Best Freeze Dried Cat Food

Medically reviewed by JoAnna Pendergrass, DVM
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Our Review Process

Our reviews are based on extensive research and, when possible, hands-on testing. Each time you make a purchase through one of our independently-chosen links, we’ll receive a percentage of the proceeds. Read more about how we’re supported here.

The best freeze-dried cat food is made from top-quality ingredients, loaded with meat, light on plants, and comes from a company with a reputation for safety and deliciousness. That’s why we picked Stella & Chewy’s Absolutely Rabbit freeze-dried cat food as the best freeze-dried cat food on the market.

Read on to learn more about this Stella & Chewy’s recipe and our picks for the top 11 best freeze-dried cat foods you can buy. Before we jump into the reviews, let’s learn more about what freeze-dried cat food is and what makes it different.

Why Should You Trust Us?

We have reviewed dozens of the world’s most popular cat food brands and hundreds of formulas. We have also spent hours researching, contacting pet food companies, and analyzing labels. With the help of our cats and input from other cat owners, we got hands-on experience with a few foods.

Between reviewing specific brands and researching feline nutrition, we’ve learned which brands and products are worth buying and putting in your cat’s bowl. Based on that experience, we’ve chosen the 11 products described below as the best cat freeze-dried food you can buy.

At a Glance: Best Freeze Dried Cat Food To Buy

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Want a quick look at the products reviewed in this article? In the comparison table below, we’ve highlighted some of the most important features of each product. You’ll find more detailed information about each product later in the article.

Overall Best
10.0
Picked by 31 people today!

Stella & Chewy’s Absolutely Rabbit Dinner Morsels Freeze-Dried Raw Cat Food

  • Made with rabbit, a species-appropriate protein source
  • Very low carbohydrate content
  • Doesn’t contain any fruits or vegetables
Best For Picky Eaters
9.9
Picked by 31 people today!

Smalls Freeze-Dried Raw Bird

  • Made with real chicken meat, organs, and bones
  • No added carbohydrate ingredients
  • Rich in protein and healthy fats, moderate fiber
Premium Pick
9.8
Picked by 31 people today!

Dr. Marty Nature’s Feast Premium Freeze-Dried Raw Cat Food

  • Emphasizes muscle meat and organs as primary ingredients
  • Relatively low phosphorus content compared to other freeze-dried foods
  • Contains prebiotics for healthy digestion
Best for Sensitive Stomach
9.8
Picked by 25 people today!

Northwest Naturals Turkey Freeze Dried Raw Diet for Cats

  • 98% animal ingredients
  • Highest protein content of the recipes on this list
  • Features a variety of muscle meat, organs, and bones
Best for Seniors
9.8
Picked by 18 people today!

Feline Natural Chicken & Lamb Feast Grain-Free Freeze-Dried Cat Food

  • Rich in animal protein
  • Uses a range of muscle meat, organs, and blood
  • Supplemented with green-lipped mussel
Budget Pick
9.7
Picked by 31 people today!

Wysong Archetype™ Raw Chicken Formula Canine/Feline Diet

  • Contains probiotics to support digestive and immune health
  • Rich in animal-sourced protein
  • Contains a mix of muscle meat, organs, and bones
Best High-Protein
9.7
Picked by 31 people today!

New Zealand Natural Pet Food Company Meow Wild Venison Grain-Free Freeze-Dried Cat Food

  • First 7 ingredients are animal-based
  • Species-appropriate inclusions of meat, organs, and bone
  • Very low carbohydrate content
Best Single Protein
9.6
Picked by 31 people today!

Meat Mates Chicken Dinner Grain-Free Freeze-Dried Cat Food

  • Made with a single source of high-quality animal protein
  • Fairly low carbohydrate content
  • Primary source of added fat is animal-based
Best Multi-Protein
9.6
Picked by 25 people today!

Primal Chicken & Salmon Formula Nuggets Grain-Free Raw Freeze-Dried Cat Food

  • Top three ingredients are animal-based proteins
  • Contains fresh meat, organs, and ground bone
  • Made with high-quality and organic ingredients
Best Patties
9.5
Picked by 21 people today!

Vital Essentials Chicken Dinner Patties Grain-Free Limited Ingredient Freeze-Dried Cat Food

  • Made with fresh chicken and chicken organs
  • Herring oil provides a species-appropriate source of omega-3s
  • Limited list of high-quality ingredients
Best Novel Protein
9.5
Picked by 18 people today!

Purpose Carnivore Rabbit Freeze-Dried Grain-Free Raw Cat Food

  • Made with a single source of novel animal protein
  • Limited list of high-quality ingredients
  • Herring oil provides animal-based omega-3 fatty acids

What Is Freeze-Dried Cat Food?

Freeze-dried cat food undergoes the same process that’s used to make shelf-stable freeze-dried meals for camping or emergencies. The raw ingredients are cooled to an extremely low temperature—well below the freezing point of water—and then placed into a vacuum chamber. In these low-pressure conditions, the frozen liquid doesn’t melt and is instead sublimated (transformed) into a gas.

This process extracts moisture and destroys pathogenic bacteria, making the food extraordinarily safe and shelf-stable. People have safely eaten freeze-dried foods after 30 years on the shelf. Freeze-dried food is bone dry when you pour it out of the bag. To restore the food’s natural texture and make it a hydrating meal, you’ll pour warm water over the food and let it soak in for a couple of minutes.

Is Freeze-Dried Cat Food Better?

Freeze-dried food is only as good as the fresh ingredients used in it—because, with the exception of water content, that’s all freeze-dried food is. The preservation process has very little bearing on the food’s nutritional value.

