Pure Vita Cat Food Review17 min read
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Your cat is a member of the family, and that’s exactly how you treat him. When shopping for a cat food, don’t you want to know that you’re supporting a company that sees their own pets as family?
Tuffy’s Pet Foods is family-owned and -operated, committed not only to the pets their feed but to the communities they help support.
Tuffy’s Pet Food, also known as NutriSource, offers three different product lines. Pure Vita is a line of limited ingredient pet foods made with single-source proteins. These recipes follow NutriSource’s “Good 4 Life” philosophy that good ingredients work together to support good health.
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
Cats have specific nutritional requirements like any other animal, but they are different than you may realize. While dogs can survive with a higher percentage of plant foods in their diet, cats are biologically evolved to require animal products – protein, specifically.
Your cat is an obligate carnivore which means his body simply isn’t designed to process plant foods. Without enough animal protein in his diet, your cat’s body will start to break down the proteins in his own muscles.
As you can imagine, that’s not a good thing. That’s why every cat food we recommend starts with a high-quality source of animal protein as the first ingredient.
Not all cat foods are created equal, as you may know by now. When we do cat food reviews, we do our best to hold all products to the same standards. If we’re not completely confident the product will provide for your cat’s nutritional needs in a healthy way, we don’t recommend it.
We understand that you want what’s best for your cat and we take that seriously. We want to help you make smart and healthy choices by providing you with in-depth, unbiased information about the cat food brands on the market. We aren’t trying to convince you one way or the other about any particular brand, but we do want you to get an accurate understanding before you make your choice.
When evaluating cat food brands, we take your cat’s nutritional needs into account first and foremost. We only recommend cat foods that are rich in animal protein, low in carbohydrates, and free from artificial additives, fillers, and low-quality grains.
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 Pure Vita Brand
The story of Pure Vita starts with the story of NutriSource, previously Tuffy’s Pet Foods. It all began in 1964 when Darrell Nelson and his son Kenny started a family-owned pet store, Tuffy’s Pet Foods. Though the brand has grown, it is still proudly family-owned and -operated, working with a commitment to compassion, integrity, and a deep-rooted sense of community.
Pure Vita is one of three product lines NutriSource currently offers. It is a holistic line of premium pet foods made with a single source of quality animal protein and a limited list of ingredients. With each product, NutriSource offers the following promise:
“Every bag will reflect our passion for creating the highest quality pet foods that are featured in family owned, community supported, pet loving operations.”
As part of their commitment to community, NutriSource only sells their products in independent pet retailers. Independent retailers understand the importance of quality nutrition and they match the company’s own commitment to delivering amazing customer service. NutriSource also partners with local shelters, rescues, and non-profits to benefit pets around the country.
In addition to being committed to their communities, NutriSource is serious about delivering quality nutrition. They use the world’s finest ingredients with trustworthy sourcing practices, giving preferential treatment to suppliers still owned and operated by their families.
What Kind of Cat Food Products Do They Offer?
The Pure Vita product line from NutriSource (Tuffy’s Pet Foods) currently offers a limited selection of both dry food and wet food products for cats. They offer three dry food recipes and five wet foods, each made with a single source of animal protein and a limited number of ingredients.
Like all of Tuffy’s pet foods, Pure Vita cat food incorporates the proprietary “Good 4 Life” system that includes 4 key ingredients working together to support gut health and overall wellbeing. Every Pure Vita recipe supports brain function, odor control, gut health, and skin and coat health.
Here is the nutritional information for some of the most popular cat food recipes:
Dry Food Recipes
|Recipe||Protein %||Fat %||Fiber %||Moisture %||Calories/Cup|
|Grain-Free Chicken & Peas Entrée||32||18||6.5||10||451|
|Grain-Free Duck & Red Lentils Entrée||34||14||6||10||440|
|Grain-Free Salmon & Peas Entrée||31||18||6||10||407|
Wet Food Recipes
|Recipe||Protein %||Fat %||Fiber %||Moisture %||Calories/Kg|
|Grain-Free Chicken Entrée||11||9||1||78||1,243|
|Grain-Free Beef Entrée||10.5||5.5||1||78||1,110|
|Grain-Free Salmon Entrée||11||8.5||1||78||1,230|
|Grain-Free Turkey Entrée||11||8.5||1||78||1,252|
|Grain-Free Whitefish Entree||11.5||8||1||78||1,250|
Product Recall History
When evaluating a pet food brand before purchase, the best thing to do is check out the ingredients list for a few of their products. This is where you can really get a feel for what goes into the pet food and it will give you some clues about whether it’s a brand worth considering or not.
If you get the feeling a brand offers a certain level of quality but you’re still not sure, it doesn’t hurt to take your evaluation one step further. We recommend checking out the brand’s recall history. Product recalls happen when there’s an issue with a certain product (generally a certain batch) and it needs to be withdrawn from sale for consumer safety.
Pet product recalls are typically issued by the FDA in response to customer complaints or testing. They can, however, be voluntarily enacted by the manufacturer itself.
In many cases, product recalls are for things like contamination with food-borne pathogens but can also be for simpler things like inadequate levels of certain nutrients or even labeling errors. Product recalls are more common with big brands that outsource manufacturing or mass-produce their pet foods, but mistakes can happen anywhere.
It’s always a good sign, however, when a company doesn’t have any product recalls in its history. This is the case with Pure Vita, we’re happy to say.
