Dear 9 Lives

Dear 9 Lives:

Our new cat eats wet food, so after seven years of dry-food only, we returned to canned. I purchased a 48-pack of 9 Lives assorted cat food at BJs wholesale. I’ve also purchased some Meow Mix and some Whiskas.

The cans in the 9 Lives multipack were dented. Not just the corner cans, but the ones in the middle of the package too. Three of them were dented so badly as to be unusable. For example:


Five more were simply dented, and I decided they were within tolerance (no dents on the seams). That gives us a total of eight dented cans in a package of 48, or a miserable one in six failure rate.


Would you care to explain this? My son believes you dropped the multipacks off a forklift, but I think it’s poor quality control.¬†

Do my cats love 9 Lives enough to make it worth my while to weed out dented cans from every multipack? Not hardly — the rescued stray doesn’t care what we put in front of her because her mother was a Hoover vacuum cleaner. And the dominant cat is delighted to have wet food at all. I only tried 9 Lives because it was cheaper than Whiskas, but when I factor in the dented and destroyed cans, it’s no longer cheaper.

Before I buy any more 9 Lives, I need to know if this was a fluke, and if it’s not, how to insulate myself against buying another three (or more) unusable cans of cat food.


Jane, sole cat-food purchaser for the Philangelus household

Product date: 12-08-11; product code 8343BC A1DTG1216



  1. blue

    Poor quality control. I work in a store, and this happens to us, too. It happens less with the very small cans, but we still throw a lot of food away.

    If your cat does not care, buy a good generic brand. Then it won’t bother you so much to find the dented ones!

    1. philangelus

      Is there no process to weed out the smashed cans?

      BJs has a store brand. I shied away from the generics because my other cat, Venus, went into renal failure shortly after I switched to a generic. It may have nothing to do with that, but I was wary. I could try again.

  2. Wendy

    I’d avoid generic cat food, though funny I should say that when the only wet food the Little Princess would eat (til they stopped carrying it) was the Publix store brand tuna cat food. Look for something that at least passes the AAFCO food standards. As for dents, some of that is BJ’s quality control. I’ve gotten dented cans occasionally, but nothing close to what you show in your photos. Then again, I usually buy four-packs because I consider canned food an occasional treat to go with the dry. Try getting a flat of Nine Lives from the local grocery store.

  3. ivyreisner

    You’d think Wiskas would be cheapest. It’s more water than food. Seriously, water is the first listed ingredient.

    My cats were on inNova, which is considered the highest quality, but they all got sick after we switched to it, so we switched back to Iams and they all did better. Candy started showing signs of renal failure when we had her on inNova, but no problem since she started on the prescription food.

  4. Deb

    My beloved Hamlet would only eat Fancy Feast or Sheba, of course. I will say when we bought the multican packs of Fancy Feast, there were hardly any dents, and Sheba comes in a plastic pack with foil top.

    I hated the pouches (messy!) but they don’t dent and take up less room…

  5. cricketB

    Cans in the middle of the box dented means they were dented when they went in. Having worked in other factories, I absolutely believe it happened.

  6. Ken Rolph

    Read labels carefully, especially on pet food. Make sure the product has no connection with China. They are in that unfortunate period of their economy where they are desperate for customers but not as concerned about how they serve them. They put melamine in milk to make it seem full of protein.

    Over-manufactured American pet food also seems to be full of poisons. We’ve had numerous reports of pet death from eating this stuff here.

    We only have dogs, and feed them fresh meat. It comes in a plastic pack with a foil top which just peels off. The packs last us 4 days (dogs are small). I only buy one at a time to make sure it is always fresh. It’s just steak mince (beef and kangaroo) with a few vitamins and nothing else. What more does a dog need.

    Are such products not available in America? Does everything have to be delivered in bulk by forklift and full of New Jersey flavours?

  7. cricketB

    We have a pet health food store here. I used to bypass such things, figuring they catered to paranoid owners with more dollars than sense, but seeing how hard it is to get decent, additive-free food at a grocery store, the health food store is looking better. I’d still avoid the tiny foreign lines with no traceability, but the larger brands are also out to cut QA costs, so maybe small local lines are better. I have enough problems balancing “buy organic — show the local farmers there’s enough of a market to convert” and “buy organic — truck it across half the continent.”