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In this unbiased review, we’ll take a closer look at the food cats ask for by name, determining whether or not Meow Mix cat food is a healthy, safe choice.
The Cats.com Standard—Rating Meow Mix on What Matters
We’ve analyzed Meow Mix 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 – 4/10
- Ingredient Quality – 4/10
- Product Variety – 6/10
- Price – 8/10
- Customer Experience – 5/10
- Recall History – 7/10
Overall Score: 5.7/10
We give Meow Mix cat food a 34 out of 60 rating or a C grade.
Also Read: Cats.com Cat Food Rating Index
About Meow Mix
Meow Mix was created in 1974 and was originally owned by the Ralston Purina Company—now Nestlé-Purina. The Meow Mix brand went from owner to owner through the next forty years, first being sold to Del Monte Foods, which was the owner of Big Heart Pet Brands at the time. Meow Mix was acquired by an equity firm called Cypress Group, then returned to Del Monte Foods ownership.
In 2015, the J.M. Smucker company bought Big Heart Pet Brands. As part of the J.M. Smucker Big Heart Pet Brand family, Meow Mix is sold by the same company that owns 9Lives, Dick Van Patten’s Natural Balance, Rachael Ray Nutrish, and other brands.
Meow Mix is perhaps best known for its tagline—“the food cats ask for by name” and accompanying jingle. The brand is economical, offers a respectable product variety, and is easy to find in stores around the world.
Sourcing And Manufacturing
Meow Mix dry food is made in the company’s facility in Decatur, Alabama. This manufacturing facility also makes Alley Cat products. Meow Mix wet cat food is made in Thailand.
The company doesn’t provide information on its sourcing practices.
Has Meow Mix Cat Food Been Recalled?
Meow Mix has never been recalled.
In 2015, a consumer advocacy group crowdfunded a study of contaminants in eight pet foods, including Meow Mix Tender Centers cat food. Meow Mix Tender Centers had the highest mycotoxin mold contamination of all the foods tested and these levels were considered “high risk”.
Mycotoxins are created by fungus or mold and commonly grow on grains like wheat and corn. Consumption of mycotoxins can cause acute illness or, if ingested in small amounts over time, may result in chronic suppression of the immune system, cancer, and kidney and liver toxicity.
What Kinds Of Cat Food Does Meow Mix Offer?
The Meow Mix lineup includes both wet and dry food.
Meow Mix dry varieties include Original Choice, Tender Centers, Bistro Recipes®, Hairball Control, Indoor Formula, Kitten Li’l Nibbles®, and Seafood Medley.
The brand’s wet varieties include Tender Favorites®, Simple Servings®, Classic Paté, and Paté Toppers.
The brand also offers a variety of cat treats.
Meow Mix Cat Food – Top 3 Recipes Reviewed
|Product Name||Food Type||Price||Our Grade|
|Meow Mix Original Choice Dry Cat Food||Dry||$1.24 per lb||D|
|Meow Mix Tender Centers Salmon & White Meat Chicken Dry Cat Food||Dry||$1.27 per lb||D-|
|Meow Mix Tender Favorites with Real Tuna & Whole Shrimp in Sauce||Wet||$0.23 per oz||C+|
#1 Meow Mix Original Choice Dry Cat Food
Corn gluten meal appears to be the primary protein source in this dry cat food.
Meow Mix Original Choice is the brand’s top kibble. With no protein sources in the name and a label that mentions the “delicious flavors of” four meats, you wouldn’t be wrong to guess that this food is a far cry from the natural feline diet of fresh, raw prey.
Let’s take a look at the ingredient list to find out what Original Choice is really made of. Ground whole corn is the first ingredient. This high-carbohydrate ingredient gives the food a nice crunch and adds to its calorie content, but it’s far from appropriate for the feline physiology. Cats are optimized for a meat-based diet with virtually zero requirement for carbohydrates.
The second ingredient is corn gluten meal, which is a protein-dense corn product.
The third ingredient is chicken by-product meal. While chicken by-product meal is species-appropriate and can be a highly digestible source of nutrition, it’s a feed-grade ingredient and not subject to the kind of quality regulations that dictate human food processing. The ingredient list alone can’t tell us whether this meat was derived from healthy or sick chickens or if the by-product meal is more flesh, skin, or connective tissue.
Soybean meal is added as another source of plant protein. Soy ingredients have been criticized for their phytoestrogen content, which could cause health problems in cats.
