Fresh Food For Cats

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You can count on Fresh Food For Cats to provide your furry friends with healthy and delicious food. Ever since the beginning, we’ve known that the only way to provide our clients with truly exceptional products is to source only the highest quality ingredients. We have a clear understanding of what today’s customers want and expect from their pet food, and we work hard to meet and exceed those expectations. We do this by working with local farmers to ensure that no corners are cut and no expense is spared in ensuring that our products are the best. From wholesome grains, to fresh fruits and vegetables, to antibiotic-free meats, you can count on Fresh Food For Cats to provide your furry friends with healthy and delicious food.

Fresh Food For Cats

One of the key responsibilities of pet parents is ensuring that their fuzzy friends have good food to eat. While kibble and canned food have been the main players in the cat food arena for quite some time, a new segment of the industry has been gaining speed over the past few years: fresh cat food. 

Many cat owners have come to swear by the fresh food options that are now readily available in grocery stores, pet stores, or via online subscription. These foods boast easy digestibility, enticing flavors, and health benefits not found in traditional cat food. But how true are these claims? And what exactly differentiates fresh cat food from the canned stuff?

Let’s start with the basics. According to Dr. Emily Swiniarski, veterinarian and chief medical officer of PAWS Chicago, fresh cat foods “tend to use products that are less processed [than traditional cat foods], such as raw meat instead of meat meal.” These foods also typically use fewer preservatives and must be refrigerated or frozen to prevent bacterial growth and maintain freshness. 

However, it’s also worth noting that a cat food with “fresh” on the label won’t necessarily meet the above criteria. “The United States Food and Drug Administration does not specifically restrict foods from being labeled as ‘fresh,’ so there are no set standards,” Swiniarski explains.

Pros and Cons of Fresh Cat Food

Cat sitting on table looking at owner

We all know that cats are picky creatures, so one of the biggest benefits of fresh cat food is that it might be more appealing to your kitty than the alternatives. “Some cats may prefer the texture and taste of fresh foods as opposed to canned foods,” Swiniarski says. “And, depending on the brand and contents, fresh food may be easier to digest.”

Swiniarski is sure to add, though, that fresh food has a shorter shelf life. “In addition, fresh food cannot be left out to be grazed on throughout the day—cats will need to eat their fresh food within approximately an hour.”

5 Best Fresh Cat Food Delivery Services and Brands to Consider

Cat looking up to owner standing in kitchen

If you’re interested in feeding Fluffy fresh foods, here are our picks for the best brands. 

All featured products are chosen at the discretion of the author. However, Great Pet Care may make a small affiliate commission if you click through and make a purchase.

Smalls Human-Grade Fresh

Smalls human grade fresh cat food. one of the best fresh cat foods

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One of our favorite fresh cat foods is Smalls Human-Grade Fresh. This protein-rich food comes in three proteins (chicken, turkey, and beef) and two textures (smooth and ground), making it easy to find an option that works for even the pickiest cat. Their “Bird” recipe features chicken thigh, breast, liver and heart, their “Other Bird” recipe has skin-on turkey thigh and chicken liver, and their “Cow” recipe contains lean ground beef, cow liver and heart. These tasty proteins are complemented with veggies like green beans, peas, and kale or spinach. 

Smalls Human-Grade Fresh cat food does not contain meat byproducts or artificial colors or flavors. It’s also free of preservatives. Smalls makes a point of only using USDA-certified, humanely harvested and sustainably sourced ingredients. We also like that Smalls is a service that delivers cat food straight to your door, so you always have some on hand when your kitty is hungry. 

