9 Lives Cat Food Review

The 9 Lives brand of cat food is not only one of the most well-known brands of cat food out there, but according to the 2015 Nielson report, it is also one of the best-selling brands. Perhaps what makes this brand so popular is the fact that it is an affordable brand of cat food – this brand also offers a wide assortment of different recipes. When it comes to the quality of this brand, however, you need to dig a little deeper and perform a thorough analysis of the ingredients used and the different formulations to determine whether or not you should be feeding your cat 9 Lives cat food. Unfortunately, a quick review of 9 Lives products reveals the use of low-quality ingredients including non-nutritive fillers, artificial flavors, and animal by-products.

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Where is 9 Lives Cat Food Made?

The 9 Lives cat food brand is part of the Big Heart Pet Brands family which is also part of the J.M. Smucker Company. 9 Lives cat food was first produced in 1959 but it didn’t really take off until the late 1960s when an animal talent scout adopted Morris, an orange tabby cat who became the spokes-cat for the brand. As part of the Big Heart Pet Brands family, 9 Lives is based in San Francisco, California. Aside from this tidbit, however, 9 Lives doesn’t provide any details regarding where or how their products are made.

Are There Any Recalls for 9 Lives Cat Food in 2019?

The 9 Lives cat food brand has been in production for nearly sixty years and it is by no means one of the highest quality cat food brands out there. Still, 9 Lives has yet to be impacted by an industry recall. Keep in mind, however, that a lack of recalls is not necessarily an indication of quality for a pet food brand. An absence of recalls can certainly support a brand’s claims for offering high-quality products, but you must consider additional factors like the quality of the ingredients used and the formulation of the brand’s products.

ALERT : Recall Issued for Select Lots of 9 Lives Canned Cat Foods

9 Lives Cat Food Coupons 2019

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What Kind of Products Does 9 Lives Offer?

What many customers love about 9 Lives cat food is the fact that this brand offers such a wide variety of different product choices. 9 Lives offers both dry food and canned food options, all of which are divided amongst several different product lines. According to the 9 Lives website, the brand’s wet food products give cats a diverse selection of tender and meaty morsels simmered in rich gravy with savory shreds or flakes of fish that create a flavor and an aroma cats won’t be able to resist. For dry cat food, 9 Lives offers five different product lines and each formula is uniquely tailored to meet the nutritional needs of cats in different life stages.

9 Lives Dry Cat Food Products:

The 9 Lives brand of cat food offers a selection of dry food products that are divided amongst five different product lines. The Plus Care recipe is designed to support the changing nutritional needs of aging cats, offering support for a healthy immune system and digestive system while the Long Life recipe is fortified with the nutrients cats need to live a long and healthy life. The Daily Essentials recipe provides balanced nutrition for cats in every life stage, supporting heart health as well as strong muscles and healthy skin and coat. The Lean & Tasty recipe is a newer formula, designed to support an active metabolism and healthy bodyweight. There is also an Indoor Complete recipe designed specifically for indoor cats. Here is a recap list of 9 Lives dry food formulas:

  • Plus Care Recipe
  • Daily Essentials Recipe
  • Indoor Complete Recipe
  • Long Life Recipe
  • Lean & Tasty Recipe

9 Lives Canned Cat Food Products:

Though 9 Lives only offers five different recipes for dry food, this brand has a large selection of canned cat food products divided amongst three product lines. The Tender Morsels line of products features recipes made with nibbles or flakes of real meat, poultry, or seafood in a smooth, savory sauce. The Meaty Paté line of products features moist ground meats in a tasty dinner and the Hearty Cuts line is made up of cuts, shreds, and chunks of meat in a thick, rich gravy. Here is a list of 9 Lives’ canned cat food products:

Tender Morsels Canned Food Recipes:

  • With Real Beef in Sauce
  • With Real Chicken in Sauce
  • With Real Flaked Tuna & Cheese Bits in Sauce
  • With Real Flaked Tuna & Egg Bits in Sauce
  • With Real Flaked Tuna in Sauce
  • With Real Ocean Whitefish & Tuna in Sauce
  • With Real Salmon in Sauce
  • With Real Turkey & Chicken in Sauce
  • With Real Turkey & Giblets in Sauce
  • With Real Ocean Whitefish, Tuna & Cheese Bits

Meaty Paté Canned Food Recipes:

  • With Real Turkey & Giblets
  • With Real Beef
  • With Real Chicken
  • With Real Chicken & Seafood
  • With Real Chicken & Tuna
  • With Real Liver & Bacon
  • With Real Ocean Whitefish
  • With Real Ocean Whitefish & Tuna
  • With Real Salmon
  • With Real Tuna & Shrimp
  • Mixed Grill
  • Seafood Platter
  • Poultry Supper
  • Super Supper

