Wysong Epigen 90 Review: A leap forward in dry cat food?

epigen90 239x300 Wysong Epigen 90 Review: A leap forward in dry cat food?

THE NEW EPIGEN 90

Please note this review is for Epigen 90, not the standard Epigen (the ingredients are significantly different)!

You may be drawn to Wysong as a company because their slogan is “the thinking person’s pet food.” Of course, that is also their curse, because we thinking customers are the most annoying and nit picky folks–or am I just speaking for myself here?

For example, I am not a fan of all Wysong cat foods because some have grains and some have gluten.

However, Wysong clearly does a lot of research on what’s best for our animals, and they work hard to advance their formulas in healthy new directions.

As I write this, it’s May 2011 and Wysong has recently launched the waited-for Epigen 90. Let’s take a look….

Reasons Epigen 90 may be one of the best dry cat foods 

There are some qualities Epigen 90 has that, believe it or not, are hard to find in dry cat foods:

  • Organic meat: Enough said.
  • No grains and low carb: If eating proper portions, I believe cats are unlikely to become overweight, diabetic, or get IBD on this food (more on cats and starches here).

FACT UPDATE Aug 2011: 

A Wysong representative told me there were fewer than 1% carbs in this product–“all of which come from fiber and organs.” But wait, Dr. Jean Hofve just pointed out to me (thank you!) that if you do the math based on this product’s guaranteed analysis, it’s technically more like 14% carbs.

So what’s going on here? It is true that there is no starch in this product. What it does have are carbs in the form of fruit sugars and fiber. As a nutritionist, I don’t consider fiber a threat to weight or blood sugar because it doesn’t spike insulin, but fiber accounts for only about 4% of the carbs here!

Therefore, there may be close to 10% more refined carbs than Wysong reported to me, and they must be from the fruit. (Some of the remaining percent may be for ash content, which they don’t list.) I’m not happy with the lack of accuracy delivered by Wysong’s spokesperson, who reported the same thing to a reader!

I apologize for not catching this mistruth earlier. The good news is that 10% carbs is still relatively low for a dry cat food.

  • No gluten: Wysong has defended gluten in the past, but thankfully they left it out here. Some would argue that we do not have clear research on whether gluten is good or bad for cats. Fine, but let’s acknowledge that it’s not a natural thing for cats to eat (evolutionarily), and that gluten is one of the most difficult ingredients for humans to digest so it’s probably not easy on cats either. (That’s my opinion as a certified human nutritionist.)
  • It includes probiotics and doesn’t include any of Petsumer Report’s “red flag” ingredients (like by-products, animal digest, and menadione sodium bisulfite complex).

Reasons we might still complain

  • Cost: A 2 lb bag is $9.99, which is higher than most premium dry cat foods, but we’re paying for quality and better health here. Serving size is 1/2 cup per day. I think the cost of feeding your cats with Epigen 90 is half the cost of feeding them Wysong’s superior raw dry food, Archetype, (yes, you read that correctly–raw, dry!) which I’ll talk more about at another time.
  • It’s not fresh, it’s not raw, it lacks moisture: Fresh food will always have the most easily absorbed, bioavailable nutrients and enzymes. The cat’s dental structure is designed for tearing and ripping prey, not crunching. Finally, dry food can be dehydrating for cats–cats need to get lots of moisture from somewhere if you are feeding them dry. Some argue that dry food may strain cat’s kidneys. I suggest feeding wet food too, if you feed dry food. Keep that variety in there.

To quote Wysong about dry food, ““How can we make that which is inherently unnatural more natural? Epigen 90™ is an honest attempt at just that — righting, as much as possible, the wrong. Fitting the square peg (kibble) in the round hole (biologically appropriate nutrition). With Epigen 90™ we’ve accomplished this to the greatest extent possible. Is it perfect? No. Are there inherent flaws with kibble that simply cannot be overcome? Yes.”

What’s in it

Organic Chicken, Chicken Meal, Chicken Fat (preserved with mixed Tocopherols as a source of Vitamin E), Chicken Giblets, Gelatin (source of collagen and proteoglycans), Apple (source of soluble fiber), Beet Pulp (source of prebiotics), Plums (antioxidant source), Inulin (prebiotic), Blueberries (antioxidant source), Tomato (source of lutein), Taurine (amino acid), Oregano Extract (antioxidant source), Sage Extract (antioxidant source), Rosemary Extract (antioxidant source), Probiotic Microorganisms (Bacillus subtilis, Enterococcus faecium, Lactobacillus plantarum, Lactococcus lactis, Lactobacillus casei, Lactobacillus acidophilus, Lactobacillus lactis), Ascorbic Acid, Zinc Proteinate, Iron Proteinate, Vitamin E Supplement, Niacin Supplement, Manganese Proteinate, Calcium Pantothenate, Thiamine Mononitrate, Copper Proteinate, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Riboflavin Supplement, Vitamin A Acetate, Folic Acid, Biotin, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Vitamin D3 Supplement.

