You’ve undoubtedly noticed the expansive shelf space devoted to pet food at your store of choice. The variety of cat food is mind-boggling. There are wet vs. dry, different protein sources and various flavors. Then there are therapeutic foods, specialty organic foods, and even raw.
The pet-food industry is a huge business, and as humans look for the best for their fur babies, companies utilize specific marketing tactics to prove their food is wholesome to pet owners. Pet-food advertising can be very misleading by appealing to our impression of how nutritious the food is for our kitties. It takes a dedicated eye to sift through the choices and identify a quality food for your feline.
Purina Pro Plan cat food is just one brand in the Purina cat food lineup that includes Purina ONE, Fancy Feast, Friskies, Cat Show, Kit & Kaboodle, and more. Targeting a quality-oriented consumer, Purina Pro Plan markets itself as a science-backed, advanced nutrition cat food that offers specialized food formulas for specific needs, including options for healthy aging, weight management, urinary tract health, and hairball control.
Is Purina Pro Plan cat food a good choice for your pet? This article helps you understand your cat’s nutritional requirements and if Purina Pro Plan meets those needs. We’ll cover recall history, ingredient quality, product variety, and cost.
- 5 Key Features
- Brand History
- Where Is It Made?
- Has Purina Pro Ever Been Recalled?
- What Ingredients Should I Look For In Cat Food?
- Purina Pro Plan Cat Food Ingredients
- Purina Pro Plan Cat Food Recipes
- What We Like
- Pros And Cons Of Purina Pro Plan Cat Food
- How Much Is Purina Pro Plan Cat Food? Is It Worth It?
- How Does Purina Pro Plan Cat Food Compare?
- Final Thoughts
5 Key Features
- Specialized formulas target needs like weight management, urinary health, and allergen reduction
- Offer wet and dry food options
- Formulas for kittens, adults, and elderly cats
- Some formulas are fortified with probiotics to support your cat’s digestive system and immune health
- Offer MyPLAN quiz to find the food formula that best fits your cat’s needs and preferences
Purina traces its roots to 1894, when founder William H. Danforth created the animal feed company, Purina Mills. In 1902, the company began producing whole-grain breakfast cereal after allying with nutrition specialist Dr. Ralston. It wasn’t until 1926 that Purina began producing pet food, launching Purina Dog Chow, a dry food for hunting and farm dogs.
In 1962, Purina introduced Purina Cat Chow to support the growing population of house cats in America. Purina Mills was sold in 1986, leaving Ralston Purina to focus solely on pet food. Purina Pro Plan pet food was put on the market that same year.
In 2001, Swiss multinational food and drink processing conglomerate Nestle acquired Ralston Purina for $10.3 billion. For those familiar with Nestle’s long history of unethical conduct, including the use of child slave labor, this is massive news in Purina’s brand history. The two businesses merged under the Purina brand, expanding to include Nestle’s other pet brands: Friskies, Fancy Feast, Alpo, and Mighty Dog.
Today, Purina Pro Plan offers wet and dry food for various life stages and preferences. The Purina Pro Plan lineup also offers formulas for special needs:
- Allergen Management
- Digestive Support
- Hairball Control
- Sensitive System
- Skin & Coat
- Spay/Neuter (metabolism formula)
- Urinary Tract Health
- Weight Management
According to Purina, each formula is created using the expertise of over 500 scientists, nutritionists, cat behaviorists, and veterinarians.
Where Is It Made?
Purina Pro Plan cat food is manufactured in the United States. Purina has 22 manufacturing locations across the nation. According to the Purina pet food source map, last updated in January 2021, most ingredients used in Purina pet foods are sourced from U.S. suppliers.
Has Purina Pro Ever Been Recalled?
According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the Purina Pro Plan cat food line has never been recalled. Purina has four FDA recalls, with the latest being in February 2023. The Nestle Purina PetCare Company voluntarily recalled select lots of Purina Pro Plan Veterinary Diet EL Elementals prescription dog food due to potentially elevated vitamin D levels.
What Ingredients Should I Look For In Cat Food?
Before diving into the ocean of pet food options, it’s essential to understand the basics of cat nutrition. Cats are obligate carnivores, meaning they require meat in their diet and need very few carbohydrates. Cats require protein for growth, energy, and to allow the body’s tissues to function correctly. Felines require more protein than dogs, and kittens need more protein than adult cats.
