9 Lives Cat Food Review Unbiased

For more than 50 years, 9Lives has been a popular choice for cat owners due to its recognizable ginger spokescat and affordable prices. But is this brand the right option for your feline friend? Discover the answer in our objective review of 9Lives cat food.

The petworled.com Standard—Rating 9Lives on What Matters

We have assessed 9Lives based on the Cats.com criteria, considering factors such as suitability for cats, quality of ingredients, range of products, pricing, customer satisfaction, and past recalls. Here is the evaluation of 9Lives in each of these important categories.


  • Species-Appropriateness –  4/10 
  • Ingredient Quality –  4/10 
  • Product Variety –  7/10 
  • Price –  7/10 
  • Customer Experience –  5/10 
  • Recall History –  4/10 

 Overall Score: 5.1/10 

We rate 9Lives cat food as a D grade with a score of 31 out of 60.

About 9Lives

9 Lives Cat Food

Established in 1957, 9Lives gained widespread recognition in the industry when it introduced its well-known spokescat.

In 1968, Morris was found by a scout for animal talent. Known as the "Clark Gable of Cats," this charming orange tabby was the focus of a successful marketing campaign that helped make 9Lives one of the most popular cat food brands in the United States. best-selling  cat food brands.

9Lives is a brand under the ownership of Big Heart Pet Brands, which is a subsidiary of the J.M. Smucker company. Other brands within the Big Heart Pet Brand family are also included. Meow Mix  ,  Natural Balance , Brands like Nature's Recipe and Milo's Kitchen are also included.

Sourcing And Manufacturing

9Lives produces dry cat food in plants in Kansas and Pennsylvania, while their wet cat food is made both in the US and abroad. The company claims that the majority of their ingredients come from North America, but they do not provide specifics on where they source their ingredients.

Has 9lives Cat Food Been Recalled?

9 Lives Cat Food

Yes. 9Lives  has been recalled at a minimum of two times over its more than 60 years in the business.


In December 2018, two types of 9Lives canned cat food were pulled off the shelves because they may have had insufficient amounts of thiamine (a type of vitamin B1).


In the beginning of January 2017, various varieties of Meaty Paté canned food were removed from stores because they were possibly lacking in thiamine. The recall was extended to include more Meaty Paté flavors 8 days later. Apart from 9Lives products, the recall also affected two other brands owned by Big Heart Pet- EverPet and... Special Kitty  .

What Kinds Of Cat Food Does 9lives Offer?

9Lives offers six types of dry cat food and a wide range of wet food options such as Tender Morsels, Meaty Paté, Protein Plus, and Hearty Cuts.

9Lives products have ingredient lists that are comparable to other lower-cost cat foods. Poultry and meat by-products are more plentiful than specifically named meats, plant proteins are included in all of the dry foods, and all of their recipes have at least one artificial additive.

9Lives Cat Food – Top 3 Recipes Reviewed

9 Lives Cat Food

The main sources of protein in this dry cat food seem to be chicken by-product meal and corn gluten meal.

Now, let's examine this well-known 9Lives dish more closely. It is a type of dry food known as Daily Essentials.

Before we review the ingredients, let's discuss the front of the bag. While some foods emphasize protein sources in their names, this one is simply called "Daily Essentials". Near the bottom of the bag, there is a text bubble that mentions the flavors of chicken, beef, and salmon.

The labeling regulations set by the FDA clearly define the terms used on cat food labels. In this case, the label follows the guidelines for words like "with" and "flavor". When a food is labeled with the word "with", it must contain at least 3% of the named ingredient. Similarly, phrases like "beef flavor" or "flavor of salmon" indicate that the food should taste like the mentioned ingredient, even if it doesn't necessarily contain it.

However, we need to examine the ingredient list to determine the amount of chicken, beef, and salmon present in this cat food, as well as whether it is a suitable and nutritious recipe for the species.

the list of ingredients, the first item is whole ground corn, a cost-effective grain that provides a substantial portion of the food's carbohydrates. The second ingredient is chicken by-product meal. AAFCO pet food definitions This means "the clean parts of slaughtered poultry (specifically chicken), such as necks, feet, undeveloped eggs, and intestines, excluding feathers except for any that may unavoidably occur during processing."

Chicken by-products are accompanied by corn gluten meal, soybean meal, and whole wheat. These plant-based ingredients help to provide protein and carbohydrates in the food.

Beef fat is included in the food as a suitable source of fatty acids for the species. Following beef fat, the food also contains meat and bone meal, defined as a rendered product from mammal tissues, including bone, without any added blood, hair, hoof, horn, hide trimmings, manure, stomach and rumen contents, except for any amounts that may unavoidably occur during processing.

The end of the ingredients list contains a few animal-derived substances in small quantities. These include animal digest, a tasty addition made from processed animal tissues, and salmon meal, enhancing the overall flavor of chicken, beef, and salmon in the product.

The food contains artificial dyes like Red 40, Yellow 5, Yellow 6, Blue 1, and Blue 2 for coloring. associated with  negative health effects.

