Picking the best cat food for your feline friends is challenging, partly because there are so many options to choose from. The pet food market is growing and changing all the time, and owners often find themselves faced with a mountain of choices. It is helpful to learn more about a particular brand before buying, especially because switching chow too often can cause digestive issues for felines. One brand name that is well-known in the pet nutrition arena is Royal Canin. In this article, we take a deeper look at the brand and review Royal Canin cat food.
There are a few different areas to look at when researching a pet food company. This includes brand history, recall history, ingredients, where the product is made, variety, and what the brand stands for. This is a lot for busy owners, so we have stepped in to help with some of the hard work.
In this article, we look closer at Royal Canin’s feline offerings and learn more about this company. We understand that owners need this information to help make an informed decision about their pet’s nutrition. Feline nutrition is the key to long life and health, so it is not an area to cut corners or take risks on unknown or inferior products. So, read on to learn more about Royal Canin (RC) and how they compare when it comes to feline nutrition.
- Key Features
- Royal Canin Brand History
- Royal Canin Recall Information
- Where Is It Made?
- Ingredients To Look For
- Royal Canin Ingredients
- Royal Canin Cat Food Recipes
- Additional Recipes
- Is Royal Canin Cat Food Good?
- How Much Is Royal Canin? Is It Worth The Price?
- How Does Royal Canin Compare?
- Pros & Cons Chart
- Final Thoughts
- Breed-specific nutrition.
- Specialized formulas for a wide variety of needs.
- Veterinary line.
- Well-known, established company.
- Supports feline health.
- Large recipe variety.
- US-based production facilities.
Royal Canin Brand History
Royal Canin is a French pet food company founded in 1968. The company produces cat and dog nutrition formulas tailored to specific breeds, sizes, and health conditions. They claim to use high-quality, scientifically researched ingredients in their recipes.
The company got its start thanks to a French veterinarian named Jean Cathary, located in the Gard region of southern France. In the 1960s, Cathary began making homemade meals for pets, hoping to treat an influx of skin conditions in area pets. After many different attempts and recipes, he discovered that a cereal-based recipe was beneficial in alleviating coat and skin issues in the local domestic animal population. He called it “yellow soup” for dogs.
Soon after perfecting his recipe, the good doctor shut down his practice and devoted himself full-time to making pet food. The company was branded Royal Canin and quickly rose to one of Europe’s leading pet nutrition companies. RC was the very first European company to use an extruder imported from America. They were the first company to manufacture dry pet food in France and quickly rose in popularity.
In 1972 a larger company acquired the brand, the Guyomarc’h Group, which quickly introduced its products to a broader European market in France, Belgium, Denmark, Germany, Italy, Spain, Sweden, and the Netherlands. Around 1980 the company released A.GR, which was the first-ever kibble designed for large-breed puppies. In 1985 the brand made it to American markets. During the early 1990s, the brand faced some turmoil and was purchased by a bank, Paribas Affaires Industrielles.
Though the 1990s were full of turmoil and financial ups and downs, the company stuck to its course and connected developing never before seen pet nutrition. In 1994 they released the Royal Canin Felinotechnique International (RCFI) line of feline nutrition. This feline-specific line offered premium nutrition with dry kibble and used specialized distribution through breeders and veterinarians. This was a stark difference from the mainstream selling approach at grocery stores and supermarkets. In 1999 the company released its first breed-specific cat recipe designed for Persian cats.
In 2001 the company became part of the Mars family. Today the brand continues to be a subsidiary of Mars Inc. Over the last two decades, they have released several more products backed by science, research, and veterinary input. Royal Canin offers an extensive range of products for dogs and cats and is highly popular among veterinarians due to the variety of specialty formulas they offer. They offer both retail and vet-specific products.
Royal Canin Recall Information
It is essential to note that recalls happen for different reasons, including contamination with harmful substances, incorrect product labeling or branding, improper nutrient content, the presence of foreign objects, quality control issues, and adverse reactions among pets. Recalls are sometimes voluntary by a company, or they can be by request or order of the US Food & Drug Administration (FDA).
Royal Canin has had a few recalls in its long history. In February of 2006, several varieties of Royal Canin dog and cat products were recalled for containing excess levels of vitamin D. Several batches of cat food were affected, including:
- Veterinary Diet Feline Sensitivity VR
- Veterinary Diet Feline Calorie Control
- Veterinary Diet Feline Renal LP
Several dogs and cats became ill, and the issue was traced to a vitamin premix from a third-party supplier. The company itself noticed the problem, including a trend of pets with rising calcium levels. The company researched the problem, activated a recall, and worked to seek out and support any affected animals. Their response to this recall has been applauded as an example of transparency and responsible crisis response.
