Acana Cat Food Review16 min read
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Pets have much different nutritional needs than we do, and any good pet food company knows that. Acana believes in a philosophy of Biologically Appropriate pet food, or pet foods designed to mirror the pet’s natural evolutionary diet. This brand uses fresh, regional ingredients and they never outsource their production. These two things alone separate the brand from many other pet food manufacturers.
Read on to see what we think of the brand and to see our reviews for 5 of their top products.
How We Review Cat Food Brands
Before getting into the details about Acana as a cat food brand, you may be wondering whether you can really trust our assessment. We want you to know that we’re cat owners ourselves and we want what’s best for our own cats and for yours. We’d never recommend a product we wouldn’t purchase ourselves.
The most important thing we look for in cat food is a high-quality source of animal protein. After all, cats are obligate carnivores and require a meat-based diet. Healthy fats are important as well, and all cats require certain vitamins and minerals. Most pet food brands on the market provide for a pet’s minimum nutritional requirements, but the quality of each product varies.
Here are some of the things we look for in a good cat food brand:
- High-quality animal protein as the first ingredient
- Rich in healthy animal fats (ex: chicken fat or salmon oil)
- Few to no carbohydrate ingredients (especially within the top 5)
- Limited number of main ingredients plus supplements
- No low-quality fillers, grains, or by-products
In addition to making sure any cat food brand we recommend is made with high-quality ingredients, we evaluate other factors as well. We like brands that offer a variety of recipes and those that provide plenty of information about their ingredients and products. We also consider pricing and recalls as well as the availability of the brand as a whole.
Overview of the Acana Brand
Acana is a Canadian pet food brand manufactured by Champion Pet Foods. The brand uses fresh, regional ingredients and they own their own kitchens for production. This brand believes in a philosophy of biologically appropriate nutrition, formulated their products to mimic your pet’s evolutionary diet.
All of Acana’s products are designed to be rich in meat and protein. Their ingredients are sustainably raised, fished, and harvested and delivered to the kitchens fresh or raw.
In addition to designing their products with a biologically appropriate foundation, Acana’s foods follow the following 5 rules of nature:
- Rich in meat and protein
- High fresh meat inclusions
- An abundant variety of fresh meat
- Whole prey meat ratios
- Fresh vegetables and fruit
What makes Acana different from many pet food brands is their use of a variety of meats, and the inclusion of meat, organs, cartilage, and bone.
In the wild, animals eat a variety of foods – in fact, it’s part of what ensures nutritional balance in their diets. They also eat the whole prey, including organs and bone. Acana takes these things into account when choosing ingredients for their foods, using fresh fruits and vegetables for essential nutrients.
What Kind of Cat Food Products Do They Offer?
The Acana brand offers dry food only for both dogs and cats. Their product lineup for cats includes eight recipes, four of which are newly developed. Acana dry cat foods are made with high protein inclusions including fresh and raw animal proteins. Their dry foods are divided into two product lines.
Acana Regionals includes four recipes made with regional ingredients like red meat, poultry, and fish. The remaining four recipes belong to a newer lineup which includes a special recipe for kittens and one for indoor cats as well as poultry and fish recipes.
Here is the nutritional information for all of Acana’s cat food recipes:
Dry Food Recipes
|Recipe||Protein %||Fat %||Fiber %||Moisture %||Calories (cal/cup)|
|First Feast Kitten Food||36||18||4||10||439|
Product Recall History
As a Canadian brand, you may be concerned about the quality and safety of Acana’s pet food products. In the United States, pet food is regulated, and the FDA is responsible for issuing product recalls when there are concerns about ingredients, labeling, or various safety issues.
In Canada, pet food is largely unregulated, however, and no national recall system exists. Just because a national recall system doesn’t exist, however, doesn’t mean that recalls don’t happen – it’s simply up to t he manufacturer to issue the recall on a voluntary basis.
The pet food industry in Canada is based on the honor system which, as you can imagine, leaves room for dishonesty. When it comes to the Acana brand in particular, however, they are very clear about where their ingredients come from so, we don’t have any specific concerns.
