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10 Best Freeze Dried Cat Foods

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Medically reviewed by  JoAnna Pendergrass, DVM
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Updated by  Kate Barrington
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The best freeze-dried cat food is made from top-quality ingredients, loaded with meat, light on plants, and comes from a company with a reputation for safety and deliciousness. That’s why we picked Stella & Chewy’s Absolutely Rabbit freeze-dried cat food as the best freeze-dried cat food on the market.

Read on to learn more about this Stella & Chewy’s recipe and our picks for the top best freeze-dried cat foods you can buy. Before we jump into the reviews, let’s learn more about what freeze-dried cat food is and what makes it different.

At a Glance: Best Freeze Dried Cat Food To Buy

Clock
2760
hours of
research
Eye
230
brands
vetted
Check
10
features
reviewed
Star
10
top
picks
Overall Best
10.0
Picked by 31 people today!

Open Farm Harvest Chicken Freeze-Dried Cat Food

  • Carnivore-appropriate nutritional composition
  • Made with a single source of animal protein
  • Omega-3 fatty acids sourced from salmon oil
Get 20% Off ENTER "CATS20" TO GET 20% OFF YOUR FIRST AUTO-SHIP ORDER
Runner Up
10.0
Picked by 31 people today!

Stella & Chewy's Absolutely Rabbit Dinner Morsels Freeze-Dried Raw Cat Food

  • Made with rabbit, a species-appropriate protein source
  • Very low carbohydrate content
  • Many cats seem to love the flavor
Budget Pick
9.8
Picked by 31 people today!

Northwest Naturals Turkey Freeze-Dried Raw Cat Food

  • Made with 98% animal ingredients
  • Budget-friendly option
  • Fairly low in carbohydrates
Best for Kittens
9.6
Picked by 25 people today!

Instinct Raw Meals Kitten Cage-Free Chicken Recipe Freeze-Dried Raw Cat Food

  • Enriched with DHA for brain and eye health
  • Rich in animal-sourced protein and fat
  • Concentrated source of calories to support growth
Best for Seniors
9.5
Picked by 18 people today!

Feline Natural Chicken & Lamb Feast Freeze-Dried Cat Food

  • Made with 99% meat and organs
  • Doesn't contain bone
  • Enriched with omega-3s from green-lipped mussel
Best Patties
9.4
Picked by 31 people today!

Vital Essentials Freeze-Dried Pork Patties

  • Made with pork as a single source of animal protein
  • Mini patties are easy to portion and rehydrate
  • Short list of ingredients makes the food easily digestible
Best for Picky Eaters
9.3
Picked by 31 people today!

Nulo Freestyle Chicken & Salmon Recipe Freeze-Dried Cat Food

  • Small nuggets make it easy to customize your cat’s portion
  • Simple recipe is easy for cats to digest
  • Multi-protein formula appears to be popular with picky eaters
Best for Sensitive Stomachs
9.2
Picked by 25 people today!

Wysong Archetype Raw Rabbit Formula Freeze-Dried Raw Cat Food

  • Made with rabbit as a novel source of protein
  • Carnivore-appropriate blend of muscle meat, organs, and bones
  • Contains probiotics to support digestive and immune health
Best Multi-Protein
9.1
Picked by 21 people today!

Primal Beef & Salmon Formula Freeze-Dried Cat Food

  • Economically priced under $3.00 per ounce
  • Made with 89% animal ingredients
  • Produce ingredients are certified organic
Best for Dry Food Lovers
9.0
Picked by 18 people today!

Ziwi Peak Mackerel & Lamb Air-Dried Raw Cat Food

  • Crunchy alternative to freeze-dried raw food
  • Made with 96% animal ingredients
  • Good source of omega-3 fatty acids

Top Picks Explained

What Is Freeze-Dried Cat Food?

Freeze-dried cat food undergoes the same process that’s used to make shelf-stable freeze-dried meals for camping or emergencies. The raw ingredients are cooled to an extremely low temperature—well below the freezing point of water—and then placed into a vacuum chamber. This process extracts moisture and destroys pathogenic bacteria, making the food extraordinarily safe and shelf-stable.

Freeze-dried food is bone-dry when you pour it out of the bag. To restore the food’s natural texture and make it a hydrating meal, pour warm water over the food and let it soak for a couple of minutes.

Though freeze-dried food is often a nutritious choice for cats, it is only as good as the fresh ingredients used in it—because, with the exception of water content, that’s all freeze-dried food is. The preservation process has very little bearing on the food’s nutritional value.

Diane Barrett, a food science and technology professor at the University of California, Davis, told Mother Jones magazine that after rehydrating, freeze-dried food is nutritionally similar to fresh food, calling the process “one of the best ways to preserve food”.

Freeze-drying leaves most nutrients intact, including vitamins, antioxidants, and, in the case of fruits and vegetables, phytochemicals (plant-produced chemicals). Freeze drying can result in the loss of Vitamins C, A, and E, so manufacturers may need to replace these vitamins through synthetic supplementation.

Why Trust Cats.com

We’ve spent the last several years researching feline nutrition and analyzing cat foods to determine what makes one product better than another. Throughout our research, we’ve personally purchased and tested hundreds of different recipes from dozens of brands.

We chose freeze-dried cat foods made with carnivore-appropriate inclusions of muscle meat, organs, and bone with minimal carbohydrate content.

When making our selections, we paid particular attention to the brands’ recall history and reputation for safe manufacturing practices. We also paid attention to what customers were saying about the brand overall, considering things like customer service and cat satisfaction.

The 10 Best Freeze-Dried Cat Foods

We make our recommendations after considering a wide variety of factors such as ingredient quality, nutrient composition, popularity, and price. At the top of our list is Stella & Chewy’s Freeze-Dried Cat Food. Made with a novel source of animal protein with low carbohydrate content, this recipe is species-appropriate and popular with cats.