Hearty Cuts Canned Food Recipes:

  • With Real Veal in Gravy
  • With Real Chicken & Cheese in Gravy
  • With Real Beef & Chicken in Gravy
  • With Real Beef in Gravy
  • With Real Chicken & Fish in Gravy
  • With Real Chicken & Salmon in Gravy
  • With Real Ocean Whitefish & Tuna in Gravy
  • With Real Turkey & Cheese in Gravy
  • With Real Turkey, Chicken & Cheese in Gravy
  • With Real Turkey in Gravy

Dry Cat Food Recipe Review: 9 Lives Daily Essentials Dry Cat Food

This 9 Lives Daily Essentials Dry Cat Food recipe is described on the brand website as being formulated to provide your cat with the nutrition he needs in every life stage. This formula is 100% complete and balanced for cats in all life stages, delivering the nutrition needed for heart health, clear vision, strong muscles, and healthy skin and coat. The package for this product also states that it is made with the flavors of chicken, beef, and salmon. Note the use of the word “flavors” – this doesn’t necessarily mean that any real chicken, beef, or salmon is actually used in this cat food recipe.

According to the ingredients list for this 9 Lives Daily Essentials Dry Cat Food recipe, the first and main ingredient is whole ground corn. This is a problem for a number of reasons. For one thing, cats are obligate carnivores so they have a biological need for protein – any product that contains more carbohydrate than protein is a bad choice for your cat. Furthermore, corn is a grain that is very hard for cat to digest and it offers very little nutritional value. It is also a common food allergen for cats. You should also know that this recipe includes corn gluten meal – this ingredient contains high levels of protein, but they are plant proteins and therefore less biologically valuable for cats than animal proteins.

The second ingredient in this formula is chicken by-product meal. While this is an animal-based ingredient, it is very difficult to judge the quality since that varies from one batch to another – you can’t even be sure exactly which parts are used to make this meal. Other sources of protein used in this recipe include meat and bone meal and salmon meal. For carbohydrate and fiber, this recipe uses both soybean meal and whole wheat – both soy and wheat ingredients offer low nutritional value and have a high risk for triggering food allergies in cats.

The rest of the ingredients included in this 9 Lives Daily Essentials Dry Cat Food consist primarily of colors, flavors, and other additives as well as synthetic supplements. Animal digest, for example, is usually used as a flavoring – this ingredient is another for which it is difficult to judge the quality. Artificial flavors, colors, and preservatives like the Red 40 and Yellow 5 colorings used in this recipe are not something you find in high-quality pet foods, and none of the mineral supplements are chelated. Synthetic supplements can be used to balance out a pet food product, but they offer lower bioavailability for cats than natural sources for the same nutrients – things like fresh fruits and vegetables.

This 9 Lives Daily Essentials dry food recipe has a guaranteed analysis as follows:

  • Crude Protein (Min) – 30%
  • Crude Fat (Min) – 9%
  • Crude Fiber (Max) – 3%
  • Moisture (Max) – 12%
  • Taurine (Min) – 0.1%
  • Calcium (Min) – 1%
  • Phosphorus (Min) – 0.8%
  • Omega-3 Fatty Acids (Min) – 0.12%

This recipe is formulated to meet the nutritional levels established by AAFCO Cat Food Nutrient Profiles for all life stages. To feed your cat this recipe, offer kittens under 3 pounds up to ¾ cups daily and add ¼ cup per pound over 3 pounds. For adult cats weighing 5 to 9 pounds, feed ½ to 1 cup per day and, for cats 10 to 14 pounds, offer 1 to 1 1/3 cups daily, ideally dividing it into two meals. Follow the feeding recommendations for several weeks while keeping an eye on your cat’s bodyweight and condition. If your cat appears to be gaining an unhealthy amount of weight, you may need to scale back his daily portion a little bit. For cats that lose weight or become lethargic, consider increasing the daily portion. This product should be fed at room temperature and any uneaten portion should stored in a cool, dry place.

9 Lives Dry Cat Food Recipe Rating: 1/5 stars

Overall, this 9 Lives Daily Essentials Dry Cat Food recipe receives a rating of 1 out of 5 stars. The fact that a low-quality filler ingredient is at the top of the list is a big problem for this recipe, not to mention the fact that it is also a common allergen. This recipe includes not just one but several ingredients that offer very limited nutritional value to cats and which have a high risk for triggering food allergies. The protein-rich ingredients included in this recipe are also of questionable quality – it is also likely that a significant portion of this recipe’s protein comes from plant-based ingredients. Given the formulation of this recipe, it may meet your cat’s lowest nutritional requirements but not through the use of quality ingredients.

