Orijen Cat Food Review

Choosing a cat food can at times be painstaking, often we don’t even know what is in the cat food we buy for our beloved pet. So what makes ORIJEN cat food special then? 

Their quality of products is where ORIJEN cat food stands out. Often brands will use cheap fillers in cat food, compromising on quality to offer a lower price. 

What Is ORIJEN Cat Food?

ORIJEN is all about providing your cat or dog with food that is biologically appropriate. Their slogan – “Nourish as nature intended” which means, ORIJEN represents a new class of food, designed to nourish dogs and cats according to their evolutionary adaptation to a diet rich and diverse in fresh meat and protein.

What ORIJEN allows you to do is feed your pet’s food that directly imitates what they would eat in the wild, just as their ancestors did.

Most cat owners want to provide all the nutrients they can, and ORIJEN certainly ticks the box. 

Orijen Cat Food

Is It Any Good?

ORIJEN as a company has won many awards, those awards range from best canine food to winning awards for marketing. Take them for what you will. 

ORIJEN focus only on the necessities, each bag contains 85% poultry, fish or egg ingredients and 15% vegetable, fruit or botanical ingredients. None of their products include any grain, potato, tapioca or plant protein concentrates.

Pro Tip: Cat Foods that contain grain should be avoided. Thankfully ORIJEN contains 0% grain, potato, tapioca or plant protein. 

Are you looking for the best kitten food for your kitty?

Two-Thirds of ORIJEN’s meat is fresh (refrigerated) or raw (flash-frozen) and contains no preservatives. 1/3 of meat ingredients are gently dehydrated at 90°C from fresh, free-run chicken & turkey, and wild-caught fish to create a concentrated source of nourishing protein that cannot be supplied by fresh meat alone.

ORIJEN ingredients

ORIJEN provides food suitable throughout the life of your cat, from kitten food up to adult food. Including, kitty treats in between those healthy meals. For those fussy felines, ORIJEN offers 5 different selections, including a fit and trim lower calorie formula. 

About The ORIJEN Brand

ORIJEN is a brand that sits under the Champion Petfoods umbrella. Champion Petfoods was founded in Canada back in 1985. Fast forward to 2019 and they now employee over 500 employees, with global success.

As a result, ORIJEN foods are made by Champion Petfoods. Canada, Europe and Asia’s foods are all made in house at their NorthStar Kitchen in Alberta. For USA and Central/South America customers, their food is made at DogStar Kitchen, Kentucky. 

They employ a total of 20 research and innovation scientists to lead the development and research of their products. Included among these 20 employees are Vet Medicine doctors, a PhD in Animal Nutrition, Food science PhDs and so forth. You get the point, they have an extremely qualified team behind them. 

Finally, they partner with local farmers, ranchers and fisherman whose values align with their own. The suppliers provide fresh non GMO ingredients, farmed sustainably and ethically.

Manufacturing

Champion Petfoods’ NorthStar Kitchen is proudly European Union Certified, their kitchen follows strict HACCP guidelines for kitchens producing food for human consumption. Basically, it’s implementing the best practices and is extremely modern and clean. 

Their quality assurance department takes care of strict protocols for testing ingredients entering the kitchen, and through production and packaging. All products undergo nutritional and microbiological testing. A government certified lab will perform the test before shipping, with zero exceptions. 

Champion Petfoods also implement a ‘never outsource’ strategy. This means they won’t work with outside manufacturers. Their kitchens will exclusively produce ORIJEN and Acana food products.  

Top Cat Foods From Orijen

ORIGEN offers a range of products for kittens, cats, and dogs. Below I’ll review what I think are the top picks for ORIJEN cat food.

Orijen, Cat & Kitten

Made in the USA using premium free-run chicken and turkey, wild-caught fish, and cage-free eggs. This dry cat food offers a mix of fresh and raw meat, a ratio of about 80% protein and 20% carbs. 

Suitable for both adult cats as well as kittens. The fish they use in this mix are mackerel, herring and flounder.

The majority of the meat is fresh, meaning that it’s flash frozen and not treated with preservatives. The other portion of meat is going to be dehydrated meat.

It does contain some vegetables in the mix including peas, chickpeas and, legumes.

In summary, the “Cat & Kitten” is filled with mid-level protein, necessary fats, and low carbs with each cup containing about 463 calories.

Pros:

  • High quality meat ingredients
  • Nutritionally dense
  • Cats love the taste
  • No artificial ingredients
  • Low Carb

Cons:

  • Contains peas and legumes
  • Some customers say the food made their cats unwell
  • Expensive

ORIJEN, Regional Red

Made with ranch raised beef, wild boar, goat, lamb, pork, and wild caught mackerel. All this makes it very nutrient dense, as is all ORIJEN cat food for that matter. 

It’s made with 85% meat, 15% vegetables, and 0% grain, all of ORIJEN’s foods are grain free.

Cat owners have reported that their cats either love or hate the taste. The diversity of meat offerings in the regional red is great in theory, however, fussy cats might not take to it.

Being so calorie-dense, you’ll be able to use fewer portions than traditional cat food. Each cup is 460 calories.

