John Seeberg

Written by John Seeberg

Julia Ogden

Reviewed by Julia Ogden

Updated: May 14, 2024

Optimeal Dry Review

Updated: May 14, 2024

Our Verdict

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Recommended

Optimeal Nutrient Balance dry cat food receives the Cat Food Advisor rating, 4 stars

This range of food offers a selection of recipes which target different health requirements.  All list animal protein as the first ingredient.  This food is a good dry diet option.

Pros
  • Animal protein listed as first ingredient
  • Includes vitamins and minerals
  • Range caters for different health requirements
Cons
  • Includes plant-based protein
  • Contains grain

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

The Optimeal product line includes eight dry cat foods.

Product line Rating AAFCO
Optimeal Vital Nurture Chicken & Rice for Kittens 4 G
Optimeal Nutrient Balance Chicken & Brown Rice for Adult Cats 4 M
Optimeal Nutrient Balance Turkey & Barley for Adult Cats 4 M
Optimeal Indoor Health Chicken & Brown Rice for Adult Cats 4 M
Optimeal Skin & Digestive Support Salmon & Brown Rice for Adult Cats 4 M
Optimeal Weight Management Turkey & Oatmeal for Adult Cats 4 M
Optimeal For Carnivores Turkey & Veggies for Adult Cats (grain-free) 4 M
Optimeal For Carnivores Chicken & Veggies for Adult Cats (grain-free) 4 M

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Recipe and Label Analysis

Optimeal Nutrient Balance Chicken & Brown Rice for Adult Cats 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.

Optimeal Nutrient Balance Chicken & Brown Rice for Adult Cats

Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content

36.6%

Protein

19.4%

Fat

36.1%

CarbsCarbohydrates

Deboned chicken, chicken meal, brown rice, poultry fat (preserved with mixed tocopherols), barley, turkey meal, potato protein, pea protein, rice, brewer’s dried yeast, flaxseed, dried plain beet pulp, natural flavor, chicken liver, salmon oil, calcium carbonate, salt, dried chicory root, dried egg product, potassium chloride, choline chloride, taurine, dried cranberries, dried blueberries, vitamin e supplement, dried pot marigold, zinc sulfate, fructo-oligosaccharide, turmeric, chamomile, rosemary extract, ascorbic acid (source of vitamin C), thyme, yucca schidigera extract, iron sulfate, niacin supplement, manganese sulfate, copper sulfate, thiamine mononitrate, calcium pantothenate, vitamin A acetate, riboflavin supplement, biotin, menadione sodium bisulfite complex, folic acid, potassium iodide, vitamin B12 supplement, sodium selenite, vitamin D3 supplement.


Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 3.85%

Red denotes any controversial items

Ingredients Analysis

The first ingredient is deboned 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 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 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 (such as chicken fat).

The fifth ingredient is barley. Barley is a starchy carbohydrate supplying fiber and other healthy nutrients. However, aside from its energy content, this cereal grain is of only modest nutritional value to a cat.

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

The seventh ingredient is potato protein, the dry residue remaining after removing the starchy part of a potato.

Even though it contains over 80% protein, this ingredient would be expected to have a lower biological value than meat.

And less costly plant-based products like this can notably boost the total protein reported on the label — a factor that must be considered when judging the actual meat content of this cat food.

The eighth ingredient is pea protein, what remains of a pea after removing the starchy part of the vegetable. 

Even though it contains over 80% protein, this ingredient would be expected to have a lower biological value than meat.

And less costly plant-based products like this can notably boost the total protein reported on the label — a factor that must be considered when judging the meat content of this cat food.

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 does contain three other controversial ingredients — menadione, yeast and beet pulp.  

Menadione is a controversial form of vitamin K linked to liver toxicity, allergies and the abnormal break-down of red blood cells.

Dried yeast contains about 45% protein and is rich in other healthy nutrients.  Fans believe yeast repels fleas and supports the immune system. Critics argue yeast ingredients can be linked to allergies.

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, we feel yeast should be considered a positive addition.

Beet pulp is a controversial ingredient, 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.

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Nutrient Analysis

Based on its ingredients alone, Optimeal Nutrient Balance Chicken & Brown Rice for Adult Cats looks like an above-average dry product.

The dashboard displays a dry matter protein reading of 36.6%, a fat level of 19.4% and an estimated carbohydrate level of 36.1%.

As a group, the brand features an near-average protein content of 35.6% and a mean fat level of 18%. Together these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 38.4% for the overall product line, alongside a fat to protein ratio of 50%.

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

Final Word

This range of food includes ingredients such as vegetables, natural herbs, berries, and prebiotics, along with vitamins and minerals.  With animal protein listed as the first ingredient too, this a good dry diet choice.

Recommended.

Has Optimeal cat food been recalled in the past?

No. Optimeal has never had any cat foods 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.

About

Optimeal is owned by Kormotech LLC, which is a Ukrainian family-run company that produces high-quality dog and cat food for its own brands and private labels.

Optimeal is manufactured in the United States and Ukraine.

Sources

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

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