Contents of Article
- What is Purina Cat Chow?
- What types of cat food does Purina Cat Chow offer?
- Has Purina Cat Chow ever been recalled?
- Where can you buy Purina Cat Chow?
- What do customers think of Purina Cat Chow?
- What do real customers say about a popular formula?
- Purina Cat Chow Indoor Dry Cat Food Review
What is Purina Cat Chow?
The Purina story begins in 1894, when William H. Danforth partnered with George Robinson and William Andrews to start the Robinson-Danforth Commission Company. Its first years were dedicated to selling feed for farm animals. When their products were endorsed by Albert Wester Edgerly, known as “Dr. Ralston”, the company got a new name: Ralston Purina.
In 2001, the company merged with the Swiss food giant Nestlè, forming Nestlè-Purina.
Today, the Nestlè-Purina Petcare Company is the second largest pet food company in the world. In 2016, the company generated over $12 billion in revenue, surpassed only by Mars Petcare. Combined, these two companies account for half of the entire pet food industry.
Purina introduced Purina Cat Chow in 1962, at a time when the pet-owning household was rapidly changing. Table scraps were becoming less popular, partially thanks to the advancement of mass media and a pet food industry set on promoting complete and balanced foods.
Purina Cat Chow secured a considerable portion of the cat food market and remains one of the most popular dry cat food brands in the United States today.
What types of cat food does Purina Cat Chow offer?
Purina Cat Chow is available in a small selection of formulas, including “Naturals” products, which are made without artificial flavors or preservatives, a formula for kittens, and formulas designed for indoor cats.
If you’re looking for a premium food made only from human-grade ingredients, Purina Cat Chow won’t meet your standards.
Purina Cat Chow is exclusively dry, and like most dry foods, it contains a considerable concentration of plant ingredients.
The formulas use high-protein plant ingredients including soy flour meal and corn gluten meal. While these meals are good source of protein for herbivorous animals, carnivorous cats can’t digest or utilize them effectively. View these ingredients as fillers – a cheap alternative to the highly-digestible animal protein that cats thrive on.
Those hoping to avoid by-products should probably choose an alternative to Purina Cat Chow. Every formula features meat by-products.
According to AAFCO, meat by-products are defined as: “the non-rendered, clean parts, other than meat, derived from slaughtered mammals. It includes, but is not limited to, lungs, spleen, kidneys, brain, livers, blood, bone, partially de-fatted low temperature fatty tissue, and stomachs and intestines freed of their contents. It does not include hair, horns, teeth and hoofs. It shall be suitable for use in animal feed. If it bears a name descriptive of its kind, it must correspond thereto.”
Not everything in meat by-products is bad. Meat by-products contain nourishing organs, cartilage, and other highly nutritious parts of the animal carcass. The issue is quality control and consistency. Higher quality foods offer these ingredients in a clearly-labeled, distinct format: you’ll see ingredient lists with “chicken liver” and “beef cartilage”. Because the ingredient can be made from numerous parts of the animal carcass and from any number of different types of animals, it’s unclear exactly what you’re feeding your cat.
Purina Cat Chow is made primarily from North American ingredients. The grain ingredients are grown in the United States and Canada. Most of the meat comes from the United States, with the exception of New Zealand lamb. The synthetic vitamins and minerals come from multiple sources worldwide, including China.
The food is manufactured in nineteen company-owned plants in the United States and Canada.
Purina Cat Chow Formulas
- Purina® Cat Chow® Naturals Original
- Purina® Cat Chow® Naturals Indoor
- Purina® Cat Chow® Complete Formula
- Purina® Cat Chow® Kitten Formula
- Purina® Cat Chow® Indoor Formula
- Purina® Cat Chow® Gentle Formula
- Purina® Cat Chow® Healthy Weight
- Purina® Cat Chow® Naturals Grain Free
Has Purina Cat Chow ever been recalled?
In 2011, about 870 bags of Purina dry food were voluntarily recalled due to potential salmonella contamination. Purina Cat Chow Naturals was included in the recall, among other Purina dry cat food brands.
There were no customer complaints or reports of cats becoming ill after eating the food.
Where can you buy Purina Cat Chow?
Purina Cat Chow is widely distributed and easy to find in stores throughout North America. It’s easy to find in most major grocery chains, Walmart, and Target. It’s also available through numerous online retailers, including Amazon and Chewy.
What do customers think of Purina Cat Chow?
