Instinct Cat Food

Instinct Cat Food

Instinct markets their cat food formulas with the phrase, “Give Your Cat the Meat She Craves”. Instinct cat food is grain-free, which is becoming a popular feature of many cat food formulas. Is Instinct cat food a good choice for your cat? What are some other cat owners saying about Instinct cat food? Learn more about Instinct brand cat food here!

Who is Instinct Cat Food Manufactured By?

The company who makes Instinct cat food is called Nature’s Variety. Nature’s Variety is a company which was developed by families who have been practicing sustainable agriculture for around 140 years. The company is currently independently owned, and is based out of Lincoln, Nebraska.

Instinct Cat Food Recall

Instinct cat food is not listed on the FDA’s pet food recall website, and has not been involved in any recent recalls. However, in order to make sure that your cat’s food is safe, it’s always highly recommended that you check the FDA’s pet food recall website. This will help you to stay updated on the latest pet food recall information.

Instinct Cat Food Reviews

Instinct Cat Food Ingredients

The interesting thing about Instinct cat food formulas is that they are free of gluten, grain and potatoes. Though most grain-free formulas choose to use potatoes as their source of carbohydrates, Instinct cat food uses tapioca instead. The first ingredient in Instinct cat food is always a named meat meal. In some formulas, the first four ingredients are all meat meals. Pea starch is also present in Instinct cat food, as well as sea salt. There are several active cultures in Instinct cat food, which are added to help aid digestion.

Instinct Cat Food Allergies

There don’t appear to be any corn, wheat or soy ingredients in Instinct cat food formulas. However, if your cat has an allergy to a specific protein (such as chicken), you will need to be careful choosing a food formula. Some formulas may have ingredients that are derived from the protein that your cat is allergic to.

Instinct Recipes

Instinct Dry Recipes:

  1. Instinct Chicken Meal Formula
  2. Instinct Duck Meal & Turkey Meal Formula
  3. Instinct Rabbit Meal Formula

Instinct Canned Recipes:

  1. Instinct Canned Chicken Formula
  2. Instinct Canned Beef Formula
  3. Instinct Canned Lamb Formula
  4. Instinct Canned Duck Formula
  5. Instinct Canned Rabbit Formula
  6. Instinct Canned Venison Formula

Instinct Cat Food Consumer Info

Instinct Cat Food Coupons

Sometimes, pet food manufacturing companies will offer us coupons to share on our site. Are you searching for Instinct cat food printable coupons? We will let you know when they are available!

Please check back soon for Instinct cat food coupons!

Instinct Cat Food Ratings

Customer reviews of Instinct cat food are very positive. Cats with allergies seem to do very well when fed Instinct cat food formulas. Also, many cat owners seem to like the fact that Instinct does not use potatoes, which is usually the case with many grain-free cat food formulas. The only complaint that many people had, was that Instinct cat food can be quite expensive, and difficult to find. However, many cat owners seem to agree that the quality of Instinct cat food is worth the price.

Have you fed your cat any of the Instinct cat food dry or canned formulas? Do you have feedback that could help other pet owners? Please share your review of Instinct cat food!

  • jc

    I have three male kitties and one of them has been in remission from his diabetes after switching him to completely to Nature’s variety and other similar variety canned cat foods. Both the canned and dry food seem to be good choices for all three of them. Their coats are plush and they eat it well. It appears to be made with real meat ingredients and the chicken meal appears in the dry food is seems to ground up byproducts such as bones that cats would normally eat in the wild. The two young cats are a bit picky, but eat a variety of the canned brands – duck, pork, salmon, chicken, rabbit, and their Pride brands too. The brand does seems to have fruits and veggies, but from my reading – it appears things like peas are in high protein and cranberries have a specific vitamins beneficial to their health.

  • dqw

    I only have one cat so the price of food is not a major concern. I tried Orijen, which from all accounts is the best food but my cat did not like it. After searching and searching I tried Instinct and YEAH!! he loves it! I feel good about feeding instinct to him especially since he will eat it. Orijen had a very strong order which I have not found to be true with Instinct. I still feel Orijen is the best, but for us, Instinct is the only one to go with. I think he likes the rabbit formula better, but will eat the other one also.

