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10 Best Dehydrated Cat Foods of 2022: Top Picks & Reviews

Cat eats from a bowl of dry food Picking a new food for your cat can be intimidating, especially if you are working toward a raw diet. Dehydrated and freeze-dried diets can be the simplest way to feed a raw diet to your cat while ensuring all nutritional needs are met for your cat. There are a lot of things to consider when choosing food for your cat, though, including your cat’s age, flavor preferences, and existing medical conditions. Using reviews, you can easily find the best starting point to choose a food for your cat. It may take time and trial and error to pick the perfect dehydrated food for your cat, so use this as a guide to help you along the way. hepper-single-cat-paw-divider-e1614923017121

A Quick Comparison of Our Favorites

Rating Image Product Details
Best Overall
Winner
Stella & Chewy’s Duck Duck Goose Dinner Morsels Stella & Chewy’s Duck Duck Goose Dinner Morsels
  • 40% protein
  • Nutrient-dense
  • Animal proteins are the first five ingredients
  • Best Value
    Second place
    Vital Essentials Pork Dinner Patties Vital Essentials Pork Dinner Patties
  • 45% protein
  • No filler, hormones, or other additives
  • Limited ingredients and novel protein source
  • Premium Choice
    Third place
    Purpose Carnivore Rabbit Raw Cat Food Purpose Carnivore Rabbit Raw Cat Food
  • 99% rabbit
  • 55% protein
  • Nutrient-dense and low in carbs
  • Best for Kittens
    Instinct Raw Meals Cage-Free Chicken Recipe Kitten Food Instinct Raw Meals Cage-Free Chicken Recipe Kitten Food
  • 39% protein and 28% fat
  • No fillers, preservatives, or artificial colors
  • Contains DHA, glucosamine, and chondroitin
  • Nulo FreeStyle Chicken & Salmon Recipe Raw Cat Food Nulo FreeStyle Chicken & Salmon Recipe Raw Cat Food
  • 46% protein
  • 98% of the ingredients are animal protein
  • Multi-step quality control process to ensure safe food
  • The 10 Best Dehydrated Cat Foods

    1. Stella & Chewy’s Duck Duck Goose Dinner Morsels – Best Overall

    Stella & Chewy’s Duck Duck Goose Dinner Morsels

    Primary protein: Duck
    Primary content: 40%
    Fat content: 30%
    Carbohydrate content: 5%

    The best overall dehydrated cat food is Stella & Chewy’s Duck Duck Goose Dinner Morsels. This food is available in three package sizes and features duck with ground bone, turkey with ground bone, turkey liver, goose, and turkey gizzard as the first five ingredients. It has 40% protein, 30% fat, and 5% carbs, making it a rich but nutrient-dense food. It contains probiotics to support digestive health and immunity. All this food is made in Stella & Chewy’s US-based kitchen with high quality ingredients. Since this is a raw food, it should be fed dry or rehydrated with cool water to prevent cooking. Undercooking can lead to food-borne illnesses and cooking through can kill some of the beneficial bacteria in the food.

    Pros
    • Three package sizes
    • Animal proteins are the first five ingredients
    • 40% protein
    • Nutrient-dense
    • Contains probiotics to support digestive health
    • Made with high standards in a US-based kitchen
    Cons
    • Should not be cooked or rehydrated with hot water

    2. Vital Essentials Pork Dinner Patties – Best Value

    Vital Essentials Pork Dinner Patties

    Primary protein: Pork
    Primary content: 45%
    Fat content: 40%
    Carbohydrate content: 7%

    The best dehydrated cat food for the money is the Vital Essentials Pork Dinner Patties, which contains 45% protein, 40% fat, and 7% carbs. Pork, pork liver, and pork spleen make up the first three ingredients of this food. It contains no filler, hormones, or flavorings and is made with limited ingredients. Pork is a novel protein for many cats, which also makes it a good option for elimination diets and for cats with food sensitivities. It can be served dry or rehydrated with cool water to avoid cooking. It’s made and packaged in a US-based kitchen and packing facility to high-quality standards.

    Pros
    • Best value
    • Animal proteins are the first three ingredients
    • 45% protein
    • No filler, hormones, or other additives
    • Limited ingredients and novel protein source
    • Made with high standards in a US-based kitchen
    Cons
    • Should not be cooked or rehydrated with hot water

