Is Friskies Good For Your Cat?

  • Time to read: 9 min.

As cat lovers, we all want to make sure that our cats are happy, healthy, and get the most nutritional food. Therefore, knowing the true quality of cat food is vital to ensure that they receive food that supports their health and well-being. If you are feeding your kitties Purina’s Friskies dry or wet food, you have probably heard bad and good reviews from buyers. With so many opinions and information on the internet, it isn’t easy to know which reviews to trust. So, is Friskies Good Cat Food?

The simple answer is yes and no. Yes, because cats love the taste, it’s affordable and available in most convenient stores, and they have a large variety of food and treats for cats. And no, because Friskies uses unnamed proteins and by-products and contains low-quality grains like wheat, soy, and corn.

Sometimes it is best to find out for ourselves by asking a veterinarian’s advice or considering all the negative and positive reviews before choosing food for our cats. This article will discuss the good and bad qualities of Friskies cat food and help you to make an informed decision whether or not you should feed it to your cats.

A Bit Of History About Friskies

Purina, originally known as “Robinson-Danforth Commission Company,” dates back to 1894. In 2001, the Ralston Purina Company merged with Nestle and became known as the Nestle-Purina Petcare Company. It is the 2nd largest pet food company in the world, generating over $12 billion each year, and is the largest pet food company in the US.

A Carnation Company created Friskies in the 1930s and was originally a dog food brand. It wasn’t until the 1950’s that the first cat food was introduced.

The Pros And Cons Of Friskies Cat Food

There are a few factors that determine whether a cat food is good or bad such as;

  • It needs to contain healthy animal fats like salmon oil or chicken fat.
  • There should be a low to no carbohydrate content.
  • It shouldn’t contain any by-products, grains, or low-quality fillers.
  • The first ingredients should be high-quality proteins.
  • There should be a limited number of supplements and main ingredients.
  • The labels on the cat food should offer a wide variety of recipes and provide plenty of information about their products and their ingredients.

With so many of their products on the market, it is understandable why buyers choose and trust Friskies for their cats. So, why would a brand that “is not good for cats” and “can’t be trusted” include so many products under their name? Some of these products include;

  • Shreds
  • Tasty Treasures
  • Meaty Bits
  • Ocean Favorites
  • Flaked
  • Extra Gravy Pate 
  • Lil’ Grillers
  • Prime Fillets
  • Stuff’d & Sauc’d
  • Pate
  • Warm & Serv’d
  • High Protein
  • Farm Favorites
  • Extra Gravy Chunky
  • Gravy Sensations
  • Indoor/Indoor Pate

Cons Of Friskies

Due to its affordability and a taste that cats seem to love, many cat owners choose Friskies as their number one choice. However, the brand leaves a lot to be desired when it comes to the quality of its products. 

Although the brand does follow strict quality control regulations and guidelines, some carcinogenic and artificial ingredients in Friskies Cat Food are questionable.

Animal By-Products

The by-products of animals are still a controversial matter. After analyzing Purina Friskies, six animal by-products were found in their cat food, namely;

  • Stomach
  • Tongue
  • Blood
  • Intestines
  • Heart
  • Lungs

Some buyers refer to animal by-products as “slaughterhouse waste” because they are the leftover parts of animals that humans don’t and won’t eat. They prefer brands that name their organ ingredients, such as chicken heart or duck liver, and avoid purchasing cat foods that list “meat by-products” or “poultry by-products.” 

Food Coloring

Friskies cat food contains the following artificial food coloring in several of their products;

  • 18 x Recipes – food coloring red40
  • 18 x Recipes – food coloring blue2
  • 18 x Recipes – food coloring yellow5
  • 14 x Recipes – food coloring red3
  • 14 x Recipes – food coloring yellow6
  • 71 x Recipes – added color

These are the negative effects of the following artificial food coloring;

Yellow5 – In Europe, this dye requires a warning label if it is present in food and is completely banned in Norway. It is also called E102 or tartrazine and can cause allergies, asthma, aggression, insomnia, neurochemical effects, ADHD, thyroid tumors, hyperactivity, chromosomal damage, and lymphomas.

