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Canidae is an independent, family-owned pet food company that claims to offer high-quality natural food for cats. But is Canidae a good choice for your cat? Find out in our unbiased Canidae cat food review.
The We’re All About Cats Standard—Rating Canidae on What Matters
We’ve analyzed Canidae and graded it according to the We’re All About Cats standard, evaluating the brand on species-appropriateness, ingredient quality, product variety, price, customer experience, and recall history. Here’s how it rates in each of these six key areas.
- Species-Appropriateness – 5/10
- Ingredient Quality – 7/10
- Product Variety – 7/10
- Price – 7/10
- Customer Experience – 9/10
- Recall History – 5/10
Overall Score: 6.6/10
We give Canidae cat food a 40 out of 60 rating or a B- grade.
Canidae co-founders John Gordon and Scott Whipple met as teenagers. When Whipple was 19 years old, he took over the San Dimas Feed Store, an independent pet store in San Dimas, California. He hired 16-year-old John Whipple to work in the store. The two became friends and started talking about what needed to change in the pet food industry.
After looking at the products available and listening to their customers, Scott and John realized there was a gap between what the industry was producing and what consumers wanted. Recognizing the opportunities that lie in closing that gap, the two went into business. With the help of pet nutritionists and veterinarians, they developed their first line of pet food and started selling it in 1996.
After over two decades in the business, Canidae sells almost 100 formulations of dry food, canned food, and treats for dogs and cats.
Sourcing and Manufacturing
In 2012, Canidae opened its Ethos Pet Nutrition facility in Brownwood, Texas, where some Canidae wet and dry foods are manufactured. The Ethos Pet Nutrition facility is the smallest of its kind in the United States. Its low production capacity makes it “the equivalent of a small batch microbrewery” according to Rafi Kalachian, Canidae’s marketing director.
Though they operate their own manufacturing plant, Canidae also partners with outside manufacturers. They don’t specify which of their recipes are made in the company-owned facility and which are made elsewhere, but we do know that the company was still outsourcing manufacturing to Diamond Pet Food after the Brownwood plant opened.
Through the Canidae Farms Initiative, the company aims to increase its involvement in growing the ingredients used in Canidae foods. Canidae has partnered with US farmers to grow several crops, including yellow peas, millet, parsley, rosemary, sage, zucchini, pumpkin, and tomatoes.
While Canidae says they hope to use ingredients mainly sourced through the Canidae Farms Initiative, the volume produced on the company-owned farms is still a small percentage of Canidae’s ingredient supply.
Has Canidae cat food been recalled?
Canidae was recalled in 2012 due to salmonella contamination. At the time, Canidae outsourced manufacturing to Diamond Pet Foods, a manufacturer that makes food for numerous pet food companies. It’s unclear if Canidae still partners with Diamond following the recall.
What kinds of cat food does Canidae offer?
Canidae offers both dry and wet cat food in three lines.
Canidae Limited Ingredient Diet PURE involves recipes designed for cats with sensitivities. The dry recipes contain 7-8 key ingredients, while the wet foods have under 5 key ingredients. They’re grain-free and don’t contain any corn, wheat, or soy.
Canidae All Life Stages is a line of three grain-inclusive dry cat foods, each of which is formulated to meet the needs of cats at every stage of life, from kittenhood to the senior years.
Canidae Under the Sun is Canidae’s economy line, made with single animal proteins and a “bounty of fruits and vegetables”. It includes both dry and wet foods.
Canidae Cat Food – Top 3 Recipes Reviewed
|Product Name||Food Type||Price per Ounce||Our Grade|
|CANIDAE Grain-Free PURE Elements with Chicken Limited Ingredient Diet||Dry||$0.18||C|
|CANIDAE Life Stages All Life Stages Formula||Dry||$0.15||C-|
|CANIDAE Grain-Free PURE Limited Ingredient Diet Morsels with Cod||Wet||$0.56||C|
Chicken and chicken meal appear to be the primary protein sources in this dry cat food.
Like other recipes in the Limited Ingredient PURE line, the food has a relatively limited ingredient list with eight key ingredients.
