Do you own a cat that prefers to live an indoor lifestyle? While all cats need the same nutrition to enjoy a healthy life, the lifestyle of a cat can determine greatly what it should feed on. The best formula for an indoor feline should be low on calories to fight excessive weight gain and it should come with balanced nutrients to support general growth and development. This is why it is important to consider your cat’s lifestyle when choosing cat foods.
The Blue Buffalo Indoor Health Adult Chicken and Brown Rice (dry) formula is one of the many formulas said to support an indoor feline lifestyle.This formula is said to be formulated in a way that is helps in managing the weight of your cat and at the same time offer all the nutrients your feline needs to live happy and healthy.
Even with all the hype, is this really the most ideal formula for your indoor pet?
Deboned Chicken, Chicken Meal, Whole Ground Barley, Oatmeal, Whole Ground Brown Rice, Fish Meal (source of Omega 3 Fatty Acids), Chicken Fat (preserved with Mixed Tocopherols), Dried Cellulose, Natural Chicken Flavor, Whole Potatoes, Peas, Whole Carrots, Whole Sweet Potatoes, Cranberries, Blueberries, Apples, Blackberries, Pomegranate, Spinach, Pumpkin, Flaxseed (source of Omega 3 and 6 Fatty Acids), Barley Grass, Dried Parsley, Alfalfa Meal, Dried Kelp, Taurine, Yucca Schidigera Extract, L-Carnitine, L-Lysine, Turmeric, Dried Chicory Root, Oil of Rosemary, Beta Carotene, 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, Calcium Ascorbate (source of Vitamin C), Vitamin D3 Supplement, Vitamin E Supplement, Iron Amino Acid Chelate, Zinc Amino Acid Chelate, Manganese Amino Acid Chelate, Copper Amino Acid Chelate, Choline Chloride, Sodium Selenite, Calcium Iodate, Salt, Caramel, Potassium Chloride, Calcium Carbonate, Dried Yeast (source of Saccharomyces cerevisiae), Dried Lactobacillus acidophilus fermentation product, Dried Bacillus subtilis fermentation product, Dried Enterococcus faecium fermentation product.
An overview of the first five ingredients
Chicken is a very popular ingredient for pet food and in this case, they are referring to whole chicken with the bones removed. This is a very high quality meat source and we are pleased to see it listed. In dry cat foods, whole chicken loses about 80% of its content during the cooking process. This is because chicken consists of about 80% moisture. After the cooking process is complete, the amount of whole chicken remaining is substantially reduced. However, in wet cat foods the cooking process is a bit different so this is much less of a concern.
Chicken meal is ground up chicken meat that has been carefully dried to a moisture level of 10%. The protein content is 65% and the fat level is 12%. Many pet owners feel that chicken is a superior ingredient to chicken meal. It would seem logical that feeding a pet a whole, non-rendered chicken would be good. However, whole chicken still contains its moisture content prior to cooking and since whole chicken consists of about 80% moisture, after the cooking process is over there isn’t much left. With chicken meal, the moisture was removed prior to cooking. That means, chicken meal actually has a much higher protein percentage and provides far more beneficial nutrients to your cats than whole chicken. Meals consist of meat and skin, with or without the bones, but exclusive of feathers/hair, heads, feet, horns, entrails etc. and have the proper calcium/phosphorus ratio required for a balanced diet. It’s also important to note the quality difference between “chicken by-product meal” and “chicken meal.” While we do take exception to chicken by-products, chicken meal is actually a very high quality and nutritious ingredient. We are happy to see this listed.
Whole Ground Barley
With barley being a starchy carbohydrate, it supplies healthy nutrients such as fiber to the cat. Barley also gives your cat sugar level stability. Ground or pearled barley is produced from whole barley seeds that have been scoured to remove the seed hull and bran. This is a common ingredient in weight control pet foods due to its slow digestibility, starch, and soluble fibers.
This ingredient will provide some fiber for your cat, but for the most part, it is simply used as a filler to help make your cat feel more full. Many cats seem to enjoy the taste of oatmeal and since there are no major health concerns associated with it, this ingredient makes for a great alternative filler ingredient instead of using corn and grains.
Whole 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.
Other ingredients in this formula
When you see fish listed as “fish meal” on an ingredients list, that means almost all of the moisture was removed from the fish prior to the cooking process. That means fish meal contains a much higher amount of protein as opposed to it’s whole fish counterpart. However, we aren’t pleased that this ingredient is an unnamed fish source. Fish meal can contain almost any type of fish, including fish waste products that are not used for human consumption purposes. Whenever we see an unnamed fish source, we get a little nervous about what may (or may not) be included.
Chicken fat is a quality source of essential fatty acids and an excellent source of energy. Fat has a positive effect on the immune system and plays a beneficial role in stress response. Essential fatty acids are required for proper growth, reproduction, normal skin structure and a healthy coat. Because chicken fat contains virtually no protein, it’s use does not cause allergic reactions associated with the use of fresh chicken or chicken meal which contain high amounts of protein. Many times, mixed tocopherols, which are a natural source of Vitamin E activity, are used as a natural preservative to maintain freshness. This is considered a higher quality fat source in pet food.
This ingredient is extracted from wood pulp and cotton cellulose. It seems to be in everything from shampoo to to ice cream and even pet foods. Alternate names for this ingredient includes cellulose sodium glycolate and sodium carboxymethyl cellulose. The main reason it is used in this cat food is as a thickening and binding agent. Basically, it helps hold the food together and give it consistency. A cat (or a human, for that matter), is not able to break down cellulose gum, so it simply passes through the digestive tract and cats do not absorb it into their bloodstream. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration states that cellulose gum appears to have no effect on humans or pets.
Natural Chicken Flavor
As you might expect, this ingredient is simply the extracted flavoring of chicken. We usually don’t like “flavor” ingredients, but in this case, the animal is named. This ingredient isn’t going to add any nutritional value to the food, but it may make the food taste better.
Is this an allergy causing formula?
Judging from the ingredients in this formula, it is unlikely that it can cause allergies. It does not contain any allergens. This makes it an ideal formula for allergic cats too.
Harmful ingredients in cat foods you should avoid
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.
This is a high nutritional value formula made with healthy and natural ingredients that support healthy development in adult felines. It contains non-allergens which makes it ideal for all cats, even those with allergies.