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Carna4 Cat Food Review

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Carna4 Cat Food Brand Review

We’ve rated Carna4 cat food on ingredient quality, species-appropriateness, recalls, and more. Read our Carna4 cat food review to learn how this brand stacks up.

The Cats.com Standard—Rating Carna4 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 – 8/10
  • Ingredient Quality – 9/10
  • Product Variety – 5/10
  • Price – 6/10
  • Customer Experience – 8/10
  • Recall History – 10/10

Overall Score: 7.7/10

In total, we give Carna4 cat food a 46 out of 60 rating or a B+ grade.

How We Review Cat Food

To review Carna4, we spent hours researching the brand, learning about its history and product lineup. We studied the company’s sourcing and manufacturing practices and scoured recall databases for reports related to safety issues. To understand how other customers feel about the brand, we read dozens of customer reviews, identifying any common patterns or trends.

Finally, our reviewer independently purchased several packages of Carna4 cat food and tried it out with their cats, taking notes on palatability, texture, smell, and more.

Based on this research and hands-on testing, we’ve rated the brand according to the Cats.com Standard. Learn more about the Standard here.

About Carna4

Carna4 is a boutique pet food brand made in Canada. The brand was founded by David Stauble and Maria Ringo in 2010 out of a desire to offer pet owners a convenient but nutritious cooked alternative to raw pet food.

The brand’s name was inspired by the goddess Carna, who the ancient Romans believed was the protector of the heart, lungs, and liver – vital organs that help the body derive nourishment from food. Carna4 pet food products are formulated to support pet nutrition through quality ingredients and minimal processing.

But how do Carna4 products hold up against our standard and what do customers have to say about the brand? Let’s find out.

Sourcing And Manufacturing

Carna4 is a private, family-owned company headquartered in Toronto, Ontario in Canada. The brand sources its ingredients from Canadian and American farms that value sustainability as well as non-GMO and humane farming practices. The food is manufactured by an EU-certified, family-run bakery in Quebec called Bio Biscuit.

All Carna4 recipes are formulated by a team of nutritionists, engineers, and food scientists. Products are tested for quality and safety by Mortec Scientific Inc., a third-party lab firm that specializes in pet food, food, and natural health products.

Recall History

We found no evidence that Carna4 cat food has ever been recalled.

What Kinds Of Cat Food Does Carna4 Offer?

Carna4

Carna4 cat food is baked and then air-dried, making it a shelf-stable alternative to raw food. Kate Barrington / Cats.com

Though Carna4 offers half a dozen different dog food products, their cat food line is limited to just two dry food recipes. One recipe features chicken and the other features fish.

Carna4 dry cat foods are synthetic-free, which simply means they don’t rely on synthetic vitamin and mineral supplements for nutritional balance. Rather, Carna4 uses a combination of organic sprouted seeds and other ingredients to make the food nutritionally complete. The food is baked and air-dried which yields a lightweight nugget-like product that differs from the typical compressed, hard kibble. It comes in resealable bags.

In addition to their cat and dog food products, Carna4 also offers an organic sprouted seed supplement intended for use as a cat food topper. It contains plant enzymes, phytonutrients, whole-food vitamins and minerals, and live probiotics.

What Do Customers Think of Carna4 Cat Food?

As a boutique brand, Carna4 doesn’t have a giant online presence. While both recipes are available on Amazon, reviews are limited. At the time of review, the fish flavor had a 3.9 out of 5-star rating with 27 ratings and the chicken recipe had a 4.4 out of 5-star rating with 29 ratings.

Customers seem to appreciate the quality of the ingredients, though some comment that the food pieces themselves are too large. As is always the case, there are reviews from some cat owners whose cats simply wouldn’t eat the food.

Let’s take a look at a few reviews for Carna4 Cat Food.

Positive Reviews

“Healthy.”

“I like that it is a healthier food. No bad ingredients.” – Lmp Reviewing Carna4 Grain-Free Chicken Recipe on October 21st, 2018

“Definitely buying again!”

“My bf and I just got a new kitten and noticed that he had diarrhea possibly from the food he was given to him before us. I purchased this in hopes that he would start pooping solid. In the matter in a day or two it was solid! He loves the food so far!”Sandra Parada Reviewing Carna4 Grain-Free Fish Recipe on July 11th, 2022

Negative Reviews

“Disappointed.”

