Your cat needs proper nourishment just as much as you do. A bad diet may cause obesity, illnesses, malnutrition, and even early mortality in cats, just like it can in people. The issue is that many cat owners lack the time to research cat nutrition; as a result, they choose the first food they see in the grocery store in the hopes that it would provide their pet with the essential nutrients for growth. To help take some of the uncertainty out of feeding your cat properly, we’ve put together this guide to help you choose the ideal food.
Please continue reading to see our reviews of the top 12 wet and freeze-dried raw cat food products available right now.
The 12 Best Cat Foods:
1. Smalls Human-Grade Fresh Cat Food Subscription – Best Overall
A cat food delivery business called Smalls offers formulations that are high in protein in delicious textures. Our choice for the finest overall cat food is the manufacturer’s Fresh Smooth Bird recipe because of its well-known, pate-like texture and formulation that emphasizes proteins. You can be sure you’re giving your cat the best fresh recipe possible because the first two components are genuine chicken and a special combination of vitamins and minerals. To guarantee cats get the fluids they require to thrive, this formula also has a low carbohydrate content and is rich in moisture.
Smalls is more expensive than the majority of groceries because it is a delivery service. Additionally, since you won’t be able to buy your cat’s food in stores, you’ll have to rely on their delivery. Having said that, their practical subscription service is simple to customize to a delivery schedule that fits your demands and budget.
2. Hound & Gatos Lamb, Chicken & Salmon – Best Wet Cat Food
The 98% lamb, chicken, and salmon Grain-Free Canned Cat Food by Hound & Gatos is a wet food without plant proteins that is ideal for your cat’s carnivorous diet. High-quality lamb, chicken, and fish are used in this dish, and the vast bulk (98%) of the protein comes from animal sources. There are no extra carbs in this mixture with a few crucial ingredients. Most cats are immediately drawn to this food’s pate-like texture, however, others might find it to be excessively thick. This can be fixed by thinning the consistency with a tiny bit of water.
This recipe incorporates a lot of gel on top and has a strong smell. Because of this, some pickier cats might not approve of this dish.
3. Vital Essentials Rabbit Dinner Patties – Best Freeze-Dried Raw Cat Food
Important Elements Our choice for the finest overall dehydrated and freeze-dried raw cat food is Rabbit Dinner Patties Grain-Free Limited Ingredient Freeze-Dried Cat Food. These patties offer cat food with few ingredients, which is ideal for pet owners trying to restrict their animal’s exposure to highly processed food. It contains organ meat such as liver, heart, and kidney and is created using a unique protein called a rabbit. There are no added flavorings, fillers, or artificial additives in this recipe. During manufacture, the raw beef formula is freeze-dried to preserve the nutrients and keep it fresh.
You should be aware that this formula has bones in its patties while feeding it to your cat. According to reports, certain bones are big, which might be problematic if you’re not careful. Additionally, it must be rehydrated before serving, which can be time-consuming as is the case with other freeze-dried foods.
4. Darwin’s Natural Fresh Cat Food Chicken Recipe
Darwin’s Natural Pet Products also makes fresh, all-natural cat food, similar to Smalls. They have a wonderful supply of protein in their chicken dish, as well as B vitamins including B1, which cats require for healthy glucose metabolism. Since the meat is hormone- and chemical-free, you may feel good about giving it to your cat. To conserve nutrients, this raw recipe contains predominantly muscular meat, organs, and bones.
Additionally, Darwin’s, like Smalls, is a delivery service for pet food, so you can anticipate paying more than you would for food at your neighborhood pet store. Additionally, several customers have complained that the meal did not arrive properly frozen.
5. The Honest Kitchen Dehydrated Grain-Free Chicken Cat Food
Including whole food components including free-range chicken and sweet potatoes, The Honest Kitchen Dehydrated Grain-Free Chicken Cat Food is a product of the United States. This meal, which will be rehydrated to four times its weight, should be served with warm water. There are no GMO ingredients, fillers, or preservatives in this formulation. Probiotics have been added to it to promote your cat’s digestion, and bone broth is included for taste and protein boosts. Although this formula is ideal for adults and kittens, it won’t satisfy the dietary requirements of older or active cats.
