We’ve rated Evanger’s cat food on ingredient quality, species-appropriateness, recalls, and more. Read our Evanger’s cat food review to learn how this brand stacks up.
The Cats.com Standard—Rating Evanger’s Cat Food on What Matters
We’ve rated the brand on six key criteria for quality. Here’s how it rates in each of these six crucial areas.
- Species-Appropriateness – 8/10
- Ingredient Quality – 8/10
- Product Variety – 8/10
- Price – 7/10
- Customer Experience – 7/10
- Recall History – 8/10
Overall Score: 7.7/10
In total, we give Evanger’s cat food a 46 out of 60 rating or a B+ grade.
About Evanger’s Cat Food
The story of Evanger’s began all the way back in 1935 when Fred Evanger began making meat-based canned foods for his kennel of champion Great Danes. The Evanger family kept up the practice for decades until, in 2002, they developed a technique for producing hand-packed pet food.
Evanger’s hand-packed pet food was originally designed for the family dog, Yukon. The Samoyed/Chow Chow mix loved beef but preferred the steaks on the dinner table to the ground beef in his bowl. So, the Evangers canned whole pieces of unground beef – Yukon loved it. Thus, Evanger’s Pet Food’s top flavor was created: Hunk of Beef.
Sourcing and Manufacturing
Evanger’s remains an independently owned brand, currently overseen by Holly and Joel Sher. In fact, theirs is the only family-owned and -operated pet food cannery in the United States.
What makes Evanger’s pet food different from other canned foods is that the product is packed by hand. According to the brand, “the benefit of this process is that you, the consumer, can actually see the quality ingredients in its original form.”
All Evanger’s recipes are packed with raw ingredients in their natural juices. Once packed, the food is cooked inside the sealed can to lock in nutrients and flavor.
In over eighty years, the Evanger’s brand has only issued one recall. In February 2017, the FDA issued a letter to Evanger’s after concluding an investigation prompted by consumer complaints. The FDA took samples of the food, Hunk of Beef Au Jus, as well as samples from one of the dogs who had died. The samples revealed the presence of a significant amount of pentobarbital.
Pentobarbital is often used as an anesthetic or sedative but has also been used to euthanize animals. According to the FDA, low-level exposure to pentobarbital is unlikely to cause adverse health effects but the levels found in the affected lot of Evanger’s dog food were as high as 81 parts per million (ppm). The most heavily contaminated sample was found to contain more than 2500 times the highest level found in any dog food during an FDA survey conducted in 2000.
In response to the FDA’s letter, Evanger’s voluntarily recalled 5 lots of Hunk of Beef canned dog food. The FDA later issued a warning letter that both acknowledged the company’s response and identified specific problems. In February 2018, a close out letter from the FDA read:
“Based on our evaluation, it appears that you have addressed the violations contained in this Warning Letter. Future FDA inspections and regulatory activities will further assess the adequacy and sustainability of these corrections.”
Since 2017, Evanger’s has not had any other product recalls. It’s also worth noting that their only recall affected just dog food, not cat food.
What Kinds of Cat Food Does Evanger’s Offer?
Having been established more than 70 years ago, Evanger’s product selection is vast and varied. This brand makes dry cat food as well as canned foods and offers an assortment of treats.
The Evanger’s Classic line features three canned food recipes made with beef, chicken, or fish while Evanger’s Organics uses USDA Certified organic ingredients including proteins like chicken, beef, and turkey. You’ll also find a few complementary canned foods in their lineup as well as several Super Premium foods made with novel proteins like rabbit and quail.
The dry food lineup from Evanger’s is comprised of just two recipes. Catch of the Day is a grain-free, fish-based formula while Meat Lover’s Medley features meat from buffalo, pork, and rabbit.
Evanger’s also offers a limited selection of therapeutic diets formulated to address specific health concerns like kidney disease, digestive issues, and weight management. The EVX Restricted line includes three canned cat foods that you can purchase without a prescription.
What Do Customers Think of Evanger’s Cat Food?
Because Evanger’s is largely sold in specialty and independently-owned pet stores, there aren’t as many customer reviews online as you might expect from a company with an 80-year history.
Evanger’s Limited Ingredient Game Meats canned foods seem to be the most popular with over 500 reviews on Amazon and nearly 250 on Chewy. Customers seem to appreciate the limited list of ingredients and the high-quality proteins. They seem particularly popular among owners of cats with allergies. In fact, I’ve been feeding my cat who has a chicken allergy the rabbit recipe for years.
The Evanger’s brand only has 127 customer reviews on ConsumerAffairs but carries a 4 out of 5-star rating. Customers who left positive reviews largely commented on the quality of the ingredients, the brand’s product variety, and noticeable improvements in skin and coat health.
Of the negative comments on Consumer Affairs, several mention a change in product color and consistency, though largely for Evanger’s dog foods. Other cat owners found that their cats simply wouldn’t touch the food.
Let’s take a look at a few reviews from some of the most popular recipes from Evanger’s.
