Feeding your cat a diet made of the freshest food possible may be the healthiest option for them, but it’s a great deal of work for you. All that shopping and meal prepping can quickly take up all your free time, not to mention the possibility that you might accidentally omit important vitamins and nutrients.
You can eliminate the risk and hassle involved with cooking for your pet while still giving them elite nutrition by investing in a fresh food delivery service. These services will send you extremely healthy, professionally cooked food on a regular schedule — all you have to do is bring the box in off the porch.
There are several of these services out there, so how do you know which one is the best for your cat? In these reviews, we compare the leading options to give you a better idea of what to expect from each.
A Glance at Our Top Picks (2023 Update)
|Best Overall||Smalls Human-Grade Fresh Cat Food Subscription||
||Click to Save 33%|
|Best Value||JustCats Fish and Chicken Recipe||
|Cat Person Food Delivery Subscription||
|Best for Kittens||Raised Right Fresh Cat Food Delivery||
|Savage Cat Food Subscription||
The 8 Best Fresh Cat Food Delivery Services
1. Smalls Human-Grade Fresh Cat Food Subscription — Best Overall
Smalls offers extremely high-quality food that while not cheap, won’t break the bank either. As a result, it’s our pick for the best overall cat food delivery service.
It has more options than many similar services, and you can choose between fresh food or freeze-dried raw food, giving your cat options without forcing them to eat inferior chow. Regardless of which option you pick, you’ll get protein-packed food with zero fillers.
You’ll find quite a few flavor options on the site, and the introductory survey asks you what types of food your cat won’t eat. This ensures that you won’t pay for food that your kitty will turn up their nose at, but even if your cat doesn’t like what you order, there’s a money-back guarantee.
Their site has other goodies for sale too, including its own litter and several toys. It makes for a one-stop shopping extravaganza — but also for a frustrating checkout experience, as it’ll force you to wade through several upsell offers before you can check out.
That’s a small price to pay for food this high-quality, though — and not paying bloated prices for fresh cat food sounds very good indeed.
2. JustCats Fresh Cat Food Subscription — Best Value
While a brand called “JustFoodForDogs” might seem an odd choice for a list about best cat foods, this canine-focused site also offers a recipe just for cats, and it’s both outstanding and affordable.
All the foods are crafted by hand in kitchens that are open to the public, so if you’re in the neighborhood, you can stop by and see exactly how your cat’s chow is made. This shows the company’s dedication to quality and openness, as it clearly has nothing to hide when it comes to its process.
Its cat recipe includes both fish and chicken, which allows it to appeal to most cats, and it’s both grain- and gluten-free. The company also offers natural salmon treats that are a wonderful alternative to the junk that you’ll find in most pet stores.
While all that sounds good to us, it may not sound good to you. If you’re not down with feeding your cat such a diet, you’ll have to look elsewhere, as this is the only option that you’ll find here.
Don’t let the name fool you — JustFoodForDogs also happens to be the best fresh cat food delivery service for the money that you’ll find anywhere.
3. Cat Person Food Delivery Subscription
Unlike many of the other subscription services out there, which tend to be quite specialized, Cat Person has a wonderful variety, including wet food, dry kibble, and more.
It’s quite easy to customize your meal plan, so if you like mixing your wet food with the dry stuff, you can order a pack that enables you to do that without driving up the price. There are also starter packs, so you can test-drive the service without spending a fortune in the process.
Their foods are available à la carte too, so if you don’t like the idea of signing up for a recurring service, you don’t have to. That option can come in especially handy because they only deliver once a month, so if you misjudge your food needs, you might have to scramble to figure out another way to feed your cat.
The initial survey that you must fill out is quite extensive, so expect to devote a bit of time to it. It’s a pressure-free experience, though, and if you don’t know the answer to something, the site won’t make you feel like a negligent monster.
While that thoroughness is appreciated, it also makes it hard to find exactly what you’re looking for if you came to the site with something specific in mind.
All in all, Cat Person is an excellent service, especially if you want to feed dry kibble to your cat.
4. Raised Right Fresh Cat Food Delivery — Best for Kittens
As the name implies, Raised Right is the best option for getting your brand-new kitten started off on the right paw.
The recipes use a limited-ingredient formula, so your kitty’s developing digestive tract won’t be overwhelmed (and neither will their litter box). Every batch of their food is also tested in a lab to ensure that it’s pathogen-free, enabling your new cat to focus their energy on physically maturing rather than fighting off diseases.
The company cooks its food slowly at low temperatures, which keeps the nutrients locked into the food rather than enabling them to leach out during the cooking process. This also prevents the moisture from evaporating, making it less likely that your cat will suffer from dehydration.
