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We’ve gathered the facts about Health Extension cat food. Read our unbiased review to find out if this brand is a good choice for your cat.
The We’re All About Cats Standard—Rating Health Extension on What Matters
We’ve analyzed Health Extension 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 these six key areas.
- Species-Appropriateness – 5/10
- Ingredient Quality – 7/10
- Product Variety – 7/10
- Price – 9/10
- Customer Experience – 6/10
- Recall History – 10/10
Overall Score: 7.3/10
We give Health Extension cat food a 44 out of 60 rating or a B grade.
About Health Extension
The company behind Health Extension has been making pet food since 1963. Formerly known as Vets Choice, the brand took on a new name and identity in 2015.
As Health Extension, the brand focuses on natural and holistic pet food and promises to keep pets healthy through “super premium ingredients” and a “spectrum of beneficial nutrients in every tasty bite”.
In this article, you’ll get an in-depth look at Health Extension cat food, learning about everything from its safety reputation and ingredient quality to where it’s sold.
Sourcing and Manufacturing
Health Extension’s ingredients are sourced from around the world, including the United States, France, Canada, and New Zealand. None of their ingredients come from China.
If you want more details on ingredient sourcing, visit the Health Extension homepage, where you’ll find an interactive sourcing map.
Most Health Extension cat foods are made in the company’s United States facility, but a few of their canned formulas are manufactured in Thailand.
Has Health Extension cat food been recalled?
It doesn’t appear that Health Extension cat food has ever been subject to a recall.
What kinds of cat food does Health Extension offer?
Health Extension cat food comes in dry and wet varieties.
While they’re all meat-based products, Health Extension foods lean towards the plant-heavy side. Most of them contain peas, grains, or other starchy plant ingredients.
Whether wet, canned, filled with rice, or grain-free, Health Extension foods are supplemented with nutraceuticals and supplements that purportedly support holistic wellbeing. These additives include probiotics, green tea extract, and organic apple cider vinegar.
Health Extension Cat Food – Top 3 Recipes Reviewed
|Product Name||Food Type||Price per Ounce||Our Grade|
|Health Extension Chicken & Brown Rice Recipe||Dry||$0.14||B-|
|Health Extension Grain-Free Turkey & Salmon Recipe||Dry||$0.12||B+|
|Health Extension Grain-Free Chicken & Pumpkin Recipe||Wet||$0.39||B+|
Chicken and chicken meal appear to be the primary protein sources in this dry cat food.
Let’s take a closer look at this popular Health Extension cat food recipe. As its name reveals, this is a dry product featuring chicken and brown rice as primary ingredients.
Analyzing the ingredient list reveals that the food contains a combination of chicken and chicken meal as the first two ingredients, but chicken isn’t the food’s only protein source. It also contains dried egg product and menhaden fish meal. All of these ingredients are nourishing choices for cats.
Just as chicken wasn’t the food’s only protein, brown rice isn’t its only carbohydrate source. The food also contains oatmeal along with a sprinkling of flaxseed, potatoes, and berries.
By containing both chicken fat and herring oil, the food manages to deliver plenty of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids in their most bioavailable form.
Like all Health Extension foods, the kibble gets a boost from a variety of supplemental ingredients. These ingredients contribute prebiotic fiber, probiotic bacteria, and antioxidants. In addition to nutraceuticals, the food contains synthetic vitamins, minerals, and amino acids—essentials that make each meal nutritionally complete.
Overall, this food has moderate protein content, moderate fat, and high carbohydrate content.
A few things set this kibble apart from the crowd, including the use of easy-to-digest protein sources, an emphasis on animal-sourced fat, the inclusion of probiotics, and Health Extension’s decision to skip synthetic colors, flavors, and harmful preservatives.
But it’s still kibble and not one of the best.
Its carbohydrate content is in the neighborhood of 40% on a dry matter basis, spelling out increased diabetes risk and a generally species-inappropriate diet. And with so many of Health Extension’s signature nutraceuticals better suited to a herbivore than an obligate carnivore, the nutritional complexity of this food is all but lost on your meat-eating feline.
The food is relatively calorie-dense at 422 calories per cup.
