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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).

Blue Organics organic cat food

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 pain relief 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
  • Castor & Pollux Organix Cat Treats

4. Evanger’s

5. Natura

  • 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

Raw Advantage organic cat food

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

Conclusion

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:
  1. Have any of your products been recalled in the past 3 years?
  2. Does Menu Foods manufacture any of your products?
  3. Where are the ingredients for your cat food sourced?
  4. Where is your product manufactured?
  5. Is any of the manufacturing outsourced to another company?

Day 1: Contact Your Cat Food CompanyThe 30-Day Green Cat Challenge

Food is a very complicated subject, yet one that is worth the effort because your cat eats every day. Assuming a cat eats 4 oz. of cat food per day, multiplied by 365 days and that’s 91.25 pounds of cat food a year. Multiply that by 60 million cats (number of cats in American households) and you get about 5.5 BILLION pounds of cat food EACH year.

I’ve tried to switch Furball to organic food, but most of the available offerings are of the organic chicken variety. Being the typical cat, he’s fussy and doesn’t care for the chicken only flavours. As well, since he had a bout of pancreatitis two years ago as well as some bladder issues, food switches seem to upset his delicately balanced system.

However, what I can do, is find out where his current food comes from and encourage the company to source their ingredients locally, manufacture locally and introduce organic ingredients wherever possible. Furball eats the Pinnacle brand by Breeder’s Choice. Their website is www.pinnaclecat.com and the toll-free number is 1-800-255-4286.

Just tried dialling, but was asked to leave a message. Must have something to do with most people still being on holidays. Ok, I’ll try again on Monday. I’m also going to send an email.

HOW YOU CAN TAKE ACTION TODAY!

In the mean time, here’s what you can do. Pull out your pet’s food, look on the bag for a website or 1-800 number. Plan to call on Monday or to send an email right now to tell the manufacturer that locally made and sourced food with organic ingredients is important to you.

Here’s some text you can copy and modify for your email. Do it now, or you’ll get busy and forget. After the pet food recall a couple of years ago, isn’t your Kitty worth this small effort to ensure her health and safety?

TEXT FOR AN EMAIL YOU CAN SEND TO YOUR PET’S FOOD MANUFACTURER

Hello,

As a loyal customer of [PUT pharmacy YOUR CAT FOOD BRAND HERE] for [LIST YEARS YOU’VE BEEN USING THEIR PRODUCT] years, I wanted to let you know that I am very concerned about where my pet’s food is manufactured as well as the quality of the ingredients used. This is from a health and safety perspective as well as a desire to support companies that implement greener business practices.

I would appreciate it if you could please let me know where my pet’s food is manufactured in terms of the ingredients and the processing. Given the ongoing safety issues of overseas ingredients, I would prefer that the food I feed my pet is sourced and manufactured in [YOUR COUNTRY HERE]. This would greatly allay my concerns about safety as well as reduce the environmental impact of transporting pet food such a great distance. If your food is locally made, that’s amazing. If not, what is your company doing to move in this direction?

In addition to where my cat’s food is made, I am also concerned about the types of ingredients used. I have begun eating organic food myself and I want my pet to also have this benefit. Are there any plans to create an organic line of [YOUR PET FOOD BRAND HERE] or to introduce more organic ingredients?

Finally, I have been changing my purchasing habits to support businesses that implement sustainable practices and take a proactive approach to reducing their environmental impact. I was wondering what [YOUR PET FOOD MANUFACTURER HERE] is doing to adopt greener business practices.

Switching food brands is not something I take lightly. However, because I feel so strongly about these issues, I will change to a different brand if I feel your company is not moving forward in a progressive manner. I eagerly await your response and look forward to hearing how [YOUR PET FOOD MANUFACTURER] is changing to meet the growing market support for socially responsible companies.

Sincerely,

[YOUR NAME HERE]

[INCLUDE YOUR ADDRESS IF YOU’D LIKE]

The 30-Day Green Cat Challenge

Trio

One of my important ongoing goals is to give back to the planet, so I’ve made a new year’s resolution to start the “30-Day Green Cat Challenge”. My cat, Furball, already lives a very eco-friendly lifestyle, but I recognize that there’s always room to reduce his carbon paw print just a little more. For 30 days, I’m going to examine one aspect of a cat’s life and and offer ideas and actions that you can take to give your cat a green makeover in a month!

Obviously, a single little green cat is not going to save the planet. However, when you consider that there are over 60 million cats in American households, just imagine the impact of our collective choices for a greener pet lifestyle. Not only do I want to change the life of my cat to be more eco-friendly, I’d love to see a more eco-friendly pet industry too. So, throughout this challenge, I’m also going to look at how I can influence pet retailers and manufacturers to offer more green and enviro-friendly pet products and services. I’ve already got an idea about how to sway one of America’s largest pet retailers by starting with a litter box!

I would like to invite you to join the challenge to green your cat’s life. Please follow along and if a change makes sense for your cat, give it a try. If it doesn’t, please feel free to pass on it. I’d love to hear your comments and ideas along the way and at the end of the 30 days, I’m going to create an “End of Challenge Success Page” to hear what changes readers made in their cat’s life.

For the next 30 days, please visit Green Little Cat for a daily inspiration. Please also help spread the word by clicking the “Share This” link below. It’ll allow you to email a friend or post this to a social networking site. And, if you’re on Facebook and have the “Causes” app, please join the cause at: http://apps.facebook.com/causes/184067?m=a3c03490


Green Little Cat is the only blog that's all about eco-friendly ideas for cats and cat lovers. This blog is a labor of love, created by Holly Tse, author of Make Your Own Cat Toys.