Hill’s Science Diet Cat Food (Wet) Review And Nutritional Analysis

Rating

2 Stars

  • 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

BUYING TIP

Here’s a few important points:

  • Meat is the first ingredient in all but one recipe
  • Some by-products and many carbohydrate filler ingredients are used
  • Protein is low and carbohydrates are high – not a good combination
  • Includes added vitamins and minerals
  • While each recipe is marketed to specific ages or specific ailments, they are all quite similar, and all quite poor

Hill’s Science Diet product line includes 37 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.

  • Hill’s Science Diet Urinary Care Chicken (M)
  • Hill’s Science Diet Hairball Control Chicken (M)
  • Hill’s Science Diet Perfect Weight Roasted Vegetable & Chicken (M)
  • Hill’s Science Diet Sensitive Stomach & Skin Chicken & Vegetable (M)
  • Hill’s Science Diet Perfect Weight Liver & Chicken (M)
  • Hill’s Science Diet Hairball Control Ocean Fish (M)
  • Hill’s Science Diet Sensitive Stomach & Skin Tuna & Vegetable (M)
  • Hill’s Science Diet Adult 7+ Savory Chicken (M)
  • Hill’s Science Diet Adult 1-6 Savory Chicken (M)
  • Hill’s Science Diet Adult 1-6 Tender Chicken (M)
  • Hill’s Science Diet Adult 1-6 Tender Tuna (M)
  • Hill’s Science Diet Adult 1-6 Savory Salmon (M)
  • Hill’s Science Diet Adult 1-6 Tender Ocean Fish (M)
  • Hill’s Science Diet Kitten Tender Chicken (G)
  • Hill’s Science Diet Adult 7+ Tender Turkey (M)
  • Hill’s Science Diet Adult 1-6 Savory Turkey (M)
  • Hill’s Science Diet Adult 7+ Tender Tuna (M)
  • Hill’s Science Diet Adult 7+ Savory Beef (M)
  • Hill’s Science Diet Kitten Liver & Chicken (G)
  • Hill’s Science Diet Indoor Adult 1-6 Ocean Fish (M)
  • Hill’s Science Diet Adult 1-6 Liver & Chicken (M)
  • Hill’s Science Diet Kitten Savory Salmon (G)
  • Hill’s Science Diet Adult 7+ Tender Chicken (M)
  • Hill’s Science Diet Adult 1-6 Turkey & Live (M)
  • Hill’s Science Diet Kitten Savory Turkey (G)
  • Hill’s Science Diet Adult 1-6 Ocean Fish (M)
  • Hill’s Science Diet Adult 1-6 Savory Beef (M)
  • Hill’s Science Diet Youthful Vitality 7+ Salmon & Vegetable (M)
  • Hill’s Science Diet Youthful Vitality 7+ Chicken & Vegetable (M)
  • Hill’s Science Diet Youthful Vitality 7+ Tuna & Vegetable (M)
  • Hill’s Science Diet Youthful Vitality 7+ Chicken & Vegetable (M)
  • Hill’s Science Diet Healthy Cuisine 1-6 Chicken & Rice (M)
  • Hill’s Science Diet Healthy Cuisine Kitten Chicken & Rice (G)
  • Hill’s Science Diet Healthy Cuisine 11+ Tuna & Carrot (M)
  • Hill’s Science Diet Healthy Cuisine 1-6 Tuna & Carrot (M)
  • Hill’s Science Diet Healthy Cuisine 1-6 Salmon & Spinach (M)
  • Hill’s Science Diet Healthy Cuisine 7+ Chicken & Rice (M)

hills science diet wet

Hill’s Science Diet Perfect Weight Adult Roasted Vegetable & Chicken Medley was selected to represent the other products in the line for this review.

Hill's Science Diet Perfect Weight Adult Roasted Vegetable & Chicken Medley

Wet Cat Food

Estimated Nutrient Content

Method

Protein

Fat

Carbs

Guaranteed Analysis

6%

1.8%

NA

Dry Matter Basis

39%

12%

33%

Calorie Weighted Basis

38%

29%

33%

Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content

39%
Protein
12%
Fat
33%
Carbs

Fiber (guaranteed analysis):

3.5%

Calories/100g:

77

Is real, named meat the first ingredient?

Yes

INGREDIENTS: Chicken Broth, Pork Liver, Carrots, Chicken, Spinach, Wheat Gluten, Rice Starch, Powdered Cellulose, Rice, Flaxseed, Dried Tomato Pomace, Chicken Liver Flavor, Coconut Oil, Potassium Alginate, Calcium Chloride, Dicalcium Phosphate, Natural Flavor, Calcium Lactate, Calcium Gluconate, Disodium Phosphate, Guar Gum, Choline Chloride, L-Lysine, Taurine, vitamins (Vitamin E Supplement, Thiamine Mononitrate, L-Ascorbyl-2-Polyphosphate (source of Vitamin C), Ascorbic Acid (source of Vitamin C), Niacin Supplement, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Calcium Pantothenate, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Riboflavin Supplement, Biotin, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Folic Acid), Iodized Salt, Sodium Tripolyphosphate, L-Carnitine, minerals (Zinc Oxide, Ferrous Sulfate, Manganese Sulfate, Copper Sulfate, Calcium Iodate), Beta-Carotene.

