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In this EVO 95% Chicken & Turkey canned cat food review we will analyze each of the top 5 ingredients and review any other ingredients that might be of interest. If you would like to check out all of our other EVO cat food reviews, you can do so here. You can also check out all of our cat food reviews here.
Ingredients In EVO 95% Chicken & Turkey Canned Cat Food
Chicken, Water Sufficient For Processing, Turkey, Chicken Liver, Fish Oil (Preserved With Mixed Tocopherols), Natural Flavor, Guar Gum, Potassium Chloride, Cassia Gum, Xanthan Gum, Minerals (Iron Amino Acid Chelate, Zinc Amino Acid Chelate, Copper Amino Acid Chelate, Manganese Amino Acid Chelate, Sodium Selenite, Potassium Iodide), Vitamins (Vitamin E Supplement, Thiamine Mononitrate, Niacin Supplement, D-Calcium Pantothenate, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Riboflavin Supplement, Vitamin A Supplement, Biotin, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Folic Acid), Salt, Taurine L-Ascorbyl-2-Polyphosphate (Source Of Vitamin C), Choline Chloride, Sodium Phosphate, Beta Carotene.
Analysis Of The Top 5 Ingredients
Whenever you are reviewing a commercial cat food blend, it is good practice to pay special attention to the first 5 ingredients listed. These ingredients make up the vast majority of the nutritional content in the food. Let's take a look at the top 5 ingredients in this cat food.
Chicken - Chicken is a very popular ingredient for pet food and in this case, they are referring to whole chicken. This is a very high quality meat source and we are pleased to see it listed. In dry cat foods, whole chicken loses about 80% of its content during the cooking process. This is because chicken consists of about 80% moisture. After the cooking process is complete, the amount of whole chicken remaining is substantially reduced. However, in wet cat foods the cooking process is a bit different so this is much less of a concern.
Water Sufficient For Processing - For canned foods, water being at the top of the ingredients list is normal. As you could probably guess, water doesn't do anything in the way of providing nutritional value, but it does help to keep the food moist. Sometimes a broth will be used instead of water, but all canned foods will require a high amount of moisture content.
Turkey - As a whole meat ingredient, turkey is a fantastic source of very healthy animal based proteins. We are extremely pleased to see this ingredient listed. Unfortunately, in dry kibbles, there is not as much of this ingredient included as you might initially think. Ingredients are listed by weight prior to the cooking process and since whole turkey is about 70% moisture, the vast majority is cooked off. So while we think this is an excellent and nutritional ingredient, it does need to be complimented by other high quality meat protein ingredients when used in dry kibbles. In wet cat foods, however, this is not nearly as much of a concern.
Chicken Livers - Here is another ingredient you probably wouldn't want to see on your own dinner plate, but most cats seem to enjoy the taste of liver. Uncooked liver, or liver in very high quantities, can actually be toxic to cats. However, in this food, it is clearly provided well within safe limits. In fact, this ingredient is a pretty high quality ingredient overall. It provides a good source of vitamins, minerals, proteins, and other nutrients your cat can benefit from.
Fish Oil - Fish oil is a popular supplement used by cat and dog owners. In this case, the food is already supplemented with fish oil. This ingredient is high in very healthy Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids. This can lead to an improved coat, healthier skin, boost to the immune system, lower blood pressure, and help improving cognitive function in older pets. There are also some studies that show fish oil to help assist with certain allergies in dogs and cats. This is a higher quality ingredient.
Additional Ingredients Of Interest
Natural Flavor - The term "natural flavor" is extremely vague and can mean just about anything. In human foods, natural flavor is usually MSG or some similar flavor enhancer. When pet food companies are asked what is in their "natural flavor ingredients, they usually refuse to answer. There are a lot of things in the world considered "natural" and they almost all have a flavor. Such generic terms can be indicative of poor quality ingredients. While that's not always the case, the fact is, we don't really know what this ingredient consists of and that is worrying.
Guar Gum - This ingredient is also sometimes called guaran. It is primarily the ground endosperm of guar beans. The guar seeds are dehusked, milled and screened to obtain the guar gum. It is typically produced as a free-flowing, off-white powder. This ingredient is mostly used to thicken the food and give it more texture. It is an FDA-approved, all natural GRAS (Generally Recognized as Safe) ingredient used by the food and cosmetic industries. It also is used to improve the shelf life of the food and helps lower the glycemic index of food. Many cat food companies claim this ingredient also aids in digestion and weight loss. There is some minor debate about the benefits of this ingredient with some claiming negative impacts, but in general, this is thought to be a relatively non-nutritious yet safe ingredient.
Potassium Chloride - This chemical compound sometimes goes by the name "trace minerals." It is a "metal halide salt" composed of potassium and chlorine. It is used in medicine, scientific applications, and food processing. Since potassium is an important nutrient for cats, this is a good way to supply it. It is also commonly used as a replacement for salt and to balance the pH level of the food to meet various requirements. Not only is it used in cat food, it is frequently used in human foods and medications as well. There is some evidence to suggest small intestinal ulcers may occur in cats after prolonged exposure to this ingredient, but this has yet to be proven or disproven.
