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Nutro Cat Food Review of 2024: Recalls, Pros & Cons

Written by: Christian Adams

Last Updated on April 18, 2024 by Catster Editorial Team

nutro cat food review

Nutro Cat Food Review of 2024: Recalls, Pros & Cons

Nutro Cat Food Review Summary

Our Final Verdict

We give Nutro cat food a rating of 4.2 out of 5.0 stars. 

Founded in the 1920s, Nutro is an American pet food manufacturing company and a subsidiary of Mars Inc., which also manufactures other pet food brands, including Whiskas, Royal Canin, and Iams, and is now headquartered in Franklin, Tennessee. The brand was the first to gain the American Feed Industry Association certification.

Its cat food range includes Nutro MAX, Nutro Original, and Perfect Portions, and its wet food ranks as being well above average, though its dry food is not as good. Besides food designed for adult cats, it has specialist ranges for kittens and senior cats.

Like most good pet food manufacturers, the company does avoid artificial ingredients and meat by-products. It also fortifies its food with extra vitamins and minerals.

Overall, Nutro cat food is good quality food that we would recommend to cat owners. However, it does have a questionable history of recalls that are worth noting and have caused us to rate it a little lower.

cat face divider 2At a Glance: The Best Nutro Cat Food Recipes

Image Product Details
Our Favorite Adult Salmon & Brown Rice Adult Salmon & Brown Rice
  • No GMO ingredients
  • No GMO ingredients
  • Salmon and chicken are primary ingredients
  • Hairball Control Chicken & Rice Hairball Control Chicken & Rice
  • Real chicken as the very first ingredient
  • Natural fiber blend
  • Non-GMO ingredients
  • Chicken & Rice Kitten Food Chicken & Rice Kitten Food
  • 36% protein
  • Suitable for kittens
  • No GMO ingredients
  • Grain-Free Paté Salmon & Tuna Grain-Free Paté Salmon & Tuna
  • No GMO ingredients
  • No artificial ingredients
  • Excellent source of meat protein
  • Grain-Free Turkey & Chicken Grain-Free Turkey & Chicken
  • Grain-free food
  • Contains no artificial flavors
  • Soft, smooth texture
  • 3 cat face dividerNutro Cat Food Review

    4Nutro Perfect Portions Grain-Free Paté Multi-Pack Real Salmon & Tuna

    Who Makes Nutro Cat Food and Where Is It Produced?

    Nutro Cat Food was first formed in 1926, when American businessman John Saleem bought a British pet food manufacturing company and renamed it Nutro Products. The company has undergone several changes in ownership since then but was bought by Mars in 2007. It has remained under their ownership since and joins a long list of other pet food brands, including Whiskas, Royal Canin, Sheba, and Iams.

    All Nutro Cat Food is produced in the U.S.A. Its dry food is manufactured in North Carolina and California, while its wet food ranges are made in Ohio, Arkansas, and South Dakota.

    Which Types of Pets Is Nutro Cat Food Best Suited For?

    Nutro has a broad range of cat foods. It sells adult foods that are suitable for general adult cats. It also sells grain-free recipes, though these are mostly wet foods. It also has many foods that are geared toward kittens or seniors, as well as those for sensitive stomachs and to assist in controlling hairballs. As such, there is likely a range of Nutro cat food to suit your cat’s stage of life and nutritional requirements.

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    Discussion of the Primary Ingredients (Good and Bad)

    Nutro produces a varied range of foods. Different lines and different flavors contain different ingredients.

    The primary ingredients include:
    • Fish Oil — Fish oil is a beneficial source of omega fatty acids. It can help alleviate inflammatory conditions like arthritis and will also help maintain a good-looking and protective coat and skin.
    • White Fish — White fish offers similar benefits to fish oil and is also a rich source of protein. It is low in calories, so it helps to maintain weight in all cats, but it is especially beneficial in cats that are overweight. It is easy to digest.
    • Chicken — Chicken is a species-appropriate meat-based source of protein. It offers amino acids and nutrients that help build and maintain healthy muscles and ensure the ongoing strength of the immune system. It also helps with tissue repair.
    • Brown Rice — Brown rice is a grain but is considered easy to digest and is rarely responsible for food sensitivities in cats. It is only used in a handful of Nutro recipes, and it is a good source of energy for your cats.
    • Chicken Fat — Chicken fat may not sound appetizing, but it is a hugely beneficial ingredient found in cat food. It contains omega-6 fatty acids that promote and protect a healthy coat.
    • Flaxseed — Flaxseed is a source of omega-3 fatty acids. It is not considered as beneficial of a source as a meat-based fatty acid, but it is also considered a useful source of dietary fiber, so it is good for digestive health.

    Chelated Minerals

    Nutro cat foods, like most pet foods, contain additional vitamins and minerals. These are included for a variety of reasons and in the case of Nutro, it includes chelated minerals. Chelated minerals are bound to protein, which means that they are more efficiently digested by the body. They have greater bioavailability than non-chelated minerals.

    Non-GMO Ingredients

    Nutro food does not contain any GMO ingredients. Some people believe that GMO foods are potentially dangerous, as their side effects are not fully understood yet. Some pet foods are known to contain canola oil, which may be made from genetically modified rapeseed oil, though this is not always true. Regardless, none of these ingredients are present in Nutro pet foods.

    Cheap Fillers

    The ingredients found in Nutro foods are generally good quality and serve a purpose. The foods are primarily meat-based, which is also good, and most of the lines are species appropriate. However, some of the foods do contain inappropriate fillers, such as alfalfa meal. Alfalfa meal is most commonly found in horse feed, and it is only added to food because it is cheap and readily available. It is a source of protein, but meat protein is considered much higher quality and more beneficial.

