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Merrick Cat Food Review 2023: Recalls, Pros & Cons

Ashley Bates

By Ashley Bates

merrick cat food review header

Review Summary

Our Final Verdict

We give Merrick cat food a rating of 4.2 out of 5 stars.


If you have been sifting through cat food brand options, Merrick has surely caught your eye. These bags of cat food have sparked many cat owners’ curiosity. Sure, it looks good in theory, but is Merrick the right cat food choice for your feline-friendly household? We took the liberty of looking into all-things-Merrick and there are some changes regarding this brand that any cat owner should be aware of. Overall, we really think this food is quality, but there has been some talk about a downgrade in the nutritional value of the products since being bought by Purina. Let’s get to know the brand and why we rated it the way we did.

At a Glance: The Best Merrick Cat Food Recipes:

Rating Image Product Details
Our Favorite
Merrick Purrfect Bistro Real Salmon & Brown Rice Merrick Purrfect Bistro Real Salmon & Brown Rice
  • Whole protein
  • Easily digestible grains
  • Perfect for everyday health
  • Second place
    Merrick Backcountry Grain-Free Merrick Backcountry Grain-Free
  • Raw-infused diet
  • More natural recipe
  • High moisture content
  • Third place
    Merrick Purrfect Bistro Sensitive Stomach Merrick Purrfect Bistro Sensitive Stomach
  • Grain-free
  • Easily digestible ingredients
  • Live prebiotics and probiotics
  • Merrick Purrfect Bistro Chicken Pate Merrick Purrfect Bistro Chicken Pate
  • Packed with antioxidants
  • Provides essential moisture
  • Supports healthy muscles and energy
  • Merrick Limited Ingredient Diet Merrick Limited Ingredient Diet
  • Potato-free meal
  • Easy-to-digest protein
  • Limited-ingredient diet
  • Merrick Cat Food Reviewed

    Before you commit to this cat food, it’s best to know all you can about the company. This way, you can get a good idea of how they treat their customers, what nutrition they offer, and how the company has done so far. Here’s a little about Merrick.

    Who Makes Merrick Cat Food And Where Is It Produced?

    Merrick was born over 30 years ago, starting in 1988. Garth Merrick from Hereford, Texas, started this company after home cooking meals for his dog Gracie. In July of 2015, Merrick Pet Care company was bought by Nestle Purina PetCare Company, transitioning from Swander Pace Capital. The company has grown tremendously over the years. Merrick Pet Care also includes Zukes, Whole Earth Farms, and Castor & Pollux. There has been a slight question as to the reduction of quality since Purina took over.

    Which Types of Cats Is Merrick Best Suited For?

    Merrick cat food is a suitable diet for most healthy cats. They have some specialized recipes and pride themselves on using only the best ingredients for felines everywhere. Merrick has traditional dry kibble, wet cat food, and even some raw options. We will dig into all those details later, but almost any kitty can indulge in at least one of the many recipes Merrick has to offer.

    Which Types of Cats Might Do Better with a Different Brand?

    Merrick cat food won’t work for every feline, unfortunately. If your cat requires a specialty diet that doesn’t fit the parameters mentioned in this article, you might want to consult with your vet for other options. Also, Merrick does not have a kitten or senior-specified recipes in their lines. Instead, we think you should look into

    Discussion of the Primary Ingredients (Good and Bad)

    The most critical aspect of good cat food is—you guessed it, the ingredients. So, what goodies does Merrick off in their recipes?

    Protein Sources

    Merrick uses whole protein sources as the first ingredient in every recipe. Also, they usually steer clear of common proteins, which can help sensitive kitties who might have some problems digesting.

    These are the types of protein sources Merrick uses in their recipes:
    • Lamb
    • Salmon
    • Chicken
    • Beef
    • Quail
    • Duck
    • Turkey


    Merrick recipes typically have higher than average calorie content. However, it’s designed to build a cat’s muscle structure. If you have any concerns about high-carb content, always check with your veterinarian to see if they feel it meets your cat’s needs. No Merrick foods have any corn or wheat ingredients to keep things filler-free. Many Merrick recipes are grain-free, but some offer healthy grains.

