Laura Ward

Written by Laura Ward

Georgia Jeremiah

Reviewed by Georgia Jeremiah

Updated: January 18, 2024

Evanger’s Dry Cat Food Review

Updated: January 18, 2024

Our Verdict

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Recommended with Reservations

Evanger’s dry cat food receives the Cat Food Advisor rating, 3.5 stars.

The first ingredient in Evanger’s dry cat food comes from a high-quality source of protein. However, it’s unfortunate the company includes so much plant-based protein in its recipe, otherwise, we would have been compelled to award this product a higher rating.

Pros
  • High-quality sources of protein
  • Grain- and gluten-free
  • No corn, wheat or soy
Cons
  • Contains lentils and peas which can be hard to digest
  • Expensive

Each recipe includes its AAFCO nutrient profile: Growth (kitten), Maintenance (adult), All Life Stages, Supplemental or Unspecified.

Evanger’s dry product line has two dry cat foods.

Product line Rating AAFCO
Grain Free Catch of the Day 3.5 A
Grain Free Meat Lovers Medley Recipe with Rabbit 3.5 A

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Recipe and Label Analysis

Evanger’s Grain Free Catch of the Day recipe was selected to represent the other products in the line for a detailed recipe and nutrient analysis.

Label and nutrient data below are calculated using dry matter basis.

Evanger's Grain Free Catch of the Day

Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content

37.8%

Protein

18.9%

Fat

35.3%

CarbsCarbohydrates

Chicken meal, whole dried sweet potatoes, salmon meal, whole dried peas, whole lentils, chicken fat (preserved with mixed tocopherols), natural flavors, dried chicken liver, salmon oil, dried egg product, sodium bisulfate, salt, potassium chloride, choline chloride, dried cranberries, dried blueberries, kelp meal, DL-methionine, dried carrots, dried celery, dried beets, dried parsley, dried lettuce, dried watercress, dried spinach, dried chicory root, turmeric, hydrolyzed yeast, saccharomyces cerevisiae yeast culture, dried enterococcus faecium-fermentation product, dried lactobacillus acidophilus fermentation product, dried aspergillus niger fermentation extract, dried trichoderma longibrachiatum fermentation extract, dried bacillus subtilus fermentation extract, ascorbic acid (source of vitamin C), yucca schidigera extract, brewer’s dried yeast, taurine, ferrous sulfate, zinc sulfate, zinc methionine complex, copper sulfate, copper lysine complex, manganese sulfate, manganese methionine complex, vitamin E supplement, niacin supplement, calcium pantothenate, vitamin A supplement, thiamine mononitrate, riboflavin supplement, biotin, pyridoxine hydrochloride, vitamin B12 supplement, vitamin D3 supplement, folic acid, sodium selenite, ethylenediamine dihydriodide, cobalt carbonate, cobalt glucoheptonate, mixed tocopherols (a source of vitamin E) and rosemary extract


Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 3.2%

Red denotes any controversial items

Ingredients Analysis

The first ingredient is chicken meal. Chicken meal is considered a meat concentrate and contains nearly 300% more protein than fresh chicken.

The second ingredient is dried sweet potato, a dehydrated item usually made from the by-products of potato processing. In most cases, dried sweet potato can contain about 10% dry matter protein which can have a slight affect on our estimate of the total meat content of this recipe.

The third ingredient is salmon meal. Because it is considered a meat concentrate, fish meal contains almost 300% more protein than fresh fish itself. Fish meal is typically obtained from the “clean, dried, ground tissue of undecomposed whole fish and fish cuttings” of commercial fish operations. 1

The fourth ingredient is dried peas. Dried peas are a good source of carbohydrates. Plus they’re naturally rich in dietary fiber. However, dried peas contain about 27% protein, a factor that must be considered when judging the meat content of this cat food. 

The fifth ingredient is lentils. Lentils are a quality source of carbohydrates. Plus (like all legumes) they’re rich in natural fiber. However, lentils contain about 25% protein, a factor that must be considered when judging the actual meat content of this cat food.

The sixth ingredient is chicken fat. Chicken fat is obtained from rendering chicken, a process similar to making soup in which the fat itself is skimmed from the surface of the liquid. Chicken fat is high in linoleic acid, an omega-6 fatty acid essential for life. Although it doesn’t sound very appetizing, chicken fat is actually a quality ingredient.

The seventh ingredient is natural flavor. Natural flavors doesn’t give us much information about the particular ingredients included in this cat food for flavoring purposes.  We’re pleased that the flavorings used are natural, but more details are required to give any further information about these natural flavoring ingredients. Flavorings are used to make the foods more appealing and tasty for our cats.

The eighth ingredient is chicken liver. This is an organ meat sourced from a named animal and thus considered a beneficial component.

From here the list goes on to include a number of other items. But to be realistic, ingredients located this far down the list (other than nutritional supplements) are not likely to affect the overall rating of the product.

However, this recipe contains sodium selenite, a controversial form of the mineral selenium. Sodium selenite appears to be nutritionally inferior to the more natural source of selenium found in selenium yeast.

We note the inclusion of dried fermentation products in this recipe. Fermentation products are typically added as probiotics to aid with digestion.

This recipe receives a 3.5star rating.

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Nutrient Analysis

Based on its ingredients alone, Evanger’s Grain Free Catch of the Day looks like an above-average dry product.

The dashboard displays a dry matter protein reading of 37.8%, a fat level of 17.1% and an estimated carbohydrate level of 35.3%, alongside a fat-to-protein ratio of 50%.

As a group, the brand features an average protein content of 37% and a mean fat level of 17.1%. Together these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 37.8% for the overall product line, alongside a fat-to-protein ratio of 46%.

This means the Evanger’s dry product line contains near-average protein, above-average carbs and above-average fat when compared to typical dry cat food.

Final Word

Evanger’s ingredients are good quality and each formula has a high meat content.

Has Evanger's cat food been recalled in the past?

Yes, Evanger’s has had one, but significant, recall.

You can’t have a complete review about Evanger’s cat food without discussing the recall and controversy that happened in 2017. In February 2017, the FDA noticed that some of Evanger’s canned food contained pentobarbital. This is a drug that is used in animal euthanasia. No amount is safe for cat food, precisely why the FDA issued a statement warning pet owners not to purchase specific recipes.

The FDA inspected both plants the company-owned and found many significant concerns in how the food was processed. For example, condensation was dripping into the food at many points. There were no operating refrigerated storage facilities, so raw meat was thawing out before it was processed. Some meats were dropped onto the unsanitary concrete floor and then used in the final product.

Several animals died from the contaminated food. The pentobarbital was eventually traced to the company’s meat supplier. Evanger issued a voluntary recall of several recipes after the FDA report.

You can view a complete list of all cat food recalls since 2021 here.

To stay on top of any cat food product recalls, sign up for our free email alerts, here.

About

Evanger’s is a family-owned and operated pet food company. 

It was started by Fred Evanger in 1935 after he wanted better nutritional food for his Great Danes, which he bred and exhibited. He built a factory at the kennel he used, so he could make his own pet food. The headquarters are now in Markham, Illinois.

Sources

1: Association of American Feed Control Officials

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