Compared to other recipes on our list, this one has more carbohydrates. It also has a similar amount of protein as other foods, but more fat.
6. Dr. Elsey’s clean protein Turkey Formula Grain-Free Canned Cat Food
Low glycemic, just 4% of the energy in Dr. Elsey’s clean protein Turkey Formula Grain-Free Canned Cat Food comes from carbohydrates. It contains a substantial amount of species-appropriate protein and actual turkey as the first and third ingredients. Riboflavin and biotin are only two examples of the vitamins and minerals added to this recipe. It has a silky pate texture that cats adore and is free of additional additives or preservatives.
The gelatin layer covering the pate may not appeal to cats that are picky about the consistency of their food.
7. Nature’s Logic Feline Rabbit Feast Grain-Free Canned Cat Food
The grain-free and gluten-free Nature’s Logic Feline Rabbit Feast canned cat food has a low carbohydrate content. It offers over 90% animal protein and actual rabbit as its first component, helping to resemble your cat’s natural diet. For cats with sensitivities to other protein sources, rabbit is a unique protein that can be very beneficial. Despite this, it contains hog liver, therefore it is not a single-source protein. This dish incorporates complete foods like blueberries for a dose of antioxidants and fiber and apples for their calcium and vitamin-rich peel, which can be beneficial for cats. This formula also includes naturally occurring taurine, a crucial amino acid that cats require in high amounts for the health of their eyes.
Because this food is so pricey, many cat owners cannot afford it.
8. Ziwi Peak Venison Recipe Canned Cat Food
The Ziwi Peak Recipe for Venison A venison-based cuisine called canned cat food is made out of muscular meat, broth, and organs including the liver, lungs, and heart. This formula contains the usual green-lipped mussels used by Ziwi Peak, which serve as a species-appropriate source of glucosamine and chondroitin for joint health. This recipe for a single protein has no inexpensive fillers. All of the meat used in Ziwi Peak’s dishes is obtained ethically and responsibly.
For its cans, the business employs tin that has interior lacquer. These cans are “BPA-NI,” which is short for “BPA non-intent,” which means no BPA was added to the lacquer on purpose but it was still not permissible to use the term “BPA-free.”
This meal has a moderate amount of carbohydrates due to the use of chickpeas.
9. Tiki Cat Succulent Chicken in Chicken Consommé Canned Cat Food
To help your cat stay hydrated, the Tiki Cat Puka Puka Luau Succulent Chicken in Chicken Consomme Grain-Free Canned Cat Food is crafted with genuine chicken and smothered in a hydrating chicken broth. It is produced without the use of artificial tastes or colors. Its shredded texture is similar to that of canned chicken, however, cats may or may not enjoy it.
Sunflower seed oil is the third most important component in this mix. This oil is frequently used as a source of fat in canned foods but is less diversified than other fatty acids that are suitable for carnivores, including fish oil.
While it may sound healthful, this dish contains no carbs. Cats require energy, which they get from a combination of protein, lipids, and carbs. Carbohydrates could support a healthy metabolic feeding balance.
10. Weruva Press Your Dinner! Chicken Paté
The nutritious components in the Weruva Classic Cat Paté, Press Your Dinner with Chicken Wet Cat Food are delicately blended into a texture that cats will either like or detest. Because of its almost pudding-like consistency and texture, it’s a fantastic choice for geriatric cats or cats with dental problems. For a hydrating, high-protein lunch, genuine chicken and chicken broth are used in its preparation. Its 82% moisture content helps to maintain the health of your cat’s urinary system and makes sure it gets the fluids it needs to flourish. Additionally, this recipe is devoid of MSG and artificial colors and flavors.
From can to can, there seems to be some inconsistency. Some may frighten cats because of their somewhat dissimilar odors or colorations.
