Merrick Cat Food was started by Garth Merrick in 1988. What began as a single home made dog treat turned into one of the largest pet food companies in the United States. They currently produce their pet food out of a 95,000 square foot facility located in Hereford, Texas. The main focus of this company is to produce and sell higher end products including grain-free and limited plant based ingredients. They also promote their ingredients as being sourced from the United States and in particular, they pride themselves on never sourcing ingredients from China. After the melamine pet food recalls that killed many pets back in 2007, there are a lot of dog and cat owners who will never purchase food products that use sourcing from China, so this makes Merrick a good option for those pet owners.
In general, Merrick has a good reputation and many other review sites rank both their dog and cat foods very highly. Merrick has experienced some recalls in the recent past in 2010 and 2011. These recalls did not appear to be the result of any deaths, however, it still makes some cat owners a bit nervous. With that said, it’s very rare to find a company without any recall history, as is the case for human foods as well.
Below, you will find our ingredients analysis for this Merrick cat food blend. Please feel free to speak your mind by rating this food by clicking on the corresponding stars above and leave a comment about what you think in the commenting section below this review.
List Of Ingredients In This Cat Food
Deboned Salmon, Chicken Meal, Turkey Meal, Dried Potato, Peas, Potato Protein, Natural Flavor, Chicken Fat (preserved with mixed tocopherols), Sweet Potato, Powdered Cellulose, Ground Flaxseed, Dried Egg Product, Dried Whey Protein Concentrate, Deboned Chicken, Organic Alfalfa, Phosphoric Acid, Cranberries, Salt, Vitamins (Vitamin E Supplement, Vitamin A Supplement, Vitamin B12 Supplement, d-Calcium Pantothenate, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Niacin, Riboflavin Supplement, Biotin, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Folic Acid, Thiamine Mononitrate), Minerals (Zinc Amino Acid Complex, Zinc Sulfate, Iron Amino Acid Complex, Manganese Amino Acid Complex, Copper Amino Acid Complex, Potassium Iodide, Cobalt Amino Acid Complex, Sodium Selenite), Choline Chloride, Taurine, Yucca Schidigera Extract, Rosemary Extract, Bacillus Coagulans, Dried Lactobacillus plantarum fermentation product, Dried Lactobacillus casei fermentation product, Dried Enterococcus faecuim fermentation product, Dried Lactobacillus acidophilus fermentation product.
An overview of the first five ingredients
Salmon is an excellent source of high quality proteins for cats and is extremely rich in healthy Omega 3 and Omega 6 fatty acids. Some people worry about mercury levels in fish. It’s true that all fish contains some degree of mercury, the level in salmon is much lower than other types of fish and the FDA doesn’t believe it causes any problems at all. Most salmon in cat food is farmed salmon, but higher end cat food (especially those labeled “natural”) can often times be fished from natural lakes and streams. The biggest problem with fish ingredients, including salmon, is if the fish includes an antioxidant called ethoxyquin (EMQ). It is believe that ethoxyquin could be very harmful to cats and other animals. Always make sure you are using “Ethoxyquin free” cat food blends when they include fish ingredients. When in doubt, call the customer service number and ask.
Chicken meal is ground up chicken meat that has been carefully dried to a moisture level of 10%. The protein content is 65% and the fat level is 12%. Many pet owners feel that chicken is a superior ingredient to chicken meal. It would seem logical that feeding a pet a whole, non-rendered chicken would be good. However, whole chicken still contains its moisture content prior to cooking and since whole chicken consists of about 80% moisture, after the cooking process is over there isn’t much left. With chicken meal, the moisture was removed prior to cooking. That means, chicken meal actually has a much higher protein percentage and provides far more beneficial nutrients to your cats than whole chicken. Meals consist of meat and skin, with or without the bones, but exclusive of feathers/hair, heads, feet, horns, entrails etc. and have the proper calcium/phosphorus ratio required for a balanced diet. It’s also important to note the quality difference between “chicken by-product meal” and “chicken meal.” While we do take exception to chicken by-products, chicken meal is actually a very high quality and nutritious ingredient. We are happy to see this listed.
Turkey is a fantastic source of very healthy animal based proteins. Since this is listed as turkey meal, that means almost all of the moisture was removed prior to the cooking process. This is actually a good thing as it will contain many times more protein than turkey that was cooked without the moisture being removed. As one of the best protein sources for cats, we are very pleased to see this ingredient listed here.
