Orijen Cat Food Review17 min read
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The Orijen pet food brand takes nutrition “back to the beginning” by developing their products in keeping with the biological requirements of cats and dogs.
This company understands what wild cats and dogs were born to eat, the kind of diet our pets are still adapted to. Their products represent the fullest expression of biologically appropriate nutrition for pets.
For more than 30 years, Orijen has been setting the standard for biologically appropriate diets for pets. Their products are made from fresh, regional ingredients and their production is never outsourced.
If you’re looking for an upgrade in your cat’s diet and want to go with a tried and true brand, we highly recommend you consider Orijen.
Read on to see what we think of the brand and to see our reviews for their top products.
How We Review Cat Food Brands
When your cat’s lying there on the couch or chasing after a toy mouse, he may not look much a wild predator. Though he may not look like it on the outside, your cat is still very similar to his wild ancestors on the inside, biologically speaking.
Cats are known as obligate carnivores. This simply means their bodies are adapted and evolved to eating a diet made up of animal products. Not only is your cat a carnivore, but his body has a biological requirement for a high-protein diet. Plant foods and cats simply don’t mix.
This is the basis we use to determine whether a cat food brand receives our recommendation. We’re not here to share our opinions but to help you determine whether a cat food will meet your cat’s nutritional needs and whether the brand is a trustworthy one.
As a responsible cat owner, you want what’s best for your cat. We’re here to help you! It’s our goal to honestly review the top cat foods on the market to give you the insight you need to make an informed decision on your own. We hope you’ll take the opportunity to learn as much as you can.
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 Orijen Brand
The name Orijen comes from the Latin term “origin” which means source or beginning. While many pet food manufacturers seek to meet the minimum nutrition standards set for pets, Orijen set out to create products that mirror the biologically appropriate diet they were evolved to follow.
For over 30 years, Orijen has been one of the most well-respected named in the pet food industry. Their pet foods are inspired by the natural diet of wild wolves and cats which includes whole prey animals. As such, their recipes are made with unmatched and unique inclusions of meat, naturally meeting your pet’s nutritional needs as well as his biological ones.
While Orijen may not offer the widest variety when it comes to pet food, you can rest assured that each and every recipe is packed with premium nutrition from fresh, regional ingredients. Orijen’s ingredients mirror Mother Nature, “supplying nutrients in their freshest, most natural and nourishing form.”
When you choose Orijen for your cat, you’re choosing the freshest ingredients from regional sources that are prepared using state-of-the-art techniques to lock in their natural nutrition. Two-thirds of all the protein used in Orijen pet foods are fresh or raw – that’s the key to palatability and nutrition. No matter your cat’s preferences for protein, Orijen offers a recipe for him.
What Kind of Cat Food Products Do They Offer?
Orijen has only and will likely only ever offer dry food products for cats and dogs. Of this choice, Orijen says, “at this time our focus is on making the most Biologically Appropriate Orijen dry kibble and freeze-dried diets.” There are currently five recipes to choose from.
Here is the nutritional information for some of the most popular cat food recipes:
Dry Food Recipes
|Recipe||Protein %||Fat %||Fiber %||Moisture %||Calories/Kg|
|Cat & Kitten Dry Cat Food||40||20||3||10||4,060|
|Six Fish Dry Cat Food||40||20||3||10||4,060|
|Regional Red Dry Cat Food||40||20||3||10||4,060|
|Tundra Dry Cat Food||40||20||3||10||4,120|
|Fit & Trim Dry Cat Food||44||15||6||10||3,530|
Product Recall History
When you’re shopping for a new cat food recipe, it makes sense to read the information on the label. This tells you about the ingredients and the nutrient content. What it doesn’t give you, however, is a picture of the brand as a whole. We recommend checking the brand’s recall history.
A product recall is typically issued by the FDA in response to testing or customer complaints, though it can also be issued by the manufacturer itself.
Product recalls happen when there’s an issue with the product. In some cases, it’s for simple things like labeling errors or differences in formulation discovered through testing. In other cases, however, it’s for serious problems like foreign objects in the food or positive tests for food-borne pathogens. A long list of recalls is a red flag for a cat food brand, though lack of recalls is not a standalone indication of quality.
Here’s an overview of product recalls for Orijen:
- November 2008 (gamma irradiation) – In 2008, Orijen issued an alert about cat foods produced in their Australia facility related to cats falling ill due to mandatory gamma irradiation.
Though Orijen has one product recall in its history, it only affected products made and sold in Australia. Orijen has never had a recall in the United States or Canada.
Products Included in This Review
|Name||Type||Protein %||Fat %||Top 5 Ingredients|
|Cat & Kitten Dry Cat Food||Dry||40||20||Deboned chicken, deboned turkey, eggs, Atlantic flounder, whole Atlantic mackerel|
|Six Fish Dry Cat Food||Dry||40||20||Whole Atlantic mackerel, whole Atlantic herring, flounder, acadian redfish, monkfish|
|Regional Red Dry Cat Food||Dry||40||20||Deboned beef, deboned wild boar, deboned goat, deboned lamb, lamb liver|
|Tundra Dry Cat Food||Dry||40||20||Deboned goat, deboned wild boar, deboned Arctic char, deboned venison, steelhead trout|
|Fit & Trim Dry Cat Food||Dry||44||15||Deboned chicken, chicken liver, turkey liver, deboned turkey, eggs|
Formulated to meet the nutritional needs of adult cats as well as kittens, this recipe is packed with nourishing protein from free-run chicken and turkey, wild-caught fish, and cage-free eggs.
