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- Meat is the first ingredient – 1 Star
- Uses some unnamed meats – 1 Star
- Above average protein content – 0.5 Star
- Less than 4 controversial ingredients – 0 Star
- Catological Discretionary Rating – 0.5 Star
Here’s a few important points:
- Meat is the first ingredient, and there are a number of different meats included, including quality organ meat
- Each recipe has an abundance of unnecessary filler ingredients
- The filler ingredients do not appear to be present in large volumes, at least, as the protein and carbohydrate levels are both reasonable for your cat
- Extra vitamins, quality, chelated versions of some minerals, and probiotics have been added
Evolve’s product line includes 4 wet recipes/flavors.
Each recipe below includes its related AAFCO nutrient profile when available on the product’s official webpage or packaging: Growth (G), Maintenance (M), All Life Stages (A), Supplemental (S) or Unspecified (U).
The star rating is a rough average of all of the flavors in a single line of food. If an individual recipe scored lower or higher, we will mark that below, next to the flavor.
Evolve Turkey was selected to represent the other products in the line for this review.
Wet Cat Food
|Estimated Nutrient Content|
|Dry Matter Basis||45%||27%||11%|
|Calorie Weighted Basis||37%||54%||9%|
Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content
Fiber (guaranteed analysis)
Is real, named meat the first ingredient?
Turkey, Turkey Broth, Turkey Liver, Chicken, Ocean Fish, Brown Rice, Cottage Cheese, Carrots, Cranberries, Peas, Dried Egg Product, Guar Gum, Potassium Chloride, Flaxseed, Minerals (Iron Amino Acid Chelate, Zinc Amino Acid Chelate, Cobalt Amino Acid Chelate, Copper Amino Acid Chelate, Manganese Amino Acid Chelate, Sodium Selenite, Potassium Iodide), Salt, Garlic Powder, Taurine, Vitamins (Vitamin E, A, D3, B12 Supplements, Thiamine Mononitrate, Niacin, D-Calcium Pantothenate, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Riboflavin Supplement, Folic Acid, Biotin), Choline Chloride, Chicory Extract, Carrageenan, Brewers Dried Yeast, Yucca Schidigera Extract.
Ingredients in red are controversial or of questionable quality.
The first ingredient in this cat food is turkey. Good.
While quality of the individual ingredient can vary, turkey is a very good protein source for cats.
It’s also important to note that turkey contains about 70% water, so when it is processed and cooked for use in cat food, it will become a smaller part of the total recipe.
The second ingredient is turkey broth. Good.
Instead of using water for processing, turkey broth is added for moisture.
Broth may contain vitamins and nutrients from the original animal (turkey, in this case), that water would lack.
This is usually a sign of a high quality food.
The third ingredient is turkey liver. Good.
Liver is an important organ meat that your cat would eat in the wild to get extra protein, vitamins, and minerals.
This is usually a sign of a high quality food.
The fourth ingredient is chicken. Good.
While quality of the individual ingredient can vary, chicken is a very good protein source for cats.
It’s also important to note that chicken contains about 70% water, so when it is processed and cooked for use in cat food, it will become a smaller part of the total recipe.
The fifth ingredient is ocean fish. OK, but with reservations.
While it is fairly common to batch multiple types of ocean fish in cat food, labeling it “ocean fish”, we do not approve of any animal ingredient that is not specifically labeled.
Without a name, it could be just about anything, and you can’t make an informed choice.
That being said, “ocean fish” are usually small, oily fish, with a very high protein content.
There is some concern that these are not sustainably fished.
The sixth ingredient is brown rice. Bad.
It may be slightly better than corn in some areas, but rice is simply not biologically appropriate for cats.
It is a filler ingredient.
Studies hypothesize that rice may decrease taurine absorption in cats, leading to taurine deficiency, a dangerous ailment.
The seventh ingredient is cottage cheese. OK, but with reservations.
Cats are lactose intolerant, because they do not produce the enzyme lactase to break down lactose in milk.
Having milk-based products in cat food does not make sense to us, and therefore we see this ingredient as unnecessary and gimmicky.
While there’s probably not enough in here to cause major distress, it still seems strange to include it when it has more likelihood to cause your cat digestive discomfort than it does to be beneficial.
The eighth ingredient is carrots. Good.
The beta carotene in carrots turns into vitamin A, which is a useful antioxidant compound.
