Best Freeze Dried Cat Food: Top 5 Best Foods

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 5 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.

Quick Look at Our Top Picks

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Top Pick

Stella & Chewy's Absolutely Rabbit Dinner
  • Made with rabbit, a species-appropriate protein source
  • Very low carbohydrate content
  • Doesn’t contain any fruits or vegetables
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Northwest Naturals Turkey Freeze Dried Raw Diet
  • 98% animal ingredients
  • Highest protein content of the recipes on this list
  • Features a variety of muscle meat, organs, and bones
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Stella & Chewy's Chick Chick Chicken
  • Rich in animal protein
  • Contains muscle meat, bones, and organs
  • Contains probiotics
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Feline Natural Chicken & Lamb Feast
  • Rich in animal protein
  • Uses a range of muscle meat, organs, and blood
  • Supplemented with green-lipped mussel
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Budget Pick

Wysong Archetype™ Raw Chicken Formula
  • Rich in animal-sourced protein
  • Contains a mix of muscle meat, organs, and bones
  • Wysong has a good reputation for food safety
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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. In these low-pressure conditions, the frozen liquid doesn’t melt and is instead sublimated into a gas.

This process extracts moisture and destroys pathogenic bacteria, making the food extraordinarily shelf-stable. People have safely eaten freeze-dried foods after 30 years on the shelf. 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, you’ll pour warm water over the food and let it soak in for a couple of minutes.

Is freeze-dried cat food better?

Freeze-dried food 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 UC-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. Freeze drying can result in the loss of Vitamins C, A, and E, so manufacturers may need to replace these vitamins through synthetic supplementation.

This makes it 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.

That said, 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, and because freeze-drying is energy-intensive, slow, and costly, freeze-dried cat food is one of the most expensive varieties you can buy.

The Best Freeze-Dried Cat Food 2019 – Our Top 5 Picks

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

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Stella & Chewy’s is a well-regarded brand and a leader in freeze-dried pet food.

Stella & Chewy’s offers a wide variety of recipes with multiple proteins and 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 her own.

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.

Guaranteed Analysis:

Crude Protein44% min
Crude Fat30% min
Crude Fiber5% max
Moisture5% max
Ashn/a

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

Northwest Naturals Turkey Freeze Dried Raw Diet for Cats Review

organic cat food

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This Oregon-based company has been selling raw and freeze-dried pet food since 2004. With the exception of lamb, all of their 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.

Guaranteed Analysis:

Crude Protein50% min
Crude Fat15% min
Crude Fiber4% max
Moisture5% max
Ash9%

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

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

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

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If your cat doesn’t care for the rabbit recipe at the top of this list, you might consider Stella & Chewy’s popular Chick Chick Chicken dinner morsels.

These kibble-style morsels are made of ground chicken and bones with chicken liver and gizzard. By including muscle meat, bones, and organs, Stella & Chewy’s takes advantage of the rich nutritional value of the whole raw chicken.

The food’s meaty foundation is supplemented with probiotics for digestive health and immune support. Unlike the rabbit recipe reviewed earlier, this food doesn’t contain any fats not already present in the chicken itself.

Though chicken muscle meat, organs, and bones are loaded with nutrition, they don’t provide everything your cat needs. The food is fortified with a variety of vitamins, minerals, and amino acids.

This appears to be Stella & Chewy’s most popular cat food recipe. It receives excellent customer reviews and cats seem to love the way it tastes.

Ingredients

Chicken (Ground With Bone), Chicken Liver, Chicken Gizzard, Pumpkin Seed, Potassium Chloride, Sodium Phosphate, Choline Chloride, Fenugreek Seed, Dried Pediococcus 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.

Guaranteed Analysis:

Crude Protein45% min
Crude Fat25% min
Crude Fiber5% max
Moisture5% max
Ashn/a

What We Liked:

  • Rich in animal protein
  • Contains muscle meat, bones, and organs
  • Virtually free of fruits and vegetables
  • Contains probiotics
  • More affordable than some other Stella & Chewy’s foods

What We Didn’t Like:

  • Price is above market average

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

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

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This freeze-dried food is made by Feline Natural, a New Zealand brand founded in 2006 and known for its freeze-dried products.

