Freely Cat Food Review

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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.

We’ve rated Freely cat food on ingredient quality, species-appropriateness, recalls, and more. Read our Freely cat food review to learn how this brand stacks up.

The We’re All About Cats Standard—Rating Freely Cat Food On What Matters

We’ve rated the brand on six key criteria for quality. Here’s how it rates in each of these six crucial areas.

Ratings

  • Species-Appropriateness – 8/10
  • Ingredient Quality – 9/10
  • Product Variety – 7/10
  • Price – 6/10
  • Customer Experience – 6/10
  • Recall History – 8/10

Overall Score: 7.3/10

In total, we give Freely cat food a 44 out of 60 rating or a B grade.

About Freely Cat Food

Freely was founded in 2019 by Reed Howlett, the former CEO of Nature’s Variety. More than just a pet food brand, Freely is a startup that includes both a modest lineup of limited-ingredient diets for pets and the Freely Nutrition Center.

The Freely brand self-identifies as a small team of pet-loving food experts. They believe that “pet food should be simply good for your pet and simply easy to understand.” Their formulas are made with a limited list of ingredients to provide pets with balanced nutrition free from the fillers, by-products, and artificial additives frequently found in low-quality pet food products.

Sourcing And Manufacturing

The Freely brand is headquartered in Brentwood, Missouri and all products are made in the United States. Freely doesn’t provide any specific information about the sourcing of their ingredients other than to say they’re “the finest ingredients from around the world.”

Freely also claims their team has “decades of pet food and nutrition experience” but doesn’t offer any details. Considering Howlett’s previous position as CEO of Nature’s Variety, however, there’s a good chance some of that experience is attributed to him.

Recall History

To our knowledge, Freely has never had a product recall. It’s worth remembering, however, that the company is only 3 years old – this factors into our rating system. Our highest rating is reserved for companies with a long and consistent history of quality.

What Kinds Of Cat Food Does Freely Offer?

Freely aims to make it easier for pet parents to choose and understand the food their offering their pets. For this reason, all of Freely’s cat food formulas are made with a single source of protein and a short list of main ingredients plus the necessary supplements to ensure balanced nutrition.

The Freely brand offers three dry food and two canned food recipes for cats along with a bone broth food topper. All three of Freely’s dry foods are grain-free, as are both of the wet foods.

The complete lineup of Freely products includes:

  • Turkey Recipe Limited Ingredient Grain-Free Dry Cat Food
  • Salmon Recipe Limited Ingredient Grain-Free Dry Cat Food
  • Rabbit Recipe Limited Ingredient Grain-Free Dry Cat Food
  • Turkey Recipe Limited Ingredient Grain-Free Wet Cat Food
  • Rabbit Recipe Limited Ingredient Grain-Free Wet Cat Food

Freely’s recipes are formulated for adult cats according to AAFCO nutrient profiles.

What Do Customers Think Of Freely Cat Food?

Because Freely is only a few years old and product distribution is somewhat limited, there aren’t as many reviews online as there are for popular brands like Canidae that also offer single-protein formulas. Of the reviews available, there is a mixed bag of very positive and very negative customer feedback.

Customers who like Freely products comment on the high quality of the ingredients and the limited ingredient formulas. Some cat owners found that even their pickiest cats enjoyed the food.

On the other end of the spectrum, numerous customers report issues with quality control on top of the usual complaints that some cats simply don’t like the food. There are also concerns about the price, but that’s to be expected with limited-ingredient diets, especially those made with novel proteins.

Let’s take a look at a few reviews from some of the most popular recipes from Freely.

Positive Reviews

“I have a 13 year old cat with GI Lymphoma, which is theorized to be caused by years of untreated IBD. It’s been a huge struggle finding a food for her to eat that doesn’t upset her very delicate digestive system. I went through so many different types of food, hoping and praying to find the right one for her. This food has been amazing for her! Not only does she love it, but she’s thriving on it. No vomiting, no diarrhea – just a happy kitty. With this plus her chemotherapy treatment, she’s doing great!” – Lexi Reviewing Freely Salmon Recipe Limited Ingredient Dry Cat Food

“Cats love this food. After getting them off another brand that went downhill and was causing health issues this food gave them immediate energy. That makes me feel confident that it’s a balanced diet.” – Alysli22 Reviewing Freely Turkey Recipe Limited Ingredient Wet Cat Food

Negative Reviews

“My review is probably not the best to go by. I have a multicat household and they are ALL picky eaters. I was hoping that offering them something new would be the way to go. Rabbit was a good choice for my cat with GI issues as it’s a novel protein. But not one of the crew liked it. I’m not sure why. Two of them licked it a few times then put their noses up to it. I did donate the remaining cans to a local shelter. They did report to me that the cats they fed it to absolutely loved it. So my guess is it’s a great food and my cats just like to be finicky.” – Finickyfurkids Reviewing Freely Rabbit Recipe Limited Ingredient Wet Cat Food

“I’m really upset with this cat food. My cats loved it but I noticed something sticking out of one of the food pellets so I pulled it out with tweezers. I pinched it between my fingers and it was very sharp. I immediately worried about something like that puncturing my cats esophagus or intestine. I then started looking closely at the rest of the food pellets in my cats bowl. Almost all of them had the same foreign object in each piece. Very sharp plastic like shards or splinters. I tried calling the freely customer service # and the phone number doesn’t work. I sent them an email Friday but haven’t heard back yet. Please be careful and make sure you look closely at these food pellets. I hope it was just one bad batch but I will not be buying this food anymore.” – Nicholas Reviewing Freely Rabbit Recipe Limited Ingredient Dry Cat Food

What Did Our Test Cats Think?

