Is this iconic brand a healthy, safe choice for your cat? Find out in our unbiased Fancy Feast cat food review.
The We’re All About Cats Standard—Rating Fancy Feast on What Matters
We’ve analyzed Fancy Feast and graded it according to the We’re All About Cats standard, evaluating the brand on species-appropriateness, ingredient quality, product variety, price, customer experience, and recall history. Here’s how it rates in each of these six key areas.
- Species-Appropriateness – 8/10
- Ingredient Quality – 3/10
- Product Variety – 8/10
- Price – 8/10
- Customer Experience – 6/10
- Recall History – 6/10
Overall Score: 6.5/10
We give Fancy Feast cat food a 39 out of 60 rating or a B- grade.
About Fancy Feast
Fancy Feast was created in 1982 and was likely the first cat food brand to capitalize on the “gourmet” concept. Though it’s now one of the cheaper brands on the market, Fancy Feast is advertised as a luxurious food experience for cats.
Three years after its inception, the brand was purchased by Purina, which later merged with Nestlé. As of 2017, Nestlé-Purina was the second-highest-earning pet food company in the world with over 12 billion dollars in revenue.
Sourcing and Manufacturing
Most Purina products are sourced and manufactured in the United States. A few products are made in Thailand—Fancy Feast Purely, Broths, and Flaked Fish & Shrimp. Regardless of location, all products are made in company-owned facilities.
Has Fancy Feast cat food been recalled?
Fancy Feast cat food has never been recalled, but other Purina brands have been recalled multiple times. Click here to read our full Purina review and to learn more about the company’s recall history.
What kinds of cat food does Fancy Feast offer?
Fancy Feast includes over 100 recipes, including patés, broths, morsels in gravy, and two varieties of dry cat food. Here’s a summary of what Fancy Feast has to offer:
Wet Cat Food
- The Gourmet line is the original Fancy Feast, including a wide range of wet foods, including patés, morsels in gravy, sliced foods, milk-infused meals, foods with extra gravy, chunky paté, and more.
- Gourmet Naturals offers recipes similar to those in the Gourmet line, but Naturals foods don’t contain artificial colors or flavors.
- Purely Fancy Feast Natural entrées are made with chicken, seafood, or beef without by-products or fillers.
Dry Cat Food
- Gourmet Dry Cat Food is Fancy Feast’s original dry cat food.
- Gourmet Naturals Dry Cat Food is made without artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives.
Food Toppers and Complements
- Purely Fancy Feast Filets are filets of chicken or seafood.
- Gourmet Broths involve tender bites of chicken or seafood in broth.
- Fancy Feast Appetizers are delicate portions of chicken or fish in broth.
Fancy Feast Cat Food – Top 3 Recipes Reviewed
|Product Name||Food Type||Price per Ounce||Our Grade|
|Fancy Feast Classic Chicken Feast Canned Cat Food||Wet||$0.19||B-|
|Fancy Feast Classic Tender Beef Feast Canned Cat Food||Wet||$0.18||B-|
|Fancy Feast Gourmet Savory Chicken & Turkey Dry Cat Food||Dry||$0.10||D|
Chicken appears to be the primary protein source in this wet cat food.
This cat food is one of Fancy Feast’s essential recipes.
It’s from the Classic line and is a straightforward paté featuring chicken as its primary protein source. The first ingredient is chicken, followed by poultry broth and liver. Note that this isn’t called chicken liver, turkey liver, or any other specific type of liver. This type of vaguely-named ingredient isn’t necessarily bad for your cat, but it’s indicative of cheaper food and is associated with feed-grade ingredients.
The same applies to the next two ingredients, which are meat by-products and fish. Meat by-products may include tissues from cows, sheep, pigs, or goats. The vague label fish may refer to various farm-raised or wild-caught fish species.
The next ingredient is “artificial and natural flavors”. Both are vaguely named, but we know that “natural flavor” is usually derived from animal tissues. Artificial color, however, refers to something synthetic that flavors the food. Though artificial flavors aren’t considered harmful, the vagueness and artificiality might repel some customers.
The food is stabilized with guar gum, a relatively safe binding agent and stabilizer derived from guar beans. It’s colored with unnamed artificial colors and contains sodium nitrite to promote color retention. It’s supplemented with synthetic vitamins, minerals, and amino acids that make it nutritionally complete.
Overall, this food is high in protein with moderate fat and low carbohydrate content.
Though this food loses a few points for artificial ingredients and possibly low-quality meats, it has a few good qualities. It has a species-appropriate macronutrient distribution that respects your cat’s carnivorous needs. It’s thickened without carrageenan, a potentially inflammatory and carcinogenic thickener common among comparable budget brands, including Friskies.
