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*Recently, questions have been raised about some of the results of a lab test on Dr. Elsey’s cat food. This lab report is currently being reviewed and verified, and additional clarifications will be released following analysis by a 3rd party.
This brand has earned its keep in the cat litter department, but is Dr. Elsey’s cat food worthy of your cat’s bowl? Read our unbiased Dr. Elsey’s cat food review to find out.
The Cats.com Standard—Rating Dr. Elsey’s on What Matters
We’ve analyzed Dr. Elsey’s and graded it according to the Cats.com 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 – 9/10
- Ingredient Quality – 7/10
- Product Variety – 6/10
- Price – 5/10
- Customer Experience – 9/10
- Recall History – 10/10
Overall Score: 7.7/10
We give Dr. Elsey’s cat food a 46 out of 60 rating or a B+ grade.
About Dr. Elsey’s
Back in 1989, a feline-only veterinarian named Dr. Bruce Elsey started selling cat litter. The company’s since become a household name, producing a large variety of affordable, effective products for your litter box.
In 2017, the company took its first step outside of the litter box and launched a line of cat food. The line is called cleanprotein™, a name promising highly-digestible, efficient food that fuels your carnivore as nature intended.
Sourcing and Manufacturing
Dr. Elsey’s cat food is manufactured in the United States from ingredients sourced around the world. The company sources proteins from the United States and obtains other ingredients from Europe and Canada.
Dr. Elsey’s doesn’t source any primary ingredients from China, but may use China-sourced taurine.
NOTE: Throughout 2021 and into 2022, Dr. Elsey’s experienced significant product shortages and delays in the distribution of their cleanprotein™ line of kibble and paté. In an update posted on the brand’s website, the manufacturer linked the issue to industry-wide issues with supply, labor, and transportation.
As of the spring of 2023, these issues do not seem to have been completely resolved yet. Dr. Elsey’s cleanprotein™ chicken and salmon dry food recipes – along with most canned food formulas – are more regularly available, but the duck, rabbit, and turkey recipes are still frequently out of stock.
Has Dr. Elsey’s Cat Food Been Recalled?
It doesn’t appear that Dr. Elsey’s cat food has ever been recalled.
What Kinds Of Cat Food Does Dr. Elsey’s Offer?
Dr. Elsey’s offers a modest selection of wet and dry cat food.
The five dry cat food formulas stand out with exceptionally low carbohydrate content. All five recipes are made with at least 93% animal protein and only contain around 10% carbohydrates on a dry matter basis. Unlike most kibble, Dr. Elsey’s dry food is made without the use of grains and other starchy ingredients and instead relies on gelatin as a binder.
The current cleanprotein dry food lineup from Dr. Elsey’s includes five recipes. The original chicken recipe is the only single-protein formula Dr. Elsey’s offers – the other four dry foods all contain dried chicken in addition to the primary protein source which is either turkey, duck, salmon, or rabbit. All recipes aside from the chicken formula also contain pork protein isolate as a concentrated source of species-appropriate animal protein.
Dr. Elsey’s wet food is less groundbreaking, but sticks to carnivorous dietary principles with high meat inclusions, moderate fat content, and minimal carbohydrate content.
With single source duck and pork recipes along with a selection of mixed-protein foods including ocean whitefish, beef, salmon, rabbit & turkey, chicken, and duck & turkey, the Dr. Elsey’s wet food lineup is small but diverse.
Dr. Elsey’s cat food is never made with by-products and doesn’t use mystery proteins like animal by-products or meat meal. The foods never contain artificial ingredients, including artificial colors, flavors, or chemical preservatives that could harm your cat over time.
Dr. Elsey’s Cat Food – Top 3 Recipes Reviewed
|Product Name||Food Type||Primary Protein||Calories||Price||Our Grade|
|Dr. Elsey’s cleanprotein Chicken Formula Grain-Free Dry Cat Food||Dry||Chicken||115 kcal/oz.||$0.39 per lb||A-|
|Dr. Elsey’s cleanprotein Salmon Formula Grain-Free Dry Food||Dry||Salmon||115 kcal/oz.||$0.39 per oz||A-|
|Dr. Elsey’s cleanprotein Chicken Formula Grain-Free Canned Food||Wet||Chicken||36 kcal/oz.||$0.47 per oz||A|
What Do Customers Think of Dr. Elsey’s Cat Food?