Royal Canin cat food was recalled on two other occasions in April 2007 and May 2007. In this instance, the recall affected mainly dry dog products but included two varieties of dry cat kibble. This recall was triggered after a melamine derivative was detected in the rice protein concentrate in some of its dry pet nutrition products. Cat products affected were:
- Kasco Cat dry
- Veterinary Diet Feline Hypoallergenic HP23 dry
This problem was traced to vegetable proteins imported into the United States from China used as ingredients in pet food. This recall affected many brands, not just Royal Canin. Pets all over the world were experiencing high occurrences of kidney failure and death. The media covered the issue, and the supplier companies involved were shut down. It triggered a US Senate oversight hearing and took a significant toll on the pet food industry. Some pet owners sued pet nutrition companies as a result, and criminal charges were filed against two Chinese nationals, their businesses, a US company, and its two American owners for importing products into the US under the guise of being wheat gluten when they were contaminated with melamine.
Since 2007 the company has not had any further recalls of its cat products.
It’s essential to regularly check the FDA’s pet food recall website for updates on recalled products and stop feeding your cat a recalled product immediately. In case of any concerns, it is best to consult a veterinarian.
Where Is It Made?
RC is a global company with a physical presence on five different continents, including twelve production facilities worldwide. In the United States, the company is based in Saint Charles, Missouri. Under the name Royal Canin USA the company runs two manufacturing facilities, one located in Missouri and the other in South Dakota. The company also runs several research facilities worldwide where they develop recipes and formulate new products.
RC uses ingredients that are sourced globally and do not share specific information about suppliers or countries of origin. They operate on a nutrient-over-ingredient approach and focus less on where specific ingredients come from.
Ingredients To Look For
High-quality cat food should contain the following:
- Animal-based proteins like chicken, turkey, fish, or beef, as cats are obligate carnivores and need protein to support their muscles and overall health.
- Essential fatty acids, such as omega-3 and omega-6, support skin and coat health.
- Vitamins and minerals include Vitamin A, B vitamins, taurine, and potassium.
- Carbohydrates provide energy and fiber.
- Moisture, as cats are prone to dehydration, and wet meal options can help prevent it.
- Stay away from foods made for human consumption.
Many purr parents avoid ingredients like fillers (corn, wheat, soy), artificial preservatives, colors and flavors, and low-quality by-products. Some cat owners prefer grain-free diets, while others opt for limited-ingredient diets or diets with specific ingredients for health conditions (urinary tract health, digestive health). It’s essential to consider your cat’s particular needs when choosing food and consult with a veterinarian if you have any concerns about feline behavior, nutrition, or health.
Royal Canin Ingredients
RC ingredients vary by recipe, but common elements include poultry, fish, animal by-products, and various grains, vegetables, and vitamins and minerals. The company is known for using high-quality ingredients in its recipes and has a wide range of recipes for different life stages, health conditions, and breed sizes.
Royal Canin Cat Food Recipes
RC offers an extremely large variety of wet and dry cat chow. In fact, they produce over 100 different kinds of feline products. Most of their offerings are veterinary-specific formulas created to address specific health issues. These include digestive care, urinary tract health, kidney care, and more. They do also offer some breed-specific formulas. Several recipes are specifically developed to support different feline life stages, body types, and lifestyles.
Because the company offers so many different cat nutrition varieties, we can’t review them all. However, we have looked closely at some of the brand’s most popular sellers.
Feline Urinary Care Adult Dry
- Dry kibble.
- Formulated for urinary tract health.
- easy to digest.
- Promotes drinking water.
- Reduces struvite and calcium oxalate crystals.
We are starting with a urinary care adult formula because this is a common problem among adult kitties. Supporting urinary tract health is especially important, so many owners are looking for nutrition options to help keep their pets plumbing in good working order. This is part of the RC care line, meaning it’s not a prescription diet but is more specialized than regular kitty chow.
This is a dry kibble, so it is low in moisture, which does seem counterproductive to support urinary tract health. However, the formula encourages kitties to drink more water. This formula increases urine output and reduces struvite crystals and calcium oxalate crystals. The buildup of these two elements in a feline’s urine can lead to painful and expensive conditions.
This formula uses chicken meal, chicken fat, vegetable oil, and fish oil to provide protein and fat. It is high in carbohydrates and plant material, as the first ingredient is corn, followed by wheat gluten.
We would choose something other than this for everyday use for regular cats. We usually prefer foods that list real meat and animal proteins as the first several ingredients. However, it is crucial to remember that this formula is designed to support a specific condition like urinary tract health. This is a non-prescription option sold in most pet stores around the country, so it is a convenient, condition-specific choice for owners. Consult your veterinarian before switching your purr baby to this or other condition-specific food.
Hairball Care Dry
- Reduces hairball effects.
- Aids in healthy digestion.
- For cats over 1 year.
- Savory Chicken flavor.
- Easy to digest.