Though Acana doesn’t have any recalls, the brand is manufactured by Champion Petfoods which was subject to a class-action lawsuit in 2018. Champion was accused of negligent and reckless practices, false advertising, and failing to disclose the presence of heavy metals and toxins.
Acana responded to these allegations, calling them “meritless and based on misinterpretation of the data.” Read more about the response on Petful.
Products Included in This Review
|Name||Type||Protein %||Fat %||Top 5 Ingredients|
|First Feast Kitten Recipe Dry Food||Dry||36||18||Deboned chicken, chicken meal, herring meal, oatmeal, whole peas|
|Homestead Harvest with Free-Run Chicken and Turkey Dry Food||Dry||33||16||Deboned chicken, chicken meal, turkey meal, oatmeal, whole peas|
|Indoor Entrée with Free-Run Chicken and Turkey Dry Food||Dry||36||14||Deboned chicken, chicken meal, herring meal, oatmeal, whole peas|
|Wild Atlantic with Wild-Caught New England Fish Dry Food||Dry||35||20||Whole mackerel, whole herring, whole redfish, whole silver hake, mackerel meal|
|Appalachian Ranch with Ranch-Raised Meats Dry Food||Dry||35||20||Deboned beef, deboned pork, deboned lamb, beef meal, lamb meal|
Though all cats require a diet high in protein, it is particularly important for kittens during their growth and development. This First Feast Kitten Recipe Dry Food provides 36% crude protein from at least four different animal sources including chicken, herring, turkey, and quail.
This kitten recipe features real animal protein as the first three ingredients which is always a good sign. You’ll find animal sources of fat as well – primarily pollock oil. All carbohydrates are grain-free, whole sources like oatmeal, peas, and green lentils.
In addition to real meat and grain-free carbohydrates, this formula includes chicken cartilage, liver, and heart as well as whole cranberries and dried kelp. The remaining ingredients come in the form of chelated minerals, vitamin supplements, and probiotics.
Overall, this seems to be a high-quality recipe. We love the high meat inclusions and quality ingredients. The only concern is that the list of supplements is longer than we’d like to see.
Packed with protein-rich poultry, this Homestead Harvest recipe is made with free-run chicken, turkey, and duck. It supports healthy digestion, immunity, heart, and eyes, as well as healthy skin and coat.
This recipe is made with 65% small prey animal ingredients to deliver natural sources of essential protein, vitamins, and minerals – not to mention, craveable taste. Chicken fat and pollock oil are the primary sources of fat with eggs for supplemental protein.
For carbohydrates, this recipe includes oatmeal, whole peas, and whole green lentils as the primary ingredients with lentil fiber for digestive support. You’ll also find whole cranberries and dried kelp.
Chelated minerals and vitamin supplements help ensure nutritional balance. This recipe also contains probiotics which are a beneficial addition, but there is little evidence to suggest that added probiotics actually survive the cooking process in pet food.
Reading the ingredients list for this product, it doesn’t seem to differ significantly from the first recipe. Deboned chicken, chicken meal, and herring meal make up the first three ingredients with oatmeal and whole peas the follow. The crude protein content is the same for these two recipes as well.
Chicken fat comes next, the first departure with other unique ingredients that include ground miscanthus grass, deboned turkey, and deboned rabbit.
This Indoor Entrée recipe is formulated to support healthy skin and coat, balanced with omega fatty acids. It is also designed for weight management, sporting balanced calories from protein and fat with naturally occurring L-carnitine for weight maintenance. High-quality animal protein is included to support lean muscle maintenance and build strong bones.
Overall, this recipe provides plenty of premium animal protein and the carbohydrates are grain-free and digestible. We like the inclusion of organ meats and cartilage but, again, the list of synthetic supplements is longer than we like to see.
One of Acana’s few recipes made primarily with fish, this Wild Atlantic recipe features mackerel, herring, redfish, hake, and flounder. Included in Whole Prey ratios, this recipe is made with the flesh, organs, and bone to ensure optimal nutrition.
This Wild Atlantic recipe is packed with protein and has a significantly higher fat content than many other recipes. Rated at 35% crude protein and 20% crude fat, this formula contains about 458 calories per cup. Keep this in mind during feeding to prevent accidental weight gain.
