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Purina buys Merrick and Castor & Pollux Pet Food

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  1. Ann*

    Oh NO! My dogs love the Merrick lamb lungs. How does Purina acquire a company yet it remains independent? I don’t think I can trust Merrick ever again.

    1. Mary Ashman

      I would never purchase anything owned by Purina. You can’t trust them as far as you can throw them. Disgusting to hear this!!

      1. Peter

        Mary, you summed up the issue. I simply will not purchase any product associated with Nestle Purina.

        This is tragic news. Merrick’s line of canned cat food is among the meager choices for those needing a moderate/low phosphorous content food. I have been a loyal customer for more than a decade.

        1. Pauline

          I am waiting to see if they will change the formula for the canned food eventually as normally happens.
          I mostly use the Know Better Pet Food mix of vit. and minerals with their U-Stew recipe and it is wonderful.


          1. tammy

            you should see the quarter size yellow jagged plastic “things” i found in 2 cases of wet food this past week

      2. Dog

        I am so glad that so many people are cautious and not just hypnotized by brands and promises, like the Blue promise that turned out to be bunk. Without any animal food safety laws and FDA policy disallowing our food safety laws from applying to animals, there is no telling who has a safe standard or not. (see Diversion of Unfit Food for Animal Use) Purina believes by-products are safe but things that are officially labelled as poisonous by the FDA can ever be safe, no matter how many bureaucratic processes are applied. Honest Kitchen & Caru at least have the HUMAN GRADE ingredients guarantee, a trend that is too slow, but how are we going to replace those awesome Lamb Lung Treats, Charki Puffs.

    2. Joyce

      Lamb lungs omg that’s gross-
      Not happy about Merrick selling to purina !!!!! I finally found there wet cat food with no by product that mine love -It’s the great hunt once again

      1. Sandy Beecher

        Actually Merrick was a brand I used to buy but no more, because their canned cat food has carrageenan in it.

        1. Sasha

          Try the line Almo Nature… it should only be fed as a supplement cat food… because it is very limited ingredient …. My cats favorite flavor is the tuna and shrimp and the ingredients are literally: tuna, shrimp, and water. Nothing harmful like Carageenan that you have to watch for which has been studied for its cancerous properties.

          1. Monica

            Tuna and shrimp are harmfuk and not a natural diet for cats.They are 100% carnivores.

          2. GloriaJH

            Monica, I’m REALLY not pickin’ on you!! 🙂
            …. But, fish is flesh: Definition – the soft substance consisting of muscle and fat that is found between the skin and bones of an animal or a human • this substance in an animal or fish, regarded as food : boned lamb flesh | [in combination ] a flesh-eater.
            ….. Carnivore: Definition – an animal that feeds on flesh.
            The thing is, I do have issue with feeding fish because of the potential magnesium build-up causing urine crystals.
            How do I know? I had to take my neutered/male cat to the vet because of obvious suffering. Struvite crystals were found. He told me no more fish (including Salmon) because of the magnesium that was responsible for the struvite crystal formation – the Vet place him on a Vet Diet. Even though I don’t like the ingredients, the Diet has been successful thus far – it’s been about 8 years since he was put on the diet, he is now 12 years old.

            This is one article that has helped (there are many) explain why:
            Hope this comment helps. 😀

          3. GloriaJH

            Boy, Monica – IS MY FACE RED! I did a google search asking if shrimp was fish – gulp – what I found is that they are considered “seafood”, more like a spider – a crustacean, so, please accept my apology for mis-identifing what it is you were so right! 🙂
            Google results:
            I guess the protein source is good:, “… Can I Give My Cat Shrimp?
            Answer: As a Treat
            ” … Shrimp can be given as an occasional snack or special treat, but it should not be given in large quantities or as a meal replacement to cat food. It contains a good amount of protein, but it also contains a large amount of sodium and cholesterol so you want to make sure that you only give them a small portion, according to their size. A bigger cat might be able to have an entire jumbo sized shrimp, whereas a smaller sized can might only be able to handle half of a regular shrimp….”
            Interesting article about shrimp for cats.
            BUT: Shrimp is HIGH in magnesium – so this food source is off my list for sure. 🙂 (

        2. Monica

          I have been feeding mine the limited ingredient grain free lamb for dogs and duck for cats, and they do not have carrageenan in it. As of now, I may continue to buy it becaue a petco employee said that’s what he uses and he’s read the contract or simething, and purina is nit allowed to chanfe anything. I don’t know if it’s only for a period of time though and I’m still cautious and angry about the good companies selling out.

          1. Regina

            Monica, I would take pictures of every Merrick product you buy, and the labels also. That way, you will be able to see when changes happen, well, hopefully you’ll see changes. But I’ve heard so many people comment on how the texture of their food changed, and they didn’t know why, so I just recommend taking pictures to be able to compare, to see when things start looking different.

        3. Jennifer

          What one are you using now? Purina’s Pro Plan has several varieties and is one of the few choices that you have for non BPA lined cans and no carrageenan…

      2. Stephanie

        Check in weruva, soulistic, b.f.f., and ziwipeak

        1. Cheryl Mallon-Bond

          “BFF” canned cat food has carageenan. My friend uses the ziwi peak, but it is beyond seriously expensive! Natures Variety Instinct is good, but I really think that it is way more expensive to feed those 2 brands canned food, vs feeding the commercial frozen raw, or the freeze dried raw. If you figure it out ounce for ounce, dollar to dollar, I think you’ll be surprised that the 2 I just mentioned are cheaper & also what feline nutritionists recommend (in regards to the feeding pyramid). Homade raw being the best, commercial frozen raw next, freeze dried raw 3rd, canned grain free comes in 4th, canned no-by-products 5th, 6th is dry grain free (and in my opinion, coated in freeze dried raw is the better grain free type) anything after those choices is the crappy substandard by-products.

          1. Sharon

            Try Halo Impulse and Halo Vigor. No carrageenan, no propylene glycol or menadione. My cat loves it. It’s about $1.50 a can. I think I pay $19 or so on for a case of 12.

        2. Sage

          WERUVA also manufactures SOULISTIC which is sold only at Petco – Check the INGREDIENTS here Same high standards and human grade ingredients as Weruva, better prices.

          My cat’s favorites are Good KARMA which is JUST white chicken meat (not an extrusion) and supplements. Sweet Salutations is just Chicken, Tuna and supplements and both flavors are in a clear sauce or liquid.

          ALSO within the last TWO weeks, Soulistic has added a PATE style in 3 and 5.5 oz cans. This pate has a great texture, is very easy to eat and it is like NO other pate. ALL of my cats LOVE it and these same cats typically will NOT eat ANY pate!! Not shown at Soulistic or Petco websites yet, the best flavors are Chicken Pate and Turkey and Chicken Pate with light blue and turquoise labels. The pates are labeled to have higher protein.

          1. Angie

            Weruva and soulistic are great foods, BUT they are also very low in calories and fat. My cat would need like 2 – 5.5 oz. cans of Weruva a day (he weighs a little over 10 lbs. And that would be like 4.00 a day. I DO have them in my rotation though.

      3. Melly b

        If they like a wet pate like merricks you should try firstmate, canidae(used to be felidae), mio9, or nulo cat food. Those are all high quality pet foods that are privately owned. I used to work at a pet store so i know a lot about nutrition.

        1. Monica

          Canidae has carrageena and that’s notnatural or healthy.

          1. GloriaJH

            Hi Monica,
            Carrageenan is mostly found in the canned food, I believe, so generalizing about the ingredients may be mis-leading – we have so few foods from which to choose, and before posting I think we need to be sure of what we are conveying is accurate. 😀
            For Example – this Canidae – dry – under the label of “Canidae Grain-Free PURE Elements with Chicken Dry Cat Food” does not contain carrageenan. 🙂
            I’ve included the ingredients in this Canidae here, and carrageenan is not listed:
            Chicken, chicken meal, turkey meal, potatoes, peas, chicken fat, lamb meal, natural flavor, menhaden fish meal, minerals (zinc proteinate, manganese proteinate, copper proteinate, zinc sulfate, manganese sulfate, copper sulfate, potassium iodide, manganous oxide, sodium selenite), vitamins (vitamin E supplement, niacin, thiamine mononitrate, vitamin A supplement, biotin, calcium pantothenate, riboflavin, pyridoxine hydrochloride (vitamin B6), vitamin B12 supplement, vitamin D3 supplement, folic acid), choline chloride, DL-methionine, taurine, dried enterococcus faecium fermentation product, dried lactobacillus acidophilus fermentation product, dried lactobacillus casei fermentation product, dried lactobacillus plantarum fermentation product, dried trichoderma longibrachiatum fermentation extract, mixed tocopherols (a source of vitamin E)

            I am becoming concerned at some of the posts about foods from those posting without providing any sort of proof as to what is being posted is truthful. I believe some post out of anguish because of the pain and suffering that may have been caused by food, yet have no proof. This concern is not solely directed at Monica, but to the MANY posts I read here. I want to read Truth, not just emotion. So sorry if this comes across badly, I’m just tired of trying to feed my (18) cats the best food on the retismall budget I have and when someone posts something that hasn’t really been researched it pains me because I now must take the time to research it myself – and with this cat rescue I have little precious time to do that. :D. g

      4. joyce

        Just so you guys know ..Merrick makes the Whole earth farms brand and the wet cat pate food in chicken and white fish recipes DO NOT have carrageenan in them -I feed these two for a total wet cat food diet ( After 1000 vet bill for UI and losing a great cat -Its all wet now ) I tried their Beyond line as they do not contain carrageenan in the wet foods but my cats threw up a lot and their coats liked faded -They are looking awesome on the whole earth and its not over the top pricy ( I have 6 cats ) So i was beyond disappointed in Purina buying them out – Same with the horse feed …I fed their top of the line performance grain to my herd and the manure dump area grew the weirdest weeds and plants i have ever seen ,2 years after stopping feeding that grain i am still plowing that acre under from the disgusting weeds and the rest of my pasture is beautiful !!!!! So NO to any Purina products !!!!

      5. Jane Democracy

        What on earth is wrong with lamb lung?

        1. Robert

          Absolutely nothing Jane, I buy a brand of cat food out of New Zealand that used lamb meat, lung, heart, liver, tripe and brains and it is all done the correct way where profit is not the #1 goal. Check out Ziwipeak and make your own decision of course but when it comes to Purina, be afraid, be very afraid. 🙂

      6. Anna Hinson

        Joyce: It’s no worse that beef tripe which is cow stomach. Highly nutritious and packed full of great nutrients- when minimally processed BTW. We feed our dog chicken gizzards, hearts, lungs and liver of course. But all of these come from the freshly butchered animal.

        I’m a bit on the cautious side. This isn’t a plug, but a word of friendly advice. Subscribe to The Whole Dog Journal. Twice annually the publish non biased ratings on wet and dry dog foods. Organix and Wellness made their list, so next January when the recommendations come back out, it will be interesting to see how this all has panned out.

        Purists cried when Burt’s Bees was bought out by the Clorox company. Yet all B’B products are consistently great. And I think that buy out happened 3-4 years ago.

        1. Dog

          The problem with the Whole Dog Journal is the same problem with the online Dog Food Advisor; they are helpful but only evaluate the literature on the bag that is provided by the manufacturer and do not evaluate the companies history and sourcing. For basic safety, because the FDA does not allow our food safety laws to be applicable to animals (google FDA policy page titled Diversion of Unfit Food for Animal Use) and because pet food and all animal grade food is regulated by a private company, it is important to make sure the company is using a human-grade standard for their base ingredients. Without that, the company has the legal authority to claim that a vat of sun cured road kill is actually sustainably grown, non-GMO, Humanely Farmed organic and emotionally well adjusted chickens if they toss a feather in the vat. Animal grade is an entirely separate legal framework than human-grade and is the fundamental and historical cause of our pet food concerns that started this industry of healthy food for pets. It all started with Ann Martin and her book, Food Pets Die For and other articles of the time. Human grade is what distinguishes brands like Fromm, which is good, from Diamond brands like Taste of the Wild, 4-healt & Chicken Soup which, to me, signify the by-product industry trying to win back all the customer’s they lost to safe foods.

        2. Pacific Sun

          Using the TAPF website to recommend Pet Food Ratings (via paid subscription) to the Whole Dog Journal is wrong, and very inconsiderate of the author, Susan Thixton. She has worked tirelessly to make the PETSUMER REPORT a shopping convenience, using information based on evidence, which translates into a very real learning tool! Yes, hundreds of brands are reviewed (not just listed), and with more detail than you’ll find anywhere. In fact, a lot of the “fundamentals” you read about on the other sites originate here. (Like for example, where did you first read about 4-D ingredients?) The PETSUMER REPORT identifies specific, undesirable, and risky ingredients. But they are also EXPLAINED (often based on an excerpt from a larger TAPF Article all about them). This is good for anyone not having kept up with TAPF, and is just now discovering increased value. TAPF is completely unbiased because NO advertising is accepted, period! WDJ can’t say the same. It’s not a bad publication, and it’s in the Vet’s office. But it’s a commercial publication, and revenue based. Please understand what makes the Truth About Pet Food Advocacy project even possible, are donations!! And one manner of doing so, is to gain access to the PETSUMER REPORT. If the advocacy work wasn’t voluntarily supported by all of us, then this site wouldn’t exist. And can you imagine being without it??

          This is how the Whole Food Journal (in their words) describes their criteria for Pet Food (PF) selection:

          1. They’ve spoken to thousands of pet owners and industry experts.
          2. While inexpensive PF is not the healthiest, and a high price might mean quality, it could also be due to a larger advertising budget
          3. Dogs digest corn, wheat, soy every day, none of it is inherently unhealthy, and each has some benefit, though it shouldn’t be a leading ingredient
          4. All manufacturers can make mistakes, so frequency should be a consideration
          5. A small company can offer care and concern. But big companies can put some of the most educated veterinary nutritionists in research and development furthering the industry’s knowledge of animal nutrition. They have the resources to build and maintain glistening (their word) state-of-the-art food manufacturing facilities, hire, train, and retain armies (their word) of workers that produce consistent and safe (their words) products. Company size shouldn’t be a decision factor.
          6. Actual PF manufacturing ownership isn’t a selection criterion, though it’s good to be aware. There are scruffy (their word) little manufacturing plants, and big companies who maintain their facilities well, while producing the lowest quality food.
          7. AAFCO certification insures a complete & well balanced diet, (and) PF should be tested on dogs, so ask how and for how long.
          8. Shop locally, talk to staff, note best-buy date, and how the dog is affected by diet.
          9. WDJ lists approved foods (alphabetically) but in no rank order.

          There you go, so that’s how they see it, and all for your monetary subscription!
          My comments are independent and not personally related to the author or website in anyway.

