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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:
- Organic meat is the first ingredient
- A few grain free fillers are used, but there’s too much of them in the recipe
- This is fairly low protein and fairly high carbohydrate, which is not an ideal mix for your feline’s dietary needs
Gather’s Free Acres product line includes 1 dry recipe/flavor.
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.
Gather Free Acres Chicken
Dry Cat Food
|Estimated Nutrient Content|
|Dry Matter Basis||33%||18%||34%|
|Calorie Weighted Basis||30%||39%||31%|
Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content
Fiber (guaranteed analysis)
Is real, named meat the first ingredient?
Organic Chicken, Organic Dehydrated Chicken, Organic Peas, Lentils, Chicken Fat (Preserved With Mixed Tocopherols), Organic Flaxseed, Natural Chicken Flavour, Blueberries, Cranberries, Egg Shell Meal, Vitamins (Vitamin A Supplement, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Vitamin E Supplement, Niacin, Inositol, L-Ascorbyl-2-Polyphosphate (A Source Of Vitamin C), Thiamine Mononitrate, D-Calcium Pantothenate, Riboflavin, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Folic Acid, Biotin, Vitamin B12 Supplement), Minerals (Zinc Proteinate, Iron Proteinate, Copper Proteinate, Manganese Proteinate, Calcium Iodate, Sodium Selenite), Dl-Methionine, Taurine, Dried Rosemary..
Ingredients in red are controversial or of questionable quality.
The first ingredient in this cat food is organic 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 organic dehydrated chicken. Good.
As noted above, chicken is a great ingredient for cats.
Dehydrated just means that the moisture is removed. This leaves a very protein-dense meat ingredient, which is a good way to boost protein in a recipe.
The third 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 really doesn’t need to be any in here, as they are not appropriate food for felines.
The fourth ingredient is lentils. 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.
They are usually used as a cheap protein source to cover up using only a little bit of meat in the recipe.
The fifth 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.
The sixth ingredient is organic flaxseed. Good.
Flaxseed provides a quality omega-3 fatty acid source, and nutritive fiber to the recipe.
It can only be digested when the outer shell is removed or destroyed, but there is no information given in this ingredient to determine if it is made bioavailable by grinding or flaking.
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 still a few things you should know.
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.
While not controversial, you may be wondering about egg shell meal. It’s basically just processed, finely ground egg shell.
It’s actually a great way to increase calcium in a recipe, especially if the recipe does not include crushed or ground bones.
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 Gather Free Acres Dry Cat Food
From top to bottom, this is an average dry food.
It begins with organic meat.
Unfortunately, too much of the filler ingredients are used, which can be seen from the low protein, and high carbohydrate content of this food.
While they’re not grains, these fillers are still not appropriate for your cat.
This is an OK, but not great, example of a dry food you should be feeding your cat.
While meat is certainly a major component of this food, it’s safe to say based on the carb levels that this is both a meat- and plant-based food, which is not entirely biologically appropriate for your carnivorous feline’s dietary needs.
To review, on a dry matter basis, this food is 33% protein, 18% fat, and 34% carbs.
Compared to the other 2000+ foods in our database, this food has:
- Below average protein.
- Average fat.
- Above average carbs.
Because meat is the first ingredient, but too many carbohydrate-heavy fillers are used, our rating for this brand is 3 stars.
Gather 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 Gather brand in the past:
- We can find no evidence of a recall in Gather’s history
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 Gather Dry 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.
Check out our ratings and reviews of the best cat foods in our comprehensive, data-backed guide right here.