Customer Reviews: Merrick Before Grain #1 Chicken Dry Cat Food, 11.1 Pound Bag
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on March 23, 2012
I was looking to see if this pet food was cheaper on Amazon than it is at my local pet store (it is) and I saw the 1-star reviews and was shocked. I understand that people are having issues with the listing versus what they get in the mail but that has nothing to do with the product itself, which is what you should be reviewing here, maybe with a disclaimer in the review of the food about the mix-up. Amazon is where I go for reviews of products and notes on shipping mix-ups hardly ever tell me what I need to know!

That being said, I love Merrick Before Grain. When I adopted my little strays they were living in the zoo and surviving off of raw ground meat and fish, so when I brought them home I chose a grain grain free food because I thought it would be the easiest transition on their stomachs from what they were eating. I've also done some pet nutrition research of my own, and while I'll concede that cats can process nutrients from grains in their foods, it just doesn't seem right to me that they many pet foods have most of the protein coming from vegetable sources, so I stayed grain-free even after the initial adoption.

Recently, though, my budget has gotten tighter and I'm close to a ramen budget and decided my cats would have to be put on a ramen diet, too. I did the gradual transition to a new food the way you're supposed to, a little at a time, and the cats didn't seem to mind the change at all. As soon as the cheaper food took over, though, one of my cats started having terrible gas and had some minor tummy troubles. That bag is just about through so I'm going to start the transition back to this food.

A big bag of this food ended up cost less per-pound than smaller bags of lower-quality foods, anyway, so I decided the additional cost was worth it. There are also several more expensive brands (Wellness, Blue Buffalo) that have grain in their cat food formulas, unless you opt for their grain-free variety which is even more. Merrick offers the grain-free choice without being the most expensive option out there, and is even comparable in price to many brands that have lower-quality ingredients.

All-in-all, definitely worth a try! The canned foods are great, too, but my cats have decided they only like wet foods that are in gravies and won't eat the pates Merrick has.
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on March 26, 2012
Happy to report that now Amazon is carrying this food themselves, there is no problem with getting the incorrect size bag. Please ignore the 1 star reviews, they are all from Petco shipping the wrong size product in the past. I have researched cat foods extensively, trying to get the best that I can since I lost 2 cats to tainted pet food. Merrick is the absolute best. Other companies say they have great ingredients, but their products are either processed by a bad food company plant, or overseas. Not so with Merrick. Everything is made in their own facilities in Texas, and they get all ingredients here in the USA, all certified as human food grade, except for 2 vitamins they just can't get from here. My cats love this food! I would like to remind everyone, however - you should make your cat's diet primarily wet food. Feeding only dry doesn't get enough water intake into them every day and stresses the kidneys. This increases the chance of kidney failure or urinary stones as they get older.
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on March 30, 2013
I have 2 rescue cats, 7 1/2 yrs (male) and an almost 3 year old female. I have tried so many different brands of cat food. Until recently I was buying Pet Smart's brand, Authority. My girl started gaining weight and could eat all day long, if I let her.

For Christmas this past year, my mom bought them a 5lb bag of Nature's Variety Duck Meal & Turkey Meal Raw Boost Formula, which they loved. Especially the freeze dried raw bits. But....there is no way I can afford that. Ditto for Blue Buffalo.

After doing a lot of research on cat food, and figuring out the cost per pound; I thought I'd try the BG Chicken by Merrick. As other reviews have mentioned, this is a truly premium food and so much more economical than the other grain-free cat food brands.

What I like, too, is the size of the kibbles. It is made well so that my female actually bites into it and I finally hear her chewing. She always devoured her other food so fast, that she wasn't actually chewing it.

I also like the way it is packaged. It doesn't get that yucky dusty type run-off from the bites, like so many other food does; such as the ones with a lot of grain.

My little girl actually eats enough of this until she is full and then she actually stops and walks away! I have noticed, as well, that the coats of my cats are softer and shinier. They also have a lot more energy.

I highly recommend this food!

*** Almost a year later and unfortunately my older cat is getting sick from this. He has lost so much weight that when I pick him up, he is as light as a feather. He also started losing hair and had diarrhea for a long time, as well as throwing up. I don't know if it's the brand, or the chicken. I am not sure if this is really true, but I've read that some cats are allergic to, or have problems with chicken.