Note: I’m not going to complain about the fruits at this time. Most high-quality cat foods include a tiny bit of fruits now for their antioxidant and nutrient properties. The jury is still out on whether this practice is good or not.

Where can you get it?

It’s so new and premium that even stores that carry Wysong may not be carrying it yet.

You can order Epigen 90 from Wysong herebe careful to select Epigen 90™, not the other options on the order page!

Tip: As with most high-quality cat foods, incorporate it very slowly. Do this for your cat’s digestive response as well as palate response. Wysong recommends incorporating just 10% more each day over the course of 10 days.

Has your cat tried it? What do you think?

How about you–what do you & your cat have to say?

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15 Responses to Wysong Epigen 90 Review: A leap forward in dry cat food?

  1. Karin Kopitskie June 17, 2014 at 8:08 pm #

    I was just looking for Wysong Epigen 90, but can see that it is now marketed as Wyson Epigen 90 Dog & Cat Food. How could the same food be geared towards both dogs and cats when their needs are so widely varying? What’s up with that?

  2. Lisa Olson April 28, 2013 at 12:10 pm #

    Can you comment on Wysong canned Au Jus formulas (chicken and rabbit) please?

  3. Nancy Pender December 27, 2012 at 10:51 am #

    I have 2 cats. One of them have a hyper thyroid problem along with renal problems. Would the Epigen 90 be good for him to eat. We had a small sample and he just loved it. Please get back to me about this question. I want to order the correct type of your food for him. Also, where is the beast and cheapest place to get this product from. Thank you so very much for your attention given to this matter. Nancy Pender

  4. Anna September 5, 2012 at 2:17 am #

    I’m in the same boat with Debbie. One diabetic cat and one with some renal problems, so the wisdom is they need opposite diets. That’s not going to happen IRL. Is their a good compromise? One is insulin-dependent, both are healthy on mix of Blue Buffalo dry (I’m questioning the oatmeal in their claimed “grain free” kibble) and wet food, but if there is something better out there…

    • Liz-cat September 12, 2012 at 10:06 pm #

      Anna and Debbie,
      You both asked about finding foods for cats where one is diabetic and one isn’t. First of all, Debbie, you wanted another low starch dry food. The next lowest on my list is Evo grain-free. I’m not sure if their target pH is within the recommend range for urinary health (6 – 6.5 pH) – you should ask them. Wet food is always better for urinary health, and for diabetes, in my opinion.
      Anna, check out vet Elizabeth Hodgkin’s book “Your Cat” – she doesn’t believe that renal problems require low protein. Check out her protocol. You can get a peek at some pages here: http://books.google.com/books?id=3V6d8lkETVAC&printsec=frontcover#v=onepage&q&f=false
      Maybe they can eat similar food after all, but one needs certain binders added.

  5. Debbie August 26, 2012 at 4:40 am #

    I have a cat that is a Diabetic,and one that trouble with urinary Tract , and kidney stones I switched them to Young Again Zero Carb, the diabetic cat is off Insulin now, but the young again Zero Carb causes them to have very loose stool, and the smell will knock you down, this has been going on for about 2 months, I as scared to switch them , afraid the one cat will be Diabetic again, and one cat will not eat canned (I mean no matter what you try), does nay one know a dry cat food that is very low carb?

  6. Lisa September 19, 2011 at 5:18 pm #

    I am in the process of switching my cat over to yet ANOTHER “Grain Free” food. I was told that Wysong is the least palatable for cats. Is there any truth to that statement? My cat is beyond picky. I like what I read about Wysong but it won’t do me any good if my cat won’t eat it. Also would you happen to know the fat content of the Epigen 90? I would like to get my other cat on it also but she struggles with her weight and many of the “Grain Free” cat foods are high in fat. By the way, I am speaking just of the dry food. I would appreciate any help you can give me. Thank you-Lisa

    • Liz-cat September 19, 2011 at 6:03 pm #

      Hi Lisa,
      I’ve seen both positive and negative reactions by cats, but I think it depends on which product..and on the cat.

      For example, Wysong **Archetype**—their dry raw food–cats seem to love that one. It costs probably 2x as much as Epigen 90, which is why I didn’t put it on the best dry foods list yet. But if you can afford it, you might want to check it out.

