Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Blue Buffalo Wilderness Formula Change

Hi all. I wanted to give you guys a heads up about the NEW formula of Blue Buffalo Wilderness Chicken Recipe cat food in case any of you feed this brand or plan to. I'm updating the ingredient list on my ratings page (will list both old AND new for a while since there will likely be bags of both for a while) and will let you guys know how my cats react to the change. I noticed the new bags (they look different) of kibble (with slightly different ingredients) on the shelf of my local store and thought it was odd since the Blue Buffalo website didn't have any info about it. I contacted BB and they got back to me very fast and let me know the new kibble (which has VERY recently been changed, hence the reason for no updated website) ingredients. So, go check out the ratings page for the new ingredients and to compare them to the old ones. The food is still VERY high quality so the rating is not changing, just the ingredients. The biggest change (because it is high up on the ingredient list) is the change from potato starch to tapioca starch, which shouldn't cause any problems for most cats). They also include egg in the food now, as well as an assortment of fruits and veggies (low on the ingredient list and probably part of the "Life Source Bits"). I don't know if other formulas have changed also, but I would guess that most of the other formulas in this line (salmon, duck, weight loss, indoor, etc.) HAVE. I cannot say whether dog foods of this brand have changed. If anyone knows and lets me know, I will post it for more people to see.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Blue Buffalo lawsuit update

So, as most of you know, I feed Blue Buffalo Wilderness to my kitties. As some of you probably also know, Blue Buffalo was sued by Purina earlier this year. Purina claimed that Blue Buffalo was falsely advertising. Purina claimed that they sent samples of Blue Buffalo food to a laboratory that performed highly sophisticated testing that PROVED that Blue Buffalo used chicken by-products and other ingredients that they say they do NOT. Blue Buffalo has finally gotten Purina to release the "test results" and methods used and I've read them. They do not prove anything whatsoever. The tests consisted of a 10x-20x microscope analysis of the food after it had been broken down with chemicals. Then these ingredients were analyzed (by visual cues) and determined to be certain things (based on a book of ingredients). This type of testing is not reliable (it also is not scientific because the ingredients can be interpreted differently since they will certainly NOT look exactly like the book). On top of that, this was supposedly a "blind" test, but while reading the paper, it was clearly not a TRUE blind test. So, Purina is basing their whole lawsuit on these tests, which are not scientific or accurate. On top of that Purina is now saying that Blue Buffalo claims their food is "human-grade", which they don't. This idea of Purina's comes from Blue Buffalo's slogan, which is "Love Them Like Family, Feed Them Like Family". This does not say anything about human-grade food (it is simply a slogan, something that many companies have). This lawsuit seems like a pathetic attempt by Purina to complain about competition (they even state that they have lost sales to BB). They KNOW people are getting ingredient savvy and they don't like it because it hurts their profits (a Purina employee said this not too long ago). So, until Purina can provide better evidence (I'm a biology student so I know what should be done for these types of tests), I don't believe them and will continue to purchase Blue Buffalo for my kitties.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

My rotation feeding method for my cats

As many of you have probably noticed, I feed my cats several different types of food (I agree with the rotation feeding method). I try to stay grain-free with my selections. I currently feed Blue Buffalo Wilderness Chicken Recipe as the "main" food with Sheba Pate (not super happy with ingredients but the cats eat it, which is something I cannot say for many types of canned foods) canned foods (mostly the turkey and the whitefish and tuna ones) and Wild Calling kibble included in the rotation as well. I also get different canned foods (brands/flavors) as well. I have now started to introduce RAW into the rotation as well. I picked up a bag of Nature's Variety Instinct Frozen Raw Duck Bites yesterday and let the cats try it today. After sniffing it for a bit (it is very different in texture, smell, etc.), they decided it was food and scarfed it down. Hopefully they continue to eat it. The main reason I am using the brand I am is because of the safety and quality control methods that they use to prevent bacterial contamination. So, to wrap it up, in my rotation for the cats, I feed Blue Buffalo Wilderness dry, Sheba canned, Wild Calling kibble, Nature's Variety Instinct Frozen Raw Duck Bites and assorted other canned foods. I figure that feeding a wide variety of foods will lead to less "food boredom" as well as fewer health problems.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Sunny Turns 5!

As hard as it is for me to believe, Sunny turns five years old today. It doesn't seem like five years (almost since it's not the day I got her yet) since I picked up a crying, one-and-a-half week old kitten. She was so tiny we weren't sure she would make it but after several weeks of bottle-feeding every few hours and taking her everywhere (since she had to be fed so often) with me, she was getting bigger and stronger every day. She is still very attached to people (me especially) and is such a sweet kitty. Happy Birthday, Sunny!

