NutriSource 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.

We’ve rated NutriSource Cat Food on ingredient quality, species-appropriateness, recalls, and more. Read our Encore cat food review to learn how this brand stacks up.

The We’re All About Cats Standard—Rating NutriSource Cat Food on What Matters

We’ve rated the brand on six key criteria for quality. Here’s how it rates in each of these six crucial areas.

Ratings

  • Species-Appropriateness – 5/10
  • Ingredient Quality – 7/10
  • Product Variety – 7/10
  • Price – 6/10
  • Customer Experience – 8/10
  • Recall History – 9/10

Overall Score: 7/10

In total, we give NutriSource Cat food a 43 out of 60 rating or a B grade.

About NutriSource Cat Food

NutriSource was founded in Perham, Minnesota in 1964. The company has been family-owned for three generations starting with Darrell Nelson. After falling out of a tree, Darrell kept on playing which earned him the nickname “Tuffy.” When he started his own pet food company with his son Kenny in 1964, they named it Tuffy’s Pet Foods.

Today, NutriSource is part of the KLN family of brands headed by CEO Kenny Nelson. Company headquarters are still located in Perham, MN but the brand has expanded to include a variety of human and pet products. Other pet food brands belonging to the KLN family include Element, Supreme, Premium Tuffy’s, and Tuffy’s Gold.

Sourcing And Manufacturing

NutriSource claims to be dedicated to the long-term health of family pets. Their products are made with high-quality sources of animal protein as the first ingredient, though we couldn’t find any specific information regarding the sourcing of these ingredients.

As a US-based brand, NutriSource manufactures their dry foods in company-owned facilities in Perham, MN. The company claims to manufacture their wet foods in the USA as well, but we couldn’t find any specific information about its production.

Recall History

Over NutriSource’s nearly six-decade existence, the brand hasn’t had a cat food product recalls. The only recall in brand history occurred in 2009. NutriSource PureVita Salmon Entrée Dog Food was recalled for potentially elevated levels of vitamin D. There were no reports of illness or injury.

What Kinds Of Cat Food Does Nutrisource Offer?

NutriSource offers a generous selection of dry foods, canned foods, toppers, and treats. These recipes are available in the following two product lines: NutriSource and PureVita.

Every NutriSource formula starts with a high-quality source of animal protein. The NutriSource product line includes both grain-free and grain-inclusive fomrulas while PureVita is a limited ingredient line containing seven grain-free dry and canned foods.

What Do Customers Think Of Nutrisource Cat Food?

NutriSource offers a variety of wet and dry foods from both product lines on Amazon as well as other pet retailers like PetFlow. Their products carry an average 4.5 to 5-star rating. NutriSource dry foods seem much more popular on Amazon with the Chicken and Rice Formula having nearly 500 ratings.

The majority of customers are pleased with NutriSource cat food. Many have found that their cats prefer it compared to other brands and several found that it helped their overweight cats achieve a healthy bodyweight. Owners of cats with food allergies also appreciate PureVita’s single source protein recipes.

When it comes to negative comments, several customers found that NutriSource cat food exacerbated GI issues and contributed to gas and smelly stools. As always, there are also comments about some cats simply not liking the food and several customers found it to be a little pricey.

Let’s take a look at a few reviews from some of the most popular recipes from NutriSource.

Positive Reviews

“My cats ate this food for several years, until I adopted a new picky eater who didn’t like it. I briefly switched to a couple of other dry cat foods that were also grain free, but all of my cats gained quite a bit of weight. One also developed some urinary tract issues (I don’t know if they were related). I switched back to Pure Vita about a month ago and the cats are getting back to their healthy weight, they play more, and they seem quite happy. Even the picky eater likes it now! I also love the fact that it is a truly recloseable bag with a Ziploc seal. Never had a problem with the food getting iffy at the bottom of the bag.” – Sheina reviewing NutriSource PureVita Grain-Free Salmon and Peas Dry Food

“My previous cat was allergic to chicken and the one I have now just doesn’t like it. This is one of the few cat foods that actually does not have any chicken products in it at all. A lot will say the protein source is something like fish, but when you read the ingredients, it will list chicken, or it will say ‘natural flavors’ which often means chicken broth.” – Joschmo reviewing NutriSource PureVita Grain-Free Salmon and Peas Dry Food

