Natural Balance Cat Food Review 2024

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Vet recommended

Written by Aurus Sy

Veterinary reviewed by:

Published: 04/27/2024, edited: 05/08/2024

Natural Balance 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.

Overview


Natural Balance is a pet food company that’s been around for more than 30 years. Even after multiple changes in ownership and a brand revitalization in 2021, it has remained a popular choice among pet parents thanks to its wide range of high-quality foods, including limited ingredient diets for animals with food sensitivities.  

Natural Balance offers balanced nutrition, unmatched transparency, and ongoing exceptional support so that pet parents can ‚ÄúFeed With Confidence.‚ÄĚ But is Natural Balance the right food for your cat? Read on to learn about this brand‚Äôs product ranges, pros and cons, recall history, and more!



Natural Balance product ranges and flavors

Natural Balance offers a variety of dry and wet foods across five product lines. Let’s take a closer look at each one!


Natural Balance Limited Ingredient Cat Food

Natural Balance Limited Ingredient Cat Food

Limited Ingredient

The Limited Ingredient line comprises wet and dry foods that are formulated to support your cat’s skin, coat, and digestive health. Though they’re created with sensitive felines in mind, cats without food sensitivities can also enjoy these complete and balanced meals. Limited Ingredient recipes are made with single-source animal proteins such as chicken, turkey, salmon, tuna, venison, and duck, as well as plant-based proteins like chickpeas, lentils, and peas. They also contain essential vitamins, minerals, and fatty acids for full body health.

Limited Ingredient flavors include:

Dry

  • Salmon & Green Pea¬†
  • Chicken & Green Pea¬†
  • Indoor Turkey & Chickpea¬†
  • Reserve Green Pea & Venison¬†
  • Reserve Duck & Green Pea¬†

Wet

  • Tuna & Pumpkin in Broth
  • Chicken & Pumpkin in Broth
  • Chicken & Green Pea Pate
  • Salmon & Green Pea Pate
  • Reserve Duck & Green Pea Pate


Natural Balance Original Ultra Cat Food

Natural Balance Original Ultra Cat Food

Original Ultra

Original Ultra offers essential everyday nutrition through an assortment of wet and dry options. The recipes in this line take a holistic approach to feline well-being and are formulated for all breeds and life stages, from kittens to adult cats. Ingredients include chicken, salmon, tuna, shrimp, and mackerel for protein; carrots, brown rice, and oat groats for healthy digestion; sweet potatoes, cranberries, and blueberries for antioxidants; and added taurine for heart health. The kibbles are coated in dry vegetable broth while the canned foods are made with chicken or fish broth for added flavor.

Original Ultra flavors include:

Dry

  • Chicken Meal & Salmon Meal¬†
  • Indoor Chicken Meal & Salmon Meal¬†

Wet

  • Chicken & Liver Pate
  • Tuna & Shrimp Pate
  • Ocean Fish Pate
  • Salmon Pate
  • Indoor Chicken Pate


Natural Balance Platefulls and Delectable Delights

Natural Balance Platefulls and Delectable Delights

Platefulls

Platefulls are savory entrees that feature tender morsels in tasty gravy. Each recipe combines animal-based protein like mackerel, sardine, turkey, salmon, chicken, crab, duck, and shrimp with fruits and vegetables like carrots, potatoes,¬†pumpkin, spinach, cranberries, peas, and kelp. They also contain¬†organ meats¬†like chicken liver for extra flavor and protein, salmon oil and ground flaxseed for a healthy skin and coat, and taurine for heart health. Platefulls come in convenient ‚Äúopen and serve‚ÄĚ pouches that make mealtimes easy.

Platefulls flavors are:

  • Mackerel & Sardine Morsels in Gravy¬†
  • Turkey, Salmon & Chicken Morsels in Gravy¬†
  • Salmon, Tuna & Crab Morsels in Gravy¬†
  • Chicken & Pumpkin Morsels in Gravy¬†
  • Duck, Chicken & Pumpkin Morsels in Gravy¬†
  • Salmon, Tuna, Chicken & Shrimp Morsels in Gravy¬†
  • Turkey & Duck Morsels in Gravy¬†
  • Turkey, Chicken & Duck Morsels in Gravy¬†
  • Chicken & Giblets Morsels in Gravy¬†
  • Chicken & Chicken Liver Morsels in Gravy¬†
  • Chicken & Salmon Morsels in Gravy¬†


Delectable Delights

Treat your cat to a gourmet meal with the Delectable Delights line. These wet foods are crafted with high-quality proteins like tuna, salmon, shrimp, whitefish, chicken, sardine, and scallops, plus grain-free sources of fiber like carrots, dill, green beans, kale, and peas for digestive health. Essential vitamins and minerals such as vitamin E, niacin, thiamine, vitamin A, riboflavin, vitamin B12, iron, and zinc are also added to support healthy muscles, skin, and coat. Delectable Delights recipes come in cups that make them ideal for on-the-go feeding, so your cat can still eat well while traveling. 

Delectable Delights flavors are:

  • O‚ÄôFishally Scampi Stew
  • Sea Brulee Cat Stew
  • Land ‚Äėn Sea Cats-serole Pate
  • Catatouille Stew
  • Purrrfect Paella Stew


Natural Balance Fat Cats

Natural Balance Fat Cats

Fat Cats

Fat Cats is especially created for adult cats who need to shed some extra pounds. It’s lower in calories but higher in protein and fiber to help your feline friend feel fuller longer and lose weight in a healthy way. Ingredients include protein sources such as chicken meal, salmon meal, pea protein, and alfalfa meal, as well as nutritious vegetables like chickpeas, oat groats, peas, spinach, parsley, and carrots. It also has targeted levels of L-carnitine, which aids in achieving and maintaining a healthy weight. 

