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- Meat is the first ingredient – 1 Star
- Uses some unnamed meats – 1 Star
- Above average protein content – 0 Star
- Less than 4 controversial ingredients – 1 Star
- Catological Discretionary Rating – 0 Star
Here’s a few important points to consider for this particular line:
- Meat is the first ingredient
- Multiple meat products are used, with minimal fillers, but somehow the protein is lower and the carbohydrate content is higher than you’d expect – this means that not as much meat is in the recipe as the ingredient label suggests
- Includes extra vitamins, and high quality, proteinate minerals, and some include probiotics
The Grain Free product line includes 6 dry 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.
- CANIDAE Grain-Free PURE Elements Chicken (A)
- CANIDAE Grain-Free PURE Ocean Tuna (A)
- CANIDAE Grain-Free PURE Sea Salmon (A)
- CANIDAE Grain-Free PURE Stream Trout (A)
CANIDAE Grain-Free PURE Control Chicken was selected to represent the other products in the line for this review.
CANIDAE Grain-Free PURE Control Chicken
Dry Cat Food
|Estimated Nutrient Content|
|Dry Matter Basis||40%||22%||22%|
|Calorie Weighted Basis||34%||46%||19%|
Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content
Fiber (guaranteed analysis)
Is real, named meat the first ingredient?
Chicken, Chicken Meal, Turkey Meal, Peas, Suncured Alfalfa, Chicken Fat, Dried Whole Egg, Natural Flavor, Minerals (Zinc Proteinate, Manganese Proteinate, Copper Proteinate, Zinc Sulfate, Manganese Sulfate, Copper Sulfate, Potassium Iodide, Manganous Oxide, Sodium Selenite), Vitamins (Vitamin E Supplement, Niacin, Thiamine Mononitrate, Vitamin A Supplement, Biotin, Calcium Pantothenate, Riboflavin, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride (Vitamin B6), Vitamin B12 Supplement, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Folic Acid), Choline Chloride, Dl-Methionine, Taurine, Dried Enterococcus Faecium Fermentation Product, Dried Lactobacillus Acidophilus Fermentation Product, Dried Lactobacillus Casei Fermentation Product, Dried Lactobacillus Plantarum Fermentation Product, Dried Trichoderma Longibrachiatum Fermentation Extract, Mixed Tocopherols (a Source of Vitamin E).
Ingredients in red are controversial or of questionable quality.
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.
The second ingredient is chicken meal. Good.
Chicken is a very good protein source for cats.
Chicken meal is a concentrated form of chicken, and is considered a high quality ingredient.
In short, much of the moisture of the chicken is taken away, and you are left with a very high-protein, low-moisture powder-like substance.
The inclusion of chicken meal helps to ensure a very high protein level.
The third ingredient is turkey meal. Good.
Turkey is a very good protein source for cats.
Turkey meal is a concentrated form of turkey, and is considered a high quality ingredient.
In short, much of the moisture of the turkey is taken away, and you are left with a very high-protein, low-moisture powder-like substance.
The inclusion of turkey meal helps to ensure a very high protein level.
The fourth ingredient is peas. Bad.
Peas are a quality carbohydrate, but cats don’t need much in the way of carbohydrates.
They are full of fiber, but also contain a fair amount of protein, which we should keep in mind when judging the meat content of this food.
There probably aren’t many peas in here, but there really doesn’t need to be any.
The fifth ingredient is suncured alfalfa. Good.
Alfalfa is a somewhat common source of dietary fiber.
It’s decently high in protein and fiber.
The sixth ingredient is chicken fat. Good.
Named animal fats in cat food is usually a good thing.
Chicken fat is a great source of healthy fats and omega fatty acids.
It is preferred to canola oil or unnamed animal fats.
The seventh ingredient is dried whole egg. Good.
Even though eggs are not meat, they are a highly digestible form of protein.
In fact, they are one of the most complete, bioavailable forms of protein for both humans and cats.
As long as it is not the main protein ingredient, the addition of egg is a quality ingredient
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.
However, there are a few things you should know about.
This recipe uses the proteinate form of minerals, which means that they should be easier to digest for your cat, and be more readily available for her body to use to maintain her health. This is usually a sign of a quality food.
There are also many probiotic strains which help introduce enzymes into the gut to break down the food better and make it more digestible and bioavailable. These are generally considered high quality ingredients.
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 Canidae Grain Free Dry Cat Food
From top to bottom, this is an average dry product.
Meat is the first ingredient, few fillers are used, but somehow the protein ends up being low, and the carbs end up being high. That means that even though there are multiple meats being used, there must not be that much of it.
The macronutrient contents of these foods are not great, even though the recipe looks alright.
This is a not a great example of a dry food you should be feeding to your cat.
Based on the ingredients and the macronutrient profiles, meat and plants are probably present in equal proportions, so we can therefore say it’s not necessarily a strictly meat-based food.
To review, on a dry matter basis, this food is 40% protein, 22% fat, and 22% carbs.
As a group, the brand has an average protein content of 37%, and average fat content of 19%, and an average carb content of 30%.
Compared to the other 2000+ foods in our database, this food has:
- Below average protein.
- Average fat.
- Above average carbs.
Because meat comes first, but fillers bring down the protein content and increase the carbohydrate content, our average rating for this brand is 3 stars.
Canidae 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 Canidae brand in the past:
- May 2012 – Potential salmonella – Dog food recipes affected
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 Canidae Cat Food
We recommend purchasing your pet products from Chewy.com. 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.