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11 Best Freeze-Dried Cat Foods of 2022 – Reviews & Top Picks

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By Nicole Cosgrove

Choosing the perfect food for your cat can be a difficult process. With so many foods on the market, you may find several full of grains and other fillers that aren’t natural for a cat’s diet. Luckily, there are other options out there that will provide the health benefits you want for your cat without all the unhealthy additions.

A raw diet is great if you want your cat to eat more naturally. Unfortunately, that means the pet owner must first learn how to balance the diet and also prepare and handle all the raw ingredients—or so you thought. Freeze-dried cat food is the perfect way to introduce your cat to the world of protein-rich, all-natural foods. These foods feature the raw meats your cat loves while keeping pet parents free of the preparation process.

Take a look below at our reviews of the 11 best freeze-dried cat foods of 2021 and choose the one best suited for your feline friend.

A Quick Look at  Our Favorites in 2022

Rating Image Product Details
Best Overall
Winner
Smalls Freeze-Dried Raw Bird Cat Food Smalls Freeze-Dried Raw Bird Cat Food
  • Made with all-natural protein
  • Enriched with goat's milk
  • No artificial colors or flavors
  • Delivered right to your door!
  • Best Value
    Second place
    Vital Essentials Chicken Freeze-Dried Cat Nibs Vital Essentials Chicken Freeze-Dried Cat Nibs
  • Fewer ingredients for natural taste
  • Affordable for all budgets
  • Premium Choice
    Third place
    Primal Turkey Nuggets Raw Freeze-Dried Cat Food Primal Turkey Nuggets Raw Freeze-Dried Cat Food
  • High-protein formula
  • Resealable bag keeps food fresh
  • Best for Kittens
    Merrick Backcountry Meat Wet Cat Food Merrick Backcountry Meat Wet Cat Food
  • Formulated for kittens
  • Designed for easy consumption
  • Stella & Chewy's Freeze-Dried Chicken Cat Morsels Stella & Chewy's Freeze-Dried Chicken Cat Morsels
  • Made with all-natural protein
  • Features added taurine
  • No artificial colors or flavors
  • The 11 Best Freeze-Dried Cat Foods

    1. Smalls – Freeze-Dried Raw Bird Cat Food – Best Overall

    Smalls Freeze Dried Raw Bird Recipe

    Life Stage: All
    Size: 12-ounce bag

    Our choice for the best overall freeze-dried cat food is Smalls Freeze-Dried Raw Bird Recipe. This food provides a species-appropriate diet designed to meet your cat’s nutritional needs. Featuring 45% chicken-based protein, this raw food is packed with all vitamins and micronutrients your cat needs to thrive, and it delivers 51 mg of taurine for every 100 kcal. Without artificial colors or flavors added, this cat food is a healthy all-natural ingredient option for your tiny carnivore. It is also enriched with goat’s milk for added probiotics that help to keep your cat’s gut bacteria balanced. There are no grains, gluten, or unnecessary carbohydrate sources in this recipe either. This amazing product is delivered right to your doorstep as it is subscription-based!
    While this cat food is great for the health of your cat, this recipe is not ideal for a cat that is allergic to chicken – but do not worry, other amazing and nutritious recipes based on diverse proteins are available with Smalls. Another downside of Smalls is that the delivery might not be available in your area.

    Pros
    • Made with all-natural protein
    • Enriched with goat’s milk
    • No artificial colors or flavors
    • Delivered right to your door!

    Cons
    • Not available everywhere


    2. Vital Essentials Chicken Freeze-Dried Cat Food – Best Value

    Vital Essentials Chicken Mini Nibs Freeze-Dried Cat Food

    Life Stage: Adult
    Size: 12-ounce bag

    Our pick for the best freeze-dried cat food for the money is Vital Essentials Chicken Mini Nibs Freeze-Dried Cat Food. This raw formula cat food is crafted with a 48-hour freeze process to make it fresh while locking in natural flavors. This food is ideal for cats who love the taste of the wild. Made from raw, pure chicken, this food goes back to the basics of what your cat would eat in the wild, raw meat. A low ingredient food, this product features no grains, hormones, flavorings, or fillers that are unhealthy for your cat.

