The Best Raw Cat Food

Cats are obligate carnivores (unlike omnivorous dogs) so their diets should be made up primarily of meat. Raw cat foods offer a safe and easy way to feed a raw meat diet to your feline friend. Reasons for choosing a raw diet vary, but some people argue it’s more biologically appropriate for cats and some cat owners find their kitties much more full of energy when eating raw.

We reviewed dozens of raw cat food to identify the best of the best. To pick the best options out there, we considered factors such as fully-raw food vs. semi-raw food, complete diets vs. toppers, ingredient quality, and average customer reviews.

Best Raw Cat Food Overall
Stella & Chewy's Freeze Dried Duck Duck Goose Dinner Morsels
Perfectly balanced freeze-dried raw food for the discerning cat.

Stella & Chewy’s Freeze Dried Duck Duck Goose Dinner Morsels stood out as the clear best raw cat food overall. It’s made with top-quality ingredients minimally processed for a natural diet made easy.

The 5 Top-Rated Raw Cat Foods

Editor's PicksBrandRating
Best Raw Cat Food OverallStella & Chewy's Freeze Dried Duck Duck Goose Dinner Morsels4.5
Best Pure Meat Raw Cat FoodNorthwest Naturals Freeze Dried Raw Cat Food Nibbles4.1
Best Budget Raw Cat FoodSteve's Real Food Freeze-Dried Raw Nuggets4.3
Best Semi-Raw Cat FoodMerrick Backcountry Raw Infused Dry Cat Food4.4
Best Raw Cat Food TopperInstinct Freeze Dried Raw Boost Cat Food Topper4.3

*Ratings are from Amazon at the time of publication and can change

Best Raw Cat Food Overall: Stella & Chewy’s Freeze Dried Duck Duck Goose Dinner Morsels

Made by one of the big names in high-end raw pet food, Stella & Chewy’s Freeze Dried Duck Duck Goose Dinner Morsels gives you everything you could want from commercial raw cat food. It’s freeze-dried to preserve it without applying heat. You just need to add water and let it sit for a while to rehydrate it, at which point it becomes more like wet food than dry, which is great for cats who eschew all kinds of dry food, plus it means it goes further than you might assume.

This recipe uses a blend of poultry (primarily duck and turkey), including bone and organ meat to simulate a natural predator’s diet. It also contains added vitamins, minerals, and probiotics to ensure it meets all your cat’s dietary requirements. You can also find other meat and fish formulas in the same range, if your cat isn’t keen on poultry flavors. All meat in Stella & Chewy products comes from animals raised in cage-free environments without the use of hormones or antibiotics. This food comes in 18 oz bags for $40.

Stella & Chewy’s Freeze Dried Duck Duck Goose Dinner Morsels Key Features: 

  • Added probiotics improve digestive health
  • Made in small batches in the USA
  • Great for cats with sensitive stomachs or digestive disorders

Best Pure Meat Raw Cat Food: Northwest Naturals Freeze Dried Raw Cat Food Nibbles

Best Pure Meat Raw Cat Food
Northwest Naturals Freeze Dried Raw Cat Food Nibbles
You’ll find no fruits and vegetable in this raw cat food, making it purr-fect for carnivores.

Some raw cat foods contain fruits and vegetables, which some raw food purists believe have no place in a cat’s diet. Northwest Naturals Freeze Dried Raw Cat Food Nibbles, on the other hand, contain just raw meat plus vitamins, minerals, and a few additional binder ingredients. In line with the raw food ethos, they contain a wide range of parts of the animal, including bone and organ meat. The exact ingredients vary depending on which of the five recipes you choose: chicken, turkey, duck, whitefish, or rabbit.

Like most commercial raw options, this food is freeze-dried, so you just add water to rehydrate it. That said, you can feed morsels of this food dry as a treat. Each bag weighs 11 oz, though it makes much more than that once rehydrated. Depending on your chosen formula, it costs between $25 and $35.

