Evo Cat Food Review

EVO uses the tag line “The ancestral diet meets modern nutrition,” and their pet foods are known for having high amounts of meat protein and low carbohydrates. Their foods are grain free and they say they are an alternative to feeding a raw diet. EVO claims they were the first grain free kibbled pet food (2004), though some other companies might dispute this claim. They use no artificial colors, preservatives, or additives.

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Who Manufactures EVO?

EVO is made by Natura Pet, which is now owned by Mars PetCare. Natura produces their kibbles at their plant in Fremont, Nebraska. Natura goes into great detail about their manufacturing practices. We don’t know where EVO canned foods are made though Natura obviously has access to a number of canneries through their Mars connection, and before that, through P & G.

EVO Cat Food Recalls 2019

  • EVO had a recall in November 2014 affecting cat and kitten food (as well as ferret food) due to problems with the vitamins and minerals in some foods.
  • EVO had recalls in 2013, which included dry cat food, ferret food, and treats, because of contamination from Salmonella. The 2013 recalls continued for several months and affected all of Natura’s foods.
  • Natura also settled a class action lawsuit last year which was based on its marketing claims that their foods (including EVO) were human grade and “something you would eat yourself.” The court did not agree.

EVO Cat Food Coupons 2019

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Overall EVO Cat Food Review and Analysis

At one time EVO had foods that they claimed could be fed to either dogs or cats. You can still see a few vestiges of this marketing on their web site. However, their dog and cat foods are neatly divided today. Dog foods are labeled for dogs and cat foods are labeled for cats. (And the ferret food is labeled for ferrets.) Make sure you buy cat food that is appropriate for cats, regardless of what you may have bought from EVO in the past.

EVO makes two dry cat foods and two canned cat foods. The dry recipes are Turkey & Chicken Formula Cat & Kitten Food and Herring & Salmon Formula Cat & Kitten Food. Both of these foods are grain free with no gluten or potatoes. 87 percent of these foods are animal protein, with 13 percent fruits and vegetables,
vitamins and minerals. They are made for all life stages.

The two canned recipes are 95% Chicken & Turkey Canned Cat Food and 95% Duck Canned Cat Food. These canned foods are grain free with high levels of protein. These foods are maintenance cat foods.

Turkey & Chicken Formula Cat & Kitten Food features Turkey, Chicken, Chicken Meal, Tapioca Starch, and Chicken Fat (Preserved with Mixed Tocopherols, a Source of Vitamin E). It has the following guaranteed analysis (more on the EVO web site, along with the nutrient analysis):

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Crude Protein (Min)50.0 %
Crude Fat (Min)22.0 %
Crude Fiber (Max)2.5 %
Moisture (Max)10.0 %

538.0 kcal/cup

Herring & Salmon Formula Cat & Kitten Food has Herring, Menhaden Meal, Salmon, Salmon Meal, and Tapioca Starch. The food has the following guaranteed analysis:

Crude Protein (Min)50.0 %
Crude Fat (Min)18.0 %
Crude Fiber (Max)3.0 %
Moisture (Max)10.0 %

569.0 kcal/cup

As you can see, these dry cat foods have a lot of animal protein. They are also very high in calories so if you feed these foods to your cat, measure the portions and be careful not to let your cat gain too much weight. You will be feeding your cat less food at each meal than with many other brands.

EVO formerly made a dry weight management formula for cats but the page has been taken down on their web site.