      See the other dry foods I list here: http://www.naturalcatcareblog.com/2011/08/best-dry-cat-foods-so-far/

      You might find it a lot easier to switch foods with your picky cat using a couple tips here: http://www.naturalcatcareblog.com/2011/06/no-more-cat-hunger-strikes-life-saving-tips-for-introducing-new-foods/

      Regarding fat, I can’t get my hands on Epigen90 guaranteed analysis right now, but I don’t believe fat is the thing to worry about as long you are feeding proper portions (not “all day kitty buffet!”). Cats need fat. I believe the real cause of weight gain in indoor cats is the steady diet of high carb food combined with lack of climbing and running adventures. See this article: http://feline-nutrition.org/health/feline-obesity-a-cat-as-big-as-omaha

      If you poke around, you’ll notice I (along with the experts I respect) believe wet food is much healthier for cats’ kidneys and urinary systems. You are just asking about dry food, but in good conscience I can only recommend dry foods in rotation with wet foods or on occasion. I do know how stubborn cats can be.

      Thanks for asking. It’s always great to see a fellow cat lover taking an active interest in their cat’s health & food.

  7. Allie August 10, 2011 at 12:41 pm #

    Hi there,

    Thanks you for your review, very informative and thorough. I have 3 once feral 6 month old boy kitties who have suddenly developed persistent diarrhea (almost immediately after being neutered). I’m having them tested for parasites (the stool is orange), and I’m thinking about switching them from their Wellness Kitten dry food (and daily Wellness wet food) to something more pure, and possibly raw. Does this food have enough fat and protein for the nutritional needs of rapidly growing kittens? I’d love to hear you opinion and any recommendations on this if you have a moment. I’ll check out your other posts as well :).

    Thanks,
    Allie

    • Liz-cat August 11, 2011 at 3:01 pm #

      Hi Allie, congratulations on adopting your 3 little guys. It sounds like they are lucky to be with you. Quick disclaimer: Though I’m a cat nerd, I’m not yet an *expert* on kitten’s needs in particular. However, I do have a few thoughts for you. First, glad you are getting a parasite test! Secondly, super high-protein, low-starch *cooked* dry food like Epigen90 seems to be a challenging digestive transition to make for some cats. I wouldn’t jump to it with kittens who have digestive issues. Going more pure and raw sounds good. Easiest options for that are Primal frozen raw or Nature’s Variety Instinct frozen raw. I’ve been doing some math and calculated that these are actually cheaper than canned food per day, even though the quality is better! For a dehydrated pure raw, ZiwiPeak air-dried is awesome. Also cheaper than canned. More moisture than cooked dry food, but best to add some water to it. All these you can get through Amazon.com or onlynaturalpet.com Finally, I am a fan of Slippery Elm to help with diarrhea. See this vet’s useful page on it: http://www.holvet.net/slippery_soup.html. Keep those little guys hydrated! Newmans grain-free canned with added water is nice.

  8. Scott May 20, 2011 at 12:25 pm #

    I have fed the variety of Wysong foods (as they recommend) along with some raw to my cats for 25 years…and I have one that old! So much for all the paranoia about the nature of every single molecule that goes in their mouths, like the pinch of fruits and veggies in the Epigen 90 product. As Wysong has evolved, my cats have followed right along with never one vet bill. This is the only intelligent pet food company in the world. Take a look at the 15 or so books Dr. Wysong has written and compare it to the 0 that others have. Cat owners aren’t always too sharp either…[edited out of respect to other readers]…they don’t even understand the difference between the carbs in meat and nondigestible plant fiber and the real carbs of concern found in starches. Also, “no grain” is a gimmick that almost nobody seems to get. All the no grain foods have carbs just like the grained one. People need to read Wysong stuff, not just spew their opinions.
    Your review was very good though.

    • Liz-cat May 22, 2011 at 1:30 pm #

      Scott,
      Thank you for your passionate input on this sensitive topic.

      As an aside, perhaps inspired by your “paranoia” point, my feeling is that I would rather see people take a few simple steps in a healthier catfood direction than tell them that it’s all-or-nothing.

      As you know, the majority of cat owners come home from the vet or shelter with a “vet-approved” standard dry food and they don’t have any reason to question it.

      They are busy, broke, and they’ll just walk away or put changes off indefinitely if they are overwhelmed by an all-or-nothing declaration about what they SHOULD be doing for their cat.

      That’s why I feel it’s important to talk about the pros and cons of a variety of better options–instead of stating 10 do’s and don’ts that just aren’t realistic for many cat lovers yet. It backfires.

  9. Ingrid King May 15, 2011 at 8:08 am #

    I’m not a huge fan of Wysong’s diets, but this one looks like a decent one. Since I don’t recommend any dry food for cats, I wouldn’t recommend this one, either, but at least, they took the grain out. I’m not crazy about the chicken meal, and it’s got a lot of carbs in the form of veggies and fruit. I like to see the carb content be around 5%, but this is a step in the right direction for cat owners who insist on feeding dry food.

    • Liz-cat May 15, 2011 at 10:31 am #

      Thanks Ingrid! You’ll be glad to know that Wysong says this food is only about 1% carb.

      • Kim June 29, 2013 at 12:05 pm #

        Hi Liz! What’s your opinion now about Wysong’s Epigen 90? The good, bad, and ugly?

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