As a proud crazy cat lady, there are many times when I’m out to eat and think to myself, “I really wish [my two kitten children] Miso and Tofu were here.” Fancy Feast almost made my dream come true. But instead of actually allowing me to have a night on the town with my cats, the brand’s most recent stunt is simply to serve cat food to humans (sort of) at a new New York City popup called Gatto Bianco.
What is Gatto Bianco?
In a press release sent to The Takeout, Fancy Feast describes Gatto Bianco as an “Italian-style trattoria” with a menu inspired by the company’s new line of Medleys cat food that come in flavors like White Meat Chicken Primavera and Beef & Pork Milanese with Potatoes and Carrots in Savory Juices. Fancy Feast’s in-house chef, Amanda Hassner, teamed up with Michelin Star–winning chef Cesare Casella to put together the human-friendly menu for the popup, which includes dishes like Branzino all’Isolana, Panna Cotta al Limone, and Torta di Mandorle al Cioccolato (which, as a chocolate dessert, is definitely not cat friendly).
The popup will only run for two days, August 11 and 12, with just four reservations on each day—you can try your luck at getting one of the exclusive spots starting on August 4 at 12:00 p.m. EST at FancyFeast.com/Reservations. The chosen few won’t be able to bring their own furry friends along, but the fluffy white Fancy Feast mascot will be joining diners.
The many who aren’t able to attend the dinner can try to recreate the dishes at home thanks to a recipe book provided on Fancy Feast’s website.
“Food has the power to connect us to others in meaningful ways and transport us to places we’ve never been,” the opening page of the recipe book reads. “And with Fancy Feast’s new globally inspired Medleys recipes, you can give your feline companion the same rich mealtime experience filled with joy and wonder.”
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But the question is, will your cats appreciate it? Are these flavors that felines even crave? Or have we gone too far in anthropomorphizing our furry friends?
The most important things to look for in cat food
Just a few months ago I consulted my vet about the best food for Miso and Tofu because they were having frequent digestive issues—she reminded me then that cats are natural predators and so their instinct is to sink their teeth into gamey meats, a feeling that is not easily replicated with dry kibble or even cans of wet food. These days, there are a variety of options in the raw and freeze-dried category to satisfy your cat’s animalistic cravings.
That’s right—animalistic cravings. Chances are that unless you’ve already been letting your cat lick your pasta bowl clean (which could be very dangerous because onions, garlic, and additives in most packaged foods are toxic to cats), it’s not exactly craving a Beef Ragú with Tomatoes & Pasta in a Savory Sauce (another real Fancy Feast Medleys flavors). Your cat barely knows there’s a world beyond your apartment walls; they’re not looking for something to “transport [them] to places they’ve never been.” If your cats are anything like mine, they’d rather not go anywhere else ever.
All this being said, you can still involve your cats in somewhat of a culinary experience. Homemade cat food is always an option, and there are a few crossover ingredients that are okay for your feline friends in small quantities, like boiled simple meats with potatoes and grains, mashed up for easy kitty access. Note: It’s always best to check with your vet before doing this to make sure it’s healthy for your particular cat and see if they have any go-to recipes at the ready.
From there, go ahead, set up a tablecloth, get a chair for your cat, put some candles on the table (but maybe don’t light them, just in case). There’s a way to enjoy a meal with your pets without get too fancy, one that just might be more satisfying to your beloved cats anyway.