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If you want your cat to have a dietary experience that mimics feline food hunted in the wild, you might consider serving up raw food in your pet’s dish.
While you can make raw food on your own, if you would rather leave the nutritional requirements and sanitization procedures for serving raw foods to the experts, you might consider opting for commercially prepared foods.
Here are our favorite raw cat food options, from treats to frozen meals.
Best Overall: Stella & Chewy's Yummy Lickin' Salmon & Chicken Dinner Morsels Freeze-Dried Raw Cat Food
This raw cat food recipe from Stella & Chewy’s mixes two proteins: salmon and chicken. This manufacturer offers other protein options, too.
This freeze-dried food includes organs and bones, as well as pumpkin seeds and probiotics, which can be helpful for your cat’s digestion.
You can serve this food as-is or add water to rehydrate it. If you’re rehydrating it, use cool water, not hot. If you use hot water, you will cook the food, which defeats serving raw food. Another con of cooking or using heat, it dries the ground bone in the food, making it brittle.
Stella & Chewy’s food is made in the United States, does not include grain, gluten, filler, artificial preservatives, or food coloring. Plus, this food seems to taste delicious. Even picky cats scarf it up.
Best Add-In: Instinct Raw Boost Mixers Grain Free Freeze Dried Raw Cat Food Toppers
Add something delightful to your cat’s food dish with this freeze-dried topper. This booster adds some pep to your pet’s meal. You can also give this as an occasional treat.
Rabbit is the main ingredient in this minimally processed topper, and it also includes fruits and vegetables. No grains, artificial colors, or preservatives are included in this food. Cats that are particular about their food or have digestive issues delight in this topper.
Best Treats: Vital Essentials Minnows Freeze-Dried Cat Treats
If you’re investing in raw food for your cat's breakfast and dinner, you likely want to continue the trend when offering snacks. Other pet parents might only want to offer raw treats on occasion. Vital Essentials is filled with freeze-dried, wild-caught small minnow fish.
Cats that gobble up these nutrient-rich treats will get a single source of protein, without any antibiotics, grains, fillers, flavorers, or added hormones. Warning: Your cat may love the taste of these treats so much that they'll raid your kitty snack drawer.
Best Frozen: Instinct Frozen Raw Bites Grain-Free Cage-Free Chicken Recipe Cat Food
This frozen food is made in Nebraska from chicken, organs, and bone. It includes fruits and vegetables, such as apples, carrots, and butternut squash. Each bag has five cups of food—all free from fillers, artificial colors, and preservatives.
This protein-rich raw meal is minimally processed before being frozen. It ships frozen, so put it in the freezer as soon as the package arrives. It thaws within moments so that you can serve it quickly at mealtimes.
Best for Seniors: Feline Natural Chicken & Lamb Feast Grain-Free Freeze-Dried Cat Food
While this isn’t specifically designed for seniors, the manufacturer points out that the formula is appropriate for cats of all ages and stages, including seniors.
The food is made with chicken, lamb, mussels, flaxseed flakes, vitamins, and supplements. This food has no artificial ingredients, additives, and preservatives. Cats gobble it up in its dry form and when reconstituted with some water.
Best for Kittens: Merrick Backcountry Raw Infused Kitten Recipe Grain-Free Dry Cat Food
This poultry-based raw food is designed to meet your kitten’s dietary needs. This food includes many nutritional ingredients: probiotics, vegetables, DHA omega fatty acids, vitamins and minerals, and plenty of protein from chicken and turkey.
With chicken listed as the primary ingredient, this food is free from grain, artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives. Kittens appear to dig the taste, too.
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Madeleine Burry is a professional writer and pet lover who has written content about pet health and different conditions for PetCareRx, AAA’s Via Magazine, and Women’s Health.