  • Melanie Doctors

    Vinnie Ketchup is my 8 yr old FIV positive cat. This is the only food Vinnie can eat without getting serious IBD symptoms. Once in awhile he gets a little flare up and I withhold food for 24 hours, give him Ester C for 7 days and he’s good as gold. This food is worth every penny.

    • Mustangbella

      Can you tell me how you give your kitty Ester C ? I have an 11
      Year old who had a bout with pancreatitis in Feb.

  • Fanatoli Guyoff

    My cat had giardia for months after testing clean on both types of tests she still had the runs. I fed her rockstar rabbit flavor by instinct pride as well as regular instinct limited lamb. She didn’t love the lamb as it’s kind of like glue paste, but she tolerated it. I also sprinkled the product benebac on her food every few days in less than their recommended amount. After 3 months of post giardia diarrhea, and then 2 weeks on this regime, she had her first hard stool. I now (Id say starting about 2 months into the 50/50 rabbit/lamb) give her 50% raw, 25% rockstar rabbit, and 25% orijen kibble. She is doing fabulous on this and drinks plenty out of a pet fountain which she loves. FYI once her diarrhea stopped, her coat went from looking greasy and flat like a human who hasn’t washed their hair in 4 or 5 days… to looking like it was made of cotton balls (she’s a ragdoll). This is just my experience with instinct brand and this occurred over mid 2014. She also went through a huge growth spurt (actual size growth not just fat) which surprised me because she was already a year old at this point.

    • Patti Verkleir

      What is the raw food you talked about….I also have a ragdoll, he’s 9 mos. And his coat has that flat almost greasy look to it… Although his stools are fine I think his coat should be nicer

  • Barbara

    After considerable reading & research, I chose Instinct Kibble & Canned Cat Food. It has the most positive qualities of all the highly recommended brands I investigated. My cat loves both the dry & canned. They have a newer cat food – Pride – which I have tried in the canned version just recently; she loves that as well. I’m going to try the Pride Dry Kibble next time I’m at the pet store – it is recommended for indoor cats on their website. I believe her health has improved since I adopted her from the shelter 5 months ago; I credit the Instinct for that!

  • James

    I just started feeding this food to my FIV+ cat. Can anyone tell me if this is a good decision? I don’t really want to change his food a lot, but it was hard to choose between this brand and Blue Buffalo brand.

    • Melanie Doctors

      It’s all I feed my FIV guy. Great stuff.

    • Catlady

      I have 7 cats, all rescue (5 feral, 1 stray, 1 one month old kitten from the animal shelter). I started making my own raw food because of the expense of those little cans of wet cat food. One of the feral cats took me 9 years to catch, one smart dude. After taking him to the vet I was informed he was FIV. I had read several places not to feed an FIV cat raw food, that it was too dangerous for the, he also stays separated from the other cats. So I started researching canned foods. I decided to feed him Instinct which he loves! I added some extra powdered vitamins and he looks great. I also feed the animal rescue cat Instinct because he really has a sensitive stomach and allergies. The stray cat was 10 years old when I got her, at least that’s what the vet said, and that was 10 years ago. I decided to feed her limited raw mixed with the Instinct. They also love Instincts dry, which they get for treats and midnight snacks.

  • Concerned

    I have a seven year old female whom I’ve had to change the food for just about once every year. I have always suspected allergy, intolerance or IBD. We even had tests done. Started feeling pretty sure it was the chicken but not so sure now. I started trying all the limited ingredients diets and nothing was working for long. Then I found the Natures Variety Instinct. The turkey LID dry food. It worked for two years and thought I had a made until she started vomiting again non-stop. Then I realized the packaging changed and there was no claim of a single starch source anymore. I don’t know what they have done to it but it has blown it for my cat. Now I have to start looking all over again. Wish they would just learn to leave things alone. It was hard to find in my town and very costly but was willing to pay it as long as it worked.

    • Fanatoli Guyoff

      Any luck?

