Cat Food Reviews

Royal Canin Cat Food Review15 min read

December 25, 2019 11 min read
royal canin cat food review

Royal Canin Cat Food Review15 min read

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Reading Time: 11 minutesroyal canin cat food review
Easily one of the most popular pet food brands on the market, Royal Canin has been selling pet food products for more than 50 years. This brand offers a wide selection of veterinary diets and traditional pet foods tailored to dogs and cats with unique nutritional needs according to their breed, size, or lifestyle.

Royal Canin understands the importance of quality nutrition in helping a pet achieve its optimal level of health and maximum longevity. Unfortunately, a review of the ingredients they use raises cause for concern. Read on to learn more about what we think of the Royal Canin brand.

The Royal Canin Cat Food Ratings1 min read
Brand
Overall Score
Pros
    Cons
      Variety of Recipes
      10/10
      Ingredient Quality
      6/10
      Price Per Pound
      7/10
      Recall History
      7/10
      Availability
      9/10
      Customer Reviews
      7/10

      How We Review Cat Food Brands

      When reviewing a cat food brand, we heavily favor those that include high-quality sources of animal-based protein. Cats are obligate carnivores, which means that they have a biological requirement for meat in their diet – their bodies are simply not designed to process plant foods.

      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

      Some of the additional factors we consider when reviewing a cat food brand are the variety of recipes available, the price per pound, the recall history of the brand, the availability, and customer reviews. It is important for a brand to offer a variety of products because cats tend to be picky.

      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 Royal Canin Brand

      Royal Canin was founded in 1968 and has been working to improve nutrition for cats and dogs for more than 50 years. This company was found by Jean Cathary, born in May of 1927 in a small French town. Working as a veterinarian, Cathary came to understand the impact of food on the health of animals.

      In 1968 he developed his own pet food for dogs and thus the Royal Canin brand was born. Throughout the years, the brand has changed hands and has gone through a great deal of development in terms of their products and processes. All along, however, the brand has been committed to quality nutrition in pets.

      The Royal Canin brand claims that health is their obsession – that everything they do is driven by a passion of the health and wellbeing of pets. To ensure that their products provide high-quality nutrition, the brand employs leading scientific, veterinary, and behavioral experts to help formulate their products and to educate pet owners worldwide.

      In addition to caring about the quality of pet nutrition, they are also concerned about the sustainability of their products.

      In fact, the company has set three sustainability goals:

      • To reduce their environmental impact to keep the planet healthy.
      • To improve the lives of people working in the company’s value chain.
      • To advance science, innovation, and marketing in ways to help people and pets.

      To ensure that every pet gets the nutrition they deserve, Royal Canin believes in a philosophy of tailored nutrition.

      They provide a wide variety of products for dogs and cats of different ages, breed sizes, and lifestyles. They are most well-known for their breed-specific dog foods and their cat foods tailored to specific needs like hairball reduction and hair & skin care.

      What Kind of Cat Food Products Do They Offer?

      When it comes to their cat food recipes, Royal Canin products can be divided into two main categories. The first is their veterinary range, a line of therapeutic diets designed to help maintain the health of cats with diagnosed health issues. This line of products contains over 50 recipes specially formulated for issues like renal support, weight control, and urinary health.

      The other category of Royal Canin cat foods consists of more traditional products designed to deliver precise nutrition for cats of all ages, breeds, and sizes. In this collection you’ll find recipes for kittens, adults, and senior cats in a variety of forms, some of which are designed to deliver targeted nutrition for cats of certain breeds.

      Products Included in This Review

      NameTypeProtein %Fat %Top 5 Ingredients
      Royal Canin Indoor
      Adult Dry Cat Food
      Dry27%11%Chicken meal, corn, brewers rice, corn gluten meal, wheat
      Royal Canin Feline Health Nutrition Adult Instinctive Thin Slices in Gravy Canned FoodWet10.5%1.9%Water, pork by-products, chicken by-products, chicken liver, pork liver
      Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Hydrolyzed Protein HP Dry FoodDry23%18%Brewers rice, hydrolyzed soy protein, chicken fat, natural flavors, powdered cellulose

      Royal Canin Indoor Adult Dry Cat Food

      • Type of Food: Dry
      • First 5 Ingredients: Chicken meal, corn, brewers rice, corn gluten meal, wheat
      • Guaranteed Analysis: 27% protein, 11% fat, 5.7% fiber, 8% moisture
      • Calories per Cup: 325 calories/cup
      • Price Per Pound/Ounce: $3.33/pound