Every cat is unique, so while Stella & Chewy’s is our top pick, it might not be right for your particular cat. To help you make the best choice, we’ve categorized our recommendations according to price category and other key factors such as nutritional focus and food type.

#1 Overall Best: Stella & Chewy’s Absolutely Rabbit Dinner Morsels Freeze-Dried Raw Cat Food Review

Stella & Chewy's Absolutely Rabbit Dinner Morsels Freeze-Dried Raw Cat Food

  • Made In: United States
  • Guaranteed Protein: 44% Min
  • Age Range: All Life Stages
  • Calories Per Ounce: 132
  • Typical Cost Per Day: $6.00

Stella & Chewy’s is a well-regarded brand and a leader in freeze-dried pet food, offering a wide variety of recipes with multiple proteins. Their rabbit recipe stands out as a particularly cat-appropriate choice. Unlike other common protein sources like salmon, beef, chicken, and lamb, rabbit meat comes from an animal your cat might kill and eat on their own.

Also Read: The Best Rabbit Cat Food

Like many freeze-dried foods, this recipe features a mix of muscle meat, bones, and organs. The meat ingredients are supplemented with probiotics and prebiotics for digestive health and immune support.

Though the food doesn’t contain the fruits and vegetables sometimes found in freeze-dried foods, Stella & Chewy’s freeze-dried rabbit food contains olive oil as its primary fat source. Customer reviews indicate that these rabbit morsels are both nutritious and delicious—cats seem to love this food.

Ingredients

Rabbit With Ground Bone, Rabbit Liver, Olive Oil, Pumpkin Seed, Potassium Chloride, Sodium Phosphate, Choline Chloride, Dried Ediococcus Acidilactici Fermentation Product, Dried Lactobacillus Acidophilus Fermentation Product, Dried Bifidobacterium Longum Fermentation Product, Dried Bacillus Coagulans Fermentation Product, Taurine, Tocopherols (Preservative), Dandelion, Dried Kelp, Zinc Proteinate, Iron Proteinate, Vitamin A Supplement, Vitamin E Supplement, Niacin Supplement, Copper Proteinate, Riboflavin Supplement, Sodium Selenite, D-Calcium Pantothenate, Biotin, Manganese Proteinate, Thiamine Mononitrate, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Folic Acid, Vitamin B12 Supplement.

Ingredients We Liked: Rabbit with Ground Bone, Rabbit Liver

Ingredients We Didn’t Like: None

Guaranteed Analysis

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Crude Protein: 44%
Crude Fat: 30%
Crude Fiber: 5%
Moisture: 5%

Dry Matter Basis

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Protein: 46.32%
Fat: 31.58%
Fiber: 5.26%
Carbs: 16.84%

Caloric Weight Basis

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Protein: 33.12%
Fat: 54.84%
Carbs: 12.04%

What We Liked:

  • Made with rabbit, a species-appropriate protein source
  • Very low carbohydrate content
  • Doesn’t contain any fruits or vegetables
  • Made by a reputable company

What We Didn’t Like:

  • Relies on plant-sourced fat
  • One of the most expensive freeze-dried cat foods on the market

#2 Runner Up: Open Farm Harvest Chicken Freeze-Dried Raw Cat Food

Harvest Chicken Freeze Dried Raw Cat Food

  • Made In: United States
  • Guaranteed Protein: 47% Min
  • Age Range: All Life Stages
  • Calories Per Ounce: 149
  • Typical Cost Per Day: About $3.75

What sets Open Farm freeze-dried raw cat food apart from the competition is the brand’s focus on humanely raised and sustainably sourced ingredients. Open Farm promises 100% traceable ingredients as well – simply scan the lot code from the product package to find out where every ingredient in your cat’s food comes from.

This freeze-dried recipe features nearly 50% dry matter crude protein from a single animal-based source: chicken. It includes fresh muscle meat, organ meat, chicken necks, and ground bone to provide a species-appropriate foundation for balanced nutrition. The food also contains salmon oil as an animal source of omega-3 fatty acids which support your cat’s skin and coat while helping fight inflammation.

With its high protein and fat content paired with low carbohydrate content, this formula checks all the boxes for carnivore-appropriate nutrition. Where it falls flat is the moisture content, but that’s typical of freeze-dried foods. To ensure your cat gets the most out of Open Farm freeze-dried foods, rehydrate the product with water or bone broth prior to feeding.

Ingredients

Chicken with Ground Bone, Chicken Liver, Chicken Neck, Montmorillonite Clay, Organic Dandelion Greens, Potassium Chloride, Choline Chloride, Vitamins (Niacin Supplement, Vitamin E Supplement, Vitamin A Supplement, Thiamine Mononitrate, Pantothenic Acid, Riboflavin Supplement, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Folic Acid, Biotin) Taurine, Organic Cranberries, Minerals (Zinc Proteinate, Iron Proteinate, Copper Proteinate, Manganese Proteinate, Calcium Iodate, Sodium Selenite) Salt, Salmon Oil, Mixed Tocopherols, Magnesium Sulfate, Rosemary Extract.

