Iams Cat Food Review

The Iams website states that the brand uses “only the highest quality ingredients” and they ensure their customers that they will see a visible difference in their pets after switching to an Iams pet food product. Iams states that their recipes are designed to boost immunity, maintain lean muscle mass, burn fat, promote healthy digestion, and reduce tartar buildup. A review of several of Iams most popular cat food products, however, reveals the use of animal by-product meals as well as corn- and wheat-based ingredients. Many of Iams formulas list a carbohydrate as the first ingredient as well which is very troubling considering the fact that dogs are primarily carnivorous and need high levels of protein in their diets. Iams seems to be one of many mid-range to low-quality cat foods that bulks up its formulas with plant-based proteins and non-nutritive fillers in order to keep costs low. Unfortunately, many consumers are drawn in by the large variety of products that Iams has to offer and they are misled by their marketing tactics which promise higher quality than the products actually deliver.

Who Manufactures Iams?

The Iams pet food company was founded in 1946 by Paul F. Iams with the goal of creating superior pet food products that would help to enhance the health and wellness of dogs and cats. The first Iams pet food product, the Iams 999 dog food formula, was released in the 1950s as the first commercial pet food to use animal-based protein as the primary protein source. During the 1960s, Iams researchers developed and released the Iams Plus recipe and, in the 1980s, Iams released Iams Cat Food as well as a life stages line of dog food recipes. In 1999 the company was expanded and sold to Proctor and Gamble (P&G) and, in 2006, P&G reorganized the Pet Health & Nutrition division into the P&G Pet Care division which included the Iams and Eukanuba pet food brands. The brand was sold to Mars, Incorporated in August 2014 and it remains part of the Mars Petcare family of brands which also includes Eukanuba, Pedigree, Royal Canin, Sheba, and Whiskas pet food products.

Iams Cat Food Recalls 2023

It may come as no surprise after learning the truth behind the Iams cat food brand that it has been affected by a number of serious recalls over the years. Here is a list of recalls affecting the Iams pet food brand in the last 10 years:

  • In March 2007, the FDA issued a mandatory recall for several Iams wet cat food products due to potential melamine contamination. The cat food products affected by this recall included: Iams Flakes with Salmon in Sauce, Iams Flakes with Tuna & Ocean White Fish in Sauce, Iams Kitten Slices with Turkey in Gravy, Iams Select Bites, Iams Slices. There were also several dog food products affected.
  • In June 2010, the FDA issued a mandatory recall for one Iams canned cat food product due to low levels of thiamine. The product affected by this recall was the Iams ProActive Health canned cat and kitten food recipe.
  • In July 2010, the FDA issued a mandatory recall for the Iams Veterinary Formulas Feline Renal recipe due to potential contamination with Samonella bacteria.
  • In August 2010, the FDA issued a mandatory recall for the Iams Indoor Weight Control with Hairball Care dry cat food product due to potential contamination with Samonella bacteria.
  • In December 2011, the FDA issued a mandatory recall for the Iams ProActive Health Smart Puppy dry dog food formula due to potential contamination with aflatoxins.
  • In March 2013, the Iams company issued a voluntary recall for the Iams Shakeables Dog Treats product due to potential mold growth.
  • In August 2013, the FDA issued a mandatory recall for various lots of Iams dry dog food recipes due to potential contamination with Samonella bacteria. Some of the recipes affected by the recall included the Healthy Naturals Chicken Adult, Healthy Naturals Weight Control Adult, Premium Protection Chicken Adult, ProActive Health Large Breed, ProActive Health Small Breed, and ProActive Health Large Chunks recipes.
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In addition to these recalls, some Iams cat food recipes were recalled in 2010 due to low levels of thiamine as well as potential contamination with Salmonella bacteria. The Iams brand was also involved in the large Menu Foods nationwide recall in 2007.

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Overall Iams Cat Food Review

According to the brand website, the founder of Iams based his company and his recipes on a philosophy of innovation as well as a belief in the power of advanced nutrition. Paul F. Iams, the founder of the company, believed that an emphasis on advanced nutrition would give his products a level of quality that other pet foods were lacking. The website states that Iams products are developed with years of research and a strong dedication to pets. The Iams brand believes that the right diet can do more than nourish your cat’s body – it can boost immunity, support weight loss, promote healthy digestion, maintain muscle mass, and reduce tartar buildup, all while helping to prevent or manage the progression of disease through the power of nutrition. Iams claims that they never cut corners and they use only high-quality ingredients – they even offer their customers a 100% money back guarantee.

