Julia Ogden

Written by Julia Ogden

Georgia Jeremiah

Reviewed by Georgia Jeremiah

Updated: November 9, 2023

FreshPet Vital Fresh Cat Food Review

Updated: November 9, 2023

Our Verdict

star
star
star
star
star

Recommended

FreshPet Vital fresh cat food receives the Cat Food Advisor rating, 4.5 stars.

FreshPet Vital is made from fresh, locally sourced food that is gently cooked and full of essential nutrients.

Pros
  • 100% farm-raised poultry, beef and fish
  • Garden fruits and vegetables
  • Eco-friendly
Cons
  • Expensive
  • Some controversial ingredients

Each recipe includes its AAFCO nutrient profile: Growth (kitten), Maintenance (adult), All Life Stages, Supplemental or Unspecified

The FreshPet Vital product line includes two recipes.

Product line Rating AAFCO
Grain-Free Chicken Recipe 4.5 A
Grain-Free Chicken & Beef 4.5 A

Save up to 35%

with Autoship
See discount in cart

Recipe and Label Analysis

FreshPet Vital Grain-Free Chicken Recipe for Cats was selected to represent the other products in the line for a detailed recipe and nutrient analysis.

Label and nutrient data below are calculated using dry matter basis.

FreshPet Vital Grain Free Chicken Recipe for Cats

Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content

48.6%

Protein

31.4%

Fat

12%

CarbsCarbohydrates

Chicken, chicken liver, natural flavors, pea protein, eggs, carrots, pea fiber, vinegar, spinach, salt, beta-carotene, fish oil, taurine, celery powder, choline chloride, vitamin E supplement, niacin, thiamine mononitrate, calcium pantothenate, riboflavin, pyridoxine hydrochloride, biotin, vitamin B12 supplement, vitamin D3 supplement, folic acid, dicalcium phosphate, potassium chloride, calcium carbonate, iron proteinate, zinc proteinate, manganese proteinate, copper proteinate, sodium selenite, calcium iodate


Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 1.5%

Red denotes any controversial items

Ingredients Analysis

The first ingredient is chicken. Chicken is considered “the clean combination of flesh and skin… derived from the parts or whole carcasses of chicken”.1.

Chicken is naturally rich in the 11 essential amino acids required by a cat to sustain life.

The second ingredient is chicken liver. This is an organ meat sourced from a named animal and thus considered a beneficial component.

The third ingredient is natural flavors. Unfortunately, this doesn’t give us much information about the particular ingredients included in this cat food for flavoring purposes.

We’re pleased that the flavorings used are natural, but more details are required to give any further information about these. Flavorings are used to make the foods more appealing and tasty for our cats.

The fourth ingredient is pea protein, what remains of a pea after removing the starchy part of the vegetable.

Even though it contains over 80% protein, this ingredient would be expected to have a lower biological value than meat.

And less costly plant-based products like this can notably boost the total protein reported on the label — a factor that must be considered when judging the meat content of this cat food.

The fifth ingredient is whole eggs. Eggs are easy to digest and have an exceptionally high biological value.

The sixth ingredient is carrot. Carrots are rich in beta-carotene, minerals and dietary fiber.

The seventh ingredient is pea fiber, a mixture of both soluble and insoluble dietary fiber derived from pea hulls. Aside from the usual benefits of fiber, this agricultural by-product provides no other nutritional value to a cat.

The eighth ingredient is vinegar. Vinegar is assumed to be used here to adjust the pH of this recipe which can be related to palatability in cats.

From here the list goes on to include a number of other items. But to be realistic, ingredients located this far down the list (other than nutritional supplements) are not likely to affect the overall rating of the product.

However this recipe contains sodium selenite, a controversial form of the mineral selenium. Sodium selenite appears to be nutritionally inferior to the more natural source of selenium found in selenium yeast.

This recipe receives a 4.5-star rating.

Save up to 35%

with Autoship
See discount in cart

Nutrient Analysis

Based on its ingredients alone, FreshPet Vital Grain Free Chicken Recipe for Cats looks like an above-average fresh product.

The dashboard displays a dry matter protein reading of 48.6%, a fat level of 31.4% and an estimated carbohydrate level of 12%, alongside a fat-to-protein ratio of 65%.

As a group, the brand features an average protein content of 47% and a mean fat level of 31.6%. Together these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 13.4% for the overall product line, alongside a fat-to-protein ratio of 67%.

This means the FreshPet Vital product line contains above-average protein, below-average carbs and above-average fat when compared to typical fresh cat food.

Final Word

FreshPet Vital is a quality product packed with locally sourced fresh ingredients and preservative free.

Has FreshPet cat food been recalled in the past?

Yes, there was a single voluntary recall in 2022 due to potential contamination with salmonella. The product was ‘kitchen home cooked chicken recipe’. The full details can be found on our recall page.

You can view a complete list of all cat food recalls since 2021 here.

To stay on top of any cat food product recalls, sign up for our free email alerts, here.

About

FreshPet was founded in Secaucus, New Jersey, in 2006 by Scott Morris, John Phelps and Cathal Walsh. It opened a factory in Quakertown, Pennsylvania, in 2006 and another in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, in 2013. 

Sources

1: Association of American Feed Control Officials

We uphold the highest editorial standards when creating the authoritative content pet parents rely on and trust.

Every piece of clinical content on the Cat Food Advisor is reviewed by our certified Veterinary Advisory Board, which consists of licensed veterinarians and medically certified specialists.

Our reviews are completely independent; we are not paid by any pet food company to promote their products favorably. We do not accept money, gifts, samples or other incentives in exchange for special consideration. For more information see our Disclaimer & Disclosure page.

Vet with cat