Blue Buffalo Cat Food Review: Feeding Pets Like Family
Scan any pet food aisle and chances are, you’ll spot the Blue Buffalo logo. In fact, you’ll probably see it on several different types of wet and dry food.
Founded in 2003, Blue Buffalo started as a small family business in Connecticut named after their dog, Blue. However, since then, it has grown substantially, especially after it was acquired by General Mills in 2018 (1). Today, it sells high-quality dog and cat food, as well as treats, at pet specialty stores, grocery stores, and major retailers.
It’s also the fifth most purchased pet food in the country. By mid-2021, the Blue brand was reporting that its retail sales were up double digits (2). Over a one-year period, Blue Buffalo generated $66.59 million in wet cat food sales in the U.S. (3)
Let’s take a closer look at Blue Buffalo’s cat food offerings and what makes the brand stand out.
What is Blue Buffalo?
Since its founding, Blue Buffalo has prided itself in creating pet food for dogs and cats with the healthiest of natural ingredients.
While the company sells a wide range of different foods and treats to meet your cat’s specific nutritional needs, based on his or her age, lifestyle, and overall health, Blue Buffalo stands out from other pet food brands because all of its recipes feature meat as the first ingredient, complemented by wholesome grains, fruits, and vegetables. The food also includes what the company calls “antioxidant-rich lifesource bits,” which are a blend of antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals selected by veterinarians and animal nutritionists to support your cat’s immune system, life stage requirements, and oxidative balance.
According to Blue Buffalo, all ingredients are carefully selected from global sources, but the food itself is manufactured in the United States at one of its two manufacturing facilities in Missouri and Indiana. All food undergoes a six-point quality check to ensure quality, safety, and compliance with the nutrient requirements outlined by the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) and the Global Nutrition Committee of the World Small Animal Veterinary Association (WSAVA). The company also third-party lab tests its food.
Blue Buffalo Cat Food: Types and Recipes
As we noted above, Blue Buffalo takes pride in its ingredients and all of its recipes use real meat as the first ingredient. However, because it is a large company, it offers a wide range of different foods. Here’s what you might see stocked at your favorite pet store or online retailer:
Blue Buffalo Wet and Dry Cat Food
Blue Buffalo offers more than 100 different types of dry and wet cat food products—which is a lot. To make it easier to find what you might want, though, the brand breaks these products down into a few categories/labels:
- BLUE for Cats: Includes a variety of meat-first recipes, both dry and wet, for different life stages, breed sizes, and lifestyle needs under the Life Protection label, as well as protein-rich pates under the Tastefuls label. Protein options include chicken, turkey, salmon and brown rice for the dry foods, and chicken, beef, tuna, salmon, shrimp, and ocean fish for the wet foods.
- BLUE Wilderness: High-protein and grain-free kibble and canned and pouch wet food recipes that feature ingredients like duck, chicken, salmon, venison, halibut, quail, turkey, trout, rabbit, beef, bison, or lamb. The line also includes special recipes for kitten and mature cats (i.e., over the age of 7), indoor cats, weight control, and hairball control.
- BLUE Basics: As the name implies, this line includes limited-ingredient dry and wet foods with turkey, fish, and duck.
- BLUE Freedom: Grain-free kibble and canned recipes for kittens, adult cats, and mature cats. Most of the recipes include chicken as the protein, though there is a fish option for both types of food.
- BLUE True Solutions: Canned and dry food recipes enhanced with vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients aimed to support specific health needs that your cat may have, such as skin and coat care, weight control, digestive care, and more.
- BLUE Natural Veterinary Diet: Prescription wet and dry recipes formulated to manage your cat’s medical conditions, such as food intolerances, inflammation, kidney conditions, and more. You will need vet approval in order to purchase these products.
Blue Buffalo Cat Treats
The company offers an array of treats in different textures: crunchy ones, soft BLUE Wilderness ones, and BLUE Bursts, which are dual texture. Like all BLUE recipes, meat or fish is the first ingredient. Proteins used in the treats include chicken, salmon, trout, duck, turkey, liver, and beef.
Blue Buffalo Cat Food Reviews: Pros and Cons
Blue Buffalo fans are pretty vocal about their love for this brand of cat food, with most cat food options rated at 4.5 stars on Amazon for ingredients, freshness, and flavor.
Here’s what we thought about this well-respected cat food brand.
Things We Like
- Lots of protein: Meat or fish is always the first ingredient listed.
- Quality of ingredients: Unlike a lot of cat food brands, the nutritional label has ingredients you actually recognize—like real meats, vegetables, and whole grains—without things like poultry byproduct meals, corn, wheat, soy, or artificial flavors or preservatives.
- Lots of options: Cats are notoriously picky eaters, but with all the different lines of cat food, including special recipes for kittens and seniors, you’re bound to find something your feline will like. (And they have soft treats for kitties with teeth or gum issues.) Plus, they have lots of options for cats with special health considerations too, including prescription foods.
- Easy to find in stores: You don’t have to go to a specialty pet food store to find many of Blue Buffalo’s cat food lines (though pet retailers like PetSmart and Petco and local pet shops definitely carry it). Many of them are available at your local grocery store and big retailers like Target, Walmart, and Amazon.
- The website contains a lot of info about itsrecipes and testing process: You can read up on Blue Buffalo’s 6-point quality check and facilities, compare its food to other brands, and even get an online personalized recommendation on what food you should try for your cat.
Things to Consider
- The food is pricier than a lot of other brands: There’s no denying that Blue Buffalo food is one of the pricier cat food options.
- Some soft treat flavors smell pretty strong (to human noses).
- Blue Buffalo has had five major recalls of its dog or cat food over its history and been involved in two lawsuits.
- Grain-free diets may increase the risk of certain heart conditions in dogs and cats. (4) The FDA is still investigating the link though; nothing has been proven.
Blue Buffalo Cat Food: Our Verdict
If you want a cat food that’s not hard to find in stores, but still offers your fluff ball high-quality ingredients (and no byproducts), this should be your go-to. We love that they’ve got a bunch of different flavors to cater to picky kitties, as well as a variety of specialized options for cats with specific health concerns, like sensitive tummies or food allergies. Plus, cats seem to LOVE their food, wet and dry.