Highlights

  • Food delivered right to your door
  • No artificial colors or flavors
  • Free of preservatives
  • Made in the USA
  • Formulated to meet nutritional levels established by AAFCO Cat Food Nutrient Profiles for all life stages

Things to Consider

  • Food arrives frozen and should only be thawed 24 hours before you are ready to use it
  • Open wet food must be kept in the fridge and only keeps for 5-7 days 
  • Only available through a subscription service

JustCats Fish & Chicken

JustCats Fish & Chicken cat food

Buy at JustFoodBuy at Petco

JustCats Fish & Chicken fresh food is a low-carbohydrate, high-protein diet formulated for adult cats of all breeds. It contains yuca root, which absorbs and retains moisture, which helps ensure your cat is fully hydrated. It also includes chicken liver, which is rich in essential nutrients. 

Further, JustCats Fish & Chicken has no preservatives, is grain- and gluten-free, and has no growth hormones. JustCats is also touted as being good for cats with allergies or sensitive GI tracts. 

Highlights

  • High-protein formula
  • Yucca root helps ensure your cat stays hydrated
  • Grain- and gluten-free
  • No growth hormones

Things to Consider

  • Only available in one flavor
  • Bag is not resealable, so you will need a separate storage container
  • Will need to be kept in the refrigerator once opened

Darwin’s Natural Selections

Darwin's natural selections cat food

Buy at Darwin’s

Darwin’s Natural Selections offers complete and balanced nutrition for cats. Comprising free-range, cage-free, or pasture-raised meats and organic vegetables, this raw food is minimally processed to maintain vital nutrients and is crafted using human-quality ingredients. Further, it contains no grains, fillers, hormones, or chemical preservatives. It is available in three proteins—chicken, turkey, and lamb—for cats that crave a little variety. 

Highlights

  • Ethical ingredients
  • High protein
  • No fillers
  • Includes veggies

Things to Consider

  • Kittens should not eat raw food
  • Has a very limited shelf life and must be refrigerated

Freshpet Vital Cat Food

Buy at PetcoBuy at PetSmart

Freshpet Vital Cat Food is 100 percent natural, forgoing grains and meat meals. This chicken and beef paté comes in 1-pound rolls, allowing you to slice off a precise portion for your furry friend. Freshpet foods are found in a refrigerator, at Petco, PetSmart and other specialty locations, and must remain refrigerated. They should be used within seven days of opening. 

Highlights

  • Non-GMO verified
  • No nitrates or fillers
  • Meets AAFCO Cat Nutrient Profiles for all life stages

Things to Consider

  • Must be refrigerated at all times
  • Food must be portioned by the pet parent

Fresh Cat Food: What to Look For

Happy hungry cat eating from bowl

Regardless of what type of cat food you want to feed your fur baby—fresh or kibble, raw or canned—you want to make sure that the food meets the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) standards. “Whichever fresh food you feed your cat should be approved by AAFCO or a veterinary nutritionist. This ensures the diet is well balanced,” Swiniarski says. This information should appear somewhere on the food’s label. You’ll also want to consider:

Brand transparency: Is the company transparent about where its ingredients come from and how its recipes are prepared? Do they own and operate their own kitchen facilities? Is the food regularly tested by an independent laboratory for safety? See if this information is readily available. If you’re feeding fresh, raw cat food, find out what type of pathogen control methods the company uses and how those methods affect the nutritional benefits of the food.

Cat eating from food bowl

Quality of ingredients: Look for recipes that feature whole food ingredients and that are free of preservatives, fillers, artificial colors and flavors, and “mystery meats.” You may notice the term “human-grade” on some fresh pet foods, which means it is made from ingredients that are fit for human consumption. According to AAFCO’s definition, human-grade cat food must ensure that “every ingredient and the resulting products are stored, handled, processed, and transported in a manner that is consistent and compliant with regulations…for human edible foods.” (1) Keep in mind that the term “human-grade” is only used for pet foods. Food for humans is simply considered “edible” by the US Department of Agriculture (1). 

Shelf life: If your fresh food is frozen, what is the freezer shelf life? This may range from six months to a year, depending on the brand. Most companies recommend thawing meals in the refrigerator overnight. Check the package to see how long the food will stay fresh in the fridge once defrosted (usually around 5-7 days). If your food arrives fresh, not frozen, find out if you are able to freeze any leftover food within a one-week window.

