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Wellness Cat Food In-Depth Review

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The tagline for Wellness on their website is “feed your cat well.” With a name like Wellness, you would expect this brand to be conscious about the quality and safety of their products. After all, a low-quality pet food won’t keep your cat well.

Wellness also states that it is their goal to bring “more love and goodness to mealtime” with their delicious and nutritious recipes.

We can’t rely on marketing claims alone to evaluate a pet food brand, however. In taking a closer look at Wellness and their cat food products, we like what we see. Read on to learn more about the Wellness brand.

The Wellness Cat Food Ratings
Brand
Overall Score
Pros
    Cons
      Variety of Recipes
      10/10
      Ingredient Quality
      10/10
      Price Per Pound
      7/10
      Recall History
      8/10
      Availability
      10/10
      Customer Reviews
      9/10

      How We Review Cat Food Brands

      Each time we review a brand of cat food, we take the time to learn about the company and also perform an in-depth analysis of some of their top products.

      Our reviews are based on the quality and safety of the products, particularly focusing on how well they provide for your cat’s nutritional needs.

      Because cats are obligate carnivores, they need a high concentration of protein in their diets – their bodies simply aren’t designed to process plant foods.

      We heavily favor cat food brands that use high-quality, animal-based proteins in their recipes with minimal content of digestible carbohydrates.

      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 other 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 cat food brand to offer a variety of products because cats tend to be picky and 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 Wellness Brand

      The Wellness brand belongs to the WellPet LLC family – a company formed by the combination of Wellness Natural Pet Food, Eagle Pack Natural Pet Food, Holistic Select Natural Pet Food, and Old Mother Hubbard Natural Dog Snacks.

      Wellness was launched in 1997 by a team of animal nutrition experts, food scientists, and veterinarians who sought to become the leading natural pet food brand. The brand launched with dog food recipes only and cat food recipes were added in 2000.

      Wellness continues to pursue healthy, natural, and sustainable diets for pets. They take great pride in their responsibilities, thoughtfully preparing each recipe and crafting them as much for premium nutrition as unbeatable natural flavor.

      They make use of superior nutrients and high-quality ingredients to deliver whole-body health and wellness with every bite. Wellness believes that mealtime is more than just a bowl of food – it is the foundation to a longer and healthier life with your pet.

      The Wellness brand encompasses two primary product lines: CORE and Complete Health. The CORE line of products is protein-focused and grain-free. The Complete Health line of products features whole food nutrition with grain-free options, all formulated to support your cat’s everyday health.

      Each of Wellness’ cat food recipes starts with a high-quality source of animal nutrition with digestible carbohydrates and essential vitamins and minerals, both natural and supplements.

      What Kind of Cat Food Products Do They Offer?

      Wellness offers a wide variety of cat food products divided between two product lines. The CORE line of products features grain-free, natural cat foods that are rich in animal protein and nutrient-dense.

      Choose from an assortment of traditional kibble, raw-infused high-protein kibble, traditionally canned foods, and wet meal toppers.

      The Complete Health line of products combines natural, premium proteins to deliver a healthy and balanced diet.

      This line includes a variety of dry foods for kittens, adults, and indoor cats in both grain-free and grain-inclusive recipes. You’ll also find a variety of canned foods, meal toppers, and treats in this product line.

      Products Included in This Review

      NameTypeProtein %Fat %Top 5 Ingredients
      Wellness CORE Grain-Free Original Formula Dry Cat FoodDry45%18%Deboned turkey, deboned chicken, turkey meal, chicken meal, peas
      Wellness Complete Health Pate Chicken Entrée Canned FoodWet10.5%7%Chicken, chicken liver, turkey, chicken broth, carrots
      Wellness Natural Hairball Control Chicken Meal & Rice Recipe Dry Cat FoodDry36%16%Chicken meal, brewers rice, deboned chicken, pea fiber, turkey meal

