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Special Kitty Cat Food Review

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Kate Barrington / Cats.com

We’ve rated Special Kitty cat food on ingredient quality, species-appropriateness, recalls, and more. Read our Special Kitty cat food review to learn how this brand stacks up.

The Cats.com Standard—Special Kitty on What Matters

We’ve rated the brand on six key criteria for quality. Here’s how it rates in each of these six crucial areas.


  • Species-Appropriateness – 2/10
  • Ingredient Quality – 2/10
  • Product Variety – 7/10
  • Price – 10/10
  • Customer Experience – 6/10
  • Recall History – 4/10

Overall Score: 5/10

In total, we give Special Kitty cat food a 31 out of 60 rating or a D grade.

About Special Kitty

The Special Kitty brand is exclusive to Walmart which means you won’t find it on grocery store or pet store shelves – you can only purchase it in Walmart stores or online at Walmart.com.

The Special Kitty brand was designed for affordability, so it’s important to take claims made by the brand with a grain of salt. Here’s what Walmart has to say about the brand:

“Special Kitty understands the unique bond between you and your cat. Every moment together creates memories that will fill your heart for a lifetime. That’s why each one of our products is crafted with the care that cats love, and the attention to detail that cat lovers trust. For all the soft purrs, warm snuggles, and playful pounces – give your Special Kitty the very best.”

You’ll notice this particular description doesn’t make mention of specific ingredients or any actual details about the brand. In terms of product claims, most Special Kitty recipes include generic claims such as the following:

  • Provides 100% complete and balanced nutrition for your cat’s optimal health
  • Contains nutrients to support an active outdoor life
  • Contains calcium and phosphorus to help support healthy teeth and bones
  • Made with 25 essential vitamins and minerals

All of these claims may be true, but they are a little bit misleading. Let’s take the “complete and balanced nutrition” claim, for example.

When Special Kitty references “complete and balanced nutrition,” they’re talking about the nutritional requirements established by the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO). These requirements were determined through nutritional research and feeding trials to determine the minimum nutritional needs of cats and dogs.

Claiming their products offer complete and balanced nutrition leads consumers to believe Special Kitty products are a good source of nutrients. While it may be true that these products will meet your cat’s basic nutritional needs, there’s a lot of information being left out of the equation.

In reviewing the ingredients lists for a variety of Special Kitty cat foods, we noticed the following:

  • High inclusions of fillers like corn, wheat, and soy
  • Plant-based ingredients at the top of the ingredients list
  • Heavy use of by-products and plant proteins
  • Use of unnamed ingredients (like animal fat vs chicken fat)
  • Artificial additives including colors and flavors

To make a long story short, Special Kitty cat food is primarily plant-based rather than animal-based. Low-quality fillers like corn, wheat, and soy make up the majority of their dry food products and their wet foods rely heavily on meat and poultry by-products.

Special Kitty may be affordable and easy to find, but we can’t give it our recommendation due to the poor quality of the ingredients.

Special Kitty is a Walmart-exclusive brand sold only in Walmart stores and online at Walmart.com. Kate Barrington / Cats.com

Sourcing and Manufacturing

Not only does Special Kitty make heavy use of plant-based ingredients and artificial additives, but they don’t provide a lot of information about where their ingredients come from or how their products are manufactured. If you can’t find this information, we generally recommend looking for another brand.

Though we weren’t able to find a lot of specific information about the Special Kitty brand, we did find a few details about their manufacturing.

The first mention of Special Kitty as a brand that we found came from 1983. In the early years of the brand, Special Kitty was manufactured by Doane Pet Care, a company based in Brentwood, TN. At one point, Doane was the largest manufacturer of private label pet food, including as many as 175 store brands like Special Kitty and Ol’ Roy.

In 2006, Doane Pet Care’s U.S. company was acquired by Mars Inc., the same parent company that manufactured major cat food brands like Whiskas, Temptations, and Sheba at the time.

Until 2014, Special Kitty was manufactured by Mars PetCare and Del Monte Foods until Del Monte sold their pet division to Big Heart Pet Brands. A year later, Big Heart Pet Brands was acquired by the J.M. Smucker Company and it appears J.M. Smucker still manufactures the brand today.

