Big Bear Pet Food: Fresh Frozen Raw and Cooked Cat Food

cat-eating

This post is sponsored by Big Bear Pet Food

Cats are obligate carnivores, which means they need meat in their diet to thrive. Their systems aren’t designed to digest carbohydrates. A raw diet is one of the best ways to fulfill cats’ nutritional requirements. There are numerous benefits from feeding a raw diet to your cat, including improved digestion, reduced stool odor and volume, increased energy, ability to maintain ideal weight, better dental health, and better urinary tract health. Embraced for decades by holistically oriented pet parents and holistic veterinarians, raw feeding is becoming more mainstream as pet parents look for alternatives to feeding highly processed commercial pet foods.

Raw feeding is easy

Raw feeding does not have to be complicated. You do not need to grind your own meat and bones, measure out supplements, and figure out how to make a balanced diet for your little carnivore. There are plenty of commercial raw diets on the market, ranging from frozen to freeze-dried. Unfortunately, as the market is becoming more crowded, some manufacturers are cutting corners and adding more vegetables to their formulas to cut costs. You can find the brands I recommend here.

Fresh cooked food

A cooked diet made from fresh ingredients may be slightly more processed than a raw diet, but it’s still a better choice, in terms of freshness, than canned food, which is processed at high temperatures. If you don’t mind cooking, a properly balanced home cooked diet may be an option for you. In addition to being less processed than canned food, you control the ingredients that go into your cat’s food. For those of us who don’t even cook for yourselves (like me), commercial cooked diets offer an alternative.

Big Bear Pet Food

Big Bear Pet Food is based in Colorado. Company founder Amy Budd has a degree in Animal Science and “accidentally” got into the pet food business, not due to one sick pet, but due to a lifetime of dedication to all animals and wanting to provide something better for them. She started the company 15 years ago. Big Bear Pet Food sells its offering under a couple of different brand names. Their raw food for cats (and dogs) in sold under the brand name Hoo-RAW!. Their newest product, KatManFood, is a fresh, cooked, frozen food for cats.

Big Bear’s meat is locally sourced and is free range, with no added hormones or antibiotics, non-GMO and human-edible. Their cat food is manufactured in a USDA facility under inspection hours and is processed to human standards.

Big-Bear-pet

The frozen raw line comes in two varieties, chicken/turkey and beef, and has been tested for adequate levels of taurine in accordance with AAFCO guidelines for cats.

Big-Bear-pet-food

The KatManFood line is gently cooked, then cooled, packaged and frozen immediately to retain freshness. KatManFood can be fed as a standalone food or used to help transition your cat to a raw food diet. KatManFood is labeled for “intermittent and supplemental feeding” since they did not test the food for everything the USDA requires for a complete and balanced diet. They did, however, test for taurine and the fat soluble vitamins (A,D,E, and K) and the food has adequate levels in all areas. KatManFood comes in two flavors, chicken and chicken/salmon.

All of Big Bear’s food is manufactured in a USDA/FDA human facility for maximum product safety.

Putting Big Bear Pet Food to the test

We had a chance to test both the raw and cooked foods. Allegra and Ruby both loved the Hoo-RAW! turkey/chicken blend and licked their plates clean. They were less enthusiastic about the KatManFood chicken or chicken/salmon formulas. They nibbled at both, but needed quite a bit of encouragement to finish. It may have been due to the texture – it was somewhere in between raw and paté style, so it was different from anything they’d had before.

I wish Allegra and Ruby had been more receptive to the cooked formulas. I feed both raw and canned food, and I’d love to be able to switch some of the canned for a gently cooked diet. I also like the idea of a gently cooked food for cat parents who aren’t comfortable feeding raw, and I hope Big Bear eventually pursues testing so the formulas can be fed as a complete diet. Big Bear’s raw formulas contain parsley and pumpkin, and while I prefer raw foods that don’t contain any vegetable matter, the addition of these two ingredients keeps vegetable matter well below the threshold I consider acceptable.

