Wellness Cat Food Reviews Wet And Dry + Recalls And Brand Overview
If you’ve never felt paralyzed by choice, try this for an exercise:
Head to your local pet food store and try to find the purrrrrfect kitty food for your feline back at home. Go ahead…we’ll wait!
In all seriousness, finding the right food for your cat or cats can feel like a daunting choice. On the one hand, it shouldn’t be so complicated—cats just need good quality food, lots of protein, and plenty of nutrients. Right?
On the other hand, not all cat foods were created equal, and sometimes their packaging and marketing can be confusing.
In this review, you’ll find an unbiased and comprehensive take on the Wellness pet food brand, specifically as it applies to their cat food. We’ll start by talking about the brand’s history and then introduce our top Wellness food products based on price, quality, species-appropriate ingredients, and user feedback.
- About Wellness Cat Food
- Wellness Cat Food Recall History
- Types of Wellness Cat Food
- Wellness Cat Food Reviews
- 1. Wellness Complete Health Natural Grain Free Deboned Chicken & Chicken Meal
- 2. Wellness CORE Rawrev Original Deboned Turkey Meal & Chicken Meal Recipe
- 3. Wellness CORE Grain-Free Indoor Formula
- 4. Wellness Natural Grain Free Wet Canned Cat Food Morsels Chicken
- 5. Wellness CORE Signature Selects Flaked Skipjack Tuna & Wild Salmon Entree in Broth Grain-Free Canned Cat Food
- 6. Wellness Complete Health Natural Grain Free Wet Canned Cat Food Pate Recipe Chicken & Herring Pate
- Frequently Asked Questions About Wellness Cat Food
About Wellness Cat Food
The Wellness pet food brand was founded over two decades ago in 1997 by a team that included animal nutrition experts, veterinarians, and scientists. Wellness was initially a part of WellPet LLC, a company that’s been around since the mid 1920’s back when the companies Old Mother Hubbard and Eagle Pack merged. Interestingly, WellPet’s first product Old Mother Hubbard Dog Treats, which—amazingly—you can still buy today!
Today, WellPet LLC (which includes the Wellness brand we’re focusing on in our review) is now a subsidiary of the Berwind Corporation, which is a private investment management company based out of Philadelphia, PA.
The Wellness company has also created an organization called the Wellness Foundation, whose mission is to “ensure that every pet on the planet is born, bred and raised with love.” Through this foundation, they promote “pet adoption, ethical breeding practices and environments that always put the well-being of every pet first.”
The Wellness Foundation supports and works with other organizations that promote animal well-being, including the Human Animal Bond Research Institute (HABRI), Best Friends Animal Society, The Pet Sustainability Coalition, TerraCycle®, and the Great Dog Rescue New England (GDRNE).
Wellness Cat Food Recall History
Wellness has been recalled three times since 1997. Here are the details you need to know about the incidents, from the most recent to the most distant:
- March 2017: the Wellness company took a “conservative step” and recalled many of their canned cat food products. This is because a small amount of metal was found in some products made in a facility that produces Wellness brand products. The contaminated products were not part of the WellPet LLC family—Wellness simply acted out of a respectable amount of caution and concern.
- February 2017: the Wellness company voluntarily recalled Wellness 95% Beef Topper for Dogs canned dog food. The recall occurred because there were concerns that it contained excessive levels of a naturally occurring beef thyroid hormone. This could potentially lead to canine hyperthyroidism in dogs, which includes symptoms like weight loss, vomiting, diarrhea, depression, weakness, increased appetite and thirst, frequent urination, and excitability.
- October 2012: the Wellness company took it upon themselves to issue a voluntary recall for Wellness Small Breed Adult Health dry dog food. This recall was issued due to concerns about a possible moisture contamination (which would have come with the risk for bacterial growth, among other problems).
- May 2012: the FDA recalled Wellness Complete Health Super5Mix Large Breed Puppy formula. This recall was issued over concerns about a potential salmonella contamination.
- February 2011: The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a recall for Wellness Chicken & Herring recipe and any flavors of Wellness canned food with best by dates of April 14 through September 30, 2013. The recalls came because of concerns about inadequate levels of thiamine in the products. Thiamine (aka Vitamin B1) is essential for carbohydrate metabolism. Cats need three times as much thiamine as dogs do, which means they’re more at risk for developing a deficiency in this critical nutrient. Signs of deficiency may include anorexia, weight loss, acidosis caused by the build-up of lactate (a common metabolic by-product), and vomiting.
