Natural Balance Cat Food Review: Recalls, Pros & Cons

Last Updated on: January 7, 2021

Review Summary

Our Final Verdict

We give Natural Balance cat food a rating of 4.5 out of 5 stars.

Introduction

The pet food industry is big business in the United States, with an estimated $30 million worth of pet food sold annually. For a long time, the largest portion of the industry was in dog food. While that is still the case, the cat food category of the market has seen the most significant growth in recent years, coming from new entrants to the market and expanding product lines.

Natural Balance is a leading premium brand pet food that was created in 1989 following an appearance by actor Dick Van Patten on “The John Davidson Show.” Dick Van Patten and Joey Herrick, the drummer from the show’s band, lunched together and discussed their shared love of animals, and soon after, the pair formed Dick Van Pattern’s Natural Balance Pet Foods.

Of particular note, the company prides itself on having “the finest food you can buy for your pet” and in addition to the domestic pet products, has also developed a range of zoological products that have been formulated for large carnivores in zoos. But these products are not sold to the general public.

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At a Glance: The Best Natural Balance Cat Food Recipes

Image Product Details
Most Popular Natural Balance L.I.D. Green Pea & Duck Formula Natural Balance L.I.D. Green Pea & Duck Formula
  • Balanced omega-3 and 6 fatty acids
  • Fortified with vitamins, minerals and essential taurine
  • Features lean, premium-quality duck
  • Natural Balance Original Ultra Whole Body Health Natural Balance Original Ultra Whole Body Health
  • Provides high-quality proteins from chicken and salmon
  • Fortified with vitamins, antioxidants & taurine
  • Provides omega-3 and 6 fatty acids
  • Natural Balance L.I.D. Green Pea & Salmon Formula Natural Balance L.I.D. Green Pea & Salmon Formula
  • Features lean, premium-quality salmon
  • Provides omega-3 and 6 fatty acids
  • Fortified with vitamins, antioxidants & taurine
  • Natural Balance L.I.D. Green Pea & Chicken Formula Natural Balance L.I.D. Green Pea & Chicken Formula
  • Provides omega-3 and 6 fatty acids
  • Features lean, premium-quality chicken
  • Fortified with vitamins, antioxidants & taurine
  • Natural Balance L.I.D. Duck & Green Pea Formula Natural Balance L.I.D. Duck & Green Pea Formula
  • Features lean, premium-quality duck
  • Fortified with vitamins, antioxidants & taurine
  • Made with zero grains, artificial flavors, colors
  • Natural Balance Cat Food Reviewed

    Natural Balance L.I.D. Limited Ingredient Diets Duck & Green Pea Formula Grain-Free Canned Cat Food

    Who Makes Natural Balance and Where Is It Produced?

    Following the formation of Dick Van Pattern’s Natural Balance Pet Foods in 1989, the company initially lost money, and its saving grace was that it was picked up by Petco and featured in its 625 stores across the United States.

    In May 2013, Natural Balance merged with Del Monte Foods, before being sold in 2015 to the J.M. Smucker Company.

    Natural Balance is headquartered in Pacoima, Los Angeles, California. Its products are produced at a variety of manufacturers across the United States from ingredients sourced from the United States, France, India, New Zealand, and Canada.

    Which Types of Pets Is Natural Balance Best Suited For?

    With a wide range of cat food products available, Natural Balance is likely to have a cat food that is suitable for almost all cats, with its products formulated to provide complete and balanced nutrition for a feline’s various life stages.

    To help consumers choose the best cat food for their pet, the company markets its cat food products under five distinct product types.

    L.I.D. Limited Ingredient Diets

    These are Natural Balance’s most popular cat food formulas. They are suitable for most cats, they’re grain-free, and as their name suggests, they’re made from a limited number of ingredients.

    • Original Ultra

    This is Natural Balance’s premium brand cat food and is designed to promote cat heath. This is also has a range of formulas and a reduced-calorie option.

    • Delectable Delights

    This range has been formulated for taste to ensure that even the pickiest of eaters will enjoy them. Natural Balance suggests that these products are great alone or as a food topper, and these cat foods have been formulated to provide a complete and balanced diet for adult cats.

    • Platefulls

    These are a range of single-serve wet foods that contain their individual main ingredients and gravy. They are grain-free, come in an easy-to-use pouch, and have been formulated to entice fussy eaters.

    • Fat Cats

    These are low-calorie products designed to provide a complete and balanced diet and formulated to help cats that need to lose weight.

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

    Given the wide range of cat food products that Natural Balance produces, you will likely find a formula that is suited for almost any cat. It even has a range designed for large carnivores, which may be suitable if you have your own Carol Baskin-style tiger sanctuary.

    Of course, should you have any concerns about your cat’s diet, we strongly recommend speaking to your pet’s vet, as they may recommend a diet that is more appropriate for your cat’s individual circumstances.

    Natural Balance Discussion of the Primary Ingredients

    Natural Balance was founded on the principle of providing a range of wholesome and nutritious pet foods. From the outset, its products have been predominately formulated to include a range of protein-rich meats and vitamin-rich vegetables. For the most part, Natural Balance cat foods are grain-free, although it has expanded its range to include foods that do have grains.

    We particularly like the fact that its pet foods include formulas that are low in calories and that it has developed a product that has been specifically formulated for overweight cats.

