There's probably no cat lover in the US who hasn't heard of Hill's. It's what your vet suggests the first time you come for a checkup. It's also present in most shelters, and your fellow kitty parents mention it from time to time. But is it a good fit for your friendly feline? Let me walk you through everything you need to learn about this brand, its messes, and benefits. In this Hill's Science Diet cat food review, I promise to be honest and objective, relying on personal experience and online research.
About Hill’s Company and Manufacturing
Hill’s history is a perfect example of a successful and timely business pivot. The rendering and milling company established in Kansas in 1907 partnered with Dr. Mark L. Morris over three decades later to create their first canine kibble for dogs suffering kidney disease. Since then, every Hill’s formula was developed by professional veterinarians and nutritionists to make nutrition the foundation of veterinary medicine.
However, as most established pet food manufacturers, Hill’s Pet Nutrition did not remain independent for long. In 1976, Colgate-Palmolive bought the brand along with its US-based manufacturing facilities.
Hill’s Science Diet Cat Food Ingredients
Hill’s Pet Nutrition Center in Topeka, Kansas, is responsible for researching and improving existing formulas. The brand has had decades and hundreds of pet nutrition experts to develop the most beneficial formulas. Thanks to their efforts, most of ingredients do look legit and fall under seven categories
Fatty acids and oils
Flavor and texture enhancers
I love that Hill’s cat food doesn’t hide behind ambiguous phrasing and lists specific sources of proteins. So you won’t see ‘liver’ or ‘poultry by-product’. Instead, the brand lists’ beef liver’ or ‘chicken by-product meal’. Both are somewhat controversial, but I believe they are better protein sources for kitties than corn gluten meal or pea protein.
It’s the last category that raises most questions. Why would they add titanium dioxide or iron oxide color into cat food? And what are natural flavors? Considering all these are at the bottom of the ingredients list, I’m willing to cut Hill’s some slack, though if your tabby is highly allergic, you might want to pay closer attention to flavor, color, and texture enhancers.
Is Hill's Science Diet Good Cat Food?
Hill's has been around for over a century, though they've only entered a pet food market in the 1930s. First introduced as a veterinarian-approved diet for health conditions, Hill's now offers a variety of choices, both requiring a recipe and freely available at your local or online pet store. While there are plenty of complaints, and even a lawsuit against the brand accusing it of false advertising, Hill's is the number one choice of many pet owners. A varied selection of canned food and kibble, along with a scientifically selected set of components, makes this a primary choice for millions of people, including yours truly.
Is Science Diet Good for Cats or Not?
Based on the number of sales and positive Hills science cat food reviews, I'd say it's a solid choice among popular brands. I've noted three products among the best-sellers that are universally loved and recommended for healthy grown-up kitties.
Chicken Recipe for adult indoor cats is the top seller among Hill's selection. It's suitable for kitties over 12 months and up to six years, as it supports a moderately active lifestyle and prevents typical issues, including hairballs and digestive troubles. Aptly named, the kibble contains chicken and poultry by-products, vitamins, minerals, and superfoods.
The same Chicken Recipe is available for adult cats that enjoy a more active lifestyle. The ingredient list is very similar, but it's more fatty and rich in nutrients. It's also more calorie-dense, measuring 502 kcal per cup (compared to 319 for the indoor formula). This means your outdoor kitty will remain more energized by the same amount of kibble and have enough energy to investigate the neighborhood.
Hills Science Diet For Adults With Sensitive Stomach & Skin
Chicken and Rice Recipe for Sensitive Stomach and Skin is another unquestionable hit on Hill's lineup. Prebiotic fiber is one factor of success that helps your kitty develop a healthy gut microflora. The kibble is full of healthy ingredients that promote easy digestion and omega acids invaluable for a lustrous fur coat.
Keep in mind that most recipes in this Hill's Science Diet review contain rice, corn, wheat, and other grain-based sources of carbs along with soy for increased protein content. If your tabby has a proven history of sensitivity towards these products, or you believe carnivores should not eat grains, look for alternatives, which I'll talk about in the last section of this overview.
Hills Science Diet Kitten Food Reviews and Potential Issues
While grown-up felines can be pickier about their food, kittens require a balanced diet from weaning on to lay a strong foundation for their lifelong fitness and wellbeing. Chicken Recipe for Kittens is a beloved and well-respected tiny kibble comprising everything a furball needs, from lean protein to fish oil, from vitamins to fiber. With no synthetic flavors or colors, the food comes in a variety of bag sizes to help you get the kitty used to replacing mother's milk with delicious kibble.
Vitamins are crucial for your little pal's health, but an overabundance can cause problems, and that leads us to critical information I can't avoid in my overview. Hill's doesn't have a long history of recalls, but there were a few serious cases that resulted in tragedy.
