Contents of Article
- What You Should Know About Darwin’s
- Recipe Spotlight: Natural Selections Chicken
- Pros and Cons for Darwin’s Raw Food
- Frequently Asked Questions
Your cat deserves the very best, but what does that mean in terms of diet and nutrition? Buying your cat a top-shelf cat food may be what comes to mind, but it doesn’t necessarily come down to that. Unfortunately, expensive cat food isn’t always good.
The key to optimizing your cat’s health and wellness is to find a diet that provides for his nutritional needs in a form that is easy to digest. What you really need to remember is that cats are obligate carnivores, so their bodies are developed to digest and derive nutrition most efficiently from animal tissue. In other words, your cat needs to eat meat.
While many commercial cat food products are rich in protein, many also contain high percentages of carbohydrate ingredients. Add to that the fact that many are so overcooked and processed that your cat doesn’t actually get much in the way of nutrition.
Raw food for cats is one of the healthiest, most biologically appropriate dietary choices.
The benefits of raw food for cats are myriad. Because the food is exactly what your cat’s body is designed to process, it’s easy to digest which means less waste – literally. You’ll find your cat’s stools reduce in volume and they may become less odorous. Your cat will enjoy higher energy levels, a healthier coat, and better dental health as well. The possibilities are endless!
There are plenty of cat food companies out there, but raw food isn’t always easy to come by. Darwin’s Natural Pet Products is a raw cat food delivery and one we think you should consider. They may not be the optimal choice for everyone, but if you’re thinking about raw food at least take a look.
In this review, we’ll tell you everything you need to know about Darwin’s to decide whether raw food is the right choice for your cat and whether Darwin’s is a good fit.
What You Should Know About Darwin’s
The Darwin’s company was founded by Gary Tashjian in an effort to resolve his dog’s arthritis naturally through a healthy diet. Tashjian’s efforts were rewarded with a happy and healthy dog, so he set out to repeat the experience with dog and cat owners all over the world. The name Darwin’s is inspired by Charles Darwin and the tagline is, “Inspired by nature, informed by science.”
Darwin’s is one of the few raw pet food companies you’ll find out there and they are a subscription service. We think Darwin’s is well worth your consideration, but we understand you need to make your own decision. Here’s what you need to know to make up your mind:
What Products Do They Offer?
Darwin’s Natural Pet Products offers an assortment of raw dog and cat food. For dog food, they offer three lines: Natural Selections, BioLogics, and Intelligent Design. For raw cat food recipes, Darwin’s offers two of those same three lines – Natural Selections and Intelligent Design.
The Natural Selections line of cat food from Darwin’s is designed based on the idea that cats are obligate carnivores. Here’s what Darwin’s has to say:
“Cats are obligate carnivores, meaning they have nutritional requirements that can only be met with a diet based almost entirely on animal tissue. This is why our Natural Selections cat food is 100% real meat (chicken, turkey, or lamb) and contains no animal by-products or fillers.”
That’s right – Darwin’s raw cat food contains nothing other than meat, other than some added fat and supplemental nutrients to ensure complete and balanced nutrition.
Here are the three recipes Darwin’s has to offer:
As promised, each recipe contains 100% real meat with no added carbohydrates. On top of fresh muscle meat, Darwin’s raw cat food gets about 37% of its meat from organ meats. Organ meats are a rich source of nutrients while raw bone is high in minerals like calcium and phosphorus.
What Ingredients Do They Use?
At Darwin’s, nothing is more important than your pet’s nutrition and that’s why they use only the highest quality natural ingredients. Their goal is to “make feeding your pet fresh, healthy, quality raw meals convenient and affordable.”
Because Darwin’s offers products for dogs as well as cats, you’ll notice some differences between the product lines. Darwin’s raw dog food is made of 75% real meat and 25% fresh vegetables with small amounts of nutrient mix to provide trace minerals. Darwin’s raw cat food is made with 100% fresh meat and small amounts of nutrient mix from natural sources.
The Natural Selections line from Darwin’s is made with only free-range, grass-fed beef, cage-free poultry, and organic vegetables. All meats are free from hormones, steroids, and antibiotics and the company visits every farm they source from to ensure good farming and animal welfare practices. Darwin’s never uses any fillers or by-products in any of their pet foods.
How Much Does It Cost?
When shopping for pet food, it’s easy to get hung up on the price. The higher the quality of the product, the higher the price tag. This is certainly true for commercial pet food and the prices really tend to climb when you get into fresh food and raw food.
Fortunately, Darwin’s is surprisingly affordable. It also helps that cats tend to be smaller than dogs, so feeding your cat a raw food diet shouldn’t be prohibitively expensive.
Experts recommend feeding your cat about 2% to 3% of your cat’s weight daily, split between two meals. For the average 10-pound cat, that equates to about 3 ounces per day (about 1.5 per meal), depending on the cat’s sex, age, and activity level. Darwin’s packages their food in 8-ounce (1 cup) patties in 4-packs, so a four-pack should last you about 10 days.
Using a 10-pound cat as an estimate, Darwin’s recommends ordering 20 pounds of food every 10 weeks. The cost for the different proteins varies a little, but if you divide your order between chicken, turkey, and lamb you’re looking at an average price around $150 per 10-week order or about $15 per week.
How Do You Buy It?
You won’t find Darwin’s raw pet food in stores, but you can have it delivered to your home. Darwin’s offers a subscription service that sends exactly the right amount of raw cat food to your door in regular, predictable deliveries. You simply sign up for a subscription through their website.
