Honest Hill’s Science Diet Wet Cat Food Review

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Honest Hill's Science Diet wet cat food review.

Score: 6/10

Bottom Line

Hill’s Science Diet didn’t hit the spot for taste and the foods are a bit carb heavy for our liking.

PROS

  • Huge range of choices
  • Authentic chunky meat texture
  • Product satisfaction guarantee

CONS

  • Too high in carbs
  • Not the best tasting product
  • A little pricey

If you step into any vet, you’re sure to find Hill’s Science Diet scattered everywhere. This would suggest this is a great choice for your cat…but I have my doubts.

In this review I’ll look into Hill’s Science wet cat food range. I’ll test this product with our cat reviewer Oscar and see if Hill’s gets his meow of approval.

Ok, let’s find out why I’m not super into Hill’s Science Diet…

Hill’s Science Diet Wet Cat Food Review: Short Summary

Hill’s Science Diet wet food is high in carbohydrate. How high?

Pretty dang high.

Not only that, but the products are pricey even buying in bulk.

As for taste? Our cat taste tester Oscar left some of his Hill’s wet food in the bowl and didn’t seem too excited.

So is there anything I like about Hill’s Science Diet wet cat food?

Aside from the pleasant smell and nice meaty chunk texture – not too much.

For what you’re paying, there’s a wide variety of better options out there for taste and nutrition.

Want more information about this product?

Read on, as I’ll give you more testing analysis on the following:

  • Ingredient quality
  • Nutrition
  • Taste
  • Price
  • Trust

Hill’s Science Diet Wet Cat Food Ingredients

In a word, the ingredients in Hill’s wet cat foods are average. Whilst they use meaty ingredients, there’s also a lot of grains packed in.

Hill’s use the dinner descriptor on most of their labels. This means 25-94.9% of the named ingredient is in the food.

Quick primer:

Ingredients are listed by weight. Higher on the list = higher weight.

In the chicken dinner product the following ingredients sandwich between two chicken ingredients:

  • Wheat Flour
  • Wheat Gluten
  • Dextrose
  • Modified Rice Starch
  • Oat Fiber

Since these ingredients sandwich the chicken ingredients, their content is going to be high. Of course there’s no surefire way to know the exact amount of ingredients.

Overall, the ratio of grains to meat ingredients skews heavily in the grain direction. This will raise the carb content, a nutrient not needed in a cats diet.

Cats are carnivores. Grain based ingredients offer no benefit to health.

Ingredient Score: 6/10

INGREDIENT SCORING EXPLAINED

We grade cat food ingredients out of 100. A higher score is a sign of a better quality food.

Named animal-based ingredients score the highest (e.g. lamb kidney, lamb liver). These offer the most nutrition benefit to cats. Ingredients that don’t offer a benefit score lowly (e.g. wheat, corn, and potato).

The amount of the ingredient also affects scoring. Descriptors (e.g. feast, dinner, nuggets) describe the amount of ingredients.

Read more about what that means over in my cat food labelling guide.

Table 1: Hill’s Science Diet wet cat food ingredientsLabel typeIngredient quality scoreIngredients
Hill’s Science Diet Adult Tender Chicken Dinner Cat FoodDinner66/100Water, Chicken, Pork Liver, Wheat Flour, Wheat Gluten, Dextrose, Modified Rice Starch, Oat Fiber, Egg Whites, Chicken Liver Flavor, Soybean Oil, Dicalcium Phosphate, Potassium Chloride, Choline Chloride, Fish Oil, Guar Gum, Calcium Carbonate, Iodized Salt, L-Lysine, minerals (Calcium Chloride, Zinc Oxide, Ferrous Sulfate, Copper Sulfate, Manganous Oxide, Calcium Iodate), vitamins (Vitamin E Supplement, Thiamine Mononitrate, Ascorbic Acid (source of Vitamin C), Niacin Supplement, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Calcium Pantothenate, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Riboflavin Supplement, Biotin, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Folic Acid), Taurine, Caramel color, Beta-Carotene
Hill’s Science Diet Kitten Tender Chicken Dinner Cat FoodDinner58/100Water, Chicken, Pork Liver, Wheat Flour, Modified Rice Starch, Wheat Gluten, Soy Protein Isolate, Egg Whites, Oat Fiber, Chicken Liver Flavor, Dicalcium Phosphate, Fish Oil, Potassium Chloride, Choline Chloride, Soybean Oil, Guar Gum, Calcium Carbonate, minerals (Calcium Chloride, Zinc Oxide, Ferrous Sulfate, Copper Sulfate, Manganous Oxide, Calcium Iodate), Salt, Iodized Salt, vitamins (Vitamin E Supplement, Thiamine Mononitrate, Ascorbic Acid (source of Vitamin C), Niacin Supplement, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Calcium Pantothenate, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Riboflavin Supplement, Biotin, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Folic Acid), Taurine, Magnesium Oxide, Caramel color, Beta-Carotene
Hill’s Science Diet Beef Optimal Care Adult Cat PouchWith62/100Chicken, pork, beef (4%), maize starch, various sugars, wheat flour, pea protein, minerals, cellulose, dried whole egg, dried pork protein, trace elements, vitamins, sunflower oil, taurine and beta-carotene. Coloured with natural caramel and iron oxide

Hill’s Science Diet Wet Cat Food Nutrition

The nutrition quality in Hill’s Science Diet wet cat food is average. Their products are all high in carbohydrate and barely meet protein requirements.

