Instinct Cat Food Review 2023: A Naturally High Protein Diet
Nature’s Variety is a pet food company known for making natural and raw pet food products for cats and dogs. If you are considering introducing your cat to natural or raw food, Nature’s Variety Instinct may be the brand for you.
To help guide you in picking the best food for your cat, we created this 2023 Nature’s Variety Instinct cat food review of their top-rated foods available on Chewy or Amazon websites.
Nature’s Variety is owned by Agrolimen – a company based in Barcelona, Spain. The brand’s manufacturing facilities are all owned by the company. All of Nature’s Variety Instinct’s frozen and freeze dried raw foods are made in their Lincoln, Nebraska facilities. Their wet and dry foods are made in Kansas. Their headquarters is based in St. Louis, Missouri.
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Nature’s Variety Instinct recipes are developed by an in-house team of vets, veterinarian nutritionists, and food scientists. All of their products are preserved naturally. The dry products are preserved with mixed tocopherols (vitamin E), rosemary, and citric acid. Instinct Raw and Raw Signature products are frozen, while their wet food products are canned.
Nature’s Variety Instinct has a total of 8 cat food product lines. Instinct Raw and Instinct Raw Signature are their lines of frozen raw cat food. Instinct Raw Freeze-dried offers freeze-dried complete foods.
Instinct Raw Boost mixes freeze-dried raw foods with dry kibbles in one bag. Instinct Ultimate Protein, Original, and Limited Ingredient Diet are all dry cat foods, while Instinct Wet is their line of canned or pouch wet foods.
- Nature’s Variety Instinct Cat Food Review
- Reviewed Nature’s Variety Instinct Cat Foods
- Nature’s Variety Instinct Food Reviews
- 1. Nature’s Variety Instinct Original Recipe
- 2. Nature’s Variety Instinct Ultimate Protein Recipe
- 3. Nature’s Variety Instinct Raw Boost Recipe
- 4. Nature’s Variety Instinct Limited Ingredient Diet Recipe
- 5. Nature’s Variety Instinct Recipe for Kittens
- 6. Nature’s Variety Instinct Ultimate Protein Recipe
- Nature’s Variety Raw Cat Food Reviews
- Have Nature’s Variety Instinct cat foods ever been recalled?
- Is Instinct good cat food?
- Who owns instinct food?
- Is Instinct Raw cat food good?
Nature’s Variety Instinct Cat Food Review
Nature’s Variety Instinct Original Grain-Free Recipe
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Nature’s Variety Instinct Ultimate Protein® Recipe
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Nature’s Variety Instinct Raw Boost Grain-Free Recipe
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Nature’s Variety Instinct Limited Ingredient Diet Recipe
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Nature’s Variety Instinct Real Chicken Recipe for Kittens
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Nature’s Variety Instinct Ultimate Protein Recipe
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Instinct Frozen Raw Bites
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Nature's Variety Instinct Freeze-Dried Raw Meals
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Instinct Raw Signature Frozen Bites
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Reviewed Nature’s Variety Instinct Cat Foods
- Nature’s Variety Instinct Original Grain-Free Recipe
- Nature’s Variety Instinct Ultimate Protein® Recipe
- Nature’s Variety Instinct Raw Boost Grain-Free Recipe
- Nature’s Variety Instinct Limited Ingredient Diet Recipe
- Nature’s Variety Instinct Real Chicken Recipe for Kittens
- Nature’s Variety Instinct Ultimate Protein Recipe
- Nature's Variety Instinct Frozen Raw Bites
- Nature's Variety Instinct Freeze-Dried Raw Meals
- Nature's Variety Instinct Raw Signature Frozen Bites
Nature’s Variety Instinct Food Reviews
1. Nature’s Variety Instinct Original Recipe
Original Grain-Free Recipe with Real Chicken is high in protein at 41%. The kibbles are coated with crushed, freeze-dried raw food. It is made of 81% real animal ingredients and nutritious oils.
The first of this product’s ingredients is cage-free chicken. The remaining 19% is made of fruits and vegetables. This dry food has no grains, corn, potatoes, or soy. It is free from artificial enhancers such as flavors, colors, or preservatives.
The first five ingredients of this grain-free dry food are chicken, chicken meal, turkey meal, menhaden fish meal, and peas.
No more puking. Original Grain-Free Recipe with Real Chicken has received great reviews from owners of kitties with sensitive stomachs. According to them, the kitties are able to keep this cat food down. It is highly digestible and does not upset the kitties’ tummies.