The food has 99 calories per 3-ounce can or about 33 calories per ounce.
Chicken, Poultry Broth, Liver, Meat By-Products, Fish, Artificial And Natural Flavors, Tricalcium Phosphate, Guar Gum, Added Color, Salt, Minerals [Potassium Chloride, Magnesium Sulfate, Zinc Sulfate, Ferrous Sulfate, Copper Sulfate, Manganese Sulfate, Potassium Iodide], 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], Sodium Nitrite (To Promote Color Retention).
|Crude Protein||10% min|
|Crude Fat||5.0% min|
Fancy Feast Classic Chicken Feast Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Breakdown
Ingredients We Liked: Chicken
Ingredients We Didn’t Like: Meat By-Products, Fish, Artificial Flavors, Guar Gum, Added Color
Common Allergens: Fish, Chicken
- Low carbohydrate content
- Thickened without carrageenan
- Rich in animal protein
- Contains artificial ingredients
- Made with possibly low-quality animal by-products
Beef appears to be the primary protein source in this wet cat food.
Like the chicken recipe reviewed above, this food comes from Fancy Feast’s Classic line. It’s a straightforward paté featuring beef as the first ingredient. The beef is cooked in something referred to as meat broth and infused with generic liver. The paté contains vaguely-named fish and meat by-products. This vagueness makes the food a poor choice for cats with food sensitivities and people who want to know what’s going into their cats’ bodies.
The food contains a combination of artificial and natural flavors. Artificial flavors don’t appear to be harmful and nor do “natural flavors”—an additive most likely made from hydrolyzed animal tissue.
The food is thickened with guar gum. Though it’s not a species-appropriate ingredient and shouldn’t be a large part of any cat’s diet, guar gum appears to be safe in small quantities.
The food is fortified with vitamins, minerals, and amino acids. It contains sodium nitrite as a preservative. Interestingly, this food deviates from the usual Fancy Feast recipe blueprint and doesn’t contain any added colors.
Overall, this dry food has high protein content with moderate fat and low carbohydrate content.
The food has 92 calories in each 3-ounce can or about 31 calories per ounce.
Beef, Meat Broth, Liver, Fish, Meat By-Products, Artificial And Natural Flavors, Guar Gum, Tricalcium Phosphate, Salt, Minerals [Potassium Chloride, Magnesium Sulfate, Zinc Sulfate, Ferrous Sulfate, Copper Sulfate, Manganese Sulfate, Potassium Iodide], 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], Sodium Nitrite (To Promote Color Retention).
|Crude Protein||11% min|
|Crude Fat||4.0% min|
Fancy Feast Classic Tender Beef Feast Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Breakdown
Ingredients We Liked: Beef
Ingredients We Didn’t Like: Meat By-Products, Artificial Flavors, Guar Gum
Common Allergens: Beef, Fish, Meat By-Products
- Low carbohydrate content
- Primarily made from meat and organs
- Thickened without carrageenan
- Unlike other Fancy Feast recipes, doesn’t contain dyes
- Contains artificial additives
Poultry by-product meal appears to be the primary protein source in this dry cat food.
Though Fancy Feast is best known for its wet recipes, we have to see what they have to offer in the dry food department.
This food’s name indicates that it’s made “with” savory chicken and turkey. According to FDA labeling regulations, this means that savory chicken and turkey must constitute at least 3% of the total recipe.
This considered, it’s not a surprise that chicken nor turkey are the first ingredients in the food. Instead, that spot goes to ground rice, a minimally-nutritious ingredient that increases the food’s carbohydrate content without adding much else. The food contains poultry by-product meal as the first protein-rich ingredient, followed by a mix of corn gluten meal and other grain-sourced ingredients.
Beef tallow is the food’s primary fat source, providing the fatty acids cats need to thrive. Fish oil appears later on the ingredient list, a species-appropriate source of omega-3 fatty acids. The food is flavored with a combination of “liver flavor” and “natural and artificial flavors”. Again, these ingredients aren’t necessarily harmful, but the vagueness is indicative of a lower caliber of food.
The chicken and turkey mentioned on the front of the bag don’t appear until after these added flavors.
After a series of vitamins, minerals, and amino acids that make the kibble nutritionally complete, the ingredient list concludes with Red 40, Yellow 5, and Blue 2, all of which are potentially-harmful artificial colors.
Overall, this food has moderate protein content with moderate fat and high carbohydrate content.
This food has 469 calories per cup or about 113 calories per ounce.
