Hill’s Science Diet For Cats – is There Room in This Household For Two Opinions?

Sparrow and Ferdy - Hill's Science Diet For Cats

I have a finicky eater on my hands. I’m not going to embarrass myself by admitting how many times we’ve been to the vet because of a hunger strike, only to find out that there’s nothing wrong. Sparrow just decides from time to time, that he doesn’t like what’s on the menu. Sigh.

So it was just another routine ‘your cat has tricked you again’ visit when one of the nurses pointed to a shelf and said: “I’ve never met a cat who doesn’t like that stuff”. She was pointing at the Hill’s Science Diet For Cats range.

Challenge accepted.


At a Glance

  • What: Hill’s Science Diet Feline
  • Who: Hill’s Pet Nutrition – a trusted brand since 1939
  • Best Price: Amazon.com
  • Does Sparrow approve? He eats the stuff. I have my reservations


Who is This Hill Character?

I don’t know. According to the blurb on their website, the Hill’s pet food lines were first developed in 1939 by a Dr Mark L. Morris Sr. He was a visionary vet who believed that health concerns in pets could be managed with carefully constructed nutrition. Dr Morris developed the first prescription food for dogs, to address kidney problems in a guide dog named Buddy. That was the first pet food designed for kidney health, and shortly after that Hill’s Pet Nutrition was born and the field of clinical nutrition took on a life of its own.

The Hill’s pet food line comes in three different varieties:

  • Prescription Diet – to address specific health conditions in pets.
  • Science Diet – to meet the needs of healthy pets during various life stages.
  • Ideal Balance – made with natural ingredients to provide the perfect balance of nutrition.


What’s a Science Diet?

Hairball - Hill's Science Diet For CatsThe Hill’s Science Diet Feline range is specifically designed to support the needs and nutrition of healthy cats throughout the various stages of their lives. There are diets tailored for cats of all ages – kittens, adults, mature age and seniors – as well as diets targeting common health concerns. For the sake of this review, I’m just going to be talking about dry food diets for adult cats aged 1-6, because that’s what I know. There are 9 different Science Diet products available for adult cats. They are:

  • Hairball Control – to help avoid hairball troubles.
  • Indoor – for cats with an indoor lifestyle.
  • Adult Light – for a light, healthy lifestyle.
  • Optimal Care – balanced, easy to digest nutrition.
  • Oral Care – to support healthy mouth and teeth.
  • Adult Perfect Weight – helps cats achieve and maintain a healthy weight.
  • Sensitive Stomach & Skin – for sensitive digestive systems and to support a healthy skin and coat.
  • Urinary Hairball Control – to support the health of the entire urinary system.
  • VetEssentials Feline adult – preventative nutrition focused on 5 key health benefits.


The theory is that feeding your cat a diet specifically addressing his age and health concern will improve kitty’s quality of life and help to lessen the effects of said health concerns.


Why Should You Try it?

To be perfectly honest, the natural sceptic in me wanted to push the bullshit button on this at first. This stuff has a high price tag, some slick marketing and what looks to me like a questionable list of ingredients, especially for an asthmatic cat.

However, my finicky eater loves the stuff no matter what variety I’ve given him, and I am in no position to argue Hairball Bowl - Hill's Science Diet For Catsabout what he will and will not eat. I always lose those arguments anyway.

I can see the value in some of their more obvious formulas – the weight management varieties are lower in calories and the hairball control formula is higher in natural fibre to reduce hairballs, for example.

Most of their adult formulas are free of artificial colours, flavours and preservatives and boast “clinically proven antioxidant benefits”, whatever that means. There’s obviously a lot of thought and research that goes into developing such a comprehensive range and Hill’s is what many vets feed their own pets.  Plus, cats seem to like it, even little Mr Sparrow Fussy-Face.


What’s Questionable?

I’m not overly fond of their long list of ingredients – most of the Science Diet Adult range lists whole grain wheat, corn gluten meal, brewer’s rice and wheat gluten pretty high up. As I’ve discussed briefly, asthmatic cats do best on a diet low in grains and high in good, natural protein.

There’s some debate as to whether specifically formulated ‘vet approved’ diets are all they’re cracked up to be. Generally, you do get what you pay for in terms of quality, but sometimes the most expensive is not necessarily the best. Hills have positioned themselves with some important sounding words in their brand names and a high ticket price, which might sway some people into blindly trusting without doing proper research.


