Dr. Elsey's Cat Food Review 2024

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Written by Adam Lee-Smith

Veterinary reviewed by:

Published: 06/30/2024, edited: 06/30/2024

Dr. Elsey's Cat Food Review 2024 image

The Wag! team conducts independent research and consults pet experts to curate our recommendations. This content is supported by our affiliate pet partners and we may receive a commission on the links provided.


Veterinarian-owned Dr. Elsey's is a premium cat litter brand that’s recently branched into the cat food industry. Since 2017, Dr. Elsey's has produced wet and dry cat food catering to your tiny tiger’s ancestral diet, with recipes boasting 90% animal-based protein recipes. 

We give Dr. Elsey's cat food 4.5 out of 5 paws up, as its recipes are loaded with protein and free from artificial flavors, colors, and preservatives.

Scroll down for our full Dr. Elsey's cat food review, where we examine different sub-ranges, considerations, recalls, and more!

Dr. Elsey's product ranges and flavors

Dr. Elsey's produces a limited range of wet and dry cat foods, with 17 recipes on the market. 

All of Dr. Elsey's cat foods are "complete and balanced," meeting the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) nutrient profile guidelines for all life stages.

Dr. Elsey's Dry Cat Food

Dr. Elsey's Dry Cat Food

Dr. Elsey's dry cat food

Dr. Elsey's dry cat food follow the brand's cleanprotein™ formula, meaning they're made from 90% animal-based protein, similar to what cats eat in the wild. Each recipe is grain-free, with a named quality meat source as the top ingredient. 

Dr. Elsey's dry cat food contains hydrolyzed meats, which are chemically broken down into their base amino acids and peptides, aiding nutrient absorption. Hydrolyzed meats are less likely to trigger an immune response in cats and are recommended for cats with food allergies and digestive issues. 

Recipes only contain seven primary ingredients and a blend of essential vitamins and minerals. The chicken and salmon recipes include pork and are unsuitable for cats with pork allergies. 

Dr. Elsey's dry cat food contains approximately 61.8% protein as dry matter on average, which is high for kibble.  

Dr. Elsey's dry cat food flavors include:

  • Chicken
  • Salmon
  • Rabbit
  • Turkey
  • Duck

Dr. Elsey's Wet Cat Food

Dr. Elsey's Wet Cat Food

Dr. Elsey's Homestyle wet cat food

Dr. Elsey's Homestyle wet cat food recipes consist of 90% animal-based protein, with a quality meat source as the top ingredient. 

All Homestyle recipes contain six or fewer primary ingredients, excluding added vitamins and minerals. You'll find no hydrolyzed meats, grains, or fillers in Dr. Elsey's Homestyle wet cat food.

Dr. Elsey's Homestyle recipes are lower in moisture and have higher protein levels than Dr. Elsey's Paté wet foods. 

Dr. Elsey's Homestyle recipes contain roughly 61% protein as dry matter on average, which is high for wet cat food. 

Dr. Elsey's Homestyle wet cat food flavors include:

  • Chicken
  • Salmon & Chicken
  • Duck & Chicken

Dr. Elsey's Paté wet cat food

Dr. Elsey's Paté has the smoothest consistency of Dr. Elsey's wet food ranges with the highest moisture levels. As with the brand's whole range, Dr. Elsey's Paté recipes are filler-free and made with 90% animal-based protein.

A quality meat source is the top ingredient in all varieties. Many recipes contain New Zealand green mussels as a secondary ingredient, rich in omega fatty acids that support joint and bone health. One surprising inclusion in each variety is dried barley grass, which means Dr. Elsey's Paté wet foods aren't grain-free. 

Dr. Elsey's Paté wet cat foods contain around 46% protein as dry matter on average, which is high for a canned wet cat food. 

Dr. Elsey's Paté wet cat food flavors include:

  • Chicken
  • Turkey
  • Beef
  • Ocean Whitefish
  • Rabbit & Turkey 
  • Salmon
  • Pork 
  • Duck
  • Duck & Turkey

Why Wag! likes Dr. Elsey's

Let's check out a few reasons why we recommend Dr. Elsey's cat food for your fur-baby!

High in protein

Using its cleanprotein™ formula which mimics your cat's ancestral diet, Dr. Elsey's produces foods with a minimum of 90% high-quality animal protein. 