Ok so where do I start…

First thing off the bat, Hill’s Science Diet have products for different age ranges. All products meet AAFCO’s nutrition designation for growth or maintenance.

The kitten foods meet the AAFCO designation for growth. This means the foods are suitable as a complete meal for kittens.

By the way…that doesn’t mean Hill’s is the best choice but the food meets growth needs.

Moving to the adult options, they meet the AAFCO nutrition guidelines for adult cats.

None of the foods meet the AAFCO nutrient specifications for all life stages, including the senior options.

Senior cats are a tricky area. Researchers divide cats into:

  • Mature (7-12 years)
  • Senior (12-14 years)
  • Geriatric (14 years +).

All types of older cats can have different nutrition needs.

Senior cats tend to struggle with muscle loss due to worsened protein digestion. Mature cats often gain weight due to a lower metabolic rate.

Hill’s senior range seem better suited to mature cats than senior or geriatric cats.

In terms of meeting our nutrition targets, Hill’s Science Diet struggles.

The carb content in all products are high.

Cats can stop eating food due to the ‘carb ceiling’ effect. A cat has a limited ability to digest and metabolize carbohydrate (~20g/day).

Simply put, it’s too much for their body to handle more than a tiny amount of carbs.

Our cat taste tester Oscar walked off without finishing his meal or struggled to finish. I suspect this carb content was a key part of that.

This is a problem since if cats don’t eat enough, they can get shortfalls in many nutrients including protein.

Hill’s also barely gets the job done on the protein front on that note. Since they use wheat gluten (a poor source of protein), the products tested barely hit protein needs.

I can’t find a ‘best use case’ for Hill’s Science Diet.

Unless your store is out of food and there’s nothing left, there’s plenty of other great choices.

Nutrition Score: 2.5/10

NUTRITITION SCORING EXPLAINED

I scoring on meeting the following nutrition targets. A score of 10 means the food is a complete meal for cats of all life stages.

  • Protein: >40% dry matter basis

Reason: Helps cats maintain muscle and important for energy production. Cats prefer a high protein diet. Senior cats need higher protein diets to help with sarcopenia.

  • Fat: >25% dry matter basis

Reason: Source of energy. Helps senior cats maintain weight. Cats prefer a moderate fat diet for taste.

  • Carbs: <12% dry matter basis

Reason: Cat’s have no dietary requirement for carbohydrate. A cats liver isn’t able to regulate gluconeogenesis with high carb intakes (i.e. leads to high blood sugar). Cat’s lack the digestive enzymes for high carbohydrate diets (can cause diarrhea).

  • Taurine: >0.2% wet cat food dry matter basis

Reason: Taurine is an essential amino acid for cats. A deficiency can lead to health problems related to the heart as well as reproductive issues. AAFCO recommends that all wet cat food contains 0.2% taurine on a dry matter basis.

  • Calcium: phosphate: >1:1

Reason: Beneficial to maintain bone strength and kidney health. A low calcium diet in cats can lead to bone defects and depression.

Table 2: Hill’s Science Diet wet cat food nutritionTypeTextureKcal/kgKcal/g (dry matter)ProteinFatCarbsFiberAshMoistureTaurineCalcium: phosphate ratio
Hill’s Science Diet Adult Tender Chicken Dinner Cat FoodWetGravy1,0215.738.5%*19.2%34.7%1.3%6.3%82.0%0.3%1.4:1
Hill’s Science Diet Kitten Tender Chicken Dinner Cat FoodWetGravy9625.344.2%21.6%24.1%1.3%8.8%82.0%0.4%1.3:1
Hill’s Science Diet Beef Optimal Care Adult Cat PouchWetGravy1,0846.041.6%22.2%27.6%2.2%6.5%82.0%N/A1.2:1
Average9265.141.4%21.0%28.8%1.6%7.2%82.0%0.4%1.3:1
*on a dry matter basis #estimated ash content

What Does Our Cat Think Of Hill’s Science Diet?

I served three Hill’s Science Diet wet food options to our cat tester Oscar. He had mixed feelings about these foods.

It’s possible that Oscar stopped eating his meals due the flavor, texture, or carb content. The carb content of Hill’s Science Diet is high as we’ve looked at, so this can make finishing meals harder.