Diane Barrett, a food science and technology professor at the University of California, Davis, told Mother Jones magazine that after rehydrating, freeze-dried food is nutritionally similar to fresh food, calling the process “one of the best ways to preserve food”.

Freeze drying leaves most nutrients intact, including vitamins, antioxidants, and, in the case of fruits and vegetables, phytochemicals (plant-produced chemicals). Freeze drying can result in the loss of Vitamins C, A, and E, so manufacturers may need to replace these vitamins through synthetic supplementation.

This makes freeze drying a convenient, relatively safe choice for those who would like to feed their cat fresh or raw food but don’t want to deal with the potential for contamination and disease transmission associated with handling raw meat. Of course, always consult with your veterinarian if you are considering feeding your cat raw food, even if it is freeze-dried.

That said, freeze-dried food does have a few shortcomings. The rehydration process takes a couple of minutes, which may be more than you want to commit to feline food preparation. Because freeze-drying is energy-intensive, slow, and costly, freeze-dried cat food is one of the most expensive varieties you can buy.

In addition to performing our own qualitative analysis of the brands reviewed here, we submitted samples for analysis at an ISO 17025 certified food testing and analysis lab.

We bought the products at full retail price, and the entire testing process was funded by All About Cats without direct input or influence from the companies involved.

Analytical testing in a food chemistry lab gives us the exact macronutrient and micronutrient content of each recipe. The tests also look at microbial content, yeast, mold, and heavy metals, helping you ensure that you’re only putting the best in your cat’s bowl.

To access the lab reports for each food reviewed here, click the “view lab report” link in the product review.

The Best Freeze-Dried Cat Food 2022 – Our Top 11 Picks

#1 Top Pick: Stella & Chewy’s Absolutely Rabbit Dinner Morsels Freeze-Dried Raw Cat Food Review

Stella & Chewy's Absolutely Rabbit Dinner Morsels Freeze-Dried Raw Cat Food

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Stella & Chewy’s is a well-regarded brand and a leader in freeze-dried pet food.

Stella & Chewy’s offers a wide variety of recipes with multiple proteins. Their rabbit recipe stands out as a particularly cat-appropriate choice. Unlike other common protein sources like salmon, beef, chicken, and lamb, rabbit meat comes from an animal your cat might kill and eat on her own.

Also Read: The Best Rabbit Cat Food

Like many freeze-dried foods, this recipe features a mix of muscle meat, bones, and organs. The meat ingredients are supplemented with probiotics and prebiotics for digestive health and immune support.

Though the food doesn’t contain the fruits and vegetables sometimes found in freeze-dried foods, Stella & Chewy’s freeze-dried rabbit food contains olive oil as its primary fat source.

Customer reviews indicate that these rabbit morsels are both nutritious and delicious—cats seem to love this food.

Ingredients

Rabbit With Ground Bone, Rabbit Liver, Olive Oil, Pumpkin Seed, Potassium Chloride, Sodium Phosphate, Choline Chloride, Dried Ediococcus Acidilactici Fermentation Product, Dried Lactobacillus Acidophilus Fermentation Product, Dried Bifidobacterium Longum Fermentation Product, Dried Bacillus Coagulans Fermentation Product, Taurine, Tocopherols (Preservative), Dandelion, Dried Kelp, Zinc Proteinate, Iron Proteinate, Vitamin A Supplement, Vitamin E Supplement, Niacin Supplement, Copper Proteinate, Riboflavin Supplement, Sodium Selenite, D-Calcium Pantothenate, Biotin, Manganese Proteinate, Thiamine Mononitrate, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Folic Acid, Vitamin B12 Supplement.

Guaranteed Analysis

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Crude Protein: 44%
Crude Fat: 30%
Crude Fiber: 5%
Moisture: 5%

Dry Matter Basis

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Protein: 46.32%
Fat: 31.58%
Fiber: 5.26%
Carbs: 16.84%

Caloric Weight Basis

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Protein: 33.12%
Fat: 54.84%
Carbs: 12.04%

What We Liked:

  • Made with rabbit, a species-appropriate protein source
  • Very low carbohydrate content
  • Doesn’t contain any fruits or vegetables
  • Made by a reputable company

What We Didn’t Like:

  • Relies on plant-sourced fat
  • One of the most expensive freeze-dried cat foods on the market

#2 Best For Picky Eaters: Smalls Freeze-Dried Raw Bird

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Smalls offers a variety of cat food options made with real animal protein from poultry, meat, and fish. Their fresh food recipes are loaded with natural moisture, and their freeze-dried raw foods offer a concentrated source of nutrition with shelf-stable convenience.

Made with whole chicken meat, bones, and organs, this freeze-dried raw cat food recipe is an excellent source of animal protein and healthy fats. It is a single-source protein recipe, though the primary source of added fat comes from fish (herring oil).

We appreciate the use of ground bone in this formula because it negates the need for synthetic mineral supplements. Organ meats like chicken heart, liver, and gizzard help supply essential nutrients as well.

Overall, this recipe is packed with protein and appears to be an excellent option for cats, as long as they don’t have a chicken allergy. There are no added carbohydrate ingredients and, like all Smalls recipes, this formula is completely free from artificial flavors, colors, and preservatives.

