Nutro Cat Food Reviews: Top 5 Wet and Dry Recipes


Last Updated on by Gail Ramirez


Just like I take a lot of care with the food I put into my own body, I like to take equal care with the food I feed my cat. Food has a huge impact on our health and happiness, whether we are human or feline. I also like to know that the brands I support with my hard-earned dollars are ethical and have a philosophy that I can get behind.

One brand that has caught my attention is Nutro, with its premium but affordable cat food range. While it has always been a natural pet food brand that avoids all artificial additives and chemicals, it has also recently released a new philosophy of CLEAN GMO-free food. It has already introduced this approach into its dry dog food lines and is now working to introduce it into its cat food range.

But let’s take a closer look at Nutro, its philosophy, and its current offering for cats as a premium yet affordable brand. I will also give you my top five cat foods from Nutro that offer the best nutrition for your cat.


At a Glance: Top Nutro Cat Food Options

Overall Nutro is a good-quality, affordable, premium cat food range, but its wet food is better than its dry food. Its Nutro Max Wet Cat Food line and its Perfect Portions line are both good choices, though the texture of the latter may not appeal to all cats. Nutro’s dry food is solid but unexceptional, and its Wholesome Essentials line represents the best choice.

Here are the Nutro products featured in this review:


Nutro Cat Food Reviews

Nutro offers both standard cat foods for adults but also special ranges for kittens and senior cats. It also has a variety of specialist cat foods to deal with specific issues such as hairball control, weight management, and food sensitivity.

For my top five products, I have drawn from Nutro’s adult range, but equivalent recipes for different ages and special needs are of comparable quality.


Nutro Max Cat Adult Chicken Supreme Entree Chunks in Sauce

My Nutro Max cat food review is… it is Nutro’s best-wet cat food recipe. It is made from chicken, chicken liver, and beef liver, all of which are excellent sources of high-quality protein, and the recipe uses no meal or meat by-products.


While meal and meat by-products will not hurt your cat, they are not as rich in the vitamins and minerals that cats need to thrive as muscle and organ meat. The use of a lot of meal or by-products will render a high-protein but lower nutrient food. When a recipe is made from muscle and organ meat you can be sure that your cat is not just getting the protein she needs, but also the nutrients. This can be seen in the nutritional profile of the food once moisture has been removed, offering a high 53.4% protein. This is accompanied by 30% fat, which is not uncommon for high protein foods, but also 16.6% carbohydrate.

This carbohydrate comes from potato starch, guar gum, and xanthan gum, all of which are used as thickeners for the sauce. Cats have evolved as carnivores and do not need carbohydrates in their diet, but manufacturers need them to create the long-life foods that we are familiar with. This recipe is relatively low in carbohydrates and does not use some of the worst carbohydrates that are known to irritate cats, such as grains.

Interestingly, this recipe contains pork plasma, which is not a common ingredient seen in cat foods, even the premium brands. Nevertheless, pork plasma is extremely rich in the nutrients that cats need to thrive and are a natural part of the feline diet.



  • High in quality protein
  • Enriched with pork plasma
  • Comes in a variety of flavors



  • Relatively high in carbohydrates
  • Low in fiber


Nutritional Profile

  • Protein 8%
  • Crude fat 4.5%
  • Crude fiber 1%
  • Moisture 82%
  • 72 calories per 6 ounce can


The other big bonus with this line is that it comes in a huge variety of flavors. When we find a cat food that works for our cat, we can be tempted to just feed them this one type. However, feeding cats the same chow continuously makes them more likely to develop allergies and sensitivities to this specific food. For this reason, it is always important to vary your cat’s diet. The wide range of flavors offered here makes that easy.

Overall: Quality Protein Variety


Nutro Adult Chunky Loaf Salmon and Tuna Dinner Grain-Free Canned Cat Food

The most noticeable difference between the Nutro Max line and this line of Nutro wet cat food is the loaf texture. This is easier for cats to eat, which makes it a great option for kittens, whose teeth are still forming, and older cats, who might be losing their teeth. Nutro also offers this wet meal in special formulas for kittens and seniors. It also comes in chicken and duck for adults.


This recipe follows the same philosophy of using good-quality muscle and organ meat and avoiding meal and meat by-products. This recipe also contains fewer carbohydrates than the Nutro Max line, as the loaf texture does not need the same level of carbohydrates to deliver texture.

Nevertheless, this formula comes in second place mostly because of the pate texture which is excellent for some cats but will not appeal to many. Also, it does not contain pork plasma and comes in a relatively limited range of flavors for the line.



  • High in protein
  • Low in carbohydrates
  • Easy-to-eat loaf texture
  • Variety of life stage choices



  • Limited choice
  • Pate texture may not appeal to all cats


Nutritional Profile

  • Protein 12%
  • Crude fat 6%
  • Fiber 1%
  • Moisture 78%
  • 97 calories per 6 ounce can


Overall: Quality Protein Pate


Nutro Wholesome Essentials Adult Farm-Raised Chicken and Brown Rice Dry Cat Food

Moving onto Nutro dry cat food reviews, unlike the wet foods offered by the brand, these dry foods are primarily made with meal, though this recipe contains more ‘real’ chicken than others. As already mentioned, this renders a food that is high in protein but is lower in the essential nutrients than kibble made with muscle and organ meat. The recipe does have a good level of added chicken fat to top up nutrients.



