First Mate Cat Food Review

First Mate Cat Food

Our Review Process

Our reviews are based on extensive research and, when possible, hands-on testing. Each time you make a purchase through one of our independently-chosen links, we’ll receive a percentage of the proceeds. Read more about how we’re supported here.

Wondering if FirstMate is a safe, healthy choice for your cat? Find out in our comprehensive FirstMate cat food review.

The We’re All About Cats Standard—Rating FirstMate on What Matters

We’ve analyzed FirstMate and graded it according to the We’re All About Cats standard, evaluating the brand on species-appropriateness, ingredient quality, product variety, price, customer experience, and recall history. Here’s how it rates in each of these six key areas.

Rating

  • Species-Appropriateness – 5/10
  • Ingredient Quality – 7/10
  • Product Variety – 8/10
  • Price – 5/10
  • Customer Experience – 9/10
  • Recall History – 10/10

Overall Score: 7.7/10

We give FirstMate cat food a 46 out of 60 rating or a B+ grade.

About FirstMate

This Canadian pet food company was founded in 1989 and originally focused on food for dogs. Today, the company has expanded to include multiple pet food brands, including KASIKS, Skoki, and FirstMate. FirstMate is marketed as simple, high-quality pet food you can trust.

Is it a safe, trustworthy choice for your cat? Let’s investigate further.

Sourcing and Manufacturing

FirstMate manufactures all of their own products in their British Columbia facility. The company highlights end-to-end control of their production process as one of their biggest competitive advantages.

FirstMate controls its own sourcing, manufacturing, and distribution. The company obtains all ingredients from North America, with the exception of lamb sourced in Australia.

Their meat ingredients come from animals that were humanely raised, transported, and slaughtered according to Canadian regulations. All of their fish ingredients are sustainably caught in their natural habitat.

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Has FirstMate cat food been recalled?

No. FirstMate cat food has never been recalled.

What kinds of cat food does FirstMate offer?

FirstMate makes and sells both wet and dry cat food. Their lineup includes grain-free and grain-inclusive varieties, limited-ingredient foods, and recipes with multiple protein sources.

All of their foods are made from named cuts of meat rather than anonymous by-products and meat meals. They don’t contain artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives. Interestingly, their canned products don’t contain any thickeners, giving them a looser consistency than most other wet food.

Their dry foods use vacuum infusion to lock fats and oils into the pores of each piece of kibble. This process protects heat-sensitive fatty acids and nutrients that might otherwise degrade during cooking.

FirstMate Cat Food – Top 3 Recipes Reviewed

Product NameFood TypePrice per OunceOur Grade
FirstMate Chicken Meal with Blueberries Formula Limited Ingredient DietDry$0.19B+
FirstMate Chicken Formula Limited Ingredient Grain-Free Canned Cat FoodWet$0.26B-
FirstMate 50/50 Salmon & Tuna Formula Grain-Free Canned Cat FoodWet$0.40B-

FirstMate Chicken Meal with Blueberries Formula Limited Ingredient Diet Grain-Free Dry Cat Food Review

FirstMate Chicken Meal with Blueberries Formula Limited Ingredient Diet Grain-Free Dry Cat Food

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Chicken meal appears to be the primary protein source in this dry cat food. 

This popular limited-ingredient dry food recipe features chicken meal as the primary ingredient, with protein from chicken accounting for 92% of the food’s total protein content. With the remaining 8% of the food’s overall protein content coming from plants, we can assume that this is a relatively digestible, biologically-available food.

Aside from chicken meal and chicken fat, there’s not much to this food. It contains potato, whole blueberries, and a little bit of kale and yeast extract near the end of the ingredient list.

Overall, this food has moderate protein content, moderate fat, and high carbohydrate content. 

This is a truly limited-ingredient food and a promising option for cats with food sensitivities or allergies. Wet food is ideal, but if your cat is stuck on dry food, this one is worth a try.

The food has 547 calories per cup.

