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Considering Kirkland cat food? Get the facts first. Read this review to find out if Costco’s famous store brand delivers the quality and value you’re seeking.
The Cats.com Standard—Rating Kirkland on What Matters
We’ve analyzed Kirkland cat food 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 – 6/10
- Ingredient Quality – 7/10
- Product Variety – 7/10
- Price – 10/10
- Customer Experience – 8/10
- Recall History – 4/10
Overall Score: 7/10
We give Kirkland cat food a 39 out of 60 rating or a B- grade.
Why Trust Cats.com
I’ve done hours of research on Kirkland cat food, studying the brand’s recall history, manufacturing, ingredient quality, and customer experience. On top of those hours of screen time, I did some paws-on testing, too.
To get a sense of what this food is like in the real world, I bought a bag of Kirkland Signature dry cat food, and a mixed case of wet food cans, then tested it out with my two cats, Wessie and Forest. I purchased the products at full retail price and submitted samples of Kirkland’s Maintenance Cat formula to an independent lab. You can see the full report here.
After that research and testing, I’m ready to bring you the facts about Kirkland Signature cat food. Let’s start at the beginning.
About Kirkland Cat Food
Originally introduced in 1995, Kirkland Signature is Costco’s private label brand. The brand encompasses a wide array of products, including a limited selection of pet foods.
Bon Appetit calls Kirkland Signature “the best store brand there ever was”. From vodka rumored to be a rebottling of Grey Goose to famously fresh cashews and socks said to rival Smartwools, Kirkland Signature has a reputation for delivering affordable products that are as-good-or-better-than their name-brand equivalents.
Costco operates as a membership-only warehouse club and, as of 2022, it was the fifth largest retailer in the world. The worldwide headquarters are located in Issaquah, Washington, a suburb of Seattle. As of 2023, Costco has over 850 stores around the world.
Sourcing and Manufacturing
Costco sources their products from around the world but Kirkland Signature foods are made in the United States from domestic and imported ingredients.
Kirkland Signature cat food is manufactured by Diamond Pet Foods in five facilities around the United States. In addition to Kirkland Signature, Diamond makes food for numerous names in pet food, including—to mention a few—Taste of the Wild, 4health, and Chicken Soup for the Soul
Has Kirkland Cat Food Been Recalled?
Yes. Kirkland Signature cat food was recalled due to potential salmonella contamination in the spring of 2012. It wasn’t the only brand involved—Diamond recalled numerous other brands after a salmonella outbreak in its manufacturing facility located in Gaston, South Carolina. Following the outbreak, the FDA launched a week-long investigation of the facilities which revealed that Diamond Pet Foods wasn’t taking “all reasonable precautions” to ensure that its products were safe.
This wasn’t the first time Diamond’s Gaston plant was scrutinized by the FDA. The Gaston plant had produced dog food with excessive levels of aflatoxin and, according to the inspection, hadn’t implemented any procedures to prevent aflatoxin contamination.
Though it has been involved in one recall and its manufacturer has a history of safety and quality control issues, Kirkland Signature appears to be a consistent and safe brand. As of this writing, Kirkland cat food hasn’t been recalled in over a decade.
What Kinds Of Cat Food Does Kirkland Offer?
Kirkland Signature currently offers a limited selection of dry and wet cat food products True to Costco form, their dry cat foods are sold in bulk bags containing 18, 20, or 25 pounds of cat food, depending on the recipe. Kirkland Signature wet cat food comes in 3-ounce or 3.5-ounce cans. They’re sold in variety packs of 40 or 45 cans.
The Kirkland Signature cat food lineup currently includes the following recipes:
- Kirkland Signature Maintenance Cat Chicken & Rice Formula Dry Food
- Kirkland Signature Nature’s Domain Salmon & Sweet Potato Recipe Dry Food
- Kirkland Signature Healthy Weight Indoor Adult Cat Formula Dry Food
- Kirkland Signature Chicken Recipe Pâté Wet Cat Food
- Kirkland Signature Turkey Recipe Pâté Wet Cat Food
- Kirkland Signature Salmon Recipe Pâté Wet Cat Food
- Kirkland Signature Chicken Recipe Chunks in Gravy Wet Cat Food
- Kirkland Signature Salmon Recipe Chunks in Gravy Wet Cat Food
All Kirkland Signature cat foods feature animal protein as the first ingredient. The wet cat food formulas are all grain-free, as is the Nature’s Domain dry food recipe. Kirkland’s other two dry foods rely heavily on rice and other carbohydrates.
What Did Our Test Cats Think?
Kirkland cat food isn’t perfect. Like many other dry products, their recipes are moisture-depleted, carbohydrate-heavy, and relatively low in protein.
