What is the nutrient composition of HILARY'S BLEND FOR CATS supplement?

The exact composition of HILARY'S BLEND FOR CATS supplement is a trade secret. Its composition is quite different from traditional pet supplements.

HILARY'S BLEND FOR CATS supplement is specifically designed, using food formulation software, to balance the home-made recipes featured in the book Complete & Balanced For Cats: 101 Healthy Home-made Meals for Cats by Hilary Watson. The nutrient content of the supplement itself is not as important as the nutrient content of the supplement when combined with the recipes in the book. It's the entire recipe that your cat will be eating, so it is the supplement + recipe's nutrient content that is relevant. Each recipe in the book has a nutrition table listing 44 different nutrients on an as fed, dry matter and per 1000 kcal basis.


What are the ingredients in HILARY'S BLEND FOR CATS supplement?

Here is the ingredient list for HILARY'S BLEND FOR CATS supplement:

Chicory root extract, dicalcium phosphate, calcium carbonate, choline bitartrate, L-taurine, potassium chloride, zinc sulfate, iron sulfate, sodium chloride, phylloquinone (vitamin K1), magnesium oxide, vitamin E succinate, manganese citrate, niacin, selenium citrate, copper sulfate, biotin, calcium D-pantothenate, vitamin D3, thiamin mononitrate, vitamin A palmitate, cyanocobalamin (vitamin B12), pyridoxine hydrochloride, riboflavin, potassium iodide, folic acid.

Chicory root extract is pre-biotic fibre (promotes the beneficial bacteria in the gut at the expense of harmful bacteria). The rest of the ingredients are bioavailable sources of essential vitamins and minerals (all with digestibility greater than 95%). All human-grade. This supplement meets all criteria for being sold as a human vitamin-mineral supplement. No fillers, no preservatives, no flavourings.

 

My cat has allergies. Can I feed HILARY'S BLEND FOR CATS supplement to my cat?

Yes. The most common allergens for cats are the proteins contained in meat, fish, dairy or cereal ingredients. There are no meats, fish, dairy products or cereals in HILARY'S BLEND FOR CATS supplement. The only plant ingredient in HILARY'S BLEND FOR CAT supplement is chicory root extract. This ingredient is an extract which is more than 75% inulin, a pre-biotic fiber. This ingredient is almost 100% carbohydrate, and contains only trace amounts of protein. All of the other ingredients in the supplement are purified sources of essential vitamins and minerals. This supplement is 100% hypoallergenic and can be safely fed to cats suffering from allergies.

 

Can I use HILARY'S BLEND FOR CATS supplement with my own home-made recipes?

No. HILARY'S BLEND FOR CATS supplement is specifically designed, using food formulation software, to balance the home-made recipes featured in the book Complete & Balanced for Cats: 101 Healthy Home-made Meals for Cats by Hilary Watson. This supplement should only be fed in conjunction with the recipes in this book. It will not balance other recipes.

 

How are your recipes formulated?

Commercial pet food companies use food formulation software to formulate complete and balanced dry (kibble) and canned diets. There are a number of different software programs available. Over the past 20 years, I have personally used Brill, Genesis and Winfeed. Brill is the program used by most pet food and livestock feed companies. It is a very versatile program that is particularly useful for least-cost formulating. Genesis is the software used by most human food companies (ie Heinz, Kraft etc). It is used to produce the nutritional labels that appear on human food products. For the recipes in my book, I used Winfeed, which is a software program developed in the UK. I use Winfeed for both home-made recipe formulation and for formulating commercial kibble recipes. I prefer this software because it allows me to do stochastic formulation. Stochastic formulation is based not just on the mean nutrient content of the ingredients but also on their standard deviations. This allows for much greater accuracy in predicting the nutrient content of the final recipe.

Food formulation software works as follows: potential ingredients are entered into a database. This database includes all nutrients of interest, for example all the essential nutrients defined by AAFCO or NRC, as well as non-essential nutrients, for example antioxidants, omega-3 fatty acids etc. Targets can be set for the final recipe (ie AAFCO or NRC nutrient guidelines for cats). The software can then be used to generate a "complete and balanced" recipe. Of course, it's a little more complicated than that, but in fact, the process is the same whether you are developing complete and balanced kibble or complete and balanced home-made recipes. The only difference is the ingredients contained in the database.

I have been formulating complete and balanced pet foods for more than two decades. I created my first cat food recipe in 1987 and have created hundreds of recipes since then. I still earn a living as a pet nutrition consultant formulating recipes for pet food companies. If you want the best recipes delivering the highest quality nutrition, you should only trust a qualified and experienced pet nutritionist to develop recipes for your cat.