Here are the results of our taste testing:

  • Food Test 1: Hill’s Science Diet tender chicken dinner adult
  • Amount eaten: 95%
  • Time to finish eating: 8 minutes and 10 seconds
  • Food appearance: Gravy texture with authentic meaty chunks
  • Smell: No strong smell

Here is a short video of Oscar trying Hill’s Science Diet tender chicken dinner adult:

Here is what Hill’s Science Diet tender chicken dinner adult looks like up close:

Hill's Science Diet tender chicken dinner adult
Hill’s Science Diet tender chicken dinner adult (close up presentation)
  • Food Test 2: Hill’s Science Diet tender chicken dinner kitten
  • Amount eaten: 80%
  • Time to finish eating: 7 minutes and 30 seconds
  • Food appearance: Gravy texture with authentic meaty chunks
  • Smell: No strong smell

Here is a short video of Oscar trying Hill’s Science Diet tender chicken dinner kitten:

Here is what Hill’s Science Diet tender chicken dinner kitten looks like up close:

Hill's Science Diet tender chicken dinner kitten
Hill’s Science Diet tender chicken dinner kitten (close up presentation)

Food Test 3: Hill’s Science Diet with beef adult
Amount eaten: 60%
Time to finish eating: 4 minutes and 20 seconds
Food appearance: Gravy corn starch texture with meaty chunks
Smell: Bland smell

Hill's Science Diet with beef adult
Hill’s Science Diet with beef adult (close up presentation)

Taste Score: 7.5/10

Hill’s Science Diet Wet Cat Food Price

Compared to the average cat food, Hill’s Science Diet wet cat foods are on the mid-high end for price. This can always change due to inflation and product availability.

Similarly priced products include:

Price Score: 7.5/10

Learn more:

Hill’s Science Diet Trust

Hill’s are a large company that began in the 1940’s based on a prescription kidney formula for dogs. The Science Diet range started in the 19660’s.

Colgate-Palmolive Co bought Hill’s Pet Nutrition in 1976. Since then, the brand has released a wide array of condition-specific cat and dog foods.

Hill’s Pet Nutrition is one of the largest players in the pet food market. The following companies own 25-30% of the global market:

  • Mars Incorporated
  • Purina
  • The J.M. Smucker Company
  • Hill’s Pet Nutrition
  • Affinity Petcare SA

Can you trust Hill’s Science Diet to deliver the quality for your cat?

In 2019, there was a large recall of over 20 million dog food products worldwide. This was due to a toxic amount of Vitamin D in the foods due to processing error.

There was a melamine (plastic contamination) issue in 2007 that also affected Hill’s Science Diet foods.

On their website, Hill’s Science Diet are transparent about their products and include:

  • Dry matter basis analysis including carbohydrate content
  • Whether their food meets the nutritional levels established by the AAFCO and what stage
  • A feeding guide with tips
  • Reviews on their products
Dry matter basis information for Hill's Science Diet cat food
Hill’s include the average nutrient & caloric content of their foods on their website.

Hill’s also have a satisfaction guarantee from authorized sellers. This means you can return product if it doesn’t meet your satisfaction.

Hill’s Science Diet do use more colorful claims on their labels than average. Whilst there’s nothing unlawful about this, its worth keeping in mind.

Trust Score: 7/10

Frequently Asked Questions

Does Hill’s Science Diet Have a Strong Odor?

No. We tested three wet cat food products from Hill’s Science Diet. All three have a neutral odor that isn’t offensive.

Is This Food Good for Picky Eaters?

This food isn’t the best choice for picky eaters. Our cat tester Oscar left some of his food in the bowl with three choices.

This could be due to the taste, texture, flavor, or carbohydrate content.

Hill’s Science Diet wet cat food is high in carbohydrate, which can affect taste. This due to cats having a limited ability to digest and metabolize carbohydrate.

Learn More:

Does Hill’s Science Diet Wet Cat Food Contain Real Meat?

Yes. There’s real meat ingredients in Hill’s Science Diet wet cat food. The food appears as chunks in a gravy, which look appetizing.

Does Science Diet Cat Food Have Fillers?

Added filler ingredients in Science Diet wet cat food include:

  • Guar gum
  • Soybean oil
  • Wheat flour
  • Wheat gluten
  • Dextrose
  • Oat fiber
  • Modified rice starch

The term filler is a little vague and can refer to anything. I define a filler as anything that isn’t required in cat food for nutrition.

Soybean oil contains omega 6 fatty acids from linoleic acid. This serves a cat no purpose since they cannot use this form of omega 6. It is a filler in it doesn’t offer any benefit.

None of these ingredients provide clear benefit to cats although may help digestion. For example, guar gum is a soluble fiber that can help increase moisture in feces.

Learn More:

Conclusion

That finishes up this Hill’s Science Diet wet cat food review.

After our hands-on testing of Hill’s Science Diet, we found it an average cat food choice. The foods are high in carbohydrate and aren’t as tasty as other choices.

Our cat tester ate most of his serves of Hill’s Science Diet but left some food in the bowl. On the bright side, the food is odor free and has authentic meaty chunks.

The price of Hill’s Science Diet is quite high as well, and there are other options with better nutrition.

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