Ingredients:

Finely Ground Chicken With Bone, Chicken Heart, Chicken Liver, Chicken Gizzard, Chicken Egg, Goat’s Milk, Water, Eggshell Membrane, Herring Oil, Mixed Tocopherols, D-alpha Tocopherol

Guaranteed Analysis

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Crude Protein: 45%
Crude Fat: 15%
Crude Fiber: 3%
Moisture: 8%

Dry Matter Basis

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Protein: 48.91%
Fat: 16.3%
Fiber: 3.26%
Carbs: 31.52%

Caloric Weight Basis

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Protein: 40.75%
Fat: 32.99%
Carbs: 26.26%

What We Liked:

  • Made with real chicken meat, organs, and bones
  • No added carbohydrate ingredients
  • Rich in protein and healthy fats, moderate fiber

What We Didn’t Like

  • Available only by subscription
  • Customer service experience is hit-or-miss

#3 Premium Pick: Dr. Marty Nature’s Feast Premium Freeze-Dried Raw Cat Food Review

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This recipe comes from Dr. Marty Goldstein, a celebrity veterinarian who’s earned a reputation for helping pets through a combination of traditional and alternative medicine.

While we can’t say if the food lives up to Dr. Marty’s promise that it helps to “support energy, good digestion, and smooth skin (and a shinier coat!)”, it has all the trappings of high-quality freeze-dried cat food.

The food contains a combination of salmon, turkey, and whitefish as primary protein sources. Chicken organs, freeze-dried bone, and eggs flesh out the food’s nutritional profile, while a mix of sweet potato, flaxseed, and other nutrient-dense fruits and vegetables make the food nutritionally complete.

Because these ingredients are freeze-dried, Nature’s Feast meets the Association for American Feed Control Officials guidelines for adult maintenance without using any synthetic vitamins, minerals, or amino acids. All of its nutrients come from food ingredients.

But while it’s good, this food isn’t perfect.

Its first flaw is its price. At somewhere between $3.33 and $4.99 per ounce, this food can easily add up to over $10 per day. This puts it among the most expensive foods on the market.

Secondly, it’s relatively high in carbohydrates. We sent this food to a lab for nutritional analysis and found that it was over 20% carbohydrates. That’s about double the percentage we’d recommend for most cats.

Thirdly, it’s not the best choice for cats with food sensitivities. There’s nothing wrong with a mixed ingredient list, but if your cat has food intolerances or allergies, you may want to steer clear and opt for something more straightforward. Try the Northwest Naturals or Stella & Chewy’s recipes on this list.

Ingredients

Salmon, Turkey, Whitefish, Chicken Liver, Chicken Heart, Chicken Gizzard, Sweet Potato, Flaxseed, Egg, Pumpkin Seeds, Peas, Carrot, Apple, Blueberry, Cranberry, Ginger, Salt, Kelp, Sunflower Seeds, Spinach, Broccoli, Kale, Mixed Tocopherols (preservatives).

Guaranteed Analysis

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Crude Protein: 37%
Crude Fat: 23%
Crude Fiber: 3%
Moisture: 5%
Ash: 8%

Dry Matter Basis

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Protein: 38.95%
Fat: 24.21%
Fiber: 3.16%
Carbs: 25.26%

Caloric Weight Basis

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Protein: 31.66%
Fat: 47.8%
Carbs: 20.54%

What We Liked:

  • Emphasizes muscle meat and organs as primary ingredients
  • Phosphorus content is lower than that found in other freeze-dried foods
  • Contains prebiotics for healthy digestion
  • Covered by a 90-day money-back guarantee

What We Didn’t Like:

  • Relatively high in carbohydrates (20% carbohydrates)
  • Very expensive
  • Contains multiple proteins and may not be the best choice for cats with food intolerances or allergies

#4 Best For Sensitive Stomach: Northwest Naturals Turkey Freeze Dried Raw Diet for Cats Review

organic cat food

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This Oregon-based company has been selling raw and freeze-dried pet food since 2004. With the exception of lamb, all of the company’s ingredients are sourced from the United States. All Northwest Naturals products are made in a company-owned facility in Portland, Oregon.

The food is 98% animal tissue, including turkey muscle meat, necks, heart, and liver. It also contains eggs as a species-appropriate source of animal protein. The remaining 2% of the recipe includes flaxseed, kelp, organic dulse powder, and fish oil.

Though this product isn’t as widely-distributed or well-known as some of the others on this list, it appears to be a hit with both human and feline consumers. It’s one of the lowest-priced freeze-dried foods on the market.

Ingredients

Turkey, Turkey Necks, Turkey Hearts, Turkey Liver, Egg, Ground Flaxseed, Kelp, Organic Dulse Powder, Gelatin, Organic Psyllium Husk Powder, Fish Oil, Potassium Chloride, Sodium Chloride, Taurine, Vitamin B Supplement, Zinc Proteinate, Iron Proteinate, Vitamin E Supplement, Copper Proteinate, Manganese Proteinate, Mixed Tocopherols (as preservative), Vitamin D3 Supplement.

Guaranteed Analysis

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Crude Protein: 50%
Crude Fat: 15%
Crude Fiber: 4%
Moisture: 5%
Ash: 9%

Dry Matter Basis

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Protein: 52.63%
Fat: 15.79%
Fiber: 4.21%
Carbs: 17.89%

Caloric Weight Basis

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Protein: 48.34%
Fat: 35.22%
Carbs: 16.44%

What We Liked:

  • 98% animal ingredients
  • Highest protein content of the recipes on this list
  • Features a variety of muscle meat, organs, and bones
  • Contains fish oil as a source of omega-3 fatty acids
  • More affordable than most freeze-dried cat foods

What We Didn’t Like:

  • May not be as readily available as some other brands

#5 Best For Seniors: Feline Natural Chicken & Lamb Feast Grain-Free Freeze-Dried Cat Food Review

Feline Natural Chicken & Lamb Feast Grain-Free Freeze-Dried Cat Food

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This freeze-dried food is made by Feline Natural, a New Zealand brand founded in 2006 and known for its freeze-dried products.