When it comes to their cat food products, Iams offers a wide selection of options within six unique product lines. The ProActive Health line of products includes 21 different recipes, both dry and wet. This line of products offers an assortment of formulas for cats with specific dietary needs such as indoor cats, kittens, senior cats, cats with sensitive stomachs, cats that suffer from hairballs, and cats with weight management issues. There are also several Iams ProActive Health cat treats designed to support oral health. Many of these recipes include a proprietary blend of fibers to help reduce hairballs and they are also supplemented with L-Carnitine to help burn fat and maintain healthy weight and metabolism.

The Iams Naturals line of products is inspired by the natural diet of wild cats and made with U.S. farm-raised chicken. This line includes three different dry food options – Chicken Recipe, Chicken & Salmon Recipe, and Chicken & Turkey Recipe. These formulas are made with real chicken as the primary ingredient and they are free from chicken by-product meals. The latter two of the three are also grain-free, made with peas and tapioca starch as gluten- and grain-free carbohydrates. The Iams Naturals line of cat foods is free from artificial preservatives, colors, and flavors and they are enhanced with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.

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For wet food products, Iams offers three additional product lines – Purrfect Delights, Purrfect Delicacies, and Purrfect Grain-Free. These product lines include an assortment of pates, shredded meats in sauce, meat chunks in gravy, and more. In addition to their traditional cat food products, Iams also offers a line of Veterinary Formulas which are available by prescription. The products in this line are specially formulated to address specific medical or dietary needs. Some of the products available in this line include Renal Plus, Urinary-O Plus Moderate Ph/O, Intestinal Low-Residue, Skin & Coat Plus, and Weight Loss Restricted Calorie. There are recipes for diabetic cats and limited mobility cats as well as cats that suffer from renal problems, urinary issues, and various digestive problems.

Individual Recipe Review (Dry) Iams Adult Original with Chicken Cat Formula

According to the Iams website, this Iams Adult Original with Chicken cat food formula is designed to promote optimal health in adult indoor cats. The website states that this recipe is formulated with high-quality protein to support lean muscle mass as well as 7 essential nutrients for heart health. This indoor cat formula contains a number of dietary fibers to help support healthy digestion as well as antioxidants for immune system health. Based on these claims, this recipe would appear to offer high-quality, balanced nutrition for adult cats. An in-depth review of the ingredients list, however, reveals several red flags that bring the quality of this product into question.

The first ingredient on the list for this Iams Adult Original with Chicken cat food formula is chicken – this ingredient suggest that the recipe is indeed high in protein. One thing to keep in mind here, however, is the fact that fresh meats like chicken contain up to 80% moisture by volume. Once the product is cooked, the total moisture is reduced to 10% which means that the volume of this ingredient is likely to be much lower after cooking than before. Chicken by-product meal, on the other hand, has already been cooked down to about 10% moisture which means that it is a much more highly concentrated source of protein than the fresh chicken. The problem here is that the quality of chicken by-product meal is difficult to judge because it varies greatly from one batch to another. It would be much better to see chicken meal listed instead, especially if it were the first ingredient.

The third ingredient in this recipe is corn meal which is followed by brewers rice and dried beet pulp. All of these ingredients are carbohydrates and/or sources of dietary fiber. Corn meal is simply ground corn which is not inherently a dangerous ingredient. The problem is that corn, wheat and soy ingredients are difficult for cats to digest and they offer very limited nutritional value – they are also likely to trigger food allergies or sensitivities in cats. Brewers rice is a processed form of rice and it consists of the small milled fragments that have been separated from the larger kernels of white or brown rice. This ingredient is also low in nutritional value, primarily used as a source of dietary fiber. Dried beet pulp is another source of dietary fiber in this recipe.

After these ingredients comes natural flavor, poultry by-product meal, dried egg product, and brewers dried yeast. Poultry by-product meal is very similar to chicken by-product meal except it is not known from what sources the meat comes since it is not named. It is also very difficult to judge the quality of this product. Dried egg product is a decent ingredient and a source of supplemental protein. Brewers dried yeast is a valuable source of B vitamins and it may have some benefits for your cat’s immune system as well. Many of the remaining ingredients are vitamins and mineral supplements, though there is also some fish oil and chicken fat. These are both valuable sources of animal-based fats but it is somewhat troubling to see them appear so far down the ingredients list – they may not be used in any significant quantity in this recipe.

