All cat parents work hard to give their pets the best possible nutrition. Our pets are family members and need high-quality diets that offer some variety. This is no small task, as there are countless brands on the market and new ones popping up daily, all of which claim to be the best. This makes it challenging to make the right decision. One well-known brand that you may come across is Orijen Cat Food. This brand is carried by plenty of brick-and-mortar and online retailers. The company makes both cat and dog food.
Pet food reviews are helpful tools for pet parents. These can help answer questions and break down some things that make a brand stand out. It is essential to look at brand history, recall information, and ingredients used. Customer experience and feedback are also helpful places to find information.
We are here to help owners with the intimidating task of finding the right nutrition. We look in-depth at Orijen’s feline offerings in this Orijen Cat Food review. Learn more about the brand and if this is a good choice for your cat.
- Species-specific nutrition
- Well-established company
- Top-quality food elements
- In-house manufacturing
- Age-specific formulas
- Wet and dry products
- It uses raw and fresh animal proteins
- Local suppliers
Orijen Brand History
Orijen is not a new brand, nor is it a small company. They have been in the pet feed business since 1985 and provide high-quality pet food to cats and dogs alike. This brand is made in Canada by Champion Petfoods, a family-owned company that has been producing pet food for over 35 years.
Champion Petfoods was founded by Reinhard Mühlenfeld in 1985 and started with just two employees. He was a former engineer who wanted to create pet and animal feed made in Canada. He began in 1975 with livestock feed and opened Champion Petfoods in 1985. Muhlenfeld’s treatment and respect for his employees are pivotal in the company’s achievement story. The company has grown exponentially since then and is now sold in at least 70 countries. They are the largest pet food manufacturer in Canada. Orijen launched in 2005. The company works to provide biologically appropriate food to cats and dogs.
Champion Petfoods is dedicated to producing top-of-the-line pet nutrition items made with whole, natural, and fresh ingredients. In addition to creating Orijen, Champion Petfoods is also the popular Acana pet nutrition brand producer. Both get high praise for their high-quality ingredients and dedication to providing the best nutrition for cats and dogs.
Where Is It Made?
Orijen is made in-house at Champion Petfoods’ facilities. All their recipes are made with fresh, whole-food products from local suppliers. This allows them to maintain strict quality control standards. The company prides itself on making pet nutrition with only the best ingredients and no fillers, preservatives, or additives.
Customers in Canada, Europe, and parts of Asia get products made in Champion Petfoods NorthStar Kitchen in Morinville, Alberta. Customers in the United States and Central and South America are shipped products made in Champion Petfoods DogStar Kitchen in Auburn, Kentucky. The company never outsources, nor do they make any products that are not in-house brands.
The company also commits to using renewable energy and sustainable packaging materials. This ensures that their products are safe for both felines and the environment. All food preparation is in custom-built facilities with internationally recognized Safe Food Quality (SQF) and Safe Feed/Safe Food (SFSF) certifications. The company tests products with an in-house quality assurance team and utilizes a third-party lab.
Orijen Recalls & Lawsuits
Orijen cat food has been recalled once, and the products recalled were sold in Australia. Five cats who ate their products died. The problems came from the mandatory gamma irradiation required in Australia. The irradiation treatment is intended to remove microbial toxins. Unfortunately, this process did more than destroy harmful microbes. It also broke down vitamin A and released something called free radicals. These are unstable molecules that cause damage to other molecules in the body and can increase the risk of diseases like cancer. Those two changes caused some cats in Australia to become very ill.
In 2018 the parent company Champion Foods was sued by customers in three states, California, Florida, and Minnesota, who felt the company had misled consumers about the presence of heavy metals and other toxins in their brand’s pet foods. An investigation revealed the presence of some heavy metals. However, they were below the maximum levels accepted by the FDA. In years since, other lawsuits have been filed regarding Champions ingredients and labeling meats like chicken as free range and fish as “fresh, whole, and wild.”
Over the years, Champion has settled some of these lawsuits and had many dropped or dismissed. Many others have ruled in favor of the company. Champion continues to work to provide high-quality pet nutrition and provide accurate labeling.
Ingredients To Look For
High-grade pet foods are composed of superior ingredients and do not contain any artificial additives, bulking agents, or substandard components, such as unidentified meat by-products. Most importantly, cats need a diet rich in proteins, fats, carbohydrates, and other nutrients. Felines also require plenty of vitamins and minerals, such as taurine, which is essential for their health. It is crucial to provide a diet rich in these essential nutrients to ensure that your cat receives the proper nutrition. Preferred ingredients include:
- Animal proteins, like chicken, turkey, fish, beef, and organ meat, as cats are carnivorous and need protein to maintain their muscles and health.
- Omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids are essential for healthy skin and fur.
- Minerals and vitamins like vitamins A, B, taurine, and potassium.
- Carbohydrates offer energy and dietary fiber.
- Moisture, since felines are prone to dehydration, and wet meal options can reduce this risk.
- Refrain from giving your pet human snacks unless they are specifically prepared for animals.