      Ingredients:

      Chicken Meal, Corn, Brewers Rice, Corn Gluten Meal, Wheat, Chicken Fat, Wheat Gluten, Natural Flavors, Brown Rice, Pea Fiber, Rice Hulls, Dried Plain Beet Pulp, Vegetable Oil, Calcium Sulfate, Grain Distillers Dried Yeast, Sodium Silico Aluminate, Fish Oil, Potassium Chloride, Fructooligosaccharides, Sodium Pyrophosphate, Psyllium Seed Husk, Salt, Dl-Methionine, Choline Chloride, Egg Product, Calcium Carbonate, Vitamins [Dl-Alpha Tocopherol Acetate (Source Of Vitamin E), L-Ascorbyl-2-Polyphosphate (Source Of Vitamin C), Niacin Supplement, Biotin, Riboflavin Supplement, D-Calcium Pantothenate, Thiamine Mononitrate (Vitamin B1), Pyridoxine Hydrochloride (Vitamin B6), Vitamin A Acetate, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Folic Acid, Vitamin D3 Supplement], Taurine, Trace Minerals [Zinc Oxide, Zinc Proteinate, Ferrous Sulfate, Manganous Oxide, Manganese Proteinate, Copper Sulfate, Calcium Iodate, Sodium Selenite, Copper Proteinate], L-Carnitine, Rosemary Extract, Preserved With Mixed Tocopherols And Citric Acid.

      This Royal Canin Indoor Adult Dry Cat Food recipe is a popular product for adult indoor cats between the ages of 1 and 7 years. This product is formulated to help reduce stool odor and quantity with adequate protein content and specific nutrients.

      It contains a moderate level of fat to account for the lower activity level of indoor cats and helps manage hairballs with a combination of fibers. All of these things sound great, but an analysis of the product itself tells a slightly different story.

      Chicken meal, a concentrated source of animal protein, is the first ingredient on the list. Unfortunately, the next ingredient is corn, the fourth ingredient is corn gluten meal, and the fifth ingredient is wheat.

      These are all low-quality ingredients that will be difficult for your cat to digest, not to mention them being low in nutritional value for cats. This recipe is also fairly low in protein compared to other brands, and a considerable amount of it is likely to come from plant sources like corn gluten meal and wheat gluten.

      Royal Canin Feline Health Nutrition Adult Instinctive Thin Slices in Gravy Wet Food

      • Type of Food: Wet
      • First 5 Ingredients: Water, pork by-products, chicken by-products, chicken liver, pork liver
      • Guaranteed Analysis: 10.5% protein, 1.9% fat, 1.8% fiber, 81.5% moisture
      • Calories per Cup: 66 calories/can
      • Price Per Pound/Ounce: $0.56/ounce

      Ingredients:

      Water Sufficient For Processing, Pork By-Products, Chicken By-Products, Chicken Liver, Pork Liver, Salmon, Wheat Flour, Wheat Gluten, Gelatin, Pork Plasma, Powdered Cellulose, Natural Flavors, Modified Corn Starch, Calcium Sulfate, Guar Gum, Potassium Chloride, Sodium Tripolyphosphate, Carrageenan, Taurine, Vitamins [Dl-Alpha Tocopherol Acetate (Source Of Vitamin E), Thiamine Mononitrate (Vitamin B1), Niacin Supplement, Biotin, D-Calcium Pantothenate, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride (Vitamin B6), Riboflavin Supplement, Folic Acid, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Vitamin D3 Supplement], Trace Minerals [Zinc Proteinate, Zinc Oxide, Ferrous Sulfate, Copper Sulfate, Manganous Oxide, Sodium Selenite, Calcium Iodate], Choline Chloride.

      According to the product description, this Royal Canin Feline Health Nutrition Adult Instinctive Thin Slices in Gravy Wet Food is formulated around a cat’s nutritional needs and instinctive preferences.

      The product is supposedly created with the optimal balance of protein, cat, and carbohydrates in a palatable formula designed to be ins instinctively preferred by adult cats. Unfortunately, an analysis of the ingredients list and guaranteed analysis reveals some serious concerns.

      The fact that water is the first ingredient is not a problem, since many wet foods start with a source of moisture. The problem is that the next two ingredients, both primary sources of protein, come from by-products. Pork liver, chicken liver, and salmon are better ingredients but the next few consist of wheat flour, wheat gluten, and gelatin.

