Against The Grain Cat Food (Wet) Review And Nutritional Analysis

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  • Meat is the first ingredient – 1 Star
  • Uses some unnamed meats – 1 Star
  • Above average protein content – 1 Star
  • Less than 4 controversial ingredients – 1 Star
  • Catological Discretionary Rating – 0.5 Star

Here’s a few important points to consider for this particular line:

  • Meat is the first, and sometimes only, main ingredient
  • Includes zero fillers
  • Packed with vitamins and minerals
  • Could use a little more fat in most of the recipes, but this is almost as clean of a recipe as you can get
  • Great product

The Against The Grain product line includes 11 wet recipes/flavors.

Each recipe below includes its related AAFCO nutrient profile when available on the product’s official webpage or packaging: Growth (G), Maintenance (M), All Life Stages (A), Supplemental (S) or Unspecified (U).

The star rating is a rough average of all of the flavors in a single line of food. If an individual recipe scored lower or higher, we will mark that below, next to the flavor.

against the grain wet cat food

Against The Grain Chicken & Pumpkin Samba was selected to represent the other products in the line for this review.

Against The Grain Chicken & Pumpkin Samba

Wet Cat Food

Estimated Nutrient Content
Guaranteed Analysis12%2%NA
Dry Matter Basis73%12%3%
Calorie Weighted Basis69%28%3%

Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content







Fiber (guaranteed analysis)




Is real, named meat the first ingredient?



Chicken, Water Sufficient for Processing, Pumpkin, Tricalcium Phosphate, Palm Oil, Tapioca, Taurine, Xanthan Gum, Vitamins (Vitamin E Supplement, Niacin, Vitamin A Supplement, Thiamine Mononitrate, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Pantothenic Acid, Riboflavin Supplement, Choline Chloride, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Folic Acid, Biotin, Vitamin B12 Supplement), Minerals (Ferrous Sulfate Monohydrate, Zinc Sulfate Heptahydrate, Manganese Sulfate Monohydrate, Copper Sulfate Pentahydrate, Dicalcium Phosphate, Potassium Iodide, Potassium Chloride, Magnesium Sulfate Monohydrate, Sodium Selenite).

Ingredients in red are controversial or of questionable quality.

Ingredient Breakdown

The first ingredient in this cat food is chicken. Good.

While quality of the individual ingredient can vary, chicken is a good protein source for cats.

It’s also important to note that chicken contains about 70% water, so when it is processed and cooked for use in cat food, it will become a smaller part of the total recipe.

After water sufficient for processing, the second ingredient is pumpkin. Good.

Pumpkin is a high quality dietary fiber for cats, and is recommended over other ingredients like rice.

The third ingredient is tricalcium phosphate. Good.

Tricalcium phosphate is both a useful phosphorous supplement to help regulate acidity in the body, and an emulsifier. 

It helps the food stay together a bit more in general, but without “caking” or “clumping”.

The fourth ingredient is palm oil. OK, but with reservations. 

In terms of being a healthy ingredient, palm oil is a good one.

It’s a useful way to get healthy fats, which are good for the heart and other bodily functions.

It’s high in beta-carotene, too, and is used widely because it’s cheap yet biologically useful.

However, the use is highly controversial, because the harvesting of trees for palm oil is not done in a sustainable way, and is causing quite a bit of damage to traditional ecosystems. 

There are a couple of companies who produce sustainable palm oil, but those are few and far between.

Your acceptance of this ingredient will hinge upon your environmental view point.

The fifth ingredient is tapioca. OK, but with reservations.

Used in many grain-free recipes as a starch to bind the food together.

While it’s not very nutritional and doesn’t compare well to grains in some cases, there’s likely not enough of it to cause any digestive issues for your cat.

The sixth ingredient is taurine. Good.

This is a very important amino acid for cats.

Since they do not produce their own in their body, they must consume it in their food. 

Taurine helps regulate the nervous system, and it promotes thyroid and heart health.

The seventh ingredient is xanthan gum. OK, but with reservations.

This recipe uses xanthan gum as a binding agent.

While this is usually a harmless ingredient and is used in plenty of cat and human foods, some research suggests that cats with inflammatory bowel disease should not consume xanthan gum.

This recipe includes a number of other ingredients, but once you get down this far, none of them will be in large enough quantities to make a real difference, except for the added vitamins and minerals.

To read a more in depth article about any of the ingredients listed here, check out our Cat Food Ingredient Wiki (currently under development).

The Catological Verdict on Against The Grain Wet Cat Food

From top to bottom, this is an above average dry product.

Meat is the first, and in many recipes, only, main ingredient. It contains a lot of extra vitamins and minerals. The foods used are whole foods, and even the “flavoring” used is from natural fruits, vegetables, and meats. 

This is a very good example of a wet food you should be feeding to your cat.

Meat is obviously the main ingredient in each of the flavors. We can assume that this is a meat-based cat food, with enough meat to make it biologically appropriate for your cat’s dietary needs.

To review, on a dry matter basis, this food is 73% protein, 12% fat, and 3% carbs.

As a group, the brand has an average protein content of 72%, and average fat content of 8%, and an average carb content of 2%.

Compared to the other 2000+ foods in our database, this food has:

  • Above average protein.
  • Below average fat.
  • Below average carbs.

Because it is almost exclusively meat and vitamins,  our average rating for this brand is 5 stars.

Highly recommended.

Against The Grain Cat Food Recall History

We do not believe that a recall indicates a low quality food or company, and we respect the fact that sometimes things happen that cause a manufacturer to recall a food.

Usually these things are non-life-threatening, and we think it’s important to take a moment to be thankful about just how few recalls there really are in the industry, considering the enormous volume of food produced.

However, we do believe that a history of recalls may point to a larger issue with a company, and that discerning consumers want to know who they’re buying from, especially when it comes to something as important as the food you feed your beloved cat. 

Here is a list of recalls that have affected the Against The Grain brand in the past:

  • December 2015 & January 2017 – potential adulteration with pentobarbital – 1 recipe affected (no illnesses reported, recalled out of an abundance of caution by the manufacturer)

If you want to stay up to date on the latest recall information affecting your cat’s food, sign up to our email list and receive an email every time a recall is announced. We’ll also let you know about any updated ratings, recipe changes, or new cat foods on the market. (Our alert system will be launched shortly, check back soon.)

Where To Buy Against The Grain Cat Food

We recommend purchasing your pet products from They continually prove that they walk the walk while talking the talk, and I’ve never dealt with a more dedicated pet-parent base of people than those who work at Chewy. 

Plus, they offer 20% off and free shipping on lots of orders. 

Emily Parker

Emily Parker is the Content Manager at Catological. She's passionate about helping cat parents love their cats better by providing the best information and recommendations about everything you'll need to know about your cat, from kitten to senior years. She believes natural, biologically-appropriate products are best...why wouldn't you provide the best for a member of your family?!