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Dr. Elsey’s Cat Food Clean Protein Review 2024: Recalls, Pros & Cons

Written by: Ashley Bates

Last Updated on April 11, 2024 by Catster Editorial Team

Dr. Elsey's cleanprotein Chicken Kibble Cat Dry Food

Dr. Elsey’s Cat Food Clean Protein Review 2024: Recalls, Pros & Cons


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Dr. Chyrle Bonk


The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

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Review Summary

Our Final Verdict

We give Dr. Elsey’s Clean Protein cat food a rating of 4.5 out of 5 stars.

In 1987, Dr. Elsey and his wife Kathy founded the Dr. Elsey company. The entire idea was to extend help to people and pets in need. Since bad bathroom behaviors are a prime reason cats wind up in shelters, Dr. Elsey wanted to end the issue once and for all and created his own cat litter as well as provides free litter and shelter kits to rescues and shelters annually.

But while the company started in the litter department, they have now branched out to feline nutrition with their own line of cat food called Clean Protein. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at Dr. Elsey’s Clean Protein cat food and give you our honest opinion.

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The Dr. Elsey’s Cat Food Recipe

Image Product Details
Our Favorite
Dr. Elsey’s Clean Protein Food Dr. Elsey’s Clean Protein Food
  • High protein, low carb
  • No-grains or fillers
  • Boosts energy
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    Dr. Elsey’s Cat Food Reviewed

    Dr. Elsey's Cleanprotein Chicken Formula Dry Cat Food

    About Dr. Elsey’s Products

    Dr. Elsey and his wife have had quite a long history in feline care, supporting cats and their parents every step of the way. Products were originally crafted for overall potty time care and they recently branched out to nutrition.

    Who Makes Dr. Elsey’s Clean Protein Cat Food and Where Is It Produced?

    As mentioned, Dr. Elsey’s company was founded by Dr. Elsey himself and his wife. Dr. Elsey’s cat food is manufactured right here in the USA. It is a solitary company that works diligently to produce helpful products to cat owners.

    Which Types of Cats Is Clean Protein Cat Food Best Suited For?

    Clean Protein is a cat food that is rid of all these pesky ingredients that cause sickness, illness, and poor health. We would highly recommend this cat food for any healthy adult, senior, or kitten, especially those with higher-than-average energy levels.

    Which Types of Cat Might Do Better With a Different Brand?

    Since most adult cats can benefit from the Clean Protein formula, we don’t necessarily recommend a different brand. The only thing we can say is if you have a cat with allergies to chicken, we recommend a different Clean Protein recipe. But if your cat has a specific health issue that requires a specialized diet, you might need more suitable food that is crafted for your cat’s specific needs.

    feline cat eating on a metal bowl
    Image Credit:, Shutterstock

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    Recall History

    Anytime a company gets into pet food, there is always a concern for product recalls. Certain foodborne illnesses or additives get put in food that shouldn’t be, so the company has to recollect these products and provide a more suitable solution.

    When companies are recalled multiple times, it can cause a major red flag for pet owners, wondering if the company takes their task seriously. Recalls can result in mild to severe problems, including deaths.

    But you’ll be pleasantly surprised to know that at the time of this review, Dr. Elsey’s Clean Protein cat food has never been recalled.

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    Discussion of the Primary Ingredients (Good and Bad)

    So, you can get a solid understanding of what’s in a bag of Dr. Elsey’s Clean Protein chicken recipe, here is a breakdown of the first several ingredients and what you can expect them to do for your cat.

    • Chicken: Chicken provides a whole protein source of lean meat. It has helpful vitamins and minerals like vitamin B6, vitamin B12, riboflavin, thiamine, zinc, and iron.
    • Hydrolyzed Pork: Pork is naturally beneficial to cats because it is a great source of protein. You might wonder what hydrolyzed pork means exactly. It is simply pork that has been broken down into smaller bits that pass through the digestive system more efficiently. It is a great option for sensitive cats.
    • Pork Plasma: Pork plasma might be one of those ingredients that make you raise your eyebrows. What the heck is it, after all? Plasma is a co-product of pork that is obtained from processing. It is very high in protein.
    • Gelatin: Gelatin is a highly palatable additive that boosts pet foods that are high in meat content. It prevents crumbling due to brittle kibble and keeps it fresh and moisturized. Gelatin is often highly digestible and does not trigger allergies, but it doesn’t offer much nutritional value either.
    • Chicken Fat: Chicken fat is yet another yummy part of a chicken that our cats love! Chicken fat is an excellent source of linoleic acid which will keep your cat’s fur fresh and supple. Chicken fat also tends to add a lot of flavor.
    • Ground Flaxseed: Flaxseed is a fabulous ingredient in cat food. It is highly digestible and contains omega-3 fatty acids to naturally combat inflammation, and fiber, which aid in digestion.
    • Natural Flavor: Rather than being synthetic or artificial, natural flavors are extracted from plants and animals to create flavor enhancers in recipes. Unfortunately, even though the title says natural, they can also contain synthetic ingredients up to a certain amount and still be considered natural.

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    All Life Stages Formulas

    Dr. Elsey creates recipe lines that are for all life stages. We would like to acknowledge that this has its ups and downs, but let’s stick with the positive first.