Satisfaction guarantee: If your cat is a picky eater, check to see whether the company will offer a full refund after a trial period of trying the new food—and how many days you have to let them know if you’re not satisfied.

15 Human Foods That Are Safe for Cats

Read on to discover which feline-friendly human foods are expert-recommended, so you can start feeding your cat like every other family member.

1. Salmon

human foods for cats - cooked salmon

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A good source of protein and omega-3 fatty acids, salmon can be a delicious and tasty treat for cats and is often already found in commercial cat food, said Dr. Tina Wismer, medical director at the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center. While some cat-friendly human foods can be fed to your cat raw, make sure to give her only cooked salmon, Wismer said.

PureBits salmon freeze-dried cat treats make it easy to feed your cat salmon with all of the benefits and none of the cleanup.

2. Spinach

human foods for cats - spinach

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Full of vitamins and minerals including vitamins A, C and K, iron and calcium, spinach can be a healthy, cat-friendly treat, according to Wismer. However, if your cat has history of calcium oxalate bladder stones, you should avoid giving them spinach.

Different cat foods also include spinach as an ingredient due to its vast health benefits. Purina Beyond Grain-Free ocean whitefish and spinach canned cat food features spinach within the top five ingredients for a natural, pate-style food for adult cats.

3. Fish Oils

human food for cats - fish oil

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Start whipping out the fish oil cat supplements! According to Emmy-award winning veterinarian Dr. Jeff Werber, while pet parents tend to get away with giving their dogs people food more often than cats, fish oil is something that can help benefit both species. With a variety of options, including salmon and cod liver oil, the omega 3s in fish oil can help prevent dry skin in the winter and keep your cat’s coat healthy throughout the year.

Supplements made from wild-caught fish, like American Journey Wild Alaskan Salmon Oil dog and cat supplement, help support skin and coat health with natural fatty acids.

4. Eggs

human foods for cats - cooked eggs

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Another good source of protein and B vitamins, eggs are safe for your feline to eat, Wismer said. In order to reduce the risk of food borne diseases, be sure to cook any eggs you feed your cat. Eggs also can be found in many cat foods, such as Tiki Cat Koolina Luau chicken with egg grain-free canned cat food.

5. Cantaloupe

human foods for cats - cantaloupe

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High in antioxidants and beta-carotene, which helps maintain healthy skin and eye health, cantaloupe is one of several cat-safe fruits, according to Wismer.

6. Chicken

human foods for cats - cooked chicken

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Because cats are obligate carnivores and require diets that contain mostly meat (unlike dogs who are omnivores and can live off of a variety of different foods), their bodies aren’t able to digest fibrous foods as easily as dogs and don’t always like the variety of people foods that dogs do, according to Werber. However, any type of meat, like chicken, is right up their alley.

A good source of lean protein, chicken can be a great choice for your cat, as long as it is cooked thoroughly and the skin, which can be fatty, is removed before feeding it to your cat, Werber said. Chicken is another ingredient often found in commercial cat foods, like Tiny Tiger chicken pate canned cat food or Rachael Ray Nutrish real chicken and brown rice dry cat food.

7. Bananas

human foods for cats - banana

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High in potassium and soluble fiber, bananas are a cat-safe snack, according to Wismer. Although bananas are a healthy treat, they (like all items on this list) should make up no more than ten percent of your cat’s daily calorie intake, she added.

8. Oatmeal

human foods for cats - oatmeal

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A source of energy and B vitamins for your pet, oatmeal is another human food that can be found in commercial cat foods, like Natural Balance Fat Cats dry cat food with oat groats. However, just because oatmeal may be cat-safe, not every feline will like it—or any type of human food—so you’ll want to introduce these foods slowly and make sure they like them before incorporating them into a regular part of your cat’s diet.