Here’s an overview of the subscription process:
- Click the “Try Now” button at the top of the home page
- Fill in your cat’s name and indicate his species and weight
- Provide your zip code for delivery
- Choose 10 packages (2 pounds each) from the three recipes
- Complete your subscription by filling in delivery and payment info
If you subscribe to Darwin’s, you can change your subscription at any time. Simply log into your online account to view upcoming orders and change, delay, or cancel. You can always communicate with customer support via email or phone if you have questions. Though it’s easy to subscribe to Darwin’s, you can take advantage of a free raw food consultation if you want to.
Recipe Spotlight: Natural Selections Chicken
Ingredients: Chicken meat, chicken necks (including bone), chicken gizzards, chicken livers, chicken hearts, tomato pomace, fish oil, potassium chloride, taurine, magnesium proteinate, cod liver oil, choline chloride, inulin, sea salt, zinc proteinate, vitamin E, iron proteinate, manganese proteinate, copper proteinate, thiamine mononitrate, vitamin B12, vitamin D3, folic acid.
Calories: 1,383 kcal/kg (39 kcal/oz.)
As promised, this Natural Selections Chicken recipe is made with 100% real chicken. In addition to chicken meat as the first ingredient, it also contains chicken necks (including raw bone), chicken gizzards, chicken livers, and chicken hearts.
Calculated as dry matter, this formula contains a whopping 50% protein and 30% fat. These values are much higher than you’d find in a typical dry food. The fiber content is very low, under 1%.
There’s not a lot to comment on for this recipe considering it’s so simple. Aside from the chicken ingredients, you’ll see tomato pomace for fiber and two sources of healthy fats – fish oil and cod liver oil. The only other ingredients are vitamin and mineral supplements.
Here’s what Darwin’s has to say about the recipe:
“Our chicken is rich in the trace mineral selenium, which supports thyroid health and enhances your cat’s immune system. Chicken is also very high in vitamin B which aids in controlling glucose levels as well as converting protein and fat into usable energy. Vitamin B6 supports energy metabolism and cardiovascular health.”
Pros and Cons for Darwin’s Raw Food
If you’re still not sure how you feel about feeding your cat raw food, we understand! Switching to a fresh cat food diet can be tricky but going raw can be downright intimidating.
The good news is raw food is a healthy diet for cats and, as long as you follow basic food safety procedures, it’s perfectly safe. In fact, a raw cat food diet is closer to your cat’s natural evolutionary diet than kibble will ever be! A raw diet for cats may offer significant health benefits and, at the very least, can improve your cat’s nutrition and help protect him from chronic disease.
Though we love Darwin’s raw cat food, it’s your decision in the end. Here’s a quick summary of pros and cons for the brand to help you make up your mind.
Here are some of the pros for Darwin’s:
- Raw cat food made with 100% real meat, no carbs
- Recipes are made with single-source animal proteins
- Formulas are complete and balanced for cat nutrition
- Receive regular deliveries, get first 10 pounds for $14.95
Here are some of the cons for Darwin’s
- Raw pet food requires safe handling procedures
- Meals aren’t portioned according to cat’s specific calorie needs
- Raw food can be more expensive than kibble
- Limited number of protein options (chicken, turkey, lamb)
As a cat owner, it’s your responsibility to make a smart and healthy choice on your cat’s behalf. You already understand the importance of a high-quality diet, so now you just have to decide if Darwin’s is the right option. We hope you’ll agree that, at the very least, this company is worth your consideration.
Frequently Asked Questions
Does Darwin’s offer any samples?
While Darwin’s doesn’t offer samples, you can receive your first order of 10 pounds at an extreme discount of just $14.95. If you love the food, your order will continue at a monthly rate depending which recipes you chose when you signed up. You can change or cancel your subscription at any time.
How many calories does Darwin’s raw cat food have?
The calorie content of Darwin’s raw food varies from one recipe to another. The chicken recipe has about 39 kcal per ounce, the turkey recipe 36 kcal per ounce, and the lamb recipe 49 kcal per ounce.
Is Darwin’s good for cats with allergies?
Yes, Darwin’s can be a good option for cats with allergies as long as your cat isn’t allergic to chicken, turkey, or lamb. This food is made with 100% animal ingredients with added nutrients, so if your cat is sensitive to grains, by-products, or fillers but not to the primary protein there shouldn’t be an issue.
Have there been any safety issues or recalls?
Raw pet food is regulated differently than dry food and canned food, so it’s tricky to make a direct comparison with Darwin’s in this category. That being said, Darwin’s does have a few recalls in its history. In 2019, the FDA issued a recall for several raw dog food recipes for potential salmonella contamination. The same happened in 2018 and 2017. The thing to remember here is that it’s extremely common for raw chicken to contain salmonella – you can even find it in the chicken you buy at the grocery store. The amount found in the test wasn’t disclosed, so it was likely very minimal and not a risk for pets. Only one recall affected Darwin’s raw cat food rather than dog food products.
What are the benefits of Darwin’s raw cat food delivery?
The primary benefit of Darwin’s is, of course, the benefit of raw food for your cat. Darwin’s uses 100% real meat in their cat food recipes, so your cat will only be getting the nutrient he needs with no fillers and nothing artificial. By ordering Darwin’s, you’ll receive the freshest raw food possible sent right to your door. You can adjust your subscription at any time and make your delivery schedule suit your needs. Everything is packaged to keep it safely frozen until you transfer it to your own freezer.