Evolve Cat Food Review16 min read
This page contains affiliate links. We may earn money or products from the companies mentioned in this post through our independently chosen links, which earn us a commission. Learn More
When shopping for cat food, it’s tough to choose when there are so many brands out there.
The best thing you can do is look for a recipe made with whole-food ingredients including real animal proteins and wholesome fruits and veggies. Evolve offers several recipes that meet that description.
Evolve comes from a pet food manufacturer with more than 50 years of experience in the industry and their goal is to feed “the world’s love of their pets.” By providing healthy, high-quality pet food products, Evolve is helping pets live long and happy lives right beside their owners.
Read on to see what we think of the Evolve brand and to see our reviews for their top products.
How We Review Cat Food Brands
Before you take our word in any of our recommendations, you probably want to know how we come by our decisions. The first thing you need to know is that we’d never recommend something we wouldn’t feed our own cats.
We know how much you love your furry friends and we love ours too!
When it comes to cat food, it all comes down to the ingredients and what’s going to be the best for your cat’s health and nutrition.
We recommend cat foods made with wholesome, natural ingredients that are founded on high-quality sources of animal protein like meat, poultry, and fish. Cats are obligate carnivores, after all, so their ability to digest plant matter is extremely limited.
In addition to being high in protein, we look for recipes that are easy to digest and balanced in terms of nutrition.
Carbs aren’t ideal in cat food, but digestible sources like whole grains and fresh veggies can be beneficial to provide fiber and essential nutrients. Just make sure they don’t outweigh the protein.
Here are some of the things we look for in a good cat food brand:
- High-quality animal protein as the first ingredient
- Rich in healthy animal fats (ex: chicken fat or salmon oil)
- Few to no carbohydrate ingredients (especially within the top 5)
- Limited number of main ingredients plus supplements
- No low-quality fillers, grains, or by-products
We take our jobs seriously, so we don’t expect you to simply take our word for it on the cat food brands we recommend.
We do our best to evaluate each brand thoroughly, taking into account the quality of the ingredients they use but also additional factors like recipe variety, recall history, availability, and customer reviews.
We want to paint a complete picture to help you make a smart choice for your cat.
Overview of the Evolve Cat Food Brand
Evolve Cat food is owned and manufactured by Sunshine Mills. This company was founded in 1949 and continues to be family-owned and -operated with its headquarters in Red Bay, Alabama. Though it got its start as an animal feed company, Sunshine Mills added a pet food line in the 1960s.
Today, Evolve is known for offering “scientifically blended & balanced” super-premium pet food. According to the brand’s website, Sunshine Mills does everything they can to “craft carefully designed food and treats to help you maintain your pet’s health and happiness for many years to come.”
All of Sunshine Mills’ pet food products are made in the USA. The company states they own and operate several facilities throughout the USA so they are able to control the quality of their products start to finish. Every batch is tested to ensure perfection and safety.
What Kind of Cat Food Products Do They Offer?
Evolve recently reformulated some of their recipes, so we found the offerings on Chewy to be different from the recipes listed on the brand website.
According to Chewy, Evolve currently offers four dry food and four wet food recipes. Though the number of recipes is the same as the brand website, the names and formulations are different. In addition to adult cat food recipes, Evolve also offers a dry food and a wet food formula for kittens.
Here is the nutritional information for some of the most popular cat food recipes:
Dry Food Recipes
|Recipe||Protein %||Fat %||Fiber %||Moisture %||Calories/Cup|
|Classic Deboned Chicken & Brown Rice Recipe Dry Food||32||13||3||11||366|
|Classic Deboned Salmon, Rice & Sweet Potato Formula Dry Food||32||15||4.5||10||367|
|Chicken, Pea & Sweet Potato Recipe Grain-Free Kitten Food||36||18||4||10||378|
|Grain-Free Ocean Whitefish & Egg Recipe Dry Food||35||14||4||12||376|
Wet Food Recipes
|Recipe||Protein %||Fat %||Fiber %||Moisture %||Calories/Can|
|Classic Kitten Turkey Recipe Canned Cat Food||11||7||1||78||205 (5.5 oz.)|
|Classic Seafood and Brown Rice Recipe Canned Cat Food||10||6||1||78||192 (5.5 oz.)|
|Classic Chicken Recipe Canned Cat Food||10||6||1||78||175 (5.5 oz.)|
|Classic Turkey & Brown Rice Recipe Canned Food||10||6||1||78||188 (5.5 oz.)|
Product Recall History
When evaluating a brand for quality, it’s always a good idea to check for recalls. Having a recall or two doesn’t necessarily indicate a poor-quality brand, but a long list of recalls is certainly a red flag.
