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12 Best Raw Foods For Cats

Raw diets have recently become popular. They are, nevertheless, a somewhat contentious topic. On the one hand, some argue that raw meals are better for cats.

They are, after all, how they first evolved to consume. Cats do not build fires in order to cook their own food!

Raw diets, on the other hand, may contain parasites and food-borne illnesses. While cats' digestive systems may be suited to tolerate this, ours are not.

Because we will be handling and leaving raw meat out, feeding our pets a raw diet may put us at danger of food-borne illness.

Commercial raw diets are a good compromise. They are frequently treated to avoid food-borne pathogens, but this does not make them completely safe.

These diets have also been designed to be comprehensive and balanced, which plain, raw beef cannot provide. Because raw, commercial diets are relatively new, there are just a few options accessible.

BestForPets (bestforpets.org) has researched some of the best raw foods for cats below so you can pick the ideal one for your cat.

Reviews

Best Value Instinct Raw Boost Digestive Health Cat Food

  • Chicken (including ground chicken bone), chicken liver, pumpkin seeds, chicken heart, and dried pumpkin are the first five ingredients.
  • 36% crude protein
  • 30% crude fat

Buying 100% raw food might be costly. Raw meals are frequently much more expensive than the average commercial product, owing to the fact that they typically contain more animal ingredients.

Meat is more expensive than vegetables, cereals, or fruits, significantly boosting the whole cost.

The Digestive Health Recipe by Instinct Raw Boost Mixers is not intended to be a complete meal. Instead, these little nibbles are meant to be mixed in with your cat’s regular food.

If you want to introduce raw food into your cat’s diet, this is an inexpensive way to do so. These raw food items are mostly made of freeze-dried chicken. However, chicken liver and heart are included as well.

This formula is intended to promote intestinal health. As a result, it contains a variety of stomach-supporting components, such as pumpkin seeds and dried pumpkin.

Your cat, however, does not need to have digestive issues to benefit from this diet. It is without a doubt one of the greatest raw cat foods available.

Pros

  • Developed to address digestive issues
  • Inexpensive
  • Simple to incorporate into your cat’s current diet
  • There are no artificial flavors or preservatives.

Cons

  • It is not a comprehensive diet.

Stella & Chewy’s Raw Chicken Cat Food

  • The first five ingredients are as follows: chicken (ground with bone), chicken liver, chicken gizzard, and pumpkin seed.
  • 45% crude protein
  • 25% crude fat

It is quite difficult to obtain quality raw cat food, which is why this is the first on our list. Stella & Chewy’s Chicken Dinner Raw Cat Food is an expensive raw cat food. However, if you want to feed your cat just raw food, this may be your only alternative.

It is largely made of meat and has very few vegetables or fruits. Pumpkin seed is the sole added vegetable, most likely due to its digestive benefits. The remaining ingredients are chicken and vitamins.

The chicken is 100% raw and freeze-dried. It contains whole chicken as well as chicken organ meats such as liver and gizzard.

This cuisine is quite convenient. It comes in a bag and is ready to use; simply place it in your pet’s bowl. It is not necessary to combine it with another food or anything of the type. It’s basically a raw, natural meal for your cat, packaged in a sealed bag.

Pros

  • Completely natural
  • Contains mainly chicken
  • High protein content
  • No-prep convenience

Cons

  • Expensive

Recipe for Instinct Raw Boost Chicken Cat Food That Isn’t Cooked

  • Chicken, chicken meal, turkey meal, menhaden fish meal, and peas are the first five ingredients.
  • 41% crude protein
  • 22% crude fat

Instinct is one of the most well-known brands in the raw cat food industry. In fact, the Instinct Raw Boost Chicken Recipe is one of the most popular raw cat feeds on the market.

With 41% protein, this recipe is quite protein-rich. The majority of this protein comes from chicken, however turkey and menhaden fish meal are also included on the ingredient list.

This diet is a combination of kibble and raw chicken bites. As a result, it isn’t fully raw. It just has raw food items in it. The raw bites can be purchased separately, but they are not intended to be a complete meal.

They must be mixed with the kibble. This recipe is thorough and contains everything your cat requires to thrive. Omega fatty acids are incorporated to promote a velvety, healthy coat, while antioxidants help to prevent oxidative damage.

