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As per the Reddit post, now with better formatting and adorable test subjects:


I did a little study in cat food over a few days. This method is somewhat scientific (very limited, identical constraints) and yet probably not scientific at all (just one test run per food type, worst way to gather statistics ever!). But I do notice a trend mirrored here that I have seen in regular play with better toys and whatnot, so... here we go.

Disclaimer: This is by no means a definitive... anything, really. Mostly just me messing around, but maybe it'll be useful to others and I found the results interesting. Hopefully I have not made any glaring math errors. While some food types did result in a net loss of fish, this may be due to the limited number of play spots along with outlawing toys from the test that are designed to attract specific rare cats. Void where prohibited. May contain small parts. Use only as directed. Member FDIC.


--- Test Constraints ---

Toys used: plastic bag, paper bag, cake box, red ball, yellow ball
Side of screen used: left only (to avoid Manzoku-san eating all the food)
Duration of each test: until one serving of tested food is gone and all cats have left on their own
Additional notes: toys are never moved/changed; net fish gain calculation must include cost of food being tested


----- Results -----


     
~ Value Crisps ~

Net gain: 41 silver fish, 6 gold fish
Food duration: 8 hours
Number of cat visits: 14
Average cats per hour: 1.75
Uncommon cat appearances: none

Conclusions: Better than I expected for the cheapest toys and only 5 spots. O.o Miserable turnout though, lowest number of cats per hour out of all the tests; this definitely reflects what I have seen in regular play. Best candidate for not attracting many cats at all (but hey, it's free).


         
~ High Quality Crisps ~

Net gain: 58 silver fish, 4 gold fish
Food duration: 6 hours
Number of cat visits: 20
Average cats per hour: 3.3
Uncommon cat appearances: Akage-san (once)

Conclusions: Appears to give more silver and less gold fish but more repeated tests would probably prove these crisps give more of both fish in general. Best candidate for silver fish "farming."


           
~ Canned Cat Food ~

Net gain: 33 silver fish, 11 gold fish
Food duration: 3 hours
Number of cat visits: 14
Average cats per hour: 4.7
Uncommon cat appearances: none

Conclusions: About as popular as the Value Crisps but notably more gold fish gained, at a potential price of less silver fish. I have a feeling repeated tests would show similar results based on the number of cats per hour (second-highest of all the tests)... but who knows. Best candidate for gold fish "farming."


         
~ Canned Bonito ~

Net gain: 40 silver fish, -7 gold fish
Food duration: 3 hours
Number of cat visits: 10
Average cats per hour: 3.3
Uncommon cat appearances: Akage-san (once)

Conclusions: This one's a mess, big loss on gold fish due to the cost of the food itself. Based on the conversion rate of replacing lost gold fish with silver fish from the store, this food actually amounts to a net loss of 310 silver fish. Ouch. No doubt one major factor is the cheap cat toys and limitation of 5 spots to play, but in regular play I've seen this food be a major waste of time even with the big cat tree and other fancy toys. Best candidate for... wasting your time and fish. Even Maid-san (who supposedly likes the canned cat food types) wouldn't turn up for this for me in regular play and I gave up using it other than for this test.


                 
~ High Quality Canned Tuna ~

Net gain: 50 silver fish, -3 gold fish
Food duration: 3 hours
Number of cat visits: 15
Average cats per hour: 5
Uncommon cat appearances: Akage-san (once), Odd-san (once)

Conclusions: Not great, but not as bad a loss as Canned Bonito and this food attracted the most cats per hour out of all the tests. Using the store-conversion method, this food amounts to a 100 silver fish loss. Best candidate for attracting the most cats.


 
~ Sashimi ~

Net gain: 30 silver fish, -1 gold fish
Food duration: 3 hours
Number of cat visits: 9
Average cats per hour: 3
Uncommon cat appearances: Akage-san (once), Odd-san (once)

Conclusions: Basically, you're going to be using this to attract cats like Cream-san, so the numbers stop mattering, but it's still not the greatest value even if it's the lowest loss out of all the "net loss" foods. Using the store-conversion method, this food amounts to a 20 silver fish loss. Generally accepted (as far as I can tell from community posts and whatnot) as the best candidate for attracting most rare cats and Cream-san. Potentially the best candidate for attracting uncommon cats (based on cost, uncommon appearances, and total cats per hour) but definitely attracts less overall cats than High Quality Canned Tuna.


----- Final Conclusions -----

Theoretically, High Quality Canned Tuna might win the contest for attracting the most uncommons simply through brute force of attracting the most cats per hour. Of course, HQ crisps and all the other bought food have a higher chance of attracting rare cats in the first place, but if you are looking for uncommons as opposed to commons and rares, either High Quality Canned Tuna or Sashimi appear to be the way to go... Sashimi is much cheaper, but High Quality Canned Tuna's visit rate is notably higher.

As seen from the other results, "farming" fish as fast as possible with lots of cats and cat toys probably works best when using Value or High Quality Crisps for silver fish, and Canned Cat Food for gold fish; unless you want to spend a lot more on food, in which case the High Quality Canned Tuna seems to swamp everything (because I keep forgetting it lasts 3 hours, not 6-8, so if you stay on top of it you can rack up a lot of fish but it's also the spendiest food). In regular play, I have seen that High Quality Crisps definitely have an overall higher fish payback than Value Crisps, with better toys in use for either food.

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