Ingredients

Chicken Meal, Potato, Chicken Fat (Preserved with Mixed Tocopherols), Whole Blueberries, Dl-Methionine, Minerals: (Zinc Proteinate, Iron Proteinate, Manganese Proteinate, Copper Proteinate, Calcium Iodate, Cobalt Carbonate, Sodium Selenite), Vitamins: (Niacin, Thiamine Mononitrate, D-Calcium Pantothenate, Riboflavin, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Folic Acid, Biotin, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Vitamin E Supplement, Vitamin A Supplement, Vitamin D3 Supplement), Potassium Chloride, Calcium Propionate (a Preservative), Taurine, Yeast Extract (a Source of Prebiotics), Kale, Glucosamine Hydrochloride.

Guaranteed Analysis

Crude Protein36% min
Crude Fat16% min
Fiber4.0% max
Moisture10% max
Ash8.0% max

FirstMate Chicken Meal with Blueberries Estimated Dry Matter Macronutrient Breakdown

FirstMate Chicken Meal with Blueberries Estimated Dry Matter Macronutrient Breakdown

Ingredients We Liked: Chicken Meal, Chicken Fat

Ingredients We Didn’t Like: Potato, Whole Blueberries

Common Allergens: Chicken

Pros

  • Contains a single protein source to reduce the risk of allergic reactions and intolerances.
  • Rich in animal-sourced protein
  • Free of harmful artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives

Cons

  • High carbohydrate content
  • Dry food isn’t ideal for cats

FirstMate Chicken Formula Limited Ingredient Grain-Free Canned Cat Food Review

FirstMate Chicken Formula Limited Ingredient Grain-Free Canned Cat Food

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Chicken appears to be the primary protein source in this wet cat food. 

This limited-ingredient canned food features a single protein source, a starch, and supplements that make it nutritionally complete. Aside from kale at the very bottom of the ingredient list, the food really only has two main ingredients. It doesn’t even contain any stabilizers like guar gum or cassia gum.

This makes it a promising option for cats with food sensitivities or allergies, including those on an elimination diet to identify trigger ingredients.

Overall, this dry food has moderate protein content with moderate fat and high carbohydrate content. 

This food’s positive qualities include a super-slim ingredient list, the use of apparently high-quality protein source, and a refusal to include any potentially-harmful artificial ingredients. That said, the inclusion of potato sends the food’s carbohydrate content up over 20%, which is more than your carnivore needs or can benefit from.

The food has 140 calories per 5.5-ounce can or about 25 calories per ounce.

Ingredients

Boneless Chicken, Water Sufficient for Processing, Potato, Calcium Carbonate, Sodium Chloride, Dicalcium Phosphate, Minerals: (Iron Proteinate, Zinc Proteinate, Copper Proteinate, Manganese Proteinate, Iodine), Vitamins: (Niacin, Vitamin E Supplement, Thiamine Mononitrate, D-Pantothenic Acid, Riboflavin, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Vitamin A Supplement, Folic Acid, Biotin, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Vitamin D3 Supplement), Potassium Chloride, Choline Chloride, Taurine, Kale.

Guaranteed Analysis

Crude Protein11% min
Crude Fat4.0% min
Fiber0.5% max
Moisture78% max
Ash1.5% max

FirstMate Chicken Formula Limited Ingredient Grain-Free Canned Cat Food Estimated Dry Matter Macronutrient Breakdown

FirstMate Chicken Formula Limited Ingredient Grain-Free Canned Cat Food Estimated Dry Matter Macronutrient Breakdown

Ingredients We Liked: Boneless Chicken

Ingredients We Didn’t Like: Potato

Common Allergens: Chicken

Pros

  • Appropriate for cats with food sensitivities and allergies
  • Free of potentially-harmful additives
  • Primarily made from high-quality boneless chicken

Cons

  • Relatively high carbohydrate content
  • A considerable percentage of reviewers say their cats didn’t like the food

FirstMate 50/50 Salmon & Tuna Formula Grain-Free Canned Cat Food Review

FirstMate 50/50 Salmon & Tuna Formula Grain-Free Canned Cat Food

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Salmon appears to be the primary protein source in this wet cat food.

While the other foods reviewed earlier were limited-ingredient foods with single protein sources, this food contains two protein sources—salmon and tuna. Ninety-six percent of the food’s protein content comes from these ingredients.

