Purpose 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 Purpose cat food on ingredient quality, species-appropriateness, recalls, and more. Read our Purpose cat food review to learn how this brand stacks up.

The We’re All About Cats Standard—Rating Purpose 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 – 10/10
  • Product Variety – 5/10
  • Price – 4/10
  • Customer Experience – 7/10
  • Recall History – 9/10

Overall Score: 7.3/10

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

About Purpose Cat Food

The name of this brand is appropriate because the company operates under a single purpose: to extend the humane treatment of animals to those that make up your pet’s diet.

Purpose was founded in 2014 with a mission to create a better freeze-dried pet food. The brand aimed to set a new standard for freeze-dried raw diets by focusing not only on quality nutrition but on ethical values as well.

Also Read: Best Freeze Dried Cat Food

Purpose strives to provide high-quality pet food while supporting independent American family farms and raising awareness of animal welfare.

Sourcing And Manufacturing

Purpose Pet Food is headquartered in New York City and all of their freeze-dried foods are made in the USA. In fact, their ingredients are sourced exclusively from the USA as well, with the exception of rabbit which is imported from France.

Not only does Purpose use only human-grade, USDA-inspected ingredients but they source from local suppliers. On their packages, Purpose notes that they “only use farm-raised, pasture-fed, free-run protein sources with no added hormones or antibiotics.” Their foods are made in USDA-inspected manufacturing facilities.

Also Read: 7 Best Human Grade Cat Foods

Recall History

Purpose has not had a product recall since launching in 2014.

What Kinds of Cat Food Does Purpose Offer?

Purpose only produces freeze-dried pet food and treats for dogs and cats, though they also offer wild-caught salmon oil as a nutritional supplement.

Purpose freeze-dried cat food comes in the following flavors:

  • Chicken
  • Duck
  • Rabbit
  • Turkey

All four recipes are single-protein formulas, and they are complete and balanced for all life stages. Their freeze-dried cat foods are all made with 99% animal protein and 1% organic produce, vitamins, and minerals. These foods can be fed as-is or crumbled and rehydrated with water.

Purpose describes their pet foods as, “Passionately prepared using humanely raised and human-grade, antibiotic-free and steroid-free meats, poultry, certified organic produce, certified organic minerals and natural vitamins, in a USDA inspected food production facility.”

What Do Customers Think Of Purpose Cat Food?

Though Purpose has been on the market for going on a decade, there still aren’t a lot of customer reviews available online. The most I could find were on Chewy where the highest number of ratings any product has was 10.

Cat owners seem to love the quality of the food and the limited number of main ingredients. There are some comments that the food is a little tough to crumble, however, and some cats just showed no interest in the food whether because of the flavor or the lack of a strong appealing aroma.

The price has also been a concern for customers, but many people choose to use it as a snack, treat, or food topper which makes the product last longer.

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

Positive Reviews

Mozart loves It

“My cat loves this new item I bought for him. My cat is 15 yrs. old and finicky. The pieces are hard but soak up easy with water and you can break up for cat like mine who is old and missing lots of teeth. I am so happy with this new item and can add to cat’s menu with others brands I buy so he does not get bored. Again, my cat loved this product and I am so happy.” – by Elvia Reviewing Purpose Carnivore Duck Freeze-Dried Cat Food on 27 Jan 2022

Verdict’s Still Out

“One of my cats like this, the other, no such luck. I love the ingredients however the pieces are really big. I have to use my mincer to break it up and then I re-hydrate it for Ruth. I’m going to keep trying with Simon to see if I can get him off the processed foods.” – by Nancy Reviewing  Purpose Carnivore Chicken Freeze-Dried Cat Food on 25 Aug 2021

Negative Reviews

How Is A Cat Supposed To Eat This?

“I have a cat who loves rabbit. There are not a lot of options in wet food w rabbit and I like to provide variety. I decided to try this food out as the ingredients seem pretty good. My cat was extremely excited while I was opening the bag, he seemed to really like the smell. I offered a few pieces and he excitedly attempted to try it out. Several attempts later he just gave up. He couldn’t seem to bite threw it at all. I tried it out on my other cat with the same outcome. I tried soaking it, still no luck. So I tried crushing it in a plastic bag with a hammer to make a food topper and all I made was a mess (the plastic bag ripped). The food pieces are rather large (long) for cat food and sooo tough. Very disappointed. My cats can’t eat this at all, just kept spitting it out. I for sure would not recommend this food sadly.” – by Kkitty Reviewing Purpose Carnivore Rabbit Freeze-Dried Cat Food on 18 Feb 2022

I liked It – They Did Not

“Oh did I like the size of the bites (no smashing). And the smell (subtle). But apparently the things I liked meant the cats would not eat it. When hydrated it was completely ignored. When left dry there would be a few nibbles – which made me think we could just use it as a snack. Sadly, that was a nope. Brand is probably good. Maybe if they had a different protein that would have been a bigger hit for my cats.” – by Draconismoi Reviewing Purpose Carnivore Chicken Freeze-Dried Cat Food on 21 Mar 2020

What Did Our Test Cats Think?

