Is fancy feast good for cats? – Full analysis and review

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Nobody wants to find out that they’ve been feeding their cats a bad food, and that’s why in our new series of articles, we hope to shed some light on feline nutrition and dig a little deeper into some popular brands. We’ll cover the ingredients, the food’s nutritional breakdown, and any complains from consumers.

In this article, we’ll be analyzing the Fancy Feast brand to determine how nutritious it is for your cat. For the purposes of this article, our examination will focus on the Fancy Feast Classic Liver and Chicken Feast flavor.

Is fancy feast good for cats?

We can recommend SOME Fancy Feast products as an acceptable food. The problem with Fancy Feast is that you need to check the ingredients for each product carefully! While this specific recipe looks acceptable, some of them use a lot of fillers and starches in their wet foods which you might not expect.

On the flip side, they have another product called Fancy Feast Purely which is actually quite good. It doesn’t use any fillers or by-products. If you really want to feed your cat Fancy Feast, then we’d recommend this particular product, as it’s the best that they have to offer.

Is Fancy Feast the worst cat food ever? No, but would we feed it to our cats personally, also no. The inclusion of unnamed meat by-products in most of their recipes is a big turn off for us. It’s very difficult to gauge the quality of unnamed ingredients.

Plus, if you were unaware, by-products are actually slaughterhouse waste that is not rated for human consumption. That makes us wary about giving it to our furry friends, because the quality here is questionable.

While these ingredients are not always bad, there is a lot left up to interpretation here, and it can be pretty difficult to ascertain exactly what’s in the food. This can quickly become a problem if your cat develops an allergy, because it will be difficult to figure out what is causing it.

Fancy Feast’s quality level seems to vary greatly between recipes.

Ingredients list for Fancy Feast Classic Liver and Chicken

Chicken Broth, Liver, Meat By-Products, Chicken, Fish, Artificial and Natural Flavors, Tricalcium Phosphate, Guar Gum, Minerals [Potassium Chloride, Magnesium Sulfate, Zinc Sulfate, Ferrous Sulfate, Copper Sulfate, Manganese Sulfate, Potassium Iodide], Salt, Taurine, Vitamins [Thiamine Mononitrate (Vitamin B-1), Vitamin E Supplement, Niacin (Vitamin B-3), Calcium Pantothenate (Vitamin B-5), Vitamin A Supplement, Menadione Sodium Bisulfite Complex (Vitamin K), Pyridoxine Hydrochloride (Vitamin B-6), Riboflavin Supplement (Vitamin B-2), Vitamin B-12 Supplement, Biotin (Vitamin B-7), Folic Acid (Vitamin B-9), Vitamin D-3 Supplement]. D-6680.

If you stand in the cat food aisle and carefully read every single can of fancy feast, then you might find an acceptable flavor, but for the most part, their classic cans are subject to unsavory meat by-products and fillers galore if you look at many of the other flavors.

As previously stated, the only exception to this is their Fancy Feast Purely foods, which don’t contain any of the unsavory items that we’ve seen in their other products. This is the only Fancy Feast product which we can recommend.

In short, while Fancy Feast isn’t the worst cat food ever made, it certainly isn’t the best either. The variance in ingredient quality scares us off, and there are just too many other great cat foods out there which are just as affordable for us to bother with most of Fancy Feast’s products.

Try one of these by-product free cat foods

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What about Fancy Feast dry kibble foods?

Unfortunately, the dry kibble foods are a different story completely, and we can’t recommend these foods for your cat at all. The very first ingredient in the Fancy Feast Chicken dry food is ground rice. This is a big no-no for us.

Cats are obligate carnivores, and that means that they need meat, not rice. The first, and preferably the first three ingredients should be meat based. This dry food is essentially plant based, which is not good for cats.

Fancy Feast kibble is too carbohydrate heavy for us to recommend it.