Red40 – This artificial food coloring has cancer-causing contaminants and is linked to hyperactivity and ADHD.

Blue2 Banned in Norway, this artificial color contributes to abnormal cell development in the brain, contains cancer-causing contaminants, and is reported to cause allergic reactions.

Yellow6 – This artificial color is banned in Norway and Sweden and causes allergies such as eczema and hives, hyperactivity, and kidney and adrenal gland tumors.

Red3 – The FDA tried to ban this food coloring, but unfortunately, they failed. Reports show that Red3 can cause chromosomal damage, neurochemical and behavioral effects, and thyroid tumors.

Naturally derived dyes from beet, spinach, carrots, pumpkin, red cabbage, saffron, and berries can be used to color food. However, the colors are not as concentrated as an artificial food coloring.

Unknown Animal-Based Ingredients

Unfortunately, 11 unknown meat ingredients have been found in Purina Friskies Cat Food, such as;

  • Meat and bonemeal
  • Fish meal
  • Animal liver flavor
  • Animal fat (preserved with mixed tocopherols)
  • Poultry giblets
  • Poultry by-products meal 
  • Ocean fish
  • Poultry
  • Meat by-products
  • Poultry by-products
  • Fish

If you were to choose Friskies, opt for their wet food instead of dry cat food products. Their dry food contains unnamed meats and by-products and is loaded with soybean meal, corn gluten meal, and other low-value plant ingredients.

Grains And Other Ingredients That Are Harmful To Cats

The six main nutritional groups that your cat needs to stay healthy are;

  • Vitamins
  • Minerals
  • Oils
  • Fats
  • Proteins
  • Carbohydrates

Good cat food will provide a nutritionally balanced diet and should also be able to cater to kittens, senior cats, and pregnant cats. It is important to read the label on the cat food you want to purchase. The order of the ingredients listed is important to determine if it is good cat food.

The first ingredient must be protein (meat), and there shouldn’t be too many as a minimal list indicates lower levels of food processing. Protein should be followed by fat and oils (20-24%), and next is carbohydrates.

Let’s have a look at 3 Friskies products to determine the quality of their ingredients;

1) Friskies Surfin’ and Turfin’ Dry Cat Food

This product has an overall rating of 4.8 out of 5 stars.

Ingredients: 

Ground Yellow Corn, Chicken By-Product Meal, Soybean Meal, Corn Gluten Meal, Beef Fat Preserved with Mixed-Tocopherols, Meat and Bone Meal, Liver Flavor, Ocean Fish Meal, Phosphoric Acid, Salt, Salmon Meal, Calcium Carbonate, Choline Chloride, Minerals (Zinc Sulphate, Ferrous Sulphate, Manganese Sulphate, Copper Sulphate, Calcium Iodate, Sodium Selenite), Potassium Chloride, 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 Bisulphite Complex (Vitamin K)], Natural Filet Mignon Flavor, Red 40, Yellow 5, Blue 2.  L600120

The first five ingredients in this recipe contain no real meats. It is loaded with low-quality fillers, grains, and by-products. It contains harmful ingredients like Menadione Sodium Bisulphite, the synthetic version of Vitamin K toxic to pets.

It also contains Red40, Yellow5, and Blue2, which are artificial colors that can cause severe health risks.

2) Friskies Prime Filets Wet Cat Food

This product has an overall rating of 4,7 out of 5 stars.

Ingredients:

Water, Chicken, Liver, Wheat Gluten, Meat By-Products, Soy Flour, Corn Starch-Modified, Artificial And Natural Flavors, Tricalcium Phosphate, Added Color, MINERALS [Potassium Chloride, Zinc Sulfate, Ferrous Sulfate, Manganese Sulfate, Copper Sulfate, Potassium Iodide], Taurine, Salt, Choline Chloride, 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]. H611319

The first ingredient is water, which means this is not a protein-rich recipe. It also contains unnamed meat by-products and low-quality fillers and grains.