It contains BHA as a preservative. The National Toxicology Program states that this artificial preservative is likely to cause cancer in humans.

In general, this kibble is mostly made up of plant ingredients with a moderate amount of protein, low fat, and high levels of carbohydrates.

The food has 306 calories in each cup.


The ingredients in this product include: ground corn, chicken by-product meal, corn gluten meal, soybean meal, whole wheat, beef fat, meat and bone meal, animal digest, salmon meal, salt, phosphoric acid, choline chloride, titanium dioxide, vitamins, potassium chloride, taurine, and minerals. It also contains food colorings and preservatives such as BHA and rosemary extract.

 Ingredients We Liked:  Beef Fat

Ingredients that we found unfavorable:The ingredients in this product include ground corn, corn gluten meal, soybean meal, whole wheat, meat and bone meal, Red 40, Yellow 5, Yellow 6, BHA, Blue 1, and Blue 2.

 Common Allergens:  Chicken, Beef, Meat and Bone Meal, Fish


Dry Matter Basis


  • Contains animal-sourced fat
  • Many cats appear to enjoy the taste of the food.
  • Affordable


  • High carbohydrate content
  • There are more animal and poultry by-products than named meats.
  • Contains artificial colors
  • Contains BHA

The main sources of protein in this dry cat food seem to be chicken by-product meal, soybean meal, and corn gluten meal.

9Lives places a strong emphasis on the high-quality protein content of their food. They claim that their Protein Plus cat food has 33 grams of high-quality protein per 100 grams of food. It is important to note that there is no specific definition for what qualifies as "high-quality" protein in cat food.

The food is labeled as being made with chicken and tuna flavors. According to FDA regulations, a product can be labeled with the flavor of a certain ingredient without actually containing that ingredient, as long as it tastes like it.

Although chicken and tuna are listed as ingredients in 9Lives Protein Plus dry food, they are not the main ingredients.

The main component of the food is whole ground corn, which provides carbohydrates and helps with the texture of the kibble. This is followed by chicken by-product meal, a dense source of animal protein. Soybean meal and corn gluten meal are then added as sources of plant protein. A small quantity of whole wheat is also included in the ingredients.

The food does not specify the source of fat from a specific animal, rather it uses generic term "animal fat". It is more preferred to have animal-derived fat in cat food instead of plant oils, but it is uncertain which animals provided this fat.

The food includes a small quantity of tuna meal, which is listed after animal digest. Animal digest is a flavor enhancer that is usually sprayed onto the kibble to make it more appealing to pets.

At the conclusion of the list of ingredients, you will find a variety of vitamins, minerals, and amino acids included to ensure the food is well-rounded nutritionally. The food also contains several artificial colors, such as caramel color, yellow 5, and red 40. are associated with There are harmful consequences to health from BHA, which is included in products as a preservative, although it is typically considered safe. by the FDA The consumption of this additive could potentially pose health hazards.

In general, this dried food has a moderate amount of protein, low levels of fat, and a high amount of carbohydrates.

Each cup of 9Lives Protein Plus dry cat food contains 300 calories.


Ground corn, chicken by-product meal, soybean meal, corn gluten meal, animal fat with mixed tocopherols, whole wheat, animal digest, tuna meal, phosphoric acid, salt, caramel color, calcium carbonate, choline chloride, vitamins (E, niacin, A, thiamine, riboflavin, D-calcium pantothenate, pyridoxine, B12, menadione sodium bisulfite complex, D3, folic acid, biotin), titanium dioxide, yellow 5, taurine, minerals (ferrous sulfate, zinc oxide, manganous oxide, copper sulfate, calcium iodate, sodium selenite), red 40, BHA (preservative), rosemary extract.

 Ingredients We Liked:  None

9 Lives Cat Food

Ingredients that did not meet our preferences:Ground whole corn, soybean meal, corn gluten meal, whole wheat, caramel color, Yellow 5, Red 40, and BHA are ingredients used in this product.

 Common Allergens:  Chicken, Fish

Dry Matter Basis


  • Economical


  • High carbohydrate content
  • Packed with plant ingredients
  • Contains artificial colors
  • Includes BHA, a preservative that may be harmful.

The main source of protein in this wet cat food seems to be meat by-products.

The label "Hearty Cuts with Real Beef and Chicken" implies that the main component is hearty cuts, with real beef and chicken included as an addition. However, upon further investigation, it is revealed that the hearty cuts are not actually chunks of meat but a combination of meat and other ingredients that are shaped into chunks through a process of extrusion.

The list of ingredients begins with enough water for processing. The ingredients are listed in the sequence of their weight before cooking, hence it is logical for water to be the first ingredient, even though some of it is evaporated during processing. Following water, meat by-products are the second ingredient. AAFCO definitions This phrase describes a range of muscle tissue, organs, and other body parts obtained from cows, pigs, sheep, or goats.

The paragraph lists real beef and chicken as ingredients in the food, following meat by-products. Additionally, it includes soy protein concentrate, wheat flour, modified corn starch, and steamed bone meal.