Wet Cat Food Recipe Review: 9 Lives Meaty Paté with Real Turkey & Giblets

This 9 Lives Meaty Paté with Real Turkey & Giblets recipe is described as a “scrumptious meal” for cats, made with real turkey meat and giblets. It features delicious, soft grounds loaded with irresistible flavor that will have your cat “licking his chops and leaping for more”. The thing you have to pay attention to with this product, however, is the use of the word “with”. There are certain regulations regarding naming pet food products determined by the amount of the named ingredient used in the formula. A product only needs to include 3% of the named ingredient to use the word “with”. For example, a can of “Turkey Cat Food” needs to contain 95% turkey but a can of “Cat Food with Turkey” only needs to contain 3% turkey. Keep that in mind as you read the rest of this review.

The first ingredient in this 9 Lives Meaty Paté with Real Turkey & Giblets recipe is whole ground corn – not turkey, as you might expect. As you may already know, corn is a grain that is very hard for cat to digest and it offers very little nutritional value. It is also a common food allergen for cats. Both of these things aside, the fact that corn is listed as the first ingredient is a major problem – it means that this product contains more corn than meat. Cats are obligate carnivores so they have a biological need for meat in their diets – this recipe does not meet those needs. The main sources of protein in this recipe come from chicken by-product meal and meat and bone meal. There is some salmon meal as well, but it appears far enough down the list that it may not be used in any significant quantity.

The remaining ingredients in this 9 Lives Meaty Paté with Real Turkey & Giblets recipe consist of carbohydrates, flavors, colors, and supplements. Soybean meal and whole wheat are both low-quality fillers that are difficult for cats to digest and very low in nutritional value. Animal digest is a flavoring frequently used in low-quality pet foods and colorings and dyes are never a good thing. This recipe does contain some synthetic supplements to help provide balance, but synthetic offer lower bioavailability for cats than natural sources for the same nutrients – things like fresh fruits and vegetables.

This 9 Lives Meaty Paté with Real Turkey & Giblets recipe has a guaranteed analysis as follows:

  • Crude Protein (Min) – 9%
  • Crude Fat (Min) – 4.5%
  • Crude Fiber (Max) – 1%
  • Moisture (Max) – 78%
  • Taurine (Min) – 0.05%
  • Calorie Content – 157 per can

This recipe is formulated to meet the nutritional levels established by AAFCO Cat Food Nutrient Profiles for growth and maintenance. To feed your cat this recipe, offer a 3-pound kitten or a 6 to 8-pound cat 1 can twice per day. Follow the feeding recommendations for several weeks while keeping an eye on your cat’s bodyweight and condition. If your cat appears to be gaining an unhealthy amount of weight, you may need to scale back his daily portion a little bit. For cats that lose weight or become lethargic, consider increasing the daily portion. This product should be fed at room temperature and any uneaten portion should be refrigerated.

9 Lives Canned Cat Food Recipe Rating: 1/5 stars

Overall, this 9 Lives Meaty Paté with Real Turkey & Giblets recipe receives a 1 out of 5 star rating. This product starts off poorly with a low-quality filler used as the main ingredient and it doesn’t help that there are several corn- and wheat-based ingredients which have a high risk for triggering food allergies or sensitivities in cats. The main source of protein in this recipe is chicken by-product meal, though corn gluten meal is also used – this is a concentrated source of plant protein which is often used in low-quality pet foods to increase the protein content without adding more meat. In addition to being made with low-quality ingredients, this recipe also contains several artificial flavors and colors. Overall, it may meet your cat’s minimum nutritional needs, but not in a quality way.

Final Thoughts

All in all, 9 Lives cat food is probably not the worse brand on the market. The things 9 Lives has going for it is the fact that their products are highly affordable and that they offer a wide selection. If you take a quick look at the ingredients list for any of their products, however, you will find many low-quality ingredients like corn gluten meal, animal digest, and chicken by-product meal. It is also important to note that many of 9 Lives’ cat food recipes begin with a carbohydrate as the first ingredient and many of the primary proteins used in these recipes come from by-products and other ingredients with questionable origins. At the end of the day, you can probably do worse than to feed your cat 9 Lives cat food, but you can certainly do better. You need to think carefully about the long-term consequences of feeding your cat a low-quality cat food product and consider whether you can afford something even just a little bit better.

Kate Barrington

Kate Barrington is a freelance writer specializing in the subject of pet health and wellness. An avid dog lover and adoring owner of three cats, Kate has a great deal of experience writing about all kinds of pets and all aspects of pet care. Her work has been featured on a number of pet websites and she is a regular columnist for Tropical Fish Hobbyist Magazine.

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