Blue Buffalo Cat Food Review

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Blue Buffalo saw rapid growth throughout the 2000s, going from a small family business in Connecticut to one of America’s corporate cat food giants.

Along the way, they’ve attracted a fair share of loyal customers as well as several industry controversies. So how do their dry and wet cat food products shape up today?

buffalo cat products

Best dry poultry –
Blue Buffalo – Multi-Cat Health Chicken & Turkey Recipe

Best dry cat food (poultry)
Blue Buffalo – Multi-Cat Health Chicken & Turkey Recipe Adult Dry Cat Food
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Best dry seafood – Top overall score – Blue Buffalo – Carnivora Grain-Free Coastal Blend

Best dry seafood
Top overall score

Blue Buffalo – Carnivora Grain-Free Coastal Blend
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Best wet poultry – Blue Buffalo – Wilderness Wild Delights Chicken & Turkey in Tasty Gravy

Best wet poultry
Blue Buffalo – Wilderness Wild Delights Chicken & Turkey in Tasty Gravy
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Best wet seafood – Our value pick – Blue Buffalo – Healthy Gourmet Pate Salmon Entree

Best wet seafood
Our value pick

Blue Buffalo – Healthy Gourmet Pate Salmon Entree
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Best kitten food – Blue Buffalo – Carnivora Woodland Blend Grain-Free Kitten

Best kitten food
Blue Buffalo – Carnivora Woodland Blend Grain-Free Kitten
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How we score Blue Buffalo cat foods

Best dry cat food (poultry)

Blue Buffalo - Multi-Cat Health Chicken & Turkey Recipe
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Poultry flavored dry kibble is the most popular category of cat food within the US. For Blue Buffalo, we like this Multi-Cat Health chicken and turkey recipe, which goes above and beyond the average dry food, using two whole types of meat and named chicken meal.

These ingredients are followed by grains, plant proteins, and secondary meat ingredients. Although grains aren’t ideal for cats, they’re not uncommon in dry food recipes, and here Blue Buffalo uses complex carbs, which are preferable to corn.

Despite being a concentrated product, Blue Buffalo hasn’t used excessively processed foods, and there are no red flag ingredients to be found—that means no carrageenan, unnamed meat meal, sodium nitrate, unnecessary food coloring, or toxic preservatives.

Thanks in part to the several grain ingredients, the Multi-Cat Health kibble also has a below-average price tag compared to similar dry food products—what’s not to like!

Crude Protein (min) 32%
Crude Fat (min) 16%
Crude Fiber (max) 3.5%
Moisture (max) 9.0%

See full nutritional breakdown on Amazon

First 5 Ingredients:
Deboned Chicken, Deboned Turkey, Chicken Meal, Brown Rice, Barley

Deboned Chicken, Deboned Turkey, Chicken Meal, Brown Rice, Barley, Oatmeal, Pea Protein, Peas, Menhaden Fish Meal, Dried Egg Product, Chicken Fat (Preserved With Mixed Tocopherols), Natural Flavor, Dried Tomato Pomace, Flaxseed (Source Of Omega 6 Fatty Acids), Potato Starch, Calcium Chloride, Fish Oil (Source Of Omega 3 Fatty Acids), Calcium Sulfate, DL-Methionine, Choline Chloride, Potassium Chloride, Potatoes, Dried Chicory Root, Taurine, L-Lysine, Dehydrated Alfalfa Meal, Pea Fiber, Alfalfa Nutrient Concentrate, Calcium Carbonate, Salt, L-Ascorbyl-2-Polyphosphate (Source Of Vitamin C), Preserved With Mixed Tocopherols, Vitamin E Supplement, Cranberries, Sweet Potatoes, Carrots, L-Carnitine, Vegetable Juice For Color, Ferrous Sulfate, Niacin (Vitamin B3), Iron Amino Acid Chelate, Zinc Amino Acid Chelate, Zinc Sulfate, Blueberries, Barley Grass, Parsley, Turmeric, Dried Kelp, Yucca Schidigera Extract, Copper Sulfate, Thiamine Mononitrate (Vitamin B1), Copper Amino Acid Chelate, 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.

Top overall score!

Best luxury dry food (seafood)

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Our pick for Blue Buffalo dry seafood, and the top overall scoring Blue Buffalo product, is this Carnivora Coastal Blend.

A fish and chicken recipe, this is a truly premium kibble, with a range of quality meat ingredients and a price tag to match. At approximately a third more expensive than similar products, Blue Buffalo’s Coastal Blend treats cats to pollock, sole, halibut, chicken, and herring meal, ensuring a wide range of proteins, amino acids, and beneficial fats.