Ingredients We Liked: Chicken with Ground Bone, Chicken Liver, Chicken Neck, Salmon Oil

Ingredients We Didn’t Like: None

Guaranteed Analysis

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Crude Protein: 47%
Crude Fat: 40%
Crude Fiber: 5%
Moisture: 5%

Dry Matter Basis

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Protein: 49.47%
Fat: 42.11%
Fiber: 5.26%
Carbs: 3.16%

Caloric Weight Basis

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Protein: 31.94%
Fat: 66.02%
Carbs: 2.04%

What We Liked:

  • Carnivore-appropriate nutritional composition
  • Made with a single source of animal protein
  • Omega-3 fatty acids sourced from salmon oil
  • Free from artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives

What We Didn’t Like:

  • Should be rehydrated prior to feeding
  • Can be expensive as a staple diet

#3 Premium Pick: Dr. Marty Nature’s Feast Premium Freeze-Dried Raw Cat Food Review

Dr. Marty Nature’s Feast Premium Freeze-Dried Raw Cat Food

  • Made In: United States
  • Guaranteed Protein: 37% Min
  • Age Range: All Life Stages
  • Calories Per Ounce: 135
  • Typical Cost Per Day: About $3.50

This recipe from Dr. Marty Goldstein contains a combination of salmon, turkey, and whitefish as primary protein sources. Chicken organs, freeze-dried bone, and eggs flesh out the food’s nutritional profile, while a mix of sweet potato, flaxseed, and other nutrient-dense fruits and vegetables make the food nutritionally complete without the use of synthetic supplements.

But while it’s good, this food isn’t perfect. Even if you buy several bags at a time, it still costs over $2 per ounce. Secondly, it’s relatively high in carbohydrates. We sent this food to a lab for nutritional analysis and found that it was over 20% carbohydrates. That’s about double the percentage we’d recommend for most cats.

Thirdly, it’s not the best choice for cats with food sensitivities. There’s nothing wrong with a mixed ingredient list, but if your cat has food intolerances or allergies, you may want to steer clear and opt for something more straightforward. Try the Northwest Naturals or Stella & Chewy’s recipes on this list.

Ingredients

Salmon, Turkey, Whitefish, Chicken Liver, Chicken Heart, Chicken Gizzard, Sweet Potato, Flaxseed, Egg, Pumpkin Seeds, Peas, Carrot, Apple, Blueberry, Cranberry, Ginger, Salt, Kelp, Sunflower Seeds, Spinach, Broccoli, Kale, Mixed Tocopherols (preservatives).

Ingredients We Liked: Salmon, Turkey, Whitefish, Chicken Liver, Chicken Heart, Chicken Gizzard, Egg

Ingredients We Didn’t Like: Peas

Guaranteed Analysis

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Crude Protein: 37%
Crude Fat: 23%
Crude Fiber: 3%
Moisture: 5%
Ash: 8%

Dry Matter Basis

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Protein: 38.95%
Fat: 24.21%
Fiber: 3.16%
Carbs: 25.26%

Caloric Weight Basis

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Protein: 31.66%
Fat: 47.8%
Carbs: 20.54%

What We Liked:

  • Emphasizes muscle meat and organs as primary ingredients
  • Phosphorus content is lower than that found in other freeze-dried foods
  • Contains prebiotics for healthy digestion
  • Covered by a 90-day money-back guarantee

What We Didn’t Like:

  • Relatively high in carbohydrates (20% carbohydrates)
  • Very expensive
  • Contains multiple proteins and may not be the best choice for cats with food intolerances or allergies

#4 Best For Sensitive Stomach: Northwest Naturals Turkey Freeze Dried Raw Diet for Cats Review

Northwest Naturals Turkey Freeze Dried Raw Diet for Cats

  • Made In: United States
  • Guaranteed Protein: 50% Min
  • Age Range: All Life Stages
  • Calories Per Ounce: 134
  • Typical Cost Per Day: About $3.85

This Oregon-based company has been selling raw and freeze-dried pet food since 2004. With the exception of lamb, all of the company’s ingredients are sourced from the United States. All Northwest Naturals products are made in a company-owned facility in Portland, Oregon.

The food is 98% animal tissue, including turkey muscle meat, necks, heart, and liver. It also contains eggs as a species-appropriate source of animal protein. The remaining 2% of the recipe includes flaxseed, kelp, organic dulse powder, and fish oil.

Though this product isn’t as widely-distributed or well-known as some of the others on this list, it appears to be a hit with both human and feline consumers. It’s one of the lowest-priced freeze-dried foods on the market.

Ingredients

Turkey, Turkey Necks, Turkey Hearts, Turkey Liver, Egg, Ground Flaxseed, Kelp, Organic Dulse Powder, Gelatin, Organic Psyllium Husk Powder, Fish Oil, Potassium Chloride, Sodium Chloride, Taurine, Vitamin B Supplement, Zinc Proteinate, Iron Proteinate, Vitamin E Supplement, Copper Proteinate, Manganese Proteinate, Mixed Tocopherols (as preservative), Vitamin D3 Supplement.

Ingredients We Liked: Turkey, Turkey Necks, Turkey Hearts, Turkey Liver, Egg, Gelatin, Fish Oil

Ingredients We Didn’t Like: None

Guaranteed Analysis

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Crude Protein: 45%
Crude Fat: 15%
Crude Fiber: 5%
Moisture: 5%

Dry Matter Basis

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Protein: 47.37%
Fat: 15.79%
Fiber: 5.26%
Carbs: 31.58%

Caloric Weight Basis

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Protein: 40.38%
Fat: 32.69%
Carbs: 26.92%

What We Liked:

  • 98% animal ingredients
  • Highest protein content of the recipes on this list
  • Features a variety of muscle meat, organs, and bones
  • Contains fish oil as a source of omega-3 fatty acids
  • More affordable than most freeze-dried cat foods

What We Didn’t Like:

  • May not be as readily available as some other brands

#5 Best For Seniors: Feline Natural Chicken & Lamb Feast Grain-Free Freeze-Dried Cat Food Review

Feline Natural Chicken & Lamb Feast Grain-Free Freeze-Dried Cat Food

  • Made In: New Zealand
  • Guaranteed Protein: 48% Min
  • Age Range: All Life Stages
  • Calories Per Ounce: 139
  • Typical Cost Per Day: $5.40

This freeze-dried food is made by Feline Natural, a New Zealand brand founded in 2006 and known for its freeze-dried products. The food features cage-free chicken and grass-fed, free-range lamb. It contains an array of animal parts, including chicken muscle meat, lamb heart, lamb kidney, lamb liver, and even lamb blood.

