Problems With Fancy Feast

Cats need to eat a diet high in protein.
Cats need to eat a diet high in protein. (Image: George Doyle/Stockbyte/Getty Images)

Fancy Feast is a high-end brand of wet cat food. It comes in a can that is smaller than traditional canned pet foods. In addition to its line of wet cat food, Fancy Feast also makes dry food, kitten food, Fancy Feast Appetizers and Fancy Feast Elegant Medleys, which feature a soufflélike texture. Though most cats enjoy the taste of Fancy Feast, it is not the best option for feeding your cat every day.

Wheat Gluten

Cats should eat a high-protein, low-carbohydrate diet. Though most varieties of Fancy Feast contain a lot of protein, they also contain wheat gluten. Wheat gluten is bad for all cats, especially those with bowel problems. Wheat gluten attaches to the intestinal lining and causes harm in the gut. Fancy Feast Classic flavors contain no wheat gluten, so read the label and ingredient list carefully when shopping.

Protein and Fat

Cats get the majority of their energy from protein and fat. Per calorie, Fancy Feast delivers less fat than other brands. For instance, Fancy Feast Shredded White Meat Chicken Fare is 35 percent fat per 3-oz. can, whereas other brands average 50 percent fat per 6-oz. can. Protein levels for Fancy Feast are higher, though, providing more than 50 percent protein per 3-oz. can.


Fancy Feast contains byproducts, which are parts of an animal that are normally tossed away after slaughter. Though some byproducts, such as organ meat, are fine for cats to eat, byproducts can also include feet and feathers, which are of very low biological value. Veterinarians also have concerns about byproducts put into pet food because they are often tainted with disease and not fit for human consumption. According to veterinarian Lisa A. Pierson, “It would not bother me to feed byproducts to my cats if the reason they were deemed unfit for human consumption was simply due to the human-perceived 'ick' factor. Most humans do not want to eat animal brains (mad cow disease, not withstanding) or animal spleens. The problem is that it often goes past the aesthetics issue when considering the issue of diseased organs being included in the byproduct mix.”

Picky Eaters

Unfortunately, many cats are picky eaters. Owners with problem eaters have limited food options. Picky eaters are better off eating Fancy Feast than dry food or no food at all. Pierson explains that “feeding a diabetic cat a completely grain-free food that contains byproducts (such as most varieties of Fancy Feast) is going to be lower in carbohydrates than one with grains and is therefore a better choice for a cat with this disease.” She encourages owners to check the carbohydrate content of all food before offering it to cats.

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