For what it’s worth, Wellness and it’s company WellPet LLC seemed to do a decent job being as transparent as possible during these recalls. They reportedly opened hotlines to assist pet parents in arranging for returns and refunds.
Suffice to say, even the most stringently inspected and cleaned manufacturing plants can be subject to potential contaminants. Wellness has since pledged to ensure its ingredients and manufacturing processes adhere to the strict regulations and standards set by the eminent AAFCO (Association of American Feed Control Officials).
On their website, they state that their processing plant is sanitized “meticulously” and that they take special precautions to monitor temperatures, test products routinely, and store ingredients properly to ensure quality, freshness, and taste.
You may also like to know that all of their cans and plastic cups are BPA-free (BPA is a synthetic compound that has been linked to a variety of health problems in humans and animals, including infertility and heart disease). If you have any 12.5 oz or 13.2 oz cat food cans with expiration dates earlier than March 2021, their lids may still have BPA since these were the last batches to transition.
In case you’re wondering, you can stay up-to-date on the latest pet food recalls by bookmarking this page from the American Veterinary Medical Association.
Types of Wellness Cat Food
One of the integral philosophies to Wellness cat food brand is to use simple and natural ingredients that will satisfy cats at mealtime and promote long, healthy, happy kitty lives. They pledge to create food that supports what they call are five essential pillars of feline wellness:
- Skin and coat health—important for avoiding skin issues like allergies and hot spots
- Energy—essential for keeping your little lion moving, strong, limber, and trim!
- Digestive health—a must for her to be able to absorb nutrients properly
- Eyes, teeth, and gums—to help her engage in her world and maintain good dental health (good dental health is linked with a longer lifespan—as much as 3 to 5 extra years!)
- Immune function—if your kitty has a strong immune system, she’ll be less likely to fall ill with infections and many chronic diseases including cancer and diabetes
To this end, all Wellness foods are free of corn, wheat, and soy. These are fairly commonly filler ingredients you’ll see in lower-quality brands. They offer no real nutritive value to cats. If anything, corn, soy, and wheat can actually harm a kitty’s health if she’s sensitive to one of them.
Wellness also pledges to manufacture foods that are free of “junk” like preservatives, artificial colors, and artificial flavors.
Within the brand, you have several food options to choose from! Here are two of the most popular Wellness food lines:
1. Wellness CORE Cat Food
This line of cat food is grain-free and focuses on high protein content for optimal feline vitality. As obligate carnivores, your cats and especially your young kittens need a lot of animal meat and protein!
CORE dry food currently includes five original recipes, Wellness Air Dried food, and two RawRev products (you’ll be introduced to one RawRev product in a bit). CORE wet food includes their Pates, Hearty Cuts, 95% Animal Protein, CORE Signature Selects, Divine Duos, and Simply Shreds snacks.
2. Wellness Complete Health Cat Food
Wellness Complete Health line offers products that are specifically formulated to support cats in different life stages and with different lifestyles—this includes wet and dry food for indoor-only cats, kittens, and cats who need a little help losing some extra pounds.
Unlike Wellness CORE, Wellness Complete Health has both grain-free and “grain-inclusive” options to choose from. Complete Health wet foods include a variety of food shapes and textures to appeal to different animals’ preferences. These include pates, gravies, minced, sliced, and morsels. Wellness Kittles treats are also included in the Complete Health line.
Wellness Cat Food Reviews
Now that we’ve covered our basics about Wellness, it’s time to discuss our top picks from their main lines. We’ve compiled a who’s who of the best choices from Wellness, and whether your kitty loves dry kibble, canned wet pate, or both, we’re confident she’ll find something she likes on this list. If you would like to explore some more options for both dry foods and wet of other brands, then you should read this article where we reviewed the best cat food for your feline.
By the way, in case you’re wondering (because we certainly were!), the AAFCO sets the standard for how individual nutrients are listed on a pet food product’s ingredient list. For example, in the guaranteed analysis, some are listed in terms of minimum amounts and others are listed as maximum amounts. This includes the nutrient claims that all pet foods must include:
- Protein and fat—always a minimum claim
- Fiber and moisture—always a maximum claim
1. Wellness Complete Health Natural Grain Free Deboned Chicken & Chicken Meal
First on our list is Wellness Complete Health Natural Grain Free Deboned Chicken and Chicken meal dry cat food. This formula (Deboned Chicken & Chicken Meal) features a full balanced blend of protein, fat, fiber, and nutrients that support health in every aspect of your kitty’s body—from her skin and coat to her immune system. Made in the USA, it features real deboned chicken as its first ingredient and also contains other healthy animal-based ingredients like salmon oil and chicken fat.
