Authority Cat Food Review

Authority is the store brand for PetSmart. The brand has been in existence since 1995. They sell both dog and cat food that is custom made for PetSmart by co-packers. Their cat foods include dry and wet foods. They make cat foods for kittens, adults, and seniors. Their formulas include hairball control, sensitive skin, sensitive stomach, food for indoor cats, and weight control. Some of their foods are grain free. Authority is typically priced slightly lower than comparable super premium cat foods sold at PetSmart. There are also Authority treats for cats.

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Who Manufactures Authority?

As far as we can tell, Simmons makes canned foods for PetSmart/Authority. They bought out Menu Foods several years ago and make canned pet food for many of the top brands in the country. At the moment, we still don’t know who makes dry foods for PetSmart, though a couple of companies that co-pack or make custom formulas for other companies have been suggested. Based on the ingredients in the Authority foods, we think that Eukanuba may make dry foods for Authority/PetSmart, but this is just a guess (see below).

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Authority Cat Food Recalls 2019

  • Authority had recalls related to the 2007 melamine problems with their cat food.  We did not find any other recall information for Authority in the FDA database or online.

Overall Authority Cat Food Review

In looking at some of these cat foods, you will notice that most of them rely on chicken as the first ingredient, followed by chicken meal. You can find different
kinds of corn in some of the foods (ground corn, corn protein concentrate, etc.). Brewer’s rice and peas are also used in many of the foods. These are average ingredients in pet foods – they (mostly) provide nutrients but they are not the highest quality ingredients. Brewer’s rice is missing most of its nutrients and is mostly a filler ingredient in pet food, but most of the ingredients in the foods are better than this one.

The foods also have a few kinky little additives such as Fructooligosaccharides  – an alternative sweetener with less sugar than most of the sweeteners used in the food industry today. They are low in calories and improve taste. They also provide some beneficial bacteria in the G.I. tract.

The food also has the ingredient Sodium Hexametaphosphate. This ingredient is sometimes used in dental formula dog food to help keep teeth white. It’s also used to thicken and add texture to food and it keeps the minerals from breaking down. We hardly ever ever see it in pet foods. In fact, the only company we know of that uses this ingredient is Iams-Eukanuba in some of their foods. This suggests to us that Eukanuba may be the company that makes dry cat food for Authority/PetSmart. The use of Fructooligosaccharides is also fairly uncommon and you can see that Eukanuba also uses them. It’s debatable whether Sodium Hexametaphosphate really belongs in pet food. Some people have expressed concerns about its long-term safety. There are other ingredients that can be used to help keep a pet’s teeth white.

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It looks like most of Authority’s dry cat foods have above average protein levels with moderate fat levels.

We did find some people online who were unhappy with the food they had bought from Authority, starting in 2014, it seems. Some people reported pets getting sick, even though they had been feeding the food for a long time. There didn’t seem to be one single problem. Instead there were various issues. They seemed to report problems with both canned and dry foods but no recalls were made. We hope the problems have been resolved.

One person seemed to be upset because s/he noticed that Authority contained copper sulfate. Copper sulfate is not harmful to your pet as long as it is included in pet food in the proper amount. You’ll notice that pet foods have lots of minerals in them, in different forms. You already know that your cat needs certain vitamins, plus taurine and other essentials. Copper sulfate is no different. It’s just part of the nutrients that your cat needs to stay healthy. Occasionally a pet food company can make an error and there is too much or not enough of some vitamin or mineral in a food, in which case a recall is issued because of the excess or deficiency. But with few exceptions, most of the vitamins and minerals in your cat’s food are very standard and they are not harmful. If you have concerns about copper sulfate, this article by Dr. Greg Aldrich, PhD is recommended.  Dr. Aldrich writes lots of great articles about pet food ingredients, if you are interested in the topic.

Individual Recipe Review (Dry) Authority Grain Free Adult Cat Food

We chose Authority Grain Free Adult Cat Food for our review because PetSmart lists it as their bestselling dry Authority food. It’s also highly rated, getting five out of five stars on the site.

