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A commitment to fresh regional ingredients and high-meat formulations have helped make Acana one of the most frequently-recommended pet food brands on the market. But is it a good choice for your cat? Find out in our unbiased Acana cat food review.
The We’re All About Cats Standard—Rating Acana on What Matters
We’ve analyzed Acana and graded it according to the We’re All About Cats standard, evaluating the brand on species-appropriateness, ingredient quality, product variety, price, customer experience, and recall history. Here’s how it rates in each of those six key areas.
- Species-Appropriateness – 7/10
- Ingredient Quality – 9/10
- Product Variety – 5/10
- Price – 7/10
- Customer Experience – 6/10
- Recall History – 6/10
Overall Score: 6.6/10
We give Acana cat food a 40 out of 60 rating or a B- grade.
Acana is a cat and dog food brand created by Champion Petfoods, a Canadian company best known for high-meat, grain-free dry foods made from locally-sourced ingredients.
Champion Petfoods was created in 1985 by Canadian entrepreneur Reinhard Mühlenfeld. Originally a tiny operation serving local Alberta farmers, the company is now Canada’s largest pet food manufacturing company and sells to over 70 countries worldwide.
Champion Petfoods is behind two brands—Orijen and Acana. Compared to Orijen, Acana foods have lower meat content and prices, making it more accessible to buyers on a budget.
Sourcing And Manufacturing
Acana foods are made in Canada and the United States.
Buyers from the United States, Central America, and South America receive Acana food manufactured in the company’s DogStar kitchens located in Kentucky. Those living in Canada, Europe, and Asia buy Acana made in the company’s NorthStar kitchen, which is located in Alberta.
Because of the company’s commitment to fresh regional ingredients, the suppliers and formulations vary based on where it was made.
In this article, we’ll focus on the formulations produced in the company’s DogStar kitchen.
Champion’s DogStar kitchens are centrally located in Kentucky’s farming community, giving them access to fresh regional ingredients. According to the company, most Acana ingredients arrive at the DogStar kitchen within 48 hours of harvest. To store these fresh ingredients, the DogStar kitchens are equipped with 25,000 square feet of cooler space capable of holding over 500,000 pounds of fresh ingredients.
Acana refuses to outsource their manufacturing to co-packers and they don’t manufacture pet food for anyone else.
Has Acana Cat Food Been Recalled?
Prior to 2009, Australian import regulations required all raw or lightly-cooked imported foods undergo gamma irradiation treatment before being sold in stores. Because Orijen foods contain fresh and freeze-dried ingredients, they were subject to this mandatory irradiation treatment.
In 2008, the treatment destroyed more than microbial contaminants in Orijen food. It depleted vitamin A and promoted the formation and spread of free radicals. Combined, these effects led to illness—sometimes fatal illness—in several cats who ate the treated Orijen food.
In 2018, US consumers filed a lawsuit against Acana’s parent company, Champion Petfoods.
The class-action suit alleged that Champion misrepresented their food by failing to disclose the presence of heavy metals and toxins. Testing by the Clean Label Project revealed that both Orijen and Acana foods contained arsenic, BPA, cadmium, mercury, and lead. You may view documentation of those toxins here. The average amount of heavy metals in Orijen and Acana foods fell within the maximum tolerable levels set by the FDA.
What Kinds Of Cat Food Does Acana Offer?
While Acana offers several lines for dogs, their cat food selection is limited to the Regionals line, which includes four recipes.
US-made Acana Regionals foods are inspired by regions of the United States, including Meadowland, Wild Atlantic, Grasslands, and Appalachian Ranch.
The Canadian lineup also includes four recipes, each inspired by regions of western Canada, including Wild Prairie, Pacifica, Grasslands, and Ranchlands.
All Regionals foods are at least 70% meat, half of which is fresh—never frozen, only refrigerated—or raw, which means it was frozen before processing. Muscle meat, organs, and cartilage are included in each recipe in what Acana calls “WholePrey ratios”.
Acana foods are minimally supplemented, containing added zinc, copper, and choline. Other necessary vitamins, minerals, and amino acids are provided by meat, organs, cartilage, and a variety of vegetables, fruits, and botanicals. They appear in the nutrient analysis, but not on the ingredient list.
Acana Cat Food – Top 3 Recipes Reviewed
|Product Name||Food Type||Price per Ounce||Our Grade|
|Acana Regionals Meadowland||Dry||$0.24||B|
|Acana Regionals Grasslands||Dry||$0.26||B|
|Acana Regional Appalachian Ranch||Dry||$0.28||B|
Chicken and chicken liver appear to be the primary protein sources in this dry cat food.
This Acana Regionals recipe is inspired by the meadows of Kentucky and made with ingredients common in the region, including chicken, turkey, catfish, and rainbow trout.
