Laura Ward

Written by Laura Ward

Georgia Jeremiah

Reviewed by Georgia Jeremiah

Updated: January 18, 2024

Blue Buffalo Wilderness Dry Cat Food Review

Updated: January 18, 2024

Our Verdict

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Highly Recommended

Blue Buffalo Wilderness dry cat food receives the Cat Food Advisor highest rating, 5 stars.

It is made from high-quality natural ingredients such as real chicken and has no artificial flavors or preservatives.

This range is formulated to support your cat’s lifestyle and variants include weight and hairball control for more specific needs.

The Wilderness dry range comes in various flavors and is enhanced with vitamins and minerals. It also meets AAFCO standards.

Pros
  • Real meat as the main ingredient
  • Affordable
  • No artificial additives or animal by-products
  • Good source of Omega-3 fatty acids
Cons
  • Some recipes contain carrageenan
  • High carbohydrate content
  • Brand has had a number of recalls
  • Low moisture content

Each recipe includes its AAFCO nutrient profile: Growth (kitten), Maintenance (adult), All Life Stages, Supplemental or Unspecified.

The Blue Buffalo Wilderness dry product line includes 11 cat foods.

Product line Rating AAFCO
Adult Cat - Chicken 5 M
Adult Cat - Salmon 5 M
Adult Cat - Duck 5 M
Adult Cat - Rocky Mountain Recipe - Trout 5 M
Adult Cat - Rocky Mountain Recipe - Red Meat 5 M
Adult Cat - Indoor Hairball and Weight Control Recipe - Chicken 5 M
Adult Cat - Indoor Hairball Recipe - Chicken 5 M
Adult Cat - Indoor Recipe - Chicken 5 M
Adult Cat - Weight Control Recipe - Chicken 5 M
Mature Cat - Chicken 5 M
Kitten - Chicken 5 G

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Recipe and Label Analysis

Blue Buffalo Wilderness Adult Cat Chicken dry food was selected to represent the other products in the line for a detailed recipe and nutrient analysis.

Label and nutrient data below are calculated using dry matter basis.

Blue Buffalo Wilderness Adult Cat Chicken (Dry)

Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content

44%

Protein

19.8%

Fat

28.3%

CarbsCarbohydrates

Deboned chicken, chicken meal, pea protein, tapioca starch, peas, menhaden fish meal (source of omega 3 fatty acids), chicken fat (preserved with mixed tocopherols), dried egg product, pea fiber, natural flavor, flaxseed (source of omega 6 fatty acids), calcium chloride, potassium sulfate, DL-methionine, choline chloride, dehydrated alfalfa meal, potatoes, dried chicory root, alfalfa nutrient concentrate, calcium carbonate, taurine, salt, potassium chloride, sweet potatoes, carrots, preserved with mixed tocopherols, vegetable juice for color, ferrous sulfate, niacin (Vitamin B3), iron amino acid chelate, zinc amino acid chelate, zinc sulfate, Vitamin E supplement, blueberries, cranberries, barley grass, parsley, turmeric, dried kelp, yucca schidigera extract, copper sulfate, thiamine mononitrate (Vitamin B1), copper amino acid chelate, L-carnitinel-ascorbyl-2-polyphosphate (source of Vitamin C), L-lysine biotin (Vitamin B7), 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, oil of rosemary



Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 1.5%

Red denotes any controversial items

Ingredients Analysis

The first ingredient is deboned chicken. Chicken is considered “the clean combination of flesh and skin… derived from the parts or whole carcasses of chicken”.1

Chicken is naturally rich in the 11 essential amino acids required by a cat to sustain life.

The second ingredient is chicken meal. Chicken meal is considered a meat concentrate and contains nearly 300% more protein than fresh chicken.

The third ingredient is pea protein, what remains of a pea after removing the starchy part of the vegetable.

Even though it contains over 80% protein, this ingredient would be expected to have a lower biological value than meat.

And less costly plant-based products like this can notably boost the total protein reported on the label — a factor that must be considered when judging the meat content of this cat food.

The fourth ingredient is tapioca starch, a gluten-free, starchy carbohydrate extract made from the root of the cassava plant.

The fifth ingredient is peas. Peas are a quality source of carbohydrates. And like all legumes, they’re rich in natural fiber.

However, peas contain about 25% protein, a factor that must be considered when judging the meat content of this cat food.

