Meow Mix Cat Food Review20 min read
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When it comes to cat food, there’s one brand that comes to mind immediately for many cat owners: Meow Mix.
Once marketed as “the only brand cats ask for by name,” Meow Mix has been a household name for more than four decades. If you’ve ever shopped for cat food, you’ve probably seen it.
While Meow Mix is easily one of the most recognizable brands of cat food, that doesn’t necessarily make it the best. As a pet owner, it’s your responsibility to make a smart choice when it comes to feeding your cat.
We’ve delved deep into the Meow Mix brand to evaluate some of their products to give you the information you need to make an informed decision for yourself.
Read on to see what we think of the brand and to see our reviews for their top products.
Meow Mix is an example of a brand where we don’t feel like the numerical rating lines up with our in-depth analysis. Our rating system is designed to give you an idea how different brands compare in predictable categories like pricing and variety. Unfortunately, some lower quality brands like Meow Mix rate so highly in these categories that it drives up the overall rating. We don’t want to be misleading. Based on quality alone, we’d rate Meow Mix closer to a 1/5 or 2/5, not the 4/5 indicated.
How We Review Cat Food Brands
Your cat doesn’t have much of a choice when it comes to his daily diet – he eats whatever you put in his bowl. That means it’s your job to make sure the product you choose is complete and balanced to provide for his nutritional needs. We’re here to help you make a smart and healthy choice.
We don’t expect you to blindly follow our recommendations which is why we want to give you a little insight into how those recommendations are made.
First and foremost, we consider the nutritional requirements of cats. Cats are obligate carnivores which means they have a biological requirement for meat in their diets – their bodies simply aren’t designed to process plant foods. A high-quality source of animal-based protein should always be the first ingredient.
Not only does your cat need plenty of protein, but he also requires healthy fat and certain vitamins and minerals. Fat is best when it comes from animal sources and essential nutrients should come from natural sources, as much as possible. Your cat doesn’t have a biological requirement for carbohydrates, so any of these ingredients should come from nutritious and digestible sources and the content shouldn’t overshadow the animal ingredients (especially the proteins).
The higher the quality of your cat’s diet, the healthier he will be. A poor diet leaves room for nutritional deficiencies and opens the door to a wide variety of health problems. We do our best to help you find a good brand and the perfect product for your cat.
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 several other factors as well. We prefer brands that offer a wide 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 Meow Mix Brand
The history of Meow Mix dates back nearly 50 years. Though you may not know much about the brand other than its familiar name, you probably know about the iconic jingle. Composed by Tom McFaul and recorded by professional singer Linda November in 1974, the jingle helped launch the brand.
By 1976, Meow Mix had become the top dry cat food brand in the country and the jingle had achieved the highest audience impact score for a TV commercial at the time.
The Meow Mix brand was originally a product created by Ralston Purina but was acquired by Del Monte Foods in 2006. In 2015, the brand changed hands again and is currently owned by The J.M. Smucker Company. The current slogan is, “Still the only one cats ask for by name.”
Today, Meow Mix offers a wide variety of dry food and wet food products for cats. Their dry foods come in seven different product lines including options like Original Choice, Indoor Health, and Bistro Recipes as well as the Kitten Li’l Nibbles line for kittens. Wet food recipes are divided among five different product lines like Tender Favorits and Classic Pate. You can also find them in variety packs.
Not only does Meow Mix offer a generous selection of products, but the brand is easy to find and affordably priced. In addition to major pet retailers and smaller pet shops, Meow Mix is sold in grocery stores, big box stores, and online from a wide variety of retailers.
What Kind of Cat Food Products Do They Offer?
Meow Mix is a pet food brand dedicated solely to cats – they do not offer any dog food products. In addition to a variety of dry food and wet food options, they also offer a selection of cat treats.
