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.
Orjen makes both wet and dry cat food. The brand makes meat-based recipes with high protein. Is Orijen right for your cat? There are a few things to look at, including ingredients, recipe variety, brand history, and more.
We are here to help owners with the intimidating task of finding the right nutrition. We look in-depth at Orijen’s cat food products and what they are made of. Learn more about the brand and if this is a good choice for your cat.
- Key Features
- Orijen Brand History
- Where Is It Made?
- Orijen Recalls & Lawsuits
- Ingredients To Look For
- Orijen Ingredients
- Orijen Cat Food Reviews
- All Orijen Cat Food Recipes
- Is Orijen Cat Food Good?
- Pros & Cons Of Orijen Cat Food
- What Is The Price? Is It Worth It?
- Are You Wondering What Other Food Your Cat Can Eat?
- 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 also produces the popular Acana pet food brand. Both get praise for their high-quality ingredients and dedication to providing the best nutrition for cats and dogs.
Where Is It Made?
Orijen’s food is made in-house at Champion Petfoods’ facilities. All their recipes use 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 does it 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 use 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.
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 and use 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 Food Reviews
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. 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 cat food 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. The guaranteed analysis shows 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 Orijen 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 Orijen Six Fish dry kibble is another hugely popular choice for raw-coated cat food. 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.
The guaranteed analysis shows 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 and is 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.
The Fit & Trim recipe 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 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.
Orijen’s Original Entrée wet formula is a canned, protein-rich, wet food. This smooth recipe uses chicken, chicken liver, chicken bone broth, fish bone broth, chicken heart, whole sardine, and egg. The Orijen Original recipe uses no plant materials, no added carbohydrates, artificial flavors, dyes, or preservatives. These wet foods are simply protein in a tasty broth. Orijen’s wet cat food comes in five flavor choices.
This smooth pâté topped with tasty shreds is full of moisture and flavor. The formula aims 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.
Orijen’s Free Run Kitten formula uses high-quality animal proteins that are easy to digest. The kitten formula uses 90% of animal protein. The kibble is coated with raw, freeze-dried liver flavor. This recipe helps support digestion, brain health, and rapid kitten growth. Orijen’s kitten food recipe mixes free-run chicken, turkey, wild-caught salmon, and herring. Orijen’s kitten food contains added ingredients like pumpkin, apples, and chicory root. The kitten 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.
Orijen also makes 5 varieties of 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 of Orijen’s kitty treats are grain-free. Currently, Orijen offers Original, Six Fish, Regional Red, Tundra, and Lamb cat treats.
All Orijen Cat Food 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.
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. 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.
What Customers Say
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 such as vomiting after switching to Orijen or when the formulas changed. However, these reports are few and far between.
One of the main customer concerns is the higher price, which is understandable. Higher quality food carries a higher price at first, but feeding your cat better food means a healthier pet overall. However, Orjen may not be right for every budget. For some owners, this food may be more realistic as a topper or treat.
Other customers ask if Orijen and Acana are the same brands. They are not, though both operate under the Champion Foods parent company.
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||Has had a recall|
|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.
Are You Wondering What Other Food Your Cat Can Eat?
Orijen is a top-quality brand, but it may not be suitable for every cat. We cover many other cat food options, including fresh foods like Smalls and the best high-fiber cat foods. Some kitties need food that helps with hairballs, while others need more limited ingredient recipes.
Along with finding the right cat food brand and recipe, it is helpful to know what fresh foods are safe to share with your pet. Owners should keep in mind that changing food too often or too quickly can lead to stomach upset, indigestion, and even blood in a cat’s stool. If you have any questions about your fur baby’s diet or want to make a significant change, be sure to discuss this with your veterinarian first.