    An all life stages recipe means that this particular formula can follow your cat from their kitten months to their senior years. You don’t have to worry about food transitions, which can be a real problem for some cats.

    All life stages formulas are designed with all of the nutrients in mind that help keep a kitten growing strong and a senior maintained. However, some would argue that formulas for all life stages have to be lacking in some category or another since kittens and senior cats have very different needs. After all, is there really only one recipe that is sufficient to meet the needs of all the life stages our cats go through? While we have no direct complaints about this cat food line, it is up to the discretion of the owner and the advice of their veterinarian.

    woman with a push cart in grocery buying cat food
    Image Credit: LADO, Shutterstock

    High Protein, Grain-Free Products

    If you take a look at the ingredients label, you will notice that this particular product is substantially higher than most others when it comes to protein content. Any single serving, there is a whopping 59.0% crude protein.

    You might already know that our cats are obligate carnivores. They require a very high amount of protein in their diets to maintain muscle mass and provide energy. They also don’t typically eat any grain in the wild, making it an unimportant part of their nutrient profile.

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    Customer Reviews Don’t Approve of New Recipe

    We take customer reviews very seriously. After all, listening to people who have actually used the goods we want to buy is a great way to gauge the effectiveness of a product.

    We did some digging around the web to see what other people are saying about this particular cat food. There are some raving reviews that swear by this product. However, it seems that somewhere between 2023 and 2024, the recipe was tweaked slightly.

    This caused a major upheaval with cat owners, many of them stating that it made their cat’s tummy upset, causing diarrhea and other gastrointestinal problems. This could be due to the fact that a cat’s digestive system had gotten used to the old formula, and anytime you introduce any new food into a cat’s diet, it has the potential to cause stomach upset until your cat gets used to it.

    But we did want to point out that at some point the recipe has been changed and it has been shown to trigger responses in certain felines. Keep this in mind when you’re trying it out for your cat so you can anticipate it beforehand.

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    Dr. Elsey’s Clean Protein Food Review

    Dr. Elsey's cleanprotein Chicken Kibble Cat Dry Food

    Main ingredients: Chicken, hydrolyzed pork, pork plasma, gelatin, chicken fat, ground flaxseed
    Calories: 523 per cup
    Crude Protein: 59.0%
    Crude Fat: 17.0%
    Crude Fiber: 4.0%

    Dr. Elsey’s Clean Protein Cat Food is an excellent source of bountiful nutrients. We can’t wait to tell you about it. First, the kibble is moist and aromatic, getting the attention of most felines right away.

    All protein in the recipe is animal based to promote healthy function, weight, and an active lifestyle. This particular cat food is made to support the nutritional needs of any cat, from kittens to seniors. It also can be a helpful formula for cats struggling with weight or those with diabetes.

    We love that this is a low-carb but high-protein formula. Rather than being stuffed to the brim with fillers, this recipe uses wholesome ingredients to craft a more usable diet for your feline friend.

    Rather than being tailored to match the activity levels of cats, this particular recipe aims to improve the overall activity levels of any cat. So even cats that are pretty lackadaisical can benefit from the energetic boost this recipe could provide, but be aware that more sedate cats could start to put on weight with this high-powered food..

    All-in-all, we love Dr. Elsey’s Clean Protein cat food. However, it’s not suitable for cats that have a chicken allergy, but Dr. Elsey’s does have other flavors as well.

    • High protein, low carb
    • No-grains or fillers
    • For all life stages and some sensitivities
    • Boosts energy
    • Not suitable for cats with a chicken allergy
    • May cause some cats to gain weight

    Ingredients Analysis
    • Crude Protein: 59.0%
    • Crude Fat: 17.0%
    • Crude Fiber: 4.0%
    • Carbohydrates: 523 kcal/cup
    • Moisture: 12.0%
    • Vitamin E: 150 IU/kg

    Calories per cup breakdown:

    Please breakdown how many calories are in the food so the person formatting post can create a graphic like the one below

    • ½ cup:   261.5 calories
    • 1 cup:  523 calories
    • 2 cup:  1026 calories

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    What Other Users Are Saying

    As we mentioned earlier in the article, what others have to say about the products in question mean a lot to us. When it comes to reviews, every person’s experience matters.

    Generally, what we found when looking is that most users were pleased with this product. People enjoyed the high protein and grain-free content, and the ability to feed it to all lifestages.

    However, there were a few bad reviews we’d like to mention. Some seemed concerned with the change of recipe, as it seemed to cause gastrointestinal upset in some cats. While these comments were few, it’s certainly something to keep an eye on if you plan on feeding this recipe to your furry buddies with sensitive stomachs.

    Find out what folks on Chewy have to say about the product by clicking here and scrolling to the bottom.

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    So now you have gotten to know Dr. Elsey’s Clean Protein a lot better. You understand that this high-protein, nutrient-dense recipe is for any life stage and even works for some allergy sufferers. This cat food can be exceptional for the right candidate.

    There was a slight recipe change that has seemingly triggered some gastro problems in cats. Just be aware before making the switch and keep an eye out for any perceived irritation.


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