Recall History

Before choosing a cat food brand, it’s important to do your research. We always recommend looking into the products a brand offers, but it’s a good idea to look into the history of the brand itself as well.

Product recalls are an important indicator of quality for pet food manufacturers. Recalls happen when there’s an issue with the product and it needs to be withdrawn from sale for the safety of pets and pet owners. A product recall can occur for something as simple as a labeling error or for something as serious as contamination with food-borne pathogens.

Special Kitty has had a number of recalls over the years. Here’s a quick list:

  • December 2019 (safety and quality issues) – In December of 2019, the FDA issued a recall for specific lots of Special Kitty Mixed Grill Dinner Pate cat food because the products didn’t meet “quality and safety standards.”
  • January 2017 (low thiamine levels) – The FDA issued a recall for several Special Kitty canned foods in January 2017 due to low thiamine levels revealed in testing.
  • October 2008 (potential salmonella) – The brand issued a recall for several Special Kitty dry foods which was later expanded by the FDA due to potential for salmonella contamination.
  • September 2008 (potential salmonella) – The FDA issued a recall for several Special Kitty dry foods produced at a Pennsylvania plant due to potential for salmonella contamination.
  • March 2007 (melamine) – One of the largest pet product recalls in U.S. history was related to melamine levels in cat foods including several Special Kitty wet food pouches.

Accidents happen, so you shouldn’t necessarily judge a brand based on its recall history – especially if there are only one or two minor recalls. When a brand has a long history of significant recalls, however, you should consider it a red flag.

Special Kitty offers a wide variety of wet food and dry food options for adult cats, kittens, indoor cats, and outdoor cats. Kate Barrington / Cats.com

What Kinds Of Cat Food Does Special Kitty Offer?

Special Kitty offers a wide variety of wet food and dry food options for cats. They offer formulas for adult cats and kittens as well as recipes optimized for indoor and outdoor cats.

Here’s a list of Special Kitty dry food recipes:

  • Outdoor Formula Dry Food
  • Gourmet Formula Dry Food, Seafood Flavor Blend
  • Complete Nutrition Formula Dry Food, Chicken & Turkey Flavor
  • Indoor Formula Dry Food, Chicken & Pea Flavor
  • Kitten Formula Dry Food
  • Naturals Dry Food, Chicken Flavor

In terms of their wet food offerings, Special Kitty has 5.5-ounce cans as well as larger 13-ounce cans. Though you may be able to purchase individual cans in-store, Walmart.com generally sells Special Kitty canned food in variety packs and multi-packs.

Here’s a list of Special Kitty multi-packs:

  • Pate Wet Food Classic Variety Pack
  • Turkey & Cheese Shreds Dinner Cuts in Gravy
  • Poultry Cuts in Gravy Wet Food Variety Pack
  • Favorites Variety Pack Cuts in Gravy
  • Pate Wet Food Mixed Grill Dinner
  • Kitten Recipe Pate Wet Cat Food Variety Pack
  • Surf & Turf Variety Pack Pate Cat Food

In addition to wet food and dry food, Special Kitty offers an assortment of cat treats and cat litter. We’ll review Special Kitty cat litter at another time.

What Do Customers Think Of Special Kitty Cat Food?

When shopping for a new brand of cat food, it’s a good idea to see what other cat owners are saying. Cats tend to be picky eaters, so there’s always the possibility that your cat simply won’t like the food but reading other customer reviews can help you make a smart choice.

We took a look at a number of reviews left on the Walmart website by Special Kitty customers.

Surprisingly, many products had high ratings (4 stars or more) with hundreds, even a thousand ratings, or more. Many of the positive reviews we read mentioned the affordable price (an aspect caretakers for feral cat colonies deem essential) and wide variety of product choices. Negative reviews were predictably often related to poor ingredient quality.

Let’s take a look at a few customer reviews from some of the most popular recipes from Special Kitty.

