Laura Ward

Written by Laura Ward

Georgia Jeremiah

Reviewed by Georgia Jeremiah

Updated: January 18, 2024

Hill’s Prescription Diet Dry Cat Food Review

Hill’s uses qualified experts to formulate its products in one of the world’s leading research facilities. There are blends that are great for cats of all ages, from kittens to seniors as well as recipes to suit cats with health conditions such as diabetes, obesity and a sensitive stomach.

Updated: January 18, 2024

Our Verdict

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Recommended

Hill’s Prescription Diet dry cat food range receives the Cat Food Advisor rating: 4-stars.

This product is tailored to meet a cat’s individual needs, particularly if they have a health condition and need a specialized diet to support therapeutic care.

Pros
  • Science-led ingredients
  • Wide range of products for different health conditions
  • Quality protein ingredients
Cons
  • Expensive
  • Some recipes contain by-products

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

The Hill’s Prescription Diet dry product line contains 22 dry cat foods.

Product line Rating AAFCO
Gastrointestinal Biome 4 M
Metabolic Chicken Flavor 3.5 M
ONC Care with Chicken 4 M
c/d Multicare + Metabolic Weight Chicken Flavor 4 M
c/d Multicare Stress + Metabolic Weight Chicken Flavor 4 M
c/d Multicare Stress with Chicken 4 M
c/d Multicare Stress with Ocean Fish 4 M
c/d Multicare with Chicken 4 M
c/d Multicare with Ocean Fish 4 M
d/d Duck & Green Pea Recipe 4 M
d/d Venison & Green Pea Recipe 4 M
i/d with Chicken 4 M
k/d + j/d Chicken Flavor 4 M
k/d Early Support with Chicken 4 M
k/d with Chicken 4 M
k/d with Ocean Fish 4 M
m/d GlucoSupport 3.5 M
r/d Chicken 3.5 M
s/d Chicken Flavor 3.5 M
t/d Dental Care 3.5 M
w/d Multi-Benefit 4 M
y/d Chicken Flavor 4 M

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Recipe and Label Analysis

Hill’s Prescription Diet Gastrointestinal Biome Dry Cat Food​​ 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.

Hill's Prescription Diet Gastrointestinal Biome Dry Cat Food​​

Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content

37.5%

Protein

16.9%

Fat

37%

CarbsCarbohydrates

Chicken, brewers rice, corn gluten meal, chicken fat, wheat gluten, pea protein, whole grain corn, chicken meal, whole grain oats, ground pecan shells, cracked pearled barley, dried beet pulp, chicken liver flavor, flaxseed, psyllium seed husk, dried citrus pulp, fish oil, lactic acid, L-lysine, DL-methionine, pumpkin, pressed cranberries, fructooligosaccharides (fos), potassium chloride, choline chloride, taurine, iodized salt, vitamins (vitamin E supplement, Lascorbyl-2-polyphosphate (source of vitamin C), niacin supplement, thiamine mononitrate, vitamin A supplement, calcium pantothenate, riboflavin supplement, biotin, vitamin B12 supplement, pyridoxine hydrochloride, folic acid, vitamin D3 supplement), calcium sulfate, minerals (ferrous sulfate, zinc oxide, copper sulfate, manganous oxide, calcium iodate, sodium selenite), mixed tocopherols for freshness, natural flavors, beta-carotene


Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 1.7%

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 brewers rice. Brewers rice is a cereal grain by-product consisting of the small fragments left over after milling whole rice. Aside from the caloric energy it contains, this item is of only modest nutritional value to a cat.

The third ingredient is corn gluten meal. Gluten is the rubbery residue remaining once corn has had most of its starchy carbohydrate washed out of it. Although corn gluten meal contains 60% 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 actual meat content of this cat food.

The fourth 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.

Chicken fat is high in linoleic acid, an omega-6 fatty acid essential for life. Although it doesn’t sound very appetizing, chicken fat is actually a quality ingredient.

The fifth ingredient is wheat gluten

Compared to meat, glutens are inferior plant-based proteins low in some of the essential amino acids dogs need for life.

This inexpensive plant-based ingredient can significantly boost the total protein reported on the label — a factor that must be considered when judging the actual meat content of this cat food.

The sixth 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 seventh ingredient is whole grain corn. Corn is an inexpensive and controversial cereal grain. And aside from its energy content, this grain is of only modest nutritional value to a cat.

The eighth ingredient is chicken meal. Chicken meal is considered a meat concentrate and contains nearly 300% more protein than fresh chicken.

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 dried beet pulp. Beet pulp is a controversial ingredient, a high fiber by-product of sugar beet processing.

Some denounce beet pulp as an inexpensive filler while others cite its outstanding intestinal health and blood sugar benefits.

We only call your attention here to the controversy and believe the inclusion of beet pulp in reasonable amounts in most cat foods is entirely acceptable

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Nutrient Analysis

Based on its ingredients alone, Hill’s Prescription Diet Gastrointestinal Biome Dry Cat Food​​ looks like an above-average dry product.

The dashboard displays a dry matter protein reading of 37.5%, a fat level of 16.9% and an estimated carbohydrate level of 37%.

As a group, the brand features an average protein content of 37.9% and a mean fat level of 15.9%. Together these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 33.1% for the overall product line, alongside a fat-to-protein ratio of 42%.

This means the Hill’s Prescription Diet dry product line contains near-average protein, carbs and fat when compared to typical dry cat food.

Final Word

Hill’s uses qualified experts to formulate its products in one of the world’s leading research facilities. There are blends that are great for cats of all ages, from kittens to seniors as well as recipes to suit cats with health conditions such as diabetes, obesity and a sensitive stomach.

Has Hill's cat food been recalled in the past?

Yes, there have been several recalls. Details can be found on the Dog Food Advisor, but in summary:

In 2007, there was an industry-wide recall which impacted Hill’s, due to food being contaminated with melamine. The contamination resulted in severe sickness and death among cats and dogs. 

In 2014, there was another recall of Hill’s dog food, due to potential salmonella contamination.

A year later, Hill’s initiated a market withdrawal which affected several dog food varieties. The recall was a result of labeling issues. 

In late 2019, Hill’s was also forced to recall canned dog food from their Prescription and Science Diet lines. This was a result of unusually high vitamin D content. High vitamin D levels cause blood calcium to rise, resulting in organ failure and possibly death. 

However, this did not just affect Hill’s. About two months later, other pet food brands were recalled over vitamin D-related issues.

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

Hill’s Pet Nutrition is an international pet food brand that’s known for selling scientifically developed foods.

The company was first founded in 1907 by Burton Hill as a rendering service with a contract to dispose of dead and lame animals in Topeka, Kansas.

It has come a long way since, now employing a team of more than 220 veterinarians, nutritionists, technicians, and food scientists to develop pet foods in the Hill research facility that’s still located in Topeka.

Sources

1: Association of American Feed Control Officials

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