To test Purpose cat food, I ordered the freeze-dried duck and rabbit recipes. Both came in resealable 9-ounce bags, and I didn’t feel like there was a lot of wasted packaging.

The food itself is formed into elongated pellets ranging from about ½ to 1 inch long. It was pretty firm, though certainly not as hard as kibble, and was fairly difficult to crumble by hand.

I tried rehydrating Purpose freeze-dried food according to the instructions on the package with mixed results. Purpose suggests adding 2 or more tablespoons of warm water for every 1 cup of crumbled pieces. This was surprising to me because I’ve always seen recommendations for using equal parts water and freeze-dried food.

As I expected, the crumbled food took way more than two tablespoons per cup to rehydrate. I also tried rehydrating the whole pieces and, though it took longer than other formulas I’ve tried, they did eventually soften when soaked in water.

When feeding time came around, my cats were very interested. I already feed my cats a rabbit-based diet, so that’s the recipe I started with. Bagel had no qualms about digging right in – she didn’t need to wait for the food to rehydrate before she started eating.

Purpose Cat Food – Top 3 Recipes Reviewed

Product Name Food Type Main Protein Source Calories Price Per Ounce Our Grade
Purpose Carnivore Chicken Freeze-Dried Cat Food Freeze-Dried Chicken 117 kcal/oz $2.22 A-
Purpose Carnivore Rabbit Freeze-Dried Cat Food Freeze-Dried Rabbit 100 kcal/oz $3.67 B+
Purpose Carnivore Duck Freeze-Dried Cat Food Freeze-Dried Duck 122 kcal/oz $3.00 B+

#1 Purpose Carnivore Chicken Freeze-Dried Cat Food

Buy on Chewy

Chicken is the sole source of protein in this freeze-dried cat food.

The first four ingredients in this recipe are all animal-based. In addition to fresh ground chicken, this formula contains chicken heart and chicken liver. Herring oil provides a species-appropriate source of omega-3 fatty acids for skin and coat support.

Also Read: The 9 Best Chicken Cat Food Formulas

As a whole, this recipe contains a fairly limited list of main ingredients. Aside from these animal ingredients, there are only two or three others that likely contribute to the nutritional makeup.

Apple cider vinegar may have immune-boosting effects for cats. It has been used to ease symptoms of respiratory and urinary tract infections as well as intestinal parasites. Coconut oil is less biologically valuable than an animal-based fat, but some experts suggest it may support coat health and help ease allergy symptoms and general skin itchiness.

When calculated on a dry matter basis, this recipe contains about 58% crude protein and nearly 25% crude fat. The carbohydrate content is much lower than the average dry food, but still higher than the 10% maximum we like to see.

Overall, this recipe is high in protein and fat with moderate carbohydrate content. The food contains 117 calories per ounce.

Ingredients

Ground Chicken, Chicken Heart, Chicken Liver, Herring Oil, Organic Apple Cider Vinegar, Organic Coconut Oil, Potassium Chloride, Dried Kelp, Sodium Chloride, Zinc Proteinate, Iron Proteinate, 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: 54%
Crude Fat: 23%
Crude Fiber: 2%
Moisture: 7%

Dry Matter Basis

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Protein: 58.06%
Fat: 24.73%
Fiber: 2.15%
Carbs: 15.05%

Caloric Weight Basis

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Protein: 43.6%
Fat: 45.1%
Carbs: 11.3%
Ingredients We Liked Ingredients We Didn’t Like Common Allergens
Ground Chicken

Chicken Heart

Chicken Liver

Herring Oil

Organic Coconut Oil Chicken

Pros

  • Top four ingredients are all animal-based
  • Contains fresh muscle meat and organs
  • Herring oil provides species-appropriate omega-3s
  • Limited list of ingredients and a single protein source

Cons

  • Contains several plant ingredients
  • Somewhat tricky to crumble and rehydrate

#2 Purpose Carnivore Rabbit Freeze-Dried Cat Food

Buy on Chewy

Rabbit is the sole source of protein in this freeze-dried cat food.

This formula is even simpler than the first in terms of the ingredient list. It contains fresh rabbit as the main ingredient and the only source of protein.

Purpose doesn’t specify whether they use the whole rabbit (which would include raw bone and organs) or only the fresh muscle meat.

