You want to give your cat the best you can. That much is obvious every time you come home from the story with a shiny new toy or a special kitty treat. Naturally, this ties into the world of cat food. While our mind typically snaps to the realm of wet cat food or dry cat food, there is a third option out there: freeze-dried cat food, and it’s taking the cat owner world by storm. But which ones make the grade?
We can help you answer that question. In this article, we’ll help you navigate through the intricacies of freeze-dried cat food and show you the reasons why it’s become such a hit in certain cat owner circles. We’ll also point out what you should be on the lookout for if you wish to give dry cat food a try. Finally, we’ll share some of our favorite freeze-dried cat foods with you.
In This Article...
- Quick Look : Best Freeze-Dried Cat Food in 2023
- What is Freeze-Dried Cat Food?
- How Does Freeze-Drying Cat Food Work?
- Freeze-Dried Cat Food vs. Dehydrated Cat Food
- The Benefits of Freeze-Dried Cat Food
- Can I Just Start Giving My Cat Freeze-Dried Food?
- How to Introduce Your Cat to Freeze-Dried Cat Food
- Other Things to Bear in Mind
- Reviewed: The Best Freeze-Dried Cat Food
Quick Look : Best Freeze-Dried Cat Food in 2023
What is Freeze-Dried Cat Food?
Freeze-dried cat food is essentially raw food for your cat, packaged in an easy-to-prepare container. While this may sound a little funky – we don’t like to necessarily think of our precious little kitties eating something raw – it’s something that ties in rather well with their feline nature.
The same instinctual elements are in play in the realm of freeze-dried cat food. Instead of having your cat work its way through a massive hunk of flesh, freeze-dried cat food conveniently whittles things down to smaller, more manageable bites. They’ll also add fruits, veggies, and other supplements along the way to provide key minerals and vitamins to keep cats of all ages healthy and functional.
How Does Freeze-Drying Cat Food Work?
The key rationale behind the concept of freeze-drying foods goes beyond providing your animals with raw hunks of animal flesh. The process itself ends up locking in the freshness of the ingredients behind whatever foodstuff is undergoing the process. This enables better preservation because it results in very few enzymes and nutrients being lost.
When it comes time for your cat to eat the freeze-dried food, it’s a simple matter of adding water. Specifically, you’ll want to add a dose of warm water, give the food some time to “breathe,” mix, and serve.
Freeze-Dried Cat Food vs. Dehydrated Cat Food
As you start researching the concept of freeze-dried cat food, you may start seeing it linked to dehydrated cat food. You may start to think that the terms are interchangeable. This is a common thought, especially since both terms refer to foods containing raw ingredients devoid of moisture and not baked, extruded, or put through high heat. Plus, neither process is typically considered better than the other.
However, the two terms should not be considered interchangeable. They may appear to be similar, but there is one element that prohibits them from being identical. According to the Association of American Feed Control Officials, or AAFCO, dehydrated foods are defined by materials that have “been freed of moisture by thermal means.” This is a fancy way of saying that the ingredients have been heated until each drop of moisture has been cleared out and that only dry substances remain.
Freeze-dried foods, on the other hand, do not use heat to get rid of moisture. Rather, the concept is built around removing moisture from previously frozen ingredients in either a low-pressure environment or a vacuum.
This longer, gentler process locks the compositional nature and structure of each ingredient without changing it fundamentally. The ingredient’s texture, size, and shape will remain perfectly intact – a claim that the dehydration process cannot make.
The Benefits of Freeze-Dried Cat Food
There are several major benefits to freeze-dried cat food that you as a cat owner would appreciate. Of course, the main benefit your cat will experience will be the way it tastes. Because freeze-drying locks in the flavor of the raw component, the proteins will taste even more authentic. If you’ve ever had a cat that stalks you while you’re trying to eat steak or fish, you already know they’ll appreciate this.
For those of us that aren’t going to be eating the product, the benefits freeze-dried cat food offers peace of mind in many forms. For instance, freeze-dried cat food doesn’t contain any artificial additives, preservatives, flavors, or colors.
What you see is what you get. The reason for this is because the product is simply the protein with a few natural ingredients like fruits and vegetables included. This eliminates the worry that you may be feeding your cat something that ultimately may not be the best thing for its diet.
