Different kinds of cat food have been developed over the course of a few years, whereas there were not many options to choose from decades ago. Practically the only choices back then was simple dry food or wet food. Many changes have been made in cat food in order to enhance the nutritional value and improve your cat’s health. Freeze-dried cat food is one of the most significant types of healthy cat food on the market and can prove to be a positive influence on your cat’s health.
- 1 What is Freeze-Dried Cat Food?
- 2 Recommendations for Freeze-Dried Cat Food
- 3 Brands for Freeze-Dried Cat Food
What is Freeze-Dried Cat Food?
Freeze-dried cat food is made up of real raw meat that has been freeze dried and contains no added hormones, grains or fillers. It is one of the most nutritionally beneficial types of cat food you can get for your cat. It is not made the same as other traditional types of pet food.
Instead of cooking it like normal cat food, freeze-dried food is frozen when it is the most fresh. It gets contained within high vacuum pressures packaging to remove and prevent moisture from its food content. Making cat food by freeze-drying will ensure that the food maintains its nutritional value without being exposed to harmful chemicals or burning.
What is the Difference? Freeze-Dried vs. Traditional Kibble
Just by comparing how freeze-dried food and traditional kibble are cooked, you will already begin to see just how drastically different the nutritional value will be for both types of cat food. Learning about the process alone will give you a better understanding of why freeze-dried food is typically more nutritional than traditional kibble.
For traditional kibble food manufacturers follow a cooking method called extrusion. This is where they force certain mixed ingredients through an opening in a perforated plate and make it into a specific size and shape by blades. This cooking method has been a common way of cooking cat food for over fifty years.
For cat food, the ingredients that go into them are weighed and mixed together according to the recipe, then cooked under intense pressure and go through a specific part of an extruder machine that contains a spiral shaped screw. After going through a process that involves a die, the kibble pieces are formed through being cut from ribbon-like shapes and dried into individual pieces of kibble.
The kibble goes through intense temperatures during the extrusion process that could be detrimental to the nutritional value of the food as well as just to overall appeal from your cat’s point of view. Going through such high levels of heat in a short amount of time most definitely cannot be good for any type of cat food.
Under the intense strain of the heating process, the starches will congeal and the nutritional value of the proteins will reduce. This is because of a mixture of heat and chemicals. The kibble will look absolutely nothing like the ingredients used to make it, and the extrusion process is meant to enhance both digestion and shelf life. It may be long lasting even when it’s been on a grocery store shelf for months, but the huge downside to this is that the nutritional value of the food will be diminished to the point where there are hardly any benefits from the food you get for your cat.
Authority Nutrition states that the vitamins in some foods can be lost from simply cooking at a temperature of 180°F. Cooking with the extrusion process means that the cat food is cooked at 400°F in as little as five minutes. Based on that fact, you can imagine how many essential vitamins and nutrients have been stripped away from the food being cooked under this intense temperature. That is not something I would personally want for my own cat.
The process of freeze-drying cat food does not involve the use of heat when it is being made. Freeze-drying is not even really considered a form of cooking. The moisture is basically removed from the food after it is frozen, and this keeps the nutrients inside safe from heat damage. The freeze-dried food will have a much different texture than regular kibble as a result of the freeze-drying process, and you will need to be rehydrate it before you feed it to your cat.
Pros and Cons of Freeze-Dried Cat Food
One of the previously mentioned benefits of buying freeze-dried cat food is that the nutritional value of the fresh ingredients inside the food will remain intact. By having it freeze-dried instead of cooked, the essential vitamins and nutrients will not be obliterated by heat. As a result, your cat will benefit more from eating freeze-dried food than they would from eating traditional dry kibble.
The natural flavor of freeze-dried cat food is another benefit that your cat will be able to receive. The natural flavor of the meat in freeze-dried food is preserved since they are not being subjected to damaging temperatures that would otherwise destroy the nutritional value and flavor. As an added bonus, freeze-dried food does not include artificial additives like dry kibble.
Kibble is made with artificial additives that form its color, flavor and texture. Those additives can contain harmful chemicals which can be dangerous for your cat to consume. Freeze-dried food is definitely the safer alternative in the factor of taste and nutrition.
You will have to dehydrate freeze-dried food in order to serve it to your cat. The smell and taste alone should be absolutely appealing to your cat and they will rarely turn their noses up at it. Freeze-dried food will become a beneficial aspect of both you and your cat’s lives.
Speaking of beneficial aspects, you will find that you will also gain some advantages to buying freeze-dried food. You will not have to put the food in the refrigerator or freezer to remain fresh and frozen, and it will be able to last in your home as long as dry cat food would be able to. Additionally, the hassle of cleaning your cat’s litter box will decrease since its stool will be much easier to clean on a freeze-dried food diet.
