First Mate Cat Food Review15 min read
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When you purchase a bag of cat food, you’re putting your trust in the company that made it. Your cat’s food is what provides the nutrients he needs to stay strong and healthy, so you want to be sure it’s a good product.
First Mate takes their responsibility as a pet food manufacturer seriously and they do everything they can to make sure their products are safe, healthy, and good for your cat.
First Mate is a Canadian cat food company, so you may not find it in your usual pet store. There are plenty of places to buy it online, however, and you should be able to find it in specialty stores as well.
If you’re curious to learn more about this premium brand, read on to see what we think of them and to see our reviews for their top products.
- How We Review Cat Food Brands
- Overview of the First Mate Cat Food Brand
- What Kind of Cat Food Products Do They Offer?
- Product Recall History
- What Do Customers Think of First Mate Cat Food?
- How Much Does First Mate Cat Food Cost?
- Where Can You Buy First Mate Cat Food?
- Our Final Thoughts: Is First Mate a Good Brand?
How We Review Cat Food Brands
Your cat deserves the very best. Unfortunately, it can be difficult to tell what that is, especially when there are hundreds of cat food recipes to choose from.
Lucky for you, we’re here to help!
We wouldn’t go so far as to say we’re the ultimate experts in cat nutrition, but we’ve done our research and we do our best to provide you with the information you need to make a smart choice for your cat.
Rest assured that we’d never recommend something we wouldn’t feed our own cats.
When it comes to our recommendations, we definitely look for recipes that start with a real source of animal protein as the first ingredient – ideally two out of the first three.
Cats are obligate carnivores, so their ability to digest plant material is very limited.
Your cat’s diet should be as meat-based as possible – any carbohydrates need to be highly digestible and nutritious. That means no low-quality grains or fillers like corn, wheat, and soy.
Here are some of the things we look for in a good cat food brand:
- High-quality animal protein as the first ingredient
- Rich in healthy animal fats (ex: chicken fat or salmon oil)
- Few to no carbohydrate ingredients (especially within the top 5)
- Limited number of main ingredients plus supplements
- No low-quality fillers, grains, or by-products
Before we decide how we feel about a cat food brand, we take a deeper look at their product offerings. Not only do we evaluate the ingredients in popular recipes, but we consider the variety of recipes they offer as well.
We also take into account the availability and pricing of those recipes as well as the brand’s recall history and customer reviews.
Overview of the First Mate Cat Food Brand
The First Mate brand believes “the best nutrition is simple.” They use only the highest quality ingredients to craft their formulas with the intention of providing premium nutrition for pets.
What you may not know about First Mate is that it is a Canadian brand. Founded by Michael Florian, a commercial fisherman, the company evolved from a commercial feed business called Taplow Feeds.
Over time, Florian developed an interest in dog nutrition and started working with professional nutritionists on his staff to develop First Mate.
In the years since its inception, First Mate has grown into a worldwide brand.
First Mate owns and operates its own manufacturing facilities in Chilliwack, just outside Vancouver. They use modern machinery and advanced technology to produce the best pet food possible.
Michael Florian believes that the best products are only possible when you control the quality of the ingredients and your manufacturing.
That’s why First Mate products are made in company-owned kitchens and every bag of pet food carries the words, “Proudly made in Canada.”
What Kind of Cat Food Products Do They Offer?
The First Mate brand offers a variety of dry food and wet food products for cats. Their dry food offerings are somewhat limited, however, with only four recipes to choose from.
In addition to a traditional indoor cat formula and a cat/kitten recipe, you’ll find two limited ingredient recipes.
When it comes to wet food, First Mate has more to offer. You’ll find a selection of classics like chicken and rice as well as limited ingredient diets and split formulas with two types of protein.
Wet food comes in small 5.5-ounce and large 12.2-ounce cans, depending on the recipe.