  • Paul Allen

    Never feed cats exclusively dry food!! I don’t care if it’s got 24k gold as an ingredient. I feed my cats one 6oz can of wet with about 1/2 tablespoon of kibble and add a splash of purified water, then give it a mix with a fork.

  • T.O.

    I have ten cats and trying to find a food that agrees with all of them is a tough task. I started feeding Instinct Chicken flavor with raw boost and they loved it and it agreed with everyone. Everything was great for about two years and then this past March ALL ten of the cats stopped eating it. Their food is in a self feeder and I had one cat that would just dig out the freeze-dried bits leaving the rest of the food in a BIG pile on the floor and the others wouldn’t touch it at all. I bought another bag and tried it thinking it was a fluke, but no, they didn’t want that either. Tried a third bag from a different retailer and the problem still existed. I contacted the company and they denied a formula change but luckily I got my money back for all three bags from the retailers. Just a heads up!

  • http://CatFoodReviews Dianne

    Just started my 7 year old cat on Pride by Instinct. He really seems to love the taste and different textures. It is their Grain Free variety. He usually will back away from most cat foods if they don’t smell just right. Won’t even try most foods because of the smell. I have had him on Blue, which is good, but some of their combinations don’t entice him to even try. I like that Pride is made in the USA. Will buy some more varieties and see if he continues to like this brand. He has had no problems on Pride.

  • Jessica

    I picked up a stray 9 months ago and she has had tummy problems the entire time. She’s been constipated (severely) and we have been giving her pumpkin (and regular worming) and recently bought her a water fountain also. However, suddenly for no apparent reason she developed very terrible diarrhea that runs down her legs and is several times per day and smells terrible and she acts sick for a few hours afterwards. I noticed that she also stopped wanting her dry food (which I thought was a high quality brand similar to IAMS and was made with rice and chicken) but she was constantly begging for food. DUH Human, I finally realized she was having a problem with the food for some reason. I am suspecting food allergies. I switched her to canned food while I search for a good quality dry (and better quality wet) and her symptoms have cleared up almost instantly. I am writing here though to ask, has anyone else had any experience with cat food allergy and does this brand (Instinct) seem to be consistently good quality? I don’t want to buy from big companies anymore (like P&G), seems they don’t know how (or don’t care) to keep quality in the name.

  • J Knight

    Nature’s Variety Instinct canned cat food, chicken formula, gave my cats really bad diarrhea. I do not recommend this product.

  • Lyna

    Finding well reviewed raw and grain free cat foods has been eye opening. I only wish my Vet had opened her eyes before recommending prednisone for my F4 Bengal when he was diagnosed with IBD, at 18 years old. His health went rapidly downhill right after and I believe the prednisone took him. When I asked my vet about changing his diet, she gave me an ignorant reply, that Veterinary medicine isn’t up to speed on the affect of raw diets and IBD and recommended he go on single protein wet and dry foods. We will never know what these foods could have done to benefit him, because the prednisone had larger, negative effects. There is so much chatter about the affects of raw food and grain free foods online and pet food makers are making the change. Now I’m finding there are respected Vets who specialize in this area. How can a Doctor of any kind ignore the benefits of diet change with IBD?!!

    • Janet

      Lyna, I went through the very same thing with my cat. He was diagnosed with IBD. Vet did the same thing. We started off with fluids to rehydrate him. Antibiotics were next, then steroids. Nothing helped. I started researching raw food on the internet. I found a recipe using raw chicken thighs and livers combined with a premix powder. He was completely cured within 2 weeks of being on the raw food diet. All three of mine are all on the diet now. The IBD cat is like a kitten again, the fat one got down to a perfect weight. Their coats are all beautiful. No litter box odor at all. Good luck. Give it a try.

      • daren

        Please email me the info where you doing the recipe. My email is my vat is in the same shape. Thank you

  • Vicki

    This is the BEST food ever! My Valentine, age 14, talks to me and paces the food cabinet for it. For years I called him my bulimic cat, when he’d eat he’d vomit and go eat some more…since feeding this food (I buy the duck) he begs to eat, eats just enough to feel satisfied, and has never vomited again! My other cat, Phiefer, has been caught trying to open the tupperware where this food is kept, something she had NEVER done before. I switched them from Purina Indoor (I know, I know, sorry) 2 years ago to Wellness Core, they bored of that and Petco had this marked down to $6.00 a bag so I got 10 bags of it…I won’t mind paying full price for this, my cats are happy, healthy, and SHINING!