    Here are some carbohydrate ingredients in Merrick formulas:
    • Sweet potatoes
    • Potato
    • Peas
    • Brown rice
    • Barley
    • Oatmeal

    Vitamins & Minerals

    Merrick is full of essential vitamins and minerals. They definitely don’t have a shortage in any recipes, using feline-friendly ingredients and supplements to nourish the body. If you take a peek at the ingredients listed on the back, these recipes are absolutely filled to the brim.

    Amino Acids

    Amino acids are crucial for a cat’s bodily development and maintenance. These recipes contain taurine and additional amino acids to keep the muscles working correctly. Your cat will thank you for it.

    Merrick Recipes

    Merrick offers three different recipe lines: Backcountry, Purrfect Bistro, and Limited Ingredient Diet. Backcountry offers a protein-packed variety of freeze-dried raw food to cater to your kitty’s natural roots. There are no grain, wheat, or corn ingredients in this recipe line—so it’s perfect for gluten-sensitive cats. It also contains lots of nutritionally essential vitamins, minerals, and fatty acids without anything artificial. Purrfect Bistro offers a combination of dry kibble and wet cat food selections. They also have the option of healthy grains or grain-free recipes. No matter which recipe you choose, real deboned meat is always the first ingredient to create a strong protein source. The Limited Ingredient Diet offers a wide selection of wet food and dry kibble to cats with dietary sensitivities. Each recipe eliminates any fillers or unnecessary ingredients to create a simple diet and a single protein source. Each formula is grain-free with easily digestible components.

    Merrick Customer Service

    From our research, Merrick’s customer service team seems to work diligently with customers to create solutions to potential problems. The company offers live chat, a customer service phone number, a support center, an online support form, and access to frequently asked questions to help consumers. The team seems to be very responsive and willing to correct any mistakes.

    Merrick Affordability

    Merrick tends to fall on the higher scale of cat food prices. However, the exceptional ingredients speak for themselves. In order for the company to reduce pricing, they would have to source ingredients that might not be as quality as those they use in current recipes.

    Potential Allergy Triggers

    There are a few potential triggers for sensitive cats in these recipes. Some cats are very sensitive to common proteins and eggs.

    Common Proteins

    Common proteins like chicken, beef, and turkey can trigger allergies in some cats. If you know your cat is sensitive, check all Merrick recipes to ensure this isn’t a secondary ingredient.


    Eggs can be an irritant in the diet for some cats. It is not as common as protein allergies, but it is pretty up there on the list. If you know your cat has an egg sensitivity, scour the label. Not all Merrick recipes contain eggs.

    A Quick Look at Merrick Cat Food

    • Excellent protein content
    • Many grain-free selections
    • Raw-infused options
    • Quality customer service
    • Long-time company
    • Protein is always the #1 ingredient
    • Pricey
    • Limited recipe lines
    • No age-specific formulas

    Recall History

    Merrick, as a brand, has experienced several recalls in the past. Luckily, there has never been a recall on any cat food products. The extent of their recalls is on dog food recipes. While this speaks volumes about cat food quality, it might concern you if you were also looking for a dog food brand. Always research the company you choose carefully for all your furry pals.

    Reviews of the 3 Best Merrick Cat Food Recipes

    Here are three recipes we think will cover most felines. They are our personal favorites, covering a wide range of nutritional needs. Let’s take a look at what each recipe offers in-depth and the positives and negatives to all.