Unlike the other products on this list, this food is made without ground bone which may reduce the phosphorus content. Maintaining a healthy calcium to phosphorus ratio is important for all cats, but excess phosphorus can be particularly problematic for older cats who are prone to kidney disease. This recipe contains about 1.5% phosphorus and 1.9% calcium.

This recipe relies on flaxseed flakes as a binder and green-lipped mussels provide joint-supporting nutrients and anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids. Overall, it’s rich in protein and fat with fairly low carbohydrate content.

Ingredients

Chicken, Lamb Heart, Lamb Kidney, Lamb Liver, Lamb Blood, Flaxseed Flakes, New Zealand Green Mussel, Dried Kelp, Taurine, Vitamin E Supplement, Magnesium Oxide, Zinc Proteinate, Copper Proteinate, Manganese Proteinate, Thiamine Mononitrate, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Folic Acid.

Ingredients We Liked: Chicken, Lamb Heart, Lamb Kidney, Lamb Liver, Lamb Blood, New Zealand Green Mussel

Ingredients We Didn’t Like: None

Guaranteed Analysis

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Crude Protein: 48%
Crude Fat: 31%
Crude Fiber: 1%
Moisture: 8%

Dry Matter Basis

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Protein: 52.17%
Fat: 33.7%
Fiber: 1.09%
Carbs: 13.04%

Caloric Weight Basis

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Protein: 35.48%
Fat: 55.65%
Carbs: 8.87%

What We Liked:

  • Rich in animal protein
  • Uses a range of muscle meat, organs, and blood
  • Supplemented with green-lipped mussel
  • Manufactured according to stringent New Zealand safety regulations

What We Didn’t Like:

  • Expensive
  • Contains multiple protein sources and may not be appropriate for cats with food sensitivities or allergies

#6 Budget Pick: Wysong Archetype™ Raw Chicken Formula Canine/Feline Diet Review

Wysong Archetype™ Raw Chicken Formula Canine/Feline Diet

  • Made In: United States
  • Guaranteed Protein: 44% Min
  • Age Range: Adult
  • Calories Per Ounce: NA
  • Typical Cost Per Day: About $1.50

Wysong dates back to 1979 and employs pet health doctorate professionals to formulate “ancestrally-inspired” food for dogs and cats. The company calls Archetype “the original raw dog and cat food diet.” Like several other Wysong formulas, Archetype is nutritionally complete and balanced for both dogs and cats.

The food is made with chicken, chicken bones, and chicken organs—Wysong doesn’t state exactly which organs it uses. After meat ingredients, the recipe includes a long list of what the company calls nutraceuticals. These ingredients include trace amounts of blueberry, barley grass, chia seeds, broccoli sprouts, carrots, plums, whey, dried kelp, yeast extract, and probiotics.

Despite its long ingredient list, Archetype is fundamentally a meat-based product and is over 95% chicken. It has an estimated carbohydrate content of under 8% on a dry matter basis. The food is popular among both cats and their guardians.

Ingredients

Chicken, Chicken Organs, Ground Chicken Bone, Natural Flavor, Taurine, Organic Blueberry, Organic Barley Grass, Chia Seeds, Broccoli Sprouts, Carrots, Plums, Whey, Sea Salt, Dried Kelp, Yeast Extract, Citric Acid, Mixed Tocopherols, Rosemary Extract, Yeast Culture, Minerals (Potassium Chloride, Zinc Proteinate, Zinc Sulfate, Ferrous Sulfate, Iron Proteinate, Copper Sulfate, Copper Proteinate, Manganese Sulfate, Manganese Proteinate, Sodium Selenite, Calcium Iodate), Calcium Carbonate, Vitamins (Ascorbic Acid [Source of Vitamin C], Vitamin E Supplement, Niacin Supplement, Calcium Pantothenate, Vitamin A Supplement, Thiamine Mononitrate, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Riboflavin Supplement, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Biotin, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Folic Acid), Dried Bacillus Licheniformis Fermentation Product, Dried Aspergillus Oryzae Fermentation Product, Dried Aspergillus Niger Fermentation Product, Dried Enterococcus Faecium Fermentation Product, Dried Lactobacillus Casei Fermentation Product, Dried Lactobacillus Acidophilus Fermentation Product, Dried Bacillus Subtilis Fermentation Product, Dried Lactobacillus Plantarum Fermentation Product, Dried Lactobacillus Lactis Fermentation Product.

Ingredients We Liked: Chicken, Chicken Organs, Ground Chicken Bone

Ingredients We Didn’t Like: None

Guaranteed Analysis

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Crude Protein: 44%
Crude Fat: 36%
Crude Fiber: 0.5%
Moisture: 4%

Dry Matter Basis

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Protein: 45.83%
Fat: 37.5%
Fiber: 0.52%
Carbs: 16.15%

Caloric Weight Basis

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Protein: 29.95%
Fat: 59.5%
Carbs: 10.55%

What We Liked:

  • Contains probiotics to support digestive and immune health
  • Rich in animal-sourced protein
  • Contains a mix of muscle meat, organs, and bones
  • Wysong has a good reputation for food safety

What We Didn’t Like:

  • Expensive to feed as staple diet

#7 Best High-Protein: New Zealand Natural Pet Food Company Meow Wild Venison Grain-Free Freeze-Dried Cat Food

New Zealand Natural Pet Food Company Meow Wild Venison Grain-Free Freeze-Dried Cat Food

  • Made In: New Zealand
  • Guaranteed Protein: 60% Min
  • Age Range: All Life Stages
  • Calories Per Ounce: 99
  • Typical Cost Per Day: Over $8.00

The New Zealand Natural Pet Food Co. was created out of a desire to provide pets with complete nutrition in a diet as close to raw as possible. All foods are made in small batches in New Zealand and the company supports fair trade and local sourcing when choosing suppliers.