This recipe was a hit with us. However, it is costly and not entirely raw. It’s unlikely to be exactly what you’re searching for if you’re seeking for raw food. Furthermore, you’ll pay around the same amount as you would on entirely raw food.

Pros

  • High protein content
  • There are freeze-dried chicken bits included.
  • Antioxidants and omega fatty acids have been added.

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Not quite raw

Original Grain-Free Dry Cat Food ORIJEN

  • Chicken, turkey, whole mackerel, turkey giblets (liver, heart, gizzard), and flounder are the first five ingredients.
  • 40% crude protein
  • 20% crude fat

We must acknowledge that ORIJEN Original Grain-Free Dry Cat Food isn’t entirely raw, but it still enters our top five list.

Their kibble is covered in freeze-dried liver, which improves the taste and provides additional nourishment. This is easily the best overall raw cat food on the market among all raw-inclusive diets.

The ingredient list is chock-full of various meat proteins. The first two ingredients are chicken and turkey, but they are followed by mackerel, organ meats, flounder, and others. If you’re seeking for protein-rich foods, this one is hard to beat.

This mix is also free of gluten and grains. There is also no maize, wheat, or soy added. Some vegetables are included, such as entire pinto beans, however they are further down the ingredient list.

This company’s sole technique of preservation is refrigeration, and all raw components are frozen. They don’t use any extra preservatives or additives in their cuisine.

Pros

  • Meat protein is abundant.
  • Grain-free
  • freeze-dried liver on top
  • Full and balanced

Cons

  • Not quite raw

Raw Cat Food Instinct Raw Meals Chicken Recipe

  • Chicken (include ground chicken bone), chicken liver, and chicken heart are the first five ingredients.
  • 38% crude protein
  • Crude Fat: 34%

The Instinct Raw Meals Chicken Recipe is an entirely freeze-dried meal created by Instinct, one of the main freeze-dried food companies. This recipe consists primarily of freeze-dried chicken with extra vitamins and minerals.

If you’re looking for an entirely freeze-dried diet, this one is ideal. It is, however, extremely pricey, which is why it ranks so low on our ranking. Most people cannot afford this cat food, at least not as a regular diet for their cat!

Colors, preservatives, grain, corn, wheat, and soy are all absent from this formula. It exclusively uses high-quality ingredients, in this case chicken and chicken organs. This formula contains very little that isn’t meat.

Because this brand is manufactured in the United States, you can be confident that it adheres to high safety regulations.

Pros

  • No artificial colors or preservatives
  • Mostly composed of flesh
  • Freeze-dried to perfection

Cons

  • Expensive
  • It’s a little brittle and dusty.

Raw Cat Food Primal Chicken & Salmon Formula

  • Chicken (with ground bone), chicken livers, salmon, organic pumpkin seeds, and organic sunflower seeds are the first five ingredients.
  • 49% crude protein
  • 26% crude fat

Chicken and Salmon Primal Formula Raw Cat Food is fully raw food with a high protein content. In fact, at 49% protein, this formula has more protein than almost any other on the market.

The fat content is also decently high at 26%, with chicken accounting for the majority of this fat.

Many of the components in this recipe are organic. For example, the pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds used are both organic.

Organic minerals and unprocessed vitamins are included in the mix to provide adequate nourishment at all stages of life. This recipe is suitable for both kittens and adults.

Enzymes and essential fatty acids These both benefit your cat’s overall wellness and promote proper intestinal health.

This product is made in the United States with natural ingredients. It is, however, too expensive. When organic and raw foods are combined, the result is incredibly expensive ingredients.

Pros

  • Ingredients that are organic
  • Completely natural
  • High protein content

Cons

  • Extremely costly
  • Only small bags are available.

Raw Cat Food Vital Essentials Rabbit Dinner Patties

  • Rabbit, rabbit liver, rabbit heart, rabbit kidney, and goat’s milk are the first five ingredients.
  • 52% crude protein
  • 15% crude fat

The Vital Essentials Rabbit Dinner Patties are a one-of-a-kind recipe. This recipe, for lack of a better phrase, arrives in “bricks” rather than small, freeze-dried chunks.

Each cat gets about a brick for every seven pounds it weighs. The back of the bag contains detailed feeding instructions. The ingredients are of the highest quality, including rabbit and rabbit organs, as well as goat’s milk and herring oil.

