Blue Buffalo Healthy Gourmet Cat Food (Wet) Review And Nutritional Analysis
- Meat is the first ingredient – 1 Star
- Uses some unnamed meats – 1 Star
- Above average protein content – 0.5 Star
- Less than 4 controversial ingredients – 0.5 Star
- Catological Discretionary Rating – 0.5 Star
Here’s a few important points to consider for this particular line:
- Meat is the first ingredient
- Contains a little bit of filler ingredients, and some recipes have a lot of thickening agents
- Includes extra vitamins, and high quality, chelated minerals
- Macronutrient profiles are very good for the most part (protein, fats, carbohydrates)
The Healthy Gourmet product line includes 13 wet recipes/flavors.
Each recipe below includes its related AAFCO nutrient profile when available on the product’s official webpage or packaging: Growth (G), Maintenance (M), All Life Stages (A), Supplemental (S) or Unspecified (U).
The star rating is a rough average of all of the flavors in a single line of food. If an individual recipe scored lower or higher, we will mark that below, next to the flavor.
- Blue Buffalo Healthy Gourmet Flaked Tuna (M) 4.5 stars
- Blue Buffalo Healthy Gourmet Flaked Chicken (M) 4 stars
- Blue Buffalo Healthy Gourmet Flaked Fish & Shrimp (M) 4 stars
- Blue Buffalo Healthy Gourmet Adult Pate Turkey & Chicken (M)
- Blue Buffalo Healthy Gourmet Adult Pate Ocean Fish & Tuna (M)
- Blue Buffalo Healthy Gourmet Adult Pate Beef (M)
- Blue Buffalo Healthy Gourmet Adult Meaty Morsels Chicken (M)
- Blue Buffalo Healthy Gourmet Adult Meaty Morsels Tuna (M)
- Blue Buffalo Healthy Gourmet Adult Grilled Salmon (M)
- Blue Buffalo Healthy Gourmet Adult Grilled Chicken (M) 3 stars
- Blue Buffalo Healthy Gourmet Indoor Pate Chicken (M) 3 stars
- Blue Buffalo Healthy Gourmet Indoor Pate Salmon (M) 2 stars
- Blue Buffalo Healthy Gourmet Indoor Mature Pate Chicken (M) 2.5 stars
Blue Buffalo Healthy Gourmet Adult Pate Turkey & Chicken was selected to represent the other products in the line for this review.
Blue Buffalo Healthy Gourmet Adult Pate Turkey & Chicken
Wet Cat Food
|Estimated Nutrient Content|
|Dry Matter Basis||44%||25%||11%|
|Calorie Weighted Basis||38%||52%||10%|
Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content
Fiber (guaranteed analysis)
Is real, named meat the first ingredient?
Turkey, Chicken Broth, Chicken Liver, Chicken, Ground Brown Rice, Natural Flavor, Guar Gum, Carrots, Sweet Potatoes, Flaxseed (Source of Omega 3 and 6 Fatty Acids), Potassium Chloride, Carrageenan, Cassia Gum, Taurine, Salt, Cranberries, Choline Chloride, Iron Amino Acid Chelate, Zinc Amino Acid Chelate, Vitamin E Supplement, Thiamine Mononitrate (Vitamin B1), Copper Amino Acid Chelate, Manganese Amino Acid Chelate, Sodium Selenite, Niacin Supplement (Vitamin B3), Calcium Pantothenate (Vitamin B5), Pyridoxine Hydrochloride (Vitamin B6), Riboflavin Supplement (Vitamin B2), Vitamin A Supplement, Biotin (Vitamin B7), Potassium Iodide, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Folic Acid (Vitamin B9).
Ingredients in red are controversial or of questionable quality.
The first ingredient in this cat food is turkey. Good.
While quality of the individual ingredient can vary, turkey is a very good protein source for cats.
It’s also important to note that turkey contains about 70% water, so when it is processed and cooked for use in cat food, it will become a smaller part of the total recipe.
The second ingredient is chicken broth. Good.
Instead of using water for processing, chicken broth is added for moisture.
Broth may contain vitamins and nutrients from the original animal (chicken, in this case), that water would lack.
This is usually a sign of a high quality food.
After water, the third ingredient is chicken liver. Good.
Liver is an important organ meat that your cat would eat in the wild to get extra protein, vitamins, and minerals.
This is usually a sign of a high quality food.
The fourth ingredient is chicken. Good.
While quality of the individual ingredient can vary, chicken is a very good protein source for cats.
It’s also important to note that chicken contains about 70% water, so when it is processed and cooked for use in cat food, it will become a smaller part of the total recipe.
The fifth ingredient is ground brown rice. Bad.
It may be slightly better than corn in some areas, but rice is simply not biologically appropriate for cats.
