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Wellness Cat Food Review

updated-icon Updated by  Meg Swinney
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Find out what’s great about Wellness and what’s not in our in-depth Wellness cat food review. Plus, see how it matches up with our Cats.com standard, evaluating the brand on species-appropriateness, product variety, price, ingredient quality, customer experience, and recall history.

The Cats.com Standard—Rating Wellness on What Matters

We’ve rated Wellness on six key criteria for quality. Here’s how it rates in each of these six crucial areas.

Ratings

  • Species-Appropriateness – 4/5
  • Ingredient Quality – 4/5
  • Product Variety – 5/5
  • Customer Experience – 4/5
  • Recall History – 3/5

Overall Score: 4/5

In total, we give Wellness cat food a 20 out of 25 rating or a B- grade.

Why Trust Cats.com

I’ve done hours of research on Wellness cat food, looking into the brand’s origins, recall history, manufacturing, ingredient quality, and customer experience. On top of those hours of screen time, I did some paws-on testing with my cats.

My cats sampled two wet foods and the brand’s grain-free kibble to get a sense of texture, quality, and palatability. My cats and my observations were measured using the Cats.com standards. All the products were purchased at full retail price, and the entire testing process was funded by Cats.com without direct input or influence from the companies involved.

The Wellness Core wet food was also submitted to a lab for independent testing. Analytical testing in a food chemistry lab gives us the exact macronutrient and micronutrient content of each recipe. The tests also look at microbial content, yeast, mold, and heavy metals, helping you ensure that you’re only putting the best in your cat’s bowl.

About Wellness

A brainchild of a group of scientists, Wellness started in 1997 as a branch of WellPet LLC, a pet food company that started in 1926 with the founding of Old Mother Hubbard Dog Treats. When Old Mother Hubbard and Eagle Pack merged, they formed WellPet, LLC. The company is now a subsidiary of Berwind Corporation, a private investment management company. Its headquarters are in Tewksbury, Massachusetts.

In 2012, the company expanded the former Eagle Pack Pet Foods plant in a $20 million expansion project. The Mishawaka, Indiana location has 100,000 square feet of warehouse space along with 50,000 square feet of manufacturing space for their line of products.

In 2019, they introduced the Wellness Foundation, a non-profit that gives meals to needy pets. Overall, the company’s mission is to provide pets with quality ingredients, along with safe and healthy products.

Sourcing And Manufacturing

The company says that the vast majority of their pet food production is done in their own Mishawaka, Indiana facility. Wellness Signature Selects, Divine Duos, and all wet foods in pouches are made in Thailand.

On the Wellness website, the company provides a step-by-step description of their canned food manufacturing process. The page explains that they work with “only the most respectable ingredient suppliers” to ensure that all products are made with excellent raw ingredients, then manufacture the foods according to a controlled process.

In a video published in 2012, WellPet says that their quality assurance program maintains the strictest standards of food safety in the pet food business and exceeds standards established by the FDA and AAFCO.

They also state that they screen all their products for mold toxins, heavy metals, and pathogens. The guidelines the company follows can be found here.

Recall History

Wellness has been recalled several times since 1997. Here’s a quick summary of the brand’s recall history.

2017

In February, a small amount of metal was found in products made in one of the facilities that manufactures Wellness products. While the affected products were not part of the WellPet family, the company decided to take the “conservative step” and recalled several canned cat food varieties.

In March 2017, Wellness recalled one variety of canned dog food due to possibly excessive levels of naturally occurring beef thyroid hormone.

2012

In May 2012, Wellness issued a recall due to possible salmonella contamination of dry dog food.

In October, Wellness recalled a single variety of dry dog food due to excessive moisture content. While not immediately dangerous, excessively moist dry foods are prone to developing mold before their labeled expiration date.

2011

In February 2011, 21.6 million cans of Wellness canned cat food were recalled due to inadequate levels of thiamine.

What Kinds Of Cat Food Does Wellness Offer?

All Wellness foods are made with whole foods and are free of wheat, corn, and soy. They don’t contain any artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives.