The recipe is 75% meat. Each 12 pound package is made with 9 pounds of animal ingredients. According to Acana, each bag starts with approximately 2 pounds of chicken and chicken liver, 1 ¾ lb turkey and giblets, ¼ lb freshwater catfish, ¼ lb whole nest-laid eggs, and ¼ lb of rainbow trout. In addition to these fresh or raw ingredients, the food is made with 4 ½ lb of dried chicken, catfish, and pollock ingredients.
Unlike other foods that contain only muscle meat, this food is made with muscle meat, organs, and cartilage to deliver whole prey-inspired nutrition.
The remaining 25% of the recipe consists of plant ingredients. The food is made with red and green lentils, pinto beans, peas, and chickpeas. Lentil fiber, butternut squash, whole pumpkin, and traces of other fruits and vegetables are included later on the ingredient list.
The food includes pollock oil and chicken fat as sources of animal fat. It’s supplemented with probiotics, botanicals, and a few added minerals.
Overall, this is a meat-based dry food with moderate protein, high fat, and moderate carbohydrate content.
The food contains 458 calories per cup.
Deboned Chicken, Deboned Turkey, Chicken Liver, Chicken Meal, Catfish Meal, Turkey Giblets, Whole Red Lentils, Whole Pinto Beans, Pollock Meal, Chicken Fat, Whole Green Lentils, Whole Green Peas, Whole Chickpeas, Whole Blue Catfish, Whole Eggs, Rainbow Trout, Pollock Oil, Lentil Fiber, Natural Chicken Flavor, Chicken Cartilage, Turkey Cartilage, Choline Chloride, Whole Pumpkin, Whole Butternut Squash, Mixed Tocopherols (Preservative), Dried Kelp, Zinc Proteinate, Kale, Spinach, Mustard Greens, Collard Greens, Turnip Greens, Whole Carrots, Whole Apples, Whole Pears, Freeze-dried Chicken Liver, Freeze-dried Turkey Liver, Pumpkin Seeds, Sunflower Seeds, Niacin, Thiamine Mononitrate, Copper Proteinate, Chicory Root, Turmeric, Sarsaparilla Root, Althea Root, Rosehips, Juniper Berries, Dried Lactobacillus Acidophilus Fermentation Product, Dried Bifidobacterium Animalis Fermentation Product, Dried Lactobacillus Casei Fermentation Product.
Dry Matter Basis
Caloric Weight Basis
Ingredients We Liked: Deboned Chicken, Deboned Turkey, Chicken Liver, Turkey Giblets, Chicken Fat, Whole Eggs, Pollock Oil, Chicken Cartilage, Turkey Cartilage
Ingredients We Didn’t Like: Whole Red Lentils, Whole Pinto Beans, Whole Green Lentils, Whole Green Peas, Whole Chickpeas
Common Allergens: Chicken, Eggs, Fish
- Primarily made from animal ingredients
- Contains muscle meat, organs, and cartilage
- Low in carbohydrates compared to other dry foods
- Free of artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives
- High in plant inclusions
Deboned lamb and duck appear to be the primary protein sources in this dry cat food.
Acana Regionals Grasslands is inspired by the grasslands of the American Southeast and Midwest, featuring meat, organs, cartilage, and fat from animals commonly found in the region. These include lamb, duck, rainbow trout, and quail sourced from Kentucky, Idaho, and South Carolina.
The food is 75% meat, game, and fish. Half of those animal ingredients are fresh or raw according to Acana’s definitions. The remaining half are dried ingredients or oils.
In each 12 pound package of Acana Grasslands, there are 9 pounds of animal ingredients, including 1 ¼ lb lamb meat, tripe, and liver, 1 ¼ lb duck, duck giblets, and liver, an entire pound of whole eggs, ⅔ lb rainbow trout, and ⅓ lb free-run quail. These ingredients appear in what Acana calls WholePrey™ ratios with quantities of meat, organs, and cartilage inspired by a cat’s natural prey-based diet.
In addition to meat, the food is 25% fruits, vegetables, and botanicals. Meat and meat meals account for the first six ingredients, followed by a series of legumes. These include green peas, red lentils, and pinto beans. Later in the ingredient list are chickpeas, green lentils, and whole yellow peas.
The recipe contains trace amounts of fruits, vegetables, and botanicals including dried kelp, whole pumpkin, kale, spinach, mustard greens, and apples. The food is enhanced with probiotics and supplemental minerals.
Overall, this is a meat-based dry food with moderate protein, high fat, and moderate carbohydrate content.
Each cup of Acana Grasslands contains 454 calories.
