Friskies Cat Food Review18 min read
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When you think of cat food, how many brands can you name? Even if you don’t have a cat of your own yet, Friskies is probably a familiar name.
In fact, Friskies is one of the largest and most popular brands of cat food on the market. Popularity doesn’t always correlate with quality, however, and it’s your job as a cat owner to do your research and make a smart and healthy choice on your cat’s behalf.
Read on to see what we think of the brand and to see our reviews for their top products.
How We Review Cat Food Brands
The quality of your cat’s diet is directly linked to his long-term health and wellness. We know you want your cat to live a long and happy life, so we’ve done everything we can to make sure you have the information you need to make an educated decision.
Our recommendations are based on the nutritional requirements of cats. Cats are obligate carnivores, as you may know, which means that meat plays an essential role in their diet.
We always choose cat food recipes that start with real meal, poultry, or fish as the main ingredient and we tend to avoid recipes where carbohydrate ingredients outweigh the animal ingredients.
Cats require a delicate balance of nutrients, so most pet foods contain a mixture of ingredients and supplements. The higher the number of supplements in a cat food, however, the lower the quality is likely to be.
It is an indication that the main ingredients don’t provide adequate nutrition, so the product has to be supplemented to meet requirements.
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
In addition to making sure any cat food brand we recommend is made with high-quality ingredients, we evaluate several other factors as well.
We prefer brands that offer a wide variety of recipes and those that provide plenty of information about their ingredients and products. We also consider pricing and recalls as well as the availability of the brand as a whole.
Overview of the Friskies Brand
Friskies is a brand that falls under the Purina umbrella. Purina dates back to 1894, though it was originally known as the Robinson-Danforth Commission Company.
Over time, the company came to be known as Ralston Purina until its name changed again in 2001 when it merged with Nestle to form the Nestle-Purina Petcare Company.
Today, Nestle-Purina is the second-largest pet food company in the world. Generating over $12 billion in revenue each year, Nestle-Purina is the largest pet food company in the United States.
In addition to Friskies, Purina is also responsible for popular cat product brands like Cat Chow and Purina Pro Plan.
Friskies was originally created by the Carnation Company in the 1930s as a dog food brand. Their cat food products were launched in the 1950s as the first dry food specifically designed for cats.
By the early 1970s, Friskies had become one of five companies that controlled two-thirds of the pet food market. When Carnation was acquired by Nestle in 1985, the Friskies brand came along.
Today, Friskies offers a wide variety of wet cat food and treats as well as a limited selection of dry food products. Friskies plays up the flavor of their foods as a primary marketing strategy, though many customers love the products for their affordable price tag.
When it comes to quality, however, Friskies leaves a lot to be desired. You’ll see what we mean in the product reviews below.
What Kind of Cat Food Products Do They Offer?
Currently, Friskies offers a large variety of wet cat food products with a more limited selection of dry food and cat treats. Their wet cat foods come in the following product lines:
- Farm Favorites
- Warm’d & Serv’d
- High Protein
- Extra Gravy Chunky
- Extra Gravy Pate
- Gravy Sensations
- Indoor/Indoor Pate
- Lil’ Grillers
- Meaty Bits
- Ocean Favorites
- Prime Fillets
- Stuf’d & Sauc’d
- Taste Treasures
In addition to these individual products, Friskies also offers plenty of variety packs. These are organized in different categories by flavor, product type, or product line.
When it comes to their dry food products, Friskies offers a much more limited selection – just 7 recipes. They also offer a number of cat food complements and treats.
