Blue Buffalo Cat Food Recall: Is It Safe? (Facts Revealed)

Are you feeding your cat Blue Buffalo Wilderness, Basics, or other Blue cat food varieties? If so, then you may have concerns after seeing multiple legal cases, recalls and complaints relating to their pet food.

Most pet food companies have needed to recall food at one point in time and surprisingly it occurs on a regular basis. Blue Buffalo cat food recalls are not common but have occurred, which could be a worry for you.

The question of whether Blue Buffalo is different to other pet food companies is one to consider carefully if you are using their products.

Blue Buffalo assorted cat food packets and cans

Quick Facts:

  • Blue Buffalo was founded in 2002 by Bill Bishop, and after building the business for 16 years eventually sold it to the current owners General Mills (who also own Betty Crocker).
  • In 2020 there was a lawsuit taken out against Blue Buffalo that is still to be settled, and no decision has been made on the validity of the claim at this time.
  • From 2020 there have been no recalls for the Blue Buffalo pet food company, owned by General Mills.
  • Consumers have mixed opinions of Blue Buffalo cat food.

There have been previous recalls, and we go into details further into this article.

Blue Buffalo pet food has carved a niche in the pet food industry as a premium quality, all natural pet nutrition. A brand that started with a single dog recipe now has dozens of dog and cat food brands that have become popular among pet parents.

It is estimated that Blue Buffalo sells over a billion dollars of pet food at retail and well over 10 million bags annually.

The company currently has four lines of pet food products on the market, and their products include the Wilderness line of all-natural pet foods, Freedom line of grain-free recipes, the Basics line of limited ingredient diets and lastly, the Blue line of all natural pet foods.

Blue Buffalo has had it’s share of recalls like many pet food companies, however other companies haven’t taken the steps that Blue Buffalo have in the past to make misleading statements both about their products and other companies.

At face level it seems Blue Buffalo have developed trust issues with vets in general through deceptive marketing and vets experience with many cats and dogs developing diarrhea.

There are also many reported cases of cats developing cystitis, kidney stones, and urinary crystals on Blue Buffalo dry foods.

As one vet puts it:
“It’s been long discussed among veterinary nutritionists and practitioners that this company makes misleading statements about their foods and those of other companies.”

If a company is known to use deceitful marketing, then it makes us wonder if we should place our trust in their food pet products to feed our beloved pets?

Let’s take a further look at the company, their manufacturing process, lawsuits they have been involved in, and their pet food recalls.

Is Blue Buffalo Good for Cats?

Cat Eating

Blue Buffalo is a popular brand of premium cat food that produces meals for our favorite furry little friends. However, the company has recalled some of its pet foods in the past (2007, 2010, and 2015) for possible food contamination.

Despite these recalls, the company has attempted to restore its customer’s confidence through an improved food preparation process that is overseen by Ph.D. food specialists.

Lawsuits Against Blue Buffalo

Blue Wilderness have had their share of lawsuits raised against them, with a mixture of success and failure of these cases.

January 2020

Shannon Walton sued the company for what she claims is misleading advertising of their dog food. her pooch had become overweight after eating blue wilderness rocky mountain food.

She complains that her Tucker, a seven-year-old a Labrador-beagle mix, is diabetic and obese due to the high level of carbohydrates in the food.

June 2017

There was a widespread rumor that there was a blue buffalo lead recall. However, this remains a rumor since these allegations were not proved.

May 2014

Purina lodged a case against Blue Buffalo regarding false advertising after testing revealed poultry by-product in some of their food varieties.

The CEO of Blue Buffalo defended the company saying the claims were “Voodoo Science”, and went on further to state “Blue Buffalo does not use chicken by-product meal or poultry by-product meal in any of our products.”

From the Purina media site – according to Schopp:

“Only when faced with undeniable evidence from the lawsuit has Blue Buffalo admitted the truth to the court: a ‘substantial’ and ‘material’ portion of Blue Buffalo pet food sold over the past several years contained poultry by-product meal.”

