Written by John Seeberg

Julia Ogden

Reviewed by Julia Ogden

Updated: December 19, 2023

Nature’s Variety Review

Updated: December 19, 2023

Our Verdict

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Recommended

Nature’s Variety dry cat food receives the Cat Food Advisor rating, 4 stars

This range of food lists animal meat as the first ingredient across all recipes.  Protein content is high, although plant-based proteins are contained, so this needs to be considered when evaluating the protein levels.

Pros
  • High in protein
  • Contains animal protein
  • Added vitamins and minerals
Cons
  • Has experienced product recalls
  • Contains plant based protein
  • Limited range

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

The Nature’s Variety dry product line includes three cat foods.

Product line Rating AAFCO
Free Range Chicken for Adult Cats 4 M
Norwegian Salmon for Adult Cats 4 M
Free Range Chicken for Kittens 4 G

Recipe and Label Analysis

Nature’s Variety Norwegian Salmon for Adult Cats 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.

Nature’s Variety Norwegian Salmon for Adult Cats recipe

Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content

41.1%

Protein

17.8%

Fat

33.1%

CarbsCarbohydrates

Deboned Norwegian salmon, dried peas, dried tuna protein, dried chickpeas, dried salmon protein, dried sweet potato, poultry fat, protein hydrolysate, potato protein, pea starch, pea fiber, dried chicory root, minerals, dried carrot, dried broccoli, dried apple, dried kelp, dried rosemary, vitamin A, vitamin D, vitamin E, vitamin C, taurine, sulfate monohydrate, potassium iodide, copper sulphate, pentahydrate, manganous sulfate, monohydrate, zinc sulphate, monohydrate, sodium selenite, zootechnical, ammonium chloride.


Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 4%

Red denotes any controversial items

Ingredients Analysis

The first ingredient is deboned Norwegian salmon which is an oily marine and freshwater fish not only high in protein but also omega 3 fatty acids, essential oils needed by every cat to sustain life.

The second ingredient is dried peas which are a good source of carbohydrates.  Plus they’re naturally rich in dietary fiber.

However, dried peas contain about 27% protein, a factor that must be considered when judging the meat content of this cat food.

The third ingredient is dried tuna protein.  Because it is considered a meat concentrate, dried tuna contains almost 300% more protein than fresh tuna itself.

The fourth ingredient is dried chickpeas.  Chickpeas (also known as garbanzo beans) are a good source of carbohydrates. Plus they’re naturally rich in dietary fiber.

However, dried chickpeas contain about 27% protein, a factor that must be considered when judging the meat content of this cat food.

The fifth ingredient is dried salmon protein, a concentrated source of quality marine protein that’s rich in omega-3 fatty acids. 

Like other fish meals, salmon powder is typically derived from the “clean, dried, ground tissue of undecomposed whole fish and fish cuttings” of commercial fish operations.  1

Dried salmon is considered a meat concentrate and contains significantly more protein than fresh salmon

The sixth ingredient is dried sweet potato, a dehydrated item usually made from the by-products of potato processing.  In most cases, dried sweet potato can contain about 10% dry matter protein which can have a slight effect on our estimate of the total meat content of this recipe.

The seventh ingredient is poultry fat.  Poultry fat is obtained from rendering, a process similar to making soup in which the fat itself is skimmed from the surface of the liquid.

Poultry fat is high in linoleic acid, an omega-6 fatty acid essential for life.

However, poultry fat is a relatively generic ingredient and can be considered lower in quality than a similar item from a named source animal (like chicken fat).

The eighth ingredient is protein hydrolysate which is an enzymatic breakdown of carcasses and other by-products remaining after the usable parts have been removed for human consumption. 

Hydrolysate is typically used a flavor enhancer.

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 selenium, a commercial form of the mineral known as sodium selenite. Sodium selenite appears to be nutritionally inferior to the more natural source of selenium found in selenium yeast.

We also note the presence of taurine, an essential amino acid for cats associated with the healthy function of heart muscle and eye sight, and is crucial for maintaining good health in cats.

We view the presence of taurine in this recipe as a positive addition.

Recipe star rating 4

Nutrient Analysis

Based on its ingredients alone, Nature’s Variety Norwegian Salmon for Adult Cats recipe looks like an above-average dry product.

The dashboard displays a dry matter protein reading of 41.1%, a fat level of 17.8% and an estimated carbohydrate level of 33.1%.

As a group, the brand features an above-average protein content of 42.2% and an above-average fat level of 19.3%. Together these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 30.5% for the overall product line, alongside a fat to protein ratio of 45%.

This means that Nature’s Variety dry range contains higher than average protein, near-average carbohydrate and higher than average fat, when compared to typical dry cat food.

Final Word

Nature’s Variety Dry food comes in a range of flavors and the recipes use quality meat and nutritious fruits, vegetables and botanicals.

Has Nature's Variety cat food been recalled in the past?

Yes.  Nature’s Variety products have been recalled several times since the company’s creation in 2002.

In February and March 2010, July 2012, February 2013 and July 2015, Nature’s Variety recalled several dog foods. For more information see the Dog Food Advisor (and link to this page https://www.dogfoodadvisor.com/dog-food-recalls/dog-food-recalls-by-brand/ )

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

Nature’s Variety started as a small pet food manufacturer in Lincoln, Nebraska.  It is now owned by Agrilomen, a Barcelona-based firm. Agrolimen also owns Affinity Petcare, a leading European pet food supplier and holds a 50% stake in Mogiana, a Brazilian pet food company.

Nature’s Variety continues to operate as an independent company with headquarters in St. Louis, Missouri. 

Nature’s Variety kibble is made by a third-party manufacturer, also in the United States. 

Nature’s Variety ingredients are primarily sourced from the United States, with some proteins sourced from New Zealand, Australia, France, and Italy.

Sources

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

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