In the wild, cats eat whole animals raw -- and that's pretty much all they eat. Many pet owners, and some veterinarians, say it's best to feed your cat raw food to mimic that wild diet.
Feline's Pride Chicken Formula (Est. $30 for 5 lbs. and up) is one frozen raw cat food that gets good feedback, including a listing among the top-tier foods at the Natural Cat Care Blog. The food balances raw meat (chicken, in this flavor) with finely ground bone, organs (chicken liver, gizzard and heart), along with some organic egg yolk, psyllium powder and added vitamins and minerals to make a complete, balanced, everyday diet for your cat. The company says its foods are made from locally sourced, free-range, GMO-free whole meats and poultry.
Like many raw foods, Feline's Pride does not pressure-pasteurize its products to kill harmful germs. However, the company's website says that its products are manufactured under "world class clean kitchen standards" and samples are routinely lab tested. In 2010, Feline's Pride recalled some of its raw chicken cat food due to salmonella contamination. Two weeks after the first lots were recalled, neither Feline's Pride nor the Food and Drug Administration had received any reports of salmonella infection related to the food. A search of the FDA's online recall database shows no further recalls for Feline's Pride, and despite that recall, most consider Feline's Pride's safety record to be good. It's rather hard to find Feline's Pride, as there are few local retailers or distributors; the best bet is directly from the company.
The Honest Kitchen Grace (Est. $60 for a 4 lb. box) isn't frozen, and isn't quite raw either as the company steams its meats and fish to kill pathogens before dehydrating them. It's sold as dehydrated granules, which you mix with water to make a moist cat food. It costs less per feeding than many raw foods or premium canned or dry ones; a four-pound box will yield 12 pounds of food --enough to feed an 11 to 16 pound cat for between 21 and 32 days, The Honest Kitchen says.
This cat food is starchier than some raw foods, though, a factor that places it among the still excellent, but second tier choices at Natural Cat Care Blog. Turkey, eggs, pumpkin and potatoes lead the ingredient list, adding up to about 10 percent calories from carbs. The company also makes The Honest Kitchen Prowl (Est. $50 for a 4 lb. box), but it's even higher in carbohydrates.
The food's safety record is strong. The Honest Kitchen steams its ingredients to kill pathogens before dehydrating them. It also tests ingredients -- and each batch of finished food -- for germs like salmonella and E. coli. Still, in 2013, The Honest Kitchen recalled some lots of its dehydrated dog food -- but not its cat food -- after its parsley supplier recalled a shipment due to possible salmonella contamination. Although The Honest Kitchen didn't spot any traces of salmonella in its product testing, it recalled the food anyway. It also dropped that parsley supplier.
The Honest Kitchen uses only high-quality ingredients and has signed the Pledge to Quality and Origin at Susan Thixton's website, TruthAboutPetFood.com, disclosing every ingredient and its source. The biggest drawback is that not all cats are all that keen on the texture of the food -- and that's reflected in both expert comments and user feedback. If you want to try before making a larger purchase, 1 ounce samples at a nominal cost are available directly The Honest Kitchen web site.