Does Sparrow Approve?

Sparrow Approval Face - Hill's Science Diet For CatsSparrow is the pickiest of picky eaters, so I’ve tried a lot of different foods in the year and a half of his life. We’ve had 3 different Hill’s products and he got through most of each bag before he went on a protest hunger strike. I give away a lot of cat food because Sparrow has decided to turn into a picky princess, but he seems to really like this stuff. I’m not 100% sold on the fact that their prescription diets are necessary, but I have no basis for that other than my own cynicism. The science diets appear to be sensible enough and I have a happy, healthy shiny young cat to prove it. Being a bit of a hippy weirdo, I’d prefer to see him eating something a bit more natural with the same balanced nutrition, but really…you think I’m going to argue with a cat?


Does your kitty eat Hill’s? Tell us what you think in the comments below…


Hill's Science Diet For Cats


Cat Friendly Flavours


Quality Ingredients




Nutritionally Balanced


Nothing Artificial


What's Good?

  • USA Made
  • Good For Picky Eaters
  • Wet & Dry Varieties Available

What's Questionable?

  • Long List of Ingredients
  • Flashy Marketing

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  1. Sparrow is adorable, and I’m glad he found a food to satisfy his fussy palate. I share your concerns about the ingredient list, too, but I’ve known for 4 decades not to argue with a cat. Cats rule. 🙂

    1. I’m not sure how much longer it’s going to last, to be honest…I can sense another hunger strike coming on! There’s a different Hill’s product that I might try next, given that he seems to like something about that brand. You’re right, I only argue with the cat when I want to lose. Thanks for stopping by, Whitney!

  2. You aren’t the first person I have come across with a fussy cat. It seems to be a thing with cats.

    I haven’t tried Hills on my cat yet, only on the dogs, but they eat anything. At the moment my cat seems ok on his pellet diet, but in the past he has been a picky eater. I will make a note to try Hills when he decides to go through this phase again.

    1. He’s beyond fussy, it drives me mad. Lucky he’s so cute.

      My biggest complaint about Hill’s, or any cat food for that matter, is they don’t come in sample size bags for the fussy to test. Thanks for stopping by, Michel!

  3. Well Hello Shirley,
    I will have to say I loved your post! I was surfing the net this morning trying to find a cat food that my picky eater might eat? And I ran across your post! You have enlightened me on Hill’s, and yes I have seen it at the vet’s office plenty of times.. but I really had no clue that my miss Lucy may really enjoy the stuff. I always thought that, that kind of food was for the older cats that had diet problems because you always see the older couple coming in to the vet’s office while you are there waiting for you appointment and they are buying it by the cases. I never even considered buying Hill’s! Well I guess just like they say “you learn something new everyday” And today I learned to try Hill’s… Thank you so much! Debra

    1. Hi Debra, I’ve always been a bit skeptical about the big brand, important looking cat foods. I automatically assumed a gimmick but the boss likes it so I have to run with that. I’m sure you could find an appropriate Hill’s food for Lucy, no matter what age or ‘special-ness’ she has. Thanks for reading!

  4. How dare you even question the palate-authority of our dear Sparrow? Sorry Mom, but Sparrow is quickly developing his own following of faraway feline fans. I’ve always wondered if the Science Diet stuff is a scam. But, as mothers, who are we to judge what tastes yummy and what doesn’t? My Mollie won’t eat anything that’s on sale. Figure that one out!

    Thanks for all of your valuable posts! I love reading and co-miserating with you!

    1. I know, right? What was I thinking? I am the original Little Miss Cynical so it took some desperation before I tried the expensive stuff on Sparrow. I should have known…he’s been difficult about everything for his entire life, so why should his food be any different? Sounds like he and Mollie would be best friends, plotting about how to make life more difficult for their humans.

      Thanks for reading, Amy. It’s always nice to see you back here.

  5. So I have a cat and 2 dogs. Thy are all on hill science. For years now. It’s a little expensive. But better than going to grocery store. Getting something from who knows where. Hill science is USA made. The only thing about it is you have to go to the pet store. Which is a lot further then going 2 miles up the road. I never thought about getting it delivered. Thanks for he tip. I will recommend people to your site.. thank you….

    1. It is a little expensive, but I wonder if you’ve saved money on vet bills over the years just by feeding your pets a quality food. I’d like to think yes. Glad to have given you some handy advice, thanks for reading!

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