Many freeze-dried cat foods are also grain and gluten free. This is important if you have a kitty at home with a sensitive stomach. The lack of grain in the food product will make it much easier for your cat to digest dinner.
The lack of water in freeze-dried cat food also yields another benefit. Namely, its dryness discourages the proliferation of bacteria and potentially harmful microorganisms. This ultimately enables the food to enjoy a much longer shelf life, as long as you keep it protected from outside moisture penetration.
There is also a practical benefit to introducing your cat to freeze-dried cat food, involving waste. Because freeze-dried cat foods are packed with highly-digestible ingredients that are nutritious, your cat’s body will be able to absorb a substantially greater amount of the food. This means that they will poop less, making the necessity of cleaning out the litter box a much more manageable experience.
Can I Just Start Giving My Cat Freeze-Dried Food?
The benefits of getting your cat into freeze-dried food may compel you to rush out and get your feline friend involved in this dining strategy. However, this is inadvisable. As with any significant change deployed to your cat’s diet, there are a few steps you must take to ensure a smooth transition.
The first step you should take is to consult with your veterinarian to make sure taking this step is the right call. Your vet can work with you to create an optimal diet built to allow your cat to thrive the best way possible. This is especially important if your cat has any food allergies or nutritional sensitivities.
Your cat’s age should also be taken into consideration. If you see a freeze-dried cat food that looks terrific, yet is specifically formulated for kittens, you shouldn’t be giving it to your adult cat. Again, it’s a good idea to consult with your veterinarian here to make sure you’re targeting the right food for your cat.
Also, don’t forget to take your cat’s personal preference into consideration. If your cat has shown an aversion to turkey in the past, this aversion won’t suddenly disappear because you’re serving the protein in freeze-dried form. This doesn’t mean you can’t try to introduce your feline friend to such a protein – a change of heart and palate is possible – but you should approach such things with caution.
How to Introduce Your Cat to Freeze-Dried Cat Food
You’ve talked to your vet and you’ve gotten the greenlight to serve your cat freeze-dried cat food. You purchased a product that matches your buddy’s season of life. You even took the time to avoid getting your feline a product with chicken, because he’s constantly turned his nose up at the stuff over the years. You’re ready to go, and only one step remains: How do you feed it to him?
The answer is not too different than how you’d normally make a switch from one style of cat food to another. You should aim for a slow, deliberate transition if you desire the most success. Start with a mixture consisting of 10% of the new stuff and 90% of the old stuff and do this for about a week.
After a week, up the quantity of the new stuff by 10% and decrease the quantity of the old stuff by 10% at the same time. While you do this, you should add the water to the freeze-dried cat food separately and mix everything to protect the cat food’s overall integrity.
If your cat is older or sick, or if he’s being a finicky little beast, don’t give up on the process. Simple extend each phase of the transition by three to four weeks. If your cat is into the change, his digestive system will indicate how the transition is working.
If you see signs of an upset stomach or loose stools, that’s a sure sign that you’re pushing the transition too quickly. Dial it down a bit and wait until the digestive issues correct.
Other Things to Bear in Mind
If you wish, you could take the concept of freeze-dried cat food and eventually allow your cat to graduate to a completely raw food diet. Raw food is the final frontier of sorts in the cat food game, one that produces optimal freshness and nutrients.
However, this can be a tricky proposition for some cat owners. Since you’re giving them completely raw materials without the benefit of freeze-drying or dehydration, this may be a touch intimidating. If you are intrigued at the prospect of a raw food diet yet are simultaneously a little freaked out by it, set up an appointment with your veterinarian and chart a proper culinary course.
Reviewed: The Best Freeze-Dried Cat Food
You’ve wrapped your head around freeze-dried cat food. You’ve familiarized yourself with the differences between this style and dehydration. You’re excited about the benefits and are looking to share them with your cat. It’s now time to figure out which freeze-dried cat foods are the best for you and your feline friend.
We’ve helped you out by whittling down the abundance of choices to four essential selections, products that will give your cat the best freeze-dried cat food experience on the market.
As you go through the list, remember that no product is perfect. Each food has its pros and cons. These should be carefully considered before you pull the trigger on your preferred brand.
