Nutritious food is as important to cats as it is to humans. Providing your feline friend with healthy meals is the best method to prevent frequent trips to the vet.
However, there is a severe lack of knowledge among cat owners about what to feed their cats. This has been mainly caused by the excessive options available on the market.
So, humans will fall prey to marketing gimmicks and choose based on their limited knowledge.
To avoid this problem, we have come up with a comprehensive guide to select the best raw cat food along with a list of recommended products. Also, check out the best cat foods to prevent vomiting.
This section has been solely included to make it easier to read cat food labels. The ton of information present on these labels can be very confusing.
Manufacturers also use clever wording to make it seem like their product is best for your cat. However, they cannot lie on the labels, and so, it’s best to refer to that.
As you might know, cats are carnivorous. Therefore, the nutritional food from a human’s perspective is not nutritious at all for a cat.
All of the micronutrients, as well as, macronutrients that they need can be obtained from a single type of prey. The prey in their natural habitat is different types of birds, fish, rabbits, and rodents.
You might ask how can a single prey fulfill all your cat’s needs. To answer that, you will have to observe the feline’s way of eating. They usually consume every part they can chew on, including soft bones. So, all the muscles, organs, bones, tissue, and ligaments are more than enough for nutrition.
Another doubt that may creep up is about carbohydrates. As humans, that is the energy source that keeps us going.
However, since cats are carnivorous, they don’t require carbohydrates. Still, many cat food brands include carbohydrate sources like grains and beans in their meal.
This is counter-productive as the cat’s digestive system is not designed for that.
Protein is the fuel on which the cat’s system runs. Hence, whatever food you buy for your cat should be filled with protein. However, make sure the protein in the food is obtained from animals and not plants. Plant protein is not complete, and cats cannot digest it.
Some of the common sources of protein that your feline friend can get are chicken, tuna, and beef. These are the most widespread sources that every cat-food manufacturers use. Furthermore, it is essential to use all these sources in rotation.
There have been instances where cats get addicted to a particular brand and source. This is harmful to the cat itself as the nutrient profile will not be extensive enough. To avoid this, moderation in quantity is also needed.
The protein required for your cat will vary based on age. As you would know, the first year of their life is when cats grow the most.
Hence, to support this rapid development, high protein diets are paramount. If your kitten is growing at a normal pace, it suggests that its protein requirements are being met.
In the next age, category come the adult cats. Protein requirement for adults is fairly easy to judge. If your cat is in optimal health, has a nice, and shiny fur coating, grows nails constantly and looks muscular, then it is safe to assume that it is getting adequate protein.
When your cat starts getting older, it becomes a little bit tricky to know the amount of protein it needs.
Kidney failure and damage is one of the most common ailments that cats suffer from. Giving them excess protein can make it worse.
Therefore a bi-annual visit to the vet for knowing its kidney condition and subsequent protein adjustment is needed. Learn more about the best cat food for hairballs.
A type of protein that most cat owners are unaware of, but is essential for cats is taurine. It is a type of amino acid, and because of its necessity, it is categorized as an essential amino acid.
It acts as a building block for all the protein your cat ingests and is only found in animal protein.
Taurine is necessary to maintain eyesight, a good heart, digestive functions, reproductive health, etc. Its lack can pose a plethora of problems to your cat.
These include the damage of retinal cells in the eyes, decline in muscle movement of the heart, and increase chances of abnormal or stillborn kittens in females.
Taurine is increasingly becoming the main component of the best raw food for cats. However, there are still many brands that only provide the basic amount required.
In such cases where you see symptoms of taurine deficiency in your cat, go for taurine supplements. These will be available at all pet stores and can be mixed with normal food.
Although protein and a few carbohydrates are what provide a cat its energy, it is the vitamins and minerals that determine how healthy it is. They have a huge impact on how your cat looks and feels.
Giving the cat some food, rich in vitamins and minerals can lead to shiny fur coats, great immunity, stable metabolism, healthy organs, etc.
