Merrick Cat Food Review
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Though Merrick may have only entered the world of cat food in 2012, they have been a well-respect brand in the pet food industry for over 30 years. Merrick delivers “health you can see” through the use of high-quality ingredients and even higher quality standards.
Merrick set out with the goal of making the best pet food possible. Not only does that mean using the best ingredients available but delivering superior taste and nutrition on top of it. Today, Merrick offers a wide variety of cat food products in several product lines for cat owners at any budget level.
Read on to see what we think of the brand and to see our reviews for their top products.
- Wide variety of options for pet owners in all price ranges
- High protein content of the formulas
- Price on the high side as compared to other cat food brands
- Wide variety of options for pet owners in all price ranges
- High protein content of the formulas
- Price on the high side as compared to other cat food brands
How We Review Cat Food Brands
We know you want to give your cat the best chance at a healthy life and we’re here to help you do it! A healthy life starts with a healthy diet – one that provides for your cat’s nutritional needs. Not all cat foods are created equal, unfortunately, and it can be tricky to separate the good from the bad.
Here at Feline Culture, we make it our goal to provide you with the information you need to make a smart choice for your cat.
Your cat requires a high-protein diet comprised largely from animal products – meat, fish, and poultry. Cats don’t have any biological requirements for carbohydrate in their diet, so cat foods made with low-quality grains like corn, wheat, and soy as well as other fillers simply don’t make the cut.
We prefer cat foods made with a real animal protein as the first ingredient (ideally two out of the top three). Carbohydrate inclusions should be limited and should come from digestible sources like whole grains and fresh vegetables. We look for nutritionally balanced recipes that are good for your cat.
Here are some of the things we look for in a good cat food brand:
- High-quality animal protein as the first ingredient
- Rich in healthy animal fats (ex: chicken fat or salmon oil)
- Few to no carbohydrate ingredients (especially within the top 5)
- Limited number of main ingredients plus supplements
- No low-quality fillers, grains, or by-products
In addition to making sure any cat food brand we recommend is made with high-quality ingredients, we evaluate several other factors as well. We prefer brands that offer a wide variety of recipes and those that provide plenty of information about their ingredients and products. We also consider pricing and recalls as well as the availability of the brand as a whole.
Overview of the Merrick Brand
Merrick Pet Food was created in 1988 as a dog treat brand near Amarillo, Texas. Over the years, Merrick grew into a respected pet food manufacturer and eventually broke into the cat food industry in 2012 with the release of their Purrfect Bistro line of high-protein canned cat foods. Merrick also owns quality brands including Castor & Pollux, Natural Ultramix, and Whole Earth Farms.
The Merrick Petcare company offers pet parents “health you can see.” They describe their products as containing “the ideal combination of protein and healthy fats to help maintain optimal weight and increased energy” as well as ideal levels of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids and top levels of joint-supporting glucosamine and chondroitin.
In the FAQ section of their website, Merrick states all of their foods are produced and manufactured in the United States. Most of their products are made in one of three company-owned facilities in Hereford, Texas. Their products are formulated by PhDs, veterinarians, scientists, and engineers to ensure optimal nutrition for pets.
Of their ingredients, Merrick states that most come from the United States with the exception being those not readily available in consistent supply or quality – they use New Zealand lamb as an example.
Though Merrick doesn’t provide specific information about each of their ingredients, they do offer customers their “Five Star Promise” which guarantees higher quality ingredients including USDA meats, fresh caught fish, and real fruits and vegetables. They buy directly from farmers and ranchers they trust and adhere to strict quality standards.
Today, Merrick offers a wide variety of cat food products divided into three product lines. They also offer the Whole Earth Farms brand as an affordable option for cat and dog owners.
What Kind of Cat Food Products Do They Offer?
When it comes to Merrick cat food, there are three product lines to choose from. All three lines are made with high-quality ingredients and offer both wet food and dry food options.
Here are the three product lines:
- Backcountry – This line of raw-infused cat food is designed to mimic your cat’s natural ancestral diet. Packed with protein from real meat, poultry, and fish, these products are grain free and infused with freeze-dried raw pieces of meat for a boost of flavor and nutrition.
- Limited Ingredient Diet – Formulated for cats with sensitivities, these recipes are made with a short list of carefully selected ingredients with a single source of animal protein at the top of the list. All recipes are made with no grains, corn, wheat, soy, or gluten.
- Purrfect Bistro – Though originally released as a line of high-protein canned foods, the Purrfect Bistro line now includes an assortment of dry foods as well. These cat foods are 100% grain-free and loaded with delicious, highly digestible ingredients.
Merrick offers a wide variety of wet food and dry food products as well as food toppers and treats. No matter what your cat’s preferences may be, there’s an option for him.
