Nulo Cat Food Reviews: 5 Best Protein-Rich Options

 

As an avid amateur athlete, fitness is a huge part of my life, and I understand how important what I eat is to my health and performance. While I have always cared about my cat’s health, I had never really considered whether she needed the diet of an athlete, until I encountered the Nulo cat food brand sponsoring a triathlon event. This led me to investigate the brand, and I have to say that I have been nothing but impressed. I can now hardly imagine feeding my active cat anything else.

In this article, I will tell you everything you need to know about the Nulo brand and let you know which of its many great lines give you the most bang for your buck.

 

If You’re in a Rush…

Nulo’s Freestyle Wet Cat Food is excellent, using high-quality meat to deliver a high protein recipe that contains almost no carbohydrates. However, it is Nulo’s Freestyle Dry Cat Food that really stands out as a product above the rest. Dry cat food needs carbohydrates to give it its texture and preservation, but Nulo manages to deliver dry cat food made with at least 80% animal products, smartly mixed with safe carbohydrate sources. This is what makes it probably one of the best dry cat foods on the market.

Here are the products that we’ll delve into in this Nulo review:

 

 

5 Nulo Cat Food Reviews

 

Nulo Freestyle Turkey and Chicken Recipe Grain-Free Canned Cat and Kitten Food

In general, Nulo’s wet cat food is better than its dry offering, but this is hardly surprising, as it is easier to make a good wet cat food than a dry one. Good wet cat food mostly contains meat and doesn’t need a lot of carbohydrates and other foods that aren’t a natural part of a cat’s diet to give it texture and preservation. The main difference between wet cat foods is the quality of the meat that they use as their basis.

Nulo’s Freestyle Grain-Free Canned cat food for cats and kittens prioritizes the best quality meat. Its turkey and chicken recipe combines turkey, chicken, turkey liver, and tuna, using muscle and organ meat, and not including any meal or meat by-products. Meal and meat by-products aren’t bad for your cat, but muscle and organ meat have more of the vitamins and minerals that cats need to thrive. This is why this food is great for full-grown cats as well as kittens because in general, kittens need a little bit more of this nutrient goodness.

You would think that all that meat would be enough to make this a tasty treat for cats, but it is also enhanced with natural flavors, which is usually made from hydrolyzed animal tissue, which gives it a concentrated meat taste that cats love. However, some pet owners suggest that the food is a little on the dry side.

As this dish is delivered as quite a thick pate, it does require some carbohydrate thickening agent, mostly made from guar gum and agar agar. It is also enriched with a variety of vitamins and minerals, some from natural sources such as pumpkin, cranberries, dried kelp, and menhaden fish oil.

However, while pumpkin and cranberries may be superfoods for humans, there is no evidence to suggest that they do the same for cats. Unlike humans, and also dogs, cats are not evolved to produce the amino acids that they need from plant-based proteins, only animal-based proteins. Whether they can extract essential nutrients from pumpkin and cranberries is unclear.

Like many of Nulo’s recipes, this line contains unique GanedenBC30 probiotics, which are more stable for inclusion in preserved foods than other probiotics. It has the ability to form a protective spore, which will only germinate once it reaches the intestines, so it will not spoil during storage.

 

Pros

  • High in protein
  • High-quality meat source
  • Quality taste
  • Enriched with vitamins and minerals
  • Added stable probiotics
  • Range of flavors available

 

Cons

  • Dry texture

 

Nutritional Profile

  • Protein 11%
  • Crude fat 6.5%
  • Fiber 0.75%
  • Moisture 78%

 

This line comes in a wide range of flavors. This is important as when we find good food for our cat, we can be tempted to give it to them all the time. But cats without a varied diet are likely to develop sensitivities and allergies to the foods they eat they eat the most. So being able to mix it up is a bonus. Flavors include:

 

Overall: Quality Protein Taste

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Nulo Freestyle Minced Turkey and Duck in Gravy Grain-Free Canned Cat and Kitten Food

This alternative minced and shredded wet cat food from Nulo is built on the same principles as the first but is slightly less dense with meat. It uses the same high-quality meats but also has more alternative foods included, such as dried egg whites, carrots, and ground peas. These give the recipe a different texture, and also make the food a bit high in carbohydrates. While carbohydrates are not dangerous for your cat, they do not offer any particular benefit, so they are just empty calories.

Apart from this, the two recipes are very similar. This one also has added natural flavor to give it a taste cats love, and it is enriched with a range of vitamins and minerals, including GanedenBC30 probiotics. If you want to see other wet food that we recommend, do check out this article.

 

Pros

  • High in protein
  • High-quality meat
  • Quality taste
  • Enriched with vitamins and minerals
  • Added stable probiotics
  • Range of flavors available

 

Cons

  • Unnecessary carbohydrates

 

Nutritional Profile

  • Protein 10%
  • Crude fat 3.5%
  • Crude fiber 1%
  • Moisture 82%

 

This line also comes in a wide range of flavors including:

 

Overall: Mix of Meat and Meal

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Nulo Freestyle Chicken and Cod Recipe Grain-Free Dry Cat and Kitten Food

Moving on to dry foods, Nulo’s Freestyle Grain-Free is another recipe that is high enough in good quality protein to be ideal for both kittens and cats. The recipe, which also comes in Turkey and Duck variety, mainly uses deboned chicken meat but mixes this with chicken meal and turkey meal. Meal is actually higher in protein than muscle meat, but as already mentioned, is lower in the essential vitamins and minerals that cats need to thrive. Still, animal products make up 80% of this cat feed, which is excellent for dry cat food.