Northwest Naturals Freeze Dried Raw Cat Food Nibbles Key Features: 

  • Made with meat raised without added hormones or antibiotics
  • Produced in the USA in a USDA certified facility
  • No added fruit or vegetables

Best Budget Raw Cat Food: Steve’s Real Food Freeze-Dried Raw Nuggets

Best Budget Raw Cat Food
Steve's Real Food Freeze-Dried Raw Nuggets
A reasonably priced raw cat food that doesn’t skimp on quality.

All completely raw food is expensive, but Steve’s Real Food Freeze-Dried Raw Nuggets offers some of the best value we’ve found. You can buy smaller, cheaper bags of raw food, but when you make an ounce for ounce price comparison Steve’s works out one of the cheapest. There are five cat-friendly formulas available (the beef recipe is for dogs only) that cost between $32 and $39 for a 1.25-pound bag. This works out at between $1.60 and $1.95 per ounce. By comparison, our top pick costs $2.22 an ounce, and our runner up costs between $2.27 and $3.18 an ounce. So, as you can see, that’s excellent value.

You might expect an affordable raw food to be of poor quality, but it doesn’t follow with this food. It’s made using free-range meats raised without injected hormones and antibiotics. All ingredients are locally-sourced and with no filler ingredients, just wholesome, nutrient-rich foods with added vitamins and minerals.

Steve’s Real Food Freeze-Dried Raw Nuggets Key Features: 

  • Fortified with goat’s milk, which is better tolerated by cats than cow’s milk
  • Low emission manufacturing process
  • Most formulas suited to both cats and dogs

Best Semi-Raw Cat Food: Merrick Backcountry Raw Infused Dry Cat Food

Best Semi-Raw Cat Food
Merrick Backcountry Raw Infused Dry Cat Food
We love this blend of standard kibble and freeze-dried raw pieces.

If you’d like to see some of the benefits of feeding raw but without committing fully, consider a semi-raw option like Merrick Backcountry Raw Infused Dry Cat Food. This formula blends a regular dry food kibble with freeze-dried raw morsels, so your cat gets some raw benefits without completely overhauling their diet. It’s essentially like buying your cat’s dry food with a raw food topper mixed in. You can choose between a “game bird” poultry recipe and a “pacific catch” fish recipe. The pacific catch option is poultry free, so it’s suited to cats with poultry allergies.

This is a high-protein cat food made primarily from meat but with some starch ingredients, such as sweet potatoes. The raw pieces are either made from fish or poultry, depending on the formula you choose. It’s designed to be eaten as it comes, but you can soak the food slightly before giving it to your cat, which will rehydrate the raw pieces and soften the kibble pieces. A 10 lb bag costs $40, but you can buy it in smaller packs, too.

Merrick Backcountry Raw Infused Dry Cat Food Key Features: 

  • Grain-free recipe
  • Poultry or fish is the first ingredient
  • Made in the USA though ingredients sourced worldwide

Best Raw Cat Food Topper: Instinct Freeze Dried Raw Boost Cat Food Topper

Best Raw Cat Food Topper
Instinct Freeze Dried Raw Boost Cat Food Topper
Add a raw boost to your cat’s normal diet.

Feeding a completely raw diet isn’t practical or feasible for everyone, but with Instinct Freeze Dried Raw Boost Cat Food Topper you can add some of the benefits of raw food with keeping your cat primarily on her regular diet. It works mixed with either wet food or kibble, and you can either feed it as it comes or rehydrate it first to make it more succulent. Since you only need to replace a small amount of your cat’s usual food with this raw food topper, there’s no need to introduce it gradually.

You can choose from either chicken or rabbit recipes, or pick one of the special digestive health or skin and coat health formulas. The latter include extra ingredients in addition to raw meat to help the relevant problems. For instance, the skin and coat health formula contains omega fatty acids, and the digestive health formula contains pumpkin. Each option costs $12, though the chicken and rabbit recipes give you 6 oz of food to a pack, whereas the other two formulas are slightly smaller with 5.5 oz to a pack.