    Cat ball divider 1A Quick Look at Nutro Cat Food

    • Species-appropriate foods
    • Natural ingredients
    • Non-GMO ingredients
    • Chelated minerals
    • Several recalls since 2007
    • Some foods contain filler ingredients

    Nutro Cat Food Recalls

    Nutro pet food has been recalled several times, especially in the past 15 years. In 2015, its dog treats were recalled due to mold contamination of its apple chewy sweets. However, it isn’t just its dog foods that have been recalled. The following recalls have been initiated for Nutro cat foods:

    • In 2007, several Nutro foods were recalled because they had melamine-contaminated ingredients from China. Nutro was one of a large number of suppliers caught up in this particular recall.
    • In 2009, Nutro cat food was recalled because of inappropriate and incorrect levels of zinc and potassium. Several pet owners had reported their cats and dogs falling ill after eating Nutro pet foods.
    • In the same year, Mars recalled several of its brands of pet food because of reports that there were small pieces of melted plastic found in the food.

    cat + line dividerReviews of the 3 Best Nutro Cat Food Recipes

    Although Nutro does manufacture several recipes, we have taken a closer look at three of its most popular ones.

    1. Nutro Wholesome Essentials Adult Salmon & Brown Rice Dry Cat Food

    nutro wholesome essentials adult

    The Wholesome Essentials Adult Salmon and Brown Rice recipe is a dry cat food that lists salmon and chicken meal as its primary ingredients, followed by brewers rice, pea protein, and whole brown rice.

    Brewer’s rice is a low-quality grain, which itself is considered lower quality than meat or another ingredient. It is an inexpensive filler. Pea protein is similarly low quality and boosts the food’s protein ratio without really offering benefit to the cat.

    The Nutro Wholesome Salmon and Brown Rice food boasts 33% protein, and it does contain additional chelated minerals, but it also includes alfalfa meal and dried plain beet pulp, which are low-quality ingredients that would ideally be replaced by meat ingredients in a premium food.

    Calorie Breakdown:

    nutro wholesome essentials

    • No GMO ingredients
    • Salmon and chicken are primary ingredients
    • Includes chelated minerals
    • Contains low-quality fillers

    2. Nutro Perfect Portions Natural Wet Cat Food 4Nutro Perfect Portions Grain-Free Paté Multi-Pack Real Salmon & Tuna

    The Nutro Perfect Portions Natural Wet Cat food is a wet food designed for adult cats of all ages. The actual ingredients do vary depending on the flavor you buy, but taking the salmon and tuna recipe as a guide, its primary ingredients are salmon, chicken, chicken liver, pork broth, chicken broth, and tuna.

    This means that the vast majority of the 12% protein in these trays is derived from meat, which means that Nutro Perfect Portions are among some of the best wet foods available. With that said, this food does contain some controversial ingredients, including menadione sodium bisulfite complex. Although this is a known source of vitamin K, it is controversial because it has been linked to a number of health complaints, including kidney problems. It is potentially harmful to dogs and cats.

    The food also contains carrageenan, which is another controversial ingredient because it is believed to cause inflammation and toxicity in animals.

    Calorie Breakdown:

    nutro perfect portions

    • Excellent source of meat protein
    • No artificial ingredients
    • No GMO ingredients
    • Contains menadione sodium bisulfite complex
    • Contains carrageenan

    3. Nutro Wholesome Essentials Chicken & Brown Rice Dry Kitten Food Nutro Wholesome Essentials Chicken & Brown Rice Recipe Kitten

    Nutro Wholesome Essentials Chicken & Brown Rice Dry Kitten Food is a food designed for kittens under 12 months. The primary ingredients in this food are chicken and chicken meal, followed by pea protein. It also contains chicken fat, brewers rice, whole brown rice, and potato protein.

    The food has 36% protein and does not contain any GMO ingredients. It is also free from any artificial additives and only uses natural ingredients.

    With the primary ingredients being meat-based, Nutro Kitten Food gets a good majority of its protein and nutrients from healthy sources. However, it does contain a lot of inexpensive and low-quality fillers, including alfalfa meal, pea protein, and dried beet. It is considered an average dry food.

    While it shouldn’t cause your kitten harm or lead to illness, there are better quality foods out there.

    Calorie Breakdown:

    Nutro Wholesome Essentials Adult Chicken & Whole Brown Rice

    • Primary ingredients are chicken and chicken meal
    • No GMO ingredients
    • 36% protein
    • Suitable for kittens
    • Contains a lot of fillers
    • Not as high quality as Nutro wet food

    3 cat face divider

    Is Nutro a Good Cat Food: What the Users Are Saying

    Here is a sample of what others are saying about Nutro’s cat food range:

    • AllAboutCats — “Some Nutro canned foods stand out as exceptionally species-appropriate, meat-rich foods that meet the nutritional needs of obligate carnivores.”
    • FriendlyClaws — “Nutro’s dry food is solid but unexceptional, and its Wholesome Essential line represents the best choice.”
    • Amazon — See what other genuine cat owners are saying about Nutro cat foods, on Amazon. Click here to read their reviews.

    3 cat divider


    Nutro, which is part of the Mars parent company, manufactures a wide range of foods. Besides adult dry food, it also supplies kitten food and manufactures senior food. You will find Nutro food ranges that are geared toward cats with sensitive stomachs and those that produce a lot of fur balls.

    Although the wet food is considered much higher quality than the dry food, Nutro is known for using natural ingredients and it does not use GMO foods. It incorporates vitamins and minerals into its recipes, ensuring that your cat’s food is fortified and healthy.

    While the dry food would benefit from having fewer filler ingredients, there isn’t anything likely to cause harm or toxicity to your cat, making the full range a good choice for owners and cats alike.

    Related Reads: 

    Featured image credit: Chewy

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