Beef tallow is used as the food’s primary fat source. Cats thrive on animal-sourced fat and this rendered fat is preferable to plant-derived oil.
Near the end of the ingredient list are animal digest as a flavor additive, turkey by-product meal, salmon meal, and ocean fish meal.
The food is fortified with a variety of vitamins, minerals, and amino acids that make it nutritionally complete. Yellow 6, Yellow 5, Red 40, and Blue 2 are added to dye the kibble. These artificial colors may cause behavioral and physical problems when ingested.
Overall, this food is low in protein with low fat and high carbohydrate content.
The food has 308 calories per cup.
Ground Yellow Corn, Corn Gluten Meal, Chicken By-Product Meal, Soybean Meal, Beef Tallow (Preserved with Mixed Tocopherols), Animal Digest, Calcium Carbonate, Turkey By-Product Meal, Salmon Meal, Ocean Fish Meal, Phosphoric Acid, Choline Chloride, Salt, Potassium Chloride, Titanium Dioxide (Color), Vitamins [Vitamin E Supplement, Niacin Supplement, Vitamin A Supplement, D-Calcium Pantothenate, Thiamine Mononitrate (Source of Vitamin B1), Riboflavin Supplement (Source of Vitamin B2), Pyridoxine Hydrochloride (Source of Vitamin B6), Menadione Sodium Bisulfite Complex (Source of Vitamin K Activity), Vitamin D3 Supplement, Folic Acid, Biotin, Vitamin B12 Supplement], Minerals [Ferrous Sulfate (Source of Iron), Zinc Oxide, Manganous Oxide, Copper Sulfate, Calcium Iodate, Sodium Selenite], Taurine, Yellow 6, Yellow 5, Red 40, Blue 2, Rosemary Extract.
Ingredients We Liked: None
Ingredients We Didn’t Like: Ground Yellow Corn, Corn Gluten Meal, Soybean Meal, Yellow 6, Yellow 5, Red 40, Blue 2
Common Allergens: Fish, Chicken
Dry Matter Basis
Caloric Weight Basis
- Contains animal-sourced fat
- Very high carbohydrate content
- Contains artificial colors
#2 Meow Mix Tender Centers Salmon & White Meat Chicken Dry Cat Food
Chicken by-product meal appears to be the primary protein source in this dry cat food.
Meow Mix Tender Centers food is a popular twist on the standard crunchy kibble. The food has soft centers for added textural complexity.
Like Meow Mix Original Choice, this food is made, first and foremost, from corn. Though we don’t know exactly how much corn is in each batch, we do know that whole ground corn is the weightiest inclusion in the recipe. Its weight earned whole ground corn the first spot on the ingredient list, ahead of chicken by-product meal and all the other meat ingredients.
In addition to whole ground corn, the food contains corn gluten meal as a concentrated source of plant protein, soybean meal as another concentrated source of plant protein, and whole wheat.
After this series of grains, the food contains animal fat. That’s right. The first animal ingredient is fat, not a protein source.
Like any other time you see the word “animal” on an ingredient list, this vaguely named fat could have come from a variety of animals. You’ll see it again in the next ingredient, which is “animal digest”. Animal digest is made from hydrolyzed animal tissues and gives the grain-based kibble a pop of concentrated meat flavor.
The food contains corn syrup for a little species-inappropriate sweetness, glycerin as a humectant (it keeps those centers nice and tender), and salmon meal for a extra fishy flavor. It’s the food’s only significant source of animal protein and the last of the main ingredients.
After salmon meal, the ingredient list dives into a long series of vitamins, minerals, and amino acids. It also contains carrageenan, probably to help stabilize the tender centers. This seaweed-derived ingredient may have carcinogenic and inflammatory properties.
The food contains Yellow 6, Yellow 5, and Red 40. Near the very end of the ingredient list is an additive referred to as “natural white meat chicken flavor”.
Overall, this dry food is low in protein and fat with high carbohydrate content.
The food is 328 calories per cup.
