Jul 08, 2011 • By

Three little kittens with mittens

Did you know that General Mills has not always focused on food for people?

We got started in the pet food business in the 1930s, originally with a dog food produced by what was known as our Feed Division, sold through feed stores.

By the 1950s, General Mills was marketing food for dogs, cats and birds.

In 1959, the company acquired the American Crab Meat Co. of Boston, Mass., the manufacturers of “3 Little Kittens” canned cat food.

A promotion in 1963 encouraged mothers to get their children mittened-up for winter, and keep their cat happy too, with “3 Little Kittens” cat food. The promotion offered three knitted mittens with reversible thumbs in either red or white, in two different sizes.

“3 Little Kittens” was an all fish cat food, and it did not contain crab meat. General Mills began advertising a new “3 Little Kittens Balanced Meal” as ”…the only cat food containing 16 nourishing ingredients, including more proteins, vitamins and minerals than even milk itself!”

“3 Little Kittens Seafood Treat,” a new vitamin-fortified cat food, expanded the product line’s variety in 1962, which included products flavored with meat, chicken and liver. They were advertised as “tasty and rich in 13 of the vitamins cats need most!”

Editor’s note: Have a question about General Mills’ history? Send our Archives team an email.