However, cats can’t turn much beta carotene into vitamin A like we can, so much of it is stored for growth or cell reprouction.
Therefore, carrots are most useful for kittens or senior cats.
This recipe includes a number of other ingredients, but once you get down this far, none of them will be in large enough quantities to make a real difference, except for the added vitamins and minerals.
However, there are still a few things you should know.
Peas are a quality carbohydrate, but cats don’t need much in the way of carbs.
They are full of fiber, but also contain a fair amount of protein, which we should keep in mind when judging the meat content of this food.
There probably aren’t many peas in here, but there really doesn’t need to be any.
Guar gum comes from guar beans, and is a thickening agent.
In small quantities, like those in cat food, it should be a harmless ingredient.
However, some research has shown that including guar gum in a commercial cat food “had a significant negative effect on apparent protein digestibility in many of the cats and tended to depress apparent fat and energy digestibilities.”
While not heavily substantiated beyond this study, it might mean your cat needs to eat more protein to make up for the lower digestibility.
This recipe utilizes chelated minerals, which may be easier to digest and more bioavailable for your cat. This is usually a sign of a high quality cat food.
It also uses carrageenan, another thickening agent.
Carrageenan is a very controversial ingredient. It is derived from a red seaweed.
One of it’s forms, degraded carrageenan, is a potential carcinogen.
While degraded is not used in food applications, some people have concerns that the ingredient could become degraded from a cat’s stomach acid, therefore potentially increasing cancer risk.
It is likely fine, but with so many other options on the market, many people choose not to take the risk.
It also uses brewer’s dried yeast, which is a by-product of brewing beer. It is used for flavoring and for protein and B-vitamins.
However, some reports suggest that it can become very toxic to the liver, causing allergies and arthritis, in large doses.
To read a more in depth article about any of the ingredients listed here, check out our Cat Food Ingredient Wiki (currently under development).
The Catological Verdict on Evolve Wet Cat Food
From top to bottom, this is an average wet product.
It includes a variety of different types of meat, which is good, but there are also a lot of different filler ingredients present.
Although the carb content is fairly low, there are just so many different unnecessary ingredients present, including cheese, which we find to be a strange choice of ingredient.
This is a decent example of a dry food you should be feeding your cat.
The protein levels are about average, the fat content is good, and the carbs are fairly low, so in terms of macronutrients for your cat, this is a fairly good mix.
Considering the amount of different meats and the fact that while carbohydrate additives are high in numbers, carbohydrate levels are low, we can safely assume that this is a mostly meat-based food, which is appropriate for your carnivorous cat’s diet.
To review, on a dry matter basis, this food is 45% protein, 27% fat, and 11% carbs.
As a group, the brand has an average protein content of 45%, and average fat content of 28%, and an average carb content of 12%.
Compared to the other 2000+ foods in our database, this food has:
- Average protein.
- Above average fat.
- Average carbs.
Because the first ingredient is meat, multiple meats are used, the macronutrient profile is pretty good, but a lot of unnecessary fillers are present, our rating for this brand is 3 stars.
Evolve’s Cat Food Recall History
We do not believe that a recall indicates a low quality food or company, and we respect the fact that sometimes things happen that cause a manufacturer to recall a food.
Usually these things are non-life-threatening, and we think it’s important to take a moment to be thankful about just how few recalls there really are in the industry, considering the enormous volume of food produced.
However, we do believe that a history of recalls may point to a larger issue with a company, and that discerning consumers want to know who they’re buying from, especially when it comes to something as important as the food you feed your beloved cat.
Here is a list of recalls that have affected the Evolve brand in the past:
- May 2014 – Low thiamine levels, recalled by parent company, not the Evolve brand
- March 2007 – Melamine contamination – kitten formula affected, multiple others pulled as a precaution
If you want to stay up to date on the latest recall information affecting your cat’s food, sign up to our email list and receive an email every time a recall is announced. We’ll also let you know about any updated ratings, recipe changes, or new cat foods on the market. (Our alert system will be launched shortly, check back soon.)
Where To Buy Evolve Wet Cat Food
We recommend purchasing your pet products from Chewy.com. They continually prove that they walk the walk while talking the talk, and I’ve never dealt with a more dedicated pet-parent base of people than those who work at Chewy.
Plus, they offer 20% off and free shipping on lots of orders.
Check out our ratings and reviews of the best cat foods in our comprehensive, data-backed guide right here.