Negative Reviews

“I recently switched on the advice from a pet store saying this was good. I gave my cats horrible gas, diarrhea and they were clearly uncomfortable. I was told keep it up for a week as they are transitioning, even though I mixed it in with the other food. Still 2 weeks in it’s still problematic and I had purchased a big bag and I am unable to return it sadly.”Tina Mees reviewing NutriSource Chicken and Rice Formula Dry Food

“I’m a Bengal Cat breeder and have been raising cats for 25 years. I bought some different types of cat foods to test out on my cats, this brand was one of them. I put it in a bowl in front of most of my cats and not ONE CAT would eat it. They would smell it and walk away. NO ONE would touch it. When I smelled it, it had a horrible smell, I wouldn’t eat it either. The ingredient list seems fine, but the product itself has a VERY unappealing smell. I feel sorry for any cat forced to eat this food. Don’t bother.” – Karen Waugaman reviewing NutriSource Chicken and Rice Formula Dry Food

What Did Our Test Cats Think?

At the time of purchase, I was having a difficult time finding NutriSource dry foods, so I purchased two of their most popular wet food recipes: Lamb & Lamb Liver Select and Country Select.

While I feed my cats dry food as their staple diet, I supplement it with a wide variety of wet foods. Like any cat, they all come running when they hear me peel open a can. The experience was no different with NutriSource and they seemed particularly interested based on the aroma.

All three cats enjoyed the food – even my cat Biscuit, who has chicken allergies. She was able to safely enjoy the Lamb & Lamb Liver food with no problem. I was a little disappointed that NutriSource only offers pate texture foods, but my cats have never been particularly picky.

NutriSource Cat Food – Top 3 Recipes Reviewed

Product NameFood TypeMain Protein SourceCaloriesPrice Per OunceOur Grade
NutriSource Cat & Kitten Chicken & Rice Dry FoodDryChicken476 kcal/cup$0.18B-
NutriSource Grain-Free Lamb & Lamb Liver Select Canned FoodWetLamb185 kcal/can$0.53B+
NutriSource PureVita Grain-Free Salmon & Peas Dry Cat FoodDrySalmon475 kcal/cup$0.27C

#1 NutriSource Cat & Kitten Chicken & Rice Dry Food

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One of NutriSource’s classic dry food formulas, this chicken and rice recipe is nutritionally complete for all life stages. If you want to avoid the hassle of transitioning your kitten onto an adult recipe, this dry food could be a good choice.

With chicken and chicken meal as the top two ingredients, this formula is rich in animal-based protein. It also gets supplemental protein from the menhaden fish meal and dried egg product.

Unfortunately, there are a significant number of plant ingredients. Peas are a starchy ingredient with limited nutritional value for cats and there are several high-fiber ingredients as well. While the fiber content of this recipe might benefit certain cats with digestive issues (and the added probiotics don’t hurt), the protein content is likely to be too high for many cats.

I appreciate the inclusion of chicken fat as a nutrient-rich source of essential fatty acids and like that this formula is completely free from artificial additives. The price point is also much more economical than many of NutriSource’s other recipes.

Ingredients

Chicken, Chicken Meal, Brown Rice, Peas, Chicken Fat, Menhaden Fish Meal, Yeast Extract, Natural Flavor, Dried Egg Product, Oatmeal, Dried Tomato Pomace, Dried Plain Beet Pulp, Sunflower Oil, Brewers Dried Yeast, Alfalfa Meal, Flaxseed, Phosphoric Acid, Potassium Chloride, Salt, Iron Proteinate, Zinc Proteinate, Copper Proteinate, Manganese Proteinate, Dried Cranberries, Taurine, DL Methionine, Vitamin A Acetate, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Vitamin E Supplement, Niacin, D-Calcium Pantothenate, Thiamine Mononitrate, Riboflavin Supplement, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Folic Acid, Biotin, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Dried Chicory Root, Lactic Acid, Choline Chloride, Inositol, L-Ascorbyl-2-Polyphosphate, Yucca Schidigera Extract, Calcium Iodate, Sodium Selenite, Rosemary Extract, Yeast Culture, Dried Lactobacillus Acidophilus Fermentation Product, Dried Enterococcus Faecium Fermentation Product, Dried Aspergillus Oryzae Fermentation Extract, Dried Trichoderma Longibrachiatum Fermentation Extract, Dried Bacillus Subtilis Fermentation Extract.