This recipe 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, the food is made without ground bone, necessitating the use of supplements to compensate for the absence of bone-sourced minerals.

Though they feature prominently on the ingredient list, flaxseed flakes represent a tiny percentage of the total recipe and are used as a binder. The food is supplemented with green-lipped mussel, which may support joint health and is a good source of omega-3 fatty acids.

This recipe is the only product on this list that contains multiple animal proteins, so it’s not an ideal choice for cats with suspected food sensitivities or allergies.

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.

Guaranteed Analysis:

Crude Protein48% min
Crude Fat31% min
Crude Fiber1% max
Moisture8% max
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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 sensitive cats

Wysong Archetype™ Raw Chicken Formula Canine/Feline Diet Review

Wysong Archetype Raw Canine

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Wysong dates back to 1979 and employs pet health doctorate professionals to formulate “ancestrally-inspired” food for dogs and cats. If you’d like to learn more about Wysong, click here to read our complete brand review.

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.

Guaranteed Analysis:

Crude Protein44% min
Crude Fat36% min
Crude Fiber0.5% max
Moisture4% max
Ashn/a

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

Top 5 Best Freeze Dried Cat Foods Summed Up

Product NameCountry of ManufactureProtein SourcesDM Protein % (min)Calorie ContentPrice per Ounce
Stella & Chewy's Absolutely Rabbit Dinner Morsels Freeze-Dried Raw Cat FoodUSARabbit46.30%131 kcal/oz$3.60
Stella & Chewy's Chick Chick Chicken Dinner Morsels Freeze-Dried Raw Cat FoodUSAChicken46.30%127 kcal/oz$2.11
Feline Natural Chicken & Lamb Feast Grain-Free Freeze-Dried Cat FoodNew ZealandChicken, Lamb52.17%141 kcal/oz$3.09
Northwest Naturals Turkey Freeze Dried Raw Diet for CatsUSATurkey52.63%134 kcal/oz$2.62
Wysong Archetype™ Raw Chicken Formula Canine/Feline DietUSAChicken45.83%140 kcal/oz$2.32

How We Chose the Top 5 Best Freeze-Dried Cat Foods

Here’s how we selected the five best freeze-dried cat foods listed above.

We looked for 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 handled and processed according to human food processing standards.

We also 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.

The best freeze-dried cat food has minimal plant content.

Many freeze-dried foods contain a lot of veggies and fruit, typically because they’re relying on these ingredients instead of synthetic additives. If you spot a product loaded with carrots, spinach, and other veggies, stop and think before pulling that food off the shelf.

Since cats can metabolize carbohydrates and these plant ingredients likely won’t cause harm in small quantities, most of these foods are okay—but you need to evaluate the situation carefully.

Carbohydrates shouldn’t make up more than 10% of the food on a dry matter basis, particularly if your cat has diabetes or irritable bowel disease.

Reputation matters, too—so we chose products from brands with a history of safety and quality.

Brands selling freeze-dried cat food often have issues with pathogen contamination. Some have concerning recall histories. It’s always important to think about a company’s reputation before letting them feed your cat. The products listed above were made by companies that have issued zero to two recalls—and none of those recalls resulted in serious illness or death.

In addition to recall history, we paid attention to what customers were saying about the brand overall, considering things like customer service and cat satisfaction.

Need a refresher course on feline nutrition basics? Check out our guide to choosing the best cat food.

About the author


Mallory Crusta is a writer and adventurecat enthusiast on a mission to make cats’ lives extraordinary. She’s one of the founders of Wildernesscat – a site for happy, healthy, and adventurous cats who are fueled by nature. Visit Wildernesscat for radically natural cat nutrition, home remedies, and lifestyle inspiration.

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