This recipe features wild venison as the primary source of protein, supplemented with fresh lamb and an assortment of fresh lamb organs and ground lamb bone. Packed with over 60% protein on a dry matter basis, this formula is rich in healthy fats and very low in carbohydrates.

The downside of this formula is that the primary source of added fat is plant-based. The coconut oil is, however, followed immediately by hoki oil which is much more species appropriate. The food also contains green-lipped mussels which provide a natural source of hip- and joint-supporting glucosamine and chondroitin.

Ingredients

Wild Venison, Lamb, Lamb Green Tripe, Lamb Heart, Lamb Liver, Lamb Kidney, Ground Lamb Bone, Kelp, Green Lipped Mussels, Manuka Honey, Rosemary, Organic Virgin Coconut Oil, Hoki Oil, Taurine, Choline Chloride, Zinc Amino Acid Complex, Iron Amino Acid Complex, Copper Amino Acid Complex, Vitamin B1 (Thiamine Mononitrate), Manganese Amino Acid Complex, Salt.

Ingredients We Liked: Wild Venison, Lamb, Lamb Green Tripe, Lamb Heart, Lamb Liver, Lamb Kidney, Ground Lamb Bone, Kelp, Green Lipped Mussels

Ingredients We Didn’t Like: None

Guaranteed Analysis

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Crude Protein: 60%
Crude Fat: 20%
Crude Fiber: 2%
Moisture: 5%

Dry Matter Basis

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Protein: 63.16%
Fat: 21.05%
Fiber: 2.11%
Carbs: 13.68%

Caloric Weight Basis

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Protein: 49.35%
Fat: 39.95%
Carbs: 10.69%

What We Liked:

  • First 7 ingredients are animal-based
  • Species-appropriate inclusions of meat, organs, and bone
  • Very low carbohydrate content
  • Made with two novel sources of animal protein

What We Didn’t Like

  • Relies on plant-sourced fat
  • One of the most expensive freeze-dried cat foods on the market

#8 Best Multi-Protein: Primal Chicken & Salmon Formula Nuggets Grain-Free Raw Freeze-Dried Cat Food

Primal Chicken & Salmon Formula Nuggets Grain-Free Raw Freeze-Dried Cat Food

  • Made In: United States
  • Guaranteed Protein: 49% Min
  • Age Range: All Life Stages
  • Calories Per Ounce: 128
  • Typical Cost Per Day: $4.17

Primal freeze-dried foods are prepared in nuggets that can be crumbled into a bowl and rehydrated with water or broth to make sure enough moisture is included in your cat’s diet. While the top three ingredients are animal-based, the majority of the rest are plant ingredients or supplements. The total carb content is a little higher than some options on this list but much lower than the average dry cat food.

Like all Primal recipes, this chicken and salmon formula is made only with USDA edible-grade meat. The ingredient list includes fresh chicken with ground bone, chicken livers, and fresh salmon as the top three ingredients.

This recipe packs a punch when it comes to animal-based protein and it’s pretty high in fat as well. Unfortunately, most of the added fat comes from plant-based sources like organic pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, and coconut oil, though your cat will enjoy some omega-3 fatty acids from the fresh salmon, fish oil, and cod liver oil that appear later in the list.

Ingredients

Chicken (with ground bone), Chicken Livers, Salmon, Organic Pumpkin Seeds, Organic Sunflower Seeds, Organic Cranberries, Organic Blueberries, Organic Kale, Organic Squash, Organic Carrots, Organic Apples, Organic Broccoli, Organic Rosemary Extract, Organic Parsley, Organic Quinoa, Organic Apple Cider Vinegar, Fish Oil, Montmorillonite Clay, Organic Coconut Oil, Cod Liver Oil, Taurine, Vitamin E Supplement, Organic Ground Alfalfa, Dried Organic Kelp.

Ingredients We Liked: Chicken (with ground bone), Chicken Livers, Salmon, Fish Oil, Cod Liver Oil

Ingredients We Didn’t Like: None

Guaranteed Analysis

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Crude Protein: 49%
Crude Fat: 26%
Crude Fiber: 2%
Moisture: 8%

Dry Matter Basis

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Protein: 53.26%
Fat: 28.26%
Fiber: 2.17%
Carbs: 16.3%

Caloric Weight Basis

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Protein: 38.54%
Fat: 49.66%
Carbs: 11.8%

What We Liked:

  • Top three ingredients are animal-based proteins
  • Contains fresh meat, organs, and ground bone
  • Made with high-quality and organic ingredients
  • Rich in omega-3 fatty acids from salmon and fish oil

What We Didn’t Like

  • Contains a significant number of plant ingredients
  • Relies primarily on plant-based fats

#9 Best Patties: Vital Essentials Chicken Entree Cat Food Mini Patties Grain-Free Freeze-Dried Cat Food

Vital Essentials Freeze Dried Cat Food

  • Made In: United States
  • Guaranteed Protein: 52% Min
  • Age Range: All Life Stages
  • Calories Per Ounce: 117
  • Typical Cost Per Day: About $5.00

Vital Essentials mini patties are easy to portion (about 2 patties per day per 6 pounds of body weight) and can be broken up to rehydrate in warm water or broth.

This freeze-dried cat food is a single-protein recipe featuring fresh chicken and chicken organs with herring oil as a species-appropriate source of animal-based fat. The food is free from fillers like corn, wheat, and soy as well as artificial additives including colors, flavors, and preservatives.

The primary way in which this recipe could be improved is with the inclusion of ground bone as a more accurate reflection of a natural feline diet. If you’re looking for a lower phosphorus recipe for older cats, however, it could be a good choice.

Ingredients

Chicken, Chicken Heart, Chicken Liver, Herring Oil, Mixed Tocopherols (Preservative), Vitamin E Supplement, Zinc Amino Acid Complex, Iron Amino Acid Complex, Copper Amino Acid Complex, Manganese Amino Acid Complex.

