As a vet, you’re often presented with a variety of offers if you want to become a representative of one brand or the other. While I was working as a veterinarian, I was always under the impression that Royal Canin cat food is nearly the best on the market. But is Royal Canin worth the hype?
Things have changed drastically over the years and I have learned to do my own research rather than take the info I’m given as the truth.
Is Royal Canin cat food any good? Well, it can be in some situations. The brand does have a good number of veterinary diets, which are definitely helpful. But you could get more species-appropriate cat food brands, in my opinion.
However, I would recommend a Royal Canin veterinary diet for a limited time — until the cat can be switched to another diet!
Let’s look at some Royal Canin cat food reviews to see if this is a good enough option for your feline companion!
|Vet-Recommended Royal Canin Cat Food|
|Royal Canin Urinary SO Cat Food|
|Royal Canin Gastrointestinal Cat Food|
|Royal Canin Diabetic Cat Food|
|Royal Canin Calm Cat Food|
Royal Canin Cat Food Reviews
1. Royal Canin Urinary SO Cat Food Review
As I already mentioned, the area where Royal Canin really shines is the variety of veterinary diets that they make available. The SO moderate calorie recipe targets both your cat’s urinary health, but also weight management, which can be a problem especially in older and spayed/neutered cats.
The biggest advantage of choosing this product over others is that it is specifically designed to promote the elimination of both calcium oxalate crystals and struvites. Even so, it is a dry cat food, which means that it’s not the highest recommended option for cats with urinary problems.
Ideally, you should feed your cat wet food.
In terms of drawbacks, the diet is high in carbs, which doesn’t even make any sense since it’s made for cats who have weight issues. It also contains concentrated plant protein, which really isn’t something worth writing home about.
However, cats like the taste of this brand and there have been reports from people saying that it has helped their feline buddies with their urinary tract health.
2. Royal Canin Gastrointestinal Cat Food Review
The Gastrointestinal Fiber Response diet is a high-fiber diet that works for cats who have a hard time ‘going to the bathroom for number 2’. This is especially true in geriatric cats or those that have suffered lesions in their back, but also in cats that don’t get enough fiber in their diet.
Of course, since cats are carnivores, you might think that fiber is completely unnecessary. Well, cats that are predisposed to constipation actually need it, but specifically because they have to survive on a meat-only diet, they can’t just eat oatmeal or any other types of grains.
Ideally, this diet should have contained fiber derived from sweet potato or pumpkin, which wouldn’t be problematic at all. But it contains rice (the least bad ingredient of all), corn meal, and wheat gluten — and the last two are quite problematic.
On the upside, though, most cats seem to like this food, so it’s palatable, and it helps them with constipation. I’d still recommend getting some canned cat food with pumpkin as one of its ingredients for this issue — since the extra moisture definitely doesn’t hurt.
3. Royal Canin Diabetic Cat Food Review
If your cat has been having high blood sugar or if she has been diagnosed with diabetes, you have to feed her a special diet. This canned cat food by Royal Canin contains less starch than similar recipes, which means that the likelihood of your cat experiencing any digestive trouble is low.
Also, the high protein content is species-appropriate, since cats should actually have a diet composed of meat. Thanks to the protein percentage in this option, your diabetic cat will be able to maintain muscle mass, but also not put on any extra weight.
That’s where the moderate calorie in the recipe comes in handy and it helps you combat weight gain in an effective manner.
From what we have noticed by going through some Royal Canin cat food reviews, most of the people who have bought this brand say that their cats love it.
4. Royal Canin Hypoallergenic Cat Food Review
This food is specifically formulated for cats who have a history of problems with their skin, meaning that they are more predisposed to developing dermatitis, whether idiopathic or not.
The brand contains highly digestible, hydrolyzed soy protein that doesn’t cause any digestive upsets, and it’s also been supplemented with a vitamin B complex and amino acids.
While I do agree that sometimes a diet that is too rich in protein can be at the root of a dermatologic problem and that the quantity of protein needs to be lowered even in cats, who are obligate carnivores, I don’t know if soy protein is the best choice in the world.
I will admit that it can work for a period of time, though, which can’t be said for other varieties. Maybe you should try a low-protein, low-grain brand, too, and see how your cat tolerates it after you feed her about a month of this hypoallergenic diet.