Like other FirstMate foods, it contains potato instead of any traditional thickening gums, synthetic vitamins, minerals, and amino acids, and kale as an additional source of nutrients.

Overall, this food has high protein content with low fat content and high carbohydrate content.

This food has some good qualities. It includes apparently high-quality fish as a primary ingredients and doesn’t contain a lot of the plant ingredients you’d see in other, less streamlined, foods. But by using potato instead of traditional stabilizing gums, this FirstMate food becomes a high-starch, species-inappropriate choice.

The food has 146 calories per 5.5-ounce can or about 27 calories per ounce.

Ingredients

Boneless/Skinless Salmon, Deboned Tuna, Water Sufficient For Processing, Potato, Calcium Carbonate, Sodium Chloride, Dicalcium Phosphate, Minerals: (Iron Proteinate, Zinc Proteinate, Copper Proteinate, Manganese Proteinate, Iodine), Vitamins: (Niacin, Vitamin E Supplement, Thiamine Mononitrate, D-Pantothenic Acid, Riboflavin, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Vitamin A Supplement, Folic Acid, Biotin, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Vitamin D3 Supplement), Potassium Chloride, Choline Chloride, Taurine, Kale.

Guaranteed Analysis

Crude Protein11% min
Crude Fat5.0% min
Fiber0.4% max
Moisture78% max
Ash2.0% max

FirstMate 50/50 Salmon & Tuna Formula Grain-Free Canned Cat Food Estimated Dry Matter Macronutrient Breakdown

FirstMate Salmon & Tuna Formula Grain-Free Canned Cat Food Estimated Dry Matter Macronutrient Breakdown

Ingredients We Liked: Boneless, Skinless Salmon, Deboned Tuna

Ingredients We Didn’t Like: Potato

Common Allergens: Fish

Pros

  • Contains high-quality salmon and tuna
  • Rich in animal-sourced protein
  • A relatively limited-ingredient food
  • Free of artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives that could harm your cat

Cons

  • Relatively high carbohydrate content

What do customers think of FirstMate cat food?

Because their lineup includes several limited-ingredient foods, FirstMate is a popular choice among cats with food sensitivities, allergies, intolerances, and chronic digestive problems. People like that FirstMate foods are made without any thickening gums and are impressed by the simplicity of their ingredient lists.

Their foods, particularly the wet ones, get some negative reviews. Most unhappy reviewers say their cats didn’t like the foods’ taste, smell, or consistency.

Positive Reviews

“Got a sample of this after writing FirstMate and they were kind enough to send a few sample bags. I have an IBD cat and anyone with a fur baby with this Disease knows how hard it is to find a food they for one will eat, let alone be free of potential irritants and not needed ingredients. For one, “Chicken Meal” is not horrible, it has more nutrients actually than just “Chicken”. Always look at the first 5 ingredients it will tell you all you need to know about the quality of cat food. This food is so far a hit with my IBD cat, he gets it as just a treat for right now along with FirstMate Chicken LID in the can. I also sprinkle powdered pet chicken bone broth on top of his FirstMate canned it is suppose to help repair the intestinal mucosa.. Hats off FirstMate, don’t change anything please.”DonnaJean, reviewing FirstMate Chicken Meal with Blueberries Formula Limited Ingredient Diet Dry Cat Food

“Canned chicken: Although it looks like cat food that has been barfed up, four of our five cats seem to love it and the other one is too busy outside to eat right now but he’s not finicky so I think he’ll like it too. We have decided to give our cats only the best and after exhaustive research, this food seems to fit the bill for canned food. Haven’t tried dry food yet. Hopefully the cats will continue to eat it!”AletaA, reviewing FirstMate Chicken Formula Limited Ingredient Canned Cat Food

Negative Reviews

“I have a very picky girl and she would not eat it. She would rather starve that’s how bad it is. My boy cat who eats EVERYTHING, would just eat it in bits and pieces. I would give it 1 star but because it is grain free and is free of guar gum, I would still recommend it to others because of the price point. I wish my cats liked it more.” meowmeowbebop, reviewing FirstMate Limited Ingredient Chicken Formula Limited Ingredient Canned Cat Food

“Because there aren’t many foods for cats that don’t contain grain and fish, I purchased this kibble with high hopes. The fact that 96% of reviewers recommended this product also made it look very promising. Unfortunately none of my four cats (which includes one with IBD) showed much interest in it.”Hajime19, reviewing FirstMate Chicken Meal with Blueberries Formula Limited Ingredient Diet Dry Cat Food

How much does FirstMate cat food cost?