It is a filler ingredient.
Studies hypothesize that rice may decrease taurine absorption in cats, leading to taurine deficiency, a dangerous ailment.
After natural flavors, which are fine, the sixth ingredient is guar gum. OK, but with reservations.
Guar gum comes from guar beans, and is a thickening agent.
In small quantities, like those in cat food, it should be a harmless ingredient.
However, some research has shown that including guar gum in a commercial cat food “had a significant negative effect on apparent protein digestibility in many of the cats and tended to depress apparent fat and energy digestibilities.”
While not heavily substantiated beyond this study, it might mean your cat needs to eat more protein to make up for the lower digestibility.
The seventh ingredient is carrots. Good.
The beta carotene in carrots turns into vitamin A, which is a useful antioxidant compound.
However, cats can’t turn much beta carotene into vitamin A like we can, so much of it is stored for growth or cell reprouction.
Therefore, carrots are most useful for kittens or senior cats.
This recipe includes a number of other ingredients, but once you get down this far, none of them will be in large enough quantities to make a real difference, except for the added vitamins and minerals.
However, there are a few things you should know about.
It uses carrageenan, a thickening agent.
Carrageenan is a very controversial ingredient. It is derived from a red seaweed.
One of it’s forms, degraded carrageenan, is a potential carcinogen.
While degraded is not used in food applications, some people have concerns that the ingredient could become degraded from a cat’s stomach acid, therefore potentially increasing cancer risk.
It is likely fine, but with so many other options on the market, many people choose not to take the risk.
It also contains cassia gum, which is a thickening agent. In high quantities, this gum may be regarded as a skin and respiratory sensitiser and as a potential irritant to skin and eyes. There is likely not enough to cause problems, but it’s use is not necessary.
To read a more in depth article about any of the ingredients listed here, check out our Cat Food Ingredient Wiki (currently under development).
The Catological Verdict on Blue Buffalo Healthy Gourmet Wet Cat Food
From top to bottom, this is an average wet product.
Meat is the first ingredient, and some organ meat is used. Fillers are used, likely in small to moderate quantities, and there are a couple of controversial ingredients included.
Most recipes have fairly good macronutrient profiles (protein, fats, carbs), and are likely mostly made from meat.
This is a decent example of a wet food you should be feeding to your cat.
Meat is most likely the main ingredient, and we can therefore say it’s a mostly meat-based cat food, which is biologically appropriate for your kitty.
To review, on a dry matter basis, this food is 45% protein, 27% fat, and 11% carbs.
As a group, the brand has an average protein content of 49%, and average fat content of 19%, and an average carb content of 14%.
Compared to the other 2000+ foods in our database, this food has:
- Average protein.
- Average fat.
- Average carbs.
Because meat comes first, fillers are fairly minimal, and most macronutrients are decent, our average rating for this brand is 3.5 stars.
Recommended as a decent, but not perfect, option.
Blue Buffalo Cat Food Recall History
We do not believe that a recall indicates a low quality food or company, and we respect the fact that sometimes things happen that cause a manufacturer to recall a food.
Usually these things are non-life-threatening, and we think it’s important to take a moment to be thankful about just how few recalls there really are in the industry, considering the enormous volume of food produced.
However, we do believe that a history of recalls may point to a larger issue with a company, and that discerning consumers want to know who they’re buying from, especially when it comes to something as important as the food you feed your beloved cat.
Here is a list of recalls that have affected the Blue Buffalo brand in the past:
- March 2017 – Potential high levels of beef thyroid hormone (naturally occurring) – 1 recipe affected
- February 2017 – Potential alluminum contamination – 1 recipe affected
- February 2017 – Packaging quality – 2 lines of dog food affected
- May 2016 – Potential mold – 1 recipe affected
- November 2015 – Potentially contains propylene glycol – 1 cat food recipe affected
- November 2015 – Potential for salmonella – 1 recipe affected
- October 2010 – Potentially too much vitamin D – 3 lines of dog food affected
- April 2007 – Melamine – Most recipes affected
- NOTE ON LAWSUIT – A class action lawsuit was levelled against Blue Buffalo in 2017, alleging high levels of lead in their products. This is working it’s way through the legal system, and these allegations are not proven.
If you want to stay up to date on the latest recall information affecting your cat’s food, sign up to our email list and receive an email every time a recall is announced. We’ll also let you know about any updated ratings, recipe changes, or new cat foods on the market. (Our alert system will be launched shortly, check back soon.)
Where To Buy Blue Buffalo Cat Food
We recommend purchasing your pet products from Chewy.com. They continually prove that they walk the walk while talking the talk, and I’ve never dealt with a more dedicated pet-parent base of people than those who work at Chewy.
Plus, they offer 20% off and free shipping on lots of orders.