Here is the nutritional information for some of the most popular cat food recipes:
Dry Food Recipes
|Recipe||Protein %||Fat %||Fiber %||Moisture %||Calories/Cup|
|Grain-Friendly Indoor Cat Dry Food Formula||35||12||4||10||511|
|Grain-Friendly Cat & Kitten Dry Food Formula||32||19||3.5||10||568|
|Pacific Ocean Fish Meal with Blueberries Dry Food Formula||42||18||3||10||574|
|Chicken Meal with Blueberries Dry Food Formula||36||16||4||10||547|
Wet Food Recipes
|Recipe||Protein %||Fat %||Fiber %||Moisture %||Calories/Kg|
|Wild Pacific Salmon & Rice Formula Canned Food||11||3||0.5||78||788|
|Cage-Free Chicken & Rice Formula Canned Food||9||5||0.5||78||929|
|Cage-Free Turkey & Rice Formula Canned Food||8||8||0.5||74||1,079|
|Kasiks Cage-Free Turkey Formula Canned Food||10||5||0.2||78||146/can|
|Kasiks Cage-Free Chicken Formula Canned Food||10||4.3||0.2||78||331/can|
|Kasiks Wild Coho Salmon Formula Canned Food||13||3.5||0.2||78||134/can|
|Limited Ingredient Wild Salmon Formula Canned Food||12||3||0.4||80||784|
|Limited Ingredient Diet Free-Run Chicken Formula Canned Food||11||4||0.5||78||900|
|Limited Ingredient Diet Cage-Free Turkey Formula Canned Food||11||4||0.4||78||141/can|
|Cage-Free Chicken & Wild Tuna 50/50 Formula Canned Food||10||5||0.5||78||146/can|
|Cage-Free Turkey & Wild Tuna 50/50 Formula Canned Food||10||5||0.5||78||146/can|
|Wild Salmon & Wild Tuna 50/50 Formula Canned Food||11||5||0.4||78||146/can|
|Limited Ingredient Wild Tuna Formula Canned Food||10||6||0.5||78||951|
Product Recall History
A product recall is issued when there’s a problem with the product and it needs to be removed from pet store shelves. Having a product recall or two isn’t necessarily an indication of a poor-quality brand.
Recalls do tend to be more common, however, in brands that mass-produce their foods and those that outsource manufacturing.
First Mate products are manufactured locally in a company-owned facility located in Surrey, British Columbia. The fact that it is made in Canada may affect the number of recalls as well, since the US regulates pet food differently.
Though the regulations for pet food may not be the same in Canada, First Mate guarantees the quality and safety of their products.
They feel “ to truly produce a superior quality product you must have control over the quality of your ingredients and manufacturing” which is why they manufacture all of their products themselves and take great care in sourcing their ingredients.
Products Included in This Review
|Name||Type||Protein %||Fat %||Top 5 Ingredients|
|Grain-Friendly Indoor Cat Dry Food Formula||Dry||35||12||Chicken meal, ocean fish meal, oatmeal, brown rice, chicken fat|
|Grain-Friendly Cat & Kitten Dry Food Formula||Dry||32||19||Ocean fish meal, chicken meal, oatmeal, brown rice, chicken fat|
|Chicken Meal with Blueberries Dry Food Formula||Dry||36||16||Chicken meal, potato, chicken fat, whole blueberries, Dl-methionine|
|Cage-Free Chicken & Rice Formula Canned Food||Wet||9||5||Boneless chicken, water, rice, salt, calcium carbonate|
|Wild Salmon & Wild Tuna 50/50 Formula Canned Food||Wet||11||5||Boneless salmon, deboned tuna, water, potato, calcium carbonate|
This dry cat food formula is designed for indoor cats. It is made with 85% protein from cage-free chicken meal and wild-caught fish meal and an additional 15% protein from wholesome grains.
Crafted for indoor cats, this dry food is highly digestible to help prevent hairballs and is lower in calories and fat to help with weight control. It’s still packed with antioxidants from real berries and supplemented to ensure complete and balanced nutrition.
Though this recipe isn’t marketed as a limited ingredient diet, it only contains five main ingredients before the supplements.
You’ll also find fresh blueberries, raspberries, and cranberries on the list but it’s difficult to tell how much they add due to their placement on the list.
Like all First Mate recipes, this formula is completely free from corn, wheat, and soy as well as potatoes and peas. It’s also free from artificial additives like colors, flavors, and preservatives.
Formulated to provide for the nutritional needs of adult cats and kittens, this recipe is packed with animal protein and supplemented with wholesome grains like oatmeal and brown rice.
When reviewing the ingredients list for this formula, we found it to be nearly identical to the previous recipe.
The first five ingredients are identical, though the chicken meal and ocean fish meal have switched places. The primary difference seems to be higher fat content and lower fiber content.
Overall, this dry food formula seems to offer quality nutrition.
The fact that it isn’t significantly different from the previous recipe isn’t surprising, nor is it a problem. Many pet food manufacturers make multiple recipes with similar formulas.
