If you are looking for a cat formula made with real chicken and duck, then the Blue Wilderness Chicken and Duck canned (wet) might just be what you’re looking for. This formula is a product of the Blue Buffalo Company. The company claims that the cat formula is free from artificial preservatives that are known adversely affect cats. It also claims that the cat formula contains all the nutrients that your cat needs to stay healthy and strong. Is this true?
There is only one way to determine whether this formula is suitable for your feline friend. Let’s go over the ingredients.
Duck, Chicken, Chicken Broth, Potato Flour, Cassia Gum, Dicalcium Phosphate, Flaxseed (source of Omega 3 and 6 Fatty Acids), Salt, Carrageenan, Guar Gum, 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, Copper Amino Acid Chelate, Manganese Amino Acid Chelate, Sodium Selenite, Calcium Iodate, Choline Chloride
A brief overview of the first five ingredients
Duck is an excellent alternative meat source and provides very high quality meat proteins for your cat. As a whole meat product, much of this ingredient is lost during the cooking process, but it is less water heavy than other whole meat ingredients like chicken or beef. So, while much of this ingredient is lost during the cooking process, it is still a very high quality ingredient and we are quite pleased to see it listed here.
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.
While chicken broth does not add much nutritional value to the food, it does add flavor and is considered to be a better alternative to water. The main reason for adding this ingredient is simply to add moisture.
Potatoes provide a lot of carbs and unfortunately, cats do not digest carbs well and it can also lead to weight gain. Potato based ingredients are 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. In this case, since it is in the form of flour, it is probably used to aid in the cooking process. 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.
Cassia gum is a food additive made from the endosperm of Senna obtusifolia (also called Cassia obtusifolia or Cassia tora). It is used as a thickener and gelling agent. This is generally considered an ingredient to avoid in cat food because it is a complex sugar which isn’t thought to be good for cats. There have also been biological studies done on cassia gum’s effects on cats, dogs, and rats in the 1980’s. In this FDA study, kittens that were administered a high dose (2.5% of daily nutrition) and kittens that were administered a moderate dose(0.75% of daily nutrition) of cassia gum per day all died after 2-3 weeks. Their mothers and fathers were given cassia gum before and throughout the pregnancy period. There was also a decrease in appetite and changes in digestive processing due to the fact that cassia gum absorbs much of the moisture inside the digestive tract. Another interesting thing is that in the group where higher dosage was administered there were a lot more still born births and neonatal deaths. It could be argued that the only reason these cats had problems was because of the high dosage and we believe this is a valid argument. So while we can’t say for sure that this ingredient is dangerous, you should use some caution. The official FDA study is getting pretty outdated, but you can still read the full study here.
Other ingredients that are worth looking at
Flaxseed – Flaxseeds (also called linseeds) are a rich source of micronutrients, dietary fiber, manganese, vitamin B1, and the essential fatty acid alpha-linolenic acid, also known as ALA or omega-3. The seeds come from flax, one of the the oldest fiber crops in the world. It is not only a source of healthy fat, antioxidants, and fiber; modern research has found evidence to suggest that flaxseed can also help lower the risk of diabetes, cancer, and heart disease. The health risk associated with this ingredient is low and in general, flaxseed is considered to be a beneficial ingredient for cats.
Guar gum – 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.
Salt – Salt is necessary for a cats body to function properly, but too much salt can be dangerous and even deadly. Usually, salt is added to pet food in order to meet AAFCO nutritional requirements. Salt, or sodium chloride, is indeed necessary so cat food that doesn’t contain enough will have a bit of it included. Salt helps your cats cells move nutrients and waste products where they need to go, and it helps his or her tummy make the right amount of acid to digest food properly. According to the Journal of Nutrition, average-sized cats need about 21 milligrams of salt per day. Many cat foods have higher concentrations than that. The National Research Council recommends no more than 42 milligrams per day. Most of the time, salt in commercial cat food products poses no danger and does have some nutritional benefit.
Does this cat formula cause allergies in cats?
This cat formula does not contain any harmful ingredients. This means that the cat feed is unlikely to trigger allergies in cats. This should in no way mean that you can feed your cat on the formula without inspecting the ingredients list. It is possible for your cat to be allergic to any other ingredient in the formula.
Ingredients to avoid
Wheat and corn – Both of these ingredients are grains and unfortunately, they have links to food allergies in cats. While most cats will not form allergic reactions to these ingredients, cats with pre-existing food allergies should avoid both wheat and corn based products. In addition, wheat and corn can be very difficult for some cats to digest. Since cats are obligate carnivores, their digestive systems are designed to process meats and not grains. These ingredients boost the protein percentage of the food, but cats do not get the same nutritional benefit from plant proteins as meat proteins. Cats require meat protein to live a healthy life. Both of these ingredients are most commonly found in lower priced cat foods and include the grains as a way to help make your cat feel more full without actually adding more expensive and nutritional ingredients to the food. In smaller quantities, these ingredients shouldn’t pose any issues, but wheat and corn aren’t considered to be high quality ingredients by any means.
Gluten – This ingredient is associated with causing allergies in cats. It is also known to raise sugar levels in cats. Over time, this can lead to diabetes. Gluten refers to the proteins found in wheat endosperm which is a type of tissue produced in seeds that’s ground to make flour. Many pet food manufactures will use this ingredient to help boost the protein percentage of the food.
The Blue Wilderness Chicken and Duck canned (wet) cat formula is an ideal cat feed for cats. This is because it contains only high quality ingredients that offer the best nutritional value to your cat. It is protein rich and well balanced.