Meat Mates 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 Meat Mates Cat Food on ingredient quality, species-appropriateness, recalls, and more. Read our Encore cat food review to learn how this brand stacks up.

The We’re All About Cats Standard—Rating Meat Mates 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 – 9/10
  • Ingredient Quality – 9/10
  • Product Variety – 7/10
  • Price – 6/10
  • Customer Experience – 8/10
  • Recall History – 8/10

Overall Score: 7.8/10

In total, we give Meat Mates Cat food a 47 out of 60 rating or a B+ grade.

About Meat Mates Cat Food

Meat Mates is a New Zealand-based pet food company dedicated to providing pet parents with simple and nutritious options for their pets. One of the company’s taglines is, “Reinventing the ordinary, so people and their pets never have to settle.”

This company was originally launched on Amazon in 2018 but is now available from multiple retailers across New Zealand, Australia, and the United States.

Sourcing And Manufacturing

Meat Mates is based in New Zealand and that’s where their products are made. The company doesn’t provide much in the way of specific information about their sourcing or manufacturing practices on their website.

Their food labels do, however, note that the products are made from New Zealand grass-fed, free-range meat or cage-free chicken. As for the other ingredients, the FAQ section simply says, “Meat Mates is made in New Zealand from real ingredients, because your best mate deserves the best!”

The FAQ section of the Meat Mates website also states that all products are formulated to meet the nutritional levels established by AAFCO nutrient profiles.

Recall History

To our knowledge, Meat Mates has never had a product recall.

What Kinds Of Cat Food Does Meat Mates Offer?

Meat Mates offers an assortment of dry food, wet food, and freeze-dried cat food options. Their dry food lineup includes two recipes of freeze-dried coated kibble featuring protein from chicken, lamb, venison, beef, and fish. Meat Mates offers three canned food recipes, all made with a single source of animal protein including chicken, beef, or lamb.

Like their canned foods, Meat Mates’ freeze-dried foods are all made with a single source of animal protein – chicken, beef, or lamb. The same proteins are featured in their single-protein freeze-dried cat treats.

What Do Customers Think Of Meat Mates Cat Food?

Customer reviews on the Meat Mates website are sparse and even reviews on Amazon and Chewy are limited. Many of the reviews that have been posted, however, are positive.

Cat owners largely agree that the quality of Meat Mates products is high but, unfortunately, so is the price. The small bags don’t last very long – especially in a multi-cat household – but the product itself is a healthy and convenient way to feed cats a raw diet.

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

Positive Reviews

Makes feeding Raw Very Easy

“I like having a bag of this to feed when I forget to set out her frozen food. It is so simple to serve, and the cat loves it. I recommend this to anyone who wants to get their cat started on a raw diet but are not quite ready to make the leap. Sphinx are notorious for having delicate digestive systems, and this food leaves her litter box odor free!” – by Bob reviewing Meat Mates Beef Dinner Freeze-Dried Cat Food on March 9, 2022

Quality For A Price

“My cat’s love this…unfortunately. It’s so expensive. According to feeding guidelines I need to feed my cat 2.5 cans a day. Works out to be $5 a day. For a multiple cat household, this adds up. But my cats are 18 and it’s getting difficult to find a food that is grain-free without poultry. It actually smells pretty fishy to me, I believe from the fish oil? As other reviews have mentioned, there is a lot of liquid in the can. I’d prefer to add the water myself, but the liquid mixes with the pate and it comes out to the right consistency. This is lower in phosphorus than the other canned lamb I was feeding, so this will be their main food. Hoping they get in the larger cans soon which will bring the cost down.” – by KillerStella reviewing Meat Mates Lamb Dinner Canned Food on 21 May 2022

Negative Reviews

Freeze Dried lovers

“Got this for my both my cats. Was really hoping they would love this food because Nala eats stella chewy freeze-dried rabbit and Ezra eats vital essentials freeze dried rabbit. But both my cats wouldn’t eat it. Its packaged really nice and great ingredients but my cats didn’t care for it. Maybe if they come out with rabbit one day I would love to try again.” – by JenA reviewing Meat Mates Chicken Dinner Freeze-Dried Cat Food on 1 Sept 2021

My Cats Won’t Eat It

“My cats won’t eat it. I have 7 cats and not one of them would eat it. I also tried feeding it to the ferals I feed outside and even they wouldn’t eat it.” – by Kindle Customer reviewing Meat Mates Lamb Dinner Canned Cat Food on February 18, 2021

What Did Our Test Cats Think?

To test Meat Mates, I ordered a case of the Lamb Dinner Grain-Free Wet Food, a bag of freeze-dried beef cat treats, and both the Chicken Dinner and Lamb Dinner freeze-dried foods.

Meat Mates’ freeze-dried cat foods come in elongated pellet-like pieces. The company recommends mixing the food with water for added hydration but notes that it is completely up to you and your pet’s personal preference. I found that the products softened fairly well in water, though my cats had absolutely no problem eating the food as-is either.

