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PRODUCT REVIEW & GIVEAWAY: Nature's Variety Instinct® Boost Bites™ & Daily Boost™

After careful consideration, from time to time I write a product reviews. If you see it here, it's because, at LEAST I think it's worth you knowing about even if I have an issue with it and, at BEST, I think it's amazing and we should all have one, two or more of whatever it is I'm reviewing. I get NO reimbursement for writing these reviews, though to write a review I am supplied with the item, as I was in this case. This review is MY OPINION, ONLY. The result you experience using this product may differ.


If you've read my Blog for any length of time you know I'm passionate about providing my cat's with the best nutrition possible. For me the answer is to feed a raw diet I make at home using a single source protein and a few essential vitamins and minerals mixed in and that's about it. I realize that this choice is not for everyone, even if I feel it's the most appropriate for our obligate carnivore kitties.

Nature's Variety® Instinct line has come out with two new products that anyone can feed, regardless of what they currently feed their cat. Both are freeze dried raw products using the following single source protein per package: Lamb, Beef, Venison (with the exception of the Chicken which adds turkey and turkey liver). The ingredients include blueberries, salmon oil, pumpkin seeds and ground flaxseeds—all recognizable ingredients that you'd be able to buy in your local grocery store and eat yourself. There is no sign of chemicals, preservatives or cheaping out using low quality vegetable protein sources. I had no concerns test driving these products on my own cats and if you have a fear of handling raw food, don't worry. There's no chance of spreading a foodborne illness since the product is freeze-dried.

Instinct® Raw Boost Bites™ are freeze-dried raw treats and come in 4 oz packages at a suggested retail price of $9.99. They're medallion shaped and roughly the size of a half dollar, but much thicker. I think they're a bit large for a cat to eat as is so I broke them up into smaller pieces before I gave them to my 8 cats.

I gave the Bites to my cats and I also gave some to the shelter cats at Animals in Distress. The cats at AID are fed a mix of grain-free kibble and canned food. Some of the cats gobbled up the Bites while others simply sniffed at it. The ones who did enjoy the Bites wanted MORE. For a cat under 20 lbs in weight, you'd only want to give them ONE Bite a day or otherwise you have to adjust their daily intake of food so your cat doesn't get chubby. The Bites are soft enough that they crumble, but don't break apart into small pieces easily. I cut mine up into small slices and fed that way and it worked fine.

Does freeze-drying negate the raw quality of the product? What is Freeze-Dried Food?

“Freeze-dried food is fresh or cooked food item that has been frozen – then had the water removed. The result is a light-weight, fresh appearing and tasting preserved food that can be rehydrated with a minimum amount of water…

The process involves freezing a fresh food (fruit, dairy, vegetable, cooked meat or fish) in a special “freeze drying chamber,” then removing the water by quickly changing the chamber’s pressure and temperature. This causes the water in the food to change from a solid to a gas without ever changing back into a liquid. This “quick change” process preserves the cell structure of the food without compromising vitamins, nutrients, color or aroma.”

Source: Oregon Freeze Dry via PackitGourmet

Boost Bites_bits.jpg
©2012 Nature's Variety

Instinct® Raw Daily Boost™ is similar to the freeze-dried raw treats, only this is in a powdered form. It comes in 11 oz canisters at a suggested retail price of: Chicken ($25.99), Beef ($25.99), Lamb ($27.99) and Venison ($27.99).The idea behind this is to use the as a way to supplement or “Boost” the quality of the food your cat is eating. If you feed kibble or canned, you can sprinkle it on the food, increasing palatability as well as enhance the overall nutrition they're getting. Is this a band-aid for feeding a lower quality of food? I hope not, but with the economy the way it is, if you have to feed lower quality food, perhaps there would be some benefit-as if you were giving your cat a daily vitamin?

Just sprinkle a tablespoon onto the cat's food twice a day. The container has 60 servings in it so it will last awhile if you don't have many cats.

Boost daily.jpg
©2012 Nature's Variety

What I used the Raw Daily Boost for was as a flavor enhancer. There are times when my cats just aren't in the mood for raw turkey or chicken, what have you, and I find that sprinkling a bit of bonito flakes or dehydrated chicken gets them going. The problem for me is that one of my cats can't have fish and the dehydrated chicken is very expensive. Although the Daily Boost is roughly $26.00 to $27.00, retail, the price per serving is significantly less than the dehydrated chicken treats I was using from another company.