      Wellness CORE Grain-Free Original Formula Dry Cat Food

      • Type of Food: Dry
      • First 5 Ingredients: Deboned turkey, deboned chicken, turkey meal, chicken meal, peas
      • Guaranteed Analysis: 45% protein, 18% fat, 3% fiber, 10% moisture
      • Calories per Cup: 497 calories/cup
      • Price Per Pound/Ounce: $3.72/pound

      Ingredients:

      Deboned Turkey, Deboned Chicken, Turkey Meal, Chicken Meal, Peas, Herring Meal, Chicken Fat (Preserved with Mixed Tocopherols), Dried Ground Potatoes, Tomato Pomace, Ground Flaxseed, Natural Chicken Flavor, Salmon Oil, Cranberries, Chicory Root Extract, Choline Chloride, Taurine, Vitamin E Supplement, Dried Kelp, Zinc Proteinate, Mixed Tocopherols (added to preserve freshness), Zinc Sulfate, Calcium Carbonate, Niacin, Iron Proteinate, Ferrous Sulfate, Yucca Schidigera Extract, Vitamin A Supplement, Copper Sulfate, Thiamine Mononitrate, Copper Proteinate, Manganese Proteinate, Manganese Sulfate, D-Calcium Pantothenate, Sodium Selenite, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Riboflavin, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Biotin, Calcium Iodate, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Folic Acid, Ascorbic Acid (Vitamin C), Dried Lactobacillus Plantarum Fermentation Product, Dried Enterococcus Faecium Fermentation Product, Dried Lactobacillus Casei Fermentation Product, Dried Lactobacillus Acidophilus Fermentation Product, Rosemary Extract, Green Tea Extract, Spearmint Extract.

      This Wellness CORE Grain-Free Original Formula Dry Cat Food features fresh turkey and chicken as the top two ingredients, supplemented with concentrated sources of protein like turkey meal and chicken meal. Overall, this formula is packed with animal-based ingredients and delivers a whopping 45% crude protein.

      You’ll find that this formula is also fortified with antioxidants, omega fatty acids, and probiotics to support your cat’s total body health and wellness. It supports strong immunity, healthy skin and coat, and regular digestion as well as optimal nutrient uptake.

      Plus, it is completely free from grains, by-products, and fillers. It contains all of the essential vitamins and chelated minerals your cat needs for balanced health, both as supplements and from natural sources like fruits and vegetables.

      Wellness Complete Health Pate Chicken Entrée Canned Food

      • Type of Food: Dry
      • First 5 Ingredients: Chicken, chicken liver, turkey, chicken broth, carrots
      • Guaranteed Analysis: 10.5% protein, 7% fat, 1% fiber, 78% moisture
      • Calories per Cup: 186 calories/5.5-ounce can
      • Price Per Pound/Ounce: $0.25/ounce

      Ingredients:

      Chicken, Chicken Liver, Turkey, Chicken Broth, Carrots, Natural Flavor, Guar Gum, Cranberries, Ground Flaxseed, Potassium Chloride, Taurine, Salt, Cassia Gum, Xanthan Gum, Choline Chloride, Iron Proteinate, Zinc Proteinate, Beta-Carotene, Thiamine Mononitrate, Vitamin E Supplement, Copper Proteinate, Manganese Proteinate, Sodium Selenite, Niacin, d-Calcium Pantothenate, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Riboflavin Supplement, Vitamin A Supplement, Biotin, Potassium Iodide, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Folic Acid.

      According to Wellness, this recipe is formulated to nourish your cat’s nose-to-tail wellbeing with protein-rich nutrition.

      This Wellness Complete Health Pate Chicken Entrée Grain-Free Canned Food features real chicken as the first ingredient to support your cat’s healthy body weight and lean muscle mass.

      It contains carrots, cranberries, and flaxseed as the only sources of carbohydrate, all of which are highly digestible and nutrient rich.

      This recipe contains vitamins and chelated mineral supplements to ensure complete and balanced nutrition, plus it is packed with protein.

      Overall, when measured as dry matter, this recipe contains nearly 48% protein and 32% fat.