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Wild Calling! Cat Food Review

There is a fairly new (2012) pet food company with a new line of dry cat foods called Wild Calling. I requested some samples since it is (currently) not sold in my area. I just received them today. I like the makeup of these foods and how the company is a family-owned one. They have good customer service and I got a response to my request for samples within the same day (of asking). They are currently making three different dry cat foods right now: turkey & sweet potato, salmon & sweet potato, and rabbit & sweet potato. They sent me all three types to let my cats try!

The ingredients are (I'm choosing to include ingredients from the rabbit one since the turkey one is in the cat food review page already but the others are almost the same with only a different source of protein, since they are made for rotation):
Rabbit Meal, Rabbit, Sweet Potato, Lentils, Turkey Fat (preserved with mixed tocopherols and citric acid), Tapioca, Dried Peas, Natural Flavor, Coconut Oil (preserved with mixed tocopherols and citric acid), Dried Seaweed Meal, Bacillus coagulans Fermentation Product, Choline Chloride, DL-Methionine, L-Lysine, Potassium Chloride, Salt, Taurine, Ascorbic Acid (Vitamin C), Calcium Carbonate, Zinc Proteinate, Vitamin E Supplement, Manganese Proteinate, Ferrous Sulfate, Niacin, Copper Proteinate, Thiamine Mononitrate, Calcium Pantothenate, Vitamin A Supplement, Manganous Oxide, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Sodium Selenate, Riboflavin, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Biotin, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Calcium Iodate, Folic Acid

This is a solid ingredient list for a food. The rabbit (and rabbit meal) is NOT sourced from China (a big plus since many brands DO source rabbit from China). In fact, this company does not source ANYTHING from China! The probiotics are a guaranteed minimum in the food too (which is not very common but great to see!)!
They also make dry dog foods (three single-protein source foods like the cat foods and three multi-source foods), canned dog foods and canned cat foods (including some interesting proteins like pheasant, rabbit, and buffalo).
Update: they both like all the flavors! They eat it up eagerly and seem to really like the taste. This will likely get added to my "rotation" of foods (I like to feed different types and brands of foods because it provides many different ingredients and provides less chance of a food allergy or nutrient deficiency).

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Terrific Tuesday!

It has been a while since I last posted (though I have updated the food review page with some new foods and will be adding/updating more today as well). Smokey and Sunny are both doing well though Sunny still needs to lose weight (she has not gained any though, so that's good). To be honest though, I've not been sticking with her diet as much as I should because I've been gone a lot this summer. However, I'm going to get back on track with her diet and here's the plan. All the "weight loss" foods just seriously limit calories (they are less calorie dense) and often add fiber instead of protein, carbs or fat to "fill" the cat up with fewer calories. My plan (and one many vets recommend) is to limit calories to about 180-190 a day and get her to SLOWLY lose the weight. If she doesn't lose weight, I'll lower the daily calories to 170 and so on. This will allow her to stay on the same food (and will be easier for Smokey too).

Lilly is also doing well though she has probably lost most/all of the vision in her right eye (the cataract has gotten worse since she saw the vet). It doesn't seem to bother her though and she has NO problems finding food, water or anything else. There is nothing a vet can do for her (I talked to a specialist) to help the cataract, unfortunately.

The cats have never had any type of canned food except for the pate style (smooth ground) canned foods. However, I decided to let them try the Taste of the Wild canned cat foods since they are picky about canned foods and only like the Whitefish flavor of the Sheba food I feed them (they used to like others and I would prefer more variety in their diet). I've tried the Blue Buffalo Wilderness canned foods (they eat the dry food of this brand as their main food and love it) but they HATE them (I've tried duck, chicken, and salmon). They seem to like fish flavors best. I don't like feeding them fish flavors because of the risks associated with feeding fish frequently (some types are more acceptable to me though). I wanted to try trout because it's freshwater and is lower in iodine than many marine fish. There are few foods that have trout as the main ingredient though. This is why I let them try the Taste of the Wild food. The Canyon River Feline is trout based. The cats don't like it though (they took a couple bites and then went away from their dishes). I think the TOTW canned foods are great for cats because they have great ingredients, and are grain-free, but so far, my cats don't like them. However, if you're looking for a good canned food, try them (your cats might be different). I think that I have kibble addicts on my hands though so I will likely be trying to find more canned foods that they WILL eat (I want to get more water in their diets). I'll probably be doing another food review soon (on a newer brand), so keep an eye out for another post!