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    Image Credit: liudmila_selyaninova, Shutterstock,

    A Quick Look at Natural Balance Cat Food

    Pros
    • Premium quality ingredients
    • Use of real meats for protein
    • Most products contain no grains
    • Uses ISO-17025 accredited laboratory
    Cons
    • Price (it is a premium brand and the price reflects this)
    • Does have a history of recalls

    Recall History

    Natural Balance was one of many pet food brands involved in the 2007 melamine recalls. In April 2007, the company informed the U.S. Food and Drug Administration of complaints it had received about its Venison & Brown Rice Dry Dog Food and Venison & Green Pea Dry Cat Food. According to these complaints, some pets had experienced vomiting and kidney failure after consuming these products.

    The company immediately issued a voluntary recall of all the affected products, and following laboratory tests, it was determined that some of these products contained trace amounts of melamine, which is thought to have come from rice concentrate. Later that month, Natural Balance issued a second limited recall for four canned pet foods that were found to contain traces of melamine in rice protein concentrates.

    In July 2007, the company recalled a small batch of canned pet food that it feared may have been contaminated in a large-scale botulism outbreak associated with one of its producers, Castleberry’s Food Company.

    In response to ongoing concerns following these recalls, Natural Balance built its own ISO-17025 accredited laboratory and commenced proactively testing every production run of the entire pet food range for nine different toxins before shipping their products to retailers.

    On July 3, 2020, Natural Balance’s parent company, J.M. Smucker, issued a voluntary recall on a single batch of Natural Balance Ultra Premium Chicken & Chicken Liver Pâté Formula, after receiving complaints that several cats had become unwell after eating it. Subsequent tests revealed that the batch contained elevated levels of choline chloride.

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    Reviews of the 3 Best Natural Balance Cat Food Recipes

    Let’s take a look at three of the many Natural Balance formulas in more detail.

    1. Natural Balance L.I.D. Limited Ingredient Diets Green Pea & Duck Formula Grain-Free Dry Cat Food

    Natural Balance L.I.D. Limited Ingredient Diets Green Pea & Duck Formula Grain-Free Dry Cat Food

    The most popular product in Natural Balance’s cat food line-up, this high protein formula is designed for cats of all ages. Containing a single source of animal protein, this product may be of benefit to pets that have sensitivities to some foods.

    The product is grain-free to help with digestion and has green peas and real duck as its main ingredients.

    It contains 30% protein, primarily from duck, is free of any artificial flavors, colors, or bleached ingredients, and has been fortified with vitamins and minerals to ensure that it provides a complete and well-balanced diet.

    Calorie Breakdown:

    Pros
    • Single source of animal protein
    • Grain-free
    • Free of artificial flavors and colors
    Cons
    • Not suitable for diabetic cats

    2. Natural Balance Original Ultra Whole Body Health Chicken Meal & Salmon Meal Formula Dry Cat Food

    Natural Balance Original Ultra Whole Body Health Chicken Meal & Salmon Meal Formula Dry Cat Food

    This high-protein formula from Natural Balance’s premium Original Ultra is one of their top-selling products. It is formulated to provide a complete and balanced diet for adult cats and kittens.

    Like most Natural Balance cat foods, this product is grain-free and is free of artificial flavors and colors.

    It contains 35% protein, which comes primarily from salmon and chicken, and is high in carbohydrates for energy.

    Calorie Breakdown:

    Pros
    • Premium product
    • Grain-free
    • High in protein
    • Free of artificial flavors and colors
    Cons
    • Price
    • Not suitable for diabetic cats

    3. Natural Balance L.I.D. Limited Ingredient Diets Green Pea & Salmon Formula Grain-Free Dry Cat Food

    Natural Balance L.I.D. Limited Ingredient Diets Green Pea & Salmon Formula Grain-Free Dry Cat Food

    Another product from Natural Balance’s popular Limited Ingredient Diet range, this Green Pea & Salmon Formula uses salmon as its single source of meat protein.

    The product is grain-free, contains no artificial flavors, colors, or bleached ingredients, and could be a good choice for owners of cats with food sensitivities or allergies.

    It contains 30% protein, which is sourced mainly from salmon, is high in energy-rich carbohydrates, and is a complete wholesome food for adult cats.

    Calorie Breakdown:

    Pros
    • Single source of animal protein
    • Grain-free
    • Free of artificial flavors and colors
    Cons
    • Not suitable for diabetic cats

    What Other Users Are Saying

    As pet owners ourselves, we understand the importance of reading reviews from other consumers when it comes to choosing the best products for your cat.

    • You can read great reviews about this food by Chewy customers by clicking here.
    • There are also many reviews from Amazon customers about Natural Balance cat foods that you can read by clicking here.
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    Conclusion

    Natural Balance cat foods has an extensive range of cat foods that are suitable for almost any cat. In this article, we’ve taken a close look at a few of its top-selling products, but with a quick search on Chewy or Amazon, you’ll find plenty more.

    Most of the reviews that we’ve read are highly favorable toward Natural Balance and particularly like their proactive approach to handling the limited number of recalls that have affected the company over the years.

    We have every confidence in recommending Natural Balance pet foods to any cat owner.


    Featured Image: Natural Balance, Chewy