Instinct Freeze Dried Raw Boost Cat Food Toppers Key Features: 

  • Quick and easy to rehydrate
  • Grain-free recipes
  • Can also be fed to cats as a treat

Who Should Buy Raw Cat Food

If you’re considering changing your cat’s diet, it’s worth giving raw cat food a try. Cats are natural carnivores, meaning they thrive on meat and meat alone. Many commercial cat foods (especially dry foods) contain high levels of starches, such as grains or potatoes, which are unnecessary in cats’ diets. Raw cat foods tend to contain organ meat, gizzards, and bone, in addition to standard muscle meat, all of which would be part of a cat’s natural diet since they tend to eat small prey whole.

Raw cat food is a convenient way of feeding raw food to your cat. Some come frozen, but most are freeze-dried and simply need to be rehydrated before giving it to your cat. Of course, you still have plenty if options if you’re unsure about feeding raw. Check out our list of the best grain-free cat foods for more ideas.

Best Raw Cat Food Overall
Stella & Chewy's Freeze Dried Duck Duck Goose Dinner Morsels
Perfectly balanced freeze-dried raw food for the discerning cat.

Important Features to Consider

Raw cat food should have a few important features. Here’s what to consider when selecting raw food for your cat:

  • Freeze-dried. The vast majority of raw cat foods come freeze-dried. This is a low-temperature drying process that doesn’t interfere with the integrity of raw food. Freeze-dried food has had all its moisture removed, but you simply have to soak it in water to rehydrate it, at which point it gains a texture somewhere between a wet food and pieces of raw meat. If you don’t like the idea of freeze-dried food, you can buy frozen raw food that you defrost before feeding, but this tends to cost more and be harder to source online.
  • Fully raw vs. semi-raw. Fully raw cat food is made almost entirely from raw meat ingredients (and occasionally raw fruits and veg), plus added vitamins and minerals in the case of complete and balanced food. Semi-raw cat food is a mix of a regular kibble and freeze-dried raw pieces. Semi-raw options are significantly cheaper but don’t give you all the benefits of a fully raw diet.
  • Raw food toppers. In addition to complete and balanced raw cat foods (which are complete meals alone), you can also find raw food toppers or mixers, designed to be added to a regular cooked kibble or wet food. Raw food toppers don’t need to be entirely nutritionally balanced because they’ll be added to a food that is.
  • Quality ingredients. Of course, you want to choose a raw cat food that contains quality ingredients, but it can be hard to tell which foods do and which foods don’t. Look out for foods that use meat sourced in the USA, since some countries have poorer regulations. Raw foods that use free-range meats tend to be of a better quality overall because they’re obviously thinking carefully about sourcing their ingredients rather than using the cheapest on offer.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is a raw diet good for cats? 

Raw diets are slightly controversial, but on the whole, they seem to be good for cats. Some of the benefits of a raw food diet touted by their enthusiasts include improved digestion, smaller stool volume, more energy, better dental health, and improved skin and coat health. Of course, it’s possible that you’d see most of these improvements on a high-quality cooked diet.

Is raw food safe for cats? 

There’s a slight risk of cats picking up parasites, such as toxoplasma, from raw meat but they can generally tolerate any pathogens found in raw meat due to their short digestive system. That said, commercial raw cat food tends to be safer than simply feeding your cat lumps of raw meat since it’s often pasteurized at a high pressure, which gets rid of most parasites, bacteria, and other pathogens.

Do cats live longer on a raw food diet? 

There haven’t been any studies to back this up, so it’s impossible to back it up, but most proponents of a raw food diet for cats state that one of the benefits is a longer lifespan and better health overall.

Do vets recommend raw food for cats? 

Veterinarians tend not to recommend raw food for cats due to the risk posed by pathogens. However, some holistic vets are more open-minded and praise the benefits of raw food for cats. Ultimately, it’s up to you as a pet owner to weigh up the pros and cons.

Other Raw Cat Foods We Reviewed

Best Raw Cat Food Overall
Stella & Chewy's Freeze Dried Duck Duck Goose Dinner Morsels
Perfectly balanced freeze-dried raw food for the discerning cat.