11. Stella & Chewy’s Tummy Ticklin’ Turkey Dinner Morsels Freeze-Dried Raw Cat Food
The advantages of a raw diet and the practicality of freeze-dried meals are combined in Stella & Chewy’s Tummy Ticklin’ Turkey Dinner Morsels Freeze-Dried Raw Cat Food. These nibbles can be served dry or rehydrated with water. If you are aware that your cat isn’t receiving enough water from its water dish, rehydrating the morsels is an excellent solution. This recipe is prepared in a US kitchen using cage-free turkey that has been ethically sourced along with organic fruits and veggies. Organs, bones, and turkeys make up 98% of the dish. There are no additional synthetic colors or preservatives.
It can take some time to rehydrate the morsels, and occasionally they don’t blend properly with the water. There have also been instances of the meal arriving crumbly.
12. Primal Chicken & Salmon Formula Raw Freeze-Dried Nuggets
Primal Salmon & Chicken Formula The chicken flesh and organs used to make Nuggets Grain-Free Raw Freeze-Dried Cat Food are free of antibiotics and hormones. The majority of the protein in this dish comes from chicken, but one of the primary components is wild-caught salmon, which gives your pet a high supply of omega-fatty acids. This supplement emphasizes whole-food nutrition and doesn’t contain any artificial vitamins or minerals. When rehydrated with water or Primal Raw Goat Milk, it is quick and simple to serve. This composition is also devoid of artificial substances and doesn’t include a lot of bone.
This meal places a strong emphasis on fruits and veggies, which may not be suitable for your small carnivore.
Buyer’s Guide: How to Choose the Best Cat Foods
Do you still feel daunted by the variety of cat foods available? How do you choose the right kind of food for your cat—raw, moist, or dehydrated? Learn more about selecting the best cat food for your feline family members in the following paragraphs.
A cat’s raw food diet is a hotly debated subject. Although your cat’s wild ancestors undoubtedly consumed raw food to live, this does not always follow that your well-cared-for domestic cat has the same dietary requirements.
Unprocessed meals created with natural components are the mainstay of a raw food diet. You already know that your obligate carnivore requires animal tissues in the form of uncooked meat and organs in raw diets to flourish. For calcium and phosphorus, pulverized bone is a common addition to raw diets.
Raw diets often contain less processed products and higher-quality nourishment. They could so encourage improved digestion as a result.
It’s vital to understand that just because a cat food bag says “raw,” it doesn’t necessarily mean the food is healthy.
The main issue with raw food is that it can increase your and your cat’s chance of contracting an infectious disease. One-year research that looked at commercially available raw foods for bacteria discovered that over 25% of the samples had germs like Listeria monocytogenes and Salmonella spp. in them.
Raw food diets can cause nutritional imbalances in cats and increase the danger of foreign bodies (like bones).
You may also like reading: 10 Ways That Cats Can Help You Get Rich
Wet Food Diets
One of the diets for cats that are most frequently suggested is a wet (or canned) food diet.
The purpose of canned food is to encourage your cat to drink more water. The moisture level of most wet meals is roughly 75%, compared to 6% to 10% for dry foods. Indoor cats frequently experience dehydration, which can result in health issues including urinary tract blockages and constipation.
Wet food can persuade a fussy or ill cat to eat since it is extremely tasty and powerfully perfumed.
The major drawback of a wet food diet is its cost, which is more than a dry food diet. Raw and dehydrated food diets, however, probably cost about the same.
Dehydrated & Freeze-Dried Food Diets
Food is frozen and then placed in a vacuum to sublimate the water content as part of the freeze-drying process. The finished product is then sealed up in an airtight container to get rid of any moisture that may have lingered, making the meal considerably more shelf-stable. The freeze-dried cat chow is raw since it isn’t boiled or pasteurized.
Manufacturers of cat food utilize a separate method called dehydration to accomplish the same objective as freeze drying: eliminating moisture to produce food with a consistent shelf life. Heat is necessary for the dehydration process, but not enough for the food that results to be deemed cooked.
Since neither method (freeze drying nor dehydration) results in the loss of the food’s essential vitamins and minerals, they are both widely used.
Giving your cat a dehydrated or freeze-dried diet presents the same issue as giving them a raw diet. Contamination is the main worry since bacteria that cause disease may endure freeze-drying and dehydration procedures.