Whole Ground Corn, Chicken By-Product Meal, Corn Gluten Meal, Soybean Meal, Whole Wheat, Animal Fat (Preserved with Mixed Tocopherols), Animal Digest, Corn Syrup, Glycerin, Phosphoric Acid, Calcium Carbonate, Salmon Meal, Titanium Dioxide (Color), Salt, Calcium Sulfate, Potassium Sorbate (Used As A Preservative), Potassium Chloride, Choline Chloride, L-Lysine, Vitamins (Vitamin E Supplement, Niacin Supplement, Vitamin A Supplement, D-Calcium Pantothenate, Thiamine Mononitrate, Riboflavin Supplement, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Menadione Sodium Bisulfite Complex, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Folic Acid, Biotin, Vitamin B12 Supplement), Dicalcium Phosphate, Carrageenan, Yellow 6, Taurine, Minerals (Ferrous Sulfate, Zinc Oxide, Manganous Oxide, Copper Sulfate, Calcium Iodate, Sodium Selenite), Yellow 5, Red 40, Natural White Meat Chicken Flavor, Dl-Methionine, BHA (Used As A Preservative), Rosemary Extract, Celery Extract.
Ingredients We Liked: None
Ingredients We Didn’t Like: Whole Ground Corn, Corn Gluten Meal, Soybean Meal, Whole Wheat, Corn Syrup, Carrageenan, Yellow 6, Yellow 5, Red 40, BHA
Common Allergens: Chicken, Fish
Dry Matter Basis
Caloric Weight Basis
- Cats like this food
- High carbohydrate content
- Contains artificial colors
- Primarily made from plant ingredients
- Contains carrageenan
- Contains corn syrup
#3 Meow Mix Tender Favorites with Real Tuna & Whole Shrimp in Sauce Cat Food Trays Review
Salmon appears to be the primary protein source in this wet cat food.
This fish-based food is a chunky stew made with tuna in fish broth, mixed up with ocean fish (probably tilefish) and shrimp. The stew contains soybean oil as its primary fat source and gets a flavor boost from both natural and artificial flavors.
The food is stabilized with a combination of guar gum and carrageenan. While neither of these gums is species-appropriate, carrageenan is particularly bad. Though food-grade carrageenan is considered safe, there’s no way of knowing that it’s not contaminated with degraded carrageenan. Degraded carrageenan is a known carcinogen and could worsen inflammation.
After all the vitamins, minerals, and amino acids added to make the food nutritionally complete, the food contains what Meow Mix refers to simply as “color”. It’s unclear whether this color is a natural or artificial dye.
Overall, this food is rich in protein with low fat and low carbohydrate content.
There are 62 calories in each cup of this cat food.
Tuna, Fish Broth, Ocean Fish, Shrimp, Soybean Oil, Natural & Artificial Flavors, Tricalcium Phosphate, Guar Gum, Carrageenan, Salt, Calcium Sulphate, Vitamins [Vitamin E, Niacin, Thiamine Mononitrate, Vitamin A, Pantothenic Acid, Riboflavin, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Biotin, Vitamin D3, Vitamin B12, Folic Acid, Menadione Sodium Bisulphite Complex (Source of Vitamin K Activity)], Minerals (Ferrous Sulphate Monohydrate, Zinc Oxide, Manganese Sulphate Monohydrate, Copper Proteinate, Sodium Selenite, Potassium Iodide), Sodium Nitrite, Color.
Ingredients We Liked: None
Ingredients We Didn’t Like: Soybean Oil, Artificial Flavors, Carrageenan,
Common Allergens: Fish
Dry Matter Basis
Caloric Weight Basis
- Relatively low carbohydrate content
- Fish-based food isn’t ideal for cats
- Contains carrageenan
What Do Customers Think Of Meow Mix Cat Food?
Meow Mix has been a cat food leader for over 40 years. Their food is affordable, easy to find, and cats like it. Multiple generations of cats have grown up and grown old on Meow Mix.
Like most top-selling cat food brands, Meow Mix’s popularity comes with some serious complaints.
While customer reviews on Meow Mix’s product listings are primarily positive, other platforms paint an uglier picture of the brand. On Consumer Affairs, Meow Mix has an average rating of 2.6 out of 5 stars. It’s no surprise that there are complaints about Meow Mix.
What’s unsettling is that there’s some consistency among those complaints. Multiple people said their cats started vomiting blood or bleeding rectally after eating Meow Mix. Several said their cats recovered after the Meow Mix food was withdrawn.
In 2014, 381 people signed a petition asking Meow Mix to issue a recall in light of multiple reports in 2013 and 2014 of severe vomiting, vomiting blood, and death after eating Meow Mix.
Again, people around the world feed their cats Meow Mix without incident. When your cat gets sick, the last food they ate is an easy potential culprit to blame, but not necessarily the right one. At this point, we don’t know if Meow Mix has made cats seriously ill.