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Blue Buffalo

Update: Here is Blue Buffalo's response. http://www.bluebuffalo.com/news/nestle-purina-response
Like I said, I'm still going to be using this food until these allegations are proved or disproved because I don't trust Purina one bit and this sounds like a whiny "I don't like that I'm not getting customers" situation so I stand with Blue Buffalo on this one!
As many of you know, I currently feed my cats Blue Buffalo Wilderness. I've had absolutely NO complaints with this food since I switched a year or so ago. I am closely watching the results of a lawsuit Purina has filed against them, claiming that they use by-product meals and corn (they claim they do not and it is NOT listed on the label). I don't believe this is even true (considering Purina's record AND the fact that I do not believe there is a way to tell chicken meal from chicken by-product meal through ingredient analysis). Purina has not released the name of the "independent" testing facility or the actual results of the "tests." They also have consistently claimed false things about their foods (such as the levels of illegal antibiotics found in the jerky treats). After reading the lawsuit press release, this sounds A LOT like Purina complaining that Blue Buffalo is taking business away from them and their cheap, poor-quality product (they state this though not the poor-quality part!). Purina claims that their foods are all "100% complete and balanced". So, tell me this Purina... why do you make so many different brands of food with different ingredients of differing quality if you take so much pride in your foods? Why does the list of dog foods include brands like: Alpo (corn first), Dog Chow (corn first), Beneful (corn first), One (chicken first), Pro Plan (chicken first), Be Happy (corn first), BeyOnd (corn, wheat free, chicken first) etc.? Why does the cat food list contain brands like: One (chicken first), Friskies (corn first), Pro Plan (chicken first), Cat Chow (corn first), Fancy Feast (brewers rice first), Be Happy (corn first), Deli-Cat (corn first), Kit & Kaboodle (corn first), BeyOnd (corn, wheat free, chicken first), etc.? How can corn and rice as the first (primary) ingredient be "complete and balanced" for a carnivorous cat or mostly carnivorous dog? How can corn and rice as first ingredient be complete and balanced but chicken as the first ingredient ALSO be complete and balanced??? If corn is such a "good" ingredient, why is it NOT in BeyOnd??? Why does Purina claim to be so concerned about the health of animals and then market so many different tiers of food? Because they are only interested in profit and market share.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Post veterinary update on Lilly.

Well, I went to the vet today with Lilly. The vet initially agreed that it was likely diabetes (based on the fact that she is SO young to get cataracts and that they came on so quickly). However, after a blood-glucose test (stick in the foot-pad), we found out that this is not likely the cause because her level was 137, which is normal for guinea pigs (and guinea pigs are not likely to have highs and lows like other animals since they forage all day). She gets plenty of vitamin C so it is not that (and there are no other symptoms of deficiency according to the vet). So, she likely has a genetic predisposition to cataracts, but I have been referred to an eye specialist to find out more. She most likely cannot see very well because the vet could not see her retinas at all because of the cataracts. So, while it is very good that she doesn't have diabetes, it is not so good that she may have a genetic tendency for cataracts and that she cannot see well. Apparently there is a procedure to "liquify" the cataracts with a laser that has been done on RABBITS (not sure if it has been done on guinea pigs or not) that clears the vision but we'll see.

Monday, April 28, 2014

Lilly update.

I've not given an update on Lilly (my guinea pig) in a while, so here is one (with good and bad news). Lilly has not had any more feet problems (bumblefoot) since I switched her bedding from pine (I've used pine for YEARS with no problems) to aspen (which is softer on her feet). However, I've noticed in the past few days that she has seemingly developed cataracts in both eyes (NOT normal for a fairly young, 2 year old, guinea pig like her) and is drinking a LOT more water than normal. She also seems to have a "wet bottom" sometimes, and all these symptoms are signs of diabetes in guinea pigs. I'm watching her very closely and may have to take her to the vet soon. The good news is that if it is indeed diabetes, it is very treatable in guinea pigs. Often times, diet changes (less sugary fruits/veggies/food, more hay, more leafy vegetables) can help control it and there is medication available as well. From my readings, guinea pigs are more prone to Type-II diabetes (non-insulin dependent), so treatment with Glipizide often works well for guinea pigs and insulin injections are not required. Also 1 out of 3 guinea pigs with Type-II diabetes goes into remission after a short treatment with the medication. I will be keeping everyone updated with info about Lilly and whether she does indeed have diabetes (I hope I am wrong and that she doesn't have it) as I know it.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Dry cat food rating page

I have added a dry cat food rating table to this blog. The page can be found under the "Pages" heading or here

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Lilly Update!