    The only downside we had with this cat food is the texture. Some of the pieces are stuck together forming big chuck and this could be a challenge for some cats to eat.

    Pros
    • Fewer ingredients for natural taste
    • Affordable for all budgets

    Cons
    • Pieces can get stuck together in big chunks


    3. Primal Turkey Nuggets Raw Freeze-Dried Cat Food – Premium Choice

    Primal Turkey Formula Nuggets Grain-Free Raw Freeze-Dried Cat Food

    Life Stage: Adult
    Size: 14-ounce bag

    Our premium choice freeze-dried cat food is Primal Turkey Formula Nuggets. This grain-free cat food features only the best ingredients for your cat. Made from humanely raised turkey, organs, and bones this food is high in calcium, vitamins A, D, C, and B complex. The nuggets are tasty for your cat and can be easily distributed by owners. Shredding the nuggets then adding water or liquid of your choice, rehydrates for a great meal for any cat who loves a raw, more natural diet. There are no artificial fillers, grains, or glutens added to this formula.

    Pros
    • High-protein formula
    • Resealable bag keeps food fresh

    Cons
    • Pieces must be shredded before feeding


    4. Merrick Backcountry Real Meat Wet Cat Food – Best for Kittens

    Merrick Backcountry Grain-Free Kitten Recipe cat food

    Life Stage: Kitten
    Size: 24, 3-ounce packages

    The Merrick Backcountry Grain-Free Wet Cat Food is our pick for the best freeze-dried food for kittens. This formula is designed to give growing kittens a great start at a healthy life. High in protein, this cat food also features freeze-dried poultry, DHA omegas, probiotics, and vegetables that are rich in antioxidants. This infusion is intended to make it easier for young kittens to eat while providing them the stepping stones for strong bones and muscles. This cat food is made in the USA and comes with no artificial fillers, colors, or flavors. This kitten formula is flavorful and intends to make the transition to a raw diet easier on kittens.

    While this food is great for kittens, keep in mind it is a dry formula with protein mixed in. The number of pieces per pouch does vary. Also, this kitten food, while not marketed as a topper, does not have a complete and balanced statement on the package.

    Pros
    • Formulated for kittens
    • Designed for easy consumption

    Cons
    • Pieces per pouch varies


    5. Stella & Chewy’s Chicken Morsels Freeze-Dried Raw Cat Food

    Stella & Chewy's Chick Chick Chicken Dinner Morsels Freeze-Dried Raw Cat Food

    Life Stage: All
    Size: 18-ounce bag

    Stella & Chewy’s Chik Chik Dinner Morsels Freeze-Dried Raw Cat Food is designed to meet your cat’s natural instinct and provide it with the raw protein it craves. Featuring 98% cage-free chicken, this raw food is packed with vitamins, minerals, and added taurine. No artificial colors or flavors have been added to this cat food keeping it more natural for your tiny carnivore. Additional probiotics make it easier on your cat’s digestive system along with the absence of grains, glutens, and other fillers.

    While this cat food is great for the health of your cat, you may find the smell it presents to be a bit overpowering. Your cat may feel the same and have difficulty taking to the food. Keep this in mind and attempt small portions starting until your cat adjusts.

    Pros
    • Made with all-natural protein
    • Features added taurine
    • No artificial colors or flavors

    Cons
    • Strong smell
    • Expensive

     


    6. Northwest Naturals Freeze Dried Diet for Cats

    Northwest Naturals Freeze Dried Diet for Cats

    Life Stage: All
    Size: 11-ounce bag

    The Northwest Naturals Freeze-Dried Cat Food is another that goes back to your cat’s natural predatorial ancestry. Featuring a 45% protein content from which 98% is of animal origin, this freeze-dried food mimics what cats would eat in the wild. The pieces are small and make it easy for cats to eat. This allows you to choose whether you want to rehydrate them or simply serve as is. This cat food is versatile and can easily be used as an entire meal or as a topper to your cat’s favorite dishes. No matter how it is fed, your cat will enjoy a meal free of unwanted hormones and antibiotics that is also grain and gluten-free.