The Meow Mix selection of dry food products is divided among the following lines:
- Original Choice
- Tender Centers
- Bistro Recipes
- Hairball Control
- Indoor Health
- Kitten Li’l Nibbles
- Seafood Medley
The brand’s wet food recipes are divided into the following lines:
- Tender Favorites
- Simple Servings
- Savory Morsels
- Classic Pate
- Pate Toppers
Meow Mix also offers a limited assortment of grain-free products including two dry food formulas, two wet food recipes, and a variety pack. There are three lines of cat treats as well.
Here is the nutritional information for some of the most popular cat food recipes:
Dry Food Recipes
|Recipe||Protein %||Fat %||Fiber %||Moisture %||Calories/Cup|
|Kitten Li’l Nibbles||36||15||4.5||12||348|
|Tender Centers Basted Bites Beef & Salmon Flavor||31||11||4||12||335|
|Tender Centers Basted Bites Chicken & Tuna Flavor||31||11||4||12||325|
|Tender Centers Salmon & White Meat Chicken Flavors||31||11||4||12||328|
|Tender Centers Salmon & Turkey Flavors with Vitality Bursts||31||11||4||12||327|
|Tender Centers Tuna & Whitefish Flavors||31||11||4||12||328|
|Bistro Recipes Grilled Salmon Flavor||31||11||4||12||301|
|Bistro Recipes Rotisserie Chicken Flavor||31||11||4||12||301|
|Bistro Recipes Seared Tuna Flavor||31||11||4||12||310|
|Grain-Free with USA Chicken||36||12||4||10||360|
|Grain-Free with Wild Salmon||36||12||4||10||360|
Wet Food Recipes
|Recipe||Protein %||Fat %||Fiber %||Moisture %||Calories (kcal/kg)|
|Classic Pate Mixed Grill with Real Beef, Tuna, & Chicken||12||3.5||0.5||78||947|
|Classic Pate with Real Chicken & Liver||12||3.5||0.5||78||954|
|Classic Pate with Real Tuna||12||3.5||0.5||78||947|
|Savory Morsels with Real Chicken Breast in Gravy||9||2||1.5||82||Unlisted|
|Savory Morsels Seafood Entrée in Gravy||9||1.8||1.5||82||Unlisted|
|Tender Favorites with Real Chicken & Beef in Sauce||10||2||1.5||82||Unlisted|
|Tender Favorites with Real Chicken & Liver in Sauce||10||1.8||1.5||82||Unlisted|
|Tender Favorites with Real Salmon & Crab Meat in Sauce||12||1.8||1.5||82||Unlisted|
|Tender Favorites with Real Tuna & Whole Shrimp in Sauce||12||1.8||1.5||82||Unlisted|
|Tender Favorites with Real Turkey & Giblets in Sauce||11||1.8||1.5||82||Unlisted|
|Grain-Free with Real Chicken in Gravy||9||3||1||82||Unlisted|
|Grain-Free with Real Tuna and Whitefish in Sauce||9||3||1||82||Unlisted|
|Simple Servings with Real Chicken & Beef in Gravy||11||2.5||1.5||83||Unlisted|
|Simple Servings with Real Chicken Breast in Gravy||11||2||1.5||83||Unlisted|
|Simple Servings with Real Chicken & Turkey in Gravy||11||2.5||1.5||83||875|
|Simple Servings with Real Tuna & Ocean Whitefish in Sauce||12||2||1.5||83||816|
|Simple Servings with Real Tuna & Salmon in Sauce||11||2||1.5||83||786|
|Simple Servings with Real Tuna, Shrimp & Whitefish in Sauce||12||2||1.5||83||799|
Product Recall History
When evaluating the quality of a pet food brand, there are a number of factors to look at. The quickest way to narrow down the list of options is to review the ingredients list for a selection of products. If you want to get a feel for the quality of the brand as a whole, however, you may need to dig a little deeper.
The recall history of a brand gives you a glimpse into their production. All pet food companies are required to adhere to certain standards when it comes to their ingredients and formulations, but some companies have a tendency to push the boundaries more than others and accidents can happen as well.
