- Meat is the first ingredient – 1 Star
- Uses some unnamed meats – 0 Star
- Above average protein content – 0 Star
- Less than 4 controversial ingredients – 0 Star
- Catological Discretionary Rating – 0 Star
Here’s a few important points:
- Meat is the first ingredient, but that’s where the good news ends
- It uses unnamed meat products, so you don’t actually know what’s in it
- There are a ton of filler ingredients added
- It’s a low protein, high carbohydrate recipe, which is not appropriate for cats
- Overall a very poor quality food
Fancy Feast’s Gourmet Naturals product line includes 2 dry recipes/flavors.
Each recipe below includes its related AAFCO nutrient profile when available on the product’s official webpage or packaging: Growth (G), Maintenance (M), All Life Stages (A), Supplemental (S) or Unspecified (U).
The star rating is a rough average of all of the flavors in a single line of food. If an individual recipe scored lower or higher, we will mark that below, next to the flavor.
- Fancy Feast Gourmet Naturals Chicken (A)
- Fancy Feast Gourmet Naturals Oceanfish (A)
Fancy Feast Gourmet Naturals Chicken was selected to represent the other products in the line for this review.
Fancy Feast Gourmet Naturals Chicken
Dry Cat Food
|Estimated Nutrient Content|
|Dry Matter Basis||38%||17%||32%|
|Calorie Weighted Basis||34%||37%||29%|
Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content
Fiber (guaranteed analysis)
Is real, named meat the first ingredient?
Chicken, corn gluten meal, whole grain corn, poultry by-product meal, barley, animal fat naturally preserved with mixed-tocopherols, soybean meal, natural liver flavor, rice, phosphoric acid, calcium carbonate, salt, natural flavor, brewers dried yeast, potassium chloride, choline chloride, fish oil, MINERALS [zinc sulfate, ferrous sulfate, manganese sulfate, copper sulfate, calcium iodate, sodium selenite], taurine, VITAMINS [Vitamin E supplement, niacin (Vitamin B-3), Vitamin A supplement, calcium pantothenate (Vitamin B-5), thiamine mononitrate (Vitamin B-1), riboflavin supplement (Vitamin B-2), Vitamin B-12 supplement, pyridoxine hydrochloride (Vitamin B-6), folic acid (Vitamin B-9), Vitamin D-3 supplement, biotin (Vitamin B-7), menadione sodium bisulfite complex (Vitamin K)], DL-Methionine.
Ingredients in red are controversial or of questionable quality.
The first ingredient in this cat food is chicken. Good.
While quality of the individual ingredient can vary, chicken is a very good protein source for cats.
It’s also important to note that chicken contains about 70% water, so when it is processed and cooked for use in cat food, it will become a smaller part of the total recipe.
The second ingredient is corn gluten meal. Bad.
Corn is not biologically appropriate, and most if not all corn ingredients are cheap fillers.
Corn gluten meal is used as a protein additive, but it is not as digestible as meat protein, and not what your cat needs to be healthy.
AAFCO says that it is “the dried residue from corn after the removal of the larger part of the starch and germ, and the separation of the bran by the process employed in the wet milling manufacture of corn starch or syrup, or by enzymatic treatment of the endosperm.”
Low quality ingredient.
The third ingredient is whole grain corn. Bad.
Corn is not a biologically appropriate food for cats.
The ingredient used is usually an inexpensive feed-grade corn. There are reports of it including moldy grains and fungus.
It’s not as digestible as meat, it’s not meat protein, which means it isn’t a complete protein that your cat needs, and it’s typically only included as a cheap filler.
Low quality ingredient.
The fourth ingredient is poultry by-product meal. Bad.
According to the AAFCO, poultry by-product meal “consists of the ground, rendered, clean parts of the carcass of poultry, such as necks, feet, undeveloped eggs, viscera, and whole carcasses, exclusive of added feathers.”
This is then rendered and concentrated into a protein-rich meal.
Any animal product that is not fully named (i.e., chicken, turkey, or beef), is considered low quality.
It may be chicken, but it might be turkey or any other kind of poultry.
By-products, as you can see above, is basically everything left over after the main cut of meat is taken away (usually for human consumption).
Low quality meat product.
The fifth ingredient is barley. Bad.
While it is a useful grain in most senses, and better than many alternatives, it is still a grain.
And cats do not require grain. Therefore it is not biologically appropriate.
Barley is high in fiber, and has an average amount of protein for a grain.
The sixth ingredient is animal fat naturally preserved with mixed-tocopherols. Bad.
