How Good Is Purina Cat Food For Your Cat, Really?
Top Picks & Reviews 2019

purina cat food review

 

Hunting around for the cat foods that both my cat and I love the most can be challenging. While I had it all figured out for a number of years, when I moved house not long ago, I had to start again looking for shops that sold the foods I love to buy.

I have since switched to buying online on chewy.com, but before that, I considered switching brands to one that was more widely available. I was tempted by Purina, as I saw it everywhere I went, including the shelves of my supermarket, so it would be easy to pick up while grabbing things for myself.

When I was considering Purina, I naturally went into research mode to learn everything I could about the industry leader that has been around for about 100 years, as well as the quality of the food that they make for cats.

In the end, I decided that while some of their wet cat foods were of decent quality, in general, their cat food philosophy did not align with mine since they deliver recipes that are heavy in carbohydrates and rely on meat by-products as an essential ingredient. While there are a few recipes that I would buy if I was in a pinch, it won’t be a staple cat food in my household.

Read on to find out more about Purina as a brand and more about the cat foods that they do offer, and the ones I would consider buying for my cat.

 

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If You Are In A Rush…

If I was to invest in Purina’s wet food, I would certainly go with the Beyond brand, which contains fewer carbohydrates and more quality meat than the other Purina lines. In terms of dry foods, the Purina ONE lines are of similar quality to other mid-range dry foods on the market. They do have a grain-free line, but it is still packed with carbohydrates.

Our Top 5 Picks:

  1. Purina Beyond Grain-Free Chicken, Beef and Carrot Recipe in Gravy Canned Cat Food
  2. Purina Pro Plan Veterinary Diets DM Dietetic Management Formula Canned Cat Food
  3. Purina Pro Plan Savor Adult Chicken and Rice Entrée in Gravy Canned Cat Food
  4. Purina ONE Tender Select Blend with Real Chicken Dry Cat Food
  5. Purina ONE True Instinct Natural Real Chicken Plus Vitamins and Minerals Grain-Free Dry Cat Food

 

Purina Cat Food Lines

Purina produces a wide range of different foods for cats, broken into a number of lines that you will probably recognize from the supermarket shelves. These include:

 

  • Beyond – high protein, grain-free, with no artificial additives
  • Cat Chow – primary line in a variety of formulas for a range of needs and life stages
  • Deli-Cat – discount line
  • Fancy Feast – gourmet line for ‘foodie’ cats
  • ONE – premium line
  • Friskies – economy line
  • Kit & Kaboodle – discount dry food
  • Muse – ‘clean plate guarantee’ flavors that cats will love
  • Pro Plan – formulas with meat as the first ingredient
  • Pro Plan Veterinary Diets – prescription formulas to support specific health needs

 

 

Quality of Purina Cat Food

With such a wide variety of cat foods in their books, it is little surprise that they are of varying quality.

 

Dry Foods

In general, their dry foods are of average quality, heavy in carbohydrates and making heavy use of meat by-products as their meat-based protein source. It is common for dry foods to be heavy in carbohydrates, as they need the carbohydrates to make the kibble texture. However, I feel like Purina’s recipes use carbohydrates to excess. Further, they mix a lot of different carbohydrate sources which makes it difficult to avoid certain products such as soy or gluten, if this is better for your cat.

Similarly, there is nothing wrong with using meat by-products as an ingredient in cat food, in fact, it is often this ingredient that contains the organ meat, bone marrow, skin, and so forth that would be a natural part of your cat’s diet in the wild. However, these other meat products should form a modest part of a cat’s diet in relation to better quality organ meat.

The problem with by-products and meal is that you never really know what exactly is inside it. So while perfectly fine to see as an ingredient in cat food, I do not like to see it as a top ingredient.

 

Wet Foods

Purina’s wet cat foods are of mixed quality. Some are quite good, containing high amounts of quality meat and little else that could be problematic for cats. However, steer clear of lines that rely on by-products as the first or second ingredient in their cat food recipe. While this might be acceptable in dry food, this is not appropriate for wet food that should be providing cats with the quality meat protein that they need.

Also, some of their cheap wet cat food lines use a lot of plant ingredients, which while necessary in dry food, is just not required for wet food, so it feels like empty filler that is adding little nutritional value.

 

5 Best Cat Foods from Purina

Read on to find detailed reviews of Purina’s best three wet cat foods and two dry cat foods.

 

1. Purina Beyond Grain-Free Chicken, Beef and Carrot Recipe in Gravy Canned Cat Food

Purina’s Beyond line is probably the best cat food that they make. It is high in animal-based protein from named sources and does not rely on meal or meat by-product as a source of this protein.

 

Pros

  • High in protein
  • Named animal meat sources
  • Low in carbohydrates
  • Enriched with essential vitamins and minerals
  • No artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives

 

Cons

  • No added probiotics
  • No added omega fatty acids

 

It is also grain-free, and pretty low in carbohydrates in general with only potato starch and guar gum being added as thickeners, both of which are commonly used and acceptable ingredients in wet cat foods.

