Giving your kitties the best in life is something every cat parent strives for—and making the switch to a more health-conscious diet is one of the easiest ways to ensure that your feline companions are well-nourished, strong, and happy.
Freeze-dried cat food is an excellent option for cat parents looking to provide a well-balanced diet that their cats will enjoy eating.
What Is Freeze-Dried Cat Food?
Although it might sound fancy or complicated, freeze-dried cat food is quite simply a blend of meats and veggies that has gone through a freezing and drying process that sucks all of the moisture out of it.
Not only does this multi-step process allow for the safe and extended storage of fresh ingredients, it also makes it easy for pet parents to provide all-natural (and usually raw) cuts of meat and organs without any filler or preservatives—all you have to do is add a bit of water to rehydrate the shelf-stable formula. Freeze-dried cat food differs from frozen raw cat food, which is stored in the freezer and needs to be thawed before serving.
What’s more, most freeze-dried brands on the market are made with indulgent ingredients, like lamb, salmon, and even mussels and rabbit, that will make any cat feel like royalty while also benefiting their overall health and digestion in ways that kibble and most wet food simply cannot.
Benefits of Freeze-Dried Cat Food
It should really come as no surprise that just as humans do, cats also benefit from eating a healthy diet with organic, non-processed food, which is the perfect reason to change your cat to a freeze-dried diet. According to Dr. Georgina Ushi, medical director at Pet Urgent Care of Wesley Chapel, switching from wet food or dried kibble to a freeze-dried diet is beneficial to almost all cats, at any stage of life.
“Feeding your cat with freeze-dried food is arguably the most nutritional and complete diet you could get for your furry friend, as it’s rich in vitamins, nutrients, and enzymes,” she explains. “Besides, this type of food is extremely convenient for owners as well since it can be stored at room temperature for long periods and it’s easy to take on-the-go.”
Freeze-Dried Cat Food: What to Look For
When you’re shopping for the best freeze-dried cat food, there are certain things you’ll want to check before serving up dinner for your cats. Here are a few key factors to keep an eye on when selecting a new food:
Look for high-quality ingredients: Don’t assume that just because you’re going raw that you don’t have to check the ingredients list for filler products or antibiotics! Look for terms like GMO-free and sustainably sourced—and avoid anything that has unnecessary legumes, corn, or grain.
Consider ease of use: Committing to a freeze-dried diet requires a bit more work than kibble or wet food since you may need to soak it in warm water or broth before serving—but there are certain brands that can also be fed dry or that come broken into small niblets, requiring less prep on your end.
Check out other pet parents’ reviews: Some formulas and brands work better for different cats. If you’re curious to see how other pet parents have fared while making the switch to freeze-dried food, consider checking out some verified customer reviews.
The 7 Best Freeze-Dried Cat Foods
All featured products are chosen at the discretion of the author. However, Great Pet Care may make a small affiliate commission if you click through and make a purchase.
Best Overall Freeze-Dried Cat Food
Our pick: Smalls Freeze-Dried Raw Cat Food
Switching from wet food or dried kibble to a freeze-dried raw diet may be an adjustment for your cat, but Smalls Freeze-Dried Raw Cat Food makes it a much easier experience all around thanks to their smaller sized packaging and an affordable price tag. You can start with a sampler box that features multiple flavors. That way you can see which ones stick without having to commit to a large amount of food that your kitties might not gravitate toward. Plus, if your cat doesn’t eat the food, the company will refund you!
- Convenient small sizes allow pet parents to test out flavors before investing in a large batch
- Features USDA-certified, humanely-harvested, sustainably-sourced ingredients
- Comes already broken up into bite-sized niblets
- Risk-free guarantee
Things to Consider
- Only available via subscription service
- They only offer three freeze-dried recipes so far: turkey, chicken, and duck. However, they also sell human-grade fresh food, which comes in five flavors
Sample buyer review: “Our cat loves Smalls so much that he basically sings Opera when it’s time to eat and he’s lost a little bit of his chonk for his previous food and is overall so spritely and happy and healthy!”
Best Novel Protein Freeze-Dried Cat Food
Looking for a well-rounded freeze-dried cat food that’s both natural and easy to serve come dinner time? Stella & Chewy’s Freeze-Dried Raw Dinner Morsels comes recommended by Dr. Ushi. “It’s easy to notice Stella & Chewy’s food is made with premium ingredients and most cats love it,” shares Dr. Ushi. Aside from rabbit, the food comes in a wide variety of flavors, including chicken, duck, salmon and chicken, salmon and cod, and turkey recipes.
- Features raw farm-raised rabbit
- Made with 98 percent rabbit, nutrient-rich organs, and bone
- Convenient to prepare and serve
- Does not contain peas, lentils, or potatoes
- No added hormones or antibiotics
- Fortified with vitamins and minerals and added probiotics
Things to Consider
- Certain cats might not warm to the natural formula right away
- Some reviewers find it to have an overpowering smell
- One of the more expensive brands on the market
Sample buyer review: “My kitten loves this food. I let it rehydrate in some water for a few minutes and she gobbles it up. I would recommend breaking up the pieces if you have a young kitten and it’s too big for them to chew.”
Best High-Meat Freeze-Dried Cat Food
Our pick: Feline Natural Freeze-Dried Cat Food
New Zealand-based Feline Natural is made with both sustainability and health at the forefront. Their recipes feature sustainably-caught and free-range ingredients, like New Zealand green lipped mussels and grass-fed lamb, to ensure both a great taste that your cats will instantly warm to and an eco-friendly approach to store-bought cat food.