Dry cat food does, however, need carbohydrates to give it is texture and preservation. This feed gets it from relatively good sources, including peas and lentils. However, do not be misled when ingredient lists include ingredients such as ‘pea protein’. This is not another great source of protein for your protein hungry cat. As already stated, cats can’t produce the amino acids that they need from plant-based proteins.

This kibble should be relatively easy for your cat to digest as it is relatively high in fiber, secured from sources such as peas, ground flaxseed, and chicory root. It also includes Nulo’s GanedenBC30 probiotics.

 

Pros

  • High in protein
  • Made from 80% animal ingredients
  • Low carbohydrate content
  • Added probiotics

 

Cons

  • Contains pea protein

 

Nutritional Profile

  • Protein 40%
  • Crude fat 20%
  • Fiber 4%
  • Moisture 10%

 

Overall: 80% Dry Meat

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Nulo Freestyle Duck and Lentils Grain-Free Indoor Dry Cat Food

Nulo’s indoor cat dry food recipe is very similar to their standard dry cat food formula but has increased fiber, mostly from the addition of sweet potato, plus all the existing fiber and probiotics in the original recipe. This should help deal with common indoor cat problems such as hairballs, as hair should be more easily digested. This recipe is also about 100 calories lower per cup than the standard formula, which means that more sedentary cats won’t put on excess weight.

The only downside with this recipe is that some indoor cats have sensitive stomachs, and can struggle with foods that contain a lot of different meats. This dry food contains chicken, duck, turkey, and cod, which can be a bit difficult for more sensitive stomachs.

 

Pros

  • High in protein
  • Made from 80% animal ingredients
  • Low carbohydrate content
  • Low in calories
  • High in fiber
  • Added probiotics

 

Cons

  • Contains pea protein
  • Mix of meat sources

 

Nutritional Profile

  • Protein 40%
  • Crude fat 17%
  • Crude fiber 5%
  • Moisture 10%

 

Overall: Protein and Digestion

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Nulo Freestyle Salmon and Lentils Recipe Grain-Free Adult Trim Dry Cat Food

Nulo’s special dry food recipe for weight management is also very similar to its original recipe. It is high in fiber, made with at least 80% animal products, but is a bit higher in fiber than the original recipe thanks to the inclusion of sweet potato, much like the indoor recipe.

Also, like the indoor recipe, it is low in calories to help keep an eye on your cat’s caloric intake. What sets this recipe apart from Nulo’s indoor dry food is that it includes L-carnitine, which is a metabolism boosting additive that will both help them burn more calories to maintain their weight and boost their energy.

 

Pros

  • High in protein
  • Made with 80% animal ingredients
  • Low carbohydrate content
  • Low in calories
  • High in fiber
  • Added probiotics
  • Includes metabolism-boosting L-carnitine

 

Cons

  • Contains pea protein

 

Nutritional Profile

  • Protein 42%
  • Crude fat 12%
  • Crude fiber 5%
  • Moisture 10%

 

Overall: Low-Calorie Protein

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About Nulo

Because this is a Nulo Cat Food review, we have to talk about the company as well. Nulo started life as a grassroots business when dog sitter pair Michael Landa and Brett Montana realized how many of the dogs they cared for were overweight and required at-home insulin injections. Their need to investigate the problem took them on a journey to develop low-glycemic pet foods, and in 2009, Nulo was born.

Nulo is based in Austin, Texas, but does not own its own plants. Its dry foods are manufactured0 by CJ Foods in Kansas and Nebraska, and its canned products are made by Simmons Pet Food, mostly in the United States. All of its facilities are USDA, FDA, and AAFCO approved and appear to offer safe, quality foods, as Nulo has yet to have a recall.

Nulo’s philosophy is to provide foods free from artificial additives and preservatives, and free from grains and other ingredients that are not a natural part of a cat’s diet. It also believes in making its recipes high in protein and rich in animal products, in line with the natural carnivorous diet of cats. In all of its dry recipes, the first four ingredients are all meat products, while its wet recipes contain what it describes as ‘industry-leading meat levels’. This brand is certainly gaining a reputation much like that of more established brands of high-protein, grain-free cat food, such as Natural Balance and Wellness CORE.

This focus on quality proteins means that most Nulo recipes are high enough in animal-based proteins and nutrients that they are ideal for both cats and kittens, who need a little bit more while growing. Nulo’s also has a variety of special recipes for specific needs such as indoor cats and weight management.

 

The Verdict

Nulo is definitely one of the better cat foods on the market. It’s Freestyle Wet Cat Food is excellent, using high-quality meat to deliver a high protein punch that contains almost no carbohydrates. But it is Nulo’s Freestyle Dry Cat Food that really stands out. Dry cat food needs carbohydrates to give it its texture and preservation, but Nulo manages to deliver dry cat food made with at least 80% animal products, smartly mixed with safe carbohydrate sources. This is probably one of the best dry cat foods on the market.

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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.