Boreal Cat Food Review

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Our Review Process

Our reviews are based on extensive research and, when possible, hands-on testing. Each time you make a purchase through one of our independently-chosen links, we’ll receive a percentage of the proceeds. Read more about how we’re supported here.

Boreal cat food is made in Canada. The company uses Canadian ingredients as much as possible. Most of their foods use a single protein source and low glycemic index carbohydrates. Learn more about Boreal cat food in our unbiased review.

The We’re All About Cats Standard – Rating Boreal Cat Food on What Matters

We have analyzed Boreal cat food and rated it according to our standards here at We’re All About Cats. Our grades are based on the species-appropriateness of the food, the quality of the ingredients, product variety, price, customer experience, and recall history. You can read more about our ratings here.

Here are our ratings for Boreal in these key areas:

Ratings

  • Species-Appropriateness – 7/10
  • Ingredient Quality – 8/10
  • Product Variety – 8/10
  • Price – 7/10
  • Customer Experience – 8/10
  • Recall History – 9/10

Overall Score: 7.8/10

We give Boreal cat food a 47 out of 60 rating (78.33) or a B+/A- grade.

About Boreal

According to Boreal, the company has been working in the field of pet nutrition for some 30 years. We couldn’t pin down an exact date for when the company started.

Boreal uses mainly Canadian ingredients in their pet foods. Most of their foods use a single source of protein. They also “lean heavily” on peas and beans, along with antioxidants and a prebiotic package for taste and digestive and health concerns.

The company states that they are trying to reduce the “wrong” kind of carbohydrates and focus on low glycemic index (GI) starches. They think this will keep our pet feeling full longer and keep blood sugar levels fro spiking.

They also use Availa®Pet, an easily absorbed trace mineral package containing zinc, iron and manganese in all of their pet foods for its health benefits.

Boreal states that their diets are similar to the ancestral diets of cats and dogs that inhabited arboreal forest regions in North America ages ago.

The company has headquarters in Ontario, Canada.

Sourcing And Manufacturing

Boreal’s dry foods are made in Ontario. These foods use green whole peas and northern white beans that are grown in Canada’s prairie provinces and in southern Ontario.

The meats used in their dry foods come from Canadian-raised chicken, turkey, duck, and sustainable salmon farms. Their lamb is imported from Australia.

Boreal’s wet foods are made from sustainable sea products raised in British Columbia and Thailand. Some of their canned foods are produced in Thailand.

Boreal provides descriptions and definitions of their ingredients (in detail) on their web site.

Has Boreal Cat Food Been Recalled?

We didn’t find any recalls for Boreal pet foods online. Most records in North America only go back to about 2009 so any recalls prior to that time would be hard to find.

What Kinds Of Food Does Boreal Offer?

We often complain that pet food companies devote more attention to dog foods than cat foods. It’s hard to make that complaint about Boreal. The company has several product lines for cats in both dry and wet formulas. Their dry foods include a formula for indoor cats and one for senior/less active cats.

They make six dry recipes including “original,” “proper,” and “functional” foods. They make 13 wet food recipes.

Their foods come in a wide range of meat proteins, and grain-free and grain-inclusive formulas. All of their recipes are potato-free. The grain-free formulas are also gluten-free. All of their cat foods contain organic zinc. Boreal also says that they are low carb and use peas and beans.

Dry Food

Canned Food

Boreal Cat Food Review

#1 Boreal Cobb Chicken, Canadian Duck & Atlantic Salmon Review

Buy on HomesAlivePets

Like some other Canadian-made pet foods, such as Orijen and Acana, Boreal suggests that pets should be fed a diet that is similar to their ancestors. Evidence suggests that this kind of diet doesn’t really work for dogs. Over the last 10,000-15,000 years, the canine digestive system has evolved to be different from that of the wolf. Dogs have even developed some of the same enzymes that humans have so they can digest starches.

Cats, on the other hand, have not been domesticated nearly as long as dogs. Their digestive system hasn’t adapted in the same way as the dog’s digestive system. Cats today still have a relatively short digestive tract. They remain obligate carnivores, needing large amounts of meat protein in their daily diet. They prefer less fat and fewer carbohydrates in their diet.

That’s why some of the cat foods based on ancestral diets do seem to work for cats, such as Boreal.

Grain free pet foods have been popular for nearly twenty years. These foods started out as niche foods for pets who were actually allergic to certain grains. With their success, pet food companies expanded them, realizing that peas and other legumes could be substituted for meat protein at less cost.

If you’re wondering why good Canadian pet foods seem to pack peas and beans into their foods, it might be because Canada is one of the largest producers of pulse crops in the world. Pulse crops include lentils, dry beans, dry peas, chickpeas, and other legumes, many of which find their ways into pet foods.

