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Wellness Cat Food Review 2021: Recalls, Pros & Cons

Review Summary

Our Final Verdict

We give Wellness Cat Food a rating of 4.6 out of 5 stars.

Introduction

Started in 1997 by a team of animal wellness experts, including nutritionists, veterinarians, and food scientists, Wellness Pet Food is the largest holistic pet food sold in independent retailers today.

Whenever possible, the company strives to use natural ingredients designed to prolong your cat’s life and ensure that they enjoy the best possible overall health. They’ve identified five key areas that they believe any good cat food should target: energy, digestive health, skin and coat health, immune function, and eyes, teeth, and gums.

None of their recipes include corn, wheat, or soy. These are cheap fillers that many lower-quality foods use to keep costs down, but they can wreak havoc on your cat’s digestive system. As a result, you should expect to pay more for Wellness-brand foods, but the impact that it has on your cat’s health should be well worth it.

Instead of fillers, you’ll find real meat as the first ingredient. The rest of the ingredients are usually things like peas, potatoes, and flaxseed. The overall protein levels in this brand’s food are almost always high, but the fat and fiber can be lacking.
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At a Glance: The Best Wellness Cat Food Recipes:

Image Product Details
Our favorite Wellness CORE Grain-Free Indoor Formula Wellness CORE Grain-Free Indoor Formula
  • Filled with omega fatty acids
  • Taurine for heart health
  • Probiotics boost digestive performance
  • Wellness Complete Health Pâté Chicken Entree Wellness Complete Health Pâté Chicken Entree
  • Comes in a jumbo-sized can
  • Has a tantalizing aroma
  • Real meat makes up the first four ingredients
  • Wellness CORE Signature Selects Flaked Skipjack Tuna & Shrimp Entree Wellness CORE Signature Selects Flaked Skipjack Tuna & Shrimp Entree
  • High in moisture
  • Most cats love seafood flavors
  • Packed with important vitamins and minerals
  • Wellness Natural Gravies Salmon Entree Wellness Natural Gravies Salmon Entree
  • Grain-free recipe
  • All-natural ingredients
  • Contains no artificial colors or flavors
  • Wellness Complete Health Natural Salmon & Herring Indoor Formula Wellness Complete Health Natural Salmon & Herring Indoor Formula
  • Premium ingredients
  • Protein-rich real salmon
  • Designed for indoor cats
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    Wellness Cat Food Reviewed

    Who makes Wellness and where is it produced?

    Wellness Cat Foods are made by WellPet LLC, which is actually a subsidiary of the Berwind Corporation. The Berwind Corporation is a private investment management company situated in Philadelphia.

    The food itself is made at the company’s manufacturing plant in Indiana. All of its dry food is made in the United States, and they never use artificial flavors, colors, preservatives, or other chemicals.

    Which types of cats are Wellness best suited for?

    Wellness is a premium brand, so it’s a good choice for anyone willing to pay whatever’s necessary to ensure that their cat stays healthy and happy. If you’re an owner who takes the food your cat eats seriously — and wants them to eat only natural, chemical-free ingredients — Wellness is likely to be a good fit.

    It’s also a good choice for cats that have issues eating lower-quality food. If your cat has digestive issues due to ingredients like corn or soy, switching to Wellness could help clear them up in a hurry.

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    Which types of cats might do better with a different brand?

    Given the fact that it’s pricier than many other cat foods, Wellness likely won’t be the first choice of bargain shoppers. You’re going to see plenty of cheaper options in the pet food store, so if money’s tight, Wellness might not be in your price range.

    It’s also not ideal for cats that need a large amount of protein, fat, or fiber in their diets. That’s not to say that it’s necessarily lacking in those regards, but there are certain foods available that outshine them in those categories (especially in Wellness’s price range).

    One food that we prefer to Wellness is Orijen High-Protein, Grain-Free Dry Cat Food. It’s actually a bit more expensive, but it’s so loaded with meat that it’s worth every penny.

    Discussion of the Primary Ingredients

    The first ingredient in every Wellness recipe is some form of protein source, usually fish or chicken. This is important, as cats are carnivores, so you want to start them off on a strong foundation of meat. The fact that Wellness uses real meat (as opposed to animal by-products) is also reassuring.

    Many of their dry foods rely on ingredients like peas to fill out the carb portion of the label. This is important, as peas are certainly preferable to ingredients like corn, wheat, or soy; however, it would be better to see the ingredients front-loaded with meat instead of plants.

    Almost every recipe is heavy on omega fatty acids. Many of them get their omegas from fish sources, which are both healthy and irresistible to cats. However, you may also find food like canola oil or flaxseed on the label.