9. Pumpkin

human foods for cats - pumpkin puree

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Can cats eat pumpkin? Not only is pumpkin low in calories and high in fiber, it is also be an effective treatment for cats who suffer from abnormal stools. You can incorporate pumpkin into cat treats since it’s both safe and healthy.

Commercially-available supplements for cats make it easy to introduce pumpkin into your feline’s diet. Weruva Pumpkin Patch up! dog and cat food supplement is a puree that supports stool quality and healthy gut mobility in single-serve pouches.

10. Cheese

human foods for cats - cheese

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Are cats lactose intolerant or can cats handle some cheese from time to time?

If your cat shows an interest in this feline-friendly food, Wismer recommends feeding her a hard cheese, like cheddar, Swiss or Gouda. These cheeses are high in calcium and protein and can be easily baked into treats or fed to your cat raw in small amounts.

11. Bread

human foods for cats - bread

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A good source of protein and fiber, Werber said some cats like to snack on bread, a feline-friendly human food.

12. Apples

human foods for cats - apples

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High in fiber and vitamin C, apples are another food Werber says cats can eat, as long as they’re fed to your cat without the skin. Similarly to feeding dogs people food, you’ll want to avoid any type of seasonings when you give your cat human food, he added.

13. Blueberries

human foods for cats - blueberries

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A good source of vitamins A and C, blueberries can be found in some cat foods, like American Journey salmon grain-free dry cat food, and some felines may even like to snack on frozen blueberries, Wismer said. As mentioned, you’ll want to limit the amount of treats you give your cat each day, even if they’re healthy.

“Limit treats to 20 calories each day, [which] would be two teaspoons of cooked salmon or chicken or 25 blueberries, but you wouldn’t want to give them all of those berries,” Wismer said. “You can mix and match human food treats with cat treats to reach that number.”

If your cat seems to be gaining weight as a result of her human food treats, however, you’ll want to scale back on the amount of treats you’re feeding her, she added.

14. Peas

human foods for cats - peas

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High in fiber, vitamin C and vitamin A, peas are another cat-safe human food. They often are found in commercial cat foods, such as Solid Gold Indigo Moon with chicken and eggs grain-free dry cat food, but can be fed to your cat frozen or raw.

15. Turkey

human foods for cats - turkey breast

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Another lean protein, turkey, including cooked turkey breast or sliced deli meat, is a cat-safe snack.

When introducing new foods to your cat, you should expect her to have a little bit of gastrointestinal upset, Werber says. If it’s a food they’ve never had before, their bodies may not be used to digesting it and they can be a little finicky about what they eat. Werber’s advice? Give them some variety to see what they like and make sure to do everything in moderation. And ensure your kitty is receiving proper daily nutrition by feeding their cat food in addition to any human food snacks.

8 Best Fresh Cat Food Delivery Services (Reviews 2022)

Feeding your cat a diet made of the freshest food possible may be the healthiest option for them, but it’s a great deal of work for you. All that shopping and meal prepping can quickly take up all your free time, not to mention the possibility that you might accidentally omit important vitamins and nutrients.

You can eliminate the risk and hassle involved with cooking for your pet while still giving them elite nutrition by investing in a fresh food delivery service. These services will send you extremely healthy, professionally cooked food on a regular schedule — all you have to do is bring the box in off the porch.

There are several of these services out there, so how do you know which one is the best for your cat? In these reviews, we compare the leading options to give you a better idea of what to expect from each.