Ingredients We Liked: Chicken, Chicken Heart, Chicken Liver, Herring Oil

Ingredients We Didn’t Like: None

Guaranteed Analysis

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Crude Protein: 52%
Crude Fat: 20%
Crude Fiber: 5%
Moisture: 8%

Dry Matter Basis

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Protein: 56.52%
Fat: 21.74%
Fiber: 5.43%
Carbs: 16.3%

Caloric Weight Basis

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Protein: 44.99%
Fat: 42.03%
Carbs: 12.98%

What We Liked:

  • Limited list of digestible animal ingredients
  • Made with a single source of protein
  • Patties are easy to break into smaller portions

What We Didn’t Like

  • Recently reformulated, limited customer reviews

#10 Best Novel Protein: Purpose Carnivore Rabbit Freeze-Dried Grain-Free Raw Cat Food

Purpose Carnivore Rabbit Freeze-Dried Grain-Free Raw Cat Food

  • Made In: United States
  • Guaranteed Protein: 55% Min
  • Age Range: All Life Stages
  • Calories Per Ounce: 102
  • Typical Cost Per Day: Over $7.00

Purpose pet food started with freeze-dried dog food, seeking to build a brand based on quality nutrition and ethical values. They have since expanded to include a limited selection of freeze-dried cat foods, all of which are made with 99% animal-based ingredients. They also offer freeze-dried cat treats.

This rabbit formula freeze-dried cat food is an appropriate choice for cats that are allergic or sensitive to other more common proteins. Fresh rabbit is the main ingredient, followed by herring oil as a species-appropriate source of omega-3 fatty acids.

While two of the main four ingredients in this recipe are animal-based, the next two come from plants. Apple cider vinegar contains natural enzymes which may help support healthy digestion and coconut oil contains lauric acid which may help reduce the risk of allergic reactions in cats.

Overall, this is a limited-ingredient formula made primarily with animal ingredients. It is high in protein with moderate fat and fairly high carbohydrate content.

Ingredients

Rabbit, Herring Oil, Organic Apple Cider Vinegar, Organic Coconut Oil, Vitamin E (D-Alpha Tocopherol), Mixed Tocopherols, Potassium Chloride, Dried Kelp, Sodium Chloride, Zinc Proteinate, Iron Proteinate, Taurine, Vitamin E Supplement, Niacin Supplement, Copper Proteinate, Manganese Proteinate, Thiamine Mononitrate, D-Calcium Pantothenate, Sodium Selenite, Riboflavin Supplement, Biotin, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Folic Acid, Vitamin D3 Supplement.

Ingredients We Liked: Rabbit, Herring Oil

Ingredients We Didn’t Like: None

Guaranteed Analysis

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Crude Protein: 55%
Crude Fat: 13%
Crude Fiber: 1%
Moisture: 8%

Dry Matter Basis

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Protein: 59.78%
Fat: 14.13%
Fiber: 1.09%
Carbs: 25%

Caloric Weight Basis

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Protein: 50.2%
Fat: 28.81%
Carbs: 20.99%

What We Liked:

  • Made with a single source of novel animal protein
  • Limited list of high-quality ingredients
  • Herring oil provides animal-based omega-3 fatty acids
  • Doesn’t contain artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives

What We Didn’t Like

  • Fairly high carbohydrate content
  • Doesn’t contain organs or bone

What to Consider When Shopping for Freeze-Dried Cat Food

Freeze-dried food is a convenient, relatively safe choice for those who would like to feed their cat fresh or raw food but don’t want to deal with the potential for contamination and disease transmission associated with handling raw meat. Of course, always consult with your veterinarian if you are considering feeding your cat raw food, even if it is freeze-dried.

Nutritional benefits aside, freeze-dried food does have a few shortcomings. The rehydration process takes a couple of minutes, which may be more than you want to commit to feline food preparation. Because freeze-drying is energy-intensive, slow, and costly, freeze-dried cat food is one of the most expensive varieties you can buy.

When shopping for freeze-dried cat food, it’s important to keep your cat’s nutritional needs in mind. Avoid products that contain unnecessary or hard-to-digest ingredients and focus on meat. Here’s what to look for when buying freeze-dried cat food.

Safe, High-Quality Ingredients

Like any other food, freeze-dried cat food should be made from only the finest ingredients available. Ideally, this means fresh, human-grade ingredients that are handled and processed according to human food processing standards.

Avoid foods with ingredients that could cause harm over time. These include additives like artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives. Fortunately, freeze-dried foods appeal to a health-conscious consumer group and seldom contain these ingredients.

Minimal Carbohydrate Content

Many freeze-dried foods contain a lot of veggies and fruit, typically because they’re relying on these ingredients instead of synthetic additives to provide key nutrients. Cats can metabolize carbohydrates to some degree, but fruits, vegetables, and whole grains will be more nutritionally valuable than legumes and fillers or by-products derived from corn, wheat, and soy.

It may not be necessary to avoid plant ingredients entirely, but the best freeze-dried cat food features a carnivore-appropriate blend of muscle meat, organs, and bone. Carbohydrates shouldn’t make up more than 10% of the food on a dry matter basis.

Brand History of Safety and Quality

Because freeze-dried cat food is technically raw, pathogen contamination is a serious concern. Recalls of freeze-dried pet food frequently involve positive test results for Salmonella. Always check a brand’s recall history before feeding its products to your cat and follow safe food handling practices.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the best freeze-dried cat food?

The best freeze-dried cat food is made primarily from raw animal ingredients including muscle meat, organs, and bone. It contains at least 40% crude protein and 20% crude fat with less than 10% carbohydrates, all measured as dry matter.

Is freeze-dried food healthy for cats?