The canned 95% Chicken & Turkey Canned Cat Food includes Chicken, Chicken Broth, Turkey, Natural Flavor, and Carrageenan. The guaranteed analysis for the food shows the following:

Crude Protein (Min)9.0 %
Crude Fat (Min)10.0 %
Crude Fiber (Max)1.0 %
Moisture (Max)78.0 %

1349.8 kcal/kg

210.0 kcals per 5.5oz can

504.8 kcals per 13.2 oz can

95% Duck Canned Cat Food has Duck, Duck Broth, Natural Flavor, Carrageenan, and Potassium Chloride as the first five ingredients in the food. The guaranteed analysis for the food shows the following:

Crude Protein (Min)7.5 %
Crude Fat (Min)10.0 %
Crude Fiber (Max)1.0 %
Moisture (Max)78.0 %

1389.4 kcal/kg

216.7 kcals per 5.5oz can

519.6 kcals per 13.2 oz can

Many people will like EVO because of the high meat protein content. They will also like the low carbs and the fact that the foods are grain free. The canned foods do use carrageenan which is somewhat controversial. Carrageenan is used in many canned pet foods as a gel and thickening agent. It’s especially useful with meat products. It is made from seaweed and has been used for hundreds of years. It’s also used in dairy products and other foods for humans. Some people have raised questions about it because it may irritate the gastrointestinal system. The European Union places some restrictions on its use in infant formula but there are no restrictions on its use in the United States.

Individual Recipe Review EVO (Dry) Herring & Salmon Formula Cat & Kitten Food

If you like the idea of feeding your cat a dry cat food that is high in protein and low in carbs, you will probably like this food. While many people believe that a canned cat food is better for cats, EVO has packed their dry cat foods with lots of animal protein and minimal carbohydrates. However, it’s still important to look at all of the ingredients in a food – sometimes there are some surprises.

Amazon Customer @ Amazon.com says…

Best food I’ve found for the money. 87% protein and my cats absolutely love it. My ferret likes it as well.

The first five ingredients in EVO’s Herring & Salmon Formula Cat & Kitten Food are almost all fish. If your cat likes fish, he will probably like this food. Fish/seafood are one of the most common food allergens for cats, so some cats may not be able to eat a fish-based cat food, but hopefully your cat won’t have that problem.

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Those first five ingredients are: Herring, Menhaden Meal, Salmon, Salmon Meal, and Tapioca Starch. (We look at the first five ingredients because, by weight, they usually make up most of what’s in the pet food.) Herring is about 48 percent protein, 51 percent fat, and 1 percent carbs (depending on the source). It’s a great source of Vitamin B12 and omega-3 fatty acids which are so good for the skin and coat, as well as the heart, the brain, and other organs.

Menhaden meal comes from menhaden fish. Menhaden are little school fish that make up most of the fish used for fish oil. They are related to herring. It’s a good source of amino acids and essential fatty acids. Since this is a meal, most of the moisture has been removed, making it a good source of protein. EVO says that they do not use ethoxyquin as a preservative. (Note that EVO does not make any statement on their web site about whether their suppliers use ethoxyquin.)

Salmon is about 46 percent protein and 54 percent fat. It’s a good source of Thiamin, Niacin, Vitamin B6 and Phosphorus, and a very good source of Vitamin B12 and Selenium. It’s also an excellent source of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids – and it has them in a good proportion. We often tend to get much more omega-6 fatty acid than we need today and not as much omega-3. It’s important to have the proper ratio.

Salmon is a whole food so it still contains the moisture in the fish’s flesh. Salmon meal, by contrast, has had most of the moisture removed. This means that it is a more concentrated form of salmon, with more concentrated protein and nutrients. Most people will agree that salmon meal is a good ingredient in pet food, especially when preserved with natural preservatives.

The fifth ingredient in the food is tapioca starch. Tapioca comes from the cassava root. The starch comes from processing the tapioca flour. Tapioca starch is all carbs and it has no real vitamins or minerals but in the U.S. it is sometimes used as a thickener. It’s likely used in this food for this purpose so the cat food has some structure and dough-like quality and will go through the pet food machinery.

Other ingredients of note in the food include Menhaden Oil (Preserved with Mixed Tocopherols, a Source of Vitamin E). This is fish oil, used here to add fat to the food. Menhaden oil is extremely high in omega-3 fatty acids.