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A Quick Glance at the Winners of 2022

ImageProductDetails
BEST OVERALLWinnerSmalls Fresh Cat Food SubscriptionCan choose between fresh and freeze-dried raw foodPlenty of flavor optionsOffers money-back guaranteeClick to Save 33%Use code: Petkeen2022
BEST VALUESecond placeJustFoodForDogs Cat Food RecipeMade in open kitchensGrain- and gluten-freeAlso sells salmon treatsCheck Price
PREMIUM CHOICEThird placeCat Person Food Delivery SubscriptionOffers both wet and dry foodOptions are available à la carteSite is welcoming and accommodatingCheck Price
BEST FOR KITTENSRaised Right Fresh Cat Food DeliveryLimited-ingredient formulaCooked slowly to retain nutrientsEach batch tested to ensure that it’s pathogen-freeCheck Price
Savage Cat Food SubscriptionHigh-quality raw foodsIncludes important ingredients like organ meatTreats are truly uniqueCheck Price

The 8 Best Fresh Cat Food Delivery Services

1.Smalls Fresh Cat Food Delivery Service — Best Overall

Smalls human grade fresh food bowl with kitten with logo

Smalls offers extremely high-quality food that while not cheap, won’t break the bank either. As a result, it’s our pick for the best overall cat food delivery service.

It has more options than many similar services, and you can choose between fresh food or freeze-dried raw food, giving your cat options without forcing them to eat inferior chow. Regardless of which option you pick, you’ll get protein-packed food with zero fillers.

You’ll find quite a few flavor options on the site, and the introductory survey asks you what types of food your cat won’t eat. This ensures that you won’t pay for food that your kitty will turn up their nose at, but even if your cat doesn’t like what you order, there’s a money-back guarantee.

Their site has other goodies for sale too, including its own litter and several toys. It makes for a one-stop shopping extravaganza — but also for a frustrating checkout experience, as it’ll force you to wade through several upsell offers before you can check out.

That’s a small price to pay for food this high-quality, though — and not paying bloated prices for fresh cat food sounds very good indeed.

Pros

  • Can choose between fresh and freeze-dried raw food
  • Plenty of flavor options
  • Offers money-back guarantee
  • No fillers
  • Sells other cat accessories

Cons

  • Lot’s of upsell offers when trying to check out fast

2.JustFoodForDogs Fresh Cat Food Subscription — Best Value

justfoodfordogs

While a brand called “JustFoodForDogs” might seem an odd choice for a list about best cat foods, this canine-focused site also offers a recipe just for cats, and it’s both outstanding and affordable.

All the foods are crafted by hand in kitchens that are open to the public, so if you’re in the neighborhood, you can stop by and see exactly how your cat’s chow is made. This shows the company’s dedication to quality and openness, as it clearly has nothing to hide when it comes to its process.

Its cat recipe includes both fish and chicken, which allows it to appeal to most cats, and it’s both grain- and gluten-free. The company also offers natural salmon treats that are a wonderful alternative to the junk that you’ll find in most pet stores.

While all that sounds good to us, it may not sound good to you. If you’re not down with feeding your cat such a diet, you’ll have to look elsewhere, as this is the only option that you’ll find here.

Don’t let the name fool you — JustFoodForDogs also happens to be the best fresh cat food delivery service for the money that you’ll find anywhere.

Pros

  • Affordable option
  • Made in open kitchens
  • Grain- and gluten-free
  • Also sells salmon treats

Cons

  • Limited selection

3.Cat Person Food Delivery Subscription – Premium Choice

Cat Person logo

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Unlike many of the other subscription services out there, which tend to be quite specialized, Cat Person has a wonderful variety, including wet food, dry kibble, and more.

It’s quite easy to customize your meal plan, so if you like mixing your wet food with the dry stuff, you can order a pack that enables you to do that without driving up the price. There are also starter packs, so you can test-drive the service without spending a fortune in the process.

Their foods are available à la carte too, so if you don’t like the idea of signing up for a recurring service, you don’t have to. That option can come in especially handy because they only deliver once a month, so if you misjudge your food needs, you might have to scramble to figure out another way to feed your cat.

The initial survey that you must fill out is quite extensive, so expect to devote a bit of time to it. It’s a pressure-free experience, though, and if you don’t know the answer to something, the site won’t make you feel like a negligent monster.

