Wondering if FirstMate is a safe, healthy choice for your cat? Find out in our comprehensive FirstMate cat food review.
The Cats.com Standard—Rating FirstMate on What Matters
We’ve analyzed FirstMate and graded it according to the Cats.com standard, evaluating the brand on species-appropriateness, ingredient quality, product variety, price, customer experience, and recall history. Here’s how it rates in each of these six key areas.
- Species-Appropriateness – 5/10
- Ingredient Quality – 7/10
- Product Variety – 8/10
- Price – 5/10
- Customer Experience – 9/10
- Recall History – 10/10
Overall Score: 7.7/10
We give FirstMate cat food a 46 out of 60 rating or a B+ grade.
This Canadian pet food company was founded in 1989 and originally focused on food for dogs. Today, the company has expanded to include multiple pet food brands, including KASIKS, Skoki, and FirstMate. FirstMate is marketed as simple, high-quality pet food you can trust.
Is it a safe, trustworthy choice for your cat? Let’s investigate further.
Sourcing and Manufacturing
FirstMate manufactures all of their own products in their British Columbia facility. The company highlights end-to-end control of their production process as one of their biggest competitive advantages.
FirstMate controls its own sourcing, manufacturing, and distribution. The company obtains all ingredients from North America, with the exception of lamb sourced in Australia.
Their meat ingredients come from animals that were humanely raised, transported, and slaughtered according to Canadian regulations. All of their fish ingredients are sustainably caught in their natural habitat.
Has FirstMate Cat Food Been Recalled?
No. FirstMate cat food has never been recalled.
What Kinds Of Cat Food Does FirstMate Offer?
FirstMate produces both dry and wet cat food options. Their lineup includes grain-free and grain-inclusive varieties, limited ingredient diets, and both single- and multi-protein formulas.
All FirstMate pet foods are made from quality cuts of meat rather than vaguely named animal by-products and meat meals. Most of FirstMate’s canned foods are single-protein recipes, though they offer a few formulas where wild tuna is paired with chicken, turkey, or wild salmon. FirstMate dry foods all start with a high-quality animal protein as the first ingredient, typically chicken or Pacific Ocean fish.
FirstMate’s cat food formulas are free from artificial flavors, colors, and preservatives. It’s also worth noting that their entire wet food lineup is made without gum thickeners like guar gum and carrageenan. Rather, FirstMate uses the starch from potato to thicken their foods and give them the ideal paté consistency.
The brand’s dry foods are packaged using vacuum infusion to lock the fats and oils into the pores of each piece of kibble. In addition to preserving the food, this process protects the nutrients and heat-sensitive fatty acids that might otherwise degrade during cooking.
Generally speaking, FirstMate cat foods are higher in carbohydrates than we typically like to see for a feline diet. FirstMate canned foods receive an average of 17% of calories from carbohydrates (ranging from 10-25%) and their kibble has an average of 22% calories from carbs. According to FirstMate, however, their recipes are formulated according to nutritional research and fall within “acceptable levels for healthy cats and are well balanced with appropriate protein and fat levels.”
FirstMate Cat Food – Top 3 Recipes Reviewed
|Product Name||Food Type||Price||Our Grade|
|FirstMate Chicken Meal with Blueberries Formula Limited Ingredient Diet||Dry||$5.06 per lb||B+|
|FirstMate Chicken Formula Limited Ingredient Grain-Free Canned Cat Food||Wet||$0.45 per oz||B-|
|FirstMate 50/50 Salmon & Tuna Formula Grain-Free Canned Cat Food||Wet||$0.58 per oz||B-|
What Do Customers Think Of FirstMate Cat Food?
Because their lineup includes several limited-ingredient foods, FirstMate is a popular choice among cats with food sensitivities, allergies, intolerances, and chronic digestive problems. People like that FirstMate foods are made without any thickening gums and are impressed by the simplicity of their ingredient lists.
Their foods, particularly the wet ones, get some negative reviews. Most unhappy reviewers say their cats didn’t like the foods’ taste, smell, or consistency.
“Got a sample of this after writing FirstMate and they were kind enough to send a few sample bags. I have an IBD cat and anyone with a fur baby with this Disease knows how hard it is to find a food they for one will eat, let alone be free of potential irritants and not needed ingredients. For one, “Chicken Meal” is not horrible, it has more nutrients actually than just “Chicken”. Always look at the first 5 ingredients it will tell you all you need to know about the quality of cat food. This food is so far a hit with my IBD cat, he gets it as just a treat for right now along with FirstMate Chicken LID in the can. I also sprinkle powdered pet chicken bone broth on top of his FirstMate canned it is suppose to help repair the intestinal mucosa.. Hats off FirstMate, don’t change anything please.” – DonnaJean, reviewing FirstMate Chicken Meal with Blueberries Formula Limited Ingredient Diet Dry Cat Food
“Canned chicken: Although it looks like cat food that has been barfed up, four of our five cats seem to love it and the other one is too busy outside to eat right now but he’s not finicky so I think he’ll like it too. We have decided to give our cats only the best and after exhaustive research, this food seems to fit the bill for canned food. Haven’t tried dry food yet. Hopefully the cats will continue to eat it!” – AletaA, reviewing FirstMate Chicken Formula Limited Ingredient Canned Cat Food
“I have a very picky girl and she would not eat it. She would rather starve that’s how bad it is. My boy cat who eats EVERYTHING, would just eat it in bits and pieces. I would give it 1 star but because it is grain free and is free of guar gum, I would still recommend it to others because of the price point. I wish my cats liked it more.” – meowmeowbebop, reviewing FirstMate Limited Ingredient Chicken Formula Limited Ingredient Canned Cat Food
“Because there aren’t many foods for cats that don’t contain grain and fish, I purchased this kibble with high hopes. The fact that 96% of reviewers recommended this product also made it look very promising. Unfortunately none of my four cats (which includes one with IBD) showed much interest in it.” – Hajime19, reviewing FirstMate Chicken Meal with Blueberries Formula Limited Ingredient Diet Dry Cat Food
How Much Does FirstMate Cat Food Cost?
FirstMate cat food is at the lower end of the premium price range. Their dry food costs roughly $0.40 per day if you’re feeding a typical 10-lb cat. FirstMate’s wet food is a bit more expensive, ranging from $1.82 to around $2.80 per day.
Overall, Is FirstMate a Good Choice?
FirstMate stands out from the crowd in a few significant ways with their cat foods. First, their dry cat foods are some of the few truly limited-ingredient products on the market, containing fewer than 5 main ingredients. Second, FirstMate wet foods are among the relative few that do not contain artificial binders and thickeners like carrageenan and other gums.
FirstMate’s parent company, Taplow Ventures, appears to be a company you can trust. During their last 30 years of operation, they have not issued a single product recall. All FirstMate foods are made from sustainably-caught fish, free-run poultry, and other natural ingredients. They also appear to be produced under carefully-controlled conditions.
These foods are a good option for cats with food sensitivities or allergies but proceed with caution—most of their foods are high in carbohydrates. Obligate carnivores like your cat simply aren’t built to process plant foods in significant amounts. As mentioned previously, however, many of FirstMate’s recipes are lower in carbs than the average commercial cat food – especially their dry foods.
Where To Buy FirstMate Cat Food?
You can buy FirstMate cat food in independent pet specialty retailers scattered across Canada and the United States. FirstMate also partners with a number of distributors in Europe and Asia. Online, it’s available through Chewy, Amazon, and directly through the FirstMate website.
Also Read: Best Cat Food for Diabetic Cats