 

Can I mix home-made recipes with canned cat food or cat kibble?

Yes. If you mix a "complete and balanced" commercial food with a "complete and balanced" home-made recipe, the mixture will deliver "complete and balanced" nutrition. Owners who wish to add some fresh human foods to their cat's regular kibble diet can easily do this using the recipes in the book.

Owners should make up an entire home-made recipe as per the instructions in the book (including HILARY'S BLEND FOR CATS supplement), to yield 500g of food. Then that 500g of home-made food can be mixed with kibble or canned food in whatever proportion the owner wishes. Make sure to reduce the amount of commercial food accordingly. For example, an owner could feed kibble at half the usual serving plus a home-made recipe at half the recommended feeding and this would provide the cat with a complete and balanced meal.

Improving the nutrition of your cat is not an all-or-nothing thing. If you prepare one meal/week using human food ingredients, you will improve the health of your cat. If you substitute 1/10th of your cat's calories from kibble with the same calories from a complete and balanced home-prepared meal, you will improve the health of your cat. Obviously, the more meals you prepare yourself, the greater the benefit to the cat, but this way of feeding doesn't have to be all-or-nothing. You can derive great benefits from small changes.

 

Can I substitute ingredients in your recipes with other ingredients?

No. Any substitution changes the ingredient balance and will affect the nutrient content of the recipe. While some substitutions will not have a huge impact (ie substituting some vegetables for others for example), other substitutions will have a fairly significant impact on mineral balance or on the level of one or more essential nutrients. One type of meat should not be substituted with a different type of meat since this will change the calcium to phosphorus ratio in the complete recipe. Safflower oil supplies essential omega-6 fatty acids, salmon oil supplies omega-3 fatty acids, and cod liver oil supplies omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin D. There is a chapter in the cookbook on fats and oils and it gives more details on allowable substitutions. To provide optimal nutrition, recipes should be followed as closely as possible.

 

Can I feed your recipes raw?

There is a chapter in the cookbook on cooked versus raw feeding and explains why I support feeding raw fruits and vegetables, but recommend that the meat component of a recipe be cooked. Owners wishing to feed raw meats can make the recipe using the equivalent raw meat weight to the cooked meat weight given in the recipe. A few recipes include starchy ingredients (such as sweet potatoes, rice or pasta) which should always be cooked prior to feeding. Consult chapter 7 in the cookbook for more information.

 

What is the shelf life of HILARY'S BLEND FOR CATS supplement?

Because the supplement contains only purified human grade ingredients, and the carrier is an extract, the product has a very long shelf life. If it is properly stored at room temperature, it retains full potency for up to 3 years from the date of bottling. Of course, we turnover our stock far more frequently (ie every 2-3 months) so the supplement sold is always fresh. Each bottle has the expiry date printed on it.

 

Where can I buy HILARY'S BLEND FOR CATS supplement and/or recipe book?

HILARY'S BLEND FOR CATS supplement is available only through your veterinarian. Veterinarians in Ontario can now order my cat cookbook and supplement through Veterinary Purchasing. I will be expanding distribution to veterinarians in other provinces soon. My recipe book and supplement are not sold in pet food stores or grocery stores.

 

What kind of quality control do you have?

HILARY'S BLEND FOR CATS supplement is produced by a human pharmaceutical facility. Human food facilities have much higher quality control standards than pet food companies (see explanation below regarding human food standards). Any product being produced for human consumption must meet government requirements for ingredient quality and for controlled blending and packaging. HILARY'S BLEND FOR CATS supplement is a human food product produced under the highest quality control standards.

These standards have 4 components:

1) First, all ingredients to be used in HILARY'S BLEND FOR CATS supplement are quarantined upon their arrival at the pharmaceutical company. Each ingredient is analyzed for potency and purity before being released from quarantine for use in the supplement.

2) Second, the blended supplement is quarantined prior to being bottled. The blended mix is sent to an independent lab for testing to ensure that it is properly mixed and the blended product meets nutrient specifications. Once it has passed this analysis, it is then bottled.

3) Third, a few bottles are randomly sampled from each run and tested for their nutrient content, again to ensure that they meet nutrient specifications.

4) Finally, several bottles from each run are retained by by HW Veterinary Nutrition Inc. to ensure that samples are available from every product run should we receive any customer complaints.

 

Why is HILARY'S BLEND FOR CATS supplement more expensive than some pet vitamin supplements?