While there are many positive aspects associated with freeze-dried food, it is important to remember some of the negative aspects as well. One of the biggest downfalls to freeze-dried food is the cost of buying it. Freeze-dried cat food can cost up to $1.50 a day and that expense can add up over a short amount of time.
Another downside to consider, though likely not as major, is the amount of time it will take to dehydrate the food. It will take around 15 minutes for the food to completely rehydrate. This may cause your cat to become grumpy if it is not the most patient cat in the world.
Recommendations for Freeze-Dried Cat Food
Now that you are aware of both the benefits and drawbacks, you will have a better understanding of how freeze-dried food will affect your cat. If you decide that freeze-dried food will be a better option, then you will have to learn how to begin transitioning from the dry kibble.
Going through sudden food change all at once can cause problems for your cat. So it is best to take the process slow. Having your cat’s diet suddenly change can cause your cat to develop digestive issues. It will need some time to warm up to the new food, so allow yourself to start slowly weaning it off of the food it is currently on.
This process may take a long time depending on how picky your cat is with certain types of food. You should give this at least one week to work while mixing the new food with the old when you serve the food. This will give your cat’s digestive system plenty of time to become used to the new food in order to cut back on the risk of indigestion.
The portions of freeze-dried cat food may be much different than the sizes of traditional kibble, so it is important to pay close attention to it. Calculate the portion size according to your cat’s weight for the best estimate of how much you should serve it at a time. Feeding it too much or too little will do more harm than good.
Give your cat around 2% to 2.5% of its body weight in food when you are serving freeze-dried food. As a result, you will be able to help your cat stay at a healthy weight while giving it all of the nutrients it needs. Lower the serving size to 1% if your cat needs to lose weight, or increase it to 3% to 3.5% if it needs to gain weight.
Always make sure to follow the feeding instructions on the package so you will know how to estimate the correct serving size to feed your cat. The weight of the food usually depends on the rehydration weight so the instructions should help clear up how much food your cat needs depending on the product. Observe your cat’s weight for the next three weeks to see how much it has changed and continue to modify the serving size of your food accordingly.
Brands for Freeze-Dried Cat Food
We’ve covered the information you need to know about the processes and nutritional integrity freeze-dried cat food. You can decide if it’s the best option for your cat. If you want to take this route, it can be difficult to find a good starting point with various cat food brands and recipes out there.
Primal Freeze-Dried Nuggets Chicken and Salmon
This company is quickly rising to become one of the foremost producers of natural pet food. Although they began as early as 2001, Primal Pet Foods has started leading the market in raw, freeze-dried, and frozen foods for pets. Despite being newer to the natural and freeze-dried pet food market, they’re a reliably high quality producer of wholesome nutrition. This San Francisco company aims to make every product wholesome and nutritious. They use only human grade raw ingredients that have the highest quality. They never allow steroids, artificial additives, hormones, or antibiotics into their pet foods either. The Primal Pet Foods Company also has an innovative line that allows pet owners to use Primal’s supplements to create their own nutritious pet products at home.
Primal offers a variety different of frozen and raw foods, as well as twelve freeze-dried options. There are five freeze-dried foods for cats, including Venison, Turkey, Chicken & Salmon, Pork, and Beef & Salmon. These foods are specifically created to ensure your cat is getting the right amount of fatty acids, digestive enzymes, vitamins, amino acids, and minerals; they also use fresh ground bone to add extra calcium to the recipe. Of course, these foods, like all their other lines, use only certified organic produce and human grade meat products. Like many freeze-dried foods, when it comes to meal time just rehydrate the food before serving. Use warm water for the best results.
This independent company is based in St. Louis, and their priority is creating high quality nutrition that can boost a pet’s health. They have a huge selection of different foods for dogs and cats, all of which aim to improve pet health inside and out. All their holistic recipes use the best, freshest, and most nutritious ingredients. While Nature’s Variety does have two different lines (Instinct and Prairie), the one you’ll want is Instinct. It’s decidedly more varied and expanded. Even including recipes for limited diets right alongside kibbles, freeze-dried, and canned foods for cats.
They have a different approach and pretty different products as a result. This include choices like Raw Boost Mixers, They are freeze-dried bits you add to your cats regular food. This is a great option for people that want the benefits of extra nutrition from freeze-dried foods. With less work to transition a picky cat to a whole new food.
These come in Rabbit and Chicken flavors your cat will love. The Raw Boost Kibble is available in Duck, Rabbit, and Chicken; this recipe is a combination of their natural dry kibble formula and freeze-dried bits of meat.