For more information about Big Bear Pet Food, please visit http://www.bigbearpet.com.

FTC Disclosure: I received these products for review at no charge. I also received a fee to feature these products. Receiving the free product and the fee did not influence my review. All reviews on The Conscious Cat will always reflect my honest and unbiased opinion. Or, as the case may be, Allegra and Ruby’s honest and unbiased opinion.

25 Comments on Big Bear Pet Food: Fresh Frozen Raw and Cooked Cat Food

  1. Chris Fitzgerald
    July 6, 2017 at 10:57 pm (1 month ago)

    We recently adopted a rescue cat…who weighed only 3.3 pounds when found and taken to rescue. Then had to spend a month in isolation because of various issues. She weighed 5 pound when we got her. Needless to say, as with many rescue cats, she gobbled her food and then vomited. We fed her every half hour but still would vomit sometimes. I got some Katman from Big Bear pet food. Ta da…she didn’t vomit. We’re able to feed her larger portions and less often with Katman. (She actually licks her bowl clean.). Oh, and did I forget to tell you she has no teeth? But Katman can be “gummed” by her with no adverse effects. She now weighs 6.6 pounds.

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      July 7, 2017 at 5:29 am (1 month ago)

      Thank you for sharing your experience with this food, Chris.

      Reply
  2. Dorothy Carscadden
    April 9, 2017 at 11:54 am (4 months ago)

    Please tell me if you have evaluated Wellness brand canned cat food. Thanks so much! (We have ten cats, all strays or throwaways,all now ‘fixed’, inside/outside with fencing and fenced top, fed twice daily, gloriously happy.) We live in the country with some space(luckily) around us!)

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      April 9, 2017 at 4:42 pm (4 months ago)

      I haven’t looked at Wellness in a while, Dorothy. They used carrageenan in most of their foods until recently, which is why it’s not on my list. If you’d like me to evaluate a particular Wellness food, I’ll be happy to do so for a small fee.

      Reply
      • Dorothy
        April 14, 2017 at 10:52 am (4 months ago)

        I will be happy to pay a small fee to know about Wellness. Dorothy
        (Must add that I’m so very, very sorry for your recent loss.)

        Reply
        • Ingrid
          April 14, 2017 at 10:54 am (4 months ago)

          I’ll email you, Dorothy – and thank you for your kind words.

          Reply
  3. Marilyn
    March 14, 2017 at 8:16 am (5 months ago)

    My two Himalayans just turned 8 years old and have been on raw food for most of their lives. They have never been sick! I recently discovered Big Bear Howraw frozen raw food and my cats love it. I think it’s the healthiest food I’ve been able to give them so far. The company is going to come out with raw lamb soon which will give me 3 different meats to cycle through. I am so happy with Big Bear raw food!!!

    Reply
  4. Karinda
    February 7, 2017 at 11:17 pm (6 months ago)

    I have two cats one is very picky and will lick the gravy off canned food and want another, her weight is normal the other one is obese and will only eat dry food she does not even like tuna. I have learned that wet cat food is better than dry cat food that the dry cat food is full of carbs which is exactly what my obese cat does not need ! I recently saw a recipe on the Internet for homemade cat food which you add vitamins too I tried to make it and neither cat liked it I don’t know what to do but I don’t like how they are eating and especially the obese cat I want something healthier for her I feel so helpless about this and would like some feedback ?!?

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      February 8, 2017 at 6:04 am (6 months ago)

      Don’t give up on weaning your cat off dry food, Karinda. You can find lots of information about everything you asked about in the feline nutrition section on this site. I’d also be happy to schedule a consultation to give you more individualized advice.

      Reply
      • Karinda
        February 8, 2017 at 12:46 pm (6 months ago)

        I’m interested in the consultation ?!?

