Laura Ward

Written by Laura Ward

Georgia Jeremiah

Reviewed by Georgia Jeremiah

Updated: January 18, 2024

Instinct Kibble+Raw Cat Food Review

Updated: January 18, 2024

Our Verdict

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Recommended with Reservations

Instinct Kibble+Raw cat food receives the Cat Food Advisor rating, 3.5 stars

This high protein kibble + freeze-dried raw food contains real meat raw pieces. The recipes support healthy digestion, skin and coat and immune health.

Pros
  • Animal based protein listed as first ingredient
  • Grain-free
  • No artificial preservatives or artificial colors
  • Contains omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids
Cons
  • Low moisture level
  • High fat levels

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

The Instinct Kibble+Raw product line includes seven cat foods.

Product line Rating AAFCO
Raw Longevity 20% Freeze-Dried Raw Meal Blend, Cage-Free Chicken Recipe for Kittens 4 G
Raw Longevity 20% Freeze-Dried Raw Meal Blend, Cage-Free Chicken Recipe 4 M
Raw Boost Real Chicken Recipe 4 A
Raw Boost Real Salmon Recipe 4 A
Raw Boost Real Chicken Recipe Healthy Weight 3 M
Raw Boost Real Chicken Recipe Indoor Health 3 A
Raw Boost Indoor Health Rabbit Dry Cat Food 3 A

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Recipe and Label Analysis

Instinct Raw Boost Real Salmon 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.

Instinct Raw Boost Real Salmon Recipe

Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content

46.2%

Protein

20.3%

Fat

25.5%

CarbsCarbohydrates

Salmon, menhaden fish meal, white fish meal, peas, herring meal, canola oil (preserved with mixed tocopherols and citric acid), tapioca, salmon meal, natural flavor, freeze dried beef, dehydrated alfalfa meal, salt, freeze dried beef liver, pumpkin seeds, freeze dried beef heart, montmorillonite clay, freeze dried beef kidney, freeze dried beef spleen, carrots, apples, cranberries, vitamins (l-ascorbyl-2-polyphosphate, vitamin E supplement, menadione sodium bisulfite complex, niacin supplement, vitamin A supplement, thiamine mononitrate, D-calcium pantothenate, riboflavin supplement, pyridoxine hydrochloride, vitamin B12 supplement, folic acid, vitamin D3 supplement, biotin), minerals (zinc proteinate, iron proteinate, copper proteinate, manganese proteinate, sodium selenite, ethylenediamine dihydriodide), choline chloride, taurine, freeze dried cod, dried kelp, salmon oil, blueberries, dried bacillus coagulans fermentation product, rosemary extract


Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 3.5%

Red denotes any controversial items

Ingredients Analysis

The first 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 second and third ingredient is menhaden fish meal and white fish meal. Because it is considered a meat concentrate, fish meal contains almost 300% more protein than fresh fish itself.

Menhaden are small ocean fish related to herring.  They’re rich in protein and omega-3 fatty acids.  What’s more, in their mid-depth habitat, menhaden are not exposed to mercury contamination as can be typical with deep water species.

This item is typically obtained from the “clean, dried, ground tissue of undecomposed whole fish and fish cuttings” of commercial fish operations. 1

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

The fifth ingredient is herring meal.  Because it is considered a meat concentrate, herring meal contains almost 300% more protein than fresh fish itself.

The sixth ingredient is canola oilUnfortunately, canola can be a controversial item.  That’s because it can sometimes (but not always) be derived from genetically modified rapeseed.

Yet others cite the fact that canola oil can be a significant source of  omega-3 fatty acids. In any case, plant-based oils like canola are less biologically available to a cat than fish oil as a source of quality omega-3 fats.

The seventh ingredient is tapioca, a gluten-free, starchy carbohydrate extract made from the root of the cassava plant.

The eighth ingredient is salmon meal.  Because it is considered a meat concentrate, fish meal contains almost 300% more protein than fresh fish itself.

Fish meal is typically obtained from the “clean, dried, ground tissue of undecomposed whole fish and fish cuttings” of commercial fish operations. 2

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.  Sodium selenite is 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.

Recipe star rating 3.5.

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Nutrient Analysis

Based on its ingredients alone, Instinct Raw Boost Real Salmon Recipe looks like an average dry product.

The dashboard displays a dry matter protein reading of 46.2%, a fat level of 20.3% and an estimated carbohydrate level of 25.5%.

As a group, the brand features an above-average protein content of 45.1% and an above-average fat level of 25.4%. Together these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 21.5% for the overall product line, alongside a fat to protein ratio of 56%.

This means this Instinct Raw+Kibble range contains higher than average protein, lower than average carbohydrate, higher than average fat, when compared to typical dry cat food.

Final Word

This food provides a set of recipes that have been formulated to cater for all life stages.  Animal protein sources are listed as each recipe’s first ingredient.  Plant based proteins are used, so it is important that this is considered when evaluating protein content.

Has Instinct cat food been recalled in the past?

No. Instinct has never had a product recall.

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

Instinct Pet Food was founded in 2002 and produces frozen and freeze-dried raw pet food from its facilities in Lincoln, Nebraska.

Sources

1, 2: Association of American Feed Control Officials

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