- Does use corn and wheat gluten.
We chose this formula because hairballs are a common problem that felines have. Sometimes owners switch to a hairball control formula, which can aid in reducing the problem. This chicken-flavored dry kibble is a specific formula for reducing hairballs and aiding digestion. It is best for adult kitties over one year old.
This formula uses chicken meal, which provides high-quality protein. Unfortunately, it does not use any fresh animal proteins. The first ingredients following the chicken meal listed are corn, Brewer’s rice, rice husks, and corn gluten meal.
Dry kibble like this is lower in moisture, so kitties must be encouraged to drink water. Though it does not contain fresh proteins or other ingredients we look for, there may be some hairball-reducing benefit to this specific formula. This recipe does have higher fiber and average protein content. It also contains some ingredients like corn, corn gluten, fish oil, and wheat gluten that are hard to digest and may trigger allergies in some felines.
This kibble has a savory chicken flavor. Customer reviews report that it aids kitties with severe and chronic hairball issues. It is easy to digest, and kitties like the taste, which is a benefit as sometimes pets with hairball issues may refuse to eat.
Feline Health Nutrition Dry Food for Kittens
- Kitten-specific formula.
- Easy digestion.
- Promotes healthy growth and development.
- Soft, small kibble.
- Easy to chew.
- Tasty chicken flavor.
This is the kitten-specific formula of dry kibble. It is soft and small, making it easy to chew and digest. This formula is high in antioxidants, proteins, and minerals and has a tasty chicken flavor. Best for kittens aged four months to one year.
This food is made with an exclusive blend of nutrients to support a kitten’s developing immune system and provide digestive support. The formula is developed to support young kittens’ high energy and growth needs. It is soft and pliable in texture, explicitly designed for a kitten’s tiny mouth and erupting teeth.
This kitten formula lists rice, chicken by-product meal, corn gluten meal, wheat gluten, chicken fat, corn, and egg as its first ingredients. Owners report that kittens like the flavor and do well with the small bites. Some owners report concerns about product consistency, but this is a food that kittens like and perform well on.
Feline Health Nutrition Kitten Canned
- Tasty slices in gravy.
- High in moisture.
- Real animal proteins.
- Soft and pliable.
- Easy to eat.
- Use with a well-balanced kitten kibble.
This is a wet, canned recipe developed for kittens and small breeds up to 12 months old. This recipe supports energy and growth. It has a smooth flavor and texture. We like that this wet food lists chicken, chicken liver, and pork liver as some of its first ingredients. It is high in protein and has a flavor kittens appreciate. This balanced formula is designed to boost energy levels, support immune system health, aid digestion, and promote kitten growth. Tasty slices in gravy are hard for kittens to resist.
This food is 80% moisture and 11% protein. It contains 3% minimum fat and 1.6% fiber. This should be used with high-quality kibble.
Digest Sensitive Chunks in Gravy Canned
- Promotes healthy digestion.
- Reduces stool odor.
- High in moisture.
- Low fiber, low fat, medium protein.
- Uses animal proteins.
- For kitties with sensitive stomachs, anxiety, and very stinky stools.
Sensitive digestion is a frequent problem among adult cats, and owners always look for that perfect sensitive digestion formula. These pouches are developed to support digestive system health and decrease fecal odor. This is a meat-based product, listing chicken by-products, pork by-products chicken, pork liver, and pork plasma as protein sources. This is not a stand-alone food. Felines should also eat balanced kibble. These are 3 oz cans, so they are on the smaller side.
We like that this recipe is specifically for sensitive stomachs, weight management, and health. It also works to boost coat health and luster. Owners report this as a good fit for felines with anxiety, digestive concerns, stinky stools, and more. Very high in moisture and medium protein content. Low fiber and fat.
Feline Breed Nutrition Maine Coon
- Breed-specific nutrition for the Maine Coon.
- For adult Maine Coons.
- Specially formulated to support bone and joint health.
- Promotes oral health.
- Use along with high-quality canned food for complete nutrition.
RC is known for its breed-specific formulas for both dogs and cats. One popular seller is their adult dry kibble for the Maine Coon. This dry kibble meets the nutritional needs of purebred Maine Coons aged 15 months and older. This is not for kittens. It is fortified with nutrients, including omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, to support joint and bone health. This is particularly important for a large breed like The Maine Coon. This formula also supports a healthy coat and skin and promotes oral upkeep.
This kibble lists chicken by-product meal as its first ingredient, followed by Brewer’s rice, chicken fat, corn, corn gluten meal, wheat gluten, and brown rice. We appreciate the chicken meal and chicken fat, but this formula is high in plant ingredients. We do like that the formula focuses specficially on the nutritional needs of the mighty Maine Coon. This works best in combination with high-quality canned food to offer that extra moisture and animal protein content.