When there’s an issue with a product, it may be subject to a recall. The FDA issues recalls in response to testing and customer complaints, though companies can issue voluntary recalls as well.
The thing you need to remember is that product recalls aren’t always an indication of a poor-quality brand. Recalls can happen for minor issues like labeling errors but can also be for serious problems like contaminated ingredients. It should also be noted that lack of recalls alone isn’t enough to support the quality of a brand either.
Meow Mix, despite its 45-year history in the pet food industry, hasn’t been subject to an FDA recall.
That being said, the brand has its share of customer complaints. Meow Mix is one of several brands involved in an extensive consumer-funded test in 2015 that revealed high levels of mycotoxin.
In fact, the tested products had over three times the high-risk level of mycotoxin content. We weren’t able to find much information about Meow Mix’s response to these concerns.
Products Included in This Review
|Name||Type||Protein %||Fat %||Top 5 Ingredients|
|Original Choice Dry Cat Food||Dry||30||11||Ground yellow corn, corn gluten meal, chicken by-product meal, soybean meal, beef tallow|
|Bistro Recipes Seared Tuna Flavor||Dry||31||11||Whole ground corn, chicken by-product meal, soybean meal, corn gluten meal, beef tallow|
|Grain-Free with Wild Salmon||Dry||36||12||Chicken by-product meal, peas, soy flour, beef fat, salmon|
|Classic Pate Mixed Grill with Real Beef, Tuna, & Chicken||Wet||12||3.5||Chicken broth, meat by-products, liver, beef, tuna|
|Savory Morsels Seafood Entrée in Gravy||Wet||9||1.8||Fish broth, tuna, chicken, sardines, wheat gluten|
The Original Choice dry food from Meow Mix is likely based on the original flavor, though it has certainly gone through reformulation over the past 45 years. On the package it says, “high quality protein helps support strong, healthy muscles” and shows pictures of chicken, turkey, salmon, and ocean fish.
To the average cat owner, this might look like a decent product (especially when you see the low price tag). If you pay closer attention, however, you’ll see a few red flags right away.
First, note that above the pictures of those four quality proteins it says, “the delicious flavors of.” If you flip over the bag, you won’t find a lot of other info but it’s worth checking the feeding instructions.
Here, you’ll see that the serving size for a 10-pound cat is a full 1 cup per day. The calorie content of that cup is only 300 calories, however, which is fairly low. From this information, we can draw the conclusion that this product isn’t very nutrient-dense because your cat needs to eat a whole cup of it to meet his daily nutritional minimums and even then only gets 300 calories of energy for it.
Turning to the side of the bag, you’ll see the list of ingredients which is where things really go wrong. The biggest red flag of all is anything other than an animal source of protein as the first ingredient.
First, you’ll see ground yellow corn, followed by corn gluten meal. The first animal ingredient doesn’t come until third and, even then, it’s chicken by-product meal. By-products aren’t necessarily bad, but it’s difficult to judge their quality from one batch to another. They aren’t our favorite as a primary source of protein in a cat food recipe.
There’s a lot more to say about this formula, but we’ll save it for the next product since the two are extremely similar.
This tuna flavor recipe lists the same first five ingredients as the previous recipe, though the order is a little bit different. You may not think much of that fact until you remember the formula is named for tuna flavor – tuna doesn’t appear until the sixth slot on the list.
Again, chicken by-product meal is the primary source of animal protein. That being said, plant proteins from corn and soy contribute significantly to the total protein content of the recipe. The estimated carbohydrate content of this formula is over 35% which is much too high for cats.
Other things we dislike about this recipe include the use of artificial color and flavor. Animal digest is also listed, typically used in lower quality pet foods as a source of additional flavor to make the product more appealing to pets.
Meow Mix currently only offers two grain-free dry food recipes. Given the similarities between the first two products reviewed, you shouldn’t be surprised to learn that both the salmon flavor and chicken flavor start with the same four ingredients.
