Nutro Cat Food Review

Since its founding in 1926, the Nutro Company has made it its goal to provide pets with natural, wholesome nutrition made from quality ingredients. Nutro formulates their recipes using real animal proteins, whole grains and fiber, plus other natural ingredients like fresh fruits and vegetables, omega-fatty acids, and more. According to their website, Nutro makes real animal protein the #1 ingredient in each of their recipes, using U.S. farm-raised chicken, fresh New Zealand lamb, and seasonally caught fish. In terms of carbohydrates, Nutro uses whole grains like whole brown rice and oatmeal to provide soluble fiber to ensure healthy digestion as well as various other sources to keep your cat feeling full. Each of Nutro’s recipes is designed with input from pet food experts and animal nutritionists to ensure complete and balanced nutrition, plus all of their products are manufactured in U.S.-based facilities.

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Who Manufactures Nutro?

The Nutro brand of cat food is currently produced and manufactured by Mars, Inc. The Nutro Company was founded in 1926 by John Saleen when he purchased a dog food company from a British businessman. After purchasing the business, Saleen changed the name to Nutro Products and it remained a family-owned and –operated business in the Industry, California area but it was sold in 1976. After the sale, the Nutro Company expanded its reach to include parts of the U.S., Canada, New Zealand, Australia, Europe, and Asia. In 1985, the company released the Max line of pet food products which features chicken, lamb, and rice ingredients. The company was acquired by Mars, Incorporated in 2007 and it is still owned and produced by this company today.

Nutro Cat Food Recalls 2021

Although Nutro can be considered a fairly high-quality pet food brand, the company has been affected by a significant number of recalls over the years. In addition to being affected by the large Menu Foods recall of 2007, Nutro has been affected by several other major recalls and withdraws since 1998. Here is a list of the major recalls that have affected the Nutro brand:

  • In 1998, two samples of Nutro Premium pet food were part of a qualitative analysis sponsored by the FDA Center for Veterinary Medicine under the suspicion that trace amounts of the anesthetizing drug used to euthanize animals may have been present in the food. The test revealed low levels of residue, but not enough to cause adverse effects.
  • In March of 2007, the FDA recalled cans of Nutro dog food due to concerns of melamine contamination.
  • In May of 2009, the FDA recalled several varieties of Nutro cat food including several Natural Choice Complete Care Kitten and Adult recipes and several Nutro Max Indoor recipes due to concerns of incorrect zinc and potassium levels.
  • In September of 2009, bags of Nutro Ultra Puppy and Nutro Natural Choice Chicken Meal, Rice, and Oatmeal Formula Small Bites Puppy were recalled due to plastic found in the production line.
  • In December of 2015, bags of Nutro Apple Chewy Treats were recalled due to concerns about potential mold contamination.
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Overall, it is estimated that a total of about 30 million bags, cans, or containers of Nutro pet food have been recalled. Most, if not all, of these recalls seem to be related to the production and manufacturing process itself, not necessarily the quality of the ingredients. Still, it is worth considering whether you want to purchase pet food from a brand that has had so many recalls.

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Overall Nutro Cat Food Review

The Nutro Company has been producing quality pet food products for many years and they are leaders in the pet nutrition industry. Not only do they use quality ingredients in each of their recipes, but they follow the strictest standards for safety and quality. According to the brand website, Nutro is dedicated to serving the health and well-being of pets and they are also active in giving back to the community. Nutro promises their consumers that all of their ingredients are carefully and responsibly sourced. Nutro also promises that they do not use any artificial preservatives, colors, or flavors in any of their products and their recipes are free from corn, wheat, and soy ingredients as well.

Not only does the Nutro Company make general claims about the quality and freshness of their ingredients, but their website provides detailed information about where their ingredients come from and how they are used. Nutro promises that real animal protein is the number-1 ingredient in all of their recipes, drawing from sources like U.S. farm-raised chicken, Australian and New Zealand lamb, and seasonally-caught fish. Their whole grains are nutrient-dense and rich in soluble fiber to support healthy digestion while also helping to keep your cat feeling full. Their products also offer a balance of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids for healthy skin and coat plus vitamin and mineral supplements to ensure complete and balanced nutrition.

When it comes to their cat food products, Nutro offers twelve different dry food options and twenty-three canned food options. The original Nutro line of dry cat foods includes three recipes for kittens and adult cats: Chicken & Whole Brown Rice, Turkey & Whole Brown Rice, and Salmon & Whole Brown Rice. As you can tell from the names, these recipes feature fresh meat as the primary ingredient with whole brown rice for gluten-free carbohydrate and fiber. Nutro also offers an Indoor line of products designed to meet the unique nutritional needs of indoor cats. These recipes are divided by life stage with two formulas for adult indoor cats and two for indoor senior cats. For grain-free options, Nutro offers two adult cat food recipes featuring potato with salmon or duck as the primary source of protein. There are also three specialty recipes: Hairball Control High Protein, and Weight Management.