High quality ingredients. Cat parents appreciate the high quality ingredients in this Instinct Original recipe. They feel confident that they are feeding their pets safe and nutritious food. This cat food contains no artificial enhancers or fillers such as grains, potatoes, soy, or corn. The kitties get 81% animal ingredients and nutritious oils.
Smaller bag size. Some customers have noted that the bag sizes have recently gotten smaller, but the price remains the same.
Original Grain-Free Recipe with Real Chicken Young Again is a high quality grain-free food that many kitties seem to love. Cats with sensitive stomachs have thrived well on this product. They are able to keep this cat food down without vomiting. It contains no grains that could trigger allergic reactions.
While this product is indeed high quality, some cat parents have noted a decrease in the bag sizes. However, the price of this cat food remains the same.
2. Nature’s Variety Instinct Ultimate Protein Recipe
Nature’s Variety Instinct Ultimate Protein Grain-Free Cage-Free Duck Recipe is developed to closely resemble the benefits of raw diet. This dry cat food has one of the highest levels of animal protein.
90% of its protein content come from real duck, chicken, end eggs. It is made highly digestible for better nutrient absorption.
This dry cat food has guaranteed levels of live prebiotics to support digestive health. Omega fatty acids are included to support skin and coat health. This product contains no grains, corn, potato, soy, by-product meals, and artificial enhancers.
This duck recipe’s first five ingredients are duck, chicken, chicken eggs, tapioca, and ground flaxseed.
High quality protein source. Made with real duck, chicken, and eggs, cat owners are assured that their kitties get high quality, protein-rich ingredients with every serving of this grain-free cat food.
Cats seem to be fuller for much longer due to the high protein content of this food. Some older cats who have lost a bit of their muscle mass have gained a healthy amount of weight. The kitties have also shown higher levels of energy when fed this Instinct Ultimate Protein duck recipe.
Small kibbles. Cats love Instinct Ultimate Protein Grain-Free Cage-Free Duck Recipe. Not only is it rich in duck flavor, it is also crunchy and easy to chew. This product’s small kibbles make it easier for even older cats to chew.
A bit pricey. According to a few reviews, some cat parents find this product a bit too costly. This is especially true for multiple cat households.
Instinct Ultimate Protein Grain-Free Cage-Free Duck Recipe is a high-protein dry cat food that has given numerous cats multiple health benefits. Senior cats have developed lean healthy muscles. Many have grown beautiful, shiny coats and had an increase in energy levels.
The cats enjoy the taste of the crunchy kibbles, and the small size make it easy to chew and digest.
However, the high quality ingredients and all the health benefits cost more than the average dry cat food. While it may be a bit too expensive especially for multiple cat households, many find good value in this product for the health benefits that their cats get.
3. Nature’s Variety Instinct Raw Boost Recipe
Instinct Raw Boost Grain-Free Recipe with Real Chicken combines grain-free high protein dry kibble with bits of freeze dried raw meat made in their Lincoln, Nebraska facilities. This product’s first ingredient is cage-free chicken. This is a great way to introduce raw meat to your cat’s diet.
This dry cat food is minimally processed. It has antioxidants to support immune system health. The product offers natural probiotic boost and even higher omegas compared to Instinct Original.
The first five ingredients of this product are chicken, chicken meal, turkey meal, menhaden fish meal, and peas.
High in protein. As this dry food product is high in protein, cats do not need to gorge on food to satisfy their hunger. As a result, the cats do not overeat. They are fuller for longer and seem satisfied until their next meal.
Healthy skin and coat. Numerous cat parents have noticed significant improvements in their cats’ skin and fur quality. Their fur are softer and shinier. The skin of sensitive cats which were previously flaky or had scabs from scratching have cleared up and look healthier than before.
Crumbly. According to a few reviews, this product is a bit too crumbly. There is a good amount of food dust left in the bag, and cats usually will not eat it once it turns to food dust.
Instinct Raw Boost Grain-Free Recipe with Real Chicken is a good high protein dry cat food mixed with freeze dried pieces of raw chicken. We recommend this as a way of introducing raw food to your cat.
Because it is free from grains and other common fillers, this grain-free recipe seems good for cats in need of weight management. The kitties seem fuller for much longer and actually eat less as a result. However, some find the kibbles slightly too crumbly, and results to a lot of food dust.
