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WholeHearted describes itself in three words—wholesome, thoughtful, and affordable. But is it any of those things? Find out in our WholeHearted cat food review.
The We’re All About Cats Standard—Rating WholeHearted on What Matters
We’ve analyzed WholeHearted 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 – 7/10
- Ingredient Quality – 7/10
- Product Variety – 8/10
- Price – 8/10
- Customer Experience – 6/10
- Recall History – 9/10
Overall Score: 7.5/10
We give WholeHearted cat food a 45 out of 60 rating or a B+ grade.
Petco introduced WholeHearted in 2016 as a dog food brand. It introduced a line of cat food the following year.
In an article on MyPBrand.com, Petco executive vice president Rebecca Frechette says that “every pet deserves nutrient-packed, wholesome and thoughtfully made meals and we believe these recipes (WholeHearted’s cat food recipes) offer all of that for an affordable price.”
Let’s learn more.
Sourcing and Manufacturing
WholeHearted uses protein sources from the United States, New Zealand, and South America. Other ingredients may be sourced internationally.
Who makes WholeHearted?
WholeHearted foods are—presumably—manufactured for Petco by a third-party manufacturer. But we don’t know the name of that company. Like most brands working with a manufacturer, WholeHearted doesn’t disclose the name of their manufacturing partner. What we do know is that WholeHearted foods are made in the United States.
Has WholeHearted cat food been recalled?
It doesn’t appear that WholeHearted has ever been recalled.
What kinds of cat food does WholeHearted offer?
WholeHearted has a moderately-sized, diverse selection of dry and wet foods. Some of their foods target health issues, including recipes for overweight cats, seniors, and cats with digestive issues.
Whether wet or dry, WholeHearted food is made without animal by-products or artificial colors. All WholeHearted foods are grain-free, with the kibble using potatoes, peas, and other legumes as binders.
WholeHearted Cat Food – Top 3 Recipes Reviewed
|Product Name||Food Type||Price per Ounce||Our Grade|
|WholeHearted Grain Free Chicken Formula Dry Cat Food||Dry||$0.14||C+|
|WholeHearted Healthy Digestion Chicken and Egg Product Recipe||Dry||$0.18||C+|
|WholeHearted Grain-Free Chicken Recipe Flaked in Gravy||Wet||$0.19||A-|
Chicken and chicken meal appear to be the primary protein sources in this dry cat food.
This dry food is WholeHearted’s essential kibble. It doesn’t make any special promises—it’s a chicken-based dry food for all life stages.
So what do you get inside of the bag?
This food centers around three ingredients—chicken, peas, and chickpeas. It’s hard to criticize the first two—chicken is a nourishing source of animal protein and other nutrients. Chicken meal is similarly nutritious.
Legumes help the kibble to maintain its shape while contributing protein, carbohydrates, and other nutrients. A mix of chicken fat and salmon oil serve as primary fat sources.
In addition to the primary ingredients, the food contains a long list of supplemental ingredients. These include flaxseed, dried chicory root, kale, chia seed, pumpkin, blueberries, oranges, dried kelp, coconut, and spinach. They serve as sources of trace nutrients and prebiotic fiber. Two strains of probiotic bacteria are added to help support digestion and overall health.
The food is guaranteed to contain at least 1,000,000 CFU total microorganisms per pound.
Overall, this dry food has moderate protein content with low fat and high carbohydrate content. It contains 328 calories per cup.
Chicken, Chicken Meal, Peas, Chickpeas, Pea Flour, Chicken Fat (Preserved With Mixed Tocopherols), Natural Flavor, Flaxseed, Sodium Bisulfate, Salmon Oil, Choline Chloride, Dl-methionine, Taurine, Dried Chicory Root, Kale, Chia Seed, Pumpkin, Blueberries, Oranges, Dried Kelp, Coconut, Spinach, Carrots, Papaya, Dried Lactobacillus Acidophilus Fermentation Product, Dried Bifidobacterium Animalis Fermentation Product, Zinc Proteinate, Vitamin E Supplement, Niacin, Manganese Proteinate, Copper Proteinate, Zinc Sulfate, Manganese Sulfate, Copper Sulfate, Thiamine Mononitrate (Source Of Vitamin B1), Vitamin A Supplement, Biotin, Potassium Iodide, Calcium Pantothenate, Riboflavin (Vitamin B2), Pyridoxine Hydrochloride (Source Of Vitamin B6), Vitamin B12 Supplement, Manganous Oxide, Sodium Selenite, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Folic Acid.