Here is the nutritional information for some of the most popular cat food recipes:
Dry Food Recipes
|Recipe||Protein %||Fat %||Fiber %||Moisture %||Calories/Cup|
|Farm Favorites Chicken, Carrots & Spinach Dry Food||30||10.5||3||12||380|
|Gravy Swirlers Adult Dry Cat Food||30||12||3||12||384|
|Indoor Delights Dry Cat Food||30||9||5||12||364|
|Ocean Favorites Dry Cat Food||30||10.5||3||12||394|
|Seafood Sensations Dry Cat Food||30||11||4.5||12||388|
|Surfin’ & Turfin’ Favorites Adult Dry Cat Food||30||11||3||12||394|
|Tender & Crunchy Combo Dry Cat Food||30||11||3||12||389|
Wet Food Recipes
|Recipe||Protein %||Fat %||Fiber %||Moisture %||Calories (kcal/kg)|
|Extra Gravy Chunky with Beef in Savory Gravy||9||2.5||1||82||818|
|Extra Gravy Chunky with Chicken in Savory Gravy||9||2.5||1||82||822|
|Extra Gravy Pate with Tuna in Savory Gravy||8||5||1||82||1,027|
|Farm Favorites Meaty Bits Whitefish & Spinach in Gravy||11||2.5||1||79||971|
|Farm Favorites Pate with Chicken & Carrots||8||5||1||78||1,230|
|Flaked with Tuna & Egg||12||3||1||78||1,107|
|Gravy Sensations with Turkey & Giblets in Gravy||10||2||1.5||80||867|
|Indoor Chunky Chicken & Turkey Casserole with Garden Greens||9||2||2.3||78||887|
|Indoor Flaked Ocean Whitefish Dinner with Garden Greens||9||2||2.2||78||853|
|Indoor Meaty Bits Homestyle Turkey Dinner with Garden Greens||9||2||2.3||78||885|
|Indoor Pate Chicken Dinner||7||3||2.4||78||950|
|Meaty Bits Gourmet Grill in Gravy||11||2.5||1||79||966|
|Ocean Favorites Meaty Bits with Tuna, Crab & Brown Rice in Sauce||11||2.5||1||79||965|
|Ocean Favorites Pate with Salmon, Brown Rice & Peas||8||5||1||78||1,187|
|Pate Sea Captain’s Choice||11||4||1||78||1,083|
|Prime Filets Chicken & Tuna Dinner in Gravy||10||2||1||82||799|
|Prime Filets with Salmon & Beef in Sauce||10||2||1||82||794|
|Shreds Turkey & Cheese Dinner in Gravy||9||2.5||1||82||857|
|Shreds with Whitefish & Sardines in Sauce||9||2.5||1||82||883|
|Stuf’d & Sauc’d Blast’n with Tuna & Simmer’d in Sauce||9||2||1||78||955|
|Stuf’d & Sauc’d Jamm’n with Salmon & Shrimp & Simmer’d in Sauce||9||2||1||78||966|
|Tasty Treasures Chicken & Tuna Dinner in Gravy||10||2.5||1||79||984|
|Tasty Treasures Pate with Turkey & Chicken||10||5||1||78||1,081|
|Tasty Treasures Prime Filets with Ocean Fish & Tuna in Sauce||10||2||1||80||884|
|Warm’d & Serv’d Grill’d Bites with Tuna in Gravy||9||2||1||82||805|
Product Recall History
Checking the product recall history of a brand is important when doing your homework as a pet owner. A company with a high number of recalls is definitely a red flag.
It isn’t necessarily a bad brand, but it’s an indication that you should look a little closer to determine the quality of the product.
Friskies is a brand that falls under the Purina umbrella and Purina is no stranger to product recalls. As one of the biggest pet food manufacturers in the country, they produce their products in large batches.
Their foods are cooked at high temperatures to destroy pathogens, but accidents still happen.
Somewhat surprisingly, however, there have been no recent recalls for Friskies products. The only information we could find was for a voluntary recall in June 2011 when Friskies recalled one of their dry foods due to potential salmonella contamination.
Though Friskies may not have a significant number of product recalls, you have to look at the big picture of the brand. A company that focuses so highly on mass-producing their recipes and driving down prices can’t also focus on using the highest quality ingredients and subjecting every batch to strict testing.
Products Included in This Review
|Name||Type||Protein %||Fat %||Top 5 Ingredients|
|Farm Favorites Chicken, Carrots & Spinach Dry Food||Dry||30||10.5||Ground yellow corn, chicken by-product meal, corn gluten meal, soybean meal, ground wheat|
|Indoor Delights Dry Cat Food||Dry||30||9||Ground yellow corn, corn gluten meal, chicken by-product meal, soybean meal, beef tallow|
|Extra Gravy Chunky with Chicken in Savory Gravy||Wet||9||2.5||Water, chicken, liver, meat by-products, wheat gluten|
|Indoor Meaty Bits Homestyle Turkey Dinner with Garden Greens||Wet||9||2||Water, turkey, wheat gluten, meat by-products, rice|
|Ocean Favorites Pate with Salmon, Brown Rice & Peas||Wet||8||5||Meat by-products, water, poultry by-products, chicken, salmon|
The Farm Favorites line of cat food from Friskies is made with real farm-raised ingredients and free from artificial flavors and preservatives. This dry food formula features natural chicken as the primary protein. Unfortunately, it’s not the main ingredient.
The first ingredient in this formula is ground yellow corn. You’ll also find corn gluten meal on the list which is generally used as a source of plant protein in cheap cat food. Soybean meal and ground wheat most likely fill this purpose as well.
In terms of animal protein, you’ll find chicken by-product meal as the second ingredient and fresh chicken as the seventh. These are the only animal proteins in the recipe and represent two of the four animal ingredients – the other two are beef tallow and fish oil. Neither of these is considered a particularly high-quality animal-based fat.
Not only is this recipe questionable for its use of low-quality grains and plant proteins, but it also contains a number of artificial additives including colors like Red 40 and Yellow 6.
This Indoor Delights cat food is very similar to the previous recipe, especially in the first five ingredients.
You’ll see ground yellow corn is, again, the first ingredient and corn gluten meal is the second. This makes it clear why this formula is priced nearly $0.25 per pound lower than the previous recipe – the first two ingredients are plant-based, not just the first.
