Benefits of Freeze-Dried Cat Food
As you have already learned, one of the most significant benefits of freeze-dried cat food is the fact that it still contains much of the original nutritional integrity for the fresh ingredients. The product is flash-frozen and then dehydrated rather than being cooked, so important nutrients like vitamins, minerals, and enzymes are not destroyed. This is very important because natural sources for vitamins and minerals are infinitely more biologically valuable for your cat than dietary supplements. This is why mineral supplements in dried cat foods are frequently bound to protein molecules – to make them easier for your cat’s body to digest and absorb. These minerals are called chelated minerals and while they are easier for your cat to absorb than non-chelated minerals, natural sources for these minerals are even more biologically valuable.
Another benefit of freeze-dried cat food which is closely related to the first benefit is the natural flavor. Because the ingredients are not subjected to high temperatures, they are not broken down and they retain most of their natural flavor. The artificial additives in many traditional kibbles that give it its flavor, color, and texture often come from chemicals that have been linked to negative side effects in pets. One thing you need to be aware of with freeze-dried cat food is that it does generally need to be rehydrated before you feed it to your cat. Once rehydrated, however, the food has a very palatable texture and a natural flavor that even the pickiest of cats tend to enjoy.
Though most of the benefits of freeze-dried cat food apply to your cat, there are some benefits for you as well! For example, because the food has been freeze-dried it does not need to be refrigerated or frozen – it has a similar shelf-life to traditional dry cat food. You also have peace of mind in knowing that the product is free from artificial preservatives (because they simply aren’t needed). You may also notice that after switching to a freeze-dried diet your cat’s stools become firmer and more compact – this makes it easier for you to scoop them up!
Feeding Tips for Freeze-Dried Cat Food
As you should now be able to tell, the benefits of freeze-dried cat food greatly outweigh the drawbacks. Still, it is entirely your decision which type of cat food you choose for your cat. Before deciding if freeze-dried cat food is the best option for your cat you have a few more things to consider. For one thing, it may take some time for you to transition your cat onto a freeze-dried diet from traditional kibble. As you may already know, making sudden changes to your cat’s diet can cause digestive upset and some cats are pickier than others which may delay the process. It is recommended that you take at least one week to transition your cat onto freeze-dried cat food, mixing some of the new food in with the old food to give his digestive system time to adjust.
Another thing you need to be aware of with freeze-dried cat food is that the portion sizes may be different than what you are used to with traditional kibble. In general, you will need to calculate your cat’s daily portion for freeze-dried food based on his weight. In order to maintain your cat’s current weight you should feed him about 2% to 2.5% of his current body weight. If your cat needs to lose weight, a percentage around 1.5% is best and if your cat needs to gain weight, bump it up to 3% or 3.5%. Keep in mind that this weight is based on the rehydrated weight for the freeze-dried product of your choice and you should read the feeding instructions on the package to make sure you are feeding your cat the right amount. Keep an eye on your cat’s weight for two to three weeks and then make adjustments to his daily portion, if needed.
Should I buy a Home Freeze Dryer?
With all the pet food health scares, many pet owners are turning to homemade pet food and treats. Done right, these home-cooked meals are far healthier than commercial food. If you’ve got a freeze drier, you can make healthy recipes for your cat and easily freeze dry it in individual or daily portions.