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gray tabby cat eating wet cat food

Is Fancy Feast Good For Cats?

You've seen the commercials. Plump, pampered cats delicately nibbling from their crystal bowls, being fed morsels of what appears to be the cat food equivalent of foie gras.

According to the ads, Fancy Feast is the caviar of feline food that is fit for only the most discerning and sophisticated cats. But behind the chandeliers and string quartets, you have to wonderis Fancy Feast good for your cat?

You owe it to Mittens, Mr. Whiskers, or whatever cutesy name you've bestowed upon your furball to discover the truth. The truth may not be quite as fancy as the Feast, but your cat's health and happiness should matter more than keeping up appearances.

It's time to cut through the hype and break it downjust what exactly is in that little silver tray, and is it worth the extra cash? The truth may surprise you.

All About Fancy Feast's Wet Cat Food

Fancy Feast is a famous feline food brand by Purina, but it might not be the best choice for your cat. However, this partially depends on which type you choose.

The classic brand of Fancy Feast cat food by Purina is generally regarded as nutritionally sound. In addition to concerns about how much nutrition is provided by other brands of Fancy Feast, there have been concerns raised on message boards about the safety of their products.

Many Fancy Feast wet food brands contain meat byproducts. These wet cat food ingredients generally provide a relatively low level of nutrition. In addition, some people have found that Fancy Feast products weren't very appealing to their cats. This resulted in them not eating enough to have a nutritionally sound diet.

Safety Concerns

While the cause is unknown, some cat owners have reported that some batches of the Fancy Feast brand might have been contaminated. There have been cases of cats becoming ill after their diet was switched to Fancy Feast.

orange cat eating wet food out of a can

Some pet owners were concerned that their cats suffered long-term health problems due to a switch to Fancy Feast.

In a few cases, cat owners were concerned that a contaminated batch could have caused their pets' death. Luckily, these reports appear to be quite rare, and it has never been verified that Fancy Feast was, in fact, the cause of the problems.

Mercury-Containing Fish

Many of Fancy Feast's products contain a large amount of fish. If you feed your cat products with fish, it is crucial to ensure that the product doesn't have high levels of mercury. Many fish products contain significant levels of mercury.

Many Fancy Feast feline food products contain fish that may carry high levels of mercury. These products can cause the effects of mercury poisoning over a long period, resulting in severe health problems. One common effect of mercury poisoning is kidney damage.

In addition, mercury can cause neurological problems. Unfortunately, if your cat suffered health problems due to mercury in pet foods, it would be difficult for vets to diagnose. Of course, mercury is not a concern for cats who eat Fancy Feast products without fish.

Lack of High-Quality Ingredients

You won't find whole, named meat like chicken, fish, or beef as the first ingredient in Fancy Feast. And you definitely won't spot superfoods like pumpkin, sweet potatoes, or berries on the list.

While Fancy Feast isn't the worst cat food out there, it lacks the high-quality, natural ingredients in premium brands. For kittens and adult cats, a diet full of whole, digestible ingredients is best for health, growth, and longevity.

Ultimately, Fancy Feast's fancy packaging may appeal to humans, but most cats would prefer a simple can of high-quality feline food over a can of byproducts and artificial flavors any day. For the health and happiness of your cat, you're better off choosing food with whole, natural ingredients and skipping the fancy fluff. Your cat will thank you for it!

Pros And Cons Of Fancy Feast Products

The Pros: Affordable Wide Range Of Flavors

Your cat will be living the high life with Fancy Feast's gourmet grub. With many different flavors, your cat will feel like they're dining at a 5-star seafood restaurant whenever you fill their bowl. The tender morsels and rich gravies are fit for a furry king or queen. Talk about the lap of luxury without breaking the bank!

The Cons: Mystery Meat and Misleading Marketing

However, some critics argue Fancy Feast is more of a fancy facade than a fancy feast. The ingredients list reads like an exotic scavenger hunt in the jungle, including vague terms like "meat byproducts" and "artificial and natural flavors."

Fancy Feast also relies heavily on marketing to convey a gourmet image that may not match the reality of what's inside the can or pouch.

Those sumptuous-sounding flavor names and photos of whole salmon filets are designed to appeal more to you, the doting cat parent, than to your discerning cat. Your cat just cares if it tastes good—they don't care if it's called "Flaked Fish & Shrimp Feast" or "Mystery Mishmash."

The Bottom Line

While Fancy Feast can be part of a balanced diet for your cat and provides complete nutrition, it may not be quite as fancy as the name suggests.

As with any food, ensure the first few ingredients are high-quality, natural proteins like fish, chicken, or meat. Supplement kibble or wet food with other treats, proteins, and fresh foods when possible.

Is Fancy Feast Good For Cats?

gray tabby cat with a bowl of wet food licking its mouth

There are many different varieties of Fancy Feast recipes to choose from. This gives you the flavor preferable to your cat, even if they are a picky eater. You can select from poultry, beef, or seafood flavors like tuna. They even have a formula for senior cats!