Positive Reviews

“Wow I couldn’t believe how much my cats love this! I am the cat lady in my neighborhood. I take in every stray and feed all of the feral kitties across the fence. This food is very economical when you have many cats to feed. Special kitty has several varieties and my cats love it all.”-Pulleygirl54j reviewing Special Kitty Turkey & Cheese Shreds Dinner Cuts in Gravy

“Our 4 cats are super picky! Every time we try a cheaper brand of cat food they turn their nose up and it’s just a waste of money. After trying almost every store brand a couple cans at a time we were ready to give up. I saw this variety pack the other day and they were out of most of our name brand favorites. Its $14 so we figured if not we will donate them or send them to someone who would use them! SURPRISE!! They love them and I mean all of them!!”- Brittany reviewing Special Kitty Surf & Turf Variety Pack Pate Cat Food

Negative Reviews

“I use this to feed the feral cats purely because of the price. They seem content and healthy. My house cats however seem to throw up more when they eat it, and for some reason their poop stinks a lot more when they eat this than when they eat other brands.”- Kimberly reviewing Special Kitty Outdoor Formula Dry Food

“Not 22oz by far. 50% of the cans are full of water and juice. It’s the same amount of food as the smaller cans. Opening up a can is a lottery. You don’t know how much food you’re going to get.”- Elson reviewing Special Kitty Pate Wet Cat Food

“I always purchase Special Kitty Food and the stray cats and critters always chow down on it. This batch, for some reason, is going untouched so I fear there’s something unpleasant in the food. I do hope the manufacturer is not cutting corners. I thought with the description “Complete Nutrition” that it would be healthier for the kitties, but they won’t go near it.”- Pennysaved reviewing Special Kitty Complete Nutrition Formula Dry Food

Unfortunately, Special Kitty recipes make heavy use of by-products and grain-based fillers like corn, wheat, and soy. Kate Barrington / Cats.com

What Did Our Test Cats Think?

To test Special Kitty cat food, we ordered two variety packs of wet food and two recipes of dry food. Here are the products we ordered:

  • Special Kitty Pate Wet Food Classic Variety Pack
  • Special Kitty Favorites Variety Pack Cuts in Gravy
  • Special Kitty Naturals Dry Cat Food
  • Special Kitty Indoor Formula Dry Cat Food

The first thing we noticed about Special Kitty products was, of course, the price. Both variety packs were priced under $10 for twelve 13-ounce cans and 24 three-ounce pouches. The dry food was priced under $4 for a 3.5-pound or 3.15-pound bag.

When we opened the dry food bags, we weren’t surprised to find that the kibble looked pretty standard. The kibbles were average in size and had some color variation. Our test cats happily crunched away on the food, though we had to keep one cat out of the testing because she’s allergic to chicken. Both of the Special Kitty dry food products we tested feature chicken as a primary ingredient, but in the form of chicken by-product meal. Only one of the two listed chicken as the main ingredient.

Unfortunately, we had to keep one of our cats out of the testing for the wet food products as well. Some of the recipes listed chicken as an ingredient but many used meat or poultry by-products, so we had no way of knowing exactly what was in the recipe.

Generally speaking, our test cats seemed to approve of the flavor of Special Kitty food, and they were particularly interested in the Cuts in Gravy wet foods. They showed less interest in the dry food.

Special Kitty Cat Food – Top 3 Recipes Reviewed

Product Name Food Type Main Protein Source Calories Price Our Grade
Special Kitty Mixed Grill Cuts in Gravy Wet Chicken 66 kcal/pouch $0.13 per oz C
Special Kitty Classic Tuna Dinner Canned Food Wet Chicken 385 kcal/can $0.05 per oz C
Special Kitty Naturals Dry Cat Food Dry Chicken 374 kcal/cup $0.86 per lb C

All nutritional percentages in this table and hereafter are taken from the manufacturer’s guaranteed analysis. Exact nutritional percentages are not available. All calculated values are determined using these minimum and maximum published values and may differ from actual values. Special Kitty is the ultimate authority on their products, so please contact the company for more nutritional information.

