Iams Cat Food Review | Recalls & Ratings in 2021

Iams Cat Food

This is our Iams cat food review in 2021.

Iams is an established brand with a rich history of providing affordable formulas that are nutritional and balanced.

This unique company was one of the first pet food brands to introduce a protein-first diet, with an animal ingredient as the first ingredient in their pet foods.

Today, Iams offers a wide range of products that are suitable for cats with different dietary requirements. And at a lower, more affordable price compared to many pet food brands.

I’m a passionate cat owner who’s a bit of a nerd when it comes to feline nutrition. I have spent several days researching the best cat food brands to help cat owners choose the best diet for their feline friends. Diet is the most crucial part of being a pet owner.

Continue reading this Iams cat food review to learn more about Iams’ history, products, recalls, and controversies.

About Iams

Iams Logo

Iams’ mission since its inception is to improve the pet food industry by continuous advancements in scientific research and improve pet nutrition.  

Iams is one of the older pet food brands and started when many pet food manufacturers used grains as a foundation for their product lines. Iams was one of the parties involved in bucking this trend and worked towards a protein-first diet that resembled a domestic animal’s ancestral diet.

Although many premium pet food brands use better quality ingredients than Iams, they remain a highly affordable pet food brand of excellent value.

And unlike other budget pet foods, Iams strives to use quality animal-based protein sources as the first ingredient in their formulas.

Iams offers a variety of cat foods that meet the nutritional requirements of cats for all life stages.

The History Behind Iams

Iams is owned by Mars, Inc., and was founded in 1946 by Paul Iams, a self-taught pet nutritionist. Iams aimed to create the first dry dog food, which had an animal protein as the foundation. The company released its first product in the 1950s.

Iams quickly became a global leading pet food brand. 

Its unique research quickly established the importance of nutritional support for gastrointestinal health, resulting in the introduction of Iams Plus in the 1960s. Iams Plus featured beet pulp to provide an additional source of dietary fiber that acted as a prebiotic.

Iams also created a new brand of dog food called Eukanuba in 1969. This unique brand of dog food was formulated to replicate a dog or cat’s evolutionary carnivore diet. 

Eukanuba became a successful pet food brand and continues to operate today as a sister company of Iams.

In the 1980s, Iams was the first pet food company to introduce product lines based on life stages. They formulated a puppy food that started the movement towards specialized products that support different age groups. [1]

The company has a long history and has been sold several times. In 1999 Iams was sold to Procter & Gamble (P&G), allowing Iams cat food to be sold across 70 countries worldwide.

In 2014, P&G announced they would sell Iams, Eukanuba, and Natura pet food to Mars Inc. Still, they would continue to own and sell products in Europe. P&G subsequently sold the European division of Iams to Spectrum Brands by the end of 2014.

All Iams’ products continue to meet the minimum daily requirements set out by AAFCO. [2]

Sourcing and Manufacturing

Mars Inc. is one of the largest companies in the United States and produces Iams products in Ohio, Nebraska, and North Carolina. The European division of the company operates in the Netherlands.

Iams’ research center is based in Ohio, where chemists, nutritionists, and veterinarians conduct research in the laboratories.

The company is proud of its food safety protocols, often claiming to have strict practices and safety protocols that exceed FDA and USDA standards.

However, information remains unclear as to where Iams sources their ingredients. The company claims that primary ingredients are sourced in the USA. But they do source minerals and vitamins from trusted suppliers in China.

All companies associated with Mars Inc. have to adhere to its Responsible Sourcing Program and Supplier Code of Conduct. As a result, any third-party supplier is subject to a risk assessment, so they work with reliable and ethical suppliers. [3,4]

Controversies and Concerns

As we previously discussed, Iams claims they maintain high safety and quality standards. Their products go through 120 quality control and safety tests before they are released for sale. 

However, Iams has been subject to numerous pet food recalls over the last decade. Melamine contamination, mold, and salmonella are all causes for the recalls associated with this brand. [5]

But, it is worth noting that after purchasing Iams by P&G in 1999, the company began experimenting and changing its formulas to limit costs.

Notably, some of the exploration into their formulas resulted in better quality diets by excluding by-products. And as a result, Iams recommended reducing servings sizes by 25%. [6]

But Nutro, a competitor pet food brand, conducted several independent studies on Iams’ changes to their products. The examinations were paused as a result of dogs losing excessive amounts of weight.

Nutro and Iams filed lawsuits retrospectively against each other, which caught the attention of the FDA. The institution voiced concerns to Iams over their inadequate serving sizes. [7]

In 2003, both cases were settled, and Iams agreed to change their labels based on the FDA’s concerns. 

Animal rights organization PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) conducted an undercover investigation in 2002 and 2003 of the Sinclair Research Center.

They released the video footage of the laboratory, which you can watch on YouTube. Following the release, Iams removed any association with Sinclair Research. 