5. Royal Canin Calm Cat Food Review
This Royal Canin dry cat food is specifically formulated for cats who are perhaps too energetic. We couldn’t help noticing that this variety has gathered a lot of enthusiasm on the part of many pet parents, especially since cats seem to genuinely love the diet.
Some individuals have noted that the food helps with their cats’ anxiety, but others have complained about the high price. Unfortunately, almost no food made by Royal Canin is budget-friendly, and once you get your cat hooked on it, she might refuse any other brands.
What is important to add here is that the food doesn’t come with any sedatives or drugs in it, so it is perfectly safe. It merely minimizes the so-called ‘crazies’ that cats can sometimes get. It also does wonders for cats who tend to feel stressed when people come around to visit.
As is the case with other diets, it works on some cats and on others, it doesn’t.
6. Royal Canin Renal Support Cat Food Review
This canned cat food is a great option for cats who have chronic kidney failure, for example. It’s highly palatable and specifically formulated to maintain kidney health. It’s also rather energy-dense, and your cat is going to get the nutrients that she needs for a whole day.
What’s interesting to note about this option is that it also contains fatty acids from fish oil and it has a low phosphorus content. I’d argue that it’s a little better than the Urinary S/O variety we have noted in the beginning of this post, especially since it’s wet cat food.
One area where this one isn’t a winner, though, is its water content. Many pet parents have reported that it’s more of a pate rather than actual canned food and if the cat isn’t into the consistency, the chances of this brand being refused by your pet are high.
In terms of how healthy its ingredients are, I’d argue that they could be a little better. For instance, cats don’t need any guar gum or carrageenan. The rest of the ingredients are decent, though, so at least I’ll give it that.
Other varieties that you could try out are the following:
Royal Canin Senior Cat Food
This is the wet alternative, but there is a dry one, too, for people who find that their cats like kibble more than canned food. The food comes with omega-3 fatty acids, which are known for reducing inflammation, lowering blood pressure, and sustaining healthy joints.
Due to its low phosphorus content, this one makes a good choice for cats that might suffer from kidney problems, which is unfortunately a very common pathology of geriatric felines.
This one is actually one of the most popular varieties we have come across and most of the reviews are favorable.
Royal Canin Baby Cat Food
Getting kittens weaned is no easy task, and anyone who has tried it in the past will agree with this statement. But if you feed the mother a really soft and highly nutritious diet that’s also good for kittens, they might become interested in it, as well.
This food is specifically made for queens and baby kittens and its ingredients are capable of supporting both of these categories’ immune systems.
The fluffy texture makes it easier for kittens to make the transition to solid food, so you should give it a shot if your cat’s about to give birth or you are looking to wean some kittens.
Royal Canin Persian Cat Food
Besides the veterinary diets formulated by this brand, you’ll find that the company also makes breed-specific ones. Of course, different breeds have different needs, especially if they are long-hair or short-hair, if they are known to have eye vision problems, etc.
But just so you know, if you use a generic Royal Canin food brand instead of one that is breed-specific, you’re not making a mistake. This one is made to support healthy hair growth and maintain healthy skin, since that’s what Persians need due to their coat.
Even so, since it’s less budget-friendly than other Royal Canin alternatives, why not give those a try? Just make sure you get the age-appropriate diet and if your cat has any medical condition, a veterinary diet.
Frequently asked questions about Royal Canin cat food
What cat food is comparable to Royal Canin?
As a vet, I’d say that the most similar type of cat food to Royal Canin would be Hill’s Science Plan. This brand also makes heaps of veterinary diets, many of which are actually pretty good.
I’ve noticed that Trovet isn’t a popular choice in North America, but it can be found in Europe and other places across the world. I have used it many times when I practiced veterinary medicine and it’s had great results — especially the Recovery Diet.
Where to buy Royal Canin cat food?
These days, Royal Canin cat food is available pretty much anywhere from supermarkets to Amazon and other online retailers. You aren’t going to have to make that much effort to come across it, although there are some diets that are rarer. Your vet can order it for you if you can’t seem to be able to find it by yourself, whether online or offline.
Where is Royal Canin cat food manufactured?
Most of the cat food that’s sold in Europe is still manufactured in France, where the brand started back in 1968. In North America, Royal Canin USA has two pet food manufacturing plants, one in South Dakota and another in Missouri.
So, when it comes to the origin of the pet food, you can at least rest assured that it’s made in a good place.
Was there any Royal Canin cat food recall?