Or, you can choose one of the three freeze-dried cat foods: Lamb, Chicken, or Rabbit. These meals are always gluten and grain free. They can be fed as the primary food or mixed with another cat food. An example is the regular dry kibble food they’ve been eating. This company provides you plenty of different options to make, mix, and custom tailor your cat’s diet to meet their exact nutritional needs. You also enjoy added convenience.
You’ll probably take note of this brand at first because of their name. But make no mistake. They’re easily one of the best options for natural cat food. Their nutritious, wholesome recipes come with plenty of choices. They focus on making good nutrition easier for pet parents. Stella & Chewy create some wonderful pet recipes, but they also seek to help other animals in need; they give millions of meals to needy pets annually, so you can feel good about supporting a company like this. All their facilities are US based, and regularly FDA inspected. They use only top quality produce and meat in their pet food, like cage free chicken, grass fed beef, and wild caught fish.
They actually offer more freeze-dried options that just frozen. Chick, Chick, Chicken is available in both frozen, and freeze-dried form, as is Duck Duck Goose. The other freeze-dried recipes include Tummy Ticklin’ Turkey, Yummy Lickin’ Salmon & Chicke, and Sea-licious Salmon & Cod. All recipes are free of grains and gluten, and never contain hormones, fillers, or antibiotics.
Since cats rely on healthy digestion to properly absorb the full nutrition of the ingredients, their recipes include taurine supplements. They also contain healthy probiotics to help improve digestion and absorption. It’s a food you and your cat can feel good about, with flavor they’ll adore and balanced nutrition and crucial supplements that you’re looking for.
Wysong Archetype Freeze-Dried Chicken Formula
The Wysong Company is fairly different from other pet food companies. Where other companies may produce foods for either cats or dogs, (Wysong does that too), they also offer pet food recipes intended to suit both species, a bonus if you’re a home with cats and dogs. This company has a long established reputation as a quality pet food company. They were one of the first companies to offer selections of holistic, natural pet food. And they’ve been in the business since 1979.
They believe that nutrition can empower a pet. That’s why their special facilities keep professionals with doctorates in pet health as part of their manufacturing process. Wysong foods combine the flavor that pets love, with high quality, wholesome nutrition and supplements that pet owners love. Another great thing about their recipes is that they can help ease common ailments. This includes allergies, malnutrition, and arthritis, without sacrificing any other qualities pet owners are looking for.
The Wysong Company produces a few different recipes lines for cats, as well as their Archetype formula. It is intended for both cats and dogs. The Archetype line is also their sole freeze-dried formula. The other cat food recipes include Optimal, Epigen Starch Free, and Original Diets. The freeze-dried Archetype recipes are starch free, and fortified with minerals, probiotics, and vitamins you pet needs. The freeze-drying process ensures that the ingredients maintain optimal nutrition.
You’ll find three flavor options, including Rabbit, Pollack and Quail, as well as Chicken. This meat based formula contains ample healthy fats and protein, with an impressive 36% fat and 44% protein content.They never use dyes, artificial flavoring or coloring, or other potentially harmful additives. This makes for a balanced meal suited to cats of all life stages. If you’re still looking for a great freeze-dried food to feed your feline, Wysong creates recipes your cat will be glad to switch to.
ZiwiPeak Daily Cat Lamb
ZiwiPeak uses only all natural ingredients from New Zealand, where the company is based. Although they do have some offices in the United States. This includes a selection of shellfish, seafood, beef, lamb, and venison. Each formulation focuses on balanced nutrition, by combining fresh produce, and organic organs and meat. This company strives to maintain the utmost quality in their food. As a result they never use artificial additives, sugar, starches, antibiotics, or grains.
ZiwiPeak has a new twist on freeze-dried food, since their recipes aren’t exactly freeze-dried. That said, their processing does ensure the same level of nutritional integrity and extended shelf life as freeze-dried food. Their pet foods are air dried, which means you don’t need to rehydrate them before meal time.
ZiwiPeak has four different recipes to choose from for cats, all of which start with real meat as the first, and main ingredient. The cat food recipes available are Venison & Fish, Beef Venison, and Lamb. These recipes are based on the wild ancestors of our felines’ diets. This is a great choice for cats with food allergies. Each recipe contains only 10% natural herbs and carbohydrates. An impressive 90% is all meat and organs. They always use the best local ingredients. Another neat thing about this company? All their locally sourced ingredients come from farms in New Zealand.
As a pet owner, it’s your responsibility to choose the food you give to your cat. That’s a lot to decide. One of the most important things to think about is the overall nutritional content and integrity of the food. If your current food isn’t cutting it, or you want to make sure your cat is getting the best quality, flavor, and natural nutritional content, freeze-dried food is a fantastic route to choose.