Cat owners are responsible for choosing high-quality nutrition for their feline family members. New options are hitting the shelves daily, giving owners plenty of selection. Many big names in the entertainment and food industry have stepped into the pet food world, and one of those recognizable names is Rachael Ray. The celebrity chef, television host, and businesswoman created Rachael Ray Nutrish in 2008, making dog treats and food. There is a lot more to pet food than a name. What goes into it makes all the difference, and cat owners want to know, is Nutrish food good for their pets? Learn more in our Rachael Ray cat food review.
While Ray is known for making tasty, healthy meals for people, is the Nutrish line of cat food healthy? This brand is available online and in several retail stores, so it is likely one many owners have seen on the shelf. We’ve done the research to see what is behind the label.
Have you considered Rachael Ray Nutrish for your feline family members? Is this a brand you have already tried but want to know more? What is behind the name and famous face? We jump into the details, including brand history, ingredients, recall information, and more. I even had my cats try this brand out firsthand to get feedback right from the kitty’s mouth.
- Key Features
- Brand History
- Rachael Ray Nutrish Cat Food Recall Information
- Where Is It Made?
- Ingredients To Look For
- Nutrish Cat Food Ingredients
- Rachael Ray Nutrish Cat Food Review
- Is Rachael Ray Cat Food Good?
- How Much Is Rachael Ray Nutrish? Is It Worth The Price?
- Pros & Cons Of Rachael Ray Nutrish
- Final Thoughts
- Wet and dry cat products
- Natural formulas
- Real animal proteins in every recipe
- No fillers or artificial ingredients
- Species-specific formulas
- Dedicated to animals in need
Nutrish was started in 2008 by Ainsworth Pet Nutrition and Rachael Ray. Currently, the brand operates under the J.M. Smucker parent company. The brand began after numerous pet deaths in 2007 connected with fillers in pet food. The pet food company partnered with the celebrity chef to create all-natural dog nutrition that was safe and used real animal proteins and named meats as the first ingredients.
The company did not introduce feline products until 2014. That year the company introduced natural cat food, both wet and dry options. Their recipes contain no artificial preservatives, no poultry by-product meals, or artificial flavors. Nutrish has become a rapidly growing brand that reached success relatively quickly. This success was partly due to Ray’s warm personality and her commitment to the welfare of animals. A portion of every nutritious sale is donated to the Rachael Ray Foundation. This foundation was created by Ray, dedicated to helping animals in need and supporting other helpful organizations committed to better nutrition for humans and pets.
Ray is quite charitable. Her two philanthropic organizations, the Rachael Ray Foundation, and the Yum-O organization, have donated $4 million to help support COVID-19 assistance for pets and people. When the Nutrish feline product line was introduced, the launch was closely followed with a 16-city tour, “Shelter Cats are Beautiful,” dedicated to getting shelter cats adopted.
Rachael Ray Nutrish Cat Food Recall Information
Nutrish has been the subject of a recall. In June 2015, five varieties of Nutrish wet cat products were recalled due to elevated levels of Vitamin D. The affected varieties were:
- Lip Smackin’ Sardine & Mackerel
- Ocean Fish-a-licious
- Ocean Fish & Chicken Catch-iatore
- Paw Lickin’ Chicken & Liver
- Tuna Purrfection
These were all the 2.8 oz. single packs. Some were sold in variety packs, Chicken Lovers Variety Pack and Ocean Lovers Variety Pack, which were also recalled.
Nutrish has been involved in a few lawsuits as well. In 2018 the company was part of a class action lawsuit against Ainsworth Pet Nutrition. That lawsuit claimed the brand used glyphosate, an herbicide found in Round-Up weed killer, in its feline food. That lawsuit was dismissed, refiled, and later dismissed again. The judge ruled that the glyphosate residue levels found in pet food were well below the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) limits and that the company was not misleading in labeling its recipes natural.
In 2019 the Nutrish brand was named in a probe by the FDA as possibly being linked to heart disease, dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM), and diet in dogs and cats. The brand was not recalled, and the probe has continued to be investigated, though it has been years since new data or results were posted. The investigation was heavily focused on dogs. The results are still inconclusive, and the agency has referred to it as “a complex scientific issue that may involve multiple factors.”
Where Is It Made?
The dry kibble recipes are made in the United States. These are crafted in the Ainsworth Pet Foods facilities located in both Frontenac, Kansas, and Meadville, Pennsylvania. Wet cat foods are manufactured in Thailand.
Ingredients for Nutrish cat products are sourced in several places, including the U.S., Australia, Canada, Europe, and New Zealand.