When comparing prices, it's important to remember 4 things about HILARY'S BLEND FOR CATS supplement:
1) It is a human food product.
2) It is 100% pharmaceutical grade (not nutraceutical grade).
3) It is 100% active (ie it contains no fillers).

4) It is much more concentrated than most supplements.

1) HILARY'S BLEND FOR CATS supplement is a human food product. The term "human grade" can be misleading. Human grade does not just apply to the source of an ingredient, but also to the entire supply chain. Obviously human grade ingredients must be sourced from human grade suppliers. However, they must also be transported in trucks that are exclusively used to transport human foods. They must be warehoused in warehouses exclusively designated for human foods. They must be blended and packaged in certified human food facilities. If a "human grade" ingredient leaves the human food supply chain (is transported in a non certified truck for example), it is no longer considered human grade. It cannot re-enter the human food supply chain and it can no longer be sold as fit for human consumption. In other words, if a pet food company buys a "human grade" ingredient, then brings it into its pet food facility, that ingredient is no longer considered human grade. Pet food companies often claim that their products contain human grade ingredients. Typically this means that they have purchased some of their ingredients from human food suppliers, but this does NOT mean that their pet foods are fit for human consumption.

Human grade supplements typically cost 5 to 10 times more than the equivalent supplement in pet grade. This increased cost is not just due to higher priced ingredients. There is a significant cost associated with the more stringent QA requirements for human foods. Pet food companies are subject to far fewer regulations or inspections than human food facilities.

HILARY'S BLEND FOR CATS supplement is 100% fit for human consumption. It contains 100% human grade ingredients that were transported by human food trucks, warehoused in human food facilities, and blended and packaged in a government regulated human food facility. Its ingredients are similar in quality to those found in name-brand human multi-vitamins such as Centrum®, One-a-Day® or Flintstone's®. HILARY'S BLEND FOR CATS supplement meets all government requirements for being sold as a human supplement in a grocery or drug store.

2) HILARY'S BLEND FOR CATS supplement contains only ingredients that are pharmaceutical grade. The pharmaceutical industry in Canada is highly regulated. The nutraceutical industry is not nearly as regulated as the pharmaceutical industry. Using only pharmaceutical grade ingredients ensure that each ingredient is tested for purity and potency before it is used in my supplement. You can rest assured that the quality and safety of my supplement is guaranteed because of the very high quality control standards that apply to the human pharmaceutical industry.

3) HILARY'S BLEND FOR CATS supplement contains no fillers. It is 100% active ingredients. Most pet supplements contain fillers or flavor enhancers. Many human supplements also contain fillers. Read the label and check the ingredient list. The first ingredient in HILARY'S BLEND FOR CATS supplement is chicory root extract, an expensive extract which is more than 75% pre-biotic fiber. Following chicory root extract on the ingredient list are bioavailable purified sources of taurine plus 24 essential vitamins and minerals. There are no fillers in this supplement. Every ingredient serves a purpose and actively contributes to the health of your cat. Check the ingredient list of competitive products. Most contain inexpensive fillers and carriers, such as rice hulls or cellulose which are both insoluble fibre that have no nutritional value. Some pet supplements are up to 95% filler.

4) HILARY'S BLEND FOR CATS supplement is more concentrated than most supplements. 15-20 grams of HILARY'S BLEND FOR CATS supplement makes a kilogram of home-made cat food (1.5-2% inclusion rate). A 250g bottle will last an average cat at least two months. The vitamin and mineral levels in HILARY'S BLEND FOR CATS supplement are very different from those of other vitamin mineral supplements. Commercial vitamin and mineral pet supplements are intended for pets being fed commercial pet foods. Virtually all commercial pet foods are formulated to meet AAFCO minimum nutrient guidelines, so they already contain all essential vitamins and minerals that a cat needs. Because many minerals and some vitamins can be toxic at high intakes, pet supplements designed to be fed in association with complete and balanced commercial pet foods must contain low enough levels of these nutrients to be safe when fed with any complete and balanced commercial pet food. For this reason, they have relatively low concentrations of most vitamins and minerals. In fact, some pet supplements are up to 95% filler. Read the ingredient list to check for fillers.


Can you produce custom home-made recipes for my cat?

No, I am no longer able to offer a custom recipe formulation service. The 101 recipes in the cookbook will satisfy the needs of most cats.

 

I own a dog. Do you have a home-made recipe book and supplement for dogs?

Yes. For more information about the dog cookbook and supplement, please visit my other website www.completeandbalanced.com