Friday, April 29, 2011

Scientifically Created? My Dog Went For The Culinary Creations Baked Tuna Dinner Before My Cat!

The Good: Nothing bad in it, My younger cat ate and enjoyed it.
The Bad: My older cat would not eat it, Expensive, Not extraordinary in any way
The Basics: Expensive, environmentally unsound in its packaging and rejected by one of my two cats (and only picked at by the other), Science Diet Baked Tuna Dinner catfood flops.

I tend to be very simple when it comes to feeding the animals in my life. The animals at the pet store I worked at got all sorts of fancy, expensive food and rather ridiculously the leftovers are thrown away each morning when we cleaned kennels out. But for my two cats, Brillo and Gollum, I tend to keep things simple. A few years back, Brillo began urinating in inappropriate places and I changed his food to a urinary tract health formula and I've stuck with that ever since. So, when my wife picked up a can of Science Diet Culinary Creations baked tuna dinner for the cats, I was not immediately impressed. However, because both my boys love real tuna (when one opens a can downstairs even the tubby Siamese comes running!), I figured this would be a delightful treat for them both.

I was wrong. Science Diet, which is a bit pricier - the 2.9 oz. can was $1.49! - failed to impress one cat at all and the other did not seem particularly picky about which food he was eating. To be fair to Science Diet, in the fine print on the can, it does say that this soft catfood in intended for cats ages 1 - 6 years. This makes it appropriate for Gollum (4 years old), but not Brillo (9 years old). Brillo sniffed the can when I tried to entice him off the pillow to come try it, but he refused to get up. Gollum, on the other hand, followed me into the other room to try some. So did our geriatric cocker spaniel, Mitzie.

The Baked Tuna Dinner (in a delicate sauce) opens up easily enough in the 2.9 oz. can. The small can has a pull-tab which easily lifts off (like old pudding containers used to) and it pulls the metal lid off as the can is perforated at the edges. Opening the can reveals the food inside. Culinary Creations Baked Tuna Dinner looks like a dry catfood that has been soaked in turkey gravy long enough to bloat up into ºî spheres. These spheroid meat bites are then packed into the can with a fluid that resembles gravy (or, sad to say, mucus) and they may be dispensed into a cat's food dish by either smacking it against the bottom of the dish or spooning the contents out into the dish. It is not recommended to have owners leave the food in the can to have the cat lick it out as the edge of the can may still be sharp enough to hurt a cat's tongue.

As for the Baked Tuna Dinner itself, the catfood smells shockingly like actual tuna, so Brillo's failure to react at all to it can only be explained by his more refined sense of smell picking up something that tells him "it's not just the tuna you love, stay in bed!" Gollum, however, reacted to it enthusiastically and while Brillo eventually licked one of the spheres I put before him before rolling over (his way of making it clear to me that he did not want anything to do with the treat), Gollum followed me from room to room as I held the can. To be fair to my boys, I still split the can in half and gave each of the cats half of the contents of the can. Gollum set right to eating his . . . or so I thought. Checking his dish afterward, I have discovered that Gollum licked off all of the "delicate sauce" on his Baked Tuna Dinner and ate perhaps a third of the soft morsels. He appears to have mixed the rest into the hard food in his dish. Brillo refuses to eat his portion, eating around the wet food in his dish. This astounds me considering he has always loved tuna. Our dog, Mitzie, eagerly licked up the spoonful of this that I dropped on the floor.

The Culinary Creations Baked Tuna Dinner claims to be the perfect balance of nutrition and taste and to be fair, it has nothing noticeable bad in it (I'm not a Chem student, so I can't speak for all of the preservatives). But considering that the primary ingredients are water, tuna and chicken, Science Diet seems to have its act together on making an essentially good product. According to the guaranteed analysis on the can, there is a minimum of 8% crude protein and 4.4% crude fat and no more than 1% crude fiber, 2.7% ash, and 79% moisture. There are plenty of nutrients like calcium present in the food, which makes sense when one considers there are actual animal byproducts in this food. This is not wheat-free.

The recommended serving size is two and a half (2.9 oz.) cans per day, but I cannot honestly see giving Brillo and Gollum this any more. After two cans split between the two of them, they clearly prefer hard catfood. Hard catfood also has clear dental benefits that the Culinary Creations Baked Tuna Dinner does not have. When the cats chew (to split into bite-sized pieces) their hard catfood, it scrapes plaque and tartar off their teeth. There is no such physical operation going on with this catfood. Gollum's mouth smelled like tuna for three hours after he licked up the gravy and ate this food.

Finally, the 2.9 oz. container is the least efficient and environmentally sound way to purchase this catfood. In addition to being the most proportionately expensive way (buying by the single can always is), the sheer amount of waste this generates in aluminum cans is stifling to anyone with an environmental conscience. It has been very easy to keep my cats happy on a budget and this catfood would only serve to thin down my Brillo if I got him more (and only because he would continue to refuse to eat it, I imagine).

For other cat treat products, please visit my reviews of:
Cosmic Catnip Seafood Gumbo treats
Zuke's Natural Purrz Tender Chicken treats
Feline Greenies - Oven Roasted Chicken flavor


For other pet product reviews, please visit my index page by clicking here!

© 2011, 2009 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.

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