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.
|Crude Protein||34% min|
|Crude Fat||17% min|
Ingredients We Liked: Chicken, Turkey
Ingredients We Didn’t Like: Ground Rice, Corn Gluten Meal, Whole Grain Corn, Soybean Meal, Artificial Flavors,
Common Allergens: Poultry By-Product Meal, Chicken
- High carbohydrate content
- Contains vaguely-named meats and by-products
- Rich in plant protein
- Made with artificial colors and flavors
What do customers think of Fancy Feast cat food?
As one of the world’s leading cat food brands, thousands of people feed their cats this brand every day. Just as it’s earned multiple generations of loyal customers, the brand has garnered plenty of complaints.
Some customers observe that Fancy Feast can be inconsistent, saying that Fancy Feast’s quality and calorie content vary depending on the product’s manufacturing origin. Others blame Fancy Feast for making their cats sick, but these stories don’t seem to show a clear connection between the food and the illness.
Here’s what a few customers have to say about Fancy Feast:
“This is my boy’s favorite flavor of Fancy Feast. He loves it and always eats it really well. And I love that Fancy Feast Classic Pate line is generally low carb, low-to no grain, and meat based. Also no carrageenan for sensitive kitties. It’s really great bang for you buck and super tasty for your kitty!” – Emily13, reviewing Fancy Feast Beef Feast
“I’m tired of opening cans after cans of high end cat food, and they just walked away, refusing to eat. I’m tired of throwing my money into the trash can. Fancy Feast doesn’t have the fanciest reputation, but my cats like and eat it. So what can I say? I guess I will just deal with the artificial flavor and meat byproduct.” – Eleni, reviewing Fancy Feast Chicken Feast
“There are many other products which are healthier for your cat and have meat as the first ingredient; this one does not. I am trying to wean my cats off this and start them on something that is healthier.” – bearbaby, reviewing Fancy Feast Gourmet Savory Chicken & Turkey Dry Cat Food
“FF Classic Chicken Feast had been my cat’s favorite FF wet food for a couple of years. She would happily eat 1 can daily. But over the last year and half, she gradually began eating less and less. Now she refuses to eat more a bite or two. Even when I mix it with another mild chicken formula (Sheba). Like another reviewer, I noticed the product is DENSER and a MUCH DARKER COLOR. And I assume FF made a SIGNIFICANT CHANGE TO THE FORMULA. Did they increase the amount of chicken BY-PRODUCTS, like LIVER, which my cat hates? Badly done, Fancy Feast.” – TortiMom8, reviewing Fancy Feast Classic Chicken Feast
How much does Fancy Feast cat food cost?
Most of the Fancy Feast product lineup is inexpensive, but their product variety spans the price spectrum. Let’s take a look at the typical daily feeding costs of several Fancy Feast lines.
Their wet cat food costs about $1.33 per day if you choose the Classics line. Fancy Feast Medleys and Gourmet Naturals are both little more expensive at closer to $2.00 daily. If you buy the Fancy Feast Purely Flaked line, the food will cost around $4 per day.
Fancy Feast’s dry food is significantly less expensive at around $0.22 per day.
Overall, is Fancy Feast a good choice?
It really depends on which recipe you choose. There’s a lot of Fancy Feast cat food to try and a lot of variety between the various lines.
Fancy Feast’s Classic Patés and classic flaked recipes like Flaked Fish & Shrimp Feast are some of the lowest-carbohydrate products at this price point. They’re affordable options for cats with diabetes or those otherwise seeking low-carbohydrate food that won’t break the bank. In our article on the best kitten food, we recommended Fancy Feast’s turkey paté for kittens as one of the best options for kitten guardians on a budget.
If you try Fancy Feast’s natural recipes like Fancy Feast Purely White Meat Chicken & Shredded Beef, you’ll be putting good food in your cat’s bowl, but you’ll also spend a lot more than you might when buying comparable foods from another brand.
Unlike their wet foods, Fancy Feast’s dry food doesn’t give you much meat for your dollar. The brand’s dry recipes are some of the most carbohydrate-heavy and additive-laden kibble foods on the market.
Overall, Fancy Feast cat food appears to be a reliable, trustworthy economy choice. It’s a good option if you want to avoid excessive plant ingredients but don’t mind feeding your cat by-products or vaguely-named ingredients and are comfortable with some artificial additives.
Where to Buy Fancy Feast Cat Food
Fancy Feast cat food is sold in pet specialty retailers, groceries, and big box stores around the world. Online, you can buy it on Amazon, Chewy, PetSmart, Walmart, Shipt, and Instacart.
About the author
Mallory Crusta is a writer and adventurecat enthusiast on a mission to make cats’ lives extraordinary. She’s one of the founders of Wildernesscat – a site for happy, healthy, and adventurous cats who are fueled by nature. Visit Wildernesscat for radically natural cat nutrition, home remedies, and lifestyle inspiration.