Also, a cat’s vitamin requirements are similar to a human’s. They also need ample amounts of vitamin A, vitamin C, and E, the full array of different B vitamins, and folic acid.
Just like vitamins, even a cat’s mineral needs are similar to a human’s. As both are mammals, their body parts and functions are somewhat similar.
The main minerals that every mammal needs, including cats, are calcium, phosphorus, iron, magnesium, sodium, and zinc.
Each type of mineral has its use. For example, calcium and phosphorus are vital to make sure the bones and teeth of the feline are in top shape.
On the other hand, Iron is one of the main components of blood. Sodium is used to regulate blood pressure while zinc is needed to harness the protein in food.
Top 14 Best Raw Cat Foods 2021
#1. IMK9 Freeze Dried Salmon
Salmon, as you might know, is nature’s superfood for animals. A universal type of fish is found in a variety of places upon which even some wild animals depend for food.
IMK9 has used this superfood to create a freeze-dried version suitable for cats and dogs. As we have already discussed, raw cat food with 100% of meat is the best thing that you can give to your cat.
The IMK9 Freeze-dried cat food contains nothing but salmon. With it containing all the essential amino acids, vitamins, and minerals, you can rest assured about your cat’s nutrition.
The size of each morsel is also such that it will make the perfect bite for a feline. Moreover, the aroma emitted by the food is also perfect for getting your pet’s attention. It will ensure that they remember the taste and smell for a long time.
Another distinction of the IMK9 freeze-dried food is that it is caught in the wild, salmon from Alaska. This makes it a more nutritious version of the ones packaged in China.
The latter use the parts inedible for humans to prepare the cat food. IMK9 doesn’t do such cost-cutting, making it the best freeze-dried cat food and a contender for the best raw cat food.
#2. Only Natural Pet Food
The second product on our list is also freeze-dried food for your beloved pet. However, compared to the IMK9 product, that’s where the similarities end.
This one comes with a host of different vegetables, fruits, and milk inside its ingredients along with three different types of fish.
All those ingredients are made into bite-sized pieces, perfect for your pet’s mouth. The three species of fish present in the Only Natural Pet Food are salmon, cod, and lake superior cisco.
All three of them have slightly different nutrient profiles, which is always a good thing. Furthermore, all of them are wild-caught and not nurtured on farms.
Coming to the other ingredients, it has got sweet potatoes and broccoli to give enough fiber for nutrition. Additionally, raw goat’s milk and apple give it vital minerals and vitamins.
Lastly, it has apple cider vinegar and oil for binders. One disadvantage, however, is that it does come with ample amounts of preservatives.
What makes this product stand out is its versatility. There are three ways in which you can feed this to your cat, and also, you can use a large quantity of cat food to make it a complete meal.
Alternatively, you can use it as a topper when mixed with other raw foods. Last but not least, you can use it as a treat for your pet.
As the Only Natural Pet Food doesn’t contain any type of grains or gluten, you can be sure that it wouldn’t upset your pet’s digestive tract.
Furthermore, it doesn’t contain artificial flavors and food coloring. This makes it true to its name of being completely natural.
#3. Pure Paw Nutrition
A highly rated product that deserves a shoutout to be one of the best raw cat foods is the meal pack from Pure Paw Nutrition.
The company manufactures a host of different types of pet food for all types of owner’s needs. One of them is their freeze-dried salmon treats. Let’s look at them in-depth in the coming paragraphs.
Unlike the previous product, this cannot be used alone as a meal. You would have to mix it as a topper with kibble or use the one-bite-sized piece as a treat.
This healthy treat will be registered in your pet’s brain due to its unique and lip-smacking taste. Whenever your cat performs well in training, it can act as a reward, which they look forward to.
Another major advantage of the pure paw nutrition freeze-dried salmon is that it’s completely natural. The fish used in the mixture are wild-caught from Alaska.
There are no other ingredients, which makes it similar to natural prey in the wild. It can also be fed to both cats and dogs with no restrictions based on age.
There are no unhealthy ingredients like preservatives, coloring, or hormones added to this product.