Boost Powder_sm.jpg
©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Boost Powder shown before we wipe out the container completely.

The nicest surprise was seeing how much my cats liked the powder. It was very well tolerated and I do believe it helped get them to eat their food.

I gave my friend, Irene, a few tablespoons to give to her cat, Oscar. Oscar is 20 years old and is VERY finicky these days. Irene didn't think anything would get Oscar to eat, but low and behold, with the Boost, sprinkled onto his food, Oscar ate well for the first time in a long time.

Boost Bites_sm.jpg
©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. The Boost Bites are a bit large for a cat to eat. This package is NOT shown full.

What's great about this is the potential to get older, ailing cats to eat and usually by the time they're in that condition cat guardians will feed them ANYTHING they want. In this case, if you chose to try the Daily Boost, you're not harming the cat by giving it cheap, smelly food full of appetite enhancing chemicals-you're actually doing your cat some good.

Jakey with Boost_sm.jpg
©2012 Robin A.F. Olson. Foster Kitten Jakey grabbing a Boost Bite, but it's a little bit too big for him to manage without me breaking it up.

Is this product a cure-all, a Holy Grail food? No. No food is, but it's a good choice if you want to give your cat a healthy treat or if you have finicky eaters or simply want to give your cat some additional supplementation. I like seeing products like this hit the market. It gives me hope that the trend is aiming towards better quality, fewer ingredients and more wholesome options for our cats.


If you'd like to WIN a combo of (one 4 oz package) Instinct Raw Boost Bites & (one 11 oz container) of Instinct Raw Daily Boost (protein type to be chosen at random) simply leave a comment on why your cat needs a Boost, below. FOUR NAMES will be selected at random to WIN! You can only leave ONE comment for one chance to win per person. Voting ends FEBRUARY 2, 2012 at 2:22 PM EST and is open to residents of the USA, only (sorry guys!). Rules, quantities and whatever else I forgot are subject to change without notice.


I am quite curious about the Daily Boost - cats are finicky from time to time, and it sounds like it might be just the thing to encourage them to eat on days they are being snooty. Not too sure about the bites, my kids have little interest in other freeze dried treats, but I am sure they would love the granules - would love a chance to try both! Thanks for the honest review, good to see that they are Jakey approved as well!

 I have three cas with different degrees of pickiness.  It would be nice to try a product that might have them all on the same page.

My kitties' appetite ranges from picky to eat anything but the kitchen sink.  Fortunately I don't have any in the senior (I'll feed you anything to get you to eat something range - although been there & done that) but would love to try for my picky eaters.

Benny needs to try Boost because he is on a Hollistic diet, but I've been wanting to feed him raw food, I've been looking at freeze dried typed food, but I can't find them for sale anywhere in Indianapolis. I'm sure if I won this, and Benny was head over heals about it, I would start ordering it online!

I would love to try this with Rayne!  She is SO picky and I'm trying to switch her diet to something healthy (I tried grain-free wet but she went on a hunger strike).  My next attempt is going to be grain-free dry (I didn't know it existed or I would have tried sooner!)

Hi Robin,

I have two Siamese kittens (6 mos and 4 mos) and have been wanting to try a good natural raw food for them. They are quite healthy and happy and I want to keep them that way.  If they enjoyed this product I would definitely order more.

Thanks for your review :)

I'd love to try this with my one picky eater!

I have tried to feed my 4 cats raw in the past, with no luck at all.   I would love to be able to get them off dry food.  I would think these items would be a good start!!

I would LOVE to try these for my cats - one who has CRF/CKD and who needs a lot of coaxing to eat ANYthing, one who thinks wet food is the Devil, one who used to scarf down anything I gave him but who is now Mr. Pickypants, and one who will sometimes lick at his wet food but who isn't a big fan.

I've been using the FortiFlora sprinkle trick, but I'd much rather use something like this to coax them into eating.


Thanks for offering such a cool giveaway. :)

My cat needs a Boost because she lives with 4 Shelties and an Indian Ringneck Parakeet who chases her around the house. She needs all the nutritional help she can get!

