Blue Buffalo Cat Food Review: Recalls, Pros & Cons

Last Updated on: January 7, 2021

Review Summary

Our Final Verdict

We give Blue Buffalo Cat Food a rating of 4.5 out of 5 stars.

Introduction

Many pet owners might be surprised to learn that Blue Buffalo was only founded in 2003. Despite being a relatively young company, Blue Buffalo has quickly carved out a name for itself as one of the premier manufacturers of high-end pet food.

The company started out making dog food, and it was so successful that it was a no-brainer to add a cat food line as well. Its cat food is made with the same basic philosophy as its dog kibble, which is to start each recipe with tons of real meat before adding in other ingredients that target specific essential vitamins and minerals.

In 2018, the formerly family-owned company was acquired by food giant General Mills. So far, the massive corporation has been hands-off with its new pet food label, as Blue Buffalo still makes healthy foods. Their manufacturing centers are all U.S.-based, with the two largest being situated in Indiana and Missouri.

Blue Buffalo makes high-quality food, but it doesn’t come cheap. You can expect to pay more for its foods than you would for many other common brands, but the superior nutrition is often worth it. Be careful, though, as the company doesn’t have the most stellar recall history.

Cat ball divider 1

At a Glance: The Best Blue Buffalo Cat Food Recipes:

Image Product Details
Our favorite
Winner
Blue Buffalo Wilderness Chicken Recipe Blue Buffalo Wilderness Chicken Recipe
  • Good amount of protein
  • Plenty of omega fatty acids
  • Includes a variety of amino acids
  • Second place
    Blue Buffalo Sensitive Stomach Chicken Recipe Blue Buffalo Sensitive Stomach Chicken Recipe
  • Rice and oatmeal
  • Plenty of omega fatty acids inside
  • Good for cats with digestive issues
  • Third place
    Blue Buffalo Healthy Gourmet Variety Pack Blue Buffalo Healthy Gourmet Variety Pack
  • High in moisture
  • Good for sensitive stomachs
  • Gravy makes it more likely that cats will eat it
  • Blue Buffalo Wilderness Indoor Hairball & Weight Control Chicken Recip Blue Buffalo Wilderness Indoor Hairball & Weight Control Chicken Recip
  • 100% grain-free
  • Weight control recipe
  • Promotes a healthy skin and coat
  • Blue Buffalo Healthy Growth Kitten Chicken & Brown Rice Recipe Blue Buffalo Healthy Growth Kitten Chicken & Brown Rice Recipe
  • Real deboned chicken
  • Made with LifeSource Bits
  • Features wholesome grains
  • 3 cat divider

    Blue Buffalo Cat Food Reviewed

    Who Makes Blue Buffalo and Where Is It Produced?

    While it originally started out as a family-owned company, today, Blue Buffalo is a subsidiary of General Mills, one of the biggest food manufacturers in the world.

    However, General Mills has largely allowed Blue Buffalo to continue doing business as usual, and its food is still manufactured at its plants in the United States.

    Which Types of Cats Is Blue Buffalo Best Suited For?

    It’s certainly not the most expensive food on the market, but Blue Buffalo finds itself on the higher end of the mass-market pet foods.

    It can charge more money because it targets owners who care about their pet’s nutrition, even if it means paying more to do so.

    That being said, there are definitely better foods out there — they just happen to be harder to find and more expensive. As a result, Blue Buffalo offers a good mix of high-end nutrition and convenience for pet owners who want the best for their cat but are unwilling or unable to spend too much time giving it to them.

    Our Favorite Deal Right Now
    Chewy logo

    30% OFF at Chewy.com

    + FREE Shipping on Cat Food and Supplies

    How to redeem this offer

    Which Types of Cats Might Do Better With a Different Brand?

    Blue Buffalo isn’t the best choice for bargain hunters. There are quite a few less-expensive foods out there, some of which offer quite a bit of nutritional support.

    It’s also not ideal for pets with specific conditions (beyond general things like hairballs and sensitive stomachs). If your cat is suffering from a medical condition, you might be able to find foods that are designed to help alleviate it. Expect to pay more for them, though.

    Younger cats may need more protein than Blue Buffalo provides; in that case, we’d recommend something like Orijen High-Protein, Grain-Free Dry Cat Food. It’s loaded with meat (but be forewarned, it’s expensive as well).

    Discussion of the Primary Ingredients

    Every Blue Buffalo recipe starts with real meat. It’s a simple thing, but it’s something that so many other manufacturers get wrong. Regardless of what else is in the bag or can, you know that your cat will at least have a solid foundation of protein to build on.

    There’s usually a variety of protein sources in each food as well, so you can give your cat a wide array of important amino acids. That also ensures that your cat will get all the protein that they need to stay lean and healthy.

    Carbs are always a tricky subject in cat food, and most Blue Buffalo foods are grain-free. Instead of problematic fillers like corn, you’ll find foods like sweet potatoes or peas.

