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 here— be 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?