Chicken is the first ingredient on the list. This form of chicken is high in moisture and therefore less protein-dense than dehydrated chicken meal, which is the second ingredient. Because the food includes hydrated and dehydrated chicken as the first two ingredients, it’s safe to assume that chicken constitutes most of the food’s protein content.
In addition to chicken, the recipe includes turkey meal as another type of poultry and a concentrated source of animal protein. After turkey meal, the food contains potatoes and peas, both common ingredients in grain-free foods. These plant ingredients help the kibble to maintain its shape and structure while adding to its carbohydrate and protein content.
Chicken fat is added as a source of fatty acids.
After plant ingredients and chicken fat, the food returns to the animal protein theme with the inclusion of lamb meal and menhaden fish meal. Menhaden fish meal is the last of the primary ingredients. It’s followed by “natural flavor”, an additive typically made from hydrolyzed animal tissues.
Next on the ingredient list is a long series of vitamins, minerals, and amino acids. In addition to these supplements, the food contains salmon oil as a source of omega-3 fatty acids and probiotics for digestive support.
Overall, the food has moderate protein content with moderate fat and high carbohydrate content.
This Canidae dry food contains 482 calories in each cup.
Chicken, Chicken Meal, Turkey Meal, Potatoes, Peas, Chicken Fat, Lamb Meal, Menhaden Fish Meal, Natural Flavor, Minerals (Zinc Proteinate, Manganese Proteinate, Copper Proteinate, Zinc Sulfate, Manganese Sulfate, Copper Sulfate, Potassium Iodide, Manganous Oxide, Sodium Selenite), Vitamins (Vitamin E Supplement, Niacin, Thiamine Mononitrate, Vitamin A Supplement, Biotin, Calcium Pantothenate, Riboflavin, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride (Vitamin B6), Vitamin B12 Supplement, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Folic Acid), Choline Chloride, Dl-Methionine, Taurine, Salmon Oil, Mixed Tocopherols (A Preservative), Dried Enterococcus Faecium Fermentation Product, Dried Lactobacillus Acidophilus Fermentation Product, Dried Lactobacillus Casei Fermentation Product, Dried Lactobacillus Plantarum Fermentation Product, Dried Trichoderma Longibrachiatum Fermentation Extract. Contains A Source Of Live Naturally Occurring Microorganisms.
|Crude Protein||35% min|
|Crude Fat||18% min|
CANIDAE Grain-Free PURE Elements with Chicken Limited Ingredient Diet Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Breakdown
Ingredients We Liked: Chicken, Chicken Fat, Salmon Oil
Ingredients We Didn’t Like: Potatoes, Peas
Common Allergens: Chicken, Fish
- Primarily made with meat ingredients
- Uses named meats rather than animal by-products
- Made without artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives
- High plant content
Chicken meal appears to be the primary protein source in this dry cat food.
Canidae says their All Life Stages line is perfect for those who don’t want to look for new life stage-specific foods every few years or those with multiple cats of various ages. This dry cat food is made to suit cats of all life stages and sizes, from kittenhood to the senior years.
The food’s first ingredient is chicken meal, a concentrated source of animal protein. Chicken meal is followed by brown rice, which is more nutrient-dense than white rice, but arguably species-inappropriate for cats. After brown rice, the food contains cracked pearled barley, peas, and millet. None of these ingredients are optimal for a carnivorous animal, but help to give the kibble its shape while contributing some nutrients. They add significantly to the food’s carbohydrate content.
The food’s primary fat source is chicken fat.
It’s followed by a few more sources of protein. These include turkey meal, potato protein, lamb meal, egg product, and a small amount of ocean fish meal. The food contains the additive “natural flavor” for improved palatability.
It includes flaxseed, presumably as a source of fiber and omega-3 fatty acids, though the omega-3s from flaxseed aren’t biologically available for carnivores. It also contains salmon oil, a more species-appropriate source of the omega-3 fatty acids DHA and EPA.
Like all Canidae dry foods, this kibble is supplemented with HealthPLUS Solutions, a blend of probiotics, omega-3 fatty acids, and antioxidants that are added after cooking. In addition to the standard variety of vitamins, minerals, and amino acids, the food contains sun-cured alfalfa meal, sage extract, cranberries, beta-carotene, sunflower oil, prebiotics and probiotics, papaya, pineapple, and yucca schidigera extract.
