Instinct Grain-Free Rabbit Meal Dry Cat Food by Nature’s Variety, 12.1-Pound Package

Instinct is made by Nature’s Variety, a natural pet food company located in Lincoln, Nebraska. Our team is passionate about providing proper, holistic nutrition for your beloved dog and cat. Instinct products are designed so you can feed canned and kibble food in a variety of flavors to your pet. We are proud pet parents, just like you! So we understand that your pet has a special place in your family, in your life, and in your heart. Our products are sold across the United States and Canada in local and national pet specialty stores. Our passion for holistic pet nutrition extends from our market-leading raw formulas to our grain-free kibble and cans. Our customers send us testimonials every day telling us that our products have transformed the lives of their pets.

Quick facts

  • Grain-free kibble (no fillers or soy) – proven to provide great taste and nutrition
  • Helps your cat reach and maintain an ideal weight along with proper portions and exercise
  • May provide relief from most food allergy symptoms
  • Complete and balanced for all life stages and all breeds
  • Made in the USA

Top reviews

Turkey formula’s are better than PET rabbit formula.

Good company however I don’t agree with this product. Duck, turkey, or lamb are better for cats who have allergies. Pet rabbit formula are all innocent domestic rabbits who are slaughtered.
LeeChatsworth, CA

My cats became very ill after eating Natures Variety Rabbit Dry Cat Food

My cats became violently ill after eating the Instinct Rabbit Dry food. They were throwing up and stopped eating. They had to be force fed and nearly died. After several vet visits they recovered. I wrote a letter to Natures Variety and sent them a sample of the tainted food for testing. I was hoping I could save other cats from getting sick. They replied that they would not do anything until more cats became ill.
AnnaleeNorthwood, NH

Nature’s Variety has changed their formula

I looked for a long while to find a dry kibble that my cats would enjoy and tolerate. One cannot have rice or other grains. They preferred the previous formula of Nature’s Variety Instinct Rabbit meal formula. I purchased a new bag and the cats wouldn’t touch it and in fact were repelled by it. I looked at the ingredients and the order, and they were the same until you got to the ingrediant “Natural Chicken flavor” on the old bag. On the new bag, it said “Natural pork flavor.” The individual kibble are flatter and airy and the old kibble was denser and a bit rounder. Further the old formula says “90%+ of the protein is from rabbit,salmon,chicken, herring meals.” The new formula says “75% pure animal ingredients and nutriousl oils.” In any case, there are some differences. I’m not sure if it is the pork flavor, the disc texture and density or even if there is a change in the ratio. THe first bag references the percentage of protein and its identity, whereas the new bage simply indicates the percentage of animal ingredients. I have some sad kitties who loved the old formula. Looking at […] review of premium dry, it also lists other types that might also appeal to kitties.
BevOrleans, CA

best dry cat food available

I work in a specialty pet store that carries a wide range of high quality products for both cats and dogs. I spend a lot of my time looking at ingredients and researching brands so that I can pass my knowledge onto my customers. Natures Variety Instinct is the best quality food on the market, even when compared to other great foods like Orijen, Wellness Core, or Health Extension. Keep in mind that these other foods (with the exception of Science Diet, Iams, and other big store brands) are also very healthy for your pet and are loaded with high quality ingredients. I personally feed my cats Health Extension because it’s the best food you can get for the price. However, if you want the absolute best, this is it.

A look at the first four ingredients will tell you why. They’re all “meals”, which is essentially meat that has been ground up and dehydrated to around 10 percent moisture as opposed to 75 percent. Some fats are also removed because meat this compressed would have too high a fat percentage otherwise. Though “meals” do often contain other part of the animal humans wouldn’t consider “meat”, it doesn’t matter to cats or dogs and is actually more nutritious. This food also contains rabbit organs, a few fruits and vegetables, and two different kinds of probiotics.

As for taste, I just opened a sample bag and gave some dry food to my cats. They’re currently on my table clawing at the bag to get to what’s left of it. They absolutely love the food.