    If you look closely enough, you should also find healthy foods like kelp, cranberries, and carrots in most of the foods. These can provide important nutrients, but they’re not as important for cats as pure meat is. Look for a recipe that has them further down the label.

    Wellness Complete Health Natural Salmon & Herring Indoor Formula

    They Have Several Different Product Lines

    You can find a Wellness product for just about any nutritional philosophy. For example, its CORE line is completely grain-free, so if you feel that grains of any kind are harmful to your cat’s health, you can eschew them entirely.

    They also have lines like Complete Health, which offers both grain-free and grain-inclusive options. The grain-inclusive still use high-quality grains, though, rather than cheap fillers like corn.

    Ultimately, it’s not enough to decide to feed your cat Wellness cat food. You’ll need to figure out which line best represents your nutritional philosophy first.

    The Options Can Be Overwhelming

    It can feel like you need a Ph.D. in feline nutrition to figure out which Wellness brand to feed your cat. Unless you’ve done quite a bit of research, you likely won’t have an opinion on grain-free versus grain-inclusive or any of the other options available to you.

    That can result in analysis paralysis, where you spend so much time comparing labels (and marketing terms) that it feels impossible to pick good food. It would certainly simplify things if they only offered one type of food that was guaranteed to be healthy for your cat.

    Unfortunately, though, animal nutrition isn’t that simple. If you’re feeling overwhelmed (and don’t feel like doing homework just to feed your cat), you should ask your vet which product they’d recommend.

    Cats Seem to Enjoy the Taste

    There’s nothing more frustrating than spending top dollar on a super-healthy cat food only to have your cat refuse to eat it. Fortunately, that doesn’t often seem to be an issue with Wellness’s products.

    That’s just one added benefit of using real meat as the foundation of your food. Cats love things like chicken and tuna, so not only does it provide a more natural diet for them, but it’s also one they enjoy eating.

    They Won’t Disclose Where Their Wet Food Is Manufactured

    If you go on the “about” page of Wellness’s website, you’ll be bombarded with all sorts of reassuring talk about how seriously it takes food safety, how it only uses premium ingredients, how its manufacturing plants are top-of-the-line, etc.

    There’s one little problem, though: It never tells you where their wet food is made.

    We can assume that it’s not made in the U.S.A., or the company would likely disclose that up front, as it’s a strong selling point (it tells you exactly where its dry food is manufactured, for instance). The fact that it’s hiding the information could mean it’s made in someplace like China, which has a reputation for shoddy safety practices when it comes to pet food.

    This could be a situation where there’s simply a bunch of smoke and no fire. However, it’s an issue that the company could nip in the bud simply by disclosing the location of its wet food plants, so the fact that it’s not willing to do so has our hackles raised.

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    A Quick Look at Wellness Cat Food

    Pros
    • Uses natural ingredients as much as possible
    • Real meat is first ingredient
    • No artificial flavors, colors, fillers, or by-products
    Cons
    • Fairly expensive
    • Won’t divulge where wet food is manufactured
    • Nutrient levels can be lacking in some foods

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    Recall History

    Wellness has experienced several recalls since its inception in 1997. However, not all of them have been major; some have only affected dog food, and others were made out of an abundance of caution rather than real danger.

    The biggest recall occurred in 2011 when it withdrew 21.6 million cans of cat food from the shelves due to inadequate levels of thiamine. That’s no small thing, as thiamine deficiency can cause heart problems in cats, but it’s not known how low the thiamine levels in the food were.

    It also recalled several varieties of canned cat food in 2017 because trace amounts of metal were found in one of the products made at the manufacturing plant. No metal was found in any Wellness products, but it recalled them, anyway, just to be safe.

    It’s worth noting that while this last entry makes the company look responsible (and we credit it for being proactive), it failed to disclose where the manufacturing plant in question was located. Furthermore, the fact that many pet food companies use the plant indicates that its standards are out of Wellness’s control.

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    Reviews of the 3 Best Wellness Cat Food Recipes

    1. Wellness CORE Grain-Free Indoor Formula

    Wellness CORE Grain-Free Indoor Formula

    Wellness CORE is a grain-free dry food that’s geared toward indoor cats. It has quite a bit of fish in it, including salmon, herring, and fish meal, so it’s likely to be scarfed down without question.

    All that fish boosts the level of omega fatty acids inside as well. This is good for a variety of things, from coat health to immune function, so the more, the better.

    It’s heavy on plant-based ingredients, though. Peas are listed second on the label, with potatoes not far behind. Those ingredients are certainly better than corn, but we’d like to see them a few spots behind the various meat sources.

    That contributes to the protein levels being lower than we’d like at 34%. That’s not a dangerously low level or anything, but we’d expect better from food this pricey.

