Abe Lincoln was known for his honesty, but few people know him for being a cat-lover. That’s right - one of the most recognizable presidents adored his feline friends - Tabby and Dixie.
Once, during a White House dinner party, he fed Tabby with a gold fork - which his wife deemed shameful. Abe didn’t lose a beat and responded by saying “If the gold fork was good enough for [former president] Buchanan, I think it’s good enough for Tabby.”
This is the mindset the original Fancy Feast founders had in 1982 when they launched their line of “gourmet” cat food. Since then, the company was acquired by Nestle-Purina and continues to be a popular choice among cat owners and veterinarians.
But how good is it really? We’ll review Fancy Feast kitten food by taking a look at the ingredients, nutritional value, price and ratings.
Is Fancy Feast Good for Cats?
Short answer: Yes.
Long answer: There’s a lot of misinformation online about some brands being good while others bad. It’s all somewhat relative when you go beyond the most important factors - ingredients and nutritional value. Any wet food approved by the AAFCO (the governing body on pet food) is generally considered better than even the most expensive dry food. The main reason is - dry food is very low in moisture content. It’s also much higher in carbohydrates and therefore more calorie-dense.
Fancy Feast has a large selection of wet food varieties including seafood, beef, chicken, and turkey. Some of the cheaper wet foods offered by Fancy Feast contain fillers and additives, and although they’re considered safe for consumption, this may be a turn-off for a lot of people. However, kitten foods don’t contain a lot of the “gunk” and many cat owners swear by the brand as their go-to - cats just love it.
Fancy Feast has all the required macronutrients, vitamins and minerals a kitten needs to grow into a happy, healthy adult cat.
Is Fancy Feast Bad for Cats?
Let’s jump right into the meat of the matter - the ingredients. A common concern as some of the ingredients found in kitten foods are unclear. Thankfully, Purina (and AAFCO) have clear guidelines on what can and cannot be included in cat food.
The Fancy Feast Gourmet Naturals line for kittens contains no artificial colors, flavors, preservatives or animal by-products. While the less expensive, Kitten Classic Pate line includes a few weird, unfamiliar names. Here’s a breakdown of what they are.
Questionable Fancy Feast ingredients
Meat by-products - At first glance, this sounds bad. Taking a deeper look reveals that the AAFCO defines this as organ meats, which are dense in nutrients, protein and amino acids. As pure carnivores, cats devour everything - including organs - so this shouldn’t be off-putting to pet parents. By-products do not include parts such as horns, teeth, beaks, feathers, etc.
Guar Gum - A natural carbohydrate extracted from guar beans. It’s used as a thickening agent to improve texture and does add some carbs (which again, are considered safe).
Tricalcium Phosphate - Oddly, this isn’t listed as a mineral on the label, although it’s a good source of both calcium and phosphorus. Considered safe for human and animal consumption and has been shown to aid in bone and mineral regeneration.
Some other questionable additives in the Kitten Classic line include milk and egg products. Why add allergens? Well, milk is added to make the pates creamier (and as stated on the website, it really is “just a touch of milk”). Egg product is a mix of yolk and egg whites and it’s there to increase protein content.
Bottom line is - it’s not bad for cats by any means but if your cat is allergic to eggs or milk, be careful when choosing Fancy Feast foods. Nutrition-wise, both lines of wet food are perfect for kittens and cover all the bases.
Gourmet Naturals Fancy Feast Kitten Wet Food
This line of wet food is everything it claims to be from the name - both gourmet and natural. It doesn’t have any artificial colors/flavors or preservatives. There are two varieties: White Meat Chicken and Wild Alaskan Salmon, priced at $0.89/can.
Let’s take a look at the ingredients apart from the standard vitamins/minerals, the nutritional profile, and the ratings on Chewy and PetSmart.
This line of kitten food is more affordable at $0.66 per can. There are more varieties than the Gourmet Naturals line, which may be a lifesaver if your cat turns up its nose at the more expensive wet foods. You never know with cats. There are four kitten-friendly flavors (Chicken, Turkey, Salmon, Ocean Whitefish.
The Verdict - So is Fancy Feast Good Food for Kittens?
Fancy Feast is one of, if not the best budget-friendly wet kitten foods. It has a balanced formula with a great nutritional profile, it’s great for weight management, and it passes the palatability test judging by the reviews we’ve read.
The brand is often demonized, but we could find no evidence that the ingredients or manufacturing process are flawed. This is evidenced by the fact that there have been 0 recalls and no major scandals. Plus, both lines of kitten food are manufactured in the USA.
We recommend Fancy Feast kitten food for kitties 0-12 months old. After that, it’s advisable to switch to an adult cat food, because the nutrition requirements are different. Granted, many cat owners continue feeding their cats kitten food and they seem to be just as healthy, so it really depends on what your cat likes and if your vet says it’s OK.
If your budget can manage it, the Gourmet Naturals line is the best. It’s grain-free, has zero added artificial flavors/preservatives/colors, and guaranteed to be smooth and silky. If you’re on a tighter budget, the Kitten Classic line is still very good. While it does have some artificial stuff in it, the quality of meat is good and kittens love it just the same.
Is Fancy Feast good for my kitten?
Yes, it is. The ingredient list is full of whole foods and lean protein sources, along with minerals and vitamins. Unless your kitten is allergic to one of the ingredients, Fancy Feast pate should be perfectly healthy and safe.
How many cans of Fancy Feast should I give to a kitten in a day?
According to manufacturer recommendations, you should feed one can per every 3 pounds of your kitty's weight. Divide this amount into three to four meals throughout the day to keep your kitten healthy as he grows.
How much protein is there in Fancy Feast food?
Different pate options and flavors may hold more or less protein. On average, you'll find around 11% of crude protein and 5% fat.
Is Fancy Feast better than Friskies for my kitten?
Yes. Fancy Feast products do not include any by-product meals, corn, wheat, or soy. Besides, there are no artificial flavors, colors, and preservatives. Friskies products might be cheaper, but there are plenty of fillers among their ingredients.
How many calories are there in Fancy Feast food for kittens?
The exact caloric content should be specified on the can. On average, a can holds around 100 calories and 11% of protein. Like most wet food options on the market, pates are less calorie-dense than kibble.