Cats with food allergies and sensitivities often do well on limited ingredient diets. The shorter the list of ingredients, the fewer things there are to trigger an allergy. That’s the idea behind this First Mate recipe.
This formula features chicken meal as the first ingredient and the single source of protein. In fact, chicken meal is one of just four primary ingredients aside from supplements. The only other ingredients are potato, chicken fat, and whole blueberries.
With potato as the primary carbohydrate ingredient, this recipe is gluten-free and grain-free. It’s worth noting that blueberries are listed in the name of the product, but they don’t appear until 4th on the list. There is more potato in the recipe than blueberries, though both are still primary ingredients.
The estimated carbohydrate content of this formula is about 26% which is certainly higher than we like to see but still lower than many dry foods.
If you’re looking for a simple, moderately priced wet food formula for your cat, this chicken and rice recipe is a good choice. Made with cage-free chicken, this formula contains nothing more than chicken, water, and rice as the main ingredients.
Aside from these three primary ingredients, you’ll find an assortment of vitamin and mineral supplements with small amounts of fresh kale, blueberries, raspberries, cranberries, and carrots at the end of the list. Because they are at the very end, they may not be used in very large quantities, but it never hurts to include fresh ingredients.
The estimated carbohydrate content of this formula is about 5%. We like to see cat foods under 10% carbohydrate content, so this is well within that recommendation. That being said, many of the premium-quality wet foods we’ve reviewed have even lower carb content.
Give your cat a healthy dose of animal protein with this 50/50 wet food formula. Featuring fresh salmon and tuna as the main ingredients, this formula is full of fish flavor.
Not only is this formula packed with protein, but it only contains a single carbohydrate ingredient – potato. The remaining ingredients are vitamins and minerals.
We’re happy to see that most of the mineral supplements are chelated as well. This simply means they’ve been chemically bound to protein molecules which increases their absorption.
The estimated carbohydrate content of this formula is about 3.5%, so it is a little lower in carbs than the previous recipe. Potato is the only significant carbohydrate ingredient – the kale at the end of the list doesn’t likely contribute more than 1% of the total volume.
What Do Customers Think of First Mate Cat Food?
As a Canadian brand, First Mate isn’t as well-known as many of the others we’ve reviewed. All of their products have fewer than 100 reviews on Chewy, though the ones that are rated carry a 4-star rating or higher in most cases.
Customers seem to be pleased with the quality of First Mate products.
How Much Does First Mate Cat Food Cost?
When it comes to pricing, First Mate is a little more expensive than the average cat food. Their classic recipes for indoor cats and kittens are moderately priced around $2.60 per pound but their limited ingredient dry food formulas cost close to $4.00 per pound.
First Mate wet foods are priced between $0.34 and $0.50 per ounce which is a little higher than average but not exorbitant.
To give you a better idea how Chicken Soup for the Soul stacks up against other cat food brands, here is a quick chart to show you some average prices:
|Meow Mix Original Choice Dry Food||Dry||Low||X||$0.90/pound|
|Friskies Classic Pate Mixed Grill Canned Food||Wet||Low||$0.07/ounce||$1.16/pound|
|Blue Buffalo Indoor Health Chicken & Brown Rice Adult Dry Cat Food||Dry||Moderate||X||$2.53/pound|
|Whole Earth Farms Grain-Free Real Chicken Pate Recipe Canned Cat Food||Wet||Moderate||$0.36/ounce||X|
|Instinct by Nature’s Variety Original Grain-Free Recipe with Real Chicken||Dry||High||X||$3.45/pound|
|Ziwi Peak New Zealand Venison Recipe Canned Cat Food||Wet||High||$1.21/ounce||X|
Where Can You Buy First Mate Cat Food?
Because First Mate is a Canadian brand, you may not find it in your local pet store. Larger national chains like Petco and PetSmart may be more likely to have it, or specialty pet food stores.
Our Final Thoughts: Is First Mate a Good Brand?
Just because First Mate is a Canadian brand doesn’t mean it isn’t as good or better than US-made products.
In fact, First Mate makes more of a dedicated effort to ensure quality then many US brands.
First Mate uses high-quality ingredients including real animal proteins and fresh fruits and vegetables, plus their recipes are manufactured in company-owned facilities.
The carbohydrate content of their dry and wet foods is a little higher than we’ve seen, but definitely not as high as most of the cheap cat food brands on the market.
Overall, we can definitely recommend First Mate cat food. Their wet food options are a little more varied than their dry foods and lower in carb content as well, so those would be our first pick.