They say Friskies feeds the senses, but what about your cat’s health? Read our unbiased Friskies review to find out if this brand is a safe, nutritious choice.
The Cats.com Standard—Rating Friskies on What Matters
We’ve analyzed Friskies 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 those six key areas.
- Species-Appropriateness – 6/10
- Ingredient Quality – 4/10
- Product Variety – 8/10
- Price – 6/10
- Customer Experience – 5/10
- Recall History – 5/10
Overall Score: 5.6/10
We give Friskies cat food a 34 out of 60 rating or a C grade.
The Friskies brand dates back to 1934, just a few decades after the first dog biscuit was sold. The dog food industry was in its infancy and commercial cat food was virtually nonexistent. So when Carnation started the Friskies brand, they focused on dog food.
In the 1950s, the product developers at Carnation introduced a new line of specialty Friskies dog food. Instead of targeting adult dogs only, one of the new specialty recipes was intended for puppies. Not only was this food just right for growing pups, but it was also appropriate for the household cat.
The only problem was that cats didn’t like Friskies puppy food. Friskies sales manager Henry Arnest suggested that the company formulate a food made just for cats and convinced the team to start a market trial of a cat-specific food.
Little Friskies for Cats had a slow start, initially doing well only on the West Coast of the United States. The brand gained a foothold in the growing cat food market and, almost 60 years after its birth, Friskies was the United States’ leading wet cat food, generating almost 586 million dollars in sales.
In 1985, the brand was acquired by Nestlé, now the Nestlé-Purina company. Nestlé-Purina is one of the world’s leading pet food conglomerates. In addition to Friskies, Nestlé-Purina is behind Fancy Feast, Purina Cat Chow, Tidy Cats, and other household names.
Sourcing and Manufacturing
Friskies is made in multiple Purina-owned facilities in the United States. The company sources ingredients primarily from the United States. Ingredients including lamb, venison, duck, rabbit, and vitamin packs are sourced from countries outside of the United States.
Has Friskies Cat Food Been Recalled?
Friskies cat food has been recalled at least once. In 2011, the brand’s Grillers Blend dry cat food was recalled due to potential salmonella contamination.
What Kinds Of Cat Food Does Friskies Offer?
Friskies offers a huge variety of wet food, a small selection of dry food, and treats.
The Friskies wet food lineup includes over 60 varieties, with lines including Lil’ Soups™, Extra Gravy Paté, Extra Gravy Chunky, Classic Paté, Shreds, Prime Filets, Tasty Treasures®, Meaty Bits, Indoor, Cat Concoctions®, Gravy Sensations™, and Flaked cat food.
Alongside its world of wet food, the brand offers six varieties of kibble and four lines of treats.
As part of our review process, we’ve submitted samples to an independent lab. You can see the full report here.
In addition to performing our own qualitative analysis of the brand, we submitted a sample of Friskies Mixed Grill Paté Wet Cat Food’s for analysis at an ISO 17025 certified food testing and analysis lab. We bought the product at full retail price, and the entire testing process was funded by Cats.com without direct input or influence from the cat food company.
Analytical testing in a food chemistry lab gives us the product’s exact macronutrient and micronutrient content, painting a clear picture of what you’re putting in your cat’s bowl.
Remember that, when it comes to nutrient content, the cat food label only gives us a guaranteed analysis, which is a set of minimum and maximum values—not a description of what’s in the food. In reality, the food’s nutrient content may be substantially different from what you see on the label.
In addition to the following review of the brand, we hope the information in this lab report empowers you to take a scientific, data-driven approach to deciding whether or not this brand is the right choice for your cat.
Friskies Cat Food – Top 3 Recipes Reviewed
|Product Name||Food Type||Price||Our Grade|
|Friskies Classic Paté Turkey & Giblets Dinner||Wet||$0.14 per oz||C-|
|Friskies Surfin’ & Turfin’ Favorites Dry Cat Food||Dry||$1.09 per lb||D|
|Friskies Classic Paté Poultry Platter||Wet||$0.13 per oz||C|
What Do Customers Think of Friskies Cat Food?