Besides a high protein and fat content, this recipe also uses minimal carbohydrate ingredients and no red flag preservatives or additives, resulting in a formula that’s healthier than the vast majority of kibbles on the market. Definitely one to consider if price isn’t a major concern.

Read: The best dry cat foods of 2021

Coastal blend Woodland blend
Crude protein (min) 45% 45%
Crude fat (min) 20% 20%
Crude fiber (max) 4% 4%
Moisture (max) 9% 9%

See full nutritional breakdown on Amazon

First 5 Ingredients:
Deboned Pollock, Deboned Sole, Deboned Halibut, Dried Chicken, Herring Meal

Deboned Pollock, Deboned Sole, Deboned Halibut, Dried Chicken, Herring Meal, Chicken Fat (Preserved With Mixed Tocopherols), Tapioca Starch, Dried Egg Product, Dried Tomato Pomace, Dried Tuna, Flaxseed (Source Of Omega 6 Fatty Acids), Dried Pollock, Dried Sole, Dried Halibut, Dried Cod, Gelatin, Fava Beans, Menhaden Fish Meal, Deboned Cod, Natural Flavor, Fish Oil (Source Of Omega 3 Fatty Acids), Lentils, Potassium Sulfate, Choline Chloride, Dried Pork Liver, Dried Sardine, Chicken Cartilage, Cod Liver, Minerals [Calcium Carbonate, Iron Amino Acid Chelate, Zinc Amino Acid Chelate, Copper Amino Acid Chelate, Manganese Amino Acid Chelate, Calcium Iodate, Sodium Selenite], Vitamins [Vitamin E Supplement, Niacin (Vitamin B3), Thiamine Mononitrate (Vitamin B1), Biotin (Vitamin B7), Vitamin A Supplement, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride (Vitamin B6), Calcium Pantothenate (Vitamin B5), Riboflavin (Vitamin B2), Vitamin D3 Supplement, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Folic Acid (Vitamin B9)], Dried Chicory Root, Taurine, Salt, Preserved With Mixed Tocopherols, Turmeric, Blueberries, Cranberries, Apples, Blackberries, Pomegranate, Spinach, Pumpkin, Carrots, Dried Kale, Sunflower Seeds, Pumpkin Seeds, L-Carnitine, Dried Kelp, Barley Grass, Parsley, Yucca Schidigera Extract, 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), Oil Of Rosemary.

Best wet cat food (poultry)

Blue Buffalo - Wilderness Wild Delights Chicken & Turkey in Tasty Gravy Grain-Free Canned Cat Food
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Blue Buffalo’s reputation was founded on their high quality, grain-free wet foods, and we think their Wilderness Wild Delights range stays true to those principles.

In particular, this chicken and turkey in gravy option has a great recipe, with three whole meat sources, a competitive price, and a limited number of ingredients. It also boasts an impressive 82 percent moisture, which mimics the moisture content of natural prey.

One simple test for cat food quality is to look at the first five ingredients and ask whether they’re things that cats would normally seek or eat in the wild. With a lineup of chicken, chicken broth, water, turkey, and chicken liver, Blue Buffalo’s Wilderness Wild Delights wet food passes this test with flying colors.

Coastal blend Woodland blend Chicken and salmon
Crude protein (min) 9% 9% 9%
Crude fat (min) 4% 4.5% 4.5%
Crude fiber (max) 1.5% 1.5% 1.5%
Moisture (max) 82% 82% 82%

See full nutritional breakdown on Amazon

First 5 Ingredients:
Chicken, Chicken Broth, Water, Turkey, Chicken Liver

Chicken, Chicken Broth, Water, Turkey, Chicken Liver, Dried Egg Product, Potato Starch, Natural Flavor, Guar Gum, Sodium Phosphate, Potassium Chloride, Taurine, Salt, Choline Chloride, Calcium Carbonate, 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).

Our top value pick!

Best wet cat food (seafood)

Blue Buffalo - Healthy Gourmet Pate Salmon Entree
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This Blue Buffalo Healthy Gourmet salmon pate is our pick for best value Blue Buffalo cat food, with a great meat recipe for a price that’s around 30 percent below average compared to similar products.

The seafood formula combines real salmon with fish broth, chicken, and chicken liver to produce a protein and moisture-rich wet food. However, there are also turkey and red meat versions for cats with other tastes.