    There’s still much to like about this food, though. It has taurine, which is essential for heart health, and there are plenty of probiotics for digestive health inside as well.

    Wellness CORE isn’t a perfect dry food, but it’s got almost everything that your cat needs to stay healthy and happy, especially when paired with high-quality wet food.

    Calorie Breakdown:

    Wellness Core Indoor

    Pros
    • Grain-free recipe
    • Cats seem to enjoy the flavor
    • Filled with omega fatty acids
    • Taurine for heart health
    • Probiotics boost digestive performance
    Cons
    • Less protein than we’d like
    • Heavy on the plant-based ingredients

    2. Wellness Complete Health Pâté Chicken Entree

    Wellness Complete Health Pâté Chicken Entree

    Unlike many canned cat foods that come in tiny little 3.5-ounce containers, Wellness Complete Health Pâté is a giant, 12.5-ounce can — like a can of wet dog food.

    That’s both good and bad, as it allows you to feed your feline however much you want — but that could lead to overfeeding. Be careful not to let your cat get chubby on this food.

    Fortunately, that should be relatively difficult to do, as the ingredients label shows chicken, chicken liver, and turkey as the first three ingredients. That means your cat will get plenty of the protein they need to function at peak health.

    Of course, as with most canned foods, the overall protein, fat, and fiber levels are low (10.5%/7%/1%, respectively). You should pair this with suitable dry food, which will increase your pet food costs.

    However, you shouldn’t have to deal with a bunch of wasted food, as most cats will tear right through this stuff. Chicken broth is the fourth ingredient, and it gives the food a tantalizing aroma, as well as adding moisture.

    Part of the reason the food is so appealing is that it’s high in salt, however. You’ll need to watch your cat to make sure they’re drinking enough water (but not too much, as that can be a sign of diabetes).

    As far as wet foods go, Wellness Complete Health Pâté is about as good as you’re likely to find in this price range.

    Calorie Breakdown:

    Wellness Complete Health

    Pros
    • Comes in a jumbo-sized can
    • Real meat makes up the first four ingredients
    • Chicken broth will be appealing to cat’s taste buds
    • Has a tantalizing aroma
    Cons
    • High in salt
    • Hard to divvy up suitable portion sizes
    • Should be paired with quality dry food

    3. Wellness CORE Signature Selects Flaked Skipjack Tuna & Shrimp Entree

    Wellness CORE Signature Selects Flaked Skipjack Tuna & Shrimp Entree

    Wellness CORE Signature Selects is in a much more conventionally-sized can than the entry above. It’s also a grain-free recipe, although not all their Signature Selects line can say the same thing.

    This recipe is seafood-heavy, with tuna, mackerel, and shrimp in the mix. It should make quite the treat for your cat, while also giving them a heavy dose of omega fatty acids.

    It has the same issues as the wet food above, although its fat levels are even lower at 3%. It makes up for it a bit by being packed with moisture, making it a smart choice for cats that don’t drink enough water.

    We also like how many important vitamins and minerals they include, like taurine, magnesium, folic acid, and biotin. While you’ll still want to pair this with dry kibble, it should give your kitty a well-rounded nutritional profile.

    It’s an expensive food, though, so some owners might balk at paying so much for a canned food that needs to be paired with a kibble. If you’re willing to shell out the extra cash, though, your cat will certainly thank you for it.

    Calorie Breakdown:

    Wellness Core Signature Selects Flaked Skipjack Tuna & Shrimp

    Pros
    • Plenty of omega fatty acids
    • High in moisture
    • Packed with important vitamins and minerals
    • Most cats love seafood flavors
    Cons
    • Needs to be paired with dry kibble
    • Fairly pricey
    • Low in protein, fat, and fiber

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    What Other Users Are Saying

    All About Cats — “Wellness Cat Food, particularly canned foods in the CORE line, are rich in species-appropriate animal protein and made from high-quality ingredients.”

    Cat Food Database — “Overall, Wellness Core Signature Selects Skipjack Tuna & Shrimp is a significantly above-average cat food.”

    Amazon — As pet owners, we always double-check with Amazon reviews from buyers before we buy something. You can read these by clicking here.

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    Conclusion

    Wellness Cat Food is a boutique pet food line that puts a heavy emphasis on using natural ingredients whenever possible. They start every recipe off with real meat and never include artificial flavors, cheap fillers, or animal by-products.

    As you might expect, that drives the cost of their food up a bit, so this is not food for bargain hunters. Most of their foods have less fat and protein than we’d like to see as well (especially in this price range), but they’re still within acceptable levels.

    If you care deeply about what your cat is eating — and are willing to pay extra to ensure that they get the best — then the Wellness brand is a good option, but it’s not quite up to the same level as some of its premium brethren.


    Featured Image: Chewy