Guaranteed Analysis

Crude Protein: 32%
Crude Fat: 19%
Crude Fiber: 5%
Moisture: 10%
Ash: 9.44%

Dry Matter Basis

Protein: 35.56%
Fat: 21.11%
Fiber: 5.56%
Carbs: 27.29%

Caloric Weight Basis

Protein: 31.16%
Fat: 44.93%
Carbs: 23.91%
Ingredients We LikedIngredients We Didn’t LikeCommon Allergens
Chicken

Chicken Meal

Chicken Fat

Menhaden Fish Meal

Dried Egg Product

Brown Rice

Peas

Oatmeal

 

Chicken

Fish

Pros

  • Two high-quality sources of animal protein as main ingredients
  • Nutrient-rich chicken fat as the primary source of added fat
  • Supplemented with probiotics for digestive support
  • Completely free from artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives

Cons

  • Contains a significant number of unnecessary plant ingredients
  • No dry food provides the moisture your cat needs for hydration

#2 NutriSource Grain-Free Lamb & Lamb Liver Select Canned Food

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As a wet food formula, this recipe is much higher in moisture than the previous dry food. As such, it’s more likely to support your cat’s hydration.

This recipe starts with two high-quality sources of animal protein within the top two ingredients. Even better, they’re both from the same and only source – lamb. This, combined with the short ingredient list, makes this formula a great choice for cats with food allergies. It does contain salmon oil, but it shouldn’t trigger fish allergies.

While this recipe is rich in protein and healthy fats, it does contain a few unnecessary plant ingredients. The total carbohydrate content remains low, however, under 5% as fed.

Ingredients

Lamb, Lamb Broth, Lamb Liver, Chickpeas, Natural Flavor, Calcium Carbonate, Agar-Agar, Tricalcium Phosphate, Choline Chloride, Potassium Chloride, Salt, Salmon Oil, Taurine, Dried Yucca Schidigera Extract, Dried Kelp, Betaine, Iron Proteinate, Zinc Proteinate, Niacin, Vitamin E Supplement, Manganese Proteinate, Copper Proteinate, Sodium Selenite, Thiamine Mononitrate, Vitamin A Supplement, Biotin, Calcium Pantothenate, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Riboflavin Supplement, Vitamin B-12 Supplement, Ethylenedamine, Dihydroiodide, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Folic Acid, Menadione Sodium Bisulfite Complex.

Guaranteed Analysis

Crude Protein: 10%
Crude Fat: 7%
Crude Fiber: 1%
Moisture: 78%
Ash: 2.25%

Dry Matter Basis

Protein: 45.45%
Fat: 31.82%
Fiber: 4.55%
Carbs: 7.95%

Caloric Weight Basis

Protein: 34.78%
Fat: 59.13%
Carbs: 6.09%
Ingredients We LikedIngredients We Didn’t LikeCommon Allergens
Lamb

Lamb Liver

Salmon Oil

Chickpeas

Agar-Agar

None

Pros

  • Made with a single source of high-quality animal protein
  • Salmon oil provides a rich source of omega-3 fatty acids
  • Limited list of main ingredients, easily digestible
  • Contains the moisture your cat needs for hydration

Cons

  • Contains some unnecessary plant ingredients

#3 NutriSource PureVita Grain-Free Salmon & Peas Dry Cat Food

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As part of NutriSource’s PureVita product line, this recipe contains a limited list of main ingredients and a single source of animal protein.

Both fresh salmon and salmon meal are rich sources of species-appropriate animal protein. Unfortunately, the next seven ingredients are plant-based. This includes a concentrated source of plant protein and several starchy ingredients.

As a dry food, it’s not surprising to see a fairly high carbohydrate content. Even so, I much prefer recipes under 20% total carbs or, even better, under 10%. This recipe contains about 30% carbs as fed.

Like the first dry food, this recipe contains probiotics for digestive support. What’s a little bit concerning is that the total fiber content is even higher than the previous 5%. Cats have no nutritional need for dietary fiber and it’s best to keep it below 3% in cat food. The excessive fiber content of this formula may contribute to digestive issues in some cats.

Overall, this recipe provides a decent source of protein, though it’s hard to tell how much of it comes from plant ingredients. The fat content is okay as well, though it does seem to come solely from plant sources like sunflower oil.

