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Does your cat seem uninterested in meal times? As a cat owner, you should know that cats, like humans, largely base their food selection on taste. If your cat does not like how the formula tastes, it will most probably not feed on the formula. For this reason, it is essential that you feed your feline on formulas it will enjoy feeding on. Since cats are carnivorous by nature, any formula with real meat is a big plus for your feline.
The blue buffalo healthy gourmet flakes salmon entree is one of the many meat based formulas in the market today. This formula is said to contain real meat as the main source of protein. It is also said to contain a blend of other natural and healthy ingredients to support the overall health of your feline.
Is this formula as good as it is claimed to be? Let’s find out.
Salmon, Fish Broth, Water, Chicken, Chicken Liver, Dried Egg Whites, Potato Starch, Ground Brown Rice, Spinach, Flaxseed, Sodium Phosphate, Guar Gum, Cranberries, Sweet Potatoes, Carrots, Blueberries, Natural Flavor, Potassium Chloride, Calcium Carbonate, Iron Amino Acid Chelate, Zinc Amino Acid Chelate, Cobalt Amino Acid Chelate, Copper Amino Acid Chelate, Manganese Amino Acid Chelate, Sodium Selenite, Potassium Iodide, Salt, Vitamin A Supplement, Thiamine Mononitrate (Vitamin B1), Riboflavin (Vitamin B2), Niacin (Vitamin B3), d-Calcium Pantothenate (Vitamin B5), Pyridoxine Hydrochloride (Vitamin B6), Biotin (Vitamin B7), Folic Acid (Vitamin B9), Vitamin B12 Supplement, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Vitamin E Supplement, Choline Chloride, Carrageenan, Taurine.
An overview of the first five ingredients
Salmon is an excellent source of high quality proteins for cats and is extremely rich in healthy Omega 3 and Omega 6 fatty acids. Some people worry about mercury levels in fish. It’s true that all fish contains some degree of mercury, the level in salmon is much lower than other types of fish and the FDA doesn’t believe it is cause for concern. Most salmon in cat food is farmed salmon, but higher end cat food (especially those labeled “natural”) can often times be fished from natural lakes and streams. The biggest problem with fish ingredients, including salmon, is if the fish includes an antioxidant called ethoxyquin (EMQ). It is believe that ethoxyquin could be very harmful to cats and other animals. Always make sure you are using “Ethoxyquin free” cat food blends when they include fish ingredients. When in doubt, call the customer service number and ask.
Fish broth is a mostly non-nutritious ingredient used to add moisture to the food. It is considered a better alternative to plain water and does provide an enhanced taste for cats. We do wish this broth came from a named fish source as the broth could have been made using almost any type of fish and almost any part of the fish. However, this is still considered a safe ingredient and we aren’t too concerned about the unnamed source this broth comes from.
As you might expect, water is mostly added for moisture and cooking purposes. It does not add any nutritional value to the food.
Chicken is a very popular ingredient for pet food and in this case, they are referring to whole chicken. This is a very high quality meat source and we are pleased to see it listed. However, whole chicken loses about 80% of its content during the cooking process since the majority of whole chicken is water. After the cooking process is complete, the amount of whole chicken remaining is substantially reduced. Therefor, while whole chicken is a great source of meat protein, this ingredient alone is not enough to provide sufficient levels of meat protein in a cats diet.
Here is another ingredient you probably wouldn’t want to see on your own dinner plate, but most cats seem to enjoy the taste of liver. Uncooked liver, or liver in very high quantities, can actually be toxic to cats. However, in this food, it is clearly provided well within safe limits. In fact, this ingredient is a pretty high quality ingredient overall. It provides a good source of vitamins, minerals, proteins, and other nutrients your cat can benefit from.
Other ingredients in this formula
Dried Egg Whites
Egg whites are eggs that have been separated from the yolk. They provide a high amount of protein while at the same time, contain low amounts of cholesterol. Egg whites also contain a number of other nutrients such as potassium, magnesium, calcium, phosphorus, copper, zinc, and iron. Overall this is a nutritious ingredient without much of a health risk.