To test Freely cat food I ordered the salmon recipe dry food, rabbit recipe wet food, and a bottle of the Beneficial Broth Tranquility Blend food topper.

Before even testing the food, I liked that Freely offers a single-protein rabbit formula. I feed all three of my cats a rabbit-based diet because one cat seems to be allergic to everything else. It’s hard to find rabbit-based recipes that don’t contain other proteins and my cats really seemed to enjoy the texture of the Freely wet food. It’s similar to minced cat food formulas we’ve tested and definitely wasn’t as dry as some pate-style wet foods can be.

The dry food formula seemed acceptable to the two cats who could try it. I appreciated that Freely uses salmon-based sources for both the protein and fat in this recipe.

Freely Cat Food – Top 3 Recipes Reviewed

Product Name Food Type Main Protein Source Calories Price Per Ounce Our Grade
Freely Salmon Recipe Limited Ingredient Dry Cat Food Dry Salmon 423 kcal/cup $0.41 C+
Freely Rabbit Recipe Limited Ingredient Wet Cat Food Wet Rabbit 175 kcal/5.5-ounce can $0.67 B-
Freely Turkey Recipe Limited Ingredient Dry Cat Food Dry Turkey 420 kcal/cup $0.36 C+

#1 Freely Salmon Recipe Limited Ingredient Dry Cat Food

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This dry cat food formula features fresh salmon as the main ingredient with supplemental protein from salmon meal. Salmon is the only source of animal protein in this recipe and, while it isn’t the primary source of fat, the food also contains salmon oil.

While the first two ingredients in this recipe are animal-based, the next four are not. Sweet potatoes aren’t particularly problematic, but we prefer not to ingredients like lentils and peas on the list. Not only are these starchy and of limited nutritional value for cats, but they’re difficult to digest and contain phytic acid which can compromise the absorption of certain nutrients.

In terms of nutritional composition, this is a moderate-protein formula with moderate fat content. Unfortunately, the carbohydrate content is very high, over 40% on a dry matter basis.

Ingredients

Salmon, Salmon Meal, Sweet Potatoes, Lentils, Peas, Sunflower Oil (Preserved With Mixed Tocopherols), Natural Salmon Flavor, Salmon Oil, Choline Chloride, Vitamins (Niacin Supplement, Vitamin E Supplement, Vitamin A Supplement, Thiamine Mononitrate, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Calcium Pantothenate, Riboflavin Supplement, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Biotin, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Folic Acid), Taurine, Dl-Methionine, Minerals (Zinc Proteinate, Calcium Carbonate, Iron Proteinate, Copper Proteinate, Manganese Proteinate, Sodium Selenite, Calcium Iodate), Dried Chicory Root, Rosemary Extract.

Guaranteed Analysis

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Crude Protein: 32%
Crude Fat: 18%
Crude Fiber: 3.5%
Moisture: 8%

Dry Matter Basis

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Protein: 34.78%
Fat: 19.57%
Fiber: 3.8%
Carbs: 41.85%

Caloric Weight Basis

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Protein: 28.02%
Fat: 38.27%
Carbs: 33.71%
Ingredients We Liked Ingredients We Didn’t Like Common Allergens
Salmon

Salmon Meal

Salmon Oil

Lentils

Peas

Sunflower Oil

Fish

Pros

  • Made with a single source of animal protein and fat
  • Limited list of main ingredients
  • Free from animal by-products and artificial additives

Cons

  • Contains starchy peas and lentils
  • No dry food provides the moisture your cat needs

#2 Freely Rabbit Recipe Limited Ingredient Wet Cat Food

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One of only three wet food recipes Freely has to offer, this recipe features rabbit as a single source of novel animal protein. As a canned food, it’s much higher in moisture than Freely kibble and it’s lower in carbohydrates – under 20% on a dry matter basis.

This is a high-protein formula with fairly high fat content. Again, some of that fat comes from plant-based sunflower oil but salmon oil provides some biologically valuable animal fat as well. Peas are also included in this product, but they don’t seem to feature as heavily as they do in Freely dry foods.

Because rabbit is a novel protein (and a fairly uncommon one), this is Freely’s most expensive recipe. The species appropriateness is arguably higher than the dry foods but, again, a little too high in carbohydrates.

It’s also worth noting that this recipe is thickened with guar gum. It may not be as inherently problematic as carrageenan – a common thickener in cheap cat food – but it has been known to cause digestive upset in some cats.