In fact, you could simply say that the first ingredient is corn. Pet food manufacturers will often “split” ingredients by listing their components separately on the ingredients list to adjust their position.
The reason Friskies still split these first two ingredients is probably because the corn gluten meal is added as a primary source of protein while the ground yellow corn is largely a filler.
Like the previous recipe, you’ll see lower quality ingredients like beef tallow and soybean hulls, not to mention added flavor and artificial color. You may also notice that the vitamin, minerals, and artificial additives make up a larger portion of the list than the other ingredients.
Overall, we don’t have anything particularly positive to say about this recipe except for its low price.
This chicken recipe canned food is said to provide “100% complete and balanced nutrition for adult cats.” But what does that mean?
When cat food labels list this phrase it simply means the product is formulated to adhere to AAFCO requirements for nutritional minimums.
To determine the quality of a product, you need to read the list of the ingredients and the guaranteed analysis. That’s where things go south with Friskies.
The first ingredient in this recipe is water. That’s not a big problem, however, considering this is a wet food. Chicken comes next which is actually a good thing.
Unfortunately, those are just about the only two ingredients in the formula that are any good.
After chicken you’ll find liver, meat by-products, and wheat gluten. Liver isn’t necessarily bad, we just don’t like that it doesn’t come from a named source.
The same goes for meat by-products – that could mean just about anything and there’s no way to know. It probably varies widely from one batch to another.
Wheat gluten is included as a source of protein, but it is a plant-based protein. Turkey is in this recipe as well, but it may not contribute significantly to the overall protein content. The rest of the ingredients on the list (over 2 dozen) are thickeners, flavors, and supplements.
Formulated for indoor cats, this recipe has slightly lower fat content and higher fiber content than the previous recipe. This is based on the assumption that indoor cats burn fewer calories than outdoor cats and have more issues with hairballs.
Like the previous recipe, this formula starts out fairly well with water and fresh poultry (in this case turkey) as the top two ingredients. However, the next one in wheat gluten and the one after that is meat by-products. The only other main ingredients are rice, liver, and chicken.
Again, this formula has a long list of additional ingredients needed to ensure balanced nutrition. Fortunately, we don’t see any artificial colors on the list.
On the label for this product you’ll see the words “made with natural salmon,” so you might assume that salmon is the first ingredient. At the very least, you’d expect to see it in the top three.
In reality, salmon is the fifth ingredient and not even the main source of protein. This recipe gets most of its protein from meat and poultry by-products. You’ll also see chicken listed before the salmon.
It’s good to see that none of the carbohydrate ingredients are listed before the animal proteins, but it’s still a little misleading to name the flavor after an ingredient that is listed fifth.
What Do Customers Think of Friskies Cat Food?
Friskies is easily one of the most recognizable cat food brands on the market. You’ll find these products on grocery store shelves as well as pet stores and big box stores.
Judging from online reviews, customers seem to really like Friskies products – most products on Chewy have over 300 reviews and an average rating 4 stars or higher. We’ll note that many customer comments are about the price and how much their cats like the product, not necessarily the quality of the ingredients.
How Much Does Friskies Cat Food Cost?
One of the biggest reasons customers love Friskies is because it is affordable. As you’ll see in the chart below, Friskies is the lowest priced wet food on our list, about $0.07 per ounce on average.
Of the products we reviewed, the highest prices can be found in the Farm Favorites line of products. The dry food recipe we reviewed was priced around $1.00 per pound while the Indoor dry food was just $0.75 per pound. Friskies wet foods were all similarly priced around $0.11 per ounce.
To give you a better idea how Friskies 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 Friskies Cat Food?
What makes Friskies unique from other fresh pet food companies is that you can find their products in many stores, and not just pet stores. Friskies offers their products in many grocery stores and big box stores with branded refrigerators.
You can also find their food in the refrigerated section of major pet stores like Petco and PetSmart. Online, you can order Friskies from Chewy and Amazon as well as a wide variety of other retailers and online pet stores.
Our Final Thoughts: Is Friskies a Good Brand?
With an overall rating of 8.8, you may be surprised to hear that we don’t actually recommend Friskies to cat owners. The reason this rating is so high is because the brand performs well in areas of pricing, availability, and variety. When it comes to the quality of products, however, Friskies is sorely lacking.
Our biggest problem with Friskies is their reliance not only on plant-based ingredients but on low-quality grains like corn, wheat, and soy. Not only do these ingredients provide limited nutritional value to cats, but they can be difficult to digest and they are almost entirely used as fillers in cheap pet foods.
We were glad to see that many of the recipes we reviewed did list whole sources of animal protein, but they generally weren’t the main ingredient. We don’t like to see such heavy use of unnamed proteins, especially as by-products, and we can’t recommend a brand that uses artificial colors and flavors.