Orijen Cat Food: An In-Depth Review

Whether you’re a seasoned cat owner or new to the world of feline nutrition, you’ve likely heard of Orijen cat food. Boasting high-quality ingredients and a commitment to biologically appropriate diets, it has become a top contender in the pet food market. But is it the best option for your feline friend? This review delves into the pros and cons of Orijen cat food to help you make an informed decision.

The Philosophy Behind Orijen Cat Food

Founded on the premise of offering “biologically appropriate” pet foods, Orijen believes in mirroring the quantity, freshness, and variety of meats that cats and dogs would naturally consume in the wild. Their philosophy aims to fulfill your pet’s evolutionary dietary needs, potentially leading to better health and vitality.

High-Quality Ingredients

The foremost strength of Orijen cat food is the superior quality and variety of its ingredients. The company is known for sourcing local, sustainable ingredients, emphasizing fresh meats, organs, cartilage, and bone from poultry, fish, and eggs. This mirrors a natural carnivorous diet, providing your cat with ample protein and vital nutrients.

Nutritional Profile

Orijen cat food boasts an impressive nutritional profile. With its high-protein and low-carbohydrate formula, it caters well to a cat’s natural dietary needs. The majority of their recipes contain 40% or more protein, while carbohydrates are kept to a minimum, typically below 20%. This nutritional balance is beneficial for maintaining healthy weight and muscle mass in cats.

Potential Issues with Orijen Cat Food

While there’s much to commend about Orijen, it’s also crucial to address potential concerns raised by cat owners.

Digestibility Concerns

Some cats may experience digestive issues when transitioning to Orijen cat food due to its rich ingredients. Reports of vomiting, diarrhea, and blood in stools have been linked to the food. It’s worth noting that any significant dietary change can cause temporary digestive upset, and it may take some time for your cat to adjust to Orijen’s high-protein diet.

Bone Fragments

There have been occasional complaints about sharp bone fragments found in Orijen cat food. While it’s not a widespread issue, it’s an essential factor to consider, especially for those whose cats have sensitive digestive systems.

Nutrient-Related Health Issues

Orijen’s high-protein diet has been linked to kidney issues and bladder crystals in some cats, potentially due to the high phosphorus content often found in protein-rich foods. If your cat has a pre-existing condition or is prone to urinary or kidney issues, consult your veterinarian before switching to a high-protein diet.

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Price Point

Orijen cat food is on the pricier end of the pet food spectrum. However, considering the quality of the ingredients and the research that goes into formulating the diets, many pet owners feel the cost is justified.

Analyzing Orijen’s Product Line

Orijen offers a variety of cat food options, each catering to different needs and life stages. Their product line includes dry cat food, freeze-dried food, and treats. Let’s take a closer look at each of these.

Dry Cat Food

The dry cat food range from Orijen offers a selection of high-protein formulas. The ‘Cat & Kitten’ formula, for example, combines free-run chicken and turkey, wild-caught fish, and cage-free eggs, providing a nutrient-dense diet for cats of all ages. The ‘Six Fish’ formula is another popular choice, boasting a rich blend of saltwater and freshwater fish. This variety ensures that your feline gets a wide spectrum of amino acids, virtually mimicking a wild diet.

Freeze-Dried Food

For those looking to introduce raw nutrition to their cats, Orijen’s freeze-dried cat food offers a convenient option. These recipes retain the nutritional integrity of raw ingredients while offering the convenience of dry food. However, some pet owners have reported their cats experiencing minor digestive discomfort when initially switching to freeze-dried options.


Orijen’s cat treats are unique in their 100% meat composition. Made from gently freeze-dried meat, these treats provide a rich taste and nutritional punch without any preservatives or fillers. Available in a range of flavors, they can be a handy tool for training or simple indulgence.

Dietary Considerations

When switching to Orijen, it’s crucial to consider your cat’s specific dietary needs. For instance, kittens may require a diet with higher protein, fats, and essential nutrients for growth and development, and Orijen’s ‘Cat & Kitten’ formula could be a perfect fit.

On the other hand, senior cats or those with certain health conditions might benefit from specialized diets. If your cat is prone to kidney issues, consult your vet before introducing a high-protein diet, as excess protein can potentially lead to increased kidney workload. Similarly, if your cat has a history of urinary tract issues, a diet with controlled mineral levels may be more appropriate.

Sourcing and Sustainability

A standout feature of Orijen cat food is its dedication to ethical sourcing and sustainability. The brand sources regionally and crafts its recipes in its own kitchen, ensuring high quality and traceability. It’s also committed to using fresh ingredients, including free-run poultry, sustainably-caught fish, and cage-free eggs.

Comparing Orijen to Other Brands

In comparison to other premium cat food brands, Orijen often comes out on top in terms of protein content and ingredient quality. For instance, compared to Royal Canin, Orijen generally has less carbohydrate content and more protein, making it a potentially better option for cats needing a more protein-rich diet.

However, when compared to Hill’s Science Diet, some pet owners have reported their cats doing better on the latter, particularly when digestive issues are a concern. As always, it’s best to assess your cat’s individual needs and responses when selecting a brand.

Understanding the Controversies

Despite its many positives, Orijen has not been without controversies. Reports of the presence of heavy metals and toxins in the food have raised concerns among pet owners. These reports primarily stem from a 2018 lawsuit, which Orijen has countered, stating that the levels of heavy metals in their foods are well within the safe limits established by regulatory authorities. Still, it’s crucial for pet owners to be aware and informed of such issues when choosing a pet food brand.