The food is fortified with vitamins and has high protein and low fat. This helps to boost the nutritional content to some degree. Not all feline foods are fortified with vitamins. Some veterinarians feel this will ensure your cat has a nutritionally sound diet.

In fact, some vets even recommend the products for active cats, kittens, and adult cats.

Overall Customer Reviews

Surprisingly, there was a substantial decline in ratings of Fancy Feast's feline food products on Consumer Affairs. It's currently standing at 2.7 out of 5 stars, with most comments stating they noticed a change in the food after the COVID pandemic hit. Some have also mentioned their cats now refuse to eat the food despite being loyal consumers of the brand for years.

Alternatives: Best Cat Food To Consider

Fancy Feast may be affordable, but it isn't the ideal food choice for your cat. While Fluffy may love the taste of those fishy little morsels, her body probably doesn't appreciate all the byproducts and fillers. As her faithful owner, you want your cat to live a long and healthy life. That means finding her a diet with more substance than those colorful cans provide.

Go Grain-Free

Many vets recommend grain-free food as a better alternative. Grains are cheap fillers that can be hard for some cats to digest. A high-quality, grain-free brand will use digestible carbs like sweet potatoes or chickpeas and pair them with named meat like chicken, fish, or turkey as the first ingredients. Some excellent grain-free brands are Blue Buffalo, Wellness, and Nutro.

Think Raw

If you want to get fancy, consider raw food. Brands like Stella & Chewy's and Vital Essentials use fresh, whole ingredients and added supplements to create a balanced raw diet. Raw food is thought to be more digestible and help reduce allergies. However, it does cost more, and you'll need to keep it refrigerated. For some owners, the benefits of raw are worth the investment.


siamese cat eating wet food

Are you feeling ambitious? You can make your own feline food or even cat treats at home. All you need is a good recipe, a meat grinder, and some time. Homemade food lets you control exactly what goes into your cat's bowl. However, creating a balanced diet requires research and can be time-consuming. If done right, though, homemade food can be a healthy option.

Ultimately, any of these alternatives—grain-free, raw, or homemade—will provide better nutrition for your cat than those fancy little feasts. Your cat may initially protest, but her body will thank you for the upgrade. And you'll rest easier knowing you're giving her the very best.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Has Fancy Feast cat food been recalled?

Although Purina already had some of its animal food products recalled in the past, Fancy Feast, fortunately, isn't one of them. You can check this on FDA's website and look for recalled Purina products.

Do cats need carbs?

Cats are obligate carnivores and don't have a biological need for carbs. However, a small amount of grains, usually rice, barley, or oats, is unlikely to harm most cats and provides a cheap filler for pet food companies.

Is Fancy Feast grain-free?

Fancy Feast offers a grain-free wet cat food line, the Gems Mousse Pate. They also have some grain-free cat treats, which you can browse in their online store.

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Hank Sanders - November 27, 2023

I have been feeding Fancy Feast pate since 2013 to my two indoor cats and one feral cat. The one cat is allergic to chicken so was feeding food that says chicken free still threw up. He could handle the classic beef with no problem until last year the food texture and ingredients changed. I use my finger to mash down on food and there is metal of some sort and has gotten very gritty not soft like pate should be. Complaining now so far same old story . I will change now as my cat will not touch the beef feast. He will eat other food but not suppose to have. The feral cat is sick now throwing up this food. I will take this further as the amount we spend on food is out of control.

Helen BROPHY - November 23, 2023

All of a sudden, my cat completely stopped eating fancy feast. I had a carton of grilled beef and poultry and she would not touch any of it. I called Fancy feast and they sent me a check for the carton.
They were very forthcoming that
they changed many of the formulas, put some fish in the chicken, took out the food coloring but changed the recipes. I said loudly back “fish” in the chicken?
I should have asked why they didn’t test it as I see all over many cat owners posting how their cat turned away completely from the food. I even looked up the stock prices thinking it would show
Up there but it’s all rolled into Nestlé so there is no telling what’s going on.
I have been on a hunt for a food she’ll like and the only thing she will eat is something called Tasty…?
And at times some of friskies shredded chicken. Not a lot. All of the better food she turns her nose completely up probably because there is not enough smell .
I think Fancy Feast should be totally honest about what they are doing and if they go back to original recipe and prepare under more strict conditions.
If anyone finds a substitute for Fancy feast please supply me the name. Thank you.

kathy phillips - April 16, 2023
my cat is a 5year old Big blackMancoon Cat.She wont eat

anything but this Fancy Feast
Appetizers light meat tunawith a scalop topper ..She been eating it for 4 months she now is eating it an then after she is done she tries to lick her butt ..i think its Mercury stating to be a problem with her kidneys …so i went an got the fancy feast chicken in the little bity cans she eating a little at a time..thank all ya for sharing
about this stuff…i love her so much but she dont feel goodsometimes an wont go out i know i got to get her checked an no more Fancy Feast Appetizers..thank ya all…🙂

Tracey Legere - April 16, 2023

My cats have eaten FF since they were kittens, they are 3. Lately, they refuse to eat it. I’m so glad I came across these reviews. Thank you all. I’m not taking any chances, I’m changing their catfood.