Wellness’ two lines are CORE, which is a protein-centric, grain-free food, and Complete Health. The Complete Health line offers “whole food nutrition with grain-free options for your cat’s everyday health. The line includes products geared towards specific life stages and lifestyles, including foods for kittens, indoor cats, and weight management.

Wellness CORE

CORE’s dry selection is currently limited to seven products, which includes five original recipes, Wellness Air Dried food, and two RawRev products, which involve kibble blended with chunks of freeze-dried meat.

The CORE wet food selection includes:

  • Pates
  • Hearty Cuts 95% Animal Protein
  • CORE Signature Selects
  • Divine Duos
  • Simply Shreds snacks.

Wellness Complete Health

Wellness Complete Health offers a selection of both grain-free and grain-inclusive dry foods, each formula targeting life stages and health and lifestyle needs. Ingredients include salmon, chicken, rice, cranberries, tomato pomace, and flaxseed.

The wet food selection includes:

  • Complete Health Pate
  • Complete Health Gravies
  • Complete Health Minced
  • Complete Health Sliced
  • Complete Health Morsels
  • Healthy Indulgence

The Complete Health line also includes Wellness Kittles treats along with Bowl Boosters toppings for wet and dry food.

What Did Our Test Cats Think?

Wellness cat food is one of the better brands on the market. The Wellness CORE line stands out with a great selection of high-protein foods made primarily from animal ingredients. Their Complete Health line is also a good option, particularly if you choose their canned recipes rather than the dry foods.

Though Wellness has been recalled several times in the past, the company reacted promptly to reports of problems, and very few customers complain about the food making their pets sick. Overall, the brand has a good reputation among both cats and people.

Wellness Cat Food – Top 3 Recipes Reviewed

#1 Wellness Complete Health Pate Chicken Entree Grain-Free Canned Cat Food Review

Wellness Complete Health Pate Chicken Entree Grain-Free Canned Cat Food

Chicken appears to be the primary protein source in this canned food.

This popular recipe is a straightforward, meat-based canned cat food that incorporates high-quality chicken, chicken liver, and turkey. According to customer reviews, the pate has a texture “like ground meat” that both people and their cats seem to enjoy.

In addition to carnivore-appropriate meat ingredients, the food contains fruits and vegetables like carrots and cranberries, plus cassia gum, guar gum, and xanthan gum as thickeners.

Altogether, the food is high in protein from species-appropriate animal sources, moderate in fat, and low in carbohydrates. The food is 34 calories per ounce or 101 calories in each 3 oz can.

Ingredients

Chicken, Chicken Liver, Turkey, Chicken Broth, Carrots, Natural Flavor, Guar Gum, Cranberries, Ground Flaxseed, Potassium Chloride, Taurine, Salt, Cassia Gum, Xanthan Gum, Choline Chloride, Iron Proteinate, Zinc Proteinate, Beta-Carotene, Thiamine Mononitrate, Vitamin E Supplement, Copper Proteinate, Manganese Proteinate, Sodium Selenite, Niacin, d-Calcium Pantothenate, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Riboflavin Supplement, Vitamin A Supplement, Biotin, Potassium Iodide, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Folic Acid.

Ingredients We Liked: Chicken, Chicken Liver, Turkey

Ingredients We Didn’t Like: Carrots

Guaranteed Analysis

Crude Protein: 10.5%
Crude Fat: 7%
Crude Fiber: 1%
Moisture: 78%

Dry Matter Basis

Protein: 47.73%
Fat: 31.82%
Fiber: 4.55%
Carbs: 15.91%

Caloric Weight Basis

Protein: 33.87%
Fat: 54.84%
Carbs: 11.29%

Pros

  • Rich in species-appropriate animal ingredients
  • Moisture-rich food promotes healthy hydration
  • Free from artificial ingredients
  • Low carbohydrate and plant content
  • Cats seem to like eating this food

Cons

  • Contains carrot and cranberry, neither of which are necessary for cats

#2 Wellness CORE Signature Selects Flaked Skipjack Tuna & Wild Salmon Entree in Broth Grain-Free Canned Cat Food Review

Wellness Signature Selects Natural Canned Grain Free Wet Cat Food

Tuna appears to be the primary protein source in this canned cat food.

