Freshpet Cat Food Review 2021: Recalls, Pros & Cons


Review Summary

Our Final Verdict

We give Freshpet pet food a rating of 4.8 out of 5 stars.

Introduction

Freshpet is a dog and cat food brand that, back in 2006, was one of the first companies to make a move towards fresher (some would argue more “real”) foods for our beloved pets. As a company, they strive to source ingredients responsibly and be as transparent as possible with their processes.

To bring your cat the freshest and best food possible, they source all their chicken and beef from US farms and steam-cook their foods with no artificial preservatives. This means that Freshpet cat food needs to be kept in the fridge.

Not only does feeding your cat fresh food seem like common sense, it’s been proven to help cats look and feel healthier. Cats who eat fresh food (like from Freshpet) can have shinier coats, better weight, healthier digestion and more energy.

For the cat mom or dad who wants to offer real food to their cat instead of processed kibble, whether it’s due to digestion issues or personal preference, you can give Freshpet a try. It gets our stamp of approval. Read more to find out why.

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At a Glance: The Best Freshpet Cat Food Recipes:


Freshpet Cat Food Reviewed

Who makes Freshpet and where is it produced?

Freshpet cat food is made by the company’s employees at their kitchens in Bethlehem, PA. It is then vacuum sealed and sent to grocery stores and pet specialty stores across the country.

Which Types of Cat is Freshpet Best Suited For?

Let’s be honest, who doesn’t benefit from farm-fresh food? All cats can eat Freshpet cat food. Cats who have a history of turning their nose up at certain foods, allergies, or tummy troubles will ultimately benefit most from Freshpet.


Discussion of the Primary Ingredients (Good and bad)

Here are a list of the ingredients commonly found in Freshpet food for cats:

Chicken, Beef, Chicken Liver, Chicken Broth, Natural Flavors, Pea Protein, Eggs, Carrots, Pea Fiber, Tapioca Starch, Vinegar, Spinach, Salt, Beta-Carotene, Carrageenan, Fish Oil, Taurine, Celery Powder, Salt, Potassium Chloride

Let’s break down a few of the ingredients that stick out to us, good and bad.

The Proteins

The meat and eggs are simple and straightforward, and never in powder form. They all come from farms based in the US.

The Veggies

Also grown locally, the vegetables are also all real. Nothing from concentrate here. The veggies present in Freshpet food provide cats with the vitamins and minerals they need to thrive.

Fish Oil

This is a great additive to your cat’s food to increase his levels of omega-3 fatty acids. Do keep in mind that some cats are allergic to fish oil, and it may upset your cat’s stomach. There are options for fish oil-free Freshpet cat food as well.

Salt

The salt found in Freshpet cat food is shockingly high, up to 10 times the amount of daily recommended sodium for cats. This factor deters some cat owners from buying Freshpet. However, experts say that increased sodium intake has not shown any significant negative effects on cats.

In fact, the food is really salty so your cat will be encouraged to drink more water, preventing potential urinary problems. The salt also serves to naturally preserve the food.

Carrageenan

An ingredient used to thicken food, carrageenan has gotten a bad rap since the Cornucopia Institute issued a critical report about it in 2013. Though touted as a “natural” ingredient, the report cites that the ingredient produces gastrointestinal issues when used in animal studies. Let’s be honest: it’s slightly concerning that Freshpet has put carrageenan in some of their products.

Potassium Chloride

This is an added nutrient for your cat, believe it or not. Cats and dogs both can commonly have a deficiency in potassium in their blood. Putting potassium chloride in their food can help keep them at healthy potassium levels.

Freshpet Must Be Refrigerated

As with any fresh food, Freshpet must always be refrigerated. After cooking the food, they preserve the freshness by vacuum-sealing it and keeping it cool. After opening up your cat’s Freshpet food, you can keep it in the refrigerator for up to 7 days.

Small Packaging

Each of the Freshpet food packages for cats only contains about 3 meals per package. While this may seem very inconvenient compared to the giant bags of kibble you can purchase once every few months, it makes sense that super-fresh food needs to come in small packages. Otherwise, you might not use the whole package in time before it goes bad.

Cost

In this case, fresh, already prepared food for your cat does come with a price. Freshpet cat food is more expensive than the leading brands of dry cat food by weight. However, it fares well compared to other fresh cat food brands, and is one of the cheaper options out there for fresh pet food.

No Online or Delivery Options

It seems like you used to be able to find this food online for delivery, but not anymore. The Freshpet website has an online tool where you can enter your location to find Freshpet food sold in a store near you. Order online for in-store pickup, or you can sometimes get it through grocery delivery services like Instacart.

