Written by John Seeberg

Julia Ogden

Reviewed by Julia Ogden

Updated: January 18, 2024

Evolve Classic (Wet) Review

Updated: January 18, 2024

Our Verdict

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Recommended

Evolve Classic wet cat food receives the Cat Food Advisor rating, 4 stars

This range of food lists animal meat within the first two ingredients. Most recipes are low in carbohydrate content but rich in fat and moisture.  Vitamins have also been added to make these recipes a good diet option.

Pros
  • Includes animal protein
  • Low in carbohydrate
  • Added vitamins
  • Affordable
Cons
  • High in fat
  • Includes canola oil and carrageenan
  • Some recipes have higher carbs than ideal

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

Evolve Classic wet product line includes nine cat foods.

Product line Rating AAFCO
Evolve Classic Crafted Meals Chicken 4 M
Evolve Classic Crafted Meals with Salmon 4 M
Evolve Classic Crafted Meals Seafood Medley 4 M
Evolve Classic Crafted Meals Liver Recipe 4 M
Evolve Classic Chicken Recipe 3.5 M
Evolve Classic Turkey Recipe (Kitten) 4 G
Evolve Grain Free Salmon & Sweet potato Stew in Gravy 4 G & M
Evolve Grain Free Chicken & Beef in Gravy 4 G & M
Evolve Grain Free Turkey Stew with Vegetables in Gravy 4 G & M

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Recipe and Label Analysis

Evolve Classic Crafted Meals with Salmon in Savory Juices 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 Crafted Meals with Salmon in Savory Juices

Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content

54.1%

Protein

22.7%

Fat

15.2%

CarbsCarbohydrates

Deboned chicken, water sufficient for processing, chicken liver, salmon, calcium carbonate, powdered cellulose, locust bean gum, carrageenan, sodium tripolyphosphate, guar gum, canola oil, salt, ascorbic acid, magnesium carbonate, taurine, vitamin E supplement, zinc sulfate, xanthan gum, thiamine hydrochloride, copper amino acid chelate, pyridoxine hydrochloride, manganese sulfate, folic acid, vitamin D3 supplement, calcium iodate, biotin.


Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 1.5%

Red denotes any controversial items

Ingredients Analysis

The first ingredient is deboned 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 ingredient is water which adds nothing but moisture to this food. Water is a routine finding in most wet cat foods.

The third ingredient is chicken liverThis is an organ meat sourced from a named animal and thus considered a beneficial component.

The fourth ingredient is salmon.  Salmon is an oily marine and freshwater fish not only high in protein but also omega 3 fatty acids, essential oils needed by every cat to sustain life.

The fifth ingredient is calcium carbonate, which is a natural mineral supplement comprised mostly of calcium carbonate.

The sixth ingredient is powdered cellulose, a non-digestible plant fiber usually made from the by-products of vegetable or wood processing.  Powdered cellulose provides no nutritional value to a cat, although the fiber it provides does convey health benefits.  Some powdered cellulose products work to reduce the occurrence of hairballs in cats.  

The seventh ingredient is  locust bean gum, a gelling or thickening agent found in some wet pet foods.  Extracted from the seeds of the carob tree, locust bean gum can add a notable amount of dietary fiber to a cat food.

The eighth ingredient is carrageenan, which is a gelatin-like thickening agent extracted from seaweed.  Although carrageenan has been used as a food additive for hundreds of years, there appears to be some recent controversy regarding its long term biological safety. 

The article, The Carrageenan Controversy, published in Scientific American, does a good job of addressing this topic.

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 canola oil.  Unfortunately, canola can be a controversial item.  That’s because it can sometimes (but not always) be derived from genetically modified rapeseed.

Yet others cite the fact that canola oil can be a significant source of  omega-3 fatty acids.

In any case, plant-based oils like canola are less biologically available to a cat than fish oil as a source of quality omega-3 fats.

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Nutrient Analysis

Based on its ingredients alone, Evolve Classic Crafted Meals with Salmon in Savory Juices looks like an above-average wet product.

The dashboard displays a dry matter protein reading of 54.1%, a fat level of 22.7% and an estimated carbohydrate level of 15.2%.

As a group, the brand features an above-average protein content of 50.2% and an above-average fat level of 21.7%.  Together these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 20.2% for the overall product line, alongside a fat to protein ratio of 43%.

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

Final Word

This range of food offers good sources of animal protein, along with rich fat and moisture content.  Carbohydrate is low and vitamins have been added to provide a good diet option.

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].