Laura Ward

Written by Laura Ward

Georgia Jeremiah

Reviewed by Georgia Jeremiah

Updated: January 18, 2024

Wellness CORE Dry Cat Food Review

Updated: January 18, 2024

Our Verdict

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Recommended

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

The CORE dry range from Wellness is positioned as a premium grain free offering, with a number of formulas including kitten and indoor cat.  The product line has good quality ingredients with primary meat sources providing excellent nutrition.

Pros
  • Doesn’t contain fillers, by-products or artificial additives
  • Rich in species-appropriate animal protein
Cons
  • The brand has had multiple recalls over recent years
  • It is priced high compared to other dry foods
  • High in carbohydrates
  • Moisture content is low

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

The Wellness CORE dry product line includes five cat foods.

Product line Rating AAFCO
CORE Original: Deboned Turkey, Turkey Meal & Chicken Meal 4 M
CORE Original Kitten: Deboned Turkey, Turkey Meal & Deboned Chicken 4 G
CORE Original Adult: Turkey, Turkey Meal & Duck 4 M
CORE Original Indoor: Deboned Chicken, Turkey and Chicken Meals 4 M
CORE Original Indoor: Salmon & Herring 4 M

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Recipe and Label Analysis

Wellness CORE Original Deboned Turkey, Turkey Meal & Chicken Meal 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.

Wellness CORE Original Deboned Turkey, Turkey Meal & Chicken Meal recipe

Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content

42.2%

Protein

18.9%

Fat

30.9%

CarbsCarbohydrates

Deboned turkey, deboned chicken, turkey meal, chicken meal, peas, herring meal, chicken fat (preserved with mixed tocopherols), dried ground potatoes, tomato pomace, ground flaxseed, natural chicken flavor, salmon oil, cranberries, chicory root extract, choline chloride, taurine, vitamin e supplement, dried kelp, zinc proteinate, mixed tocopherols (added to preserve freshness), zinc sulfate, calcium carbonate, niacin, iron proteinate, ferrous sulfate, yucca schidigera extract, vitamin A supplement, copper sulfate, thiamine mononitrate, copper proteinate, manganese proteinate, manganese sulfate, D-calcium pantothenate, sodium selenite, pyridoxine hydrochloride, riboflavin, vitamin D3 supplement, biotin, calcium iodate, vitamin B12 supplement, folic acid, ascorbic acid (vitamin C), dried lactobacillus plantarum fermentation product, dried enterococcus faecium fermentation product, dried lactobacillus casei fermentation product, dried lactobacillus acidophilus fermentation product, rosemary extract, green tea extract, spearmint extract


Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 3%

Red denotes any controversial items

Ingredients Analysis

The first and second ingredients are deboned turkey and deboned chicken.  Both meats are considered “the clean combination of flesh and skin derived from the parts or whole carcasses of turkey and chicken”. 1 They are naturally rich in the 11 essential amino acids required by a cat to sustain life.

The third and fourth ingredients are turkey meal and chicken mealBoth are considered a meat concentrate and contain nearly 300% more protein than fresh turkey or chicken.

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 herring mealBecause it is considered a meat concentrate, herring meal contains almost 300% more protein than fresh fish itself.  

Fish meal 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 chicken fatChicken 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 ground dried potatoes, a dehydrated potato product usually made from by-products of a food processing plant. This item is equal to corn in calorie content yet possibly with more protein.

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.

This recipe receives an above average rating — 4 stars.

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Nutrient Analysis

Based on its ingredients alone, Wellness CORE Original Deboned Turkey, Turkey Meal & Chicken Meal recipe looks like an above-average dry product.

The dashboard displays a dry matter protein reading of 50%, a fat level of 20% and an estimated carbohydrate level of 22%.

As a group, the brand features an above-average protein content of 45.3% and a mean fat level of 20%. Together these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 29.8% for the overall product line, alongside a fat to protein ratio of 37%.

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

Final Word

Each recipe in the range is tailored to meet the nutritional needs of cats at different stages of life.

The product line has good quality ingredients with primary meat sources providing excellent nutrition.

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: Adapted by the Cat Food Advisor and based upon the official definition for chicken published by the Association of American Feed Control Officials, Official Publication, 2008 Edition

2: Association of American Feed Control Officials

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