Laura Ward

Written by Laura Ward

Georgia Jeremiah

Reviewed by Georgia Jeremiah

Updated: January 18, 2024

Instinct Frozen Raw Cat Food Review

Updated: January 18, 2024

Our Verdict

star
star
star
star
star

Recommended

Instinct frozen raw cat food receives the Cat Food Advisor rating, 4.5 stars

This food contains good quality, animal protein which is listed as the first ingredient.  Protein levels are high, carbohydrates low, with moisture high.  This food option provides a nutritious, balanced diet for your cat.

Pros
  • High level of protein
  • Minimal processing
  • Animal based protein
Cons
  • High fat content

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

The Instinct frozen raw product line includes seven cat foods.

Product line Rating AAFCO
Raw Longevity Frozen Bites, Cage-Free Chicken Recipe for Kittens 4.5 G
Raw Longevity Frozen Bites, Cage-Free Chicken Recipe 4.5 M
Raw Longevity Frozen Bites, Grass-Fed Beef & Wild Caught Cod Recipe 4.5 M
Raw Longevity Frozen Bites, Farm-Raised Rabbit Recipe 4.5 M
Raw Longevity Frozen Bites, Grass-Fed Beef Recipe for Adults 7+ 4.5 M
Raw Frozen Bites, Cage-Free Chicken Recipe 4.5 M
Raw Frozen Bites, Wild-Caught Alaskan Pollock Recipe 4.5 M

Save up to 35%

with Autoship
See discount in cart

Recipe and Label Analysis

Instinct Raw Longevity Frozen Bites, 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.

Instinct Raw Longevity Frozen Bites, Cage-Free Chicken Recipe

Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content

46.4%

Protein

28.6%

Fat

17%

CarbsCarbohydrates

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


Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 2%

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

It 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 fish oilFish 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 dogs and humans. 

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

The fifth ingredient is ground flaxseedone 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 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 (vitamin E supplement).  Vitamin E is included in this recipe.  Vitamin E is an essential nutrient and plays an important role as a free radical scavenger to prevent cell oxidation. Through this potent antioxidant function, vitamin E is often also added to cat food as an antioxidant to prevent oxidation of the food itself.  The presence of vitamin E within this cat food is a positive addition. 

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 4.5

Save up to 35%

with Autoship
See discount in cart

Nutrient Analysis

Based on its ingredients alone, Instinct Raw Longevity Frozen Bites, Cage-Free Chicken Recipe looks like an above-average, Frozen Raw product.

The dashboard displays a dry matter protein reading of 46.4%, a fat level of 28.6% and an estimated carbohydrate level of 17%.

As a group, the brand features an above-average protein content of 44.1% and an above-average fat level of 28.4%. Together these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 19.5% for the overall product line, alongside a fat to protein ratio of 65%.

This means this Instinct Frozen Raw range contains higher than average protein, lower than average carbohydrate, higher than average fat, when compared to typical frozen raw cat food.

Final Word

This food lists good quality animal based protein as the first ingredient and due to being frozen raw, is less processed as other types of food.  The protein content is high and the carbohydrate level in this food is low, which is well balanced for your cat. The fat content is higher than average.

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.

About

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

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