Chicken, Chicken Meal, Brown Rice, Oatmeal, Dried Egg Product, Chicken Fat (Preserved With Mixed Tocopherols), Flaxseed, Menhaden Fish Meal, Herring Oil (Source Of DHA), Sweet Potato, Cranberries, Blueberries, Tomato Pomace, Taurine, Chicory Root, Barley Malt, Organic Apple Cider Vinegar, Ginger, Green Tea Extract, Biotin, Glucosamine Hydrochloride, Chondroitin Sulfate, Choline Chloride, Zinc Polysaccharide Complex, Iron Amino Acid Chelate, Vitamin E Supplement, Manganese Amino Acid Chelate, Copper Amino Acid Chelate, Niacin Supplement, Vitamin B-12 Supplement, Vitamin A Acetate, Calcium Iodate, Thiamine Hydrochloride, Riboflavin Supplement, Cobalt Proteinate (Source Of Chelated Cobalt), Vitamin D3 Supplement, Folic Acid, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Potassium Iodide, Sodium Selenite, Yucca Schidigera Extract, Dehydrated Kelp, Dried Lactobacillus Acidophilus Fermentation Product, Dried Lactobacillus Casei Fermentation Product, Dried Enterococcus Faecium Fermentation Product, Driedbacillus Subtilis Fermentation Product, Dried Bacillus Licheniformis Fermentation Product, Dried Bacillus Coagulans Fermentation Product, Dried Aspergillus Oryzae Fermentation Product, Dried Aspergillus Niger Fermentation Product.
|Crude Protein||36% min|
|Crude Fat||16% min|
Health Extension Chicken & Brown Rice Recipe Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Breakdown
Ingredients We Liked: Chicken, Chicken Fat, Herring Oil
Ingredients We Didn’t Like: Brown Rice, Oatmeal, Flaxseed, Sweet Potato
Common Allergens: Chicken, Fish, Eggs
- Primarily made from chicken, a nourishing source of easy-to-digest protein
- Contains an array of prebiotics and probiotics for digestive health
- Doesn’t contain any low-value protein sources
- Free of artificial flavors, artificial colors, and potentially-harmful preservatives
- High carbohydrate content
- The food’s low moisture content may contribute to chronic dehydration
Deboned turkey and salmon appear to be the primary protein sources in this dry cat food.
Like the last food we reviewed, this food is a lot more than the two ingredients mentioned in its name. In addition to turkey and salmon, this food contains chicken meal, chickpeas, lentils, and peas. Those legumes help to give the kibble its shape while increasing its protein content. Whole sweet potatoes serve as another kibble binder and a generous source of carbohydrates.
The food contains chicken fat and salmon oil, both of which are nourishing animal fats and great inclusions in your cat’s food. The food also contains coconut oil. While coconut oil’s fatty acid profile makes it a uniquely beneficial fat for people, it’s not very bioavailable for your carnivorous cat.
The food’s brimming with additives. Every bag contains an array of whole carrots, dried seaweed meal, pomegranate, blackberries, whole blueberries, turmeric—the list goes on. This would be an excellent granola, but for an animal optimized for fat and protein metabolism who thrives on nutrients from animal parts, none of this is necessary or necessarily beneficial.
What is beneficial, however, is the food’s use of prebiotics, probiotics, and colostrum.
Like any organism with a microbiome, cats can benefit from probiotic supplementation. Prebiotic fiber from ingredients like chicory root extract helps those probiotic bacteria to thrive. Seldom found in cat food, bovine colostrum is an antibody-rich supplement that may help to ease digestive issues and support immune health.
Overall, this wet food has moderate protein content with moderate fat and high carbohydrate content.
Though its macronutrient distribution doesn’t fit our low-carbohydrate ideal and its ingredient list has a lot more plants than meat, this food has some exceptional qualities. By including a mix of prebiotics, probiotics, and colostrum, this food helps to support digestive and immune health. Its emphasis on animal fat and apparently high-quality meat demonstrates an interest in digestibility that’s rare among foods at this price.
The food is relatively calorie-dense with 425 calories per cup.