    It has a special kibble line that includes something called LifeSource Bits. These are the company’s proprietary chunks of antioxidants and other nutrients that are mixed in with the regular kibble, giving your cat even more nutrition than they’d normally get.

    Most of its foods have plenty of protein, but they’re a little light in the fat department. Many of its kibbles have somewhere between 15-20% fat, when many nutritionists recommend at least 24% fat content.

    That could make your cat hungrier more often, which could be a problem if you let them free-feed. You might want to pick up the kibble and only serve them portion-controlled meals on a regular schedule.

    Blue Buffalo Wilderness Indoor Hairball & Weight Control Chicken Recipe

    Blue Buffalo Offers a Wide Variety of Foods

    Regardless of whether you prefer to feed your cat wet food, dry food, or a mixture of both, Blue Buffalo has plenty of options for you to choose from. It has one of the most varied product lines of any manufacturer out there.

    It also has a variety of lines for specific issues that your cat might be facing, including hairball management, aging, and weight control. You’ll likely be able to find a recipe that can accommodate whatever you’re trying to accomplish with your cat’s nutrition.

    Almost All of Its Cat Food Is Grain-Free

    Grains are a controversial ingredient in cat food. The fact is, your cat doesn’t need them at all, but some people argue that they offer important nutrients not found elsewhere.

    What they can also do is trigger food allergies. Certain grains, like corn, can be extremely hard for a cat to digest, leading to vomiting, diarrhea, and other gastrointestinal concerns.

    Blue Buffalo’s cat foods are almost all grain-free (and never use corn). It works in some veggies, usually potatoes or peas, so your cat still gets those elusive plant nutrients, but its formulas are heavily meat-based.

    Most Cats Seem to Love the Taste

    Besides being extremely healthy for cats, meat offers another important benefit: Cats can’t get enough of the stuff.

    Since Blue Buffalo’s recipes are packed with meat, most cats will wolf them down without hesitation. That makes them a good choice for persnickety felines who’ve turned their noses up at other foods.

    We can’t guarantee that they’ll like every recipe, of course, but Blue Buffalo’s emphasis on meat and its wide variety of foods means you’re likely to find something that your cat will enjoy.

    There’s Dispute as to What’s Actually in Their Food

    One thing that Blue Buffalo has always prided itself on — in both its dog and cat foods — is a lack of animal by-products. These are low-quality cuts of meat that many manufacturers use to save money; instead, Blue Buffalo claims to only use real, choice cuts of meat.

    However, in 2014, Purina — one of Blue Buffalo’s biggest competitors — accused them of false advertising. According to Purina, it had tested some of Blue Buffalo’s top-selling foods and discovered the presence of poultry by-products inside.

    Unfortunately, the case didn’t come to a satisfying conclusion, as Blue Buffalo turned around and accused Purina of doing the same thing. The two sides settled under “mutually agreeable” terms in 2016.

    As a result, we’ll never know for sure if Purina was telling the truth, but the court battle that the two companies fought ended up making both of them look somewhat dishonest.
    cat face divider 2

    A Quick Look at Blue Buffalo Cat Food

    Pros
    • Real meat is first ingredient
    • Most recipes are grain-free
    • Cats generally enjoy taste
    Cons
    • On the pricier side
    • Not as much fat as we’d like to see
    • Sizable recall history

    3 cat divider

    Recall History

    Blue Buffalo has had quite a few recalls in its relatively brief history — but to be fair, most have happened to its dog food line.

    By far the biggest was the Great Melamine Recall of 2007. This involved a huge batch of both dog and cat foods that became tainted with melamine, a fatally toxic chemical, due to a manufacturing error at a Chinese processing plant.

    Over 100 brands of dog and cat food were affected, including several of Blue Buffalo’s wet foods. Thousands of pets died as a result, although we have no way of knowing if any of them died due to eating Blue Buffalo recipes.

    In the aftermath of this scandal, the company moved its manufacturing plants stateside. Since then, it’s only had one cat-food-related recall, in November 2015, when it recalled some cat treats due to low levels of propylene glycol.

    We should also mention that Blue Buffalo is one of 16 pet food companies whose food the FDA listed in 2019 as potentially being linked to heart disease in dogs and cats. The allegations haven’t been proven yet, and the FDA warns that it’s a “complex scientific issue that may involve multiple factors,” but it’s worth keeping an eye on, though.

    cat paw divider

    Reviews of the 3 Best Blue Buffalo Cat Food Recipes

    1. Blue Buffalo Wilderness Chicken Recipe

    Blue Buffalo Wilderness Chicken Recipe

    The Wilderness Chicken Recipe is one of Blue Buffalo’s flagship kibbles. It’s inspired by the kinds of diets that wild cats eat, with the idea being that the closer you stay to what nature intended, the healthier your cat will be.