Product Recall History
When shopping for cat food, there are many details to pay attention to. The biggest thing is to review the information on the pet food label for the specific recipe – check out the ingredients and the guaranteed analysis. If you’re satisfied it’s a good product, that’s great. It doesn’t hurt, however, to go one step further and do a little research to learn about the brand itself.
A good place to start is with the brand’s product recall history. You’re basically looking to see whether the brand has a history of problems with the quality or safety of their products.
Pet food recalls happen when the FDA receives consumer complaints or testing (by the FDA or the manufacturer itself) reveals an issue with the product. Product recalls can happen for everything from minor labeling errors to major issues like contamination with food-borne pathogens.
When evaluating Merrick’s recall history, it’s important to remember that they only started manufacturing cat food in 2012. Merrick had three small recalls (only for dog treats) prior to 2012 and one recall after in 2018, again for dog treats.
There have been no product recalls affecting Merrick’s cat food products, though some customers have issued complaints about mold resulting from the canning process in some of their cat food recipes.
Products Included in This Review
|Name||Type||Protein %||Fat %||Top 5 Ingredients|
|Backcountry Raw Infused Game Bird Recipe||Dry||42||14||Deboned chicken, chicken meal, turkey meal, potatoes, peas|
|Limited Ingredient Diet Grain-Free Real Salmon Recipe||Dry||32||13||Deboned salmon, salmon meal, potatoes, peas, potato protein|
|Purrfect Bistro Indoor Adult Recipe Dry Cat Food||Dry||34||13||Deboned chicken, chicken meal, turkey meal, sweet potatoes, potatoes|
|Purrfect Bistro Grain-Free Minced Grammy’s Pot Pie||Wet||10||5||Deboned chicken, chicken broth, chicken liver, deboned duck, peas|
|Backcountry Grain-Free Real Chicken Recipe Cuts||Wet||9||3||Deboned chicken, chicken broth, turkey broth, chicken liver, deboned turkey|
It’s become fairly common knowledge among prudent pet parents that extruded kibble isn’t always the most nutritious option for pets. The high heat cooking process destroys the nutrient content of some of the raw ingredients, not to mention the fact that many brands using the process rely on low-quality ingredients for their low price.
If you’re not ready to give up the convenience of dry food, this Merrick Backcountry recipe might be something to consider. It consists of dry food but is infused with freeze-dried bites of raw meat.
This formula features fresh chicken, chicken meal, and turkey meal as the top three ingredients. You’ll also find salmon meal, deboned quail, deboned duck, and chicken liver on the list as supplemental proteins. Potato protein is included as well, but not until after four animal-based proteins.
Potatoes and peas are the primary carbohydrates in this formula which has an estimated carbohydrate content of around 22%. This is higher than we’d like to see but lower than many dry food recipes.
Cats with sensitive stomachs and food allergies often benefit from a simpler diet made with fewer ingredients. The Limited Ingredient Diet line features a single source of premium animal protein with a limited list of main ingredients just for this purpose.
This formula features fresh salmon and salmon meal as the top two ingredients and only animal sources of protein. That being said, you’ll find potato protein on the list as well as potatoes and peas, both of which contribute some plant-based protein as well.
Overall, the estimated carb content of this recipe is actually much higher than the previous formula. It’s over 30% which is much more than we recommend.
Aside from the high carb content, we’d also prefer to see an animal source of fat as the primary option instead of sunflower oil. It’s possible, however, that the fresh salmon contains omega 3s.
Available at the same price point as the Limited Ingredient Diet recipe reviewed previously, this formula from Purrfect Bistro contains two different animal proteins – chicken and turkey.
This formula starts off with fresh chicken, followed by chicken meal and turkey meal, both concentrated sources of animal protein. Pea protein and potato protein are on the list as well as deboned turkey. You’ll also see dried whey concentrate and dried alfalfa meal, both of which may provide some protein.
Though this recipe is rich in animal protein, it’s hard to say how much of the total protein content comes from plant ingredients. The estimated carb content is actually lower than the previous recipe but there are more sources of plant-based protein.
Though the Purrfect Bistro dry food formula we just reviewed was fairly high in carbohydrates, this wet food formula is very low. The estimated carb content is only about 1% to 2%.
This formula starts with fresh chicken as the first ingredient, followed by chicken broth, chicken liver, and deboned duck. You won’t find any plant protein concentrates, though peas may provide a small amount of plant-based protein. Other than that, the dried potato, sweet potatoes, carrots, and cranberries are the only carbohydrates to speak of.
We like that this recipe is packed with animal protein, low in carbs, and includes fresh fruits and vegetables to minimize the use of synthetic supplements.
Packaged in pouches rather than cans, Backcountry wet foods are great for use as meal toppers as well as meals. These recipes are loaded with animal protein and natural flavor with a low estimated carbohydrate content under 5%.