      Overall, this recipe contains a significant quantity of questionable or even low-quality ingredients and the guaranteed analysis, converted to dry matter, reveals 56% protein but only 10% fat. It is also worth mentioning that the name of the product doesn’t contain any suggestion of what type of meat the product contains – it is simply called “thin slices in gravy.”

      Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Hydrolyzed Protein HP Dry Cat Food

      • Type of Food: Dry
      • First 5 Ingredients: Brewers rice, hydrolyzed soy protein, chicken fat, natural flavors, powdered cellulose
      • Guaranteed Analysis: 23% protein, 18% fat, 5.6% fiber, 8% moisture
      • Calories per Cup: 328 calories per cup
      • Price Per Pound/Ounce: $6.65/pound

      Ingredients:

      Brewers Rice, Hydrolyzed Soy Protein, Chicken Fat, Natural Flavors, Powdered Cellulose, Dried Plain Beet Pulp, Monocalcium Phosphate, Fish Oil, Potassium Chloride, Calcium Sulfate, Calcium Carbonate, Vegetable Oil, Sodium Silico Aluminate, Fructooligosaccharides, Taurine, Vitamins [Dl-Alpha Tocopherol Acetate (Source of Vitamin E), Inositol, Niacin Supplement, L-Ascorbyl-2-Polyphosphate (Source of Vitamin C), D-Calcium Pantothenate, Biotin, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride (Vitamin B6), Riboflavin Supplement, Thiamine Mononitrate (Vitamin B1), Vitamin A Acetate, Folic Acid, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Vitamin D3 Supplement], Choline Chloride, Dl-Methionine, Marigold Extract (Tagetes Erecta L.), Trace Minerals [Zinc Proteinate, Zinc Oxide, Ferrous Sulfate, Manganese Proteinate, Copper Proteinate, Copper Sulfate, Manganous Oxide, Calcium Iodate, Sodium Selenite], Rosemary Extract, Preserved with Mixed Tocopherols and Citric Acid.

      One of Royal Canin’s many veterinary diets, this recipe is formulated to help cats with food sensitivities to common proteins.

      This recipe features hydrolyzed protein to avoid triggering an immune reaction and it may also help with skin- and GI-related symptoms. Unfortunately, the quality of the ingredients in this recipe seems to be very low.

      First and foremost, this recipe lists brewers rice as the first ingredient – not a source of protein and not a particularly nutritious ingredient either.

      Next comes hydrolyzed soy protein and later comes cellulose, fish oil, and vegetable oil. The protein content of this recipe is also fairly low at 23% and the fiber content is higher than recommended at 5.6%.

      What Do Customers Think of Royal Canin Cat Food?

      Given our concerns about the quality of Royal Canin’s ingredients, we expected the brand to have a lower rating from customers. We were surprised to see, however, that most products had at least a 4-star average rating. After reviewing a number of comments, it seems that many customers reviewed the product poorly only because their cat wouldn’t eat it. There were also a fair number of cat owners concerned about the quality of the ingredients and the heavy use of byproducts.

      Positive Customer Reviews

      “This is the first dry food I’ve purchased where he runs into the room when he hears the bag. He adores this food so much. Getting him to really enjoy a healthier brand has been difficult to me and I am glad to have found the one. His coat is becoming thick & beautiful, he’s full of energy, he’s happy and healthy.”

      Bubs, reviewing Royal Canin Indoor Adult Dry Cat Food

      “We feed our two cats Royal Canin’s prescription dry food and since one of them is having teeth issues, I wanted to make it easier for him to eat and enjoy his food. Since we trust Royal Canin, I got these for him to try and he absolutely loves it! He gets so excited when he hears that little top pop off.”

      Mandy, reviewing Royal Canin Feline Health Nutrition Adult Instinctive Thin Slices in Gravy Canned Food

      “Ever since I got my cat, she had been having really bad hairballs. She will vomit hairballs a couple times a week. Nothing worked until I finally took her to the vet and was given this Rx food. OMG! I wish I had taken my cat in earlier for these. This Rx food works wonders.”

      MyNameisIvy, reviewing Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Hydrolyzed Protein HP Dry Food

      Negative Customer Reviews

      “This good is garbage. Corn, wheat, cats shouldn’t be eating this, they’re meat eaters, sure there is a little protein in wheat, corn, and peas but not the meat-based protein cats need. Loss of hair, itchy skin, inflammatory bowel disease, these ingredients can bring that on, horrible.”

      Petstr1, reviewing Royal Canin Indoor Adult Dry Cat Food

      “Because all six of our cats like many of the Royal Canin products, I was sure this would be a winner. Not surprisingly that cats have their own opinions, none of them care for this flavor. Will donate to other cats.”