We looked at 20 other raw cat foods. Even though they didn’t make our 5 best raw cat foods list, they’re the best of the rest and each is still a great option for your feline friend. The information you’ll need to compare each one is included with the listing.

Complete and Balanced Raw Cat Food

Feline Natural Grain-Free Freeze Dried Cat Food

Feline Natural Grain-Free Freeze Dried Cat Food

Made from 99% meat plus added vitamins and minerals, this is a complete food but it’s also suited to use as a topper.

Key Features: 

  • Three flavor options
  • Non-GMO
  • Meets AAFCO requirements

Cost: $14

Instinct Freeze-Dried Raw Meals Chicken Recipe

Instinct Freeze-Dried Raw Meals Chicken Recipe

A complete, freeze-dried cat food made in the USA using raw cage-free chicken plus non-GMO fruits and vegetables.

Key Features: 

  • No artificial additives
  • Minimally processed
  • 3x more chicken than standard cat food

Cost: $5 to $22

Merrick Backcountry Freeze Dried Meal or Mixer Cat Food

Merrick Backcountry Freeze Dried Meal or Mixer Cat Food

This “meal or mixer” formula is complete and balanced, so suitable as a whole meal, but also makes a great mixer if you’re looking to start small on raw food.

Key Features: 

  • Chicken or salmon recipe
  • Rehydrates in 3 minutes
  • No soy, corn, or gluten

Cost: $9

Northwest Naturals Freeze-Dried Raw Cat Food

Northwest Naturals Freeze-Dried Raw Cat Food

A turkey recipe cat food containing muscle meat, organs, and bones. You have the option to buy as a two-pack for better value.

Key Features: 

  • Eco-friendly manufacturing
  • Made in a USDA inspected facility
  • Free from grains and gluten

Cost: $13 to $23

Nulo Freestyle Freeze-Dried Raw Cat Food

Nulo Freestyle Freeze-Dried Raw Cat Food

Not only is this food complete and balanced for optimum nutrition, but it also includes probiotics for digestive health.

Key Features: 

  • Two flavor and size options
  • Suitable for all life stages
  • 98% meat products

Cost: $10 to $21

Primal Freeze Dried Cat Food

Primal Freeze Dried Cat Food

These freeze-dried raw nuggets are available in four flavor options: turkey, chicken, and salmon, beef and salmon, or pork.

Key Features: 

  • 90% meat, 10% produce, and supplements
  • Makes 3x the weight once rehydrated
  • Range of size options

Cost: $14 to $32

Primal Freeze Dried Cat Food Rabbit Formula

Primal Freeze Dried Cat Food Rabbit Formula

Much the same as the option listed above but with a rabbit formula, containing just rabbit meat, fruit, vegetables, and supplements.

Key Features: 

  • 93% meat
  • Made in the USA
  • Suitable for all life stages

Cost: $19

Primal Pet Foods Freeze-Dried Feline Turkey Formula

Primal Pet Foods Freeze-Dried Feline Turkey Formula

Yet another option from Primal. This one is a turkey recipe and contains 93% meat, 7% produce, and supplements.

Key Features: 

  • Just add water to rehydrate
  • Turkey raised without hormones or antibiotics
  • Grain-free

Cost: $15

Raw Paws Pet Raw Frozen Dog and Cat Food

Raw Paws Pet Raw Frozen Dog and Cat Food

This raw pet food arrives frozen so you just need to defrost before freezing. Each pack contains 20 x 1 lb rolls.

Key Features: 

  • 3 recipes to choose from
  • 100% raw meat
  • Made in small batches in the USA

Cost: $130

Sojos Complete Raw Natural Dry Cat Food Mix

Sojos Complete Raw Natural Dry Cat Food Mix

A blend of raw freeze-dried turkey, air dried raw fruit and veg, plus added vitamins and minerals to make it a complete meal.

Key Features: 

  • Available in 1 lb of 4 lb bags
  • Makes approximately 5x the weight when rehydrated
  • No artificial additives

Cost: $15 to $50

Stella & Chewy’s Freeze-Dried Raw Chicken Dinner Morsels

Stella & Chewy's Freeze-Dried Raw Chicken Dinner Morsels

This simple recipe contains a single source of animal protein, including organ meat and bones. You can choose from 3 package sizes.

