Experts like Evo Cat and Kitten Food's grain-free formula. It's not quite as acclaimed as critics' favorite Halo canned cat food, but Evo costs a bit less and is still a solid pick.
High quality and grain-free -- but contains carrageenan. Like Halo cat food, Evo is grain-free. Experts say that's important for cats, which are strict carnivores. To cut costs, Evo Cat and Kitten Food uses both muscle meat and "chicken meal," which is rendered to remove moisture. As long as high-grade chicken meat is used to make the meal, it's a fine ingredient, experts say.
Although Evo uses no byproducts, a class action lawsuit alleged that it was misleading to call it "human grade." Evo (owned by Procter & Gamble) admitted no wrongdoing but settled the lawsuit.
Evo canned cat food contains carrageenan, a thickener made from seaweed that has been linked to intestinal problems in some animal studies. On the plus side, Evo includes chelated minerals like iron and zinc, which are easy to absorb.
No recalls for the canned food. Evo recalled some of its dry pet food in 2013 due to a risk of salmonella contamination, but the canned food was not recalled.
Natura (Evo's parent company) is registered with the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, certifying that "Natura purchases all of our meats from USDA registered suppliers who follow all USDA regulations for safe meat handling," the Evo website states.
One top expert notes that Evo's "meats, fruits, and vegetables are sourced domestically -- venison is sourced from New Zealand and the vitamin premix component sourced from Europe," and that Evo's small 5.5-ounce cans (although not the bigger cans) are bisphenol A (BPA)-free, avoiding a chemical that studies have linked to reproductive problems, cancers and other diseases.
Premium-priced -- but cheaper than Halo. Compared to the top-rated Halo Spot's Stew Wholesome Chicken (Est. $1.60 for a 5.5-oz. can) , Evo canned cat food costs slightly less and packs more calories per ounce, so you might not have to feed as much. A 5.5-ounce can of Evo Cat and Kitten Food has 200 calories, versus 135 to 160 calories for Halo flavors.
Natural Balance Indoor Cat Formula (Est. $1.20 for a 6-oz. can) is one highly rated cat food that costs significantly less than Evo and Halo foods. However, unlike Halo, Natural Balance contains grains, and it isn't low-carb like Evo.
Susan Thixton, author of the blog Truth About Pet Food, rates cat food brands (including Evo) and individual flavors of food, based on ingredient quality, nutritional makeup and more. Her pet food reviews are the most thorough we've found.
Review: Evo Cat Food, Susan Thixton, As of January 2014
Veterinarian Lisa Pierson includes Evo on her short list of high-quality commercial cat foods. It's also listed in a recently updated Cat Food Composition chart that provides information on the protein, fat, carbohydrate and phosphorous content of many foods.
Review: Commercial Foods, Lisa A. Pierson, DVM, Updated February 2013
3. The Orange County Register
As this newspaper report explains, in 2011, Natura settled a class action lawsuit alleging that claims its dog and cat foods are "human grade" were misleading. Natura denied any wrongdoing but settled the lawsuit.
Review: Natural Pet Food Buyers Can Claim $200, Staff Reports of Orange County Register, Updated Aug. 21, 2013
About.com's guide to cats, Franny Syufy, includes Evo on her list of the best canned cat foods (which she has fed to her own cats). She lists the ingredients, but she doesn't explain why they're desirable.
Review: Top Canned Cat Food, Franny Syufy , Not Dated
Tracie Hotchner, author of "The Cat Bible" and host of the syndicated radio show "Cat Chat," lists her favorite cat food brands here. Evo is one of the brands that makes the cut.
Review: The List of Cat Crazy Approved Canned Foods, Tracie Hotchner, Not Dated
Evo Cat and Kitten Food is suitable for cats who have feline inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), according to this website. The site chooses foods that exclude low-quality grains, dairy and certain spices and additives.
Review: Wet Food, Editors of IBDKitties.net, Not Dated
Canned Evo Cat and Kitten Food hasn't accumulated as many reviews as the top-rated foods here -- about 20 -- but it still maintains a high rating of 4.6 out of 5. Three say their cats don't like it.
Review: Evo Adult & Kitten Canned Cat Food, Contributors to OnlyNaturalPet.com, As of January 2014