Rachael Ray Nutrish Cat Food Review15 min read
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Rachael Ray is an American celebrity chef known for her cooking show and her delicious recipes.
She was so successful at feeding people that she eventually decided to create a pet food brand with formulas inspired by some of her favorite dishes. Thus, the Rachael Ray Nutrish brand was born.
In the years since its founding, the brand has expanded to include several product lines for both dogs and cats, including the original Nutrish lineup as well as limited ingredient diets, zero-grain recipes, and peak performance formulas.
The Rachael Ray Nutrish brand is affordable and readily available to the majority of pet owners. Read on to see what we think of the brand.
- How We Review Cat Food Brands
- Overview of the Rachael Ray Nutrish Brand
- What Kind of Cat Food Products Do They Offer?
- Rachael Ray Nutrish Natural Chicken & Brown Rice Dry Food
- Rachael Ray Nutrish Purrfect Entrees Grain-Free Sea-Sational Florentine
- Rachael Ray Nutrish PEAK Grain-Free Natural Woodland Catch Recipe with Chicken, Trout & Salmon Dry Food
- What Do Customers Think of Rachael Ray Nutrish Cat Food?
- Product Recall History
- How Much Does Rachael Ray Nutrish Cat Food Cost?
- Where Can You Buy Rachael Ray Nutrish Cat Food?
- Our Final Thoughts: Is Rachael Ray Nutrish a Good Brand?
How We Review Cat Food Brands
Cats require a balanced diet in the same way that you do, but their nutritional needs are very different.
As obligate carnivores, cats have a biological need for a high-protein diet and most of that protein should come from animal-based sources.
The best food for cats is high in protein with moderate fat content and low carbohydrate content.
The more natural, whole-food ingredients, the better, and it should be complete and balanced with the help of vitamin and mineral supplements. We try to avoid recipes that contain low-quality fillers and by-products.
Here are some of the other 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 these requirements, we also look for cat food brands that offer a variety of different recipes for customers to choose from.
Cats can be picky eaters, so we think it is important for a cat food brand to offer a variety of products – having variety gives you more to choose from.
The brand’s recall history is a good way to gauge quality and safety as a whole while customer reviews provide insight into the brand’s quality and popularity.
Overview of the Rachael Ray Nutrish Brand
Rachael Ray Nutrish is a brand developed by Ainsworth Pet Nutrition, a leading producer, distributor, and marketed of premium pet food products. Roughly two-thirds of the company’s sales are generated by the Nutrish brand, though Ainsworth also owns the Better Than!
Treats company as well as Dad’s Pet Care. Ainsworth Pet Nutrition was acquired by the J.M. Smucker Company in 2018, a company founded in 1897 that also acquired major pet food brand Big Heart Pet Brands in 2015.
The Nutrish brand was born of a collaboration between Rachael Ray and pet food experts at Ainsworth Pet Nutrition.
The idea was to create pet food recipes inspired by Rachael’s own kitchen, using simple, wholesome ingredients like real meat and veggies.
According to the company’s website, each ingredient is carefully selected and has a unique purpose to contribute to the flavor and nutrition of the product.
Their suppliers go through a rigorous process of qualification and testing and are all backed by over 80 years of focused excellence in the pet nutrition field.
All of Rachael Ray’s Nutrish cat foods are made with natural ingredients, with the exception of the added vitamins and minerals.
Many recipes contain added taurine as well. Though most of the protein in Nutrish cat foods comes from real meat, many recipes also contain corn gluten meal.
According to the Nutrish website, this is a highly digestible form of protein for cats that is concentrated from corn.
In performing our own research, however, we have concerns about the bioavailability, digestibility, and nutritional value of this product because it is plant-based and it is made from the leftovers of the process through which corn is made into corn syrup.
To learn more about the quality of Rachael Ray’s Nutrish ingredients and how they affect the overall quality of the products, see our detailed review of three popular products below.
What Kind of Cat Food Products Do They Offer?
The Rachael Ray Nutrish product line is a complete line of “super-premium” foods for dogs and cats made using simple, wholesome ingredients.
In addition to offering a wide variety of products for dogs with different nutritional needs, Nutrish includes a varied list of products for cats made with real chicken or salmon as the number-1 ingredient.