I have them on Wellness Core Turkey and Duck Formula now. It's only been a few weeks, but I've noticed the difference in Ozzie already. Not only is he gaining weight, but his eyes are so much brighter. He has also been a lot more affectionate; almost as if he is thanking me!
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on July 23, 2013
I have been feeding my cats the BG dry food for years and been incredibly happy with the quality and price. It is grain free (hard to find in a dry food due to needing binders) and high quality. It is also great bang for the buck compared to other varieties of similar dry food. Sadly, Merrick has decided, in all their marketing wisdom, to discontinue this line, call it something else and bill it as a "better re-formulation". Simply not true. In fact, one of the key points on this version is that there are multiple protein sources, which they claim is necessary for grain-free feeding. Sadly the "better" re-formulation has fewer protein sources. Since they have changed this formula and jacked up the price to higher than competing brands per pound, I will be switching to Solid Gold when this version is no longer available.
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on July 26, 2013
There are no by-products in this cat food. The first few ingredients are as follows: Salmon deboned, chicken meal, potato dehydrated, Turkey meal, chicken fat, sweet potato, dried egg product, yeast culture, blueberry dried, organic alfalfa meal, salt, sodium phosphate, salmon oil, taurine, choline, yucca, zinc, chicory root, pot marigold, rosemary extract, dried lactobacillus, and about 4 other lactobacillus words that are way to long to spell. after that it is all vitamins. There are no artificial colors or flavors. The only thing i'm not sure of is what is actually in the chicken meal and turkey meal. But, I will say this is the best dry cat food I have ever fed my cats. I have six of them and I have now bought 3 different flavors and subscribe and save which saves a ton of money. My cats are all fat and healthier. My cat litter boxes do not stink. I was cleaning them out twice a day and if one of my cats used the litter box with their old food I had to clear out the house it was so bad. I now clean my two litter boxes once a day and I have six cats. With this food they don't eat as much, they don't beg and bother me all day long for wet food and the overall health of my cats is wonderful. I have a cat with hyperthyroidism who takes medication twice daily and I could not get him to eat anything but wet food or he would starve. He still gets wet food three times a day but he also freely eats this cat food and loves it. He never ate the other cat food I tried giving him. I tried purina cat and kitten chow, iams cat and kitten chow, some junk my vet told me to get which was 25 dollars for 6 pounds and none of my cats would touch the stuff. I also have a cat that has suffered from horrible skin allergic problems most of his life and he is 12 now. I am not kidding once I started feeding this cat food he immediately started healing. He still has allergic reactions to fleas if they get him but all the sores he kept getting on his neck and back are gone. For my 6 cats one 11 pound bag last me almost 3 weeks and I feed free choice at all times. Yes, this seems like expensive cat food and it was hard for my to try something with such a high cost but I was going through a 16 pound bag of the other cat foods in less than two weeks and my cats did nothing but eat and use the litter box. I will never feed them any other dry food again. But, there is one other that is almost like this that I might try but as of now I have 3 bags unopened still that I got through the subscribe and save program and as long as they are all doing good on this I am happy. The pieces are very little and round and so easy for them to chew or swallow whole if needed. I love this cat food so far and I struggled for a month trying to justify spending so much money for it but I have saved so much money on cat litter and not having to clean the cat litter boxes twice or three times a day and they still stunk to only cleaning them both once a day and I have no cat litter box smell at all. In fact my nephew mentioned it to me the other day because when one of the cats used the box we had to do an emergency evacuation till the smell disappeared and now if one of my cats uses the box we hardly notice, that is unless they completely miss or don't bury it and just let it sit out but the smell still is not horrid and nauseating. I hope this helps you..
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on March 19, 2016
I'm dedicated to making sure my cat is properly fed so she lives a long and healthy life as an indoors cat. This dry food is the best bang for your buck you're going to get on a dry food that meets all the nutritional requirements for a cat that it is possible for a dry food to meet (cats need to eat wet food too and ideally you should supplement with some raw food as well like Stella & Chewys). My cat has been eating this for over a year and her coat is super soft and shiny and people always comment on how 'bright eyed and bushy tailed' and playful she is. She is an obviously happy and cheerful cat and I think this food, which she loves, plays a role in that.

Overall, these are some reasons why I choose Merrick:
- Their dry food is grain free
- The food is produced here in the U.S. so it's not being shipped long distances
- They use USDA inspected meat
- They've been around for 25 years and seem to be recommended by vets

Take a look at the ingredient list for yourself. It compares well to other premium cat foods and is high in crude protein.