    3. Purpose Carnivore Rabbit Raw Cat Food – Premium Choice

    Purpose Carnivore Rabbit Raw Cat Food

    Primary protein: Rabbit
    Primary content: 55%
    Fat content: 13%
    Carbohydrate content: 1%
    The Purpose Carnivore Rabbit Raw Cat Food is the premium pick for dehydrated cat foods. This food consists of 99% rabbit and 1% supplements to make a complete diet. It contains 55% protein and only 1% carbs, making it a very high protein and nutrient-dense food. Rabbit is a novel protein for most cats and this food is a limited-ingredient diet, both of which make it a good option for cats with food sensitivities. It contains no filler and is made from US-raised rabbit. These pellets are harder than many other dehydrated food options, and some people report their cat not finding it palatable when rehydrated, so it may not be a good option for cats with difficulty chewing.
    Pros
    • 99% rabbit
    • 55% protein
    • Nutrient-dense and low in carbs
    • Limited ingredients and novel protein source
    • No filler or additives
    • US-raised rabbit meat
    Cons
    • Premium price
    • Harder than most dehydrated foods

    4. Instinct Raw Meals Cage-Free Chicken Recipe Kitten Food – Best for Kittens

    Instinct Raw Meals Cage-Free Chicken Recipe Kitten Food

    Primary protein: Chicken
    Primary content: 39%
    Fat content: 28%
    Carbohydrate content: 4%

    The best dehydrated food for kittens is the Instinct Raw Meals Cage-Free Chicken Recipe Kitten Food, which has 39% protein and 28% fat, making it nutritionally sound for kittens. It has chicken, beef liver, beef spleen, beef kidney, and cod as the first four ingredients. It contains DHA, glucosamine, and chondroitin to support the health and development of your kitten’s brain, eyes, and joints. It contains no fillers, preservatives, or artificial colors. This food sells for a premium price and a bag will only last approximately a week per kitten you’re feeding.

    Pros
    • Top pick for kittens
    • 39% protein and 28% fat
    • Animal proteins are the first five ingredients
    • Contains DHA, glucosamine, and chondroitin
    • No fillers, preservatives, or artificial colors
    Cons
    • Premium price
    • Small bag size

    5. Nulo FreeStyle Chicken & Salmon Recipe Raw Cat Food

    Nulo FreeStyle Chicken & Salmon Recipe Raw Cat Food

    Primary protein: Chicken
    Primary content: 46%
    Fat content: 23%
    Carbohydrate content: 2%
    The Nulo FreeStyle Chicken & Salmon Recipe Raw Cat Food is a nutrient-dense pick that offers chicken, salmon, chicken necks, chicken liver, and chicken hearts as the first five ingredients. This food is made of 98% animal proteins, with the other 2% of the food being supplements to ensure the diet is complete. It’s made with a multi-step quality-control process that ensures safe, healthy food. It contains probiotics to support digestive health and is available in two bag sizes. Although nutrient-dense, a bag of food will not go very far for normal-sized adult cat and it sells for a premium price.
    Pros
    • 46% protein
    • Animal proteins are the first five ingredients
    • 98% of the ingredients are animal protein
    • Multi-step quality control process to ensure safe food
    • Two bag sizes
    Cons
    • Small bag sizes
    • Premium price

    6. New Zealand Natural Pet Food Co. Meow Chicken & King Salmon Cat Food

    New Zealand Natural Pet Food Co. Meow Chicken & King Salmon Cat Food

    Primary protein: Chicken
    Primary content: 43%
    Fat content: 41%
    Carbohydrate content: 1%
    The New Zealand Natural Pet Food Co. Meow Chicken & King Salmon Cat Food contains 43% protein and 41% fat, making it one of the richer foods on the list. It contains chicken with ground bone, chicken heart, lamb green tripe, king salmon with ground bone, chicken liver, kelp, and green lipped mussels as the first seven ingredients. Over 90% of this diet is animal protein and is fully balanced as a daily diet. The proteins are sustainably and ethically sourced and this food is made in small batches, ensuring high quality. This is a premium-priced food, and some people report their picky cats not wanting to eat it.
    Pros
    • 43% protein
    • Animal proteins are six of the first seven ingredients
    • Over 90% of the ingredients are animal proteins
    • Sustainable and ethical protein sources
    • Small batch preparation
    Cons
    • Premium price
    • May not be palatable enough for picky cats

    7. Primal Chicken & Salmon Freeze-Dried Nuggets

    Primal Chicken & Salmon Freeze-Dried Nuggets

    Primary protein: Chicken
    Primary content: 49%
    Fat content: 26%
    Carbohydrate content: 2%

    The Primal Chicken & Salmon Freeze-Dried Nuggets are 49% protein and 26% fat. They contain chicken with ground bone, chicken livers, and salmon as the first three ingredients. It’s a nutrient-dense diet that contains natural vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and enzymes for a healthy cat. It’s prepared and packaged in the US with high-quality standards, ensuring your cat’s food is safe and healthy. It should be rehydrated prior to feeding, so make sure you clean all bowls well after feeding and don’t leave uneaten food out. This food does sell for a premium price, so it may be out of the budget for many people.