This recipe features cage-free chicken and grass-fed, free-range lamb. It contains an array of animal parts, including chicken muscle meat, lamb heart, lamb kidney, lamb liver, and even lamb blood.

Unlike the other products on this list, this food is made without ground bone, necessitating the use of supplements to compensate for the absence of bone-sourced minerals.

Though they feature prominently on the ingredient list, flaxseed flakes represent a tiny percentage of the total recipe and are used as a binder. The food is supplemented with green-lipped mussels, which may support joint health and is a good source of omega-3 fatty acids.

This recipe is the only product on this list that contains multiple animal proteins, so it’s not an ideal choice for cats with food sensitivities or allergies.

Ingredients

Chicken, Lamb Heart, Lamb Kidney, Lamb Liver, Lamb Blood, Flaxseed Flakes, New Zealand Green Mussel, Dried Kelp, Taurine, Vitamin E Supplement, Magnesium Oxide, Zinc Proteinate, Copper Proteinate, Manganese Proteinate, Thiamine Mononitrate, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Folic Acid.

Guaranteed Analysis

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Crude Protein: 48%
Crude Fat: 31%
Crude Fiber: 1%
Moisture: 8%

Dry Matter Basis

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Protein: 52.17%
Fat: 33.7%
Fiber: 1.09%
Carbs: 13.04%

Caloric Weight Basis

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Protein: 35.48%
Fat: 55.65%
Carbs: 8.87%

What We Liked:

  • Rich in animal protein
  • Uses a range of muscle meat, organs, and blood
  • Supplemented with green-lipped mussel
  • Manufactured according to stringent New Zealand safety regulations

What We Didn’t Like:

  • Expensive
  • Contains multiple protein sources and may not be appropriate for cats with food sensitivities or allergies

#6 Budget Pick: Wysong Archetype™ Raw Chicken Formula Canine/Feline Diet Review

Wysong Archetype Raw Canine

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Wysong dates back to 1979 and employs pet health doctorate professionals to formulate “ancestrally-inspired” food for dogs and cats. If you’d like to learn more about Wysong, click here to read our complete brand review.

The company calls Archetype “the original raw dog and cat food diet”. Like several other Wysong formulas, Archetype is nutritionally complete and balanced for both dogs and cats.

The food is made with chicken, chicken bones, and chicken organs—Wysong doesn’t state exactly which organs it uses. After meat ingredients, the recipe includes a long list of what the company calls nutraceuticals. These ingredients include trace amounts of blueberry, barley grass, chia seeds, broccoli sprouts, carrots, plums, whey, dried kelp, yeast extract, and probiotics.

Despite its long ingredient list, Archetype is fundamentally a meat-based product and is over 95% chicken. It has an estimated carbohydrate content of under 8% on a dry matter basis.

The food is popular among both cats and their guardians.

Ingredients

Chicken, Chicken Organs, Ground Chicken Bone, Natural Flavor, Taurine, Organic Blueberry, Organic Barley Grass, Chia Seeds, Broccoli Sprouts, Carrots, Plums, Whey, Sea Salt, Dried Kelp, Yeast Extract, Citric Acid, Mixed Tocopherols, Rosemary Extract, Yeast Culture, Minerals (Potassium Chloride, Zinc Proteinate, Zinc Sulfate, Ferrous Sulfate, Iron Proteinate, Copper Sulfate, Copper Proteinate, Manganese Sulfate, Manganese Proteinate, Sodium Selenite, Calcium Iodate), Calcium Carbonate, Vitamins (Ascorbic Acid [Source of Vitamin C], Vitamin E Supplement, Niacin Supplement, Calcium Pantothenate, Vitamin A Supplement, Thiamine Mononitrate, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Riboflavin Supplement, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Biotin, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Folic Acid), Dried Bacillus Licheniformis Fermentation Product, Dried Aspergillus Oryzae Fermentation Product, Dried Aspergillus Niger Fermentation Product, Dried Enterococcus Faecium Fermentation Product, Dried Lactobacillus Casei Fermentation Product, Dried Lactobacillus Acidophilus Fermentation Product, Dried Bacillus Subtilis Fermentation Product, Dried Lactobacillus Plantarum Fermentation Product, Dried Lactobacillus Lactis Fermentation Product.

Guaranteed Analysis

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Crude Protein: 44%
Crude Fat: 36%
Crude Fiber: 0.5%
Moisture: 4%

Dry Matter Basis

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Protein: 45.83%
Fat: 37.5%
Fiber: 0.52%
Carbs: 16.15%

Caloric Weight Basis

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Protein: 29.95%
Fat: 59.5%
Carbs: 10.55%

What We Liked:

  • Contains probiotics to support digestive and immune health
  • Rich in animal-sourced protein
  • Contains a mix of muscle meat, organs, and bones
  • Wysong has a good reputation for food safety

What We Didn’t Like:

  • Expensive to feed as staple diet

#7 Best High-Protein: New Zealand Natural Pet Food Company Meow Wild Venison Grain-Free Freeze-Dried Cat Food

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The New Zealand Natural Pet Food Co. is fairly new on the scene. The brand was created out of a desire to provide pets with complete nutrition in a diet as close to raw as possible. All foods are made in small batches in New Zealand and the company supports fair trade and local sourcing when choosing suppliers.