Ingredients - Chicken (Deboned), Chicken Meal, Potato (Dehydrated), Turkey Meal, Chicken Fat (preserved with mixed tocopherols – a source of Natural Vitamin E), Sweet Potato (Dehydrated), Dried Egg, Natural Flavor, Yeast Culture, Dicalcium Phosphate, Lysine, Sea Salt, Alfalfa, Salmon Oil, Choline Chloride, Acai Berry (Dried), Blueberry (Dried), Yucca Schidigera Extract, Rosemary Extract, Taurine, Zinc Amino Acid Complex, Chondroitin Sulfate, Glucosamine Hydrochloride, Chicory Root, Marigold Extract, Lactobacillus Plantarum, Enterococcus Faecium, Lactobacillus Casei, Lactobacillus Acidophilus, Iron Amino Acid Complex, Vitamin E Supplement, Manganese Amino Acid Complex, Vitamin A Supplement, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Copper Amino Acid Complex, d-Calcium Pantothenate, Vitamin D3, Niacin, Lecithin, Riboflavin Supplement, Biotin, Ethylenediamine Dihydriodide, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Cobalt Amino Acid Complex, Folic Acid, Thiamine Mononitrate, Sodium Selenite

Calorie Content
3780 kcal/kg (calculated)
One pound provides 1719 kcal of metabolizable energy (calculated)
One cup (100 grams) provides 409 calories
*Caloric content calculated using Modified Atwater Method

Guaranteed Analysis
Crude Protein (min) 36.0%
Crude Fat (min) 18.0%
Crude Fiber (max) 3.0%
Moisture (max) 11.0%

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on January 11, 2014
i have 4 cats and all my cats got sick from Merrick Before Grain #1 Chicken Dry Cat Food. if your cat isn't used to egg product do not buy this. Also package contains lots of little dry food crumbles.
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on May 1, 2012
I had exhausted many different "no grain" dry cat foods before finding this one. It had excellent ingredients in it (wish it still had the probiotics in it like it used to though) and it was made here in the USA. My cats loved the taste, they took right to it, but after a week on it, I noticed blood in my cat's potty box covering pieces of stool. I wanted to see if this was from newly being put on the food or if my cat had eaten something they shouldn't have, so I left them on it for a little over a week. Still, every time I cleaned the potty box I found the same thing, lots of blood coated stool. So I switched them for a week back to a different "no grain" brand and no more this time I put them BACK on the Merrick to see if they had just had a tummy problem that cleared up (I really wanted this food to work out), but, within a day of being on it, blood all over the stool again. I don't know what in the food would cause this or if my cat was allergic to something in it, but they will no longer be eating it. Sad to put another potentially great product back on the shelf...on the plus side it cleared up my cat's dandruff!
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on November 28, 2013
I didn't believe the blood in the stool reviews. I do now, I had the same problem they did. Sent it back for a refund.
Switched back to Halo's Spot Stew, and have no problems.
additionally, Life extension makes a great feline supplement. Both Halo and life extension are here on Amazon.
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on February 5, 2014
My boys love this dry food. Both of my cats ate Purina dry cat food for years. They would sometimes have trouble with loose stools. Then the trouble became more frequent and I changed their dry food to Origin, a brand my local pet supply store recommended. At $58.00 for a 15 pound bag, Origin is not a cheap dry food. My cats did not like it. It seemed to take forever for them to finish that bag. For my next attempt at finding suitable food for my cats I tried Iams. They liked it okay but the loose stools returned. Then, after reading the reviews and ingredients I ordered Merrick Before Grain chicken dry cat food. Finally a cat food they love and no more loose stools! Happy cats - happy mom.

UPDATE.....I, (and my cats) are waiting on the second bag of Merrick's BG Chicken dry cat food to be delivered and thought I would update this review. Both of my cats have healthy appetites and the last 11.1 oz. bag of food lasted exactly 2 months. Great value at $26 for a 11.1 ounce bag. I always keep dry food in their bowls so they eat as much as they like. My long hair cat, Bear, had been overweight for some time and my short hair, Sam, was getting a tummy a few months before I started feeding him Merrick's BG. 2 months later I'm happy to report both cats have slimmed down and their coats are shinny. Something I didn't expect happened, Sam's eye infection has cleared up. One of Sam's eyes had been infected for about 2 years. The vet tried antibiotics twice but it only helped while he was taking them, then the infection would come right back. The vet did not know what the trouble was. I called the vet and told him Sam's eye infection cleared up after I changed his food. The vet said the lack of key nutriates could have caused the eye infection. I'm amazed at how important the right food for your pets can be. I recommend this food to anyone who loves their pets!
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