Pros:

  • Protein rich
  • No artificial ingredients
  • Low carb
  • Grain Free

Cons:

  • Expensive
  • Some cats might not like the taste

Orijen, Fit And Trim

Chicken is the primary protein source in the Fit and Trim but, it includes a large amount of plant-based foods also which is not my favorite thing.

This Orijen food is aimed at overweight cats and is made with Orijen’s standard variety of fresh, raw, and dehydrated animal proteins.

Chicken, turkey eggs, turkey, herring, flounder, and mackerel make up the primary protein sources, with a variety of legumes, fruits, and veggies.

Strangely enough, although it’s marketed as a low-calorie food, at 445 calories per cup it’s higher than the average dry food.

No worries though, most of Orijen’s foods are caloric dense and designed to use smaller portions.

Pros:

  • High in animal protein
  • No plant protein fillers
  • No artificial ingredients
  • Caloric dense

Cons:

  • High amount plant-based ingredients
  • Expensive

ORIJEN, Six Fish

ORIJEN Six Fish primary ingredients are as the name suggests, wild fish. It includes mackerel, herring, flounder, monkfish, redfish, and hake. That means, 90% of Six Fish ingredients are made from fish products.

ORIJEN uses 75% of fresh or raw fish, while the remaining third is dehydrated to provide a concentrated protein. However, a concentrated diet of only fish isn’t the ideal diet for cats. The potential of heavy metals and toxic contamination with a fish only diet can be problematic for cats. 

In summary, it’s a fish-based high protein, low carb formula. Because it’s 90% fish-based, It should be used in conjunction with other food.

A fished only based diet is not recommended by vets so you will need to supplement your kitties’ meals along side Six Fish.

On Average, each cup of Six Fish is 463 calories.

Pros:

  • High in protein
  • Contains Omega 3
  • No artificial ingredients

Cons:

  • Expensive
  • Solely fish based
  • Needs to be used in conjunction with other sources of protein

How Much Does ORIJEN Cat Food Cost

ORIJEN has a feeding recommendation, and according to this, the average cost of ORIJEN food is around $0.90 per day. That equates to about $0.30 – $0.35 per ounce. 

Orijen feeding guide

Customer Reviews

There are mixed reviews of ORIJEN cat food online, some very positive and some very negative. However, when the food was being manufactured in Canada, it received fantastic reviews. 

Since they made the switch to manufacture in their USA kitchen, many loyal customers within the USA and Central America have serious complaints. Customers are reporting a decline in the quality of the products, inconsistent food, strange smells and reporting their cats are vomiting after eating it. 

Positive Review

“5 out of 5 stars” – High quality dry food, very palatable for raw-fed cats

My cats are fed mainly homemade raw food, but I get these as treats. I like that the pieces are small, to get maximum enjoyment per calorie – because otherwise, this is a very densely caloric food. My 15 lb monster would only get 2/3 cup of this daily if fed exclusively.

This is a high quality dry food with 17% veggie ingredients, which compares favorably to even some high end frozen raw or canned foods. Feeding this together with raw or canned food is a nice option for convenience and reducing food costs. 

I gave my cat around 1/8 cup per day when he was about a year old and at his most ravenous, which struck the balance between minimizing feeding costs and keeping his poop from getting stinky.” – From top contributor Cathy

Negative Review

“1 out of 5 stars” – Made my cat sick

“My cat could not eat this food. Perhaps the package I got was expired but my kitty could not digest this expensive cat food the first time she tried it. She only had an adverse reaction to the regional red. 

My cat has a sensitive stomach and was vomiting for nearly two days when I started giving this food to her. As soon as I stopped giving it to her, she stopped being sick.” – From Irina I. Patrikeeva

In Summary

ORIJEN is among the few dry cat food brands that manufacture foods solely using fresh and raw real meat products. That is the reason I consider it to be one of the best ingredient dense cat foods out there. 

Very few cat foods can rival the ingredients of ORIJEN. 

Looking at the big picture, Orijen foods offer some of the best ingredients in dry cat food but, they do have their flaws. Their decision to change their manufacturing process seems to have had an effect on the quality of their foods within the US, Central America, and South America.

For those of you who live in Canada, consider yourself lucky as the process has remained the same and you shouldn’t have any issues.

The Recall

Furthermore, Champion Petfoods, have had their products recalled back in 2008. Several products sold in Australia caused several cats to get ill and even die from digesting their food. 

Champion Petfoods place the blame on a process that introduced gamma radiation. Prior to 2009, Australia’s food import regulations required all pet foods made with fresh meat to undergo treatment before going on shelves. 

Champion Petfoods state this process caused gamma radiation, which destroys microbial contaminants. Apparently, this mandatory irradiation did more than kill microbes.

It depleted the Vitamin A in the food and caused the formation of free radicals in cat’s bodies. This caused a lawsuit was filed against Champion Petfoods

The Final Word

I have no idea what is going wrong with their USA-based DogStar kitchen. I do know it’s causing many issues with pet owners, who have ultimately decided to avoid the food altogether. 

Overall, their foods are some of the better dry food products on the market, but they don’t come without their issues. The recent change in formulation and manufacturing plant has left consumers unhappy and a decline in sales.