By Nature cat formulas offer many choices. The variety ranges from dry cat formulas to canned (wet) formulas and they even produce organic pet food blends. One of the formulas in the By Nature line of products is the By Nature 95% Oceanfish canned formula. According to the company, this pet formula offers 95% of oceanfish protein and is made from “natural” ingredients. Keep in mind, the term “natural” is used very loosely in the pet food (and human food) industry. There is no specific meaning to the word “natural” in cat food.
As a pet owner, it is important to learn as much as you can about a pet formula before you start feeding feeding it to your pet. Is the By Nature 95% Oceanfish Cat Food Formula the best for your cat? This review will help you make an informed decision.
Ingredients in By Nature 95% Ocean Fish Dry Cat Food Formula
Salmon, Mackerel, Fish Broth, Sardines, Chicken Liver, Flaxseed, Calcium Carbonate, Salt, Sun-Cured Alfalfa Meal, Carrageenan, Potassium Chloride, Guar Gum, Taurine, Iron Proteinate, Tricalcium Phosphate, Zinc Proteinate, Manganese Proteinate, Magnesium Proteinate, Copper Proteinate, Calcium Iodate, Sodium Selenite, Thiamine Mononitrate (Vitamin B1), Vitamin E Supplement, Niacin Supplement (Vitamin B3), d-Calcium Pantothenate, Riboflavin Supplement (Vitamin B2), Pyridoxine Hydrochloride (Vitamin B6), Biotin, Menadione Sodium Bisulfite Complex, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Vitamin D2 Supplement, Folic Acid.
All ingredients used in this cat formula have been carefully formulated to meet the AAFCO pet formula nutritional guidelines.
Top 5 Ingredients Breakdown For By Nature Ocean Fish Cat Food
Always pay close attention to the first five ingredients in any cat formula. The first 5 ingredients make up the vast majority of the nutritional value. Below, you’ll find a brief explanation of the top 5 ingredients in By Nature Ocean Fish cat food.
Salmon – Salmon is an excellent source of high quality proteins for cats and is extremely rich in healthy Omega 3 and Omega 6 fatty acids. Some people worry about mercury levels in fish. It’s true that all fish contains some degree of mercury, the level in salmon is much lower than other types of fish and the FDA doesn’t believe it is cause for concern. Most salmon in cat food is farmed salmon, but higher end cat food (especially those labeled “natural”) can often times be fished from natural lakes and streams. The biggest problem with fish ingredients, including salmon, is if the fish includes an antioxidant called ethoxyquin (EMQ). It is believe that ethoxyquin could be very harmful to cats and other animals. Always make sure you are using “Ethoxyquin free” cat food blends when they include fish ingredients. When in doubt, call the customer service number and ask.
Mackerel – Mackerel is a common name applied to a number of different species of pelagic fish, mostly, but not exclusively, from the family Scombridae. They are found in both temperate and tropical seas, mostly living along the coast or offshore in the oceanic environment. Fish based ingredients provide an excellent source of fatty acids, proteins, and very high quality nutrients. Some cat owners are worried about the increasing level of mercury in fish, but so far the FDA says it is well within’ safe limits for both humans and pets. In addition, some pet owners worry about where the fish comes from, because a lot of fish used in pet foods is obtained from farmed fish that have not passed inspections to be used in human consumption. It could also contain fish waste products that can’t be used anywhere else. So while there is some concern about this and any other fish based ingredient in cat food, in general, it is considered a higher quality nutrient source.
Sardines – A sardine is a young pilchard or other young or small herringlike fish. Some cat owners like to avoid fish in cat food because sea food is not usually a part of a cats natural diet. All fish products also contain a certain level of mercury and some cat owners fear that over time, the ingestion of mercury could be harmful (although there is very little evidence to suggest a significant risk). Overall, this ingredient does supply some extremely nutritious properties including protein and very healthy fatty acids.
Fish broth – 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.
Chicken liver – Here is another ingredient you probably wouldn’t want to see on your own dinner plate, but most cats seem to enjoy the taste of liver. Uncooked liver, or liver in very high quantities, can actually be toxic to cats. However, in this food, it is clearly provided well within safe limits. In fact, this ingredient is a pretty high quality ingredient overall. It provides a good source of vitamins, minerals, proteins, and other nutrients your cat can benefit from.
Additional Ingredients Of Interest In By Nature Ocean Fish Cat Food
Carrageenan – This is an additive extracted from red and purple seaweeds, consisting of a mixture of polysaccharides. It is used as a thickening or emulsifying agent in food products. There is still much research being done on this additive and while it is generally considered safe, there is room for caution as carrageenan has produced intestinal damage and ulcers in some animal studies. If you would like more information about the ongoing research of this ingredient, you may reference this research study.
Taurine – Taurine is an essential amino acid that is critical for normal heart muscle function, vision, and reproduction in cats. Since cats are unable to create proper levels of taurine in their body naturally, it must be supplemented in their food. That’s why you’ll see this ingredient listed for so many different cat food blends. For cat foods that contain enough high quality animal based proteins, a taurine supplement may not be needed. However, most cat foods will need to add in additional taurine in the form of a supplement to the food. Even when included as a supplement instead, there is very low to almost zero health risk associated with this ingredient. In fact, a lack of taurine can cause a slew of issues, so it’s very important to make sure your cat is receiving enough taurine in his or her diet.
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.
Sun cured alfalfa meal – Alfalfa is a rich mineral food that has trace minerals such as zinc, iron, and manganese. It also includes vitamin A, vitamin C, as well as other nutrients that are beneficial to cats such as chlorophyll. The reason this is listed as “sun cured” is because it has been dried naturally by the sun. For the most part, this is just a marketing gimmick.
Allergy Risk In By Nature Ocean Fish Cat Food
The 95% Oceanfish cat formula is a new addition to the 95% By Nature varieties. So far, there have been no major complaints of allergies from feeding cats on this formula. Also, the formula contains no corn, soy or wheat (the most common allergens in cat formulas). Therefor this food should be safe for most cats, even those suffering from food allergies. However, many cats suffer from unique food allergies that are uncommon. You should be especially careful if your cat is allergic to any sea food products as this food is packed full of those ingredients.
Common Ingredients To Avoid In Cat Food
Soy, wheat and corn – 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.
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.
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.
Fortunately, By Nature Ocean Fish cat food does not contain these negative ingredients.
Based on the ingredients list alone, we are extremely pleased with By Nature 95% Ocean Fish cat food. While many people will balk at the price of this cat food blend, you certainly get what you pay for. We are happy to say this cat food is significantly above average and should be suitable for almost any cat.