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Overall, this Iams Adult Original with Chicken cat food formula has a guaranteed analysis as follows:

  • Crude Protein (Min) – 32%
  • Crude Fat (Min) – 15%
  • Crude Fiber (Max) – 3%
  • Moisture (Max) – 10%
  • Calcium (Min) – 0.75%
  • Phosphorus (Min) – 0.65%
  • Taurine (Min) – 0.15%
  • L-Carnitine (Min) – 80 mg/kg
  • Omega-6 Fatty Acids (Min) – 2.06%
  • Omega-3 Fatty Acids (Min) – 0.21%
  • Calorie Content – 372 kcal/cup

A review of the guaranteed analysis for this Iams Adult Original with Chicken cat food formula reveals a decent protein content as well as acceptable levels of fat. It is somewhat surprising to see a crude fiber content as low as 3% given the inclusion of several carbohydrate and fiber sources on the ingredients list but any level below 5% is considered very good for an adult cat food. Based on the guaranteed analysis alone, this product would appear to offer good nutritional balance and value.

This formula meets the AAFCO nutritional requirements for cats in the maintenance stage – it is not intended to be used as a staple diet for kittens. According to the feeding recommendations on the Iams website, adult cats weighing 8 pounds should be fed ½ to 2/3 cups of this food daily. It is important to remember, however, that these feeding instructions are intended to be used as guidelines – you should monitor your cat’s weight and condition for several weeks to see how he responds to the food. If your cat gains too much weight you may need to scale back his portions. If he loses weight or becomes lethargic, you may need to increase his daily portion a little bit.

Final Thoughts:

Compared to many of Iams’ cat food recipes, this Iams Adult Original with Chicken cat food formula is one of the better ones. The guaranteed analysis reveals decent levels of protein and fat with low levels of crude fiber which is very beneficial. The fact that the ingredients list starts off with two protein sources is very good as well, although one of them is a by-product meal. After these two ingredients, however, things start to go downhill a little bit with the inclusion of corn meal, brewers rice, and poultry by-product meal. It is worth noting that while this recipe is supplemented with vitamins and minerals, it would be better if some of them came from natural sources (like fresh fruits and vegetables) or, at least, chelated minerals. Chelated minerals are chemically bounded to protein molecules which makes them easier for your cat’s body to digest and absorb. This recipe would also benefit from the inclusion of some probiotics to help support healthy digestion. Overall, this Iams Adult Original with Chicken cat food formula seems to provide moderate nutritional value for adult cats.

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  1. Very dissappointed right now just bought a 7 pound bag of cat food and it is half full of just food dust. Probly where has been moved around so much but still when the food is all broke up like it is in the bag i got its just carelessness and i am very disturbed by this.

  2. Why did you change the shape of your kitten dry food? My poor 7 year old cat is only 5 pounds with serious teeth issues and can only eat you original food due to its special Y shape. She old get ahold of the 3 corners but the middle was too small for her. Your new shape is too small for her to grab. As she does not like soft food I have now been forced to try different brands to come up with a shape she can eat that does not upset her stomach. VERY UPSET with your decision.

  3. I always buy the sensitive food. The last two bags the food was dark in color. My one cat seems to get an upset stomach after eating. This cat never vomits up his food. Wondering if something is wrong with this food. I checked the 2nd bag and that is also dark in color. I have never had this color of dry food and I purchase a lot. Please advise

    1. I just bought a bag of the Iams Healthy Digestion, and had the exact same experience. My cat has been eating it for years with no problem. I opened the new bag, and it also had kibble that was darker than the ones I had previously bought. And after one day of eating the kibble from the new bag, my cat started vomiting it back up. And we are far from the only ones having the problem. I have been on several other cat websites to see if others were having the same experience with Iams dry cat food, and dozens of other people reported that the kibble was much darker than usual and it was not specific to one particular formula. There must be some kind of contamination in the food that started somewhere in the manufacturing process. This is very dangerous. I have not been able to call Iams yet because they are in a different time zone, but I reported it to Wal-Mart.com which is where I purchased it. The packaging was sealed and perfectly in tact, so the problem was not caused by Wal-Mart. I am calling Iams ASAP, but spread the news, there needs to be some kind of recall to detect the sources of the contamination in the food, so they can stop the problem.

      1. We have been feeding our cat with Iams since he came into this world and he is in pretty good shape. Now the dark kibble you are referring to here is what we have recognised as being the norm, for the Healthy Adult variety. The bag just freshly opened has changed to a lighter colour and the cat won’t touch it. I found this quite peculiar because of his voracious appetite. He is an outdoor cat after all.
        Is this something to be alarmed about?

  4. Ive had my cats on Iams Healthy adults for about a year, but recently BOTH cats, after eating are throwing up! whats going on? Im going to have to change foods, its a shame, but I will not have my cats sick like this.. check your product!

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