This formula is exceptionally high in protein because to the abundance of meat ingredients. It boasts one of the highest quantities of protein on the market.

However, the fat level is fairly minimal, owing to the fact that rabbit is a lean protein. It contains only 15% crude fat, which is lower than the majority of the competition.

This food is fully grain-free and has no artificial additives, colors, or fillers.

In general, this is a good approach to introduce raw food into your cat’s diet. Some cats, however, dislike the patties because they are hard and difficult to consume.

Pros

  • Ingredients of superior quality
  • High protein content
  • Grain-free

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Not every cat like the patties.

Natural Chicken & Lamb Freeze-Dried Cat Food for Felines

  • Chicken, lamb heart, lamb kidney, lamb liver, and lamb blood are the first five ingredients.
  • 48% crude protein
  • 31% crude fat

Feline Natural Chicken & Lamb Freeze-Dried Cat Food contains mostly chicken and lamb ingredients, as the name implies. The first ingredient is whole chicken, followed by various lamb organs.

This formula is mostly made up of beef. Some vegetables and other high-quality components, such as dried kelp, are placed lower on the list. These provide some nutritional value to the diet.

It is, of course, fortified with a variety of vitamins and minerals to make it a balanced diet.

This recipe is incredibly nutritious, with plenty of protein and fat. It is, however, quite pricey. It’s unclear whether or not this formula is totally uncooked. Although it is freeze-dried, it is not always fully raw.

This food’s texture and flavor are disliked by some cats. Several clients have expressed dissatisfaction with the revised formula.

Pros

  • Contains primarily meat components
  • Protein and fat content is high.

Cons

  • Not always totally raw
  • Expensive

Raw Cat Food Nulo Freestyle Chicken & Salmon

  • Chicken, salmon, chicken necks, chicken liver, and chicken hearts are the first five ingredients.
  • 46% crude protein
  • 23% crude fat

Chicken & Salmon Nulo Freestyle Raw Cat Food is generally made up of animal products like chicken and salmon. Various chicken components, such as chicken necks and liver, are also incorporated.

Because the entire recipe is freeze-dried and uncooked, it’s an excellent option to entirely change your cat’s diet. At 46%, the protein content is extremely substantial.

This is far greater than the usual wet or dry cat food. At 23%, the fat content is moderately high. This formula contains various high-quality vegetables and fruits, such as cranberries and spinach.

These provide significant nourishment to this cat chow without the use of synthetic chemicals. Probiotics are also incorporated to help with digestion and immunity.

These freeze-dried particles are incredibly fragile and challenging to ship. Many consumers have complained about a coating of dust at the bottom of the bag. When you pay this much for cat food, you expect to be able to utilize it all.

Many cats dislike switching to this freeze-dried food, especially because it resembles sawdust. Some cats may not recognize it as food at all.

Pros

  • Protein and fat content is high.
  • Probiotics were included.

Cons

  • Extremely frail
  • Expensive
  • Most cats find it repulsive.

Lamb Meat Mates Freeze-Dried Cat Food

  • Lamb, lamb tripe, lamb heart, lamb kidney, and lamb spleen are the first five ingredients.
  • 42% crude protein
  • 42% crude fat

The Meat Mates Lamb Freeze-Dried Cat Food is a raw cat food that has been totally freeze-dried. However, it is at the bottom of our ranking for a variety of reasons.

To begin with, it is exceptionally heavy in fat. While cats require a lot of fat to thrive, they don’t require 42% fat. This is more than most other products include, and it may put your cat at danger of fat-related diseases.

Second, there are only extremely little bags available. While this protects some of the food from being entirely crushed (as happens with other sorts of raw foods), it also keeps the price relatively high. There is no quantity discount.

Third, many cats dislike the taste. While this is sometimes true with lamb, it appears that many felines just do not enjoy this dish.

Having said that, it does include high-quality components. It’s mostly simply different lamb parts.

Pros

  • Ingredients of superior quality
  • High protein content

Cons

  • High fat content
  • There are only extremely little bags available.
  • Many cats dislike the flavor.

Finding the Best Raw Cat Food Buyer's Guide

Because commercial raw cat food is still relatively new, there is much we don’t know about it. There is a lot of conflicting information out there, making it difficult to choose the best diet for your cat.