Overall, the food has moderate protein content, moderate fat, and high carbohydrate content.
Canidae All Life Stages dry food has 521 calories in each cup.
Chicken Meal, Brown Rice, Cracked Pearled Barley, Peas, Millet, Chicken Fat, Turkey Meal, Potato Protein, Lamb Meal, Egg Product, Natural Flavor, Flaxseed, Ocean Fish Meal, Potassium Chloride, Salmon Oil, Choline Chloride, Dl-Methionine, Taurine, Suncured Alfalfa Meal, Inulin (From Chicory Root), Lecithin, Sage Extract, Cranberries, Beta-Carotene, Rosemary Extract, Sunflower Oil, Yucca Schidigera Extract, Dried Enterococcus Faecium Fermentation Product, Dried Lactobacillus Acidophilus Fermentation Product, Dried Lactobacillus Casei Fermentation Product, Dried Lactobacillus Plantarum Fermentation Product, Dried Trichoderma Longibrachiatum Fermentation Extract, Minerals (Zinc Proteinate, Manganese Proteinate, Copper Proteinate, Zinc Sulfate, Manganese Sulfate, Copper Sulfate, Potassium Iodide, Manganous Oxide, Sodium Selenite), Vitamins (Vitamin E Supplement, Niacin, Thiamine Mononitrate, Vitamin A Supplement, Biotin, Calcium Pantothenate, Riboflavin, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride (Vitamin B6), Vitamin B12 Supplement, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Folic Acid), Mixed Tocopherols (A Preservative), Papaya, Pineapple. Contains A Source Of Naturally Occurring Microorganisms.
|Crude Protein||32% min|
|Crude Fat||20% min|
CANIDAE Life Stages All Life Stages Formula Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Breakdown
Ingredients We Liked: Chicken Fat, Salmon Oil
Ingredients We Didn’t Like: Brown Rice, Cracked Pearled Barley, Peas, Millet, Potato Protein, Suncured Alfalfa Meal
Common Allergens: Chicken, Eggs, Fish
- Uses named meats rather than vaguely-labeled by-products
- Free of artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives
- High plant content
Cod appears to be the primary protein source in this wet cat food.
Like all wet foods in Canidae’s limited ingredient line, this recipe has five or fewer primary ingredients. This recipe highlights “morsels with cod” in the title, which tells us something about the food’s contents. FDA regulations dictate how cat food is named. For example, the “with” rule says that any ingredient or group of ingredients must constitute 25% or more of the food on a dry matter basis. We know that cod represents at least 25% of the food on a dry matter basis, but what other ingredients go into the morsels? Let’s take a closer look at the ingredient list.
The first ingredient in this fish-based food is cod, a genus of demersal ocean fish. It’s not clear which cod species is used and whether it’s wild-caught or farm-raised. The food contains both fish broth and vegetable broth thickened with pea flour. Dried egg product is added as a secondary source of protein.
The food contains “natural flavor” for increased palatability. This additive is typically made from hydrolyzed animal tissue.
It’s thickened with agar-agar, which is considered one of the safest thickening agents on the market.
Overall, this wet cat food is high in protein with moderate fat and high carbohydrate content.
The food has 71 calories in each can or about 24 calories per ounce.
Cod, Fish Broth, Vegetable Broth, Pea Flour, Dried Egg Product, Natural Flavors, Calcium Carbonate, Agar-Agar, Salt, Sodium Phosphate, Choline Chloride, Taurine, Iron Proteinate, Zinc Proteinate, Niacin, Vitamin E Supplement, Manganese Proteinate, Copper Proteinate, Sodium Selenite, Thiamine Mononitrate, Vitamin A Supplement, Biotin, Calcium Pantothenate, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Riboflavin Supplement, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Ethylenediamine Dihydroiodide, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Folic Acid, Menadione Sodium Bisulfite Complex.
|Crude Protein||8% min|
|Crude Fat||3% min|
CANIDAE Grain-Free PURE Limited Ingredient Diet Morsels with Cod Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Breakdown
Ingredients We Liked: Cod
Ingredients We Didn’t Like: Pea Flour
Common Allergens: Fish, Eggs
- Made with named meats rather than vague by-products
- Free of artificial flavors, colors, and preservatives
- Free of carrageenan
- Fish is not an ideal protein source for cats
- High carbohydrate content
What do customers think of Canidae cat food?