Lots of important crops are grown in Canada but we can’t overlook the fact that many pet food companies sit in the middle of one of the capitals of the world when it comes to pulse crops. Peas and other legumes seem to appear in every kind of pet food whether pets really need them or not.

Consider Boreal Cobb Chicken, Canadian Duck & Atlantic Salmon canned food, for example. This food has 95 percent protein from meat and fish. It’s formulated to have few carbs/starches.

This food is made in Canada and it’s free of gums and glutens. It’s also grain-free and potato-free. The chicken and duck are farm-raised in Canada The fish is farm-raised Atlantic salmon. It contains no cereals, grains, artificial colors, or thickeners. Boreal uses Availa®Pet so the trace minerals are easily absorbed. It is specially formulated and more bio-available than other forms of zinc, iron, and manganese which contribute to weight gain in kittens, bone development, skin health and coat quality, and joint maintenance and repair.

Chicken, salmon, and duck appear in the first four ingredients. These are all good sources of protein for your cat.

On the down side, beans and peas are the fifth and sixth ingredients. Whole green peas are the eighth ingredient. Pea fiber also appears later in the ingredient list. That’s a lot of peas/beans in a can of cat food. Boreal states that they use pea starch as a thickener in the food but this amount of peas/beans goes well beyond simply using it as a starch. It suggests that the peas/beans are being used as a source of plant-based protein in the food which is not something typically found in a cat’s diet, now or for your cat’s ancestors.

Many canned cat foods today are grain-free without using a lot of peas and beans.

According to the company, their goal is to help lower your cat’s risk of unwanted weight gain. By our reckoning, this recipe has about 42 calories per 2.4 ounces (about 21 calories per ounce). This is fewer calories than many good quality cat foods.

Boréal cat food is formulated to meet the nutritional levels established by the AAFCO cat food nutrient profiles for all life stages. Boréal cat food is a complete diet.

Overall, Boreal Cobb Chicken, Canadian Duck & Atlantic Salmon cat food appears to use good, Canadian-made ingredients. It contains good meat and fish protein. However, a portion of the food is made up of plant-based protein. You will need to consider whether or not this bothers you and your cat.

Calorie Content (ME Calculated): Contains 387 kcals per 369 gram can (13 ounces); 164 kcals per 156 gram can (5.5 ounces); 84 kcals per 80 gram can (2.8 ounces); 105 kcals per 100 gram can

Ingredients

Composition: Chicken, Chicken Broth, Salmon, Duck, Beans, Peas, Whole Egg, Whole Green Peas, Lecithin, Calcium Carbonate, Flaxseed, Choline Chloride, Monosodium Phosphate,vegetable Oil, Salt, Dl-methionine, Yucca Schidigera Extract, Pea Fiber, Dried Blueberries, Dried Blackberries, Dried Apples, Dried Pomegranate, Dried Cranberries, Taurine, L-ascorbyl-2-polyphosphate (Source Of Vitamin C), Zinc Amino Acid Complex, Vitamin E Supplement, Ferrous Sulfate, Iron Amino Acid Complex, Zinc Sulfate, Niacin Supplement, Thiamine Mononitrate, Copper Proteinate, Vitamin A Supplement, Sodium Selenite, Manganese Sulfate, Manganese Amino Acid Complex, D-calcium Pantothenate, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Riboflavin Supplement, Biotin, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Calcium Iodate, Folic Acid.

Guaranteed Analysis

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Crude Protein: 8%
Crude Fat: 7.5%
Crude Fiber: 1%
Moisture: 78%
Ash: 1.1%

Dry Matter Basis

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Protein: 36.36%
Fat: 34.09%
Fiber: 4.55%
Carbs: 20%

Caloric Weight Basis

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Protein: 26.13%
Fat: 59.5%
Carbs: 14.37%

Ingredients We Liked: Chicken, chicken broth, salmon, duck

Ingredients We Didn’t Like: Beans, peas, whole green peas, salt, pea fiber

Common Allergens: Chicken and fish (salmon) can be allergens for some cats

Pros

  • Chicken, salmon, and duck are good protein sources for cats
  • Made in Canada in new state-of-the-art facility
  • Cans are pop-top, stackable and are BPA and Epoxy free

Cons

  • Beans and peas (plant-based protein) are not a normal source of food for cats

#2 Boreal Proper Chicken Meal Low Carb Grains Review

Buy on Borealpetfood.com

If you are looking for a low-carbohydrate dry cat food, Boreal Proper Chicken Meal Low Carb Grains might be a food to consider. Although it does contain some grains, they are healthy, complex grains that are low on the glycemic index. The food has limited carbohydrates overall and no potatoes.