“I liked the fact that the ingredients were all meat and fish. But something appeared to be missing, because none of my three cats would even nibble it. At 13$ per pound, I had to send it back.”Robert Eugene Murray Reviewing Carna4 Grain-Free Fish Recipe on January 8th, 2020

“Too large, not designed for cats.”

“Most of the pieces were stuck together. How is a cat supposed to eat a mass of kibble? Who wants to sit there and manually break apart each piece?! Also, even when unstuck pieces are still too huge for cats. Not kind to those of us with older/younger cats. Clearly this brand is more focused on dogs. Already contacted the manufacturer and they completely ignored me. Not a good sign. Whole bag going in the trash.”G. Reviewing Carna4 Grain-Free Chicken Recipe on June 27th, 2020

What Did Our Test Cats Think?

Unlike extruded kibble, Carna4 dry food is lightweight and round in shape rather than disc-like. Kate Barrington / Cats.com

To test Carna4, I ordered both of their dry cat food formulas. Both are sold in 2-pound bags that are resealable.

The appearance of Carna4 cat food is very different from the typical dry food. Rather than flat, disc-shaped pieces, it comes in round, lightweight nuggets. They’re similar in size and shape to dried chickpeas. Though Bagel was more enthusiastic about the food than the others, all of my cats seemed to like it.

I wasn’t able to obtain a nutrient analysis for a sample batch of Carna4 food but the brand website provides a detailed breakdown of the minimum nutrient value per kilogram (as fed) from their most recent test results.

Another page of the website provides details about the testing performed by Mortec Scientific Inc. Dr. Scott Morton, owner of the company, commented on the nutrient composition of the food, saying, “Carna4’s sprouted seed mixture appears to work synergistically with the other ingredients to maintain their nutritional levels throughout the cooking process.”

Carna4 Cat Food – Top 2 Recipes Reviewed

Product Name Food Type Main Protein Source Calories Price Per Ounce Our Grade
Carna4 Grain-Free Cat Food Fish Recipe Dry Herring 128 kcal/oz. $0.87 B
Carna4 Grain-Free Cat Food Chicken Recipe Dry Chicken 126 kcal/oz. $0.87 B

#1 Carna4 Grain-Free Cat Food Fish Recipe

Carna4 Grain-Free Cat Food Fish Recipe

$28.95 At Amazon

This dry food formula is primarily fish-based, though it also contains eggs. A combination of herring, perch, eggs, and salmon yields a dry matter protein content of around 44%. With ingredients like barley seed, fava beans, flaxseed, lentils, and peas, however, it’s possible that a noteworthy amount of that protein comes from plant sources.

What’s unique about this dry food recipe is that most of the plant ingredients are sprouted. This is important for several reasons.

First, legumes like fava beans, lentils, and peas are high in oxalates which, in high concentrations, can contribute to bladder stones in cats. Sprouting helps reduce the oxalate content of these foods. It also stimulates the release of plant enzymes which help improve the digestion of these foods.

Overall, the carbohydrate content of this formula is high – over 25% dry matter – but the food may be more digestible than traditional high-carb dry foods. It is, however, devoid of moisture, like most dry foods. You’ll need to supplement your cat’s moisture intake elsewhere in their diet.

The food is also highly concentrated in calories with about 128 kcal per ounce. If your cat is prone to overeating or at risk for weight gain, monitor their portions closely with this food.

Ingredients

Herring, Perch, Eggs, Organic Sprouted Barley Seed, Salmon, Ground Fava Beans, Sweet Potato, Organic Sprouted Flaxseed, Organic Sprouted Lentils, Organic Sprouted Peas, Potato Starch, Kelp, Cranberry, Sea Salt, Sunflower Oil, Nutritional Yeast, Natural Baking Soda.

