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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 Beef, Chicken Broth, Chicken Liver, Deboned Salmon, Dried Egg Product, Natural Flavor, Cranberries, Calcium Carbonate, Organic Alfalfa, Salt, Potassium Chloride, Carrageenan, Guar Gum, Sodium Phosphate, Salmon Oil, Minerals (Zinc Amino Acid Complex, Iron Amino Acid Complex, Manganese Amino Acid Complex, Copper Amino Acid Complex, Potassium Iodide, Cobalt Glucoheptonate, Sodium Selenite), Vitamins (Vitamin E Supplement, Vitamin B12 Supplement, d-Calcium Pantothenate, Vitamin A Supplement, Niacin, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Riboflavin Supplement, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Folic Acid, Biotin, Thiamine Mononitrate), Taurine, Choline Chloride, Yucca Schidigera Extract.
Top 5 Ingredients Analysis
Beef is considered to be a higher quality ingredient. It is an excellent source of animal protein and contains many other nutrients that are very important for a cat to survive and thrive. Since this is not in “meal” form, that means this ingredient still contains all of its moisture content prior to cooking. Once fully cooked, most of this ingredient will have evaporated due to its high moisture content. That means, even when this ingredient is ranked highly, it will usually only provide a small percentage of the overall protein in the food. There is no dismissing this ingredient, though. It is high quality and we are pleased to see it listed.
While chicken broth does not add much nutritional value to the food, it does add flavor and is considered to be a better alternative to water. The main reason for adding this ingredient is simply to add moisture.
Here is another ingredient you probably wouldn’t want to see on your own dinner plate, but most cats seem to enjoy the taste of liver. Uncooked liver, or liver in very high quantities, can actually be toxic to cats. However, in this food, it is clearly provided well within safe limits. In fact, this ingredient is a pretty high quality ingredient overall. It provides a good source of vitamins, minerals, proteins, and other nutrients your cat can benefit from.
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.
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.
Additional Ingredients Of Interest
The term “natural flavor” is extremely vague and can mean just about anything. In human foods, natural flavor is usually MSG or some similar flavor enhancer. When pet food companies are asked what is in their “natural flavor ingredients, they usually refuse to answer. There are a lot of things in the world considered “natural” and they almost all have a flavor. Such generic terms can be indicative of poor quality ingredients. While that’s not always the case, the fact is, we don’t really know what this ingredient consists of and that is worrying.
Cranberries are high in vitamin C, vitamin E, and fiber. This ingredient may assist with urinary tract infections and help with dental hygiene by killing certain bacteria. While cats are obligate carnivores, wild cats do consume a small amount of fruits and vegetables. Ingredients like cranberries will not provide a large amount of nutrition, but do supply some vitamins, help make the food taste better, and act as an easily digestible filler.
Calcium carbonate is a dietary supplement used when the amount of calcium taken in the diet is not enough. Calcium is needed for healthy bones, muscles, nervous system, and heart. Since many cat foods do not contain enough calcium in the food naturally, it is often added as a supplemental inclusion as seen in this food.
Alfalfa is a rich mineral food that has trace minerals such as zinc, iron, and manganese. It also includes vitamin A, vitamin C, as well as other nutrients that are beneficial to cats such as chlorophyll.
Salt is necessary for a cats body to function properly, but too much salt can be dangerous and even deadly. Usually, salt is added to pet food in order to meet AAFCO nutritional requirements. Salt, or sodium chloride, is indeed necessary so cat food that doesn’t contain enough will have a bit of it included. Salt helps your cats cells move nutrients and waste products where they need to go, and it helps his or her tummy make the right amount of acid to digest food properly. According to the Journal of Nutrition, average-sized cats need about 21 milligrams of salt per day. Many cat foods have higher concentrations than that. The National Research Council recommends no more than 42 milligrams per day. Most of the time, salt in commercial cat food products poses no danger and does have some nutritional benefit.