A couple of things to note here are the presence of powdered cellulose, which is considered a low-value filler, and carrageenan, which is a potential red flag ingredient. Carrageenan is a thickening agent made from red seaweed, that’s used across animal and human food manufacturing.

Despite its wide usage, many owners choose to steer clear of carrageenan due to the risk of contamination with degraded carrageenan, a known inflammatory substance.

The naming of the Healthy Gourmet Salmon Pate can also be a little misleading, as it also contains chicken and chicken liver alongside the primary ingredient of salmon.

Crude protein (min) 10%
Crude fat (min) 4.5%
Crude fiber (max) 2%
Moisture (max) 78%

See full nutritional breakdown on Amazon

First 5 Ingredients:
Salmon, Fish Broth, Chicken Liver, Chicken, Brown Rice

Salmon, Fish Broth, Chicken Liver, Chicken, Brown Rice, Natural Flavor, Flaxseed, Guar Gum, Powdered Cellulose, Carrots, Sweet Potatoes, Carrageenan, Potassium Chloride, Cassia Gum, Taurine, Salt, Cranberries, Choline Chloride, Magnesium Sulfate, Iron Amino Acid Chelate, Zinc Amino Acid Chelate, Thiamine Mononitrate (Vitamin B1), Vitamin E Supplement, 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).

Best kitten food

Blue Buffalo - Carnivora Woodland Blend Grain-Free Kitten
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Kittens need dense foods that provide all the calories, amino acids, fats, and vitamins required for healthy growth. This Blue Buffalo Carnivora Woodland Blend recipe has an excellent nutritional profile, with a variety of different whole meat and animal ingredients.

The first five ingredients in the Woodland Blend are chicken, turkey, mackerel, dried egg product, and duck. This provides a great amount of protein, fat, and moisture, with no extra fillers or other low-value ingredients, earning the formula an A+ in our rankings.

All that nutrition, however, comes with a hefty price tag. Expect to pay around double the price compared to other kitten cat foods of the same size.

Read: The best kitten foods of 2021

Crude protein (min) 12.5%
Crude fat (min) 8.5%
Crude fiber (max) 1.5%
Moisture (max) 78%

See full nutritional breakdown on Amazon

First 5 Ingredients:
Chicken, Turkey Broth, Turkey, Mackerel, Dried Egg Product

Chicken, Turkey Broth, Turkey, Mackerel, Dried Egg Product, Duck, Turkey Liver, Chicken Liver, Chicken Heart, Fish Oil (Source Of Dha-Docosahexaenoic Acid, Preserved With Mixed Tocopherols) Essential Nutrients And Other Ingredients: Natural Flavor, Pumpkin, Carrots, Guar Gum, Carrageenan, Cassia Gum, Potassium Chloride, Taurine, Minerals [Iron Amino Acid Chelate, Zinc Amino Acid Chelate, Copper Amino Acid Chelate, Manganese Amino Acid Chelate, Sodium Selenite, Potassium Iodide], Choline Chloride, Vitamins [Vitamin E Supplement, Thiamine Mononitrate (Vitamin B1), Niacin Supplement (Vitamin B3), Calcium Pantothenate (Vitamin B5), Pyridoxine Hydrochloride (Vitamin B6), Riboflavin Supplement (Vitamin B2), Vitamin A Supplement, Biotin (Vitamin B7), Vitamin D3 Supplement, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Folic Acid (Vitamin B9)], Salt, Magnesium Sulfate.

Blue Buffalo prescription cat foods
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Blue Buffalo’s Natural Veterinary Diet range is made in conjunction with the brand’s own animal nutritionists and uses carefully controlled proteins, fats, carbs, and moisture levels.

At a significantly higher price tag, these products are for cats living with conditions like moderate GI sensitivity, allergies, and urinary tract and kidney issues.

They contain no red flag ingredients, but recipes may look a little strange compared to traditional cat foods due to the need to control for proteins. In some cases, this results in a higher proportion of non-meat ingredients, while in others, it means the use of novel proteins such as alligator meat.

These formulas can require a serious financial commitment, and are often sold for significantly more than standard products. We recommend that owners only turn to prescription formulas if they feel sure that more traditional cat foods do not benefit their pet.

Learn more about Blue Buffalo’s prescription cat food range.