MaudePrinceton, IA

A lifesaver especially for cats with skin allergies

We have been feeding our cat mixed canned food and dry (but more of the wet food). She was with Core Wellness Chicken Grain-Free until she had her dental surgery (with tooth extraction and cleaning), and the vet suspected that the antibiotic prescribed caused her to itch all over after a week into recovery. She started to lick and pull her hair with her teeth, as well as excessively lick her legs, paws, back, belly and the scratching was constant. Our poor baby! The Core wellness was good but the vet told us we need rabbit meal or rabbit canned food for our cat to itch less and to rule out allergy from chicken or fish. We got this Nature’s Variety dry food (still has chicken) to supplement the rabbit canned food, which is her main food now. She has to have the dry food to snack on otherwise she would not eat the wet food. And she is normally an active cat.

It has been 3 days since we changed her diet and we can see remarkable improvements – less scratching, and she’s more active and playing and much happier now! We observed that our cat has been drinking more with this food, which makes perfect sense from another person’s review and from the package label. It says it has only 10% moisture. By the way, our cat is pretty much healthy prior to her dental procedure, no kidney problems, not diabetic, no hyperactive thyroidism thank goodness. And she has her complete blood profile done before and after the dental surgery. All other organs tested as well. We ruled out flea allergies since we have her on a flea prevention monthly maintenance(Revolution, update: changed to Advantage II) which we apply on her every month since we got her.

So if your cat is scratching excessively with generalized itching on the body, and pulling hair (no vomiting, diarrhea etc. just the scratching,excessive licking and hair-pulling) like our cat, it may be skin allergy .. this cat food proved to be helpful to us. It’s definitely a lifesaver for our precious cat. We wish to continue using this product as well as the canned rabbit food to keep our cat healthy and itch-free!

DeniseMaple Mount, KY

Best nutrition for all cats, and a livesaver for sensitive cats

This is an amazingly healthy food for all cats, as previously reviewed. 90% of the protein is from rabbit, chicken, salmon, and herring meals. Since cats are carnivores, I think it makes sense to go for something that is grain-free and gluten-free. I mix it with Evo for variety for my two cats. They are active indoor cats with gorgeous coats and of healthy weight.

For a cat of a friend of mine, this rabbit-based food has been a livesaver. Her cat had such sensitive skin that even on premium pet store brands the poor animal had hardly any fur left on its belly from overgrooming itself. They tried everything! Since switching to Instinct Rabbit Meal Formula, the cat is happy, healthy, and recovered.

DominicFairfield, AL

Stopped the vomiting

One of my three cats has suffered from loose bowels her entire life, but no other detectable health problems. (Yes, a vet was consulted.) More recently, however, she started putting on a lot of weight and began vomiting horrifically and frequently. We began trying other foods, without success. After more and more research, I decided to try eliminating grain from her diet. We really could not afford a canned-only diet of quality food, and had heard that other cat owners had had success with rabbit-based food for cats.

It has been three weeks now with no vomiting, solid stools, and our calico is starting to lose weight. She seems happier and is definitely more active than she had been six weeks ago. Another fringe benefit– our male cat, who has suffered from nearly chronic tartar build-up (despite two cleanings and “tartar-control” treats), is showing me a cleaner set of teeth and better breath. Thrilled would be understating how happy we are with this product.

CarrolOlive Branch, IL

Cats loved the old flavor, hate the new

As another poster mentioned, Nature’s Variety decided to change their formula for their Rabbit food. I had finally found a rabbit diet that my sensitive stomach kitty enjoyed, however when I got my most recent shipment (I was on amazon’s auto-refill), I was surprised to find the kernels were smaller. This led me to do some online research and I discovered that they decided to mess with their ingredients. I don’t know how pork could possibly give this food a “better flavor” than before, but my cats HATE this food. I have one cat that will eat pretty much anything, except this apparently. Now I have a $40/12lb bag of food that neither cat will eat.

As expensive as this diet is, I had expected better from Nature’s Variety and I am sad to say I canceled my auto-refill subscription and now have to find a new diet. I can’t believe that a company that prides themselves on producing a diet similar to what cats would eat in the wild would add pork flavor to their food. I can see a wild cat eating rabbit, but not a pig! Also, it would have been nice to see this new formula advertised on their bag of food – I had to find out on my own that they had been messing around.