This dry cat food also contains healthy probiotic ingredients that can optimize your kitty’s digestive health. This makes it easier to absorb all the important nutrients from her food—not to mention boost her immune health, too, since an organism’s digestive tract and immune health are strongly linked.
- More affordable than many other options from their line and from competitor brands
- High in fiber and protein to help your kitty feel full and satisfied after a meal
- Contains antioxidants and healthy fats to promote optimal kitty health
- Contains more meat meal than many other products, which is often lower quality than real meat
- Ingredients like peas, chickpeas, potatoes, and spearmint extract aren’t exactly ideal or necessary for kitties
2. Wellness CORE Rawrev Original Deboned Turkey Meal & Chicken Meal Recipe
This food is probably one of the more unique options on our Wellness cat food review list because it contains tidbits of 100% raw freeze-dried turkey liver. You read that right! Liver and other types of organ meats—collectively known as “offal”—are known for being rich in nutrients and enzymes. In their raw state, they really pack a potent nutritional punch and retain more of their beneficial compounds than if they were heated or more heavily processed.
Understandably, a lot of pet owners are turned off by the idea of raw food diets because of the hassle, expense, and mess. This product takes care of all three, so your kitty can still reap the benefits. And just like the other Wellness options in our review, this formula is also free of wheat, corn, soy, and gluten.
- Filled with freeze-dried raw turkey liver (which is high in Vitamin C, Niacin, Vitamin B6, Phosphorus, Vitamin A, Riboflavin, Folate, Vitamin B12, Iron and Selenium)
- Higher in protein (46% guaranteed analysis!) and meat than many other dry food competitors
- Enriched with vitamins and minerals
- Grain and gluten free
- Has peas and potatoes which are higher in carbs
3. Wellness CORE Grain-Free Indoor Formula
Indoor cats are often at risk for becoming overweight since they may not naturally get as much exercise as kitties who frolic around outside. This is one of the reasons why this Wellness dry cat food is a great choice for indoors only ladies, since it contains 20% less fat than the original formula.
That said, it doesn’t skimp on high quality animal protein which is what your four-legged friend needs; crude protein content is at minimum 38%. Plus, the fat it does contain is mostly high quality omega-3 fatty acids which will do wonders for your kitty’s coat, skin, and overall well-being. This dry food also features up to 5% fiber to promote healthy digestion and keep your animal feeling full and satisfied.
By the way, if your kitty has joint problems then a product like this could be a good choice. That’s because it contains two nutrients known to be joint-healthy: glucosamine hydrochloride and chondroitin sulfate.
- Appealing taste for cats
- Made with high quality animal proteins
- Free from artificial ingredients and cheap fillers
- Like all dry foods, it can’t provide all the moisture your kitty needs (this product delivers just 10% moisture max)
- Relatively high carb content (so watch portion size and encourage plenty of play to avoid kitty weight gain)
4. Wellness Natural Grain Free Wet Canned Cat Food Morsels Chicken
This no-frills Wellness canned cat food features quality ingredients like real animal protein, omega-3 fatty acids, antioxidants, and other important minerals and vitamins that are a must for whole body cat well-being. This canned food also comes with a max moisture content of 82.0%, which can help boost your little one’s water intake.
Many reviewers comment that ever since adding this wet food to their cat’s diet, their animals look healthier and have healthier bowel movements to boot (yes, your kitty’s poop can be a good indicator of her overall health—who knew?). The all-natural formula supports a healthy digestive tract and is ideal for kitties with sensitivities to wheat, corn, or soy…since you’ll find none of it in these cans.
- High in moisture for healthy hydrated kitties
- A great source of animal proteins and low in carbs—making it ideal for feline tummies
- Contains no artificial ingredients
- Contains fruits and vegetables including cranberries and carrots, which aren’t essential for feline health
- Many users express displeasure over the latest recipe and formulation of this wet food
5. Wellness CORE Signature Selects Flaked Skipjack Tuna & Wild Salmon Entree in Broth Grain-Free Canned Cat Food
Wasn’t there a cereal commercial with a tagline that said, “The taste you can see!”? Honestly, we think Wellness should borrow that tagline for this Wellness wet cat food. Signature Selects Flaked Skipjack Tuna and Wild Salmon contains visible chunks of fish in a yummy broth-based sauce that reviewers say leave their kitties licking their whiskers. Like other products from the Wellness line, this food is also free of grains, meat by-products, corn, soy, and artificial additives.