Purina Cat Chow is a massive brand with widespread distribution and popularity. Sales of its top three best-selling formulas accounted for 14.2% of the United States dry cat food market in 2017.
Purina Cat Chow has experienced at least one recent brush with customer controversy.
On November 9th, 2014, a woman made a post on Facebook that quickly went viral. The post suggested that Purina Indoor Cat Chow caused the sudden death of the poster’s cat, Killian. The post noted that numerous other pet guardians had similar experiences during the same week. Indeed, multiple people had reported on Consumer Affairs that their cats became sick after consuming various Purina products.
In response to the following social media frenzy, Purina assured pet guardians that: “…there are no product issues with Cat Chow or any Purina product. Safety and quality are our top priorities.”
After initial necropsy results indicated that the cat was in perfect health, the Facebook user submitted tissues and stomach contents to the FDA for further testing. It appears that she never publicly shared the results. We still don’t know what caused her cat’s death, and it’s still unclear whether or not Purina Cat Chow was making cats sick in 2014.
What do real customers say about a popular formula?
One of the brand’s leading formulas is Purina Indoor Cat Chow. On Chewy, this popular formula has a 4.8 out of 5 star rating based on 254 reviews. 99% of these reviewers say they’d recommend it.
“My cat was on her deathbed, couldn’t hold anything down and was very weak and emaciated. The vet couldn’t figure out what was wrong. She had to be on a special diet and I force fed her until she regained her strength. Now she can’t eat the food she had previously as she’ll throw it up. She loves this and it’s easy to digest. She’s now fat and happy as can be!” – Laura
“We live in the country which is filled with mountain lions, coyotes, and other predators. We have lost too many pets to the predators, so now all of our cats/kittens are living In our house. I worried about them getting the greens they need and would have if they lived outdoors. We would frequently see our cats eating grass when they used to be outdoors. This is a good solution to this problem now that they ate indoors. I don’t have to make sure I water the grass in indoor containers. Thank you for carrying this food. We mix it in with other flavors. The cats love it!” – Phyllis
“I fed my 4 cats this food for years but this last summer they shed all summer. So from experience with dogs I knew it was diet since they were old i switched to a no corn wheat or soy cat food. but over all i think the Purina indoor is the best food in that price range.” – catman59
“Seemed like I was cleaning the cat litter out more after they started eating this. Could just be they are eating more and not kittens anymore.” – Soupermom
First 5 Ingredients: Corn Meal, Poultry By-Product Meal, Corn Gluten Meal, Soy Flour, Animal Fat Preserved with Mixed-Tocopherols
This dry cat food is formulated for the indoor lifestyle. Compared to traditional cat food, indoor formulas are typically made with fewer calories to accommodate decreased activity levels and added fiber to theoretically help reduce hairballs.
Here’s a deep dive on the ingredient list:
The recipe starts with corn meal, which is simply ground whole corn. Whether your cat lives indoors or outside, their diet shouldn’t be based on corn. Corn isn’t the foundation of a good diet for an obligate carnivore.
Following corn is poultry by-product meal, which is what’s left behind after poultry is processed for human consumption. Corn gluten meal adds plant protein, which is less metabolizable than protein from animal sources. This plant protein is followed by another: soy flour. These ingredients also help to bind the kibble.
Next on the ingredient list, you’ll notice animal fat. This ingredient gives added energy and flavor to the recipe. Powdered cellulose adds fiber, which may help with hairballs. After that, the recipe includes animal liver flavor, which is an additive made from poultry and swine tissue. Soybean hulls are a by-product of soybean processing and add fiber to the recipe.
Following the soybean hulls comes a long list of added vitamins and minerals. Mixed in with the supplementation are a couple of extra ingredients. There is a small amount of natural flavor, which is made from hydrolyzed animal tissue, and a trace of parsley flakes. Purina refers to these parsley flakes as “garden greens”.
With a combination of meat, plant ingredients, and synthetic vitamins and minerals, the food is 100% complete and balanced for adult cats. It’s supplemented with antioxidants for immune health.
The recipe is 30% crude protein, 9.5% crude fat, and about 43% carbohydrates. Considering that many nourishing canned foods contain 10% carbohydrates and that cats naturally require virtually zero carbohydrates, it’s difficult to justify such a high carbohydrate percentage.
The food is available in a 3.15-lb bag, a 6.3-lb bag, and a 16-lb bag.
This is a budget-level food and, if following Purina’s feeding instructions, will cost between $.21- $.45 each day to feed an average-sized cat.
The cost per day is based on Chewy prices with shipping costs not included.