We’ve rated Tender & True Cat Food on ingredient quality, species-appropriateness, recalls, and more. Read our Tender & True Cat Food review to learn how this brand stacks up.
The Cats.com Standard—Rating Tender & True 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 – 7/10
- Ingredient Quality – 9/10
- Product Variety – 7/10
- Price – 7/10
- Customer Experience – 7/10
- Recall History – 9/10
Overall Score: 7.6/10
In total, we give Tender & True Cat food a 46 out of 60 rating or a B+ grade.
About Tender & True Cat Food
Founded in 2014, Tender & True was the first company to produce certified humanely raised pet food that meets USDA organic standards. The company’s mission is to “make Tender & True better from the beginning, with no compromises and with the certifications to prove it.”
Tender & True products are certified USDA Organic, Non-GMO Project Verified, Animal Welfare Certified, and made with Certified Sustainable Seafood.
The brand recently updated their packaging to make it easier for pet parents to find important information about the products. The new dry food bags have a premium zipper (on certain sizes) to keep the food fresh and secure between feedings. The only change to their original product lineup is that the Ocean Whitefish & Potato Recipe is now poultry-free.
Sourcing and Manufacturing
The Tender & True brand believes in “sourcing and supplying [their] own ingredients.” The company has formed relationships with fisheries and growers, enabling them to access better quality ingredients while keeping their products affordable for consumers.
Tender & True is independently owned in the Midwest and made in the United States. Product packaging lists the company’s headquarters in Omaha, Nebraska.
Tender & True has not had any products recalled.
What Kinds Of Cat Food Does Tender & True Offer?
Tender & True offers a modest selection of wet and dry foods for dogs and cats. There are six recipes each for dry cat food and wet cat food.
All of Tender & True’s recipes start with a premium source of animal protein. Many ingredients are non-GMO or USDA certified organic. The only proteins this brand uses are antibiotic-free chicken and turkey or sustainable salmon or ocean whitefish.
Tender & True’s grain-free dry foods are marketed as Limited Ingredient.
What Do Customers Think of Tender & True Cat Food?
Customer reviews for Tender & True are a mixed bag. There’s little argument about the quality of the ingredients but there are a significant number of negative comments about the taste of the food. Every cat food recipe simply won’t appeal to certain cats, but I felt like these comments were more common with Tender & True than other brands of similar price and quality.
Other concerns mention the high price of the food and some customers note that the pate-style wet food seems dryer than other formulas. Overall, however, Tender & True receives more positive than negative feedback.
Let’s take a look at a few reviews from some of the most popular recipes from Tender & True.
“I have been searching for a quality pet food made from less abused animals raised for food. For this Chicken and Liver product Tender and True has a level 3 G.A.P. (Global Animal Partnerships) rating which so far is the best I have found in pet foods. The cats love it and my sensitive stomach kitties have no problem digesting it. The size of the kibble is very small which is a plus for my older or toothless felines. The price is reasonable though I would happily pay more for a level 4 G.A.P. rating.” – by CatsLoveIt Reviewing Tender & True Organic Chicken & Liver Grain-Free Dry Cat Food on Aug 14, 2021
“It is dry, but I like that – plus, you can just add water & why pay for can food w/ mostly water when you can easily add it for almost nothing. 8 of my cats love this & the dry kibble. I like both the wet & dry food.” – by Xine Reviewing Tender & True Organic Turkey & Brown Rice Canned Cat Food on Jul 17, 2022
“I bought this for my two cats and they wouldnt eat it even after a week, my fat cat would rather just not eat. Instead of throwin it out i gave it to a coworker with 3 indoor cats and 5 outside ones and none of them would eat it either.” – by Idkk Reviewing Tender & True Limited Ingredient Salmon & Sweet Potato Grain-Free Dry Cat Food on Mar 1, 2020
“I wanted to like this product because of the GAP certification. As others have said, it’s not a particularly tasty food, so if you have a picky cat, I would avoid. My not picky cat eats it but its not her favorite. In Jan 2022 I purchased this product for the 2nd time and it seems like T&T had a quality control problem. My Chewy shipment this time was a bit banged up, so it is also possible they got damaged, but I can’t be sure. The first couple cans were ok, and then all the cans after that had a a weird air bubble in the bottom and smelled very clearly rotten. I got a refund from Chewy and had to throw it out. Ick.” – by MelK Reviewing Tender & True Organic Chicken & Liver Grain-Free Canned Cat Food on Jan 31, 2022
What Did Our Test Cats Think?
To test Tender & True, I ordered two dry food formulas and one case of wet food. I chose the organic chicken and liver formula and the LID salmon and sweet potato dry food with the turkey and brown rice canned food recipe.
As is true for most brands I review, testing Tender & True was a little tricky due to my cat’s food allergies. Both the Chicken & Liver dry food and the Turkey & Brown Rice canned food contain chicken, so Biscuit was only able to sample the salmon dry food.
None of my three cats seemed to find the dry foods particularly appealing in aroma – they really only took a few bites before wandering away. The turkey recipe canned food was more interesting to them, though I did agree with customer comments that the paté is a little drier than I’m used to.
Because my cats didn’t have an overwhelmingly positive reaction to Tender & True, I don’t think it’s a brand I would be eager to pay top dollar for.
Tender & True Cat Food – Top 3 Recipes Reviewed
|Product Name||Food Type||Main Protein Source||Calories||Price||Our Grade|
|Tender & True Organic Chicken & Liver Recipe Grain-Free Dry Cat Food||Dry||Chicken||350 kcal/cup||$4.67 per lb||B|
|Tender & True Turkey & Brown Rice Recipe Canned Cat Food||Wet||Turkey||185 kcal/can||$0.19 per oz||B+|
|Tender & True Limited Ingredient Salmon & Sweet Potato Recipe Grain-Free Dry Cat Food||Dry||Salmon||470 kcal/cup||$4.29 per lb||B|
How Much Does Tender & True Cat Food Cost?
As a brand that focuses on sustainability and farm-to-table quality, Tender & True cat food is more expensive than big names like Friskies and Fancy Feast. With both dry and wet food options available for around $0.20 per ounce, however, this brand can be an affordable choice. Tender & True’s organic foods, on the other hand, are very pricey – over $0.60 per ounce for canned food. This puts them at a similar price point to other organic cat foods like Organix from Castor & Pollux.
The cost to feed a 10-pound cat Tender & True dry food is around $0.30 per day – closer to $0.50 per day for their organic dry food. If your cat prefers wet food, the daily cost will range from around $1.13 to $3.63 per day.
Overall, Is Tender & True Cat Food a Good Choice?
If you’re looking for a cat food made with high-quality ingredients, one of Tender & True’s organic cat foods could be an appropriate choice. For cat owners concerned more about affordability, both the dry and wet food products sold by this brand are budget-friendly.
The primary factor to consider before choosing a Tender & True recipe is the carbohydrate content. While cats are capable of digesting carbs to some extent, a primarily animal-based diet is more species-appropriate than one loaded with plant ingredients. All of Tender & True’s recipes are pretty high in carbs.
In the case of the organic cat foods, the significant carb content – especially since it comes primarily from starchy ingredients – makes it difficult to justify the high price tag.
It’s great to see a cat food brand that’s focused on sustainability and humanely-raised animals, but the nutritional composition of Tender & True’s cat food leaves something to be desired. Overall, the quality of the ingredients appears to be high but we’d prefer to see cat food be more firmly built around animal ingredients than plants.