They also offer specialized superfood blends for unique nutritional needs for indoor cats and longevity as well as grain-free recipes. Nutrish cat foods come in many different flavors of wet food as well as convenient variety packs.
Products Included in This Review
|Name||Type||Protein %||Fat %||Top 5 Ingredients|
|Rachael Ray Nutrish Natural Chicken & Brown Rice Dry Food||Dry||34%||14%||Chicken, chicken meal, corn gluten meal, ground rice, brown rice|
|Rachael Ray Nutrish Purrfect Entrees Grain-Free Sea-Sational Florentine with Wild-Caught Salmon & Veggies in Creamy Sauce Wet Cat Food||Wet||9%||5%||Fish broth, salmon, mackerel, sardine, vegetable oil|
|Rachael Ray Nutrish PEAK Grain-Free Natural Woodland Catch Recipe with Chicken, Trout & Salmon Dry Food||Dry||40%||18%||Chicken, chicken meal, menhaden fish meal, dried peas, pea protein|
One of the most popular recipes from the Rachael Ray Nutrish brand, this chicken and brown rice formula features real farm-raised chicken as the first ingredient.
The fresh chicken is supplemented with chicken meal as a concentrated source of supplemental protein with corn gluten meal as the third ingredient.
Next comes both ground rice and brown rice, followed by poultry fat and brewers dried yeast. The rice ingredients are acceptable, though whole forms would be better, but the corn gluten meal, poultry fat, and brewers dried yeast are concerning.
We’ve already covered the issues with corn gluten meal, but brewer’s dried yeast is similar.
A by-product of the beer brewing process, this ingredient is used as a source of protein and nutrients, but it offers low nutritional quality and comes with a high risk for triggering allergies and sensitivities.
The problem with poultry fat is that it doesn’t come from a named animal source (like chicken fat), so it is difficult to judge the quality. In terms of the guaranteed analysis, this recipe offers moderately high protein and moderate fat content.
Sold in 2-ounce cups, this grain-free Sea-Sational Florentine recipe features wild-caught salmon and veggies in a creamy sauce.
The recipe starts with fish broth as a rich source of moisture and flavor, followed by three animal proteins: salmon, mackerel, and sardine. The only other main ingredients aside from supplements are vegetable oil and carrots.
Fish broth being the first ingredient is not a significant concern because many wet foods list a source of moisture first, we just wish it were from a named source like salmon broth.
The vegetable oil is also concerning because it doesn’t come from a named source either.
There is no way to know exactly what it contains or where it comes from.
Other than that, however, the recipe looks pretty good. It contains chelated minerals which are minerals bound to protein molecules to increase absorption.
The recipe is also supplemented with taurine.
The PEAK line of products includes “nutrient-dense recipes to satisfy your cat’s instinctual cravings.” This Woodlands Catch recipe contains 40% protein with farm-raised chicken as the main ingredient.
It also contains supplemental proteins like chicken meal, menhaden fish meal, salmon meal, and turkey meal as well as a single plant protein, pea protein. This grain-free recipe contains dried peas and tapioca as the main carbohydrates with chicken fat as the main fat source.
Overall, this recipe appears to offer quality nutrition with no questionable ingredients.
The plant protein is not ideal, but it comes following three animal sources, so it is hard to tell how significantly it contributes to the overall protein content.
What Do Customers Think of Rachael Ray Nutrish Cat Food?
The customer reviews for Rachael Ray Nutrish products are a mixed bag.
Many customers love the affordable price and natural ingredients, though there are a significant number who say that their cats simply wouldn’t eat it.
There don’t seem to be many negative comments about the ingredients and many customers say that Nutrish is a higher quality brand than what they were previously feeding.
Positive Customer Reviews
”I had been feeding my cat Eagle brand cat food and she would eat it, but never very enthusiastically. I then read that they were no longer making it, so I had to switch before I ran out. I ordered this and my cat loved it. The next day, I mixed it with the Eagle brand, thinking I didn’t want it to go to waste, and she actually took a paw and scooped out the Eagle food followed by a look of disappointment.”
– Barb, reviewing Rachael Ray Nutrish Natural Chicken & Brown Rice Dry Food
“We have a cat on medication that decreases appetite and she’s a little picky in general. We have offered at least 20 different foods over the past month. I didn’t think she would eat much of this because she doesn’t seem to like chunks or pieces. She inhaled this food, all of it!”