Furthermore, it is naturally rich in omega fatty acids which are essential to have a good metabolism, immune system, and strong bones. This makes it the best raw cat food.
#4. Matroospet Freeze Dried Treat
Another salmon-based food, which is freeze-dried is from Matroospet. Just like the previous product, even this is made from 100% salmon.
The major difference, however, is that it isn’t wild-caught. The breed of salmon might be the same, but we can’t know for sure the condition in which the fish are grown.
Since no other ingredients except salmon are used, it will act as natural food for your cat. The composition of nutrients is best suited for your furry friend’s health.
It contains 61% of animal protein and ample amounts of taurine since it is fish protein. Additionally, it also contains 34% of fat of which the majority is from healthy fatty acids.
Since the fiber content is low, it cannot be used as a complete meal. It is best suited as treat for training your dog.
You can also use it as a filler for kibble in some cases. That will make sure your cat gets the best combination of nutrients possible.
The company uses no additional preservatives, coloring, or other additives. Moreover, since it’s so natural, there won’t be any problem even if humans consume it.
You can use it for all types of breeds and irrespective of age. Lastly, the Matroospet pet food has raving reviews for its products online.
It is one of the highest-rated products in this category. Additionally, it is also much cheaper than alternatives, providing more quantity of food at lower prices.
#5. Rawz Dry Cat Food
The cat food from Rawz is priced slightly higher compared to its competitors in this list. The company cheekily claims that unless your cat can hunt for itself in the wild, this is the next best thing it can get.
It has got different ingredients which we will discuss as we go ahead. The cat food comes in an attractive pink packaging that also gives you a premium vibe.
Additionally, it contains all the different ingredients present on the front of the pack itself for clarity. The company proudly says that its product contains no artificial meals that affect your cat’s health.
Coming to the ingredients, you will find raw salmon, which is a staple of most cat foods. Additionally, it also consists of boneless chicken.
We are not a fan of boneless ingredients in cat food, but since the other ingredients contain that, we have no problem. Lastly, it has whitefish, turkey, and its liver for providing that extra set of nutrients.
As we have seen, some 100% meat cat food lacks fiber in them. That isn’t the case with Rawz because they have added pea starch for that exact reason.
Moreover, they have also put a whole bunch of vitamin and mineral supplements to keep the nutrient profile diverse. It also contains preservatives, but only natural ones like citric acid.
All in all, we might say that the Rawz cat food is a bit pricey, but will keep your furry friend in very good health. However, you have to exercise caution as overfeeding this meal will make it puke.
#6. Petsplate Freeze Dried Snack
The next product on our list of best raw cat food is from Petsplate. It will prove to be a unique treat for your cat as it is made from duck meat.
Also, it has some other features too, which make it stand out. We have listed them down in the next few paragraphs.
The protein content of this duck-based snack is very high. If you are looking to increase your pet’s protein consumption, this is the go-to option. With 88% of its composition containing protein, you won’t have to look any further.
However, as discussed in the previous sections, too much protein is also not very good for some cats.
If your feline is on the higher end of the spectrum in terms of age, this won’t be a good option. On the other hand, if it is still in its growth stage, this treatment might be perfect.
Since the protein is on the higher side, the fat percentage gets a backseat in terms of composition.
To be specific, only 3% of the product consists of fat. The moisture content is also quite low, at 5%. Hence, the company itself says on the label to give this with amounts of water.
As the fibre present in this popular pet snack is low, you should always use it only as a topper or treat.
Using it as a meal substitute is a definite no-no. We say that because it will cause digestive problems for your furry friend.
#7. Scout and Zoe’s Fish Treats
Another very unique fish treat that we have on our exhaustive list is from Scout and Zoe’s. They are the rawest food that you can feed your cat apart from natural prey hunting.
This is because the fish present in the package are don’t go through any processing other than deep freezing.
Each piece of fish can be individually seen and hence, each piece will vary in size. To take the natural rating a step further, the treats are all wild-caught and processed in the USA.