Crude protein (min) 12.5%
Crude fat (min) 8.5%
Crude fiber (max) 1.5%
Moisture (max) 78%

See full nutritional breakdown on Amazon

First 5 Ingredients:
Chicken, Turkey Broth, Turkey, Mackerel, Dried Egg Product

Chicken, Turkey Broth, Turkey, Mackerel, Dried Egg Product, Duck, Turkey Liver, Chicken Liver, Chicken Heart, Fish Oil (Source Of Dha-Docosahexaenoic Acid, Preserved With Mixed Tocopherols) Essential Nutrients And Other Ingredients: Natural Flavor, Pumpkin, Carrots, Guar Gum, Carrageenan, Cassia Gum, Potassium Chloride, Taurine, Minerals [Iron Amino Acid Chelate, Zinc Amino Acid Chelate, Copper Amino Acid Chelate, Manganese Amino Acid Chelate, Sodium Selenite, Potassium Iodide], Choline Chloride, Vitamins [Vitamin E Supplement, Thiamine Mononitrate (Vitamin B1), Niacin Supplement (Vitamin B3), Calcium Pantothenate (Vitamin B5), Pyridoxine Hydrochloride (Vitamin B6), Riboflavin Supplement (Vitamin B2), Vitamin A Supplement, Biotin (Vitamin B7), Vitamin D3 Supplement, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Folic Acid (Vitamin B9)], Salt, Magnesium Sulfate.

Other Blue Buffalo products

Blue Buffalo Wilderness High Protein Grain Free, Natural Adult Pate Wet Cat Food

We like:

  • Made with real chicken, salmon, and duck
  • Grain-free
  • Smooth, rich texture

Designed for:

Cats of all life stages

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Blue Buffalo Sensitive Stomach Natural Adult Dry Cat Food

We like:

  • Formulated with probiotics to support digestive health
  • Contains Omega fatty acids

Designed for:

Cats with sensitive stomachs or digestion issues

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Blue Buffalo Wilderness Grain Free Crunchy Cat Treats

We like:

  • Made with LifeSource bits for added vitamins and minerals
  • Encourages lean muscle development

Designed for:

Cats of all life stages

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Blue Buffalo Wilderness Indoor Chicken Recipe Grain-Free Dry Cat Food

We like:

  • Each treat only 1.5 calories
  • No chicken or poultry by-product meals
  • Oven-baked for crunchiness

Designed for:

Indoor cats and weight management

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Blue Buffalo Weight Control Natural Adult Dry Cat Food

We like:

  • Made with whole grains and garden vegetables

Designed for:

Weight management and weight control

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Blue Buffalo Cat Food: Buying Guide

Who is Blue Buffalo?

Even though they do a great job of marketing themselves as a small-batch, family pet food company, Blue Buffalo is one of the biggest manufacturers around.

The company began in Wilson, Connecticut in 2002, when Billy Bishop became interested in the benefits of a healthy diet for the family’s nine-year-old Airedale terrier, Blue. Since then, the brand has experienced massive growth, and held the title of ‘top-selling pet food line’ in the country for some time, with their BLUE Life formula.

In 2018, Blue Buffalo was sold to General Mills for approximately eight million dollars, the company behind some of the US’s most recognizable brands, such as Totino’s, Pillsbury, Häagen-Dazs, and Cheerios.

Blue Buffalo Sourcing and Manufacturing

Blue Buffalo uses high-quality US-sourced ingredients from small local farmers as much as possible. While they do work with several manufacturers, they ensure their products are all made according to their recipes and specifications.

Blue Buffalo Highlights

  • LifeSource Bits formula
    Exclusive to Blue Buffalo, LifeSource products are supplemented with a blend of antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals that are cold-formed to help maintain potency.

  • Whole-food focus
    While the majority of their products incorporate concentrated or processed foods, most Blue Buffalo ingredients are high quality, with whole animal proteins and complex carbohydrates. Even better, there is no presence of meat by-products or artificial preservatives, flavors, and additives.

  • Product variety
    With over a hundred products separated into a handful of sub-brands, even the fussiest felines struggle to turn down all Blue Buffalo cat foods. Owners can select from wet or dry food, grain-free or whole-grain, and formulas tailored to specific feline conditions.

  • Veterinary approval
    Blue Buffalo develops its recipes using the expertise of on-staff veterinarians and PhD-accredited animal nutritionists.

What types of cat food does Blue Buffalo offer?

The current product lines for cat offered by Blue Buffalo include:

  • Blue Freedom – a line of grain-free products.
  • Blue Basics – limited-ingredient recipes.
  • Blue Wilderness – meat-rich, high-protein formulas.
  • Blue True Solutions – ‘natural’ formulas designed to support specific needs such as digestive care, weight control, and skin and urinary health.
  • Blue Kitten Recipes – meat-first recipes specifically formulated for kittens (across various product lines).

