Special Kitty Vs. Friskies: Which Is The Better Cat Food?

Disclaimer: Some of the links in this article may be affiliate links; we will earn a commision, at no additional cost to you, if you make a purchase through one of our links.

Are you feeding a swarm of tiny freeloaders who’ll gorge on every plate of cat food you set out? I get it; I’d be looking for affordable options too. Yet, you wonder if this food is bad for your cats.

Today, we’ll be comparing Special Kitty vs. Friskies. We’ll find out how a cheap Walmart product matches up to the cat food heavyweight. What we discovered about these brands may surprise you, so stick around!

Special Kitty vs. Friskies Overview

Special Kitty and Friskies are both brands that you can find on Walmart’s shelves. Special Kitty is one of the cheapest cat foods out there. Meanwhile, Friskies is one of the most popular all over the world.

 Special Kitty

Special Kitty

  • Best Budget Pick


  • Most Popular – Best Overall

What Is Special Kitty?

Special Kitty is a brand that’s made by J.M Smucker Co. but only sold exclusively at Walmart. Its manufacturer is responsible for other popular cat food brands such as Meow Mix, 9Lives, and Rachael Ray’s Nutrish.

As a Walmart Original, Special Kitty is one of the most affordable choices for cat food available in the market.

What Is Friskies?

Friskies is just one of the pet food brands owned by Nestlé. It’s up there along with the company’s Purina, Fancy Feast, Felix, and Pro Plan.

Friskies has been around since the 1930s and is one of America’s most popular cat food developers. Yearly, the brand sells about 585.5 million dollars on its wet food alone.

Currently, Friskies has hundreds of products on the market. From wet and dry cat food, treats, and even dog food, there’s no doubt that Friskies is a staple in every pet owner’s household.

Recommended: Best Royal Canin Ultamino cat food alternatives

Special Kitty vs. Friskies: Similarities

When we compared Special Kitty and Friskies, we found that both brands contain very similar ingredients. Both contain corn, wheat, soybean, chicken-byproduct, flavoring, and coloring.

Special Kitty has yellow#5 and blue#2 and Friskies has red#40, yellow#6, yellow#5, and blue#2, to be precise.

Both brands may have questionable ingredients, but they do follow the Association of American Feed Control Official’s requirements on nutrition content.

It seems that Special Kitty matches up to Friskies based on the product alone.

Save 35% on All Pet Supplies from Chewy
You will also get $20 off your first order on Chewy (plus free shipping). I personally think Chewy provides the best prices and offers, especially when it comes to my regular pet supply needs.

Special Kitty vs. Friskies: Differences

There’s a considerable difference between both brands’ pricing. Special Kitty is heaps cheaper than Friskies. Their nutritional content is the same, so it doesn’t look good for Friskies.

However, the latter does have an edge over Special Kitty. Friskies is more transparent regarding its products. Sometimes, honesty makes all the difference!

Table Comparison

Special Kitty and Friskies are more similar than you think. We took a look at their dry cat food’s ingredients and put them side-by-side. What we found was eye-opening.

Special Kitty and Friskies vs. AAFCO Standards

SpecificationAAFCO Nutrient Requirements for Adult CatsSpecial Kitty Chicken & TurkeyFriskies Farm Favorites Chicken, Carrots, & Spinach
Crude Protein (min)26%33%30%
Crude Fat (min)9%12%10.5%
Taurine (min)0.10.05%0.05%
Selenium (min)0.3 mg/kg0.3 mg/kg0.3 mg/kg
Linoleic Acid (min)0.6%2%1.5%
Vitamin E (min)40 IU/kg70 IU/kg100 IU/kg
Calorie Content (max)4000 kcal/kg3513 kcal/kg3638 kcal/kg

We were a bit impressed with Special Kitty for having a protein content that’s higher than both Friskies and the standard set by the AAFCO.

Based on the table, Special Kitty is better than Friskies on all parameters except for Vitamin E.

Special Kitty Chicken & Turkey vs. Friskies Farm Favorites (First 10 Ingredients)

Special Kitty Chicken & TurkeyFriskies Farm Favorites Chicken, Carrots, and Spinach
Chicken by-product mealGround yellow corn
Ground whole-grain cornChicken by-product meal
Ground wheatCorn gluten meal
Soybean mealSoybean meal
Meat and bone mealGround wheat
Animal fatBeef tallow (fat)
Natural flavorChicken
Brewers yeastNatural liver flavor
SaltCalcium carbonate
Potassium ChloridePhosphoric acid

For food labels, the FDA requires manufacturers to list ingredients in order of predominance. Meaning, the ingredient with the most amount should be at the top of the list. 

If you look at Friskies, their first ingredient is ground yellow corn. That means there’s more corn in their cat food than chicken!

Related: best alternatives to hydrolyzed cat food

On the other hand, the cheaper Special Kitty starts their label with meat. That’s what we want in our cat food. However, let’s not ignore the fact that both brands contain mostly grains, not meat.

Comparing the rest of the ingredients, it seems that everything else is mostly the same. In this case, I’d say that Special Kitty beats Friskies.

What’s Better About Special Kitty?

Special Kitty comes out on top in terms of price and nutritional value. When we look at the label, the brand has a higher meat ratio compared to Friskies.

Factor in the low cost of Special Kitty and you get the most bang for your buck.

What’s Better About Friskies?

Friskies’s edge over Special Kitty would be its quality standards and transparency.

During our research, we couldn’t find a proper website that shows Special Kitty’s ingredients and certifications. We had to rely on the actual label on the product.

Comparing that to Friskies, a quick search will show you each ingredient, lab analysis, review, and a feeding guide of every single product that they carry.

Friskies also has less history of product recalls than Special Kitty. Meaning, Friskies is more equipped to prevent hazards from slipping through its system.

Related Food Review: Supreme Source full review

Who Should Get Special Kitty?

Owners who’re feeding multiple cats and are on a tight budget should go for Special Kitty.

If you’re not particular about transparency during the manufacturing process, this brand can beat Friskies.

Special Kitty is overall better than Friskies in terms of its ingredients as well.

Who Should Get Friskies?

Fur parents who prioritize quality and food safety might want to purchase Friskies instead of Special Kitty.

Nothing will beat knowing where your cat’s food is coming from, and Friskies is a brand that can provide that information for you.