Protein is made up of amino acids. These are two kinds of amino acids: essential and nonessential. The body can synthesize nonessential amino acids, whereas essential amino acids must come from food sources. One of the amino acids, taurine, is especially important to cats. When cat food first entered the marketplace, it lacked sufficient amounts of this amino acid and caused health problems from taurine deficiencies. Blindness and heart disease are two severe conditions resulting from an inadequate supply of taurine in the diet. Luckily, many pet-food manufacturers began supplementing pet food with more taurine, and taurine deficiencies are seen less frequently.
Another component of cat food is fat. Cats have a higher need for fat than humans, making it the second-most important macronutrient after protein. Fat is a concentrated energy source and provides a cat with essential fatty acids. Fatty acids group together to form fat. Some fatty acids, like omega-3 and omega-6, are essential to cats. These fatty acids support joints, eyes, skin, and coat health. Fat also helps your cat properly absorb fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K and delivers the vitamins throughout the body.
Carbohydrates are comprised of sugars, starches, and cellulose. Carbohydrates are a source of energy and fiber. The cellulose in carbs is not digested and acts as a fiber, which is vital for fecal elimination. Fiber helps move stools through the digestive system. When combined with water, fiber can also protect a cat against constipation. Fiber also helps cats break down hairballs.
Finally, cats need vitamins and minerals to maintain health. As long as you’re feeding your cat a high-quality, well-balanced formula, they should be getting enough vitamins and minerals through their food.
When selecting cat food, choose a product with high-quality proteins and fats. Avoid chemical additives, fillers, artificial colors, meat by-products, and genetically modified foods. Five ingredients to look for include:
- Animal-based proteins like chicken, turkey, fish, or beef
- Healthy fats, especially omega-3 fatty acids from fish
- L-taurine amino acid
- Fibrous carbohydrates like pumpkin, carrots, and spinach
Purina Pro Plan Cat Food Ingredients
There are more than 100 Purina Pro cat food options, including wet and dry formulas. These formulas can be broken down into ten lines:
- Development Kitten
- Essential Cats
- Specialized Cat
- Savor Cat
- Focus Cat
- Senior Cat
- Prime Plus
- Vital Systems
- True Nature
Because of the sheer number of recipes, you can really fine-tune the meal you give to your feline. Choose between proteins ranging from chicken and turkey to eggs and tuna. There are recipes made without allergens like corn, wheat, and soy. You can shop grain-free formulas and formulas fortified with probiotics and recipes free of artificial flavors and preservatives.
Purina Pro Plan cat food has over 75 protein sources throughout its recipes. Following guidelines from the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO), Purina promises 36 percent protein in all of its dry food formulas, aside from its Urinary Tract Health recipes.
Purina Pro Plan uses a variety of fats, both from plant and animal sources. These include:
- bacon fat
- beef fat
- beef tallow
- canola oil
- corn oil
- fish oil
- partially hydrogenated vegetable oil
- soybean oil
- sunflower oil
For carbohydrates, Purina Pro Plan uses primarily grains, including barley, brown rice, oats, and millet. You can also find starchy root vegetables like cassava and potatoes. There are also fibers like dried chicory root, inulin, dried beet pulp, and cellulose fiber.
Other ingredients include B vitamins, E, A, D-3, taurine, iron, zinc, and magnesium. Some formulas also include probiotics to support your cat’s digestive system.
Purina Pro Plan Cat Food Recipes
With more than 100 recipes, Purina Pro Plan has a formula for any cat, regardless of age, dietary restrictions, or taste preferences. Here are some of the most popular recipes from the Purina Pro Plan.