Sunshine Mills, the company that produces Evolve cat food, owns and operates their own facilities which helps reduce the risk for recalls.
Though it isn’t exclusively true, many cat food manufacturers that outsource production experience a higher risk for recalls. So do companies that use Chinese ingredients.
Here is an overview of Evolve pet food recalls:
- March 2007 (potential melamine contamination) – The FDA issued a recall for a single lot of kitten food due to potential melamine concerns.
Though Evolve has one recall in the brand’s history, it happened more than 12 years ago. The recipe in question has been reformulated since then and the brand hasn’t had any recalls since.
Products Included in This Review
|Name||Type||Protein %||Fat %||Top 5 Ingredients|
|Classic Deboned Chicken & Brown Rice Recipe Dry Food||Dry||32||13||Deboned chicken, chicken meal, turkey meal, brown rice flour, peas|
|Classic Deboned Salmon, Rice & Sweet Potato Formula Dry Food||Dry||32||15||Deboned salmon, chicken meal, oatmeal, whole ground brown rice, turkey meal|
|Chicken, Pea & Sweet Potato Recipe Grain-Free Kitten Food||Dry||36||18||Deboned chicken, chicken meal, peas, chickpeas, fish meal|
|Classic Seafood and Brown Rice Recipe Canned Cat Food||Wet||10||6||Chicken, ocean whitefish, salmon broth, chicken liver, dried egg product|
|Classic Kitten Turkey Recipe Canned Cat Food||Wet||11||7||Turkey, turkey broth, turkey liver, chicken, ocean whitefish|
This classic dry food formula features deboned chicken and chicken meal as the top two ingredients. Deboned chicken is simply fresh chicken while chicken meal has been cooked, making it a concentrated source of animal protein.
This recipe also contains turkey meal and fish meal.
In addition to the proteins, this formula contains digestible whole grains like brown rice and oatmeal. Peas are included as well, which may contribute some plant protein, but not likely a significant amount.
The estimated carbohydrate content of this dry food formula is over 35% which is a little concerning.
Generally, we like to see a maximum of 10% carbohydrate content but that is more common in wet food than in dry food. Most of the carbs in this recipe are digestible sources, but we’d like to see less.
We do, however, like the inclusion of dried cranberries and blueberries as natural sources for key nutrients. These supplement the synthetic vitamins and minerals used to ensure nutritional balance.
This salmon recipe features fresh salmon as the first ingredient, but the next ingredient is chicken meal.
This isn’t an issue unless your cat is allergic or sensitive to chicken, but the fact that it is chicken meal rather than fresh chicken means that once the product is cooked to remove moisture, it may contain a higher volume of chicken than salmon. This recipe also contains turkey meal.
Like the previous formula, this recipe contains oatmeal and brown rice. The key difference is the brown rice is whole ground – it isn’t listed as brown rice flour. It’s unclear whether they are actually two different ingredients. It’s also worth noting this recipe includes whole ground barley as well.
In addition to whole grains, this recipe is supplemented with dried fruits and veggies to provide fiber as well as natural sources of key nutrients. The estimated carbohydrate content of this recipe is still fairly high around 30% but not quite as high as the previous recipe.
All cats require a high-protein diet, but protein is especially important for growing kittens. This kitten recipe dry food features both fresh chicken and chicken meal as the top two ingredients with supplemental protein from fish meal and turkey meal.
This grain-free formula contains peas and chickpeas as the primary carbohydrates with pea starch and flaxseed meal for additional sources of fiber. You’ll also find sweet potatoes and a small assortment of dried fruits and veggies on the list.