I have 4 cats, all rescued bottle babies.  They are always on the look out for snacks, two of the cats are even named after potato chips (Utz and Herrs, a brother and sister).  1/3 are picky but not overly so but I do have one allergic to chicken.

Miss Kitty is my Persian cat that looks like Bob Dole.  She will be 16 in April and I want her to get a boost in her senior years, she deserves it.    She's lost some weight and I'm trying to get her to eat more.  We took her to the vet and her bloodwork turned out fine, I just need to find a way to encourage her to eat.  I want to keep her around for many more years.  

I actually feed my pets a raw diet along with Natures variety kibble and dont have any issues with them eating it. I am actually entering this for an elderly neighbor of mine who has a 9 month old pet who is FINICKY about EVERYTHING!!! she has tried so many different foods (all healthy of course) and he seems to turn his nose up at everything. even when she tries to feed him bits of chicken, still nothing. she has been getting so frustrated with what to do. she will get a food, he will eat it for the one day, and then not eat it the next day. he has lost a couple pounds which is not good for a pet that is already skinny. i would love to win this product to see if it will get her pet to eat.

My 5 dogs and 3 cats would LOVE to try this!! I already know about instinct and love thier products. All my pets would love to try this espically since a couple of the cats and dogs are picky.

I have an elderly cat with kidney problems and am always looking for ways to tempt him to eat.  Maybe this boost would help! 

they reject healthy food *especially the 20 and 18 year old* and insist on eating nasty canned and could use a healthy supplement.


 At least I only eat junk food when no one's looking!! 

I have 5 rescue cats, 3 are seniors and 2 of them are getting extremely picky with age.  I'd like to see if this will help increase the palatability of their food on picky days, instead of resorting to bribery with smelly, low quality canned food.  My dogs are raw fed, the 2 younger cats eat raw and cat food, but the picky 3 won't touch raw, and I've tried everything.  I'm thinking the treats may make a good transition, or at least add a little high quality food to their diets.

They could always use something special with their food.

I would love to try Boost for my Oscar and Emmy.  I am treing to be real careful about what I feed them--I use grain free canned food.  I would like to take their nutrtion one step closer to perfect.

I would love to get some of this to give to my friend for her kitties that are not eating well. She is part of a foster home based rescue group and some of her own cats that are older are losing weight because they don't eat well. Her computer is not working so I'm going to try to get this for her. Thanks!!

Both my cats are 17yrs old. One is on insulin for diabetes and needs to eat a highly nutritious diet,however often he just doesn't want to eat and I have to tempt him..BOOST would ideal to add that extra protein and taste.The other cat is extremely thin and arthritic ,anything that will help build him up I would appreciate trying..BOOST sounds ideal for both.

Thank you.

Raw food is the way to go! But my eldest boy turns his nose up at it till i sprinkle Ziwi Peak treats on it or something to tempt him. Little "darling"!

I'd love to have this to sprinkle on one of my cats' food but eh, it's ok, I'm in Oz so i'll track something else down.

Now, before I forget (again), you could have given Bobette Arnica post surgery and as she rocevfered as arnica helps with bruising, soreness and general recovery. sorry i have a memory like a sieve and i only just remembered to tell you. But you're pretty cluey, did you know about this remedy all ready?

My little family has grow to be three cats when we resently adopted another adult cat on 1/7/12.  They still are not getting along. I spend time every evening playing with them all. After the play, I sit on the floor and give them a few treats each night. We would love to try them too. 


Brownie, Cookie & Stormy

My cat would love boost because it would help her skin conditions and their long beautiful coats! And I love this line of products! So I'm a believer.

I try to feed my cat Buster the most healthy, wholesome food and he won't eat raw,so I'd love to find something even more healthy that he'deat!

I would love to try these products on my 4 sometimes finicky felines.  I alternate feeding Natures Variety canned with Halo canned and grain free kibble, but there are times when one (or all) of them turn up their noses at different flavors.  Would be interested to see if it would encourage them to eat some of the not-so-favorites.

