Kal Kan Cat Food Review

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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.

Looking for Kal Kan cat food? Kal Kan is owned by Mars Petcare. The company has a very long history beginning in 1936. Learn more about Kal Kan cat food in our unbiased review.

The We’re All About Cats Standard – Rating Kal Kan Cat Food on What Matters

We have analyzed Kal Kan cat food and rated it according to our standards here at We’re All About Cats. Our grades are based on the species-appropriateness of the food, the quality of the ingredients, product variety, price, customer experience, and recall history. You can read more about our ratings here.

Here are our ratings for Kal Kan in these key areas:

Ratings

  • Species-Appropriateness – 6/10
  • Ingredient Quality – 6/10
  • Product Variety – 8/10
  • Price – 8/10
  • Customer Experience – 6/10
  • Recall History – 9/10

Overall Score: 7.1/10

We give Kal Kan cat food a 43 out of 60 rating (71.67) or a B grade.

About Kal Kan

As mentioned, Kal Kan has a long history. The company started in 1936 in California as the Stirling Packing Company. At that time, a lot of canned dog and cat food featured horse meat and that appears to have included Kal Kan. Eventually, the plant phased out horse meat. Over time, the company processed food for Pedigree and Waltham (Mars) brands, as well as Kal Kan. Kal Kan was an industry leader in the U.S. during these years.

Prior to the 1960s, Mars was a large multi-national company best-known for its candies. Some members of the Mars family were already living in the UK where they had launched popular British pet food brands such as Pedigree Pal for dogs and Kit-E-Kat. Pedigree dog food and Whiskas would soon develop. Whiskas cat food was launched in Europe in 1959. It was the first pet food brand to offer different varieties. It would go on to become a major cat food brand in Europe, Australia, and Japan.

Kal Kan was purchased by Mars in 1968. Mars soon renamed Kal Kan’s dog foods as Pedigree in the United States. Kal Kan’s Mealtime brand became Pedigree Mealtime. Kal Kan, existing as a subsidiary of Mars, remained as a leader in the American dog food market.

Mars made similar changes to Kal Kan’s cat foods. Whiskas in Great Britain was by far the most popular cat food in the market. In 1988, Mars renamed the American Kal Kan brand cat food as Whiskas. Mars renamed changed the name of the Crave brand to Whiskas Dry cat food. The recipes for the American and British versions of Whiskas were the same but each country used their own local ingredients. The labels and slogan of the Kal Kan cat foods were also changed.

While dog owners had accepted the change from Kal Kan to Pedigree, cat owners were not as happy. The early response to the renamed Kal Kan/Whiskas and Whiskas Dry was not good. Kal Kan and Mars lost half of their market share among cat lovers after the name change. In the late 1980s, Kal Kan had to work to expand the cat food market in the United States.

The company upgraded product quality and palatability by using meat-based formulations and less fat. The cat food also smelled better. The advertising budget was also increased to promote Whiskas. Whiskas became a national brand in the United States.

In the 1990s, Kal Kan lost $50 million trying to introduce a product line called Expert to compete with Hill’s Science Diet foods. They also worked on introducing pet snacks and a lactose-free milk for cats. Dentabone was also introduced by Kal Kan.

We didn’t find updates for Kal Kan or new products after 1997. You may still be able to find Kal Kan dog food in a few places in the United States. It looks like Walmart still sells one kind of Kal Kan dry dog food for adult dogs. Some recent reports say that people haven’t been able to find this food in several months. According to one source, Kal Kan still works out of Mars Petcare’s Waltham Center in Sparks, Nevada to formulate and develop new pet foods.

The Mars Petcare site lists some of their largest and most important subsidiaries but Kal Kan is not shown on the page at this time. Whiskas and Pedigree, however, are both shown, as well as Sheba and Cesar which were both introduced by Kal Kan. Kal Kan may still exist in some legal way but it seems possible that it has been overtaken by its successful products.

Internationally, we did not find Kal Kan cat food in the UK or Europe. However, Whiskas cat food is sold in Japan under the Kal Kan brand. In fact, Kal Kan is one of the most popular cat foods in Japan. Their web site is entirely in Japanese so we are not able to access the information on the site. However, we did find Kal Kan cat food on the Japanese Amazon site so we can attempt to review their foods.

Sourcing And Manufacturing

Kal Kan no longer makes cat food in the U.S. We did find it in Japan. According to the information we found, both the wet and dry foods are manufactured in Thailand.

