Best Fresh Cat Food: 5 Options to Consider - Vetstreet

One of many key duties of pet mother and father is guaranteeing that their fuzzy pals have good meals to eat. Whereas kibble and canned food have been the primary gamers within the cat meals enviornment for fairly a while, a brand new section of the business has been gaining velocity over the previous few years: contemporary cat meals. 

Many cat homeowners have come to swear by the contemporary meals choices that at the moment are available in grocery shops, pet shops, or through on-line subscription. These meals boast straightforward digestibility, engaging flavors, and well being advantages not present in conventional cat meals. However how true are these claims? And what precisely differentiates contemporary cat meals from the canned stuff?

Our Picks:

What’s Recent Cat Meals?

Cat sitting eating food from bowl

Let’s begin with the fundamentals. Based on Dr. Emily Swiniarski, veterinarian and chief medical officer of PAWS Chicago, contemporary cat meals “have a tendency to make use of merchandise which are much less processed [than traditional cat foods], resembling uncooked meat as an alternative of meat meal.” These meals additionally usually use fewer preservatives and should be refrigerated or frozen to stop bacterial progress and keep freshness. 

Nonetheless, it’s additionally value noting {that a} cat meals with “contemporary” on the label gained’t essentially meet the above standards. “The US Meals and Drug Administration doesn’t particularly prohibit meals from being labeled as ‘contemporary,’ so there aren’t any set requirements,” Swiniarski explains.

Execs and Cons of Recent Cat Meals

Cat sitting on table looking at owner

Everyone knows that cats are choosy creatures, so one of many greatest advantages of contemporary cat meals is that it could be extra interesting to your kitty than the options. “Some cats might choose the feel and style of contemporary meals versus canned meals,” Swiniarski says. “And, relying on the model and contents, contemporary meals could also be simpler to digest.”

Swiniarski is bound so as to add, although, that contemporary meals has a shorter shelf life. “As well as, contemporary meals can’t be unnoticed to be grazed on all through the day—cats might want to eat their contemporary meals inside roughly an hour.”

Recent Cat Meals: What to Look For

Happy hungry cat eating from bowl

No matter what kind of cat meals you need to feed your fur child—contemporary or kibble, uncooked or canned—you need to be sure that the meals meets the Affiliation of American Feed Management Officers (AAFCO) requirements. “Whichever contemporary meals you feed your cat needs to be permitted by AAFCO or a veterinary nutritionist. This ensures the food regimen is nicely balanced,” Swiniarski says. This data ought to seem someplace on the meals’s label. You’ll additionally need to think about:

Model transparency: Is the corporate clear about the place its components come from and the way its recipes are ready? Do they personal and function their very own kitchen services? Is the meals frequently examined by an unbiased laboratory for security? See if this data is available. If you happen to’re feeding contemporary, uncooked cat meals, discover out what kind of pathogen management strategies the corporate makes use of and the way these strategies have an effect on the dietary advantages of the meals.

Cat eating from food bowl

High quality of components: Search for recipes that characteristic entire meals components and which are freed from preservatives, fillers, synthetic colours and flavors, and “thriller meats.” You might discover the time period “human-grade” on some contemporary pet meals, which implies it’s produced from components which are fit to be eaten. Based on AAFCO’s definition, human-grade cat meals should be certain that “each ingredient and the ensuing merchandise are saved, dealt with, processed, and transported in a fashion that’s constant and compliant with rules…for human edible meals.” (1) Needless to say the time period “human-grade” is simply used for pet meals. Meals for people is solely thought-about “edible” by the US Division of Agriculture (1). 

Shelf life: In case your contemporary meals is frozen, what’s the freezer shelf life? This will likely vary from six months to a yr, relying on the model. Most corporations advocate thawing meals within the fridge in a single day. Test the bundle to see how lengthy the meals will keep contemporary within the fridge as soon as defrosted (often round 5-7 days). In case your meals arrives contemporary, not frozen, discover out if you’ll be able to freeze any leftover meals inside a one-week window.

Satisfaction assure: In case your cat is a choosy eater, test to see whether or not the corporate will supply a full refund after a trial interval of attempting the brand new meals—and what number of days you need to allow them to know for those who’re not happy.

5 Finest Recent Cat Meals Supply Providers and Manufacturers to Contemplate

Cat looking up to owner standing in kitchen

If you happen to’re excited by feeding Fluffy contemporary meals, listed here are our picks for the most effective manufacturers. 

All featured merchandise are chosen on the discretion of the writer. Nonetheless, Vetstreet might make a small affiliate fee for those who click on by means of and make a purchase order.

Smalls Human-Grade Fresh

25% off + free treats for all times with code GPC5

One in every of our favourite contemporary cat meals is Smalls Human-Grade Recent. This protein-rich meals is available in three proteins (rooster, turkey, and beef) and two textures (clean and floor), making it straightforward to seek out an choice that works for even the pickiest cat. Their “Fowl” recipe options rooster thigh, breast, liver and coronary heart, their “Different Fowl” recipe has skin-on turkey thigh and rooster liver, and their “Cow” recipe incorporates lean floor beef, cow liver and coronary heart. These tasty proteins are complemented with veggies like inexperienced beans, peas, and kale or spinach. 