The state of origin for all fish is Wisconsin and the breed used is a minnow. The main advantage that this kind of cat food presents is that it can be used as a topper, a whole meal, or just a treat.
Since it is a natural food that is unprocessed except for freezing, it will have the optimal amount of nutrients in the correct ratio. To make it suitable for your cat, you can make changes accordingly.
If you want a meal with a bit more fibre, you can add some veggies. On the other hand, if you want more protein, you can mix it with some high-protein treats. These two were just an example. You can customize it according to your needs.
Last but not least, we need to highlight that this treat from Scout and Zoe’s is all-natural. By that we mean it has no preservatives, gluten, grain, or allergen.
#8. Loving Pets Chicken Treats
The next product on our list is also a 100% all-natural treat for your furry friend. However, the difference is that this is made entirely from chicken and not a breed of fish.
There are also a few other differences, advantages and disadvantages that we are going to discuss now. The chicken used in making this tasty treat is not free-range.
They are raised on farms. This might be a problem since, in most cases, hormones are spiked and chickens are not fed natural food.
However, the product itself is all-natural. By all-natural, we mean that it consists of no preservatives.
Also, it doesn’t contain any gluten or grain to increase starch content. The company also hasn’t added any additives to enhance taste or appearance.
The chicken is just chopped up and converted into bite-sized pieces after freezing. Coming to the nutritional values, you will get a minimum of 70% protein content in each bite-sized piece.
Additionally, the fat content is low at just 3% maximum. That is the case concerning fibre too. Lastly, the moisture content is on the higher side for freeze-dried treats at 9%.
Looking at the nutritional label, it would seem like you would not be able to use it as a full meal.
However, this will become a perfect meal when paired with a bit of fat and fibre from the range of options you have to mix it with.
#9. Primal Freeze Nugget Chicken
Unlike some previous cat foods that we reviewed, this one from Primal is one of the complete meals you can give your cat.
However, on the flip side, it can’t double up as a treat for your feline. There are a few advantages and additional attributes that this product comes with. Let’s look at them in-depth.
As we have already said, this cat food from Primal is one of the complete meals you can feed your feline.
It has all the nutritional components in the correct ratio to act as a filling meal. Moreover, you won’t have to add anything else or use this as a topper.
The only thing you would have to do is add water to the nuggets. These nuggets are pretty high in terms of protein.
However, it isn’t that high to cause kidney problems in older cats. Furthermore, to balance out the nutrient profile, primal has given it a mix of chicken and salmon.
This is pivotal to ensure the cat gets everything it needs. Since the company uses every part of the chicken and salmon, it will act as natural prey when feeding your cat.
Needless to say, this meal is free of gluten, grain, and preservatives. The chicken used is also free of hormone injections and steroids.
All of the ingredients are also sourced locally in the USA.
#10. Cat-Man-Doo Life Essentials
Cat-Man-Doo is a trusted brand in the pet food niche. In their long list of products, freeze-dried chicken sprinkles are one of the highest-rated and hence the best raw cat food.
They are unique compared to other cat foods on this list. What makes them stand out? Let’s know that in the next section
This is a cat food that is specifically made from chicken and no other raw ingredients. On top of that, it is specifically made from the breast part of the chicken.
As you might know, the breast part is rich in all kinds of amino acids needed for your feline. This includes taurine, which is by far the most important type of protein needed for cats.
The way Cat-Man-Doo prepares its chicken sprinkles is quite simple. They first obtain the chicken breast from a quality source and cook it according to the standards needed for cats.
It is then shredded into small bite-sized pieces for your cat to chew easily. The next step involves freeze-drying the small pieces to help preserve them for long.
All along the process, no type of preservatives, additives, or grains is used. This makes it perfectly edible not just for your cat, but for humans too. FDA has itself certified that claim by the company.
One major thing of note is that you can’t use freeze-dried chicken as a whole meal. Since this product doesn’t have any ingredients other than chicken breast, it won’t be that rich in vitamins and minerals.
However, it is one of the best toppers we can recommend.