    When inspecting your bag of cat food, you may find a few pieces that are larger than others. Keep an eye out for this as some may be difficult for cats to eat. This is especially true for senior cats. This is the biggest downside we’ve found with this cat food. Luckily, it is easy to remedy by carefully checking what your cat eats and breaking apart pieces that are too large.

    Pros
    • 98% rabbit formula
    • Can be a stand-alone meal or topper

    Cons
    • Some pieces may be large


    7. Nulo FreeStyle Turkey & Duck Freeze-Dried Cat Food

    Nulo FreeStyle Turkey & Duck Recipe Freeze-Dried Raw Cat Food

    Life Stage: Adult
    Size: 8-ounce bag

    If you’re looking for the perfect balance between protein and fats to keep your cat healthy, Nulo Freestyle Turkey and Duck Freeze-Dried Cat Food is what you’ve been looking for. This food is packed with everything your cat needs to leave a healthier life. Made from turkey, duck, and organs you’ll find 98% of the protein in this freeze-dried formula of animal origin, with added super ingredients like cranberries to help provide your cat with the best nutrition possible.

    Pros
    • Made with real turkey and duck
    • Features superfoods for better health

    Cons
    • Pieces may feel dry and powdery


    8. Only Natural Pet Raw Beef & Tripe Freeze-dried Pet Food

    Only Natural Pet RawNibs Freeze Dried Food

    Life Stage: All
    Size: 10-ounce package

    Only Natural Pet Raw Nibs Freeze-Dried Dog and Cat Food is designed to give your feline the crunch of kibble with the taste and benefits of a raw diet. This formula features pasture-raised beef with muscle, organs, raw goat’s milk, and a touch of fruits and veggies. The all-natural formula is grain-free and can be used as a treat, a topper, or a full meal for cats. You’ll also find this cat food is free of any unwanted additives such as artificial colors, flavors, and fillers.

    While this food is designed for both dogs and cats, the bite-sized morsels can easily make a full meal for felines. Unfortunately, the high price of this food can make that difficult. It is also not stated as a complete and balanced diet so you should not solely feed your pets this food every day. In most instances, using it as a food topper or treat may be your best option.

    Pros
    • High in protein and amino acids
    • Made from USDA beef

    Cons
    • Expensive
    • Small package size


    9. Feline Natural Chicken & Lamb Freeze-Dried Cat Food

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

    Life Stage: Adult
    Size: 11-ounce bag

    Feline Natural Chicken & Lamb Freeze-Dried Cat Food is made with sustainably caught fish and free-range lamb. This New Zealand-based company believes in only providing pets with the best when it comes to ingredients. The lamb is grass-fed while the cat food itself features 99% meat and organs. This all-natural food contains no unwanted fillers or by-products making it a great source of nutrition for your cat. You’ll also find this cat food easy to work with. Simply pour on top of your cat’s food for a delicious topper or give it as a tasty meal.

    While this cat food is prepared with great ingredients it is slightly pricey compared to others on the market. You may also find that the pieces are slightly powdery which may detour picky cats from enjoying it.

    Pros
    • Sustainably caught and raised ingredients
    • No added fillers

    Cons
    • Pieces are powdery
    • Slightly expensive


    10. Instinct Raw Boost Mixers Chicken Freeze-dried Cat Food

    Instinct Raw Boost Mixers Chicken Recipe Grain-Free Freeze-Dried Cat Food Topper

    Life Stage: All
    Size: 6-ounce bag

    The Instinct Raw Boost Mixers is a great freeze-dried food topper for giving cats all the nutrition they need in one meal. This food features 36% protein while also providing your cat with veggies that are easy on their stomachs. There are no artificial flavors, colors, or preservatives in this food. You’ll also find this recipe to be free of stomach irritating corn, wheat, and grains. The featured protein is cage-free chicken to offer great taste and the protein your cat needs for a healthier lifestyle. The pieces are also small enough that most cats can eat them without extra preparation from their owners.