It is crucial to ensure that the components used in your cat’s diet are top-quality. This includes looking for natural food components and avoiding artificial preservatives or flavors. It is imperative to ensure that it provides the right amount of essential nutrients for cats. It would be best to look for foods rich in proteins, fats, carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals.
Orijen uses locally raised ingredients and works with meticulously vetted suppliers. They aim to use suppliers that are close to their manufacturing facilities. Recipes contain 85% to 95% premium animal ingredients. Recipes are made with fresh, whole-food elements.
Orijen uses a variety of whole animal proteins. These include ranch-raised meat, including beef, bison, and lamb. The company also uses free-run chicken and turkey, cage-free eggs, and wild-caught and responsibly farm-raised fish. Protein choices in the recipe include beef, boar, chicken, duck, eggs, salmon, tuna, herring, flounder, mackerel, sardines, goat, lamb, pork, rabbit, turkey, and venison.
Fruits, Vegetables & Botanicals
15% of each recipe consists of high-quality fruits, vegetables, and botanicals like chickpeas, pumpkin, beans, lentils, cranberries, squash, and more. These help with digestion and add fiber, nutrients, and more. The company adds probiotics to help support digestive health and natural antioxidants to help support the immune system. The brand also adds natural preservatives and essential vitamins and minerals.
Orijen Cat Recipes
Origin offers several varieties of dry kitty kibble, limited wet products, and freeze-dried treats. They offer age-specific formulas, and pet nutritionists and veterinarians formulate recipes for species-specific nutrition. Special dietary needs like grain-free, healthy weight, and limited ingredient treats are available. Currently, the brand offers more dry kibble choices than wet options and does not offer fresh, human-grade meals. Below we review some of the top sellers.
- For all life stages.
- 90% animal protein.
- 151 calories per cup.
- Freeze-dried liver-coated kibble.
- The first 13 ingredients are animal products
The original dry formula is prepared with fresh or raw free-run chicken and turkey, wild-caught mackerel, flounder, herring, and cage-free eggs. It also includes organ meat and bones. Food has 90% protein-rich animal ingredients, with 10% fruits, vegetables, and nutrients. This has no added grains, soy, corn, wheat, or tapioca. The recipe also contains peas, chickpeas, lentils, pinto beans, cranberries, pumpkin, squash, dried kelp, apples, pears, and juniper berries.
This freeze-dried liver-coated formula gives kitties a blast of meaty flavors. It contains 40% crude protein, 20% crude fat, and 3% crude fiber. This all-ages formula is suitable for both adult cats and kittens. The first 13 ingredients are animal products, meaning this formula truly packs a punch of animal protein, something cats need to survive. This recipe supports cats in all life stages providing support for heart health, digestion, and skin and coat health.
The Original formula is full of flavor, protein, and calories offering 151 calories per cup. We like that this recipe is brimming with protein. It contains some products like eggs, chicken, and fish, which can trigger allergy triggers for some kitties. It does contain legumes and plant fibers but at a low enough level that they are not too hard to digest.
- Packed with high-quality fish protein.
- Fresh, raw, and dehydrated fish.
- 515 calories per cup.
- Coated with freeze-dried liver.
- Best for adults.
- Fish oil adds fatty acids.
The Six Fish dry kibble is another hugely popular choice. The primary protein source here is wild fish from New England. 90% of this recipe consists of fish, two-thirds fresh or raw, with one-third being a dehydrated fish product. The recipe uses fresh whole Pacific mackerel, Pacific flounder, whole herring, Acadian redfish, monkfish, whole hake, and several dehydrated fishes. You can see it is full of high-quality fish protein. The recipe also uses dehydrated sardines, red lentils, green lentils, green peas, sunflower aisle, yellow peas, pinto beans, cod liver, pumpkin, butternut squash, zucchini, parsnips, carrots, apples, pears, spinach, cranberries, turnips, and kelp as well as a few other things.
This kibble has 42% crude protein, 20% crude fat, and 3% crude fiber. It’s an excellent choice for pets that do not like chicken or beef. Fish oils add healthy Omega 3 fatty acids. There are no artificial additives and a low carbohydrate count. This is a good choice for cats as long as it is mixed with other animal proteins in their diet. Cats should not eat only fish-specific diets. Felines need red meat and other animal proteins like chicken mixed in. This recipe contains 515 calories per cup. Kibble is coated with freeze-dried liver. Best for adult cats.
Fit & Trim
- Weight control formula.
- Coated with freeze-dried liver.
- 444 calories per cup.
- Turkey, chicken, and fish.
- High protein formula.
- Best for adults.
Fit & Trim is formulated for kitties that are on the overweight side and those who need fewer calories. Though it has fewer calories, it does not cut quality and uses the same high standard of fresh raw and dehydrated animal protein. This recipe uses chicken, chicken liver, whole herring, turkey, turkey giblets, flounder, eggs, cod, dehydrated chicken liver, dehydrated egg, dehydrated sardine, dehydrated chicken, and turkey and dehydrated herring. It contains red lentils, pinto beans, peas, Navy beans, chicken fat, pumpkin, chickpeas, chicken hearts, pea starch, dried kelp, whole butternut squash, apples, and more.