We’re glad to see an animal protein as the first ingredients and again, chicken by-product meal isn’t necessarily bad, but it isn’t our favorite. We’d prefer to see the fresh salmon in that first slot.
The estimated carbohydrate content of this formula is a little lower than the previous recipe but still over 30%. We like that it doesn’t contain any low-quality grains like corn and wheat, but soy is still a red-flag ingredient. The peas may also contribute to the total protein content of the recipe.
We often find that even among low-quality brands, the wet food options are a little better than the dry foods. When it comes to Meow Mix, however, it’s hard to say whether that’s true.
This Classic Pate recipe features the flavors of beef, tuna, and chicken. Chicken broth is the first ingredient, but the first protein listed comes from unspecified “meat by-products.” This is even more concerning than chicken by-products because we don’t even know what animal it comes from.
We do see beef, tuna, and chicken on the list but it’s difficult to tell how much they actually contribute to the total protein content. The good news is the estimated carb content is only about 2%.
This Seafood Entrée wet food is surprising because it lists three sources of fresh, whole, animal protein at the top of the list (after fish broth as the first ingredient). You’ll also notice supplemental sources of animal protein like shrimp, mackerel, and chicken liver.
In the first half of the list, the only really troubling ingredients are wheat gluten, sugar, and natural & artificial flavors. Wheat gluten is an issue because not only is it wheat-based, but it is a source of plant protein. Sugar is never a good addition to cat food, especially considering cats can’t actually taste sweetness – it’s just empty calories.
In addition to the “natural & artificial flavors” you’ll also see added color in this product as well. Again, very low in carbohydrates and surprisingly high in animal protein but too many red flags to make it a product we can recommend in good conscience to cat owners.
What Do Customers Think of Meow Mix Cat Food?
As one of the most well-known brands on the market, Meow Mix has a lot of customer reviews. Using reviews from Chewy, it seems customers are generally very pleased with the brand. Most products have several hundred reviews and an average rating 3/5 stars or higher.
In reading some of these customer reviews, we saw many comments about the low prices and large variety. Many customers said their cats absolutely loved the food.
It’s worth noting, however, that cats are less discerning than their owners when it comes to quality and specific ingredients. Meow Mix is one of many pet food manufacturers that uses artificial flavors and other additives to make their products more appealing to pets and their parents.
How Much Does Meow Mix Cat Food Cost?
When it comes to pricing, Meow Mix is easily one of the most affordable brands on the market. Their dry foods are frequently priced under $1.00 per pound and their wet foods under $0.20 per ounce.
In the pet food industry, price is often equated with quality, but you can’t necessarily use one as an indication for another. Good cat foods tend to be more expensive, but not all expensive cat foods are good. It’s certainly possible to find affordable brands that offer decent quality, but you have to do some digging to figure out which products really live up to their claims.
To give you a better idea how Meow Mix 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 Meow Mix Cat Food?
Not only is Meow Mix one of the most affordable cat foods on the market, but it is also one of the most readily available. You’ll find Meow Mix in just about every major pet store chain you walk into, as well as many smaller shops.
You’re less likely to find this brand in specialty pet food stores, however. In addition to pet stores, you can find Meow Mix in grocery stores, big box stores, and more. Their products are also easy to find online from Chewy and Amazon as well as other pet product retailers.
Our Final Thoughts: Is Meow Mix a Good Brand?
If it isn’t clear to you by now, we’ll say it plainly: we don’t recommend Meow Mix. Of course we love the low price, the large variety, an the easy availability, but those are the only good things we can really say.
As noted above, Meow Mix is an example of a brand that doesn’t quite fit with our rating system. Our system is designed to give you an idea how different brands compare on specific points like pricing, variety, and availability.
Unfortunately, some brands rate very highly in these areas but very poorly in overall quality. This leads to a misleading overall rating.
Our final word on Meow Mix is that we don’t recommend it. Though some products are arguably better than others, none are good enough that we feel justified recommending them over another brand as a whole. You could easily find a higher quality product without spending a lot more.