#1 Special Kitty Mixed Grill Cuts in Gravy

View on Walmart

This wet cat food formula comes in a 3-ounce pouch as part of the Special Kitty Favorites Variety Pack Cuts in Gravy. The primary source of protein is chicken, though you’ll also find meat by-product and beef on the ingredients list.

Though by-products aren’t necessarily bad, it’s never a good thing when they don’t come from a named source. We also don’t recommend cat foods that include low-quality fillers like wheat. This recipe also contains added color and guar gum as a thickening agent.

Special Kitty wet food comes in large 13-ounce cans as well as smaller 3-ounce pouches. Kate Barrington / Cats.com

Another thing worth noting with this recipe is the large portion size. Walmart recommends feeding two pouches per 5 pounds of body weight per day. For an average 10-pound cat, that’s four pouches.

Because the food is cheap price isn’t a concern, but large feeding recommendations raise a red flag because it suggests the food may be low in nutrient density, so more food is required to meet your cat’s nutritional needs.


Water sufficient for processing, chicken, meat by-products, wheat gluten, beef, salt, natural flavors, sodium phosphate, guar gum, added color, potassium chloride, sodium carbonate, choline chloride, vitamins (vitamin E supplement, thiamine mononitrate, niacin supplement, d-calcium pantothenate, pyridoxine hydrochloride, riboflavin supplement, vitamin A supplement, biotin, vitamin D3 supplement, vitamin B12 supplement, folic acid), taurine, minerals (ferrous sulfate, zinc oxide, copper proteinate, sodium selenite, manganese sulfate, potassium iodide), magnesium sulfate, DL-methionine, fish oil (preserved with mixed tocopherols).

Ingredients We Liked Ingredients We Didn’t Like Common Allergens


Meat by-products

Wheat gluten

Added color




Guaranteed Analysis

Crude Protein: 8%
Crude Fat: 3%
Crude Fiber: 1%
Moisture: 84%

Dry Matter Basis

Protein: 50%
Fat: 18.75%
Fiber: 6.25%
Carbs: 25%

Caloric Weight Basis

Protein: 41.48%
Fat: 37.78%
Carbs: 20.74%


  • Contains two whole sources of animal protein
  • Rich in moisture and flavor
  • Low in carbohydrates (estimated under 5%)


  • Contains unnamed by-products
  • Uses wheat gluten as a supplemental protein
  • Long list of synthetic supplements required

#2 Special Kitty Classic Tuna Dinner Canned Food

View on Walmart

This canned food recipe is called “Tuna Dinner” but the first ingredient (after water) is chicken. Tuna comes next, which we’re glad to see, but it’s a little misleading to name a product after an ingredient that doesn’t even make up the majority of the recipe’s protein.

Other problematic ingredients in this recipe include meat by-products, poultry by-products, and carrageenan. We also aren’t thrilled about the brewer’s rice, simply because there are more nutritious forms of rice that can be used in pet food. This recipe also includes artificial color.

Like the previous recipe, this formula makes heavy use of by-products, though it does include two whole sources of real animal protein. This formula is, however, low in carbohydrates. The estimated carb content of this recipe is only about 2%.


Water sufficient for processing, chicken, tuna, meat by-products, fish, poultry by-products, brewers rice, dried egg product, sodium tripolyphosphate, carrageenan, salt, guar gum, vitamins (vitamin E supplement, thiamine mononitrate, niacin, vitamin A supplement, d-calcium pantothenate, riboflavin supplement, pyridoxine hydrochloride, vitamin B12 supplement, menadione sodium bisulfite complex, vitamin D3 supplement, folic acid, biotin), potassium chloride, iron oxide (color), choline chloride, minerals (ferrous sulfate, zinc oxide, manganous oxide, copper sulfate, calcium iodate, sodium selenite) vitamin E supplement, NP04.