      Wellness Natural Hairball Control Chicken Meal & Rice Recipe Dry Cat Food

      • Type of Food: Dry
      • First 5 Ingredients: Chicken meal, brewers rice, deboned chicken, pea fiber, turkey meal
      • Guaranteed Analysis: 36% protein, 16% fat, 5.75% fiber, 10% moisture
      • Calories per Cup: 434 calories/cup
      • Price Per Pound/Ounce: $3.83/pound

      Ingredients:

      Chicken Meal, Brewers Rice, Deboned Chicken, Pea Fiber, Turkey Meal, Dried Tomato Pomace, Chicken Fat (Preserved with Mixed Tocopherols), Ground Flaxseed, Natural Chicken Flavor, Inulin, Potassium Chloride, Choline Chloride, Taurine, Vitamin E Supplement, Cranberry Powder, Zinc Proteinate, Mixed Tocopherols Added to Preserve Freshness, Zinc Sulfate, Calcium Carbonate, Niacin, Ferrous Sulfate, Iron Proteinate, L-Carnitine, Vitamin A Supplement, Copper Sulfate, Thiamine Mononitrate, Copper Proteinate, Manganese Proteinate, Manganese Sulfate, D-Calcium Pantothenate, Sodium Selenite, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Riboflavin, Dried Kelp, Yucca Schidigera Extract, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Biotin, Calcium Iodate, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Folic Acid, Ascorbic Acid (Vitamin C), Dried Lactobacillus Plantarum Fermentation Product, Dried Enterococcus Faecium Fermentation Product, Dried Lactobacillus Casei Fermentation Product, Dried Lactobacillus Acidophilus Fermentation Product, Rosemary Extract, Green Tea Extract, Spearmint Extract.

      If you’re looking for a high-quality cat food that also addresses hairball issues, this is the one to try. This Wellness Natural Hairball Control Chicken Meal & Rice Recipe is highly digestible, featuring real chicken as the first ingredient.

      It also contains prebiotics, probiotics, and natural fibers to support your cat’s healthy digestion and reduce hairball issues.

      This recipe contains complex carbohydrates for healthy energy with flaxseed for a boost of omega-6 fatty acids.

      You’ll also find that it is packed with antioxidants and essential vitamins and minerals to ensure complete and balanced nutrition.

      Overall, it provides 36% protein and 16% fat with nearly 6% fiber.

      What Do Customers Think Of Wellness Cat Food?

      The Wellness brand has an overwhelmingly positive rating on Chewy and other pet food websites. Customers seem to love the quality of the ingredients and the variety of their recipes. In cases where customers leave a bad review, it is often due to shipping issues or they found that their cats simply didn’t like the food. Cats tend to be picky eaters, so we don’t hold this against the brand as a whole.

      Positive Customer Reviews

      “I have two 9-year old cats who are inside/outside guys. They have eaten Blue for years. I decided to switch after researching cat foods again. The guys love it and seem to be more content after eating. Core seems to suit both of them nicely. Their coats are glistening and there has not been anything negative.”

      – MtMamma, reviewing Wellness CORE Grain-Free Original Formula Dry Cat Food

      “Our 10 year old cat has been losing weight (thyroid issue being addressed separately) and we have been searching for a high quality food he will eat more of. This is it: he is eating 50% more and there is never food left in his bowl. Also, I’ve checked and Chewy’s price is about 10 cents a can cheaper than a store.”

      – MurphyMom, reviewing Wellness Complete Health Pate Chicken Entrée Canned Food

      “My cat had been throwing up for months, some hair some food. Vet said she had a sensitive belly and prescribed special food. We switched to Wellness after the first bag of prescription wasn’t doing the trick and she has been great ever since.”

      – Plamb, reviewing Wellness Natural Hairball Control Chicken Meal & Rice Recipe Dry Cat Food

      Negative Customer Reviews

      “My cats wouldn’t touch this food. I tried for five days. I surmised that they would prefer to starve than to eat this food. Wow! Why? This has never happened before. Big waste of money, right?”