The canned food was even more of a hit than the freeze-dried food. Like some customers have commented, I found that Meat Mates wet food comes with a lot of liquid. My cats are big fans of gravy-style cat food, so they’ll never complain about a little extra liquid.

Overall, my cats enjoyed Meat Mates. I found their product selection to be a little limited, but the brand has only been out for a few years so they may still be in the process of expanding. The price might be prohibitive for some cat owners, but the quality of the food is high.

Meat Mates Cat Food – Top 3 Recipes Reviewed

Product Name Food Type Main Protein Source Calories Price Per Ounce Our Grade
Meat Mates Chicken Dinner Grain-Free Freeze-Dried Cat Food Freeze-Dried Chicken 164 kcal/cup $2.64 A
Meat Mates Lamb Dinner Grain-Free Canned Wet Cat Food Wet Lamb 31 kcal/oz. $0.72 A
Meat Mates Ocean Dinner Freeze-Dried Coated Cat Kibble Dry Salmon 505 kcal/cup $0.57 B-

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

Buy on Chewy

This freeze-dried cat food features fresh chicken and chicken liver as the primary ingredients. It is a single-protein formula which makes it a good option for cats who are allergic to other common proteins and, with its limited list of ingredients, is also highly digestible for cats with sensitive stomachs.

Meat Mates’ cat foods are made with New Zealand-sourced animal proteins which, in this case, means cage-free chicken. Fish oil is the main source of added fat, supplemented with flaxseed flakes.

With roughly 52% protein and over 32% fat on a dry matter basis, this is a highly nutrient-dense formula that is fairly low in carbohydrates. It’s also low in moisture as a freeze-dried food, however, so consider rehydrating the food before feeding or find other ways to boost the moisture content of your cat’s diet.

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%
Ingredients We Liked Ingredients We Didn’t Like Common Allergens
Chicken

Chicken Liver

Fish Oil

Flaxseed Flakes Chicken

Pros

  • Top three ingredients are all animal-based
  • Contains fresh chicken and chicken liver
  • Freeze-dried to preserve nutritional value

Cons

  • Contains some plant ingredients
  • Very expensive

#2 Meat Mates Lamb Dinner Grain-Free Canned Wet Cat Food

Buy on Chewy

Fresh New Zealand grass-fed lamb is the foundation of this recipe. In addition to lamb muscle meat, the formula also contains numerous lamb organs including tripe, heart, kidney, spleen, and liver. Lamb is a novel protein for many cats, so this recipe could be a good choice for cats with food allergies or sensitivities.

Fish oil is the main source of added fat, though flaxseed flakes provide a plant-based source of omega-3s. Meat Mates doesn’t specify the exact source of their fish oil and, while this isn’t necessarily a red flag ingredient, we always prefer to see named ingredients like salmon oil or chicken fat.

Something that makes this Meat Mates wet food unique from the average canned food is that it is formulated without gelling agents. It’s free from grains, GMOs, and fillers as well and doesn’t contain any artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives.

This recipe is packed with animal-based proteins and fats, leaving the total carbohydrate content under 10% on a dry matter basis. As a wet food, it’s rich in moisture as well which makes this formula pretty species appropriate as a whole.

Ingredients

Lamb, Water Sufficient For Processing, Lamb Tripe, Lamb Heart, Lamb Kidney, Lamb Spleen, Lamb Liver, Calcium Carbonate, Dipotassium Phosphate, Fish Oil, Flaxseed Flakes, Dried Kelp, Salt, Magnesium Oxide, Vitamin E Supplement, Zinc Proteinate, Taurine, Copper Proteinate, Manganese Proteinate, Thiamine Mononitrate, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Folic Acid.

Guaranteed Analysis

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Crude Protein: 7.5%
Crude Fat: 7.5%
Crude Fiber: 0.7%
Moisture: 83%
Ash: 2%

Dry Matter Basis

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Protein: 44.12%
Fat: 44.12%
Fiber: 4.12%

Caloric Weight Basis

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Protein: 29.17%
Fat: 70.83%
Ingredients We Liked Ingredients We Didn’t Like Common Allergens
Lamb

Lamb Tripe

Lamb Heart

Lamb Kidney

Lamb Spleen

Lamb Liver

Flaxseed Flakes None

Pros

  • Packed with protein from lamb meat and organs
  • Rich in animal-based omega-3 fatty acids
  • Contains plenty of moisture to support hydration
  • Free from grains, GMOs, and gelling agents

Cons

  • Very expensive, over $0.72 per ounce
  • Contains some added carbohydrate

#3 Meat Mates Ocean Dinner Freeze-Dried Coated Cat Kibble

Buy on Meatmates.com

Meat Mates offers two formulas for freeze-dried coated kibble. This Ocean Dinner recipe features protein from salmon, hoki, and fish meal supplemented with additional protein from chicken meal, blood meal, New Zealand green mussel, and beef liver.

