Whiskas' claims that "nine out of ten cats prefer" its cat food pouches to other products are unscientific, ruled advertising watchdogs the Independent Television Commission (ITC) yesterday.

Responding to a complaint lodged by rival pet food producer Friskies, the ITC claimed that some of the information given on Whiskas' television commercials was misleading and ambiguous.

Whiskas claimed that 90% of respondents to a survey preferred the pouches to tinned foods however, only 12% of the 1.4m consumers sent the survey, and the free food samples, actually responded. The Commission ruled that the survey was unscientific, but did uphold the 90% figure despite the small number of respondents.

Whiskas was also vindicated in its handing out of free samples, which the ITC says did not make the survey biased or unfair.