensure the freshness of ingredients. This means that all ingredients are sourced from the United States.
  2. To use nutritious, whole foods and never use any artificial flavors, colors, or preservatives.
  3. To provide a diet natural for animals that contains between 30 to 80 percent protein (depending on the type of food) sourced from meat, poultry, and fish.
  4. To offer something that they characterize as ‘health you can see’, which means enriching their food with healthy fats, glucosamine, and chondroitin, which should support a healthier and glossier looking coat.
  5. To prepare all their foods in their company-owned kitchens in Texas, which are certified by the USDA National Organic Program.

Despite getting into the game late, Merrick offers a wide range of premium cat foods including dry food, wet food, raw mixers, and treats. They have three main lines. The first is Purrfect Bistro, their original line, which offers a range of standard cat foods for different life stages and needs.

Their second line is a limited ingredient product very similar to their classic line but adapted for cats with food sensitivities and allergies. Their final line is called Backcountry and is their high-end food that uses all natural ingredients.

But which of their lines offers the best nutrition for your cat and the best value for money?

 

The Verdict

Overall, Merrick is a good quality cat food that exceeds pretty well when it comes to providing natural, species appropriate foods for cats. For me, their Backcountry grain-free morsels are the best of their wet foods, but it also comes with quite a hefty price tag. Their Purrfect Bistro pate is also a good wet food choice if you are looking for something more affordable.

All of Merrick’s dry cat foods are pretty solid choices as far as dry cat foods go. But if you looking for something a bit special, try their Backcountry raw infused dry food as a way of introducing raw nutrition into your cat’s diet.

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Kristen Chapple

Kristen Chapple

Hi I'm Kristen, cat lover and blogger. I was born into a cat-loving family and have been a proud kitty mommy ever since I can remember. I love sharing my cat knowledge and love being an active part of the kitty-loving community.