Amazon’s customer service is awesome. I inquired about returning the food, and although they do not take returns on grocery items, they did refund the full amount. I wasn’t expecting a refund, but was very pleased with their customer service, this is why I will continue to do most of my shopping on!

I have now tried the Instinct Chicken flavor and, while both cats do enjoy this food, I am still wishing I had an alternative protein source (i.e. rabbit or venison) in case the sensitivity was actually an allergy to chicken (I’m hoping it’s just an allergy to grains, as this is pretty common).

DarrelMedford, NY

Great for food allergies!

My 13 y/o cat developed a food allergy and my vet wanted to put him on a prescription diet. I tried switching to several different Organic cat foods with no improvement. An acquaintance recommended Instinct cat food for food allergies and said her cats loved the food too.

I decided to try it out… Not only did I have immediate results (about a 90-95% recovery), my very picky cat surprisingly loves it. The regurgitation of food that has been a lifelong issue (we thought from eating too fast) has also stopped. The added pluses are that this food is cheaper than prescription food, doesn’t require a prescription and has a 100% satisfaction guarantee. My 3 cats seem to eat less of it (maybe because no fillers = full faster), so the cost almost evens out to the Science Diet dry foods I used to give them.

Subscribe & Save reduces the price even further and ships for free to my doorstep eliminating regular trips to the pet store.

The only downside is that I found the dry Rabbit food has chicken meal & fat and I believe I’ve narrowed down my cat’s allergies to chicken. The canned lamb food Nature’s Variety Canned Cat Food, Feline Instinct Lamb Diet, 5.5-Ounce Cans (Pack of 24) doesn’t seem to cause any allergic reaction, but I prefer dry as their main diet and will look into the other Instinct dry foods for one that doesn’t contain any chicken in hopes of a 100% recovery.

BernieCleveland, WV

Amazing product, excellent value

We have been feeding Nature’s Instinct Rabbit formula to our cat for seven months now. The change in her health has been amazing.

She’s about age 12 now. (She’s a rescue cat abandoned by the original owner, so we guess she was maybe 2 when adopted.) We had been feeding her a commercial “breeder” food (Purina Pro Plan Salmon & Rice). She was gaining fat and getting sluggish. Her blood panel showed her to be pre-diabetic, with possible kidney issues looming.

After researching, we learned that nearly all cat kibble was dangerously high in carbohydrates and relatively low in protein, and that the protein sources were mediocre.

Since cats are obligate carnivores, the inclusion of too much carbohydrate does just what it does to humans as we age: It is converted to fat and stored against a possible future of hunger. Unfortunately, this carries the risk of Type 2 Diabetes and other obesity-related illnesses.

Also, poor-quality food sources injure the immune system, placing cats at risk for allergies and thyroid problems.

It was clear that the high carbohydrate formula was putting our cat at risk. Our research also listed a number of high-protein, low-carbohydrate formulae. We chose Nature’s Instinct Rabbit, which is 40% protein and 7% carbohydrate.

Within two months, she slimmed down, losing about 20% body weight. She became more alert, spending more time awake and hanging out with us. She became more frisky, sometimes acting like a kitten. Her coat shines and she has that sleek look. Her gait has improved, because she doesn’t have to turn her hindquarters out to get her legs around a bulging midsection. Her teeth, gums, and claws look healthy. All other factors, like living situation, have remained constant. The only change was her food.

Her annual check-up isn’t for two months, but all the signs indicate that her health has improved significantly since changing her diet.

Yes, this kibble costs more by weight than commercial brands. But if you look at the total costs involved – vet bills, monthly diabetes or thyroid medicine cost, etc. – and the fact that she eats less quantity while deriving more nutrient intake, Nature’s Instinct Rabbit is an investment in your cat’s health and an overall excellent value.

MarileeBrady, NE

My picky kitten love it

My kitten is really finicky,but when I put the first cup of instinct he became excited and finish it,his coat and energy markedly improved,I highly recommend it
DesireeGoldenrod, FL

Love this stuff!

