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Fancy Feast is one of the most popular cat food brands on the market today. As such, it is readily available in many grocery stores, pet food stores, and is also available online.
Fancy Feast is owned by Nestle Purina PetCare. They introduced the Fancy Feast brand name in 1982 and only had 7 flavors of wet cat food initially. The brand name was introduced as their “gourmet line” of cat foods.
Nestle Purina PetCare has been the subject of several pet food recalls over the past several years. Be sure to frequently check the FDA pet food recalls website. You might want to sign up for their email alerts as well.
Ingredients in Fancy Feast White Meat Chicken and Flaked Tuna Appetizer Cat Food
Water, chicken, tuna, guar gum, xanthan gum, sodium nitrite.
These ingredients are put in a plastic tray that is foil sealed. The chicken and tuna are sliced in chunks unlike the ordinary ground or minced meat. They are placed inside a broth-like substance. The other ingredients are perfectly blended into the meat to create a complete formula.
Top 5 Ingredients Analysis
Whenever you are reviewing a commercial cat food blend, it is good practice to pay special attention to the first 5 ingredients listed. These ingredients make up the vast majority of the nutritional content in the food. Let’s take a look at the top 5 ingredients in this cat food.
As you might expect, water is mostly added for moisture and cooking purposes. It does not add any nutritional value to the food.
Chicken is a very popular ingredient for pet food and in this case, they are referring to whole chicken. This is a very high quality meat source and we are pleased to see it listed. However, whole chicken loses about 80% of its content during the cooking process since the majority of whole chicken is water. After the cooking process is complete, the amount of whole chicken remaining is substantially reduced. Therefor, while whole chicken is a great source of meat protein, this ingredient alone is not enough to provide sufficient levels of meat protein in a cats diet.
This ingredient is a well known saltwater fish. There is some debate about whether fish products should be included in cat food at all, because cats by nature do not eat much sea food. A lot of cat owners would rather see meat from other animals such as beef, chicken, turkey, or other meat sources. However, tuna does supply a good amount of protein and also contains an excellent amount of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids.
This ingredient is also sometimes called guaran. It is primarily the ground endosperm of guar beans. The guar seeds are dehusked, milled and screened to obtain the guar gum. It is typically produced as a free-flowing, off-white powder. This ingredient is mostly used to thicken the food and give it more texture. It is an FDA-approved, all natural GRAS (Generally Recognized as Safe) ingredient used by the food and cosmetic industries. It also is used to improve the shelf life of the food and helps lower the glycemic index of food. Many cat food companies claim this ingredient also aids in digestion and weight loss. There is some minor debate about the benefits of this ingredient with some claiming negative impacts, but in general, this is thought to be a relatively non-nutritious yet safe ingredient.
This is a substance produced by bacterial fermentation or created synthetically and is used in cat foods as a gelling agent and thickener. It is composed of glucose, mannose, and glucuronic acid. It is what causes the black rot on veggies that have been in the fridge too long. Once the bacteria has fermented, it is pasteurized (killed) and filtered. The resulting xanthan gum is then treated with isopropyl alcohol, dried, ground, and diluted to desired consistency. The finished product is a loose, whitish-colored powder. The behavior of xanthan gum makes it ideal for food processing purposes and is used in human food frequently. Nutritionally speaking, it is a carbohydrate with about seven grams of fiber per tablespoon. Xanthan gum is made using carbohydrates from corn, wheat, dairy, or soy which are all common food allergens for many cats.
Nitrates are used in curing, which is a broad category of techniques for preserving foods, mainly meat and fish, that involves the use of salt, sugar, or some form of dehydration. In each case, the goal is to make the food unattractive to the bacteria that cause food spoilage. This works because bacteria are tiny organisms that require, among other things, moisture, oxygen and food. Take away one of these things and they die. So basically, that’s a fancy way of saying this ingredient is used as a preservative. In addition, it also gives cat food that red, meaty look. While unsubstantiated, there are claims that sodium nitrite and sodium nitrate can cause chemically induced cancer in cats. In rare circumstances, pets have died due to to receiving too much of this ingredient in their food.