A Quick Look at Freshpet Cat Food

Pros

  • Healthy, nutritious cat food
  • Good for cats with dietary issues
  • Cats who are picky might prefer Freshpet
  • Locally sourced ingredients
  • Slice-and-serve options
  • Less expensive than other fresh pet food brands
  • Never been recalled

Cons

  • More expensive than dry cat food
  • Can go bad quickly
  • Small packages mean you have to buy often
  • Some recipes contain carrageenan
  • No direct delivery options from Chewy, Amazon, or their website

Recall History

None of Freshpet’s food has ever been officially recalled. However, that doesn’t mean they haven’t been close to a recall. Several years ago, there was a social media uproar about Freshpet food being bad right out of the package.

Moldy Experiences

Back in 2015, Freshpet food had several customers complain about mold on their food, even before opening the package. Freshpet investigated the issue and seemingly solved the problem, as there have been no reports of food going bad since then. It’s something to keep in mind, though.

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Reviews of the 3 Best Freshpet Cat Food Recipes

1. Freshpet® Select Tender Chicken Recipe for Cats

Freshpet® Select Tender Chicken Recipe for Cats

A Freshpet bestseller, the Select Tender Chicken recipe offers a well-rounded and nutritional diet for your cat. With three sources of protein and a line of fiber-rich vegetables, your cat is guaranteed to feel full after each meal. It comes in either a 1-pound or 2-pound bag, giving you the option to buy a little just to try out, or a lot when your cat really loves it.

This recipe starts out with fresh chicken, chicken livers and eggs, all from quality sources. What’s not in it is even better; no sign of any artificial ingredients or fillers. Freshpet Select Tender Chicken Recipe has more protein, less carbs, and an average amount of fiber compared to other cat foods. If your cat has food allergies, steer clear of this recipe: eggs and fish oil are present.

Pros

  • 1- and 2-pound packaging options
  • High protein
  • No artificial ingredients or fillers
  • Great, balanced formula
  • Grain-free

Cons

  • Not suitable for cats with egg or fish allergies
  • Might be too high in fat for your cat

2. Freshpet® Select Tender Chicken & Beef Recipe for Cats

Freshpet® Select Tender Chicken & Beef Recipe for Cats

This Freshpet recipe is almost exactly the same as the previous recipe reviewed, with the exception of added beef and ocean whitefish. This could be a great selection for growing kittens, who need lots of protein and fat when first starting out.

Again, Freshpet puts no artificial ingredients or fillers in this recipe. There are no grains, which can cause tummy troubles or excess weight gain in some cats.

Watch out for potential allergic reactions from the beef, fish or eggs. Also, this line only comes in a 1-pound bag, which could be annoying for repeat buyers.

Pros

  • High protein
  • Veggies for fiber
  • Low in carbs
  • No artificial ingredients or fillers
  • Grain-free

Cons

  • Not suitable for cats with egg, beef or fish allergies
  • Might be too high in fat for your cat
  • Available in 1-pound bag only

3. Vital® Grain Free Chicken & Beef Recipe for Cats

Vital® Grain Free Chicken & Beef Recipe for Cats

This Vital recipe is one of Freshpet’s paté-style rolls you can slice up and serve to your cat. It’s grain free and non-gmo certified. The rolls are 1 pound each and can last for about 3 or 4 meals, depending on the stage of life and weight of your cat. You can dice it up or mash it, whatever your cat prefers.

The meat and eggs, as usual, are totally natural and sourced locally. If you are looking for a lower plant-based diet, this roll does not contain as many vegetable ingredients as Freshpet’s other recipes.

Vital Grain Free Chicken & Beef recipe trades some protein for fat compared to their other recipes; they contain the average amount of protein and significantly more fat compared to other cat foods. It’s also worthy to note that this recipe contains carrageenan and tapioca flour, which are considered questionable ingredients for cats. Do your research and ask your vet if these ingredients are okay for your cat to consume.

Pros

  • Moisture-rich food
  • Almost entirely meat-based
  • For all stages of a cat’s life
  • Non-GMO
  • Grain-free

Cons

  • Lots of fat
  • Carrageenan and tapioca flour added

What Other Users are Saying

  • All About Cats – “Freshpet cat food is typically lower in carbohydrates and plant ingredients than the average dry food and many canned products. Most of their recipes, particularly those in the Vital™ line, are rich in the animal ingredients cats crave.”
  • Cat Food DB – “Freshpet [is] a significantly above average overall cat food brand when compared to all the other brands in our database.”
  • Amazon – As pet owners, we always double-check with Amazon reviews from buyers before we buy something. You can read these by clicking here.

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Conclusion

Freshpet is a veteran in the fresh pet food game. That means they have a wealth of knowledge on the subject and are continually refining their formulas to give you the best and most cost-effective food for your cat. Some ingredients and practices might be questionable, like how they add carrageenan to some of their food and they had a moldy food scare in the past, nearly missing a product recall. Weigh out the pros and cons, and most importantly, talk to your vet about what food is best for your feline. We hope you find the perfect recipe for your beloved kitty!





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