Freeze-Dried Cat Foods/Dehydrated Cat Foods – What is it???
More and more every day it seems there are new brands and varieties of cat foods hitting the market. It is often difficult for the typical cat owner to be able to decide which the best food options are when every company seems to have its own claim to producing the “BEST” product over the competition. Then you have so many different products even within one brand name I often find people confused and over-whelmed asking me what do I do??? Well let’s take a few minutes and un-ravel some of the mystery behind dehydrated cat food diets!
In the Freeze-Dried Cat Foods world you have two different options; there is dehydrated raw food known as “freeze dried raw;” or you have dehydrated cooked foods. Even though they are both manufactured through the process of removing the moisture in the food, the technique used for freeze drying and dehydrating does differ in several aspects.
The process used for making freeze dried cat foods consists of removing 95% of the moisture from food while the product is frozen. So, how’s it work? The raw food is placed into a vacuum chamber completely frozen, then by controlling the temperature and pressure, moisture is eliminated from the food through a process called sublimation. Sublimation occurs when a solid (ice) converts directly into water vapor, skipping the liquid phase completely, without any changes to the food. Freeze drying is a slow, gentle process that essentially “locks-in” the composition and structure of the food without any other changes.
So how does this differ from dehydration that is done in most foods that are sold in grocery and pet stores? While both methods remove moisture from a product, the level of heat used to remove this moisture is the main difference. Most dehydrated foods use high temperature in order to remove the moisture. The high heat used in that process can change the shape and composition of the product, thus the nutritional quality.
The process of freeze drying does not affect the composition, shape or nutritional value of the product. The level of heat used in freeze drying with the combination of the vacuum (low pressure) the product’s temperature never rises above freezing. This combination allows the ice molecules to convert directly into vapor; thus removing the moisture without any other changes to the food. Freeze drying allows the food to be preserved without applying the heat necessary for the evaporation process.
Although freeze dried raw foods are the less processed of the two options, the main thing to remember is that both products require water to be added back into the foods to assure adequate water intake since the moisture has been removed. Since water is such an essential component of the health and well-being of your cat. Be sure to read the instructions on any particular product you purchase and follow the correct re-hydration methods.
Another question I am often asked is freeze dried raw food safe? Freeze dried raw food products are said to be of greater safety margin than frozen raw food diets due to the low water content which is a great inhibitor of pathogens. Also some companies process the freeze dried raw foods using HPP – high pressure processing which is a technique which further ensures the elimination of harmful bacteria by the use of tremendous pressure equal to that found only at the greatest depths of the ocean. Also the low levels of moisture make storage and shipping efficient and environmentally friendly.
Well now let’s get to the part I know you all are waiting for… which freeze-dried foods and dehydrated foods do I recommend using??? All of the foods which made it onto this list are complete and balanced for either all stages of life or at least for adult cats. Also contain superior ingredients from good, trusted companies. Just review the photos in the slideshow below. (Use Ctrl + to enlarge your screen to read the chart more easily.)
Please note: This article has been provided for informational purposes only. If your pet is showing any signs of illness, please consult a veterinarian as quickly as possible. A raw food diet may not be appropriate for all cats in all stages of health and we always recommend having your cat examined and discussing diet changes with your veterinarian.
Keep those Hairless Kitties Healthy and Happy Everyone!!!
Text: Copyright © April Arguin RDH, Founder of LiLNudists Sphynx, Bambino, SphynxieBob, & BamBob Cattery. All rights reserved.