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In summary, Orijen cat food is a high-quality, high-protein option that aligns well with a cat’s natural dietary needs. However, it may not suit every cat, especially those with sensitive stomachs or urinary health issues. It’s important to monitor your cat’s health and behavior closely when switching to a new diet and consult your veterinarian with any concerns.

While Orijen cat food has its pros and cons, its commitment to biologically appropriate diets and high-quality ingredients make it a worthy contender in the pet food market. As always, the “best” food ultimately depends on your individual cat’s health, lifestyle, and preferences.

Frequently Asked Questions About Orijen Cat Food

1. Is Orijen Cat Food Suitable for All Life Stages?

Yes, Orijen offers products that cater to all life stages. Their ‘Cat & Kitten’ formula is specifically designed to meet the nutritional requirements of both young kittens and adult cats. However, for older cats or those with specific health issues, it’s always best to consult with a vet before making a dietary change.

2. Can Orijen Cat Food Cause Digestive Problems?

Some cats might experience digestive issues when switching to a new food, including Orijen. This is not usually a sign of poor food quality but more often a result of the transition process. To mitigate this, it’s recommended to introduce new foods gradually by mixing it with the old food and increasing the proportion over a week or so.

3. How Much Protein is in Orijen Cat Food?

Orijen’s cat food boasts a high protein content, with some of their dry foods containing as much as 40% protein. This is significantly higher than the average protein content found in many cat foods. However, the exact protein content varies depending on the specific product and formula.

4. Has Orijen Cat Food Ever Been Recalled?

Orijen cat food had not been recalled. However, it’s always a good idea to keep up with the latest recall information to ensure the safety of the food you’re feeding your pet.

5. Is Orijen Cat Food Grain-Free?

Yes, all of Orijen’s cat food products are grain-free. They pride themselves on producing “Biologically Appropriate” food, which means they aim to mirror the diet a cat would naturally eat in the wild. This includes a high proportion of meat and no cereal grains.

6. Why Does Orijen Cat Food Seem More Expensive Than Other Brands?

Orijen cat food is often more expensive than other brands due to its high-quality ingredients, which include fresh and locally sourced meat. The brand is also committed to preparing their food in their own kitchens rather than outsourcing production, which can add to the cost.

7. Does Orijen Cat Food Contain Artificial Additives or Preservatives?

Orijen is known for its commitment to natural, high-quality ingredients. Their products do not contain any artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives. Their high meat content is preserved using a proprietary freeze-drying process, which maintains the nutritional integrity of the ingredients.

8. Can Orijen Cat Food Help with Weight Management?

While Orijen does not offer a specific weight management formula, their high-protein, low-carbohydrate recipes can support a healthy weight in cats. However, portion control is essential in managing a cat’s weight, irrespective of the brand of food.

9. How Should I Store Orijen Cat Food?

For optimal freshness, Orijen dry cat food should be stored in a cool, dry location and sealed tightly after opening. If using Orijen’s freeze-dried food, reseal the package tightly after each use and store it in a cool, dry place.

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10. Are Orijen Cat Foods Allergen-Free?

While Orijen cat foods are grain-free, they do contain multiple sources of animal protein, such as poultry, fish, and eggs. Cats with specific protein allergies may react to these ingredients. Always consult with your vet if you suspect your cat has a food allergy or sensitivity.

11. Can Orijen Cat Food Cause Kidney Issues?

High-protein diets, such as Orijen, could potentially increase the workload on the kidneys. Therefore, if your cat has a pre-existing kidney condition, a high-protein diet might not be the best choice. Always consult with a veterinarian before deciding on a dietary plan for a cat with kidney disease.

12. Does Orijen Produce Wet Cat Food?

Orijen primarily focused on dry and freeze-dried food and treats. Always check the brand’s official website or your preferred pet product retailer for the most recent product offerings.

13. Is Orijen Cat Food Suitable for Cats with Diabetes?

The high protein and low carbohydrate content of Orijen cat food could be beneficial for diabetic cats. However, each cat is unique and may respond differently to dietary changes. Always consult with your veterinarian before making diet modifications for a cat with diabetes.

14. Can Orijen Cat Food Be Fed to Other Pets?

While it’s true that Orijen cat food is high in quality protein and nutritious ingredients, it is specifically formulated for the dietary needs of cats, which are different from those of dogs and other pets. It’s essential to feed your pets food designed for their species to ensure they receive the right balance of nutrients.

15. Why Are Some Cat Owners Switching from Orijen to Other Brands?

While many cats thrive on Orijen cat food, some owners have reported their cats developing digestive issues, including vomiting and diarrhea, on this diet. Others have voiced concerns about the brand following a lawsuit alleging high levels of heavy metals and toxins in the food. It’s important to note that individual cat responses to diet can vary greatly, and what works well for one cat may not work for another.

16. Is Orijen Cat Food Available Worldwide?

Orijen cat food is widely available in many countries, including the United States, Canada, and parts of Europe. However, availability may vary depending on the country’s pet food regulations and import policies. For the most accurate information, check with local pet food retailers or the brand’s official website.

17. Are There Vegetables and Fruits in Orijen Cat Food?

Yes, Orijen cat food includes a variety of fruits and vegetables in their recipes. These are not fillers but are included to provide a natural source of essential nutrients, mimicking the varied diet of wild cats.

18. Can Orijen Cat Food Cause Bad Breath in Cats?

Bad breath in cats is typically not caused by the type of food they eat, but rather by dental or gastrointestinal issues. However, if you notice a persistent bad odor from your cat’s mouth, it’s recommended to seek veterinary advice.

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