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From looking at the packaging of pet food, it can be hard to know whether what you’re looking at is made by a small, independent supplier or a large multinational. Wellness complete is one of those – from the label and its promises of farm-raised chicken and brown rice you might think this was put together by a Mom & Pop organization. Nutro is actually owned by Mars Inc, home so some of the biggest cat food brands such as Whiskas and Sheba.
Like many other large companies, Mars has realised that their customers are becoming more savvy when it comes to choosing pet food. Rather than lose sales to smaller brands, they have created their own ranges which offer a similar product.
Nutro Wholesome Essentials Indoor Adult is a dry food. Its primary ingredient is chicken, and it’s second is chicken meal. That meal is made from meat rather than a by-product, and while that might sound like a good thing to our human palates it might not be so good for your cat. In nature, cats eat their prey live; and while we might not want to think about it in too much detail that includes the parts that don’t get included in chicken meal.
While Nutro Wholesome does steer clear of some of the cheaper bulking ingredients such a wheat and corn, it isn’t grain-free. The third ingredient is brewers rice, and it also contains brown rice. Although these are gentler on your stomach than other cereals, they are still carbohydrates. Using these sort of ingredients could promote weight gain and the associated health risks in large doses.
Where the recipe does well is in its additives. It has taurine, the all-important mineral for cat health but also adds in vitamins, essential fatty acids and herbal extracts which help promote a healthy digestion. For a big-company cat food, this one isn’t too bad, but there are alternatives which we would consider better. For example, Blue Buffalo Indoor Health; you can read our review of that, here.
Chicken, Chicken Meal, Brewers Rice, Pea Protein, Whole Brown Rice, Dehydrated Alfalfa Meal, Chicken Fat (preserved with Mixed Tocopherols), Potato Protein, Dried Plain Beet Pulp, Flaxseed, Soybean Oil (preserved with Mixed Tocopherols), Oat Fiber, Natural Flavor, Potassium Chloride, Choline Chloride, DL-Methionine, Salt, Mixed Tocopherols and Citric Acid (preservatives), Taurine, Zinc Sulfate, Vitamin E Supplement, L-Ascorbyl-2-Polyphosphate (source of Vitamin C), Iron Amino Acid Chelate, Yucca Schidigera Extract, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Copper Amino Acid Chelate, Niacin Supplement, Manganese Amino Acid Chelate, Biotin, Riboflavin Supplement (Vitamin B2), D-Calcium Pantothenate, Thiamine Mononitrate (Vitamin B1), Vitamin A Supplement, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride (Vitamin B6), Sodium Selenite, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Potassium Iodide, Folic Acid, Rosemary Extract
Pet food ingredients, nutritional values, and the way they are labeled for consumers are monitored by several organizations in the United States including the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the NGO, Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO).
CRUDE PROTEIN 33.0% min
CRUDE FAT 14.0% min
CRUDE FIBER 7.0% max
MOISTURE 10.0% max
CALCIUM 0.90% min
VITAMIN E 250 IU/kg min
TAURINE 0.18% min
OMEGA-6 FATTY ACIDS 3.0% min
To avoid upsetting your cat’s stomach, you should gradually introduce any new food. If you are switching to Nutro Wholesome Essentials from any other brand, begin by adding no more than ¼ of a portion of the new food to their regular bowl. Slowly increase the proportion of Nutro Wholesome over a two week period until your pet is happily eating only the new food.
Weight Adult Daily Feeding (cup)
4 LBS 1/4
8 LBS 1/3
12 LBS 1/2
16 LBS 2/3
20 LBS 3/4
The Bottom Line
For a dry food to really make the grade, we believe that it should be high in protein, contain no grains or high-carbohydrate fillers, and contain vitamins, minerals, and probiotics. Unfortunately Nutro Wholesome Essentials Indoor falls short of that standard,
There are better food options out there, including Blue Buffalo Indoor Health. However, if you have problems in sourcing brands locally, then Nutro Wholesome Essentials Indoor Adult is a good product that does many things right.
Ultimately, what is important is that your cat gets the food that they need and they are the ones who make the final choice about what they want to eat. It may be that for your particular fur-baby, this chicken and brown rice recipe is the most delicious thing ever!
Sarah Dixon is a freelance writer specializing in pet care and recruitment, and the author of the Alfie Slider series of children’s Sci-Fi novels. She lives in York, UK with her two children and her fur babies Tilly (Calico) and Casper (DSH).