Friskies is one of the best-known brands of cat food on the market. It is also one of the best selling brands of cat food and it can be found in grocery stores, supermarkets, pet stores, online, and elsewhere. How does this product stack up in regard to cat health?
Cats are strictly carnivores. This means that in the wild, vegetation makes up less than 1% of their diet. Cat owners need to be aware of this if they want to make sure that their pets are healthy and have a good quality of life for a long time.
Naturally, it is nearly impossible to tell what is in cat food by just looking at it. Thankfully, labeling laws in the US are such that the ingredients must be listed on the label. The amount of each ingredient isn’t given. However, whichever ingredient is the primary substance must be listed first in the ingredient list. The substance that is the secondary ingredient is listed second, and so forth.
The rule of thumb is that good cat food won’t list any vegetable product in at least the first four ingredients since these four ingredients account for most of what is in the food. Having this as a basis for understanding how good any particular brand of cat food is, it becomes simpler to review the cat food.
This is the ingredient list for Friskies dry cat food. To make it simpler, all meat ingredients will be in bold.
Ground yellow corn, corn gluten meal, chicken by-product meal, meat and bone meal, soybean meal, beef tallow preserved with mixed-tocopherols (form of Vitamin E), turkey by-product meal, powdered cellulose, animal liver flavor, soybean hulls, malt extract, phosphoric acid, calcium carbonate, potassium chloride, salt, choline chloride, dried cheese powder, added color (Yellow 6, Yellow 5, Red 40, Blue 2 and other color), parsley flakes, taurine, calcium phosphate, Vitamin E supplement, zinc sulfate, ferrous sulfate, niacin, manganese sulfate, Vitamin A supplement, calcium pantothenate, thiamine mononitrate, copper sulfate, riboflavin supplement, Vitamin B-12 supplement, pyridoxine hydrochloride, folic acid, Vitamin D-3 supplement, calcium iodate, biotin, menadione sodium bisulfite complex (source of Vitamin K activity), sodium selenite.
Notice that the first two ingredients are corn and corn byproducts. Cats have particular difficulties digesting corn.
The first meat ingredient is third; chicken byproducts, which would be almost anything, from broth to feathers. It does say ‘meal’, so there is a good chance that it is ground chicken bones. One must look at the fourth ingredient to find meat and bone meal. That is followed by soybean meal, then beef tallow. Tallow is fat, suet, or lard and it is what glue and soap used to be made from.
This means that if you feed your cat Friskies, you are primarily feeding them corn, which is decidedly not good for cats. Friskies does contain vitamins and minerals, but they are so far down on the list that the amounts would almost certainly be tiny. In fact, of the over-40 listed ingredients, only four of them are meat or meat byproducts.
How good is this cat food?
Nutritionally, this cat food isn’t a good one and is only marginally better than nothing. It does tend to be fairly inexpensive, but that is mostly because corn isn’t tremendously expensive. It contains preservatives and cellulose, too. If you aren’t acquainted with cellulose, this is what makes wood rigid. Sawdust is mostly cellulose.
It is difficult to give a comparison with other top-selling cat foods. The reason is that Friskies is produced by Nestle Purina PetCare. This is the same company that produces Alpo dog food, Purina cat food, Go-Cat, Tender Vittles, and Beneful. One shouldn’t expect that any of these would be good pet foods, although they aren’t tremendously expensive. These are all among the best-selling brands of cat and dog food.
Friskies is one of the top selling cat foods on the market. It is better than letting a cat starve to death. However, it also isn’t too difficult to make cat food, either, and homemade is usually healthier and possibly less expensive. There are far better choices on the market, too, though they tend to cost more. The choice, of course, is up to the consumer.