This recipe features wild venison as the primary source of protein, supplemented with fresh lamb and an assortment of fresh lamb organs and ground lamb bone. Packed with over 60% protein on a dry matter basis, this formula is rich in healthy fats and very low in carbohydrates.

The downside of this formula is that the primary source of added fat is plant-based. The coconut oil is, however, followed immediately by hoki oil which is much more species appropriate.

Similar to many pet foods produced in New Zealand (including Feline Natural), this Meow recipe from The New Zealand Natural Pet Food Co. contains green-lipped mussels. These provide a natural source of hip- and joint-supporting glucosamine and chondroitin.

Ingredients

Wild Venison, Lamb, Lamb Green Tripe, Lamb Heart, Lamb Liver, Lamb Kidney, Ground Lamb Bone, Kelp, Green Lipped Mussels, Manuka Honey, Rosemary, Organic Virgin Coconut Oil, Hoki Oil, Taurine, Choline Chloride, Zinc Amino Acid Complex, Iron Amino Acid Complex, Copper Amino Acid Complex, Vitamin B1 (Thiamine Mononitrate), Manganese Amino Acid Complex, Salt.

Guaranteed Analysis

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Crude Protein: 60%
Crude Fat: 20%
Crude Fiber: 2%
Moisture: 5%

Dry Matter Basis

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Protein: 63.16%
Fat: 21.05%
Fiber: 2.11%
Carbs: 13.68%

Caloric Weight Basis

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Protein: 49.35%
Fat: 39.95%
Carbs: 10.69%

What We Liked:

  • First 7 ingredients are animal-based
  • Species-appropriate inclusions of meat, organs, and bone
  • Very low carbohydrate content
  • Made with two novel sources of animal protein

What We Didn’t Like

  • Relies on plant-sourced fat
  • One of the most expensive freeze-dried cat foods on the market

#8 Best Single Protein: Meat Mates Chicken Dinner Grain-Free Freeze-Dried Cat Food

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Meat Mates is another New Zealand-based pet food company. Unlike the previous pick, however, this brand offers both wet cat food and kibble in addition to their freeze-dried recipes. All of their freeze-dried cat foods are made with a single source of animal protein like chicken, lamb, or beef.

This freeze-dried formula features fresh chicken and chicken liver as the top two ingredients, making chicken the sole source of animal protein. This freeze-dried chicken recipe doesn’t contain the ground bone included in many freeze-dried formulas, but it’s complete and balanced and very low in carbohydrates.

Fish oil is the primary source of fat in this recipe, though flaxseed flakes provide additional fat – particularly omega-3 fatty acids. The overall fat content of this recipe is very high, over 32% on a dry matter basis. This makes it a concentrated source of calories which is worth noting if your cat is obese or prone to weight gain.

Overall, this is a fairly high-protein, high-fat formula made with a single source of animal protein and fairly low carbohydrate content. This formula comes in small pieces that also work well as a cat food topper.

Ingredients

Chicken, Chicken Liver, Fish Oil, Flaxseed Flakes, Dried Kelp, Salt, Magnesium Oxide, Vitamin E Supplement, Zinc Proteinate, Taurine, Choline Chloride, Copper Proteinate, Manganese Proteinate, Thiamine Mononitrate, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Folic Acid.

Guaranteed Analysis

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Crude Protein: 48%
Crude Fat: 30%
Crude Fiber: 1%
Moisture: 8%
Ash: 12.5%

Dry Matter Basis

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Protein: 52.17%
Fat: 32.61%
Fiber: 1.09%
Carbs: 0.54%

Caloric Weight Basis

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Protein: 39.55%
Fat: 60.04%
Carbs: 0.41%

What We Liked:

  • Made with a single source of high-quality animal protein
  • Fairly low carbohydrate content
  • Primary source of added fat is animal-based
  • Contains a very limited list of natural ingredients

What We Didn’t Like

  • May be too high in fat and calories for some cats
  • Very expensive

#9 Best Multi-Protein: Primal Chicken & Salmon Formula Nuggets Grain-Free Raw Freeze-Dried Cat Food

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Primal Pet Food was founded in 2001 and has become a big name in the pet food industry, particularly the freeze-dried pet food niche. Their freeze-dried foods are prepared in nuggets that can be crumbled into a bowl and rehydrated with water or broth to make sure enough moisture is included in your cat’s diet.

Like all Primal recipes, this chicken and salmon formula is made only with USDA edible-grade meat. The ingredient list includes fresh chicken with ground bone, chicken livers, and fresh salmon as the top three ingredients.

This recipe packs a punch when it comes to animal-based protein and it’s pretty high in fat as well. Unfortunately, most of the added fat comes from plant-based sources like organic pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds, though your cat will enjoy some omega-3 fatty acids from the fresh salmon and the cod liver oil that appears later in the list.

While the top three ingredients are animal-based, the majority of the rest are plant ingredients or supplements. The total carb content is a little higher than some options on this list but much lower than the average dry cat food.

Ingredients

Chicken (with ground bone), Chicken Livers, Salmon, Organic Pumpkin Seeds, Organic Sunflower Seeds, Organic Cranberries, Organic Blueberries, Organic Kale, Organic Squash, Organic Carrots, Organic Apples, Organic Broccoli, Organic Rosemary Extract, Organic Parsley, Organic Quinoa, Organic Apple Cider Vinegar, Fish Oil, Montmorillonite Clay, Organic Coconut Oil, Cod Liver Oil, Taurine, Vitamin E Supplement, Organic Ground Alfalfa, Dried Organic Kelp.