The first five ingredients in this food are: Chicken, Chicken Meal, Dried Peas, Dried Potatoes, Pea Protein. Chicken refers to whole chicken so it still contains a lot of moisture. If the moisture were removed, this ingredient would be found lower on the list. However, the second ingredient is chicken meal. Chicken meal has had most of the moisture removed so it’s a concentrated source of protein and nutrients. Overall, chicken has 60-80 percent protein and 20-40 percent fat. It’s also a good source of Vitamin B6 and Phosphorus, and a very good source of Niacin and Selenium. Taken together, these first two ingredients provide good meat protein for your cat.

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The third ingredient in the food is dried peas. We are not a fan of dried peas (peas, mushy peas, or any kind of peas) in pet food. That’s not because we hate peas. Peas provide some good vitamins and minerals for pets. They are also about 22-24 percent protein (non-dried). But we see them all the time in pet foods today. That’s because when people complained about the corn, wheat, and soy in pet foods, companies replaced them with peas, legumes, and lentils. Your cat is a carnivore. He really doesn’t need to get his protein from peas or other plant sources. But they cost less than meat so pet food companies use them. And it’s not just cheapo companies. You can find peas, legumes, and lentils in the most expensive pet foods. Depending on the part of the peas being used – whole peas, pea protein, pea fiber, pea starch, etc. – some cats can have trouble digesting them. A little pea fiber in a weight control food can be beneficial, but you don’t want to see a food loaded with peas. If there are a LOT of peas in the food, you should seek a different food. It’s almost impossible to avoid peas in pet foods today, but you can try to limit them.

We should point out that the peas we are talking about here are usually field peas or split peas, not garden peas. Sure, if your cat (or dog) enjoys some peas off your plate, that’s fine. But what we’re discussing in pet food is large vats of peas like thick pea soup, not a few bites. That’s why it’s an issue.

The fourth ingredient in the food is dried potatoes. Yes, dried potatoes are carbohydrates. Potatoes are 92 percent carbs, 7 percent protein, and 1 percent fat. They are a good source of Vitamin C, Vitamin B6, Potassium and Manganese. They also have some dietary fiber that is helpful – turning to a gel in the gastrointestinal system and slowing the absorption of sugars from other foods. So, although your cat would not normally eat potatoes, they can have some benefits in this kind of diet. This is a grain free food but carbs aren’t all bad. We just like to keep them lower.

The fifth ingredient is pea protein. Pea protein is added to pet foods to increase the protein percentage in the food. Yes, it’s protein, but it’s from a plant source and it’s not considered as good as a meat protein. We’re not sure if it even has a legal definition at this time. It does contain some amino acids such as arginine, lysine, and phenylalanine. They are considered a complement to the amino acids in meats (and grains). But we think this is akin to “splitting” – remember that practice? When a pet food company would add corn into a food in three different ways? You would end up with a lot of corn, even if it didn’t look like it at first. It’s more peas.

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Other ingredients you should note in this food (besides the ones mentioned in the overview), include chicken fat – a great form of fat with omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids; beet pulp, which we like as an insoluble fiber; and salmon oil – another great fat source that is high in omega-3 fatty acid.

The food also contains “natural flavor” – an added flavor that is often a code term for a form of monosodium glutamate (MSG). Some pet foods add this ingredient but they shouldn’t have to. If it’s a preservative, there are other natural preservatives that can be used. And you would hope that the food tastes good enough to your cat that it doesn’t need this kind of enhancement.

We like the meat protein in this food and the fat. Hate the peas. But many of the ingredients look very good. It looks like a good grain free cat food as long as the peas don’t upset your cat’s digestion. If they do, chalk it up to experience and look for a different grain free food (without so many peas); or go back to a food with some grains.

Dry Matter Basis: This food has an estimated 35.6 percent protein, 17.8 percent fat, 3.33 percent fiber, and 35.6 percent carbohydrates. (AAFCO recommendations for protein for adult cats are a minimum of 26 percent and 30 percent for growing kittens; and 9 percent fat for both adult cats and growing kittens)

Final Thoughts

We think Authority Grain Free Adult Cat Food looks like a good food. The other Authority dry foods for cats do contain grains which range from oatmeal to corn so you will have to look at them individually to see if you like them and if you want to feed them to your cat. We think some grains are okay, even corn, as long as there is a large percentage of good meat protein in the food.