Ingredients To Look For
Cats are obligate carnivores, so the feline diet must be full of animal proteins. They need diets that use whole, natural ingredients, without fillers or artificial ingredients. Feline diets should contain a balance of protein, fats, carbohydrates, amino acids, and other vital nutrients. Cats need taurine, an amino acid that plays a prominent role in overall health, digestion, vision, heart function, and immune system health.
Healthy protein choices include chicken, turkey, beef, and fish. Cats primarily depend on animal protein to acquire vital amino acids, such as taurine. Taurine plays a substantial role in maintaining heart health, vision, muscle strength, and reproductive health in cats. A taurine deficiency can trigger serious health complications, including dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM), central retinal degeneration, and reproductive failure.
Fats act as an energy provider and participate in the absorption process of fat-soluble vitamins (A, D, E, and K). They also contribute significantly to maintaining healthy skin and fur.
Vitamins & Minerals
Cats need a variety of vitamins and minerals for optimal health. These micro-nutrients aid in several bodily functions, such as immune system support, bone health, and blood coagulation.
Hydration is a fundamental part of survival for all creatures, and cats are no exception. Although felines do not often show signs of thirst, they must consume enough water to support their body’s essential functions and prevent dehydration. Constant access to clean, fresh water is crucial for your cat’s health and well-being.
Nutrish Cat Food Ingredients
The Nutrish brand uses a variety of proteins, vegetables, and other ingredients. Proteins include chicken, salmon, turkey, shrimp, ocean fish, and tuna. Some recipes contain rice, lentils, and chickpeas. Vegetables and fruits include peas, beets, carrots, spinach, cranberries, tomato, and pumpkin. Added ingredients include flaxseed, malted barley flour, rosemary extract, and other vitamins and minerals.
Rachael Ray Nutrish Cat Food Review
Currently, the brand makes several varieties of dry kibble and wet recipes served in cups. Some formulas cater to specific dietary needs, including grain-free, gentle digestion, weight management, gluten-free, and ground corn-free. Below we review some of the top sellers.
Nutrish Natural Chicken & Brown Rice Dry Kibble
The brown rice and chicken dry kibble recipe is one of the company’s most popular picks. The recipe uses U.S. farm-raised chickens along with plenty of added vitamins and minerals. This recipe uses no ground corn, soy, poultry by-product, wheat, fillers, or artificial preservatives and flavors. It does use beet pulp, which is a source of fiber as well as contains appropriate levels of taurine, unnecessary amino acid cats need in their daily diet. Dry kibble manufacturing happens here in the U.S.
The recipe has chicken as the first ingredient, followed by chicken meal, corn gluten meal, brown rice, Brewer’s rice, dried peas, whole flax seed, fish meal, beet pulp, and dried carrots. The recipe does offer 100% balanced nutrition for cats. A portion of each bag purchase goes to the Rachael Ray Foundation.
We appreciate the use of farm-raised U.S. chickens. However, corn gluten meal and protein boosted from ground peas are not ingredients we love to see in feline meals. We prefer that protein content comes from animal meats. However, we appreciate using named meat meals rather than unnamed meat by-products. We also appreciate that the recipe has no artificial chemicals, colors, or flavors.
Nutrish Indoor Complete Chicken, Lentils & Salmon Recipe
This recipe formula caters to gentle digestion. It focuses on cats with sensitive stomachs that need foods that are easier to digest. The recipe contains whole grains, animal protein, and fish oil. It also includes lentils which are rich in fiber and protein. It is another popular pick for cats with sensitive tummies. The formula is for indoor cats and provides complete nutrition. The formula includes ingredients to support healthy weight, the immune system, as well as skin and coat health. The higher fiber content helps to prevent and works through hairballs.
The recipe starts out with chicken, chicken meal, Brewer’s rice, dried peas, corn gluten meal, lentils, poultry fat, whole flaxseed, cranberries, pumpkin, salmon, and dried beet pulp. It also contains A variety of added nutrients, including vitamins and minerals. Some ingredients work to help minimize hairballs and help cats feel full. Contains no wheat, soy, fillers, artificial flavors, chemical preservatives, or poultry by-product meals.
We appreciate that this formula aims to meet the needs of sensitive indoor cats. We also appreciate the use of farm-raised poultry and meals. However, the recipe includes highly concentrated plant protein sources, including corn gluten meal and pea protein.
Chicken Purrcata Wet Food
Made with real chicken, this is a wet recipe in gravy. The grain-free formula supports adult cats of any breed and size. It is free of corn, wheat, soy, and peas. Tasty shreds of real birds in a delicious gravy provide nutrients and a satisfying meaty taste.
Ingredients here start with chicken, followed by water, vegetable oil, powdered cellulose, and other added ingredients. Cellulose provides fiber and works as a thickener. We appreciate the use of fresh poultry but do not necessarily like that water and vegetable oil are the second and third ingredients. We would prefer that these be animal protein sources or fresh veggies.