This is a grain-free, high-protein, weight-control formula that is also gluten-free. Kibble is coated with freeze-dried liver to give an extra punch of protein and flavor. Kibble has 444 calories per cup. It contains 42% crude protein, 14% crude fat, and 6% crude fiber. We like that this is packed with high-quality animal ingredients, including fresh and raw ingredients. We also appreciate that the first five ingredients are fresh and raw animal proteins. This kibble is best for adult cats. It contains a considerable amount of plant materials but is high in protein, has no plant protein, no artificial ingredients, and is low in carbohydrates.
- Canned, wet food.
- 95% animal ingredients.
- Packed with animal protein.
- Mimics a feline’s ancestral diet.
- No added carbohydrates or plant materials.
- Best for adults.
Original Entrée wet formula is a canned, protein-rich, wet food. This smooth recipe has been loaded with animal proteins. It uses chicken, chicken liver, chicken bone broth, fish bone broth, chicken heart, whole sardine, and egg. The recipe uses no plant materials. No added carbohydrates, artificial flavors, dyes, or preservatives. Simply protein in a tasty broth. Wet food comes in five flavor choices.
This recipe is packed with moisture and is a smooth pâté topped with tasty shreds. It is developed to mimic a feline’s ancestral diet.
- Dry kibble formulated just for kittens.
- Freeze-dried coating.
- 90% animal ingredients.
- 515 calories per cup.
- Formulated to support growth and brain health.
- Kitten-sized kibble.
Kitten formula uses high-quality animal proteins that are easy to digest. Uses 90% of animal protein, and kibble is coated with raw, freeze-dried liver flavor. This recipe helps support digestion, brain health, and rapid kitten growth. The kitten recipe mixes free-run chicken, turkey, wild-caught salmon, and herring. Kitten kibble contains added ingredients like pumpkin, apples, and chicory root. Kibble is more petite, designed for a kitten’s smaller mouth and teeth.
Freeze Dried Treats
- Freeze-dried cat treats.
- 99% animal ingredients.
- 1 calorie each.
- Great for training.
- Meaty flavor.
The brand also makes freeze-dried cat treats. These tasty nuggets use 99% animal ingredients. The Regional Red flavor includes beef liver, goat, wild boar, and lamb. They are full of protein and flavor and are just one calorie each. All are grain free. It also comes in a chicken or fish flavor.
All Orijen Feline Recipes
|Original||Chicken & Salmon Kitten|
|Six Fish||Tuna, Salmon & Beef|
|Tundra||Duck & Chicken|
|Fit & Trim||Regional Red|
|Guardian Senior Formula|
Is Orijen Cat Food Good?
Compared to other brands on the market, Orijen is a top-of-the-line option. The high-quality ingredients, low-temperature processing, and lack of fillers and preservatives make it a quality choice for cats. We must note that it is not the most affordable option on the market. But, if you are on a strict budget, other brands may be friendlier on your wallet.
Overall, customers have had positive experiences with this brand. Many customers report that their cats love the taste, and that provides their cats with the nutrition they need. Other customers say their cats have improved coats and skin since switching to Orijen. Some customers have reported that their cats experienced digestive issues after switching to Orijen or when the formulas changed. However, these reports are few and far between.
Pros & Cons Of Orijen Cat Food
Like most pet feed brands, this company has its pros and cons. Here are some advantages and disadvantages of feeding your cat this brand.
|Made with fresh, natural ingredients||Not available in all stores|
|No fillers, preservatives, or additives||Includes plant elements in some recipes|
|Low-temperature processing helps retain nutrients||Some allergens like eggs and chicken|
|Made with omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids||No fresh recipes|
|It contains probiotics to help support digestive health||Can be expensive|
|It contains natural antioxidants to help support the immune system|
|No grain, wheat, corn, or soy|
|No artificial flavors, colors, or preservatives|
|Available in several recipes|
What Is The price? Is It Worth It?
Orijen is on the higher end of the price range for pet nutrition. A 4.4-pound bag of Original costs around $29, while an 11.4-pound bag of Original will cost around $50. Wet products are on the higher end, about $42 for a pack of 24 3-ounce cans.
Despite being pricey, this brand is worth the extra money. The high-quality ingredients, lack of fillers and preservatives, and low-temperature processing make it a solid choice for cats. Comparatively, yes, Orijen is worth it when it comes to cat nutrition. They offer higher-than-average quality ingredients and real, whole animal proteins.
Orijen Cat Food is a top-of-the-line option for cats. The high-quality ingredients, lack of fillers and preservatives, and low-temperature processing make it a great choice for cats. Options are available in several recipes to suit cats of any age. We appreciate the commitment to quality and to using locally sourced ingredients. It is impressive that this company has been around for a long time and has only had one recall, affecting a very small number of products. Orijen is a good cat feed, though it can be pricier than other options. Orijen is on the pricier side. Other brands may better suit your budget if you are looking for less of an investment. Above all, purr parents must pick the best nutrition for their pets that they can afford.