“I’ve tried to feed my cats the highest-quality food I can afford, especially since one of them has had cystitis and the other is elderly and has a poor appetite. I tried this even though it’s not one of the top brands nutritionally, and they both love it. At least it’s chunks of recognizable seafood. They eat their Science Diet along with it, so I’m glad I tried it!” – drelseyfan, reviewing Meow Mix Tender Favorites with Real Tuna & Whole Shrimp in Sauce
“I have fed my cats every fancy, holistic, grain-free, healthy cat food over the last forty years! After a short while, they always turn their noses up, especially the elders, and I resort to Meow Mix and a few other old stand-bys to mix in and get them to eat! American cats!! Junk food lovers to be sure! But actually, in the ‘old days,’ we didn’t have fancy foods, and the cats were all healthy and never got cancer and the weird conditions they succumb to now.” – SluggersMom, reviewing Meow Mix Original Choice Dry Cat Food
“I found a piece of the top wrapping in the food. There is also VERY HARD pieces of dark stuff in there. Little or no shrimp and not good smelling.” – terri, reviewing Meow Mix Tender Favorites with Real Tuna & Whole Shrimp in Sauce
“ALL MY 13 CATS ARE THROWING THIS AND THE TUNA ONE I TRIED. MEOW MIX JUST DOESN’T AGREE WITH MY CATS.” – ANIMALLOVERINPA, reviewing Meow Mix Tender Centers Salmon & White Meat Chicken
How Much Does Meow Mix Cat Food Cost?
Meow Mix is one of the cheapest cat food brands on the market.
If your cat weighs about 10 lbs, Meow Mix dry food costs roughly $0.08 to $0.10 per day, making even economy brands like Purina Cat Chow look expensive by comparison. Meow Mix wet food is a little bit pricier and will cost closer to $1.65 per day.
Overall, Is Meow Mix Cat Food A Good Choice?
Meow Mix isn’t the best cat food you can buy.
Whether wet or dry, Meow Mix cat food contains artificial ingredients, added colors, and other additives that could harm your cat over time. Their dry foods are some of the most grain-laden and carbohydrate-loaded products on the market.
If you choose to buy Meow Mix, opt for their wet varieties, which offer a carnivore-appropriate distribution of protein, fat, and carbohydrates.
Where To Buy Meow Mix Cat Food?
Meow Mix cat food is sold worldwide. It’s available in groceries, big box stores, and other stores that sell pet food. You can buy it online through a host of online retailers, including Chewy and Amazon.
Due to “minor issues” my cats have developed I started researching their food. I jst bought the Meow Mix wet tenders food to try. My cats love it, and looks good in the bowl. I’m grateful for these cat food reviews, learning so much. I have not yet found which wet food is the best, steady reading articles. Do not want the “minor issues” to get worse. Thank you so much for all the information you are providing!
What a nice comment! Thank you for taking a moment to share your story. There are many great wet cat foods out there. In case you haven’t read it already, we reviewed ten of the best brands in our article on the best wet food:
You’re in for an adventure, by the way—the world of feline nutrition is as vast and all-consuming as you want it to be. You could spend a decade researching this stuff and still have just scratched the surface.
Here’s to great cat food and stopping “minor issues” in their tracks!
Meow mix number one ingredient is corn. Not chicken, not even fish, CORN DO NOT BELIEVE THIS CON ARTIST DON DYOR Or whatever his name is. It is the cheapest food on the market, your cat will live 5 -10 years if they are lucky and it’s all about money. That’s why he responded to me. Do not ever give your cat Meow Mix!!
my cats are 17 years old and have only had meow mix!!!!! They are extremely healthy!!!!!
Enjoyed all the valuable info on meow mix wet tender favorites, tuna and shrimp. I have 6 cats and 2 want only that wet food. Problem is the inconsistency, often times the color is almost gray, really high moisture content, my cats won’t go near the plate, God only knows what is in there. Smuckers does not care!!! I asked them to have a container of it examined by a lab, a cup I returned to them. They did finally answer me with this,,..Moisture content was slightly more than usual, but within acceptable range. You can’t reason with those people, they are quite like our present Leader, will say whatever best suits his agenda. Doesn’t have to be true, just as long as it works for him.
What is the best economic cat food you reccomend? I have 9 rescue rescue kittens and I can’t afford expensive food but I want to provide good nutrition. What do you recommend?
That’s a great question! You can definitely feed your kitties well while sticking to a reasonable budget. A few of our favorite economical brands are WholeHearted, Simply Nourish, Authority, and Fancy Feast.