Ingredients We Liked Ingredients We Didn’t Like Common Allergens


Meat by-products

Poultry by-products

Brewer’s rice




Guaranteed Analysis

Crude Protein: 10%
Crude Fat: 5.5%
Crude Fiber: 1%
Moisture: 78%
Ash: 3.5%

Dry Matter Basis

Protein: 45.45%
Fat: 25%
Fiber: 4.55%
Carbs: 9.09%

Caloric Weight Basis

Protein: 39.44%
Fat: 52.68%
Carbs: 7.89%


  • Contains two sources of whole animal protein
  • Only contains an estimated 2% carbohydrates
  • Rich in moisture and natural flavor


  • Contains unnamed by-products (poultry and meat)
  • Uses carrageenan as a thickener
  • Long list of synthetic supplements required

#3 Special Kitty Naturals Dry Cat Food

View on Walmart

This Special Kitty dry food is described as a natural cat food with added vitamins, minerals, and other trace nutrients. Reading over the ingredients list, this seems to technically be true, but it doesn’t tell the whole story. In truth, this formula is packed with by-products and fillers.

Though the first ingredient in this recipe is chicken, as promised, it comes from by-products. Fresh chicken doesn’t appear until the 8th ingredient, after five grain-based fillers.

As a Walmart-exclusive brand, Special Kitty is highly affordable with wet foods priced under $0.15/ounce and dry foods under $1.00/pound. Kate Barrington / Cats.com

Not only does this recipe make heavy use of low-quality fillers like corn, wheat, and soy, but it also uses an unnamed source of “animal” fat as the primary source of fat. The estimated carbohydrate content of this formula is over 25%, which shouldn’t come as a surprise given the inclusion of five grain-based ingredients listed within the top 10.

Just about the only thing this recipe has going for it is the low price tag. Priced under $1.00 per pound, this formula is highly affordable. We just can’t recommend it because of the low-quality ingredients.


Chicken by-product meal, corn gluten meal, soybean meal, ground whole wheat, brewers rice, animal fat (preserved with mixed tocopherols), corn meal, chicken, natural flavor, salmon, dicalcium phosphate, salt, potassium chloride, brewer’s dried yeast, choline chloride, taurine, zinc sulfate, fish oil (preserved with mixed tocopherols), ferrous sulfate, vitamin E supplement, niacin, copper sulfate, vitamin A supplement, manganese sulfate, thiamine mononitrate, pyridoxine hydrochloride, d-calcium pantothenate, riboflavin supplement, biotin, vitamin B12 supplement, calcium iodate, menadione sodium bisulfite complex, vitamin D3 supplement, folic acid, sodium selenite.

Ingredients We Liked Ingredients We Didn’t Like Common Allergens


Corn gluten meal

Soybean meal

Ground whole wheat

Brewer’s rice

Animal fat

Corn meal






Guaranteed Analysis

Crude Protein: 38%
Crude Fat: 13%
Crude Fiber: 3%
Moisture: 12%

Dry Matter Basis

Protein: 43.18%
Fat: 14.77%
Fiber: 3.41%
Carbs: 38.64%

Caloric Weight Basis

Protein: 36.69%
Fat: 30.48%
Carbs: 32.83%


  • Animal protein listed as first ingredient
  • Contains two whole sources of animal protein (chicken and salmon)


  • Contains corn, wheat, and soy ingredients
  • Heavy use of by-product and fillers
  • High estimated carb content (over 25%)

How Much Does Special Kitty Cat Food Cost?

As a Walmart-exclusive brand, it should come as no surprise that Special Kitty is highly affordable. The recipes we reviewed above are all priced under $0.15/ounce for wet food and well under $1.00/pound for the dry food. Purchasing Special Kitty wet food in variety packs further drives down the price.

Overall, Is Special Kitty Cat Food a Good Choice?

Though Special Kitty is certainly one of the most affordable cat food brands we’ve reviewed, we can’t recommend it in good faith. This brand makes heavy use of grain-based fillers like corn, wheat, and soy and often relies on by-products rather than whole sources of animal protein.

Most of the Special Kitty dry foods we looked at had very high percentages of carbohydrate (often over 25%), though we were glad to see the wet foods were actually pretty low in carbs. The few good things we have to say about Special Kitty simply aren’t enough to outweigh the bad.

If you’re looking for an affordable brand of cat food, you can do much better than Special Kitty without spending a whole lot more. Check out our picks for affordable cat food here.

