Julia Ogden

Written by Julia Ogden

Georgia Jeremiah

Reviewed by Georgia Jeremiah

Updated: January 18, 2024

Meow Mix Tender Centers Dry Cat Food Review

Updated: January 18, 2024

Our Verdict


Strongly Not Recommended

Meow Mix Tender Centers dry cat food receives the Cat Food Advisor rating of 1 star.

Meow Mix Tender Centers is a cheaper dry cat food made from low-quality ingredients. It contains meat by-product meal and corn is the first ingredient.

  • Affordable
  • Contains taurine
  • Meat by-products
  • Contains Carrageenan
  • Corn first ingredients
  • Artificial colors
  • No quality protein source

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

This product line includes four dry cat foods.

Product line Rating AAFCO
Salmon & Chicken 1 A
Salmon & Turkey with Vitality Bursts 1 A
Basted Bites Chicken & Tuna 1 A
Basted Bites Beef & Salmon 1 U

Save up to 35%

with Autoship
See discount in cart

Recipe and Label Analysis

Meow Mix Tender Centers Salmon & Chicken Flavors 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.

Meow Mix Tender Centers Salmon & Chicken Flavors

Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content







Whole ground corn, chicken by-product meal, corn gluten meal, soybean meal, animal fat (preserved with mixed tocopherols), whole wheat, animal digest, phosphoric acid, calcium carbonate, salmon meal, corn syrup, glycerin, titanium dioxide (color), L-lysine monohydrochloride, potassium sorbate (used as a preservative), choline chloride, salt, calcium sulfate, vitamins (vitamin E supplement, niacin, vitamin A supplement, thiamine mononitrate, riboflavin supplement, D-calcium pantothenate, pyridoxine hydrochloride, vitamin B12 supplement, menadione sodium bisulfite complex (source of vitamin K activity), vitamin D3 supplement, folic acid, biotin), minerals (ferrous sulfate, zinc oxide, manganous oxide, copper sulfate, calcium iodate, sodium selenite), taurine, yellow 6, dicalcium phosphate, carrageenan, yellow 5, DL-methionine, lactic acid, potassium chloride, red 40, natural white meat chicken flavor, BHA (used as a preservative), rosemary extract

Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 4%

Red denotes any controversial items

Ingredients Analysis

The first ingredient is ground corn, a coarsely ground flour made from dried corn. Corn is an inexpensive and controversial cereal grain of only modest nutritional value to a cat.

For this reason, we do not consider corn a preferred component in any cat food.

The second ingredient is chicken by-product meal, a dry rendered product of slaughterhouse waste. It’s made from what’s left of a slaughtered chicken after all the choice cuts have been removed.

On the brighter side, by-product meals are meat concentrates and contain nearly 300% more protein than fresh chicken. The quality of this ingredient can vary, depending on the caliber of the raw materials obtained by the manufacturer.

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 soybean meal, a by-product of soybean oil production more commonly found in farm animal feeds. Although soybean meal contains 48% protein, this ingredient would be expected to have a lower biological value than meat.

The fifth ingredient is animal fat. Animal fat is a generic by-product of rendering, the same high-temperature process used to make meat meals. Since there’s no mention of a specific animal, this item could come from just about anywhere: salvaged roadkill, spoiled supermarket meat… even dead, diseased or dying cattle.

For this reason, we do not consider generic animal fat a quality ingredient.

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

For this reason, we do not consider wheat a preferred component in any cat food.

The seventh ingredient is animal digest. Animal digest is a chemically hydrolyzed mixture of animal by-products that is typically sprayed onto the surface of a dry kibble to improve its taste.

The eighth ingredient is phosphoric-acid

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 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.

This recipe also contains artificial colors and preservatives, we’re always disappointed to find artificial coloring in any pet food. That’s because coloring is used to make the product more appealing to humans – not your cat. After all, do you really think your cat cares what color their food is?

There are more than six controversial ingredients in this recipe and five of them are in the top eight ingredients.

However, we view the presence of taurine as a positive addition.

This recipe receives a 1 star rating.

Save up to 35%

with Autoship
See discount in cart

Nutrient Analysis

Based on its ingredients alone, Meow Mix Tender Centers Salmon & Chicken Flavors recipe looks like a below-average dry cat food.

The dashboard displays a dry matter protein reading of 35.2%, a fat level of 12.5% and an estimated carbohydrate level of 44.3%.

As a group, the brand features an average protein content of 35.2% and a mean fat level of 12.5%. Together these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 44.3% for the overall product line, alongside a fat to protein ratio of 35%.

This means this Meow Mix Tender Centers product line contains near-average protein levels and above-average carbs and near-average fat, when compared to typical dry cat food.

Final Word

Meow Mix Tender Centers is a cheaper dry cat food, which is reflected in the low quality ingredients. It is a popular brand of cat food known for its combination of crunchy and tender textures which cats seem to enjoy.

Has Meow Mix cat food been recalled in the past?

Meow Mix has had one recall in its 47-plus year history. 

In April 2021 two specific lots of dry cat food were recalled due to potential salmonella contamination: 

  • Meow Mix Original Choice Dry Cat Food, 30 lb. bag, Lot #1081804, UPC #2927452099, best by Sept. 14, 2022

  • Meow Mix Original Choice Dry Cat Food, 30 lb. bag, Lot #1082804, UPC #2927452099, best by Sept. 15, 2022

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.


Meow Mix was created as a Ralston Purina product in 1974 but has changed hands many times since then. It was most recently owned by Big Heart Pet Brands, which was acquired by J.M. Smucker Company in 2015. Its headquarters is in San Francisco.


We uphold the highest editorial standards when creating the authoritative content pet parents rely on and trust.

Every piece of clinical content on the Cat Food Advisor is reviewed by our certified Veterinary Advisory Board, which consists of licensed veterinarians and medically certified specialists.

Our reviews are completely independent; we are not paid by any pet food company to promote their products favorably. We do not accept money, gifts, samples or other incentives in exchange for special consideration. For more information see our Disclaimer & Disclosure page.

Vet with cat