Actually, there were several. We found information about four of them, but the last one was in 2007, so it’s been over a decade now since Royal Canin had any problems in this sense.
At the time, the brand had to withdraw a number of its dog diets from the market for fear of it having been contaminated with melamine (from Chinese rice protein concentrate). Fortunately, no recalls have been reported since.
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I started feeding veterinarian Royal Canin SO to my two Maine Coon cats as it was thought one had urinary issues. After several months the cats became constipated. One had to be given anesthesia and manually cleaned out. We then were put on Royal Canin Digestive Health, canned and kibble. After the third bag both cats became very ill. Would not eat and were not going potty. I took them both to our vet. The xrays showed they were both full of gas, completely full. I took them off of Royal Canin and switched to Fussie Cat. One of my cats is slowly getting better. The other one is still very sick. He will not eat. I am taking him for an ultrasound to see what other damage was done. The Royal Canin food nearly killed my cats. I would not recommend anyone feed their animals this food.
Thanks for your input.
There are, however, many reasons why cats can become constipated, not just their diet — geriatric cats are known to suffer from constipation, and it’s also a complication of urinary disease. Have you talked with your vet and asked whether this has happened in other cases, too? I have to say that I’ve never been confronted with this issue while I was practicing. I admit that it is strange that it happened to both of them, especially the second time around. Are your cats indoor-only or do they also go outside?
The reason I am so surprised that the Royal Canin diet caused the constipation is that, as you know since you fed it to your cats, it’s actually quite greasy. In any case, I hope your cats get better very soon. If you took the time to read my article, you might have noticed that I recommend Royal Canin only for limited periods of time, until the cat gets better – if this is a diet we’re talking about.
There are many other better diets out there, many of which don’t contain any grains or potentially carcinogenic ingredients (like some Royal Canin varieties do).
What diet do you recommend for cats that do not move stool? I have been putting Miralax on her soft food to get fluid in her colon. She is 10 years old and is still quite active. She no longer has a bowel movement daily as she did before feeding Royal Canin digestive health. I contacted our breeder and there is no history of this problem in her line. I have stopped all kibble. I have been feeding canned Fussie Cat. My vet thinks I should continue Royal Canin Digestive Health canned. I am fearful of this food as I read hundreds of testimonials from pet owners that have had terrible problems from feeding Royal Canin (Consumer Affairs). My 9 year old Maine Coon passed away June 27th, I have been devastated by this. I feel it was a direct result of this food. Any advise would be much appreciated. Thank you.
Hi there, Cyndi, and thank you for your comment.
It’s hard to say whether your Maine Coon passed because of eating a Royal Canin diet. I did say in this post that it is not the healthiest choice in the world as it contains several carcinogenic substances. On the other hand, I do agree that it can fix some problems for short periods of time. For example, if a cat has urinary problems, a special Royal Canin diet made specifically for this can acidify the urine and make it easier for tiny calculi to be released (since they basically turn into ‘sand’). But once another, healthier food option is found, the Royal Canin food should be replaced.
I get that some vets recommend Royal Canin because it is good for supporting their medicated therapy, but once again, I wouldn’t recommend it for the remainder of the cat’s life – just several weeks.
As for your cat’s current problem, I wrote a post about cat laxatives sometimes in the past https://myfelinebuddy.com/best-cat-laxative/ – maybe you should try Lax’aire as it works in most cases. As for her diet, I would recommend mixing some canned pumpkin (organic, unsweetened) with her canned food as it regulates digestion, contains healthy and cat-friendly fiber and it doesn’t cause any problems like allergic reactions or any other imbalances. There’s also canned cat food that contains pre-added pumpkin, here’s an example: https://amzn.to/2ZzbqB3. Also, here’s an example of pumpkin that I’d recommend: https://amzn.to/2C61XIu. I really hope this helps!
If you ever have any other questions, feel free to leave more comments.