        Reply
  5. Anne Springer
    February 7, 2017 at 10:11 am (6 months ago)

    I have quite the interesting tale regarding a raw food diet. I adopted a cat in July, and about 10 days later, he nearly died from a really bad seizure. He immediately recovered, but over the next month had another couple near fatal seizures and some really weird episodes where he was acting like he was drunk, and then finally the tell tale sign of head pressing. I live in an area where there aren’t a lot of knowledgeable vets, and my cat’s symptoms had them so stumped, they sent my videos and notes out of state to a top vet. He thought my cat had a liver shunt with hepatic encephalopathy. We tried controlling the symptoms with the recommended Science Diet Liver formula, both dry and canned. He didn’t do well. After talking to some people online, we decided to try a raw diet. We found a special recipe online for cats suffering from liver problems. Guess what? The raw diet “cured” him! The seizures, weird episodes, and everything else quit within a few days of this new diet. He weaned off his lactulose medicine to only needing it if he gets into my other cats’ food by accident. His copper eyes cleared up (that’s also a symptom of liver issues). He really has everyone stumped now! He shouldn’t have recovered from his condition. We are very thankful of course! The only problems he has any more is getting a little cantankerous if he gets into other cat food, or the ammonia builds up into his system. We make his food from scratch with raw cut up chicken put into a blender, and a lot of different supplements. And he’s really put on the weight with this meal too! Its so weird! Sorry for the long winded comment, there is so much more to his story than just the raw diet. but I really encourage anyone having either weird symptoms with their cat, or health problems, to switch them over to raw. They won’t regret it. 🙂

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      February 8, 2017 at 6:01 am (6 months ago)

      Thank you for sharing your experience, Anne. That’s a remarkable transformation!

      Reply
  6. Judith
    February 7, 2017 at 7:28 am (6 months ago)

    My kitty has allergies. I was told by her previous owner that she is allergic to chicken, and it is EXTREMELY difficult to find a healthy pre-made and/or raw food for her to eat. Because of the poultry issue, her vet is recommending we stay away from waterfowl and even eggs … Unfortunately, I find that several of the beef options I’ve researched include egg, as does the Hoo-RAW. In the future, maybe some of these companies will consider limiting the ingredients even further, which will broaden the client base.
    I DO appreciate that they are making the effort and otherwise giving some customers options to the junk food sold out there. Thanks for the article.

    Reply
  7. Vanessa
    February 7, 2017 at 4:50 am (6 months ago)

    Hi I am so pleased Allegra and Ruby loved the raw food. I am thinking of starting my 12.5 year old cat on raw. He as diagnosed with Inflammatory bowel disease (biopsy diagnosis) and mild gastritis about a year ago He has been through so much and is such a brave little trooper! I have stopped all grains and he is only on a premium quality canned food turkey alteranting with duck. It took a while to transition but we are now ok with just wet food and some freeze dried turkey bites. He is on a low dose of prednisolone for maintenance 0.625mg once a day, and I am thinking of letting take a steroid holiday after 8 months. Can I introduce raw food gradually at this stage or do I have to wait till the prednisolone is out of his system to commence? Do I hide a little in his canned food or shall I give it on its own, piecemeal? He is on digestive enzymes and probiotics, as well as milk thistle and vitamin B supplements, and has such a sensitive constitution. Shall I lightly cook the raw foods first? Please advise. The post by Dr Andrea Tasi is excellent, thanks for linking it to your article.

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      February 7, 2017 at 6:20 am (6 months ago)

      Dr. Tasi advises caution when feeding raw to cats on higher doses of steroids. I would run this by your veterinarian, or consult with a holistic vet, before making the switch, especially since he has a sensitive constitution. That said, raw food can make a big difference for cats with IBD.

