John Seeberg

Written by John Seeberg

Laura Ward

Reviewed by Laura Ward

Updated: May 15, 2024

Kirkland Signature (Dry) Review

Updated: May 15, 2024

Our Verdict

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Recommended

Kirkland Signature dry cat food is made up of three recipes which have ratings varying from 3.5 to 4 stars. The average rating of the brand overall is 4 stars.

This range of food lists animal meat and fish in two of the three recipes, although protein content is lower than average.  Plant-based proteins are included which need to be considered when evaluating the level and source of protein.

Pros
  • Contains good quality animal meat and fish
  • Free of artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives
  • Added vitamins and minerals
  • Affordable
Cons
  • High in carbohydrate
  • Low in protein
  • Includes plant based protein
  • Limited range

The table below shows each recipe in the range including our rating and the AAFCO nutrient profile.

Product line Rating AAFCO
Kirkland Signature Chicken and Rice Cat Food 4 A
Kirkland Signature Healthy Weight Cat Food 3.5 M
Kirkland Signature Nature's Domain Cat Food 4 A

Recipe and Label Analysis

Kirkland Signature Chicken and Rice Cat Food 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.

Kirkland Signature Chicken and Rice Cat Food recipe

Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content

33.3%

Protein

22.2%

Fat

36.4%

CarbsCarbohydrates

Chicken, chicken meal, whole grain brown rice, ground white rice, chicken fat (preserved with mixed tocopherols), natural chicken flavor, flaxseed, sodium bisulfate, potassium chloride, choline chloride, taurine, dried chicory root, dried lactobacillus acidophilus fermentation product, dried bifidobacterium animalis fermentation product, zinc proteinate, vitamin E supplement, niacin, manganese proteinate, copper proteinate, zinc sulfate, manganese sulfate, copper sulfate, thiamine mononitrate, vitamin A supplement, biotin, potassium iodide, calcium pantothenate, riboflavin, pyridoxine hydrochloride (vitamin B6), vitamin B12 supplement, manganous oxide, sodium selenite, vitamin D supplement, folic acid.


Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 3%

Red denotes any controversial items

Ingredients Analysis

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

The third ingredient is whole grain brown rice, which is a complex carbohydrate that (once cooked) can be fairly easy to digest. However, aside from its natural energy content, rice is of only modest nutritional value to a cat.

The fourth ingredient is ground white rice, which is a less nutritious form of rice in which the grain’s healthier outer layer has been removed.

The fifth 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 sixth ingredient is natural chicken flavor. 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.

The seventh ingredient is flaxseed, one of the best plant sources of healthy omega-3 fatty acids. Provided they’ve first been ground into a meal, 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.

The eighth ingredient is sodium bisulfate. Sodium bisulfate is an acid which is used to lower the pH of pet food, lower the cat’s urinary pH, and even enhance palatability. Lowering the pH is a preservative method. Sodium bisulfate is shown to reduce the contamination of the surface of dry extruded cat foods with Salmonella. Manipulation of a cat’s urinary pH is a measure to promote the dissolution of urinary stones, and to create the urinary environment where stones are unable to form. Sodium bisulfate also enhances the flavor and palatability of foods for 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.

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

The company also appears to have applied friendly bacteria to the surface of the kibble after cooking. These special probiotics are used to enhance a cat’s digestive and immune functions.

Nutrient Analysis

Based on its ingredients alone, Kirkland Signature Chicken and Rice Cat Food recipe looks like an above-average dry product.

The dashboard displays a dry matter protein reading of 33.3%, a fat level of 22.2% and an estimated carbohydrate level of 36.4%.

As a group, the brand features an below-average protein content of 34.8% and a mean fat level of 15.9%. Together these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 41.3% for the overall product line, alongside a fat to protein ratio of 46%.

This means this Kirkland Signature dry range contains higher than average protein, higher than average carbohydrate and near-average fat, when compared to typical dry cat food.

Final Word

This range of food is affordable and lists animal protein as the first ingredient and has added vitamins and minerals. This is a good budget-friendly option.

Has Kirkland Signature (Dry) cat food been recalled in the past?

Yes. Kirkland Signature cat food was recalled in 2012 due to potential Salmonella contamination at the Diamond Pet Foods manufacturing facility in Gaston, South Carolina.

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

Introduced in 1995, Kirkland Signature is Costco’s private-label brand that includes a limited selection of affordable pet foods.

Kirkland Signature cat food is manufactured by Diamond Pet Foods in five facilities around the United States. 

In addition to Kirkland Signature, Diamond makes food for many other names in pet food, such as 4Health and Taste of the Wild.

Sources

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

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