    While this is an excellent way to add to your kibble, this topper could have more meat protein per package. While having a good mix of meat and veggies is great for cats, most felines prefer the taste of meat. Each bag is different but most feature more fruits and veggies than the raw protein expected.

    Pros
    • Bite-sized pieces are easy to eat
    • Blends protein and healthy vegetables

    Cons
    • Packages feature more veggies than protein


    11. PureBites Chicken Freeze-Dried Raw Cat Treats

    PureBites Chicken Breast Freeze-Dried Raw Cat Treats

    Life Stage: All
    Size: 1.09-ounce package

    PureBites Chicken Breast Freeze-Dried Cat Treats are the perfect way to introduce your cat to a raw diet. Unlike other treats, this freeze-dried option features the all-natural USA-raised chicken without added fillers or sugars your cat doesn’t need. These treats are bite-sized and great for adding on their wet food or kibble to test the waters and see if your cat is ready to get back to its raw roots and enjoy the best foods possible. Other flavors such as salmon, shrimp, and tuna are available to provide your cat with options.

    Keep in mind when ordering this food, it is advertised as a cat treat, which means you cannot feed your cat this on its own every day. The bags are slightly small and compressed. This may damage or crumble the pieces inside, especially during a shipping process. To make those small pieces usable, sprinkle them on your cat’s favorite wet food for a tasty addition they’ll love.

    Pros
    • Only 2 calories per piece
    • All-natural ingredients

    Cons
    • Pieces may become damaged inside the package

    Divider 3

    Buyer’s Guide: How to Choose 11 Best Freeze-Dried Cat Foods

    Offering your cat a diet of raw ingredients is the perfect way of taking your tiny carnivore back to its roots. In nature, animals don’t eat highly processed meats with unhealthy fillers or additives for color. No, they eat what they can catch. Freeze-dried cat food is a great way of bringing those natural meats to your cat’s food bowl without them needing to rush out and catch them themselves.

    What Is Freeze-Dried Cat Food?

    Freeze-dried cat food has gone through a process intended to pull all the moisture out of the food. This process is normally used to allow foods to be kept longer, but in the world of cats, it makes it easier to provide your feline friend with raw meat and vegetable options for a healthy, yet tasty, meal or snack.

    Using these types of cat foods makes the preparation process easier for pet parents who want to give their cats a proper, raw diet. You won’t need to handle, cut, or store raw meats in the house. All you need to do is simply add water, goat’s milk, or cat-friendly bone broth to the freeze-dried food and serve it to your pet. In some instances, the liquid isn’t even required.

    What to Look for When Buying Freeze-Dried Cat Food

    If you’re new to the raw diet freeze-dried cat food provides, knowing what to look for can help you choose the best brand for your cat. Here are a few of the most important things you should consider before buying your cat freeze-dried cat food.

    High-Quality Ingredients

    Knowing what your cat is eating is the best way to stay on top of their health and their weight. When choosing freeze-dried cat food, know what ingredients you are putting in your cat’s bowl. Yes, the ingredients are raw, but always check how they are sourced and if they include unnecessary fillers.

    Price

    Going with freeze-dried foods can be more expensive than your basic kibble. While price comparison is still possible with these types of foods, the more inexpensive forms most often are treats and toppers. While these toppers are great tasting and healthy if you choose to provide your cat with full, freeze-dried meals, be prepared to spend a bit more money than normal.

    Morsel Size and Ease of Use

    When switching to freeze-dried cat food, research the morsel sizes. If they are too big for your cat to eat on their own, you may need to cut them up or prepare them in some other way. This is common and is still safer than preparing raw foods yourself.

    Conclusion

    For the best freeze-dried cat food, our best overall pick, Smalls Freeze-Dried Raw Bird Recipe provides your cat with added all-natural ingredients, and flavor they will love. If you’re on a budget but still want your cat to enjoy the perks of a raw diet and freeze-dried food, Vital Essentials is a great option. Our premium choice, Primal Turkey Formula Nuggets, is for pet parents who want the best for their cat without the worries of pricing and package size. By adding one of the freeze-dried foods in this review to your cat’s diet, you’ll see the true carnivore inside emerge.


    Featured Image Credit: P Stock, Shutterstock

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