          1. Pacific Sun

            WDJ does not accept advertising, my apologies.

    3. Lori A

      This absolutely makes me SICK! Merrick is the first dog food my Keegan (going on11 years English Mastiff) loved and she’s been on it for years, just as our other dog, Kanga, has since we got her over 6 years ago. I also feed my cat Merrick canned. They can say “nothing will change,” but I find it hard to believe or trust.

      I have also vowed to NEVER purchase any other Purina products. I had a cat develop a cancerous tumor in her lungs after she’d been eating Friskies for years; after doing some research I discovered it probably wasn’t coincidental and that many cats had gotten ill and/or died after eating Friskies.

      I am very disappointed Merrick would sell out for the almighty dollar. Guess I’ll be finding new dry and canned foods for my 3 girls.

      1. Stephanie

        Check into Fromm

      2. Gina

        I agree with you and they did change the Merrick cat canned it has an oil residue in it and smells funny and my cats threw it up. Called them and said nothing changed. Such liars !! I sent them pictures along with the can and waiting to see what they say. Now in search of another food. So frustrating it’s to all of the pet food companies. Using cheap ingredients . They don’t change the formula they just just change where they get them from and use the cheaper form which is killing our pets . FDA needs to do something quick. Looking at making my own cat food.

        1. Lori A

          I stopped buying any Merrick products about 2 months ago. I had no doubt they’d change the formulas. Purina doesn’t believe in pet wellness – just the wellness of their bank account and duping pet owners who still believe they’re the way to go when feeding your pets. I often tell people I see buying Purina products that they are NOT the way to go. Many people have no clue what a racket the pet food industry has become, with ones like Purina lining their pockets at the expense of our beloved pets.

          1. Jane Democracy

            You’re right… people have no idea what a racket the pet food industry has become, new companies are popping up all the time. The smaller companies and the private labels are most likely the worst as they fall under the radar due to the small quantities that they make and sell. At least with a big company like Purina you may not like the choice of ingredients but you can make an informed decision to not buy it. With the small companies potential for financial woes and lack of purchasing power with respect to ingredients and the once removed nature of private label manufacture the poor consumer pays more for something they may not even be getting.

          2. Sharon

            I was feeding my dogs raw and decided to go back to kibble because it was just too much prep work. So I purchased some Merrick Grain-free Buffalo ( I used to use Merrick in my rotation before we went 100% raw ). Well ALL 4 of my dogs got VERY ill on it.. vomiting and diarrhea so I went back to making homemade food. Anyways… w/i 3 wks of eating the Merrick my oldest dog lost 25 lbs and became very weak and didn’t want to do anything but drink. I took him to the vet and they did a CBC and his numbers were OFF THE CHARTS !! They said he was in Stage 4 Kidney failure and he died a week later 🙁 I’ll NEVER, EVER buy another Merrick product. I guess I won’t be buying Castor& Pollux again either now that I know they’ve sold their souls as well.

          3. Angie

            Sharon, I am sorry about your dog, but if he had stage 4 kidney disease then he had it LONG before the 3 weeks of feeding merrick products! And as a pet parent you would have noticed symptoms long before it got to stage 4. Acute renal failure (ARF) comes on suddenly and can be caused by:
            Ingestion of a poison like antifreeze, a medication meant for humans, or the Easter Lily plant
            An overwhelming bacterial infection
            Dehydration, usually because the dog is left without easy access to fresh drinking water
            Decreased blood flow to the kidneys – a situation that can occur, for example, during a surgical procedure, or as a result of heat stroke, or where there is heart disease
            Urinary obstruction
            Chronic Renal Failure (CRF) is a slower process and develops over months or even years. It is most common in older dogs.
            Acute kidney failure can be turned around in some cases; in others, it can become chronic. Unfortunately, the majority of chronic kidney disease is irreversible.

    4. marko

      BYE BYE Merrick-no way will i buy you being owned by Purina!
      and being from Texas?
      China slop and higher profits must be the plan?

    5. Deb

      I was just thinking the same thing! 🙁

        1. Lori A

          All 3 of my girls (2 dogs and a cat) have been eating Merrick for years. My dogs have eaten Merrick Dry for years. My English Mastiff girl is almost 11 and has been eating their dry food for most of her life – it was the only dry food she liked. While I hate to have to start over now, especially given her age, trying to find another food that is not only acceptable to me, but to them as well, I don’t trust Nestle-Purina and refuse to put any money into their pockets. I still blame Purina for the death of my last Persian tortie Gizzy Mae. I discovered, too late, that many other people’s cats were getting sick and dying after eating Friskies, the food Gizzy loved (she wouldn’t eat the good food for anything). She ended up developing a cancerous lung tumor. I have since refused to buy any Purina products and warn others off of them every chance I get.

          1. Sharon

            Yeah Lori… I fed mine Merrick for years too but it just KILLED one of my dogs.

          2. Lori A

            I’m so sorry for your loss Sharon. I haven’t bought any Merrick products for 3 or 4 months now. I even had a coupon for a free can of Merrick but wouldn’t even take it for free.

          3. Angie

            Did you EVER read the ingredients on Friskies? Its all corn, wheat, by products and artificial colors and preservatives…..Its crap for cats. Cats are OBLIGATE CARNIVORES , they need meat and moisture. Dry food is the absolute worst thing to feed cats, especially friskies….SMH.

          4. Angie

            Sharon how did Merrick kill one of your dogs?

    6. Stephanie

      It is just until the storm cools. Then they cheapen the ingredients. Just exactly what they did to Innova.. After about two years they started to cut corners, then they had the massive I’m move and EVO recalls…

    7. Karen Jones


      Go with a small personal all natural company. Dehydrated Treats bought local, hand made weekly and handled by owners with care!

      Lamb Lung
      Beef and Lamb Trachea
      Liver mix
      Beef Liver
      Pig Ears
      Cookie Treats
      Beef Jerky
      Chicken and Duck Feet
      Chicken and Duck Neck
      NO Recalls….

    8. Suz

      WHO can anyone trust these days? MY 3 cats refused Origen or ate it and vomited back uo. I stoll have 1/2 bag left and I am going to dump it.

      1. Renee

        Consider asking a local shelter or rescue if they take good that your animals didn’t care for…most of the time, they are happy to receive any and all donations. Some may ask for ID to scare off people seeking to harm the animals and so they can report you if animals get sick/die from poisoning linked to your donations. As long as you didn’t add anything, you have nothing to worry about tho.

        1. Samantha

          Yes, please donate!

          Even some Purina foods are better than the foods many shelter cats eat. They often have never tasted wet food and may survive only on Whiskas. Many pet foods aren’t good enough for our personal pets, but I would feed a shelter pet anything that would keep them from dying. Especially during kitten season when pregnant moms and their kittens come into shelters…the shelters are suddenly desperate for kitten food because the nursing moms and growing kittens eat so much more than the shelters expect!

        2. Gail Gardner

          Well, that could be problematic since there is clearly something wrong with the bag of food and she wouldn’t want to be blamed – especially since it came that way. I lived on an animal rescue ranch that fed donated dog food. You would not believe the amount of food returned to retail stores almost full for that exact problem.

          Some of the rescue dogs or cats would be ok with a particular bag and another bag would cause specific animals to immediately throw it back up. That tells me that there is too much contamination of some kind in that bag.

          You can test it by switching to a different bag and all is well. Then feed once from that bag and they throw it up. Few realize that the way bad ingredients are typically dealt with is to mix them with good ingredients to get whatever the issue is (such as aflatoxin) below the legal limit.

    9. Erin

      Purina uses antifreeze among other ingredients we do not want our pets ingesting. My animals eat Acana and Orijen. Highly recommend and never a recall!!

      1. Angie

        Yes acana and orijen are great foods, but they are also VERY expensive and frankly too many ingredients a cat would never eat. My cats would throw it up. I learned the hard way that cats should only eat either raw, a balanced home cooked or canned diet.

    10. Suszie

      Okay first of all it is the Nestle Corporation that has purchased Merrick, second of all it takes at least a year for a sale like this to become final and both parties can back out at any time. Secondly just because Purina, owned by Nestle, which I am betting you did not know purchases a company does not mean that company will change its name, its product or the way they operate. It simply means that Nestle has seen a great opportunity to purchase and up and coming company and help them rise to even greater heights AND help them to recover their good name, that THEY did tarnish. As long as the sale is not final, Merrick is still Merrick and they will still make and produce their food the way they have always done with excellent standards and USA and Canadian SOURCED products, which is the KEY in buying good dog food for you dog, SOURCED in the USA, NOT MADE IN THE USA, there is a HUGE DIFFERENCE!!!! Who knows with the finalization of this sell, Merrick dog food could be the winner in the long run and so to us as their customers, because they will now have access to ad power that is beyond their means and still be able to operate and make excellent quality food. So for now I say do not panic, continue to buy Merrick foods and just watch to make sure their ingredients are still SOURCED in the USA. Also you can always ask their P.R. department about the sell and how it will affect the product you are now buying, most companies are very willing to reassure their long time customers about such deals. Until then I will continue to LOVE buying Merrick dog food and snacks for my dog because I know where their ingredients come from and because I know they are a great company, because a TOP Fortune 500 company saw them and liked them enough to take the risk of purchasing them.

      1. B Dawson

        Fundamentally you’re statements are correct. An offer has been made, parties have agreed and now the legal eagles get down to dotting the “i’s” and crossing the “t”s. Merrick is already a good sized company and as I said in a previous post has been a so-so food, in my opinion, since they went big box years ago.

        But the rest of your comment sounds exactly like what Natura said after P&G bought them. Yes PR departments are VERY willing to reassure customers because they have the mandated talking points on screen in front of them. Get them off script and see what happens.

        Natura said the company would operate autonomously with minimal oversight from P&G and would finally have the marketing budget to make Innova/CalNat known to all thereby spreading the word about good pet nutrition and making good food available to a wider audience.

        First came the personnel adjustments under the guise of eliminating duplicate jobs, then came ingredient adjustments – not full-on changes, just little adjustments – then quality claims disappeared and then, well, let’s just say the food is a shadow of the top notch product I proudly featured in my shop a decade ago. P&G ran the brand into the ground with their corporate philosophy.

        Merrick will operate at the surface as usual, but the overlord, I mean the parent company, will still be watching and encouraging the “perception” of quality. Just like Beggin’ Strips offers the “perception” of bacon in the product. That’s what Fortune 500 cares about – the “perception” of quality not truly delivering it.

        And by the way, “sourced in the U.S.” can mean purchased from a U.S. based importer who buys ingredients from overseas.

        Even if nothing changes and Merrick stays the same, by purchasing their product consumers will be contributing to the profits of the parent company and their agenda. Know thy parent company.

        1. Regina

          Excellent post, B Dawson!!
          I know that because of the philosophies of the powers that be at Nestle, I will not purchase anything that would give them a dime of my money.

          And the destruction of the Natura brand after they were purchased by P&G was predicted to me by a friend who worked in a store that sold foods by Natura at that time. I’m sure that prediction will come true in this instance, also.

          Oh, and Suszie’s comment about us not knowing that purina is owned by nestle must mean that she’s new here. Most well-informed pet parents know that purina is owned by nestle. We research what we feed our furbabies, and the nestle/purina link is common knowledge.

        2. Hope

          My dog B Dawson I couldn’t have said it better! All of us in the holistic pet food industry know that ever single time that a major conglomerate has purchased an independent pet food manufacturer that two things always, and I mean ALWAYS, happen: 1. when the money changes hands the original manufacturer is ecstatic because their original dream of starting their company from scratch to sell it for huge bucks some day has come true. 2. It is inevitable that the corporate conglomerate will bear down on their acquisition with their orientation to money, not quality, and DUMB down ever single formula. Some dumbing down occurs more quickly than others but it always happens. It has happened every single time with every company purchased in the last 17 years that I’ve been a part of the pet industry. It’s what is done and I don’t expect it to change. Sadly.

      2. Joel

        Thank you for your critical thinking approach to this issue Suszie. the emotions behind this issue are valid and understandable based on history but Merrick should be on our watch list, and not dumped yet. My pug Lulu loves there stews which appear to me to surpass human grade canned products, yet that does not necessarily mean safety. I am going to monitor this situation before deciding to change.

        1. B Dawson

          Those meat-colored chunks you see in that can are a slurry that has been extruded like play-doh, chopped into chunks and then added to the gravy mix with a few whole veggies. That process can hide any quality of ingredient from top-notch to scraped off the slaughterhouse floor. You would never know by looking. Even smell is no longer an indicator as savvy manufacturers have ways of disguising that.

          While Merrick was always been an appealing food visually, I still could never confuse it with human canned stews. The only product I ever felt reached that level was the ORIGINAL Halo back in the day when it was made in a human food processing plant in tiny little batches. Those days are long gone for Halo. When Natural Balance first introduced their stews they were made at human facilities as well. Remember Dick VanPatten eating the food on the morning talk show circuit? But once word got out who that was, the PR back lash was substantial and the plant shut down production. Seems humans don’t want pet food made in the same plant that also makes their food. Hmmmmm, says something pretty profound about the consumer perception of pet food, huh? Yet consumers still feed it to their pets.

          Yes, Nestle/Purina promises to let Merrick continue to be Merrick, often heard words in the world of corporate buyouts and mergers. There is a long line of evidence across multiple industries – from airlines to pet food – that those status quo promises will NOT be kept. Things will change at Merrick. The only unknown is the timeframe.

  2. Homemade & Yummy

    Oh NOOOOOOOOO….now I will have to look for another cat food….and that is going to be a challenge!! I HATE these takeovers….no one ever thinks about the consequences to the pets.

    1. Roberta

      I’ve done lots of research the past year, .i.e. internet, websites, emails and phone calls to companies. These are the ones I consider to be the best and that I feed my kitties. Halo Vigor, Nulo, Nature’s Variety Instinct, Ziwipeak, Nature’s Logic, Holestic Select. You may want to check them out. For kibble I use Origen which is very expensive, but I believe the best avaiable.

      1. Leannan

        As far as [best] kibble Wysong makes the Only starch free kibble, Epigen.

        1. Sharon

          I bought Epigen before. My crew hated it.

      2. Sage

        My cats all eat some Orijen which lists fantastic ingredients. They also eat wet food and Raw Chicken (I believe cats need wet foods too) and my terrier eats Orijen. I totally agree with you that Orijen is the best Dry food currently available.

        1. Stephanie

          Fromm is the best out there, has never been recalled and is strictly made in the USA with USA sourced ingredients!

