Laura Ward

Written by Laura Ward

Georgia Jeremiah

Reviewed by Georgia Jeremiah

Updated: January 18, 2024

Natural Balance Platefulls Wet Cat Food Review

Updated: January 18, 2024

Our Verdict



Natural Balance Platefulls wet cat food range receives the Cat Food Advisor rating: 4.5 stars.

It is formulated to meet the nutritional levels established by AAFCO cat food nutrient profiles for maintenance.

Each recipe provides complete and balanced nutrition, with premium protein and essential vitamins and minerals.

  • Quality protein ingredients
  • Contains probiotics
  • Contains omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids
  • Wheat, soy and grain-free recipes
  • Expensive

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

The Natural Balance Platefulls wet product line contains 11 recipes.

Product line Rating AAFCO
Mackerel & Sardine Recipe Morsels in Gravy 4.5 M
Turkey, Salmon & Chicken Recipe Morsels in Gravy 4.5 M
Salmon, Tuna & Crab Recipe Morsels in Gravy 4.5 M
Chicken & Pumpkin Recipe Morsels in Gravy 4.5 M
Duck, Chicken & Pumpkin Recipe Morsels in Grav 4.5 M
Salmon, Tuna, Chicken & Shrimp Recipe Morsels in Gravy 4.5 M
Turkey & Duck Recipe Morsels in Gravy 4.5 M
Turkey, Chicken & Duck Recipe Morsels in Gravy 4.5 M
Chicken & Giblets Recipe Morsels in Gravy 4.5 M
Chicken & Chicken Liver Recipe Morsels in Gravy 4.5 M
Chicken & Salmon Recipe Morsels in Gravy 4.5 M

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Recipe and Label Analysis

Natural Balance Platefulls Mackerel & Sardine Recipe Morsels in Gravy 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.

Natural Balance Platefulls Mackerel & Sardine Recipe Morsels in Gravy

Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content







Fish broth, mackerel, sardines, chicken liver, chicken, carrots, dried egg whites, potatoes, natural flavor, ground dried peas, potato starch, sunflower oil, spinach, ground flaxseed, guar gum, sodium phosphate, dehydrated alfalfa meal, dried plain beet pulp, potassium chloride, calcium carbonate, cranberries, vitamins (thiamine mononitrate, vitamin E supplement, niacin supplement, menadione sodium bisulfite complex (source of vitamin K activity), D-calcium pantothenate, pyridoxine hydrochloride, riboflavin supplement, vitamin A supplement, vitamin D3 supplement, vitamin B12 supplement, folic acid, biotin), minerals (iron proteinate, zinc proteinate, copper proteinate, manganese proteinate, potassium iodide, sodium selenite), sodium carbonate, parsley, taurine, dried kelp, choline chloride, yucca schidigera extract

Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 1.5%

Red denotes any controversial items

Ingredients Analysis

The first ingredient is fish 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 second ingredient is mackerel. Mackerel is an oily salt-water fish naturally high in protein as well as omega-3 fatty acids, an essential fat needed by every dog to sustain life.

The third ingredient is sardines, Sardine is a small, oily marine fish which is nutrient-rich, high in protein and is a source of omega-3 fatty acids, essential oils needed by every cat to sustain life.

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 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 sixth ingredient is carrots. Carrots are rich in beta-carotene, minerals and dietary fiber.

The seventh ingredient is whole dried egg, a dehydrated powder made from shell-free eggs. Eggs are easy to digest and have an exceptionally high biological value.

The eighth ingredient is potatoes. Potatoes can be considered a gluten-free source of digestible carbohydrates. Yet with the exception of perhaps their caloric content, potatoes are of only modest nutritional value to a cat.

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.

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Nutrient Analysis

Based on its ingredients alone, Natural Balance Platefulls Mackerel & Sardine Recipe Morsels in Gravy looks like an above-average wet product.

The dashboard displays a dry matter protein reading of 41.2%, a fat level of 11.8% and an estimated carbohydrate level of 39.1%.

As a group, the brand features an average-protein content of 41.2% and a mean fat level of 16.2%. Together these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 34.6% for the overall product line, alongside a fat-to-protein ratio of 39%.

This means the Natural Balance Platefulls product line contains above-average protein, near-average carbs and near-average fat when compared to typical wet cat food.

Final Word

Natural Balance Platefulls provides complete and balanced nutrition for cats. Like most Natural Balance products it is grain-free and free from artificial colors and flavors.

Has Natural Balance cat food been recalled in the past?

Yes, there have been three recorded recalls for Natural Balance. For full details, please visit the Dog Food Advisor, but in summary:

In April 2007 the company informed the U.S. Food and Drug Administration of complaints it had received about its Venison & Brown Rice Dry Dog Food and Venison & Green Pea Dry Cat Food. 

According to these complaints, some pets had experienced vomiting and kidney failure after consuming these products.

The company immediately issued a voluntary recall of all the affected products, and following laboratory tests, it was determined that some of them contained trace amounts of melamine, which is thought to have come from rice concentrate. 

Later that month, Natural Balance issued a second limited recall for four canned pet foods that were found to contain traces of melamine in rice protein concentrates.

In July 2007, the company recalled a small batch of canned pet food that it feared may have been contaminated in a large-scale botulism outbreak associated with one of its producers, Castleberry’s Food Company. 

In response to ongoing concerns following these recalls, Natural Balance built its own ISO-17025 accredited laboratory and commenced proactively testing every production run of the entire pet food range for nine different toxins before shipping their products to retailers.

On July 3, 2020, Natural Balance’s parent company, J.M. Smucker, issued a voluntary recall on a single batch of Natural Balance Ultra Premium Chicken & Chicken Liver Pâté Formula, after receiving complaints that several cats had become unwell after eating it. 

Subsequent tests revealed that the batch contained elevated levels of choline chloride.

All of the food recipes contain chicken or poultry by-product meal and are bulked out using plant-based ingredients. It also consists of controversial ingredients BHA as a preservative as well as artificial colors.

All of the food recipes contain chicken or poultry by-product meal and are bulked out using plant-based ingredients. It also consists of controversial ingredients BHA as a preservative as well as artificial colors.

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.


Natural Balance Pet Foods was formed in 1989, and was picked up by Petco and sold in 625 stores across the United States. In May 2013, Natural Balance merged with Del Monte Foods and was then sold again in 2015 to J.M Smucker Company.

Natural Balance headquarters are in Pacoima, Los Angeles, California. Its products are produced at a variety of manufacturers across the United States from ingredients sourced from the United States, France, India, New Zealand, and Canada.


1: Association of American Feed Control Officials

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