Instinct Original Kitten Food (Wet) Review And Nutritional Analysis

Our review process is unbiased and based on extensive research. If you buy through the links on our site, we may earn a commission.

Important Update

As of Feb 24 2022 Nom Nom has discontinued its line of cat food for supply chain reasons. This review is left for historical purposes as well as on the chance that Nom Nom may again restart their cat food line. In the meantime, please check out our other Top Cat Food Choices.


  • Meat is the first ingredient – 1 Star
  • Uses some unnamed meats – 1 Star
  • Above average protein content – 1 Star
  • Less than 4 controversial ingredients – 1 Star
  • Catological Discretionary Rating – 1 Star

Instinct Original Kitten Chicken is one of our top 2 choices for best kitten food.

Here’s a few important points:

  • Packed with high-quality meat ingredients, including organ meat
  • No added fillers
  • Proteinate forms of minerals for better absorption and digestibility
  • Full of important minerals and vitamins that kittens need to thrive

The Instinct Original Kitten product line includes 1 wet 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.

instinct original kitten

Instinct Original Kitten Chicken

Wet Cat Food

Estimated Nutrient Content
Guaranteed Analysis12%6%NA
Dry Matter Basis55%27%5%
Calorie Weighted Basis44%53%4%

Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content







Fiber (guaranteed analysis)




Is real, named meat the first ingredient?



Chicken, Beef Liver, Chicken Broth, Salmon (Source of DHA), Eggs, Montmorillonite Clay, Dried Kelp, Taurine, Potassium Chloride, Salt, Minerals (Iron Proteinate, Zinc Proteinate, Copper Proteinate, Manganese Proteinate, Sodium Selenite, Potassium Iodide), Choline Chloride, Vitamins (Vitamin E Supplement, Thiamine Mononitrate, Niacin Supplement, d-Calcium Pantothenate, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Riboflavin, Supplement, Vitamin A Supplement, Biotin, Vitamin D3, Supplement, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Folic Acid), L-Ascorbyl-2-Polyphosphate, Artichokes, Cranberries, Pumpkin, Tomato, Blueberries, Broccoli, Cabbage, Kale, Parsley

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 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 beef liver. Good.

Liver is an important organ meat that your cat would eat in the wild to get extra protein, vitamins, and minerals.

This is usually a sign of a high quality food.

The third ingredient 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 fourth ingredient is salmon. Good.

Salmon is a quality ingredient in a cat food, though we believe it should not be the leading form of protein.

As a secondary protein, it is a good source of omega 3 and 6 fatty acids, which are vital for a kitten’s development.

Fish oils, found in ingredients like this salmon, support the health of the skin, coat, joint, kidneys, heart, and immune system, and may even help with serious illnesses such as cancer.

The fifth ingredient is eggsGood.

Even though eggs are not meat, they are a highly digestible form of protein.

In fact, they are one of the most complete, bioavailable forms of protein for both humans and cats.

As long as it is not the main protein ingredient, the addition of egg is a quality ingredient.

The sixth ingredient is montmorillonite clay. Good.

This clay is an anti-caking agent, which means it helps stop the food from sticking together.

However, since it’s all natural, it’s a preferable ingredient to many other synthetic products.

It is full of minerals and may help as an anti-diarrhoea treatment.

The seventh ingredient is dried kelp. Good.

Kelp is added as an industry standard source of iodine.

Iodine is an essential nutrient for cats, containing two hormones which are responsible for regulation of the thyroid gland.

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 about.

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.

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 Instinct Original Kitten Wet Food

From top to bottom, this is an above average kitten food.

From the numerous cuts of meat, to the lack of fillers, to the added vitamins and minerals, this just ticks all of the boxes.

This is a fantastic example of the type of food you should be feeding your kitten.

Since this food is almost exclusively meat, we can assume that this is a meat-based cat food.

To review, on a dry matter basis, this food is 55% protein, 27% fat, and 5% carbs.

Compared to the other 2000+ foods in our database, this food has:

  • Above average protein.
  • Above average fat.
  • Below average carbs.

Because it contains almost exclusively quality meat products that are suitable for kittens, our rating for this brand is 5 stars.

Highly recommended.

Instinct 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 Nature’s Variety Instinct brand in the past:

  • July 2015 – Potential for salmonella – 2 recipes affected
  • February 2013 – Foreign body/choking hazard – 2 recipes affected
  • February 2010 – Potential for salmonella – 3 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 Instinct Original Kitten Food

We recommend purchasing your pet products from 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. 

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?!