By selecting a meal that is labeled as complete and balanced, nutritional deficiencies that may result from dietary imbalances can be avoided. Many freeze-dried and dehydrated cat feeds aren’t full of the vitamins and minerals your cat needs to flourish because they are meant to be added to meals rather than served as the only food source for your cat.
What about Dry Food?
By now, you’ve undoubtedly seen that dry food was completely absent from the list above. You may be asking why, to which the following is the simple explanation:
- It is low in moisture.
- It is high in carbohydrates.
- It focuses on protein sourced from plants versus animals.
- It can promote overeating.
1. It is low in moisture.
The amounts of moisture are what distinguish wet, raw, and dehydrated cat food from dry food. About 10% of dry food is water, while the other 90% is made up of dry ingredients including carbs, lipids, and vitamins. Contrarily, wet food has a water content of around 70%. This is especially crucial if your cat suffers from a medical condition that might benefit from a diet high in moisture.
2. It is high in carbohydrates.
For many animals, carbohydrates serve as a crucial source of energy. This isn’t necessarily the case with cats, who have evolved to get most of their energy from the protein and fat they consume. Consequently, a cat’s diet should contain just a tiny amount of carbs. Sadly, compared to other meal kinds, dry food has a considerably greater carbohydrate content.
Too many carbohydrates in the diet can lead to weight gain and related health problems including diabetes, claims PetMD.
3. It focuses on protein sourced from plants versus animals.
For the manufacturing of many dry feeds like kibble, grains like rice are needed. Additionally, certain meals are higher in plant-based proteins than animal proteins, which is not good for your cat who is an obligate carnivore and needs animal protein to survive.
4. It can promote overeating.
Cats have evolved to consume diets that are low in carbs and high in protein and fat. As a result, eating fat and protein helps a cat better recognize when it is full and when to quit eating. Sadly, ingesting carbs has a different impact, leading to overeating and finally fat.
Smalls’ Human-Grade Fresh Cat Food offers cats a low carbohydrate and high protein, species-appropriate diet in a texture they’ll adore. It’s the finest cat food overall. Hound & Gatos is the top canned cat food. A product created to keep your obligate carnivore content healthy has 98% animal protein and is called 98% Lamb, Chicken & Salmon Grain-Free Canned Cat Food. Finally, Vital Essentials Rabbit Dinner Patties, the best dehydrated and freeze-dried raw cat chow, offers cats a unique protein source that includes the organ meats they would consume in the wild.
How often should I feed my cat?
The amount of food that should be given depends on your cat’s age and specific requirements. Adult cats should typically be fed twice a day, while kittens may need to be fed more frequently. To discover the ideal feeding regimen for your cat, speak with your vet.
Should I choose dry or wet cat food?
There are advantages to eating cat food that is both dry and moist. Dry food may be left out for free feeding, is practical, and supports tooth health. Additionally, hydrating, wet food is frequently more cat-appealing and can benefit urinary tract health. Both can be used to create a balanced diet. Take into account your cat’s tastes and ask your doctor for specific guidance.
Can I switch my cat’s food abruptly?
A sudden change in your cat’s diet might cause intestinal distress. It is advised to introduce a new cuisine gradually over the course of 7 to 10 days. Begin by combining a little quantity of the new food with the old diet, then gradually raise the new food’s percentage. This aids in the digestive system of your cat adjusting to the shift.
Are there any specific ingredients I should avoid in cat food?
Avoiding some substances including those with artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives is advised. Cats must eat meat to survive, thus their diet should be strong in protein and low in fillers. It’s crucial to carefully review the ingredient list and pick cat feeds that have an emphasis on high-quality protein sources while avoiding too many carbs.
How do I know if my cat has a food allergy or sensitivity?
Cats with food sensitivities or allergies may experience skin problems, gastrointestinal distress, or recurrent ear infections. Consult your veterinarian if you think your cat may have a food allergy or sensitivity. To determine the precise item causing the response, they could advise an elimination diet or allergy testing.