Deboned Lamb, Deboned Duck, Whole Eggs, Lamb Meal, Catfish Meal, Goat Meal, Whole Green Peas, Red Lentils, Pinto Beans, Rainbow Trout, Lamb Fat, Chickpeas, Green Lentils, Whole Yellow Peas, Herring Oil, Quail, Duck Meal, Lentil Fiber, Natural Lamb Flavor, Lamb Tripe, Lamb Liver, Lamb Kidney, Duck Giblets (Liver, Heart, Kidney), Duck Cartilage, Dried Kelp, Whole Pumpkin, Whole Butternut Squash, Kale, Spinach, Mustard Greens, Collard Greens, Turnip Greens, Carrots, Apples, Pears, Freeze-dried Lamb Liver, Freeze-dried Duck Liver, Pumpkin Seeds, Sunflower Seeds, Choline Chloride, Zinc Proteinate, Copper Proteinate, Mixed Tocopherols (Preservative), Chicory Root, Turmeric, Sarsaparilla Root, Althea Root, Rosehips, Juniper Berries, Dried Lactobacillus Acidophilus Fermentation Product, Dried Bifidobacterium Animalis Fermentation Product, Dried Lactobacillus Casei Fermentation Product.
Dry Matter Basis
Caloric Weight Basis
Ingredients We Liked: Deboned Lamb, Deboned Duck, Whole Eggs, Lamb Fat, Herring Oil, Quail, Lamb Tripe, Lamb Liver, Lamb Kidney, Duck Giblets, Duck Cartilage
Ingredients We Didn’t Like: Whole Green Peas, Red Lentils, Pinto Beans, Chickpeas, Green Lentils, Whole Yellow Lentils
Common Allergens: Eggs, Fish
- Rich in nourishing animal protein
- Features a prey-inspired mix of muscle meat, organs, and cartilage
- Free of artificial additives
- High in plant content
Beef, beef liver, and beef tripe appear to be the primary protein sources in this dry cat food.
This food is rich in meats from ranches, farms, and lakes in Kentucky and the Appalachian region. It’s 75% meat with 9 pounds of animal ingredients in every 12 pound bag. Each bag contains 1 ½ lb beef, beef liver, and beef tripe, 1 lb of pork meat, pork liver, and pork kidney, 1 lb of lamb, liver, and tripe, ½ lb of American bison, and ½ lb of freshwater catfish.
Half of the animal ingredients are fresh or raw, while the remaining half consists of dehydrated meat meals or oils. The recipe includes muscle meat, organs, and cartilage in what Acana calls WholePrey™ ratios reflective of the natural feline diet.
The ingredient list starts with beef, pork, lamb, beef meal, lamb meal, and pork meal before listing a few legumes. The food contains whole green peas, red lentils, pinto beans, chickpeas, and yellow peas. It’s made with a handful of trace vegetables and fruits, including pumpkin, butternut squash, kale, spinach, and turnip greens.
It contains herring oil as a species-appropriate source of omega-3 fatty acids and is supplemented with probiotics, botanicals, and minerals.
Overall, this meat-based food has moderate levels of protein, high fat, and moderate carbohydrates. There are 454 calories in each cup of Acana Regionals Appalachian Ranch cat food.
Deboned Beef, Deboned Pork, Deboned Lamb, Beef Meal, Lamb Meal, Pork Meal, Whole Green Peas, Red Lentils, Pinto Beans, Beef Liver, Beef Fat, Catfish Meal, Chickpeas, Green Lentils, Whole Yellow Peas, Deboned Bison, Whole Catfish, Herring Oil, Natural Pork Flavor, Lentil Fiber, Beef Tripe, Lamb Tripe, Lamb Liver, Pork Liver, Beef Kidney, Pork Kidney, Pork Cartilage, Dried Kelp, Whole Pumpkin, Whole Butternut Squash, Kale, Spinach, Mustard Greens, Collard Greens, Turnip Greens, Carrots, Apples, Pears, Freeze-dried Beef Liver, Freeze-dried Lamb Liver, Freeze-dried Pork Liver, Pumpkin Seeds, Sunflower Seeds, Choline Chloride, Zinc Proteinate, Copper Proteinate, Mixed Tocopherols (Preservative), Chicory Root, Turmeric, Sarsaparilla Root, Althea Root, Rosehips, Juniper Berries, Dried Lactobacillus Acidophilus Fermentation Product, Dried Bifidobacterium Animalis Fermentation Product, Dried Lactobacillus Casei Fermentation Product.
