Merrick describes their foods as “Whole Health Made Right”, but is this brand the right choice for your cat? Find out in our unbiased review of Merrick cat food.
The Cats.com Standard—Rating Merrick on What Matters
We’ve analyzed Merrick 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 those six key areas.
- Species-Appropriateness – 6/10
- Ingredient Quality – 8/10
- Product Variety – 7/10
- Price – 6/10
- Customer Experience – 7/10
- Recall History – 4/10
Overall Score: 6.3/10
We give Merrick cat food a 38 out of 60 rating or a C+ grade.
This pet food company started in 1988, when the Merrick family started making dog treats on their ranch in Hereford, Texas. Their first offering was a dog treat called the Flossie. The Flossie’s success inspired the family to start manufacturing all-natural dog food. Twenty-five years after the company started, Merrick introduced its first line of cat food.
In 2015, Nestlé Purina announced its buyout of Merrick Pet Care. The conglomerate explained that they wouldn’t make any changes to Merrick’s management or operations, allowing it to continue operating as an independent business.
Sourcing and Manufacturing
Merrick makes “Five Promises” about its ingredients and manufacturing practices.
- Merrick’s first promise is to partner with local growers, theoretically supporting local communities and ensuring the freshness of their ingredients. As an American company, this means that most of Merrick’s ingredients are sourced from the United States. Merrick doesn’t source any ingredients from China.
- Merrick uses what they call “nutritious, whole foods”. According to their nutritional philosophy, this means that they don’t use any artificial additives, sweeteners, colorings, or preservatives.
- Merrick promises to provide balanced nutrition by using 30% to 80% protein from meat, poultry, and fish, combined with vegetables, whole grains, and fruit.
- Merrick’s fourth promise is something they refer to as “health you can see.” They say their foods feature “industry-leading” levels of healthy fats, highly digestible meat proteins, and glucosamine and chondroitin.
- All Merrick foods are prepared in company-owned kitchens in Hereford, Texas. Their kitchens are Safe Quality Food (SQF) Level 3-certified and certified by the USDA National Organic Program.
Has Merrick Cat Food Been Recalled?
Merrick food and treats have been recalled several times. Here’s a brief summary of Merrick’s recall history.
In May of 2018, several beef-based dog treats were recalled due to potentially elevated levels of beef thyroid hormones.
In January of 2011, Merrick’s Jr. Texas Taffy pet treats were recalled due to potential salmonella contamination. In the summer of the same year, the company announced a recall of their Doggie Wishbone treats, again due to potential salmonella contamination.
Merrick treats were recalled due to possible salmonella contamination.
What Kinds of Cat Food Does Merrick Offer?
Company founder Garth Merrick says that Merrick is set apart by “the efforts we make to retain the natural goodness and nutritional integrity of the whole food ingredients we use,” explaining that “We use the fewest steps we can. We stay away from artificial colors, flavors or preservatives.
We believe this approach keeps our customers — and most importantly, their pets – satisfied that our diets are contributing greatly to their pet’s happiness and well-being. We’ve been doing that since the beginning, and we’ll continue to do that in the future.”
Merrick has a diverse cat food offering, including dry food, wet food, raw mixers, and treats. They’re broken down into three lines—Purrfect Bistro, Limited Ingredient Diet, and Backcountry.
- Purrfect Bistro is the brand’s original cat food line. It includes both grain-inclusive and grain-free recipes, all targeting different life stages and needs. It’s also the most economically priced of the three product lines.
- The Limited Ingredient Diet (LID) line targets cats with food sensitivities and allergies. Each recipe is made with a single source of animal protein, including novel options like duck and turkey. While Merrick lists two dry food recipes in their LID line, only the canned food options appear to be currently available.
- The Backcountry line involves all-natural, grain-free foods, some of which are infused with freeze-dried raw meat. Backcountry wet foods are only sold in 3-ounce pouches.
Merrick Cat Food – Top 3 Recipes Reviewed
|Merrick Purrfect Bistro Grain-Free Chicken Pate Canned Cat Food
|$0.49 per oz
|Merrick Backcountry Raw Infused Game Bird Recipe
|$5.48 per lb
|Merrick Limited Ingredient Diet Grain-Free Real Turkey Recipe Canned Food
|$0.48 per oz
What Do Customers Think of Merrick Cat Food?
Merrick cat food receives primarily positive reviews. The brand’s product listings on Amazon and Chewy have, on average, four-to-five-star ratings. Most customers think Merrick is a high-quality brand and say that their cats enjoy eating it.
If you want to hear about negative experiences with Merrick, head to Consumer Affairs.
While reviews are varied, the presence of foreign objects in the food is a recurring complaint. At least two customers found pieces of plastic in cans of Merrick cat food and one found an unidentified brown, hair-covered object. The consumers made these complaints in 2010, 2015, and 2016, respectively.
“I have two diabetic cats – sisters. I needed a grain free food for them. What I like about Merrick pates is that they mix great with water. Whether your cat is diabetic or not, best to get water into their diets. I mix this wet food with warm water and make a slurry. I find that cats would rather lap up their food then chew it. Their diabetes has been managed well on this food. We also buy the beef, salmon, and tuna flavors too.” – SugarKittyMom, reviewing Merrick Purrfect Bistro Chicken Paté
“I’ve had a hard time finding a low-carb option that my biggest (and roundest) cat will eat. He likes this one, though! The ingredients list looks good and the kibbles are about half the size of the usual kibbles I see in cat foods. My only complaint is that I wish it came in 20+ pound bags.” – Heatherdera, reviewing Merrick Limited Ingredient Grain-Free Real Chicken Recipe Dry Cat Food
“Something wrong with recent batch. Cats refused to eat it. In past, when fed cats only this, they lost too much weight, and were losing their fur. Some cans in past were punctured and food went rotten. I switched to another brand and cats are eating and doing well.” – unipsycholing, reviewing Merrick Limited Ingredient Chicken Paté
“Missed it and order this food. i do wish carageenan would be listed as an acception, like grain and other bi-products. Off to the store. I must have a better choice for my kitties.” – Maggie95, reviewing Merrick Purrfect Bistro Chicken Paté
How Much Does Merrick Cat Food Cost?
Merrick cat food ranges from moderately priced to expensive.
If you have a 10-pound cat, canned food from the Purrfect Bistro line costs about $2.79 per day. Limited Ingredient Diet wet foods may be a little more expensive, around $3.00 per day, with the Backcountry line being the most expensive. Feeding your cat Backcountry wet food would cost about $4.19 per day.
The most economical option for Merrick cat food is their dry food in the Purrfect Bistro line. It would cost about $0.41 per day for a 10-pound cat.
Overall, Is Merrick a Good Choice?
Merrick cat food is an acceptable choice. It’s neither one of the best nor one of the worst foods on the market. In terms of price and ingredient quality, Merrick appears to be comparable to Wellness, Fromm, and Wysong.
To get the best out of Merrick, opt for wet foods from the Backcountry line. They’re free of carrageenan and have lower carbohydrate content compared to those in the Purrfect Bistro and Limited Ingredient lines.
Where Is Merrick Cat Food Sold?
Merrick is available in pet product retailers and farm and ranch stores. Online, you can buy Merrick cat food through Petco, Chewy, Amazon, PetFlow, and Doctors Foster & Smith.