Additionally, this product has been recommended by veterinarians for a long.
It acts as a perfect appetite stimulant for cats that are struggling to eat food. The crunchy and tasty nature of freeze-dried chicken breast is sure to be lip-smacking for your furry friend.
#11. Grandma Lucy’s Freeze-Dried Chicken and Fish
Grandma Lucy was started by a pet owner who had a pet named Lucy. Now the brand has gone on to produce excellent food for all kinds of pets.
The artisan variety, specially designed for cats is a complete meal that you can feed your feline every day. The ingredients present inside grandma Lucy’s meal are all of the high quality.
With no addition of preservatives, GMO, or grain starch, you can be sure of getting a natural and nutrient-rich meal for your cats. Nevertheless, read the packaging to know the whole story.
Coming to the nature of ingredients, you get a whole variety of them that give your cat the essential amino acids, a bit of fat, fibre, and vitamins.
For protein, it has chicken and fish. Rich in Omega 3 fatty acids, fish meat helps your feline to increase its immunity against allergens, cancer cells, and kidney failure.
Along with meat, the company has added some vegetables like celery and carrots. They have essential minerals and vitamins that also contribute to the overall health of your feline.
For increasing the fibre levels, even more, flax seeds have been mixed into the meal. Flax seeds also make the coat of your cat shine through.
To increase the flavour profile and add a hint of sweetness, Grandma Lucy’s has also incorporated fruits.
Those present inside this complete meal are apples, cranberries, and blueberries. Along with providing more taste, they also have a bunch of antioxidants that slow down the aging process in living beings.
All in all, we can say that this easy to prepare a meal is the best raw cat food you can find. It has the correct proportions of every nutrient needed for cats.
#12. Canine Cravers Treats
When it comes to single-ingredient treats for your cat, it doesn’t get better than the ones from Canine Cravers.
You get a choice between four different types of meat. So, you would just have to pick one that your pet loves. Other than that meat, the company adds no other ingredients.
Another specialty of the canine cravers treat is that it’s air-dried. Unlike most other pet treats that are freeze-dried, air drying is a more natural but lengthy process.
Air drying plays a major role in preserving the freshness of food. In turn, it helps to preserve most of the nutrition in that meat.
You have to note that you can’t use these treats as a complete meal. Since they are only made from a single ingredient, it won’t have a complete range of minerals and vitamins.
Also, the amino acid profile won’t be diverse. However, you can use it as a topper along with foods rich in fibre, fats, and antioxidants.
The four unique flavours available are beef, chicken, pork, and fish. The chicken treats are completely made from the breast part of the chicken while the beef treats are made from fillets.
These are the most protein-rich parts of the animal. Hence, they contain a minimal amount of fat and fibre.
#13. Primal Freeze Dried Nuggets
The second product on our list from Primal is not as famous as some of its other cat foods. However, it is a very unique product as it is made from rabbit meat.
The main plus point of feeding these nuggets to your furry family member is that rabbits are a cat’s natural prey. Since it is a natural prey, the treat itself provides all the needed nutrients in the right proportion.
Also, you can use these treats as a snack and a topper. Moreover, cats of all ages will enjoy it. Hence, when it comes to usefulness, it is an all-in-one solution.
Just like all other primal products, even this comes with no added preservatives. It has got no starch or carbohydrates inside too. All sources of those nutrients have been taken off the ingredients list.
To make it edible for your cat, you just have to mix it with water. As you might know, cats drink very water. So be careful as you don’t want to add too much.
Also, you need to vary the amount of food depending on the age of the cat. As we have discussed, senior cats have trouble digesting high-protein raw foods.
#14. O’Paws Complete Raw Cat Food
The last product on our list comes in the form of biscuits rather than chunks as we are used to seeing. O’Paws claims it is a complete food that can act as a meal substitute.
You won’t have to mix anything. Just add some water and you will be good to go. Even this product from O’Paws is compatible with cats of all ages.
Moreover, these biscuits are completely human-grade. The company has also come up with a patented technology that preserves the nutritional value even when the food is frozen.