  • Shelly

    I adopted two kittens from my vet. No matter what we tried the kittens (from before we had them) had chronic, runny “poop”. Several courses of meds were tried. Finally my vet said they probably have food allergies and wanted them on a prescription diet. I didn’t want to go that route and after a lot of research chose Natures Variety limited ingredient. The kitties also had dry fur, the male a tendency towards cracked/bleeding nose. Within a couple weeks their fur became soft and shiney, the boy no longer had a dry nose issue and their intestinal track seems to be doing very well. They still have occasional issues but for the most part we have it under control. Unfortunately, it only comes in dry food and in only one “flavor”. Needless to say they don’t get a “variety”. However, they are just over two years old now and have been on the same food all this time. My vet, as are all the vets in his practice, are not fans of a “raw” diet (though he’s pretty agreeable to most things holistic). However, the way they process the food, I believe a freeze dried type method (?) helps cut down on contamination issues. It’s been awhile since I have looked them up and I am always aware of recalls and such, but so far so good. My vet isn’t familiar with the company and hesitated to support my feeding them this food but they have done so well on it he’s been supportive. It can be pricey and hard to find and I panic when my store runs out of it but I have learned to stock up and not wait until they are nearly out. My cats love it and the only issue I have is that because they are only on the dry food I can’t use “treats” when they need medication, etc…

    • Sandy

      Hi Shelly…Our cat had inflammatory bowel disease, and she did really well on the Instinct. They actually “do” make several of the limited ingredient diet line flavors in canned wet food now…They have Rabbit, Venison, Lamb, Pork, Beef, and Salmon. Our cat did really well on the lamb. If you are having too much difficulty finding the various flavors, you can even order them online through Amazon, etc. The Nature’s Variety website actually lists every single ingredient in all of it’s food and the reason behind why that ingredient was added to the food. The company is also super pro-active in listening to their customer’s needs. Hope this helps! Good luck! :)

    • Fanatoli Guyoff

      I know it’s been 2 years but if your cat still has bouts of diarrhea check for Trich Foetus. It’s an expensive test

  • cash

    I spent over an hour reading ingredients of the dry food brands at petco and Instinct was the best. My cats (ages 1 & 2 years old) have been eating it for over a month now and they both have gotten leaner, have increased energy(not the the 1 year old needed more) and have healthier coats. The food is one of the most expensive but I did some math (counted some fingers) and calculated that it costs less than $.50 a day to feed each cat.

  • Johanne

    Hi – I adopted two kittens recently, one early August and one just two weeks ago. I was feeding them Evo but switched over to Instinct as Evo is owned by P & G now which I did not know when I started off and I REFUSE to support that company. Anyways, happy to report that they both luv luv Instinct can food escially the duck and the beef and I just recenlty bought them the Instinct raw frozen patties, they luv it so much. I’m going to rotate their food so they can have variety in their diets which I think is very important. I do feel it’s expensive but I’m hoping that in the long run they will be healty for it and that it will minimize visits at the vets.

  • Irene

    I had some dry kibble and it smelled just like shellac. I threw it away,

    • Lisa

      I just saw on the Nature’s Variety website that they did do a voluntary recall for one of their kibble varieties.

      Important Quality Update
      Nature’s Variety News – July 12, 2012
      Nature’s Variety has issued a nationwide voluntary recall
      on Prairie Beef Meal & Barley Medley Kibble for Dogs

      Nature’s Variety has initiated a voluntary recall of its Prairie Beef Meal & Barley Medley Kibble for Dogs due to an off-odor smell that may develop over time. This product is not contaminated in any way, but some products are not remaining fresh for the shelf life of the product.

