Search
Close this search box.

IAMS Cat Food Review | Rating | Reviews | Recalls

Iams is one of the most popular cat food brands in the world. One of the very first pet food brands to use animal derived protein in pet products.

Iams provides affordable food based on advanced nutrition research for two categories, activity and age based products and dietary requirements based products.

I have spent weeks researching and talking to cat owners about the Iams brand. As you very well know, diet is one of the most important components of your cat’s health and I want to ensure you get a complete picture of the food you are feeding your cat.

Keep reading this Iams cat food review to learn more about the company’s history, product line, recalls and ingredient quality.

Our Rating of Iams Cat Food

When reviewing any cat food brand, it is important to judge and rate them on breed specificness, ingredient quality which covers protein sources, fillers and other ingredients, price, recalls, customer rating and the variety in their products.

This is how we rated Iams cat food brand for the above six criteria.

Iams cat food review rating

We have given Iams cat food brand 3 out of 5 stars due to the questionable ingredient quality, a history of recalls and the high price to quality ratio.

Iams Overview

Iams is a pet food brand owned and operated by Mars inc. except for the European arm which is owned by Spectrum Brands.

Iams pet food was founded by Paul Iams in 1946. Paul Iams was a nutritionist that wanted to provide animal based high protein food for cats and dogs. They initially started off making dog food only and then later expanded to cat food as well.

Iams pet food has changed ownership a couple of times since its inception. All pet food by Iams brand strictly follows the AAFCO pet food guidelines. [1]

Mars pet care,the parent company of Iams, is the largest pet food company in the world with around 40 pet care brands under their belt including Whiskas, Royal Canin and Crave.

Iams cat food has two primary categories, first based on age and activity level and the second based on special dietary requirements. Age and activity based cat food is available in both wet and dry form while the special dietary cat food is only in dry form.

Where Do Iams Source & Manufacture Their Cat Food

Mars Inc., the parent company of Iams manufactures most of their pet food in Ohio, Nebraska and North Carolina, United States while the formula that is available internationally is manufactured in Drenthe, Netherlands.

Iams claims that most of the ingredients they use in their products are sourced in the USA but they also source from manufacturers from other countries. All of their partners have to strictly follow Mars’ Responsible Sourcing program and their Supplier Code of Conduct, which means that the company uses third-party supplier risk assessment to choose ethical and reliable suppliers.

Ingredient Quality

Iams uses, at best, average ingredients in their cat food products.Compared to other budget commercial cat food brands, we would rate a Iams ingredient quality to be higher than other similar cat foods in comparison.

Iams dry food products, do not contain any artificial food colours or artificial preservatives. These ingredients can cause adverse reactions in sensitive cats.

Iams main protein source comes from chicken. Chicken is an excellent source of lean protein without providing an excessive amount of calories to your furry friend.

Iams products are grain inclusive, including grains from corn and sorghum. Sorghum can be an excellent alternative to wheat and is gluten free. There has been some criticism that sorghum is used in cattle feed and might not be best suited for cats. Some cats might have sensitivities to corn.

Iams uses a unique ingredient called beet pulp which can be a good source of prebiotics for gut health to improve the digestive system. Although the research is a bit inconclusive if it does impact gut health in cats. [2]

Iams DRY Food Nutrition Comparison

Source

Iams WET Food Nutrition Comparison

Source

Customer Reviews

Iams receives mostly positive reviews from cat parents. With an average rating of 4.7 stars for their dry cat food line and a rating of 4.3 stars for their wet food line.

More than 90% of the customers would recommend Iams cat food to their friends. 

Iams has had their share of controversies and seems to put in effort to earn and keep the trust of their customers. 

Iams dry cat food costs around $0.45 per day for an average weight cat. Whilst their canned food cost around $2.62 per day.

Positive Reviews

“We are an IAMS family. It has always been the best choice for my cats, even over the years. There may be brands with higher this or higher that, but as an overall food to meet all the cats needs, IAMS is the one we come back to every time. Great value, for great food.” Izy Cat

“I have been feeding my cat this Iams ProActive Health Indoor Weight & Hairball Care Dry Cat Food since she was a kitten. At her last vet visit, the vet said she is extremely healthy for a 15 yr old cat. “Keep doing what you are feeding her.” Trudy

Negative Reviews

“I bought this dry cat food after adopting a one year old female kitty from our local rescue because I thought it was one of the better brands and recommended by our vet. Nothing could be farther from the truth. The poor cat could not digest the corn, and other by-products. This resulted in the worst smelling cat poop that literally stunk up the whole house plus gave the poor cat gas. Who knew a 8lb cat could have gas like a dog? Do a little research and buy a better brand. A switch to a grain free quality brand did the trick. We all feel better now. and I have learned to READ THE INGREDIENTS !” Lolita

“My cat is now in very expensive prescription food and being taken to the vet for crystals in his urine. He’s the second cat I’ve had that’s had this issue and my new vet informed me that it’s caused by poor diet. I thought I was feeding my cat good quality cat food. If this cat food works for you, great , but I wouldn’t recommend this brand. My kitty will be on prescription food for the rest of his life. Do yourself a favour and buy better quality food to start with.” Bowiesmommy

Iams Cat Food Brand Line

Iams offers several cat food product lines based on specific life stages and activity levels.