As a result, Dr. Elsey's foods are easy on your cat's digestive system while supporting lean muscle mass, high energy levels, and healthy kidney function. 

Low in carbs

Dr. Elsey's cat foods are very low in carbohydrates, making them an excellent choice for diabetic cats. Recipes feature tiny carb percentages — Dr. Elsey's Salmon Dry Food contains only 1.82% carbs as dry matter. 

Only 5% of energy in Dr. Elsey's recipes comes from carbs. On its website, Dr. Elsey's states that diabetic cats with the highest remission rates get less than 6% of their energy from carbs.

No fillers or artificial preservatives 

Dr. Elsey's cat food recipes are free from filler ingredients, as well as artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives. 

Besides the Paté recipes, all of Dr. Elsey's recipes are grain-free. No artificial preservatives or fillers means a higher protein content and better digestibility. 

Limited ingredients

Dr. Elsey's cat foods consist of only a handful of ingredients, with some wet food formulas containing only five primary ingredients (aside from vitamins and minerals). Limited-ingredient foods are better for cats with food allergies and sensitivities.

Concerns & considerations

Thinking about purchasing Dr. Elsey's cat food for your feline friend? Here are a couple of things to consider. 

On the pricey side

Dr. Elsey's cat food is pricey compared to some alternatives. At the time of writing, a 6.6-lb bag of Dr. Elsey's Chicken Dry Food costs $46.99 on Chewy, which works out to $7.19 per lb. 

By comparison, a 5.5-lb bag of Wellness Complete Health Natural Deboned Chicken & Chicken Meal Dry Food costs $21.49, which works out at $3.91 per lb. It’s worth noting that this Wellness product is slightly worse quality as it uses meat meals and carb-rich ingredients like chickpeas. 

Above-average fat content

On average, Dr Elsey's dry cat foods contain 21% fat as dry matter, while wet cat foods contain 28% fat as dry matter. Some recipes, like Dr Elsey's Chicken Paté, have as much as 36.3% fat as dry matter. 

AAFCO nutrient profiles state that cats need a minimum of 9% fat as dry matter in their diets at all life stages. While not excessive, fat levels in Dr Elsey's cat foods are above average, and some recipes may not be suitable for cats with weight management issues. 

Limited protein diversity

Considering the number of recipes, Dr. Elsey's has relatively limited protein diversity. For example, at least six wet and dry food recipes list pork or pork liver as a secondary ingredient. 

Pork is one of the most common food allergens for cats. Except for Dr. Elsey's Pork Paté, none of these recipes mention pork as a flavor on their labels.

What pet parents say about Dr. Elsey's

"It’s been hard finding a good healthy cat food that my cats will actually eat because they’d rather starve than eat one kibble that is the equivalent of one piece of broccoli to a human. I’ve gone through many different brands with this being the clear winner. They actually cry for it! 10/10"

"Species appropriate, no artificial anything, and satisfying to my feline. We hung in there with Dr. Elseys through the pandemic and supply chain issues, and will keep coming back for more as long as they're making it and it keeps working for us. Happy, healthy, energized cat over here- no problems!"

Read more reviews on Chewy.

Dr. Elsey's history

Dr. Bruce Elsey and his wife, Kathy, founded Dr. Elsey's in 1987. Originally called Precious Cat Inc., the Elseys began by selling all-natural, clumping cat litter in gallon milk jugs to clients from their feline-only veterinary clinic. 

In 2007, Kathy Elsey was diagnosed with multiple myeloma, a form of white blood cell cancer. After this diagnosis, Dr. Elsey's established Dr. Elsey’s Fund to Cure Cancer, supporting the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation (MMRF) with over $14 million in donations since 2009.  

Dr. Elsey's began producing its first cat food line, cleanprotein™, in 2017. In 2018, Dr. Elsey's launched its cat food to major retailers across the US. Dr. Elsey's moved their manufacturing facility to Cheyenne, Wyoming, in 2020 to be closer to clay sources for its cat litter.

Dr. Elsey's recalls

There have been no recalls of Dr. Elsey's cat food as of April 2024.

Product images sourced from Chewy. Copyright Dr. Elsey's.


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