John Seeberg

Written by John Seeberg

Laura Ward

Reviewed by Laura Ward

Updated: June 25, 2024

Merrick Limited Ingredient Diet Pate (Wet) Review

Updated: June 25, 2024

Our Verdict



Merrick Limited Ingredient Diet Pate wet cat food is made up of four recipes with ratings that vary from 3 to 4 stars. The average rating of the brand overall is 4 stars.

  • Contains good quality animal meat
  • Includes animal organs
  • Rich in fat and moisture
  • Contains plant based protein
  • Limited range

The table below shows each recipe in the range including our rating and the AAFCO nutrient profile: Growth (kitten), Maintenance (adult), All Life Stages, Supplemental or Unspecified.

Product line Rating AAFCO
Merrick Limited Ingredient Diet Grain Free Real Chicken Recipe Pate 3 M
Merrick Limited Ingredient Diet Grain Free Real Duck Recipe Pate 4 M
Merrick Limited Ingredient Diet Grain Free Real Salmon Recipe Pate 3.5 M
Merrick Limited Ingredient Diet Grain Free Real Turkey Recipe Pate 4 M

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Recipe and Label Analysis

Merrick Limited Ingredient Diet Grain Free Real Chicken Pate 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.

Merrick Limited Ingredient Diet Grain Free Real Chicken Pate Recipe

Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content







Deboned chicken, chicken liver, chicken broth, natural flavors, tricalcium phosphate, whole flaxseed, minerals (potassium chloride, magnesium proteinate, zinc sulfate, ferrous sulfate, manganese sulfate, copper sulfate, potassium iodide), guar gum, taurine, salt, choline chloride, vitamins (vitamin E supplement, thiamine mononitrate, niacin, calcium pantothenate, vitamin A supplement, menadione sodium bisulfite complex, pyridoxine hydrochloride, riboflavin supplement, vitamin B-12 supplement, biotin, folic acid, vitamin D-3 supplement).

Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 1.4%

Red denotes any controversial items

Ingredients Analysis

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

The third ingredient is chicken broth. 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 natural flavours. 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.

The fifth ingredient is tricalcium phosphate, which is a beneficial source of calcium and phosphorous. In addition, this additive is used in wet foods as an emulsifier — an agent designed to disperse a food’s fats more evenly in water.

The sixth ingredient is whole 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 seventh ingredient is potassium chloride, a nutritional supplement sometimes used as a replacement for the sodium found in table salt. 

The eighth ingredient is magnesium proteinate. Magnesium Proteinate is a chelated mineral, which means that magnesium has been chemically attached to protein. This makes it easier to absorb. Chelated minerals are usually found in better dog foods.

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.

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Nutrient Analysis

Based on its ingredients alone, Merrick Limited Ingredient Diet
Grain Free Real Chicken Pate looks like an above-average wet product.

The dashboard displays a dry matter protein reading of 36.4%, a fat level of 22.7% and an estimated carbohydrate level of 32.9%.

As a group, the brand features an near-average protein content of 38.6% and an above-average fat level of 22.7%. Together these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 30.6% for the overall product line, alongside a fat to protein ratio of 59%.

This means this Merrick Limited Ingredient Diet range contains near-average protein, near-average carbohydrate and higher than average fat, when compared to typical wet cat food.

Final Word

This range of food has four recipes to choose from and comes in a  pate format.  Each option lists animal meat as the first ingredient and some recipes also include animal organs.  Rich in fat and moisture and with added vitamins and minerals, this is a good food option for cats with food sensitivities and sensitive stomachs.

Has Merrick Limited Ingredient Diet Pate 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.


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.


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

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