Iams’ Ingredients Quality

Compared to the numerous brands and recipes available in the market today, Iams uses average ingredients for their formulas. But, compared to budget pet food brands, Iams’ products offer excellent quality and value.

Several of the Iams cat foods exclude artificial preservatives and colorings. These ingredients are known to cause allergic reactions to sensitive cats.

While most Iams cat foods contain grains, they use meat-based proteins as primary ingredients in their formulas. Typically, chicken is used as the first ingredient, an ideal protein source that restricts excessive calories and fat.

Below, you can find Iams’ dry and wet foods protein, fat, and fiber content compared to industry averages.

Iams Cat Food Review Comparison
Iams Cat Food Review Comparison

You will often find chicken by-products as the second ingredient in many Iams cat foods. Meat by-products are controversial ingredients to use in pet foods. It lowers the overall nutritional content because of how it is processed.

But, poultry by-products are highly concentrated sources of protein.

Many Iams formulas will contain added vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that aid immune health. Likewise, some recipes provide further nutritional support by including rich glucosamine, chondroitin, and L-carnitine sources. 


Iams Cat Food Products

Iams offers cat food products that provide nutritional support for age and lifestyle. They also provide recipes that help with digestive issues, hairballs, and weight control. 

Always speak to your veterinarian before making any permanent changes to your cat’s diet.

Iams ProActive Health

Iams ProActive Health

ProActive Health is the standout range of cat foods produced by Iams designed for various life stages and health conditions.

The product range is suitable for a wide range of cats, and the Kitten formula features an extra small kibble size.

While ProActive Health remains Iams’ premium product for cats, the diet remains relatively affordable for consumers. 

Owners of picky cats appreciate the appealing texture and unique flavor of the kibbles. Many owners also notice that veterinarians and experts recommend the brand due to its balanced, nutritional contents.

Iams Perfect Portions

Iams Perfect Portions

Iams Perfect Portions offers cat owners a practical, nutritional meal for cats with its easy-peal trays. The product range features recipes for all life stages and lifestyles, also offering an optimal metabolism recipe.

The product range has a “meat-first” approach, using ingredients such as chicken, turkey, salmon, and tuna as the first ingredient. Notably, Iams Perfect Portions come as pate or cuts in gravy.

The kitten formula features additional protein content that supports lean muscle development in growing kittens. Added DHA and omega-3 fatty acids play a vital role in their brain development.  

Many of their recipes use ingredients that bolster vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that support the immune system.

The recipes formulated for seniors feature lower protein content, ideal for an elderly cat’s less active lifestyle. Iams Perfect Portions also includes therapeutic levels of glucosamine that helps with arthritic joints.


What Do Customers Think Of Iams?

Generally, cat owners like the brand, despite Iams’ controversies in the past. 

Because PETA investigated a research facility used by Iams, thousands of cat owners boycotted the brand. But nowadays, it seems customers are more approving of the brand and their product lines.

Positive Reviews

“Our little girl isn’t so little anymore- she is turning one and has grown into a Really big girl. She loved her Iams soft kitten food so it was a natural choice to graduate to the adult version. She is an indoor kitty and does not like fish at all so we were very happy to find we could get the chicken without it being part of a variety pack which would be wasted.”

Customer reviewing Iams Perfect Portions Chicken Indoor Canned Cat Food.

“I was nervous of switching my cats from kitten food to cat food since they have reached one year old. Was incredibly surprised that they all went immediately to it and started eating. They loved it. The dry food before they ate periodically but nothing like this. Very much recommend.”

Customer reviewing Iams ProActive Health Chicken Dry Cat Food.

Negative Reviews

“All my cats took one sniff of this food and walked away. Not one would try it. A big waste of my money.”

Customer reviewing Iams ProActive Health Urinary Tract Cat Food.

“I should have realized that each half is not enough to satisfy a kitten. The package is difficult to open. And messy.”

Customer reviewing Iams Perfect Portions Kitten Cat Food.

Iams’ Recall History

The below list includes all dog foods, and cat food recalls since 2006 for the brand.

Despite Iams’ high safety and quality standards with regular testing, Iams has suffered several recalls over the years. 