      Reed Howlett, Nature’s Variety CEO, stated, “At Nature’s Variety, we make every effort to ensure that all of our products meet the highest quality standards. We’ve found that some bags of Prairie Beef Meal & Barley Medley Kibble for Dogs have an off-odor smell. To be sure that our consumers only receive the freshest and highest quality product possible, we have decided to voluntarily recall all Prairie Beef Meal & Barley Medley Kibble for Dogs from the marketplace.”

      The products impacted are listed below:

      • UPC# 7 69949 60420 4 – Prairie Beef Meal & Barley Medley Kibble for Dogs 5 lb
      • UPC# 7 69949 60425 9 – Prairie Beef Meal & Barley Medley Kibble for Dogs 15 lb
      • UPC# 7 69949 60430 3 – Prairie Beef Meal & Barley Medley Kibble for Dogs 30 lb
      • UPC# 7 69949 60432 7 – Prairie Beef Meal & Barley Medley Kibble for Dogs 3 oz sample

      No other Nature’s Variety products are affected.

      Consumers who have purchased one of the above products can obtain a full refund or exchange it for a different variety by either returning the product in its original packaging or bringing a proof of purchase back to their retailer.

      Consumers with additional questions can call our Consumer Relations team at at 888.519.7387.

      • maralevine

        Hi Lisa,

        Thank you for posting this information. We also have it posted on the Pet Food Talk blog: Please make sure to follow us on facebook or twitter, so that we can keep you up-to-date on all of the latest pet food news!


  • Aaron

    I’ve been feeding Instinct flavors to my two kittens and they love it. I cycle each can between rabbit, chicken, venison, lamb and duck (more heavily weighted toward the rabbit and chicken, since I figure small wild cats probably aren’t likely to take down deer or sheep).

    They love the stuff. The shelter they were at was feeding them Friskies pate, so that may have helped prepare them for the consistency. When I have some left over, I put a plastic lid on the can and put it in the fridge for later. The kittens don’t seem to mind if it’s warm or cold, they eat it up all the same.

    One thing to be careful of: some of the types (rabbit, especially) can be very watery and easy to dribble out when you open the can. I try to give them the juices as it’s good to make sure your cat is getting plenty of moisture (esp. kittens who don’t always hit the water bowl as much as they should).

    I also supplement with some of the Instinct brand dry food, which the kittens also seem to like. I put it in a toy egg designed to dispense a little at a time and make the cats roll it around, so at least they need to do some activity to get the dry stuff.

  • Lucy

    We feed our cat Instinct wet and she can’t seem to get enough water. We’ve had every test done on her and they can’t find anything wrong.

    • Lori

      Hi, We’ve had the same problem with our cat and Instinct! Did you ever figure it out? We had every test done, too. Have you tried another food?
      Please write if you get this! We’ve been going crazy. Thanks,Lori

  • moe

    My cats seem to like this food, I don’t know if it is because it is new to them. I mix it in with the Wellness canned grain free varieties as well as the Weruva canned cat foods. Well time will tell about this food. Also Evo 95% meat varieties are good, but I heard from other owners that they are slowly but surely changing the recepie,due to the fact that P&G bought the company in 2010. Good thing that there are other “honest ” companies out there who really care about our furbabies.Hopefully one day P&G will go out of business and fly to the moon.

    • MJNYC

      I was feeding my kitty Evo, but now with the salmonella recall of Evo, I’m switching to Instinct tonight. Just hope Lily likes it!

      And, I agree, P&G evidently doesn’t care. They did animal testing for so long I guess they think the animals are just “objects”.

      • Jtg

        After 10 years of feeding our cats dry food (Iams –hereby apologizing to the cats for our ignorance) our cats started throwing up constantly. In hindsight one might ask what took them so long? The vet suggested daily thyroid pills, but after a few weeks they began throwing up again so someone suggested upgrading the food. We switched to Instinct wet food and mixed it with water to ensure they were getting enough fluids. The change has been amazing. They cats’s coats are super shiny and soft and both are running around and playing. Te cats do great with the rabbit, the lamb and duck varieties that cost approx. $2.99 per can. We split a can in the morning and evening between them so they are costing us $6 per day. It’s more than I would like to spend but it’s better and cheaper than vet bills and prescription drugs. Now my only worry is that my dogs will find out these cats are eating so well!