We do remind you that the Authority cat foods contain Sodium Hexametaphosphate (along with Eukanuba foods). If this ingredient bothers you, just find another food. It’s not widely used in pet foods and some people do have concerns about it. But Eukanuba and PetSmart/Authority sell a lot of pet food that contains it, so it doesn’t seem to bother some people. And your cat will probably have pretty white teeth.

Carlotta Cooper

Carlotta Cooper is a freelance writer and a long-time contributing editor for the weekly dog show magazine, Dog News. She is the author of The Dog Adoption Bible, the Dog Writers Association of America Adoptashelter.com award-winner for 2013. Additionally, Carlotta is the author of Canine Cuisine: 101 Natural Dog Food & Treat Recipes to Make Your Dog Health and Happy, as well as other books about pets. She is a guest writer for numerous website and blogs and a frequent pet food reviewer.

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8 comments

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  • i USE aUTHORITY EXCLUSIVELY FOR MY TWO CATS.
    I have had cats most of the eighty years I have been raising cats.
    I look for defin ite signs of health and energy in each one of my furry friends.
    One of my cats was losing weight, hair thinning, eyes were not bright and alert.
    I went to a woman who takes in feral cats and raises babies till they can be adopted into a forever home and she highly recommended Authority canned food till they are ready for the dry cat food.
    I can not tell you what a difference this has made with both cats
    one a senior and one who just turned one year old.
    Their coats are thick, shiny, they are full of energy.
    There is no regurgitation with this food.
    I highly say if you want to treat your cats with loving, healthy care, Authority is the only one I would tell people to buy for their cats.

  • I have my cat on authority sensitive cat food because the weight management one started out fine but then he started throwing up so i switched him to authority sensitve and he wont eat it help

    • Use the Authority Grain free. The one mentioned in the article. I have cats that are overweight and some that were under weight. They are all now evening out. The heavy ones losing. The under weight gaining. They eat what they need and don’t overeat. They play and move around and sleep less because they”re getting what they need. Just remember not to just rely on dry food. They need wet food too in order to stay hydrated. Wild cats don’t rely on water. They get hydration from their food. Get wet foods with no ash or little ash and the natural foods that are grain free and have real meat and are minimally processed. Iams grain free can foods are great.

  • Our cats were on Authority Sensitive Solutions for a long time but we noticed them losing weight and becoming sickly. So, we switched to the grain-free Authority. After many trial and error approaches, it is my firm belief that our cats weight loss was a result of the Authority food. I don’t know if the food repulsed them or if it is missing a key ingredient. We lost 3 cats in 3 months rapidly due to severe weight loss. After many vet bills, it is my belief that they all 3 died as a result of complications from malnourishment on the Authority cat food. 🙁

  • Always bought Authority Sensitve solutions dry cat food. Last bag had a gritty texture. I thought the formula was changed. My cat got increasingly sick. Lose of fur, itchy, really sick. She went to the vet several times. Conclusion was allergy. I brought the gritty bag back to Petsmart to compare to new bag. None of the new food had the grit. My cat was being poisoned. Petsmart did exchange the bad food. Be wary of Authority food. Terrible experience that almost killed my cat.

  • I must admit, though I do read through cat food ingredients, it gets tedious and I start to lose focus. Reviews are helpful, I do rely on sites like this. I used to coupon shop for my cats, (in the early 90’s), until I ended up with a cat with gut issues, (one food I will never buy again though- Meow Mix!). I switched to Nutro at the time and everyone was happy with that. I’ve had quite the clowder over the years! Including special needs cats over the years, my current group being no exception to that rule, I’m up to 9! That being one of the reasons I switched to Authority, looking for something maybe a couple dollars less than Nutro, but not giving up on the quality of ingredients. There was a sale at the time, 50% off and it’s the only decent brand of food that comes in 25 lb bags. I wish cat food came in 50 lb bags, not everyone has only one or two cats! I don’t think any food is helping with the Pillow Paw issue, but everyone is doing good on it! Shout out from my crew: BeBe, Eeky, Owen, Loki, Bubby, BenBen, Fluffers, BoBear, and FizzGig… wishing you all good health!

  • i tried authority for a few weeks, and my healthy cat gets sick gradually, went to the vet, the vet asked me to switch back to old food, now she is getting better and eating, i think there is something in there that poisoned my cat.

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