“Evanger’s grain free cat food was recommended to us by our vet after we lost our last cat to kidney disease. There was another brand also recommended, but the price was beyond our means. We have now been using Evanger’s cat food for over 3 years, and it suits the needs of our overweight cat, our tummy sensitive cat, and the health needs of both. I honestly cannot say anything negative about this product. Our cats are eating well and are healthy. Their coats have improved, litter box usage has diminished, and the odor from the litter box is a HUGE improvement. More of the nutrients from this product go into our cats rather than ending up in the litter box.” -by S. of Lancaster, CA Reviewing ConsumerAffairs on Jan 24, 2016
“Until this purchase I was buying a different brand of rabbit-based food from Chewy for our cat. She has severe food allergies so there are few choices. The other food we were purchasing combined pea protein with the rabbit. The Evanger’s variety of rabbit-based food has no ingredients that are not rabbit based except a small amount of guar gum. The can is larger too. Most of all our cat seems to enjoy it. I would definitely recommend this product. It is also a food formulated to be fed to dogs, so it should work well for dogs that have food allergies as well.” -by Christine Reviewing Grain-Free Rabbit Canned Dog & Cat Food on 9 Aug 2019
“I decided to try the canned Evanger’s chicken lickin’ dinner cat food because the ingredients looked good. Our cats won’t eat it. Even our least picky cat (he eats dog drool, brussel sprouts from a boiling pan, lettuce) left food in the bowl. I tried giving a couple cans (I had a case) to my coworker to try. Her cats hated it too. I don’t know how they can continue to sell this stuff if cats won’t eat it.” -by Julie of Ham Lack, MN Reviewing ConsumerAffairs on Aug 16, 2013
“We tried this on the recommendation of a friend who works at a pet food store, but ordered from Chewy, for my cat who recently got diagnosed with a chicken sensitivity. This food does not contain chicken. My cat LOVED the taste and smell. We mixed half of her old food and half of this like the vet instructed for her meal. An hour later she puked ALL of it up. She has a sensitive tummy, so it may work for other cats, but sadly not for us. 2 stars because the taste still worked, we just can’t use it. Giving it away to my parents cats. Hope they have better luck.” -by CrystalJ reviewing Evanger’s Grain-Free Meat Lover’s Medley with Rabbit Dry Cat Food on on 3 Dec 2020
What Did Our Test Cats Think?
To test Evanger’s cat food, I ordered a 4.4-pound bag of Evanger’s Grain-Free Meat Lover’s Medley with Rabbit Dry Cat food as well as Evanger’s Super Premium Rabbit & Quail Dinner canned food and Nothing But Natural Beef Tripe cat treats.
My cats were eager to scarf down the Rabbit & Quail dinner and I appreciated that the texture was somewhere between a minced and pate recipe. I typically mix my cats’ food with water, and this made it much easier. The dry food came in triangular kibbles and my cats ate them, but they were less eager than they were about the wet food.
They had little interest in the beef tripe treats. Two of them wouldn’t even try them and one chewed a few times then spit it out. It may have been the texture – it seemed hard to chew – but the smell certainly seemed appetizing to them.
Aside from testing these products, I’ve also been a long-time customer of Evanger’s. One of my cats, Biscuit, is allergic to numerous proteins so I feed all three of my cats a rabbit-based diet. I use the complementary rabbit-based canned food to supplement my cats’ dry food and they have always seemed to enjoy it.
Evanger’s Cat Food – Top 3 Recipes Reviewed
|Main Protein Source
|Evanger’s Classic Recipes Chicken Lickin’ Dinner Grain-Free Canned Cat Food
|$0.29 per oz
|Evanger’s Grain-Free Meat Lover’s Medley with Rabbit Dry Cat Food
|$4.09 per lb
|Evanger’s Super Premium Rabbit & Quail Dinner Grain-Free Canned Cat Food
|$0.38 per oz
How Much Does Evanger’s Cat Food Cost?
Because Evanger’s product line is so varied, the cost of their products is as well. Their most economical product line appears to be the Classics line of chicken, beef, and fish canned dinners which average about $0.20 per ounce. Their priciest wet food line is Evanger’s Organics, priced around $0.40 per ounce. The limited ingredient and complementary cat foods fall in between.
Evanger’s only offers two dry cat food recipes, both priced around $0.26 per ounce. To feed the average 10-pound cat Evanger’s dry food, it would cost about $0.52 per day. Many of Evanger’s wet foods are intended for complementary feeding only but, for their nutritionally complete diets, you’d spend about $1.05 to $1.85 per day. The price point is similar to brands like Taste of the Wild and Purina Beyond.
Overall, Is Evanger’s Cat Food a Good Choice?
Evanger’s cat foods vary greatly in species appropriateness so, if you’re going to choose it for your cat, select your products wisely.
The two dry food formulas are overloaded with carbs and only provide low to moderate levels of protein and fat – you could do a little better with a similarly priced recipe from American Journey. Another option is to supplement your cat’s dry food diet with Evanger’s complementary wet foods.
Evanger’s canned foods are pretty middle-of-the-road in terms of nutritional composition and species appropriateness. The carb content is a little high and the protein content could be increased but Evanger’s is a fairly affordable brand that offers higher quality than cheap brands like Friskies.
Where Is Evanger’s Cat Food Sold?
Not only is Evanger’s a family-owned company, but they only sell their products in independent pet retail stores. You can find Evanger’s in over 5,000 locations around the United States including local pet stores, feed shops, and specialty pet retailers.