Written by John Seeberg

Julia Ogden

Reviewed by Julia Ogden

Updated: January 18, 2024

Evolve Classic (Dry) Review

Updated: January 18, 2024

Our Verdict

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Recommended with Reservations

Evolve Classic dry cat food receives the Cat Food Advisor rating, 3.5 stars

Evolve typically uses natural ingredients in the cat food recipes. It often includes real meat or fish as the primary protein source. Many Evolve dry cat food options avoid artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives.

It offers a variety of dry cat food formulas to cater to different life stages and dietary needs, such as kitten, adult, and senior cat food.

Pros
  • Includes animal protein
  • Added vitamins
  • Free from artificial colors
Cons
  • High in carbohydrate
  • Contains plant based protein

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

Evolve Classic dry product line includes five cat foods.

Product line Rating AAFCO
Evolve Classic Chicken & Brown Rice Recipe 3.5 A
Evolve Classic Salmon, Rice, & Sweet Potato Recipe 3.5 A
Evolve Grain-Free Chicken & Chickpea Recipe 3.5 A
Evolve Grain-Free Ocean Whitefish & Egg Recipe 3.5 A
Evolve Grain-Free Kitten Food Real Chicken 3.5 G

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Recipe and Label Analysis

Evolve Classic Chicken & Brown Rice 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.

Evolve Classic Chicken & Brown Rice Recipe

Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content

36%

Protein

14.6%

Fat

41.4%

CarbsCarbohydrates

Chicken, chicken meal, turkey meal, whole ground brown rice, peas, oat groats, chicken fat (preserved with mixed tocopherols), flaxseed, dried plain beet pulp, natural chicken flavor, fish meal, dried egg product, taurine, calcium sulfate, salt, dl-methionine, dried kelp, dried cranberries, dried blueberries, vitamins (choline chloride, niacin, vitamin e supplement, vitamin A supplement, thiamine mononitrate, D-calcium pantothenate, pyridoxine hydrochloride (source of vitamin B6), riboflavin supplement, vitamin D3 supplement, vitamin B12 supplement, menadione sodium bisulfite complex, folic acid, biotin), minerals (copper sulfate, manganese sulfate, zinc sulfate, iron sulfate, calcium iodate, sodium selenite), dried lactobacillus acidophilus fermentation product, dried lactobacillus plantarum fermentation product, dried lactobacillus reuteri fermentation product, dried bifidobacterium animalis fermentation product, dried enterococcus faecium fermentation product.


Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 3%

Red denotes any controversial items

Ingredients Analysis

The first ingredient is chicken which is considered “the clean combination of flesh and skin derived from the parts or whole carcasses of chicken”.  1

Chicken is naturally rich in the 11 essential amino acids required by a cat to sustain life.

The second and third ingredients are chicken meal and turkey meal.  Both are considered a meat concentrate and contains nearly 300% more protein than fresh chicken or turkey.

The fourth ingredient is whole ground brown riceA complex carbohydrate that (once cooked) can be fairly easy to digest.  However, aside from its natural energy content, rice is of only modest nutritional value to a cat.

The fifth ingredient is peas which are a quality source of carbohydrates. And, like all legumes, they’re rich in natural fiber.

However, peas contain about 25% protein, a factor that must be considered when judging the meat content of this cat food.

The sixth ingredient is oat groats, a whole grain, minimally processed form of oats.  With the exception of their caloric content and the fact they’re also gluten free, oat groats can be considered average in nutritional value. 

The seventh 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 eighth ingredient is flaxseed, one of the best plant sources of healthy omega-3 fatty acids.  Provided they’ve first been ground into a meal, flax seeds are also rich in soluble fiber.

However, flaxseed contains about 19% protein, a factor that must be considered when judging the actual meat content of this cat food.

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.

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Nutrient Analysis

Based on its ingredients alone, Evolve Classic Chicken & Brown Rice Recipe looks like an average dry product.

The dashboard displays a dry matter protein reading of 36%, a fat level of 14.6% and an estimated carbohydrate level of 41.4%.

As a group, the brand features near-average protein content of 38.4% and a near-average fat level of 16.8%. Together these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 36.7% for the overall product line, alongside a fat to protein ratio of 44%.

This means this Evolve dry cat food range contains near-average protein, higher than average carbohydrate and near-average fat, when compared to typical dry cat food.

Final Word

Evolve aims to provide balanced and complete nutrition for cats, including essential vitamins and minerals.  It contains animal and plant proteins, although the protein level is not particularly high.

Has Evolve cat food been recalled in the past?

Yes.  Evolve Pet Food has had a number of product recalls.

In November of 2018, several varieties of Evolve dog food were recalled due to elevated levels of vitamin D.  This nutrient imbalance prompted the recall of multiple Sunshine Mills-manufactured products in late 2018. You can read more about this recall on the Dog Food Advisor.

In March of 2007, the company recalled Evolve kitten food due to melamine contamination.

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

Evolve is owned by Sunshine Mills.  This Alabama company was founded in 1949 and started manufacturing pet food in the 1960s. Its ingredients are sourced primarily from the United States.

Sources

1: [1. Association of American Feed Control Officials].

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