The estimated carbohydrate content of this recipe is the lowest yet, under 25%. This recipe seems fairly digestible and it doesn’t contain any red flag ingredients.
Though this Classic Seafood recipe is listed as such, the first ingredient is actually chicken. Keep this in mind if you’re looking for a recipe to feed a cat with food allergies or sensitivities.
After the chicken comes ocean white fish followed by salmon broth, chicken liver, and dried egg. Brown rice is the primary source of carbohydrate with cranberries, peas, and carrots as additions. It’s worth noting that these are fresh ingredients, not dried like the previous recipes.
We also like to see the inclusion of chelated minerals in this formula that were absent from the dry foods. Chelated minerals are simply minerals that have been chemically bound to protein molecules which helps enhance their absorption.
Generally speaking, wet cat food tends to be higher in protein and lower in carbohydrate than dry food. The estimated carbohydrate content of this wet food recipe is under 3% which is highly preferable to the high carb content of the dry food recipes we’ve already reviewed.
Formulated for growing kittens, this recipe features fresh turkey, turkey broth, and turkey liver as the top three ingredients. These are followed by three additional sources of animal protein – fresh chicken, fresh ocean whitefish, and dried egg.
Brown rice provides the primary source of carbohydrate, supplemented by cranberries, peas, and carrots. Overall, this recipe is very similar to the previous one.
One thing to note with Evolve’s wet food formulas is that they are thickened with carrageenan. Though carrageenan is naturally derived from seaweed, it has been correlated with gastrointestinal upset. Keep this in mind and watch for issues with your cat’s digestion, just in case.
What Do Customers Think of Evolve Cat Food?
Evolve doesn’t seem to be one of the most popular brands on the market, simply based on the number of reviews on Chewy. That being said, while most products have fewer than 50 customer reviews, the ratings for Evolve cat foods average about 4 stars.
In reading some customer reviews of Evolve cat food, we found many comments about the quality and affordability. As is always the case, however, there were also some cat owners whose cats simply didn’t like the food. There seemed to be more issues with the chicken recipe than the salmon.
How Much Does Evolve Cat Food Cost?
Generally speaking, Evolve is a fairly affordable cat food brand. Their two classic dry food formulas are priced between $1.50 and $2.00 per pound.
The kitten recipe is more expensive, but primarily because it is only sold in smaller bags. Wet cat food is under $0.50 per ounce which makes it very affordable.
To give you a better idea how Chicken Soup for the Soul stacks up against other cat food brands, here is a quick chart to show you some average prices:
|Meow Mix Original Choice Dry Food||Dry||Low||X||$0.90/pound|
|Friskies Classic Pate Mixed Grill Canned Food||Wet||Low||$0.07/ounce||$1.16/pound|
|Blue Buffalo Indoor Health Chicken & Brown Rice Adult Dry Cat Food||Dry||Moderate||X||$2.53/pound|
|Whole Earth Farms Grain-Free Real Chicken Pate Recipe Canned Cat Food||Wet||Moderate||$0.36/ounce||X|
|Instinct by Nature’s Variety Original Grain-Free Recipe with Real Chicken||Dry||High||X||$3.45/pound|
|Ziwi Peak New Zealand Venison Recipe Canned Cat Food||Wet||High||$1.21/ounce||X|
Where Can You Buy Evolve Cat Food?
Sunshine Mills products like Evolve cat food can be found in a variety of major retailers throughout the country. You can find Evolve pet products at grocery stores and discount clubs as well as some feed stores, hardware stores, and pet specialty stores.
Our Final Thoughts: Is Evolve a Good Brand?
Overall, we think Evolve is a decent brand, especially considering the affordable price. We like that every recipe starts with a source of real animal protein and most recipes contain several sources.
You won’t be able to feed Evolve to cats with allergies to common proteins like chicken, for the most part, but that may not be an issue for all cat owners.
The quality of the ingredients seems to be fairly high, though the wet food does contain carrageenan and other thickeners. Evolve’s dry foods didn’t contain chelated minerals, though the wet foods do.
The primary concern is the high carbohydrate content of Evolve’s dry foods. If you’re looking for a protein-rich recipe for your cat, we’d recommend Evolve wet foods over their dry food formulas.