Ingredients in red are controversial or of questionable quality.

Ingredient Breakdown

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

Instead of using water for processing, chicken broth is added for moisture.

Broth may contain vitamins and nutrients from the original animal (chicken, in this case), that water would lack.

This is usually a sign of a high quality food.

The second ingredient is pork liver. OK, but with reservations.

Liver is a high quality organ meat that cats would typically eat in the wild to get protein and important micronutrients.

Pork is not an animal cats would eat in the wild, but overall this is likely a fine addition to the recipe.

The third ingredient is carrots. Good.

The beta carotene in carrots turns into vitamin A, which is a useful antioxidant compound.

However, cats can’t turn much beta carotene into vitamin A like we can, so much of it is stored for growth or cell reprouction.

Therefore, carrots are most useful for kittens or senior cats.

The fourth ingredient 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 fifth ingredient is spinach. OK, but with reservations.

Now, cats obviously don’t need to eat a lot of greens.

However, it’s unlikely there’s much spinach in here.

Spinach provides a variety of quality minerals and nutrients.

However, it also contains calcium oxalate, which can cause crystals to form in your cat’s urinary tract, which is of course not good for your kitty.

It’s unlikely this small amount will harm your cat, but if she has urinary or kidney problems to begin with, you may want to play it safe and avoid foods with spinach.

The sixth ingredient is wheat gluten. Bad.

According to Wikipedia, wheat gluten is “made by washing wheat flour dough with water until all the starch granules have been removed, leaving the sticky insoluble gluten as an elastic mass which is then cooked before being eaten.”

It’s a popular ingredient in a vegan diet, because you can use it to make a high-protein, meat-like food called seitan.

As an ingredient in a cat food, though, it misses the mark.

It is used to boost the crude protein numbers, without having to add more meat (meat is expensive for manufacturers).

It comes from a grain, and cats don’t eat grains in the wild. We believe this is not an appropriate ingredient.

Check out TruthAboutPetFood.com for more info on the subject.

The seventh ingredient is rice starch. Bad.

Rice starch is usually used as a gelling agent. Rice is a carbohydrate that is not great for cats.

It may be slightly better than corn in some areas, but rice is simply not biologically appropriate for cats.

It is a filler ingredient.

Studies hypothesize that rice may decrease taurine absorption in cats, leading to taurine deficiency, a dangerous ailment.

The eighth ingredient is powdered cellulose. Bad.

This is a filler high in insoluble fiber.

It’s typically just wood pulp (sawdust) from pine trees.

Too much insoluble fiber can interfere with digestion and inhibit protein and nutrient uptake.

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.

Another unnecessary rice ingredient, it is a cheap filler that may lead to digestive upset.

Dried tomato pomace is also included. 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.

Guar gum comes from guar beans, and is a thickening agent.

In small quantities, like those in cat food, it should be a harmless ingredient.

However, some research has shown that including guar gum in a commercial cat food “had a significant negative effect on apparent protein digestibility in many of the cats and tended to depress apparent fat and energy digestibilities.”

While not heavily substantiated beyond this study, it might mean your cat needs to eat more protein to make up for the lower digestibility.

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 Hill’s Science Diet Wet Cat Food

From top to bottom, this is a below average wet food.

Meat is the first ingredient in most recipes.

But there are many fillers used, which boost the carbohydrates levels to an unacceptable amount, and decrease the protein levels.

These are both unhealthy things when it comes to cat food.

Carbohydrate levels should be much lower, and protein much higher.

This is NOT a good example of a wet food you should be feeding your cat.

Since it’s clear that plant products make up too much of this food, we can assume that this is a mostly plant-based food, which is not ideal for your carnivorous feline’s dietary needs.

To review, on a dry matter basis, this food is 39% protein, 12% fat, and 33% 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 27%.

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 the filler ingredients are low quality and cause there to be too many carbs and not enough protein, our rating for this brand is 2 stars.

Not recommended.

Hill’s 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 Hill’s brand in the past:

  • May 2016 – High iron levels – UK and Russian products affected
  • November 2015 (“Withdrawal”, not Recall) – Labeling issues – Multiple dog recipes affected
  • June 2014 – Possible salmonella – 1 recipe affected
  • April 2007 – Melamine – 1 recipe affected
  • March 2007 – Melamine – Multiple cat 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 Hill’s Science Diet Wet 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. 

Not Convinced?

Check out our ratings and reviews of the best cat foods in our comprehensive, data-backed guide right here.

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Curt Storring
 

Curt is the founder and editor of Catological. He believes natural solutions are better than the alternative, and believes cats should eat a biologically-appropriate, protein-rich, low-carb diet. He's determined to bring you the best, most accurate information and product recommendations so you can help your cat live it's best life by providing it with the things it needs to be happy, healthy, and environmentally friendly.

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