This particular recipe features fresh chicken as the main ingredient but also contains turkey and egg whites. Other notable ingredients include salmon oil as the primary source of healthy fat and chelated mineral supplements which are bound to protein molecules to increase their absorption.
All in all, this is a pretty decent recipe. It is, however, more expensive than the previous formula so we’d understand if you prefer it for a meal topper rather than a staple diet.
What Do Customers Think of Merrick Cat Food?
Generally speaking, customers are very pleased with Merrick products. Using Chewy customer reviews as an example, most Merrick products have 4 starts or higher and at least 30 customer reviews. Some of their more popular recipes have over 200.
Customers love the quality of Merrick cat foods as well as the variety. Drawing from customer reviews for some of the more popular products, cat owners like the quality of the ingredients and many cats love the test. There are some comments about formula changes after Merrick was purchased by Purina in 2015, but many customers still love the brand.
How Much Does Merrick Cat Food Cost?
When it comes to the cost of cat food, quality is often related. Higher quality cat foods tend to be more expensive, but costly cat foods aren’t always good. Again, it’s up to you to do the research.
In terms of Merrick cat food, you’ll find prices at all points on the spectrum. This is one of the things that makes Merrick so popular – they do their best to create high-quality products that are affordable for all budgets. Each product line seems to fall within a certain price range.
The most expensive product line from Merrick is the Backcountry line – the dry food recipe we reviewed was priced right around $4.00/pound. The other two from Purrfect Bistro and Limited Ingredient Diets were $3.08 per pound. The wet foods were both under $0.50/ounce.
To give you a better idea how Merrick stacks up against other cat food brands, here is a quick chart to show you some average prices:
|Meow Mix Original Choice Dry Food||Dry||Low||X||$0.90/pound|
|Friskies Classic Pate Mixed Grill Canned Food||Wet||Low||$0.07/ounce||$1.16/pound|
|Blue Buffalo Indoor Health Chicken & Brown Rice Adult Dry Cat Food||Dry||Moderate||X||$2.53/pound|
|Whole Earth Farms Grain-Free Real Chicken Pate Recipe Canned Cat Food||Wet||Moderate||$0.36/ounce||X|
|Instinct by Nature’s Variety Original Grain-Free Recipe with Real Chicken||Dry||High||X||$3.45/pound|
|Ziwi Peak New Zealand Venison Recipe Canned Cat Food||Wet||High||$1.21/ounce||X|
Where Can You Buy Merrick Cat Food?
Not only is Merrick one of the most popular pet food brands on the market, but they are also one of the easiest to find. In stores, you can find Merrick cat food at Petco, PetSmart and other pet food retailers.
Our Final Thoughts: Is Merrick a Good Brand?
All in all, Merrick is a high-quality brand that offers a wide variety of options for pet owners in all price ranges. They use premium ingredients including real animal proteins, though they do make some use of plant protein concentrates as well.
We love the high protein content of the formulas, though some had higher estimated carbohydrate content than we’d like.
We definitely recommend Merrick wet foods. If you prefer dry food, we’d encourage you to choose a raw-infused Backcountry recipe or a recipe from the Purrfect Bistro product line based on the protein and carb content, though the Limited Ingredient Diet line could be good for cats with allergies.
Here is the nutritional information for some of the most popular cat food recipes:
Dry Food Recipes
|Recipe||Protein %||Fat %||Fiber %||Moisture %||Calories/Cup|
|Backcountry Raw Infused Game Bird Recipe||42||14||4||11||395|
|Backcountry Raw Infused Pacific Catch Recipe||41||14||4||11||395|
|Backcountry Raw Infused Kitten Recipe||42||15||35||11||400|
|Backcountry Raw Infused Mature Recipe||38||13||4||11||386|
|Limited Ingredient Diet Grain-Free Real Chicken Recipe||32||14||4||11||395|
