Horizon Cat Food (Dry) Review And Nutritional Analysis
- 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:
- Meat is the first ingredient
- Horizon Legacy is grain free, Horizon Complete is not – but Legacy is not all that much better
- Judging by the ingredient list and macronutrient profiles, a fair bit of filler ingredients are used
- Protein is low, carbs are high (not a good combination)
- Includes added vitamins, high-quality, proteinate versions of some minerals, and probiotics
The Horizon 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.
Horizon Legacy Chicken was selected to represent the other products in the line for this review.
Horizon Legacy Chicken
Dry Cat Food
|Estimated Nutrient Content|
|Dry Matter Basis||44%||21%||22%|
|Calorie Weighted Basis||38%||44%||19%|
Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content
Fiber (guaranteed analysis)
Is real, named meat the first ingredient?
Chicken, Chicken Meal, Turkey Meal, Peas, Pea Starch, Chicken Fat (Preserved with Mixed Tocopherols, Source of Vitamin E), Salmon, Salmon Meal, Egg Product, Herring Oil (Preserved with Mixed Tocopherols, Source of Vitamin E), Fructooligosaccharides, Yucca Schidigera Extract, Dried Aspergillus Niger Fermentation Extract, Dried Aspergillus Oryzae Fermentation Extract, Pineapple, Dried Trichoderma Longibrachiatum Fermentation Extract, Dried Rhizopus Oryzae Fermentation Extract, Dried Enterococcus Faecium Fermentation Product, Dried Lactobacillus Casei Fermentation Product, Dried Lactobacillus Acidophilus Fermentation Product, Dried Bifidobacterium Bifidum Fermentation Product, Dried Lactobacillus Plantarum Fermentation Product, Taurine, Vitamin A Acetate, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Vitamin E Supplement, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Riboflavin, Niacin, Folic Acid, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Thiamine Mononitrate, D-Calcium Pantothenate, Biotin, L-Ascorbyl-2-Polyphosphate (Source of Vitamin C), Ferrous Sulphate, Iron Proteinate, Zinc Sulphate, Zinc Proteinate, Manganous Oxide, Manganese Proteinate, Copper Sulphate, Copper Proteinate, Calcium Iodate, Sodium Selenite, Magnesium Oxide.
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 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 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 pea fiber. Bad.
Pea fiber is high in insoluble fiber.
It is not a biologically appropriate ingredient for cats, and is a filler ingredient to boost fiber content.
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.
The seventh ingredient is salmon. OK, but with reservations.
A good source of omega 3 and 6 fatty acids.
Fish oils support the health of the skin, coat, joint, kidneys, heart, and immune system, and may even help with serious illnesses such as cancer.
However, do we not believe cats should be fed a diet high in fish.
Cats may be allergic to fish, fish may contain toxins from contaminated waters, and in the wild, it is not common to find cats who eat fish, even if they live close to water.
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.
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 Horizon Dry Cat Food
From top to bottom, this is an average dry food.
Meat is the first ingredient.
The Legacy line is grain free and has an average amount of protein, so is our preferred pick, though both have quite a lot of carbohydrate fillers.
This is an OK, but not great, example of a dry food you should be feeding your cat.
Since it’s clear that plant products are used extensively, we can assume that this is a mixed meat- and plant-based food, which is not all that ideal for your carnivorous feline’s dietary needs.
To review, on a dry matter basis, this food is 44% protein, 21% fat, and 22% carbs.
As a group, the brand has an average protein content of 40%, and average fat content of 20%, and an average carb content of 26%.
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, the Legacy line has reasonable protein and slightly lower carbs, but overall each line has too many fillers, our rating for this brand is 3 stars.
Horizon 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 Horizon brand in the past:
- We could not find any evidence of a recall in Horizon’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 Horizon Select 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.