Because fish is so prone to heavy metal and toxin contamination, it’s not a highly recommended cat food ingredient. This food is made primarily from tuna, mackerel, and salmon set in sauce.

While the product is described as a “flaked” food, customers found something more like stew inside of the can. One customer begged, “Where’s the Flaked Fish???” and said that the food was essentially “fancy gravy”.

The gravy in question is thickened with tapioca starch, and the food contains guar gum as a binding agent. Sunflower oil is also added to the broth.

Like many fish-based foods, this is a relatively low-calorie canned meal. It’s 25 calories per ounce or 70 calories per 2.8 oz can.

Ingredients

Tuna, Tuna Broth, Water Sufficient for Processing, Mackerel, Salmon, Tapioca Starch, Sunflower Oil, Natural Flavor, Guar Gum, Tricalcium Phosphate, Taurine, Magnesium Sulfate, Vitamins [Vitamin E Supplement, Thiamine Hydrochloride, Niacin, Vitamin A Supplement, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, d-Calcium Pantothenate, Riboflavin Supplement, Folic Acid, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Biotin, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Potassium Chloride, Choline Chloride, Minerals [Zinc Amino Acid Chelate, Iron Amino Acid Chelate, Manganese Amino Acid Chelate, Copper Amino Acid Chelate, Potassium Iodide, Sodium Selenite], Menadione Sodium Bisulfite Complex (Vitamin K).

Ingredients We Liked: Tuna, Mackerel, Salmon

Ingredients We Didn’t Like: Tapioca Starch, Guar Gum

Guaranteed Analysis

Crude Protein: 10%
Crude Fat: 3.5%
Crude Fiber: 1%
Moisture: 85%
Ash: 2%

Dry Matter Basis

Protein: 66.67%
Fat: 23.33%
Fiber: 6.67%

Caloric Weight Basis

Protein: 54.05%
Fat: 45.95%

Pros

  • Made primarily from animal protein sources
  • No artificial ingredients
  • Cats like the flavor

Cons

  • Some customers didn’t like the food’s consistency

#3 Wellness CORE Grain-Free Indoor Formula Dry Cat Food Review

Wellness CORE Grain-Free Indoor Formula Dry Cat Food

Deboned chicken and chicken meal appear to be the primary protein sources in this dry cat food.

Like all Wellness CORE foods, this kibble claims to “nourish your favorite feline’s primal essence” by delivering protein-rich nutrition. The food features deboned chicken and chicken meal as the first two ingredients, which are both nourishing sources of the animal protein your cat craves.

While this product does provide more meat than the average dry food, it also contains peas, potatoes, and potato protein. Like most cat foods marketed to guardians of indoor cats, the food is high in fiber from tomato pomace, pea fiber, and ground flaxseed.

Altogether, Wellness CORE grain-free chicken dry cat food has moderate-to-high protein content primarily from animal sources, low fat, and high carbohydrate content. It’s 445 calories per cup.

Ingredients

Deboned Chicken, Turkey Meal, Chicken Meal, Peas, Potatoes, Tomato Pomace, Ground Flaxseed, Chicken Fat (Preserved with Mixed Tocopherols), Natural Chicken Flavor, Chicory Root Extract, Choline Chloride, Cranberries, Potassium Chloride, Vitamin E Supplement, Taurine, L-Carnitine, Mixed Tocopherols Added to Preserve Freshness, Zinc Sulfate, Calcium Carbonate, Niacin, Iron Proteinate, Ferrous Sulfate, Yucca Schidigera Extract, Vitamin A Supplement, Copper Sulfate, Thiamine Mononitrate, Copper Proteinate, Manganese Proteinate, Manganese Sulfate, d-Calcium Pantothenate, Sodium Selenite, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Riboflavin, Vitamin D3 Supplement,  Biotin, Calcium Iodate, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Folic Acid, Ascorbic Acid (Vitamin C), Dried Lactobacillus Plantarum Fermentation Product, Dried Enterococcus faecium Fermentation Product, Dried Lactobacillus Casei Fermentation Product, Dried Lactobacillus acidophilus Fermentation Product, Rosemary Extract, Green Tea Extract, Spearmint Extract.

