Wysong makes several kinds of cat and dog food, but its Au Jus meats get particularly good reviews. They're basically just meat and organs in a can, designed to mimic cats' wild diet (Wysong says its Au Jus varieties are suitable for dogs, too.) But missing vitamins and minerals mean you'll need to add supplements or use Au Jus foods in rotation with others.
No veggies, no grains -- just meat. Wysong Au Jus's ingredient list is pretty short: Its Au Jus Rabbit, for example, has just one ingredient (rabbit). The other flavors (chicken, duck, turkey and venison) contain only four or five ingredients: meat from that animal, water, liver from that animal (except for the duck variety, which contains no liver), animal plasma (part of the blood, which Wysong includes to mimic prey) and guar gum (a thickener). No grains -- and experts like that, as cats are obligate carnivores that aren't physically equipped to digest much grain.
But unlike other cat foods, Wysong adds no vitamins or minerals -- so you can't feed your cat only the Au Jus meats, or it won't get enough of certain nutrients like calcium (which wild cats get by eating bones). That's because Wysong designed the Au Jus food to be rotated with other foods, including fresh foods.
Tracie Hotchner (author of "The Cat Bible" and host of the syndicated radio show "Cat Chat") names Wysong Au Jus to her favorite-foods list. She notes that you'll need to add a supplement if this is your cat's main food.
A member of the Pet Food Recall First Alert program. Wysong cat foods are made in Wysong's Wisconsin and Michigan plants, using U.S. Department of Agriculture-inspected and approved meat and vegetables (but taurine, an essential nutrient additive, from China), one source notes. Its small 5.5-ounce cans (not the bigger cans) are bisphenol A (BPA)-free. BPA is a chemical that studies have linked to reproductive problems, cancers and other diseases.
A search of the Food and Drug Administration's online recall database -- which lists pet food recalls back to 2007 -- shows no recalls for Wysong cat food. Wysong did pull some of its dry dog food from store shelves in 2009 because of mold.
Wysong is now one of 16 pet food companies that have joined the Pet Food Recall First Alert program. Customers can sign up on participating companies' websites to get email notifications if the food is ever recalled.
All-meat comes at a premium price. Wysong Au Jus is one of the priciest canned cat foods -- just as costly as Halo Spot's Stew Wholesome Chicken Recipe (*Est. $1.60 for a 5.5-oz. can), one of the best regarded cat foods in reviews. Both cost 10 to 30 cents more per can than foods that score just a little lower in experts eyes, including Wellness Chicken Formula (*Est. $1.50 for a 5.5-oz. can), Merrick Cowboy Cookout (*Est. $1.40 for a 5.5-oz. can) and Evo Cat and Kitten Food (*Est. $1.40 for a 5.5-oz. can).
Natural Balance Indoor Cat Formula (*Est. $1.20 for a 6-oz. can) has its fans as well, and costs even less. However, unlike Wysong Au Jus, Natural Balance contains grains.
Cats are carnivores, and experts appreciate that Wysong Au Jus is basically just meat -- the ideal staple of a cat's diet. However, Wysong Au Jus doesn't have all of the vitamins and minerals cats need, so it has to be fed with other foods or with added supplements. If you want to feed a single canned food that is complete nutritionally, experts recommend Halo cat food, which does contain all of the necessary supplements.
Excellent Susan Thixton, author of the blog Truth About Pet Food, rates dozens of cat food brands (including Wysong) as well as their individual flavors of food. She assesses the quality of each ingredient and notes whether the foods are nutritionally complete.
Review: Wysong Chicken Au Jus Cat Food Can, Susan Thixton, As of October 2012
Excellent In this free article on her blog, Thixton questions whether factory-formulated pet food is really better for pets than a wide variety of human food -- like pets used to eat before pet food was invented. She quotes at length an article on the topic by veterinarian Randy Wysong, founder of the Wysong pet food company.
Review: Is 100% Complete and Balanced Pet Food Really Complete and Balanced?, Susan Thixton, Dec. 15, 2010
Excellent Wysong is one of 16 pet food companies that have joined Thixton's Pet Food Recall First Alert program. Participating companies add a place on their websites where customers can sign up to get email notifications if the food is ever recalled.
Review: Pet Food Recall First Alert Members, Susan Thixton, Not Dated
Very Good Wysong Au Jus makes Tracie Hotchner's list of the best cat foods. She notes that this food requires a supplement. Hotchner is the author of "The Cat Bible" and host of the syndicated radio show "Cat Chat."
Review: Cat Chat Approved Foods, Tracie Hotchner, Not Dated
Good This website recommends Wysong Au Jus as a food suitable for cats with feline inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) -- again, as long as it is supplemented.
Review: Wet Food, Editors of IBDKitties.net, Not Dated
Fair With 17 user reviews posted, Wysong Au Jus earns a score of 4.2 (out of 5). Most say their cats love the food, but one owner finds it too runny, and one with four cats says none of them would eat any of the flavors. One reviewer gives it a low rating, saying it contains garlic (which can cause health problems for cats), but in fact none of the Wysong Au Jus flavors contains any garlic.
Review: Wysong Au Jus All Meats Canned Dog & Cat Food, Contributors to OnlyNaturalPet.com, As of October 2012