Key Features: 

  • Added probiotics
  • Suitable for all life stages
  • Made in the USA

Cost: $10 to $37

Stella & Chewy’s Freeze-Dried Raw Salmon and Chicken Dinner Morsels

Stella & Chewy's Freeze-Dried Raw Salmon and Chicken Dinner Morsels

A similar option as the Stella & Chewy option just above this one, but with a blend of both chicken and salmon for extra flavor.

Key Features: 

  • 98% fish and chicken
  • Simple to rehydrate
  • Made in the USA

Cost: $23

Vital Essentials Freeze-Dried Vital Cat Entree

Vital Essentials Freeze-Dried Vital Cat Entree

You have a range of options with this raw cat food. Choose between patties or mini nibs, and between turkey or chicken flavors.

Key Features: 

  • Ingredients sourced in the USA
  • No artificial additives
  • Promotes digestive health

Cost: $25

Wysong Archetype Raw Canine/Feline Diet

Wysong Archetype Raw Canine Feline Diet

This is a completely starch-free raw food suitable for cats and dogs with four formulas: chicken, quail, rabbit, and pollock.

Key Features: 

  • Suitable for all life stages
  • No artificial additives
  • Added prebiotics and probiotics

Raw Cat Food Toppers

Stella & Chewy’s Stella’s Solutions Digestive Boost Dinner Mixer

Stella & Chewy's Stella's Solutions Digestive Boost Dinner Mixer

Although all complete raw foods can be used as toppers or mixers, this is one of the only dedicated raw cat food toppers we found during our research (other than our top raw food topper).

Key Features: 

  • Made from freeze-dried raw chicken
  • Added digestive enzymes
  • Prebiotics and probiotics for digestive health

Cost: $20

Semi-Raw Cat Food

CANIDAE Pure Ancestral Diet Freeze-Dried Raw Coated Dry Cat Food Fish Formula

CANIDAE Pure Ancestral Diet Freeze-Dried Raw Coated Dry Cat Food Fish Formula

The main bulk of this food is a standard salmon kibble, but it’s coated in freeze-dried raw salmon for added flavor and health benefits.

Key Features: 

  • High protein
  • Grain-free
  • Three bag sizes

Cost: $15 to $35

CANIDAE Pure Ancestral Diet Freeze-Dried Raw Coated Dry Cat Food Indoor Health Formula

CANIDAE Pure Ancestral Diet Freeze-Dried Raw Coated Dry Cat Food Indoor Health Formula

A similar option to the one above but this one is specifically designed to meet the unique nutritional needs of indoor cats.

Key Features: 

  • Coated with freeze-dried chicken
  • Grain, soy, and corn-free
  • No artificial additives

Cost: $15 to $35

Instinct Raw Boost Healthy Weight Grain Free Recipe Natural Dry Cat Food

Instinct Raw Boost Healthy Weight Grain Free Recipe Natural Dry Cat Food

If your cat struggles to maintain a healthy weight, this formula can keep the lbs off. It contains chunks of freeze-dried raw food.

Key Features: 

  • High protein
  • Grain-free
  • Made in the USA

Cost: $25 to $40

Instinct Raw Boost Indoor Health Grain Free Recipe Natural Dry Cat Food

Instinct Raw Boost Indoor Health Grain Free Recipe Natural Dry Cat Food

A similar mix of freeze-dried raw pieces and kibble as found in the food above, but this one is made for cats who live indoors.

Key Features: 

  • Chicken is the first ingredient
  • Grain, soy, and corn-free
  • No artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives

Cost: $22 to $25

Wellness CORE RawRev Natural Dry Cat Food

Wellness CORE RawRev Natural Dry Cat Food

A blend of a high protein kibble and raw turkey pieces is the next best thing to feeding a 100% raw food.

Key Features: 

  • Choose from original and indoor formulas
  • Supports digestive health
  • Minimally processed

Cost: $21 to $41

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Lauren Corona