What You Need to Know about Hill's Cat Food Recall History
Melamine contamination caused Hills cat food and other pet food companies to recall their products in 2007.
Seven years later, the manufacturer suspected salmonella contamination and had to recall five dozen bags across three states.
The biggest recall hit the company in 2019, as multiple products were found to contain over-the-top vitamin D levels, causing organ failure and even death. The brand faced a class-action suit in the wake of this recall.
I’m not saying Hill’s is bad for your kitten, but you should pay attention to her health and stop using any food if it’s causing issues.
Limited Offers of Hill's Science Diet Cat Food Urinary
While Hill's first-ever pet food was designed to help dogs with kidney failure, the most potent recipes are reserved for the Prescription Diet cat food. As far as I can tell, there are only two products in this line that support the urinary system's health:
Urinary Hairball Control kibble is a new take on the traditional chicken recipe. Reduced magnesium and a balanced pH support urinary health and prevent multiple issues. At the same time, the formula includes plenty of easily digestible protein and fiber to promote immune strength and deal with hairballs. Even without synthetic additives to enhance flavor, this kibble is beloved by kitties of all breeds and sizes.
Urinary Hairball Control Chicken Entree relies on a similar recipe with the perfect combination of minerals to keep feline bladders and kidneys healthy and strong. Crucial for improved digestion and battling hairball issues, fiber is among the key ingredients here as well. If you switch from grain-free food to this formula, pay attention to the portion size recommendations to avoid uncontrolled weight gain.
The Best Value for Money among Science Diet Canned Cat Food
The Savory Entree line for adult cats is universally popular among pet owners, especially when it comes to a variety pack that holds liver and chicken, turkey, and chicken formulas. All three have nearly identical calorie amount per 5.5 oz can (around 185), although the recipes differ. All three comprise a variety of fitness-inducing supplements and fiber. The protein sources differ across the pack, from the traditional chicken to turkey and liver. Pork, poultry by-products, and salmon have also made it into the sizable cans.
Seared Tuna and Carrot Medley is among the most exciting flavor options in the lineup, though it's designed for felines over 11 years old. Unlike most wet foods in Hill's repertoire, this one uses chicken broth instead of water, and tuna is the second on the list of components. Perfect for less active senior cats, each 2.8 oz can only holds 64 calories preventing unwanted weight gain.
What Are Pet Owners Saying About Hill’s Science Diet Cat Food?
The Verdict. Is Hill's Science Diet Good Cat Food?
While seemingly boring and basic, Chicken Recipe is a beloved best-seller for a reason. It's great in any form, wet or dry, and formulated for any age, kitten, grown-up, or senior. I've read hundreds of positive Hill's Science Diet reviews, and I wouldn't mind feeding this to my cat. However, I always urge you to start with the smallest packaging available to let your kitty taste-test the new food before making the final switch.
Surprisingly, Hill's no wheat, soy, and corn line, Chicken and Brown Rice Recipe, is universally hated by felines and pet owners. Most picky eaters steer clear of this kibble, regardless of their age. Some tabbies even develop digestive problems after partaking in this formula. Youthful Vitality Chicken & Vegetable Entrée is another formula that would go up in flames if it were up to cat owners. The thing is too dry for many kitties, and the carrot turns them away in most cases. There are much better options in Hill's selection for senior tabbies.
If you're looking for the same benefits Hill's Science cat food possesses, like scientifically based component selection, but want more variety when it comes to taste selection, Royal Canin is your answer. With over a hundred feline-centric products, it's a brand for my own heart despite the claims its ingredients list is not suited for a carnivore diet. Check out my analytical and personal take on this brand.
How many calories in Hill’s Science Diet Healthy Weight Adult canned cat food?
Weight management wet cat food by Hill’s measures between 62 and 77 kcal per 2.9 oz can. Check out the nutritional label on the can or visit the official website to learn the exact number for your kitty’s preferred formula.
Why is Hill’s Science Diet changing cat food formulas?
Sometimes, they change formulas to comply with the evolving FDA regulations or AAFCO guidelines. Other times, it’s to appease the customers’ unease concerning certain ingredients. In most cases, Hill’s change the formulas to cut down the manufacturing expenses and increase revenue.
Where to buy Hills Science Diet cat food?
Most vet clinics and pet stores across the US stock Hill’s Science Diet. If you prefer shopping for cat food online, visit Petco, Chewy, PetSmart, Amazon, or PetFlow.
Is Hill’s Science Diet safe?
It usually is thanks to carefully sourced ingredients and a robust quality management system. However, the company had to issue a couple of broad-range recalls due to salmonella contamination and vitamin D overdose. It’s up to you to decide if you can trust Hill’s after those.
Is Taste of the Wild that very cat food your feline craves? Check this article to learn their ingredient quality, and recall history, and more.