Ingredients for the Fancy Feast Savory Chicken & Turkey dry

Ground Rice, Poultry By-Product Meal, Corn Gluten Meal, Beef Tallow Naturally Preserved With Mixed-Tocopherols, Whole Grain Corn, Soybean Meal, Liver Flavor, Chicken, Turkey, Phosphoric Acid, Calcium Carbonate, Natural And Artificial Flavors, Salt, Brewers Dried Yeast, Potassium Chloride, Choline Chloride, Fish Oil, Minerals [Zinc Sulfate, Ferrous Sulfate, Manganese Sulfate, Copper Sulfate, Calcium Iodate, Sodium Selenite], Taurine, Vitamins [Vitamin E Supplement, Niacin (Vitamin B-3), Vitamin A Supplement, Calcium Pantothenate (Vitamin B-5), Thiamine Mononitrate (Vitamin B-1), Riboflavin Supplement (Vitamin B-2), Vitamin B-12 Supplement, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride (Vitamin B-6), Folic Acid (Vitamin B-9), Vitamin D-3 Supplement, Biotin (Vitamin B-7), Menadione Sodium Bisulfite Complex (Vitamin K)], Dl-Methionine, Red 40, Yellow 5, Blue 2. E650018

A quality whole meat product does not appear in the ingredients list until listing number 8, and by that point, you can be sure that there’s almost none of it in the food. Cat food manufacturers are required to list ingredients in foods based on their prominence. That means that the further down the ingredient list, the more negligible its appearance is.

If we were to rate the Fancy Feast dry foods, we’d likely give them somewhere around a zero, as it’s something that we’d never feed our furry staff members. If you need a dry food that’s actually good for your cat, then we can recommend any of the below products.

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Fancy Feast nutritional breakdown

Sometimes the ingredients don’t tell the whole story. In some cases, the ingredients might look great, but if the nutritional breakdown doesn’t match up, then there might be some funny business going on.

It’s important for your cat to have the right ratio of fat, protein, and carbohydrates to be healthy, and that’s why we’ll be examining the nutrition information next.

Is Fancy Feast a good cat food?

Below you can see a pie chart that shows the ratio of fat, protein and carbohydrates in Fancy Feast’s offering. While the recipes will differ slightly, for the most part, manufacturers have similar nutritional profiles for all of their foods.

This makes this a pretty good indicator of what to expect from the brand as a whole, so let’s take a look at what Fancy Feast has to offer.

Is Fancy Feast good for cats nutritionally?

At first glance, the nutritional profile looks pretty good, and that might be true if this was a dry food, but it’s not. If this were a dry food, then 15% carbohydrates might be acceptable, as they always have more carbs, but we expect our wet foods to have a much lower number.

In fact, we’d prefer near zero carbohydrates in our wet foods, because they should be almost entirely meat based. However, some veggies, particularly the no starch varieties are acceptable here as well, and sometimes welcome, especially if your cat has issues with digestion. (Pumpkin is great for this!)

The fat also seems a bit high honestly, and if your cat is not very active, then this could lead to them being obese, causing more health issues down the road. Though the nutrition breakdown is not the worst we’ve seen for a food, and is acceptable.

Has Fancy Feast ever been recalled?

No, Fancy Feast has never been recalled. Though their parent company, Purina, has had some recalls for cat and dog food brands under their other brands.

Complaints about Fancy Feast

Many consumers have voiced displeasure at the fact that Fancy Feast has a tendency to change ingredients, or even the country of manufacture for some of their recipes without warning. We talked about this briefly earlier, and it’s one of our biggest pet peeves about the brand.

Many animals are very sensitive to changes in their diet, and we don’t like manufacturers who flip-flop on their offerings. It seems that many other cat owners also dislike this, and have found that they may suddenly get a surprise when offering this food to their cats.

In some cases, the cats simply turn their noses up at the new recipe and refuse to eat, but in others, the cats have experienced vomiting, diarrhea, or other issues from the new foods. Whether this will be the case for your cat will depend on them as an individual and if they are sensitive to any ingredients.

In closing, while some varieties of Fancy Feast may be “acceptable”, they aren’t really good. If you’d like a food that offers no nasty by-products and is much more consistent in its offerings, then we can recommend the below foods to you to use in place of the classic Fancy Feast.

If your cat is very picky and you have a hard time getting them to eat anything but Fancy Feast, then we can actually recommend the Fancy Feast Purely foods, which have much better ingredients than the canned classic varieties.

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Michelle Rei
Michelle Rei
Michelle is a pet parent turned amateur pet product researcher. After adopting a fur baby with digestive issues caused by bad pet food, she's poured hundreds of hours into research to find the best of the best to help him and other pets live happier and healthier lives.
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