Ingredients

Salmon, Salmon Meal, Peas, Sunflower Meal, Pea Flour, Sunflower Oil, Flaxseeds, Pea Protein, Pea Starch, Natural Salmon Flavor, Yeast Extract, Alfalfa Meal, Brewers Dried Yeast, Dried Tomato Pomace, Calcium Carbonate, Phosphoric Acid, Choline Chloride, Salt, DL Methionine, Dried Carrots, Iron Proteinate, Zinc Proteinate, Copper Proteinate, Manganese Proteinate, Taurine, Dried Cranberries, Dried Apricots, Dried Cherries, Potassium Chloride, Turmeric, Dried Chicory Root, Vitamin A Acetate, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Vitamin E Supplement, Niacin, D-Calcium Pantothenate, Thiamine Mononitrate, Riboflavin Supplement, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Folic Acid, Biotin, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Lactic Acid, Inositol, Yucca Schidigera Extract, L-Ascorbyl-2-Polyphosphate, Calcium Iodate, Sodium Selenite, Rosemary Extract, Yeast Culture, Dried Lactobacillus Acidophilus Fermentation Product, Dried Enterococcus Faecium Fermentation Product, Dried Aspergillus Oryzae Fermentation Extract, Dried Trichoderma Longibrachiatum Fermentation Extract, Dried Bacillus Subtilis Fermentation Extract.

Guaranteed Analysis

Crude Protein: 31%
Crude Fat: 18%
Crude Fiber: 7%
Moisture: 10%
Ash: 5.5%

Dry Matter Basis

Protein: 34.44%
Fat: 20%
Fiber: 7.78%
Carbs: 31.67%

Caloric Weight Basis

Protein: 30.03%
Fat: 42.35%
Carbs: 27.61%
Ingredients We LikedIngredients We Didn’t LikeCommon Allergens
Salmon

Salmon Meal

 

Peas

Sunflower Meal

Pea Flour

Sunflower Oil

Flaxseeds

Pea Protein

Pea Starch

Fish

Pros

  • Two animal-based sources of protein as first ingredients
  • Supplemented with probiotics to support healthy digestion
  • Completely free from artificial additives, grains, and fillers

Cons

  • Contains a concentrated source of plant protein
  • Significant number of plant ingredients, high carb content
  • No dry food contains the moisture your cat needs

How Much Does NutriSource Cat Food Cost?

There’s a significant difference in price per ounce between NutriSource dry food and wet food. Both of the dry food recipes reviewed cost under $0.25 per ounce, the Chicken and Rice formula being the cheaper of the two. At $0.53 per ounce, NutriSource wet food is much more expensive.

The price range of NutriSource cat food is similar to familiar brands like Canidae and Blue Buffalo.

To feed a 10-pound cat NutriSource wet food, it would cost you a little over $3.00 per day. NutriSource dry food is much more economical. Depending which recipe you choose, it should cost between $0.31 and $0.46 per day.

Overall, Is Nutrisource Cat Food A Good Choice?

The NutriSource brand has a nearly six-decade history in the pet food industry. Within that time, they’ve had only a single recall and only for one of their dog food products. The brand is well liked among customers and it’s nice that they only sell their products in independent pet food stores.

When it comes to the quality of NutriSource cat foods, there’s room for improvement. None of the ingredients are particularly bad, but there’s an abundance of plant ingredients and concerningly high levels of dietary fiber. It’s difficult to say whether this will cause digestive issues, but it could certainly be a problem for some cats.

Overall, NutriSource definitely isn’t the most species-appropriate choice for cats. Even their wet food formulas which are higher in protein and moisture still contain unnecessary plant ingredients. NutriSource is similarly ranked to Health Extension and Wellness, though NutriSource’s wet food is significantly more expensive than either of these brands.

Where Is Nutrisource Cat Food Sold?

NutriSource is committed to supporting local businesses by selling their products only in independent pet food stores. If you prefer to shop online, you can find NutriSource products at Amazon.com, PetFlow.com, PetCareRX.com, and various feed stores.

About Kate Barrington

Kate Barrington holds a Bachelor’s degree in English and is the published author of several self-help books and nutrition guides. Also an avid dog lover and adoring owner of three cats, Kate’s love for animals has led her to a successful career as a freelance writer specializing in pet care and nutrition. Kate is also a blogger for a number of organic and natural food companies as well as a columnist for several pet magazines.

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