Once again, Menadione Sodium Bisulphite is present

3) Friskies Seafood Sensations Dry Cat Food

This product has an overall rating of 4,8 out of 5 stars.

Ingredients:

Ground Yellow Corn, Corn Gluten Meal, Poultry By-Product Meal, Soybean Meal, Animal Fat Preserved With Mixed-Tocopherols, Liver Flavor, Meat, And Bone Meal, Ocean Fish Meal, Phosphoric Acid, Calcium Carbonate, Potassium Chloride, Salt, Choline Chloride, Salmon Meal, Tuna Meal, Shrimp Meal, Dehydrated Seaweed Meal, Taurine, Minerals (Zinc Sulfate, Ferrous Sulfate, Manganese Sulfate, Copper Sulfate, Calcium Iodate, Sodium Selenite), 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)], Yellow 5, Dl-Methionine, L-Tryptophan, Red 40, Blue 2. J600318.

There is no real meat mentioned in this entire recipe. It is packed with grains, low-quality fillers, and plenty of meat by-products.

It contains food coloring Red40 and Blue2 and Menadione Sodium Bisulfite. 

*Judging by these three products, Friskies does not seem to use real proteins in their cat food, and they use fillers and by-products in most of their recipes. 

Since cats are obligate carnivores, their main need is meat, not grains and carbohydrates. Carbohydrates can trigger allergies and cause indigestion.

It would be best if you avoided grains at all costs because it can cause your cats to develop IBS (irritable bowel syndrome), runny tummies, vomiting, and stomach cramps. Unfortunately, most Friskies products contain unwanted grains such as;

  • Wheat gluten
  • Rice
  • Rice flour
  • Wheat flour
  • Ground wheat
  • Corn gluten meal
  • Corn starch
  • Modified corn starch
  • Ground yellow corn
  • Malted barley extract

Additional Harmful Ingredients;

BHT (Butylated hydroxytoluene) is a cancer-causing artificial preservative. The FDA has classified the preservative as generally safe, even though it is banned in several countries. BHT is present in 13 Friskies recipes.

BHA (Butylated hydroxyanisole) is another artificial preservative that can cause a variety of tumors in animals. BHA is present in 9 Friskies product recipes.

Menadione sodium bisulfite complex (a synthetic version of Vitamin K) can cause toxic reactions in red blood cells, liver cells, kidneys, mucous membranes, and lungs.

Pros Of Friskies

Even though humans are dead-set against the idea of by-products, cats don’t share the same disgust. Cats are natural-born predators, so if they were in the wild, hunting their food, they wouldn’t stop after just the meat; they will eat their entire prey, even the eyes! 

So, although it goes on the “cons” list for humans, cats may place it in their “pros” column, that is, if they could talk.

Friskies Is Affordable

Compared to some of the cat food on the market, Friskies is relatively cheap. If you cannot prepare home-cooked meals for your kitties and are on a tight budget, then Friskies may be the best option for you. 

Cats Like The Taste

Cats enjoy the strong flavors of Friskies cat food. Buyers like their products because the taste is good enough to keep them coming back for more. But it definitely lacks on the nutritional side. 

In Conclusion

Now that we have discussed all the pros and cons of Friskies cat food, you can decide if you want to continue feeding it to your kitties and if you rather want to transition them to a more nutritionally balanced cat food diet.

Our pets are at our mercy, so it is our responsibility to make sure they get all the nutrition they need to be healthy. Also, if you are shopping for cat food on a tight budget, Friskies is not the worst choice you can make. 

It does have some of the nutrients that cats need, and if it weren’t for the artificial food coloring and unnamed by-products, we wouldn’t be wondering whether it is or isn’t good for our furry friends; we would know!

References