Blue Buffalo Wilderness Cat Food (Dry) Review And Nutritional Analysis

Rating

  • 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, thickening agents, and plant-based protein boosters
  • Includes extra vitamins, and high quality, chelated minerals, and some include probiotics
  • Macronutrients (protein, carbs, fat) are just OK, but not ideal

The Wilderness product line includes 12 dry 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 wilderness dry cat food bag

Blue Buffalo Wilderness Adult Chicken was selected to represent the other products in the line for this review.

Blue Buffalo Wilderness Adult Chicken

Dry Cat Food

Estimated Nutrient Content
ProteinFatCarbs
Guaranteed Analysis40%18%NA
Dry Matter Basis44%20%22%
Calorie Weighted Basis39%42%19%

Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content

Protein

44%

Fat

20%

Carbs

22%

Fiber (guaranteed analysis)

4%

Calories/100g

384

Is real, named meat the first ingredient?

Yes

Ingredients

Deboned Chicken, Chicken Meal, Pea ProteinTapioca Starch, Menhaden Fish Meal (source of Omega 3 Fatty Acids), Chicken Fat (preserved with Mixed Tocopherols), Dried Egg, PeasPea Fiber, Natural Flavor, Flaxseed (source of Omega 6 Fatty Acids), Choline Chloride, DL-Methionine, Dehydrated Alfalfa Meal, Potassium Sulfate, Potassium Chloride, Potatoes, Dried Chicory Root, Calcium Carbonate, Taurine, Caramel Color, Salt, Sweet Potatoes, Carrots, preserved with Mixed Tocopherols, Dicalcium Phosphate, Ferrous Sulfate, Nicotinic Acid (Vitamin B3), Iron Amino Acid Chelate, Zinc Amino Acid Chelate, Zinc Sulfate, Vitamin E Supplement, Cranberries, Blueberries, Barley Grass, Parsley, Yucca Schidigera Extract, Dried Kelp, Turmeric, Copper Sulfate, Thiamine Mononitrate (Vitamin B1), Copper Amino Acid Chelate, L-Ascorbyl-2-Polyphosphate (source of Vitamin C), L-Carnitine, L-Lysine, Biotin (Vitamin B7), Oil of Rosemary, Vitamin A Supplement, Manganese Sulfate, Manganese Amino Acid Chelate, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride (Vitamin B6), Calcium Pantothenate (Vitamin B5), Riboflavin (Vitamin B2), Vitamin D3 Supplement, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Folic Acid (Vitamin B9), Dried Yeast, Dried Enterococcus faecium fermentation product, Dried Lactobacillus acidophilus fermentation product, Dried Aspergillus niger fermentation extract, Dried Trichoderma longibrachiatum fermentation extract, Dried Bacillus subtilis fermentation extract, Calcium Iodate, Sodium Selenite.

Ingredients in red are controversial or of questionable quality.

Ingredient Breakdown

The first ingredient in this cat food is deboned chicken. Good.

While quality of the individual ingredient can vary, chicken is a 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.

Finely ground chicken bone can actually be a useful ingredient for cats, so specifically deboned chicken is not necessarily better than non-deboned.

The second ingredient is chicken meal. Good.

Chicken is a very good protein source for cats.

Chicken meal is a concentrated form of chicken, and is considered a high quality ingredient.

In short, much of the moisture of the chicken is taken away, and you are left with a very high-protein, low-moisture powder-like substance.

The inclusion of chicken meal helps to ensure a very high protein level.

The third 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 fourth ingredient is tapioca starch. Bad.

Used in many grain-free recipes as a starch to bind the food together.

While it’s not very nutritional and doesn’t compare well to grains in some cases, there’s likely not enough of it to cause any digestive issues for your cat.

The fifth ingredient is menhaden fish meal. OK, but with reservations.

Menhaden are a small, oily fish, with a very high protein content.

Because it is a concentrated meal, most of the good oils are gone.

There is some concern that these are not sustainably fished.

The sixth ingredient is chicken fat. Good.

Named animal fats in cat food is usually a good thing.

Chicken fat is a great source of healthy fats and omega fatty acids.

It is preferred to canola oil or unnamed animal fats.

The seventh ingredient is dried egg. Good.

Even though eggs are not meat, they are a highly digestible form of protein.

In fact, they are one of the most complete, bioavailable forms of protein for both humans and cats.

As long as it is not the main protein ingredient, the addition of egg is a quality ingredient

The eighth ingredient is peas. Bad.

Peas are a quality carbohydrate, but cats don’t need much in the way of carbohydrates.

They are full of fiber, but also contain a fair amount of protein, which we should keep in mind when judging the meat content of this food.

There probably aren’t many peas in here, but there really doesn’t need to be any.

The ninth ingredient is pea fiber. Bad.

Pea fiber is high in insoluble fiber.

It is not a biologically appropriate ingredient for cats, and is a filler ingredient to boost fiber content.

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.

Potatoes are typically used as filler in grain-free recipes. They are not biologically appropriate and may cause digestive upset.

It also has added caramel color. There is no reason for a cat food to be colored, except to make it appeal to cat parents. Your cat does not care what color her food is.

Since it is 100% marketing gimmick, it is unnecessary, and usually the sign of a cheap cat food.

Many coloring options, such as caramel, are potential carcinogens, or otherwise potentially harmful for your cat.

The label says it includes oil of rosemary. If this is true, this is a potentially dangerous ingredient.

Most cat foods include rosemary extract, which is a useful natural preservative.

However, oil of rosemary can be harmful to cats.

The essential oil derived from rosemary is useful for topical application, but can become toxic at higher doses when ingested.

We wonder if this might be a misprint on the label, as Blue Buffalo is the only company to include it on their label.

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.

It includes dried yeast, which is likely brewer’s dried yeast. It is a by-product of brewing beer. It is used for flavoring and for protein and B-vitamins.

However, some reports suggest that it can become very toxic to the liver, causing allergies and arthritis, in large doses.

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 Wilderness Dry Cat Food

From top to bottom, this is a below average dry product.

Meat is the first ingredient, but fillers make up a large portion of the recipe. If you include all pea ingredients as one ingredient, it’s almost certain they would be the first ingredient.

The macronutrient contents of these foods are just OK, but not ideal.

This is a not a good example of a dry food you should be feeding to your cat.

Based on the ingredients and the macronutrient profiles, meat and plants are probably present in equal proportions, so we can therefore say it’s not necessarily a strictly meat-based food.

To review, on a dry matter basis, this food is 44% protein, 20% fat, and 22% carbs.

As a group, the brand has an average protein content of 42%, and average fat content of 18%, and an average carb content of 26%.

Compared to the other 2000+ foods in our database, this food has:

  • Average protein.
  • Average fat.
  • Above average carbs.

Because meat comes first, but fillers are plentiful, our average rating for this brand is 2 stars.

Not recommended.

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. 

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Emily Parker
 

Emily Parker is the Content Manager at Catological. She's passionate about helping cat parents love their cats better by providing the best information and recommendations about everything you'll need to know about your cat, from kitten to senior years. She believes natural, biologically-appropriate products are best...why wouldn't you provide the best for a member of your family?!

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