Customers are, for the most part, happy with Friskies. People spend hundreds of millions of dollars on it every year. As one of the oldest cat food brands still on the market, Friskies has become a cat food staple. Many have been feeding it to their cats for decades—a tradition passed down from their parents and grandparents.
Not everyone is happy with Friskies cat food, however. On Consumer Affairs, for example, the brand has an overall satisfaction rating of just over 1 out of 5 stars. Complaints range from texture concerns to non-food objects found in cans to reports of illness.
Multiple customers have found pieces of plastic in cans of Friskies food. Between October and December of 2018, numerous reviewers said their cats started to refuse their Friskies food. Friskies says there were no reformulations around the time these reports started popping up. It’s unclear whether or not the incidents were connected.
“I have 13 indoor cats that all love this stuff. I just switched from Wellness Canned chicken cat food – which costs 3 times as much, and so far, the cats are all chowing down on it and don’t seem to know the difference. After trying many pricier brands that only come in small cans, I decided to give Friskies a try and it seems to me that the ingredients in the expensive stuff probably aren’t any better. Cats don’t care as long as it smells and tastes good to them.” – Fergusboy, reviewing Friskies Classic Paté Turkey & Giblets recipe
“Feeding a feral group of 12 cats and 8 kittens does get expensive. Even so we have been feeding them a much more costly dry food to help the kittens, especially to get healthy start. They ate it. It was suggested to try this food. My daughter told me that when she put the bowls down, they not only dove right into them, she said they all started purring. So how can I give any less than 5 stars since they are so happy with it and we hope for their continued good health too. Quite a help toward not breaking the bank also as we work toward getting all spayed and neutered. Just when we were more than halfway to that, 3 litters totaling 8 kittens arrived. That’s another story.” – Pato13, reviewing Friskies Surfin’ & Turfin’ Dry Cat Food
“Friskies in their “wisdom” have made all labels the same color – with a little splotch listing the variety. The reality of this stupidity is all cans in the closet now look identical. Making opening the “right can” (yes, we all have picky cats) a nightmare. I now hate Friskies for making my mornings miserable. Emailing Friskies was useless!! (oh but it is the same wonderful product). And will no longer be ordering Friskies. And I have used their products for over 40 years in 2 different countries. This has nothing much to do with Chewy but you may carry more weight than a ‘mere customer’” – Finnian, reviewing Friskies Classic Paté Poultry Platter Recipe
“The Friskies T&G pate is probably the most widely accepted flavor of all the Friskies foods. It does, however, contain fish, so make sure you read the ingredients if you have a cat with food sensitivities. There are other “hidden” flavors in the mix.” – RNforCats, reviewing Friskies Classic Paté Turkey & Giblets Recipe
How Much Does Friskies Cat Food Cost?
Friskies is one of the lowest-priced cat food brands you can buy. According to the brand’s feeding guidelines, it would cost roughly $0.95 per day to feed a 10-lb cat one of Friskies’ canned products. Like most brands, Friskies’ dry food is cheaper than their wet offerings. One of Friskies’ dry foods would cost closer to $0.18 per day.
Overall, Is Friskies a Good Choice?
Friskies isn’t a brand we’d recommend. Its selling points are not ingredient quality or nutritional integrity. It is, however, one of the most affordable brands available.
If you choose to buy Friskies, avoid their dry recipes. Friskies dry cat food is packed with low-value plant ingredients like corn gluten meal and soybean meal and rely on vaguely-named animal by-products instead of named meats.
Instead, opt for Friskies wet cat food. Their wet recipes contain some undesirable additives, including carrageenan, artificial colors, and artificial flavors, but are meat-rich with minimal carbohydrate content.
Stick to the patés to avoid starchy thickeners. Read the ingredient lists carefully to minimize harmful additives—some Friskies foods contain artificial colors and others don’t.
Where Is Friskies Cat Food Sold?
Friskies is available at discount stores, big box stores, and groceries. It’s similarly widespread online. You can buy it from Walmart, Target, Amazon, Chewy, and other stores where cat food is sold.