Tender & True Cat Food Review

Tender & True cat food—they say it’s certifiably better, but is it a good choice for your cat?

Tender & True is marketed to people who care about the story of their cats’ food—people who want to know that every ingredient has an environmentally-friendly, morally sound background. And, according to Tender & True, you can trust their food because it’s earned the certifications to prove it’s better.

When it was created in 2014, Tender & True was the first full line of dry pet food to use meat proteins that met USDA organic standards. Later, they released the first and only full line of antibiotic-free dog and cat food.

Tender & True maintains long relationships with growers, farmers, and fisheries who support their “certifiably better” concept. Their meat suppliers follow the Global Animal Partnership’s guidelines for certified humanely raised ingredients and their seafood vendors meet the sustainability standards set by the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC).

The company is independently owned in the Midwestern United States and has headquarters in Omaha, Nebraska. All formulas are made in the USA.

What types of cat food does Tender & True offer?

Tender & True’s cat food selection includes both wet and dry cat food formulas. All of the recipes are made without artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives. Their canned formulas are carrageenan-free.

Because certifications are a central part of the company’s message, Tender & True’s recipes can be segmented into certification categories.

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Dry Cat Food

USDA Certified Organic

  • Organic Chicken & Liver Recipe
  • Organic Turkey & Liver Recipe

Sustainable Seafood

  • Ocean Whitefish & Potato Recipe
  • Salmon & Sweet Potato Recipe

Antibiotic-Free

  • Chicken & Brown Rice Recipe
  • Turkey & Brown Rice Recipe

Canned Cat Food

USDA Organic

  • Organic Chicken & Liver Recipe
  • Organic Turkey & Liver Recipe

Sustainable Seafood

  • Ocean Whitefish & Potato Recipe

Antibiotic-Free

  • Turkey and Brown Rice Recipe
  • Chicken & Brown Rice Recipe

Has Tender & True cat food ever been recalled?

There’s no evidence that Tender & True cat food has ever been recalled.

What do customers think of Tender & True cat food

This brand doesn’t have the review volume you’d associate with more well-known brands like Purina or Orijen, so it can be difficult to assess how customers feel about it.

On Chewy, Tender & True’s most-reviewed cat food formula is their Organic Chicken & Liver dry cat food recipe. This dry food has 17 customer reviews, earning it a 3.9 out of 5 star rating. Only 71% of those reviewers say they’d recommend the food.

Positive Reviews

“We love this certified organic food and our 13 year old cat came off a lifetime of Iams and loved it immediately. Can tell she’s feeling more frisky and healthy in general!” – Cowboy

“GOOD DAY! My lovely Luna is a 15 -16 year old queen with a challenged digestive system impacting both eating and elimination. Many visits to the vet have not solved this. Reason #1 for 5 stars? Luna loves this dry Chicken & Liver and so far (2 wks) it has not upset her system at all. This is a welcome development, believe me! We put a LITTLE of her favorite wet food on top and she loves it. Reason #2 for 5 stars? Reading cat food cans that contain high levels of ground flax, sunflower seed oil, pea protein, overabundance of vegetables plus ANTIBIOTIC-loaded meat sources is wearing out this old human. 4 of my last 7 cats have died of cancer – old in two cases, but still shocking. These cans may appeal to chemists’ brains but not so good for this cat’s body. Thank you Tender & True for trying a healthy approach and also for the humanely raised meat sources.” – CatLady

Negative Reviews

“Cat wouldn’t touch this food! Back to Hill’s brand!” – Donger

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“So sorry to say that not one of my five kitties would touch this product. They sniffed at it and walked away. The ingredients sounded good so was hoping they would like it. Evidently not.” – LeeG

Read more customer reviews on Chewy.

Tender & True Organic Chicken & Liver Recipe Grain-Free Dry Cat Food Review

First 5 Ingredients: Organic Chicken, Organic Chicken Meal, Organic Tapioca Starch, Organic Pea Flour, Organic Dried Peas

This dry cat food from Tender & True is USDA certified organic. Remember that unlike dime-a-dozen “natural” foods, the organic certification is a meaningful indicator that the ingredients were sustainably produced without the use of synthetics.