4. Nature’s Variety Instinct Limited Ingredient Diet Recipe
Instinct Limited Ingredient Diet Real Rabbit Recipe is a grain-free paté that contains only one type of animal protein and one vegetable. It is specially formulated for sensitive cats with food allergies.
This wet food’s first ingredient is farm-raised rabbit. It contains no other animal protein sources such as chicken, eggs, beef, fish, or any other poultry. It is also free from grains, wheat, soy, corn, and potatoes. Peas are the only vegetable ingredient.
The first five ingredients of this rabbit recipe are rabbit, water, pea protein, peas, and rabbit liver.
Good for sensitive tummies. Cats who were previously suffering from digestive issues such as diarrhea, vomiting, and upset stomachs are doing quite well on this rabbit paté. They are able to keep this food down, and other symptoms have also improved. Even the litter box odors have been significantly reduced.
Goodbye allergies. Kitties with skin allergies have also thrived on the Instinct Limited Ingredient Diet Real Rabbit Recipe. Their flaky skin and scabs have been reduced or have completely cleared up. This wet food is recommended for cats who are allergic to all grains and animal proteins except rabbit.
Pea protein. According to some reviews, the inclusion of pea protein is not preferable to some cat owners. The cat owners prefer that all protein come from a single source animal meat instead of adding plant-based ingredients to increase the protein content.
If you have a cat with food sensitivities such as allergies to fish, poultry, or grains, Instinct Limited Ingredient Diet Real Rabbit Recipe may be the one for her. Many cats with sensitive tummies and food allergies have thrived well on this rabbit paté.
They were able to keep the food down, and those who had skin allergies now have much healthier skin and coat. However, some feel that the addition of pea protein is not beneficial to cats as it is a plant-based ingredient.
5. Nature’s Variety Instinct Recipe for Kittens
Nature’s Variety Instinct Real Chicken Recipe for Kittens has a high protein content to support the nutritional needs of growing kittens. Made with real chicken, salmon, and beef liver, this wet kitten food is tasty and formulated to help young kittens develop lean and strong muscles. This product’s first ingredient is chicken.
It has natural DHA for brain and eye development. It is free from grains, corn, soy, and potatoes, as well as artificial enhancers and preservatives. You can be assured that your young kitty is getting only nutritious ingredients in every serving.
This wet food’s first five ingredients are chicken, beef liver, chicken broth, salmon (source of DHA), and eggs.
Easy to digest. Kittens who were previously suffering from digestion problems such as diarrhea, IBS/ IBD have shown improvement since switching to Instinct kitten food. The improvement in their digestion made the kittens feel so much better, and now have more energy to play.
Beautiful, shiny coats. Many kittens who eat this wet food regularly have grown healthy, shiny coats and their owners could not be prouder. Their fur are soft, silky, and shinier than before.
Varying textures. A few reviews from cat parents state that the textures vary from can to can sometimes. There are times when they get a smooth paté, and other times when they get more meaty bits, or watery food.
This product is a good wet food for kittens who have no food sensitivities. Its animal protein content comes from chicken, salmon, beef liver, and eggs. Many kittens have thrived on this food. They have grown healthy and beautiful coats.
Even kittens who previously suffered from digestive issues found relief in this wet food. Their symptoms improved or were completely resolved since being switched to this Instinct Original recipe. However, some find the textures sometimes vary from can to can.
6. Nature’s Variety Instinct Ultimate Protein Recipe
This Ultimate Protein recipe is packed with protein from cage-free chicken. 95% of its protein content is sourced from chicken, turkey, and chicken liver. The first of its ingredients is chicken. This paté contains no grains, wheat, soy, corn, or potatoes.
The highly nutritious fruits and vegetables included in this wet cat food’s ingredients are peas, carrots, ground flaxseed, kale, cranberries, etc. It is rich in omega fatty acids from Menhaden fish oil (preserved with mixed tocopherols). Chicken liver and broth are added for an extra tasty meal.
The first five ingredients of this wet cat food are chicken, turkey, chicken liver, chicken broth, and ground flaxseed.
Helps build muscle mass. This Nature’s Variety Instinct Ultimate Protein product has received rave reviews from owners of senior cats. The older kitties have previously lost a lot of weight and energy levels were very low. After being fed this wet food regularly, the cats have started gaining healthy weights again and have become more active. Even cats with hyperthyroidism have thrived on this food.