    Pros
    • 49% protein
    • Animal proteins are the first three ingredients
    • Nutrient-dense formula with natural enzymes and antioxidants
    • Prepared and packaged in the US
    • Good option for cats that prefer wet food
    Cons
    • Should be rehydrated before feeding
    • Cannot be left out long once rehydrated since it is raw food
    • Premium price

    8. Ziwi Peak Air-Dried Mackerel & Lamb Recipe

    Ziwi Peak Air-Dried Mackerel & Lamb Recipe

    Primary protein: Mackerel
    Primary content: 43%
    Fat content: 25%
    Carbohydrate content: 2%

    The Ziwi Peak Air-Dried Mackerel & Lamb Recipe contains 43% protein and has animal protein sources as the first nine ingredients, including mackerel, lamb, lamb tripe, and New Zealand green mussels. The twin-stage air-drying process eliminates pathogens while retaining the healthful properties of the raw food. It has no added carbs or fillers and contains 10% superfoods, like organic kelp. The proteins are ethically and sustainably sourced and the food is made in small batches. This food is premium priced, and some people report their cats not finding it palatable. Even without rehydrating, it isn’t recommended to leave this food out for free feeding since it may grow mold if exposed to moisture.

    Pros
    • 43% protein
    • First nine ingredients are animal proteins and contains added superfoods
    • Twin-stage air-drying process retains nutrients and eliminates pathogens
    • Ethically and sustainably sourced proteins
    • Made in small batches for top quality control
    Cons
    • Premium price
    • May not be palatable to picky cats
    • Not recommended to be left out for free feeding

    9. Zeal Canada Salmon & Turkey Recipe Gently Air-Dried Cat Food

    Zeal Canada Salmon & Turkey Recipe Gently Air-Dried Cat Food

    Primary protein: Salmon
    Primary content: 34%
    Fat content: 22%
    Carbohydrate content: 4%

    The Zeal Canada Salmon & Turkey Recipe Gently Air-Dried Cat Food contains 34% protein and has animal proteins as the first four ingredients. It’s a limited-ingredient food, and since it contains semi-novel proteins, it may be a good pick for cats with food sensitivities. It’s nutritionally enhanced to ensure it meets all daily dietary guidelines for cats. The jerky texture is appealing to many cats and may be an easier transition than drier dehydrated foods. Approximately 96% of this food consists of animal protein sources but it does have a lower protein to fat ratio than many other dehydrated foods. It must be used within 8 weeks of opening to ensure freshness, although you will go through a bag of this per cat every 1–2 weeks if fed as directed as the primary diet.

    Pros
    • 34% protein
    • First four ingredients are animal proteins
    • Limited-ingredient food with semi-novel proteins
    • Nutritionally enhanced
    • Jerky-like texture
    Cons
    • Lower protein to fat ratio than most dehydrated foods
    • Must be used within 8 weeks of opening
    • Small bag size

    10. The Honest Kitchen Grain-Free Chicken Recipe Dehydrated Cat Food

    The Honest Kitchen Grain-Free Chicken Recipe Dehydrated Cat Food

    Primary protein: Chicken
    Primary content: 40%
    Fat content: 26%
    Carbohydrate content: 4%

    The Honest Kitchen Grain-Free Chicken Recipe Dehydrated Cat Food is a nice option if you need something more shelf-stable than most dehydrated or freeze-dried cat food options. This food requires reconstitution but what you reconstitute it with and how much moisture you use can be adjusted based on your cat’s needs and preferences. A 2-pound package of this food makes approximately 6 pounds of food when prepared, making it one of the more affordable options. Dehydrated chicken and dehydrated eggs are the first two ingredients, and this food contains 40% protein. It’s easy to prepare but some reviewers say their cats wouldn’t eat it.

    Pros
    • 40% protein
    • Shelf-stable longer than most dehydrated or freeze-dried foods
    • 2-pound box makes around 6 pounds of food
    • Animal proteins are the first two ingredients
    Cons
    • Must be reconstituted
    • May not be palatable to picky cats
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    Buyer’s Guide

    Dehydration vs Freeze-Drying: What’s the Difference?

    Unsure of the difference between dehydrated and freeze-dried foods? Both are foods that have had moisture removed from them, making the food safer and more shelf-stable than raw foods. There are minor differences between dehydration and freeze-drying, though, and they do result in different nutrient levels in your cat’s food. This video does a great job of explaining the difference between the two processes and precautions to taken when feeding either type.

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    Conclusion

    The best overall dehydrated cat food is the Stella & Chewy’s Duck Duck Goose Dinner Morsels, which are palatable and available in three package sizes. The most budget-friendly option is the Vital Essentials Pork Dinner Patties, which are a great option for a limited-ingredient, novel protein diet. For kittens, the Instinct Raw Meals Cage-Free Chicken Recipe Kitten Food is the best option because it’s made specifically for the needs of developing kittens.


    Featured Image Credit: Roman Samsonov, Shutterstock