Review of Natural Balance Platefulls

Pouch-Packaged Grain-Free Meals for Cats

Photo of Natural Balance Platefulls
Courtesy of PriceGrabber

Compare Prices

Natural Balance PlatefullsTM are packaged in pouches, are completely grain-free, and contain no artificial flavors or colors. They also do not contain chemical preservatives such as BHT, meat byproducts, nor any of the other ingredients that should be avoided in cat food.

Platefulls do contain named meat ingredients, and healthful vegetables and fruits in a tasty sauce. (I haven't tasted it, but my cats' body language tells the story.)

Eight different formulas are available to choose from:

  • Chicken and Giblets
  • Chicken and Salmon
  • Cod, Chicken, Sole, and Shrimp
  • Indoor Chicken and Chicken Liver
  • Indoor Mackerel and Sardine
  • Indoor Salmon, Tuna, Chicken, and Shrimp
  • Indoor Turkey, Salmon, and Chicken
  • Turkey, Chicken, and Duck

Sample Nutritional Information for Platefulls

I have been using Natural Balance cat foods for years, including both dry and canned. Presently, my three boys are eating a rotation of the Natural Balance canned Limited Ingredient formulas, including Chicken and Pea, Chicken and Duck, and the Chicken and Salmon.Their diet is supplemented by sharing approximately one cup per day of the Natural Balance Limited Ingredient dry foods (currently Chicken and Green Pea.)

I hadn't previously been a fan of the "pouch" type foods in general because my cats licked the juice but left the meaty morsels which contained the majority of the good nutrients.

However, when Natural Balance Platefulls first showed up at the local feed store, it seemed like a good opportunity to introduce some variety into my cats' diet. Although Platefulls are described as "savory entrees," in my home they are used as treats - one pouch shared by my three male cats, once or twice a day, at the most.

And, unlike previous pouch cat foods, the boys eat most of the meat, fruit, and veggies along with the juice.

Details of a Sample Natural Balance Platefulls Formulas

It should be noted that Platefulls are formulated to meet the nutritional levels established by the AAFCO cat food nutrient profiles for adult maintenance. The following are examples of the ingredients, nutritional information, and feeding guidelines for one of the formulas:

Platefulls Chicken and Giblets

Ingredients: Chicken Broth, Chicken, Chicken Giblets, Peas, Dried Egg Whites, Carrots, Potato Starch, Natural Flavor, Guar Gum, Sodium Phosphate, Salmon Oil, Ground Flaxseed, Potassium Chloride, Minerals (Iron Amino Acid Chelate, Zinc Amino Acid Chelate, Cobalt Amino Acid Chelate, Copper Amino Acid Chelate, Manganese Amino Acid Chelate, Sodium Selenite, Potassium Iodide), Sodium Carbonate, Pumpkin, Spinach, Parsley, Dried Kelp, DL-Methionine, Cranberry Meal, Vitamins (Vitamin E Supplement, Thiamine Mononitrate, Niacin, Vitamin B12 Supplements, d-Calcium Pantothenate, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Riboflavin Supplement, Vitamin A Supplement, Biotin, Folic Acid), Choline Chloride, Taurine, Yucca Schidigera Extract.

Note: Because Platefulls are gravy-based, broth of some form (chicken, fish, or turkey) will always appear at the top of the ingredients list. However, in almost all the formulas, the next listed ingredients are the named protein source.

Guaranteed Analysis:

Crude Protein: 8.0% minimum
Crude Fat: 3.5% minimum
Crude Fiber 1.0% maximum
Moisture 82.0% maximum
Taurine 0.05% minimum
Omega-6 Fatty Acids 0.60% minimum
Omega-3 Fatty Acids* 0.08% minimum

Calories: Metabolizable energy 850 kcal/kg, 70 kcal/3 oz pouch (calculated). The caloric count is minimal when spread among three cats as a "snack only." On the other hand, the feeding guidelines call for feeding "two pouches per five pounds of body weight per day." This is problematic for overweight cats. For example, at 22 pounds, Jaspurr would be fed nine pouches/day according to the guidelines.

That is a total of 630 kcals per day. According to the Feline Health Center at Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine, "An equation commonly used [for maintaining ideal body weight] is: 30 times body weight in kilograms, plus 70." Therefore, to maintain Jaspurr's ideal weight of 15 pounds would require only 274 kcals/day. The recommended feeding guidelines are more realistic for cats weighing in at 10-12 pounds. The other factor is the cost. I pay 99 cents/pouch for Platefulls at my local feed and grain store, so feeding four cats the recommended amount per day would be quite expensive.

The Bottom Line

As are all of the Natural Balance lines of cat food, Platefulls are nutritious, protected by the Natural Balance Buy With Confidence program, which includes a state-of-the-art testing facility. The various formulas all contain nutritious ingredients, and none of the "bad stuff," dangerous to cats' health. If my cats are an indicator of its palatability, the formulas are all tasty, including the meat protein and veggies. Because of my cats' health problems, I prefer to feed them limited ingredients cat foods for the most part and save the Platefulls for treats. However, adult cats in reasonably good health could easily thrive on a diet consisting only of Natural Balance Platefulls.

Disclaimer: I am not a nutritionist. If your cat is under veterinary care for any chronic food-related condition, such as diabetes, food allergies, or Inflammatory Bowel Disease, consult your veterinarian before making any food changes.

Suggested Additional Reading

Compare Prices