While that thoroughness is appreciated, it also makes it hard to find exactly what you’re looking for if you came to the site with something specific in mind.

All in all, Cat Person is an excellent service, especially if you want to feed dry kibble to your cat.

Pros

  • Offers both wet and dry food
  • Options are available à la carte
  • Site is welcoming and accommodating
  • Plenty of customization options

Cons

  • Only has monthly deliveries on subscriptions
  • Survey takes a long time to fill out
  • Hard to find specific items

4.Raised Right Fresh Cat Food Delivery — Best for Kittens

Raised Right logo

As the name implies, Raised Right is the best option for getting your brand-new kitten started off on the right paw.

The recipes use a limited-ingredient formula, so your kitty’s developing digestive tract won’t be overwhelmed (and neither will their litter box). Every batch of their food is also tested in a lab to ensure that it’s pathogen-free, enabling your new cat to focus their energy on physically maturing rather than fighting off diseases.

The company cooks its food slowly at low temperatures, which keeps the nutrients locked into the food rather than enabling them to leach out during the cooking process. This also prevents the moisture from evaporating, making it less likely that your cat will suffer from dehydration.

This food is kind of a hassle, though. It has to be kept frozen, so you’ll have to sacrifice room in your freezer to your cat, and you’ll need to defrost it overnight. That means that if you forget, you’ll have to scramble to find an alternative (or deal with a hungry kitty).

Raised Right isn’t just for kittens — your adult cats will do well on it too. However, if you’re looking to make sure your young cat is raised right, you can’t go wrong with this food.

Pros

  • Limited-ingredient formula
  • Each batch tested to ensure that it’s pathogen-free
  • Cooked slowly to retain nutrients
  • High in moisture

Cons

  • Has to be kept frozen
  • Must defrost night before serving

5.Savage Cat Food Subscription

Savage Cat Food gets its name from the fact that it’s a raw diet, so it harkens back to the days when your cat would stalk live prey before savagely dispatching them.

There are three options when it comes to prey here: chicken, rabbit, and duck. Each recipe is available in both diced and pâté textures, and you don’t need a subscription plan to buy this food.

Speaking of savagery, this company’s treats have to be seen to be believed. It offers treats like quail — not quail bits or strips, but a whole bird, feathers and all. Your cat will feel like the king of the jungle when you toss that in front of them (you might feel a bit squeamish, though).

As you might expect, given its focus on the natural feline diet, the company’s foods include things like organ meats, bones, and natural oils. This gives the food an incredibly well-rounded nutritional profile — and makes it incredibly expensive.

All those raw ingredients also mean you need to be careful not to let it sit out too long, as you don’t want that meat to spoil. As long as you keep it frozen until ready to serve, you should be fine, but don’t push it.

If you’re tempted to start experimenting with a raw food diet, Savage Cat Food is definitely the way to do it. Just know that it will be equally savage on your wallet.

Pros

  • High-quality raw foods
  • Includes important ingredients like organ meat
  • Treats are truly unique
  • Available in multiple textures

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Some treats may gross out owners
  • Can spoil quickly

6.Darwin’s Cat Food Subscription

darwin's natural pet products

Given that it takes its name from the father of natural selection himself, it makes sense that Darwin’s Natural Pet Products would focus on the foods that your cat would eat if left to their own devices in the wild.

Its meats are pasture-raised and cage-free, so you can feed your cat a high-quality diet without compromising your morals. The veggies are organic too.

Unlike most similar services, which just have surveys that you fill out before they assign a diet to you, Darwin’s offers a free consultation with one of its specialists. This enables you to formulate the perfect diet for your cat instead of getting a cookie-cutter solution.

One issue that we have with this food is that it doesn’t include additional taurine for heart health. To be fair, there’s a large amount of taurine (and other important amino acids) in all the organ meat that’s included, but we’d prefer not to take any chances with such a vital nutrient.

Its recipes are also high in phosphorous, making them poor choices for cats with kidney issues. The company has also been the subject of several recalls (although never for their cat food).