Allergy Risk Associated With Fancy Feast White Meat Chicken and Flaked Tuna Appetizer Cat Food
While the formula contains no allergy causing ingredients, it does contain Xanthan gum which is a corn extract. Corn is an allergy causing ingredients. Therefore, it is important to avoid feeding your allergic cat on this appetizer.
Ingredients to avoid feeding cats on
Soy – Soy is another common food allergen for cats and is also known to cause gastric upset. This ingredient is considered a very low priced filler ingredient. While it will certainly help make your cat food more full, the full nutritional benefit in this ingredient is questionable at best. Many cat food brands will tell you the allergy risk is very low with soy, but it is one of the most well known food allergens that cats deal with in commercial pet food. Overall, this is a pretty low quality ingredient.
Wheat – Most cat food brands that use wheat in their products will tell you that wheat is a grain used as a high-quality carbohydrate source in dry dog and cat foods and biscuits. They will tell you that it provides energy for daily activity, as well as processing characteristics for the food. And finally, they will tell you that the allergy risk associated with wheat is low. However, many experts not associated with the pet food industry will seemingly say the opposite. From them, you’ll hear that wheat and wheat by-product is a very common allergy for dogs and cats. You’ll even find sources that claim wheat has also been linked to epileptic seizures and celiac diseases. Cats are not able to digest grains nearly as well as humans or dogs, so many cats may also experience digestion issues if given too much wheat. In general, wheat is considered to be a very low priced filler ingredient with essentially no nutritional value for cats. As the debate rages on, you be the judge.
Animal by-products – One of the worst meat ingredients found in pet food today is animal by product. It’s true that this ingredient provides a very high amount of meat protein that cats need to thrive. However, animal by products are considered to be the lowest form of meat and it isn’t even approved for human consumption. Animal by-products are carcasses and parts of carcasses from slaughterhouses, animal shelters, zoos and veterinarians, and products of animal origin not intended for human consumption, including catering waste. Legally, this ingredient can even contain roadkill or euthanized animals. This ingredient may also contain what is called “4D meat” which is what the USDA (United States Department of Agriculture) calls cattle that is dead, dying, disabled or diseased. This meat is considered unfit for human consumption, but is typically found in many pet food products. This is not something we recommend you feed your cat or any other pet.
Artificial coloring and flavoring – Both artificial and natural flavor ingredients are considered to be lower quality ingredients. Artificial flavor is usually derived from petroleum. Most have not been studied for safety or toxicity. They are all synthesized chemicals that don’t even have common names. Most artificial flavors actually contain many chemical ingredients, not just one. Many of those chemicals are volatile. Both natural and artificial flavors are chemical based ingredients and we don’t get all that excited when we see either one of those ingredients listed. Both of these ingredients have potential allergy risks and other possible health problems in cats.
We also find it quite irresponsible to include artificial coloring in pet food since the health concerns about these added colors are so controversial. Your cat does not care what color their food is and the only reason artificial coloring is added to this product is for marketing purposes. It makes the food look better to you YOU, the human consumer. Of course, many cat food brands are very defensive about their use of food coloring. Here is an example of how the Purina brand defends their use of fool coloring. Notice how even in their explanation, there is no perceived benefit to these ingredients other than changing the color. There is also a growing amount of evidence to suggest food coloring may be linked to cancer in not just dogs and cats, but also humans. Here is an article that explains a bit further. In short, since there is some controversy surrounding this ingredient, we find it a bit strange that cat food companies would spend money adding this ingredient into a product when at best, it has zero nutritional value for your cat and only has marketing value. At worse, it could pose health risks. It just doesn’t seem like the risk of including this ingredient is worth it.
Apart from the color preservative, the formula does not contain any of the other harmful ingredients.
Apart from its unique serving of chicken and fish as great protein and fatty acids sources, this appetizer contains no other beneficial ingredients. For this reason, it is important to avoid making this appetizer the only meal for your cat. It lacks in supplementation and other nutrients required for overall healthy growth of the cat. Therefore, it should be given as a part of the daily meal guideline for your cat.