Ingredients We Liked: Deboned Chicken, Chicken Fat

Ingredients We Didn’t Like: Peas, Potatoes

Guaranteed Analysis

Crude Protein: 38%
Crude Fat: 12%
Crude Fiber: 5%
Moisture: 10%
Ash: 8.31%

Dry Matter Basis

Protein: 42.22%
Fat: 13.33%
Fiber: 5.56%
Carbs: 29.66%

Caloric Weight Basis

Protein: 40.5%
Fat: 31.06%
Carbs: 28.44%

Pros

  • Primarily made from animal protein sources
  • Free from artificial ingredients
  • Cats like the flavor of this dry food

Cons

  • Excessive carbohydrate content
  • No dry food provides the moisture your cat needs

#4 Wellness CORE Kitten Turkey & Chicken Liver Recipe Canned Food Review

Wellness CORE Natural Canned Cat Food

Our top pick is this high-protein wet cat food from Wellness CORE. It’s a meat-based formula packed with animal-derived ingredients, including turkey, chicken liver, chicken meat, and chicken meal.

While some people write off chicken meal as inferior to so-called “real chicken” and put it in the same category as poultry by-products, those criticisms don’t hold up to examination. Chicken meal appears to be just as nutritious and digestible as any other chicken product. In fact, it packs a harder protein and calorie punch—which is exactly what your growing kitten needs.

The inclusions of herring and menhaden fish oil make the food a good source of DHA, an omega-3 fatty acid that contributes to brain and eye development in kittens.

Though it’s grain-free with no potatoes or soy, this pate contains small amounts of certain plant ingredients, including ground flaxseed, dried kelp, chicory root extract, and alfalfa meal.

Though these ingredients aren’t essentials in a carnivorous diet, they have a few benefits for kittens. Chicory root extract, for example, is a prebiotic. Along with probiotics, this type of fiber could help to support digestive and immune system health.

Each 3 oz. can contains 108 calories, which is about average across all kitten formulas.

Ingredients

Turkey, Chicken Liver, Turkey Broth, Chicken, Chicken Meal, Herring, Natural Flavor, Cranberries, Menhaden Fish Oil (preserved with Mixed Tocopherols), Guar Gum, Tricalcium Phosphate, Ground Flaxseed, Potassium Chloride, Choline Chloride, Taurine, Cassia Gum, Xanthan Gum, Dried Kelp, Chicory Root Extract, Yucca Schidigera Extract, Alfalfa Meal, Salt, Magnesium Sulfate, Iron Proteinate, Zinc Proteinate, Thiamine Mononitrate, Vitamin E Supplement, Copper Proteinate, Manganese Proteinate, Sodium Selenite, Niacin, d-Calcium Pantothenate, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Riboflavin Supplement, Vitamin A Supplement, Biotin, Potassium Iodide, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Folic Acid, Rosemary Extract.

Guaranteed Analysis

Crude Protein: 12%
Crude Fat: 6%
Crude Fiber: 1%
Moisture: 78%

Dry Matter Basis

Protein: 54.55%
Fat: 27.27%
Fiber: 4.55%
Carbs: 13.64%

Caloric Weight Basis

Protein: 40.58%
Fat: 49.28%
Carbs: 10.14%

What We Liked:

  • One of the most protein-packed kitten foods on the market
  • Ultra-soft pate texture is easy for kittens to eat
  • Calorie-dense recipe to fuel growth and development
  • Rich in moisture for optimal hydration
  • Supplemented with fish oil as a source of DHA

What We Didn’t Like:

  • A little more expensive than many kitten foods
  • Contains some plant ingredients

What Do Customers Think Of Wellness Cat Food?