Even the can itself is worthy of some praise: it’s made with Wellness’s custom upside-down design and easy-open lead to make mealtime a breeze to prepare…which we’re sure your cat will appreciate as she’s waiting “patiently” for her dinner!
- Favored by even fussy feline eaters
- Free from artificial ingredients
- Appealing flavor and high moisture content promotes feline hydration
- Watch out for fish scales and bones—some users were concerned to find these in the product and were worried about a potential choking hazard
- Contains a relatively high carb content for carnivorous animals
- Not all kitties are crazy about the consistency
6. Wellness Complete Health Natural Grain Free Wet Canned Cat Food Pate Recipe Chicken & Herring Pate
Let’s face it: some cats can be picky eaters. And while a few reviewers of this canned cat food from Wellness say this one doesn’t pass the feline taste test, many other kitty parents have nothing but the best things to say about it!
The first five ingredients of this pate are real animal-based proteins, including chicken, chicken liver, chicken broth, herring, and whitefish. Absolutely no by-products or fillers. It also contains important nutrients like folic acid (helps metabolism and improves blood oxygenation), Vitamin B12 (helps with kitty immune function, nervous system, digestion, and cognition), and Vitamin D3 (essential for bone and muscle health). Pet parents love the price, quality ingredients and easy-open containers.
- 100% grain-free and carrageenan free
- Contains flaxseed and other sources of healthy fats
- Contains high quality proteins and nutrients including essential vitamins and minerals
- It’s a bit pricey
- Some users feel like they need to add a bit of water to the pate to ensure their kitties stay well hydrated
- Some reviewers have found their cats don’t like it—so there’s no guarantee that your kitty will, either
Frequently Asked Questions About Wellness Cat Food
1. Is Wellness good cat food?
In our opinion, Wellness cat food is a good product for kittens, adult cats, and even senior felines. The entire line features a wide variety of flavors, textures, and real natural ingredients that can appeal to even the pickiest kitty eaters. Manufactured almost exclusively in North America, Wellness foods are free of soy, corn, and wheat, as well as artificial ingredients like flavorings and colors.
2. Where is Wellness cat food manufactured?
As part of the “Wellness Guarantee,” Wellness cat food is manufactured right here in North America (with the exception of their Wellness Signature Selects, Divine Duos, and wet foods pouches, which are made in Thailand). The company also states that the majority of their ingredients are sourced from the United States and North America, as well. A small percentage of their ingredients are purchased internationally.
3. Is Wellness cat food AAFCO approved?
Most Wellness products are approved by the AAFCO (Association of American Feed Control Officials) and formulated to meet the AAFCO’s strict standards.
AAFCO is a non-profit association of local, state, federal and international regulators who set (and regularly update) strict standards for nutritional content, labelling, and manufacturing of pet food products. On their website, Wellness states: “In addition to formulating our recipes with our strict standards, we have updated our products to ensure they are all AAFCO compliant.”
4. Where can you buy Wellness cat food?
You can buy Wellness cat food wherever you normally buy your pet products. This includes online third party retailers and in most brick and mortar pet stores. Some retailers even offer auto-shipping or “subscribe and save” options so you can save a little money on your cat’s food by having it delivered automatically at set intervals.
5. What is the price of Wellness cat food?
The price of Wellness cat food depends on which specific product you’re getting as well as where you’re getting it from. Certain online retailers like Amazon often offer special discounts. But a lot of pet stores offer customer loyalty programs where you can sign up for discounts and coupons. In general, the price of Wellness cat food is competitive compared to other leading brands, especially considering it’s a relatively high quality product.
The Wellness cat food brand has been around since the 1990s, and in that time it’s been through some trying times. That said, it remains a generally well-respected pet food brand and has products to prove it.
In this article, we’ve given you a bit of history about this company to help you feel like you’re a well-informed consumer…with serious purchasing power! We’ve also talked about some of the best products Wellness has to offer, including dry food and wet canned food. Ultimately, it’s up to you and your furball to figure out what type of food will work best in terms of quality, price, and overall animal health.
Do you know another cat lover in your life who’s looking for a new type of pet food for their beloved animal? Be sure to share this comprehensive review with them, and visit the rest of our website for more helpful information!