  • Date: March 16, 2007
  • Product(s) Affected: All Iams Select Bites Cat Food 3oz Pouches, All Iams Slices Cat Food Cans, All Iams Flakes Cat Food Cans, All Iams Select Bites Dog Food 5.3oz Pouches, All Iams Small Bites Dog Food 6oz Cans, All Iams Chunks Dog Food 13.2oz Cans.
  • Reason for Recall: Possible contamination of Melamine. [8]
  • Date: June 9, 2010
  • Product(s) Affected: All Varieties of Iams ProActive Health Canned Cat & Kitten Foods 3oz & 5.5oz (Best Used By: 09/2011 to 06/2012)
  • Reason for Recall: Low levels of Thiamine (Vitamin B1). [9]
  • Date: July 25, 2010
  • Product(s) Affected: Iams Veterinary Formulas Feline Renal 5.5 lbs (Lot Code: 01384174B4), Iams Veterinary Formulas Feline Renal 5.5 lbs (Lot Code: 01384174B2).
  • Reason for Recall: Potential contamination of Salmonella. [10]
  • Date: December 6, 2011
  • Product(s) Affected: Iams ProActive Health Smart Puppy Dry Dog Food 7lb (Lot Code: 12784177I6), Iams ProActive Health Smart Puppy Dry Dog Food 8lb (Lot Code: 12794177D2, 12794177D3), Iams ProActive Health Smart Puppy Dry Dog Food 17.5lb (Lot Code: 12794177K1, 12794177K2).
  • Reason for Recall: High levels of Aflatoxin in specific batches. [11]
  • Date: March 22, 2013
  • Product(s) Affected: Iams Shakeables Turkey, 6oz (Lot Code: 2342419715A, 2325419715A, 2331419715A, 2332419715A, 2341419715A, 3016419715A, 3017419715A, 3018419715A, 3046419715A) Iams Shakeables Lamb, 6oz (Lot Code: 2338419715A).
  • Reason for Recall: Mold Growth [12]
  • Date: August 14, 2013
  • Product(s) Affected: Iams Healthy Naturals Chicken Adult, 13.3 lb (Lot Code: 31884177), Iams Healthy Naturals Chicken Adult, 13.3 lb (Lot Code: 31904177), Iams Healthy Naturals Chicken Adult 13.3 lb (Lot Code: 31924177), Iams Healthy Naturals Chicken Adult, 13.3 lb (Lot Code: 31934177), Iams Healthy Naturals Chicken Adult, 13.3 lb (Lot Code: 31944177), Iams Healthy Naturals Chicken Adult, 2.9 lb (Lot Code: 31944177), Iams Healthy Naturals Chicken Adult, 25.7 lb (Lot Code: 31884177), Iams Healthy Naturals Chicken Adult, 25.7 lb (Lot Code: 331894177), Iams Healthy Naturals Chicken Adult, 25.7 lb (Lot Code: 331904177), Iams Healthy Naturals Chicken Adult, 25.7 lb (Lot Code: 331914177), Iams Healthy Naturals Chicken Adult, 25.7 lb (Lot Code: 331934177), Iams Healthy Naturals Chicken Adult, 5 lb (Lot Code: 31904177), Iams Healthy Naturals Chicken Adult, 5 lb (Lot Code: 31914177), Iams Healthy Naturals Weight Control Adult, 13.3 lb (Lot Code: 31894177), Iams Premium Protection Chicken Adult, 12.1 lb (Lot Code: 31894177), Iams ProActive Health Large Breed Mature Adult, 30 lb (Lot Code: 31884177), Iams ProActive Health Large Breed Senior Plus, 13.3 lb (Lot Code: 31934177), Iams ProActive Health Large Breed Senior Plus, 26.2 lb (Lot Code: 31934177), Iams ProActive Health Large Chunks Adult, 15 lb (Lot Code: 31944177), Iams ProActive Health Small Breed Adult, 13.3 lb (Lot Code: 1874177), Iams ProActive Health Small Breed Adult, 13.3 lb (Lot Code: 31894177), Iams ProActive Health Small Breed Adult, 13.3 lb (Lot Code: 31924177), Iams ProActive Health Small Breed Adult, 3.1 lb (Lot Code: 31874177), Iams ProActive Health Small Breed Adult, 3.1 lb (Lot Code: 31894177), Iams ProActive Health Small Breed Adult, 5 lb (Lot Code: 31874177), Iams ProActive Health Small Breed Adult, 5 lb (Lot Code: 31894177), Iams ProActive Health Small Breed Adult, 5 lb (Lot Code: 31924177), Iams ProActive Health Small Breed Puppy, 5 lb (Lot Code: 331904177). 
  • Reason for Recall: Potential contamination of Salmonella. [13]

You can also try our list of pet food recalls or check a complete list of all pet food recalls from the FDA. [13]

Final Verdict

This Iams cat food review demonstrates that this brand is an excellent choice for cat owners who want to feed a nutritional diet that is also affordable.

I recommend Iams cat food for cats that do well on the basic diets. However, you may find better weight control formulas from other brands. Iams has an established history and introduced the first protein-first pet foods. 

But they do continue to use grains in some of their cat foods. Corn is also commonly found in many Iams formulas, so this brand may not suit cats with grain allergies.

Most of their cat foods exclude gluten and fillers. So a lot of cats with sensitivities can thrive on Iams cat food. 

Talk to your veterinarian today to determine whether Iams is the right diet for your cat.

James Fuller

James Fuller

Founder of Honest Whiskers

Hey! I’ve owned a pet pretty much all my life, in fact, I currently have both a cat and a dog! My mission is to deliver a reliable, trusted website that only uses evidence-based information

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