Ingredients

Deboned Rabbit, Water, Rabbit Liver, Peas, Natural Flavor, Sunflower Oil, Guar Gum, Salmon Oil, Potassium Chloride, Taurine, Choline Chloride, Dried Chicory Root, Salt, Vitamin E Supplement, Niacin Supplement, l-ascorbyl-2-polyphosphate, Thiamine Mononitrate, Calcium Pantothenate, Vitamin A Supplement, Riboflavin Supplement, Biotin, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Folic Acid, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Zinc Sulfate, Ferrous Sulfate, Zinc Proteinate, Copper Sulfate, Manganese Sulfate, Copper Proteinate, Manganese Proteinate, Potassium Iodide.

Guaranteed Analysis

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Crude Protein: 12%
Crude Fat: 5%
Crude Fiber: 2%
Moisture: 78%

Dry Matter Basis

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Protein: 54.55%
Fat: 22.73%
Fiber: 9.09%
Carbs: 13.64%

Caloric Weight Basis

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Protein: 44.21%
Fat: 44.74%
Carbs: 11.05%
Ingredients We Liked Ingredients We Didn’t Like Common Allergens
Deboned Rabbit

Rabbit Liver

Salmon Oil

Peas

Sunflower Oil

Guar Gum

None

Pros

  • Made with a single source of novel animal protein
  • Rich in moisture to support your cat’s hydration
  • Limited list of ingredients for improved digestibility

Cons

  • Contains starchy peas and gum thickener
  • Very expensive

#3 Freely Turkey Recipe Limited Ingredient Dry Cat Food

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With turkey as the main ingredient, this dry food recipe is a little cheaper than the previous kibble but still has some of the same problems.

Fresh turkey and turkey meal top the list of ingredients and again we see salmon oil as an animal-based source of omega-3 fatty acids. The recipe does, however, appear to rely on sunflower oil as the primary source of added fat and, again, we see the starchy peas and lentils on the list.

In terms of nutritional composition, this recipe contains a little less protein and about the same amount of fat as the previous dry food when measured as dry matter. The carb content is still very high.

Ingredients

Deboned Turkey, Turkey Meal, Sweet Potatoes, Peas, Lentils, Sunflower Oil (Preserved With Mixed Tocopherols), Natural Turkey Flavor, Salmon Oil, Choline Chloride, Vitamins (Niacin Supplement, Vitamin E Supplement, Vitamin A Supplement, Thiamine Mononitrate, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Calcium Pantothenate, Riboflavin Supplement, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Biotin, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Folic Acid), Taurine, Dl-Methionine, Minerals (Zinc Proteinate, Calcium Carbonate, Iron Proteinate, Copper Proteinate, Manganese Proteinate, Sodium Selenite, Calcium Iodate), Dried Chicory Root, Rosemary Extract.

Guaranteed Analysis

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Crude Protein: 30%
Crude Fat: 18%
Crude Fiber: 3.5%
Moisture: 8%

Dry Matter Basis

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Protein: 32.61%
Fat: 19.57%
Fiber: 3.8%
Carbs: 44.02%

Caloric Weight Basis

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Protein: 26.27%
Fat: 38.27%
Carbs: 35.46%
Ingredients We Liked Ingredients We Didn’t Like Common Allergens
Deboned Turkey

Turkey Meal

Salmon Oil

Peas

Lentils

Sunflower Oil

None

Pros

  • Two high-quality sources of animal protein top the list
  • Includes salmon oil for animal-based omega-3s
  • Limited list of ingredients and a single protein source

Cons

  • Contains starchy peas and lentils
  • No dry food provides the moisture your cat needs

How Much Does Freely Cat Food Cost?

Freely dry foods cost between $0.35 and $0.41 per ounce which leaves them at a similar price point to other brands that feature limited ingredient diets like Dr. Elsey’s. As is true with another limited-ingredient brand, Canidae, Freely’s wet foods are more expensive than their dry foods.

To feed a 10-pound cat Freely cat food would cost about $0.72 per day for a dry food diet and as much as $4.78 per day for a wet food diet.

Overall, Is Freely Cat Food A Good Choice?

When it comes to single-protein formulas, Freely is a decent option. Their recipes are limited to turkey, salmon, and rabbit, but rabbit is fairly uncommon as a pet food ingredient. Unfortunately, you’ll pay a hefty price if this is the protein you choose to feed your cat and Freely is no different from other brands in this respect.

The quality of Freely’s ingredients seem to be high, though we have no indication of where they come from. The main problem is the high carbohydrate content of most Freely foods. You could do much better with a dry food like Dr.Elsey’s in this department, though Freely wet foods aren’t bad. They’re higher in carbs than we like to see, however, especially for such a pricey cat food product.

Where Is Freely Cat Food Sold?

You can find Freely cat food in local and independent pet retailers or buy it online from Chewy, Amazon, HeartyPet, or PetFlow.

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About Kate Barrington

Kate Barrington holds a Bachelor’s degree in English and is the published author of several self-help books and nutrition guides. Also an avid dog lover and adoring owner of three cats, Kate’s love for animals has led her to a successful career as a freelance writer specializing in pet care and nutrition. Kate is also a blogger for a number of organic and natural food companies as well as a columnist for several pet magazines.

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