|Crude Protein||32% min|
|Crude Fat||12% min|
Ingredients We Liked: Chicken, Chicken Fat, Salmon Oil, Probiotics
Ingredients We Didn’t Like: Peas, Chickpeas, Pea Flour
Common Allergens: Chicken
- Features animal-sourced ingredients before plants
- A simple, single-protein food appropriate for sensitive cats
- Contains probiotics to support digestion and overall health
- Free of potentially-harmful artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives
- Extraordinarily high in carbohydrates
- Doesn’t contain enough moisture to keep your cat hydrated
Chicken and chicken meal appear to be the primary protein source in this dry cat food.
This food from WholeHearted’s Healthy Benefits line promises to go easy on sensitive digestion. It cites the use of high-quality, easily-digestible protein and multiple fiber sources as digestive aids. Once you turn over the bag and look at the ingredient list, you’ll see that the food is quite similar to the standard chicken-based WholeHearted recipe we reviewed earlier. It’s made with chicken and chicken meal as the first two ingredients, followed by peas and pea flour.
Later on the ingredient list, the food contains egg product as an additional source of protein. This term refers to any kind of eggs that have been removed from the shells and processed. In pet food, it’s unclear whether this egg product came from eggs fit for human consumption or egg waste products. In other words, we don’t know how digestible or biologically available this ingredient is.
The food contains chicken fat and menhaden fish oil, both species-appropriate and nourishing sources of animal fat.
In addition to its main ingredients, the food contains an array of supplements. Prebiotics and probiotic bacteria work together to support digestive health. The food is guaranteed to contain at least 2 million CFU per pound.
Overall, this dry food has moderate protein content with low fat and high carbohydrate content. It has roughly 354 calories per cup.
Though this food appears to have better ingredients than most budget kibble, its astronomical carbohydrate content and heavy use of legumes make it a species-inappropriate option.
Chicken, Chicken Meal, Peas, Pea Flour, Chicken Fat (Preserved With Mixed Tocopherols), Egg Product, Flaxseed, Dried Tomato Pomace, Natural Flavor, Menhaden Fish Oil, Psyllium Seed Husks, Ginger, Dl-methionine, Choline Chloride, Dried Chicory Root, Taurine, Yucca Schidigera Extract, Lactobacillus Acidophilus, Bifidobacterium Lactis, Vitamin E Supplement, Zinc Proteinate, Niacin, Manganese Proteinate, Copper Proteinate, Zinc Sulfate, Manganese Sulfate, Copper Sulfate, Thiamine Mononitrate (Source Of Vitamin B1), Vitamin A Supplement, Biotin, Potassium Iodide, Calcium Pantothenate, Riboflavin (Vitamin B2), Pyridoxine Hydrochloride (Source Of Vitamin B6), Vitamin B12 Supplement, Manganous Oxide, Sodium Selenite, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Folic Acid.
|Crude Protein||32% min|
|Crude Fat||9.0% min|
Ingredients We Liked: Chicken, Chicken Fat, Menhaden Fish Oil, Probiotics
Ingredients We Didn’t Like: Peas, Pea Flour
Common Allergens: Chicken, Eggs
- Contains nourishing chicken and chicken meal as primary ingredients
- Contains anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids
- Guaranteed levels of probiotic bacteria support digestive health
- Free of artificial colors
- High carbohydrate content
- High-moisture cat food is preferable to kibble
Chicken appears to be the primary protein source in this wet cat food.
This is a soupy shredded food that features chicken set in gravy. Sunflower oil and tuna oil serve as sources of fat, while tapioca starch and xanthan gum thicken and stabilize the soup.
Like other WholeHearted foods, the recipe contains two strains of probiotic bacteria, along with prebiotic fiber to feed it. The food is guaranteed to contain 2 million CFUs per pound.
Overall, this food has high protein content, moderate fat, and low carbohydrate content. It has about 26 calories per ounce.
With less than 10% carbohydrate content, no carrageenan, and a meat-first ingredient list, this is one of the better wet foods on the market. If you’re on a budget and looking for a species-appropriate food without animal by-products or artificial colors, this WholeHearted formula might be a good option for you.
