Julia Ogden

Written by Julia Ogden

Georgia Jeremiah

Reviewed by Georgia Jeremiah

Updated: June 4, 2024

Instinct (Freeze-Dried Raw) Review

Updated: June 4, 2024

Our Verdict


Highly Recommended

Instinct Raw Freeze-Dried cat food is made up of eight foods which all receive the Cat Food Advisor highest rating, 5 stars.

This range is made with real meat and a selection of vegetables and fruits to provide key nutrients to your cat. There are also customized recipes for kittens, adult cats and senior cats.

  • Contains good quality animal protein
  • Many natural ingredients included
  • Freeze-dried means no high temperature processing
  • A good range that caters for all cat life stages
  • Relatively expensive

The table below shows each recipe in the range including our rating and the AAFCO nutrient profile: Growth (kitten), Maintenance (adult), All Life Stages, Supplemental or Unspecified.

Product line Rating AAFCO
Raw Longevity 100% Freeze-Dried Cage-Free Chicken Recipe for Kittens 5 G
Raw Longevity 100% Freeze-Dried Grass-Fed Beef & Wild-Caught Cod Recipe 5 M
Raw Longevity 100% Freeze-Dried Cage-Free Chicken Recipe 5 M
Raw Longevity 100% Freeze-Dried Farm-Raised Rabbit Recipe 5 M
Raw Longevity 100% Freeze-Dried Grass-Fed Beef Recipe for Adults 7+ 5 M
Instinct Raw Freeze-Dried Meals, Cage-Free Chicken Recipe for Kittens 5 G
Instinct Raw Freeze-Dried Meals, Cage-Free Chicken Recipe 5 M
Instinct Raw Freeze-Dried Meals, Wild-Caught Alaskan Pollock Recipe 5 M

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Recipe and Label Analysis

Instinct Raw Longevity 100% Freeze-Dried Cage-Free Chicken Recipe 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.

Raw Longevity 100% Freeze-Dried Cage-Free Chicken Recipe

Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content







Chicken (including ground chicken bone), chicken liver, chicken heart, ground flaxseed, fish oil, montmorillonite clay, vitamins (vitamin E supplement, thiamine mononitrate, vitamin D3 supplement), ground miscanthus grass, apples, carrots, potassium chloride, yellow squash, yeast culture, salt, tricalcium phosphate, spinach, blueberries, cranberries, taurine, minerals (zinc proteinate, copper proteinate, manganese proteinate, calcium iodate), choline chloride, mixed tocopherols (for freshness), rosemary extract, dried bacillus coagulans fermentation product

Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 3%

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 ground bone is an excellent source of natural calcium.

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

The third ingredient is chicken heart. Although it doesn’t sound very appetizing, heart tissue is pure muscle — all meat.  It’s naturally rich in quality protein, minerals and complex B vitamins, too.

The fourth ingredient is ground flaxseed, one of the best plant sources of healthy omega-3 fatty acids. Provided they’ve first been ground into a meal, flax seeds are also rich in soluble fiber.

However, flaxseed contains about 19% protein, a factor that must be considered when judging the actual meat content of this cat food.

The fifth ingredient is fish oil.  Fish oil is naturally rich in the prized EPA and DHA type of omega-3 fatty acids. These two high quality fats boast the highest bio-availability to cats and humans. 

Depending on its level of freshness and purity, fish oil should be considered a commendable addition.

The sixth ingredient is montmorillonite clay, a naturally occurring compound rich in many trace minerals. Montmorillonite has been approved for use in USDA Organic Certified products.

Reported benefits include the binding of certain mold-based toxins and even controlling diarrhea and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).

The seventh ingredient is vitamins.  We find only a few added vitamins or minerals detailed on the ingredients list. We must assume many of these essential nutrients are provided by the food ingredients in the recipe.

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, we note the inclusion of dried fermentation products in this recipe. Fermentation products are typically added as probiotics to aid with digestion.

Recipe star rating 5

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Nutrient Analysis

Based on its ingredients alone, Instinct Raw Longevity 100% Freeze-Dried Cage-Free Chicken Recipe looks like an above-average dry (freeze-dried raw) product.

The dashboard displays a dry matter protein reading of 46.8%, a fat level of 34% and an estimated carbohydrate level of 11.1%.

As a group, the brand features an above-average protein content of 41.7% and an above-average fat level of 37.4%. Together these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 12.9% for the overall product line, alongside a fat to protein ratio of 90%.

This means this Instinct Longevity range contains higher than average protein, lower than average carbohydrate and higher than average fat, when compared to typical freeze-dried raw cat food

Final Word

This range of freeze-dried raw cat food contains high quality, animal based protein and has added vitamins to provide a well balanced and nutritious meal.  This food contains prebiotics and probiotics for digestive health and does not contain any low-value protein sources.

It is also free of artificial flavors, artificial colors, and preservatives.

Has Instinct cat food been recalled in the past?

No. Instinct has never had a product recall.

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.


Instinct Pet Food was founded in 2002 and produces frozen and freeze-dried raw pet food from its facilities in Lincoln, Nebraska.


1: Association of American Feed Control Officials

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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.

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