Great for weight management. Cats who needed to shed some excess weight are doing quite well on this cat food. This product has significantly lower carbohydrate content compared to the average wet cat food. The high protein content keeps them fuller for much longer. They do not feel the need to gorge and actually eat less food.
A bit sticky. Some cat owners find the texture of this canned food too sticky or pasty. According to a few reviews, the paté sticks to the spoon too much.
Instinct Ultimate Protein Real Chicken Recipe wet cat food has delivered great results for senior cats and those who are suffering from hyperthyroidism in terms of helping them gain healthy weights. It has also helped many overweight kitties lose their extra pounds. The high protein content has helped them all achieve healthy weights.
Nature’s Variety Raw Cat Food Reviews
RAW is Nature’s Variety Instinct’s newest pet food line. It contains three sub-ranges, namely Raw Signature, Raw, and Raw Meals.
7. Nature’s Variety Instinct Raw Grain-Free Chicken Recipe
Instinct’s Raw is an excellent introduction to raw food for your cats who may be shifting from a cooked diet. This line carries recipes that are not cooked, only minimally processed, and made with 85% meat and organs and 15% fruit and vegetables (including vitamins and minerals).
The fruits and vegetables included in this diet are non-GMO. The diet also does not include anything that might be problematic for sensitive pets, such as corn, grain, wheat, soy, or artificial colors and preservatives.
The first five ingredients of this raw diet are chicken (including ground chicken bone), chicken liver, chicken heart, apples, and carrots.
Encourages proper weight gain. Cat owners love how the raw food can encourage their finicky kitties to eat. And since it’s raw and not full of fillers, the weight that’s gained is healthy and not too much.
Less waste and litter smell. Since raw food is very minimally processed and contains only a few essential ingredients, most of it is utilized by a cat’s body resulting in minimal waste. Reviewers also like how the raw food makes their cat’s waste smell less bad.
Meat content has gone down. Customers have noted that from a previous 95% meat content, the recipe has changed to 10% less protein.
Nature’s Variety Instinct Raw Cage-Free Chicken Recipe offers cats a delectable meal using raw and wholesome ingredients that were frozen in their prime. It’s a delicious meal that most cats eat up with no leftover to throw away.
Some customers complain about the decrease in meat content. However, the price has also decreased, making this a great way to introduce felines to raw food.
8. Instinct Freeze-Dried Raw Meals
The brand’s Raw Meals line offers cats 3x more meal and nutrient-rich organs than Instinct’s Original Kibble. The food provides complete nutrition in a minimally-processed and convenient freeze-dried form you can easily scoop and serve.
Like the Raw line, Raw Meals also feature an ingredient ratio of 85% meat and 15% non-GMO fruits and vegetables. Except for this range, the protein and fat levels are that much higher at 36% and 34%, respectively.
The first five ingredients are chicken (including ground chicken bone), chicken liver, chicken heart, apples, and carrots.
Entices picky eaters to eat. Customers who bought this recipe for their furry pals are happy that their cats love the taste of the food and are thriving on it. For some cats, the recipe has helped them gain their weight back, while for others it has made their digestive issues go away.
A few use the Raw Meals as toppers to make their dry food a little bit more healthy and palatable to cats.
Better stool and breath. This raw food formulation has helped some cats develop firmer and smaller stools that do not smell as bad as they normally would when then their cats were on kibbles.
Some customers have also noticed a change in their felines’ breaths, which are fresher than before.
Only one flavor. The recipe is available in only one flavor, which can bore cats when given for extended periods.
Nature’s Variety Instinct Raw Meals is a highly-recommended cat food that is loaded with proteins and all the necessary nutrients that cats need for a healthy and active lifestyle. Since it is crafted with a lot of protein content, this means more energy and leaner and stronger muscles for your playful feline.
While there’s no argument about the food’s quality, some pet owners would like the recipe to be made in a different flavor. Since cats can get bored when given the same thing over and over again, some of them had to resort to mixing other food in with these meals.
9. Instinct Raw Signature Frozen Bites
The brand’s Raw Signature cat food line features Nature’s Variety Instinct’s most distinct recipes. The recipes here are all natural and carefully crafted in Lincoln, Nebraska.
The line is further divided into two sublines: Raw Signature Bites and Raw Signature Medallions. The bites feature small cuts a bit similar to kibbles, while the medallions feature food cut into bigger, round-sized shapes.
Raw Signature offers cats the most protein yet. Recipes here are made up of 95% protein and only 5% for vegetables and fruits. For this review, we’re focusing on the Raw Signature Bites in Rabbit.