Where Is Special Kitty Cat Food Sold?

Special Kitty is a Walmart-exclusive brand which means you can only purchase it in Walmart stores or online at Walmart.com.

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About Kate Barrington

Kate Barrington is a writer with over twelve years of experience in the pet industry. She is an NAVC-certified Pet Nutrition Coach and has completed coursework in therapeutic nutrition, raw feeding, and the formulation of homemade diets for pets at an accredited university. Kate enjoys cooking, reading, and doing DIY projects around the house. She has three cats, Bagel, Munchkin, and Biscuit.

31 thoughts on “Special Kitty Cat Food Review”

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  1. Taria J Weeks

    Gave my cat special kitty hard food because he was tired of the other brands. Within a week he had to be put to sleep due to kidney stones that the vet said was caused by the ingredients in special kitty.

    1. Scott Martz

      I had two cats die last December when I went from Friskies to Special Kitty wet food. Anyone reading this, please do not buy this food. Kidney failure was also the cause. Vets didn’t care. They both died within 4 days of each other. Never, ever give this to your cats.

      1. A J Kamradt

        Had two cats die within 3 days of each other after eating Special Kitty Mixed Grill canned cat food. If you love your cats do not feed them this garbage. My Main Coon Skye & My Himalayan Meshia.
        2019 recall symptoms were the same exact symptoms my cars experienced
        Nausea, excessive salivation, diarrhea, vomiting, staggering, seizures and death. Still happening 4 years later.
        I an beyond livid!

    1. kateKate Barrington Post author

      Hi Donna! Special Kitty is a Walmart-exclusive brand, so you may be able to find coupons on the Walmart website. You can also order online for free 2-day shipping or same-day pickup.

  2. olivia

    Hogs love this stuff, corn grains they literally went nuts over this and it was actually good for them after reading the ingredients!!! Cats have different nutritional needs then butcher hogs. I had a pink bag of oatmeal flavor dry feed. Cats and mice wouldn’t eat this stuff though even if I mixed it with a can of chicken of the sea tuna which is just crazy I think.

  3. Trish

    I bought a large bag (~16 lb) of this Special Kitty “food” and my cat will not touch it. I’ve tried everything — wetting it down, mixing with some wet food, etc., and he would rather starve than eat this. I also feed a hungry feral cat that’s been hanging around, and he won’t eat this either. If starving feral cats won’t eat this then there is something wrong with it. From reading reviews on Walmart.com, some say Special Kitty has recently changed their formula, and plenty of people besides me are having the same problem and saying their cats will not eat it. I have asked Walmart if I can get a refund on what I paid because I feel I was ripped off. I had to make a special trip to the store to buy a bag of acceptable food that my cat would eat. The weird thing is: My cat is not a finicky eater at all. He’s had Purina, Friskies,, Meow Mix and various generic brands and eats all of them. But he won’t go near this stuff. I even tried to hand-feed him a few pieces (he loves me to hand-feed him), and he was having none of it, because he would no sooner get a piece of this in his mouth than it would be back out, on the floor because he would spit it out in disgust. I feel horrible that I will end up having to throw away 16 pounds of cat food. I don’t even want to give this to the local shelter because I would feel sorry for the cats they’d try to feed this to. I’ve had cats all my life and this is the first time I’ve bought a food that is this bad. DON’T BUY THIS STUFF. It’s not worth the few dollars you will save.


    Oh, for heaven’s sake. My cat (who is sooooo picky) loves the mixed grill pate. I will have to keep an eye on him I guess. But honestly, the last week was the first time in months that I didn’t have to get up in the middle of the night or ungodly early because he was refusing the 3 kinds of Fancy Feast and/or Friskies on offer, even if he previously liked them. He is old and has few teeth so I cater to his preferences. We tried some food clerks who supposedly know cats recommended as healthy; he almost starved rather than eat them.

  5. Yami

    i bought this cat food since i wanted to somewhat save some money (I’m a struggling college student) because I’ve been feeding 4 strays cats at the same time, so i go through cat food pretty quickly. i tried to give this cat food to one of the stray cats and the cat ended up throwing up the food. I have no idea what to do with the rest of the cat food since I’m also kind of scared to donate the food at a shelter, would someone give me an opinion on what i should do? should i donate the food or throw them away? they’re canned cat food.