Potato starch is starch extracted from potatoes and is usually only included to assist with the consistency and texture of the food. Cats generally do not receive much nutritional value from this ingredient, although it may sometimes aid in proper digestion.
Ground Brown Rice
Brown rice and white rice have similar amounts of calories and carbohydrates. The main differences between the two forms of rice lie in processing and nutritional content. When only the outermost layer of a grain of rice (the husk) is removed, brown rice is produced. To produce white rice, the next layers underneath the husk (the bran layer and the germ) are removed, leaving mostly the starchy endosperm. While many cat owners like to stay away from grain based ingredients, rice in general is easy for cats to digest and is not likely to cause allergic reactions. The rice will expand in your cats stomach helping him or her feel more full. So while this ingredient may not be especially nutritious, it does have value in the food and is unlikely to cause major problems. You should still avoid this ingredient if your cat has suffered from grain allergies in the past, but overall, this is a very low-risk ingredient even though it is a grain.
While it certainly sounds like a healthy ingredient, the truth is, spinach doesn’t add much nutritional value to the food. It does supply some various nutrients and vitamins, but the levels are quite low. Many companies like to include this ingredient as it looks great on the ingredients list, but in general, it is not all that nutritious for cats. On the flip side, there is very little to worry about and this ingredient is considered to be very safe for most cats.
Is this an allergy causing cat food?
Judging from the list of ingredients used to make this formula, it is unlikely that this cat food can cause allergies. It does not contain common allergens used in cat formulas. This makes it completely healthy for cats.
Harmful ingredients commonly used in cat formulas
Corn and soy – Both of these grains are commonly found in cheaper cat foods you can normally find in the grocery store. They are cheap filler ingredients that will help to make your cat feel more full, but corn and soy provide almost no nutritional value to cats. These ingredients can also be difficult for some cats to digest, so we do not recommend this product for cats with sensitive digestion issues. And finally, these are two of the most widely known allergens for cats. Most cats are not allergic to these ingredients, but many are. Cat food companies like to use these ingredients because they are cheap and boost the protein percentage in the food. However, cats digest meat proteins and plant based proteins differently. Since they are obligate carnivores, they require meat protein to live a healthy life and do not process plant proteins very well.
Wheat gluten – We don’t think any grain is “good” for your cat. It doesn’t mean wheat gluten is “bad” for your cat, either, but the fact it provides almost no nutritional value makes us question the quality of the ingredient. Wheat gluten can be a decent protein source for animals with digestive systems that can break it down, but as obligate carnivores, cats are not one of those animals. Their digestive systems produce only the enzymes necessary for processing animal-based proteins. There are also some allergy risks associated with wheat gluten. In addition, too much of this in a cats diet can potentially lead to weight gain and diabetes. Unfortunately, diabetes in cats is a very serious health problem, so it is important to keep a close eye on your cats weight and diabetic risk when feeding a cat food containing ingredients like wheat gluten.
Added color – There is absolutely no reason to included added color into any cat food, ever. It’s extremely disappointing to see this ultra-low quality ingredient included. Added color is used for marketing purposes only. They want their product to stand out sitting on the shelf at the store, so they add coloring to their product. Essentially, the coloring is added to entice YOU (the human) to purchase the food over other brands. Your cat could care less what color the food is. Unfortunately, added color is quite controversial as there is growing evidence suggesting cancer in cats from too much food color exposure. At worse, this is a harmful ingredient and at best, it is a marketing ploy with no nutritional value or positive benefit to your cat. We usually have a tough time recommending any cat food that includes such a controversial ingredient.
This formula is an average cat formula. It contains healthy ingredients known to boost the health of your feline. Even so, the presence of brown rice may not go down well will cat owners looking for grain free formulas. Otherwise, it is a perfectly healthy formula for your feline.