– 7cat, reviewing Rachael Ray Nutrish Purrfect Entrees Grain-Free Sea-Sational Florentine
“My cats are raw fed, but they get kibble twice a week. Usually they aren’t that excited about the dry food, but they LOVE this particular formula. I usually feed them Orijen dry cat food, but they like this one better and the pieces are a lot smaller which is great for digestion.”
Negative Customer Reviews
“I use Royal Canin and they love that brand with very minimal vomiting. But it is a very expensive brand of food and I have to feed five cats. So, I thought I’d give Rachael Ray’s brand a try due to many natural ingredients. The cats that would eat this vomiting frequently and the others wouldn’t even eat this.”
– Crystalanne, reviewing Rachael Ray Nutrish Natural Chicken & Brown Rice Dry Food
“I wish I could honestly say my cats devoured this food but 6 out of 7 cats turned their noses up. They really enjoy Rachael Ray’s dry food which they’ve been eating for the past few weeks and they seem to be tiring of the Fancy Feast, so I wanted to try something new. Alas, it didn’t work out.”
– TrishC, reviewing Rachael Ray Nutrish Purrfect Entrees Grain-Free Sea-Sational Florentine
“MaGee, my 8 year-old male cat has never disliked any food until he tried this one. The description sounded so healthy and appealing, I thought he would love it. He comes into the house, runs straight to his bowl then turns around and walks away.”
Product Recall History
The Rachael Ray Nutrish brand was started by Ainsworth Pet Nutrition, one of the largest manufacturers of pet food in the United States. Being produced in mass quantities, it wouldn’t be surprising if the brand had a few recalls. In performing our research, however, we only found one recall to date. In June 2015, Ainsworth Pet Nutrition voluntarily recalled five varieties of Rachael Ray Nutrish wet cat food because they contained excessive levels of vitamin D.
Though the Nutrish brand only has one recall in its history, it also has a major lawsuit as well. In August 2018, a customer filed a $5 million lawsuit against Ainsworth Pet Nutrition with allegations that Nutrish products contain an undisclosed herbicide called glyphosate, a potent biocide and endocrine disrupter with unknown health effects. The lawsuit came in the wake of a 2015 study that revealed that 9 popular dog and cat food brands contained “significant” levels of glyphosate.
How Much Does Rachael Ray Nutrish Cat Food Cost?
As a whole, the Rachael Ray Nutrish brand is fairly affordable. Some of their most popular products are the original dry food recipes like the first product reviewed above.
These dry foods are priced under $2 per pound but there are also recipes that cost closer to $3 per pound.
The wet food recipe we reviewed costs $0.60 per ounce which is somewhat expensive, but you should keep in mind that smaller cups and pouches of food tend to have a higher price per ounce than larger cans.
Overall, we would say that Rachael Ray Nutrish cat food is moderately priced.
To give you a better idea how Rachael Ray Nutrish 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 Rachael Ray Nutrish Cat Food?
As one of the more affordable cat food brands on the market, you can find Rachael Ray’s Nutrish products in a wide variety of pet stores.
These products are readily available in major pet store chains like Petco and PetSmart as well as their online stores.
You can also find Nutrish in certain grocery store chains and big box stores.
If you prefer to shop online, you can find plenty of Nutrish products available from major online retailers like Chewy and Amazon. If you’re looking for a specific product, you can use the store locator on the website to shop by product and location.
Our Final Thoughts: Is Rachael Ray Nutrish a Good Brand?
Rachael Ray Nutrish cat food is very popular and many cat owners consider it an affordable brand.
The brand uses a wide variety of simple, natural ingredients but there are also some we consider questionable.
Though the company lives up to its promise of using real meat as the first ingredient in every recipe, they also make considerable use of plant proteins and questionable ingredients like corn gluten meal and brewer’s dried yeast.
There are also a significant number of unnamed ingredients which are difficult to judge in terms of quality.
Overall, we would say that Nutrish is a mid-quality brand. It is certainly better than many cat food brands on the market, but it is far from the best.
If you have a limited budget, we would recommend the first cat food on our list or, if you can afford it, the second dry food we reviewed would be even better.