Day 2: Organic Cat Food Comparison from the 30-Day Green Cat Challenge
If you’re considering switching your pet to an organic cat food or at least, a more natural cat food, I did some research to compare the organic cat food options that are currently available. I thought I would consider changing Furball’s diet if I could find a suitable organic cat food.
I was actually shocked by what I learned. As consumers, we go about our business and think we’re supporting sustainable businesses when we plop that bag of organic, natural or holistic pet food into our shopping basket. What I found was that the pet food industry appears to be a tangled web of companies with many paths leading to Menu Foods, made infamous by the pet food recall of 2007.
What follows is an overview comparison of organic cat foods. I haven’t even delved into the mix of ingredients or how well people’s cats respond to the food, but that would take much longer than the 30 days in this 30-Day Green Cat Challenge. Hopefully this will get you started and be sure to check out the tough questions to ask your cat food company at the bottom of this post.
Another caveat: Before making changes to your cat’s diet, you should consult with your cat’s veterinarian first. Cats can be very sensitive if their food is changed (i.e., barf city or digestive issues). When switching to a new cat food even if it’s natural or organic, you should proceed very gradually and slowly introduce the new food.
After several hours of research, here’s what I found out about organic cat foods (in alphabetical order).
1. Blue Organics
- Makes an organic dry cat food in a chicken and brown rice flavour
- Blue Buffalo is listed as the manufacturer, but it looks like this company is owned by a larger not so green-friendly pet company. Or, it may just be that their food is made by another company. I’ve flagged this for investigation when I examine pet foods in more detail.
- They had a recall in 2007 due to an ingredient in their food containing melamine. Everyone equates melamine with Menu Foods, but I couldn’t find a mention of Menu Foods being a supplier to Blue Organics. However, you can check out this link for details about the recall on the FDA website.
- Blue Buffalo Co. website
2. By Nature: Organics
- Wet and dry organic cat food; dry is a chicken formula; canned food comes in chicken, turkey, chicken/turkey and chicken/mackeral
- By Nature appears to be a division of Blue Seal Feeds, Inc.
- By Nature products were not affected by the 2007 pet food recall
- Some of their products are made by Menu Foods
- By Nature Organics Canned Cat Food
- By Nature Organics Dry Cat Food
3. Castor and Pollux: Organix
- Oregon based company that is family owned.
- Their product line, Organix, is composed of a chicken, brown rice and flax formula as well as canned food (mostly turkey) and cat treats (chicken, cheese or seafood flavours)
- In 2007, they did a voluntary recall because their products were produced in a manufacturing line following the production of another company’s that contained affected wheat gluten. In this link, they identify their supplier as the infamous Menu Foods.
- I tried feeding Furball the dry food once since I could pick it up easily at Whole Foods. I stopped feeding it to him because his coat seemed to lose some of its lustre. However, Furball has also been described by a friend as the “softest cat in the world”. His coat seemed more like a regular cat when he was eating Organix. This was long before the pet food recall and before I had any inkling of the way pet food is manufactured.
- Castor & Pollux Organix Feline Formula
- Canned wet cat food
- Illinois based company, looks like it’s family run.
- Food and produce is purchased locally.
- Great little tour of their facilities hosted by Rachel Ray at this link.
- Evanger’s 100% Organic Cat Food
- Features a line of natural pet foods, but only have an organic dog food right now, and no organic cat food product
- Their product lines include:Innova, EVO, California Naturals and HealthWise
- The company claims, “The healthiest pet food in the world”
- Natura has its own manufacturing plant located in Nebraska and say that they purchase many of their products from the same suppliers as local grocery stores.
- California Natural Cat Food
6. Natural Planet Organics
- Natural Planet Organics offers an organic dry cat food formula, with chicken as the main protein ingredient.
- It looks like this company is related to another company called Nutrisource. Nutrisource is surprisingly candid about the lineage of its brand. It started as a Ma-Pop company, which was then bought out by Starkist, followed by Heinz, then Windy Hill Pet Food, and finally merged with Doane Pet Care, which is a part of the Mars chain of companies.
- Natural Planet Organics Cat Food
7. Newman’s Own Organics
- The man who brought us salad dressing and fig newtons also makes organic wet (chicken, turkey, beef) and dry cat food (chicken).
- Not affected by the 2007 pet food recall
- Newman’s Own says that their pet food is made in the U.S.
- Donates large amounts to charity.
- Newman’s Own Organics Adult Cat Formula
8. Raw Advantage: Organic Dinner for Cats
- Raw Advantage’s Organic Dinner is comprised of frozen turkey meat with a mixture of grains and veggies.
- Manufacturing facility is located on Camano Island, in the Pacific Northwestern United States
- You might want to read about toxiplasmosis since there’s a risk of getting this disease if your pet eats raw food.
- Raw Advantage website
After doing all of this research, my head is spinning and I still don’t see a “perfect” choice for an organic cat food to feed Furball. It seems like a lot of canned food products are made by Menu Foods with the exception of Evanger’s. For the dry food, it did seem like Natura was manufacturing in the U.S. I’m going to delve into these brands in more detail over the next few weeks and will share what I learn.
How You Can Take Action
- Investigate your cat’s food. I’ve been learning that “natural cat food” and “holistic cat food” and even “organic cat food” is very complicated when trying to make the greener choice. Here are some tough questions to ask:
- Have any of your products been recalled in the past 3 years?
- Does Menu Foods manufacture any of your products?
- Where are the ingredients for your cat food sourced?
- Where is your product manufactured?
- Is any of the manufacturing outsourced to another company?