Stella and Chewy’s Duck Duck Goose Dinner Grain-Free Freeze-Dried Cat Food
Theoretically, cats would enjoy the same items they’d eat if they were free to roam the wild. This is the mindset driving Stella and Chewy’s Duck Duck Goose Dinner Grain-Free Freeze-Dried Cat Food. They back up this philosophy by packing this freeze-dried product with farm-raised duck, goose, and fully organic-certified fruits and veggies.
The simple, protein-rich food is about as natural as it gets, with no grain, fillers, artificial colors, or artificial preservatives. There is also no gluten to be found – something that can aid a cat’s digestive system.
Additionally, this is hand-crafted cat food. Each batch that makes its way to the market was carefully made within Stella & Chewy’s kitchen. You don’t have to worry about this bag being the product of mass production.
- Made with farm-raised duck and goose
- No artificial preservatives or grain
- Gluten-free product
- Some have reported small bone splinters in the product
- Some would prefer the product to be 100% raw animal protein
Primal Turkey Formula Nuggets Grain-Free Raw Freeze-Dried Cat Food
A freeze-dried cat food diet doesn’t work all that well if you don’t trust the ingredients. You don’t have to worry about this if you’re purchasing the Primal Turkey Formula Nuggets Grain Free Raw Freeze-Dried Cat Food.
This product is packed with turkey meat and chicken organs, completely free of antibiotics, hormones, and steroids. They also add a touch of fresh ground bone to give your feline friend with a boost of calcium goodness.
The ingredients, which are sustainably sourced, are also packed with amino acids, natural enzymes, essential fatty acids, vitamins, and minerals. They don’t have any grain, corn, gluten, soy, or wheat. This combination of have and have not provides ideally calibrated building blocks for consistently healthy feline body function.
The food also contains certified organic produce and minerals as well as unrefined vitamins. This addition gives your cat further health fortification that can cover their body regardless of their life stage.
- Made with sustainably-sourced ingredients
- Packed with naturally-occurring enzymes, vitamins, minerals, amino acids, and fatty acids
- Grain, gluten, wheat, soy, and corn-free
- Some find the product’s packaging difficult to work with
- Some find the food to be more effective as a crumbled “treat”
Vital Essentials Turkey Mini Patties Entrée Freeze-Dried Cat Food
Like most freeze-dried cat foods, Vital Essentials makes a point to tout the way they source their proteins. In their case, they use farm-raised, pasture-fed, free-run, and wild-caught ingredients from their own certified facilities. However, the main strength behind Vital Essentials Turkey Mini Patties Entrée Freeze-Dried Cat Food is their devotion to preparing the foods for consumption.
The company uses an exclusive freeze-drying process that doesn’t cook or over-process the ingredients. This process allows the food to hold onto every bit of natural nutritional value possible. In turn, this enables the food to be packed with elements that promote optimal feline health both inside and out, from coat glossiness and thickness to consistent digestive, oral, and muscular health.
It also enables the product to stick close to the ALPHA Prey-Model Diet, a diet that emphasizes a cat’s natural inclination to select the best, healthiest food first when they’re in a pack. When the company says their food is tied to a cat’s primal instincts, it’s not lip service.
Because they adhere to this model, you can be assured that they add no hormones, antibiotics, artificial preservatives, or anything synthetic. All that’s in here is the stuff that would drive your cat wild in the wild.
- Natural ingredients raised on their certified facilities
- Adheres to the ALPHA Prey-Model Diet as much as possible
- No added hormones, antibiotics, fillers, or anything synthetic
- It’s a hard sell for some cats
Wysong Archetype Burgers Freeze-Dried Dog & Cat Food
Who doesn’t love a good burger? This question seems to be the impetus behind the design of the Wysong Archetype Burgers Freeze-Dried Dog & Cat Food. The food is indeed shaped as burger patties, and they come in a unique, reusable plastic canister. However, there’s more to this product than cool packaging.
Each burger is packed with cold processed raw meats, organs, bones, prebiotics, probiotics, collagen, and proteoglycans like glucosamine. They’re also enhanced with antioxidant-rich fruits and veggies. This composition means the patties are rich in proteins and immune-boosting fatty acids, such as omega-3s. They are also designed to be suitable for cats of all ages.
- Innovatively designed with unique packaging
- Packed with proteins and immune-boosting fatty acids, such as omega-3s
- Suitable for cats of all ages
- Burgers are too large for some
- Some find the serving directions to convoluted