      – JudithLenore, reviewing Wellness CORE Grain-Free Original Formula Dry Cat Food

      “Up until about two months ago, this was our ride or die cat food. My cat was obsessed with it. I started buying it from Chewy because my local pet stores were always out. However, in the past couple of months, he has refused it. I’m seeing a trend in reviews here that the formula may have changed. The price has also increased substantially the past few years. I’m going to cancel it.”

      – Ellen, reviewing Wellness Complete Health Pate Chicken Entrée Canned Food

      “I’m sure this is a good food but mine won’t eat it. I mixed this with the existing cat food the way you’re supposed to when changing diets and all they (12 of them) do is spit this out all over the floor and into the water bowl while eating the existing food. It’s been over a week now, so it doesn’t seem like they’re going to decide to eat it.”

      – CrueltyFre, reviewing Wellness Natural Hairball Control Chicken Meal & Rice Recipe Dry Cat Food

      Product Recall History

      The history of Wellness pet food dates all the way back to 1997, so it shouldn’t be surprising that in the more-than 20-year history of the brand, there have been a few recalls.

      Product recalls are not necessarily an indication of low quality in a brand because accidents do happen. Recalls can be issued for anything from contamination to packaging issues. Wellness has had five recalls in the last 10 years.

      Here Are The Basics About Those Recalls:

      • March 2017 (Potentially elevated levels of beef thyroid hormone) – This recall was issued for large cans of Wellness 95% Beef Topper for dogs.
      • February 2017 (Potential for foreign material) – Certain cans of Wellness cat food were recalled due to concerns that there might be foreign material in the cans.
      • October 2012 (Possible moisture contamination) – For this recall, 12-pound bags of Wellness Small Breed Adult Health Dry Dog Food were recalled due to potential moisture contamination.
      • May 2012 (Possible salmonella contamination) – In this recall, 15- and 30-pound bags of Wellness Complete Health Super5Mix Large Breed Puppy food were recalled due to potential salmonella contamination.
      • February 2011 (Inadequate thiamine levels) – This recall was issued for certain runs of Wellness canned cat food due to potentially low levels of thiamine.

      As you can see, more of the product recalls were for dog food than wet food products. If you want to learn more about these recalls, check out the guide on Petful.

      How Much Does Wellness Cat Food Cost?

      As you start shopping for cat food, you may find yourself wondering how much price matters in terms of quality.

      It is true that high-quality cat foods tend to cost more, but not all highly priced cat foods are good. Wellness is toward the higher end of the price scale, with both dry food recipes we reviewed costing more than $3.00 per pound.

      You’ll find, however, that their canned food recipes are very affordable, and all of their products are of high-quality. If you want affordability, consider a canned food recipe or buy a mixture of the two food types.

      To give you a better idea how Instinct by Nature’s Variety 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

      Where Can You Buy Wellness Cat Food?

      Wellness is a very well-respected and well-known brand that is easy to find both online and in stores.

      If you prefer to shop in-store, you’ll find Wellness products at major pet store chains like PetSmart and Petco as well as local and regional chains and some specialty pet food stores.

      If you prefer to shop online, you can also purchase from major online pet stores like PetSmart or from online retailers like Chewy and Amazon.

      You’ll find the best deals on Chewy where you can save with auto shipments.

      Our Final Thoughts: Is Wellness A Good Brand?

      Overall, we are very pleased with the Wellness brand. Not only do they offer a wide variety of product choices, but their recipes are formulated to address a wide variety of different needs.

      You’ll find recipes formulated for kittens and senior cats as well as adults and indoor cats, plus special recipes for certain concerns like weight loss or hairballs.

      Each recipe starts with a premium source of animal protein as the main ingredient, often with several supplemental sources to follow.

      We’ve given this brand a 9 score rating, though in many categories it earned 10/10.

      The ingredient quality is excellent and the recipes themselves are well formulated. The places where this brand gets docked for points are in the number of recalls (5, though only 2 applied to cat food) and the higher price tag.

      As a whole, however, we love this brand.

      About Kate Barrington

      AvatarKate 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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