          1. Sage

            Fromm dry Chicken CAT food (as an example), includes Barley, White Rice and Sweet Potatoes in the first 6 ingredients. While these ingredients may be pure, unadulterated and safe, I feel that their foods contain too much unusable carbohydrate and not enough protein from meat sources for CATS. Dogs are able to eat a wider variety of non-meat ingredients than cats.

        2. Angie

          Cats are obligate carnivores, they need meat and the nutrients that come from it and they need moisture. Dry kibble is the absolute WORST thing to feed a cat!!

      3. Shannon

        Have you looked into Farmina? I am very impressed with what I am seeing on their foods.

        1. Sage

          I have not tried FARMINA for my Cats but if the ND CHICKEN FORMULA is available locally I would try it.

          Farmina ND Formula for Cats lists excellent ingredients with high protein from fresh meat, poultry and fish sources (not meals) and lower carbohydrates. The Ingredients are similar to ORIJEN. Farmina’s website lists many varieties of cat food and some have inferior protein sources and include CORN so best to read ingredients before choosing.

          Details for ND CHICKEN and POMEGRANATE which I would look for, are here

          I think SUSAN has reviewed and listed FARMINA on her recommended list.

          1. Susan

            I buy Farmina from, as well as canned food and litter. Free shipping on orders $49 and more. Great customer service, too!

      4. Peter

        But the problem is that many of these brands you suggest have levels of phosphorous that are dangerous to many cats. Merrick was among the only choices we had for moderate/low phosphorous levels. This is a mater of medical urgency for some pet parents and a concern to all.

        1. Angie

          I use wellness, weruva, and fussie cat canned. Low Dietary Magnesium. Great for my cat that suffered from urinary crystals.

      5. Peter

        Many comments here continue to press certain brands, such as Origiin. However, I have to keep repeating that many of these so called “ultra premium” foods are high in trace minerals and, (as I have posted) needlessly high (i.e. dangerous) levels of phosphorous. Consumers need to understand the long term effects of feeding Origiin, which will come to light as their cats reach middle age. There isn’t any way around this issue. Merrick was a readily available alternative for us. But I, like others here, expect (know) that quality will change, and also, just as I never again gave my money to Hartz after the debacle with Blockade (flea and tick medication) decades ago, I will not support Purina. I have not suffered loss as so many have as a result of Purina’s greed, but I am horrified and angry about it. In my opinion, the reasons for Merrick’s decision do not matter: they have taken a step down. Merrick has aligned themselves with, in effect, a criminal, a felon. That cannot be swept aside… I cannot accept that relationship, and I will not accept whatever press they come up with to excuse it or posture that it is a good thing for consumers. I have only a few choices of commercially available food that meet the moderate/low phosphorous definition, and this is very tragic for me. I am offended an distraught at Merrick’s decision to abandon its core customers and its core values.

        1. B Dawson

          I appreciate your comments about the premium foods, many of which are grain-free.

          I embraced grain-free kibble when it first came out, but now I’m not so sure that it’s an across-the-board good thing. The natural tendency is to equate raw diets with grain-free kibble, but it’s a poor analogy. The difference, besides moisture content, is that raw meat is NOT a high protein diet. Grain-free kibble is. Raw meats contain on average less than 20% protein whereas some of the grain-free kibbles are in the 40% range. The lack of moisture increases the percentage of other things as well, like minerals and phosphorous as you mentioned. Animals should eat less of this concentrated food, but many their feed pets free choice. This is especially true for cats.

          While the quality of the protein is more important than the quantity, I still worry that the ultra high protein levels in dry food may not be in every animals best interest.

          In the end, there is no one perfect solution and the best owners can do is stay in tune with their pet.

          1. Sharon

            You cannot compare protein levels from wet and dry food. They are calculated differently. It’s apples and oranges. 20% is HIGH for wet food which is normally in the 8-10% range.

          2. B Dawson

            Sharon – I’m not clear about your comment on dry vs. wet calculation. I’m certainly not an expert when it comes to the many calculations that are used in figuring nutrient content, but percentage is a relational number based on, in this case, weight of ingredients – 7 grams of protein per 100 gram serving for instance. There IS a difference between “as fed” and “dry matter basis”. That difference causes some debates about how much usable protein a food may contain.

            Let’s look at canned food, for instance. That 9% “as fed” crude protein is low compared to dry food because there is high moisture content. If you do the calculations for “as fed” vs. “dry matter basis”, that 9% crude protein increases to 30%+ depending on the amount of moisture, fat, carbs & ash. This is why dry grain free food cannot be equated to raw – the protein and fat levels are unnaturally high because there is no moisture.

            Here’s what I was trying convey: What is the consequence of eating a meal of concentrated dry protein? Theoretically, the animal should consume less thereby keeping their overall protein intake “normal”. But if an animal is overfed, which I have seen all too often, the nature of dry high protein food has the potential to exhaust digestive processes and cause health problems. I have not seen these sorts of problems with a balanced raw meat diet. Another example of the down side of dry high protein food is the evidence that feeding un-rehydrated freeze-dried raw food may cause issues. Once again, the problem would seem to be anchored in an “unnatural” level of protein – 44% crude protein dry vs. 15% rehydrated. Using these foods as toppers or treats doesn’t seem to be a problem. It is only when they are fed as meals in their DEhydrated form that problems have occurred.

            That there is moisture in raw muscle and organ meat is to the digestive and nutritive benefit of the animal. The mineral and vitamin content is at the micronutrient level, for instance. Easy to digest, these low levels allow the body to easily pick and choose what is needed at the moment and either store or eliminate the rest without taxing the body. Grain free processed food is supplemented with the equivalent of a 1-A-Day vitamin, no matter if dry or canned. Again, there is ample evidence that concentrated vitamins are hard for the body to make use of in the short time they are in the digestive tract, leading to the majority being excreted without benefit.

            I have come to question this suped up form of eating. There doesn’t seem to be massive medical issues but these foods have been widely available for a relatively short time. So we’ll have to wait and see if long term issues arise as the grain free market is now the fastest growing segment. Perhaps some health problems have been masked since most grain free food is of a much higher quality than the typical grocery store fare.

            The bottom line is each animal needs to have a diet which suits them. There is no one perfect food, only the perfect food for one pet.

      6. Carol Emery

        Origen was recommeded to me by a pet food store for my cat. When I opened the bag the smell was terrible and I nearly threw up. My cat would not eat it. It had meat that I never knew was in cat food. I donated it back to the store. Right now I am giving my cat Purina Beyond Cat Food Grain Free dry chicken. She loves it and since she has herpes, the Beyond has Lysine, which is good for cats with herpes. Beyond also has no by products and good ingredients. Just because it is Purina, I am not worried as I always check ingredients. So hopefully she will continue to thrive. She is 15 years old.

        1. Hope

          Carol…I’m curious. What do you mean when you say the Orijen had “meat you never knew was in cat food”? Thanks.

        2. Regina

          Carol, Even if this one Purina product, the Beyond Grain Free, is what you find is good for your cat, I would still look for something else to eventually switch to. ANY money going to Purina just puts more Beneful and other Purina crap into the marketplace. And you comment on the ingredients listed on the label, but, it’s still Purina, and as a whole, they have been proven to be not worth trusting. I do hope you continue to look for something else for your cat.

        3. Angie

          Of course your cat is going to eat the Purina Beyond, it contains cassava root flour (which is sweet and in NO WAY good for your cat) it also contain Canola meal  It is a by-product of the bio-diesel and food industries, and the remaining “meal” after pressing out the oil, is in need of an outlet so nothing goes to waste and profit can be made.  AND it has synthetic menadione (vitamin K3) and its derivatives. Menadione can interfere with the function of glutathione, one of the body’s natural antioxidants, resulting in oxidative damage to cell membranes. Menadione given by injection has induced liver toxicity, jaundice, and hemolytic anemia (due to the rupture of red blood cells) in infants; therefore, menadione is no longer used for treatment of vitamin K deficiency.”
          The Material Safety Data sheet on Menadione-sodium bisulfite states: “The substance is toxic to kidneys, lungs, liver, mucous membranes. Repeated or prolonged exposure to the substance can produce target organs damage.” (Truthaboutpetfood)

        4. am

          Purina is one of the companies that has relied on “4-D” meats in their formulas (from dead, dying, diseased, disabled animals), which is legal (check other Thixton articles defining meats by AAFCO standards — “chicken” on a pet food label represented in that pet food can doesn’t look/taste/smell/digest anything like what you or I may think of as “chicken”). 4-D meat remains legal to include in pet foods but its use by the pet food industry is shielded from the public for obvious reasons. However, the info has been out for years, if you look into it. And when people do learn of it, the thought of it is so shocking it’s difficult to accept or put stock in because it’s such a deplorable notion; it’s more tempting to believe it’s some sort of conspiracy theory (believe me, that’s what I thought as well!). Look into it, though, for yourself, and be careful who’s arguing against such claims and why before you make your own decision. Knowledge about inclusion of 4-D meats in pet food has been around for many years, since well before any of the big pet food recalls. The info is legit. Horrifying but true.

          Please keep in mind that natural and artificial flavors, “animal digest” and other ingredients (MSG, yeast culture, autolyzed yeast extract, etc.) can make palatable to our pets a lot of terrible stuff that they’d otherwise reject at the outset. Sometimes they’ll reject such foods down the line when they are markedly depleted by them (low or negative nutritional value) or made outright ill by them. Sometimes the health impact comes before rejection does (think of how the famous cat colony in Italy has many outdoor cats living 20 years or more, and none of them are fed kibble and canned food — contrast to the life expectancy of our pets fed this horrible stuff). In many households who feed low-quality pet food where all the money’s spent on marketing and none of it on quality (Purina, for example), essentially what you’d be doing is providing your cat a mono-diet …of toxic food.

          If we uphold our end of the bargain in caring well for animals in our households who depend on us and cannot feed themselves otherwise, then it’s arguably inhumane to feed such dreck to them. To my way of thinking, such cats would be better off in terms of dietary health and longevity to stop feeding them entirely and just let them hunt outdoors. I’m not advocating for that, but mono-feeding 4-D food is not ethical or healthy in any way shape or form. Just wanted to throw this out there. I’m not trying to offend, just throw light on a horrible industry in drastic need of repair.

    2. Suszie

      It is NOT a takeover, it is more than likely a merger, which means the company being bought sets it’s own ground rules for the purchase and if the other company cannot comply they will not sell. There is also usually a clause in there that states what the company being bought wishes to maintain and if those wishes are not maintained then it is a breach of contract and they are able to walk away even after the sale. Also having worked at Family Dollar, and gone through a very similar process I can tell you it takes almost a YEAR for deals like this to go through and until it is finalized Merrick is STILL Merrick operating the way they always have and will probably do so even after the merger.

  3. Jessica

    Sad. I guess we should have seen it coming. I wonder who’s next…

  4. Kathi

    This really makes me sad. Why does Purina feel that they need to take over the world? At this rate, I will be making my dog’s food by hand. This is crap.

    1. Diana Artemis

      Homemade food is not a bad idea, so long as you follow reputable recipes such as those published by Dr. Michael Fox.

    2. karen

      That’s what I do…

    3. Vanster

      Kathi, making your dog’s food by hand is the best thing you can do for your dog. All dry dog food, including Merrick, is just dead junk food. Inferior meat which would be considered inedible for humans is blasted at extreme temperatures so no nutrients are left and synthetic vitamins then have to be re-added to make it palatable. Then a shed load of dubious preservatives have to be added. You’re left with practically sawdust.

      Do your dog a favour and feed it as nature intended, Google a raw diet for dogs.

      I switched from junk food kibble (Wellness, Orijen etc) to a raw diet two years ago and have never looked back. Super clean teeth, glossy coat and best of all tiny odourless poo are some of the advantages. And you know exactly what is going into your pet’s food and you never have to worry about recalls as you are feeding human grade food.

      Try it!

  5. Vicky

    Well if they stay independent then I would guess things will stay the same..wishful thinking? My cats eat Merrick and Wellness… with 5 cats, it is hard to find one they all like.. I guess back to all wellness if I start to see changes on the label… damn!

    1. Margarat

      I never believe that any purchased company stays “independent,” changes are inevitable to improve the profit margin for the new owners.

      1. Leannan


      2. Lori A

        Just like when Iams was purchased by Proctor & Gamble – a lot of animals – dogs and cats – got sick because they changed the formula and added bad stuff. Very sad.

    2. Angel H

      It’s better to watch for ingredient changes on the company web site, as they are not required to show any ingredient changes on the label until they run out of all the labels they already have made, which can take a year or longer. We found this out the hard way with Blue Buffalo Wilderness Duck biscuits. It also never said the ingredients or their quality would go unchanged, only the employees, management and operations. You can bet they will change to cheap, low quality ingredients just so Purina can make their profit margin.

      1. Pam

        Totally agree! Just like Natura when they were bought by P&G.

      2. Vicky

        Good Idea!! will do that… and keep an eye out for a better brand then both Merrick and Wellness. I liked Merrick and more importantly, my cats liked it..

    3. Leannan

      Wellness isn’t an [small] or independent brand. It was made an investment of Catterton Partners, then sold for millions, to an ex-coal mining concern Berwind. You also might want to check the Actual fat content based on dry matter values. High fat can cause a very painful, life threatening condition – pancreatitis.

    4. Sandy Beecher

      Actually Wellness canned cat food has BPA in the cans and Merrick’s food has carrageenan in it. Why can’t a pet food manufacturer just do the best thing for our pets?

      1. Sharon

        Because they don’t care about our pets. They care about $$$$$$.

    5. Jane Eagle

      Um…you did look at the consumer test results for Wellness? I stopped buying it the day I read the results.

      1. Angie

        what test results?

    6. MikeL


      Thing is that we quite possibly will never see the changes on the label – The changes will occur behind the scenes as they will introduce cheaper and cheaper quality ingredients but will appear to remain the same on the label. Carrots will still be listed as carrots, beef as beef and so on but Purina is one of the architects of todays use of waste products in pet “food” so to expect them to not try to eventually maximize their profit by using the cheapest ingredients is a bit hard to imagine, given their track record.

      As someone involved in the pet industry I can say that I was pretty okay with the Merrick product line as far as kibble and canned and bone type chews go. That is to say, I believe they were a cut above the average stuff. Though they are guilty of plastering each food label with crazy delicious looking ingredients (we all know that here is not one ounce of grilled-to-perfection-chicken/beef etc…) they did manage to make a product that was superior to any regular Purina product. Though Merrick’s original grain free line appears to be higher in meat content I suspect that there will eventually be a serious decline in the quality of those ingredients though the labels will not reflect it.

      I agree with another concerned person here – Purina will simply wait it out for a year or two and then do what it does best – up the profit margin at the expense of pet health and welfare.