  • High in protein
  • Added chicken fat
  • Variety of flavors



  • Uses chicken meal
  • High carbohydrate content


Nutritional Profile

  • Protein 33%
  • Crude fat 14%
  • Crude fiber 7%
  • Moisture 10%
  • 372 calories per cup


Dry food also needs more carbohydrate than wet food for its texture and preservation. This recipe makes relatively good carbohydrate choices, including whole brown rice and green peas. It also lists potato protein and pea protein among its ingredients, but this should not be mistaken for a benefit. Unlike humans and other animals, such as dogs, cats can only produce certain vital amino acids that they need from animal-based protein, they cannot produce them from plant-based protein. So unlike for dogs, plant-based protein cannot be used as an alternative to animal-based protein.

Overall: Solid Dry Choice


Nutro Max Adult Roasted Chicken Flavor Dry Cat Food

This recipe, which is also available in salmon flavor, is a more affordable alternative to the Wholesome Essential dry food. It achieves this lower price tag by being made entirely with meal, a challenge that has already been highlighted. However, the recipe does include a good level of added chicken fat to top up nutrients.


This food also uses some questionable carbohydrate sources including corn gluten meal and wheat flour and then is packed out with more carbohydrates including ground whole wheat and brewer’s rice. While this is not unusual for kibble, it would have been nice to see some smarter carbohydrate choices made.



  • High in protein
  • Added chicken fat
  • Affordable


  • Uses chicken meal
  • Carbohydrate-dense

Nutritional Profile

  • Protein 32%
  • Crude fat 17%
  • Crude fiber 3%
  • Moisture 10%
  • 457 calories per cup


Overall: Affordable Dry Choice


Wild Frontier by Nutro Grain-Free High-Protein Pate

As a final bonus, I wanted to include this Wild Frontier by Nutro High-Protein wet food. However, Wild Frontier has now been spun-off from the main Nutro brand to form its own new brand. This really brings together the best of the two Nutro wet food lines reviewed above. The pate texture allows it to be high in protein from quality meat sources and low in carbohydrates and free from grains, but it has the same variety of flavors as the Max brand. There are also other flavors available.


Nutritional Profile

  • Protein 12%
  • Crude fat 6%
  • Crude fiber 1%
  • Moisture 78%


Overall: Brand to Watch


About Nutro

Nutro is one of the oldest pet food brands on the market. The American company was established in 1926 out of a pre-existing British pet food company and has been in business continuously ever since. It has changed hands several times over the years, but most recently in 2007, it was acquired as a subsidiary by the Mars conglomerate, which also owns Whiskas, Royal Canin, Greenies, Sheba, and Iams.


Nutro’s cat foods are all manufactured in the United States. Its headquarters are in Franklin, Tennessee, and it has dry food facilities in Lebanon, Tennessee; and Victorville, California, as well as wet food facilities in Columbus, Ohio; Fort Smith, Arkansas; and North Sioux City, South Dakota. In 2012, Nutro was the first pet food company to receive the Pet Food Manufacturing Facility Certification created by the American Feed Industry Association. This involved testing its facilities for a variety of safety and quality standards.

Nutro has always been a natural pet food company, producing foods free from artificial flavors, colors, preservatives, and chemicals. It has also always avoided meat by-products, soy protein, rice flour, corn wheat, and vitamin K. Like most premium cat food brands, it also enriches its foods with a range of vitamins and minerals essential for cat health.

Since 2014, Nutro has taken its commitment to natural food further with a CLEAN brand, which is not only free from the products listed above as required for natural foods but is also free from GMO ingredients. Nutro has already successfully incorporated this philosophy into its dry dog food lines and is now looking to do the same for its other pet foods including for cats.

Nutro has a three-pronged philosophy:

Simple – Never use artificial additives, preservatives, colors, flavors, meat by-products, meal, corn, wheat, or soy protein, and no GMO ingredients.

Purposeful – High-protein, nutrient-rich food full of ingredients that fulfill a purpose in the recipe, no fillers.

Trustworthy – Source ingredients from trusted farmers and suppliers, prepared in trusted facilities and tested for quality and safety.

The Verdict

Overall, Nutro is a good-quality, affordable, premium cat food range that largely lives up to its aspiration of providing natural, nutrient-rich nutrition for cats. Overall its wet food is better than its dry food, and its Nutro Max Wet Cat Food line is a good-quality choice worth the investment. Its Adult Loaf Wet Cat Food is arguably better, but the pate texture will not appeal to all palates. Nutro’s dry food is solid but unexceptional, and its Wholesome Essential line represents the best choice.

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