The sole flavor in the Fat Cats line is Chicken Meal & Salmon Meal.




Why Wag! likes Natural Balance

Here are some of the reasons why we like Natural Balance cat food!

High-quality ingredients

While Natural Balance cat foods aren’t considered human-grade, they contain high-quality ingredients such as animal-based protein, nutritious produce, and whole grains. Many recipes list a named meat as the first ingredient.

Commitment to transparency

Natural Balance cat food is rigorously tested at industry-leading accredited food laboratories to ensure its safety and quality. Pet parents can request test results by entering the UPC and lot number from their package label on the Natural Balance website. 

Options for cats with sensitivities

Natural Balance offers several dry and wet food options for cats with food allergies or sensitivities through its Limited Ingredient line. These simple recipes are made with a single source of animal protein and help prevent upset stomachs and other allergy symptoms. 

Complete and balanced wet foods

All Natural Balance wet cat foods are formulated to be complete and balanced. Whether it’s from the Limited Ingredient, Original Ultra, Platefulls, or Delectable Delights line, you can serve it on its own or as a meal topper. 

Vet recommended 

Dr. Georgia Jeremiah, pet nutrition expert and one of Wag!’s veterinary consultants, personally recommends Natural Balance to her clients. 

Dr. Jeremiah says, ‚ÄúNatural Balance cat food offers high-protein, grain-free diets that are free from artificial additives. They also provide limited ingredient diets with single protein sources for cats with known dietary allergies. In addition to a higher price tag, some formulations contain carrageenan thickeners and guar gum, which may contribute to digestive conditions such as IBD.‚ÄĚ




Concerns & considerations

Here are some things to take into account before buying Natural Balance. 

Lack of recipes for kittens and seniors

Most Natural Balance recipes are formulated for adult cats, with some being suitable for all life stages. If you want to feed your kitten or senior cat a food that’s specially made for their particular life stage, you’ll have to consider another brand.  

Concerns about fish recipes

Despite popular belief, fish isn’t a natural part of the feline diet and an entirely fish-based diet won’t give your cat all the nutrients they need. Additionally, fish is actually an allergen for cats and may contribute to urinary tract problems and hyperthyroidism. 

Recall history 

Natural Balance has had recalls in the past, with the most recent one being in 2021.




What pet parents say about Natural Balance

‚ÄúWe have nine cats, one of our cats [has] some serious stomach issues and we needed to find a food that all of them could eat as we free feed. This particular cat food has been a game changer for us 10 out of 10 would recommend.‚ÄĚ

‚ÄúThis ‚Äėlimited ingredient‚Äô cured my cat from allergies and horrible break out scabs caused by regular cat food.‚ÄĚ

‚ÄúI have two cats, one of which is a diabetic with recurring pancreatitis, IBD, and food allergies. Trying to find foods he can eat (limited ingredient, novel proteins, not high in carbs...) has been an absolute nightmare. While this food is higher in carbs than he should be eating, it‚Äôs a GREAT alternative to crunchy treats after he gets his injections :) he primarily eats a REALLY low carb canned food so that we can work these kibbles into his diet. I can‚Äôt give him more than a few at a time, though; he‚Äôll scarf down a whole bowl and barely take breaks to breathe if he‚Äôs given the opportunity. Because of his dietary needs, my other cat has had to adjust what she eats just in case he gets into her food. She loves this kibble more than any of the others she‚Äôs eaten recently! Anytime either cat hears the rattle of something that could be kibbles, they come running for a handful.‚ÄĚ

Read more reviews on Chewy.




Natural Balance brand history

Natural Balance was launched in 1989 by actor Dick Van Patten, who first had the idea for a quality pet food when he appeared as a guest on The John Davidson Show in 1982. Van Patten was actively involved in the marketing and became the face of the company.

In 2006, Natural Balance achieved significant growth under the leadership of co-founder Joey Herrick and executive Frank Koch. Less than 10 years later, Natural Balance merged with Del Monte Pet Products in 2014 and was acquired by J.M. Smucker in 2015. In late 2020, it was sold to Nexus Capital Management, which announced it was revitalizing the brand the following year.  

In 2023, Natural Balance merged with Canidae. As of 2022, the company had revenues of $280 million and 400 employees.




Natural Balance recall history

Natural Balance has been recalled a few times over the years. It was one of the brands affected by the huge melamine pet food recall of 2007, with specific variants of dog and cat foods recalled due to potential melamine contamination. 

On July 3, 2020, one lot of Ultra Premium Chicken & Liver Pate Formula canned cat food was recalled as it possibly contained elevated levels of choline chloride; the company received reports of adverse reactions. 

On May 20, 2021, Natural Balance voluntarily recalled 5- and 10-pound bags of Green Pea & Chicken Formula dry cat food due to potential salmonella contamination. No illnesses were reported, but pet parents could return the product to their retailer for a refund. 

In 2010 and 2012, Natural Balance issued voluntary recalls for several dry dog food formulas. For more information, check out our guide Natural Balance Dog Food Review 2023.



Product images sourced from Chewy. Copyright Natural Balance Pet Foods, Inc.


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