Honest Nulo Cat Food Review

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Nulo cat food review

Score: 7.5/10

Bottom Line

Nulo isn’t the worst cat food on the market, but there’s certainly better. Plenty of great treats and toppers for hydration.

PROS

  • All products are grain-free
  • Huge range of choices
  • No animal by-products

CONS

  • There are better options for the price
  • Dry food is a little high in carbs
  • Misleading product names

Nulo is a newcomer on the cat food scene that has a reputation of quality. They offer filler-free food that suits cats of all life stages.

In this cat food review, you’ll find out more about whether Nulo is the best choice for your cat.

This review includes detail about nutrition and taste testing results with our cats.

Let’s get into the article.

Nulo Cat Food Review: Short Summary

Nulo has a rather large range of cat food options. Whilst there’s some good choices in their wet food range, the dry food doesn’t hit the mark.

Nulo have one senior dry cat food product that doesn’t meet AAFCO guidelines for seniors. This is a little misleading.

This brand also add peas and berries to some products. As a dog food first company, it’s usually the case that the cat food ends up being…doggier.

Let’s look at the positives about Nulo cat food:

  • Low in carbs for blood sugar control
  • No added carrageenan for easy digestion
  • Great range of products
  • Positive customer reviews

Want more information on this product?

Read on, as I’ll take a deep dive into the the nutrition and ingredient quality of Nulo cat food.

I’ll take a look at the Nulo freestyle and medal series range.

Nulo Cat Food Ingredients

Based on our scoring system, Nulo is an above average cat food. Nulo uses a high amount of animal based foods with no by products. They also add a few plant based ingredients which can bump up the carb content.

Our best rated products was Nulo signature stew yellowfin tuna & crab recipe. It’s first five ingredients are meat based (albeit two meat broth ingredients) with pumpkin.

All Nulo products use the recipe descriptor. This means the named ingredients are between 25-94.9% of the weight of the products. The wide range of weighting is why it’s hard to find quality based on ingredient lists alone.

What puts the score of Nulo cat food products down is the use of plant based ingredients. This includes things like blueberries, peas, and chickpeas.

Nulo foods are all grain-free, but they do include a few more plant based ingredients than I’d like. Cats don’t even need any plant based ingredients, aside from a few benefits to fiber on digestion.

More plant based ingredients usually means higher carb content. It also lowers the quality of protein, which is worse for maintaining muscle strength.

We score cat food out of 100. The score can over or underestimate the true ‘quality’ (which is why it’s important to look at my nutrition section for a full picture).

A higher score is a sign of a better quality food. The weighing of ingredients based on the labelling as these words equate to different quantities of food. That’s taken into account with scoring.