The sixth ingredient is menhaden fish meal. Because it is considered a meat concentrate, fish meal contains almost 300% more protein than fresh fish.

Menhaden are small ocean fish related to herring. They’re rich in protein and omega-3 fatty acids. What’s more, in their mid-depth habitat, menhaden are not exposed to mercury contamination as can be typical with deep water species.

This item is typically obtained from the “clean, dried, ground tissue of undecomposed whole fish and fish cuttings” of commercial fish operations.2

The seventh ingredient is chicken fat. Chicken fat is obtained from rendering chicken, a process similar to making soup in which the fat itself is skimmed from the surface of the liquid.

Chicken fat is high in linoleic acid, an omega-6 fatty acid essential for life. Although it doesn’t sound very appetizing, chicken fat is actually a quality ingredient.

The eighth ingredient is dried egg product, a dehydrated form of shell-free eggs. Quality can vary significantly. Lower-grade egg product can even come from commercial hatcheries — from eggs that have failed to hatch.

In any case, eggs are easy to digest and have an exceptionally high biological value.

The ninth ingredient is pea fiber, a mixture of both soluble and insoluble dietary fiber derived from pea hulls. Aside from the usual benefits of fiber, this agricultural by-product provides no other nutritional value to a cat.

The tenth ingredient is natural flavor. According to AAFCO, natural flavors are ingredients derived from plant, animal or mined sources, not having been produced by or subject to chemically synthetic processes nor do they contain any additives or processing aids that are chemically synthetic.

The eleventh ingredient is flaxseed. One of the best plant sources of healthy omega-3 fatty acids. Provided they’ve first been ground into a meal, flax seeds are also rich in soluble fiber.

However, flaxseed contains about 19% protein, a factor that must be considered when judging the actual meat content of this cat food.

From here the list goes on to include a number of other items. But to be realistic, ingredients located this far down the list (other than nutritional supplements) are not likely to affect the overall rating of the product.

However, this recipe contains sodium selenite, a controversial form of the mineral selenium. Sodium selenite appears to be nutritionally inferior to the more natural source of selenium found in selenium yeast.

We also note the inclusion of dried fermentation products in this recipe. Fermentation products are typically added as probiotics to aid with digestion.

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Nutrient Analysis

Based on its ingredients alone, Blue Buffalo Wilderness Adult Cat Chicken looks like an above-average dry product and is high in protein too.

The dashboard displays an excellent dry matter protein reading of 44%, a fat level of 19.8% and an estimated carbohydrate level of 28.3%.

As a group, the brand features an average protein content of 41.8% and a mean fat level of 17.6%. Together these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 32.7% for the overall product line, alongside a fat-to-protein ratio of 42%.

This means this Blue Buffalo Wilderness (Dry) product line contains above-average protein and higher than average fat when compared to typical dry cat food.

Final Word

Blue Buffalo Wilderness Adult Cat Chicken recipe is an excellent source of high-quality protein and essential fatty acids, made with natural, wholesome ingredients free from grains, artificial colors, flavors or preservatives.

Has Blue Buffalo cat food been recalled in the past?

Yes, Blue Buffalo has had a few recalls. The most recent cat food recall was in November 2015, when a small number of Blue Kitty Yums cat treats were recalled due to reports of propylene glycol.

In 2007 there were also multiple cat food recalls. Blue Buffalo Blue Spa Select canned cat food and Blue Buffalo Spa Select Kitten dry food were both recalled in April due to Melamine.

The other recalls were for the following dog products:

  • Blue Wilderness Rocky Mountain Recipe Red Meat Dinner Wet Food (March 2017)
  • Blue Buffalo Homestyle Recipe Healthy Weight, Chicken Dinner With Garden Vegetables (February 2017)
  • Blue Buffalo dog food cups (February 2017)
  • Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula Fish and Sweet Potato Recipe (May 2016)
  • One lot of Cub Size Wilderness Wild Chews Bones (November 2015)
  • Blue Buffalo dry dog food (October 2010)
  • Blue Buffalo Blue canned dog food and dog treats (April 2007)

You can view a complete list of all cat food recalls since 2021 here.

To stay on top of any cat food product recalls, sign up for our free email alerts, here.

About

Blue Buffalo’s headquarters is in Wilton, Connecticut. It has two facilities, one in Missouri and a manufacturing plant in Indiana.

The company started from humble origins but is now owned by General Mills.

Sources

1, 2: Association of American Feed Control Officials

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