    1. small mallory photoMallory Crusta

      Hi Yami, you may be able to return the food to Walmart, saying that it made one of your cats sick. However, they’ll most likely just throw it out as well. I would lean towards donating it, and here’s why—only one of the cats ended up vomiting the food, which means that it probably wasn’t making all of the strays sick. Especially if the cat just vomited and didn’t show any other signs of illness (they kept eating that day, didn’t have any diarrhea, and continued to behave normally), there’s most likely nothing wrong with the food. You can perhaps add a note when you donate saying that one of your cats vomited after eating the food, so you’d like them to proceed with caution, and this may at least put your mind at ease a little bit. You seem like a very kind and caring person—hope this helps!

    2. Ann Moody

      Hi, if you can’t return the unopened cans, or even opened bags of dry food, you should donate to a local humane society or cat rescue. It is possible the cats you are helping have a health issue that might not apply to many of the cats at shelters. They always need donations. Please don’t throw it away. There is a nationwide shortage of cat food and there are plenty of cats who will eat just about anything.

      1. A J Kamradt

        Had two cats die within 3 days of each other after eating Special Kitty Mixed Grill canned cat food. If you love your cats do not feed them this garbage. My Main Coon Skye & My Himalayan Meshia.
        2019 recall symptoms were the same exact symptoms my cars experienced
        Nausea, excessive salivation, diarrhea, vomiting, staggering, seizures and death. Still happening 4 years later.
        I an beyond livid!


    I purchased a big bag of special kitty seafood flavored dry food for my inside cats and one feral outside cat. The feral cat refuses to eat it and my inside cats have done nothing but throw it up.
    I do not want anything happening to any animal because of poor product.
    For sure I will be throwing it out and purchasing a different brand.

  7. b

    When Mars Company produced this it was the exact formula as Friskies. Idk if the formula has changed. However, I have fed over 20 cats -feral, pedigree (Siamese, Persian, Russian Blue, Bengal, PixieBob, Bombay and Turkish Angora) with this with my Vet’s approval -canned in the morning and dry at night. I’ve never had any problem and they have all lived healthy lives over 19 1/2 -my Bombay lived to be 25.

  8. Ann Moody

    A few things to keep in mind as has been mentioned here on this website often. And by the way, everything this website explains about the benefits of focus on whole, clean meat ingredients and avoiding fillers is spot on. So if you can afford the best foods and/or are dealing with a cat with special needs, obviously use the detailed, careful information provided as it is well researched, accurate, and covers almost every situation. However. . . in general:

    If it’s feasible, feeding wet food is nearly always better for cats than dry. Even this cheapo brand of Walmart wet food. And since a lot of people have cats but not huge budgets, it is important to consider that for many cats this food – especially the wet versions – are probably “fine.”

    Further, it seems this store brand is made by the same manufacturer as 9 Lives, and it looks as though the ingredients used are similar and that the intent is for consumers to assume this is a generic version of that brand – it’s often placed in the store right next to the 9 Lives so people can see, oh, this is kinda the same thing for cheaper. In other words, it’s probably no worse or better than 9 Lives which is also a cheapo brand with cheapo ingredients.

    Many people are trying to help feed shelter cats, or outdoor colony cats, on tight budgets. This may well be the only wet food they can afford.. On top of all that, Walmart stores are widely available in the USA meaning people can actually get the food. Many premium brands are not widely available to retain brick and mortar customers.

    In short, this store brand is probably the cheapest cat food available to many, many pet owners, and it should be fairly easy to get. The wet food is absolutely the cheapest thing you will find, aside from fire sale clearance or short dated foods that are one-off specials. Now back to the wet / dry discussion, there are many reasons why dry food is more practical, again partially related to cost as it’s so much cheaper, it doesn’t spoil quickly, it doesn’t freeze solid when fed to outdoor winter cats, it can be fed in ample / free feeding quantities so the cats don’t have to fight for their share, etc.

