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7 Best Freeze-Dried Cat Foods

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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. 

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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

Smalls Freeze Dried Food
FlavorChickenTurkeyDuck
Life StageAllAllAll
FormFreeze driedFreeze driedFreeze dried
Protein (Ingredients)Finely ground chicken with bone, chicken heart, chicken liver, chicken gizzard, chicken egg, goat’s milkFinely ground turkey with bone, turkey heart, turkey liver, turkey gizzard, goat’s milk, turkey eggFinely ground duck with bone, duck heart, duck liver, duck gizzard, duck egg, duck blood, goat’s milk
Protein Analysis45% min49% min45% min
Meets AAFCO Standards?YesYesYes

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!

Highlights

  • 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

Our pick: Stella & Chewy’s Freeze-Dried Raw Dinner Morsels

Stella & Chewy's Dinner Morsels
FlavorRabbitDuck and GooseTurkeySalmon and CodSalmon and ChickenChicken
Life StageAdultAdultAdultAdultAdultAdult
FormFreeze driedFreeze driedFreeze driedFreeze driedFreeze driedFreeze dried
Protein (Ingredients)Rabbit with ground bone, rabbit liverDuck and turkey with ground bone, turkey liver, goose, turkey gizzard Turkey with ground bone, turkey liver, turkey gizzardSalmon and cod with ground boneSalmon and chicken with ground bone, chicken liver, chicken gizzardChicken with ground bone, chicken liver, chicken gizzard
Protein Analysis44% min40% min40% min45% min45% min45% min
Calories131 kcal/oz.149 kcal/oz.208 kcal/oz.126 kcal/oz.125 kcal/oz.182 kcal/cup
Meets AAFCO Standards?YesYesYesYesYesYes

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. 

Highlights

  • 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

Feline Natural Freeze-Dried Food
FlavorLamb and SalmonBeef and HokiChicken and Lamb
Life StageAll All All 
FormFreeze driedFreeze driedFreeze dried
Protein (Ingredients)Lamb heart, salmon, lamb kidney, lamb liver, lamb blood, New Zealand green musselBeef heart, hoki, beef, beef kidney, beef liver, beef blood, New Zealand green musselChicken, lamb heart, lamb kidney, lamb liver, lamb blood, New Zealand green mussel
Protein Analysis44% min47% min48% min
Calories239 kcal/cup205 kcal/cup185 kcal/cup
Meets AAFCO Standards?YesYesYes

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.

Highlights

  • 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

Instinct Raw Meals
FlavorChickenChicken
Life StageAdultKitten
FormFreeze driedFreeze dried
Protein (Ingredients)Chicken with ground bone, chicken liver, chicken heartChicken with ground bone, beef liver, beef spleen, beef kidney, cod
Protein Analysis38% min39%
Calories197 kcal/cup196 kcal/cup
Meets AAFCO Standards?YesYes

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.

Highlights

  • 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

Primal Freeze-Dried Nuggets
FlavorTurkeyChicken and SalmonPorkVenisonBeef and SalmonRabbitDuck
Life StageAdultAdultAdultAdultAdultAdultAdult
FormFreeze driedFreeze driedFreeze driedFreeze driedFreeze driedFreeze driedFreeze dried
Protein (Ingredients)Turkey with ground bone, turkey liversChicken with ground bone, chicken livers, salmonPork hearts, ground pork bones, pork livers Venison, venison hearts, ground venison bones, venison liversBeef hearts, ground beef bones, beef livers, salmon Rabbit with ground bone, rabbit liversDuck with ground bone, duck livers
Protein Analysis48% min49% min48% min54% min36% min57% min33% min
Calories123 kcal/oz205 kcal/cup128 kcal/oz125 kcal/oz138 kcal/oz111 kcal/oz126 kcal/oz
Meets AAFCO Standards?YesYesYesYesYesYesYes

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.

Highlights

  • 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

PureBites
FlavorBeef LiverChicken and DuckChicken and LambMinnowOcean WhitefishTunaTurkey
Life StageAdultAdultAdultAdultAdultAdultAdult
FormFreeze driedFreeze driedFreeze driedFreeze driedFreeze driedFreeze driedFreeze dried
Protein (Ingredients)Beef liverChicken breast, duck liverChicken breast, lamb liverMinnowOcean whitefishTunaTurkey
Protein Analysis64% min72% min70% min70% min40% min80% min75% min
Calories3 kcal/treat2 kcal/treat2 kcal/treat1 kcal/treat2 kcal/treat2 kcal/treat2 kcal/treat
Meets AAFCO Standards?Feed as a healthy treatFeed as a healthy treatFeed as a healthy treatFeed as a healthy treatFeed as a healthy treatN/AN/A

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.