“Despite this admission, Blue Buffalo still has not informed consumers of the presence of poultry by-product meal in Blue Buffalo pet food, refuses to accept responsibility for the product it sold, and is instead blaming its suppliers,” said Keith Schopp, a spokesperson for Nestlé Purina Petcare.

Blue Buffalo’s final claims on year later were that it had no way of knowing the bags contained by-product meal. Surely it should surprise us that a company this large cannot honestly test random batches of their food?

Blue Buffalo Pet Food Recall History

There have been several Blue Buffalo pet food recalls in the past.

March 2018: 

There was a lawsuit against Blue Buffalo by a single plaintiff, which called into question the safety of Blue Buffalo Dog and Cat foods.

The plaintiff claimed that levels of lead were found in three pet foods. However, the court dismissed the lawsuit since there was no evidence to support the allegations.

February 2017:

Blue Buffalo announced a recall for potential metal contamination. Pet food recalled include Blue Buffalo Homestyle Recipe Healthy Weight and Chicken Dinner with Garden Vegetables Dog Food.

March 2016: 

Blue Buffalo announced a recall due to potential mold contamination. Pet food recalled include the 30-pound bags of Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula Fish and Sweet Potato Recipe Dog Food.

November 2015: 

Blue Buffalo announced a recall a single batch of Dog chewing bones due to potential salmonella contamination.

Earlier in May 2015 there was a recall of 2-ounce bags of Blue Kitty Yums Tasty Chicken Recipe Cat Treats due to low levels of propylene glycol found present.

October 2010: 

Blue Buffalo issued a recall for potentially high proportions of vitamin D. Formulas recalled include:

  • Blue Wilderness Chicken Flavor dog food.
  • Blue Basics L.I.D. formula salmon and potato dog food.
  • Blue life protection formula natural chicken and brown rice dog food.

April 2007:

Blue Buffalo announced a recall of its formulas for potential melamine contamination.

Formulas recalled include:
  • All cans of Blue Buffalo SPA select cat food.
  • Blue Buffalo SPA select dry kitten food.
  • All cans of Blue Buffalo Blue dog food.
  • All pouches of Blue Buffalo dog treats.

Consumer Opinions

Consumers report mixed views on Blue Buffalo pet food, some praising it and some not.

One consumer in July 2020 said …”One of my four cats decided that Blue Buffalo cat food was her only choice and went on a food strike when her food was switched.

Once I figured it out, we switched back and she was much better. She just passed away at 19 years old. The other cats still eat this food.”

There appear to be many more complaints about Blue Buffalo dog food than cat food. However many complaints are scathing and frequently mention gastrointestinal issues after feeding pets this food.

What is the History of Blue Buffalo Pet Foods?

Blue Buffalo was founded in 2002 by Bill Bishop, and after building the business for 16 years eventually sold it to the current owners General Mills (who also own Betty Crocker).

Blue was the family’s favorite dog who died of cancer at the onset of the business. The dog’s death inspired Bill to create a natural pet diet using high-quality ingredients that are safe and healthy for pets.

Blue Buffalo has employed 1500 plus food specialists, nutritionists, and veterinarians, to prepare the Buffalo pet foods in its US kitchens.

The company assures that all its Blue Buffalo Basics line of products are 100% manufactured in the United States and are grain-free. It operates as a subsidiary of the Blue Pets LLC.

Blue Buffalo cat food is some of the most popular cat food for the following reasons:
  • They are reasonably affordable.
  • Their recipes are prepared with quality real meat such as Chicken, Salmon, and Turkey.
  • High-protein cat food varieties.
  • Optimally balanced with fruits, vegetables, and vitamins.
  • Has a limited ingredient line of products to cater for cats with sensitive stomachs and weight management.