Yes. When made from high-quality, animal-sourced ingredients in a species-appropriate nutrient ratio, freeze-dried food is very healthy for cats. Freeze-dried food offers pet owners a convenient alternative to fresh or frozen raw cat food.

Is air-dried or freeze-dried better for cats?

Freeze-dried cat food has moisture removed while the product is still frozen while the air-drying process removes moisture through evaporation. The two are nutritionally similar but air-dried food will be more akin to kibble in texture and consistency. It’s generally designed to be fed as-is while freeze-dried food can be rehydrated before feeding.

Note: The values in our nutrient charts are automatically calculated based on the guaranteed analysis and may not represent typical nutrient values. This may lead to discrepancies between the charts and the values mentioned in the body of the review.
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About Mallory Crusta

Mallory is an NAVC-certified Pet Nutrition Coach. Having produced and managed multimedia content across several pet-related domains, Mallory is dedicated to ensuring that the information on Cats.com is accurate, clear, and engaging. When she’s not reviewing pet products or editing content, Mallory enjoys skiing, hiking, and trying out new recipes in the kitchen. She has two cats, Wessie and Forest.

26 thoughts on “10 Best Freeze Dried Cat Foods”

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    1. small mallory photoMallory Crusta Post author

      Hey Ruby, I hadn’t heard of Meat Mates cat food before, but it looks outstanding—similar to the Northwest Naturals food mentioned here. I’d definitely consider giving it a try. Thanks for commenting!

  1. Geo55

    I just discovered a freeze-dried raw cat food called “Vital Essentials.”
    It was recommended by Susan Thixton and seems to be considered high-quality food.
    Is there some reason this brand was not included on your ‘best’ list?
    Is this list sponsored?
    Thank you. ; )

    Reply
    1. small mallory photoMallory Crusta Post author

      Hello there! No, this list was not sponsored. While we didn’t include Vital Essentials in this particular list, we do recommend it in several other articles. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on Vital Essentials and adding to the conversation.
      Best,
      Mallory

    2. Sandra Pippa

      I bought Dr. Marty’s freeze dried cat food after listening to his speech. My Gracie got diarrhea so I decided to do more research myself on freeze dried food and found this:
      The Food and Drug Administration, the American Veterinary Medical Association, the ASPCA, and the American Animal Hospital Association all warn of raw food’s dangers. Listeria and Salmonella to name just two. It’s sad it is created and a miserable thing that it’s promoted promoted by cats.com, I trusted you, I don’t think I do now.

    3. kateKate Barrington

      Hi Sandra, your concerns about raw food are valid. Any raw product has the potential to contain food-borne pathogens, so it’s important to store and handle them with the same care you’d use for any raw food. To ensure safety, trustworthy raw pet food manufacturers engage in strict quality control measures and many test each batch before selling it. That said, the risks are still there so it’s up to the individual cat owner to decide what’s right for them and their cat. Thanks for your input!

  2. Fenix

    How and where do I find anyone that sell these products and ship to Sweden? I have spent hours searching (amazon, Google, online pet shops…). Can anyone give me a helping link?

    Reply
    1. Daphanal

      Hello!! Nice to meet you :))

      I’m a newbie cat owner and only just recently adopted a 2 year old stray cat. She’s a playful little fluffball that. However, it’s been 2 months now, but I’m still new to all this and how to keep my kitty healthy. I was hoping i could ask you for advice.

      During the first month of adopting Ebi, my cat, I fed her Aatas tuna that she’s been eating since kitten (Fed by a neighbourhood cat uncle). But i decided to stop feeding her that when she kept begging for more food despite increased portions and gaining a slight belly, i assume it’s due to the high water content – leaving her unsatisfied. Not to mention the salt content.

      So I tried transitioning her to organic food [Bom Bom] but that’s not working out either, she hates the food and has been eating way too little to be healthy. She does not drink water regularly either, so her stool is hard.

      Now upon digging deeper, i came across freeze-dried meals for cats and your insightful articles. I’d like to avoid dry food at all cause because she already drinks little and i heard it increases chances of kidney failure.

      While i recently decided to get some Stella and Chewy’s samples due to the positive remarks I’ve seen so far, I’m still extremely confused on what to actually go with.

      S&C only scored a B- here on AllAboutCats. Then there’s Northwest Naturals that only ranked B+, which is the highest I’ve read off so far on your articles. Feline naturals also had B+ but in the “Best Freeze-Dried list”, doesn’t seemed well-ranked while Northwest Natural seem to have no flaw other than accessibility (which i do seem to have). And while S&C scored lowest of the bunch as a stand alone, it took the top position within the “Best” ranking list.

      I’ve been rambling on but with these confusions, I was hoping I could get your advice on the best thing I could feed my lil floof for daily meals and/or what might be your grade A+ freeze-dried brand (if any).

      Thank you so much for reading and I hope you could spare some time to help this dumb lost child :’) I look forward to hearing from you!

  3. David

    This is quite an amazing website, thank you for all these informative articles! I will try out some of them for my ragdoll.
    One question, did you ever hear about fresh is best? Maybe you could also review it? Its also freeze dried cat food, my cat’s breeder recommended it and my cat loves it.

    Reply
    1. small mallory photoMallory Crusta Post author

      Hello David, thank you for your comment! I have run across Fresh is Best before; we’ll consider it for a future review. Your feedback and suggestion is much appreciated!

    2. Linda Howell

      My breeder also uses Fresh is Best. She sent some bags with Lizzy when I got as a baby and I have kept her on it. Lizzy, my Ragdoll, will be two this July and she is doing great. I use Smalls for her wet food and FreshisBest for her freeze dried.

  4. meri jo

    I also am interested in Dr. Marty’s freeze dried raw cat food. I wonder though I thought raw meat was on your don’t feed your cat list?