While the first four ingredients are all animal-based, they’re followed by starchy legumes and pulses like chickpeas, faba beans, peas, and green lentils. Not only do these plant ingredients contribute to a significant carbohydrate content, but they tend to be difficult for cats to digest and they offer limited nutritional value for cats.

This recipe does contain animal-based fat and some organ meats, but it doesn’t quite mimic a natural prey diet because it doesn’t contain bone. It relies on synthetic vitamin and mineral supplements to fill in the gaps and ensure balanced nutrition.

At 505 calories per cup, this recipe is fairly calorie dense. At roughly 42% crude protein and 13% crude fat on a dry matter basis, however, it’s a moderate protein and low-fat recipe with high carbohydrate content.

This product isn’t sold on Amazon or Chewy, so I wasn’t able to test it myself. Overall, however, it appears to be made with high-quality ingredients, many of which are animal-based. Unfortunately, the carbohydrate content is much too high, and no dry food provides the moisture your cat needs for optimal hydration.

Ingredients

Salmon, Hoki, Fish Meal, Chicken Meal, Chickpeas, Fava Beans, Peas, Green Lentils, Beef Tallow, Blood Meal, Natural Flavour, New Zealand Green Mussel, Beef Liver, Flaxseed Flakes, Dried Kelp, Taurine, Vitamin E Supplement, Magnesium Oxide, Zinc Proteinate, Copper Proteinate, Manganese Proteinate, Thiamine Mononitrate, Choline Chloride, Riboflavin, Folic Acid, Vitamin D3 Supplement.

Guaranteed Analysis

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Crude Protein: 38%
Crude Fat: 12%
Crude Fiber: 6%
Moisture: 10%

Dry Matter Basis

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Protein: 42.22%
Fat: 13.33%
Fiber: 6.67%
Carbs: 37.78%

Caloric Weight Basis

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Protein: 37.57%
Fat: 28.81%
Carbs: 33.62%
Ingredients We Liked Ingredients We Didn’t Like Common Allergens
Salmon

Hoki

Fish Meal

Chicken Meal

Beef Tallow

New Zealand Green Mussel

Beef Liver

Chickpeas

Faba BeansPeas

Green LentilsFlaxseed

Flakes

Fish

Chicken

Pros

  • First four ingredients are all animal-based
  • Coated with freeze-dried fish for added flavor
  • Relies primarily on animal-based fat
  • Free from artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives

Cons

  • Carbohydrate content is very high
  • No dry food provides the moisture your cat needs

How Much Does Meat Mates Cat Food Cost?

Meat Mates is a pretty pricey brand, but it’s understandable. This brand focuses on high-quality animal proteins and meat-rich formulas that are free from grains, fillers, and artificial additives. The cost of Meat Mates cat food varies depending which type of product you choose.

The freeze-dried coated kibble is the most economical option at around $0.57 per ounce. To feed a 10-pound cat Meat Mates dry food, it would cost about $1.06 per day. To feed your cat Meat Mates canned food would cost about $4.65 per day. Meat Mates freeze-dried cat food is in between these two options, around $3.95 per day.

In terms of price and quality, Meat Mates is similar to familiar brands like Feline Natural and Ziwi Peak.

Overall, Is Meat Mates Cat Food A Good Choice?

Meat Mates has a limited selection of dry, wet, and freeze-dried cat food products. Their wet and freeze-dried foods are the most species appropriate choices, but also the most expensive.

If you have the financial flexibility to invest in a premium cat food, Meat Mates could be a good choice. Their canned and freeze-dried formulas are protein-heavy and made with a fairly limited list of high-quality ingredients. There are only three protein options to choose from, but all formulas are single-protein which could be a benefit for cats with food allergies.

Meat Mates dry food is the most affordable of their three product lines, but they’re very high in carbohydrates. If you’re looking for a moderately priced dry food, something from Orijen would be similar in price but Acana’s recipes are more meat-heavy and a little cheaper.

Where Is Meat Mates Cat Food Sold?

Meat Mates is sold by select retailers throughout New Zealand as well as in Australia and the United States. You can find their products on PetDirect, Amazon, and Chewy. Meat Mates also sells their pet foods directly through the company website but only ships to New Zealand.

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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.

2 thoughts on “Meat Mates Cat Food Review

  1. Lauri

    We almost exclusively use Meat Mates. We used to use Feline Natural, because of the ratings on this incredible website. But FN became way too expensive, so we switched to Meat Mates. I just found the review today. We definitely rehydrate each meal and she loves the Chicken, Lamb as well as the beef. Friends always comments on how beautiful our cats coat is, so shiny and luxurious feeling and she is a rescue kitty! We are from the United States, but we are living in New Zealand, so we are buying it at a fraction of the price I researched here. So, after reading this review and know how much my cat loves it, I’m feeling very fortunate. We highly recommend this food!

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