Guaranteed Analysis

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Crude Protein: 49%
Crude Fat: 26%
Crude Fiber: 2%
Moisture: 8%

Dry Matter Basis

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Protein: 53.26%
Fat: 28.26%
Fiber: 2.17%
Carbs: 16.3%

Caloric Weight Basis

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Protein: 38.54%
Fat: 49.66%
Carbs: 11.8%

What We Liked:

  • Top three ingredients are animal-based proteins
  • Contains fresh meat, organs, and ground bone
  • Made with high-quality and organic ingredients
  • Rich in omega-3 fatty acids from salmon and fish oil

What We Didn’t Like

  • Contains a significant number of plant ingredients
  • Relies primarily on plant-based fats

#10 Best Patties: Vital Essentials Chicken Dinner Patties Grain-Free Limited Ingredient Freeze-Dried Cat Food

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Freeze-dried cat food is meant to be rehydrated to provide your cat with the moisture he needs for optimal hydration. Vital Essentials Chicken Dinner Patties are easy to portion (about 1 patty per 6 pounds of body weight) and can be broken up to rehydrate in warm water or broth.

This freeze-dried cat food is a single-protein recipe featuring fresh chicken and chicken organs with herring oil as a species-appropriate source of animal-based fat.

The primary way in which this recipe could be improved is with the inclusion of ground bone as a more accurate reflection of a natural feline diet. The carbohydrate content is also a little higher than some of the other formulas reviewed above.

This recipe is free from fillers like corn, wheat, and soy as well as artificial additives including colors, flavors, and preservatives.

Ingredients

Chicken, Chicken Heart, Chicken Liver, Herring Oil, Mixed Tocopherols (Preservative), Vitamin E Supplement, Zinc Amino Acid Complex, Iron Amino Acid Complex, Copper Amino Acid Complex, Manganese Amino Acid Complex.

Guaranteed Analysis

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Crude Protein: 53%
Crude Fat: 20%
Crude Fiber: 2%
Moisture: 8%

Dry Matter Basis

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Protein: 57.61%
Fat: 21.74%
Fiber: 2.17%
Carbs: 18.48%

Caloric Weight Basis

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Protein: 44.7%
Fat: 40.96%
Carbs: 14.34%

What We Liked:

  • Made with fresh chicken and chicken organs
  • Herring oil provides a species-appropriate source of omega-3s
  • Limited list of high-quality ingredients
  • Free from fillers and artificial additives

What We Didn’t Like

  • Large patties may take longer to rehydrate
  • Doesn’t include raw bone

#11 Best Novel Protein: Purpose Carnivore Rabbit Freeze-Dried Grain-Free Raw Cat Food

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Purpose pet food started with freeze-dried dog food, seeking to build a brand based on quality nutrition and ethical values. They have since expanded to include a limited selection of freeze-dried cat foods, all of which are made with 99% animal-based ingredients. They also offer freeze-dried cat treats.

This rabbit formula freeze-dried cat food is an appropriate choice for cats that are allergic or sensitive to other more common proteins. Fresh rabbit is the main ingredient, followed by herring oil as a species-appropriate source of omega-3 fatty acids.

While two of the main four ingredients in this recipe are animal-based, the next two come from plants. Apple cider vinegar contains natural enzymes which may help support healthy digestion and coconut oil contains lauric acid which may help reduce the risk of allergic reactions in cats.

Overall, this is a limited-ingredient formula made primarily with animal ingredients. It is high in protein with moderate fat and fairly high carbohydrate content.

Ingredients

Rabbit, Herring Oil, Organic Apple Cider Vinegar, Organic Coconut Oil, Vitamin E (D-Alpha Tocopherol), Mixed Tocopherols, Potassium Chloride, Dried Kelp, Sodium Chloride, Zinc Proteinate, Iron Proteinate, Taurine, Vitamin E Supplement, Niacin Supplement, Copper Proteinate, Manganese Proteinate, Thiamine Mononitrate, D-Calcium Pantothenate, Sodium Selenite, Riboflavin Supplement, Biotin, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Folic Acid, Vitamin D3 Supplement.

Guaranteed Analysis

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Crude Protein: 55%
Crude Fat: 13%
Crude Fiber: 1%
Moisture: 8%

Dry Matter Basis

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Protein: 59.78%
Fat: 14.13%
Fiber: 1.09%
Carbs: 25%

Caloric Weight Basis

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Protein: 50.2%
Fat: 28.81%
Carbs: 20.99%

What We Liked:

  • Made with a single source of novel animal protein
  • Limited list of high-quality ingredients
  • Herring oil provides animal-based omega-3 fatty acids
  • Doesn’t contain artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives

What We Didn’t Like

  • Fairly high carbohydrate content
  • Doesn’t contain organs or bone

How Did We Choose The Top 11 Best Freeze-Dried Cat Foods?

Here’s how we selected the 11 best freeze-dried cat foods listed above.

We Looked For Safe, High-quality Ingredients.

Like any other food, freeze-dried cat food should be made from only the finest ingredients available. Ideally, this means fresh, human-grade ingredients that are handled and processed according to human food processing standards.

We also avoid foods with ingredients that could cause harm over time. These include additives like artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives. Fortunately, freeze-dried foods appeal to a health-conscious consumer group and seldom contain these ingredients.

The Best Freeze-dried Cat Food Has Minimal Plant Content.

