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By Nature is a pet food brand known for its production of natural and organic pet formulas. The By Nature pet formulas are manufactured by the By Nature Company which is a branch of the Blue Seal Feeds Company, known for manufacturing foods for different animals.
Initially, the Blue Seal Feeds Company was started as a horse feeds manufacturing company way back in the 1800’s. Since that time, it has expanded its operations and now manufactures foods for a variety of pets and animals. Today, the company has nine manufacturing plants distributed throughout the United States. The By Nature formulas are manufactured in one of the plants located in Londonderry, New Hampshire.
One product under the By Nature brand is the By Nature Chicken Stew Wet Cat Food formula. According to the manufacturer, this cat formula is specially formulated to boost the cat’s immune system.
As a cat owner, you might wonder whether this formula is good for your cat. This review of By Nature Chicken Stew cat food will help you make an informed decision.
Ingredients in By Nature Chicken Stew Cat Food
Chicken, Chicken Broth, Fish Broth, Chicken Liver, Egg, Natural Flavor, Salmon, Pea Flour, Salmon Oil, Guar Gum, Carrots, Sodium Tripolyphosphate, Dicalcium Phosphate, Alfalfa Meal, Salt, Spinach, Potassium Chloride, Calcium Carbonate, Taurine, Cranberries, Choline Chloride, Magnesium Proteinate, Iron Proteinate, Zinc Proteinate, Manganese Proteinate, Sodium Selenite, Copper Proteinate, Calcium Iodate, Niacin Supplement (Vitamin B3), Thiamine Mononitrate (Vitamin B1), Vitamin E Supplement, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride (Vitamin B6), d-Calcium Pantothenate (Vitamin B5), Riboflavin Supplement (Vitamin B2), Biotin (Vitamin B7), Vitamin D2 Supplement, Folic Acid (Vitamin B9), Vitamin B12 Supplement.
All ingredients used in this cat formula have been blended to meet the AAFCO nutritional requirements for pet formulas.
Top 5 Ingredients Breakdown
Always pay close attention to the first five ingredients in any cat formula. These ingredients represent the vast majority of the formula’s nutritional value.
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 broth – 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.
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.
Egg – While raw eggs can cause some skin problems in cats, cooked eggs are healthy for cats and supply quite a bit of protein. Some cat owners prefer only feeding egg whites because the yolks can add a fairly high amount of cholesterol. In addition to the protein content, eggs also supply potassium, magnesium, calcium, phosphorus, copper, zinc, and iron. In moderation, this is considered a healthy ingredient for cats.
Additional Ingredients Of Interest In By Nature Chicken Stew Cat Food
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.
Spinach – While it certainly sounds like a healthy ingredient, the truth is, spinach doesn’t add much nutritional value to the food. It does supply some various nutrients and vitamins, but the levels are quite low. Many companies like to include this ingredient as it looks great on the ingredients list, but in general, it is not all that nutritious for cats. On the flip side, there is very little to worry about and this ingredient is considered to be very safe for most cats.
Carrots – A good source of carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals, carrots are becoming more common in pet foods. This ingredient is also known to boost the immune system and help promote healthy eyes in cats as well as providing a good source of fiber.
Allergy Risks With By Nature Chicken Stew Cat Food
This cat formula contains no corn, soy or wheat; the three most common allergens in cat foods. There have been no widespread reports yet on allergic reaction after feeding cats on this formula. We believe the allergy risk in this food is very low, but always be sure to keep a close eye on your cat when feeding a new cat food. Many cats suffer from unusual food allergies.
Poor Quality Ingredients Commonly Found In Cat Food
Soy – Soy is another common food allergen for cats and is also known to cause gastric upset. This ingredient is considered a very low priced filler ingredient. While it will certainly help make your cat food more full, the full nutritional benefit in this ingredient is questionable at best. Many cat food brands will tell you the allergy risk is very low with soy, but it is one of the most well known food allergens that cats deal with in commercial pet food. Overall, this is a pretty low quality ingredient.
Grains – Grains have become a staple in many pet foods. Since most grains are readily available at very low prices, cat food companies like using this ingredient as a cheap filler to help make your cat feel more full. Adding grains to a cat food is also a very cheap way to boost the listed protein percentage of a food. Unfortunately, cats do not gain much of any nutritional benefit from grain-based proteins since cats are obligate carnivores. In addition, grains are difficult to digest for many cats and are known to cause some allergic reactions in others.
Artificial coloring, preservative and flavoring – Artificial preservatives are a group of chemical substances added to food, sprayed on the outside of food, or added to certain medications to retard spoilage, discoloration, or contamination by bacteria and other disease organisms. These additives are man-made, though some do exist in some forms in nature. They are generally considered safe despite the fact that some are known to be carcinogenic and toxic. Many side effects and illnesses are related to their consumption. What’s even more unfortunate is that we are not given full information here. The label “artificial preservatives” could include any number of man-made chemical based preservatives. While it doesn’t necessarily mean this ingredient is harmful, it could be. We just don’t know which specific preservatives are being used here. Without adequate labeling and information for cat owners, we remain skeptical.
Artificial color is added to cat food for marketing purposes only. Unfortunately, there may be some evidence linking various food coloring to cancer in cats. Since this provides absolutely no nutritional benefit to your cat and can only harm your cat, we find it rather unfortunate they included it here.
Fortunately, none of these ingredients are present in the By Nature Chicken Stew formula.
Overall, we think this is a pretty good cat food blend. We don’t see many controversial ingredients and the allergy risk associated with this food appears to be low. Based on the ingredients alone, we believe this is an average quality cat food.