Whiskas (formerly known as Kal Kan) is a brand of cat food sold throughout the world. It is owned by the American company Mars, Incorporated. It is available either as meat-like pieces in cans, pouches, or dry biscuits. Most packaging is a recognisable purple colour with a stylised silhouette of a cat's head.
Whiskas was originally known as Kal Kan when it started in 1936. In 1988, the company changed its name to Whiskas in order to promote its cat food internationally.
The well-known advertising slogan for Whiskas was "eight out of ten owners said their cat prefers it". After a complaint to the Advertising Standards Authority, this had to be changed to "eight out of ten owners who expressed a preference said their cat prefers it". The British panel show 8 out of 10 Cats took its name from the slogan. The slogan has been much imitated – in the 1980s, Red Stripe Lager was advertised with the slogan "9 out of 10 cats prefer it", a play on "cat" meaning a trendy person. Similarly, a 1987 TV advertisement for Pretty Polly in which a nylon stocking was used to replace the fan belt in a Jaguar car used the slogan "So smooth, 9 out of 10 cats prefer them", "cat" this time being a reference to the make of car featured.
In 1998, Australian rules footballer Garry Hocking changed his name by deed poll to "Whiskas" as part of the Geelong Football Club promotion with the company. It was the first such publicity stunt of its kind.
On 27 January 1999, Whiskas singles aired the very first "commercial for cats" on American TV. The VHS release featured a small segment on how the advert worked, and showed several cats' reactions. The advert itself was a collection of clips with contrasting colours, fish and video captured from underwater. The end of the video (before fading out and then running again) claimed that "In our tests, 8 out of 10 preferred it", a previously mentioned slogan for the company.
In Hungary, the Whiskas advertising slogan is "A macskák Whiskast vennének", which means "Cats would buy Whiskas (if they could)". Slogans with the same meaning are used in Serbia, Germany, Finland, Estonia, France, Slovakia, Czech Republic, Russia, Romania, Poland and Slovenia.
In Denmark, there once was an advertising slogan which said "Katte ville vælge Whiskas" which means "Cats would choose Whiskas." In Sweden, a similar slogan is used: "Whiskas - Om katten själv får välja" which means "Whiskas - If the cat itself gets to choose."
In Russia, the slogan was "Ваша киска купила бы Вискас" which means "Your kitty would buy Whiskas" where the phrase is rhymed since one of the words for 'kitty' and 'Whiskas' rhyme in Russian.