Organic chicken serves as the first ingredient. The chicken is sourced from U.S. farmers and is GAP certified Step 3 by the Global Animal Partnership.

The GAP has established a 5-step animal welfare program that defines welfare as a 3-faceted state involving health and productivity, natural living, and emotional wellbeing. Each Step denotes a different level of environmental enrichment and provisions for animal welfare. The Step 3 certification means the chicken was raised on an operation that provided enriched surroundings, including outdoor access.

If you’d like a detailed explanation of the program, click here to review the GAP’s 74-page policy manual.

Following whole chicken is organic chicken meal, which is a dehydrated form of chicken that delivers an intense protein punch.

After kicking the recipe off with two sources of animal protein, this Tender & True formula continues on to a series of plant ingredients. This includes organic tapioca, a minimally nutritious but very starchy binder, organic pea flour, which is also minimally nutritious, and organic dried peas, which are not an ideal nutrient source for an obligate carnivore.

Like peas, chickpeas are added to the recipe as a binder and fiber source, but otherwise aren’t particularly nourishing for your meat-loving cat. Next on the list is organic potato flour. Potatoes don’t offer much nutrition, but they increase the food’s carbohydrate content, encouraging blood sugar spikes and failing to satiate your cat. Organic flaxseed meal is included as a source of fiber and omega-3 fatty acids, but it misses the mark for an obligate carnivore. Cats need preformed omega-3’s, like the DHA and EPA found in fish. They can’t efficiently utilize the ALA found in flaxseed.

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But it’s not all vegetables and carbohydrates. Near the end of the ingredient list, the recipe contains organic chicken fat as an ideal source of nourishing fatty acids. It features organic chicken liver, which is ultra-nourishing and makes the food delicious. For a concentrated burst of flavor, the recipe includes chicken liver digest meal.

It also contains menhaden fish oil, which is a stellar source of omega-3 fatty acids. This is the last food ingredient and precedes a series of vitamins, minerals, and amino acid supplements.

The guaranteed analysis states that this food is 30% protein minimum, 18% fat minimum, and approximately 35.5% carbohydrate.

Although the grain-free label earns it some points, the food is packed with minimally nutritious, high-carbohydrate plant ingredients like potato flour and tapioca starch.

The carbohydrate content is three times the amount that any cat would find in their natural diet.

And with plant ingredients overshadowing the few meat inclusions in the recipe, it’s no surprise that each meal is composed of as little as 30% protein. This percentage meets AAFCO’s minimum protein requirement of 26% crude protein for adult cats and just scrapes by the 30% minimum requirement for growth and reproduction, but it might not be enough for every cat, especially if they’re at risk for muscle loss.

Overall, this dry formula is great if you’re passionate about carefully-sourced ingredients. From a sourcing perspective, this food is certifiably better than those strutting meaningless “natural” or “premium” labels. But when we put those ideals aside and evaluate the food on nutritional merit alone, this kibble isn’t much better than the rest.

You can buy this food in either a 3-lb bag or 7-lb bag. According to the company’s feeding guidelines for the average 10-lb cat, it costs between $.89 and $.79 per day.

This estimate is based on Chewy prices with shipping costs not included.

Where can you buy Tender & True cat food?

It’s sold in natural grocery chains across the United States, including Whole Foods Market, Earth Fare, Thrive Market, PCC Community Markets, and Mom’s Organic Market. You can also find Tender & True sold in select independent pet retailers. If you’d prefer to shop online, you can find their products sold on Chewy.

Click here to shop for Tender & True cat food on Chewy.

Mallory Crusta

Mallory Crusta offers simple, honest knowledge about natural cat care and products that work so that you can spend less time researching natural cat care and more time having fun with your cat. She blogs about it at WildernessCat.com.

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