Dry Matter Basis
Caloric Weight Basis
Ingredients We Liked: Deboned Beef, Deboned Pork, Deboned Lamb, Beef Liver, Beef Fat, Deboned Bison, Herring Oil, Beef Tripe, Lamb Tripe, Lamb Liver, Pork Liver, Beef Kidney, Pork Kidney, Pork Cartilage, Probiotics
Ingredients We Didn’t Like: Whole Green Peas, Red Lentils, Pinto Beans, Chickpeas, Green Lentils, Whole Yellow Peas
Common Allergens: Beef, Fish
- Rich in animal ingredients
- Contains muscle meat, organs, and cartilage in WholePrey™ ratios
- Free of artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives
- Relatively high in carbohydrates
What Do Customers Think Of Acana Cat Food?
Acana receives mixed reviews. While the brand is generally well-regarded and gets primarily positive reviews, Acana has been hit by criticism since opening their DogStar kitchen in Auburn, Kentucky. Since the transition to the United States manufacturing plant, customers say that Acana foods taste different, look different, and, according to some, make their pets sick.
Here are four reviews from Acana customers:
“When I adopted my cat I wanted to feed her the best cat food out there, so I Googled Best Cat Food and Acana popped up. After a few weeks her coat was shiny and she looked healthier then when I adopted her. Even the vet said her coat was shiny and soft. Healthier food, healthier cat!” – Donna Brown, reviewing Acana Regionals Grasslands Cat Food
“I have been feeding it to our two cats for about a month and the oldest cat of 12 years, acts like she did when she was 5. More energy, fur not as oily, more alert…. I always looked at reviews that said what I just said as being a bit over-hyped but it’s true, just like with people, you eat better, you look better and you feel better. This is the best cat food we have ever tried and both cats love it. It has always been a challenge to find a food that BOTH of them like equally. Side note: We initially mixed it with their old food but they ended up not eating the old food, they just left it in the bowl. The food has a long expiration date so don’t be afraid to save some money and get the 12lb bag. We store the excess in air-tight Tupperware type containers.” – Vespasian, reviewing Acana Regionals Meadowland
“Something has been wrong with both of our cats since we switched to this food. They’ve had bloody diarrhea, have become picky eaters, are shedding more and are pooping like crazy. A high-quality food shouldn’t have them visiting the litter box 3x a day and filling it up – or pooping so much that they’ve started going on the floor. When we transitioned them to this food we did so slowly and properly and followed the feeding guidelines (not to over-feed). It has not worked. Since switching to a different food they’re back to normal. The thing is, when we lived in Canada we fed our cats Orijen and they were fine. Now that we live in the US it seems their American product is not up to the same standard.” – John Smith, reviewing Acana Appalachian Ranch
“Not cool. I’ve bought 4 of these bags now, and this one – the 4th – is all of a sudden making my cat sick as hell at both ends. I took the cat off this food, and sickness gone. Put cat back on just a little bit and BOOM there we are again. I’m going to request a refund and hopefully no other cats get sick from this same batch but something went very wrong and I’ll NOT be spending this much money on this brand anymore.” – Kyle S., reviewing Acana Regionals Grasslands
How Much Does Acana Cat Food Cost?
Acana is a moderately-priced cat food brand. According to the company’s feeding guidelines for an 11-lb cat, Acana costs about $0.64 to $0.75 per day. This puts Acana in the same price bracket as Merrick Backcountry, Taste of the Wild, and Wellness CORE grain-free dry cat food.
For those weighing Acana against its meatier and more expensive sibling, it’s about 20% cheaper than Orijen, saving you about $87 per year.
Overall, Is Acana A Good Choice?
Acana is one of the best dry cat food brands on the market. Acana’s unusually high meat inclusions, use of muscle meat, organs, and cartilage in WholePrey™ ratios, and relatively low carbohydrate content sets it apart from other kibble brands.
But Acana isn’t without its flaws. Although they offer a line of limited ingredient foods for dogs, Acana hasn’t yet launched a Singles line for cats. The brand’s emphasis on varied meat proteins may make it a poor choice for cats with food sensitivities and allergies.
Since Champion Petfoods opened their DogStar kitchen in the United States, the company has received a barrage of customer complaints. These quality control issues aren’t apparent in every bag, nor do they affect every cat, but they’re worth keeping in mind when considering Acana cat food.
Where Is Acana Cat Food Sold?
Both online and off, Acana is exclusively sold through independent pet specialty retailers and veterinary practices.
Both authorized and non-authorized dealers sell Acana. The company claims, however, that authorized retailers provide superior customer service and the Champion Petfoods 100% satisfaction guarantee. Non-authorized dealers include, but aren’t limited to, Chewy/PetSmart, Jet, Walmart, and eBay.
About the author
Mallory Crusta is a writer and adventurecat enthusiast on a mission to make cats’ lives extraordinary. She’s one of the founders of Wildernesscat – a site for happy, healthy, and adventurous cats who are fueled by nature. Visit Wildernesscat for radically natural cat nutrition, home remedies, and lifestyle inspiration.