Hello! My cat has been with digestive problems (not going for 3 days) since March this year. I took her to Vets. They did exams and said everything is ok and recommended Royal Canin Gastrointestinal dry food. My cat doesn’t like wet food any more, so pumpkin pure or other options do not work for her. My cat started with Royal Canin and her poops were hugee, she was going every other day. She is overweight (15% over her max. weight). She is 2 years and a half. Then, after giving her this special diet for 2 months her bowel movements slowed down again. She pooped today after 3 days- huge poops. I called the Vet and she suggested Royal Canin Satiety then she can lose some weight and fix her digestion problem. I don’t feel good about Royal Canin quality. I ordered at Amazon Carna 4 by Flora4 remedy (natural ingredients with live probiotics & Enzymes) the lady from the Petshop where I adopted my cat from recommended that. She also said I should give that brand dry food to my cat as it s grain free and healthier than Royal Canin. I feel so lost and overwhelmed as Vets say one thing and Petshop owner says other. Please help me with some advice on what food is the best for my cat problems (digestion and overweight). Grain free or with grains? which brand is healthy please?
I appreciate your help. I do not know who else I can ask for help 🙁 As all information has been very confusing. Thank you!
Hi there Priscila & thank you for your comment.
As I said in another comment that I wrote also on this article, I, as a former veterinarian, do not recommend feeding pets Royal Canin on a long term basis. The reason for this is that it contains some carcinogenic substances and occasionally even grains. If your cat eats the new diet, I completely agree with you changing your cat’s diet.
It can be very frustrating… I almost feel like I’m being the only honest veterinarian in the world. However, I do admit that I have made the same mistake in the past, too, and recommended Royal Canin, but then I got informed about its ingredients and I stopped recommending it. Royal Canin should only be used for short-term recovery.
I’m surprised that your cat doesn’t like wet food anymore and I have to say that you should try every method possible to switch her diet to a wet-only one. Dry food promotes constipation and cats don’t drink a lot of water anyway, so giving them something that basically absorbs all the liquids in the intestines makes it impossible for them to pass on stool.
However, if I were to recommend a good-quality dry food for cats, I’d try this one https://amzn.to/32YINz7 – the ingredients are very clean. Please refer to my post about cat laxatives, too https://myfelinebuddy.com/best-cat-laxative/ (Lax’aire is a pretty good one! https://amzn.to/3jNqbrE). I would try this and the laxative in combination.
Another problem with dry food is that you have no control over how much your cat eats. I completely understand that people have jobs and they can’t possibly sit around after their pets all day, but most cats can do well with two medium meals per day, one in the morning and another in the evening. If you gradually switch to this routine, you will be able to give your cat canned food, too, because by that point she might be hungrier and more willing to try something different. With less food in her body, your cat will also be able to ‘go to the bathroom’ better – since she’s going to do some kind of ‘intermittent fasting’ and I don’t know if you’ve heard but limiting feeding times can improve the digestive transit of both animals and humans.
What is a little worrying is that your cat is just 2 and a half years old. Usually cats that experience constipation are geriatric cats… not so young. Have you had any digestive investigations performed at the vet? Like maybe contrast X-rays, an ultrasound? Let me know please and do keep me posted. Leave other comments if I can help with anything & I will get back to you.
So it looks like you do recommend the Royal Canin Baby & Mothercat food. My foster cat is about to give birth and I also foster a lot of kittens so it’s pretty pricey for me to pay for Royal Canin. But since a lot of the kittens I foster are usually sick when I get them I feel like I should splurge for this. Do you have a dog blog that you could recommend? I also foster senior dogs. I love fostering and I want to provide the best for the animals while they are in my care, but it gets pricey!! And I feel bad for asking for food from the rescue – they have so many other needs to pay for.
Hi there Heather,
I recommend Pet Friendly House – the site has a lot of info on cats, dogs, and other pets.
Thank you for all of this great information. We are adopting a bonded pair who have been fed Royal Canin. I’d like to switch them to a healthier food when we get them next week.
Any suggestions on how to make that switch so they don’t have tummy trouble? Also, what food would you recommend for 2 healthy, 1yearold, indoor cats?
Thanks again ☺️
Hey there and thank you for the comment! Congratulations on adopting the pair!
You can gradually switch them to a different diet by adding a small amount of the new kibble into the Royal Canin. Every couple of days or so, you slightly increase the amount.
Here are some good, grain-free cat food options for indoor cats:
https://amzn.to/3lyZ30r (this one’s a bit expensive)
Let me know if you have any other questions! I hope your cats have a long, happy, and healthy life with you as their guardian! 🙂
Hello, my 2 year old male cat was recently diagnoses with urinary issues as he’s having trouble urinating. The vet kept him for a few days and catherized and flushed him but sent him home with a prescription of Royal SO moderate canned. He’s still not putting out much urine even though continued exams indicate he’s not blocked but may require PU surgery. I have 3 other pets to feed so Royal is not affordable in the long run. Is there another non-prescription wet food you’d recommend that’s high quality. I’ve been reading ALOT about the various pet foods including articles from holistic vets and I’m wondering if all else fails to feed him raw or semi-cooked meals (vet approved).
