I’ve previously reviewed the same brand, Bench and Field natural cat treats which are great. This is their dry cat food called “BENCH & FIELD HOLISTIC NATURAL FELINE FORMULA”.

Bench and Field make excellent pet food products. Their tag line is “Health Food for Pets”. Pretty good line, you gotta like that.

The B&F HOLISTIC NATURAL dry cat food is the more expensive of the two brands of dry cat food Trader Joe’s carries, the other being the dry food sold under TJ’s own brand name, which is also quite good and a bit more economical.* So I buy both brands of food, on and off. Both of the dry cat foods TJ carries are quite good and better than say, large commercial brands like Purina Cat Chow, Meow Mix, and the like.

Compared to the TJ brand dry cat food, I would say Bench & Field scores a bit higher from a standpoint of ingredients listed, which if you look at the label all seem to be good, “honest”, healthy stuff (for instance, no “chicken by-products” which even Purina Pro Plan has). The label says 32% protein which comes from a variety of meats and grains: chicken, brown rice, anchovy, sardines, egg, oatmeal. Also has a bunch of fruits and veggies, plus other good stuff if you look closely at the listed ingredients like kelp, quinoa and a lot of probiotics too! Yes – “Health Food For Pets”. 

I cut and pasted this info from B&Fs website (and no i don’t work for them, just reviewing a decent product)


For cats of all ages and the owners who love them, Holistic Natural ™ Feline Formula is the right choice. Fortified with vitamins and minerals, and made with a bounty of wholesome, healthful ingredients including:

  • Nature’s Greens and Grains including oatmeal, flaxseed, organic quinoa and dehydrated kelp.
  • Made with fruits and veggies including carrots, sweet potatoes, cranberries, apples, peas, papaya, blueberries and more.
  • Omega 6 / Omega 3 Fatty Acids and flaxseed help maintain skin and coat.
  • 3 Primary Antioxidants: Vitamins A, E and Beta-Carotene.
  • Oatmeal & Yucca Extract and Flaxseed.

More info can be found at Bench and Field’s site

TJ’s sells 3 lb bags of B&F Holistic Natural Dry Cat Food for $7 (which works out to about $2.30/lb) The other dry food they carry, again quite good, is Trader Joe’s brand “Premium Dry Cat Food” chicken and rice formula. The packaging went from a green paper bag to a plastic pink bag now, and the price which was $5 for a 4 lb. bag went up to $6 (so about $1.50/lb). This is also a good quality cat food, I buy this too, so if you want to save a bit of money the TJ brand is definitely an option (compare the labels of the two bags) Certainly the 4 lb “TJ” bag, lasts a bit longer of course. My two furry friends love both bags of the dry food TJ sells, TJ’s and B&F.

The other cat food TJ carries which my cats go nuts for is the TJ blue cans of cat tuna (now discontinued!) which scores higher in protein then the “chicken dinner” canned foods TJ sells too.

When I feed my cats I mix wet food in with some dry food and add a spoon of water and mix it up. Most vets say dry food alone is not ideal for cats. So mix it up, wet and dry. Some cats don’t like to drink water or don’t drink enough water daily. If you have non-water drinkers, you can even get them to drink water mixed in with the wet food and then they’ll probably lap up the smelly water (sneaky huh?)

DIY WET CAT FOOD: BTW, I also make my own wet cat food for my cats and if you are a DIY type, you can too. Really its not that hard. Here’s a simple cat food recipe to try out. Boil 3 or 4 chicken legs for an hour and a half or so with plenty of water to cover to make a nutritious bone broth and until the chicken mostly falls off the bone. Bones and cartilage have tons of collagen. Throw in a handful of brown rice (and steel cut oats) and some organic carrots. Cook all till soft, another hour on simmer, with cover on. Remove the chicken and bones, let cool and take all the meat off the bone including cartilage. I use my fingers to debone everything. Messy but effective. Chop chicken up including the cartilage.. Throw chicken back into the pot. Mash everything up with a potato masher till it looks like well…cat food with small chunks not big ones. Throw in an egg or two and mix in. Add two cans of wet food, and stir. The egg will cook from the residual heat, if it doesn’t put on a small light for a few minutes. Let it cool. Package up. I save my greek yogurt tubs with lids for this. Use within a week or so and/or freeze some. Always also give cats some commercially made food which contains needed nutrients such as Taurine which is vital for cats. If your cats reject the food, put some canned cat food on top till they get used to yours.