How much does Blue Buffalo cost on average?

Blue Buffalo is a pretty affordable cat food brand, especially considering the quality of ingredients used.

Blue Buffalo dry food products average 22 cents per 100 calories, while wet food products average 96 cents for the same amount.

However, there’s a wide gap between the cheapest and most expensive Blue Buffalo lines.

Has Blue Buffalo cat food ever been recalled?
(2021 update)

Like most major pet food manufacturers, Blue Buffalo has a relatively active recall history. While they don’t rank significantly worse than their competitors in terms of recalls, the brand’s small family business’ aesthetic does make these contamination events all the more frustrating.

On the positive side, the vast majority of Blue Buffalo recalls concern their dog food lines, not their cat products.


2017
All 2017 recalls relate to their dog food lines. First, there was an issue of products potentially being contaminated with aluminum metal. Next, there was an issue with the foil seal on the top of some of their product cans. Finally, some of their dog food products were recalled due to elevated levels of beef thyroid hormones.


2016
This small recall was the result of two dog food recipes being affected by mold contamination.


2015
The first recall in 2015 was due to Blue Kitty Yums Chicken Recipe cat treats containing low levels of propylene glycol, against FDA guidelines. The second recall resulted from potential salmonella contamination in one production of chewing bones.


2014
A false advertising lawsuit revealed the presence of meat by-products in some Blue Buffalo products, due to a supplier error. Blue Buffalo has since taken steps to ensure the absence of meat by-products in any of their recipes.


2010
In 2010, three different varieties of Blue Buffalo dog food were recalled due to potentially toxic levels of vitamin D.


2007
Blue Buffalo was no exception to the 2007 melamine scandal, with products across the dog and cat food lines being recalled.

What do customers think of Blue Buffalo cat food?

While many cat owners rave about their experiences with Blue Buffalo food, there’s a small number of unimpressed customers.

Below are some real customer reviews for the brand’s most popular product, Blue Buffalo Wilderness Chicken Recipe Grain-Free Dry Cat Food.

This product has 4.7/5 stars from 897 reviews on Chewy.com. Of those reviewers, 95 percent say they would recommend the product to a friend.

Here’s what a few real customers had to say

Positive reviews 
83% of the ratings are 5 star reviews 

“I have a 15 y/o cat with trouble keeping on weight despite his hyperthyroid being under control. I wanted to switch him to a higher calorie, higher protein/fat food to try and pump him up. I was worried he would refuse it since we all know how cats are. He’s been a Friskies cat since I got him A couple years ago. He loves this food! He looks enthusiastic when he eats it, and seems to eat more of it than he did with the Friskies. I’m happy my first try with a new food has gone over so well. It is much more expensive than his previous food, but as long as I can afford it I’ll keep getting it. I feel good feeding this to my cat.” -by OliC on September 27, 2020

“My finicky boy cat seems to like this. I also mix it into his wet food, as he tries to pretend he will no longer eat kibble. He already looks much better for it, and is gaining back some of the weight he lost. The girl cat loves it!” -by Alexa on October 12, 2020

Negative reviews 
3% of the ratings are 1 star reviews 

“Ordered this brand with resource life bits. My boyz do not like changes. Yet, I have these 2 huge bags of food.” -by Tabbykat on October 14, 2020

“Unfortunately, both of my cats did not like this, so I had to give it away to a neighbor who has two cats.” -by Cath on June 11, 2020

What is the right amount of Blue Buffalo that I should feed my cat?

Blue Buffalo’s products have varying feeding recommendations, so always check the label on the product you’re buying.

If you’re introducing Blue Buffalo to your cat for the first time, follow our feeding guide, and start by mixing 25 percent with your cat’s old food, before gradually increasing from there.

Individual pets’ requirements vary from feeding recommendations thanks to factors like age, size, environment, and activity level. When in doubt, always ask your veterinarian to ensure your cat’s diet is supporting optimal body condition.

So, is Blue Buffalo a good brand of cat food?

Despite the controversy surrounding Blue Buffalo’s recall history, there is no denying the quality of many of their recipes. They also remain one of the most popular brands for mid-range to premium cat foods in the country.

Overall, Blue Buffalo is a reasonably affordable brand that ranks way above average for recipe quality. We recommend their products because they’re made with real meat and loaded with vitamins and minerals under the guidance of nutritionists and veterinarians.

View Blue Buffalo on Amazon here.

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