    The first two ingredients are chicken and chicken meal, which help contribute to the high protein levels (at 40%) in this kibble. Chicken meal includes a variety of internal organs, so your cat will get all the important amino acids that they need without having to hunt down a bird themselves.

    It also includes chicken fat and fish meal, both of which will boost the protein levels while adding important omega fatty acids.

    The recipe is grain-free, so instead of ingredients like corn, you’ll see peas, potatoes, and tapioca starch. There are more carbs than we’d like to see, but more troubling than that is the fact that it only has 18% fat. That’s a hair below what most vets recommend.

    It has many ingredients that are nice to have but not necessary, like blueberries, kelp, and carrots. These add plenty of vitamins and minerals, but the most important thing is the amount of protein, which Wilderness Chicken Recipe has in spades.

    Calorie Breakdown:

    BLUE Buffalo Wilderness Chicken

    Pros
    • Good amount of protein
    • Plenty of omega fatty acids
    • Includes a variety of amino acids
    • Grain-free formula
    Cons
    • Less fat than we’d like
    • Relatively high in carbs

    2. Blue Buffalo Sensitive Stomach Chicken Recipe

    Blue Buffalo Sensitive Stomach Chicken Recipe

    If you have a cat that just can’t seem to keep anything down, then a Blue Buffalo Sensitive Stomach might be just what the doctor ordered (unless, of course, your actual vet ordered something else).

    Like the kibble above, it starts with real chicken and chicken meal, giving your cat all the important amino acids they need. After those ingredients, though, you’ll find rice and oatmeal, two foods that are gentle on stomachs.

    However, those ingredients seem to come at the expense of both fat and protein, as this food only has 16% and 32% of those, respectively. Those numbers aren’t bad, per se, but they could definitely stand to be higher.

    That sacrifice may be worth it if your cat actually keeps this food down, however. They’ll also get quite a bit of omega fatty acids from the fish meal, fish oil, and flaxseed inside, all of which can improve digestive function.

    It’s high in salt as well, which improves the flavor but can lead to health problems.

    All in all, Blue Buffalo Sensitive Stomach is an excellent choice for cats with digestive issues, but kitties with healthy stomachs may be better off with something else.

    Calorie Breakdown:

    BLUE Buffalo Sensitive Stomach

    Pros
    • Good for cats with digestive issues
    • Rice and oatmeal are gentle on stomachs
    • Plenty of omega fatty acids inside
    • Chicken and chicken meal are the first ingredients
    Cons
    • A bit low in fat and protein
    • High in salt

    3. Blue Buffalo Healthy Gourmet Variety Pack

    Blue Buffalo Healthy Gourmet Variety Pack

    If you prefer to feed your cat a wet diet, then consider the Blue Buffalo Healthy Gourmet Variety Pack. Each case contains 12 cans, with three different flavors to choose from: chicken, turkey, and chicken, or ocean fish and tuna.

    Each recipe is a pâté that’s swimming in gravy, which increases the odds that your cat will wolf it down. The broth is the second ingredient, though, so while that boosts the moisture level, it will cost you protein as well (it only has 10%).

    There’s a ton of guar gum and cassia gum in the recipe. These ingredients are used to help the food stick to your cat’s teeth, making it easier to eat, but they can also interfere with your pet’s ability to process protein.

    Each can include things like sweet potatoes and brown rice, making them suitable for cats that have difficulty keeping other foods down.

    While each food inside the Blue Buffalo Healthy Gourmet Variety Pack has its upside, we’d recommend combining it with dry food to ensure that your cat gets all the protein they need.

    Calorie Breakdown:

    BLUE Buffalo Healthy Gourmet

    Pros
    • Gravy makes it more likely that cats will eat it
    • High in moisture
    • Good for sensitive stomachs
    Cons
    • Low in protein
    • Guar and cassia gum can interfere with protein digestion

    cat + line divider

    What Other Users Are Saying

    • All About Cats — “As an economical dry food, this recipe is one of the better ones you can buy.”
    • Cat Food Database — “Additionally, it’s worth noting that this product does not list either by-products nor bulk-adding fillers within its top ingredients … together, their combined absence may be indicative of a higher-quality product.”
    • Amazon — As pet owners, we always double-check with Amazon reviews from buyers before we buy something. You can read these by clicking here.

    3 cat face divider

    Conclusion

    If you’re looking for higher-quality cat food that’s still readily available at your local pet store, Blue Buffalo may fit the bill. Each of its recipes starts with real meat, and most of its foods are grain-free as well.

    However, be careful that whichever food you pick has enough fat and protein, as they aren’t all quite up to snuff in that regard. You should also be on the lookout for recalls, as the company doesn’t have the most sterling reputation as far as recalls go.

    Ultimately, Blue Buffalo Cat Food represents a middle ground between cheap foods and extremely expensive boutique options. Best of all, your cat should love it, so you can be sure to get your money’s worth.


    Featured Image: Chewy