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- Meat is the first ingredient – 1 Star
- Uses some unnamed meats – 1 Star
- Above average protein content – 0 Star
- Less than 4 controversial ingredients – 0 Star
- Catological Discretionary Rating – 0 Star
Here’s a few important points to consider for this particular line:
- Meat is the first ingredient
- Contains a lot of fillers and thickening agents
- These require a prescription from a vet to purchase
- Most big-brand “veterinary” formulas are based on marketing, not science – This is one example of a low quality recipe being labeled as a veterinary recipe
- Includes extra vitamins, and high quality, chelated minerals
- Only the Gastrointestinal Support has a reasonable macronutrient profile
The Veterinary Diet product line includes 3 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 Natural Veterinary Diet Weight Management + Urinary Care (M)
- Blue Buffalo Natural Veterinary Diet Kidney + Mobility Support (S)
- Blue Buffalo Natural Veterinary Diet Gastrointestinal Support (M) 3 stars
Blue Buffalo Natural Veterinary Diet Weight Management + Urinary Care was selected to represent the other products in the line for this review.
Blue Buffalo Natural Veterinary Diet Weight Management + Urinary Care
Wet Cat Food
|Estimated Nutrient Content|
|Dry Matter Basis||39%||11%||23%|
|Calorie Weighted Basis||43%||31%||26%|
Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content
Fiber (guaranteed analysis)
Is real, named meat the first ingredient?
Chicken, Chicken Broth, Chicken Liver, Water, Pea Protein, Powdered Cellulose, Potatoes, Whitefish, Carrots, Natural Flavor, Calcium Sulfate, Flaxseed, Taurine, Betaine Anhydrous, Potassium Chloride, Guar Gum, Blueberries, Cranberries, Carrageenan, Choline Chloride, Salt, DL-Methionine, L-Carnitine, L-Ascorbyl-2-Polyphosphate (source of Vitamin C), 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 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 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.
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.
After water, the fourth ingredient is pea protein. Bad.
Peas are a quality carbohydrate, but cats don’t need much in the way of carbohydrates.
Peas are also rich in protein, and this ingredient is a concentrated form of that protein, which means the actual meat content of this food may be lower than the macronutrient profile suggests.
Peas are not the worst carbohydrate your cat can consume, but they’re simply not at all biologically appropriate.
The fifth ingredient is powdered cellulose. Bad.
A filler high in insoluble fiber. It’s typically wood pulp (sawdust) from pine trees.
Too much insoluble fiber can interfere with digestion and inhibit protein and nutrient uptake.
The sixth ingredient is potatoes. Bad.
These are typically used as filler in grain-free recipes.
They are not biologically appropriate and may cause digestive upset.
The seventh ingredient is whitefish. OK, but with reservations.
“Whitefish” is a bit of a difficult term in the cat food industry, because it may mean any number of fish.
However, it seems that most whitefish labels mean tilefish, a small, commercially fished ingredient, that is high in protein and fat.
Fish are not often eaten in the wild by cats, and this particular fish may pose a high risk of mercury poisoning.
If this is, indeed, tilefish, the FDA has warned pregnant women not to consume it due to high mercury levels.
It is likely not present in high enough quantities to worry, but the risk remains.
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.
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.
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.
This recipe utilizes chelated minerals, which may be easier to digest and more bioavailable for your cat. This is usually a sign of a high quality cat food.
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 Veterinary Diet Wet Cat Food
From top to bottom, this is a below average wet product.
Meat is the first ingredient, and some organ meat is used, but fillers make up a large portion of the recipe.
Other than the Gastrointestinal Support recipe, the macronutrients are not great.
This is a not a good example of a wet food you should be feeding to your cat.
Based on the ingredients and the macronutrient profiles, meat is most likely NOT the main ingredient, and we can therefore say it’s a mostly plant-based cat food, which is not biologically appropriate for your kitty.
To review, on a dry matter basis, this food is 39% protein, 11% fat, and 23% carbs.
As a group, the brand has an average protein content of 35%, and average fat content of 17%, and an average carb content of 24%.
Compared to the other 2000+ foods in our database, this food has:
- Below average protein.
- Average fat.
- Above average carbs.
Because meat comes first, but fillers are plentiful, our average rating for this brand is 2 stars.
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.