In terms of the ingredients, this recipe includes both whole fish and fish meals as well as grain-free carbohydrates like lentils, pinto beans, and green peas. You’ll also find fresh greens like kale and spinach as well as whole pumpkin and butternut squash.
What sets this formula apart from the first few recipes is the limited inclusion of synthetic supplements. This recipe does contain a few chelated minerals, vitamins, and probiotics, but the majority of the ingredients are whole ingredients.
Inspired by the brand’s Appalachian ranching heritage, this recipe is packed with red meat including ranch-raised beef, Yorkshire pork, grass-fed lamb, ranch-raised bison, and freshwater catfish. It mimics your cat’s natural diet with the inclusion of fresh meat, organs, cartilage, and bone.
Fresh deboned meat makes up the first three ingredients in the formula and they are followed by two meat meals. There is no doubt this recipe is high in protein.
Green peas, red lentils, and pinto beans provide grain-free carbohydrates with beef fat and herring oil as the main sources of fat. You’ll find an assortment of organ meats as well as whole vegetables and leafy greens. These ingredients provide natural sources for key nutrients which explains why the list of supplements is shorter than the first three recipes reviewed.
Overall, this formula appears to deliver high-quality protein from digestible animal sources. The calorie content is a little higher than the first three recipes, but so is the fat content, so it is understandable.
What Do Customers Think of Acana Cat Food?
Acana cat food has a long history of being positively reviewed by customers and pet food experts. Though the quality of the brand is generally not debated, it isn’t one of the most popular brands simply because of its price. Acana Regionals cat foods only have about 225 reviews on Amazon and the new lineup has fewer than 50. That being said, both have an above 4-star average rating.
How Much Does Acana Cat Food Cost?
When it comes to pricing, cat food can get pretty expensive when you start including premium-quality animal proteins. Acana uses significant meat inclusions in their recipes and it is either fresh or raw. That being said, you shouldn’t be surprised to see Acana’s prices higher than the average cat food.
Acana cat foods seem to fall into two pricing categories, depending which product line you look at. The original Acana Regionals line is the most expensive, priced between $4.58 and $5.42 per pound, based on the recipes reviewed here. The new line of products is more affordable, around $3.80 per pound.
To give you a better idea how Acana stacks up against other cat food brands, here is a quick chart to show you some average prices:
|Meow Mix Original Choice Dry Food||Dry||Low||X||$0.90/pound|
|Friskies Classic Pate Mixed Grill Canned Food||Wet||Low||$0.07/ounce||$1.16/pound|
|Blue Buffalo Indoor Health Chicken & Brown Rice Adult Dry Cat Food||Dry||Moderate||X||$2.53/pound|
|Whole Earth Farms Grain-Free Real Chicken Pate Recipe Canned Cat Food||Wet||Moderate||$0.36/ounce||X|
|Instinct by Nature’s Variety Original Grain-Free Recipe with Real Chicken||Dry||High||X||$3.45/pound|
|Ziwi Peak New Zealand Venison Recipe Canned Cat Food||Wet||High||$1.21/ounce||X|
Where Can You Buy Acana Cat Food?
Because Acana is not one of the biggest brands out there, you may have a little more difficulty finding it. Acana currently doesn’t sell their products on their own website, though you can find some recipes available on Amazon. Other than that, you’ll likely have to go to your local pet store to find it. The best place to shop is in local and specialty pet stores or in national chains like Petco and PetSmart.
Our Final Thoughts: Is Acana a Good Brand?
Overall, Acana appears to be a very high-quality brand of cat food. Using a philosophy of biologically appropriate nutrition, this company uses a wide variety of premium animal proteins and includes the meat, organs, and bones for balanced nutrition.
We noticed a significant difference between the two product lines, both in price and quality. All eight recipes are rich in protein, but the Acana Regionals line uses fewer synthetic supplements. These products rely instead on whole vegetables for essential nutrients.
If you’re looking for a protein-rich cat food made with quality ingredients, but price is a concern, you might consider one of the first three recipes reviewed. For even higher quality, you might want to pay a little extra for the Acana Regionals line of products.
Either way, you can’t go wrong with Acana cat food. The only trouble is they only offer dry food formulas, no wet food recipes.