Unlike most other dry cat foods, Evo Turkey and Chicken Formula is grain-free and packed with high-quality meat. That's great for cats, which are strict carnivores -- although some experts say they don't approve of any dry food for cats.
High-quality meat and zero grain. One top expert gives Evo Turkey and Chicken Formula a perfect rating. All of the top ingredients are great protein sources -- turkey, chicken meal, chicken, herring meal (Evo's chicken meal includes no byproducts, and its fish meal uses only natural preservatives). Evo adds proteinated minerals (easy for cats to absorb) and probiotics (friendly bacteria) to boost digestion and immunity.
This food contains lots of fruits and veggies, too -- peas, apples, carrots, cranberries, tomatoes, pumpkin, alfalfa sprouts. Veterinarian Lisa Pierson says these aren't necessary; cats are strict carnivores that have "no dietary need for vegetables."
Despite the produce, Evo is grain-free and very low-carb -- a terrific thing in Pierson's book, as too many carbs can cause health problems in cats -- but she never recommends dry food for cats. Some veterinarians, including Pierson, argue that cats have a low thirst drive and must eat wet food, or risk painful, potentially life-threatening urinary problems.
However, plenty of vets say cats can do fine on dry food. Franny Syufy, About.com's guide to cats, says she used to feed her cats dry food but has since switched to canned -- except for one adopted stray who had known only dry food and resisted attempts to switch.
"Evo cat food is closer than other commercial dry cat foods in matching the nutritional quality of a raw food diet," Syufy writes, naming it her top dry food choice. Like many cat owners at OnlyNaturalPet.com, Syufy says her cats love the taste.
No recalls for Evo or Natura. After Procter & Gamble bought Natura (Evo's parent company) in 2010, some reviewers worried that the quality would go down. But on its website, Evo says that its ingredients haven't changed, that it "will continue to use whole, real fruits and vegetables and high-quality proteins without compromise," and that all Natura dry foods will continue to be made in Natura's own Nebraska factory.
Natura says it tests ingredients and finished products to make sure they're free of melamine and cyanuric acid -- two contaminants that killed many pets during the giant pet food recall of 2007.
A search of the Food and Drug Administration's pet food recall database (which goes back to 2007) shows no recalls for Evo pet foods.
One source notes that Evo sources all of its meats, fruits and vegetables from the United States, and vitamins from Europe.
Grain-free dry cat food is pricey -- but Evo is one of the most affordable. Pound for pound, Evo Turkey and Chicken Formula costs less than rivals with very similar ingredient lists: Wellness Core Grain Free Original Formula (*Est. $24 for a 5.9-lb. bag) and Orijen Cat and Kitten Formula (*Est. $23 for a 5.5-lb. bag). All three dry cat foods are grain-free and natural, and experts rate them all equally high.
Most dry cat foods substitute grain -- which experts say isn't as nutritious for cats -- for some of the meat. This makes them far cheaper than grain-free dry cat foods like Evo. Natural Balance Original Ultra (*Est. $16 for a 6-lb. bag) and California Natural Chicken and Brown Rice Formula (*Est. $15 for a 5-lb. bag) both contain grain, but they're still premium cat foods that get high marks from some experts.
Experts disagree about whether dry food is good for cats. But they do agree that Evo Turkey and Chicken Formula is one of the most nutritious -- and tasty -- dry cat foods you can buy. It's easily among the best-rated dry cat foods in reviews.
Excellent Pet food researcher Susan Thixton rates most cat food brands -- including Evo -- based on the quality of their food. She covers the Turkey and Chicken Formula in detail.
Review: Evo Cat Food, Susan Thixton, Updated November 2010
Excellent Veterinarian Lisa Pierson says no dry cat food -- no matter how high-quality -- has enough moisture to be good for cats (which she says have a low thirst drive and must eat wet food to avoid health problems). Most dry foods are high-carb, too -- another no-no for cats. She says Evo dry cat food is indeed low-carb, but it's still too dry to be good for cats.
Review: Commercial Foods, Lisa A. Pierson, DVM, As of October 2012
Very Good About.com's guide to cats, Franny Syufy, lists the 21 best dry cat foods. Evo is first on the list; Syufy says it's the best dry cat food at mimicking the nutrition of a raw diet, and she has fed it to her own cats. However, on a different page, Syufy says she has learned that dry food can cause a host of health problems, and she now feeds her cats only canned food -- except for one rescued stray that has resisted switching from dry to canned. (Note: ConsumerSearch is owned by About.com, but the two don't share an editorial affiliation.)
Review: Premium Dry Cat Foods for Adult Cats, Franny Syufy, Not Dated
Good Only 18 dry cat foods -- including Evo Turkey and Chicken Formula -- make this website's list of foods that are suitable for cats with feline inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). Foods on the list must contain no low-quality grains, dairy or bowel-irritating spices and additives.
Review: Dry Food, Editors of IBDKitties.net, Not Dated
Fair Except for its slightly higher price, PetFoodTalk.com sees no downside to Evo Turkey and Chicken Formula dry cat food. It contains high-quality meat protein, no grain, and owners report that cats love it. The reviewer says some owners report that their cats had to adjust slowly to this high-protein food to avoid stomach upset.
Review: Evo Cat Food Reviews, Carolyn Glatz, Not Dated
Fair With more than 130 cat owners posting reviews, Evo Turkey and Chicken Formula dry cat food earns a 4.5-out-of-5 rating. Several say their cats seem very healthy while eating this higher-quality dry food. Some say their cats vomited or had diarrhea when they switched to Evo -- but usually, they say nothing about whether they switched foods gradually (the way experts recommend) or cold turkey.
Review: Evo Adult & Kitten Dry Cat Food, Contributors to OnlyNaturalPet.com, As of October 2012