Purina’s Beyond formula is also enriched with essential vitamins and minerals that cats need to thrive and that we have come to expect from premium cat foods. However, while Purina’s Beyond cat food line is marketed and priced as a premium cat food, it simply is not as good as many of the similarly priced cat foods on the market.

For example, while this recipe includes a mix of meats, it does not include any fish or added fish oils to give cats the omega fatty acids that they need. It also does not contain prebiotics and probiotics that can help cats with digestion.

So overall this is a decent cat food that I would have no problem feeding my cat, but it doesn’t make it onto my shopping list as there are better foods available at a similar price point.

 

Nutritional Profile

  • Crude protein 9% minimum
  • Crude fat 2% minimum
  • Crude fiber 1% maximum
  • Moisture 82% maximum
  • 866 calories per kilogram

 

First five Ingredients

  • Chicken
  • Liver
  • Dried Egg Product
  • Beef
  • Carrots

CLICK HERE FOR BEST PRICE

 

2. Purina Pro Plan Veterinary Diets DM Dietetic Management Formula Canned Cat Food

From Purina’s Pro Plan Veterinary line, this product is made specifically for cats with diabetes. However, looking at what is inside the can, while this recipe may be low in insulin triggering ingredients, there are some other concerns.

 

Pros

  • High in protein
  • Enriched with essential vitamins and minerals

 

Cons

  • Heavy in liver
  • Heavy use of meat by-products
  • Contains artificial flavors
  • High in calories

 

Like in humans, diabetes in cats is caused by a diet that is too high in carbohydrates which flood their system with more insulin than it has been built to handle, leading to an inability to respond to insulin properly. Therefore, cats with diabetes should be eating almost no carbohydrates and this food certainly ticks that box.

The food is also high in protein, but the sources of that protein are concerning. Liver is listed as the first ingredient in this recipe, and while liver is an essential part of a cat’s diet, it should be in relatively small quantities compared to muscle meat. Too much liver can cause vitamin A toxicity in cats.

It is also unclear how much muscle meat your cat will be getting as part of this recipe, as the next two listed ingredients in the mix are poultry by-products and meat by-products, with chicken and salmon only coming later. Therefore, with this recipe, I can’t be sure what meat my cat is eating and in what proportion. The food is also very high in calories, so portion control is a must.

While it is great to see a carbohydrate-free cat food being produced for diabetic cats, there are other premium cat foods on the market that are also carbohydrate-free but offer better quality meat-based protein.

 

Nutritional Profile

  • Crude protein 11.5% minimum
  • Crude fat 5% minimum
  • Crude fiber 2% maximum
  • Moisture 78% maximum
  • 1,227 calories per kilogram

 

First five Ingredients

  • Liver
  • Poultry By-Products
  • Meat By-Products
  • Chicken
  • Salmon

CLICK HERE FOR BEST PRICE

 

3. Purina Pro Plan Savor Adult Chicken and Rice Entrée in Gravy Canned Cat Food

Unlike Purina’s Beyond line, this wet food from Purina’s Pro Plan Savor line is far from carbohydrate-free, containing wheat gluten as its second ingredient (despite not being one of the leading ingredients in the name of the product) as well as rice, soy flour, and modified corn-starch.

 

Pros

  • Named meat as the first ingredient
  • High in protein
  • Enriched with a range of vitamins and minerals

 

Cons

  • High in carbohydrates
  • Uses meat by-products
  • Contains artificial additives

 

I can’t help but think that this is the type of wet cat food that causes feline diabetes in the first place. While it is fine to have this kind of carbohydrate content in dry food, it is just not necessary in wet food which only really needs a little bit for thickening.

This food uses chicken as its first ingredient, which is good, and it is also good to see liver a bit further down on the ingredients list, but it also makes pretty heavy use of meat by-products to top up the recipe’s protein levels.

Also, while the marketing for this line says that it does not contain any artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives, it clearly says in the ingredients list that it contains both artificial flavors and colors.

 

Nutritional Profile

  • Crude protein 11% minimum
  • Crude fat 2% minimum
  • Crude fiber 1.5% maximum
  • Moisture 80% maximum
  • 831 calories per kilogram

 

First five Ingredients

  • Chicken
  • Wheat Gluten
  • Liver
  • Meat By-Products
  • Rice

CLICK HERE FOR BEST PRICE

 

4. Purina ONE Tender Select Blend with Real Chicken Dry Cat Food

Moving on to dry foods, in general Purina’s dry foods are of average to good quality. It is good to see that this Purina ONE dry food uses real meat as its first ingredient, making it relatively species-appropriate as far as dry cat foods go. It boosts its quality meat with chicken by-product meal, which is not uncommon for dry cat foods, as is the relatively high carbohydrate content.

