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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 – 0.5 Star
- Catological Discretionary Rating – 0.5 Star
Here’s a few important points to consider for this particular line:
- Meat is the first ingredient
- These are grain-free, but they compensate by adding peas and beans to the recipes, which are not biologically appropriate foods for cats
- Includes extra vitamins and high quality, proteinate versions of some minerals
- The macronutrient profile is just OK. Moderate protein, carbs higher than you’d like to see. Not great overall
The Nutrisca Grain Free product line includes 2 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.
Dogswell Nutrisca Grain-Free Chicken was selected to represent the other products in the line for this review.
Dogswell Nutrisca Grain-Free Chicken
Dry Cat Food
|Estimated Nutrient Content|
|Dry Matter Basis||42%||18%||24%|
|Calorie Weighted Basis||39%||40%||22%|
Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content
Fiber (guaranteed analysis)
Is real, named meat the first ingredient?
Chicken, Chicken Meal, Peas, Turkey Meal, Chickpeas, Chicken Fat (Preserved with Mixed Tocopherols), Natural Flavor, Pea Protein, Tomato Pomace, Sunflower Oil (Preserved with Mixed Tocopherols), Potassium Chloride, Choline Chloride, Dl Methionine, Cranberries, Blueberries, Apples, Taurine, Carrots, Celery, Parsley, Lettuce, Watercress, Spinach, Beets, Zinc Sulfate, Iron Sulfate, Niacin, Vitamin E Supplement, Zinc Proteinate, Iron Proteinate, Copper Sulfate, Calcium Pantothenate, Manganese Sulfate, Copper Proteinate, Thiamine Mononitrate, Riboflavin Supplement, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Vitamin A Actetate, Manganese Proteinate, Iodine Iodate, Folic Acide, Cobalt Proteinate, Selenium Selenite, Biotin, Cobalt Carbonate, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Rosemary Extract.
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 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 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 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 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 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 sixth ingredient is chicken fat. Good.
Named animal fats in cat food is usually a good thing. Cats do need a fair amount of fat.
Chicken fat is a great source of healthy fats and omega fatty acids.
It is preferred to canola oil or unnamed animal fats.
After natural flavor, which is fine, the seventh ingredient is 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 eighth ingredient is tomato pomace. OK, but with reservations.
It is basically a by-product of tomatoes after they have been used for sauces, ketchup, and the likes.
Some say it’s a useful form of fiber, while some say it’s a pointless, cheap, filler ingredient.
Whatever the case, there’s probably not enough to make much of a difference here.
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 utilizes proteinate minerals, which may be easier to digest and more bioavailable for your cat. This is usually a sign of a high quality cat food.
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 Dogswell Nutrisca Dry Cat Food
From top to bottom, this is an average dry product.
Meat is the first ingredient, the macronutrient profiles aren’t the worst we’ve seen, but they still use filler ingredients, even though it’s grain free.
Plus, we don’t like to see plant-based protein boosters like pea protein.
It’s just a way for the manufacturer to boost the crude protein content on the label, without having to add more meat (which is expensive for them).
As a reminder, plant protein is not what your cat needs to stay healthy!
Certainly, for a moderately priced dry food, you could do worse.
This is an OK, but not great, example of a dry food you should be feeding to your cat.
Based on the ingredients and the macronutrient profiles, meat likely plays a moderate part in the recipe, since there are a few fillers and non-meat protein boosters. We can therefore say that it is likely a split meat-and-plant-based cat food, which is not entirely appropriate for your carnivorous feline.
To review, on a dry matter basis, this food is 42% protein, 18% fat, and 24% carbs.
As a group, the brand has an average protein content of 41%, and average fat content of 18%, and an average carb content of 25%.
Compared to the other 2000+ foods in our database, this food has:
- Average protein.
- Average fat.
- Above average carbs.
Because meat is the first ingredient, but fillers and plant-based protein boosting ingredients are used, our average rating for this brand is 3 stars.
Not really recommended.
Dogswood Nutrisca 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 Dogswood Nutrisca brand in the past:
- February 2015 – Potential for salmonella – 1 recipe affected
- July 2013 – Antibiotic residue – Treat 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 Dogswell Nutrisca 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.