Do you own a kitten? To ensure it grows into a well-built and healthy adult cat, you need to start feeding it on formulas that cater for its general health as well as its immune system. There are hundreds, if not thousands, of kitten formulas available today. While this is a good thing, it presents a huge challenge especially if you are a first timer in cat food shopping. How do you select the right formula that meets the needs of your kitten?
The Blue Buffalo Longevity for Kittens Canned cat food is one of the many wet cat formulas in the market today for growing kittens. According to the manufacturer, this is a kitten formula made with natural ingredients that make for a delicious meal. The formula is also grain free and has the nutrients required for healthy kitten development.
Is this the best formula for your kitten? Read on to find out.
Whitefish, Fish Broth, Ocean Fish, Egg, Fish Oil (source of DHA-Docosahexaenoic Acid), Sunflower Oil, Peas, Natural Flavor, Oat Bran, Potatoes, Ground Flaxseed (source of Omega 3 and 6 Fatty Acids), Guar Gum, Carrots, Oatmeal, Apples, Sodium Phosphate, Carrageenan, Cassia Gum, Tomatoes, Spinach, Cranberries, Blueberries, Potassium Chloride, 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, 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, Choline Chloride, Taurine.
The main ingredients in the formula
Whitefish is a species of tilefish native to the eastern Pacific Ocean. This ingredient is likely included for its protein content as well as very healthy omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. While this ingredient probably isn’t something most cats would eat in a natural or wild environment, the ingredient does contain some very essential nutrient sources. Some cat owners worry about the mercury content in fish since all fish contains some level of mercury, but the health risk is considered to be pretty low.
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.
While some ocean fish may be naturally caught fish, generally this indicates farmed fish. When ocean fish are farmed, it includes the practice of growing finfish in huge, often over crowded cages out in open ocean waters. When fish are farmed, usually the higher quality fish goes to the human food industry while the fish unsuitable for human consumption is used in the pet food industry. There is some debate about how beneficial seafood is in a cats diet, including fish, but in general it is considered a safe ingredient with a high amount of protein and an excellent source of essential fatty acids like omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids.
While raw eggs can cause some skin problems in cats, cooked eggs are healthy for cats and supply quite a bit of protein. Some cat owners prefer only feeding egg whites because the yolks can add a fairly high amount of cholesterol. In addition to the protein content, eggs also supply potassium, magnesium, calcium, phosphorus, copper, zinc, and iron. In moderation, this is considered a healthy ingredient for cats.
Fish Oil (source of DHA-Docosahexaenoic Acid)
Fish oil is a popular supplement used by cat and dog owners. In this case, the food is already supplemented with fish oil. This ingredient is high in very healthy Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids. This can lead to an improved coat, healthier skin, boost to the immune system, lower blood pressure, and help improving cognitive function in older pets. There are also some studies that show fish oil to help assist with certain allergies in dogs and cats. This is a higher quality ingredient.
Ingredients of interest
Tomato pomace is an inexpensive by-product of tomato manufacturing. Effectively, it is what is left over after processing tomatoes for juice, ketchup, soup, etc. In all likelihood, this is the leftovers of what is cleaned off of the floors and other areas of plants that process tomatoes for other purposes. As such, this is probably used more as a flavor enhancer than for nutritional purposes.
Peas are becoming more and more common in pet foods today, especially those listed as grain-free, holistic, or natural pet foods. While peas are certainly not grains, they serve much the same purpose. It mostly acts as a filler and a cheap way to increase the protein percentage of the food. However, cats receive almost no nutritional value from peas. Since cats are obligate carnivores, they require proteins from meat based ingredients. There is very little research that has been performed on the long term effects of cats consuming peas. We do know that peas can cause runny poop or digestion issues in dogs, but the full effect on cats remains a bit of an unknown. At best, this ingredient will act as a filler and will not provide much nutritional value, if any, to your cat.
The term “natural flavor” is extremely vague and can mean just about anything. In human foods, natural flavor is usually MSG or some similar flavor enhancer. When pet food companies are asked what is in their “natural flavor ingredients, they usually refuse to answer. There are a lot of things in the world considered “natural” and they almost all have a flavor. Such generic terms can be indicative of poor quality ingredients. While that’s not always the case, the fact is, we don’t really know what this ingredient consists of and that is worrying.
Bran, also known as miller’s bran, is the hard outer layers of cereal grain. As a grain, it will not provide any nutritional value. In addition, many cats have difficulty digesting grains and grains are also a known allergen for many cats. While probably not unhealthy for your cat in smaller quantities, it isn’t considered to be very nutritious, either.
Potatoes provide a lot of carbs and unfortunately, cats do not digest carbs well and it can also lead to weight gain. This ingredient is becoming more popular in “grain-free” cat foods because while potatoes are not grains, they serve much the same purpose by acting as a non-nutritious filler. The good news is potatoes are complex carbs. These complex carbs are easier to digest than whole grains and also don’t spike blood sugar levels like the simple carbs do. But, anyway you cut it… carbs are carbs and cats don’t need them. This is a rather non-nutritious ingredient.
Is this an allergy causing formula?
From the list of ingredients used to make the Blue Buffalo Longevity for Kittens canned cat food, it is rather apparent that it is makes for a very healthy meal for your kitten. It does not contain any of the common allergens.
Harmful ingredients that are not supposed to be in pet foods
Animal by products
One of the worst meat ingredients found in pet food today is animal by product. It’s true that this ingredient provides a very high amount of meat protein that cats need to thrive. However, animal by products are considered to be the lowest form of meat and it isn’t even approved for human consumption. Animal by-products are carcasses and parts of carcasses from slaughterhouses, animal shelters, zoos and veterinarians, and products of animal origin not intended for human consumption, including catering waste. Legally, this ingredient can even contain roadkill or euthanized animals. This ingredient may also contain what is called “4D meat” which is what the USDA (United States Department of Agriculture) calls cattle that is dead, dying, disabled or diseased. This meat is considered unfit for human consumption, but is typically found in many pet food products. This is not something we recommend you feed your cat or any other pet.
The Blue Buffalo Longevity for Kittens canned cat food is a safe bet for your kitten. It is protein rich and will keep your growing cat healthy and strong.