Most customers like Dr. Elsey’s cat food, though a few say their cats didn’t enjoy it or noted that it was out of their price range. Here’s what a few real customers have to say about it:
“My cat who is extremely picky when it comes to dry food just loves this one. The ingredients are great & I love that it comes in a 2 lb bag so that my cat can eat the entire bag before it gets stale; he refuses to eat dry food which has been opened too long no matter how tightly it is resealed & usually I wind up with an abundance left over but not with this one. Good to the last bite!” – Mary55, reviewing Dr. Elsey’s cleanprotein Chicken Formula Grain-Free Dry Cat Food
“My 13 year old cat was diagnosed with diabetes and prescribed Glyco Balance by Royal Canine. He would not eat he canned food at all but would eat the dry if I mixed with another food. After some researco`h I found Dr Elseys and he loves the canned and dry food. BONUS: he went into remission in just 2 weeks and is back to his old sassy, demanding self. I will say that 2 weeks is unusual it not unheard of, dependeds on the cats overall health, care and diet.” – Sopicky, reviewing Dr. Elsey’s cleanprotein Turkey Formula Grain-Free Canned Cat Food
“I have 4 cats. All ranging from, “I’ll eat anything ” to “nah, I don’t think so”. I also only feed wet food having researched cat health and proper feeding. I was feeding Wellness cat food with no issues, but when I stumbled upon Dr. Elseys Cleanprotein I was doubly excited! Ingredients are amazing so I gave it a try. I ordered a case of the Turkey. Visually it looks appealing and smells good. Texture wise it’s very mushy. All 4 cats will not eat it! I tried tough love and like a mom I thought, “you’ll eat what I put down”. 2 days later and still no eating but lots of stares and crying, I gave in. I’m sad to have to give 1 star, but the reality is they do not like it, not even my non-picky boy. Back to Wellness.” – Daisybd, reviewing Dr. Elsey’s cleanprotein Turkey Formula Grain-Free Canned Cat Food
“I love Dr. Elsey’s products; however, this price is really ridiculous for pet lovers who have a multi-cat household. I strive to feed my cats the best possible grain free food, but Dr. Elsey’s cat food prices are super high for a very small bag. Like the food, but too expensive for pet owners who have more than one cat. Dissatisfied and surprised! No thanks!” – CatLady, reviewing Dr. Elsey’s cleanprotein Salmon Formula Grain-Free Dry Cat Food
How Much Does Dr. Elsey’s Cat Food Cost?
Dr. Elsey’s cleanprotein dry cat food ranges from about $0.35 to $0.40 per ounce. It’s similarly priced to Young Again cat food and offers similar nutritional benefit in being low in carbohydrate and high in animal protein. To feed the average 10-pound cat Dr. Elsey’s dry food, it would cost between $0.60 and $0.80 per day.
The cost of Dr. Elsey’s wet cat food is higher. This is pretty common for brands that offer both wet and dry food. To feed a 10-pound cat cleanprotein wet food, it would cost about $2.61 per day.
Overall, Is Dr. Elsey’s A Good Choice?
Dr. Elsey’s offers some of the best dry cat food on the market. It’s rich in animal protein and made without animal by-products for maximum bioavailability. At less than 5% starch on a dry matter basis, Dr. Elsey’s foods won’t spike blood sugar and may even be appropriate for diabetic cats.
Their wet foods are less extraordinary, but they stand out, too. They’re comparable to top brands like Hound & Gatos, Ziwi Peak, and other high-protein paté-style foods. They offer a rich combination of muscle meat and organs along with multiple sources of omega-3 fatty acids.
This brand shines as a starting point for recovering kibble addicts. If you’re transitioning your cat off his high-carbohydrate dry diet, Dr. Elsey’s is a great intermediate stage between traditional kibble and a truly species-appropriate diet.
Where To Buy Dr. Elsey’s Cat Food?
You can buy Dr. Elsey’s online through Amazon, Chewy, PetSmart, Petco, Jet, Homes Alive Pets, and PetFlow.com. Use the company’s store locator to find a retailer near you.