This food is kind of a hassle, though. It has to be kept frozen, so you’ll have to sacrifice room in your freezer to your cat, and you’ll need to defrost it overnight. That means that if you forget, you’ll have to scramble to find an alternative (or deal with a hungry kitty).
Raised Right isn’t just for kittens — your adult cats will do well on it too. However, if you’re looking to make sure your young cat is raised right, you can’t go wrong with this food.
5. Savage Cat Food Subscription
Savage Cat Food gets its name from the fact that it’s a raw diet, so it harkens back to the days when your cat would stalk live prey before savagely dispatching them.
There are three options when it comes to prey here: chicken, rabbit, and duck. Each recipe is available in both diced and pâté textures, and you don’t need a subscription plan to buy this food.
Speaking of savagery, this company’s treats have to be seen to be believed. It offers treats like quail — not quail bits or strips, but a whole bird, feathers and all. Your cat will feel like the king of the jungle when you toss that in front of them (you might feel a bit squeamish, though).
As you might expect, given its focus on the natural feline diet, the company’s foods include things like organ meats, bones, and natural oils. This gives the food an incredibly well-rounded nutritional profile — and makes it incredibly expensive.
All those raw ingredients also mean you need to be careful not to let it sit out too long, as you don’t want that meat to spoil. As long as you keep it frozen until ready to serve, you should be fine, but don’t push it.
If you’re tempted to start experimenting with a raw food diet, Savage Cat Food is definitely the way to do it. Just know that it will be equally savage on your wallet.
6. Darwin’s Cat Food Subscription
Given that it takes its name from the father of natural selection himself, it makes sense that Darwin’s Natural Pet Products would focus on the foods that your cat would eat if left to their own devices in the wild.
Its meats are pasture-raised and cage-free, so you can feed your cat a high-quality diet without compromising your morals. The veggies are organic too.
Unlike most similar services, which just have surveys that you fill out before they assign a diet to you, Darwin’s offers a free consultation with one of its specialists. This enables you to formulate the perfect diet for your cat instead of getting a cookie-cutter solution.
One issue that we have with this food is that it doesn’t include additional taurine for heart health. To be fair, there’s a large amount of taurine (and other important amino acids) in all the organ meat that’s included, but we’d prefer not to take any chances with such a vital nutrient.
Its recipes are also high in phosphorous, making them poor choices for cats with kidney issues. The company has also been the subject of several recalls (although never for their cat food).
Darwin’s Natural Pet Products is a top-notch raw food option, but it may not be ideal for all cats.
7. Raw Paws Pet Food Subscription for Cats
Raw Paws offers both fresh and freeze-dried foods, and its selection is truly impressive. In addition to foods for both dogs and cats, there are nutritional supplements and all sorts of treats, including chew sticks for cats.
Most of its food will probably sound disgusting to you (tripe is a popular ingredient), but your cat will love them. The fresh food comes in large rolls or patties; this enables you to easily customize how much you feed your kitty, but it also means more work during the prep process.
You can also get a grain-free salmon kibble if you want to mix something in with the raw food.
All of this company’s products are labeled as being for both dogs and cats, so it’s unlikely that the meals are fine-tuned for a cat’s diet. Indeed, they have quite a bit of plant matter in them. That’s not a huge issue, but we’d always prefer more meat in a cat food.
Despite all those veggies, we’d prefer to see more fiber in here too (most recipes hover around 3%).
Raw Paws is a great option if you want plenty of raw food options, but you may be able to find better products elsewhere.
8. FreshPet Cat Food Delivery Service
Fresh Pet is a company that many cat owners rely on because they vow to never use powders, preservatives, additives, or meat meals. Their recipes use clean ingredients, and they follow all USDA regulations for proper handling. Their foods are cooked at lower temperatures to preserve the nutrition in the ingredients as well. They are a little on the expensive side, but you can save yourself some money on shipping by picking up their foods at local retail stores as well.
Buyer’s Guide: Selecting the Best Cat Food Delivery Service
Fresh food delivery services are a relatively new innovation in the world of pet food, so if you’re used to opening cans and ripping open bags of kibble, you might not know what to expect from them.
Here, we go over the biggest questions that people have when considering these services, so you can sign up with confidence.
Why Do I Need a Fresh Food Delivery Service?
These services are aimed at people who want to feed their cats the healthiest diet possible and don’t mind paying more money to do it.
These services make it easy to feed your cat a raw or fresh food diet, as they bring the expertly crafted food to you rather than forcing you to do all the cooking yourself. They’ll regularly drop off shipments full of delicious and nutritious food, saving you from having to shop or prepare your cat’s meals.