Potatoes provide a lot of carbs and unfortunately, cats do not digest carbs well and it can also lead to weight gain. This ingredient is becoming more popular in “grain-free” cat foods because while potatoes are not grains, they serve much the same purpose by acting as a non-nutritious filler. The good news is potatoes are complex carbs. These complex carbs are easier to digest than whole grains and also don’t spike blood sugar levels like the simple carbs do. But, anyway you cut it… carbs are carbs and cats don’t need them. This is a rather non-nutritious ingredient.
Peas are becoming more and more common in pet foods today, especially those listed as grain-free, holistic, or natural pet foods. While peas are certainly not grains, they serve much the same purpose. It mostly acts as a filler and a cheap way to increase the protein percentage of the food. However, cats receive almost no nutritional value from peas. Since cats are obligate carnivores, they require proteins from meat based ingredients. There is very little research that has been performed on the long term effects of cats consuming peas. We do know that peas can cause runny poop or digestion issues in dogs, but the full effect on cats remains a bit of an unknown. At best, this ingredient will act as a filler and will not provide much nutritional value, if any, to your cat.
Other ingredient in this cat formula
Flaxseeds (also called linseeds) are a rich source of micronutrients, dietary fiber, manganese, vitamin B1, and the essential fatty acid alpha-linolenic acid, also known as ALA or omega-3. The seeds come from flax, one of the the oldest fiber crops in the world. It is not only a source of healthy fat, antioxidants, and fiber; modern research has found evidence to suggest that flaxseed can also help lower the risk of diabetes, cancer, and heart disease. The health risk associated with this ingredient is low and in general, flaxseed is considered to be a beneficial ingredient for cats.
Dried Egg Product
Derived from shell free eggs, this is a cheaper source of protein used in place of higher quality meat proteins. Normally, this ingredient is derived from waste products associated with the egg industry or egg products that have been deemed unfit for human consumption.
Chicken is a very popular ingredient for pet food and in this case, they are referring to whole chicken with the bones removed. This is a very high quality meat source and we are pleased to see it listed. In dry cat foods, whole chicken loses about 80% of its content during the cooking process. This is because chicken consists of about 80% moisture. After the cooking process is complete, the amount of whole chicken remaining is substantially reduced. However, in wet cat foods the cooking process is a bit different so this is much less of a concern.
We find it interesting they listed potato protein here, since cats do not receive much of any benefit from potato protein. It is unlikely to cause any specific health concerns, but this appears to be an inexpensive way to boost the protein percentage of the food. Unfortunately, since cats are obligate carnivores, this added protein will mostly go to waste as cats are unable to properly utilize plant based proteins. Their protein must come from meat based sources.
Is this an allergy causing cat food?
According to the ingredient used to make this cat food, it is evident that this cat food does not contain allergens. It is, therefore, suitable for cats with food sensitivities.
Harmful ingredients used ion cat foods
Animal by-products – One of the worst meat ingredients found in pet food today is animal by product. It’s true that this ingredient provides a very high amount of meat protein that cats need to thrive. However, animal by products are considered to be the lowest form of meat and it isn’t even approved for human consumption. Animal by-products are carcasses and parts of carcasses from slaughterhouses, animal shelters, zoos and veterinarians, and products of animal origin not intended for human consumption, including catering waste. Legally, this ingredient can even contain roadkill or euthanized animals. This ingredient may also contain what is called “4D meat” which is what the USDA (United States Department of Agriculture) calls cattle that is dead, dying, disabled or diseased. This meat is considered unfit for human consumption, but is typically found in many pet food products. This is not something we recommend you feed your cat or any other pet.
Gluten meal – This ingredient is associated with causing allergies in cats. It is also known to raise sugar levels in cats. Over time, this can lead to diabetes. Gluten refers to the proteins found in wheat endosperm which is a type of tissue produced in seeds that’s ground to make flour. Many pet food manufactures will use this ingredient to help boost the protein percentage of the food.
Corn and soy – Both of these grains are commonly found in cheaper cat foods you can normally find in the grocery store. They are cheap filler ingredients that will help to make your cat feel more full, but corn and soy provide almost no nutritional value to cats. These ingredients can also be difficult for some cats to digest, so we do not recommend this product for cats with sensitive digestion issues. And finally, these are two of the most widely known allergens for cats. Most cats are not allergic to these ingredients, but many are. Cat food companies like to use these ingredients because they are cheap and boost the protein percentage in the food. However, cats digest meat proteins and plant based proteins differently. Since they are obligate carnivores, they require meat protein to live a healthy life and do not process plant proteins very well.
Fortunately, none of these harmful ingredients are present in this cat food.
The Merrick Purrfect Bistro Health Salmon (dry) cat food is a quality cat food. It delivers on the 100% natural ingredients promise and it contains all healthy ingredients. It is also a rich source of protein. This makes it an ideal cat food for cats in different life stages.