Laura Ward

Written by Laura Ward

Georgia Jeremiah

Reviewed by Georgia Jeremiah

Updated: January 18, 2024

Wellness CORE Digestive Health Dry Cat Food Review

Updated: January 18, 2024

Our Verdict

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Recommended

Wellness CORE Digestive Health dry cat food receives the Cat Food Advisor rating, 4 stars.

The food is a highly digestible, probiotic-coated rice kibble which includes high quality meat sources as its first ingredient so is high in protein. It is  made for adult cats as defined by AAFCO.

Pros
  • Doesn’t contain fillers, by-products, or artificial additives
  • High quality meat sources as first ingredient
Cons
  • High in carbohydrates
  • Low moisture content
  • The brand has had multiple recalls over recent years

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

The Wellness CORE Digestive Health dry product line includes two cat foods.

Product line Rating AAFCO
CORE® Digestive Health with Wholesome Grains Adult: Chicken & Rice 4 M
CORE® Digestive Health with Wholesome Grains Adult: Salmon & Rice 4 M

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Recipe and Label Analysis

Wellness CORE Digestive Health with Wholesome Grains Adult 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.

CORE Digestive Health with Wholesome Grains Adult Chicken & Rice

Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content

42.2%

Protein

18.9%

Fat

30.9%

CarbsCarbohydrates

Deboned chicken, chicken meal (source of glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate), rice, barley, oats, chicken fat, flaxseed, tomato pomace, pumpkin, brewers dried yeast, cranberries, natural chicken flavor, salmon oil, apples, pomegranates, potassium chloride, choline chloride, chicory root extract, hydrolyzed yeast, taurine, calcium chloride, papayas, blueberries, vitamin e supplement, zinc proteinate, mixed tocopherols added to preserve freshness, zinc sulfate, calcium carbonate, niacin, iron proteinate, ferrous sulfate, vitamin A supplement, dried kelp, yucca schidigera extract, ascorbic acid (vitamin C), copper sulfate, thiamine mononitrate, copper proteinate, ground cinnamon, ground fennel, ground peppermint, manganese proteinate, manganese sulfate, D-calcium pantothenate, sodium selenite, dried enterococcus faecium fermentation product, pyridoxine hydrochloride, riboflavin, dried bacillus coagulans fermentation product, biotin, vitamin D3 supplement, dried lactobacillus delbrueckii fermentation product, dried streptococcus thermophilus fermentation product, calcium iodate, vitamin B12 supplement, folic acid, dried bacillus licheniformis fermentation product, dried bacillus subtilis fermentation product, dried aspergillus oryzae fermentation product, dried trichoderma reesei fermentation product, dried rhizopus oryzae fermentation product, dried lactobacillus acidophilus fermentation product, dried lactobacillus casei fermentation product, rosemary extract, green tea extract, spearmint extract


Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 3%

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 rice, but because the ingredient list does not detail which type of rice, we are unable to provide further information.

The fourth 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 fifth ingredient is oats.  Oats are rich in B-vitamins, minerals and dietary fiber.

The sixth 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 seventh ingredient is flaxseed, one of the best plant sources of healthy omega-3 fatty acids. Provided they’ve first been ground into a meal, flax seeds are also rich in soluble fiber.  

However, flaxseed contains about 19% protein, a factor that must be considered when judging the actual meat content of this cat food.

The eighth tomato pomace.  Tomato pomace is a controversial ingredient, 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.

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

This recipe receives an above average rating — 4 stars.

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Nutrient Analysis

Based on its ingredients alone, Wellness CORE Digestive Health with Wholesome Grains Adult Chicken & Rice recipe looks like an above-average dry product.

The dashboard displays a dry matter protein reading of 42.2%, a fat level of 18.9% and an estimated carbohydrate level of 30.9%.

As a group, the brand features an above-average protein content of 41.1% and an above-average fat level of 18.3%. Together these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 32.6% for the overall product line, alongside a fat to protein ratio of 45%.

This means the Wellness CORE Dry product line contains higher than average protein, near average carbohydrate and higher than average fat, when compared to typical dry cat food.

Final Word

The Wellness CORE Digestive Health dry cat food is designed to promote optimal digestive function and support the overall well-being of your cat. It features a unique blend of prebiotics and probiotics, which help maintain a healthy balance of beneficial bacteria in the gut. 

In addition to promoting digestive health, this cat food also provides a complete and balanced diet for your cat’s overall nutritional needs. It typically includes high-quality animal protein as the primary ingredient, along with a mix of wholesome grains, fruits, and vegetables. The formula is crafted to be rich in essential nutrients, vitamins, and minerals that support your cat’s overall health and vitality.

Has Wellness cat food been recalled in the past?

Wellness has had a few cat food recalls. The most recent was in February 2017, when a number of canned cat foods were recalled due to the potential for foreign material.

In February 2011, the following Wellness canned cat foods were recalled due to inadequate levels of thiamine (Vitamin B1) 

  • Wellness (all flavors and sizes, including CORE) with “best by” dates of April 14–Sept. 30, 2013
  • Wellness Chicken & Herring (all sizes) with “best by” dates of either Nov. 10, 2013 OR Nov. 17, 2013

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

Wellness Pet Company’s headquarters is just outside Boston, in Tewksbury, Massachusetts. It maintains the Farm Fresh Kitchen manufacturing facility in Minnesota and a manufacturing plant in Indiana. 

The company consists of Wellness Natural Pet Food, Old Mother Hubbard by Wellness, WHIMZEES by Wellness, Sojos, Eagle Pack and Holistic Select.

Sources

1: Association of American Feed Control Officials

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