    Reply
    1. small mallory photoMallory Crusta Post author

      Hi there! I’m not sure which list you’re referring to—properly-prepared raw cat food is generally a great choice, especially if it’s freeze-dried for safety. We plan to review Dr. Marty cat food in the very near future.

  5. Abby

    Hi, Great list, really helpful.
    Two things seemed contradictory though and since I want to use one of these foods wanted to make sure I understood:
    1) the rating & discussion re: carbs, and 2) the explanation for “not needing synthetic vitamins” (which was “bc bone was added”) (re: discussion of Dr Marty’s vs Smalls).

    Re: #1 – carbs, Dr Marty’s is described as ‘relatively high’ in carbs (21% based on the graph), and that is listed as a “con.” But right above it in the Small’s rating, there is no mention of its carbs at all, and it’s not incl’d as a “con”, but the carbs for that food are shown as really high – the highest in the list – 31% dry matter(!). I was wondering if that was maybe a typo (the numbers in the graph)? Bc in the description it lists “not having any carb ingredients added” as a “pro” for that food (??).

    Re: #2 – reason for not needing synthetic vitamins (a big plus to me so trying to understand it): for Smalls it says the synthetic vitamins aren’t needed bc of the “added bone” (“We appreciate the use of ground bone in this formula because it negates the need for synthetic mineral supplements”) — . But then for Dr Marty’s right below it, which also has no synthetic vitamins added, there is no bone added (and no mention of why there is no need for synthetic vitamins).

    Do you know why, if there isn’t bone, there would be no need for synthetic vitamins in that food?
    Also, it says that Dr Marty’s is relatively low in phosphorus for a freeze dried food; I was wondering if you knew the dry matter % number for the phosphorus (or a range?), and maybe the calcium number too? (I couldn’t find a nutritional analysis on the website or packaging; I can email them but was just wondering if you knew that one phosp number since it was mentioned as being pretty low.

    Reply
    1. small mallory photoMallory Crusta Post author

      Hello! Thank you for the observant and well-thought-out comment.

      To answer your first question about bone, it turns out that I made a mistake when writing this review. In fact, Dr. Marty Nature’s Feast does contain bone just like other non-fortified raw foods. From their customer support team on Facebook: “we use a process of Freeze Dried Pasteurization to preserve the natural vitamins, minerals and antioxidants from whole food. The bone content is freshly ground bone with all the cartilage and synovial fluids for joint supplementation, the organic calcium and bone marrow for all the nutrients and minerals they provide.”

      I will edit this article to acknowledge the presence of bone in Dr. Marty cat food.

      Regarding the carbohydrate graphs in this article, these charts are based on the guaranteed analysis and may not be 100% accurate for that reason. To get accurate values, I sent Dr. Marty cat food in to an independent lab for analysis, and it is 21% carbohydrates on a dry matter basis. I am also looking into the exact carbohydrate content of the Smalls cat food, because the value we’re seeing here doesn’t seem accurate given the food’s obvious lack of carbohydrate-heavy ingredients, so I think that the guaranteed analysis must be a bit off as well.

      Finally, as for the phosphorus in the Dr. Marty cat food, the lab analysis found that the food has 1070 mg phosphorus per 100g of food.

      Hope all of this helps to clear up some of those points of confusion. Thank you again for commenting!

  6. Abby

    Thank you very very much, so helpful – esp the calcium part (I couldn’t understand where it was coming from). And the phosphorus amount – thank you! And their answer about the bone is the first time I’ve heard anyone mention the value of the marrow for pets (I used to wonder about it bc when I cooked whole chickens I used to give my dog and now my cat some of the cooked marrow inside the bones and they seemed to love it, so it seemed like it had to have some nutritional value, but I wonder what exactly). I’m glad Dr Marty’s has bone bc I usually use egg shell calcium (bc of the lower phosphorus) but really does seem like some things could be missing vs the natural diet.

    I bought Dr Marty’s food and I really like it (I use it along with other whole-foods-only vitamins foods).

    Reply
  7. Abby

    Hi again Mallory (sorry! just one more question),

    I was trying to convert this amount to % dry matter but I’m not sure I’m doing it right.

    << [For Dr. Marty's cat food] the lab analysis found that the food has 1070 mg phosphorus per 100g of food.

    So would you happen to have the Phosphorus value for Dr Marty's cat food as % dry matter?

    Reply
    1. small mallory photoMallory Crusta Post author

      Hi Abby! Sorry about the late reply—I meant to reply to you last week, but it seems this slipped. I was told by Dr. Marty Pets that phosphorus makes up 1.01% of each serving of Nature’s Feast, and the AAFCO requires a minimum 0.5% per serving. Of course, this doesn’t seem to be calculated on a dry matter basis, and unfortunately, I’m not sure if this calculation was based on adding a certain amount of water…this makes things a bit more complicated. If we assume that the 1.01% is based on the food prior to rehydration, it looks like the food is about 1.06% phosphorus on a dry matter basis. I’ve contacted Dr. Marty again in hopes of getting a dry matter value directly from the source. Hope this helps!

    2. Abby

      Ok thank you very much.
      (Sorry just saw this, again — I wish there was a way to get an alert for additional comments, but if there is I haven’t found it yet!)

  8. Helen Day

    Hi Mallory, Suki my 6 year old diabetic cat who weighs over 13lbs, just can’t seem to loose the weight. I feed her High protein, low carb Tiki Cat Dark wet food & freeze-dried food, Is the fat % is a factor? What should I be most concerned with when it comes to her diet? Need some advice please.

    Reply
    1. small mallory photoMallory Crusta Post author

      Hi Helen, when trying to help your cat lose weight, how you feed her is a much bigger factor than what you feed her. The foods you’re giving her are both excellent for weight loss, so I would focus on calorie counting, frequent weigh-ins, and a generally very focused, controlled approach to her diet. This cat weight calculator may help you to determine how much Suki needs to eat each day to reach her target weight.