While many other brands garner complaints around the web, Wellness has a good reputation among consumers. Most of their products receive four and five-star reviews.

One of their leading recipes, Wellness Complete Health pate, has a 4.3 out of 5 star rating on Chewy based on 521 customer reviews. 90% of these customers say they’d recommend the food to a friend.

Positive Reviews

“Wellness makes great cat food. The main ingredient in their food is meat. Cats are obligate carnivores. They need meat, and wellness provides them with exactly what they need.”John, reviewing Wellness Complete Health Chicken Pate, Chewy.com, on November 1, 2023 

“My cat loves this stuff. I assume so anyways she comes in from hunting and sun bathing and excavates her food bowl with vigor. She maintains her own weight perfectly and her coat is soft. Wellness makes some good stuff.”Francis reviewing Wellness CORE Grain-Free Chicken Dry Cat Food, Chewy.com, on November 4, 2023

The majority of the positive reviews loved the high-quality ingredients in the wet and dry cat food lines and have cats that love to eat it. Reviewers also gave the food high marks for its high protein content and additional supplements.

Negative Reviews

“Our cats have eaten the wellness Core chicken food for over three years and enjoy it. Even though I integrated the salmon& tuna over a period of 2 weeks they would not eat it. Instead of sending it to the local landfill I donated all three cases to a local no kill shelter so at least somebody could enjoy this expensive cat food. ”Cycledave, reviewing Wellness CORE Signature Selects Skipjack Tuna & Wild Salmon Entree, Chewy.com, on September, 27, 2023

“Cats do not enjoy it. the moisture content is too little causing cat hemorrhoids. I don’t know why it is supplemented with omega six? After speaking with my vet, I was informed. Omega 6 was inflammatory for cats and bowels. Would be better to see no omega six and a higher percentage of Omega 3’s. Lesson learned.”Max, reviewing Wellness CORE Grain-Free Chicken Dry Cat Food. Amazon.com, on November 6, 2023

Recent negative reviews mentioned that their cats no longer like the food that was previously their favorite, suggesting a possible formula change. We did not find any evidence of the ingredients changing, and the sourcing seems to be the same. Other negative reviews mentioned that the food made their cat’s feces stink, and some others had multiple loose stools.

How Much Does Wellness Cat Food Cost?

In part because the brand covers everything from grain-inclusive kibble to canned products with 95% animal protein, Wellness cat foods range from very inexpensive to pricey.

For example, Wellness wet foods range from around $0.5 per ounce if you choose a product from the Complete Health line and $0.57 per ounce for Divine Duos, meaning your average daily feeding costs will add up to something between $1.34 and $3.42.

Overall, Is Wellness A Good Choice?

Wellness cat food is one of the better brands on the market. The Wellness CORE line stands out with a great selection of high-protein foods made primarily from animal ingredients. Their Complete Health line is also a good option, particularly if you choose their canned recipes rather than the dry foods.

Though Wellness has been recalled several times in the past, the company reacted promptly to reports of problems and very few customers complain about the food making their pets sick. Overall, the brand has a good reputation among both cats and people.

Complete Health Indoor dry cat food costs about $0.29 per ounce, and their CORE Grain-Free dry foods cost about $0.23 per ounce. Your daily feeding costs will range from $1.22 to $1.48 and more if you opt for the brand’s air-dried formulas.

Where Is Wellness Cat Food Sold?

You can buy it through independent pet retailers, chains, and in some big box stores. It’s also available online through sites like Amazon and Chewy.

Wellness is available in the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, South Korea, Hong Kong, Japan, Malaysia, and Indonesia.

Click here to shop for Wellness cat food on Chewy.

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 Mallory Crusta

Mallory is the Head of Content at Cats.com and an NAVC-certified Pet Nutrition Coach. Having produced and managed multimedia content across several pet-related domains, Mallory is dedicated to ensuring that the information on Cats.com is accurate, clear, and engaging. When she’s not reviewing pet products or editing content, Mallory enjoys skiing, hiking, and trying out new recipes in the kitchen. She has two cats, Wessie and Forest.