Another top point is that there are no chemical preservatives, artificial colors, or flavors. Meals also come in a convenient serving cup. Additionally, as a wet meal, the recipe is much higher in moisture. It can be a stand-alone meal or a topper.
Paw Lickin' Chicken & Liver Wet Food
A tasty blend of chicken and liver, made just for kitty taste buds. The recipe does not use any meat by-products, fillers, artificial flavors, or preservatives. It is also free of grain, gluten, corn, wheat, and soy. Areas complete and balanced nutrition. Protein comes from lean poultry as well as organ meat.
The ingredients start out with water, chicken, chicken liver, powdered cellulose, and vegetable oil, and continue with added vitamins and minerals. We appreciate both the chicken and liver and the extra moisture, but we would prefer the animal proteins to be higher on the list.
Our Personal Experience With Rachael Ray Nutrish Cat Food
I purchased a variety pack of wet recipes that included the chicken Purrcata, Paw-lickin chicken and liver, and the ocean fish and chicken Catchi-iatore. They are fed dry kibble in the morning and wet food at dinner time. I fed three cats these meals for three days each. All three cats enjoyed the fresh, meaty shreds and the tasty gravy. However, some of the recipes also come with bigger chunks mixed in.
My cats did not like these bigger chunks come and would eat around them. So, they enjoyed the fresh, meaty taste and the flakiness but were not interested in the other texture or taste of those added chunks. As a topper, I think it’s a good pick. However, the cups are not quite big enough to satisfy my cat’s appetite.
Is Rachael Ray Cat Food Good?
There are several positives about Nutrish kitty chow. We appreciate that all the ingredients are natural and identifiable. One thing that we did notice with most of the recipes, especially the dry kibble, is that they contain a high amount of plant material. Plant material means higher carbohydrate content, which can be harder to digest. Plant protein is not as easy to digest or use as animal protein for cats. On top of that, diets that have higher carbohydrate loads can lead to the development of diabetes.
Dry kibble manufacturing happens here in the United States with ingredients sourced from around the world. Wet product production happens in Thailand. Plenty of high-quality wet pet foods come from Thailand, using stringent and highly regulated safety methods. However, as a personal preference, I try to pick brands sourced and manufactured here in the United States. There is not much transparency in ingredient sourcing, so it is hard to know exactly where specific ingredients are coming from.
Nutrish cat chow brands as a premium, all-natural choice. Ingredients are all-natural. However, we would like to see higher quality animal proteins used in more significant amounts in recipes and more fresh vegetables and fruits. Nutrish is certainly a better pick than many other budget brands on the market. It is undoubtedly better than some lower-budget options.
How Much Is Rachael Ray Nutrish? Is It Worth The Price?
Nutrish is a moderately priced product. It is somewhat more expensive than other grocery store shelf brands. Dry kibble primary comes in 14-pound bags with a price tag of $25 to $27. Kibble costs, on average, $1.90 per pound.
Wet products come in 2.8 cups, generally in a case of 12. These cost between $13 and $15 per case. Wet options are, on average, $0.43 per ounce.
Nutrish is a reasonable price, though higher than many budget brands, but more affordable than most premium and human-grade brands. However, the price does reflect the ingredients. Though the brand uses real animal proteins, they often follow with some not-so-desirable components. This pick is better than many but not as good as some. It is more expensive than some due to the smaller portion sizes in wet meal products.
Pros & Cons Of Rachael Ray Nutrish
|Real animal protein||The second ingredients in some foods are vegetable oil|
|Wet and dry recipes||Smaller-sized cups than many other wet canned options|
|A large variety of flavors||Smaller-sized cups than many other wet canned options|
|Formulas for some special dietary needs||Higher price for less|
|No artificial ingredients||Ingredient sourcing is not easy to find|
|No poultry by-product meal, artificial preservatives, or flavors||It uses corn gluten and pea protein|
|A portion of sales goes to animals in need||Recall in 2015|
|Developed with feline nutritional needs in mind|
|Dry kibbles made in the USA|
Rachael Ray Nutrish cat food is a medium-grade, natural, animal protein-based cat nutrition brand. The brand dedicates resources to helping save shelter animals and animals in need. Recipes combine real meats and vegetables to create flavorful recipes. We appreciate the variety and that there is no soy or wheat gluten. Overall, this is a middle-of-the-road cat food. The price is higher than some other options, and owners who are willing to pay these higher prices may want to consider human-grade options like Smalls. If you need help learning about different brands, we have you covered. We reviewed several other brands, including Applaws, Weruva, Open Farm, Orijen, Acana, and more.
If you have specific concerns about your cat’s dietary needs, it is always best to speak with your veterinarian before adding in any new foods or switching brands. If you do plan to switch, do so gradually to not cause digestive distress.