In case you want to learn more, we have an entire article about the best cheap—and healthy—cat food on the market:
Hope this helps! Let us know if you have any more questions.
Wishing you and the kittens all the best,
I have feeding our cat wet and dry meow mix for years but recently I have found bones long splinter type in the wet food the first one I did not see and she threw up and that’s when I found she could have chocked on it while we were at work and died. The second one was found two pieces of bone in the wet food as it was put in her dish.
I don’t know how but this is not good
Thank you for sharing your experience. Like you, I can’t say exactly what happened, but I do know that it doesn’t sound good. In addition to commenting here, it would be a good idea to file a pet food complaint with the FDA and report your experience directly to Meow Mix. These are two of the best ways to ensure that the right people hear about what happened.
Here’s the FDA’s guide to making a pet food complaint: https://www.fda.gov/animal-veterinary/report-problem/how-report-pet-food-complaint
Here’s the Meow Mix contact page: https://www.meowmix.com/contact-us
I’m sorry that you and your cat had to go through this and hope that you find some peace soon.
Thank you for doing the research and sharing it on this site.
We bought a bag of Meow Mix, Hairball Control. Our only cat ate the food one time and immediately starting vomiting. We did not let her eat anymore of the Meow Mix. We took her to the vet for two days straight. She was very sick and howling with pain. She has had two injections for nausea and one injection of antibiotics plus blood work and x-rays. The vet suspects that the ingestion of the Meow Mix caused pancreatitis. She is still not out of the woods and will have to eat a specialty cat food for the rest of her life, if she survives.
Thank you for sharing your experience. If possible, I’d recommend saving any leftover Meow Mix in case you want to seek lab analysis and reporting a complaint to the FDA. You can learn more about how to report a pet food complaint here: https://www.fda.gov/animal-veterinary/report-problem/how-report-pet-food-complaint
Hope your cat gets better soon.
Exactly what I explained. Meow Mix is POISON
What’s your opinion of meow mix grain free with salnon
I have been feeding meow mix dry and wet cat food to my Japanese Bob Tail since she was a kitty. She is now officially 20 years old as of August this year. She will not eat anything else even straight up Tuna. She will eat chicken sometimes. Her health is fading but the vet says that it’s because she is so old. She still gets around great and jumps up on the bed at night to sleep. I’m not sure if the information is accurate about meow mix causing cats health to fail is true, but it has been my cats meal for a long time and she has never had internal issues.
I bougt a new meow mixe wet food looks like a swirl. Suppose to be chicken ?? Our one inside cat will eat anything including paper and tape but she won’t touch this food. Tried feeding it to the ferals on my patio..also no way. Late at night raccoons come by an the bowl with meow mix was left untouched. That should speak volumes.
You’re a bit too harsh on the wet food, their dry food yes is pretty bad indeed! but if you look here for example @ this site catfooddb.com/product/meow%20mix/Tender+Favorites+With+Real+Tuna+%26+Whole+Shrimp+In+Sauce and specifically the wet food in sauce you listed here it is rated very highly! they also make a simple servings line of wet food that contain no meat by product or fillers etc like so many others like fancy feast does etc, For cats like mine who don’t like pate and like sauce type foods the meow mix is a good choice! I mean saying ingredients you like as none lol the first ingredients are Tuna, Fish Broth, Ocean Fish, Shrimp, Not fillers and by-products so not sure why you would say not list those as good! Also, it’s been disputed that feeding fish regularly is all bad depending on who you ask. I guess I mean not all cats react badly to or have fish allergies.
Thank you for observing this, Creighton—you’re right that this food looks pretty good, and their Simple Servings line is also preferable to a lot of others the market. We will look into revising this article in the future and potentially adjusting some of the ratings. Thank you!
No problem & thank you! 🙂
Your review doesn’t make sense to me. You give it a 7/10 for recall history but state it’s never been recalled. How does that make any sense to you?
Hi, thanks for the question. I thought that it made sense to place the rating somewhere between 5 and 10 because other brands from the same manufacturer have been recalled, but it is true that our rating system could use improvement.
Why is it that fish-based cheap wet foods (like Meow Mix or Friskies) get an X (Con) because “Fish-based food isn’t ideal for cats”, but in the expensive fish-based foods’ reviews it’s not a con for them to be fish-basedt?!?
Makes you wonder about how unbiased these reviews actually are…
Thanks for letting us know about the inconsistency. It really is just a quirk of different writers having different ideas about what to flag as a pro or con, but I agree that more standardization is needed.