Orijen Cat Food – A Review & Guide For 2019, Is It Safe?

kitten eating dry food

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. 

Below is a ORIJEN cat food review, I’ll be giving you a history of the company and everything you need to know about the product.

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 pets 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. 

But, 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. 

⅔ of ORIJEN’s meat is fresh (refrigerated) or raw (flash frozen) and contain 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. 

In conclusion, ORIJEN food is extremely high quality, using fresh healthy ingredients and is grain free.

About ORIJEN

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. You can visit their website to learn about the suppliers here

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. Which means, they won’t work with outside manufacturers. Their kitchens will exclusively produce ORIJEN and Acana food products.  

Top Picks For ORIJEN Cat Food

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. After which, I’ll review their best cat treats available. 

Orijen Dry Cat Food, Cat & Kitten, Biologically Appropriate & Grain Free

Sale
ORIJEN Dry Cat Food, Cat & Kitten, Biologically...
  • ORIJEN Cat & Kitten cat food delivers a...
  • With 90% quality animal ingredients,...
  • Using fresh and raw animal ingredients,...

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. 

Sadly, the most important thing to note with this product are the negative reviews. ORIJEN recently made the decision to manufacture this product from their Kentucky Kitchen. Prior to this, it was made from their Canadian Kitchen. 

Since the change, many, and I mean many customers have reported serious problems. I’ll include their comments later on in the article, but they mention things like vomiting and dry fur. 

Customers who purchased the Canadian version were all very happy with the product. Perhaps, if you really want this product make sure it’s from ORIJEN’s Canadian kitchen. 

It’s a shame really, as the food includes such high quality ingredients and offers fantastic nutritional value for your cat. 

Pros:

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

Cons:

  • The USA manufactured version causes vomiting and illness
  • The customers complaints are enough to avoid this food altogether
  • Expensive

ORIJEN Dry Cat Food, Regional Red, Biologically Appropriate & Grain Free

ORIJEN Dry Cat Food, Regional Red, Biologically...
  • ORIJEN Regional Red cat food delivers a...
  • With 90% quality animal ingredients,...
  • Using fresh and raw animal ingredients,...

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 less portions than traditional cat food. Each cup is 460 calories.

Pros:

  • Protein rich
  • No artificial ingredients
  • Low carb

Cons:

  • Expensive

ORIJEN Dry Cat Food, Six Fish, Biologically Appropriate & Grain Free

ORIJEN Dry Cat Food, Six Fish, Biologically Appropriate...
  • ORIJEN Six Fish cat food delivers a diet...
  • With 90% quality animal ingredients,...
  • Using fresh and raw animal ingredients,...

ORIJEN Six Fish primary ingredients are 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. I’d recommend using Six Fish as a treat, which leads me to ORIJEN treats below.  

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

Orijen 2 Six Fish Cat Treats & 2 Grass Fed Lamb Cat Treats

Orijen 2 Six Fish Cat Treats 1.25 oz ea and 2 Grass Fed...
  • 2 - 1.25 oz bags 100 % FRESH OR RAW...
  • 2 1.25 oz bags. FRESH WILD-CAUGHT FISH...

For those of you looking for healthy cat treats, ORIJEN has a good range to select from. This 4 pack of Six Fish and Lamb ( 2 x of each ) is specially formulated to provide a healthy treat for your kitty. 

They are gently freeze dried, which means they are able to retain all their natural goodness without introducing synthetic ingredients. They have a clever kitchen that flash freezers the treats at -60°F, locking in all nutrients. 

ORIJEN incorporates an 18 hour freeze drying process to gently convert the water frozen in the ingredients into ice vapour without creating any liquid, pretty cool. Once the water has been removed, you’re left with a nourishing, tasty cat treat. 

These treats do contain a preservative called, Tocopherol. It’s a class of organic chemical compounds, which contain vitamin E activity. In simple terms, It’s not usually something to worry about, it’s just handy to know that they are there. 

Pros:

  • Tasty treat
  • High protein
  • Healthy
  • 2 flavour pack

Cons:

  • Expensive
  • Packaging can be hard to open

How Much Does ORIJEN 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 of ORIJEN cat food

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 Reviews

“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

“1 out of 5 stars” – Causes the cat to throw up

“My cats have been eating this brand of cat food for the last three years, and it’s my cats’ favourite food (I feed them canned food as well). I usually get my supply from a bricks-and-mortar store and this is the first time I bought the kibble online as I was rushing around during the holiday season. 

To my horror, one of the cats started throwing up every time she has the kibble. After five days, I made the run to the bricks-and-mortar store to get a fresh pack. The cats were fine after eating the kibble from the second pack. I’ve thrown away the pack I got from Amazon because I cannot, in good conscience, donate this to a shelter.” – From Euterpe

“1 out of 5 stars” – Made in Canada Please

“I’ve stopped buying Orijen and Acana for cats after they started making the food in USA instead of their original facility in Canada. My cats were not interested all of a sudden and I also noticed a difference in smell and kibble. The reviews of people whose cats are not doing well after the change doesn’t help too. If anyone knows where to buy one that’s made in Canada, please share? Thanks.” – From Adrian C

Conclusion On ORIJEN Cat Food

ORIJEN are 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. 

The biggest issue I have with ORIJEN foods is since they made the switch to manufacturing products in the USA. Before they made this switch, they were getting great reviews and several extremely satisfied customers. 

This makes me suggest to perhaps consider another option if you live within the USA and Central America. It’s a shame really, because their ingredients are of extremely high quality. Ultimately, I’m not sure ORIJEN is quite what it used to be and would. 

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 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 cats bodies. 

A lawsuit was filed against Champion Petfoods. You can read more about it here

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 have left consumers unhappy and a decline in sales. 

Last update on 2019-10-16 at 09:57 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API