But compared to other comparably-priced products such as Kindfull and Pretty Please, Kirkland is an outstanding option. This brand offers superior ingredient quality with none of the potentially-harmful additives you’ll find in other budget foods.
The jury is still out on Kirkland’s wet foods, since they’ve only been released within the last year, but they seem to be on par with other recognizable brands like Iams and Diamond. Because these foods don’t contain meat by-products, corn, wheat, or soy ingredients, however, they’re a little higher in quality than store brands like Aldi’s Heart to Tail.
Kirkland Signature – Top Recipes Reviewed
|Product Name||Food Type||Main Protein Source||Calories||Price||Our Grade|
|Kirkland Signature Maintenance Cat Chicken & Rice Formula||Dry||Chicken||115 kcal/oz.||$0.09 per oz||B|
|Kirkland Signature Nature’s Domain Salmon Meal & Sweet Potato Recipe||Dry||Salmon Meal||102 kcal/oz.||$0.13 per oz||B-|
|Kirkland Signature Healthy Weight Indoor Adult Cat Formula||Dry||Chicken Meal||88 kcal/oz.||$0.10 per oz||C+|
|Kirkland Signature Turkey Recipe Pate Wet Cat Food||Wet||Turkey||28 kcal/oz.||$0.22 per oz||B-|
What Do Customers Think of Kirkland Signature Cat Food?
On Costco.com, the popular Maintenance Cat Chicken and Rice cat food has earned over 2,000 reviews and a healthy 4.7 out of 5-star rating. Most reviewers praise Kirkland cat food’s combination of price and quality.
Because Kirkland Signature’s wet cat food was only recently released, availability is limited and so are reviews. While I wasn’t able to find any customer comments about the products themselves, there’s a decent amount of excitement about the return of wet cat food to Kirkland Signature’s lineup in general.
“For cheap dry cat food this is up there as the best for this price range. You get a lot and it’s decent. Technically this food isn’t the best but it’s not the end of the world. ” – by Venna, Amazon.com, Reviewing Kirkland Signature Maintenance Dry Cat Food, January 30th, 2023
“My cats enjoy the food and hardly any vomit at all! They eat less of it because they are satiated with less. coats, eyes, energy levels still good.” – by Fauxgoddess, Amazon.com, Reviewing Kirkland Signature Maintenance Dry Cat Food, March 10th, 2023
Customers generally seem satisfied with Kirkland Signature cat foods. They love the price and the convenience of being able to buy in bulk. Several also mentioned improvements in their cat’s health or reduction of litter box odor.
“My cat will eat most any cat food, dry, wet, warm or cold, but he won’t eat this. No matter how long it stays in the bowl, no matter how long he goes without food, he will start to eat a new portion then stop then never touch another scrap again.” – by Sky1, Amazon.com, Reviewing Kirkland Signature Pate Wet Food, April 11th, 2023
“So at first I thought one of my cats was I’ll. But then all my cats got sick the only thing different was that cat food. My cats don’t go outside or around anything. I immediately took it back and my cats are no longer vomiting.” – by Courtney, ConsumerAffairs, Reviewing Kirkland Signature Cat Food, July 29th, 2022
A few complaints crop up in the review section and in threads around the web. Most negative reviews accuse various Kirkland formulas of making their cats sick, but I wasn’t able to find any substance to these claims.
Another common complaint relates to the Costco-sized packages. Even happy customers feel overwhelmed by Kirkland’s cumbersome 25-lb sacks of dry food. One person on Reddit said they’d buy it if they could, but they didn’t have room to store the bag.
How Much Does Kirkland Signature Cat Food Cost?
If you buy it on the Costco website or in the warehouse, Kirkland dry cat food ranges from $0.09 to $0.13 per ounce.
Kirkland wet cat foods are sold only in variety packs. A 45-count variety pack of 3.5-ounce cans of Kirkland Signature Pate costs $34.99, which averages out to about $0.22 per ounce. The Chunks in Gravy wet foods are sold in 40-count packs of 3-ounce cans for $26.99, also about $0.22 per ounce.
If you’re feeding a typical 10-lb cat Kirkland Signature dry food, you’ll end up spending between $0.16 to $0.25 per day. A Kirkland Signature wet food diet will be a little more expensive, between $1.50 and $1.85 per day.
Where is Kirkland Signature Cat Food Sold?
As Costco’s private label brand, Kirkland Signature cat food is easiest to find in Costco stores and on their website. If you shop through these means, however, you’ll need to purchase (or borrow) a Costco membership. Click here to find a Costco warehouse near you.
If you want to skip the membership process, you can also purchase some Kirkland cat foods on Amazon.com. Availability seems spotty, however, and the retailers may not be licensed by Costco.
Looking for other cat food brands similar to Kirkland Signature? Check out some of our other brand reviews.