Smalls Human-Grade Recent cat meals doesn’t comprise meat byproducts or synthetic colours or flavors. It’s additionally freed from preservatives. Smalls makes a degree of solely utilizing USDA-certified, humanely harvested and sustainably sourced components. We additionally like that Smalls is a service that delivers cat meals straight to your door, so that you at all times have some readily available when your kitty is hungry. 


  • Meals delivered proper to your door
  • No synthetic colours or flavors
  • Freed from preservatives
  • Made within the USA
  • Formulated to fulfill dietary ranges established by AAFCO Cat Meals Nutrient Profiles for all life levels

Issues to Contemplate

  • Meals arrives frozen and may solely be thawed 24 hours earlier than you might be prepared to make use of it
  • Open moist meals should be saved within the fridge and solely retains for 5-7 days 
  • Solely obtainable by means of a subscription service

JustCats Fish & Chicken

JustCats Fish & Chicken cat food

JustCats Fish & Rooster contemporary meals is a low-carbohydrate, high-protein food regimen formulated for grownup cats of all breeds. It incorporates yuca root, which absorbs and retains moisture, which helps guarantee your cat is absolutely hydrated. It additionally contains rooster liver, which is wealthy in important vitamins. 

Additional, JustCats Fish & Rooster has no preservatives, grain, or gluten. JustCats can be touted as being good for cats with allergic reactions or delicate GI tracts. 


  • Excessive-protein system
  • Yucca root helps guarantee your cat stays hydrated
  • Grain- and gluten-free

Issues to Contemplate

  • Solely obtainable in a single taste
  • Bag will not be resealable, so you’ll need a separate storage container
  • Will should be saved within the fridge as soon as opened

Darwin’s Natural Selections

Darwin's natural selections cat food

Darwin’s Pure Alternatives gives full and balanced vitamin for cats. Comprising free-range, cage-free, or pasture-raised meats and natural greens, this uncooked meals is minimally processed to keep up very important vitamins and is crafted utilizing human-quality components. Additional, it incorporates no grains, fillers, hormones, or chemical preservatives. It’s obtainable in three proteins—rooster, turkey, and lamb—for cats that crave a bit of selection. 


  • Moral components
  • Excessive protein
  • No fillers
  • Contains veggies

Issues to Contemplate

  • Kittens shouldn’t eat uncooked meals
  • Has a really restricted shelf life and should be refrigerated

Freshpet Vital Cat Food

Freshpet Very important Cat Meals is one hundred pc pure, forgoing grains and meat meals. This rooster and beef paté is available in 1-pound rolls, permitting you to slice off a exact portion in your furry pal. Freshpet meals are present in a fridge, at Petco, PetSmart and different specialty places, and should stay refrigerated. They need to be used inside seven days of opening. 


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

Issues to Contemplate

  • Have to be refrigerated always
  • Meals should be portioned by the pet dad or mum

Raised Right

Raised Right Turkey Recipe cat food

Raised Proper has two human-grade cat meals recipes, one made with turkey and one made with rooster. The meals is flippantly cooked in a USDA-inspected facility with components that move the requirements mandatory for human consumption. Raised Proper’s meals was developed with the help of a veterinarian and pet meals formulation skilled. The recipes are low in carbohydrates and don’t comprise any high-carb fillers like potato, rice, oats, corn, or wheat. Raised Proper can even allow you to create a dietary plan in your pet based mostly on his or her exercise degree.


  • Low-carb meals
  • Meals incorporates vegetables and fruit for a balanced food regimen
  • Meals developed in partnership with a veterinarian and pet meals formulation skilled
  • Meals meets AAFCO Cat Meals Nutrient Profiles

Issues to Contemplate

  • Solely obtainable on-line by means of a subscription service
  • Meals arrives frozen and should be defrosted prior to make use of
  • As soon as defrosted, meals should be used inside six days

Recent Cat Meals: Ideas and Recommendation

Kitten eating from food bowl

If you happen to’re considering of adjusting your cat’s meals to one of many delectable choices above, there are some things it is best to consider. 

Many of the meals above are beneficial for grownup cats, not kittens. Kittens have completely different nutritional requirements. Moreover, uncooked meals will not be appropriate for kittens as a result of kittens are extra vulnerable to food-borne sickness than grownup cats. If you happen to’re switching your cat’s meals, know that transitioning needs to be a gradual course of, not a sudden change. Most consultants advocate spacing the transitions out over not less than per week, first introducing a little bit of the brand new meals to their previous meals earlier than progressively phasing the previous meals out (2). Altering meals with no transitional interval can provide your kitty an upset abdomen or different digestive points.

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