Since my dog was already eating frozen raw by NV, I figured I’d try out the dry formula for my cats. We tried the chicken formula first, and the cats simply werent excited about it. Which I was suprised about, they love chicken so I thought they’d take to this formula better. I tend to lean towards the more game-type formulas anyway so I figured we’d try the rabbit one next. They went nuts! I wish this were a LID diet and contained fewer protein sources but since the kitties love it, I cant complain too much.
GenaDuncan, NE

Inconsistent but a lifesaver

This food has been a lifesaver (literally, according to my vet) for my 10 year old. For years he had really nasty (I mean at times explosive) diarrhea and I tried everything from prescription foods, making my own, raw food, medication. Nothing worked. This helped almost from the first bite. Only the rabbit formula worked, none of the poultry.

The problem — very inconsistent. One bag might be great and the next one he won’t eat and/or it causes problems. I finally bought based on expiration date and when I found one that worked I stocked up. There is another review posted here that talks about a formula change, but I didn’t notice a connection. The food does look different one expiration date to the next (darker or lighter, the size of the kibble changes).

I met a dealer at an expo and he seemed far from interested in hearing about the problem. If your cat is really sensitive it is definitely worth trying out. Be prepared for occasional problems and wasted $$. But it can work miracles.

BrittaniSatellite Beach, FL

Two Sick Cats within minutes of eating.

We having been feeding our two young cats the chicken formula for a while now and they seem to be able to keep it down with little problem. Natures variety touts rotational feeding as a one of the perks of the brand so we tried out this formula. even after adding a small amount in with the chicken the cats become sick with a few minutes and vomit out what they had eaten. Eating it alone without the chicken formula with it produced worse results. Just to make sure I fed them their usually raw food at night and they were fine, but the serving of rabbit dry in the morning resulted in nearly instant vomiting.

I hope a company like this reads the various review sites and can balance this formula out.

BrockTriplett, MO

Cat became very ill.

My cat became ill like another poster and was vomiting throughout the day.
I am very concerned about this because she also has diarrhea now. This has never happened to me before so I will not be repurchasing.
AlonaDover Plains, NY

Cat won’t eat it

My sort-of feral cat that I’ve been feeding actually spit the stuff out and I know he likes rabbits. The dog doesn’t even like it and he’s always dipping into the cat food. There was a recall for sorguhm on this lot so maybe that affected the taste? Can’t seem to get dog or cat to accept any of these wholesome products without grain and it does get to be an expensive experiment but spitting out was a first.
Also, the color of the product is black? Is that right? It looked burnt.
ElsaShattuckville, MA

Not a favorite with my cats

I would love to give this a 5-star review since the ingredient list is fantastic. I know this is a good food for my cats but unfortunately they don’t like it. One of our cats will eat this but not as enthusiastically as she ate her old food. Our other cat won’t touch this at all, she’ll barely even touch it when mixed with her canned food. Three stars because this IS a good food but apparently not very tasty. Oh well, we will go back to their old food which was not only good for them but they loved it. The only reason we even switched was because our petco stopped carrying their food.
JacquelyneHallandale, FL

cat food

My cat loved this when I bought it from here, but they’ve since reformulated it and when I bought it from another supplier he didn’t care for it as much, so now I have a lot of it unfortunately.
AngellaLacoochee, FL

Tres Gatos

I have been using the Instinct Rabbit formula for my three cats for about a year now. I have noticed an increase in playfulness, healthier coats, and all three are leaner. My oldest cat at 8 years this month is 25 pounds and is a lot more active. And, I love the fact that I dont have to go to the store and lug those heavy bags home. Thanks for carrying this product Amazon!
AgripinaAcworth, NH

Best Dry Cat Food out there!

My cats are on a raw diet, and I do not feed dry food on a regular basis. But once in a while if I have to go away for a day or two I leave out dry food, since it doesn’t spoil like raw would. This is the best dry food diet I have found. It was recommended by my holistic vet and my cats totally love it.
ArlenLisco, NE

Cat mom

The cats transitioned easily onto this high quality food. They are doing very well on it.
ErickSolon Mills, IL