      I view it as sort of like the fable of the scorpion and the frog – Purina (as the scorpion) can’t help itself because it is in it’s nature to maximize profit and put profit before all else.

  6. SS

    Some of these companies are mom and pop shops and the owners get older and retire. This is what happened to EVO food. It’s the only food one of my cats will eat and I am still purchasing it despite the fact that it is owned by P&G. At least my babies are not eating Friskies.

    The good news is that there seem to be more and more specialty brands on the market to select from, which has been beneficial trying to find a healthy renal friendly food.

    1. Leannan

      For renal food [at least for cats] look into Primal [new] pork complete dinners, frozen and freeze-dried. It is my understanding that they are low in phosphorus, but you will need to verify that for yourself.

  7. Kathy

    I’m so sad to hear this. All my guyz love Merrick and I now have 2 Golden Retriever’s and 4 cats. To have to find another food they will all eat is such a bother. They may market the same product for awhile but you can be sure it won’t stay that way. Sorry to hear such a reputable company can sell out to such an un-reputable one.

    1. Sharon

      It’s called G-R-E-E-D.

  8. Maria

    This is terrible news! I’ve been using Merrick to transition AWAY from Purina’s corn-based foods. We’ll have to watch closely to see if Merrick starts changing ingredients to downgrade to Purina’s model, or if Purina is finally going to wake up and transition to Merrick’s model.

  9. Bill Atkind

    We noticed recent changes in the quality of their canned dog foods that appears to increase the likelihood of diarrhea in our pet,

  10. Laurie

    This news is disconcerting. I just switched my dog from a raw diet to Merrick due to her picky eating habits. She loves their canned food and kibble. I was apprehensive to change to kibble due to so many purported negative heath issues. I remembered that Merrick has high standards. Somehow, with a multinational purchasing an independent, I think there will be certain changes to their operations and quality control standards. Maybe not, but it’s questionable.

  11. Kathy

    WHY??? Finally found a low sodium dry dog food with Merrick Healthy Weight now this! Have a hard time believing things won’t change. Hate Purina.

  12. Sheryl

    This is very sad news. I would hand make my sweet dog’s food before I would feed a Purina product.

  13. Toni

    Oh NOOOOO!!!! Another brand to go to $hit…

    1. Debbi Webber

      Stella and Cheweys is very good. I am not sure if is made for cats but wouldnt hurt to check it out. It is freeze dried and can add water if want too. The owner named the product after her 2 dogs. The owner is really good at answering questions. I think they make raw too..

      1. Samantha

        Yes, they do make it for cats in freeze-dried and raw!

  14. Karen

    It’s all about the money, nothing more, nothing less.

    1. Laurie

      Yep. It is all about the bottom line, more profit for shareholders and just plain GREED.

  15. Tracey

    PURINA, hear this, your “food” is vile crap that kills animals. If you think that buying Merrick and Castor and Pollux is going to change your image, you are mistaken! Just like with Evvo and Innova when Proctor and Gamble bought them, those brands are now ruined. Good job Purina, you are now buying up all of the half way decent brands of pet food only to ruin them. Purina can’t compete with these brands because their “food” is vile crap! So Purina has to buy up the competitors. Purina you are a big fat LOSER and killer of animals!

    1. Regina

      Well put, Tracy!!!!!!

    2. Angie

      same with Dick Van Patten’s Natural Balance, that food went to sh*t after the merge with Del Monte and now its owned by smuckers.

  16. B Dawson

    I wonder if this is clandestine reason Purina went after Blue. Merrick has been a staple at Petco et al for years now and consequently head to head competition.

    1. Regina

      Hmmmm, interesting question!!!

  17. Sage

    OH NOOOO! Four or five years ago I bought Merrick “BG – Before the Grain” for several Feral Cats that I was feeding and they loved it, then Merrick eventually discontinued it and they hated the replacement options. Had also tried various Merrick canned Cat foods but when they changed all their formulas two or three years ago, my Feral cats hated them – so no more Merrick here.

    My Ferals have been eating (very pricey) Orijen dry and Soulistic canned (as do my own cats… who ALSO eat a home prepared Raw chicken formula daily) BUT – just last week I bought a can of Merrick Limited Ingredient Chicken and the Ferals loved it – much better texture, great ingredients list, and it even smells good! NOW Purina will RUIN this company too. So very SAD. Also sad that these independent manufacturers succumb to selling out to one of the worst pet food companies on the planet.

    IF you currently feed MERRICK – SAVE a BAG and CAN LABELS so in the future, you will be able to compare what you are buying NOW with the downgraded Purina versions IF Purina ruins this company like the others. Just read the labels carefully!

    1. Regina

      Sage, you have given excellent advice!

      Save the packaging and compare the ingredients.

      I’d like to add, also, take pictures of the actual food you are feeding, and compare the new stuff, notice any changes.

      The changes may be slow, but I have no doubt purina will make some changes.

      1. Sharon

        You don’t need to save the bags. Just copy the ingredient list to a file and store it on your computer. I always check ingredients every time I make a purchase. It’s crazy how OFTEN these companies change their lists by eliminating ingredients and switching ingredient positions. I’m fed up w/the deceit.

    2. Vicky

      Sage… good idea..will do that on all the foods I feed from Merrick… They all like the thanksgiving dinner..some like the salmon pate, some like the chicken or beef pate.. it took a few weeks to find a brand they all liked besides friskies..sheesh!

    3. Nancy

      Will save a bag label to see if ingredients change, if Purina is even honest about what they really will put in it
      Have tried for years to find good cat food for cat with cholangiohepatitis and a lot of vomiting and Merric has been good but very frustrated Purina has bought!!

  18. HavenBounce

    Oh well another nice food bites the dust! Would NEVER feed anything by Purina.

  19. Carla

    Well this is not good news. I wonder if it’s coincidence that my husband (who feeds Merrick kibble in the a.m., we give Honest Kitchen in the p.m.) said our picky Beagle seemed not to like a new bag of Merrick kibble as much as she used to. I considered changing the a.m. kibble again but just yesterday bought a new bag. I hope to convince my husband it is worth it to go to the trouble of the Honest Kitchen in the morning too, or perhaps go to once a day feeding. It is nearly impossible to find dry kibble with “real” ingredients. I guess there’s a reason for that…

    1. Sage

      Honest Kitchen is excellent and if you are looking for an additional Dry option – ORIJEN makes really fantastic Dry food for Dogs and Cats. You can read about it and check out their Ingredients here

  20. Judy

    Well crap, I guess i’ll be looking for a different pet food now.

    1. Sharon

      You’re better off feeding raw or cooked meat mixed into SOJOS grainfree pre-mix and adding your supplements… salmon oil, coconut oil, Missing Link, brewers yeast & garlic, Bragg’s ACV. You can’t go wrong.

  21. Athena

    Question…I buy Castor and Pollux Organic Chicken and Vegetables for my dogs…very often when I pull the tab to open the can, it literally makes a loud popping sound (that my husband heard a few times from the living room) and bursts open…twice it actually hurt my hand…what would be the reason for this???

    1. Monica

      I wish I knew because a can of Merrick limited ingredient lamb for my dog, opened the same way last month and the can was only half full. It scared us and all the animals. Much louder tgan a can if biscuits and it hurt my hand. Today, the same thing happened when I got home ad opened limit3d ingredient duck for my cats. It was also missing food but not half. My overweight cat thar usually scarfs his and tries to eat everyone else’s, sniffed it and wouldn’t touch it. This concerns me because he eats anything. And another person is correct…I thought it was my imagination, but it is oilier and has some meat looking chunks that my 5 cats won’t eat.

  22. Carol Minkus

    OMG there goes another couple quality pet foods. I am just sick to hear that Merrick will be joining the ranks of another conglomerate – let alone the Purina line – You know that in time it will go down hill. ALL the dog foods bought by the conglomerates have gone down majorly from what they were when they were bought.

  23. Lisa

    Unbelievable! When our dog entered our lives about three years ago, I found Merrick dry and canned were superior to the Nutro we fed our other dog for 17 years. I have joked that if I ever ran out of food, I would eat my dog’s canned food! I will start looking for another brand sometime soon, because I don’t trust Purina’s standards.

  24. Sandra

    I buy Acana for my furkids. (They also make Orijen.) They are owned and based in Canada, which has stricter regs for pet foods. It’s a bit pricey, but at least they’re less likely to be bought up by Purina or some other American outfit.

    1. Roxy

      Are you kidding me…Canada has NO regulations on the pet food industry. Thats why Canada has never had a pet food recalled…they don’t regulate them.

      1. Sage

        ORIJEN has just completed an $85 million dollar facility in Kentucky where Orijen will be manufactured for the US market, using locally sourced US ingredients – photo here

        An independent pet shop owner told me she spoke to ORIJEN reps at a recent convention and they told her an addition to their US resources will be (their own) US fish farm to ensure the safety and quality of their fish which will not be imported. Also the QUALITY of their foods made in Kentucky will be even higher than what they currently produce in Canada. Perhaps they will apply for USDA Certification – I’m hopeful but have NOT read that as yet.

        More information is at these links

        1. Sharon

          Farmed fish is NEVER good. Unless they’re farming it in pens IN THE OCEAN I wouldn’t touch it.

  25. Jeannie DiMauro

    Hate this too 🙁 Use Innova for years… then Merrick for past 4-5 years… it is soooo frustrating trying to find good prepared food for dogs… I guess I need to start looking at Origen for kibble? I’ll stay with Merrick until they start changing ingredients. btw… someone above suggested we need to read ingredients on the website rather than on the bag because companies are allowed to use all their old labels until they run out even though the ingredients have changed. 🙁

  26. Keith

    Will remain independent…NOPE!!!

  27. Yvonne McGehee

    What about Castor and Pollux? Are they already owned by Merrick, or?

    1. Tracey

      Yes, Castor and Pollux was purchased by Merrick.

      1. Yvonne McGehee

        Thanks Tracy, I did not know that.

  28. Valerie Noyes

    I never feed Merrick’s food, but my dogs loved the lamb lung treats. Guess we won’t be buying those any longer. Nothing Purina will EVER come into this house again. EVER.

  29. John

    I hope you do research on Merricks founders other companys and connect the dots. You may do a double take and change brands.

    1. Sandy

      I’m with you John. I don’t feed Merrick. Researching Petcurean, I read that in 2003 Petcurean recalled its food made at Merrick. Petcurean subsequently stopped getting any foods made there. It’s one of the reasons I’ve used Petcurean and may again.

  30. Jan Mayr

    I would never feed my dogs ANYTHING owned by Purina. This is so disappointing. Money talks apparently. Who cares about quality? Not Purina.

  31. Susan

    When I found plastic in the kibble a yr ago, I sent pics to Merrick. Their way of “compensating” me was just replacing the 2 bags I had bought not knowing which bag it had come out of… REALLY?? That is all your going to do for plastic in my dogs food??

  32. Tien

    Some lesser known brands but very high quality you guys should seek are Fromm and First Mate. They have no Carrageenan which is VERY VERY difficult to find.

  33. Toby

    First Natural Balance now Castor and Pollux. I too use to to feed my 3 kitties Merrick until the formula changed and they refused to eat it. Now I cook and feed all of them Dr. Ruth’s Crock Pet Diet and supplement with Wellness Dry. Just in case and based on everyone’s comments, I believe I will look into Orijen and Honest Kitchen. You never know who’s going to get bought out next.

  34. Tracie

    Well I for one am not surprised (that they sold to Purina).
    I consider Merrick to be one of the shadiest PF companies in the biz; my cat ate the Before Grain canned for years, and then we started finding the bits of blue plastic in the pate, or the occasional vegetable that didn’t belong in the formula, and the many, many cans with compromised seals that were spoiled.
    When the projectile bilious vomiting commenced, we were on to the next diet.
    Emails to the company yielded zero results and I fought to get refunds from them on food that was compromised.
    Their “new” formulas are a joke – has anyone tried to feed their cats the new formulas that have cinnamon in them? Good god. My current cat wouldn’t even go near it, and when I smelled it I recoiled – what cat wants to eat cinnamon-flavored food?

  35. Sam12587

    yeah, they’ll leave operations alone for a year or so and then after a review of expenses & whatever else will tweak it to make the brand more efficient or profitable. Standard operating procedure 🙁

  36. Debi Cohen

    Oh no, no, no, look what has happened to all the other independent pet food companies that have been taken over, I have switched over to a new dog food that we are trying now, have spoken to the people about where the manufacture of the canned foods take place, Health Extension pet foods does their own production line and definitely does not use EVANGERS, did not even know who they were! anyway, check this company out, it seems like we are being painted into smaller and smaller corners, this food that I ordered from Amazon is called Allergix and hopefully I can give it to my 2 really allergic pups, it smells good and if they do well on it I will stick with this company until they get bought out, so depressing. Thanks to Susan, again, for the heads up.

    1. Raphael

      Agreed! Sometimes the shipping on online orders gets pricey due to the weight. When I’m lucky I find a local retailer with Health Extension products by using

  37. Kathryn

    Well, CRAP — Oh, I forgot — that what Purina sells anyway — This is so sad … good, well meaning, small, family/locally supported businesses cannot compete with the big boys. I still buy my food at the same place I buy my own… looks like that will be the only way.

  38. enid

    I am so upset to hear this. DISGUSTING

  39. Diana

    thank GOD owner of Healthy Paws introduced me to NutriSource for our dog. was feeding merrick needed to buy more food just yesterday when we made the switch to NutriSource, then recieved email about purina buying merrick what some will do for an extra dollar

  40. Lisa

    Seriously? I won’t be purchasing any longer. I believe this company should be up for anti trust violations. Worse – it’s parent company is now Nestle who is only concerned with greed. Look at its policy with regard to water – stop nestle, stop greed, boycott these products!

  41. Karen

    By law a publicly traded company’s 1st responsibility is to the shareholders. They are obligated to make more profits. Not sure exactly but that’s the gist of it. Even if ingredients appear to be the same they source it from cheaper places. So the quality can be effected without seeing an ingredient change. It’s sad that a company that starts out with the right idea of providing a quality product succumbs to everything they didn’t believe in. Truly sad.

  42. Pam grimes

    Don’t think the list of ingredients on the label is the truth. The FDA does not require them to prove what is listed. In fact they do not even have to list all ingrediates. They can put any pictures or claims they want with no consequence from the FDA.
    The best is to make your own food and never go down the isle of poison again. They can legally use the mush from rendering plants that includes diseased animals, road kill, rotten crops or anything else they can throw into the giant grinder like whole horses. Even your euthanized pets still having their collars on them. This is called meal or by-products.
    MAKE YOUR OWN FOOD. We cook up lean ground meat, chicken or turkey? Add 1/3 rice and 1/3 yams. Often fresh Spinach cooked with the meat. Peas are good as well as carrots. You can get vitamins as well. I have been doing this for 5 years since my sweet Buster was killed by a maker of duck and sweet potato. The cost of a commercial food does not show quality. The big Gus are out to own all the good labels. They won’t change the name, so you are left in the dark. Your lovingly cooked food will always be better for them.
    The web site: will give you the whole truth.