Aside from the main ingredients, this 9Lives food also includes a variety of additional substances. Natural flavor, usually derived from processed animal tissues, is included to improve the taste of the food. Caramel color is added to give the product a brown color resembling meat. However, this coloring agent is not only unnecessary but also poses potential health risks. may be contaminated with  4-MEI, a carcinogenic chemical.

The list of ingredients ends with a selection of man-made vitamins, minerals, and amino acids.

In general, this canned cat food from 9Lives has high levels of protein, low levels of fat, and a high content of carbohydrates.

9Lives Hearty Cuts with Real Beef and Chicken contains 112 calories per can, which is roughly equivalent to 20 calories per ounce.


The ingredients in this product include water, meat by-products, beef, chicken, soy protein concentrate, wheat flour, modified corn starch, steamed bone meal, natural flavor, salt, caramel color, sodium tripolyphosphate, potassium chloride, choline chloride, iron oxide (color), vitamins (including Vitamin E, Vitamin A, Thiamine, Niacin, Pantothenic Acid, Riboflavin, Pyridoxine, Vitamin K, Vitamin D, Folic Acid, Biotin, Vitamin B12), taurine, and minerals (such as iron, zinc, manganese, copper, iodine, selenium).

 Ingredients We Liked:  Beef, Chicken

Ingredients that we found undesirable.By-products from meat, concentrated soy protein, flour made from wheat, corn starch that has been modified, and a color additive known as caramel.

 Common Allergens:  Beef, Chicken


Dry Matter Basis


  • Contains real beef and chicken
  • Free of carrageenan and other gums


  • Contains caramel color
  • Uses a plant protein concentrate
  • Higher levels of carbohydrates when compared to other types of canned food.

What Do Customers Think Of 9lives Cat Food?

The brand is generally well-received on Amazon and Chewy, with more positive reviews than negative ones. However, the situation is different on other platforms. ConsumerAffairs It is not unusual for Consumer Affairs to attract a larger number of dissatisfied customers compared to satisfied ones, with the most popular brands often facing the most severe criticism.

What, Specifically, Are Unhappy Customers Saying About 9lives?

Many people claim that their cats became ill after consuming 9Lives food for a brief duration. They reported their cats experiencing symptoms like tiredness, upset stomach, throwing up, and occasionally having seizures or low red blood cell count. Several reviewers noted that transitioning their cats to a different food improved their health. While some of the cats may have been affected by the thiamine deficiency that led to a recall in January 2018, it is uncertain how many cases were linked to 9Lives cat food.

Positive Reviews

"I enjoy giving my cats high-quality food with meat as the main ingredient, but I sometimes have to reduce expenses. In addition, I also care for stray cats and foster cats. In these cases, I use this food as a backup plan. My friends have around 20 cats at all times, and they live long, healthy lives, so there is no reason to feel guilty." – katie52 gave a review of 9Lives Protein Plus with Chicken & Tuna Flavors Dry Cat Food.

"This wet cat food is definitely the best option available, according to my cat at least! He absolutely loves it, even more than pricier brands of a similar type. I have full confidence in his taste preferences. I have a friend who works at the factory where this food is made, so I am well aware of the ingredients used in its production. I do occasionally switch it up with another high-quality brand, but I'm not able to disclose which one. Here's a hint though - think of a popular 1965 movie with a character named Julie. My cat adores gravy, and this food has plenty of it!" – Mike is providing his thoughts on the 9Lives Hearty Cuts with Real Beef & Chicken in Gravy.

Negative Reviews

There are a lot of things missing in this 9Lives product. The raccoons enjoyed it, but the cats did not. – Meow, providing feedback on the 9Lives Protein Plus food with Chicken & Tuna Flavors.

"I have noticed that the cats enjoy the food, but I am not a fan of the way their fur feels now that it is not soft and fluffy. I will be switching back to previous food that I can buy locally. Thank you." – grettagirl provided a review of the 9Lives Daily Essentials cat food, which comes in Chicken, Beef, and Salmon flavors.

How Much Does 9lives Cat Food Cost?

9Lives is a very affordable cat food brand that can be found on store shelves. By following 9Lives' recommended feeding amounts for a 10-pound cat, the cost of their wet food is approximately $0.77 per day. However, their dry food options are even more budget-friendly, costing around $0.10 per day.

Overall, Is 9lives A Good Choice?

9Lives is readily available and affordable, even for those on a tight budget. However, it may not be the healthiest option due to the presence of plant ingredients and additives that could be harmful.

If you are seeking affordable nourishing meals, cheaper brands might be a good choice. Friskies  ,  Fancy Feast  , and  Sheba  may be nutritionally superior options.

Where Is 9lives Cat Food Sold?

9Lives cat food is available for purchase at grocery stores, large retail stores, and pet supply stores. Additionally, you can also buy 9Lives cat food online from retailers such as Amazon, Chewy, and other online stores that specialize in pet products.

Greetings from the Petworled website management, we wish you success and see you in another article on our website.