Also Read: The Best Rabbit Cat Food

The first would be the more species-appropriate option, though there’s not much to complain about with the second option either. The recipe still contains nearly 60% protein on a dry matter basis. It is, however, much lower in fat than the previous recipe. Though formulated for all life stages, kittens would need a much larger portion of this formula than the first.

This freeze-dried cat food relies on herring oil as an animal-based source of fat and the only other main ingredients are those we saw in the first recipe: organic apple cider vinegar and organic coconut oil.

Overall, this recipe is high in protein and low in fat with moderate carbohydrate content. The food contains 100 calories per ounce.

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

Herring Oil

Organic Coconut Oil None

Pros

  • Single protein and very limited list of ingredients
  • Contains nearly 60% protein on a dry matter basis
  • Herring oil provides a rich source of omega-3s
  • Free from fillers, grains, and artificial additives

Cons

  • Unclear whether the rabbit includes bone and organs
  • More expensive than other recipes
  • Very low in fat, may not be appropriate for kittens

#3 Purpose Carnivore Duck Freeze-Dried Cat Food

Buy on Chewy

Duck is the sole source of protein in this freeze-dried cat food.

This recipe features fresh duck and three types of duck organs along with herring oil as the main ingredients. Again, organic apple cider vinegar and organic coconut oil are the only other ingredients that seem to contribute significantly to the overall composition.

Of the three recipes reviewed, this formula has the highest fat content. It contains roughly 49% crude protein and over 27% crude fat on a dry matter basis. It’s a more highly concentrated source of calories as well, so be mindful of that if you’re feeding an overweight cat.

Also Read: The 7 Best Duck Cat Food Formulas

The total carb content of this formula is, again, higher than I’d like to see. It’s also important to note that none of these three recipes provides the moisture your cat needs for optimal hydration unless the food is rehydrated prior to feeding.

Overall, this recipe is high in protein and fat with moderate carbohydrate content. The food contains 122 calories per ounce.

Ingredients

Duck, Duck Gizzard, Duck Heart, Duck Liver, Herring Oil, Organic Apple Cider Vinegar, Organic Coconut Oil, 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: 45%
Crude Fat: 25%
Crude Fiber: 2%
Moisture: 8%

Dry Matter Basis

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Protein: 48.91%
Fat: 27.17%
Fiber: 2.17%
Carbs: 21.74%

Caloric Weight Basis

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Protein: 35.8%
Fat: 48.3%
Carbs: 15.91%
Ingredients We Liked Ingredients We Didn’t Like Common Allergens
Duck

Duck Gizzard

Duck Heart

Duck Liver

Herring Oil

Organic Coconut Oil None

Pros

  • Concentrated source of animal protein and fat
  • Made with a single protein source and limited ingredients
  • Rich in animal-based omega-3 fatty acids
  • Free from artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives

Cons

  • May be too high in fat and calories for some cats
  • Needs to be rehydrated to support hydration

How Much Does Purpose Cat Food Cost?

Freeze-dried cat food tends to be pretty pricey, especially for recipes that consist primarily of muscle meat, organs, and raw bone. Purpose freeze-dried cat food is only sold in 9-ounce bags and the price varies by the type of protein.

The cheapest option is Purpose’s Carnivore Chicken recipe for $19.99 and the most expensive is the rabbit recipe for $32.99. Customers who shop on PurposePetFood.com can save 10% with a subscription automatically delivered every 1, 2, 4, or 12 weeks.

The per-ounce price for Purpose freeze-dried cat food ranges from $2.22 to $3.67. The cost to feed a 10-pound cat would be somewhere between $3.76 and $7.23 per day.

Overall, Is Purpose Cat Food A Good Choice?

Purpose is a great option for cat owners seeking a freeze-dried cat food. Their recipes deliver simple, animal-based nutrition without grains, fillers, or artificial additives. All of their recipes are made with a single source of protein as well, which makes them a good option for cats with food sensitivities.

These formulas are higher in carbohydrate than I’d like to see, but still lower than the average dry food. When properly rehydrated, Purpose freeze-dried cat food can provide a balanced source of feline nutrition as well as the moisture your cat needs.

The primary concern with Purpose is the price. The brand also doesn’t offer a lot of variety, though three of their four recipes feature proteins that are novel to many cats. If you have the budget for it – or if you’re looking specifically for novel protein diet – Purpose might be worth considering.

Where Is Purpose Cat Food Sold?

You can find Purpose cat food in specialty pet food stores across the United States or online from Chewy. You can also purchase Purpose pet food directly through the website with shipping available to all U.S. addresses and to Canada.

In their FAQ section, Purpose notes that they are “able to accept orders from other countries case by case.” International customers are encouraged to contact the company directly to get a shipping quote.

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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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