Boreal Proper Chicken Meal Low Carb dry cat food uses chicken raised in Canada (80 percent) and contains 15 percent grains – brown rice, steel cut oats, dehulled barley. These are perfectly healthy, complex whole grains that provide fiber and other nutrients. Most cats should be able to eat them in this small amount. The food also contains herring meal. So, while this recipe isn’t quite a single source of animal protein, it’s close.

The grains used in this food are lower in carbohydrates. The oats and barley used are also locally-sourced. Along with being low glycemic, they also provide fiber and a small amount of protein.

Boreal uses Availa®Pet as a source of minerals to make them easier for your cat to digest. These are North American-made minerals.

Boreal Proper Chicken Meal Low Carb Grains can be a good daily diet for your cat to help maintain his health and weight.

Calorie Content (ME Calculated): 3510 kcal/kg; 430 kcal/cup

Ingredients

Composition:Chicken Meal, Brown Rice, Steel Cut Oats, Dehulled Barley, Chicken Fat (Naturally Preserved With Vitamin E), Herring Meal, Apple Pomace, Hydrolyzed Chicken Protein, Natural Chicken Flavor, Whole Flaxseed, Salt, Potassium Chloride, Dl-methionine, Choline Chloride, Taurine, Whole Chia Seed, Vitamin E Supplement, Zinc Amino Acid Complex, Niacin Supplement, Folic Acid, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Copper Sulfate, Iron Amino Acid Complex, Manganese Amino Acid Complex, Vitamin A Supplement, Selenium, Riboflavin, Calcium Pantothenate Supplement, Biotin Supplement, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Calcium Iodate.

Guaranteed Analysis

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Crude Protein: 32%
Crude Fat: 15%
Crude Fiber: 3.5%
Moisture: 10%
Ash: 7.5%

Dry Matter Basis

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Protein: 35.56%
Fat: 16.67%
Fiber: 3.89%
Carbs: 35.56%

Caloric Weight Basis

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Protein: 31.86%
Fat: 36.27%
Carbs: 31.86%

Ingredients We Liked: Chicken meal, herring meal, chicken fat

Ingredients We Didn’t Like: Salt

Common Allergens: Chicken and fish (herring) can be allergens for some cats. Oats are unlikely to be an allergen but they can be cross-contaminated with wheat occasionally, in case your cat is allergic to wheat.

Pros

  • Chicken and herring are good sources of protein for cats
  • Brown rice, steel cut oats, and dehulled barley are healthy sources of complex grains
  • This recipe is low in carbohydrates compared to many dry cat foods

Cons

  • This food is not a single source of animal protein (chicken) since it does contain herring.

#3 Boreal Red Tuna With Gravy Review

Buy on Borealpetfood.com

While Boreal is known for using Canadian ingredients as much as possible, they also have a line of canned cat foods that feature red tuna from Thailand. These foods come in single-serving cans. They are made with dark muscle red tuna meat. They are free of grains, cereals, artificial colors, and added salt.

Boreal’s canned cat foods are made with 95 percent meat and they are formulated to have very low carbohydrates to reduce the risk of undesirable weight gain – a problem many cats today face. They are also low in phosphorus and sodium.

All of Boreal’s wet cat food recipes are complete foods formulated to meet AAFCO nutrient profiles for the maintenance of adult cats.

If you are concerned about canned cat food produced in Thailand, facilities there commonly produce cat food for food that is sold in the European Union which has very high standards. The facility that produces Boreal’s canned cat food also produces food for humans. Their processing methods meet international human grade food standards and they adhere to strict international certified labor laws and fishing practice methods.

All the catches of ocean fish have been safe for turtles and dolphins. All seafood ingredients come from certified suppliers, free of child labor.

In terms of ingredients, tuna is the first and main ingredient, followed by tuna broth. Other than vitamins and chelated minerals (which are better absorbed), the food only contains sunflower oil, xanthan gum, and tapioca starch. Many people would prefer to have xanthan gum and tapioca starch instead of other kinds of thickeners in their cat’s food. Xanthan gum is frequently used in gluten-free baking, as is tapioca starch.

Cans are available in 355gm (12.5 oz), 156gm (5.5 oz) and 80gm (2.8 oz).