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

Nulo product rangeSelected productLabel typeIngredient quality scoreIngredients
Nulo Freestyle (Dry)Cat and Kitten: Chicken & Cod RecipeRecipe47/100Deboned Chicken, Chicken Meal, Turkey Meal, Deboned Cod, Whole Peas, Lentils, Chicken Fat (Preserved with Mixed Tocopherols & Citric Acid), Natural Flavor, Pea Fiber, Ground Flaxseed, Dried Chicory Root, Dried Kelp, Dried Sweet Potato, Dried Cranberries, Calcium Carbonate, Dl-Methionine, Taurine, Zinc Proteinate, Choline Chloride, Vitamin E Supplement, L-Ascorbyl-2-Polyphosphate (Source of Vitamin C), Iron Proteinate, Niacin Supplement, Copper Proteinate, Thiamine Mononitrate, Calcium Pantothenate, Vitamin A Supplement, Manganese Proteinate, Pyridoxidine Hydrochloride, Sodium Selenite, Riboflavin Supplement, Dried Bacillus Coagulans Fermentation Product, Yucca Schidigera Extract, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Calcium Iodate, Folic Acid, Rosemary Extract
Nulo Freestyle (Wet, Gravy)Shredded Chicken & Duck RecipeRecipe58/100Chicken, Chicken Broth, Duck Broth, Chicken Liver, Dried Egg Whites, Duck, Dried Ground Peas, Spinach, Natural Flavor, Guar Gum, Ground Flaxseed, Sodium Phosphate, Salt, Potassium Chloride, Choline Chloride, Taurine, Cranberries, Pumpkin, Blueberries, Flaxseed Oil, Dried Kelp, Yucca Schidigera Extract, Inulin, Iron Proteinate, Zinc Proteinate, Vitamin E Supplement, Thiamine Mononitrate, Copper Proteinate, Manganese Proteinate, Sodium Selenite, Niacin Supplement, d-Calcium Pantothenate, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Riboflavin Supplement, Vitamin A Supplement, Biotin, Potassium Iodide, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Folic Acid
Nulo Freestyle (Wet, Pate)Duck & Tuna RecipeRecipe63/100Duck, Chicken, Turkey Liver, Duck Broth, Tuna, Natural Flavor, Guar Gum, Potassium Chloride, Agar Agar, Choline Chloride, Taurine, Cranberries, Pumpkin, Menhaden Fish Oil (Preserved With Mixed Tocopherols), Tomato, Dried Kelp, Yucca Schidigera Extract, Salt, Iron Proteinate, Sodium Carbonate, Zinc Proteinate, Thiamine Mononitrate, Vitamin E Supplement, Copper Proteinate, Magnesium Sulfate, Manganese Proteinate, Sodium Selenite, Niacin Supplement, d-Calcium Pantothenate, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Riboflavin Supplement, Vitamin A Supplement, Biotin, Potassium Iodide, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Folic Acid, Rosemary Extract
Nulo Freestyle Signature StewsYellowfin Tuna & Crab RecipeRecipe70/100Yellowfin Tuna, Tuna Broth, Crab, Crab Broth, Pumpkin, Coconut Oil, Tricalcium Phosphate, Potassium Chloride, Xanthan Gum, Salt, Inulin, Guar Gum, Choline Chloride, Taurine, Magnesium Sulfate, Parsley, Iron Amino Acid Chelate, Zinc Amino Acid Chelate, Vitamin E Supplement, L-Ascorbyl-2-Polyphosphate, Thiamine Mononitrate, Vitamin A Supplement, Nicotinic Acid, Manganese Amino Acid Chelate, Calcium Iodate, Copper Amino Acid Chelate, Calcium Pantothenate, Riboflavin Supplement, Sodium Selenite, Cyanocobalamin, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Folic Acid, Cholecalciferol, Biotin, Menadione Sodium Bisulfite Complex
Nulo Medal Series (dry)Indoor Cat Duck & Cod RecipeRecipe52/100Deboned Duck, Turkey Meal, Chicken Meal, Deboned Cod, Chickpeas, Whole Peas, Dried Sweet Potato, Chicken Fat (preserved with Mixed Tocopherols & Citric Acid), Miscanthus Grass, Green Lentils, Natural Flavor, Ground Flaxseed, Dried Chicory Root, Dried Kelp, Dried Cranberries, Calcium Carbonate, DL Methionine, Taurine, Yucca Schidigera Extract, Zinc Proteinate, Choline Chloride, Vitamin E Supplement, L-Ascorbyl-2-Polyphosphate (source of Vitamin C), Iron Proteinate, Niacin Supplement, Copper Proteinate, Vitamin A Supplement, Manganese Proteinate, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Sodium Selenite, Riboflavin Supplement, Bacillus coagulans, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Calcium Iodate, Folic Acid, Rosemary Extract
Nulo Medal Series (wet, gravy)Minced Salmon & Turkey Recipe in GravyRecipe69/100Salmon, Salmon Broth, Turkey Broth, Turkey Liver, Turkey, Dried Egg Whites, Carrots, Dried Ground Peas, Natural Flavor, Guar Gum, Ground Flaxseed, Sodium Phosphate, Salt, Chicken Fat, Potassium Chloride, Choline Chloride, Taurine, Cranberries, Pumpkin, Blueberries, Dried Kelp, Yucca Schidigera Extract, Inulin, Iron Proteinate, Zinc Proteinate, Thiamine Mononitrate, Vitamin E Supplement, Copper Proteinate, Manganese Proteinate, Sodium Selenite, Niacin Supplement, d-Calcium Pantothenate, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Riboflavin Supplement, Vitamin A Supplement, Biotin, Potassium Iodide, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Folic Acid

Our score for Nulo cat foods ingredient quality is below.

Ingredient Quality Score: B-

Nulo Cat Food Nutrition

The nutrition quality of Nulo is above average. The wet products line up with what most cats need as obligate carnivores. Their dry cat food range is a little high in carbohydrate.

Most Nulo cat food products meet the AAFCO nutrition guidelines for all life stages.

With unusual exceptions:

Weirdly, it’s only the Nulo freestyle cat and kitten dry food that’s suitable for ‘all life stages’ based on AAFCO’s nutrition guidelines. The ‘senior’ dry food is not even suitable for senior cats.

Honestly, I would rather give a senior cat more wet food for kidney health, but it’s misleading.

When given the choice, cat’s choose a food with around 52% protein, 12% carbohydrate, and 36% fat. Our analysis shows Nulo wet cat foods fall around this ratio. The fat is a little low, but that’s about it.

The dry food is high in carbohydrate (over 20% on a dry matter basis). Wet foods are all close to, but under 12% carbohydrate on a dry matter basis.

Cats are carbohydrate intolerant and cannot digest excess carbs. This means the dry food isn’t going to be a great option for health long term. The wet foods are all reasonable.

Cats need a high protein diet, and Nulo delivers for the most part. All cats need a food with over 30% protein on a dry matter basis for energy production and muscle strength.

The wet foods far exceed that target, whilst the dry foods hover closer to 40% protein.