Deboned Turkey, Deboned Salmon, Salmon Meal, Chicken Meal, Chickpeas, Lentils, Chicken Fat (Preserved With Mixed Tocopherols), Turkey Meal, Whole Sweet Potatoes, Pumpkin, Tapioca Starch, Peas, Salmon Oil, Coconut Oil (Preserved With Mixed Tocopherols), Whole Carrots, Dried Seaweed Meal, Pomegranate, Blackberries, Whole Blueberries, Whole Cranberries, Raspberries, Potassium Chloride, Taurine, DL-Methionine, Spinach, Turmeric, Tomato, Beets, Parsley, Chicory Root Extract, Sage, Bovine Colostrum, Organic Apple Cider Vinegar, Ginger, Green Tea Extract, Vitamin A Acetate, Vitamin E Supplement, Riboflavin Supplement, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Niacin Supplement, Choline Chloride, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Thiamine Mononitrate, Folic Acid, Biotin, Inositol, Organic Dehydrated Kelp, Zinc Polysaccharide Complex, Iron Polysaccharide Complex, Manganese Polysaccharide Complex, Copper Polysaccharide Complex, Cobalt Polysaccharide Complex, Calcium Iodate, Sodium Selenite, Yucca Schidigera Extract, Pectin, Dried Lactobacillus Acidophilus Fermentation Product, Dried Lactobacillus Casei Fermentation Product, Dried Enterococcus Faecium Fermentation Product, Dried Bacillus Subtilis Fermentation Product, Dried Bacillus Licheniformis Fermentation Product, Dried Bacillus Coagulans Fermentation Product, Dried Aspergillus Oryzae Fermentation Product, Dried Aspergillus Niger Fermentation Product.
|Crude Protein||33.5% min|
|Crude Fat||17% min|
Health Extension Grain-Free Turkey & Salmon Recipe Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Breakdown
Ingredients We Liked: Deboned Turkey, Deboned Salmon, Chicken Fat, Salmon Oil, Bovine Colostrum
Ingredients We Didn’t Like: Chickpeas, Lentils, Whole Sweet Potatoes, Tapioca Starch
Common Allergens: Fish, Chicken
- Doesn’t contain low-value animal by-products or vaguely named ingredients
- Free of artificial colors, flavors, and potentially-harmful preservatives like BHT and ethoxyquin
- Contains prebiotics, probiotics, and colostrum to support digestive health and more
- High carbohydrate content
Chicken appears to be the primary protein source in this wet cat food.
Lastly, let’s review this formula, which features chicken and pumpkin as its main ingredients. Chicken heads up the ingredient list, followed by chicken broth, pumpkin, tapioca starch, and pea protein.
The last of these is an odd inclusion in a canned food. This concentrated protein source is most often found in grain-free dry foods. Though we don’t know exactly how digestible plant proteins are to cats, they’re often considered a lower-value protein for a carnivorous animal. Plants do, after all, lack the complex amino acid profile that cats need to thrive.
The food includes guar gum as a stabilizing agent. Though it’s not the most species-appropriate thing a cat can eat, guar gum appears to be harmless for most cats. It’s a safe alternative to carrageenan, another common stabilizing gum that may cause or worsen inflammation when eaten.
Though it doesn’t contain the salad of supplemental fruits and vegetables found in Health Extension dry foods, this recipe contains apple cider vinegar and coconut oil as supplemental ingredients. The ingredient list finishes off with an array of synthetic vitamins, minerals, and amino acids vital to your cat’s health.
Overall, this food has high protein content with low fat and low carbohydrate content.
For an economy canned food, this recipe has some impressive features. It doesn’t contain carrageenan, artificial colors, artificial flavors, or potentially-harmful preservatives. It features clearly-named, readily-digested chicken meat as its first ingredient.
But the food also has some perplexing—and disappointing—qualities. The inclusion of pea protein seems cheap and unnecessary, particularly for a canned food. When you combine that nutritional problem with the fact that this recipe gets almost as many negative reviews as it does positive ones, it’s hard to recommend this food as a good choice.
This canned cat food is among the most calorie-dense you can buy, with 108 calories in each 2.8-ounce can or about 38 calories per ounce. It’s a good option for cats who need to gain weight.