Pet owners can browse veterinary range products on the brand website but need a prescription to purchase them. RC also offers an extensive healthy pet range of products available from pet stores, grocery stores, and online retailers.
|Veterinary Range||Healthy Pet Range|
|Dental Dry||Breed-specific nutrition|
|Gastrointestinal Moderate Calorie||Digest Sensitive|
|Glycobalance Dry||Digestive Care Dry|
|Renal Support||Hair & Skin|
|Satiety + Hydrolyzed Protein||Hairball Care|
|Satiety Support Weight Management||Hairball Care|
|Selected Protein PV||Intense Beauty|
|Urinary SO Moderate Calorie||Longhair|
|Weight Control||Mother and Babycat|
Opinions on the quality of Royal Canin cat food can vary and depend on several factors, such as a kitty’s individual needs and personal preferences. Some purr parents consider it a good option, while others may not be as satisfied with their products.
Is Royal Canin Cat Food Good?
RC is a moderate-quality brand of cat food. Some options are higher in nutritional value and use higher quality ingredients. Keeping in mind that this brand develops need-based and breed-specific formulas, they use a proprietary blend of ingredients to meet dietary needs. Most recipes are high in nutrients, including a source of animal protein, and have satisfying flavors. This is a brand that owners will seek out if they are trying to address specific dietary or digestive needs for their kitty. Wet portions are small and work best in combination with high-quality, well-balanced kibble.
This brand tends to use many plant ingredients in their dry kibbles, as well as some known allergens like corn, soy, and wheat gluten. For this reason, owners will always want to read ingredients carefully, especially if their kitty has a known allergy or has previously experienced digestive issues. This can be a good choice for some cats, particularly those needing specific dietary needs. RC may not be the best bet for owners and cats that prefer a fresher taste or are looking for products using higher quality, sustainable animal protein choices.
How Much Is Royal Canin? Is It Worth The Price?
This tends to be more expensive than some other brands. Price will depend on what type of food and quantity. Additionally, some online retailers may offer different pricing than brick-and-mortar stores. For example, buying 24-count three-ounce cans of digest-sensitive thin slices in gravy is just under $2 a can, about $1.90.
Dry kibble prices can also vary greatly. For example, a 2.5-pound bag of kitten kibble can cost around 20 to $24. A 7-pound bag of adult indoor will cost approximately 30 to $32. Larger bags will be more expensive, around $62.00 for a 15-pound bag. Again this will vary depending on the formula chosen and the size of the bag.
RC is a little pricier than many other options but well worth the price if your purr baby suffers from a particular digestive issue. This is also particularly impactful when it comes to their prescription diets. Prescription formulas are much more expensive than retail. Prescription prices can run anywhere from $50 a bag or more, and cans can cost anywhere from $1.50 to $2 or more, depending on the formula.
How Does Royal Canin Compare?
This brand’s dry kibbles tend to have higher plant content than some other brands. They do not use the same level of fresh ingredients as other, newer brands. However, they are a very old company that has weathered many storms and focuses on nutrient-based nutrition. Some formulas work to boost overall feline health, though most cater to specific needs or digestive issues. RC is a good choice if your cat has a digestive, urinary, or dietary problem. However, before committing to this food, you should speak to your veterinarian or pet nutritionist. It may be more expensive than many other options, and in some cases, pets do not like it, or it can make issues worse.
Keep in mind that this food uses known allergens and animal by-products, which some felines will have a more challenging time digesting. Owners should always read the ingredient lists of any feline nutrition products they purchase, especially if trying to treat or alleviate a specific condition like urinary tract health, hairball, or weight management.
Pros & Cons Chart
|High-nutrient, scientifically researched ingredients||High plant content|
|A reputable global company with a long history||Uses corn, soy, and wheat|
|Large product range||Uses animal by-products|
|Breed-specific nutrition||More expensive|
|Cats enjoy the taste||Need prescription for some foods|
|Can treat many different conditions||Has had recalls|
Royal Canin is a well-known brand of cat food that has been around for over half a century, giving them a lot of credibility in the pet nutrition world. They have been pivotal in some of the pioneering movements of the industry and have always worked to provide nutrient balance, well-made diet options for pets. Products are available in veterinary offices, pet retailers, and online retailers worldwide. They offer a wide variety of specialty-based formulas to treat many common feline health, digestive, urinary, and dietary needs. Though RC is a more expensive brand than several others, for cats who are suffering from digestive concerns or discomfort, they are well worth the price.
Overall, RC is a well-established company that produces high-nutrient, scientifically researched formulas backed by veterinarians. They have had several recalls in the past, but the company takes care to do their research and create extremely specific need-based recipes. This brand offers diverse options for different life stages, health conditions, and breed sizes. For cats with special dietary needs, Royal Canin is a reliable choice that likely has several products available to meet a pet’s specific needs.