Products Included in This Review
|Name||Type||Protein %||Fat %||Top 5 Ingredients|
|Grain-Free Chicken & Peas Entrée||Dry||32||18||Chicken, chicken meal, peas, pea flour, chicken fat|
|Grain-Free Duck & Red Lentils Entrée||Dry||34||14||Duck, duck meal, red lentils, garbanzo beans, green lentils|
|Grain-Free Salmon & Peas Entrée||Dry||31||18||Salmon, salmon meal, peas, sunflower meal, pea flour|
|Grain-Free Salmon Entrée||Wet||11||8.5||Salmon, vegetable broth, natural flavor, tricalcium phosphate, agar-agar|
|Grain-Free Beef Entrée||Wet||10.5||5.5||Beef, beef broth, beef liver, natural flavor, calcium carbonate|
This limited ingredient Chicken & Peas Entrée from Pure Vita is made with fresh chicken as the first ingredient, followed by chicken meal. Both of these are concentrated sources of animal protein and, as promised, chicken is the only source of animal protein in the recipe.
After the two protein ingredients you’ll find both peas and pea flour. These aren’t our favorite carbohydrates for cats, but there’s nothing inherently bad about them. We’re a little concerned about the high fiber content of this recipe, however, as cats have trouble digesting plant products – we really don’t think fiber over 3% is beneficial for cats.
The estimated carbohydrate content of this recipe is over 25%. Its not the highest we’ve seen for a commercial dry food, but still higher than we’d like.
If your cat is allergic or sensitive to common proteins like chicken and fish, this Duck & Red Lentils Entrée might be a good choice. It features fresh duck as the first ingredient followed by duck meal, making duck the single source of animal protein.
Though this recipe is grain-free as well, it relies on red and green lentils as well as garbanzo beans rather than peas as the primary carbohydrates. We have the same issue with these – that they are somewhat difficult for cats to digest. We’d prefer fresh veggies as the main carbohydrates.
This formula does include carrots and a few dried fruits, but they are all listed after salt on the ingredients list which implies a total concentration of less than 1% each. We appreciate the use of fresh ingredients as sources of nutrition, but this recipe still uses a significant number of synthetic supplements to ensure complete and balanced nutrition.
We also appreciate the inclusion of dried fermentation products as probiotics, but we’re not sure whether the microorganisms really survive the cooking process to benefit your cat.
For cats who love fish, this Salmon & Peas Entrée could be a good choice. It starts with fresh salmon and salmon meal, followed by peas and sunflower meal.
Again, this recipe starts off strong with two animal proteins as the main ingredients, but we’re not big fans of peas and legumes in cat food. The fiber content is still a little high as well, and a significant portion of the fat seems to come from plant-based ingredients.
Similar to the previous dry foods, this recipe incorporates dried fruits and vegetables as natural sources for key nutrients. Again, however, their total concentration is still likely to be low.
Like the dry food recipes, the Pure Vita wet foods for cats are made with a single source of animal protein and a limited list of ingredients. This particular recipe features fresh salmon. In fact, fresh salmon is the only main ingredient aside from the vegetable broth included for moisture.
This recipe is formulated to meet the nutritional levels established by AAFCO, but with fresh salmon being the only main ingredient it’s safe to assume that a significant amount of that nutrition comes from the synthetic supplements that appear on the list.
All that being said, we don’t see any red flag ingredients on this list. Some pet owners are concerned about the use of agar-agar and other seaweed derivatives typically used as thickeners in wet pet food, but the jury is still out on that one.
Though this recipe is similar to the previous in that the fresh animal protein is listed first, this beef recipe includes a secondary source of protein: beef liver. In addition to adding more protein, beef liver is also a rich source of nutrients. As you’ll notice, however, these are the only main ingredients.
We’re glad to see Pure Vita doesn’t use any artificial additives or fillers in their recipes, but we wouldn’t mind seeing a few natural sources for key nutrients thrown in (like fresh fruits or veggies). The benefit, of course, is a very low carbohydrate content estimated under 3%.
What Do Customers Think of Pure Vita Cat Food?
Because Pure Vita isn’t available in major pet stores and on Chewy, we had a hard time finding customer reviews. For the most part, customers seemed pleased with the quality of the products and most cats seemed to do well on the food. Of the lower ratings for Pure Vita cat foods, there are some comments about the loose texture for the canned pates and some cats simply didn’t like the food.
How Much Does Pure Vita Cat Food Cost?
When shopping for pet food, it’s understandable that cost becomes a factor. Unfortunately, good cat food can be pretty pricey and you can’t always rely on an expensive cat food being a good one.
NutriSource offers three different product lines, each somewhat different in terms of the pricing scale. Pure Vita is made with single-source proteins and limited ingredient lists, so you might expect it to be a little more expensive.
The price for Pure Vita dry cat food ranges from just over $2.70 per pound to around $5.00 per pound, so it’s definitely a little pricey.
If you’re on a budget but still want to give your cat a good product, consider Pure Vita canned foods. Affordably priced at just $0.20/ounce, these foods offer excellent value but are still made with single-source proteins and other nutritious ingredients.
To give you a better idea how Pure Vita 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 Pure Vita Cat Food?
When shopping for Pure Vita cat food, you may not be able to simply stop into a big box store.
This brand is committed to independent pet stores that focus on health and nutrition, so your best bet is to shop local with a specialty pet food store or to shop online. Online, NutriSource works with major retailers like PetFlow and you may be able to find some products on Amazon.
Our Final Thoughts: Is Pure Vita a Good Brand?
Overall, we have no major complaints about Pure Vita. We like the fact that all of their recipes use a single source of protein and that a real animal ingredient is listed first.
We would prefer to minimize the use of beans and legumes, however, in favor of more digestible grain-free carbohydrates. We also think the brand seems to rely fairly heavily on synthetic vitamins and minerals to achieve balanced nutrition.
If you’re looking for an affordable brand to improve the quality of your cat’s diet, Pure Vita wet food could be a good choice. When it comes to dry food, however, we think you could find something lower in carbohydrates with better digestibility at a lower or similar price.