Highlights

  • 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 Functional Freeze-Dried Cat Food Topper

Our pick: Instinct Freeze-Dried Raw Boost Mixers

Instinct Raw Boost Mixers
FlavorSkin & Coat HealthDigestive Health
Life StageAdultAdult
FormFreeze driedFreeze dried
Protein (Ingredients)Chicken with ground bone, chicken liver, chicken heart, codChicken with ground bone, chicken liver, chicken heart
Protein Analysis36% min36%
Calories19 kcal/tablespoon18 kcal/tablespoon
Meets AAFCO Standards?Intermittent or supplemental feeding onlyIntermittent or supplemental feeding only

These grain-free Raw Boost Mixers from Instinct pull double-duty as a tasty freeze-dried meal topper and a functional food. They have a Digestive Health recipe that is rich in fiber and live natural probiotics to help support a cat’s digestion. Ingredients include chicken, pumpkin, sweet potato, chicory root, and apple cider vinegar. There’s also a Skin & Coat Health recipe packed with omega fatty acids to promote healthy skin and a shiny coat. Ingredients in this recipe include chicken, cod, flaxseed, salmon oil, chia seeds, and cranberries. These meal enhancements can help entice picky cats to eat and can also be used as a yummy treat.

Highlights

  • Soft and easy to chew 
  • Cage-free chicken is the first ingredient in both recipes
  • Made without grain, corn, wheat, soy, by-product meal, potato, artificial flavors or preservatives
  • Available in 0.75- and 5.5-oz bags

Things to Consider

  • Made in the USA but ingredients are globally sourced
  • This topper is intended for intermittent or supplemental feeding only
  • Reduce the calorie amount of your cat’s current food to avoid overfeeding
  • Serving size will depend on your cat’s weight and may range from 1 tbsp to 3 tbsp per day

Sample buyer review: “Definitely the best solution I have found. Our kitties tend to be a bit picky, they are 11 years old and slightly overweight. They both have some digestive issues also. Adding this to the top of their food twice a day has made their litter box trips regular (I had one kitty that definitely had more than occasional constipation issues). They also have much less frequent upset stomach/vomiting/hairballs.”

Freeze-Dried Cat Food FAQ

Still unsure about whether you want to make the switch to freeze-dried cat food? Here are answers to some of the more commonly asked questions:

Is freeze dried food good for cats?

Most freeze-dried cat foods are minimally processed, grain-free, and contain limited ingredients. They are higher in protein, lower in carbs, and rich in nutrients and antioxidants. Potential health benefits of feeding freeze-dried raw cat food may include higher energy, healthier skin and coat, and more regular bowel movements. Pet parents also typically find freeze-dried raw food to be more convenient than feeding a completely raw diet. 

Is freeze dried raw cat food safe?

Many freeze-dry processes do not involve heating in order to preserve the integrity and nutritional quality of the ingredients. However, freeze-drying alone will not completely eliminate all microbial pathogens. Some brands use high-pressure processing (HPP) to destroy potentially harmful bacteria like Salmonella, E. coli and Listeria without affecting the nutritional value of the food. To help avoid food-borne illness, check to ensure the cat food brand you choose sends their batches to a third-party facility to be tested for these bacteria and that the results are readily accessible on their website.  

Since these bacteria also pose a risk to humans, you should always make sure to wash your hands after handling your pet’s food, wipe down any surfaces the food came in contact with, and regularly clean your cat’s bowls.

If you’re unsure about whether freeze-dried raw cat food is safe for your pet, talk to your veterinarian. If you have a kitten, for example, your vet may not advise feeding this type of food, since kittens are more vulnerable to illness-causing bacteria as their immune system develops.

How to feed freeze dried cat food?

To feed freeze-dried cat food, you may need to rehydrate it with warm water or low sodium or unsalted broth before serving. The package instructions should describe the appropriate ratio of liquid to food. You may need to break the food into smaller pieces to help distribute the moisture. Other products come in smaller niblets or can be fed dry—just make sure your cat has access to fresh water during mealtime.

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