Angie Cunningham - April 16, 2023

What is really safe for cats to eat and something they will eat. Don’t trust vets judgement. I think all pet foods are full of dangerous additives, and any meat or fish in them are byproducts not real meats.
So far my pets won’t eat any wet cat foods and if they do they throw up. I have just been giving them roast chicken breast and or pork tenderloin all chopped small. For dry food salmon and sweet potato Kirkland brand. They are healthy and happy and catch whatever else their diet needs
Am sure all cat foods are dangerous garbage and catnip is put into them to attract

Arlene - April 16, 2023

I have a 9 yr. old cat and on and off over the years he has had issues with one or more types of Fancy Food. The vet had recommended giving him Fancy Food “pate” only. Said it was more nutritious than the grilled or ones with gravy. This past year and especially recently he has thrown up more than once immediately as he was eating (right in his food dish). Dry food only causes constipation – so his diet has to be mostly wet canned food as he does not drink enough water. I no longer know what to feed him so occasionally will cook some chicken – he eats a bit of it, but does not eat enough for it to be a steady diet. When he eats only Fancy Feast, he is always hungry and always begging for more food which makes me feel it can’t be very nutritious. I have tried to introduce him to many other brands but unfortunately he seems to prefer Fancy Food. l am totally convinced there are some serious issues with this brand and wish I could find another brand that would agree with him – and that he would willing eat. We are in Winnipeg, Canad.a

Candyce Weir - March 21, 2023

I give my boy a quarter of a small can of Fancy feast 2 times a day. The last serving I put it in the microwave from the fridge, and the food sparked and shot up in flames. I usually put it in for 5 seconds to take the chill off. Definitely has some sort of metal in it.

Gerald Caron - March 21, 2023

All our cats are feral in origin. We have 7 adult cats since 2013. They have been on a variety of Fancy Feast because that is all they would eat. They preferred the Grilled Salmon, Tuna, Chicken. Now, they are licking the gravy but not eating the meat. Most of the residue, including the fish dishes seems to contain a lot of organ meat, rather than pure fish or chicken. The cats love fresh cooked chicken, turkey, beef and pork. They don’t eat as much and are satiated. The Fancy Feast has changed its formula and prices have almost doubled in the past year. We started giving them FF because we were wasting so much of other cheap brands ( Purina Friskies was a waster). Our cats are healthy save one who has severe dermatitis (vet suggested it might be food related). We are now throwing out 1 lb of FF left over food per week because they won’t eat it. There has to be a viable solution, apart from wild game that they will eat. They eat more dry food. Whatever the makers put in the food to make it more addictive ( ie Temptations), is like crack for cats and makes me doubt the validity of so called “ reputable” manufacturers. There is higher end better protein foods, but they won’t always it those. They are creatures of habit. Their habit was Fancy Feast…no longer!

William - March 21, 2023

I would strongly recommend against feeding your cats Fancy Feast or any Nestle Purina product. I had two totally indoor cats who do not interact with each other and they were always healthy until something changed in the FF formula. Both cats got violently ill, suffered non-stop vomiting and diarrhea that went on for weeks. I made my case to the company and they eventually wrote me a check to cover my vet bills. I had told them I was going to engage in a social media campaign against them. I see this as admitting their guilt. I kept the bad batch of food and still hope to have it tested someday to find out what was in there. Both cats seemed to recover but I lost one of them less than a year after this incident to cancer. I believe they killed my cat. She was very young and I am still grieving her loss. I never lost a cat that young before and I wonder what the hell was in those cans to this day. I am guessing it was a toxic metal. Reading these horribly tragic narratives here from people experiencing similar issues just brings me to tears. This company must be held accountable. If you search on google, you will see that this company has engaged in horribly immoral behavior for many decades. All around the world they have exploited people and caused death for profit. Look into what they did with their breast milk substitutes for women in third world countries. It is just unbelievably horrible. I avoid all Nestle Purina products.

Nancy Grant - March 21, 2023

Just ran across this and after reading the other recent comments that tell of their cats now often vomiting after eating FF canned food, it completely explains why my cat has been doing the same thing. She’s eaten it consistently for the last two years with no issues until a few weeks ago, maybe five or six, in which out of the blue I began to find vomit spots here and there, most of the time just liquid after the majority had been digested…yesterday she vomited almost immediately after her dinner without digestion. That will be it for me, though she has always preferred it to other wet food. Time to find something else, period. Thank you to those who have posted because I haven’t been able to figure it out but felt it was somehow directly connected to the food she used to be able to eat without issues.

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