I am happy to say that Lilly's "bumblefoot" (pododermatitis) is gone!
The Epsom salt soaks, hydrogen peroxide surface treatments and antibiotic creams worked well! Her feet are now free of pododermatitis. I'm so glad I caught it early and treated it immediately because, being staph, "bumblefoot" can be dangerous (it can get into the bone or tendons and cause MAJOR damage that can lead to amputation of the affected foot/leg). I treated her feet for a few days after the end of symptoms just to be sure it was completely gone. I'm still using shredded newspaper on top of the pine shavings because I do think that the pine shavings caused micro cuts on her feet, thus allowing the bacteria to get in.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Lilly's Bumblefoot Update

Lilly still has pododermatitis (bumblefoot), but it is getting better (her feet are not inflamed or red anymore). Normally "bumblefoot" is caused by Staphylococcus aureus, which can be quite dangerous because it can get into the tendons and bone if not caught early and treated. Luckily, I caught it early and I'm treating her feet with triple-antibiotic ointment and have been soaking her feet as well (helps tremendously!). I'm also using shredded newspaper over her normal kiln-dried pine shavings because I think the shavings played a key part in her getting this (usually a cut is the precursor to infection). She is very cooperative and lets me treat her feet and doesn't "fight."

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Treating Little Piggy Feet

Lilly has come down with a case of Pododermatitis (ie. "bumblefoot"). It seems mild (it's also not bothering her it seems) and I caught it early so I'm treating it at home right now. I don't know why she got it (it has a variety of causes including injuries, lack of vitamin C, allergies, cage dirty, too humid, toenails too long, etc.) and I'm watching her closely. I'm treating her feet with neosporin (triple antibiotic) and have previously soaked them. She is also getting boosted levels of vitamin C (through fresh fruits/veggies) because a lack of vitamin C is a possible cause (though HIGHLY unlikely in Lilly's case because she eats so many fresh fruits and veggies with lots of vitamin C in it) and it can help the feet heal faster. Hopefully this will go away soon!

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Sunny's Weight Loss

Some of you may know that, for quite a while, I've been trying to get Sunny to lose weight. As I said in my last post, Sunny weighed 12.1 lbs (based on several measurements taken the same day to make sure that they were correct) before I started having her diet. After being on a diet for some time now (no special food, just her regular), I am happy to say that she has lost 3/10 of a pound. Yes, she is now 11.8 lbs! For a cat, that is actually a fair amount. She still has a lot to go (she should be about 10 lbs) but this is good progress!

Her diet (for those who have an overweight cat or just might be interested) has consisted of calorie reduction (and NO change to the types of food she gets). When I started, she was 12.1 lbs. A "healthy" cat that size would need about 240 calories to maintain that weight (approximately 20 calories per pound of body weight is the standard) but since she is overweight, I needed to feed for two pounds less (cut 40 calories from her diet each day). *This is important... NEVER (unless a vet says to do so) START a diet for a cat by cutting more than 40 calories from the diet. If weight loss is not achieved, you can start to cut more calories but start by cutting 40 calories and go from there.* So, the first thing you need to do (after accurately weighing the cat) is to find out how many calories are in each cup of the food your cat eats (for mine, it was 391 calories per cup). After finding out how many calories are in each cup, do some math (I can't tell you what to divide by since each food is different) to find the perfect amount of food for your cat to get each day (in my case, it was 1/2 cup, leaving room for a couple of treats without going over the 200 calories that she needs each day). I also came up with a plan that includes canned food (I don't ALWAYS feed canned food, but I frequently do so I needed to have that worked out too). I usually split a 3-oz can of Sheba canned cat food between the two of them. A full can contains about 95-97 calories (I had to contact Sheba since they did not have it listed on the cans or website) so half contains approximately 48 (round up to 50) calories. Then do some more math to find out how much dry you should feed and add the calories from canned to the calories from dry. This method has (so far) worked for Sunny and, once again, there was no change in the type of food she was getting (a big deal for Sunny because she is picky) and she is still able to have treats (in moderation). Sunny has also been encouraged to play more (exercise cannot be overemphasized).

Just to recap: If you have a cat that needs to lose weight, you do NOT have to buy a "weight-loss" food for them. Just limit the calories that they receive and try to get them to play/exercise more. You can also still feed treats, just use them in moderation and try to make them "healthy" treats (protein rich, lower fat treats). Canned food can be more filling for a cat (a good thing since it will make a cat feel more full) so don't limit yourself to only dry food.

Now you don't have to feel helpless trying to get your cat to lose the extra pounds that he or she needs to lose and you can get started on a healthier lifestyle for your cat!