Calorie Content (ME Calculated): 105kcal per 100 grams (3.5 ounces)

Ingredients

Composition: Tuna, Tuna Broth, Sunflower Oil, Tricalcium Phosphate, Xanthan Gum, Tapioca Starch, Vitamins (Ascorbic Acid (Source Of Vitamin C), Thiamine Mononitrate, Riboflavin Supplement, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Vitamin E Supplement, Folic Acid, D-calcium Pantothenate, Vitamin A Supplement, Niacin Supplement, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Biotin Supplement,), Choline Chloride, Potassium Chloride, Taurine, Minerals (Copper Amino Acid Chelate, Manganese Amino Acid Chelate, Iron Amino Acid Chelate, Zinc Amino Acid Chelate, Potassium Iodide)

Guaranteed Analysis

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Crude Protein: 15%
Crude Fat: 2%
Crude Fiber: 4%
Moisture: 78.5%
Ash: 2%

Dry Matter Basis

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Protein: 69.77%
Fat: 9.3%
Fiber: 18.6%

Caloric Weight Basis

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Protein: 75.54%
Fat: 24.46%

Ingredients We Liked: Tuna

Ingredients We Didn’t Like: Some people don’t like sunflower oil in cat foods because it is a plant-based oil

Common Allergens: Fish, such as tuna, can be an allergen for some cats

Pros

  • Tuna is a good source of protein for cats; and it’s high in omega-3 fatty acids which are good for a cat’s skin, coat, and heart
  • This recipe is low in carbohydrates
  • Contains no grains, cereals, legumes, artificial colors, or added salt

Cons

  • Some cats can be allergic to fish
  • Sunflower oil is a plant-based oil so it is higher in omega-6 fatty acids which some people don’t like
  • Xanthan gum can be irritating to the digestion of some pets

What Do Customers Think Of Boreal Cat Food?

Most of the customer reviews we found come from Homesalive.ca in Canada. We only found a few negative comments and they weren’t very negative.

Positive Review

Our crazy cats like it! 

Our 2 farm cats, the hobo cat who has moved in uninvited AND my Mom’s indoor cat all apparently like this food because we’re oftening refilling feeders! They seem healthy and happy on it. The longhaired one in particular looks to have an extra silky coat since I added this kibble to the rotation. – by Carrie V. reviewing Boréal Original Cat Food – Chicken on 12 Apr 2021

Love it. Quality ingredients

My cats love it. I give it to my black cat because she had IBD and it lessens her symptoms. The B vitamins help her with managing the condition. It also has prebiotics and she loves it. This gets mixed with royal canin dental cause both my cats love each and they will fight if one gets one type and the other gets the other. My wife lived in the US.

A and her cat was on blackwood farm cat food. So our black cat is a bit spoiled by food quality but it helps her IBD and the quality of food is great. It took a while to find a food that the black cat loved. by Braam C. reviewing Boréal Original Cat Food – Chicken on 10 Jan 2020

Negative Review

Have to mix with other food for cats to eat

Bland looking pate. – by Anita D. reviewing Boréal Canned Cat Food – Cobb Chicken, New Zealand Lamb & Angus Beef on 19 Apr 2021

2 out of 3 cats will eat it

It needs to be stirred and is pretty soupy. 2 cats are happy with it, one won’t eat it. – by Amber R. reviewing Boréal Canned Cat Food – Cobb Chicken & Canadian Duck on 29 Apr 2021

More for less

Love the large can option for a great price. I just wish it had a little more moisture. It sticks to the spoon like glue, making it annoying to get out of the can. – by Alecia P. reviewing Boréal Canned Cat Food – Cobb Chicken & Canadian Duck on 30 Apr 2020

How Much Does Boreal Cat Food Cost?

Boreal cat food is a more expensive cat food in Canada. It starts around $22.99 for the 2.26 kg (5 lb) bag of dry cat food. The 5.4 kg (12 lb) bag of of food is around $50.99. This makes it more expensive than many well-known brands in North America.

We found Boreal canned food for about $4.29 per 13 ounce can. A case of 12 13-ounce cans was priced around $45. Prices may vary depending on where you find the products. Many online retailers currently reported that they were sold out of the canned foods.

Overall, Is Boreal Cat Food A Good Choice?

Yes, Boreal cat food seems like a very good food. Some of the foods may be better than others, depending on whether you like plant-based protein in your cat’s diet. We would give an extra nod to some of the foods that have fewer (or no) peas and beans.

We would compare Boreal cat food to Orijen or Acana foods. Customers frequently compared it to Royal Canin.

How Do You Order Boreal Cat Food?

According to the company, Boreal made a business decision not to sell to the larger retail pet stores. They prefer to sell through independent pet specialty stores. It’s easiest to find Boreal cat foods in Canada at some of these stores. You can also find Boreal on Homesalive.ca.

You can also look for local stores that sell Boreal pet foods on their web site.

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About Carlotta Cooper

Carlotta Cooper is a long-time contributing editor for the weekly dog show magazine DN Dog News. She's the author of The Dog Adoption Bible, a Dog Writers Association of America (DWAA) award winner. In addition, she is an American Kennel Club Gazette breed columnist and the author of several books about dogs and other animals. She has been reviewing pet foods and writing about dog food for more than 10 years.

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