Added fat is usually a good sign, but when it is an unnamed product like this, it is a bad sign.
When we see “chicken fat”, we know that the fat comes solely from rendered chicken carcasses that are meant to be there.
“Animal” fat, on the other hand, can contain almost anything.
Animals included could fall into one of the 4-D categories: dead (by means other than slaughter), dying, diseased, or disabled.
It could also include roadkill or even zoo animals.
The rendering industry is not a very fun place to look too far into when it comes to animal food, and unnamed animal fats are one of their specialties.
We recommend staying away from any unnamed animal product, because you just don’t know what’s in there, and the self-regulation surrounding the industries provide a lot of leeway when it comes to what kind of meat can be used.
The seventh ingredient is soybean meal. Bad.
Soy is a bad ingredient for cats, particularly soy manufactured in factories in the US, where soy bean protein is used to create other products, compared to Asia, where soy is typically fermented, which makes it much better for the body.This ingredient has been condensed and had the water removed to create a high-protein meal. We have to remember that this may mean there is even less meat in here than we thought, because this is a plant ingredient that will still increase the protein content on the bag’s label.
Soy contains many anti-nutrients that inhibits your cat’s body from digesting nutrients from the other foods she eats.
After natural liver flavor, which is fine, the eighth ingredient is rice. Bad.
It may be slightly better than corn in some areas, but rice is simply not biologically appropriate for cats.
It is a filler ingredient.
Studies hypothesize that rice may decrease taurine absorption in cats, leading to taurine deficiency, a dangerous ailment.
This recipe includes a number of other ingredients, but once you get down this far, none of them will be in large enough quantities to make a real difference, except for the added vitamins and minerals.
However, there are still a few things you should know.
It uses brewer’s dried yeast, which is a by-product of brewing beer. It is used for flavoring and for protein and B-vitamins.
However, some reports suggest that it can become very toxic to the liver, causing allergies and arthritis, in large doses.
To read a more in depth article about any of the ingredients listed here, check out our Cat Food Ingredient Wiki (currently under development).
The Catological Verdict on Fancy Feast Gourmet Naturals Dry Cat Food
From top to bottom, this is a below average dry product.
Although it is a meat-first product, unlike the regular “Gourmet” line by Fancy Feast, there are a lot of filler ingredients, and obviously not much meat.
It even uses unnamed meat ingredients so you don’t really know what’s in the food.
There’s nothing that stands out about this to make us suggest it over any other food.
As outlined above, many of these ingredients are not optimal for your cat to consume or digest, and may actually hurt her in the long run.
This is a terrible example of a dry food to feed your cat.
Since meat hardly shows up on the ingredient list, and crude protein content is low, we can assume this is a plant-based cat food, which is not biologically appropriate for your carnivorous feline.
To review, on a dry matter basis, this food is 38% protein, 17% fat, and 32% carbs.
As a group, the brand has an average protein content of 37%, and average fat content of 17%, and an average carb content of 32%.
Compared to the other 2000+ foods in our database, this food has:
- Below average protein.
- Average fat.
- Above average carbs.
Because the first ingredient is meat, but plenty of fillers are used, and unnamed animal products are used, our rating for this brand is 1 star.
Fancy Feast’s Cat Food Recall History
We do not believe that a recall indicates a low quality food or company, and we respect the fact that sometimes things happen that cause a manufacturer to recall a food.
Usually these things are non-life-threatening, and we think it’s important to take a moment to be thankful about just how few recalls there really are in the industry, considering the enormous volume of food produced.
However, we do believe that a history of recalls may point to a larger issue with a company, and that discerning consumers want to know who they’re buying from, especially when it comes to something as important as the food you feed your beloved cat.
Here is a list of recalls that have affected the Fancy Feast brand in the past:
- We could not find evidence of any Fancy Feast recalls, though Purina, the parent company, has had multiple over the years
If you want to stay up to date on the latest recall information affecting your cat’s food, sign up to our email list and receive an email every time a recall is announced. We’ll also let you know about any updated ratings, recipe changes, or new cat foods on the market. (Our alert system will be launched shortly, check back soon.)
Where To Buy Fancy Feast Dry Cat Food
We recommend purchasing your pet products from Chewy.com. They continually prove that they walk the walk while talking the talk, and I’ve never dealt with a more dedicated pet-parent base of people than those who work at Chewy.
Plus, they offer 20% off and free shipping on lots of orders.
Check out our ratings and reviews of the best cat foods in our comprehensive, data-backed guide right here.