Cat food comes in all shapes and forms, not to mention a wide variety of flavors. With so many options to choose from, how can you possibly pick just one?
The best course of action is to choose a high-quality and nutritious option that provides for your cat’s nutritional needs. Freeze-dried cat food is a healthy option that may cost a bit more than traditional kibble but offers numerous benefits to make it worth it.
Keep reading to learn more about the benefits of freeze-dried cat food and what to look for. You’ll also receive our top 5 picks for the best freeze-dried cat food.
What Are the Benefits of Freeze-Dried Cat Food?
Freeze-dried cat food is not cooked at high temperatures like traditional kibble. The extrusion process through which commercial kibble is made involves cooking the ingredients at high heat in a process that destroys some of the original nutritional quality of the raw ingredients. Freeze-dried cat food is made using an entirely different process that preserves more of that nutritional integrity.
Quick Look at Our Top 5 Picks
- Best Overall: Stella & Chewy’s
- Best Affordable: Instinct Raw Boost Grain-Free Chicken Recipe Cat Food
- Best For Grain-free: Primal Pet Foods Freeze-Dried Nuggets Cat Food
- Best For Topper: Instinct Freeze-Dried Raw Boost Mixers Chicken Recipe
- Best For Allergies: Vital Essentials Freeze-Dried Vital Cat Entrée
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In order to freeze-dry cat food, manufacturers remove moisture from the raw ingredients, effectively rendering the product shelf-stable without actually cooking it. This is a different process from creating dehydrated cat food, which involves cooking the food at very low temperature for an extended period of time to remove moisture.
Here are some of the benefits of freeze-dried cat food:
- It is usually made with high-quality, natural ingredients like real meat, fruits, and vegetables.
- It is a more convenient option than raw food but offers similar nutritional quality.
- It has a longer shelf-life than fresh and frozen foods, similar to traditional kibble.
- It retains more of the original nutritional quality and natural flavor than kibble.
Though freeze-dried food has many benefits, it is more expensive than kibble, and some cats don’t like the texture of it. Keeping all of these things in mind, you’re now ready to learn how to choose the best freeze-dried cat food. Here’s what you need to know:
How to Choose the Best Freeze-Dried Cat Food
When shopping for freeze-dried cat food, you should keep in mind that there are different kinds. Not all freeze-dried cat foods are raw, though many are. Keep in mind as well that some freeze-dried products are intended to be used as food toppers or treats rather than a staple diet for your cat. Be mindful of these things when shopping for freeze-dried cat food to ensure that you get the right product.
Here are some things to look for in a freeze-dried cat food:
- High-quality, natural ingredients. To ensure the quality of freeze-dried food, look for high-quality, natural ingredients. Whole-food ingredients are the most biologically valuable and nutritious ingredients for your cat.
- Real animal protein. Cats are obligate carnivores, so protein is the most important nutrient, and it should come primarily from animal sources like poultry, meat, and fish.
- Rich in healthy fats. Fat provides a concentrated source of energy for your cat as well as support for healthy skin and coat. Look for animal-based fats like chicken fat and salmon oil.
- Fresh fruits and vegetables. Real fruits and vegetables provide a natural source of key vitamins and minerals in a more digestible and biologically valuable way than synthetic supplements, though these can still be included to ensure optimal nutritional balance.
- Complete and balanced nutrition. Check the food package for an AAFCO statement of nutritional adequacy – this will tell you whether the product is intended as a staple diet or if it is only recommended for supplemental feeding.
Keep reading to see our top 5 recommendations for the best freeze-dried cat food.
The Top 5 Best Freeze-Dried Cat Foods
Freeze-dried cat food offers a healthy, nutritious alternative to raw food that is also shelf-stable and easier to store and feed. If you’re looking for freeze-dried cat food, keep your cat’s minimum nutritional requirements in mind and look for a recipe made with wholesome, natural ingredients.
Complete and balanced nutrition is essential for your cat’s health and wellness, which is exactly what these Stella & Chewy’s Chick Chick Chicken Freeze-Dried Dinner Morsels provide. Made up of 98% chicken, bone, and organs, these morsels deliver a protein-packed meal that is complete and balanced for all life stages. It also contains natural sources for healthy fats to support your cat’s skin and coat health as well as probiotics for healthy and regular digestion.
Freeze-dried cat food can be expensive, but this Instinct Raw Boost recipe offers a more affordable option. It consists of high-protein kibble infused with freeze-dried raw pieces of real chicken. This combination gives you the convenience and lower price of dry food with the nutritional value of freeze-dried cat food. It is ready to serve right out of the bag and comes in several different formulas featuring premium animal proteins like chicken, rabbit, salmon, and duck.
Raw food is the highest-quality cat food you can buy, but it isn’t easy to store. This Primal Pet Foods Freeze-Dried Nuggets Cat Food offers the convenience of dry food with the nutritional benefits of raw food. This particular formula features real chicken and salmon, made up of 90% meat, bones, and organs with just 10% produce and supplements. Overall, it is a complete and balanced formula that can be quickly rehydrated with water or broth to create a protein-rich meal packed with flavor.
If you don’t want to change your cat’s diet, but you do want to boost its nutrition, a freeze-dried meal topper could be the perfect solution. These Instinct Freeze-Dried Raw Boost Mixers are made with real cage-free chicken in a grain-free, protein-packed formula loaded with natural flavor. Simply sprinkle them onto your cat’s kibble and watch it enjoy a healthy, delicious meal. These mixers come in several flavors like chicken or rabbit and in recipes designed to support digestive health or skin and coat.
If your cat suffers from food allergies or sensitivities, a limited ingredient diet is the way to go to relieve symptoms. This Vital Essentials Freeze-Dried Vital Cat Entrée is made with a limited number of ingredients, primarily whole meat, organs, and bones. It contains no added fillings or flavorings, and it is made with USA-sources ingredients to ensure nutritional quality. This recipe is complete and balanced as well, so you can use it as your cat’s staple diet if you choose to.
Freeze-dried cat food is a great option for your cat if you’re looking for a product that offers high-quality nutrition without the hassle of raw food. It is a shelf-stable option that is not cooked at high temperatures, and it comes in a wide range of flavors and formulas.
Now that you understand what freeze-dried cat food is and what to look for, you’re ready to start shopping! If you’re not sure where to start, try one of our top 5 picks reviewed above!