  43. Tammy

    My 13 year old dog eats the grain free/poultry free food made by Castor and Pollux. It is the only food that has made his allergies better. He also had an enlarged heart before this food (which he has been eating about 11/2 years). His heart is no longer enlarged and he plays with my 4 yr old Irish Setter. I will never, ever feed my babies anything that is associated with Purina….so it seems as though I will be making their food now.

  44. Gitta

    With all the hoopla Purina makes about the quality of their foods – why on earth would they want to buy a presumably inferior product line? I mean, isn’t their brand better than the rest? Of course, some of their products are better than others, even though they all claim to be scientifically developed, complete and balanced.

    So, there are either other companies who can make foods good enough to join the Purina “brand of excellence” or

    Purina doesn’t give a rat’s behind about the quality of Merrick products but is aware that”nutty” people spend quite a bit of money on these products. That would mean Purina doesn’t care about the quality but only the profits.

    I would find it very, very surprising if Purina is not going to change the ingredients. And not for the better.

    I still would like to see an answer as to why Purina buys Merrick. If you are convinced you have such great products – why leave the well lworn path of cheap ingredients and deceptive marketing for the craziness of wholesome ingredients?

    1. Regina

      Gitta, you make an excellent point!!!!!

      purina has so many products that they claim are so nutritious and healthy, you’d think folks would realize that they can’t ALL be so great, given the differences, especially in price and ingredient lists of the products.

  45. Elizabeth

    It is stuff like this that makes me grateful I have switched over to a raw food diet years ago, this will never change. I used to feed Primal and Wellness (which are still good brands), but it got to me more expensive than feeding raw. Place I get food from has a wonderful selections, and my 3 girl love it. It has really helped their health. Purina is such a mess and only produces crap food for our animals, and they do not care about any quality that is sold in box stores. Keeping labels from that company is a very good idea, it is a guide to see how the brand reduces into a lower quality food.

    1. liz

      Not sure where you live, but where are you buying raw ingredients that are cheaper than any high end kibble? That’s the only reason I still have to supplement homemade with kibble – can’t afford it for 3 large dogs :/

      1. Nancy Balcarras

        Sad that the people at Purina have infiltrated Merrick, all in the name of money, unfortunate that the manufacturers don’t believe that pets are family and people value their health and well being
        I am retired, fixed income but will strive to buy the best cat food, which I feel right now is Acana, expensive to feed 3 cats but worth their health.
        Shame on Merrick for selling out to a company that uses by products and European ingredients in their food, would not buy a Purina product and think there are thousands who feel the same way, may be Merricks downfall!! Though health pet food was your priority according to your website, apparently not

  46. Hannie

    If you can’t compete w/them or ruin them publicly, buy them…….I can’t say what I feel so suffice it to say two more brands that will no longer come into this house……what a bunch of crap…….:-(

  47. Marguerite

    I guess it’s time to completely transition my cat to raw. Merrick’s cat food is the only “grain free” food I found that was dry, yet something he’d eat.

    1. Cheryl Mallon-Bond

      The Natures Variety Instinct RAW [Freeze dried] COATED kibble, is an excellent kibble, as well as Oriigen, & Acanna. I have never had any cat ever turn down either food.

  48. Karen Pena

    I need to find a new dog food… Our dogs love Merrick!
    Purina cannot be trusted!!

  49. Jayne

    I will no longer feed my dog Merrick wet food. Once a large company buys a small independent company quality goes out the window. It happened when proctor & gamble purchased Inova pet foods. Massive recalls

    1. Regina

      The first thing that came to mind after looking at that link was “Holy Cow!”

      I swear that pun was unintended, but, shoot, this has been an eye opener!!!!!!

      Thank you John and Sage.

  50. Mary

    I do use Merrick although I, too, had recent issues with both foreign objects andin a different bag, pieces of dried carrot ( sharp pieces that should not have been mixed in with the kibble). One thing I appreciated was that the alfalfa so many companies seem to be adding now ( which I don’t like) was at least labeled as “organic”, something the other companies are not doing. Most alfalfa is genetically modified and studies are showing GMO foods mess with the GI and reproductive systems. I figure the “organic alfalfa” will be the first thing to go. Sorry Purina, not buying it.

  51. Alice

    I am sick about this! I finally found a food that my dogs LOVE and I felt safe feeding them and now this. I guess I’ll try Fromm I hope my dogs like it.

  52. Lori A

    I wrote to Merrick to voice my displeasure with this acquisition and this is this was their response:

    “Thank you for taking the time to contact us. We certainly hope you will consider remaining a Merrick pet parent. We can promise you that we will continue to make the same high quality and nutritious food for your pet, with the same team in our same kitchens. That doesn’t change with this news. Our focus remains on making the best food for the best pets ever, and that means making the high quality, nutritious and safe food and treats that all pets deserve. We will continue to operate as an independent business with no changes to our management or operations. Please let me know if I can be of further assistance. Have a wonderful day!”

    Sorry Merrick – I don’t trust Purina and know while they’ll continue to charge the higher prices “natural” foods can “fetch,” they will replace the good ingredients with inferior crap that is not good for my girls. It’s been a good 7 or 8 years, but it’s time to move on to a company that will continue to have my pets’ interests at heart and not make the priority their “bottom line.”

    1. Regina

      Wow, was that ever a generic form letter response, or what!!!!

      If nothing would change, then why the sellout????????


      Sorry, needed to vent.

  53. Sarah

    Not mentioned in the OP – Merrick also owns Whole Earth Farms.

  54. Diane

    This is SO disappointing!!

  55. Pat P.

    What is particularly sad is that regardless of whether Purina changes the ingredients listed on the labels of Merrick’s pet food, the QUALITY

  56. Pacific Sun

    How in the world will Merrick be allowed to operate as a nice independent, quality driving caring company when it will be in direct competition with Purina, it’s new owner? You know, consumers get to know a company and learn to depend on a product and give their business to these independent companies. What’s the thank’s? Oh they sell out to the highest bidder. No more sad stories from these independents who want everybody’s business and loyalty. Wailing and crying when people use their expertise and then shop on the Internet. When it’s only a one way street of convenience and profit. I am SICK of Purina poisoning the market! I am disappoiinted in Merricks letting their customers down!

    1. B Dawson

      Merrick has long been a huge Texas company involved in the livestock industry. It is family owned but more like family owned Hobby Lobby than your local family run pizzeria.

  57. Aimee

    Just an FYI on orijen (chanpion line) with their launch of the new facility in Kentucky they are reformulating all their foods to meet U.S. standards. It will no longer be the same as you are buying bow starting January.. They claim it will be better and have more meat. It’s another one to watch. I am going to drill merrick tomorrow and get more answers as well as this change I feel is really going to hurt them.

    1. Pet Owner

      They NEED to reformulate their foods. When they switched to 80/20 instead of 70/30 (which had Pysllum Husk fiber) BOTH my dogs’ stools (young & old, each dog a different breeding, one eating red meat, the other eating poultry recipes of Orijen) turned to PUDDING. (Yes, I know how to transition foods, but my older dog was raised on Orijen until the change. Yes, I tried Arcana). The problem is when I asked the company about what changes they made, they pretended it was just my own dogs’ issues. Said to add pumpkin. I had to figure out the reciped change for myself. So I’m not sure I trust them. They promised to return the Pledge and never did. For such a stellar company with all the regional soucing they do, they shouldn’t have had ANY problems declaring their ingredients. Or should have been forthright enough to explain to TAPF why they wouldn’t participate. At least Wysong did.

      Adhering to WHAT US Standards? Their guaranteed analysis certainly exceeeds AAFCO minimum requirements. Other than AAFCO there isn’t much consistent regulation out there anyway. Orijen is far superior (at least on the label) to most other brands. Maybe they mean gearing up for an actual “inspection” at a US Plant (meaning the facility must meet operating standards).

      1. Sage

        I suspect ORIJEN’s inexplicable change in manufacturing location to a US facility has to do with increasing their profits – NOT compliance with US regulations. As Pet Owner above states – what regulations??

        It will be interesting to see if Orijen shows up at Petco or Petsmart next year! Orijen has always promoted their fresh, locally sourced Canadian ingredients so now where will their ingredients come from? Likely they will NOT be importing them from Canada!


        1. Sage

          I researched and posted more information about Orijen’s NEW Kentucky facilty above, including the following
          ORIJEN has just completed an $85 million dollar facility in Kentucky where Orijen Kentucky will be manufactured for the US market, using locally sourced US ingredients – photo here

          An independent pet shop owner told me she spoke to ORIJEN reps at a recent convention told her an addition to their US resources will be (their own) US fish farm to ensure the safety of their fish which will not be imported. Also the QUALITY of their foods made in Kentucky will be even higher than what they currently produce in Canada. Perhaps they will apply for USDA Certification – I’m hopeful but have not read that as yet.

          More information is at these links

          1. Pacific Sun

            Maybe with all the media spin they could take a moment to return the Pledge after promising it for 3 years!!!

            Also Fish “Farms” are not healthy. Unless the fish is caught wild and naturally preserved, not much of an advantage.

            Wouldn’t it be nice to understand what “levels” of quality rank in their minds. Hopefully they’d be producing the best food PERIOD for all pets. Beware of media spin.

          2. B Dawson

            Champion used farmed salmon in their formulas from day one. The company was always up front about their sourcing and said farmed salmon provided a consistent supply. That may have changed in the 5 years since I closed my shop and haven’t continued microscopic scrutiny of food companies. Sage may know.

            Farmed vs. wild has been a tough call for a long time. News this week that wild salmon are dying off due to warmer waters is going to drive prices up. You may be seeing more farmed salmon in pet food as companies struggle to contain costs.

      2. B Dawson

        I hadn’t heard about Champion Foods opening in a plant in the U.S. I wonder if there are import issues with Homeland Security holding up product. When BSE was an issue in Canada, no meat products were allowed to cross the border into the U.S. It caused major supply problems.

        Sourcing will certainly be something to keep an eye on.

  58. Kenneth

    Sooner or later this is going to happen, a smaller company making quality food is going to have some kind of financial trouble, because selling quality means higher prices and they all go out of business sooner or later.

    Just look at how quality butchers, artisan bread and cheese shops etc.. are going the way of the dodo and being replaced by big chain supermarket garbage. They can’t last because people want cheap and convenient and there simply aren’t enough people anymore that values quality, and then they are targets for takeover by the likes of nestle, p&g etc..

    Most people wouldn’t even know, and the ingredients will slowly be turned into garbage.

    So much we as consumers has to be aware of so we don’t get taken for a ride.

    Tactics like “bait and switch”, launch a new product line with high quality ingredients. Wait until the word gets out and people start to know the product for being very good, then very slowly lower the quality while keeping an eye on sales because they know most people don’t have time to constantly check the ingredients. As soon as sales drop they know they reached the limit of how low they can go, and raise the quality slightly. Now they know exactly how much they can **** people over without losing money.

    Lower the price.. but when you look closely there’s less in the same bag than before.

    Taking advantage of loopholes in the law.

    Taking advantage of customer ignorance.

    Using wording like “flavour” to trick people.

    Weasel words all over like “up to” (“up to” 25% more meat, which means they can add 1% more and still be legal)

    Purposely using naming and labelling that people won’t recognize when they add ingredients people normally wouldn’t buy if they saw it was used under the common name. Like “sugar species” here where I live usually means lactose was used instead of normal sugar, that’s so they don’t lose out on sales to people with lactose intolerance, they’d rather make people sick than lose those sales.

    Etc.. etc..

    And these are the people we give our money to?

    Sorry for sounding like a broken record, but this is why I’m feeding home made raw, I don’t have to worry about any of this.

  59. KJ

    Acana Dog Food is at the top of the list……….check it out…..

    1. Aimee

      Yes but I talked to them yesterday and only hope they hold their high standards when they change kitchens and formulas in January. They also stopped using salmon last month in all their orijen 6 fish lines and other lines. I personally don’t remember hearing them changing it. I feed my dogs the chanpion line so I was concerned when I heard they would be changing the formula completely.

  60. Terri Janson

    Sooooo sad….MONEY MONEY MONEY. I will continue to feed homemade with a little kibble.

    1. Aimee

      Actually stock acquisition is a good thing for merrick employees more options and possible to pay them more.

  61. Aimee

    So merrick will be coming out with a public announcement to address all the concerns. It was a stock acquisition which usually means merrick will just operate as a subsidiary. They will not change their ingredients, the way they make food, where they purchase food etc… Basically purina likes how merrick makes food and maybe they will use them as a lesson on how to make things better with them.

    1. Suszie

      FINALLY!!!!! A person with some sense in this thread of chicken little’s declaring the sky is falling!!!! THANK YOU!!!!! I was beginning to think I was the ONLY person that understood there are several different variances to large company acquisitions!!!! I will continue to support Merrick and am glad to see that MAYBE Purina is hoping to LEARN how to get back to who they were 40 plus years ago. Not to mention these acquisitions take time, months an even as much as a year, so Merrick will still need our support in order to keep their 350 employees EMPLOYED, the idea here is to create and keep jobs not put people out of work and upset our poor pets digestive systems until WE find something else that WE feel “safe” with and think we can feed to our pets. I assure you that just as soon as you find such product and it starts making a climb in sales and garnering national attention, it TOO will be bought by a bigger company, so why the rush to panic??? The sky is NOT falling yet folks!!!!!! Again THANK YOU AIMEE for being smart enough to find out the truth of the matter and trying to help others to do the same!!!

      1. B Dawson

        Nestle/Purina and every other corporation that has jumped on the health bandwagon are doing so because they see green….and I mean the color of money. They have NO commitment to healthy food. They are purchasing a company to siphon up a portion of the profits and then sell it when profits drop.

        Average consumers snap up anything that says “natural” on the label without doing their research. Corporations know this and will capitalize on ANY trend, riding the wave until the assets become liabilities, are sold as losses and used as tax breaks. As much as I revile Walmart, at least they are honest in saying they started selling organic because customers demonstrated they were willing the buy organic. Never mind that Walmart consistently gets caught stocking non-organic produce under the organic sign. It’s the stockers mistake, right? and the customer should pay attention.

        The sky isn’t falling because another so-so corporate pet food (and Merrick is a size able corporation in its own right) was bought up by another insatiable corporation. It’s just business as usual in this buy cheap stuff at the dollar store and throw it away society.