      Reply
      • Vanessa
        February 8, 2017 at 12:48 am (6 months ago)

        Hi Ingrid,
        Thanks so much for your feedback, yes raw diets are probably best for IBD Kitties!
        Can you recommend a holistic vet I can consult on line or by telephone? I live in Asia (Singapore) and Holistic veterinarians a a newly evolving specialty and hard to come by here. My Cat Dr Vet is lovely and she is in favour of homeopathic and holisitic veterinary medicine too. Will ask her as well to advise me. Thanks so much.

        Reply
        • Ingrid
          February 8, 2017 at 6:06 am (6 months ago)

          Since you already have someone locally who practices holistic medicine, I’d start there, Vanessa. This website can help you find a holistic vet in the US, but not all will offer remote consultations: http://www.ahvma.org/find-a-holistic-veterinarian/

          Reply
          • Vanessa
            February 9, 2017 at 12:16 am (6 months ago)

            Thanks so much Ingrid! I will look up those vets and see if they provide remote consultations. My vet does no practise Homeopathic medicine per se, but is interested in it and is gradually venturing into supplements. How would you start on raw food for a 12.5 year old? Sneak it in or wait till he’s really hungry? The ground bones are ok for IBD? His IBD comprises of mild gastritis and some small intestine inflammation and if he doesn’t eat on time, he usually chuck up a bit of acid. And the prednisolone does not help it either. That is why I am keen to get him off it with the help of a Homeopathic vet. Do you think it might be better if I did a consult with you seeing that I have a couple of queries? Thank you for your time and kindness!

          • Ingrid
            February 9, 2017 at 6:25 am (6 months ago)

            I’d be happy to schedule a consultatoin, Vanessa. I’ll email you.

          • J&K
            March 26, 2017 at 5:02 pm (5 months ago)

            If hoo-raw is only for supplemental and interrmitent feeding, how would you recommend using it? Adding a vitamin or limiting the number of meals given with this food…?

          • Ingrid
            March 27, 2017 at 5:26 am (5 months ago)

            I would use it for two or three meals a week, and feed a balanced blend the other meals. Alternately, you could also add a vitamin mix to it.

  8. Casey
    February 7, 2017 at 3:03 am (6 months ago)

    I like the idea of a cooked food, too. For cats who aren’t used to raw or for people who aren’t quite ready to make the leap just yet, it’s a great transition.

    But I also wish that there were more non-chicken choices. I have two cats here allergic to chicken and LOTS of companies use chicken as a base (because it’s cheap, I guess) and we have to avoid all of them.

    Well, I’m looking forward to seeing cultured meats in the next decade! I think they’ll revolutionize not only raw feeding, but pet foods in general (people foods, too)! And those of us with allergy-prone kitties can feed lark tongues, swan legs, and springbok thighs without a single animal being killed for it! And we may finally see mouse-flavored commercial cat foods, too (with no actual mice harmed in the process)!

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      February 7, 2017 at 6:15 am (6 months ago)

      I’m not sure how I feel about the idea of synthetic meats, Casey. It gets us further and further away from whole, natural nutrition. I guess time will tell!

      Reply
      • Casey
        February 8, 2017 at 1:13 am (6 months ago)

        Aw, they’re not “synthetic”, Ingrid! They’re identical to regular meats, just grown in a lab from cells.

        And the nice thing is, they won’t have contamination risks of salmonella or e. coli or any of there other things that can happen when an animal is slaughtered. No antibiotics or hormones or animal suffering. Plus, their nutrient profile will be tweak able – you’ll be able to get meats with a pastured profile or added vitamins or whatever. All without the deaths of food animals. Not to mention using 90% fewer resources to grow a pound of meat in the lab than in the feed lot.

        Good for the planet, good for the animals, and good for the people!

        Reply
      • Casey
        February 8, 2017 at 1:22 am (6 months ago)

        AND! This technology will lead to all kinds of wonderful stuff – like growing organs for people and pets! Got a dog with heart disease? We’ll grow him a new heart! Got a cat with kidney disease? We’ll grow her new kidneys!

        Cultured meats are a game changer.

        Reply

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