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These days, there are hundreds of cat food formula manufacturing companies and brands. This has continually made it hard for cat owners to determine which formula or brand is best for their felines. Most cat food Companies promise nutritionally balanced formulas for cats but the ingredients they use do not come close to delivering on the nutritional promise.
Amongst the numerous pet formula brands in the market today is the blue wilderness brand by the blue buffalo pet food company. This company manufactures formulas for cats and dogs. You can find wet and dry pet formulas under this brand. According to the manufacturing company, all blue buffalo branded formulas are made from natural ingredients and do not contain any allergens.
The blue wilderness chicken and turkey (dry) formula is one of the many formulas under the blue buffalo company.This formula is said to contain real chicken and turkey as the main sources of protein. It is also said to contain a blend of other healthy ingredients to promote the health of cats.
Does this pet formula live up to the hype?
Chicken, Turkey, Whole Ground Potatoes, Vegetable Glycerine, Gelatin, Natural Flavor, Salt, Phosphoric Acid, Sorbic Acid, Citric Acid, Mixed Tocopherols (source of Vitamin E), Rosemary.
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. 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.
As a whole meat ingredient, turkey is a fantastic source of very healthy animal based proteins. We are extremely pleased to see this ingredient listed. Unfortunately, in dry kibbles, there is not as much of this ingredient included as you might initially think. Ingredients are listed by weight prior to the cooking process and since whole turkey is about 70% moisture, the vast majority is cooked off. So while we think this is an excellent and nutritional ingredient, it does need to be complimented by other high quality meat protein ingredients when used in dry kibbles. In wet cat foods, however, this is not nearly as much of a concern.
Whole Ground Potatoes
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.
Also known as glycerol, this is an organic compound of carbon, hydrogen and oxygen. It is produced industrially, usually as a by-product of soap manufacture, from oils and fats. It can be made from animal fat or, in the case of vegetable glycerin, vegetable oil. This ingredient is widely used in the food industry for two main reasons. Firstly, it has a sweet taste, but has fewer calories than sugar and secondly, it is hygroscopic, that is, it absorbs moisture from the air. It is therefore used both to sweeten foods and to keep them moist.
This ingredient is used as a gelling agent in the food. It is sourced from many different animal by-products, so this is considered a lower quality ingredient. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), with support from the TSE (Transmissible spongiform encephalopathy) Advisory Committee, has since 1997 been monitoring the potential risk of transmitting animal diseases, especially bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), commonly known as Mad Cow disease. The FDA study concluded: “…steps such as heat, alkaline treatment, and filtration could be effective in reducing the level of contaminating TSE agents; however, scientific evidence is insufficient at this time to demonstrate that these treatments would effectively remove the BSE infectious agent if present in the source material.” You can read more about the FDA study here. Several other agencies and medical groups have expressed concerns as well.
Other ingredients in this formula
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.
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.
Phosphoric acid is a clear, colorless, odorless liquid with a syrupy consistency. It is is used as an acidifying agent which helps balance the acidity level of the food. While some cat owners like to stay away from this ingredient due to its acidic nature, the FDA says this is still the safest way to balance acidity levels.
Is this formula likely to cause allergies?
Judging from the ingredients used, this cat food is unlikely to cause allergies. It contains healthy ingredients that nurture the health of your cat. Therefore, this formula is ideal for all cats, even the ones with food allergies.
Harmful ingredients in cat formulas
Wheat – Most cat food brands that use wheat in their products will tell you that wheat is a grain used as a high-quality carbohydrate source in dry dog and cat foods and biscuits. They will tell you that it provides energy for daily activity, as well as processing characteristics for the food. And finally, they will tell you that the allergy risk associated with wheat is low. However, many experts not associated with the pet food industry will seemingly say the opposite. From them, you’ll hear that wheat and wheat by-product is a very common allergy for dogs and cats. You’ll even find sources that claim wheat has also been linked to epileptic seizures and celiac diseases. Cats are not able to digest grains nearly as well as humans or dogs, so many cats may also experience digestion issues if given too much wheat. In general, wheat is considered to be a very low priced filler ingredient with essentially no nutritional value for cats. As the debate rages on, you be the judge.
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.
Cellulose – 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.
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 Turkey cat formula is an average cat food that has all the required ingredients for your feline to live a happy and healthy life. This formula does not contain any allergens. This makes it ideal for all cats, even the ones that suffer from allergies.