        1. Regina

          Good response, B Dawson!

      2. Peter

        There is no hysteria or exaggeration in most of these mournful comments. There is common sense, and frustration, which you deny.

        It is simply not logical to interpret that a behemoth like Nestle Purina, which continues to defend it’s signature products which have harmed so many pets and been proven unhealthy, would be a good parent company for Merrick. Merrick’s press release contained words about “global sourcing” etc., (which of course, Purina holds expertise!) and no corporate spinning will cover what consumers intuitively expect.

    2. Oh Gosh and Be Goran

      Nestle-Purina is a HUGE conglomorate. These are the folks who make Beneful (with Proplyene Glycol and an abundance of our favorite ingredient corn?) and doing absolutely ridiculous advertising. Purina of today is the not the 1950’s and 1960’s original Purina Checkerboard Square company making feed for many animal species. Nestle (btw. us) makes hundreds of high fructose corn syrup infused products, many, many many of which are geared towards children. What would make anyone think there is a living person at N-P who would recognize a healthy product if it was put on their desk? They want Merricks CUSTOMERS period! And (in my opinion) they want to buck Blue Buffalo’s advertising strategy with a fresh product. No, I don’t condone BB either.

      1. Regina

        Well said! purina went after BB, and I’m not sure if they succeeded in doing as much damage as they wanted. So their next step is to buy up BB’s seemingly closest competition, so they can make the same claims as BB. hmmmmmm.

        I know is sure ain’t because they are interested in actually making a good product themselves!

  62. Diane Martinson

    My cat who is borderline kidney disease has been doing great on Organix dry and canned food, the phosphorus levels are low enough (1 or less ) to keep her problem in check. If the ingredients don’t change and the organic part of the food stays organic does that mean it’s still ok? It took me many hours of research to come up with these foods for her, I’m very fussy about avoiding all the additives Petsumer warns against, even some of the brands many of you have mentioned had some of those. I hate to think of starting all over plus getting cats to change foods is not as easy as with dogs. I definitely will save labels of all the food to keep check each time I buy.

    1. Regina

      Diane, save those labels, and also take pictures of the foods, so that you can notice (and prove) differences.

  63. B Dawson

    Warning, my following comments may sound harsh and I apologize for the length …..

    Merrick has been a compromise for years y’all.

    They are one more company that built their brand on the hard work of Mom & Pop stores and then sold out to the big box stores when “holistic” became a mainstream money maker – just like Wellness, Nature’s Variety, Avoderm, Neuman’s Own, the list is long. I confronted Merrick’s regional manager at SuperZoo the year the company announced entering Petco and asked why the company went back on their commitment to support independents. His reply “well, we remain committed to our independents, but if you don’t continue to grow you can’t survive.”

    There you have it. It’s all about market share and pet food companies don’t get enough of it from the independents. They see ultra big bucks from going into chains and can’t pass it up. NO WAY can a company ramp up production to supply the needs of the retail giants and still maintain the quality of the original heart-centered company that had personal relationships with the independent shop. There simply isn’t enough quality raw ingredients to supply that demand, not for the price point that is required by chains. That’s the reason food like Acana/Orijen is so expensive. They buy top notch ingredients and implement strong quality control. At least Natural Balance never made any pretense of their business model. They always were up front that they wanted to make a reasonably priced food that was available to the masses.

    Until consumers stop shopping at Walmart and Petco, you will continue to see this revolving door so get used to changing your pet’s food. As soon as a company needs investment capital, it will have to make the jump to the Big Box stores to satisfy the investors and will eventually be bought up by either Purina or Mars – I think Mars owns over twenty pet brands now. What better way to control the competition and still get profits until the food becomes so shabby that the brand tanks. At that point it becomes a write-off on taxes so the corporation doesn’t care. In addition, controlling multiple brands means you can lean on the regulatory agencies and the politicians/PACs who control them. That’s why you see the under handed tactics that Susan covers here. Pulling the rug out from under consumers doesn’t result in lost campaign contributions.

    Few of these food companies start out with the idea of growing a business that will be bought out for a small fortune. The originators have the best of intentions. Then they hit a crossroads and make a small compromise….and then another and another until they wind up far from their good intentions. Many of these folks have told me selling their company to corporations provided them with the capital to start another “good” company. When I ask what was wrong with keeping the original “good” company, all I hear is a litany of justifications. The corporate model of continued growth is hammered into small business relentlessly. There is no such thing as “enough”. I quit attending small business workshops at SuperZoo and women’s business conferences because all they preached were techniques for becoming a multi-location, hundreds of employees company. Someone wanting a single location shop was an alien concept and they had no business advice. Remember, our government defines “small business” as 100 employees or more. Nano businesses are not even on the financial radar. They only matter to politicians for the deli counter photo op during campaign season.

    So there’s my rant. The take away is that it’s all connected and consumers need to make tough choices if they want to stop the continuing corporate take over. Yes it costs more, but the long term cost is too Orwellian to bear. Thoreau was spot on….”simplify, simplify”.

    1. Pet Owner

      Your comments are always well thought out and great contributions to the discussion. Valuable insight from a perceived insider too. What I think is baffling is when a huge corporation like Purina, buys a boutique line and doesn’t allow it to continue to operate as it has been. Obviously it had a position in the market-place and served a purpose. Especially the Limited Ingredient line (that didn’t have any fish ingredient which my younger dog should avoid). It also didn’t have excessive pea protein (controversial) in it. You would think with all the profit Purina makes, part of that excess could subsidize some brands that are more expensive but have a very specific niche for a reason! People are still willing to pay for what they think is the right choice for their pet. Why not expand the price point choices instead of blending everything into a single operating model? But see, that is a Purina way of thinking …. which is the foundation of their problem. All marketing and NO substance.

      Thanks for letting “me” rant too!

      If Merrick or Purina monitors public opinion like we see in this forum (although we are a tiny minority) I want them to know I’m exchange my bag of Merricks TODAY for another brand (I won’t even mentiont the name, for fear it’ll be bought up next). That’s how much I distrust Purina, and the reason is because they make Beneful and fail to listen to their consumers’ complaints. I only use kibble as a back up to raw or home made, meaning I can afford to make an informed quality choice!

    2. GloriaJH

      Sadly, this is the way of life.
      Companies start with the best intentions, then when their product begins to become popular I think they can’t keep up with the demand so they find Investors to grow their company to meet the demands.

      Once the brand becomes known, the Investors want to loan their money to these successful small businesses – then if/when the market turns down, sales begin to sag, the Investors just look for ways to get their money back – that’s when there’s a sale and the original owners don’t have much say because their Note is coming due.

      So, Dawson – good rant. 🙂

    3. Regina

      B Dawson, I, for one, appreciate your rant! Excellent points throughout. This undying need for more, more, more, is just sickening to me. I personally live a simple life without all the newest gadgets, I work a job that doesn’t make me rich, but puts food on the table.

      Why must continued growth always be the goal?
      Continued growth is the goal of cancer cells — I saw that on a bumper sticker or pin some time ago and it stuck with me.

  64. GloriaJH

    Sad news indeed – economic times are difficult and this is just another sign of a small company that is struggling and has to sell out – sell us all out, in fact.

    Sorry Merrick, but I wish you well as you get gobbled up by Purina and your product is no longer a quality product. I bet your investors are okay with this, though.

    I’m currently purchasing Weruva – Love Me Tender flavor – no fish in the ingredients.

    ???? WHY ???? are people still buying FISH for their cats? It is high in Magnesium – urine crystal causing ingredient, and Mercury ??

  65. Vicky

    Well I would love to try these different brands..problem is, I would have to order cases rather then a few cans to try. This is so disappointing. There are a few independent stores nearby I will check. with rather very fussy cats, this is going to be a pain..yet again.. Fortunately, I feed 2 colony’s of ferals and they get what my cats dont like in the experiment!
    I guess back to the drawing board!

    1. Vicky

      Okay.. I feel a tiny bit better now..found a few independent pet food stores that happen to carry some brands mentioned here… I will spend Saturday and go there and purchase some cans of different foods and see what kitties like and then..if necessary order cases online. and dry too. If my cats wont eat, I am sure the ferals will appreciate different foods added to the usual.

      This really is not good but I guess I should not be surprised at all.

      Thank you all for the info and your experience.

    2. GloriaJH

      Hey Vicky – there are some “quality” foods even my ferals won’t eat – guess I’m feeding them too much? lol
      Maybe you’d have an option of donating the food to a shelter? 🙂
      I do know what you mean – been there, doing the same thing – I’m starting to blend some of the food to get it eaten. ugh!

      1. Vicky

        Hi Gloria, yes, my ferals prefer the cheap not good for them food and when I try the good stuff my cats refuse to eat, they walk away…. I would consider donating to shelter except it is a kill shelter so I have mixed feelings about that. so with that all said, I buy one or two cans of the different brands and see what my cats like.. This is just such a pain to start over again..
        but will do what I must. Sometimes, hubby says our cats and dogs eat better then we do..I think he is right!

  66. Michelle

    These disgusting, health/earth destroying mega corporations take over everything. My dogs love Organix by Castor & Pollux, it’s too bad they’ll never have it again.

  67. Richard Stone

    To the positive side, there is hope for us animal lovers. Support the small people, don’t purchase from companies like Purina. Ya, they’re buying up the small guy, putting their S-it in it I’m sorry to say. What Purina is really purchasing is a brand name. Their current lies and untruths currently running on the TV ads are totally unacceptable. The only Truth in Advertising is the is No Truth in Advertising

  68. David Gustafson

    I have researched long and hard for a product I can feed my 11 year old diabetic female Westie. She has had diabetes since 7 months and to this day has no complications. I finally found a product that fits her needs perfectly. As an analytical chemist I can decipher hidden simple sugars thar are included in dog foods. So I narrowed my choice down to one and have been feeding her Fromms for many years.

  69. Paula

    I love Honest Kitchen products. This is a wonderful, caring company. They helped me immensely when my dog was diagnosed with megaesophagus. She could not keep her food down. She was losing weight and we thought we were going to lose her. They recommended several products and we settled on Thrive because it had the least chunks and a higher calorie count, She is now 14 and has been eating Thrive for 2 years. She has gained back her weight, her coat is black and shiny and she actually sheds less. I highly recommend any product from this company.

  70. Lionda

    Purina foods are fine. Have been raising my performance dogs on the Purina Select for years and cats as well. Beneful wet dog food has great human quality ingredients. Purina has the money and expertise to do the research. I do not believe in the conspiracy approach to choosing pet food. I also have saved many kittens who would not eat with Merrick canned cat food. Everyone makes their own choices and does their research. No need to put them down.

    1. MikeL

      @ Lionda

      I smell troll here folks. Don’t bother raising to this – don’t feed trolls. Their joy is getting a rise out of people.

    2. Tracey

      Beneful kills animals and does not have “great human quality ingredients”.

      Dogs have died and continue to die from eating this vile crap known as Beneful.


      Ground yellow corn (CRAP), chicken by-product meal (DEAD ANIMALS), corn gluten meal (CRAP), whole wheat flour, animal fat preserved with mixed-tocopherols, rice flour, beef, soy flour, meat and bone meal, propylene glycol (TOXIC CHEMICAL), sugar (CRAP), tricalcium phosphate, salt, phosphoric acid, potassium chloride, animal digest (VILE CRAP GROSS), sorbic acid (a preservative), mono and dicalcium phosphate (VILE CRAP CHEMICALS), dried spinach, dried peas, dried carrots, L-Lysine monohydrochloride, calcium propionate (a preservative), choline chloride, zinc sulfate, Vitamin E supplement, ferrous sulfate, manganese sulfate, Red 40, niacin, Vitamin A supplement, Yellow 6 (CRAP) , Yellow 5 (CRAP), copper sulfate, Vitamin B-12 supplement, calcium pantothenate, Blue 2, thiamine mononitrate, garlic oil, pyridoxine hydrochloride, riboflavin supplement, Vitamin D-3 supplement, calcium iodate, menadione sodium bisulfite complex (source of Vitamin K activity), folic acid, biotin, sodium selenite.

    3. Angie

      The ONLY reason people buy foods like beneful, or dog chow is because of the cheap price and no other reason. They don’t even bother looking at the ingredients, because if they did, they would NEVER feed it to ANY animal!!

  71. Suszie

    Did ANY of Y’all bother to even GO to Merrick’s New page???? Are any of y’all familiar with the difference between a hostile take over, a buyout, and a merger??? This from all accounts on the Merrick page appears to be a MERGER, meaning that Merrick is SETTING IT’S OWN TERMS for the purchase of the company AND that if Purina/Nestle Co(the parent company of Purina) fail to abide by them then the merger will become null and void. Garth Merrick himself is orchestrating this deal, do you REALLY REALLY think this man would take his “baby” and give it to a pimp to sell it out like a whore on the streets??? I can answer that because I am a Texan born bred and raised and the answer there is HELL NO!!!! I can all but assure you that Mr. Merrick has made sure there are all kinds of fail safes involved in the purchase of his company as he will STILL be the Chairman of the Board for his company. While Purina has an atrocious reputation due to using foreign sourced meat, meal, and vegetables, Merrick does not, in fact just the opposite, so for Purina, the purchase of this company, which by the way bought out Castor and Pollux in 2012, is a way to try to regain public trust for their company. It is a way of saying look we are TRYING to clean up our screw up, we are even acquiring companies that have good names and above average practices when it comes to the production of their product. So to stop buying Merrick simply because Nestle Co MAY acquire it, nothing is final in the large business world for almost a year and is always subject to change until the finalized paperwork is signed, would be to put almost 350 people out of work in both Texas and Illinois, is that really worth all the doom and gloom over this deal??? Can you live with yourselves when you realize that good families will hit hard times all because of a panic that is unfounded at this point in time??? Merrick is STILL Merrick until the final paperwork is signed, if you are THAT worried about it then stock up now while it IS still wholly owned by Merrick, but DO NOT put people out on the streets to struggle because of panic and fear. As I was once told a long time ago, let sleeping dogs lie, right now this dog is still sleeping and until it stirs both myself, my mother and my son and daughter-in-law will continue to purchase and use the brand as it is what our doggies love AND we know all the materials are SOURCED in the United States. Take heart and do not borrow troubles, you will find soon enough that you have plenty other troubles to deal with currently.

    Here is the link to Merrick’s newsroom for any of those that are interested in what is exactly said by Merrick about the merger.