      Jan1, reviewing Royal Canin Feline Health Nutrition Adult Instinctive Thin Slices in Gravy Canned Food

      “My cat seems to have food allergies, so the vet suggested this food. I’m sure it’s fine, but she won’t eat it, so I have no idea if she’d tolerate it. Just acts like it isn’t there.”

      GAGirlzMom, reviewing Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Hydrolyzed Protein HP Dry Food

      Product Recall History

      Though the Royal Canin brand receives highly varied reviews from customers, you’ll need more information to determine whether this is a brand you can trust. Customer experiences vary, but product recalls can give you some insight into the quality of a brand and their practices. In researching the brand, we found it somewhat surprising that there were no recalls over the past decade. The only recalls we could find for Royal Canin are listed below:

      • May 2007 (Potential melamine contamination) – An assortment of Sensible Choice and Kasco pet foods was recalled due to potential melamine contamination.
      • April 2007 (Potential melamine contamination) – This recall affected an assortment of Royal Canin Veterinary Diet and Sensible Choice dog foods.
      • February 2006 (Too much vitamin D3) – A number of Royal Canin Veterinary Diet dog and cat foods were recalled due to excessive vitamin D3 content.

      To learn more about Royal Canin cat and dog food product recalls, check out a detailed review of the brand at DogFood.guide.

      How Much Does Royal Canin Cat Food Cost?

      Generally speaking, Royal Canin is a fairly expensive brand. The Royal Canin Veterinary Diet line of products is priced upwards of $6.00 per pound which is nearly double the price of an average dry cat food. The more traditional dry and wet food recipes were surprisingly expensive as well.

      ‘The dry food reviewed above is priced at $3.33 per pound and the wet food costs more than $0.50 per ounce.

      These prices are particularly surprising considering that most recipes contain a significant concentration of low-quality carbohydrates and by-products. Many products don’t even list an animal source of protein as the first ingredient.

      To give you a better idea how Royal Canin stacks up against other cat food brands, here is a quick chart to show you some average prices:

      Brand/RecipeTypeQualityPrice/OuncePrice/Pound
      Meow Mix Original Choice Dry FoodDryLowX$0.90/pound
      Friskies Classic Pate Mixed Grill Canned FoodWetLow$0.07/ounce$1.16/pound
      Blue Buffalo Indoor Health Chicken & Brown Rice Adult Dry Cat FoodDryModerateX$2.53/pound
      Whole Earth Farms Grain-Free Real Chicken Pate Recipe Canned Cat FoodWetModerate$0.36/ounceX
      Instinct by Nature’s Variety Original Grain-Free Recipe with Real ChickenDryHighX$3.45/pound
      Ziwi Peak New Zealand Venison Recipe Canned Cat FoodWetHigh$1.21/ounceX

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      Where Can You Buy Royal Canin Cat Food?

      The Royal Canin company has been around for more than 50 years and is a very well-known brand in the pet food industry.

      As such, you can find Royal Canin products in many major pet stores as well as some local and regional chains. To purchase Royal Canin pet foods online, you can buy from Chewy or Amazon as well as Petco and PetSmart.

      If you want to feed your cat Royal Canin Veterinary cat food, however, you’ll need a prescription. These products are sold in many veterinary offices or, with your prescription, you can purchase them from select online retailers.

      Our Final Thoughts: Is Royal Canin a Good Brand?

      Generally speaking, we are not impressed with the Royal Canin brand and cannot, in good conscience, recommend it. This brand is extremely popular, largely due to the number of veterinary offices that recommend it.

      All it takes is a quick review of ingredients and guaranteed analyses, however, to see that most products this brand has to offer come with some serious questions regarding ingredient quality. The brand does, however, have a loyal following and has not had a significant number of recalls.

      If you choose to feed your cat Royal Canin products, we encourage you to perform your own analysis of the product.

      Make sure the first ingredient is a whole source of animal protein (chicken, not chicken by-products or poultry meal). You should also make sure it doesn’t contain an abundance of low-quality grains and fillers like corn, wheat, and soy.

      In addition to checking the ingredients, look at the guaranteed analysis as well to make sure it is rich in protein with moderate fat content and an acceptable number of calories per cup.

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      Kate Barrington is avid dog lover and adoring owner of three cats, Kate’s love for animals has led her to a successful career as a freelance writer specializing in pet care and nutrition. Kate is also a blogger for a number of organic and natural food companies as well as a columnist for several pet magazines
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