Chicken, Chicken Broth, Pumpkin, Tapioca Starch, Pea Protein, Tricalcium Phosphate, Guar Gum, Coconut Oil, Apple Cider Vinegar, Choline Chloride, Potassium Chloride, Magnesium Sulfate, Taurine, Zinc Proteinate, Disodium EDTA, Iron Proteinate, Vitamin E Supplement, Thiamine Mononitrate, Manganese Proteinate, Niacin, Vitamin A Supplement, Copper Proteinate, Calcium Iodate, Calcium Pantothenate, Sodium Selenite, Riboflavin Supplement, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Folic Acid, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Biotin, Menadione Sodium Bisulfite Complex (Source of Vitamin K Activity).
|Crude Protein||10% min|
|Crude Fat||2.0% min|
Health Extension Grain-Free Chicken & Pumpkin Recipe Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Breakdown
Ingredients We Liked: Chicken
Ingredients We Didn’t Like: Tapioca Starch, Pea Protein, Guar Gum
Common Allergens: Chicken
- A high-moisture food that helps to keep your cat healthy and hydrated
- Doesn’t contain any potentially-harmful artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives
- One of the most calorie-dense foods on the market—you get a lot of energy for your dollar
- Low carbohydrate content
- Contains pea protein, which isn’t an optimal protein source for cats
- Doesn’t receive consistently positive customer reviews
What do customers think of Health Extension cat food?
Customers seem to like the way Health Extension food looks on paper, but it gets mixed reviews in feline taste tests. On Chewy, most Health Extension recipes linger around four out of five stars and don’t get the consistent rave reviews that some other brands receive.
Here’s what a few happy and unhappy customers have to say about Health Extension cat food.
“We switched from another special food for our babies. Our boy was having dander problems and our Holistic Pet Center suggested that deboned chicken may be problem. We changed to Health Extension Salmon Turkey. Not only do all 3 babies ( 2 at 7yrs old 1 at 2 years old and a friend that visits at 1 years old) love it but their coats are beautiful and they are happy. I highly recommend this food and after being mommy to over 10 babies through my life so far I know their food is important.” – Summom, reviewing Health Extension Grain-Free Turkey & Salmon Recipe Dry Cat Food
“Its hard to find something both cats agree on but this is it. Both cats eat it ! My older boy who pretty much sticks to one thing seems to enjoy it more than all the new brands and flavors we have tried and it has pumpkin in it and that helps him with his daily old man terds- Bonus !” – kcat, reviewing Health Extension Grain-Free Chicken & Pumpkin Recipe in Savory Sauce
“I ordered this food with great anticipation. The ingredients looked wonderful, and the price was affordable. My cats liked it at first, but about a month later refused to eat it. I soon realized that the whole bag was rancid and smelled strongly like oil paints! Wish I could return this to the company, as they have some serious issues with food preservation. The “best by” date was a whole year later than the date of the rancidity issue!” – Stormgate, reviewing Health Extension Chicken & Brown Rice Recipe Dry Cat Food
“It shows made in USA but its not . The case is marked on the bottom made in Thailand and so is the label on the can Manufacturer website shows made in USA !” – concernedcustomer, reviewing Health Extension Grain-Free Chicken & Pumpkin Recipe in Savory Sauce
How much does Health Extension cat food cost?
Health Extension is a bargain compared to other foods that don’t contain animal by-products, artificial colors, or other additives typical in economy foods.
Looking at it in terms of daily feeding costs, it would cost about $0.28 per day to feed a 10-lb cat Health Extension dry cat food. If you choose one of Health Extension’s wet recipes, that cost would go up to $1.95 per day.
Overall, is Health Extension a good choice?
Health Extension is doing some interesting things with their cat food, especially for such an affordable brand.
Their ingredient quality appears to be leagues ahead of most comparably-priced cat foods. For example, Health Extension doesn’t use artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives. Their foods contain supplements you’d normally have to add into a budget food—things like herring oil, colostrum, and probiotics.
We’re talking about ingredient quality on par with Solid Gold at about half the price. Yet, like Solid Gold and so many other cat foods that emphasize superfoods, nutraceuticals, and holistic nutrition, Health Extension cat food is plant-heavy, high-carbohydrate, and not the most biologically-appropriate choice for your carnivore.
Where to Buy Health Extension Cat Food
Health Extension is sold by independent pet specialty retailers around the United States and select locations in Canada. Click here to find a Health Extension retailer near you.
If you’d rather shop for Health Extension online, head to their online store, Amazon, Chewy, or PetFlow.