Urinary Tract Wet
- Formulated to reduce urinary pH and provides low dietary magnesium
- Protein from ocean whitefish, meat by-product, chicken, and chicken by-product
- Free of artificial colors and preservatives
- 10% crude protein, 6.5% crude fat, and 0.5% crude fiber
- 93.6 calories per 3 ounce can
Reviewed over 10,000 times on Amazon with a 4.6 rating, the Urinary Tract Health wet formula is a popular recipe for Purina. Although not wholly grain-free (contains rice), we like that this formula is lower in carbohydrates and high in meat-based protein. Unfortunately, this product does have some meat by-products. The Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) defines “meat by-product” as “the non-rendered, the non-rendered, clean parts, other than meat, derived from slaughtered mammals. It includes, but is not limited to, lungs, spleen, kidneys, brain, livers, blood, bone, partially de-fatted low temperature fatty tissue and stomachs and intestines freed of their contents.” While it’s true that cats eat the whole bodies of their prey in the wild, meat by-product is often used as a cheap substitute for meat in animal food and doesn’t offer the same nutritional breakdown.
Like all wet formulas, this cat food has a decent moisture content of 78%. This product does contain some filler ingredients—guar gum and carrageenan—to thicken and texturize the food. Some cats are sensitive to these ingredients and may experience constipation, bloating, and even inflammatory bowel disease (IBS).
Adult Complete Essentials
- Fortified with prebiotic fiber and probiotics for digestive and immune support
- Contains both meat and plant protein sources, including chicken, corn gluten meal, poultry by-product meal, egg, and soy protein concentrate
- Contains caramel colorant
- 36% crude protein, 16% crude fat, and 2% crude fiber
- 494 calories per cup
This kibble uses a combination of plant and animal proteins. As cats are obligate carnivores, they digest meat much more efficiently than plants, making the composition of this food a negative in our books. This formula uses caramel colorant to give the food its brown color. Caramel color has come under fire for containing 4-methylimidazole (4-MIE), a known animal carcinogen, which is unnecessary to include.
On the plus side, this recipe does contain a prebiotic fiber called inulin, which supports your cat’s digestive system and promotes regular elimination. This formula also contains the probiotic strain bacillus coagulans for digestive and immune support.
- Low fat, high fiber formula for weight support
- Protein sourced from chicken, corn gluten meal, poulty by-product meal, soy protein concentrate, fish meal, soy protein isolate, and soybean meal
- Contains prebiotic fiber and probiotics for digestive and immune health
- No artificial colors or flavors
- 43% crude protein, 9% crude fat, and 5% crude fiber
- 437 calories per cup
This high-protein formula helps your feline maintain muscle mass during weight loss. At 43% crude protein, this recipe has the most protein of all recipes we’ve reviewed in the Purina Pro Plan lineup. The Weight Management formula also contains 20% less fat than the Pro Plan Complete Essentials Adult Chicken & Rice Formula to support weight loss.
We like that this formula contains no artificial colors or flavors and has salmon as the first ingredient. Salmon is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which help support your cat’s skin, coat, eyes, brain, and joints. Like many other dry kibble formulas by Purina, this recipe includes probiotics for digestive and immune health. Still, we like to see a recipe that uses more meat-sourced protein than what you’ll find in this recipe.
LiveClear Allergen Reducing
- Formulated to reduce major allergen in cat hair and dander
- Protein sourced from salmon, corn gluten meal, poultry by-product, egg, soy protein concentrate, and fish meal
- Contains caramel colorant
- Fortified with live probiotics and prebiotic fiber for digestive and immune support
- 36% crude protein, 16% crude fat, and 2% crude fiber
According to Purina, the LiveClear line reduces the major allergen in cat hair and dander by an average of 47% at three weeks of daily feeding. This is a massive pro for those with cat allergies. How does it work? Purina scientists found that an ingredient in eggs contained antibodies to Fel d 1—the major cat allergen—and can bind to Fel d 1 protein in cat saliva to neutralize allergens. The Purina Institute released a video summarizing this research if you want to learn more.
Like other recipes, this formula contains prebiotic fiber and probiotics for gut health and immune support. Unfortunately, this recipe again contains animal by-products and caramel colorant.
Sensitive Skin & Stomach
- Formulated to nourish skin and coat with omega-6 fatty acids from soybean oil
- Added prebiotic fiber and probiotic support the digestive system and immune system
- Protein sourced form lamb, corn gluten meal, chicken meal, soybean meal, soy protein isolate, fish meal, and egg
- No artificial colors or flavors
- 40% crude protein, 18% crude fat, and 2.5% crude fiber
- 539 calories per cup
The Sensitive Skin & Stomach formulas support your cat’s gut and coat. According to Purina, rice and oatmeal are added for easy digestion; thus, these ingredients will be gentle on the digestive system. This recipe features omega-6 fatty acids from soybean oil to support skin and coat (we would prefer fats from animal sources). It also contains prebiotic fiber from dried chicory root and bacillus coagulans probiotic for digestive health.