Ingredients We Liked Ingredients We Didn’t Like Common Allergens
Herring

Perch

Eggs

Salmon

Potato Starch

Sunflower Oil

Fish

Guaranteed Analysis

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Crude Protein: 40%
Crude Fat: 17%
Crude Fiber: 4%
Moisture: 10%
Ash: 5.1%

Dry Matter Basis

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Protein: 44.44%
Fat: 18.89%
Fiber: 4.44%
Carbs: 26.56%

Caloric Weight Basis

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Protein: 38.03%
Fat: 39.25%
Carbs: 22.72%

Pros

  • Four sources of animal-based protein
  • Baked and air-dried rather than extruded
  • Sprouting the seeds and legumes improves digestibility
  • Free from synthetic supplements and artificial additives

Cons

  • High carbohydrate content over 25%
  • No dry food provides the moisture your cat needs

#2 Carna4 Grain-Free Cat Food Chicken Recipe

Carna4 Grain-Free Cat Food Chicken Recipe

$51.50 At Amazon

This recipe is similar to the previous one in that it contains four sources of animal protein. The difference is this recipe contains nutrient-rich organ meat rather than muscle meat alone. It’s worth noting, however, that it isn’t an entirely chicken-based formula – cats with fish allergies may not tolerate it.

Like the previous recipe, this formula contains a mix of sprouted seeds and legumes along with ground fava beans and sweet potato. Potato starch is added to improve the mixture’s consistency with kelp as a gelling agent and binder.

The food’s nutritional composition is similar to the previous recipe – about 44% crude protein and just under 19% crude fat, measured as dry matter. It’s still a fairly high-carbohydrate, low-moisture recipe but it’s free from artificial additives.

Ingredients

Chicken, Chicken Liver, Eggs, Organic Sprouted Barley Seed, Herring, Ground Fava Beans, Sweet Potato, Organic Sprouted Flaxseed, Organic Sprouted Lentils, Organic Sprouted Peas, Potato Starch, Kelp, Cranberry, Sea Salt, Sunflower Oil, Nutritional Yeast, Natural Baking Soda.

Ingredients We Liked Ingredients We Didn’t Like Common Allergens
Chicken

Chicken Liver

Eggs

Herring

Potato Starch

Sunflower Oil

Chicken

Fish

Guaranteed Analysis

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Crude Protein: 40%
Crude Fat: 17%
Crude Fiber: 4%
Moisture: 10%
Ash: 5.2%

Dry Matter Basis

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Protein: 44.44%
Fat: 18.89%
Fiber: 4.44%
Carbs: 26.44%

Caloric Weight Basis

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Protein: 38.06%
Fat: 39.29%
Carbs: 22.65%

Pros

  • Contains a mixture of muscle meat and organs
  • Sprouting the legumes and seeds may improve digestion
  • Free from artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives
  • Contains over 40% dry matter crude protein

Cons

  • High carbohydrate content over 25%
  • No dry food provides the moisture your cat needs

How Much Does Carna4 Cat Food Cost?

Dry food tends to be less expensive to feed as a staple diet than wet cat food, but Carna4 is a pricier pick. Both recipes cost about $0.87 per ounce. Because they’re very calorie-dense, however, the average 10-pound cat would only need about 1 2/3 ounces of food per day.

The estimated daily cost to feed a 10-pound cat Carna4 dry food is about $1.40. This makes it significantly more expensive than some of our highest-rated dry foods like Dr. Elsey’s cleanprotein and Young Again. It is, however, still cheaper than many canned foods, including Nulo, which is frequently our budget pick.

Overall, Is Carna4 Cat Food A Good Choice?

Though dry food isn’t the most species-appropriate choice for cats in general, Carna4 addresses some of the concerns commercial dry pet food tends to raise.

Both Carna4 dry cat foods start with three animal sources of protein with a fourth source listed. Though the foods contain over 25% dry matter carbohydrate, the majority of it comes from sprouted seeds and legumes. Not only does this improve their digestibility, but these ingredients act as whole-food sources of key vitamins and minerals as an alternative to synthetic supplements.

If you choose to feed your cat dry food, Carna4 is an expensive option, but it may be more digestible for cats and might offer more biologically available nutrition than the typical extruded dry food.

Where Is Carna4 Cat Food Sold?

As a Canadian brand, Carna4 isn’t available in most major pet food chains in the United States. You can find it in some independent pet retailers and online at Amazon.com.

Note: The values in our nutrient charts are automatically calculated based on the guaranteed analysis and may not represent typical nutrient values. This may lead to discrepancies between the charts and the values mentioned in the body of the review.
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About Kate Barrington

Kate Barrington is a writer with over twelve years of experience in the pet industry. She is an NAVC-certified Pet Nutrition Coach and has completed coursework in therapeutic nutrition, raw feeding, and the formulation of homemade diets for pets at an accredited university. Kate enjoys cooking, reading, and doing DIY projects around the house. She has three cats, Bagel, Munchkin, and Biscuit.