My new little boy (5 months) comes from a long line of ferals - and not colony ferals, but scrawny, neglected, rural ferals. He's smart, sweet, and delightful, but he seems small for his age. I've wondered sometimes if a supplement might not help him achieve his full growth potential. He's on a grain-free diet that seems pretty complete, but maybe this would be the way the ensure he has the best chance to overcome his hard kittenhood. I'd love to try it!

i have two cats, both males, living in my tiny one bedroom apartment. i just recently moved from a two story townhome into this shoebox, and my cats are going crazy. theyre constantly looking out the windows begging for me to let them escape and go out and play. they need a boost because they dont have very much space to play and run, so theyre always sitting still. one of my kitties, i rescued from my old apartments parking lot, and hes constantly trying to get into all of MY food, because he used to it when he was a stray. with the boost im sure it will give them the energy to play, and hopefull the taste booster will help keep my kitty from breaking into my chips and bread!!!! 

My cats love treats and one will cry her head off while i cook dinner, wanting treats. Even if i give her a couple, she will start up again, begging for treats. I try to give them the healthier treats, but sometime they wont eat them, so i have to give them the crap treats. I would love to try the Boost Bites to see if they would eat those.

I would like to try the power b/c my foster kitty, who I am going to adopt, refuses to eat soft food. (havent tried raw yet but will) so I got her some good quality dry food, but maybe this boost power will be good for her.

So hope my kitties win!

I would love to try the Boost products with my four.  They tend to be picky (and never towards the same thing at the same time, of course).  Maybe Boost will help with that.  Also, I've been toying with the idea of a raw diet, so I think Boost would be a lovely way to start heading in that direction.  I'd love to win!  Thanks for the chance :)

I have been toying with the idea of a raw diet for my three cats, Rusty, Cupcake, and Booboo.

About this time last year, Rusty was diagnosed with Feline Diabetes, and we had to make a radical change in diet.  No more dry food, all canned, low carb.  I also started having to give him insulin injections, and after research, I realized that it is too dangerous to give injections without checking his blood sugar levels first.  So I had to learn to prick his ear to get a drop of blood in order to get a reading.  It was horrible for him and me to begin with, but we finally got it down pat, and it was no big deal.  Best thing is, we got his diabetes under control within about 6 weeks, then within about 6 more weeks of careful monitoring and dosing, he was completely off the insulin and was back to his normal rowdy self!  I still check his blood every other week or so, just to make sure that his blood sugar levels are stable, and so far so good.

We have continued with the wet food diet, but I am not always so sure that it is so great.  But I definitely know that it is better than dry.  So I would love to try out the boost and see how it goes for Rusty.  

My other cat, Cupcake, doesn't really care for the canned food, and I think the boost is something she might be into.  

The baby of them all, Booboo, is not really motivated by food, and will pretty much eat whatever is there, so I know that this would be good for him too! 

My kitty,

       wedged between 2 other kitties , she is always being bullyed about her food.  However when I brought her a certain food sample she became like a lion and ruled that bowl. If she truly had something she loved so much she would fight for, I feel she would grow stronger and larger and not put up with the other cats pushing her away from her food.  She is such a girly princess she deserves something worthy of her presence.

My beautiful calico kitten I adpoted was knocked up at six months. She's almost ready to deliver, but she is so small herself and doesn't like the high protein kitten food I've been giving her. Im desperate to get her to eat for the babies and her sake. I need her to be stong and heathy so she can get fixed asap after the birth!

One of my cats, Ozzy, who's 11 yrs. old, was recently diagnosed with thyroid disease. I feed very high quality food in my house but, as you described, I found myself buying junk just to encourage him to eat. What he likes one day may not be the same the next. I'd love to find a healthy way to get the nutrients he needs into him whether it be with treats, dehydrated meat or whatever it takes.

With my five cats, Karma being almost 21 with kidney issues, the youngest being Libby roughly 3 years old, (neighbors moved out, left her and her brother Indy and I took them in) they could all use some better foods and treats. I had been giving them the very best, however with the economy and the fact that I'm the only one working now and a large house, I'm not able to afford the quality food I want to and keep electricity and heat. I would love to try the Boost and see how my darlings like it. Thank you for the chance! :)

My 15 yr old girl would really like to try Boost. She said she would like better food so she can live into her 20's! And I would like to have her around as long as possible because I love her very much. She was a foster failure from a litter of motherless kittens I bottle fed and raised 15 hrs ago (I only kept 1)!

