Written by John Seeberg

Julia Ogden

Reviewed by Julia Ogden

Updated: January 18, 2024

Chicken Soup for the Soul Grain Free Dry Cat Food Review

Updated: January 18, 2024

Our Verdict

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Recommended with Reservations

Chicken Soup for the Soul Grain Free Dry Cat Food receives the Cat Food Advisor rating, 3.5 stars

This range lists either meat or fish as its first ingredient.  Protein levels are average, with carbohydrate and fat content high.

Pros
  • Grain free
  • Animal based protein
Cons
  • Relatively high carbohydrate content
  • High in fat
  • Contains plant based protein

Each recipe includes its AAFCO nutrient profile: Growth (kitten), Maintenance (adult), All Life Stages, Supplemental or Unspecified.

Chicken Soup for the Soul Grain Free Dry Cat Food includes two recipes.

Product line Rating AAFCO
Grain Free Cat Food - Chicken & Legumes Recipe 3.5 A
Grain Free Cat Food - Salmon & Legumes Recipe 3.5 A

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Recipe and Label Analysis

Chicken Soup for the Soul Grain Free Cat Food – Chicken & Legumes Recipe was selected to represent the other products in the line for a detailed recipe and nutrient analysis.

Label and nutrient data below are calculated using dry matter basis.

Grain Free Cat Food - Chicken & Legumes Recipe

Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content

35.6%

Protein

16.7%

Fat

39.8%

CarbsCarbohydrates

Chicken, chicken meal, peas, faba beans, pea protein, lentils, chicken fat (preserved with mixed tocopherols), ground flaxseed, natural flavor, salmon oil (preserved with mixed tocopherols), calcium carbonate, salt, choline chloride, taurine, mixed tocopherols (preservative), citric acid (preservative), zinc proteinate, zinc oxide, vitamin e supplement, ferrous sulfate, niacin supplement, l-ascorbyl-2-polyphosphate, manganous oxide, manganese proteinate, copper sulfate, vitamin A supplement, D-calcium pantothenate, thiamine mononitrate, sodium selenite, riboflavin supplement, copper proteinate, pyridoxine hydrochloride, calcium iodate, vitamin D3 supplement, dried lactobacillus acidophilus fermentation product, dried lactobacillus casei fermentation product, dried lactobacillus plantarum fermentation product, dried enterococcus faecium fermentation product, folic acid, cobalt carbonate, inositol, biotin, vitamin B12 supplement, rosemary extract.


Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 4.5%

Red denotes any controversial items

Ingredients Analysis

The first ingredient is chicken.  Chicken is considered “the clean combination of flesh and skin derived from the parts or whole carcasses of chicken”.  1

Chicken is naturally rich in the 11 essential amino acids required by a cat to sustain life.

The second ingredient is chicken meal, which is considered a meat concentrate and contains nearly 300% more protein than fresh chicken. 

The third and fourth ingredients are peas and faba beans, which are a quality source of carbohydrates. And like all legumes, they’re rich in natural fiber. However, they contain about 25% protein, a factor that must be considered when judging the meat content of this cat food.

The fifth ingredient is pea protein, what remains of a pea after removing the starchy part of the vegetable. 

Even though it contains over 80% protein, this ingredient would be expected to have a lower biological value than meat.

And less costly plant-based products like this can notably boost the total protein reported on the label — a factor that must be considered when judging the meat content of this cat food.  

The sixth ingredient is lentils – another legume, which means they are a quality source of carbohydrates, rich in natural fiber and contain about 25% protein.

The seventh ingredient is chicken fat.  Chicken fat is obtained from rendering chicken, a process similar to making soup in which the fat itself is skimmed from the surface of the liquid.

The eighth ingredient is ground flaxseed, one of the best plant sources of healthy omega-3 fatty acids and flax seeds are also rich in soluble fiber.

However, flaxseed contains about 19% protein, a factor that must be considered when judging the actual meat content of this cat food.

From here the list goes on to include a number of other items. But to be realistic, ingredients located this far down the list (other than nutritional supplements) are not likely to affect the overall rating of the product.

However, this recipe contains sodium selenite, a controversial form of the mineral selenium. Sodium selenite appears to be nutritionally inferior to the more natural source of selenium found in selenium yeast.

We note the inclusion of dried fermentation products in this recipe. Fermentation products are typically added as probiotics to aid with digestion.

Also, this food also contains chelated minerals that have been chemically attached to protein.  This makes them easier to absorb. Chelated minerals are usually found in better cat foods.

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Nutrient Analysis

Based on its ingredients alone, Chicken Soup for the Soul Grain Free Cat Food – Chicken & Legumes Recipe looks like an average dry product.

The dashboard displays a dry matter protein reading of 35.6%, a fat level of 16.7% and an estimated carbohydrate level of 39.8%.

As a group, the brand features a near-average protein content of 35.6% and an above-average fat level of 16.7%. Together these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 39.8% for the overall product line, alongside a fat to protein ratio of 47%.

This means this Chicken Soup for the Soul Grain Free Dry Cat Food contains near-average protein, higher than average carbohydrate and  near-average fat, when compared to typical dry cat food.

Final Word

This range of food lists animal protein as the first ingredient but it also includes plant-based protein. Protein levels are average and carbohydrate and fat content high.  Vitamins and minerals have been added to offer a balanced diet.

Has Chicken Soup for the Soul cat food been recalled in the past?

Yes. Chicken Soup for the Soul cat food has been recalled twice – in 2007 and again in 2012. 

In 2007, several varieties of Chicken Soup for the Soul kitten and puppy food were recalled due to potential melamine contamination. This recall was one of many issued that year after multiple manufacturers received melamine-contaminated vegetable proteins from a major supplier in China.

In 2012, a salmonella outbreak meant that Diamond Pet Foods which owns Chicken Soup for the Soul had to recall multiple brands manufactured in its Gaston, South Carolina plant.  All Chicken Soup for the Soul products were recalled.

You can view a complete list of all cat food recalls since 2021 here.

To stay on top of any cat food product recalls, sign up for our free email alerts, here.

About

Chicken Soup for the Soul brand was created in 1993 and is owned by Diamond Pet Food which was founded in 1970 by Gary Schell and Richard Kampeter.

Chicken Soup for the Soul cat food was manufactured by Diamond Pet Food through 2012, but is now manufactured by a co-packer headquartered in Utah.  All of the brand’s foods are made in the United States.  

The company sources ingredients from around the world, but not source ingredients — including vitamins, minerals, and amino acids — from China.

Sources

1: [1. Association of American Feed Control Officials].

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