Pros: no corn or wheat, cats liked to eat it
Cons: caused major diarrhea in a few of the cats, can be difficult to find
We have 9 cats in the house at the moment: 3 pets and 6 adult fosters. Suffice to say that we go through quite a bit of dry and canned cat food each week. I buy the cat crew the best foods I can find because I think it is important to feed them dry food that is high-protein and free of by-products, mystery meat, and grains like corn, wheat, etc. When I discovered Merrick BG Chicken Dry Cat Food on the pet supply site that I usually order from, I decided to buy a bag and check it out.
About This Product
The "BG" part of the name of Merrick BG Chicken Dry Cat Food refers to the fact that this food is grain-free and is designed to resemble feline diets "before grain" became a cheap filler and main component of most products. According to the company description, all of the BG formulas, including this chicken one contain fresh meat, super blue fruit, nutrient dense vegetables, and high quality oils. The main ingredients in this product are deboned chicken, chicken meal, dehydrated potato, turkey meal, chicken fat, dehydrated sweet potato, dried egg, yeast, sea salt, salmon oil, freeze-dried acai berry, and dried blueberries. There are many other components in this food that seem to be mostly vitamin and mineral supplements.
The pieces of this food have a round shape and are a bit smaller than a dime. In my opinion, they are suitable for adult cats, but you wouldn't want to give this food to young kittens. If you have seniors with sensitive or missing teeth, you also might want to find a different product. Another alternative is to put the kibble in a zip-lock bag and break it up into smaller pieces with a hammer or meat mallet.
That would at least get the pieces into more manageable sizes.
Our Experience With This Product
When I filled their bowl with Merrick BG Chicken Dry Cat Food, all of the cats in the house came running to check it out. They sniffed it and then eagerly started to chow down on it. I thought all was well... until I walked past the litter boxes the following day. There was a mess of diarrhea in one of them and the whole room stunk to high heaven the likes of which I haven't encountered since we had puppies with coccidia. Unfortunately, the loose stools and stench persisted for the entire week and a half that it took us to get through the 11.1 pound bag.
All of the ingredients in Merrick BG Chicken are things that are commonly seen in the foods that I usually feed the cats... except for freeze-dried acai berry. I had never heard of them until a few months ago. As far as I can tell, this seems to be the newest "miracle" weight loss and antioxidant fad. My cats were doing perfectly well for 6+ years without acai berries, so I don't think they are a critical component of their nutrition. In fact, I also suspect that the freeze-dried acai berries were what caused the persistent digestive upset in a couple of our foster cats for the entire week and a half that they were fed this food. Once they were switched to a different product, the stinky loose stools disappeared almost immediately.
Cost and Availability
I paid about $33 for an 11.1 pound bag of Merrick Before Grain Chicken Dry Cat Food. It is certainly more expensive than your typical grocery store brands like Friskies, Chef's Blend, or Purina, but it also contains ingredients that are far superior to the cheapo stuff. My husband and I have no issue with paying much more for a higher-quality cat food that doesn't contain euthanized pets, dead/diseased cattle, expired grocery store meat, or carcinogenic preservatives.
Finding the BG Dry Cat Food line, though, is another story. The Merrick line isn't stocked by the big companies like PetCo or PetSmart. A couple of independent pet supply shops do stock the dry dog food and canned cat/dog foods, but they don't seem to have heard about the Merrick BG line yet. The only place I've seen this product yet (aside from the company site) is online from PetFoodDirect.com.
Although I certainly would say that Merrick BG Chicken Dry Cat Food is much better than any cat food you could buy in grocery stores, Target, WalMart, drug stores, etc, I still wouldn't say that it is better than my favorite grain-free brands: Innova EVO and Wellness CORE. Sure, the ingredients listing is impressive, but this grain-free cat food gave some of my cats major cases of stinky diarrhea. It may or may not be connected to the fact that this stuff contains the new "fad" super-ingredient, acai berries. Some of my cats were perfectly fine on Merrick BG Dry Cat Food, but others had issues with it so I wouldn't buy it again in the future.