Has Kal Kan Cat Food Been Recalled?

We didn’t find any recalls for Kal Kan. However, we can’t say that the food has not been recalled outside the United States. Not all countries publicize recalls. In addition, Kal Kan has been around for a long time so it’s possible the food could have had issues before organizations such as the FDA paid attention.

What Kinds Of Food Does Kal Kan Offer?

Kal Kan originally made canned cat food that carried the Kal Kan label. Like many of the early dog and cat food canneries, this food was based on horse meat.

Over the decades, Kal Kan started using other kinds of meat and ingredients. The company was purchased by Mars in 1968. Mars changed the Kal Kan cat food name to Whiskas in 1988. Sales went down until Mars increased the meat in the food and started advertising more. Whiskas was already the most popular cat food in the UK at the time.

Whiskas today is available as small meaty pieces in sauce, gravy, or jelly, packaged in tins, foil trays, or pouches; or as small kibble pieces sold in cartons or pouches. The food is available as pate, chunks, for kittens, and for indoor cats, as well as regular recipes.

Whiskas was the first cat food to offer different varieties of food. We found 10 flavors for their pouches and four flavors for their dry foods.

In Japan we found Kal Kan available as a dry food for indoor cats. As a wet food, we found it available in pouches for adult cats and kittens in several flavors; and for senior cats.

Kal Kan Cat Food Review

Please be aware that the names of these foods could be slightly inaccurate. They are based on the names we found on the Japanese Amazon web site. If you can read Japanese, we suggest that you look at the Kal Kan web site in Japan for more information about the foods.

#1 Kal Kan Pouch Fish and Meat Mix, Tuna, Bonito Cat Food for Adult Cats

Buy On Amazon.co.jp

Mars didn’t get to be a world leader in pet foods without being smart. Their marketing people must have figured that “Kal Kan” sounded more appealing to the Japanese market than “Whiskas.” We searched several continents and multiple countries and Japan seems to be the only place where Whiskas is marketed as Kal Kan. It’s kind of an ironic twist since that was the original name of the food.

Kal Kan Pouch Fish and Meat Mix, Tuna, Bonito Cat Food for Adult Cats is the bestselling Kal Kan food on Amazon in Japan. In fact, it’s one of the bestselling cat foods, period.

This recipe is a tuna and meat mix food featuring chicken, beef, and scissors. We have no idea what the scissors are supposed to be in English (one of the problems with translations). The seafood in the food is bonita and tuna.

This formula does contain some wheat in the ingredients though it appears after the main ingredients. It may be added as a thickener. Be aware of the wheat in case your cat has any allergic response to this ingredient.

This food comes in a jelly. This is a pouch. This formula is intended for cats over one year old.

This food is very low in calories. You will need to feed your cat several pouches per day if you rely only on this food.

Based on its bestselling status and the comments we saw, cats seem to love this food. If you come across this Kal Kan cat food, it would be worth trying to see how your cat likes it.

Calorie Content (ME Calculated): Kcal 55 calories per 2.4 ounce (70 grams) pouch

Ingredients

Composition: Meats (chicken, beef, scissors), seafood (bonito, tuna, etc.), vegetable fats, wheat, seasoning (amino acids), vitamins (B1, B2, B6, B12, E, K, coline, niacin, pantothenacid, biotine, folic acid), minerals (Ca, Cl, Fe, I, K, Mg, Na, Zn), amino acids (Taurine acids (Taurine acids (Taurine thickening polysaccharide Classification: sodium polyphosphate, EDTA-Na, coloring agent (sodium nitrite)

Guaranteed Analysis

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Crude Protein: 7%
Crude Fat: 1%
Crude Fiber: 0.5%
Moisture: 88%

Dry Matter Basis

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Protein: 58.33%
Fat: 8.33%
Fiber: 4.17%
Carbs: 29.17%

Caloric Weight Basis

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Protein: 54.14%
Fat: 18.78%
Carbs: 27.07%

Ingredients We Liked: Chicken, beef, tuna, bonita

Ingredients We Didn’t Like: Wheat, sodium nitrite

Common Allergens: Some meat and fish can be allergens for some cats; wheat can be an allergen for some cats

Pros

  • Several kinds of meat and fish that cats usually like
  • Low in fat and calories

Cons

  • Appears to use wheat as a thickening agent
  • Contains sodium nitrite as a coloring agent

#2 Kal Kan Cat Food, Soft Chicken Pouch, For Kittens Up to 12 Months

Buy On Amazon.co.jp

Like most young animals, kittens have tremendous growth in their first few months. That’s why they need food that is specially formulated for their needs. Kitten food has extra protein and nutrients to help kittens grow.