Its first five ingredients are rabbit (including ground rabbit bone), pork liver, pork heart, ground pork bone, and pork fat.
Despite the high meat to veggies ratio, the protein content is at a lower level than that of the Raw Meals recipe. At 15%, it presents a more balanced nutrition for cats who don’t need as much protein as others.
Helps with digestion issues. Pet parents with cats who’ve had to deal with digestive issues and who have lost weight because of it, have found the rabbit formula to be perfect for their kitties. This recipe has helped restore their cats’ appetite back and helped them regain weight. The raw diet has also fixed most of the problems with digestion.
As close to natural as possible. Reviewers with outdoor cats who love to hunt are happy that this recipe is as close as possible to their cats’ natural diet. They commend the premium ingredients and the complete nutrition that their felines get from it.
Supported by other meats. While the first ingredient is rabbit — and the first ingredient makes up the most part of a recipe — there seem to be a lot of pork too. It would have been better to see more rabbit meat than pork parts in the formulation, although the pork content isn’t a bad thing.
Nature’s Variety Instinct Raw Signature Bites in Rabbit offers nutrition from real ingredients, such as farm-raised rabbit and non-GMO vegetables and fruits. There are no synthetic vitamins and minerals added. It’s a healthy diet that cats, being obligate carnivores, can easily get behind.
The nutrient content is perfectly balanced. Even with the high meat to veggie ratio, the protein and fat levels seem to be about right.
Although there’s a lot more pork than we’d prefer, the diet on the whole still looks hypoallergenic since both rabbit and pork are considered to be novel proteins. Overall, we commend this recipe for its high-quality ingredients and carefully-thought out formulation.
This review has proven that Nature’s Variety Instinct deserves their reputation of being one of the highest quality cat food brands in the market. With all of their cat foods having real animal protein as the first ingredient, you are sure to find a variant that is best suited for your feline friend.
The ingredients are all high quality meat such as cage-free chicken and farm-raised rabbits. All of their cat foods are free from grains, wheat, soy, corn, and potatoes. The brand does not use artificial enhancers such as flavors, colors, or preservatives.
Their wet foods are free from carrageenan. The plant-based ingredients are all healthy and rich in nutrients. You can rest assured that your cat is getting only nutritious meals.
Their cat foods have received great reviews regarding the health benefits they have given to numerous cats. From healthier skin and coats, to regulating weights, to higher energy levels. Many pets seemed to have thrived on their cat foods, especially those with food sensitivities.
Cats who have food allergies or sensitive stomachs have been given relief from symptoms such as skin problems, diarrhea, and vomiting. Their conditions have significantly improved or were completely resolved. Nature’s Variety Instinct foods has been called a life saver more than once by cat parents.
All these benefits do come with a higher price. Their cat foods cost more than the average food. However, many feel that the extra cost is worth all the health benefits and possibly the vet bills they are able to save on.
Based on ingredient quality, results delivered, reviews from cat parents, and cost, Nature’s Variety Instinct is overall a highly recommended brand of cat food. They offer a variety of choices to those who wish to introduce raw food into their cat’s diet.
They are likely to have some of the best foods available for kitties with food sensitivities or those who just seek a high protein, high quality food to keep their cats healthy and happy.
Have Nature’s Variety Instinct cat foods ever been recalled?
Yes. In 2010, some chicken-based raw food from Nature’s Variety Instinct were recalled due to possible salmonella contamination. 2015 saw a recall for some of their chicken-based products due to salmonella. Another recall was issued that year due to pieces of plastic found in some products. No recall has been issued for their cat foods since.
Is Instinct good cat food?
Instinct Raw Boost Chicken is one of the top 5 choices for best dry cat food overall for most reviewers. Here's a few important points: Packed with high-quality meat ingredients. Utilizes some organ meat for extra protein and nutrients.
Who owns instinct food?
It's now owned by Agrilomen, a Barcelona-based firm. Agrolimen also owns Affinity Petcare, a leading European pet food supplier and holds 50% stake in Mogiana, a Brazilian pet food company.
Is Instinct Raw cat food good?
Instinct is a high-quality cat food brand offering superior products at a relatively affordable price. Instinct's original dry cat food is also high in meat-based protein and low in carbohydrates for a dry cat food. It even contains a bit of freeze-dried raw meat in the kibble recipe for an extra boost.