In the wild, cats eat whole animals raw -- and that's pretty much all they eat. More and more pet owners, and some veterinarians, say it's best to feed your cat raw food to mimic that wild diet.
Nature's Logic Canine and Feline Frozen Food -- Chicken (Est. $18 for a 3-lb. bag) is as close to wild as you can get, reviews say. It uses USDA-approved meats, organs and eggs (the same stuff humans eat), with tiny amounts of fruits and veggies for natural vitamins and minerals. It's all ground up and shaped into easy-to-serve frozen patties.
It seems expensive -- but without any unnecessary carb fillers, a little Nature's Logic raw food goes a long way. At about $2 per day for the average cat, the frozen chicken food actually costs less per feeding than a premium canned food like Halo Spot's Stew Wholesome Chicken Recipe (Est. $1.60 for a 5.5-oz. can) . Nature's Logic frozen beef food costs just $1 more per bag, but the frozen rabbit variety costs $7 more per bag than the chicken.
Unlike some competitors, Nature's Logic doesn't pressure-pasteurize its raw food. The company says that would kill good bacteria along with the bad. The American Veterinary Medical Association discourages feeding pets raw animal protein that's not pasteurized or otherwise treated to kill bacteria, but some vets say this isn't a problem: Veterinarian Lisa Pierson (who makes her own homemade raw food for her cats) recommends Nature's Logic as one of her favorite commercial raw foods.
Runner-up The Honest Kitchen Grace (Est. $29 for a 2-lb. box -- makes 6 lbs. of food) isn't frozen. It's sold as dehydrated granules, which you mix with water to make a moist cat food. It costs less per feeding than Nature's Logic raw: about 90 cents to $1.80 per day for the average cat, The Honest Kitchen says.
It's starchier than Nature's Logic, though. Turkey, eggs, pumpkin and potatoes lead the ingredient list, adding up to about 10 percent calories from carbs -- acceptable, Pierson says. However, she doesn't recommend the Prowl flavor (chicken, eggs, potatoes, sweet potatoes), at 20 percent calories from carbs.
It's not quite raw, either. The Honest Kitchen steams its meats and fish 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 of its dehydrated dog food (no cat food) after one of its suppliers recalled a shipment of parsley for possible salmonella, even though no salmonella was found in the dog food. The Honest Kitchen dropped the supplier and now steams its greens, too.
Like Nature's Logic, The Honest Kitchen uses only high-quality ingredients. Both are made in U.S. human food factories, and both have signed the Pledge to Quality and Origin at Susan Thixton's website, TruthAboutPetFood.com, disclosing every ingredient and its source. Only 18 pet food companies have done so.