Darwin’s Natural Pet Products is a top-notch raw food option, but it may not be ideal for all cats.

Pros

  • Uses ethically raised meat
  • Offers free consultations
  • Veggies are organic

Cons

  • No additional taurine
  • May not be good for cats with kidney problems
  • Troublesome recall history

7.Raw Paws Pet Food Subscription for Cats

raw paws pet food

Raw Paws offers both fresh and freeze-dried foods, and its selection is truly impressive. In addition to foods for both dogs and cats, there are nutritional supplements and all sorts of treats, including chew sticks for cats.

Most of its food will probably sound disgusting to you (tripe is a popular ingredient), but your cat will love them. The fresh food comes in large rolls or patties; this enables you to easily customize how much you feed your kitty, but it also means more work during the prep process.

You can also get a grain-free salmon kibble if you want to mix something in with the raw food.

All of this company’s products are labeled as being for both dogs and cats, so it’s unlikely that the meals are fine-tuned for a cat’s diet. Indeed, they have quite a bit of plant matter in them. That’s not a huge issue, but we’d always prefer more meat in a cat food.

Despite all those veggies, we’d prefer to see more fiber in here too (most recipes hover around 3%).

Raw Paws is a great option if you want plenty of raw food options, but you may be able to find better products elsewhere.

Pros

  • Impressive selection (including kibble)
  • Makes chew sticks for cats
  • Easy to customize portion sizes

Cons

  • More prep work required
  • Food is created for both dogs and cats
  • Large amount of plant matter in recipes
  • Could use more fiber

8.FreshPet Cat Food Delivery Service

Fresh Pet

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Fresh Pet is a company that many cat owners rely on because they vow to never use powders, preservatives, additives, or meat meals. Their recipes use clean ingredients, and they follow all USDA regulations for proper handling. Their foods are cooked at lower temperatures to preserve the nutrition in the ingredients as well. They are a little on the expensive side, but you can save yourself some money on shipping by picking up their foods at local retail stores as well.

Pros

  • Sourced from U.S. suppliers
  • Follow USDA handling guidelines
  • Available for shipping or at retailers

Cons

  • Some recipes are high in fat
  • Must keep refrigerated
  • Plant ingredients used for fillers
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Buyer’s Guide: Selecting the Best Cat Food Delivery Service

Fresh food delivery services are a relatively new innovation in the world of pet food, so if you’re used to opening cans and ripping open bags of kibble, you might not know what to expect from them.

Here, we go over the biggest questions that people have when considering these services, so you can sign up with confidence.

Why Do I Need a Fresh Food Delivery Service?

These services are aimed at people who want to feed their cats the healthiest diet possible and don’t mind paying more money to do it.

These services make it easy to feed your cat a raw or fresh food diet, as they bring the expertly crafted food to you rather than forcing you to do all the cooking yourself. They’ll regularly drop off shipments full of delicious and nutritious food, saving you from having to shop or prepare your cat’s meals.

This makes it just as easy to feed your cat a quality diet as it does to serve them overly-processed junk from the pet store, so you can keep your cat healthy without taking up all your free time.

Are There Any Downsides to Using a Fresh Food Delivery Service?

Yes, there are a few. The biggest, of course, is the expense. Feeding your cat a fresh or raw diet is considerably more expensive than buying a 25-pound sack of kibble at the grocery store. If you don’t believe that these services are truly better for your cat’s health, it’s hard to justify the added cost.

Most of these foods also need to be kept refrigerated or frozen. That means you’ll have to sacrifice real estate in your fridge to your cat’s meals; it also means that the food can go bad if you accidentally leave it out too long.

Many of these services are fairly locked-in as far as what they offer, so don’t expect as much variety as you’re used to with commercial foods. A particular service may only offer one or two recipes, so many are take-it-or-leave-it propositions.

Is Fresh Food Really Better for Cats than Kibble or Canned Food?

