Castor & Pollux Pristine Cat Food (Dry) Review And Nutritional Analysis

Rating

2 Star

  • Meat is the first ingredient - 1 Star
  • Does not use unnamed meats - 1 Star
  • Below average protein content - 0 Star
  • More than 4 controversial ingredients - 0 Star
  • Catological Discretionary Rating - 0 Star

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

  • Meat is the first ingredient
  • Some ingredients are organic, but that doesn’t mean it’s a good recipe
  • Includes extra vitamins, minerals, and probiotics
  • Protein is too low and carbohydrates are too high to be appropriate for your cat
  • Recipes rely on fish as a main protein source, and we do not believe that fish is an appropriate main protein for your cat’s diet

The Pristine product line includes 3 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.

castor pollux pristine dry cat food bag

Castor & Pollux Pristine Chicken & Turkey was selected to represent the other products in the line for this review.

Castor & Pollux Pristine Chicken & Turkey

Dry Cat Food

Estimated Nutrient Content

Method

Protein

Fat

Carbs

Guaranteed Analysis

36%

14%

NA

Dry Matter Basis

40%

16%

30%

Calorie Weighted Basis

37%

35%

27%

Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content

40%
Protein
16%
Fat
30%
Carbs

Fiber (guaranteed analysis):

3.5%

Calories/100g:

361

Is real, named meat the first ingredient?

Yes

INGREDIENTS: Chicken, Whitefish Meal, Organic Pea Protein, Turkey Meal, Organic Peas, Organic Chickpeas, Organic Tapioca, Salmon Meal, Organic Lentils, Natural Flavor, Organic Turkey, Organic Sunflower Seed Meal, Organic Coconut Oil, Chicken Fat (preserved with mixed tocopherols), Organic Flaxseed, Organic Dried Alfalfa Meal, Choline Chloride, Organic Apples, Organic Cranberries, Vitamins (Vitamin E Supplement, Niacin Supplement, Thiamine Mononitrate, d-Calcium Pantothenate, Vitamin A Supplement, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Riboflavin Supplement, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Biotin, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Folic Acid), Minerals (Zinc Amino Acid Complex, Iron Amino Acid Complex, Copper Amino Acid Complex, Manganese Amino Acid Complex, Sodium Selenite, Calcium Iodate), Salt, Taurine, Potassium Chloride, Rosemary Extract, Dried Bacillus coagulans Fermentation Product.

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 very 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 whitefish meal. OK, but with reservations.

“Whitefish” is a bit of a difficult term in the cat food industry, because it may mean any number of fish.

However, it seems that most whitefish labels mean tilefish, a small, commercially fished ingredient, that is high in protein and fat.

Fish are not often eaten in the wild by cats, and this particular fish may pose a high risk of mercury poisoning.

If this is, indeed, tilefish, the FDA has warned pregnant women not to consume it due to high mercury levels.

It is likely not present in high enough quantities to worry, but the risk remains.

A meal is a concentrated form of the ingredient after most moisture (including the healthy oils) are removed.

The third ingredient is organic pea protein. Bad.

Peas are a quality carbohydrate, but cats don’t need much in the way of carbohydrates.

Peas are also rich in protein, and this ingredient is a concentrated form of that protein, which means the actual meat content of this food may be lower than the macronutrient profile suggests.

Peas are not the worst carbohydrate your cat can consume, but they’re simply not at all biologically appropriate.

The fourth 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.

The fifth ingredient is organic 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 sixth ingredient is organic chickpeas. Bad.

An obvious non-biologically appropriate carbohydrate filler, beans are at least potentially better than corn.

They are unlikely to do any damage to your cat.

However, some cats may have trouble digesting them.

They are also protein-rich, which means the actual meat content of this recipe may be lower than the macronutrient profile suggests.

The seventh ingredient is organic 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.

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 includes lentils.

An obvious non-biologically appropriate carbohydrate filler, beans are at least potentially better than corn.

They are unlikely to do any damage to your cat.

However, some cats may have trouble digesting them.

They are also protein-rich, which means the actual meat content of this recipe may be lower than the macronutrient profile suggests.

They are usually used as a cheap protein source to cover up using only a little bit of meat in the recipe.

It also includes organic sunflower seed meal.

By itself, this isn’t harmful, but it is a plant-based protein-booster. These are usually used to cover up the fact that meat only makes up a small portion of the recipe, because they will make the protein content on the label higher.

sunflower seed meal

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 Castor & Pollux Pristine Dry Cat Food

From top to bottom, this is a below average dry product.

Don’t be fooled by the fact that some ingredients are organic.

Organic does NOT automatically equal healthy when it comes to your cat.

Meat is the first ingredient, but it’s full filler ingredients, including protein-boosting plant ingredients.

Protein-boosters like pea protein and sunflower seeds are usually a way for manufacturers to increase the protein amount on the label, without having to add more meat, which is an expensive ingredient. 

Foods that need to boost protein because there’s not enough meat in the recipe are usually not good for your cat.

This is a not a good example of a dry food you should be feeding to your cat.

Based on the ingredients and the macronutrient profiles, meat likely plays a small part in the recipe, and we can therefore say that it is likely a plant-based cat food, which is not appropriate for your carnivorous feline.

To review, on a dry matter basis, this food is 40% protein, 16% fat, and 30% carbs.

As a group, the brand has an average protein content of 40%, and average fat content of 16%, 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 it is full of filler ingredients, our average rating for this brand is 2 stars.

Not recommended.

Castor & Pollux 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 Castor & Pollux brand in the past:

  • We could find no evidence of recalls for the Castor & Pollux brand, although they are now a Merrick brand. Merrick has had recalls, but not since acquiring this brand in 2012.

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 Castor & Pollux 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. 

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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?!

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