Consumer Reviews of Blue Buffalo Cat Food

Positive Reviews…

“I have three picky cats who choose not to eat wet cat food. All three were on prescription dry food (Science Diet Venison and Duck), they got tired of that and now I have them on Blue Buffalo Chicken (Grain-Free) and Salmon as well. They actually come to me when their dishes are empty wanting more. They don’t understand they’re on a diet!”

Diane: Wilderness Chicken Recipe Grain-Free

“I finally found a wet food that doesn’t make any of my 4 cats throw it back up. They seem to like it better than anything else I have given them! Thank You!!”

Twinsgrammy: Wilderness Mature Chicken Recipe Grain-Free Canned

Neutral Reviews…

“I have two cats, one is British shorthair 7yo and another is domestic longhair 3yo. So, my 3yo was having very bad diarrhea while eating this. 7 yo was completely fine, plus allergy that he had is gone.”

Double: Wilderness Chicken Recipe Grain-Free

“I’m sure it’s a fine alternative to the grain-based cat foods I’ve tried for my multi-cat family, but most of my cats, all of whom are older, don’t seem to like the taste and/or texture. I still recommend it since the only young cat in my household did like it.”

by faunafan1: Wilderness Mature Chicken Recipe Grain-Free Canned

Negative Reviews…

“I purchased this to try it on my cat because she has a sensitive stomach and throws up often. I have been desperately trying to find a food that would work. Unfortunately, I got the same results.”

DBumbaugh: Wilderness Chicken Recipe Grain-Free

“Very, very disappointed. The food is as runny as soup. It seems to be Chewy isn’t receiving the best products from their suppliers. Used to be almost always spot on.”

Sharkey: Wilderness Mature Chicken Recipe Grain-Free Canned

Popular Blue Buffalo Cat Food Details

1. BLUE Wilderness High Protein Grain Free 

Blue Wilderness is a high protein dry cat food that is prepared with de-boned chicken as the first ingredient.

Blue Wilderness Adult dry cat food is grain and gluten-free, and it is ideal for cats with a sensitive stomach.

It contains cranberries, blueberries, and carrots that inhibit oxidation of other components in the body.

This formula contains LifeSource Bits that are exclusive to Blue Buffalo diets, which are a unique blend of essential vitamins and minerals that help support a healthy immune system and digestive health.

Top Ingredients:

Deboned chicken, chicken meal, turkey meal, potato starch, fish meal (Omega 3 fatty acids), chicken fat, peas, flaxseed, vitamins, and minerals.

Guaranteed Analysis:

Crude Proteins 40% (min), Crude fat 18% (min), Crude fiber 4% (max), Moisture 10% (max), Magnesium 0.08% (min) and Taurine 0.15% (min).

2. BLUE for Cats Adult Dry Cat Food

Blue for cats adult dry cat food with deboned chicken as the first ingredient for cats that enjoy a meal of tasty chicken.

This formula also contains garden-grown veggies like cranberries, parsley, and carrots.

These ingredients are a rich source of phytonutrients that keep your cat healthy and strengthens their immune system to fight off common illnesses.

Like other Blue Buffalo dry cat food, this diet contains LifeSource Bits which is a blend of essential vitamins and minerals.

Blue for cats does NOT contain any corn, wheat or soy which are known to cause allergies, and there are no artificial preservatives or flavors.

Top Ingredients:

Deboned chicken, chicken meal, turkey meal, brown rice, barley, chicken fat, peas, menhaden fish meal, oatmeal, potatoes, tomato pomace, flaxseed, vitamins, and minerals.

Guaranteed Analysis:

Crude Proteins 32% (min), Crude fat 15% (min), Crude Fiber 6.0% (max), moisture 10% (max), Magnesium 0.08% (min) and Taurine 0.15%.

3. BLUE Freedom Grain Free Adult Dry Cat Food

Blue Freedom Grain-Free Adult Dry Cat Food is a premium dry kibble that is specially prepared for indoor cats, prepared with protein-rich deboned chicken.