A raw or semi-cooked diet is honestly the best choice, seeing how it wouldn’t contain any additives, preservatives, or artificial colors or any weird ingredients such as corn, soy, or grain, which cats aren’t supposed to eat. However, there are some grain-free cat food varieties that you can try, which I’ve showcased here – https://myfelinebuddy.com/grain-free-cat-food-review/. Here are some great choices for cats with urinary tract health problems, too https://myfelinebuddy.com/best-cat-food-for-cats-with-urinary-tract-problems/
Managing a cat with urinary problems can be a little challenging. I’d say you try a slightly lower protein grain-free diet (no fish or shellfish) and keep an eye on your cat’s behavior. You can ask the vet or even order test strips online to check whether the pH of your cat’s urine isn’t off (if there’s a history of urinary tract infections, too). Is your cat neutered? Sometimes when they go in heat, it can cause additional problems to their urinary health (since the male cat penis is short and narrow, so it doesn’t allow the flow of urine containing small calculi as easily as that of other species). Some vets are of the opinion that neutering prevents this issue as it prevents the local inflammation due to the heat cycle.
I don’t recommend any Royal Canin diet for longer than 2-3 weeks until the medical problem has resolved. It can work in combination with various therapies, but it’s not super healthy in the long run. Also, I’d suggest feeding your cat canned/wet food only as the urinary function has to be somehow stimulated (and dry cat food definitely doesn’t do that).
Please let me know if you have any other questions!
Thank you for your response. My cat is a rescue and was neutered at the pound where I got him. Also, the vet did the PU surgery last Wednesday as Cosmo’s condition didn’t improve. I will definitely check out the other feeding alternatives outside of the Royal Canine SO moderate wet. Unfortunately, I have quite a few cans left.😩.
That’s okay, feed them those cans and then switch to something else. Did Cosmo’s condition improve after the operation? (Sorry for the delay in my previous response, I was away for several weeks)
Yes, he’s urinating normally except a few “accidents” on my daughter’s and sister’s beds. His feces is very creamy right now and the vet said that could be the antibiotics. He’s also on a paste that neutralizes his urine. He sleeps a lot and is a bit more subdued which is to be expected. My goal is to make sure that he doesn’t fall into the group with frequent bladder infections post PU.
Hi! Thank you for the article – very informative and well written!
Are there brands of car food you’d recommend for the long-term everyday use? My 8yo fixed Maine-coon-mix rescue has been on the RC S/O kibbles for years (based on the vet’s superlatives of the kind), but he doesn’t really like it much anymore and I’m worried of feeding him only dry food, especially one kind.
Hi there! Thank you for your comment and the kind words!
I do have some favorites (as I noted in this article, I don’t really like some of the ingredients in various Royal Canin recipes, and since your cat has been on the S/O diet for years it’s pretty safe to assume that he’s had some urinary problems (particularly with struvites).
First of all, I’d like to recommend that you take a look at my post about some good cat foods for cats with urinary problems: https://myfelinebuddy.com/best-cat-food-for-cats-with-urinary-tract-problems/. Canned varieties are my favorites when it comes to maintaining a cat’s (with a history of urinary pathologies) health in check. In terms of urinary-specific food brands, I’d recommend the Purina Pro Plan Urinary Tract Health cans (https://amzn.to/32gLJpd) and Hill’s Science Diet Wet Cat Food Urinary & Hairball Control (https://amzn.to/3ad9OBz) but I don’t really like the second brand as much like Royal Canin, some of the ingredients are a bit shady (I know for a fact that some of the binders and artificial colors are to be avoided as much as possible, so this one would work for short-term use).
If your cat’s recent tests don’t suggest that a urinary problem still exists, I’d suggest going for the Tiki Pets Wet Food (https://amzn.to/3tmZG0S) – it could be a little pricey but it’s one of the best I’ve found and it has high moisture, so it will ensure that your cat ‘drinks’ water even if he doesn’t. I’ve also looked at the list of ingredients and it doesn’t seem to have any weird additives, artificial colors, or anything that could be detrimental to a geriatric cat’s health.
I hope this helps! 🙂