Chicken, Chicken Broth, Water Sufficient For Processing, Tapioca Starch, Sunflower Oil, Tricalcium Phosphate, Salt, Sodium Acid Pyrophosphate, Calcium Sulfate, Xanthan Gum, Tuna Oil, Magnesium Sulfate, Potassium Chloride, Choline Chloride, Fructooligosaccharide, Taurine, Zinc Oxide, Reduced Iron, Vitamin E Supplement, Sodium Selenite, Manganese Sulfate, Niacin Supplement, Thiamine Mononitrate, Vitamin A Supplement, Copper Glycine Complex, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Calcium Pantothenate, Riboflavin Supplement, Biotin, Potassium Iodide, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Folic Acid, Menadione Sodium Bisulfite Complex (Source Of Vitamin K Activity)
|Crude Protein||10% min|
|Crude Fat||2.0% min|
Ingredients We Liked: Chicken, Tuna Oil
Ingredients We Didn’t Like: Tapioca Starch, Sunflower Oil
Common Allergens: Chicken
- Rich in animal-sourced protein from chicken
- Relatively low carbohydrate content
- Contains tuna oil as a nourishing source of omega-3 fatty acids
- Doesn’t contain carrageenan, artificial colors, or artificial flavors
- Contains xanthan gum, a thickening agent that may irritate some cats
- Contains high-carbohydrate tapioca starch
What do customers think of WholeHearted cat food?
WholeHearted food gets mostly positive reviews, but those are interspersed with a few recurring complaints.
Happy customers like WholeHearted’s combination of quality and price. Disappointed buyers say that WholeHearted’s canned foods are hard to open, that the wet foods are watery, and some say that WholeHearted food made their cat sick.
Let’s hear it from both sides.
“My two rescued kitties seem to really like this food. They eat it readily and never throw up, and now their coats are super shiny and soft. They’re small cats now, only one year old, and the small kibble seems to really agree with them. I’ll keep buying it as long as they keep liking it! (They like the canned variety also.)” – Debra, reviewing WholeHearted Grain-Free Chicken Formula Dry Cat Food
“My cat loves this dry food and it doesn’t smell horrible like cheaper dry cat food does. Ever since feeding him this food consistently, his poo has almost no unpleasant odor. It seems like a wholesome food for my cat, so I’ll keep buying it as long as he eats it.” – dram, reviewing Wholehearted Healthy Digestion Chicken & Egg Product Recipe Dry Cat Food
“Called Petco, the 800 # on package and requested phosphorus content. They responded with the phosphorus dry matter being 4.4% and 11.6 g/ 1000 kcl. I will not feed Whole Hearted Healthy Digestion Chicken and Egg Product Recipe Dry Cat Food to my cats because I worry it will hurt their kidneys.” – cats, reviewing WholeHearted Healthy Digestion Chicken & Egg Product Recipe Dry Cat Food
“My cats don’t like this brand anymore (both the wet AND dry kinds), and they puke up every meal. I also keep finding diarrhea in the litter box occasionally. This all started happening when I switched to this brand over a month and a half ago. I’m going to find a different, more reliable brand. I know the differences between this brand and Purina & Iams, and I prefer the latter two waayyyy over this brand. It seems like Petco created this new brand to make money, and stopped selling many other brands not because of the byproducts, but just to make more money.” – Kinepela, reviewing WholeHearted Grain Free Chicken Favorites Flaked Wet Cat Food Variety Pack
How much does WholeHearted cat food cost?
WholeHearted is in the same price bracket as American Journey, Simply Nourish, and some Fancy Feast recipes. Their dry food costs roughly $0.28 to $0.36 per day for a 10-lb cat, while WholeHearted wet food would cost about $1.52 per day for the same cat.
If you fall in love with WholeHearted food and want to save on your online shopping, consider Petco’s WholeHearted food membership. The membership costs $29 per year and earns you 25% off all online purchases of WholeHearted food.
Overall, is WholeHearted a good choice?
If you’re on a tight budget but don’t want to sacrifice good nutrition, WholeHearted might be a good option to consider. Their wet recipes stand out as some of the only low-priced foods that combine decent ingredient quality with low carbohydrate content.
Where to Buy WholeHearted Cat Food
You’ll find WholeHearted in most Petco stores and on Petco’s website. You’ll also find it sold on Amazon.
About the author
Mallory Crusta is a writer and adventurecat enthusiast on a mission to make cats’ lives extraordinary. She’s one of the founders of Wildernesscat – a site for happy, healthy, and adventurous cats who are fueled by nature. Visit Wildernesscat for radically natural cat nutrition, home remedies, and lifestyle inspiration.