    1. Pet Owner

      Yes I did and wasn’t impressed in the least. Sounds like you might be advanced PR for our beloved Nestle Purina (which lately as a few distractions going on in the Media, doesn’t it). Unfortunately for propaganda sake the followers of TAPF have been around the block a few times! This isn’t the average chat forum, these folks have been in the process of education for many years,

      Me thinks there’s a vested interest here for people not to panic so that jobs are not lost prematurely. We can understand that from a sympathetic perspective. This means livlihood for families and community! Personally, in terms of having survived several “mergers” in the financial world yes it does take about a year for a transaction to settle. But as soon as legal issues are settled, watch out. Also, this is normal commerce, this is the Pet Food Industry (PFI) we’re talking about. If they already don’t adhere to Truth in Advertising and are permitted FDA Compliance Policies then what in the world would make us believe Nestle-Purina has any pure intentions?

      The first thing that does happen is for the parent company to say to the public, don’t worry, if you love Merricks, continue to love it! Because what they’re buying besides the facility, operation and formulas are the CUSTOMERS (Hellow out there!) The last thing they want to lose are Merricks’ customers or there wouldn’t be much point in buying the company. So let’s take a deep breath and ask why would such a successful, quality driven company even be acquired (there’s no such thing as a true merger) by a Conglomerate? Answer (1) Merricks is a competitor in the marketplace. With the growing awareness of PF Consumers know that Merrick is well situated. It’s line of Limited Ingredient formulas is very selective and offers a remedy for a lot of issues. OF COURSE the parent company wants access to these knowledgeable and issue driven Consumers!! N-P very well aware of the future of the PFI and they don’t care about tomorrow, or next year necessarily, but they do care about the direction of demand during the next decade. That’s how they manage financial survival. Buy low (note the demand and adapt) and sell high. Oh sure, Purina “might” take a lesson from how a boutique, family owned company earned its reputation. Ho’kay sure thing. But if Merricks falls under the operating structure of a Conglomerate delivering profit to shareholders (as it’s main purpose) then why would it not expect all of it’s operations to adhere to the economic priority? Is it going to accept a loss just because it happens to be Merricks??

      Answer (2) so is there another model in the PFI where a boutique brand has been allowed to continue operating so independently from their parent company? If you can name one, please point us in their direction so we can still support them. Trust me the parent company is going to say, sure thing continue your model, continue your advertising, hang on to every Consumer you have, and for a personal signing bonus, we’ll allow you (the owner/operator) to retain name recognition and your identity! Of course that means your salary too (Hellow!). Oh and along the way as you find cheaper sourcing know that an operating budget will be developed for Merricks. That’s what ownership means; ownership IS power.

      The other thing that’s going to happen is phasing out duplicate staff. Not the people who actually make the product (the assembly line) but HR, advertising, any overhead that’s duplicated in the parent company. The more staff disappears (usually through attrition) the more the culture of Nestle-Purina will infiltrate. Doing so becomes the Parent company’s opportunity to budget even further. And subtly change the strategy. Unfortunately the original quality staff (the innovators, the believers, the ethically driven) usually jump ship first because it becomes just too obviously what direction oppression eventually takes. These kind of people will find positions with other companies welcoming their experience and reputation.

      You can stock up on Merricks all you want, but months of hanging on to aging food isn’t going to do your pet much good if you’re committed to buying quality & fresh in the first place. If Merricks really wanted to SERVE their loyal Consumers, then they they might have considered merging with another equally quality driven company more in line with their own vision, and joined forces in terms of expanding resources and expertise. If several of these kinds of companies would form a strategic relationship and operation, then they might survive against N-P. But that doesn’t happen much in the PFI does it? Hmmm, we wonder why?? So never, ever buy into ANY PFI marketing ploys. Know that fancy websites are just another opportunity for virtual storytelling! Sorry to burst your bubble for the day. But people are getting really, reeelly tired of continuing to search for products they can trust. Especially these poor cat owners who have a terrible time finding something their pet likes!

      1. GloriaJH

        Website = Mostly PR, I’d look to other Resources NOT connected with a company to research the Real Story.

    2. MikeL

      @ Suszie,

      “Likely a merger” isn’t what the Castor and Pollux (owned by Merrick) website states. It states:

      “Merrick Pet Care announced today it has signed an agreement for Nestlé Purina PetCare Company to purchase the company from its private equity owner, Swander Pace Capital. Terms were not disclosed.”

      It is not a merger, it is a complete purchase. It goes on to state:

      “Merrick is one of the fastest-growing natural and organic pet food companies in the industry, and will continue to operate as an independent business with no planned changes to its management or operations.”

      The key words here are ” no planned changes” – not “no changes will be made” and there is a whole lot of difference there as the latter is a claim to not change anything while the former does not in any way claim or promise not to make changes.

      Of huge and sad interest to me is the statement:

      “Merrick will be able to further build upon its record of providing pets with industry leading nutrition, quality and food safety, while taking advantage of new global resources and innovations.”

      And what exactly is it that nestle purina does best with it’s global resources and innovations? Why, they happen to make tremendous profits turning bottom of the barrel (and worse) waste into pet “food” and treats.

      1. Sage

        Surely Purina’s referenced “Global Resources” include China! Wonder how many of their ingredients originate there…

        1. Regina

          Sage, I immediately thought the same thing when I saw “Global Resources” — less stuff coming from respected entities. Hey, let’s search the “globe” for the cheapest resources!!!!

    3. B Dawson

      In the multiple posts you’ve made on this topic, you have continually cited the PR departments and company information sites. Do you believe everything that’s offered by corporate spin doctors? Only corporate devotees could possibly be that naïve

    4. Regina

      Suszie, do you really think some of those current Merrick employees that you are worried about losing their jobs due to folks here refusing to buy anything connected to purina, do you really think that their jobs won’t be in jeopardy once purina takes over?????

      Years ago I worked for a company that was bought by another company. There were folks from the original company that were “let go” — so don’t think that those 350 Merrick employees’ jobs are at risk just because concerned pet parents want nothing to to with purina. purina will whittle them out a bit at a time. At least now, some of those Merrick employees can start looking for another job before the soul-sucking greedy bastards of purina force them out.

  72. B Dawson

    Today’s NY Times has an eye opening article on how the fish in your pet’s food was caught & processed. Much of it comes from Thailand (all of you Weruva lovers paying attention?) and is caught under brutal conditions. One of these so called slave ship’s cargo was traced to a Thai company that supplies Iams, Meow Mix and Fancy Feast. Three guesses who owns Fancy Feast.

    Here’s what Nestle/Purina told the NYT reporter: …”Lisa K. Gibby, vice president of corporate communications for Nestlé, which makes pet food brands including Fancy Feast and Purina, said that the company is working hard to ensure that forced labor is not used to produce its pet food. “This is neither an easy nor a quick endeavor,” she added, because the fish it purchases comes from multiple ports and fishing vessels operating in international waters…”.

    So it seems that the pursuit of cheap fish come at the cost of a supply chain that can’t be documented. Nestle/Purina can’t say what boat caught the fish or even how long it was stored in melting ice before being processed. The only thing that can be confirmed is that the fish came from the sea.

    Here’s the link to the article –

    It is a long article, but I urge y’all to read it beginning to end. Not all of this fish is bound for pet food, some of it is sold for human consumption as well. Companies like Weruva take great pains to market their product as “human grade and made in human food plants”. This is NO guarantee that the fish were sustainably harvested or that human rights haven’t been ignored.

    All of this reinforces the need to understand where you food comes from – consumers’ greatest power is in how they spend their money. You can blog all day, sign petitions until your pen runs dry, but if you continue to buy products that support inhumane industries who care nothing about what they do to their workers or what quality of product they produce, you will not change anything. **Every dollar spent with these companies is one more statistic that industry lobbyists will use to influence the politicians who control the regulatory industry.**

    There has been some discussion here that Merrick wasn’t “bought out”, but merely made a stock deal with Purina. It doesn’t matter. At the end of the day, profits will still flow up to Nestle/Purina and continue to support the inhumane treatment of workers and the wholesale rape of our oceans in search of the lowest cost ingredients.

    1. Gloria JH

      Thanks, Dawson – I am a fan of Weruva – and yes, I did take notice.

      I try to avoid feeding fish.
      Weruva -Love Me Tender favor- is the only wet food one of my cats will eat – (Chicken, Duck and some Tuna) so I’m in a real jam, I am. 🙂

      As for the other foods, I do the best I can with the resources I have – some have said the feral-born cats that
      I feed eat better than most other cats.

      I started going crazy about their food when I first became acquainted with this website and others like it (probably about 5 years ago?). Then after getting the bad news after bad news about food and the ingredients I decided that I will stop emptying my bank account, and my energy level, and just do the best I can with the resources (living on retired income) that I have. I currently am caring for 12 cats living indoors – (5 of which are still feral-like and 7 socialized), and 6-7 feral-born that I’ve fed (and provided protection & shelter) since they were born.

      There are so many other health concerns – other than food to go crazy over – too numerous to mention.

      Even feeding raw is risky. So, I provide 80% moist food – even for the Feral-Born – and that helps keep my conscience a little clearer.

      It certainly isn’t a purrfect world, but going crazy won’t help the cats for which I care, so I just have to settle with doing the best I can with the limitations that I have. 🙂 One day I may even have to un-join these websites just to keep myself sane – yes, I have perfectionist tendencies so I get stressed out over my inability to be the best meow-mommy I can be. 🙂

      1. Vicky

        Hi Gloria..
        I am right there with you, my ferals those at my work get a better deal with wet food, the other feeding area, feeding the ferals is not actually welcome, so they get dry to keep mess to a minimum and keep them in food(approx 20 of them) So far neither feeding area do not like the upgraded food..they just sniffed and walked much for that! But they are eating and I provide wet food that they will eat to those I can do that for. so like you I do the best I can, make the best choices I can keeping in mind that yes, I have an 18 YO female with stage 2 kidney failure.. yes, some foods are high in phosphorus..well there is a binder and I use it if I see issues, I have a male that did block once and I would love to prevent that from happening again. I do not wish to go raw either… so making informed choices, keeping in mind my budget and do the best I can…
        take care!

        1. Gloria JH

          Hi, Vicky – looks like you have quite the challenge trying to feed some of the ferals that you care for.
          I’m sorry to read about your 18 year old female – it seems that once they get up in Senior Years a lot of their organs begin to fail – it’s just the aging process, I guess – no matter what their diet has been. 🙂

      2. Sage

        I posted this towards the top regarding WERUVA / SOULISTIC

        WERUVA also manufactures SOULISTIC which is sold only at Petco – Check the INGREDIENTS here Same high standards and human grade ingredients as Weruva, better prices.

        My cat’s favorites are Good KARMA which is JUST white chicken meat (not an extrusion) and supplements. Sweet Salutations is just Chicken, Tuna and supplements and both flavors are in a clear sauce or liquid.

        ALSO within the last TWO weeks, Soulistic has added a FISH – FREE PATE style in 3 and 5.5 oz cans. This pate has a great texture, is very easy to eat and it is like NO other pate. ALL of my cats LOVE it and these same cats typically will NOT eat ANY pate!! Not shown on Soulistic or Petco websites yet, the best flavors are Chicken Pate and Turkey and Chicken Pate with light blue and turquoise labels. The pates are labeled to have higher protein. ALL Soulistic is on sale at Petco til Aug 8 if you want to try it. My FERAL cats also eat this!

        1. Hope

          Sage–it’s true that Weruva manufacturers Soulistic brand but it is not a part of the Weruva family of brands. It is a private label meaning it’s made according to the specifications of the requestor not according to the specifications of Weruva. In this case it would seem that Petco is the private label requester. So to be a better price, particularly at the higher than independent pet supply store prices that Petco typically charges, there has to be something about the formula or size of cans or sourcing that can lower the price. Additonally, when I hear that “all my cats like it” I get skeptical because I know that the formula could have something in it to enhance taste to assure broad liking such as a “natural flavoring” or a salt derivative. I’m pleased you found a brand that you like but I think it’s important to have this information too when determining that a food has high standards and human grade ingredients.

        2. Gloria JH

          Hi, Sage
          I remember looking at Soulistic a while back – and everything seemed to contain fish so I didn’t check into it further.
          After your post I checked into it again – and will try some of the flavors that look like they are fish-free. The two Pate recipes that you mentioned don’t seem to be on the PetCo website.

          OnLine buying Tip:
          Amazon does carry some of the Soulistic foods.

          Also, I am a member of, and I went to through the portal. When I do that, they send me a check – at I get a 4% return on my purchase – the refund depends on the website’s agreement with
          I’ve found that when I take advantage of the PetCo, or PetFoodDirect’s “auto ship” I won’t get a refund on the auto ship the next time it ships – so sometimes it’s better just to calculate which is the better savings, the ebates refund, or the pet store auto ship discount. :).

          We’ll see how the cats like this brand and/or flavors. 🙂
          However, since Weruva is changing, I will be watching the ingredients with a lot more vigilance if I keep buying it.

          Thanks for the suggestions – I’ll look for the new Pate recipe and check it out when it becomes available.

      3. B Dawson


        Life is full of compromises, I agree. Stressing out over what you feed will only degrade your own health and then where would your critters be?! Feeding a high percentage of moist food is a great thing to do for cats.

        As a holistic pet shop owner for 10 years, I guided customers through the minefield associated with good nutrition, often watching them agonize more over their pet’s diet than their own. My only reason for taking a poke at Weruva was to clue people in that there is no ONE best food. So many comments here say “this one is the best”. There’s no such thing in my book.

        A good definition for “best” food is:
        1) your pet has to eat it, otherwise it’s a constant battle of wills,
        2) your pet has to do well on it – you must see a thriving, healthy critter who simply can’t be any shinier, brighter or energetic.
        3) you must be comfortable affording it – you won’t continue to feed something that you must sacrifice to afford.

        While I try to eat organic- and feed my 8 cats (two of which are house ferals) and 3 Afghan hounds the same – it’s not always possible. I look at nutrition as a long term thing, not a absolute on a daily basis.

        When I owned the shop, all the guys ate raw – and I mean simple raw, not these expensive blend diets. I simply can’t afford that now, so they get a rotating diet – kibble some nights, raw some nights, re-hydrated freeze-dried some nights, Real Meat for breakfast.

        1. Gloria JH

          B. Dawson –
          I smiled when I saw your #1 criteria of a “good best food” – how true, how true!
          Your other definitions are “right on”, and I’ll try to keep them in mind when I begin to feel guilty. 🙂

          Raw: Feline’s Pride just sent me a email that said they were now selling supplements so that if I want to feed raw I use my own food and their supplement to assure all the right nutrients are included in the raw meat I would provide. I’m interested in this concept as the concern of not mixing the right nutrients with any raw I might give them is a huge concern.
          Sometimes I do get frozen chicken tenders from Trader Joes (no additives in this product) and chop them into small chunks with a lot of water. I slightly defrost with water in the microwave – and when I give them the food they usually go for the juice first. (I live in the S. CA desert – Palm Springs area and make sure they have as much moisture I can provide and they want.)
          I have used this raw food to trap (for TNR) and it’s usually a winner.
          I’ve never tried the freeze-dried because I am concerned about the water content – I do like your “rotating diet” routine.
          Thanks, again, B. 🙂

          1. B Dawson

            Wow, I can’t imagine the cost in feeding that many cats raw. Even my rescue/TNR obsessed (and well-off!) friend in CA only used raw for special needs cats.