|Limited Ingredient Diet Grain-Free Real Salmon Recipe||32||13||4||11||354|
|Limited Ingredient Diet Grain-Free Real Turkey Recipe||32||14||4||11||359|
|Limited Ingredient Diet Grain-Free Real Tuna & Chickpeas Recipe||30||13||4||11||387|
|Purrfect Bistro Grain-Free Real Chicken + Sweet Potato Recipe||38||17||35||11||410|
|Purrfect Bistro Grain-Free Real Salmon + Sweet Potato Recipe||38||17||35||11||412|
|Purrfect Bistro Grain-Free Real Duck + Sweet Potato Recipe||38||17||35||11||410|
|Purrfect Bistro Complete Care Sensitive Stomach Recipe||34||16||25||11||406|
|Purrfect Bistro Complete Care Weight Control Recipe||32||9||7||11||348|
|Purrfect Bistro Indoor Adult Recipe||34||13||6||11||369|
|Purrfect Bistro Indoor Senior Recipe||34||13||6||11||369|
|Purrfect Bistro Grain-Free Healthy Kitten Recipe||41||17||25||11||387|
|Purrfect Bistro Grain-Free Healthy Senior Recipe||385||12||75||11||353|
Wet Food Recipes
|Recipe||Protein %||Fat %||Fiber %||Moisture %||Calories (kcal/kg)|
|Backcountry Grain-Free Kitten Recipe Cuts||9||4||1.2||81||959|
|Backcountry Grain-Free Real Beef Recipe Cuts||9||3||1.2||81||942|
|Backcountry Grain-Free Real Chicken & Trout Recipe Cuts||9||3.5||1.2||81||900|
|Backcountry Grain-Free Real Chicken Recipe Cuts||9||3||1.2||81||926|
|Backcountry Grain-Free Real Duck Recipe Cuts||9||3.5||1.2||81||998|
|Backcountry Grain-Free Real Rabbit Recipe Cuts||9||3||1.2||81||944|
|Backcountry Grain-Free Real Turkey Recipe Cuts||9||3.5||1.2||81||987|
|Backcountry Grain-Free Real Whitefish Recipe Cuts||9||3||1.2||81||904|
|Backcountry Grain-Free Kitten Chicken Recipe Pate||11||7||1.2||78||1,247|
|Backcountry Grain-Free Mature Chicken Recipe Pate||10||4.5||1.2||78||981|
|Backcountry Grain-Free Real Beef Recipe Pate||12||4||1.2||78||1,016|
|Backcountry Grain-Free Real Chicken Recipe Pate||11||7||1.2||78||1,144|
|Backcountry Grain-Free Real Duck Recipe Pate||11||8||1.2||78||1,318|
|Backcountry Grain-Free Real Rabbit Recipe Pate||12||5||1.2||78||1,159|
|Backcountry Grain-Free Real Salmon Recipe Pate||11||9||1.2||78||1,359|
|Backcountry Grain-Free Real Turkey Recipe Pate||12||7||1.2||78||1,297|
|Limited Ingredient Grain-Free Real Chicken Recipe Pate||8||4||1.4||78||928|
|Limited Ingredient Grain-Free Real Duck Recipe Pate||8||4||1.4||78||928|
|Limited Ingredient Grain-Free Real Salmon Recipe Pate||8||4||1.4||78||928|
|Limited Ingredient Grain-Free Real Tuna Recipe Pate||10||6||1.4||78||1,234|
|Limited Ingredient Grain-Free Real Turkey Recipe Pate||9||5||1.4||78||978|
|Purrfect Bistro Grain-Free Beef Pate||10||3||1||78||900|
|Purrfect Bistro Grain-Free Chicken Pate||10||5||1||78||1,132|
|Purrfect Bistro Grain-Free Duck Pate||10||5||1||78||1,228|
|Purrfect Bistro Grain-Free Kitten Dinner Pate||9||4||1.4||78||1,131|
|Purrfect Bistro Grain-Free Minced Grammy’s Pot Pie||10||5||1.2||81||1,078|
|Purrfect Bistro Grain-Free Minced Thanksgiving Day Dinner||10||5||1.2||81||1,078|
|Purrfect Bistro Grain-Free Morsels Beef Wellington||9||4||1.2||81||847|
|Purrfect Bistro Grain-Free Morsels Chicken Casserole||9||4||1.2||81||893|
|Purrfect Bistro Grain-Free Morsels Chicken Divan||9||4||1||81||890|
|Purrfect Bistro Grain-Free Morsels Cowboy Cookout||9||3||1.2||81||980|
|Purrfect Bistro Grain-Free Morsels Tuna Nicoise||9||4||1.2||81||893|
|Purrfect Bistro Grain-Free Rabbit Pate||9||4||1.4||78||1,118|
|Purrfect Bistro Grain-Free Salmon Pate||10||5||1||78||1,155|
|Purrfect Bistro Grain-Free Surf & Turf Pate||10||3||1.2||78||969|
|Purrfect Bistro Grain-Free Tuna & Tilapia Pate||10||4||1.4||78||1,240|
|Purrfect Bistro Grain-Free Tuna Pate||10||5||1||78||1,088|
|Purrfect Bistro Grain-Free Turkey Pate||10||5||1||78||1,185|
|Purrfect Bistro Grilled Beef & Vegetables Pate||10||3||1||81||987|
|Purrfect Bistro Grilled Chicken & Vegetables Pate||9||3.5||1||81||903|
|Purrfect Bistro Grilled Mixed Seafood Recipe||10||4||1||81||1,081|
|Purrfect Bistro Grilled Salmon & Vegetables Recipe||9||5||1||81||1,053|
|Purrfect Bistro Indoor Adult Pate||9||3||2.5||78||933|
|Purrfect Bistro Indoor Senior Pate||8||3||2.5||78||879|