FirstMate cat food is at the lower end of the premium price range. Their dry food costs roughly $0.40 per day if you’re feeding a typical 10-lb cat. FirstMate’s wet food is a bit more expensive, ranging from $1.82 to around $2.80 per day.

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Overall, is FirstMate a good choice?

FirstMate does some interesting things with their cat food. Their dry foods are some of the few limited ingredient kibble products that are actually limited. Their wet foods are among the very few that don’t contain thickening gums.

FirstMate’s parent company, Taplow Ventures, appears to be a company you can trust. They’ve not issued a recall during the last 30 years of operation. All FirstMate foods are made from sustainably-caught, high-quality ingredients and appear to be produced under carefully-controlled conditions.

Their foods are a good option for cats with food sensitivities or allergies, but proceed with caution—most of their foods are high in carbohydrates. High carbohydrate intake can increase your cat’s chances of developing diabetes and, if he already is diabetic or obese, could make things worse.

Also Read: Best Cat Food for Diabetic Cats

Where to Buy FirstMate Cat Food

You can buy FirstMate cat food in independent pet specialty retailers scattered across Canada and the United States. FirstMate also partners with a number of distributors in Europe and Asia. Online, it’s available through Chewy, Amazon, and directly through the FirstMate website.

Click here to shop for FirstMate cat food on Chewy.

About the author


Mallory Crusta is a writer and adventurecat enthusiast on a mission to make cats’ lives extraordinary. She’s one of the founders of Wildernesscat – a site for happy, healthy, and adventurous cats who are fueled by nature. Visit Wildernesscat for radically natural cat nutrition, home remedies, and lifestyle inspiration.

4 thoughts on “First Mate Cat Food Review

  1. AvatarChristiane Raynal

    Is the canned food for cats low in phosphorus for CKD CATS? Can you send me the list of canned food and percentage of the phosphorus, please?

    Reply
    1. Mallory CrustaMallory Crusta

      Hi Christiane, thanks for your questions!

      First Mate foods are not formulated for cats with kidney disease and aren’t necessarily the best option for a cat with CKD. I’d recommend having a look at our guide to the best food for cats with kidney disease.

      Unfortunately, FirstMate doesn’t make their foods’ exact phosphorus content readily available. Instead, we can only guess phosphorus content based on the guaranteed analysis. Because the guaranteed analysis only gives the minimum percentage of phosphorus, it’s not really an accurate measure of its nutritional composition. I’ve contacted First Mate requesting a typical nutritional analysis of all of their canned cat foods but haven’t received anything yet. I’ll update you if I learn anything more. In the meantime, I’d encourage you to contact First Mate asking for the typical phosphorus content of any recipe you’re interested in.

      Hope this helps!

      Best,

      Mallory

      Reply
  2. AvatarArlene Kenrick

    Hi Mallory, I have been feeding my 8 year old cat the cage free turkey canned food for about 6 months and until a month ago, she is getting bored with the taste. I tried adding various other flavours to intrigue her but to no avail. Since I tried the Turkey with Tuna canned option, she loves her food. I am concerned about feeding her fish every day because of mercury content which I think it must have. She can’t eat dry food cause she has no teeth and vomits easily even with small pieces of chicken mixed in with the turkey. I feed her 5 small meals a day. She has no problem with the consistency of the wet food. Can can you please advise if feeding her the turkey with tuna every day could result in problems?
    Thank you.

    Reply
    1. Mallory CrustaMallory Crusta

      Hello Arlene, it’s always hard to say whether or not a fish-inclusive food will cause health issues over time as we don’t have any solid evidence one way or the other. That said, I would try to incorporate some more fish-free foods if possible, perhaps experimenting with some other brands. Perhaps you could experiment with some of the limited-ingredient diets from First Mate’s sister brand, Kasiks. Good luck!

      Reply

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