    1. Merrick Purrfect Bistro Healthy Grains Real Salmon & Brown Rice Recipe

    Merrick Purrfect Bistro Healthy Grains Real Salmon & Brown Rice Recipe

    We really love the Merrick Purrfect Bistro Healthy Grains Real Salmon & Brown Rice Recipe when it comes to top-notch Merrick recipes for cats. We think most healthy adult cats can reap the benefits of this excellent recipe. As with all Merrick formulas, this recipe contains real deboned salmon as the number one ingredient for a full dose of fishy goodness. But for an upped protein content, it’s followed by chicken and turkey meal. They use barley, brown rice, and oatmeal grains for an easily digestible meal every time. This recipe contains 400 calories per cup, totaling 3,676 in every bag. The guaranteed analysis of this product is 36% crude protein, 17% crude fat, 3.5% crude fiber, and 11% moisture. It’s packed with lots of vitamins and minerals to feed your cat’s internal organs for optimal health. However, if you have an extra sensitive kitty, scour the ingredients thoroughly, as some might trigger your cat. However, we think this recipe will work for most felines.

    • Whole protein
    • Perfect for everyday health
    • Easily digestible grains
    • Might not work for all cats

    2. Merrick Backcountry Grain-Free Morsels Real Rabbit Recipe Cuts

    Merrick Backcountry Grain-Free Morsels Real Rabbit Recipe Cuts

    If you’re trying to promote a more natural diet, Merrick Backcountry Grain-Free Morsels with Real Rabbit Recipe Cuts is a delectable decision. The first ingredient is real rabbit, which is a novel protein for felines. So, it will work terrific if your cat is on food trials—or if they are sensitive to other proteins. In addition to real rabbit, it contains lamb and beef broth—with real deboned lamb as well. So you are really getting a protein-packed recipe that replenishes muscles and promotes healthy body functions. It contains taurine, fatty acids, vitamins, and minerals to help with immunity and digestion, too. In one pouch, this product contains 80 calories, totaling 944 calories for all pouches included. The guaranteed analysis of this product is 9% crude protein, 3% crude fat, and 1.2% crude fiber. Moisture is where it’s at with this recipe—it contains a whopping 81%. In addition to real rabbit, it contains lamb and beef broth—with real deboned lamb as well. So you are really getting a protein-packed recipe that replenishes muscles and promotes healthy body functions. It contains taurine, fatty acids, vitamins, and minerals to help with immunity and digestion, too. You must feed at least three food packets per day, so this selection might get a little pricey with multiple cats.

    • High moisture content
    • Raw-infused diet
    • More natural recipe
    • Pricey for multi-cat households

    3. Merrick Purrfect Bistro Complete Care Grain-Free Sensitive Stomach

    Merrick Purrfect Bistro Complete Care Grain-Free Sensitive Stomach

    If you have a kitty with a sensitive belly, Merrick has you covered there, too. Merrick Purrfect Bistro Complete Care Grain-Free Sensitive Stomach is specifically formulated to aid in digestion. Packed with prebiotics and probiotics, it helps your kitty’s gut flora flourish. The first ingredient in this recipe is deboned chicken, providing an adequate amount of protein for your kitty. However, it does cut calorie content to keep your cat at a healthy weight and protect their immunity. In one cup, this product contains 404 calories, totaling 3,694 calories per bag. The guaranteed analysis is 34% crude protein, 16% crude fat, 2.5% crude fiber, and 11% moisture. There are also 90,000,000 CFUs in each bag for a healthy gut! If you have a perfectly healthy cat with no known sensitivities, this selection might not be necessary for your kitty.

    • Easily digestible ingredients
    • Live prebiotics and probiotics
    • Grain-free
    • Not necessary for every cat

    What Other Users Are Saying

    The best way to gauge a product is to see what other real-world users are experiencing.

    • Amazon always has a vast pool of reviews to check out. Take a look at what consumers had to say here. Merrick cat food seems to be getting a thumbs-up from felines everywhere.


    Merrick definitely has some fantastic recipes to consider for your kitties. However, they might still be slightly limited if you’re looking for a very specific formula. For instance, there are no kitten or senior recipes to offer. Also, they only have three food lines available. Even though Merrick has excellent ingredients that go above and beyond in feline nutrition, they might not meet the needs of all cats. So, please remember to check any new diet with your veterinarian to make sure your cat is getting the best nutrition possible for them.

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