For wet food options, Nutro offers a wide selection of products for cats in all life stages. All of Nutro’s wet food options are made with real meat as the first ingredient and they come in a variety of textures to suit your cat’s individual preferences. For kittens there are two options – Soft Loaf Chicken Recipe and Minced Salmon Cuisine. For adult cats there are a variety of minced, sliced, and loaf options with many of the same flavors available in Senior Cat formulas. In addition to these foods, Nutro offers a line of Breakfast Scrambles which are made with real meat and real eggs in a high-protein, grain-free recipe with real bits of fresh fruits and vegetables to provide balanced nutrition.

Individual Recipe Review (Dry) Nutro Indoor Adult Chicken & Whole Brown Rice Formula

This Nutro Indoor Adult Chicken & Whole Brown Rice dry food formula is made with high-quality proteins and plenty of healthy nutrients to meet your indoor cat’s nutritional needs. This recipe features real chicken as the primary ingredient and it is supplemented with whole brown rice for easy digestion. To make sure that your indoor cat’s needs for energy are met without going overboard, this recipe is specially formulated with an ideal calorie content without too much fat. This formula features higher fiber content to help control hairballs and it is rich in natural oils to support the health and condition of your cat’s skin and coat. Plus, it is full of natural flavor your cat will love.

The first ingredient in this cat food formula is chicken. This ingredient is certainly considered a high-quality source of animal-based protein, but there is one thing to remember about fresh meats like chicken – they contain up to 80% water which means that when the total product is cooked down to a moisture level of 10% (as per the guaranteed analysis), the actual volume of protein that comes from the chicken will be much lower. This is unlikely to be a problem in this Nutro Indoor Adult Chicken & Whole Brown Rice dry food formula, however, because chicken meal is the second ingredient. Meat meals like this have already been cooked to remove moisture so they contain up to 300% more protein by volume than fresh meats. These two ingredients combined speak to the high protein content of this indoor cat food recipe.

After the chicken and chicken meal comes brewers rice, pea protein, and whole brown rice. The pea protein is a somewhat questionable ingredient because it is unclear exactly how much of it is used – depending on the volume for this ingredient, it could contribute significantly to the overall protein content of the recipe. Plant-based proteins like pea protein are much less biologically valuable for cats than animal-based proteins like fresh meats and meat meals. Some low-quality pet food manufacturers use plant proteins like this to increase the protein content of their recipes without actually adding more meat to them. It is unclear whether or not this is the case with this recipe. Even more troubling is the fact that two additional plant proteins are listed further down the list – potato protein and dehydrated alfalfa meal (this ingredient contains up to 18% protein).

The main sources of carbohydrate for this Nutro Indoor Adult Chicken & Whole Brown Rice dry food formula are brewers rice and whole brown rice. Whole brown rice is generally considered a quality carbohydrate source for cats because it is easily digestible as long as it is cooked. Brewers rice consists of the milled fragments of rice kernels that have been separated from the larger kernels. This means that a majority of the nutrient content is lost during the milling process. This may be why dried beet pulp and oat fiber are also included in this recipe to increase the fiber content and to add some more nutrients. There are also vitamin and mineral supplements included in this recipe, but it would be better to see some natural sources for these nutrients such as fresh fruits and vegetables.

In terms of fat content, this recipe contains a total of 14% fat which comes primarily from chicken fat, though the flaxseed and soybean oil contain fat as well. The guaranteed analysis seems to suggest a decent balance of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids which is important for the health and condition of your cat’s skin and coat. The remaining ingredients on the list for this cat food recipe consist primarily of vitamin supplements and chelated minerals. Chelated minerals are minerals that have been chemically bound to protein molecules which makes them easier for your cat’s body to digest and absorb. One thing that this product lacks but most quality cat food include is dried fermentation products – these function as probiotics to support your cat’s healthy digestion.

