Laura Ward

Written by Laura Ward

Georgia Jeremiah

Reviewed by Georgia Jeremiah

Updated: January 18, 2024

Merrick Backcountry Wet Cat Food Review

Updated: January 18, 2024

Our Verdict

star
star
star
star
star

Recommended

Merrick Backcountry wet cat food receives the Cat Food Advisor rating, 4.5 stars.

Merrick Backcountry wet cat food uses high-quality protein, freshly-caught fish in its products. The recipes are grain free with added vitamins, minerals and taurine. An essential amino acid for cats associated with the healthy function of the heart muscle and eyesight.

Pros
  • Grain-free
  • Added vitamins and minerals
  • No added colors
Cons
  • Expensive

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

Merrick Backcountry wet product line has 11 wet cat foods.

Product line Rating AAFCO
Grain Free Kitten Recipe Cuts with Chicken & Duck in Gravy 4.5 G
Grain Free Real Beef Recipe Cuts in Gravy 4.5 M
Grain Free Real Chicken & Trout Recipe Cuts in Gravy 4.5 M
Grain Free Real Chicken Recipe Cuts in Gravy 4.5 M
Grain Free Real Duck Recipe Cuts in Gravy 4.5 M
Grain Free Real Rabbit Recipe Cuts in Gravy 4.5 M
Grain Free Real Turkey Recipe Cuts in Gravy 4.5 M
Grain Free Whitefish Recipe Cuts in Gravy 4.5 M
Grain Free Real Beef Recipe in Paté 4.5 A
Grain Free Real Rabbit Recipe in Paté 4.5 A
Grain Free Real Turkey Recipe in Paté 4.5 A

Get 35% Off

your first repeat order

Save up to 35%

with Autoship
See discount in cart

Recipe and Label Analysis

Grain Free Kitten Recipe Cuts with Chicken & Duck in Gravy Wet 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.

Grain Free Kitten Recipe Cuts with Chicken & Duck in Gravy Wet Recipe

Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content

50%

Protein

21.1%

Fat

20.9%

CarbsCarbohydrates

Deboned chicken, chicken broth, duck broth, chicken liver, deboned duck, dried egg whites, potato starch, natural flavor, guar gum, sodium phosphate, salt, salmon oil (preserved with mixed tocopherols), potassium chloride, taurine, choline chloride, minerals (iron amino acid chelate, zinc amino acid chelate, copper amino acid chelate, manganese amino acid chelate, sodium selenite, potassium iodide), sodium carbonate, vitamins (vitamin E supplement, thiamine mononitrate, niacin supplement, D-calcium pantothenate, pyridoxine hydrochloride, riboflavin supplement, vitamin A supplement, biotin, vitamin D3 supplement, vitamin B12 supplement, folic acid), inulin, calcium carbonate, rosemary, sage, thyme, rosemary extract


Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 1.2%

Red denotes any controversial items

Ingredients Analysis

The first ingredient is deboned 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 chicken broth. Chicken broths are of only modest nutritional value. Yet because they add both flavor and moisture to a cat food, they are a common component in many wet products.

The third ingredient is duck broth. Duck broths are of only modest nutritional value. Yet because they add both flavor and moisture to a cat food, they are a common component in many wet products.

The fourth ingredient is chicken liver. This is an organ meat sourced from a named animal and thus considered a beneficial component.

The fifth ingredient is deboned duck. Duck is considered “the clean combination of flesh and skin… derived from the parts or whole carcasses of duck”. 2

Just like chicken, duck is also naturally rich in the 11 essential amino acids required by a cat to sustain life.

The sixth ingredient is dried egg whites. Eggs are highly digestible and an excellent source of usable protein.

The seventh ingredient is potato starch. Potato starch is a gluten-free carbohydrate of only modest nutritional value to a cat.

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.

This recipe receives a 4.5star rating.

Get 35% Off

your first repeat order

Save up to 35%

with Autoship
See discount in cart

Nutrient Analysis

Based on its ingredients alone, Merrick Backcountry Grain Free Kitten Recipe Cuts with Chicken & Duck in Gravy recipe looks like an above-average wet product.

The dashboard displays a dry matter protein reading of 50%, a fat level of 21.1% and an estimated carbohydrate level of 20.9%, alongside a fat-to-protein ratio of 42%.

As a group, the brand features an average protein content of 47.7% and a mean fat level of 17.4%. Together these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 26.9% for the overall product line, alongside a fat-to-protein ratio of 37%.

This means the Merrick Backcountry wet product line contains above-average protein, below-average carbs and above-average fat when compared to typical wet cat food.

Final Word

Merrick Backcountry is an all-natural and grain-free product which provides all the nutrients a kitten needs to grow, along with the necessary moisture to help keep them hydrated.

Has Merrick Backcountry cat food been recalled in the past?

Yes, Merrick has had two recalls, these were limited to its treats. You can read the full details on the Dog Food Advisor but in summary:

In January 2010, the company issued a voluntary recall out of fear that its beef treats were contaminated with salmonella. No animals were reported sick as a result of eating the treats, but Merrick issued subsequent recalls for the same reason several times that year and into 2011.

In 2018, it recalled a wide range of treats due to elevated levels of a naturally-occurring beef thyroid hormone. This wasn’t a life-threatening issue, but one dog became ill as a result of eating the treats (that animal later made a full recovery).

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

Merrick was founded in 1988 in Garth Merrick’s family kitchen in Hereford, Texas. Garth began home cooking for his beloved dog, Gracie, to make sure she was eating the most nutritious and wholesome food possible. 

Nestle Purina Petcare purchased Merrick in July 2015.

Sources

1: Association of American Feed Control Officials

2: Adapted by the Cat Food Advisor from the official definition for chicken published by the Association of American Feed Control Officials, 2008 Edition

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