            I personally think that too many people make raw diets too complicated, or feel they have to purchase more expensive blends in order to have a “complete” diet. My raw diet mentor was Juliette de Bairacli Levy, a pioneer (and I mean the original!) of raw diets and holistic vet care. Her Natural Rearing(tm) diet used only simple additions like kelp or nettles as supplements. She’s written many books, but the main one would be “Complete Herbal Handbook for Dog and Cat”, written in the ’50’s. Some of the information is rather quaint since she lived a simple life, but her diet outline is quite sensible.

            Since you’re in Palm Springs, you may be able to purchase Halshan’s. It was the top selling frozen in my shop and what I fed to all my guys. Super reasonable in price, too. It’s simple ground meat, meat & veg or organ & bone sold in one pound blocks wrapped in white butcher paper. Good selection of single protein sources – beef, chicken, turkey, lamb, buffalo, fish, ostrich. Sharon Halshan is super careful about her sources and her quality and always happy to talk with customers. I don’t know if she is still in business, but it’s worth looking into.

            Since this is a little off the thread, email me privately if you have other questions – noahsapothecary(at)mindspring(dot)com.

          2. Gloria JH

            B.Dawson – I just put your email address in my address book – thx, g

  73. Vicky

    Well with all that that has been said..I did find a local pet store that sells independent brands such as those listed above.. good thing is with this store, with the receipt if dogs or cats hate the food and ferals wont eat, then I can return opened bag with unused food. So I felt a bit better spending the $$ to try. I did let them know about the impending merger which they did not know about so I explained I wanted to have a good backup food if and likely when Merrick goes to hell in a hand basket! they did give me some samples which was nice. I have printed the article to read later on.

    1. B Dawson


      Most every bag of pet food worth its nutrition says “unconditionally guaranteed” or “100% satisfaction”. To me that means you should be able to return the bag for ANY reason, the retailer should take it back and the manufacturer should stand behind the retailer.

      It’s sometimes hard for small retailers to take the upfront cost for that policy, but I refused to carry any food in my shop that didn’t backup that claim. When I found out that the distributor simply threw the returned food away, I made the arrangement to return the empty bag and kept the food to give to homeless shelters or anyone who came into my shop needing some assistance in feeding their pet. Our local shelter wouldn’t accept the food, preferring to feed the same diet so as not to upset any tummies.

      1. Vicky

        Hi there…well its official..the dogs love the Nulo food.. in fact, they turned their noses up at their regular food…of course they are still getting the regular food as I introduce the Nulo but getting less and less each day.. Dont want to upset the tummies! The cats.. still work in progress to have a good backup if/when Merrick goes to the hell in a hand basket ingredient/nutrition wise. Onward!

  74. Sarita

    Darn it! I was buying Merrick specifically for my 3 dogs due to the fact that they are an independently US made dog food. I don’t trust any other big companies especially any dog foods that are made in the Diamond plant. Also our dogs almost died because a few years back there were recalls in all big names dog brand that was made in China and Diamond plant. From then on we vowed to just only buy from US and independently made companies and we never had any illness with all our dogs since then. This so sad that all good companies and small companies are merging in with large companies that only cares on making mass produce and low quality product. I am now searching for another dog brand that is independently US made if we can’t find one we may have to go back to the old fashion way which is cooking for our dogs. Our dogs are like kids to us, these companies just don’t get it that more and more consumer are getting smarted and wiser about what is best for their family member.

  75. B dawson

    Well here’s an interesting development. Organix (owned by Merrick) announced in Pet Age Magazine this month that 10 of its canned cat & dog food formulas have been certified GMO-Free.

    Since Nestle/Purina now has stock in this company (or owns it depending on who you talk with), buying Organix certified non-GMO food will actually help fund the fight to PREVENT mandatory labeling for GMOs. Nestle donated $1 million to lobby against labeling even as the CEO proclaimed that the company saw no need to modify food. So they will market Non-GMO certification proudly to obtain their market share while refusing to allow labeling that will help consumers make informed choices on other products.

    This is the corporate double speak that is slowly taking over every aspect of our purchasing choices. Because consumers only get 15 second sound bytes on network media and are too busy to dig deep, they will be hoodwinked yet again while corporations laugh it up in the boardroom.

    1. Cheryl Mallon-Bond

      Thank you for your comments pointing these facts out. I had wanted to post something similar so I am glad you got to it. People need to know this information because I hear people saying that they are just going to watch for a change in ingredients, but as another poster commented (which I did not know), is that they can change aspects of the ingredients yet no-one will know because they are allowed to use the labels they have until they run out! In as far as Nestle supporting NON-Labeling of GMO food, people should also search online for all the other companies that are also donating MILLIONS! of dollars to help lobby against GMO’s being labeled as well! I will GUARANTEE that almost every single person that is against GMO’s & the lack of their labeling, is SUPPORTING those same companies that are trying to keep GMO’s from being labeled by buying MANY of the products they sell, & I am not talking about just food products here. ANYTHING these companies sell that consumers buy, helps inadvertently support these companies to be able to donate the millions of dollars that they do, to squash GMO labeling, as well as other harm they do in the world, (which you can find out about if you choose) So we ALL have to stop buying ANY of their products, or the least possible. It isn’t that hard to do. Also people should know that buy organic products (like myself), that MANY of these Organic products are OWNED by these conglomerates like Nestle & others (do a search to uncover these organic brands & the parent company’s that are donating millions to undermine GMO labeling & STOP buying ANY of these brands!) Stick with the REAL ORGANIC companies that started the whole Organic revolution, the ones that are in it for the RIGHT reasons & not just the bottom line) Every single consumer purchase is a purchase that either supports or rejects abusive conglomerates! It would be interesting for each individual to go shopping with that list of companies to avoid buying from & see just how many items they now would be rejecting from their shopping cart & therefore puttingnthe consumer back in the position of power, by their purchasing power by supporting ethical companies instead. Food for thought, friends.

    2. am

      I recently found out that they’re not at all GMO-Free, and they’re not claiming it anymore, either (Merrick specifically which includes C&P/Organix) and possibly the same deal with Wellness based on their FAQ phrasing.

      In contacting Merrick, I was told initially and unequivocally that all of the ingredients in their diets are GMO-Free, but upon further questioning, they mean that to apply to all the non-protein ingredients, since the meat/animals and meat meals they source are likely fed GM feed. It was only through careful questioning that this came to light and the representative was not forthcoming.

      Furthermore, they say they don’t source meats/meals preserved by ethoxyquin, but there was a lot of hemming and hawing before I got a straight answer — it took many questions when a simple yes or no would have done nicely — which makes me pretty suspicious.

      Also, I think the Organix ingredients lists now contain a large(r) proportion of non-organic ingredients (try item number two (!) in the ingredients list for at least one kibble formula — a real stretch that they got organic certification for that (only because of ingredient weight, I’m sure!). So much for keeping things the way they were. (Or even improving them!) Nope, no thanks, Nestle/Purina.

  76. Sadie

    Merrick took the human grade claim off their website recently. This is probably why.

    1. Lori A

      Interesting. We all knew it was only a matter of time. They claim they aren’t going to change any of their formulas/ingredients, but . . .

      I am disappointed that the natural pet food store I buy most of my fur kids food from still carries Merrick because they are “promising” not to change anything. Yeah, right.

      1. Regina

        Lori, remind them of the promises made when the Natura brand made those promises when they were bought out by big conglomerate.

        Oh, how soon they forget!!!!

      2. Dog

        I have a natural pet food store and I still carry some of the Merrick because I know it will be some time before the formulas change and also, the Texas Hold’ems cannot be faked by a by-product version because you can see that it is pure meat in its natural form. Most of my customers dogs are highly sensitive to the heavy preservatives used in the by-product grade feed. If the pets start reacting to the food, licking their paws and get red itchy skin, we will know they started using Purina style by-product ingredients. We had this problem with Blue Buffulo, Purina blew the whistle on Blue Buffulo and it was suddenly clear why. I dropped it the same day they lost their court battle with Purina. Blue Buffulo was lying all along because instead of apologizing for using by-products, they just blamed their supplier the same day they lost. It makes me wonder if Purina is interested in owning a non-by-product company to make up for their 30 percent loss to safe alternative, human-grade based pet food. I doubt it. Since Merrick is a food carried by independent retailers, the ones who can evaluate foods based upon performance, it, the truth, will all come out in the wash. Purina brands don’t have to worry if half of their customers pets have kidney failure and chronic issues related to diet because the glitz just overrides the reality, all they have to do is deny and the mega scale marketing just makes the issues go away. Many dogs have immediate seizures with Denta Stix and Beneful. I explained the purchase to my Merrick customers but, right now, the customers on Merrick want to stay because it is still performing ok, no licking of the paws or loose stools yet. All the dry Merrick kibble will be eventually replaced with price comparable brands, like Fromm, Go, Zignature and especially Pinnacle. The Wellness Stews are only a bit more than the Merrick stews but the density of meat and veggies is higher. The Caru stew has very high Human Grade meat density and so may be worth the $5 price. The only advantage to dry kibble is cost. It does not clean the teeth, like we used to think, it actually causes starches to build up on the gum line. The only food that cannot be easily faked is raw food, which is always less expensive than canned, even cheap canned because 8 oz feeds 25 pounds. The safest raw food that is pathogen free and readily available is the Instinct but they push that in Petco now. I recommend doing a blend of dry (Pinnacle, never a questionable brand like Taste of the Wild or 4 health (Diamond Brands) mixed with raw instead of canned. Support the independent retailers who monitor the feedback on the community level but also think for yourself.

  77. Gale

    The Castor & Pollux Organix canned food for cats has changed. I opened a can with the updated label, and it looks like pate. It is supposed to be “shredded”, and used to have a chunky appearance. My cats did not want to eat it, either. I will no longer be purchasing Merrick products.

    1. B Dawson

      Well that didn’t take long, did it? I’d be interested in knowing if the ingredients changed as well. Do you have an old can to compare them to, Gale?

      Since the change happened so fast, I think there’s only two explanations given the lead time in manufacturing food. Either C&P had already changed the formula prior to being acquired and simply had not yet shipped the new food OR Purina is re-labeling it’s own formulas – there’s a scary thought, right? One way to tell is if the physical cans are different. Different canning facilities use different styles of cans and different type for the “best buy” dates and manufacturing codes that are printed usually on the bottom. Comparing those to an old can will tell you if the canning facility has changed as well. Shreds and pate cannot usually be manufactured on the same equipment.

      1. Gale

        I have compared the old can with the new can. The best by dates on the bottom of the cans are a different font size, and the ingredient list is different. Protein and fat %s are different also.

  78. Vicky

    Well, am still feeding the Merrick despite what is going on… One of my cats will NOT eat the other food at this point, adding it slowly over time, nope..she walks away, I have spent$$$..well friskies they will all chow down in a sec… with that said, I stick to a few flavors, try and add the better food and she takes one sniff even if I mix it in well a tiny bit and walk away.. this is so damn frustrating… she is a merrick girl and that is that…I do keep the other food..that BFF brand she wont even look at it..none of them will and I tried them all so that particular brand is a no go.. I mix it with the ferals food and it is gone the next day so some critters must like it! With that said.. I am hoping at some point she will eat the other food and I keep trying. With the Merrick I have now, I have not noticed any oily texture at least not yet but not sure what flavor it has happened to. So far all appears to be okay and I am keeping a close watch. No vomiting or the squirts but I stick to about 5 different flavors I know they will eat.
    I keep trying… onward!

  79. jfm

    Have been feeding Merrick to our dogs for the last 3 years. Will Merrick dog food be made in China???
    Once Purina bought out Inova Dog food, their food made our dogs sick! Purina has Inova made in china!!!
    Purina has a history of putting fillers and all kinds of junk in the dog food once they buy out a company!

    1. Jane Democracy

      Sorry… Purina doesn’t own Natura, never has… A simple search on the internet will actually tell you who owns it.

    2. Angie

      Thank you for taking the time to contact us. Merrick signed a purchase agreement with Purina, However we are still going to own and operate as an independent business and continue making our recipes in our own facility. We will continue using no fillers in our recipes as well as remaining China Free. Angie we certainly hope you will remain a loyal customer and see that we will continue making the best food ever for the best pets ever. If you have any questions please feel free to contact us. Have A Great Day!
      Amber Urias
      Pet Parent Relations, Merrick Pet Care, Inc.  |
      Join us on Facebook!

      1. Susan Thixton Author

        Angie – this website is not a advertising forum for Merrick. I think you’ve made your point – no more comments like this one. If you wish to make another point – that’s fine.

  80. am

    Regarding Merrick, just got confirmation today that the only ingredients in their “diets” that are non-GMO are the ancillary ingredients (like fruit, grains in the grain-based formulas, etc. Since animals sourced for their proteins are fed GMO-based diets, they cannot promise their food is fully non-GMO and so do not make that claim on their packaging. Disappointing, but it seems that’s where we’re headed. And Organix (Castor and Pollux, one of their sister brands), although somehow still certified organic, is no longer technically “organic” by the SECOND ingredient (talking about dry kibble, in this example), as the meat meal specified is not “organic”.

    1. Robert

      I am very concerned about Castor and Pollux now. This has been a brand I have believed in along with a couple others to be mentioned in other comments. My cat loves the Organix Cat Treats and I have even used the dry food in between the others. What has me concerned mostly is if Purina did buy these two outright, What will be happening with them with the possible use of ethoxyquin and will they be testing the raw materials they use before processing for the inclusion of rendered animals that were put down using Sodium Pentabarbitol. This is not a plug for the book but I did learn about these from Ann N. Martin’s 3rd Ed. Food Pets Die For. Full Disclosure: I have borrowed this book from my local library district in Las Vegas and have received no financial compensation from anyone regarding the books mention. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

  81. C. Contarino

    I have an ongoing complaint with Castor & Pollux Organix canned cat food right now. The food is supposed to be a pate, but the consistency is more water than food. They have not been able to resolve this issue, claiming that the product has not changed. Now that I know that Merrick (who bought out Castor & Pollux) is now owned by Purina, it all makes sense as to why the product has changed. It’s sad when a company that is purely organic sells out to a company like Purina because inevitably they sell their soul and quality eventually goes down…

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