This cat and kitten formula is described as a protein-rich recipe and that’s exactly what it is. Not only is the first ingredient a source of animal protein, but the first 14 ingredients are. In fact, you won’t see a single carbohydrate ingredient on the list until the 15th slot.
With fresh chicken as the first ingredient, this recipe is a great option for cats and kittens. We love that the protein content is very high (crude protein 40%) but Orijen actually goes so far as to list the percentage of each protein ingredient.
In addition to being packed with protein, this recipe is grain-free. Red and green lentils as well as green peas are the top three carbohydrate ingredients. Legumes generally aren’t our favorite carbohydrate in cat foods, but we can’t complain since it’s obvious that protein makes up the majority of the recipe.
That being said, the estimated carb content of this formula is a little higher than we’d expect around 19%. That’s using the minimum values from the guaranteed analysis, however, so it could be lower.
Made with six different types of fish, this recipe is packed with protein from pilchard, hake, mackerel, flounder, rockfish, and sole. All these fish are wild-caught from Canada’s Pacific ocean and delivered fresh to Orijen kitchens for use in their recipes.
This fish recipe is a little higher in protein than the previous formula and the first ingredient (fresh whole Pacific pilchard) makes up 26% of that protein. The first nine ingredients are proteins but the first eleven are animal-based – number-10 is herring oil followed by Alaskan cod.
Again, this grain-free recipe utilizes lentils and peas as the primary carbohydrates with an estimated carb content around 16%. The fat content is the same as the previous recipe.
For cats who love traditional flavors like beef and other red meat, this Regional Red recipe is a great option. It features ranch-raised beef, wild boar, bison, grass-fed lamb, and Yorkshire pork.
This Regional Red recipe is made with two-thirds fresh or raw animal ingredients and the remaining one-third are dried to create a concentrated source of protein. With 40% crude protein total, fresh beef only makes up 8%. The next highest protein inclusion is wild boar at 4%, equal to the amount of bison, lamb, and pork as well as the beef and boar livers.
In addition to red meat, this recipe includes several fish-based protein sources including fresh whole pilchard and whole herring. Keep this in mind if you’re looking for a recipe for cats with food allergies to fish. Remember as well that this is not a single-source protein recipe.
This Tundra recipe from Orijen contains protein from several unique sources including goat, wild boar, ranch-raised venison, duck, and mutton. It also contains fish protein from Arctic char, steelhead trout, mackerel, pilchard, and Alaskan cod.
Like the other recipes, this formula is grain-free and made with lentils and peas as the main carbohydrates. You’ll find several fresh fruits and vegetables on the list as well as natural sources for key nutrients. These inclusions help limit the number of synthetic supplements needed to ensure complete and balanced nutrition according to AAFCO requirements.
None of the ingredients lists for Orijen cat foods are particularly short, but this recipe has one of the shorter ones. It also only uses three synthetic nutrient supplements.
Obesity is just as dangerous for cats as it is for people which is why Orijen offers this Fit & Trim recipe. This formula is made with plenty of animal protein but has a higher percentage of fiber to help support regular digestion and healthy weight maintenance.
This recipe features 44% crude animal protein from chicken, eggs, herring, turkey, flounder, and other sources. The fat content is about 5% lower than we’ve seen in other recipes and the fiber about twice as high (6% versus 3%). There’s not a lot of concrete evidence that suggests higher fiber content actually benefits weight loss and cats in particular are more likely to experience digestive issues with high fiber intake – their bodies simply aren’t developed to process plant foods.
The estimated carb content of this recipe is about 15%. This lower than we were expecting, considering many low-fat cat foods are very plant heavy.
What Do Customers Think of Orijen Cat Food?
When gathering information about customer opinions on Orijen, we used reviews on Amazon. Of the five recipes available, all had at least 200 reviews and several had well over 1,000. All five recipes carried a 4-star average or higher as well.
There are many comments about the quality of the ingredients and the benefits seen in the cat’s coat and skin. Unfortunately, some cat owners reported issues with vomiting and others commented about a change in formulation between the US-made and Canadian-made recipes.
How Much Does Orijen Cat Food Cost?
When you think about the best cat foods on the market, you probably picture them with dollar signs next to the name. It’s true that high-quality cat food tends to cost more, but you shouldn’t think of it as a strain on your wallet but as an investment in your cat’s health and future.
There’s no denying that Orijen is a fairly expensive brand, but you can tell that every product they offer is of the highest quality. Not only are you feeding your cat a biologically appropriate diet, but everything is regionally sourced and made in company-owned kitchens for quality and safety.
In terms of pricing, Orijen dry cat food ranges from about $3.75 per pound as high as $7.00 per pound. The larger the bag, the lower the per-pound price.
To give you a better idea how Orijen 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 Orijen Cat Food?
As a premium (and Canadian) brand of cat food, you may not find Orijen everywhere. It’s most likely to be sold in specialty pet food stores as well as independent retailers.
You’ll also find Orijen cat food sold in major pet store chains like Petco and PetSmart as well as their online stores. If you prefer to shop online, you can find all of Orijen’s dry food recipes on Amazon but, unfortunately, not on Chewy. Some other online pet retailers like Pet Flow sell Orijen products as well.
Our Final Thoughts: Is Orijen a Good Brand?
Overall, we like Orijen and can heartily recommend them as a good brand of cat food. Our ranking of 3.5/5 is less a reflection of the brand’s quality than we’d hope, but it does take into account issues like pricing and variety.
Speaking entirely about the quality of the brand, however, we love the high protein levels and the use of regional ingredients. If you can afford it, this is a brand we recommend.