Laura Ward

Written by Laura Ward

Georgia Jeremiah

Reviewed by Georgia Jeremiah

Updated: January 18, 2024

Nulo Freestyle Dry Cat Food Review

Updated: January 18, 2024

Our Verdict

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Highly Recommended

Nulo Freestyle dry cat food range receives the Cat Food Advisor rating: 5 stars.

It is formulated to meet the nutritional levels established by AAFCO cat food nutrient profiles for adult maintenance and some recipes support the growth and development of kittens.

Pros
  • Contains probiotics
  • Grain-free
  • Quality protein ingredients
Cons
  • Expensive

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

The Nulo Freestyle dry product line contains six dry cat foods.

Product line Rating AAFCO
Indoor Cat Duck & Lentils recipe 5 M
High Protein Kibble Trim Salmon & Lentils recipe 5 M
Alaska Pollock, Duck & Sweet Potato recipe 5 M
Digestive Health Adult Cat Chicken and Whitefish 5 A
High-Protein Kibble Hairball Management Turkey & Cod recipe 5 M
High-Protein Kibble Chicken & Cod recipe 5 A

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Recipe and Label Analysis

Nulo Freestyle Indoor Cat Duck & Lentils 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.

Nulo Freestyle Indoor Cat Duck & Lentils

Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content

44.4%

Protein

18.9%

Fat

28.7%

CarbsCarbohydrates

Deboned duck, chicken meal, turkey meal, deboned cod, whole peas, lentils, chicken fat (preserved with mixed tocopherols & citric acid), pea fiber, natural flavor, ground flaxseed, dried chicory root, dried kelp, dried sweet potato, dried cranberries, calcium carbonate, DL-methionine, taurine, zinc proteinate, choline chloride, vitamin E supplement, L-ascorbyl-2-polyphosphate (source of vitamin C), iron proteinate, niacin supplement, copper proteinate, thiamine mononitrate, calcium pantothenate, vitamin A supplement, manganese proteinate, pyridoxine hydrochloride, sodium selenite, riboflavin supplement, dried bacillus coagulans fermentation product, yucca schidigera extract, vitamin B12 supplement, calcium iodate, folic acid, rosemary extract


Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 5%

Red denotes any controversial items

Ingredients Analysis

The first ingredient is deboned duck. Duck is considered “the clean combination of flesh and skin… derived from the parts or whole carcasses of duck”. 1

Duck is naturally rich in the 11 essential amino acids required by a cat to sustain life.

The second ingredient is chicken meal. Chicken meal is considered a meat concentrate and contains nearly 300% more protein than fresh chicken.

The third ingredient is turkey meal. Turkey meal is considered a meat concentrate and contains nearly 300% more protein than fresh turkey.

The fourth ingredient is deboned cod, a marine species of fish native to both the Atlantic and Pacific coasts of North America.  Although it is a quality item, raw fish contains up to 73% water. 

After cooking, most of that moisture is lost, reducing the meat content to just a fraction of its original weight. And after processing, this item would probably account for a smaller part of the total content of the finished product.

The fifth ingredient is peas. Peas are a quality source of carbohydrates. And like all legumes, they’re rich in natural fiber. However, peas contain about 25% protein, a factor that must be considered when judging the meat content of this cat food.

The sixth ingredient is lentils. Lentils are a quality source of carbohydrates. Plus (like all legumes) they’re rich in natural fiber. However, lentils contain about 25% protein, a factor that must be considered when judging the actual meat content of this cat food.

The seventh ingredient is chicken fat. Chicken fat is obtained from rendering chicken, a process similar to making soup in which the fat itself is skimmed from the surface of the liquid. Chicken fat is high in linoleic acid, an omega-6 fatty acid essential for life. Although it doesn’t sound very appetizing, chicken fat is actually a quality ingredient.

The eighth ingredient is pea fiber, a mixture of both soluble and insoluble dietary fiber derived from pea hulls. Aside from the usual benefits of fiber, this agricultural by-product provides no other 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.

We also note the inclusion of dried fermentation products in this recipe. Fermentation products are typically added as probiotics to aid with digestion.

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Nutrient Analysis

Based on its ingredients alone, Nulo Freestyle Indoor Cat Duck & Lentils Recipe looks like an above-average dry product.

The dashboard displays a dry matter protein reading of 44.4%, a fat level of 18.9% and an estimated carbohydrate level of 28.7%.

As a group, the brand features an average protein content of 44.4% and a mean fat level of 18%. Together these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 29.6% for the overall product line, alongside a fat-to-protein ratio of 40%.

This means the Nulo Freestyle dry product line contains above-average protein, near-average carbs and above-average fat when compared to typical dry cat food.

Final Word

Nulo Freestyle Dry cat food is formulated to provide a balanced and complete diet for cats. It typically features animal-based protein as the first ingredient and is crafted without grains like corn, wheat, or soy. 

The formulas often contain a blend of high-quality meat or fish, along with other beneficial ingredients such as fruits, vegetables, and probiotics.

Has Nulo cat food been recalled in the past?

No, there have been no recorded recalls for Nulo.

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

Nulo was founded in 2009 by Michael Landa and Brett Montana, after they saw high rates of diabetes and other medical issues in dogs and cats while running their pet-sitting business. 

The company is still privately owned.

All ingredients are sourced and all recipes are made in the USA.

Sources

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

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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.

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