This makes it just as easy to feed your cat a quality diet as it does to serve them overly-processed junk from the pet store, so you can keep your cat healthy without taking up all your free time.
Are There Any Downsides to Using a Fresh Food Delivery Service?
Yes, there are a few. The biggest, of course, is the expense. Feeding your cat a fresh or raw diet is considerably more expensive than buying a 25-pound sack of kibble at the grocery store. If you don’t believe that these services are truly better for your cat’s health, it’s hard to justify the added cost.
Most of these foods also need to be kept refrigerated or frozen. That means you’ll have to sacrifice real estate in your fridge to your cat’s meals; it also means that the food can go bad if you accidentally leave it out too long.
Many of these services are fairly locked-in as far as what they offer, so don’t expect as much variety as you’re used to with commercial foods. A particular service may only offer one or two recipes, so many are take-it-or-leave-it propositions.
Is Fresh Food Really Better for Cats than Kibble or Canned Food?
There are so many foods out there that it’s impossible to give a blanket answer to this question. However, we can safely say that the fresh foods offered by the services on this list are better for your cat than most of the kibbles and canned foods that you’ll see in big box stores and chain pet outlets.
They’re also likely to be better for your cat than a homemade diet would be. Many people who try to make their own cat food at home end up leaving out important nutrients and can actually make their cats less healthy as a result.
The foods from these services have all been designed by experts, so you can be certain that they have all the vitamins and minerals that your cat needs to stay strong and healthy.
But are raw and fresh foods really the best possible way to feed your cat? As far as the scientific community is concerned, the jury is still out, but thousands of devoted pet owners swear by these diets.
It’s up to you; fortunately, many services have 30-day, risk-free guarantees, so if you (or your cat) don’t like what you get, you can get your money back.
What’s the Difference Between Fresh and Raw Food?
Fresh food uses fresh (usually human-grade) ingredients; it’s like the difference between buying produce at your local farmer’s market versus buying a bag of veggies at the grocery store.
These foods are carefully cooked so as not to lose too many nutrients during the prep process. In their final form, they’ll often actually look like food — you can see the meat and veggies, rather than a homogenous glob of food paste.
Raw food, on the other hand, is just that — food that hasn’t been cooked at all. For cats, this basically means it’s a big platter of raw meat.
The idea behind a raw food diet is that it mimics a cat’s natural eating habits. In the wild, cats kill and eat their prey raw, and you’ll rarely see a feral cat striking up a grill to prepare the pigeon that they just caught.
So, is a raw or fresh diet better? Again, the jury is out, but we will say that a fresh food diet involves dealing with less disgusting meat (and reduces the risk of foodborne illnesses in owners).
What Should I Look For in a Fresh Cat Food Delivery Service?
Many of these services are quite similar, so there aren’t any life-and-death differences to be aware of. Choosing one can largely come down to matters of personal preference.
The biggest thing to look for is whether they offer a food that you like. Some have more options than others, and some have more nutritious foods than others. Do your research to find out what you’d like to feed your cat, then try to track down a service that can accommodate your desires.
Expense is another important consideration. There’s no getting around it: These services cost a great deal of money. However, some cost an arm and a leg, while others will only require a few fingers and toes. Is the expense worth it? That’s up to you to decide.
Check the delivery times too. Some will send you new food every 2 weeks, while others ship boxes every month. We generally prefer more shipments to fewer, as this ensures the freshest food possible while also taking up less space in your fridge or freezer.
Are These Services Good for Cats With Medical Issues?
If your cat has been diagnosed with an illness and requires prescription food, you should serve them that food — not food from a delivery service. Stick with what your vet recommends.
These are not prescription foods, and they’re not designed to treat any illnesses.
However, proponents of these diets would argue that they can help prevent many diseases by giving your cat the best nutrition possible. The scientific evidence behind this assertion is light, but there’s plenty of anecdotal evidence out there from happy owners, so do your research and come to your own conclusions.
Do know that some of these diets may be bad for pets with certain illnesses. For example, many fresh and raw foods are high in phosphorous, and phosphorous can be bad for cats with kidney disease.
If your cat has medical problems, talk to your vet and follow their recommendations.
In our opinion, Smalls is the best fresh cat food delivery service out there today, as it has a great selection at reasonable prices. If you want the least expensive option, though (without sacrificing quality), the misleadingly-named JustFoodForDogs would be the pick.
While these two services stood out from the pack, every single option on this reviews list offers incredible food that your kitty is sure to love, and you can’t go wrong with any of them.
Switching your cat to a fresh food diet is likely to be one of the best decisions that you ever make for your pet — which is something that you’ll have to keep reminding yourself of every time they charge your credit card.
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Featured Image Credit: sophiecat, Shutterstock