The food also has pea fiber, probably as a source of fiber in the food. As the seventh ingredient in the food, this ingredient is probably not present in large enough quantities to upset a cat’s digestion.

The food does contain “natural flavors” which is often a code term for a form of monosodium glutamate (MSG), a flavor enhancer. This is not exactly an “artificial flavor,” but a good quality pet food shouldn’t have to add an ingredient such as this to their food.

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Cats really don’t need apples or carrots but they are probably included as fiber.

The food also contains eggs and cottage cheese which typically increase the protein percentage in pet foods. Some cats can have allergies to dairy products.

EVO uses chelated or proteinated minerals which makes it easier for your cat to digest the minerals. And the food includes some microbials and fermentation products to aid in digestion.

VERY IMPORTANT: This food uses Menadione Sodium Bisulfite Complex. This is synthetic Vitamin K and there is no reason that a good quality pet food should be adding it to their foods. There are many natural sources of Vitamin K that can easily be added to pet foods – many leafy green vegetables are sources of natural vitamin K. Plus, it’s not even vital that Vitamin K be added to pet foods. Many companies do not add Vitamin K at all. Synthetic Vitamin K can lead to some harmful side effects if fed long-term.

Calorie Content: 4366.0 kcal/kg; 569.0 kcal/cup

Guaranteed Analysis:

Crude Protein (Min)50.0 %
Crude Fat (Min)18.0 %
Crude Fiber (Max)3.0 %
Moisture (Max)10.0 %

EVO Herring & Salmon Formula Cat & Kitten Food is formulated to meet the nutritional levels established by the AAFCO Cat Food Nutrient Profiles for all life stages.

Dry Matter Basis: This food has an estimated 55.6 percent protein, 20 percent fat, 3.33 percent fiber, and 13.33 percent carbohydrates. (AAFCO recommendations for protein for adult cats are a minimum of 26 percent and 30 percent for growing kittens; and 9 percent fat for both adult cats and growing kittens.)

Final Thoughts

EVO Herring & Salmon Formula Cat & Kitten Food has a very high percentage of protein, above average fat, and moderate fiber. It is very low in carbohydrates for a dry cat food. In fact, the protein percentage and other percentages for the food are not too different from if you fed your cat a mouse. If you like the idea of feeding your cat a diet that is similar to feeding the nutrients in a raw diet, then you will like this food. However, we do want to emphasize that this food contains Menadione Sodium Bisulfite Complex – synthetic vitamin K. Many good quality cat foods no longer use this ingredient because of concerns about its safety. You should consider whether this is an ingredient you are comfortable letting your cat eat. We can’t quite tell you not to feed a food that uses this ingredient, but we do think it’s a big strike against the food. There’s just no reason for a company to use this ingredient when they don’t have to use it at all. This food does have a lot of good things in its favor, so you will need to weigh the good and the bad.

As with all dry cat foods, if you feed this food, make sure that your cat has plenty of access to clean water at all times.

Carlotta Cooper

Carlotta Cooper is a freelance writer and a long-time contributing editor for the weekly dog show magazine, Dog News. She is the author of The Dog Adoption Bible, the Dog Writers Association of America Adoptashelter.com award-winner for 2013. Additionally, Carlotta is the author of Canine Cuisine: 101 Natural Dog Food & Treat Recipes to Make Your Dog Health and Happy, as well as other books about pets. She is a guest writer for numerous website and blogs and a frequent pet food reviewer.

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4 comments

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  • I just started my cats on Evo dry Chicken and Turkey, as i was looking for a low-carb food. I’m looking at the ingredients listed on their site, and i don’t see the Menadione Sodium Bisulfite Complex listed. Was there a formula change, or can they add that supplement without specifically listing it?

  • I just purchased a 2.2 pound bag of EVO grain free turkey and chicken formula and the menadione sodium bisulfite complex is not listed as an ingredient.

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