- Consists of grass-fed, free-range meat and sustainably-caught fish
- 99 percent meat and organs
- Made without legumes, grain-based fillers, or GMO ingredients
- Easy to prepare and serve, either as a complete meal or sprinkled on your cat’s food as a topper
Things to Consider
- Considered to be one of the more expensive brands on the market
- Some reviewers find it to be too powdery
- Only comes in three flavors: lamb and king salmon, beef and hoki, or chicken and lamb
Sample buyer review: “Feline Natural Feast Freeze-Dried Cat Food is a winner at our house. I use it mixed with dry food for between meals, or as a meal on it’s own and sometimes add a bit of warm water to rehydrate and create a juice. The cats enjoy it however it’s served!”
Best Freeze-Dried Cat Food for Sensitive Stomachs
Our pick: Instinct Raw Meals Freeze-Dried Cat Food
Crafted from a mix of 85 percent protein and 15 percent stomach-friendly veggies, the Instinct Raw Meals freeze-dried cat food was designed to help cats of all ages achieve leaner muscle, stronger bones, and healthier fur—while also being easy on digestion. In fact, the unique combination of ingredients is even said to make their visits to the litter box much less smelly.
- Small enough for most cats to chew without needing to be broken into smaller pieces
- The stomach-friendly formula is made with meat, organs, and non-GMO fruits and veggies
- No grain, corn, wheat, soy, legumes, artificial colors or preservatives
- Relatively inexpensive compared to other brands of the same quality
Things to Consider
- Some reviewers wish there was more meat as opposed to fruits and veggies
- Only comes in the cage-free chicken recipe
Sample buyer review: “My kittens have now learned how to pull out the cloth bin I keep these in, reach in, claw out the bag, tear it open, and eat the whole thing. They go absolutely bananas for this stuff. I use this as a treat to supplement their diet. It had the side effect of making their poop smell a lot better too so I will keep it in their diet. My 12 year old girl is also becoming picky and she likes these too.”
Best Freeze-Dried Cat Food for Seniors
Our pick: Primal Freeze-Dried Nuggets for Cats
Made in the USA using hormone-free meat, organs, and freshly ground bone, Primal Freeze-Dried Nuggets come as an excellent option for pet parents concerned about their cats getting enough protein and calcium. The convenient nugget shape is made to be pressed and broken into bite-size pieces, which ends up looking and tasting very similar to traditional wet food—a huge plus for picky or older cats.
- Nugget shape makes it easy to portion
- Crafted entirely in the USA using sustainably-sourced ingredients
- Available in multiple formulas, including turkey, chicken and salmon, rabbit, beef and salmon, and duck
- Free of grain, gluten, corn, wheat and soy
- Consists of 93% meat, organs, and bones, 7% produce and supplements
- Very affordable compared to similar brands
Things to Consider
- Will need to be manually broken into bite-sized pieces
Sample buyer review: “My cat loves this flavor, and because of its denser texture I’m able to cut it up to use as treats for him. Much healthier than feeding him treats that include potato or corn.”
Best Freeze-Dried Cat Treat
Our pick: PureBites Freeze Dried Cat Treats
Looking to shift your cat’s diet but not sure if they’ll warm to freeze-dried cat food? Consider picking up a couple packages of the PureBites Freeze Dried Cat Treats. Like freeze-dried cat food, these healthy treats offer the same all-natural nutrients without fillers or added sugar and provide a good way to start gauging your cat’s interest in a more natural food. Start by using it as a treat replacement or sprinkling it on top of their usual kibble or wet food.
- Great for easing your cats into a freeze-dried diet
- Made with one ingredient: USA-raised chicken breast
- Completely free of preservatives and unnecessary filler
- High in protein and on average only 2 calories per treat
- Available in other flavors, including salmon, chicken, shrimp, and tuna
Things to Consider
- Treats can be quite crumbled due to the thin packaging
Sample buyer review: “Our cat is a little overweight but we still wanted to give her treats. These treats are the best choice as they’re natural, low fat and easy to break into smaller pieces to control portion sizes. The best thing is that our cat loves them!”
Best Freeze-Dried Kitten Food
Designed with kitten-specific health in mind, the Merrick Backcountry Raw Infused Kitten Recipe is packed with everything your kitten needs to have the healthiest start in life. The formula includes high-protein kibble, freeze-dried raw poultry pieces, antioxidant-rich veggies, DHA omegas, and probiotics, all of which will ensure kittens begin to foster a healthy gut flora and strong bones from the beginning.
- The freeze-dried infused mix makes it easy for young kittens to consume
- Made in the USA using zero fillers or artificial colors—no grain, wheat, corn or gluten ingredients
- Flavorful formula makes it easy to transition kittens to a raw diet
- Can be served alone dry or mixed with one of Merrick’s 3-ounce wet food pouches
Things to Consider
- This is a dry food mixed with freeze-dried raw protein pieces
- Some reviewers found that the amount of freeze-dried protein pieces varies by bag
- Certain reviews noted that it can cause gastrointestinal issues in sensitive cats
Sample buyer review: “My two kittens, nine months old now, have been very picky eaters. I have tried a much more expensive freeze dried kitten food and they just won’t eat it. But they loved this one from the first bowl.”
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