The By Nature Cat Food brand is manufactured by the By Nature Company; an affiliate company of the Blue Seal Feeds Company. In the beginning, Blue Seal Feeds manufactured meals for horses and eventually expanded to produce meals for other animals. Today, you can get a wide range of By Nature meals for cats and dogs. These pet formulas, under the By Nature brand, are manufactured at one of the eight Blue Seal manufacturing plants which is located in New Hampshire.
According to the manufacturer, By Nature Adult Dry cat food provides a balanced diet and all the nutrition your cat needs to live a long and healthy life. Is this cat formula as effective as it is claimed to be? We will continue this review by performing an analysis of the ingredients.
Ingredients In By Nature Adult Dry Cat Food
Chicken Meal, Ground Barley, Chicken Fat (Stabilized with Mixed Tocopherols), Chicken, Chicken Livers, Ground Brown Rice, Flaxseed Meal, Fish Meal, Tomato Pomace, Ground Oats, Natural Flavors, Yeast Culture, Alfalfa Meal, Taurine, Fish Oil, Salt, Choline Chloride, Vitamin E Supplement, Zinc Sulfate, Zinc Proteinate, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Vitamin A Supplement, Sweet Potatoes, Dried Chicory Root, Blueberries, Carrots, Cranberries, Raspberries, Niacin Supplement, Turmeric, Ferrous Sulfate, Manganese Sulfate, d–Calcium Pantothenate, Copper Proteinate, Manganese Proteinate, Copper Sulfate, Thiamine Mononitrate, Riboflavin Supplement, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Calcium Iodate, Biotin, Folic Acid, Dried Yeast Fermentation Solubles, Sodium Selenite, Rosemary Extract.
This cat food is formulated to meet the All Life Stages AAFCO nutritional requirements.
Top 5 Ingredients Breakdown
These first five ingredients represent the vast majority of the food. About 90% of the nutritional value will come from the first 5 ingredients, so we will closely analyze them.
Chicken Meal – Chicken meal is ground up chicken meat that has been carefully dried to a moisture level of 10%. The protein content is 65% and the fat level is 12%. Many pet owners feel that chicken is a superior ingredient to chicken meal. It would seem logical that feeding a pet a whole, non-rendered chicken would be good. However, whole chicken still contains its moisture content prior to cooking and since whole chicken consists of about 80% moisture, after the cooking process is over there isn’t much left. With chicken meal, the moisture was removed prior to cooking. That means, chicken meal actually has a much higher protein percentage and provides far more beneficial nutrients to your cats than whole chicken. Meals consist of meat and skin, with or without the bones, but exclusive of feathers/hair, heads, feet, horns, entrails etc. and have the proper calcium/phosphorus ratio required for a balanced diet. It’s also important to note the quality difference between “chicken by-product meal” and “chicken meal.” While we do take exception to chicken by-products, chicken meal is actually a very high quality and nutritious ingredient. We are happy to see this listed.
Ground Barley – With barley being a starchy carbohydrate, it supplies healthy nutrients such as fiber to the cat. Barley also gives your cat sugar level stability. Ground or pearled barley is produced from whole barley seeds that have been scoured to remove the seed hull and bran. This is a common ingredient in weight control pet foods due to its slow digestibility, starch, and soluble fibers.
Chicken Fat – Chicken fat is a quality source of essential fatty acids and an excellent source of energy. Fat has a positive effect on the immune system and plays a beneficial role in stress response. Essential fatty acids are required for proper growth, reproduction, normal skin structure and a healthy coat. Because chicken fat contains virtually no protein, it’s use does not cause allergic reactions associated with the use of fresh chicken or chicken meal which contain high amounts of protein. Many times, mixed tocopherols, which are a natural source of Vitamin E activity, are used as a natural preservative to maintain freshness. This is considered a higher quality fat source in pet food.
Chicken – 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.
Chicken Livers – 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 Adult Dry Cat Food
Flaxseed meal – 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.
Yeast culture – Yeast culture is a by-product of the alcohol production industry. This ingredient doesn’t provide any nutritional value for your cat and only assists in the manufacturing process. Some cats are allergic to yeast and some can begin having skin or coat issues, so you should not feed this to any cat suffering from food allergies.
Sweet potatoes – Sweet potatoes provide a great source of potassium, vitamin B, and beta-carotene. This ingredient also provides antioxidant agents that specifically help to fight against cancer causing agents. This is a higher quality ingredient with no known negative side-effects.
Allergy Risk In By Nature Adult Dry Cat Food
While the chances of food allergies related to By Nature Adult Dry Cat Food is low, we are a little concerned about the inclusion of ground barley so high up on the ingredients list. In rare cases, some cats may have allergic reactions to ground barley. Other than this one ingredient, we don’t see too many concerns and there have been no widespread reports of allergic reactions from cat owners.
Poor Quality Ingredients Commonly Found In Cat Food
BHA and BHT – 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. A quick internet search on these preservatives will show that the backlash is gaining steam with many cat food companies abandoning these ingredients. 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.
Fortunately, the By Nature Adult Dry Cat Food formula does not contain any of these controversial ingredients.
The By Nature Dry Adult Cat Food formula seems to be a decent quality cat food, but the quality of some of its ingredients are questionable. The presence of ground barley makes it a somewhat risky choice. Judging by the list of ingredients alone, we have rated this cat food below average.