This formula also contains healthy whole carrots, parsley, and cranberries that contain phytonutrients that strengthen your cat’s immune system, eyesight, and digestive health.

Blue Freedom Grain-free dry cat food contains fiber that helps with digestion, and helps with weight management by keeping your cat feeling full after eating low volumes of food.

This diet does NOT contain corn, wheat, soy, artificial preservatives or colors.

Top Ingredients:

Deboned chicken, chicken meal, peas, turkey meal, tapioca starch, turkey meal, chicken fat, pea protein, pea fiber, flaxseed (source of Omega 6 and Omega 3 fatty acids), dried egg, alfalfa meal, natural flavors, vitamins, and minerals.

Guaranteed Analysis:

Crude Proteins 32% (min), Crude fat 14% (min), Crude fiber 7% (max), Moisture 10% (max), Taurine 0.15% (min) and Magnesium 0.08% (min).

4. BLUE Wilderness High Protein Grain Free Wet Cat Food

Blue Wilderness Grain-Free Chicken is prepared with natural ingredients fortified with vitamins and minerals, and is a perfect alternative if you are looking for near-raw diets.

Apart from the chicken pate recipe, you can choose from other formulas like the duck pate recipe, salmon pate recipe, turkey pate.

This brand has both kitten food and adult cat formulas that you can buy.

This chicken pate recipe does not contain poultry by-products, corn, wheat, soy or artificial preservatives.

The company also assures that this formula is 100% grain-free and does not contain glutens that most cat owners choose to avoid.

Top Ingredients:

Chicken, chicken broth, chicken liver, potatoes, natural flavor, Guar gum, flaxseed (omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids), potassium chloride and taurine.

Guaranteed Analysis:

Crude Protein 10% (min), Crude fat 9% (min), Crude Fiber 1.5% (max), Moisture 78% (max) and Taurine 0.1% (min).

5. BLUE Healthy Gourmet Wet Cat Food

This formula is a pate entrée that is specially made for indoor cats, prepared with protein-rich chicken as the first ingredient.

This recipe is supplemented with healthy fruits and veggies that boost your cat’s immune system and help in digestion.

The Blue Healthy Gourmet Variety also comes in other recipes such as indoor salmon entrée, ocean fish entrée, tuna entrée and beef entrée.

All these recipes do not contain corn, wheat, soy, artificial colors or preservatives.

Top Ingredients:

Chicken, chicken broth, chicken liver, natural flavor, ground brown rice, guar gum, cellulose, carrots, sweet potatoes and flaxseed (source of Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids)

Guaranteed Analysis:

Crude proteins 10% (min), Crude Fat 6% (min), Crude Fiber 2% (max), Moisture 78% (max) and Taurine 0.1% (min).

6. BLUE Freedom Grain Free Wet Cat Food for Kittens 

This is an indoor cat chicken pate recipe that is specially prepared for kittens, and provides the foundation of a protein-rich diet.

This formula comprises of  cranberries that are known to help with urinary health by keeping the urinary tract functioning properly.

It also has a natural blend of natural dietary fiber that aids digestion, helping to minimize litter box odor and hairball control.

Blue Freedom grain-free has no gluten, corn, wheat, or soy.

Top Ingredients:

Chicken, chicken liver, chicken broth, carrots, sweet potatoes, natural flavor, fish oil, flaxseed (source of Omega-3 and 6 fatty acids), guar gum, cellulose, taurine, cranberries, and blueberries.

Guaranteed Analysis:

Crude protein 10% (min), Crude fat 7% (min), Crude fiber 1.5%, Moisture 78% (max) and Taurine 0.1% (min).


If you have been feeding your cat Blue Buffalo and their health seems fine, then there may be no issue.

If you are worried, then please take your cat to a vet for a health checkup, and they can advise if you should change to another brand.

As always, if you are having issues with your pet’s health then we recommend speaking to your vet first. They see many animals daily, and build their knowledge based on a great deal of personal experience.