We like that this recipe is high in protein at 40% crude protein. While the fats in this formula cat support skin and coat, owners with overweight cats may want to avoid this recipe. At 18% crude fat, this recipe has the most fat of all reviewed formulas.
Development Entrée Classic Wet
- Formulated for kittens up to one year old
- Includes DHA fatty acid to support brain and vision development
- Contains artificial colors and flavors
- 12% crude protein, 6% crude fat, and 1.5% crude fiber
- 101 calories per can
This kitten formula uses salmon and ocean fish as its primary protein sources, which are also high in omega-3 fatty acids to support a developing kitten. This recipe features more protein than other wet food recipes, which is excellent because kittens need more protein for growth and energy.
You won’t find probiotics in any of the Purina wet food formulas. Probiotics are living bacteria and can’t survive the high-heat cooking process that’s part of canning food. But, your kitty will be hydrated with this wet food, which is 76.7% moisture. Looking for the negatives? This formula contains meat by-products, added color, artificial flavors, and guar gum.
What We Like
The large variety of recipes is nice, especially if you have a picky cat on your hands; however, what stands out for Purina Pro Plan is the specialized nutrition formulas, including options that support urinary tract health, reduced cat allergens, and guaranteed live probiotics.
The Pro Plan Urinary Tract Health line is formulated to reduce urinary pH, which helps maintain a healthy urinary tract. Purina claims its Urinary Tract Health recipes are made with real poultry, meat, or fish and without artificial colors or flavors. While this is true for kibble, wet foods contain meat by-products.
The LiveClear Allergen line is an interesting formulation. Purina claims this formula breaks down allergen Fel d 1 in cat saliva, helping to reduce allergens in cat hair and dander. After three weeks, Purina saw a reduction of allergens by an average of 47 percent starting in the third week of daily feeding.
A variety of Pro Plan dry foods contain probiotics to aid in digestion. Specifically, these formulas include the strain Bacillus coagulans, which can also support immune health.
Pros And Cons Of Purina Pro Plan Cat Food
|Variety of flavors and recipes||High carbohydrate content|
|Addresses specific life stages and needs||Use of artificial flavors and colors|
|Grain-free recipes available||Meat by-products in some recipes|
|Added probiotics||Includes GMOs in some recipes|
|Use of animal-sourced fats||Use of vegetable oil and other plant oils|
How Much Is Purina Pro Plan Cat Food? Is It Worth It?
Purina Pro Plan is pricier than other brands in the Purina family. A 16-pound bag of dry kibble ranges from $30 to $50, with specialty formulas like the LiveClear Allergen Reducing line reaching $75 for a bag. Canned food runs around $30 to $40 for a case of 24 three-ounce cans.
Despite costing more and marketing itself towards a quality-oriented customer, Purina Pro Plan recipes contain the same ingredients you find in some of their cheaper brands, like Fancy Feast or Purina Cat Chow. Still, it may be worth the cost if you’re looking for one of their targeted formulas, like the LiveClear Allergen Reducing line.
How Does Purina Pro Plan Cat Food Compare?
Purina Pro Plan is regarded as one of Purina’s best-quality brands, but how does it compare? Overall, these formulas are all carbohydrate-heavy and include some unsavory ingredients. If you’re willing to pay top dollar for quality food for your fur baby, plenty of other brands offer better-quality formulas for around the same price.
Based solely on the fact that Nestle owns Purina, I would never recommend this brand. But, if you can look past its parent company’s evil deeds, you might just find a fit with Purina Pro Plan cat food. Recipes vary from questionable to quality, so it’s essential to read labels when buying this brand.
Avoid formulas that include by-products, artificial colors, artificial flavors, or GMO ingredients. Pick a recipe higher in protein, which is critical for our carnivore friends. If in doubt, check out some of our other cat food reviews, including The Honest Kitchen and Fromm Family Pet Foods.