Many pet owners are evicted owing to the increased risk of sickness and other problems. However, the information is a little more nuanced than most people believe.

We’ve provided all of the information you need to know about feeding raw cat food to your pet.

Raw Cat Food Varieties

Raw cat food comes in a variety of varieties. Some are more generally accessible than others.

Fresh 

This type of uncooked food must be kept chilled. It might come in the form of food scraps, patties, or rolls. This meal is typically found in the refrigerated section of your local pet food store and is regarded as a “luxury” alternative.

This food is sometimes frozen as well, which keeps it fresher for longer. However, this type of food must be thawed before feeding to your cat; after all, you can’t just feed them frozen chunks of meat.

It can be tough to remember to defrost the meat, especially if you’re used to other commercial meal options!

Freeze-dried

Freeze-dried foods are the most frequent type of food available. They are similar to kibble in that they are more generally available and accessible.

Just like kibble, you simply pour the necessary amount into your cat’s bowl. Some argue, however, that freeze-drying the food eliminates some of the nutrients.

We don’t have any study on freeze-dried cat food right now, so we don’t know if this is true.

Giving your pet the best nutrition is a vital priority, so why not get them a matching food and water dish? We believe the Hepper Nom Nom Bowl is too delicious not to share.

You can ensure that your pet is getting the best nourishment possible by using the best bowls on the market, which are made of food-safe stainless steel. Get yours by clicking here.

We’ve admired Hepper for many years and decided to take a controlling ownership interest in order to benefit from this funky cat company’s amazing ideas!

Consider the Following Factors

There are various aspects to consider while evaluating raw cat food. Because not all freeze-dried and fresh foods are created equal, it’s critical to scrutinize the bag thoroughly before making a purchase.

The fact that it is raw does not imply that it is the greatest option for your cat. Some companies slap the “raw” label on their food in order to charge a higher price for it, not necessarily because it is a better alternative for your feline.

Protein

Protein and plenty of it Cats are carnivores by nature. They would eat almost exclusively meat in the wild.

They cannot digest grains or large amounts of plant materials, unlike dogs. In fact, many essential nutrients may be difficult for cats to obtain from plant-based sources.

As a result, meat should constitute the majority of their diet. The type of meat doesn’t really matter. There is nothing better than salmon over chicken, for example.

As long as whole meats are the primary source of protein, organ meats are a good choice. Organ meats can sometimes have an excessive amount of nutrients.

Low Levels of Everything Else

Everything else, aside from meat, should be maintained to a minimum. Your cat should not consume large amounts of fruits, vegetables, or grains.

However, a small amount of high-quality fruits and vegetables can be beneficial.

Many fruits, for example, are strong in antioxidants, which help reduce the amount of oxidative stress your cat experiences. Pumpkin and other fiber-rich foods can aid digestion.

Artificial Additives

No artificial ingredients, including colors and preservatives, should be present in raw food.

These are unnecessary in our pets’ food, and some of them may be hazardous. As a result, we don’t recommend including artificial ingredients at all – especially at the price you’re generally paying for raw food.

Conclusion

Instinct Raw Boost Chicken Recipe is the best raw cat food available on the market today for most felines.

This meal isn’t entirely raw, but it is a convenient method to incorporate some raw food into your cat’s diet. Furthermore, it is significantly less expensive than a 100% raw diet, which many felines dislike.

If you’re looking for the best raw cat meals on a budget, consider purchasing the Instinct Raw Boost Mixers Digestive Health Recipe and mixing it with your cat’s regular diet.

If your cat refuses to eat raw food entirely, there is another simple approach to incorporate some raw food into their diet.

BestForPets (bestforpets.org) hopes our reviews of the best raw foods for cats helped you choose the best one for your cat.

Remember to check the ingredient list and protein content, not simply the “raw” label.

Author Image

Dr. Deborah Fletcher

Deborah R. Fletcher, DVM, is a skilled veterinarian with more than 15 years of experience dealing with companion and exotic animals. She has experience caring for a variety of animals, including household cats and dogs, reptiles, birds of prey, and even primates. Dr. Fletcher is a valuable part of the BestForPets team, where she contributes to their aim of providing pets and their owners with the finest possible treatment and services.

Veterinarian (DVM) Dr. Deborah Fletcher

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