Many freeze-dried foods contain a lot of veggies and fruit, typically because they’re relying on these ingredients instead of synthetic additives. If you spot a product loaded with carrots, spinach, and other veggies, stop and think before pulling that food off the shelf.

Since cats can metabolize carbohydrates and these plant ingredients likely won’t cause harm in small quantities, most of these foods are okay—but you need to evaluate the situation carefully.

Carbohydrates shouldn’t make up more than 10% of the food on a dry matter basis, particularly if your cat has diabetes or irritable bowel disease.

Reputation Matters, Too—So We Chose Products From Brands With A History Of Safety And Quality.

Brands selling freeze-dried cat food often have issues with pathogen contamination. Some have concerning recall histories. It’s always important to think about a company’s reputation before feeding their food to your cat. The products listed above were made by companies that have issued zero to two recalls—and none of those recalls resulted in serious illness or death.

In addition to recall history, we paid attention to what customers were saying about the brand overall, considering things like customer service and cat satisfaction.

Need A Refresher Course On Feline Nutrition Basics? Check Out Our Guide To Choosing The Best Cat Food

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About Mallory Crusta

Mallory is the Head of Content at All About Cats. Having produced and managed multimedia content across several pet-related domains, Mallory is dedicated to ensuring that the information on All About Cats is accurate, clear, and engaging. When she’s not reviewing pet products or editing content, Mallory enjoys skiing, hiking, and trying out new recipes in the kitchen. She has two cats, Wessie and Forest.

23 thoughts on “Best Freeze Dried Cat Food

    1. small mallory photoMallory Crusta Post author

      Hey Ruby, I hadn’t heard of Meat Mates cat food before, but it looks outstanding—similar to the Northwest Naturals food mentioned here. I’d definitely consider giving it a try. Thanks for commenting!

      Reply
  1. Geo55

    I just discovered a freeze-dried raw cat food called “Vital Essentials.”
    It was recommended by Susan Thixton and seems to be considered high-quality food.
    Is there some reason this brand was not included on your ‘best’ list?
    Is this list sponsored?
    Thank you. ; )

    Reply
    1. small mallory photoMallory Crusta Post author

      Hello there! No, this list was not sponsored. While we didn’t include Vital Essentials in this particular list, we do recommend it in several other articles. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on Vital Essentials and adding to the conversation.
      Best,
      Mallory

      Reply
      1. Geo55

        Good to know. I will look for those articles. Wanting to learn more about this brand Thank you! ; )

        Reply
  2. Fenix

    How and where do I find anyone that sell these products and ship to Sweden? I have spent hours searching (amazon, Google, online pet shops…). Can anyone give me a helping link?

    Reply
      1. Daphanal

        Hello!! Nice to meet you :))

        I’m a newbie cat owner and only just recently adopted a 2 year old stray cat. She’s a playful little fluffball that. However, it’s been 2 months now, but I’m still new to all this and how to keep my kitty healthy. I was hoping i could ask you for advice.

        During the first month of adopting Ebi, my cat, I fed her Aatas tuna that she’s been eating since kitten (Fed by a neighbourhood cat uncle). But i decided to stop feeding her that when she kept begging for more food despite increased portions and gaining a slight belly, i assume it’s due to the high water content – leaving her unsatisfied. Not to mention the salt content.

        So I tried transitioning her to organic food [Bom Bom] but that’s not working out either, she hates the food and has been eating way too little to be healthy. She does not drink water regularly either, so her stool is hard.

        Now upon digging deeper, i came across freeze-dried meals for cats and your insightful articles. I’d like to avoid dry food at all cause because she already drinks little and i heard it increases chances of kidney failure.

        While i recently decided to get some Stella and Chewy’s samples due to the positive remarks I’ve seen so far, I’m still extremely confused on what to actually go with.

        S&C only scored a B- here on AllAboutCats. Then there’s Northwest Naturals that only ranked B+, which is the highest I’ve read off so far on your articles. Feline naturals also had B+ but in the “Best Freeze-Dried list”, doesn’t seemed well-ranked while Northwest Natural seem to have no flaw other than accessibility (which i do seem to have). And while S&C scored lowest of the bunch as a stand alone, it took the top position within the “Best” ranking list.

        I’ve been rambling on but with these confusions, I was hoping I could get your advice on the best thing I could feed my lil floof for daily meals and/or what might be your grade A+ freeze-dried brand (if any).

        Thank you so much for reading and I hope you could spare some time to help this dumb lost child :’) I look forward to hearing from you!

        Reply
  3. David

    This is quite an amazing website, thank you for all these informative articles! I will try out some of them for my ragdoll.
    One question, did you ever hear about fresh is best? Maybe you could also review it? Its also freeze dried cat food, my cat’s breeder recommended it and my cat loves it.

    Reply
    1. small mallory photoMallory Crusta Post author

      Hello David, thank you for your comment! I have run across Fresh is Best before; we’ll consider it for a future review. Your feedback and suggestion is much appreciated!

      Reply
  4. meri jo

    I also am interested in Dr. Marty’s freeze dried raw cat food. I wonder though I thought raw meat was on your don’t feed your cat list?

    Reply
    1. small mallory photoMallory Crusta Post author

      Hi there! I’m not sure which list you’re referring to—properly-prepared raw cat food is generally a great choice, especially if it’s freeze-dried for safety. We plan to review Dr. Marty cat food in the very near future.

      Reply
  5. Abby

    Hi, Great list, really helpful.
    Two things seemed contradictory though and since I want to use one of these foods wanted to make sure I understood:
    1) the rating & discussion re: carbs, and 2) the explanation for “not needing synthetic vitamins” (which was “bc bone was added”) (re: discussion of Dr Marty’s vs Smalls).