In terms of micronutrients, Nulo products all have a high calcium to phosphate ratio. This is great for kidney and bone health, particularly with older cats.

Finally if you have a senior cat with low body weight it’s important to feed a high calorie food. Researchers recommend food with at least 4.5 kcal/g energy content.

The only food that passes this is Nulo freestyle pate duck & tuna recipe. So for seniors, this is your best option from the Nulo range.

Here is the nutrition information for the selected products from the Nulo cat food range:

Nulo cat food product range Selected productLife stageCalories/kgKcal/g dry matter basisProteinFatCarbohydrateFiberAshMoistureTaurineCalcium: Phosphate Ratio
Nulo Freestyle (dry)Cat and Kitten: Chicken & Cod RecipeAll3,8684.244.2%*22.3%21.4%3.8%8.2%9.0%0.2%1.4:1
Nulo Freestyle (Wet, Gravy)Shredded Chicken & Duck RecipeAll8944.355.6%22.6%10.8%1.3%9.7%75.4%0.7%1.3:1
Nulo Freestyle (Wet, Pate)Duck & Tuna RecipeAll1,2254.751.1%32.6%6.2%0.5%9.6%74.3%0.7%1.8:1
Nulo Freestyle Signature StewsYellowfin Tuna & Crab RecipeAll7414.466.6%19.3%0.9%2.3%10.8%83.0%0.6%1.3:1
Nulo Medal Series (dry)Indoor Cat Duck & Cod RecipeAdult3,4933.743.8%16.5%26.3%4.6%8.8%7.5%0.2%1.3:1
Nulo Medal Series (wet, gravy)Minced Salmon & Turkey Recipe in GravyAll8874.355.6%22.3%10.7%1.5%9.9%79.5%0.7%1.1:1
*on a dry matter basis

Our score for Nulo cat foods nutrition quality is below.

Nutrition Score: B

Nulo Cat Food Taste

Nulo cat food has somewhat positive reviews online.

Our cat taste testing team hasn’t had the chance to test Nulo as yet. Reviews range between 80-90% score with reviews online.

There’s limited information on results with the signature stews range and medal series (Nulo medal series is not available much online).

Taste Score: B+

Frequently Asked Questions

What company owns Nulo?

Nulo is a privately owned US brand of pet food inspired by biomedical engineer Michael Landa, and his black labrador Max.

Landa started Nulo to create better quality pet foods for cats and dogs. Nulo consulted with veterinarians and animal nutritionists to design health-promoting pet foods.

Is Nulo cat food made in the USA?

Nulo cat food source and manufacture the majority of their pet food range in the United States of America.

This includes the following ranges:

  • Dry cat food
  • Canned wet cat food
  • Freeze-dried raw food
  • Water enhancer recipes

The Perfect Purees and Silky Mousse lines of products are Thailand-based.

Are There Any Nulo Cat Food recalls?

A check of the US Food and Drug (FDA) database reveals no pet food recalls for Nulo.

Is Nulo A Good Brand?

Nulo is an above average cat food brand. Their wet cat food range contains suitable nutrition for adult cats.

Nulo scored well for nutrition quality and ingredient quality. Their foods are high in animal-based ingredients, but use a few too many plant ingredients.

For cats with digestive issues, Nulo is not the best choice. Their dry foods are misleading, as their senior dry food is only suitable for adult cats.

The brand started with making dog food. It’s not surprising to see the foods are a bit more ‘doggier’ and contain more plant ingredients.

Whilst dogs are omnivores, cats are strict carnivores. Their diet is almost entirely comprised of small prey such as mice, fish, and birds

Learn More:

Is Nulo cat food diarrhea Friendly?

The best cat food for diarrhea is a low carbohydrate wet canned food. Cats have a limited ability to digest carbohydrate due to a lack of digestive enzymes.

Food intolerances can also cause digestive issues. Ingredients like wheat, barley and oats may irritate digestion.

Nulo wet food is low in carbohydrate and grain-free. Some choices contain some plant based ingredients which may irritate digestion.

Their dry food is too high for cats with diarrhea.

Try Nulo signature stews and Nulo freestyle pate as options for diarrhea. If the problem persists, see a vet.

Cat’s that around other infected cats are at higher risk of diarrhea. Shelter cats have a high rate of diarrhea, for example.

Learn More:

Conclusion

Nulo is a US based cat food brand that offers a wide range of dry and wet cat foods. They also offer a range of treats and toppers.

In this cat food review article I looked at Nulo cat foods ingredients and nutrition quality. Nulo scored well for both areas, with some issues.

These issues include the use of plant based ingredients and misleading labelling. They have a dry cat food labelled for senior cats, that’s only suitable for adult cats.

Despite this the foods are high in animal based foods and grain-free. Nulo wet cat food is a suitable choice for most cats needs. I don’t recommend the dry food.

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