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Purina vs Royal Canin cat food: Which one should you feed to your cat?

Two cats being fed by hand
(Image credit: Getty)

Purina vs Royal Canin cat food – now there’s a question. Both are very popular when it comes to choosing the best cat food and for good reason. They both have strong reputations for producing high-quality kibble, available in a variety of flavors and at a varying range of prices.

While we would confidently recommend any products produced by either one of the two brands, ultimately there will always be deciding factors when choosing which one to get – which is where this guide comes into play. Throughout this article, we will compare and contrast the two brands, highlighting their strengths and weaknesses, and what you can expect from them.

About Purina

As its reputation suggests, Purina has a lot of things going for it. Having the enviable reputation of both being of high quality and relatively affordable, its different products are tailored to particular ages – or even dietary plans - ensuring that whatever you have in mind for your cat, Purina will likely have a food to suit.

It’s one of the oldest pet food companies in the world, having been founded in 1894, expanding and growing in popularity over the years. Its 2001 merger with Swiss food company Nestlé allowed it to expand even further, and to this day it remains at the forefront of the cat food market.

What’s good about Purina?

First off, there are a number of different imprints within the Purina brand, offering customers a variety of choice. For instance, Purina ONE is its highest quality food, Friskies is aimed at lower budgets, and Beyond focuses on formulas with natural ingredients.

For the most part, Purina reliably uses real meats as its primary ingredient. This is the case in its Purina ONE Tender Selects Adult Dry Cat Food (chicken), Purina Cat Chow Gentle Dry Cat Food (chicken), Purina ONE Indoor Advantages Dry Cat Food (turkey) and Purina Beyond Simply Adult Dry Cat Food (white chicken and whole oatmeal). This helps support a healthy diet, making these foods a reliable source of protein and fiber, with very little in the way of artificial preservatives. Furthermore, Purina is transparent regarding the sourcing of its ingredients, so you’re left in no doubt as to what’s in your cat’s food, and what’s gone into creating it.

A grey cat eating from a green bowl

(Image credit: Getty)

What’s not so good about Purina?

While Purina’s products are generally well regarded, the level of quality it has become known for isn’t always replicated across all of its products. 

For instance, while its Friskies line has become popular due to its low price, there are inevitably differences to its higher end lines. While many of Purina’s other products boast genuine meat as their primary ingredient, Friskies instead has by-product meal as its main one, topped up by artificial flavors and added salt. It is formulated to be 100% balanced, but it’s still not the same as its more expensive peers.

Moreover, when being compared specifically to Royal Canin purely in terms of choice, there simply is none; Royal Canin has far more product lines than Purina, and thus more types of food to choose from.

Also, over the years, Purina has been subject to some food recalls. For a company of its size, this is to be expected, but might be something you’ll want to read up on in greater detail.

Purina: The verdict

Overall, Purina has a lot going for it, as you might expect. Its food is of high quality for the most part, and while the level of choice isn’t quite as high as what you can get from Royal Canin, you still have plenty of options. Thanks to Purina’s transparency when it comes to the source of its ingredients, you can be left in no doubt about what you’re getting for your money. 

Purina ONE Tender Selects Adult Dry Cat Food
A high-protein product aimed at supporting the growth and health of adult cats, this Purina line of food is great for everyday use, with few real drawbacks to take note of.View Deal

Purina Cat Chow Gentle Dry Food
If you want to give your kitten a healthy start in life then you’ll not go far wrong with this. While the pieces in some brands’ dry cat food can prove to be too big, this is the perfect size.View Deal

Royal Canin, founded by vets

Vets always seem to speak highly of Royal Canin, and it’s no surprise, considering the company was founded by one. In the 1960s, French vet Jean Cathary started experimenting with his own cat food formulas in response to a number of skin complaints suffered by his customers’ cats. Such was his success that he created his own cat food line, which continues to this day. Here, we talk through the essential information you need to know about Royal Canin cat food products…

What’s good about Royal Canin?

When looking at Royal Canin’s most popular and widely reviewed products, the verdicts tend to be pretty positive. Royal Canin Feline Health Nutrition Dry Food comes recommended very highly, both in its original form, and in its appetite control for spayed cats form, delivering a good mix of proteins, minerals, and vitamins. The Royal Canin Adult Instinctive also comes across well thanks to its high protein levels and popularity with cats.

Part of what makes Royal Canin so appealing is that its products are tailored to specific conditions. One such example is the Gastrointestinal Fiber Response Dry Cat Food, its proven ability to help cats with constipation brings it many recommendations from satisfied owners.

This all stands as a testament to why Royal Canin is so easy to recommend. While brands like Purina undoubtedly offer reliable all-round diets, Royal Canin presents an almost unrivalled capacity to concern itself with cats who have specific ailments, and for that it should be applauded.

Two cats eating dry cat food

(Image credit: Getty)

Minus marks include...

One possible mark against Royal Canin when it comes to the quality of its products could be down to the high level of carbohydrates present in them, potentially leading to higher rates of obesity in cats. 

This is present in both the Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Urinary SO Moderate Calorie Dry Cat Food and Royal Canin Gastrointestinal Fiber Response Dry Cat Food (which also has high plant-based content, which isn’t traditionally a good source of vitamins), so while they may be good for targeting specific ailments, using these kind of products long term might not be recommended.

Moreover, the high price of Royal Canin has been called into question. Comparing across their different product lines Royal Canin is, traditionally, significantly more expensive than Purina. It could be argued that you’re getting food of a higher standard for your buck, but in all honesty it really depends on what your cat’s requirements are.

Royal Canin: The verdict

While Royal Canin has a reputation for quality supported by vets, and comes in a wide variety of forms to suit your cat’s requirements, some of its products may not be the best all round choice for everyday consumption, and there’s also the high price to consider. Still, its long-standing reputation should serve as a confidence booster for any potential customer and, while the levels of carbohydrates and plant-based content are high in some products, it deserves its reputation as a trusted brand of good quality cat food.

Royal Canin Feline Health Nutrition dry food
If you want to give your kitten a healthy start in life then you’ll not go far wrong with this. While the pieces in some brands’ dry cat food can prove to be too big, this is the perfect size.View Deal

Royal Canin Gastrointestinal Fiber Response Dry Cat
Some cats are unfortunate enough to suffer from tummy issues. Luckily, Royal Canin is on hand with this product, which is specially formulated to help out cats with gastrointestinal problems.View Deal