Overall, this Nutro Indoor Adult Chicken & Whole Brown Rice dry food formula has a guaranteed analysis as follows:

  • Crude Protein (Min) – 33%
  • Crude Fat (Min) – 14%
  • Crude Fiber (Max) – 7%
  • Moisture (Max) – 10%
  • Calcium (Min) – 0.90%
  • Vitamin E (Min) – 250 IU/kg
  • Taurine (Min) – 0.18%
  • Ascorbic Acid (Min) – 50 mg/kg
  • Omega-6 Fatty Acids (Min) – 3.5%
  • Omega-3 Fatty Acids (Min) – 0.3%
  • Calorie Content – 375 kcal/cup

This formula meets the AAFCO nutritional requirements for adult maintenance in cats. According to the Nutro website, adult cats weighing 8 to 12 pounds should be fed 1/3 to ½ cup cup of this food daily if they are inactive or ½ to 2/3 cups if they are active. Ideally, this daily portion should be divided over two or more servings. When feeding your cat Nutro indoor cat food, you should monitor your cat’s weight and condition for a few weeks while feeding him a steady amount. If your cat gains too much weight during this time you may need to scale back his daily portion a little – if he loses weight or becomes lethargic, you may need to increase it a little bit. Because indoor cats tend to have lower energy needs, you should also be careful about how many treats you give your cat – treats should make up no more than 10% of his diet.

Final Thoughts

Overall, this Nutro Indoor Adult Chicken & Whole Brown Rice dry food formula seems to provide good nutritional value for indoor cats. A review of the guaranteed analysis for this product reveals that it does indeed contain a lower calorie content than many commercial cat foods and it also contains decent levels of protein and fat. The crude fiber content of this product (7%) could be a little lower (the ideal is about 5%) but a higher fiber content may help to reduce hairballs in indoor cats. A review of the ingredients list reveals several quality proteins and animal-based fats as well as whole-grain carbohydrates. It also includes a few ingredients that some might consider questionable, however. For example, pea protein would be better replaced with another source of animal protein and the soybean oil could be replaced with salmon oil or fish oil. All in all, however, this recipe seems to provide moderate to high nutritional quality and value for adult indoor cats.

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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  • Nutro recently changed their Natural Choice “formula” again…i’ve spent nearly $500 in vets bills in past 3 days because of it….anticipating a whole lot more.

    This is the first time i’ve had to take my cats into a vet because they were sick, and never expected the first time to become an emergency visit. Nutro’s “essentials” cat food made all 5 of my cats throw up yellow and green liquids, and one of them is seriously ill or may possibly die.

    Also spoke to people at pet store, which i’ve known for many years and they said Nutro changed their “formula” with much cheaper ingredients from China…
    If Nutro really cared about our pets, they would not be buying from a country that already caused thousands of pets to die back in 2006-2007.

    Get your pets checked and monitor them closely…if possible buy pet food manufactured in Canada….not China!
    When a company completely changes the looks of their packaging twice within 1 year and claim to have a “new formula”…it is a clear indicator something’s not right or not working. I do not trust this brand anymore and trying holistic cat food made in Canada….anything but Nutro!

    posted: 12/03/17

    • HI, what did the vet say the main concern was?, my cat has the same yellow and green vomit, her kidneys where shutting down,she only eats the salmon style, can you tell me more?

  • Why is it that everyone is SOLD OUT of the Nutro Senior Minced Chicken and Salmon wet cat food (24 3 oz. cans)? I was able to get 10 cans at the local Petco store last week, but all of the online shippers including are sold out and I saw a case on Amazon listed for $113! Has Nutro quit making this particular food?

  • My cats love neutro food and the Pate is the most economical because it goes further. I scoop a spoonful on top of dry food twice a day. My cats prefer room temp food So the little cans are great although somewhat pricey compared to the larger cans. I HATE the new perfect portions. It’s so difficult to open them without getting gravy all over the place! Why must the packaging be such a problem. I have strong hands and find it very hard to remove the foil tops. PLEASE change the packaging.

  • I still what to know what country their cat food is made in and you do NOT say anywhere in all of this. Is it China?

  • Just trying Nutro Dry food. My cats LOVE the canned food. Do you have any coupons I could beg? Thanks

  • Recently I purchase 36 cans of the Nutro Max canned food with gravy. Once I started feeding the food to my 2 cats (one of which is a real piggy) both cats refused to even touch the canned food. Today, my Maine Coon died. I do not know if it was the cause of the food but it seems odd that both cats refused to eat the food and now I lost one of my cats.

    • I am so sorry about one of your cats passing away and the other getting very sick. My cat was doing great on Nutro pate. Now all of a sudden it makes her throw up and have diarrhea. Twice this has happened yesterday and today. She now will not touch it. So she knows it will make her sick! I so hope my precious kitty will be okay she seems fine right now. I am taking all the rest of that stuff back to Petco and complain. Makes me so angry this manufacturer does not care about animals lives!!! I find it very suspect about your cats too. Make heart goes out to you.

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