  • Update – since this was written, TJ seems to have dropped the dry food they sold under their brand. B&F Holistic is the only dry cat food they carry now. (Winter 2020)

Here are my two feline friends: Kuro (black) and Aspen (Siamese)Aspen_Kuro_Window


These are simply all natural, strips of chicken breast that have been dried. They are sold as Dog Treats. Now I don’t have a dog. But I have 2 cats. They love chicken. I thought I am going to get a pack of these “dog treats” and see if my cats like them. Did I say “see if they like them?” Who are we kidding? When I opened the package up, they could smell it instantly and went nuts, pawing at me to give it to them. Relax, I don’t give my cats a whole strip, first I break one into smaller pieces, easy to do as they have score marks on them. When I give these to my cats and they go crazy…chewing, chewing, chewing….crunching them up till they are gone as they devour these treats. Who says, “these are just for dogs”! Equality, people! Cat rights!!

One of my adopted cats came with some dental issues. I have been taking good care of his teeth and gums since I got him. A (holistic) Vet told me the act of chewing is the best thing for his teeth and gums. She suggested I give him raw organic chicken with tiny bones, and especially chicken necks as chewing up the chicken necks are really good for his teeth and gums, yes crunching up the little bones and all. So I buy chicken necks but also give these dried strips which is very good chewing exercise. I break a strip into a long piece and hold it so my Siamese cat Aspen can gnaw and really get into chewing it, switching sides of the mouth. Just watch your fingers, as he gets carried away whenever I break these out. Your cat will love these I’m sure.

Of course your dog will too!

Summary: Great product. All natural. $4 a package. Whether you have a dog, or cats like me, your pet will love these treats. If you give to your cat, just break up a piece into smaller pieces for them, and watch them carefully as they eat these.

DOGGY TASTE TEST : I gave these treats to my neighbor’s dog, and Blue loved it of course. So I’m saying these are good treats whether you have a dog or a cat! Equal Opportunity treats.


TJ’s Premium Pine Cat Litter

pinecatlitterTill know I haven’t posted on pet products at TJ’s, rather I’ve only written about things us humans eat. However Trader Joe’s does carry some great products for your furry friends too! So heres my first pet stuff review: 

One product I’ve started buying on a regular basis is TJ’s PREMIUM PINE CAT LITTER. If you’ve only used clay type litters before, a pine litter is quite different from clay litters. This is made from All Natural 100% pure pine sawdust – which has been compressed into little pellets roughly 1/2 ” long.

pine pelletsPine Litter of course has a nice natural pine scent that is extremely helpful for odor control. When this litter gets wet, it will eventually disintegrate into a pine sawdust. Even the used sawdust I find does not develop a strong ammonia odor. As pine is a natural disinfectant it seems to keep odors down, basically so not very noticeable which is obviously a major plus for kitty litter. Now a Pellet-type litter such as this is a change from clay-type litters, so obviously both you and your cats will need to get used to the change. Instructions on the bag tell you to switch to the Pine Litter gradually over time, by putting a layer of this down, then your normal litter on top of the pine litter, until your cat accepts the pine litter on its own. I have tested this with now 5 different cats over the years. Every cat accepted this pine litter within about a week. Of course every cat is different in their behavior and hygiene, so you will have to try this and see if your cat will get used to it. Hopefully they will, as this is a decent alternative to clay litters. Its cheaper than many litters and seems to my nose at least to be EXTREMELY EFFECTIVE ON CUTTING DOWN ON ODOR. I am not saying it eliminates any odor but basically I rarely smell any terrible odors – unless I go into the bathroom immediately after they’ve just pooped. Even the used wet litter has very little ammonia / urine odor, as the pine sawdust this becomes, tends to neutralize odors. I do like the fact that its made out of a recycled waste product: pine sawdust leftover from wood mills no doubt. So this is kind of “Eco”.

