Despite the fact that there are plenty of pet formula brands in the market today, finding the most ideal one for your pet can be both tedious and frustrating. The blue buffalo is one of the numerous pet formula brands in the market today. Blue Buffalo Longevity for Mature Cats is a grain free pet formula for mature cats.
Before reaching for your wallet to purchase this formula, it would be prudent to take some time to evaluate the ingredients. This is because many pet foods are made with poor quality ingredients.
So, is the formula the most ideal for your cat?
All the ingredients in this formula
Whitefish, Fish Broth, Ocean Fish, Oatmeal, Sunflower Oil, Oat Bran, Potatoes, Natural Flavor, Peas, Ground Flaxseed (source of Omega 3 and 6 Fatty Acids),Guar Gum, Carrots, Apples, Egg, Sodium Phosphate, Potassium Chloride, Carrageenan, Cassia Gum, Tomatoes, Spinach, Cranberries, Blueberries, Vitamin A Supplement, Thiamine Mononitrate (Vitamin B1), Riboflavin Supplement (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, Taurine, Choline Chloride, Fish Oil, Salt.
An in-depth look at 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.
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.
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.
Other ingredients in the formula
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.
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.
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.
This ingredient is also sometimes called guaran. It is primarily the ground endosperm of guar beans. The guar seeds are dehusked, milled and screened to obtain the guar gum. It is typically produced as a free-flowing, off-white powder. This ingredient is mostly used to thicken the food and give it more texture. It is an FDA-approved, all natural GRAS (Generally Recognized as Safe) ingredient used by the food and cosmetic industries. It also is used to improve the shelf life of the food and helps lower the glycemic index of food. Many cat food companies claim this ingredient also aids in digestion and weight loss. There is some minor debate about the benefits of this ingredient with some claiming negative impacts, but in general, this is thought to be a relatively non-nutritious yet safe ingredient.
Is this an allergy causing formula to mature cats?
The Blue Buffalo Longevity for Mature Cats is a cat formula that is 100% grain free. This formula is also made with ingredients that promote healthy growth in cats. Therefore it is not likely to trigger any allergic reactions in your cat. Even so, always seek to learn more about a pet formula before feeding it to your feline friend.
Ingredients to avoid feeding your cat on
BHT and BHA
Both BHA & BHT are preservatives that have been banned in human foods in many countries due to cancer risks. However, they remain approved for use in pet foods. A growing number of pet owners are becoming aware of the potential dangers these ingredients bring and are shunning all foods containing BHA and BHT. BHA and BHT are extremely controversial ingredients in all forms of pet food.
Artificial coloring and flavoring
Both artificial and natural flavor ingredients are considered to be lower quality ingredients. Artificial flavor is usually derived from petroleum. Most have not been studied for safety or toxicity. They are all synthesized chemicals that don’t even have common names. Most artificial flavors actually contain many chemical ingredients, not just one. Many of those chemicals are volatile. Both natural and artificial flavors are chemical based ingredients and we don’t get all that excited when we see either one of those ingredients listed. Both of these ingredients have potential allergy risks and other possible health problems in cats.
We also find it quite irresponsible to include artificial coloring in pet food since the health concerns about these added colors are so controversial. Your cat does not care what color their food is and the only reason artificial coloring is added to this product is for marketing purposes. It makes the food look better to you YOU, the human consumer. Of course, many cat food brands are very defensive about their use of food coloring. Here is an example of how the Purina brand defends their use of fool coloring. Notice how even in their explanation, there is no perceived benefit to these ingredients other than changing the color. There is also a growing amount of evidence to suggest food coloring may be linked to cancer in not just dogs and cats, but also humans. Here is an article that explains a bit further. In short, since there is some controversy surrounding this ingredient, we find it a bit strange that cat food companies would spend money adding this ingredient into a product when at best, it has zero nutritional value for your cat and only has marketing value. At worse, it could pose health risks. It just doesn’t seem like the risk of including this ingredient is worth it.
Corn, wheat and soy
All three of these ingredients are known allergens for many cats. In addition, many cats have problems digesting these grain based ingredients. Since cats are obligate carnivores, their digestive systems are designed to digest meat and not grains. All of these ingredients will help to boost the protein percentage in cat food, but not all protein is created equally. Cats do not digest plant based proteins in the same way as meat proteins and in fact, gain little to no nutritional value from these grains. Several “grocery store brand” cat foods include these products to keep the price down as it is a cheap filler to help make your cat feel full as well as a cheap way to add protein to the food.
Fortunately, none of these harmful ingredients are found in this cat formula.
The Blue Buffalo Longevity for Mature Cats (wet) is a high quality formula. It has some great reviews from users and cats seem to love it. The fact that it is a grain free formula makes it a favorite amongst most cat owners. If you have a mature cat, go on and introduce this formula to it.