I would love to give my Zoey a Boost! We adopted Zoey 3 years ago, and she has become an extremely important part of our family. One of her favorite "jobs" is to keep my daughters warm at night by sleeping with/on them. As she gets older, (she's now between 7 and 8 years old) I've become more concerned about her nutrition. She is a very finicky eater, and will only eat one brand of dry cat food. I've wanted to switch her to something more natural and healthy, but it has been a total disaster. I would love to try the Boost products with Zoey. She needs to stay happy and healthy so we can have her with us for many more years to come!

I would love to try this new product.  As a professional pet sitter with over 2000 active kitty clients, I am always looking for the healthiest item to serve my own pets and to tell my clients about.  This looks like a very healthy food that I would like to try my four picky eaters on, and see how they like it, and subsequently be able to talk to lots of other people about it if I notice that they are very happy being on it.  I have always been a little cautious about raw food, but given tha this is freeze dried, leaves me to believe that it would be healthier than say just serving up raw hamburer/chicken.  I would be thrilled to be a 'tester' of this item. 

Thank you for your consideration.

Kristin Schumacher

Kitty Kompany Professional Pet Sitting Services

I'd love to try Boost. I'm always trying to improve my cats diets - without breaking the bank (or my spouse's patience). I've successfully converted my cats to a grain-free diet. I feed canned when I can (hubby objects to the smell of canned, so I don't feed it as often as I'd like). 3 out of 4 of the cats look absolutely wonderful on the grain-free diet. Simon, the 4th kitty (and oldest at 13), well...  While his coat is silkier, he still has a LOT of dander, and tends to be pretty greasy. Perhaps the Daily Boost could help that.  And what kitty doesn't like a treat :-)  Thank you!

I have 3 cats, and one of them is a very picky eater. I've tried all kinds of food (making sure they're all grain free!), and I finally found some he liked.  But, just in the past few days, he's started turning his nose up at it. He's underweight, and I've had him to the vet multiple times. They always want to put him on a Science Diet prescription food, but I hate the ingredients in those! So, it looks like I need to try something else new, again. So, I'd love to be able to give my Scruggs a boost with the Instinct Raw products. :)

I have 8 cats and 2 dogs, all of which are in their teens except for one of my dogs.  I used to feed Natures Variety raw until I no longer could afford it.  My cats now get Acana dry (still very expensive) and the dogs are getting Fromm dry.  3 of my cats, one of which is diabetic, have gotten very picky even with the Acana and my 14 year old dog almost refuses to eat.  She was very happy on raw and acts discusted with the dry.  Every one was very happy on the Natures Variety and I would love to try the boost to see if it will make up for the absense of raw.

I have 5 cats ranging in ages from 15 to 18 1/2 - all related. Other than the mom cat - Marie - the rest of the cats are all critically ill. 4 of my cats are in advanced kidney failure, one of these 4 (Miss Rugs) is diabetic and she crashed in August but by the grace of God and 200 mls of daily fluids and some supplements is till here on the planet. Strypper is the papa of the group and he has a mass in his lungs that we are not sure what it is. Miss Plumpers is the youngest, but has the worst kidneys of all the cats and we are always in amazement that she is still with us with so much energy every day. Miss Wheezer in addition to kidney failure was just diagnosed with congestive heart failure and we are trying to balance flushing her kidneys with fluids while using lasix to pull them right back out. She also has a comprised lung and every day she is here is a gift. Her appetite is way off unless it's pill pockets. With the cost of medications necessary to treat the above medical issues, I can't always feed my cats the best foods for them, as the most important rule is that they eat. I would love to supplement my aging kitties with a good quality product that is good for them and that will also encourage them to eat.

I'd love to try this food for my cat that is obese. I've been trying to get his weight down, but it isn't budging!

Fall is approaching.  Some may say it's the "Boost" time of the year.  The leaves change, the temperature drops, days become shorter and nights longer.  What doesn't change is our desire for some seriously delicious and healthy treats.  Please send some our way.  It would be the purrfect end to our Summer.

We love you Jackson!  Don't tell our mommy and daddy we watch TV though.

Enzo & Luna

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