There is the Pro Active Health Line which is composed entirely of dry food and the wet selection is broken down into three lines, Purrfect Delights, Purrfect Delicacies, and Perfect Portions.

Iams Cat Food Recall History

Despite claiming to have high safety standards and quality assurance measures, Iams cat food has been recalled several times. Here is a list of recent recalls for Iams cat food.

  • August 2013 – FDA recalled several Iams dry pet food due to potential salmonella contamination. [3]
  • March 2013 – Iams shakeable dog treats were recalled due to potential mold growth. [4]
  • December 2011 – Iams Proactive Health Smart Puppy Dry Dog Food was recalled due to the detection of high levels of aflatoxin in some production batches. [5]
  • March 2007 – Due to melamine contamination, certain pet canned foods were recalled. [6]

Legal Issues & Controversies

Iams claims to have around 120 quality assurance tests for their products but that still hasn’t been able to stop a number of recalls for Iams products over the last decades. Raising concerns over whether these quality assurance processes are just for show.

After the company was purchased by Procter & Gamble in 1999, they quickly started making changes to the formula to lower prices and increase profits. Some changes included replacing high quality ingredients with by-product meals and the recommended size was also reduced. [7]

After the changes FDA issued a letter to Iams regarding their concern over insufficient serving sizes and in 2003 Iams agreed to make changes to their labelling based on FDA’s recommendations. [8]

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) conducted an undercover investigation in 2002 and 2003 into Iams Sinclair Research Center. After the video was released, Iams terminated their relationship with Sinclair Research Center. You can watch the video on Youtube.

Iams Top 3 Cat Food Recipes Reviewed

Here we review the top three best cat food recipes from Iams based on their ingredients, nutritional value and breed/health specificness.

Iams ProActive Health Indoor Weight & Hairball Care Dry Cat Food

  • First 5 Ingredients: Chicken, Chicken By-Product Meal, Corn Grits, Corn Gluten Meal, Ground Whole Grain Corn
  • Key Feature: Low calorie and High Fiber
  • Guaranteed Analysis: 30% Crude Protein, 8.3% Crude Fiber, 11% Crude Fat, 10% Crude Moisture
  • Caloric Content: 302 kcal/cup
  • Type of Product: Pea Free, High fiber, Grain inclusive
  • Life Stage: Adult

This Iams recipe is a low calorie high fiber cat food, which can be a good option for indoor cats with an inclination for obesity.

Overall this cat food has moderate protein content, low fat content and high carbohydrate matter. Remember cats don’t need high level of carbohydrates in their daily diet.

The main protein sources for this food comes from chicken and chicken by product meal followed by lots of grains.

Dried beet pulp and sorghum in the ingredients are good sources of fiber.

What concerned us was the inclusion of caramel colouring, use of low value plant ingredients and high carbohydrate content in the recipe.

Iams ProActive Health Healthy Adult Original with Chicken Dry Cat Food

  • First 5 Ingredients: Chicken, Chicken By-Product Meal, Corn Grits, Corn Gluten Meal, Ground Whole Grain Corn
  • Key Feature: Low calorie and High Fiber
  • Guaranteed Analysis: 30% Crude Protein, 8.3% Crude Fiber, 11% Crude Fat, 10% Crude Moisture
  • Caloric Content: 302 kcal/cup
  • Type of Product: Pea Free, High fiber, Grain inclusive
  • Life Stage: Adult

This Iams recipe is a low calorie high fiber cat food, which can be a good option for indoor cats with an inclination for obesity.

Overall this cat food has moderate protein content, low fat content and high carbohydrate matter. Remember cats don’t need high level of carbohydrates in their daily diet.

The main protein sources for this food comes from chicken and chicken by product meal followed by lots of grains.

Dried beet pulp and sorghum in the ingredients are good source of fiber.

What concerned us was the inclusion of caramel coloring, use of low value plant ingredients and high carbohydrate content in the recipe.

Read more on Ingredients to Avoid in Cat Food.

Iams Perfect Portions Indoor Chicken Recipe Grain-Free Cat Food

  • First 5 Ingredients: Chicken Broth, Chicken, Chicken Liver, Meat By-Products, Tapioca Starch
  • Key Feature: High Protein
  • Guaranteed Analysis: 9% Crude Protein, 1% Crude Fiber, 4% Crude Fat, 82% Crude Moisture
  • Caloric Content: 35 kcal/serving
  • Type of Product: Pea Free, Grain Free
  • Life Stage: Adult

Cats apparently love this recipe, even the picky eaters. The primary source of protein come from chicken and the mysterious unknown meat by-products.

This Iams recipe is packed with high protein, low fat and moderate carbohydrate content.

There are a lot of ingredients that are questionable at best. The inclusion of carrageenan, tropica starch and fish oil based fats. Some of these ingredients have been linked to health issues in cats and some of them absolutely provide no nutritional value to the cats.

Compared to other wet foods, the carbohydrate content is still a bit higher than what we would like.

Our Verdict

Although the reviews and feedback from customers is great for Iams, we find it really hard to recommend this brand.

Iams is a little better than other mid-level cat food out there but the addition of questionable ingredients, a consistent history of recalls (they took out the recalls from their official website, not a good sign) makes us really doubt if they have our pets’ health as their number one priority and not profits.

Always consult your veterinarian on what cat food you should feed your cat.