Written by John Seeberg

Julia Ogden

Reviewed by Julia Ogden

Updated: January 18, 2024

Essence Pet Foods Original (Wet) Review

Updated: January 18, 2024

Our Verdict

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Highly Recommended

Essence Original canned cat food receives the Cat Food Advisor rating, 5 stars

This food lists good quality animal meat as the first three ingredients, so the high protein content comes from a natural source.  It is also high in fat and moisture and is formulated with added vitamins to provide a well balanced diet.

Pros
  • Good quality animal protein
  • High in protein
  • Good fat and moisture content
  • Added vitamins
Cons
  • High in fat content
  • More expensive than other cat foods

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

Essence Original wet product line includes three cat foods.

Product line Rating AAFCO
Air & Gamefowl 5 M
Ocean & Freshwater 5 M
Ranch & Meadow 5 M

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Recipe and Label Analysis

Essence Original Ocean & Freshwater 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.

Essence Original Ocean & Freshwater recipe

Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content

47.7%

Protein

31.8%

Fat

12.5%

CarbsCarbohydrates

Trout, salmon, whitefish, fish broth, catfish, mackerel, sardines, natural flavor, agar-agar, calcium carbonate, tricalcium phosphate, choline chloride, minerals (zinc proteinate, iron proteinate, copper proteinate, manganese proteinate, sodium selenite, ethylenediamine dihydriodide), salt, vitamins (vitamin E supplement, vitamin A supplement, niacinamide, D-calcium pantothenate, riboflavin, thiamine mononitrate, vitamin B12 supplement, pyridoxine hydrochloride, folic acid), potassium chloride, taurine, dandelion greens, fructooligosaccharides, magnesium proteinate.


Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 1.2%

Red denotes any controversial items

Ingredients Analysis

The first ingredient is trout, a marine and freshwater fish naturally high in protein.

The second ingredient is salmon.  Salmon is an oily marine and freshwater fish not only high in protein but also omega 3 fatty acids, essential oils needed by every cat to sustain life.

The third ingredient is whitefish which is a marine or freshwater species native to Canada and the California coast.

The fourth ingredient is fish broth.  Broths are nutritionally empty. But because they add both flavor and moisture to a cat food they are a common addition component in many canned products.

The fifth ingredient is catfish.  This item is typically sourced from clean, undecomposed whole fish and fish cuttings of commercial fish operations.  1

Although it is a quality item, raw fish contains up to 73% water.  After cooking, most of that moisture is lost, reducing the meat content to just a fraction of its original weight. 

After processing, this item would probably account for a smaller part of the total content of the finished product.

The sixth and seventh ingredients are mackerel and sardines. Both are an oily salt-water fish naturally high in protein as well as omega-3 fatty acids, an essential fat needed by every dog to sustain life.

The eighth ingredient is natural flavor.  Natural flavors doesn’t give us much information about the particular ingredients included in this cat food for flavoring purposes. 

We’re pleased that the flavorings used are natural, but more details are required to give any further information about these natural flavoring ingredients.  Flavorings are used to make the foods more appealing and tasty for our cats.

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.

It also contains taurine which is an essential amino acid for cats associated with the healthy function of heart muscle and eye sight, and is crucial for maintaining good health in cats. 

We view the presence of taurine in this recipe as a positive addition.

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, Essence Original Ocean & Freshwater recipe looks like an above-average wet product.

The dashboard displays a dry matter protein reading of 47.7%, a fat level of 31.8% and an estimated carbohydrate level of 12.5%.

As a group, the brand features an above-average protein content of 46.2% and an above-average fat level of 31.8%. Together these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 14% for the overall product line, alongside a fat to protein ratio of 69%.

This means that Essence Original wet range contains higher than average protein, lower than average carbohydrate and higher than average fat, when compared to typical wet cat food.

Final Word

This range of cat food is limited, but each recipe has good quality animal based ingredients that provide a high protein diet.  Fat and moisture content is high and with added vitamins, this food gives a well balanced diet.

The Cat Food Advisor highly recommends this food.

Has Essence Pet Foods cat food been recalled in the past?

No. Essence cat foods have been been 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

Essence Pet Foods was created by Pets Global, a California-based company that specializes in “holistic wellness pet food”.  

Essence is made in the same Minnesota and South Dakota facilities that produce Zignature foods.  The ingredients are sourced from the United States and imported from around the world.

Sources

1: [1. Adapted by The Cat Food Advisor from the official definition of other fish ingredients as published by the Association of American Feed Control Officials].

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