Tried and tested: Winning by a whisker: Trying to win the affections of your cat? Our panel looks at the array of pet foods on offer

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The Independent Culture
THE PANEL

Roger, age 2, owned by Helen Draper; Caspar, age 3, owned by Paul Sinna Durai; Muffin, age 5, owned by Chris and Joan Smith; Boris, age 5, owned by Stephen Purvis; Fritzi, age 2, owned by Edith Macklin.

THE TEST

The owners gave a portion of the same size of each brand of cat food to their cat pet at different mealtimes. They were asked not to feed the cats between meals and to use a clean bowl each time. Owners gave a rating for how enthusiastic their cats pets were about eating each food brand.

*TESCO CAT DINNER

WITH SALMON

33p for 400g

Three cats polished off this food the cheapest of all without any hesitation. Paul Sinna Durai, Caspar's owner, was surprised at his pet's enthusiasm. 'I wasn't hopeful. It seemed an unglamorous can and Caspar is a snob about packaging prefers the little foil cartons of gourmet food. However, this is a very moist and appealing food. He dived in and licked his lips.' But two of the cats, Roger and Fritzi, were more finicky and refused to eat it at all. 'The smell alone put Fritzi off. He never ate a morsel and was a very hungry cat when I came home in the evening,' said Edith Macklin.

*ARTHUR'S WITH SALMON

41p for 100g 390g

The recipe seemed to lack something as far as our panel was concerned. Even Muffin, whose owners admit she is 'a dustbin and 'will hoover up anything', didn't finish polish hers off immediately. Another owner, Helen Draper, reported: 'Roger seemed to have no strong feelings either way on this one, eating quite a lot but apparently unsure about the smell.' Fritzi's owner commented: 'He ate half, reluctantly. No sale, here.'

**CHOOSY WITH SALMON

38p for 1400g

Fritzi and Muffin enjoyed their Choosy. 'Muffin gave it her complete endorsement, licking the bowl clean to perfection. She waddled away to the sofa with total satisfaction,' said Chris and Joan Smith. Other owners got a mixed reaction: 'This was quite appealing, to Roger anyway,' said Helen Draper, 'although it took several trips to the bowl to finish.' Caspar's owner noted that the food was quite dry, with a cereal filler, but Caspar quite liked it all the same. But Boris turned his nose up at Choosy: 'A big no,' said owner Stephen Purvis. 'He took one sniff and sat back. He didn't eat any of it at all even when Cat Crunchies were added.'

**WHISKAS SUPERMEAT

WITH SALMON

42p for 390g

Whiskas is the best-selling cat food but it wasn't our cats' favourite. Two of the cats only picked at it. Although Whiskas is Boris's usual brand, the salmon variety didn't appeal. 'He approached with eagerness, took a sniff, sat back and walked away. Nibbled some later when completely desperate,' said owner Stephen Purvis. One cat which was enthusiastic fan was Fritzi; owner Edith Macklin said: 'No hesitation in eating it all. I will buy it in future.'

AND PRAWN

Muffin, Boris and Caspar all wolfed this down. According to Stephen Purvis: 'Boris ate with relish, purring all the time. He is definitely partial to chunks, so this probably fuelled his enthusiasm, which didn't stop until the plate was empty. I will definitely be trying this as his staple diet.' Our two more discerning cats, Roger and Fritzi, weren't so enthusiastic sure, but did eat some. Edith Macklin said: 'Fritzi ate half, wandered off bored, and never touched it again.'

**SHEBA WITH SALMON??only two stars???

42p for 100g

This was the most popular food, with four of the five cats polishing it off enthusiastically rapidly. But it is very expensive, and even the most choosy cats would eat at least one or two brands of much cheaper food just as readily. Chris and Joan Smith's Muffin was a fan: 'She went in without hesitation. One of the fastest finishes. Bowl-licking was a new feature. She behaved quite manically after eating.' Edith Macklin noted that after eating Sheba, Fritzi was 'unusually friendly for the rest of the day'. She added, 'I will buy it for special occasions.' But one cat, Roger, whose owner Helen Draper regularly feeds her him on gourmet varieties refused to eat it at all. 'A wash-out,' she said.

**FRISKIES GOURMET

WITH SALMONtwo stars correct - reflects overall value for money etc, smw

41p for 100g

Even hard-to-please Roger liked it this luxury food, sold at a similar price to Sheba. 'After a hesitant start, there was lots of lip-licking and purring,' said Helen Draper. Muffin, Boris and Caspar also scoffed it down in record time. 'Another purring success Boris ate the whole lot without pausing for breath,' said Stephen Purvis. But Fritzi didn't take to this brand as he did to Sheba: 'He ate half very reluctantly, but must have finished it during the day. A bit of a hit and miss.'

NEXT WEEK: HAIR DRYERS

(Photograph omitted)

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