Freeze-dried treats for cats have a nice long shelf life because the moisture has been removed from them. Some cat kibble is also coated with freeze-dried food in powdered form. We think you should stay away from it.
Freeze-dried foods are raw. Removing the liquid content from food by subjecting it to very cold temperatures does not cook it. And uncooked food, even if nicely packaged, is not safe for your pet. As studies have shown, it can contain illness-causing bacteria including Listeria and Salmonella. Vomiting, diarrhea, and even dangerous infections have been documented.
“I often find that families aren’t aware that some bacteria can survive a freeze-drying process,” says Tufts veterinary nutritionist Deborah Linder, DVM. “I try to make sure everyone is aware of potential risks.”
Such foods are not safe for human family members, either. If you touch them and don’t wash your hands thoroughly with hot, soapy water before touching your hands to your face or other parts of your body, you could end up contaminated, too.
We are not alone in our assessment that raw food in any form should not be fed to your cat. The Food and Drug Administration, the American Veterinary Medical Association, the ASPCA, and the American Animal Hospital Association all warn of raw food’s dangers. You wouldn’t feed a 25-pound toddler raw food. Why would you feed it to an 8-pound cat?