This TJ product is much cheaper compared to similar pet store products like Feline Pine. The TJ litter bag is 3.5 lbs and says “one bag is a 4 week supply”. That’s about what it lasts for my one cat (Maya) if not a little more. Using the pine litter, I don’t have to buy (and lug!) a huge 25 lb. bags of clay litter as I used to. This is a major plus especially for us car-less, city folks. It also has no bad chemicals. Some websites claim that the clumping agents in clumping type litter are not good for cats, as they lick their paws later and these can accumulate in the stomach over time.

USAGE: Without getting into too may gross details my cleaning up method is basically as follows: I use two tools to clean up (important tip): A regular plastic litter scoop PLUS a large cheap plastic spoon you can get from a dollar store. Therefore you have a scoop with holes and a spoon with no holes, and using the two, you maneuver as to not throw away as many still good pellets. The way I clean is I balance the plastic litter box on the toilet leaving a little space to get to the bowl for disposal. I scrape away the pellets and target any “solid waste” with the two tools and focus on getting the (dried) poop out of the box while trying to toss out as few OK pine pellets as possible, by doing a little flicking back and forth action with the serrated scoop. I dump the solids in the toilet. Then I brush the clean pellets on top aside, and look for the slightly dark wet “sawdust” that the pellets turn into when they get wet and fall apart. I sift with the slotted litter tool with a little side to side motion so any unused pellets are rescued and below falls the wet sawdust material. The leftover sawdust that falls through I spoon out and dump. Then I give it a little shake and sprinkle on some clean Pine Litter.  I also throw on top a small amount of baking soda, always a good way to cut down on smells. What I don’t do is dump a whole bag in at once. I find it last longer if I remove and add litter on top as needed.

This technique is a bit different from doing regular clay or clumping litter but this stuff you can probably flush down the toilet, unlike clumping litters as the wet sawdust is very light and flushes easily down my toilet (shh!). If you have a garden the directions say you can use it as compost. If you don’t want to do this of course just bag up all the waste, the way you do with clay clumping litters and dispose in your normal way.

I have found that the pine litter does keeps smells mostly under control especially with the baking soda, and a bag lasts about a month (I have 2 cats) and I don’t have to change the whole box as much as when I used clay litter. As the litter is bigger and feels different to a cats paws, only trying this with your cat will let you find out if they will adapt to this product. If you are patient and do it gradually as the bag says over a week or two, they probably will accept this litter, so you can try it. Disposal: I confess when I clean daily I flush all the waste and its not a problem, its very flushable. I live in a apartment in a NYC . If you live in the country you can compost the sawdust as the bag’s directions says it can be used as mulch after use.

Even if you have to use it with combined with clay litter forever, by putting a layer of pine pellets on the bottom then clay litter on top, the pine litter will still be effective in odor control. Of course your cat(s) will mix everything up together but it still works this way too, just may be a bit messier to clean. There is no 100% perfect litter product but this one is quite good. A 7 lb. bag costs $3.50. A better deal compared to Feline Pine, which sells for about 14 lbs for $10-16 at Petco…

*TIP 1: For cleanup, be sure to get a cheap plastic spoon (dollar store) to use together with your regular slotted litter scooper, as the wet sawdust will just fall through that. Of course you try not to throw out “good” unused pine pellets as much as possible…

TIP 2: While you are at the dollar store, also buy a cheap door mat to place under/in front of the litter box. It will help cut down on material migration / tracking. I dump the dust they track out of the box down the toilet doing my daily cleaning routine.

Have you tried this product?  Let us know what you think in the Comments section!



UPDATE: 2019 – I now have two other cats. Both got used to the Pine Litter quickly. Even with 2 cats, a bag seems to last about a month.

(this was Maya, who I had at the time of this writing but has since passed away, after 16 years of looking like a she was about 1 years old! She is missed!)maya2