Kal Kan Cat Food, Soft Chicken Pouch, For Kittens Up to 12 Months is one of Kal Kan’s popular kitten formulas. This food features soft chicken in flakes for growing kittens. It has more protein than the ordinary Kal Kan adult recipe.

The meat in this formula is made up of chicken and beef. There is a tasty sauce that kittens like. This food comes in a pouch.

This food does contain wheat as one of the first ingredients. You should be aware of this fact in case your kitten has any allergic reaction to wheat. Cats don’t normally eat grains. But cats don’t historically eat food from pouches either.

Most of the other ingredients used as vitamins and minerals although the food does have multiple thickening agents which are not specified. Additionally, the food contains a coloring agent which uses sodium nitrite.

Despite some of these drawbacks, Kal Kan’s kitten foods are extremely popular in Japan. If you are in Japan and looking for a kitten food, this would be a food to consider.

Calorie Content (ME Calculated): Not provided

Ingredients

Composition: Meats (chicken, beef), wheat, vegetable oil, seasoning (amino acids, etc.), vitamins (B1, B2, B6, B12, C, E, K, coline, niacin, pantothenate, biotine, folic acid), minerals (Ca, Cl, Fe, I, K, Mg, Mn, Na, P, Zn), amino acids (Taurin), thickening agent (processed powder), thickening agent (treatment), thickening agent powder), thickening agent (processed powder), thickening agent powder). Polysaccharide, Polyethylene Sodium phosphate, EDTA-Na, coloring agent (sodium nitrite)

Guaranteed Analysis

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Crude Protein: 7.5%
Crude Fat: 2.5%
Crude Fiber: 0.5%
Moisture: 88%
Ash: 3%

Dry Matter Basis

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Protein: 62.5%
Fat: 20.83%
Fiber: 4.17%

Caloric Weight Basis

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Protein: 55.26%
Fat: 44.74%

Ingredients We Liked: Chicken, beef

Ingredients We Didn’t Like: Wheat, sodium nitrite

Common Allergens: Some meat can be allergens for some cats; wheat can be an allergen for some cats

Pros

  • Chicken and beef are good protein sources
  • Contains more protein and nutrients than Kal Kan’s adult recipes

Cons

  • Contains multiple unspecified thickening agents
  • Contains sodium nitrite as a coloring agent

#3 Kal Kan Tuna Cat Food, For Ages 18 and Up, For Elderly Cats

Buy On Amazon.co.jp

Many cats today are now living up to 20 years (or even longer). If you have been privileged to have an elderly cat living with you, you know that their food needs change with age. Yet, until recently, most cat food companies failed to provide foods suitable for older cats.

One of the things we like about Kal Kan is that they make several recipes specifically for senior cats. Kal Kan Tuna Cat Food, For Ages 18 and Up, For Elderly Cats is one of these foods. Along with having more protein, which older cats need (as long as they don’t have any kidney problems), this recipe also has added glucosamine to help the cat’s joints. The seafood in the food is a good source of omega-3 fatty acids which is also good for older animals.

Kal Kan also uses choline in their foods. You may not see choline in a lot of foods but it’s an essential nutrient to help the liver and brain function well. Choline is also important for the metabolism.

This formula is made into small flakes so it’s easier for older cats to eat.

Feeding an elderly cat can be difficult. Many older cats begin to lose weight as their senses fade. Food doesn’t have the same taste or smell to them as it did when they were younger. If you need to warm your older cat’s food or do other things to make it appealing, go right ahead.

This Kal Kan Tuna Cat Food looks like it would be a good choice for senior cats. Try it and see how your older cat responds.