There are so many foods out there that it’s impossible to give a blanket answer to this question. However, we can safely say that the fresh foods offered by the services on this list are better for your cat than most of the kibbles and canned foods that you’ll see in big box stores and chain pet outlets.

They’re also likely to be better for your cat than a homemade diet would be. Many people who try to make their own cat food at home end up leaving out important nutrients and can actually make their cats less healthy as a result.

The foods from these services have all been designed by experts, so you can be certain that they have all the vitamins and minerals that your cat needs to stay strong and healthy.

But are raw and fresh foods really the best possible way to feed your cat? As far as the scientific community is concerned, the jury is still out, but thousands of devoted pet owners swear by these diets.

It’s up to you; fortunately, many services have 30-day, risk-free guarantees, so if you (or your cat) don’t like what you get, you can get your money back.

cat eating
Image Credit: Krakenimages, Shutterstock

What’s the Difference Between Fresh and Raw Food?

Fresh food uses fresh (usually human-grade) ingredients; it’s like the difference between buying produce at your local farmer’s market versus buying a bag of veggies at the grocery store.

These foods are carefully cooked so as not to lose too many nutrients during the prep process. In their final form, they’ll often actually look like food — you can see the meat and veggies, rather than a homogenous glob of food paste.

Raw food, on the other hand, is just that — food that hasn’t been cooked at all. For cats, this basically means it’s a big platter of raw meat.

The idea behind a raw food diet is that it mimics a cat’s natural eating habits. In the wild, cats kill and eat their prey raw, and you’ll rarely see a feral cat striking up a grill to prepare the pigeon that they just caught.

So, is a raw or fresh diet better? Again, the jury is out, but we will say that a fresh food diet involves dealing with less disgusting meat (and reduces the risk of foodborne illnesses in owners).

What Should I Look For in a Fresh Cat Food Delivery Service?

Many of these services are quite similar, so there aren’t any life-and-death differences to be aware of. Choosing one can largely come down to matters of personal preference.

The biggest thing to look for is whether they offer a food that you like. Some have more options than others, and some have more nutritious foods than others. Do your research to find out what you’d like to feed your cat, then try to track down a service that can accommodate your desires.

Expense is another important consideration. There’s no getting around it: These services cost a great deal of money. However, some cost an arm and a leg, while others will only require a few fingers and toes. Is the expense worth it? That’s up to you to decide.

Check the delivery times too. Some will send you new food every 2 weeks, while others ship boxes every month. We generally prefer more shipments to fewer, as this ensures the freshest food possible while also taking up less space in your fridge or freezer.

Smalls Fresh Cat Food Ground Bird photo

Are These Services Good for Cats With Medical Issues?

If your cat has been diagnosed with an illness and requires prescription food, you should serve them that food — not food from a delivery service. Stick with what your vet recommends.

These are not prescription foods, and they’re not designed to treat any illnesses.

However, proponents of these diets would argue that they can help prevent many diseases by giving your cat the best nutrition possible. The scientific evidence behind this assertion is light, but there’s plenty of anecdotal evidence out there from happy owners, so do your research and come to your own conclusions.

Do know that some of these diets may be bad for pets with certain illnesses. For example, many fresh and raw foods are high in phosphorous, and phosphorous can be bad for cats with kidney disease.

If your cat has medical problems, talk to your vet and follow their recommendations.

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Conclusion

In our opinion, Smalls is the best fresh cat food delivery service out there today, as it has a great selection at reasonable prices. If you want the least expensive option, though (without sacrificing quality), the misleadingly-named JustFoodForDogs would be the pick.

While these two services stood out from the pack, every single option on this reviews list offers incredible food that your kitty is sure to love, and you can’t go wrong with any of them.

Switching your cat to a fresh food diet is likely to be one of the best decisions that you ever make for your pet — which is something that you’ll have to keep reminding yourself of every time they charge your credit card.

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