John Seeberg

Written by John Seeberg

Laura Ward

Reviewed by Laura Ward

Updated: June 12, 2024

NutriSource (Dry) Review

Updated: June 12, 2024

Our Verdict


Recommended with Reservations

NutriSource dry cat food is made up of five recipes – two grain-free, three grain inclusive – with ratings that vary from 3 to 4 stars. The average rating of the food overall is 3.5 stars

  • Two quality sources of animal protein as main ingredients
  • Supplemented with probiotics
  • Completely free from artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives
  • Chicken fat is the primary source of added fat
  • Contains plant based protein
  • Includes multiple controversial ingredients

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
NutriSource Cat & Kitten Chicken & Rice Recipe 3.5 A
NutriSource Cat & Kitten Chicken Meal, Salmon & Liver Recipe 3.5 A
NutriSource Senior / Weight Management Cat Recipe 3 M
NutriSource Country Select Recipe 3.5 A
NutriSource Ocean Select Recipe 4 A

Recipe and Label Analysis

NutriSource Cat & Kitten Chicken & Rice 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.

NutriSource Cat & Kitten Chicken & Rice Recipe

Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content







Chicken, chicken meal, brown rice, peas, chicken fat (preserved with tocopherols and citric acid), menhaden fishmeal, yeast extract, natural flavor, brewers dried yeast, oatmeal, dried plain beet pulp, dried tomato pomace, sunflower oil, dehydrated alfalfa meal, dried egg product, phosphoric acid, flax seed, potassium chloride, salt, minerals (iron proteinate, zinc proteinate, copper proteinate, manganese proteinate), choline chloride, dried cranberries, dl methionine, vitamins (vitamin A acetate, vitamin D3 supplement, vitamin E supplement, niacin, D-calcium pantothenate, thiamine mononitrate, riboflavin supplement, pyridoxine hydrochloride, folic acid, biotin, vitamin B12 supplement), taurine, inulin, lactic acid, inositol, l-ascorbyl-2-polyphosphate (a source of vitamin C), yucca schidigera extract, rosemary extract, yeast culture, dried aspergillus oryzae fermentation extract, dried bacillus subtilis fermentation product, dried bacillus licheniformis fermentation product, dried trichoderma longibrachiatum fermentation extract, dried enterococcus faecium fermentation product, dried lactobacillus acidophilus fermentation product, and dried bacillus subtilis fermentation extract.

Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 3%

Red denotes any controversial items

Ingredients Analysis

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

The third ingredient is brown rice. a complex carbohydrate that (once cooked) can be fairly easy to digest. However, aside from its natural energy content, rice is of only modest nutritional value to a cat.

The fourth ingredient is peas which 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 fifth 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 sixth ingredient is menhaden fishmeal. Because it is considered a meat concentrate, fish meal contains almost 300% more protein than fresh fish itself.

Menhaden are small ocean fish related to herring. They’re rich in protein and omega-3 fatty acids. What’s more, in their mid-depth habitat, menhaden are not exposed to mercury contamination as can be typical with deep water species.

This item is typically obtained from the “clean, dried, ground tissue of undecomposed whole fish and fish cuttings” of commercial fish operations. 2

The seventh ingredient is yeast extract is the common name for a broad group of products made by removing the cell wall from the yeast organism.

A significant number of these ingredients are added as specialized nutritional supplements while others are used as flavor enhancers. 

However, the glutamic acid (and its chemical cousin, monosodium glutamate, or MSG) found in a minority of yeast extracts can be controversial.

That’s because even though the Food and Drug Administration designated these food additives to be safe decades ago, the agency continues to receive reports of adverse effects.

So, detractors still object to the use of yeast extract and other glutamic acid derivatives and blame them for everything from Alzheimer’s (in humans) to obesity.

In any case, since the label reveals little about the actual type of yeast extract included in any recipe, it’s impossible for us to judge the quality of this ingredient.

The eighth ingredient is natural flavors. 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 brewers dried yeast, dried plain beet pulp and dried tomato pomace which are all considered controversial in some way.

Brewers dried yeast is a by-product of the beer making process and is rich in minerals and other healthy nutrients.

Fans believe yeast repels fleas and supports the immune system.

Critics argue yeast ingredients can be linked to . This may be true, but (like all allergies) only if your particular cat is allergic to the yeast itself.

In any case, unless your cat is specifically allergic to it, yeast can still be considered a nutritious additive.

Dried plain beet pulp, is a high fiber by-product of sugar beet processing. 

Some denounce beet pulp as an inexpensive filler while others cite its outstanding intestinal health and blood sugar benefits.

We only call your attention here to the controversy and believe the inclusion of beet pulp in reasonable amounts in most cat foods is entirely acceptable.

Dried tomato pomace is a by-product remaining after processing tomatoes into juice, soup and ketchup.

Many praise tomato pomace for its high fiber and nutrient content, while others scorn it as an inexpensive pet food filler.

Just the same, there’s probably not enough tomato pomace here to make much of a difference.

This food also contains chelated minerals that have been chemically attached to protein. This makes them easier to absorb. Chelated minerals are usually found in better cat foods.

This company also appears to have applied friendly bacteria to the surface of the kibble after cooking. These special probiotics are used to enhance a cat’s digestive and immune functions.

Nutrient Analysis

Based on its ingredients alone, NutriSource Cat & Kitten Chicken & Rice Recipe looks like an average dry product.

The dashboard displays a dry matter protein reading of 35.9%, a fat level of 22.7% and an estimated carbohydrate level of 33.4%.

As a group, the brand features an near-average protein content of 37.6% and an above-average fat level of 18%. Together these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 36.4% for the overall product line, alongside a fat to protein ratio of 48%.

This means this NutriSource dry cat food contains near-average protein, near-average carbohydrate and higher than average fat, when compared to typical dry food.

Final Word

This range of food lists animal meat as the first ingredient and includes animal organs also. It is supplemented with probiotics and is completely free from artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives. However, there are some controversial ingredients included, so this needs to be considered when evaluating this food.

Has NutriSource cat food been recalled in the past?

No. NutriSource cat food has not been recalled.

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.


NutriSource was founded in 1964 by Darrell Nelson and is based in Perham, Minnesota. The company has been family-owned for three generations.

NutriSource is part of the KLN family of brands which is headed by CEO Kenny Nelson.

As a US-based brand, NutriSource manufactures its foods in company-owned facilities in Perham, MN.


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

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

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