Calorie Content (ME Calculated): Not provided

Ingredients

Composition: Meats (chicken, beef), seafood*(bonito, tuna, etc.), wheat, vegetable fats, glucosamine, seasoning (amino acids), vitamins (B1, B2, B6, B12, E, K, coline, niacin, pantothenacid, biotine, folic acid), minerals (Ca, Cl, Fe, K, Mg, Na, Zn), amino acids (Tau) phosphorus), thick Sugars, sodium polyphosphate, EDTA-Na, coloring agent (sodium nitrate) *omega 3 fatty acid source

Guaranteed Analysis

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Crude Protein: 8%
Crude Fat: 2%
Crude Fiber: 0.5%
Moisture: 86%
Ash: 3%

Dry Matter Basis

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Protein: 57.14%
Fat: 14.29%
Fiber: 3.57%
Carbs: 3.57%

Caloric Weight Basis

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Protein: 59.89%
Fat: 36.36%
Carbs: 3.74%

Ingredients We Liked: Chicken, beef, bonita, tuna

Ingredients We Didn’t Like: Wheat, sodium nitrate

Common Allergens: Some meat and fish can be allergens for some cats; wheat can be an allergen for some cats

Pros

  • Higher in protein than other Kal Kan formulas
  • Contains added glucosamine

Cons

  • Contains sodium nitrate as a coloring agent

What Do Customers Think Of Kal Kan Cat Food?

The customer reviews we found for Kal Kan cat food come from Japan.

Positive Reviews

Ask Cat

I don’t know the taste, softness and freshness because I can’t eat it, but my gourmets are eating hustle, so I think it is sure ⭐ ︎ 5. Exactly, cat mash○! – by コブラクラッチ, reviewing Kalkan Pouch Fish and Meat Mix, Tuna, Bonito, and Scissors, Cat Food for Adult Cats on July 31, 2021

Nutrition balance

It is a cat food of a pouch with excellent nutritional balance containing fish and meat in a bag.
It is also suitable for hydration in summer because it also has a lot of moisture.
Our cats love them and they make a mumble sound. – by 在星猫, reviewing Kalkan Pouch Fish and Meat Mix, Tuna, Bonito, and Scissors, Cat Food for Adult Cats on October 25, 2019

Negative Reviews

It’s rotten!!

What’s this! It has been delivered for about a week. If you eat it every day, this is one of them! The color, texture and smell are obviously rotten… Doyu thing!? I threw it away quickly, but I picked it up in a hurry that I had to take a picture of it. I have been indebted to Kalkan for about 2 years, but this is my first time and there is only a surprise (crying) 36 pieces so there are still a lot left. I’m dying to worry if the others are okay. – by AIRI, reviewing Kalkan Pouch Fish and Meat Mix, Tuna, Bonito, and Scissors, Cat Food for Adult Cats  on September 12, 2021

Anxiety about the colorizer

It is one of the few cats who like and dislike to eat, but I don’t worry about the use of Na nitrite, which is carcinogenic.Cats do not need a color agent, so can’t you lose it? – by ぱけらんこ, reviewing Kalkan Pouch Fish and Meat Mix, Tuna, Bonito, and Scissors, Cat Food for Adult Cats on April 18, 2019

How Much Does Kal Kan Cat Food Cost?

Kal Kan is sold in packages of 16 70-gram packages on Amazon in Japan. We found it for about $9 (¥1,139 – ¥1,808). It’s much higher if you want to have it shipped outside Japan.

Overall, Is Kal Kan Cat Food A Good Choice?

At one time, Kal Kan cat food was the bestselling cat food in the United States. The purchase of their company (making dog food and cat food) helped Mars establish itself as one of the largest and most successful pet food companies in the U.S. It appears to have been a good pet food for its time.

Today, some of the products developed by Kal Kan are still topsellers. Whiskas and Sheba are both successful products. However, Kal Kan as a brand name is only found on dog food sold in a few big box stores in the U.S. We didn’t find it sold in the UK, Europe, or most other countries.

Kal Kan cat food is sold in Japan. It appears to be very much like Whiskas. The foods we looked at seem to be good foods. There are a few ingredients that you might not like but, overall, Kal Kan cat food looks like an affordable food that many cats like.

How Do You Order Kal Kan Cat Food?

If you live outside Japan and you want to order Kal Kan, you can visit the Japanese Amazon web site or another Japanese site that ships to your country. Prices to ship the food outside Japan are quite high.

About Carlotta Cooper

Carlotta Cooper is a long-time contributing editor for the weekly dog show magazine DN Dog News. She's the author of The Dog Adoption Bible, a Dog Writers Association of America (DWAA) award winner. In addition, she is an American Kennel Club Gazette breed columnist and the author of several books about dogs and other animals. She has been reviewing pet foods and writing about dog food for more than 10 years.

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