    By law the food has to meet certain specifications or it can’t be sold at all. Beyond that, this is NOT a premium brand or suitable for special needs, special diets, or special health concerns. It’s also not suitable for any cat owner who is able and willing to pay for better quality. Obviously there are practically unlimited brands out there that are “better,” and you pay for it.

    Why all this rambling? I just want to point out, even the cheapest (junkiest) cat food (both wet and dry versions) is serving a need and there are likely millions of cats better off out there because their owners have it available. Especially for colony or outdoor cats, for whom the alternative might be: starvation.

    Sure, if you can afford better food, and want to buy it, or have a reason why your cat needs it, go ahead. But I don’t believe a cat develops fatal kidney stones in a week’s time because they eat a cheap brand of food. More likely because they have been on a dry food diet for years. There is more to the story and I don’t think it’s beneficial to send out the fearful message that the average healthy cat will immediately drop dead if they get near the stuff, any more than we humans will be goners if we eat switch from paleo diets to ramen noodles and hot dogs. If you are hungry, you’ll eat the carbs, and so will the cats.

    1. Ann Moody

      Hi, I can’t edit my comments so I do want to add – there is also a lot less variety of cat food available on the shelves across the nation at the moment (January 2022). As stated above, for most healthy cats or outdoor cats they should tolerate this food and may even really like it a lot.

      We have been spoiled for choice and quality but with disruptions to the supply chain, you might have to settle for what you can find. As long as you don’t have ingredient allergies nearly any cat food brand should be “okay” for occasional feeding. I have in my mind these cat parents being terrified of feeding the mass-market or store brand generic type foods if they can’t get their usual premium brand.

      Countless cats get along just fine for a healthy normal lifespan on these low end brands and have for decades.

  9. Gary Shaffer

    I’m having a problem finding special kitty there seems to be none in any of the Walmart stores my cat loves this one and I have been giving it to her for some time now.

  10. Davis

    It is oddly one of the few canned foods that my cats don’t throw up. And they aren’t begging for food all day like they are starving. It fills them up. I do supplement with fresh meats, chicken and whatever else I find on sale. I do like that the large cans do not a flip top. The vet told us that they are thinking something about the flip tops could be causing thyroid problems.

  11. sam

    10/10 points on price is old news. As of October 2022, Walmart has raised Special Kitty prices to ridiculous levels. The product now costs almost double of what it costed around May. Walmart and Sams dont seem to care much about pets and pet owners as much as they care about becoming billion dollar companies. Shame on them.


    Well, I’m confused. Ingredients are supposedly listed in order of amount. Friskies & 9-Lives list corn based products first. Special Kitty lists MEAT first, so isn’t that what it has the most of? It’s affordable and my cats eat it. So I’m going to keep buying it.

    1. small mallory photoMallory Crusta

      Well, it’s not quite that simple. The Special Kitty Naturals dry cat food listed here contains chicken by-product meal, corn gluten meal, soybean meal, ground whole wheat, and brewers rice as its first 5 ingredients. Of those, 4 are plant ingredients. If you put all of those plant ingredients together, they’d be the first ingredient by a long shot. So because there are so many plant ingredients after the meat, I don’t think it can be called a meat-based food.

  13. Jay

    This product is great for fosters and shelters/rescues who are trying to feed hoards of cats. Yes, you get what you paid for, but even this cheap canned food is better than dry food. I am currently using this to feed a nursing mom cat and her five kittens, and the mom is gobbling this down. Get a better brand if you can, but for fosters like me this brand is a financial lifesaver.

    1. three dawgs

      Typical snide remarks from a people/society/governmental-system that bases value by its dollar cost. The same nimrods that are being oppressed, impoverished, and murdered by said system.

  14. Don Erickson

    Special kitty cat food is poison. My poor cat began pulling all of his hair out till his whole back was nothing but bloody skin. It looked so painful. It was uncontrollable , he couldn’t help it. Even with a cone on he’d find a way… The moment I stopped feeding him this Walmart garbage-he stopped pulling out his hair. What a foul family to do this to animals to get rich.