An additional amount of taurine has also been added on top of what the chicken and turkey meat gives. As we know, taurine is by far the most important amino acid for your cat.
It aids in making the overall health and appearance better. Needless to say, these biscuits contain no preservatives, starch, or grains.
The special freezing process is so advanced that even cats with the compromised immune systems can eat these biscuits. The process removes all the pathogens present in raw chicken and turkey.
One complaint we do have with this cat food is the price. Since only 7 discs are present and it’s recommended to feed 2 discs per day, it won’t be economical at all. There are better products at better prices as we have shown above.
Another thing is note is that users don’t like the sogginess of the biscuits once water is added. So, it’s better to use as little water as possible for rehydration.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is It Good To Feed Your Cat Raw Meat?
Yes, it is perfectly fine to feed your cat some raw meat. In fact, from a cat’s perspective, raw meat is what gives it the best combination of nutrients.
However, the meat should not be from a single part of the animal. This would be counter-productive for the whole process. Also, you have to ensure that the meat is very fresh.
What Are The Healthiest Foods For A Cat?
Cats are born carnivorous. Hence, anything else than raw meat is not their ideal food. The cat needs to feed on all parts of its prey to get all its nutrition. So, when buying cat food, look at the label.
The majority of the food should contain protein and the other smaller parts should have a good amount of fats and fibre. Adding veggies for vitamins and minerals is also needed.
What Are Some Human Foods That Cats Should Not Be Fed?
Alcohol is really bad for human health itself, but even a teaspoon of it can lead to your cat having problems. Chocolates and ice creams are another food that’s bad for cats. Some chocolates can even be poisonous to cats.
Also, Fat trimmings will be too heavy for a cat’s digestive tract and should be avoided. So, please stick to the best raw cat food.
How Often Should I Feed My Cat?
During their early days, cats develop at an astonishing pace. To support that, cats need to be fed at least twice a day.
However, as they become older and their growth slows down, one large meal per day will also suffice. The portions that need to be fed depend on each cat and the food being fed.
What Are The Best Raw Cat Food Brands
Some of the reputed brands when it comes to cat food are Stella and Chewy’s, Primal, Nature’s Variety, Grandma Lucy’s, etc.
How do I switch my cat to raw cat foods?
You should start out slowly when introducing new foods to your cat. Don’t give them anything new at once. Instead, feed them a small amount of the food you want them to eat first. Then gradually increase the amount over time. This will help prevent digestive problems later.
Is a freeze-dried raw cat food diet healthier?
Cats need a good diet to survive. Raw diets may be healthier than commercial ones, but vets aren’t sure if this is true. Studies show that some cats live longer when fed a raw diet.
Are the best raw cat foods expensive?
Raw foods are usually a bit more expensive than cooked ones. This is due to the fact that you’re getting more expensive ingredients in them.
What if my cat won’t eat raw cat food?
Cats love eating raw meat. However, some cats may not want to eat raw meat. You should talk to your veterinarian if this is the case.
Can you buy raw kitten foods?
Raw meat is dangerous for cats because they don’t have the proper tools to chew it properly. Kittens should be fed frozen or canned foods instead.
This is the last section about the best raw cat food you can buy for your beloved pet. We have come up with an exhaustive list of products that are suitable for cats with ranging requirements.
In this section, we will summarise the different products into categories based on requirements.
When it comes to the best freeze-dried cat food, the IMK9 takes the cake. It is the most natural thing you can feed your cat.
On top of that, fish like salmon are the cat’s natural prey animals. The next best option would be the rabbit meat meal from Primal.
Treats are something that every pet owner needs to keep handy.
They are very useful for training or as a quick bite for your pet.
So, the best treats you can feed your cat are the scouts and Zoe’s fish treats. Matroospet Freeze-Dried Treats also deserve a shoutout from our side.
Coming to versatility, the only natural pet food should be your go-to option. If you are not interested in that product due to some reason, always prefer grandma lucy’s freeze-dried treats.