 

Pros

  • Moderate protein
  • Real meat as the first ingredient
  • Enriched with essential vitamins and minerals
  • Texture appealing to cats
  • Supports dental health

 

Cons

  • High in carbohydrates
  • Contains grains
  • Uses meat by-products

 

Dry cat foods often contain quite a lot of carbohydrates which are needed to give the food its texture, so will never be entirely species-appropriate. This food sources its carbohydrates from a variety of grains, including rice flour, corn gluten meal, soybean meal, whole grain corn, and wheat flour, all of which are not the best source of carbohydrates for cats.

Purina claims that this formula is veterinarian recommended and gives 100 percent balanced nutrition, which refers to the added vitamins, minerals, and omega fatty acids that have been added to the formula. Their suggestion that the food is 100 percent nutritious, with no filler, is less plausible considering the high grain-content.

The kibble has a crunchy texture that should appeal to most cats, and also be good for their tooth and gum health.

 

Nutritional Profile

  • Crude protein 34% minimum
  • Crude fat 13% minimum
  • Crude fiber 2% maximum
  • Moisture 12% maximum
  • 366 calories per cup

 

First five Ingredients

  • Chicken
  • Rice Flour
  • Corn Gluten Meal
  • Chicken By-Product Meal
  • Beef Fat

CLICK HERE FOR BEST PRICE

 

5. Purina ONE True Instinct Natural Real Chicken Plus Vitamins and Minerals Grain-Free Dry Cat Food

This dry food from the Purina ONE True Instinct range will appeal to some cat owners more than the previous one as it is grain-free. But the resulting recipe is still very high in carbohydrates which are sourced from pea starch and protein, cassava root flour, soybean meal, and canola meal.

 

Pros

  • Moderate protein
  • Named meat as the first ingredient
  • Grain-free
  • Enriched with a range of essential vitamins and minerals
  • No artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives

 

Cons

  • High in carbohydrates
  • Contains plant-based protein
  • Fat and liver sources are not stated
  • Uses meat by-products

 

While these might seem like better sources of carbohydrates than grains, which are often full of gluten, this is ‘human food’ thinking as most cats do not have a problem with gluten. These ingredients are just as species-inappropriate as grains. I object to foods being marketed as grain-free when they are simply replaced with equally inappropriate ingredients.

The recipe uses chicken as its main ingredient, with meat-based protein levels boosted with poultry by-product meal. The recipe also contains ‘animal liver’. It is good to see liver on the menu as it is highly nutritious for cats in appropriate quantities, but it is worrying that the animal cannot be specified. The same can be said about the added ‘animal fat’.

The recipe is enriched with a good range of essential vitamins and minerals that your cat needs to thrive, and are again marketed as veterinarian recommended. The recipe does not contain any artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives.

 

Nutritional Profile

  • Crude protein 35% minimum
  • Crude fat 14% minimum
  • Crude fiber 2% maximum
  • Moisture 12% maximum
  • 359 calories per cup

 

First five Ingredients

  • Chicken
  • Poultry By-Product Meal
  • Pea Starch
  • Cassava Root Flour
  • Soybean Meal

CLICK HERE FOR BEST PRICE

About Purina

Purina was established in 1894 by three young entrepreneurs who believed that, despite the falling economy, animal feed was something that would sell. They started with mule feed, which was just a mix of molasses, corn, and oats, but eventually, they branched out from farm to home.

They established a pet nutrition and care center in 1926 but only hit the market big in the 1950s with their dog chow. They released their first ‘cat chow’ in 1963. Purina merged with Nestlé in 2001, forming the second biggest pet food company in the world (behind Mars Pet Care). In 2017, Nestle-Purina Pet Care generated over twelve billion dollars in revenue from its pet food brands under Purina, including Friskies.

While Purina sources ingredients for their food from all over the world, like most pet food companies, they are a US company, and this can be seen in their approach. No matter where their ingredients come from, they ensure that they meet or exceed FDA, USDA, or AAFCO standards for pet food. Almost all of the meat ingredients are sourced from the United States, with the exception of the lamb, which is sourced from New Zealand.

All Purina pet foods are manufactured in their own, company-owned facilities in the United States and Canada, which are overseen by USDA and FDA regulations. They also have an on-site quality assurance laboratory and staff to ensure that what is in the product matches what it says on the packet. This is probably the reason why Purina has had relatively few recalls, despite their long history.

 

The Verdict

Overall, Purina is not a brand that I choose to feed my cat, as it contains excessive carbohydrates that she does not need, and also does not use the same quality meat as other cat food brands at a similar price point.

If I was to invest in their wet food, I would certainly go with the Beyond brand, which contains fewer carbohydrates and more quality meat than the other Purina lines. In terms of dry foods, the Purina ONE lines are of similar quality to other mid-range dry foods on the market. They do have a grain-free line, but it is still packed with carbohydrates.

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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.