Canidae has been well-received since its inception. Most customers seem to love Canidae cat food. The brand gets positive reviews on Consumer Affairs, where it has an overall satisfaction rating of over 4 out of 5 stars. Note that it’s a ConsumerAffairs accredited brand.
According to the brand’s product listings online, the Limited Ingredient PURE line seems to be the most popular, receiving four-to-five-star reviews. In contrast, the Under the Sun line receives fewer reviews and, on average, they’re not glowing.
Here’s what four customers have to say about Canidae:
“One of our cats was recently diagnosed with IBD and we didn’t have the budget to switch both his canned food and his dry food to prescription food, so we decided to try this dry food as a start. We were worried he wouldn’t be a huge fan of this as he’s accustomed to a cheap big brand, but he LOVES it! It seems easy on the tum and he hasn’t had any IBD flares since switching, so we’re sticking with this brand. We also foster so we have many cats all on this food and it’s a hit with everyone. The ingredients are quality, the price is excellent compared to similar foods, and it’s made in the USA. Awesome all around!” – Kate, reviewing CANIDAE Grain-Free PURE Elements with Chicken Limited Ingredient Dry Cat Food
“My cats are on a limited ingredient novel protein diet (canned and dry) and it can be tough to find canned foods they like since they are picky about textures. They love this canidae food. We are going to try the trout formula next!” – Jessi, reviewing CANIDAE Grain-Free PURE Limited Ingredient Diet Morsels with Cod Canned Cat Food
“I was really hoping my cats would have liked this, because it’s got great ingredients in it (although protein is a little low and carbs are a bit high). But I did a test with 6 different dry cat foods. This and Evolve Classic are the two dry foods that they totally ignored. Even when I removed all other dry foods, they preferred to starve rather than eat it! I do recommend this food, though, if your cats like it, which is why I’m giving it 3 stars.” – Teri, reviewing CANIDAE Grain-Free PURE Elements with Chicken Limited Ingredient Dry Cat Food
“I have 3 cats. They have been on the Canidae for about 2 years. Something has changed in the formula. I opened the bag and put a dish of it out. They would not have anything to do with it. After 5 days I went to the local pet store and bought a small bag of Blue Buffalo and they ate it right a way. I trashed the Canidae and will be going a different direction. As soon as I figure out what food they are good with I will start the auto ship up again.” – jamycakes, reviewing CANIDAE Life Stages All Life Stages Formula Dry Cat Food
How much does Canidae cat food cost?
Most Canidae cat food is at the low end of the premium price spectrum. Their foods aren’t as cheap as those from brands like Friskies, 9Lives, and Fancy Feast, but they’re significantly more affordable than those from top organic, natural, and ultra-premium brands.
For example, according to the company’s feeding guidelines for a 10-lb cat, canned food from the Under the Sun line will cost about $2.52 per day. If you opt for the PURE canned line, though, your daily feeding costs will rocket up to over $5.50 per day.
Canidae All Life Stages dry food will cost about $0.30 per day and their PURE dry food will cost closer to $0.37 per day, making it considerably cheaper than most foods with similar ingredient lists.
Overall, is Canidae a good choice?
Canidae cat food is neither a great nor a bad choice. Their foods are slightly above-average.
On the positive side, they’re free of artificial ingredients and additives that might harm cats and they avoid vaguely-named by-products. But their high carbohydrate content and the inclusion of ostensibly low-value ingredients takes Canidae down a notch. If you’re looking for great new cat food, Canidae is worth considering, but it’s not a brand that particularly stands out from the rest.
Where is Canidae cat food sold?
Canidae is sold in stores around the United States and Canada. The company also has distributors in Australia and New Zealand, Central and South America, Asia, and the Middle East. You can buy it online through Amazon, Petco, Chewy, PetFlow, and other online stores where cat food is sold.