Laura Ward

Written by Laura Ward

Georgia Jeremiah

Reviewed by Georgia Jeremiah

Updated: January 18, 2024

Vital Essentials Mini-Patties Freeze-Dried Cat Food Review

Updated: January 18, 2024

Our Verdict

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Recommended

Vital Essentials Mini Patties freeze-dried raw cat food receives the Cat Food Advisor’s second highest rating, 4.5-stars.

Packed with protein, mini patties contain naturally occurring vitamins and minerals that build strong muscles and support a cat’s digestive and oral health.

The freeze drying process allows cat parents to feed their pets a raw diet without having to thaw the product. It has been marked down slightly due to the lower than average fiber content.

Pros
  • High animal-sourced protein
  • Low carbohydrate content
  • No added hormones or antibiotics
  • No need to thaw
Cons
  • Low moisture
  • Needs to be stored out of direct sunlight
  • May not have enough fiber

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

The product line includes six cat foods.

Product line Rating AAFCO
Beef & Chicken Entree 4.5 A
Chicken Entree 4.5 A
Duck Entree 4.5 A
Pork Entree 4.5 A
Rabbit Entree 4.5 A
Turkey Entree 4.5 A

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Recipe and Label Analysis

Vital Essentials Mini Patties Rabbit Entree 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.

Vital Essentials Mini Patties Rabbit Entree

Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content

59.8%

Protein

16.3%

Fat

15.9%

CarbsCarbohydrates

Rabbit, rabbit liver, rabbit heart, rabbit kidney, rabbit lung, herring oil, mixed tocopherols (preservative), vitamin E supplement, zinc amino acid complex, iron amino acid complex, copper amino acid complex, manganese amino acid complex


Red denotes any controversial items

Ingredients Analysis

The first ingredient is rabbit. Rabbit is considered “the clean flesh derived from a slaughtered rabbit” and associated with skeletal muscle or the muscle tissues of the tongue, diaphragm, heart, esophagus or other tissues accompanying the flesh. 1

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

The second, third, fourth and fifth ingredients are all organ meats – rabbit liver, rabbit heart, rabbit kidney and rabbit lung. They may not sound very appetizing but organ meats are pure muscle and naturally rich in quality protein, minerals and complex B vitamins.

The sixth ingredient is herring oil, which is naturally rich in the prized EPA and DHA type of omega-3 fatty acids. These two high quality fats boast the highest bioavailability to cats and humans. Depending on its level of freshness and purity, herring oil should be considered a commendable addition.

The seventh ingredient is mixed tocopherols. Tocopherols are a family of compounds that together make up different forms of vitamin E which serves as an antioxidant.

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

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Nutrient Analysis

Based on its ingredients alone, Vital Essentials Mini Patties Rabbit Entrée looks like an above-average protein product with an average fat content, however it is very low in carbohydrate.

The dashboard displays a dry matter protein reading of 59.8%, a fat level of 16.3% and an estimated carbohydrate level of 15.9%.

As a group, the brand features an average protein content of 52.7% and a mean fat level of 25.4%. Together these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 13.9% for the overall product line, alongside a fat-to-protein ratio of 51%.

This means this Vital Essentials Mini Patties product line contains higher than average protein, below average carbs and average fat.

Final Word

Vital Essentials Mini Patties freeze-dried raw cat food is high in protein and essential fatty acids. Freeze-dried ingredients can be considered nutritionally superior to meat meals due to the gentleness of the process used to create them.

Has Vital Essentials cat food been recalled in the past?

Vital Essentials has had four product recalls in the past, all due to potential salmonella or listeria contamination.

However the most recent recall was back in April 2018 on its Freeze-Dried Beef Toppers (for dogs and cats), 6 oz. packages, Lot #13815, Best by June 4, 2019 or June 20, 2019.

The other recalls were for the following dog products:

  • Freeze-Dried Beef Nibblet Entrée (February 2018)
  • Frozen Chicken Patties Entrée (January 2016)
  • Frozen Beef Tripe (July 2015)

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

Vital Essentials is the flagship brand of Carnivore Meat Company – a leading manufacturer of raw frozen and freeze-dried pet foods and treats in America. The products are all US made and packaged in the company’s Green Bay, Wisconsin, facility that is GFSI and EU certified.

The company consists of Vital Essentials and Nature’s Advantage.

Sources

1: Adapted by The Cat Food Advisor from the definition of meat published by the Association of American Feed Control Officials (2008)

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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.

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.

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