    Re: #1 – carbs, Dr Marty’s is described as ‘relatively high’ in carbs (21% based on the graph), and that is listed as a “con.” But right above it in the Small’s rating, there is no mention of its carbs at all, and it’s not incl’d as a “con”, but the carbs for that food are shown as really high – the highest in the list – 31% dry matter(!). I was wondering if that was maybe a typo (the numbers in the graph)? Bc in the description it lists “not having any carb ingredients added” as a “pro” for that food (??).

    Re: #2 – reason for not needing synthetic vitamins (a big plus to me so trying to understand it): for Smalls it says the synthetic vitamins aren’t needed bc of the “added bone” (“We appreciate the use of ground bone in this formula because it negates the need for synthetic mineral supplements”) — . But then for Dr Marty’s right below it, which also has no synthetic vitamins added, there is no bone added (and no mention of why there is no need for synthetic vitamins).

    Do you know why, if there isn’t bone, there would be no need for synthetic vitamins in that food?
    Also, it says that Dr Marty’s is relatively low in phosphorus for a freeze dried food; I was wondering if you knew the dry matter % number for the phosphorus (or a range?), and maybe the calcium number too? (I couldn’t find a nutritional analysis on the website or packaging; I can email them but was just wondering if you knew that one phosp number since it was mentioned as being pretty low.

    Reply
    1. small mallory photoMallory Crusta Post author

      Hello! Thank you for the observant and well-thought-out comment.

      To answer your first question about bone, it turns out that I made a mistake when writing this review. In fact, Dr. Marty Nature’s Feast does contain bone just like other non-fortified raw foods. From their customer support team on Facebook: “we use a process of Freeze Dried Pasteurization to preserve the natural vitamins, minerals and antioxidants from whole food. The bone content is freshly ground bone with all the cartilage and synovial fluids for joint supplementation, the organic calcium and bone marrow for all the nutrients and minerals they provide.”

      I will edit this article to acknowledge the presence of bone in Dr. Marty cat food.

      Regarding the carbohydrate graphs in this article, these charts are based on the guaranteed analysis and may not be 100% accurate for that reason. To get accurate values, I sent Dr. Marty cat food in to an independent lab for analysis, and it is 21% carbohydrates on a dry matter basis. I am also looking into the exact carbohydrate content of the Smalls cat food, because the value we’re seeing here doesn’t seem accurate given the food’s obvious lack of carbohydrate-heavy ingredients, so I think that the guaranteed analysis must be a bit off as well.

      Finally, as for the phosphorus in the Dr. Marty cat food, the lab analysis found that the food has 1070 mg phosphorus per 100g of food.

      Hope all of this helps to clear up some of those points of confusion. Thank you again for commenting!

      Reply
  6. Abby

    Thank you very very much, so helpful – esp the calcium part (I couldn’t understand where it was coming from). And the phosphorus amount – thank you! And their answer about the bone is the first time I’ve heard anyone mention the value of the marrow for pets (I used to wonder about it bc when I cooked whole chickens I used to give my dog and now my cat some of the cooked marrow inside the bones and they seemed to love it, so it seemed like it had to have some nutritional value, but I wonder what exactly). I’m glad Dr Marty’s has bone bc I usually use egg shell calcium (bc of the lower phosphorus) but really does seem like some things could be missing vs the natural diet.

    I bought Dr Marty’s food and I really like it (I use it along with other whole-foods-only vitamins foods).

    Reply
  7. Abby

    Hi again Mallory (sorry! just one more question),

    I was trying to convert this amount to % dry matter but I’m not sure I’m doing it right.

    << [For Dr. Marty's cat food] the lab analysis found that the food has 1070 mg phosphorus per 100g of food.

    So would you happen to have the Phosphorus value for Dr Marty's cat food as % dry matter?

    Reply
    1. small mallory photoMallory Crusta Post author

      Hi Abby! Sorry about the late reply—I meant to reply to you last week, but it seems this slipped. I was told by Dr. Marty Pets that phosphorus makes up 1.01% of each serving of Nature’s Feast, and the AAFCO requires a minimum 0.5% per serving. Of course, this doesn’t seem to be calculated on a dry matter basis, and unfortunately, I’m not sure if this calculation was based on adding a certain amount of water…this makes things a bit more complicated. If we assume that the 1.01% is based on the food prior to rehydration, it looks like the food is about 1.06% phosphorus on a dry matter basis. I’ve contacted Dr. Marty again in hopes of getting a dry matter value directly from the source. Hope this helps!

      Reply
      1. Abby

        Ok thank you very much.
        (Sorry just saw this, again — I wish there was a way to get an alert for additional comments, but if there is I haven’t found it yet!)

        Reply
  8. Helen Day

    Hi Mallory, Suki my 6 year old diabetic cat who weighs over 13lbs, just can’t seem to loose the weight. I feed her High protein, low carb Tiki Cat Dark wet food & freeze-dried food, Is the fat % is a factor? What should I be most concerned with when it comes to her diet? Need some advice please.

    Reply
    1. small mallory photoMallory Crusta Post author

      Hi Helen, when trying to help your cat lose weight, how you feed her is a much bigger factor than what you feed her. The foods you’re giving her are both excellent for weight loss, so I would focus on calorie counting, frequent weigh-ins, and a generally very focused, controlled approach to her diet. This cat weight calculator may help you to determine how much Suki needs to eat each day to reach her target weight.

      Reply

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