Cassia Gum - Cassia gum is a food additive made from the endosperm of Senna obtusifolia (also called Cassia obtusifolia or Cassia tora). It is used as a thickener and gelling agent. This is generally considered an ingredient to avoid in cat food because it is a complex sugar which isn't thought to be good for cats. There have also been biological studies done on cassia gum's effects on cats, dogs, and rats in the 1980's. In this FDA study, kittens that were administered a high dose (2.5% of daily nutrition) and kittens that were administered a moderate dose(0.75% of daily nutrition) of cassia gum per day all died after 2-3 weeks. Their mothers and fathers were given cassia gum before and throughout the pregnancy period. There was also a decrease in appetite and changes in digestive processing due to the fact that cassia gum absorbs much of the moisture inside the digestive tract. Another interesting thing is that in the group where higher dosage was administered there were a lot more still born births and neonatal deaths. It could be argued that the only reason these cats had problems was because of the high dosage and we believe this is a valid argument. So while we can't say for sure that this ingredient is dangerous, you should use some caution. The official FDA study is getting pretty outdated, but you can still read the full study here.
Xanthan Gum - This is a substance produced by bacterial fermentation or created synthetically and is used in cat foods as a gelling agent and thickener. It is composed of glucose, mannose, and glucuronic acid. It is what causes the black rot on veggies that have been in the fridge too long. Once the bacteria has fermented, it is pasteurized (killed) and filtered. The resulting xanthan gum is then treated with isopropyl alcohol, dried, ground, and diluted to desired consistency. The finished product is a loose, whitish-colored powder. The behavior of xanthan gum makes it ideal for food processing purposes and is used in human food frequently. Nutritionally speaking, it is a carbohydrate with about seven grams of fiber per tablespoon. Xanthan gum is made using carbohydrates from corn, wheat, dairy, or soy which are all common food allergens for many cats.
Minerals - Only two vitamins (A and C) and two minerals (calcium and iron) are required on the food label. Cat food companies can voluntarily list other vitamins and minerals in the food. So, in this case, they have simply listed "minerals" but we're not exactly sure what is included here. This ingredient is very unlikely to cause harm to your cat, but it would be nice if they would voluntarily list the minerals being used here.
Vitamins - Only two vitamins (A and C) and two minerals (calcium and iron) are required on the food label. Food companies can voluntarily list other vitamins and minerals in the food. When vitamins or minerals are added to the food, or when a vitamin or mineral claim is made, those nutrients must be listed on the nutrition label. So while we don't know exactly what vitamins are being included here, it is unlikely that this ingredient contains anything of lower quality.
Riboflavin Supplement - Riboflavin is found in various foods, including milk and dairy products, fish, meats, green leafy vegetables, and whole grain and enriched cereals and bread. It is a source of Vitamin B2. Due to the cooking process, most cat foods do not include enough vitamins and minerals. In order to meet AFFCO standards, most cat food will contain supplemental vitamins or minerals, such as is the case with this ingredient. We are not aware of any major medical issues related to this ingredient and in fact, a lack of vitamin B can be very serious for your cat.
Vitamin A Supplement - Vitamin supplements are normally added to cat food when the mixture does not contain enough of certain vitamins naturally. Vitamin A can be found in many fruits, vegetables, eggs, whole milk, butter, fortified margarine, meat, and oily saltwater fish. It can also be made in a laboratory, which is usually the case for pet foods. A deficiency in vitamin A can cause very serious health problems for cats, so you will see lots of cat food supplement their foods with vitamins, including vitamin A. There is little to no risk associated with this ingredient and while we'd prefer to see enough vitamins and minerals included naturally, supplemental vitamins do have positive benefits to maintaining a proper vitamin balance in your cat.
Biotin - Biotin, also known as vitamin H or coenzyme R, is a water soluble B vitamin. It is usually found in egg yolk, liver, and yeast. In addition to converting food into energy, biotin also helps the body get rid of by-products from protein. As carnivores, a cat's diet is high in protein, and they need sufficient biotin to process and excrete it. Biotin also helps the body use other B-complex vitamins and maintains healthy skin, coat and claws. When cats do not receive enough biotin in their diet, the most noticeable issue they have is unhealthy and often times itchy skin. If you want to learn more about biotin in cats, here is an excellent article with more detail.
Salt - Salt is necessary for a cats body to function properly, but too much salt can be dangerous and even deadly. Usually, salt is added to pet food in order to meet AAFCO nutritional requirements. Salt, or sodium chloride, is indeed necessary so cat food that doesn't contain enough will have a bit of it included. Salt helps your cats cells move nutrients and waste products where they need to go, and it helps his or her tummy make the right amount of acid to digest food properly. According to the Journal of Nutrition, average-sized cats need about 21 milligrams of salt per day. Many cat foods have higher concentrations than that. The National Research Council recommends no more than 42 milligrams per day. Most of the time, salt in commercial cat food products poses no danger and does have some nutritional benefit.
Taurine - Taurine is an essential amino acid that is critical for normal heart muscle function, vision, and reproduction in cats. Since cats are unable to create proper levels of taurine in their body naturally, it must be supplemented in their food. That's why you'll see this ingredient listed for so many different cat food blends. For cat foods that contain enough high quality animal based proteins, a taurine supplement may not be needed. However, most cat foods will need to add in additional taurine in the form of a supplement to the food. Even when included as a supplement instead, there is very low to almost zero health risk associated with this ingredient. In fact, a lack of taurine can cause a slew of issues, so it's very important to make sure your cat is receiving enough taurine in his or her diet.
Choline Chloride - Like humans and many other species, cats require choline. Almost all commercial pet food blends will contain supplemental choline. This ingredient mostly helps with cell function.
Sodium Phosphite - Sodium phosphate is a generic term for a variety of salts. Salt is necessary for a cats body to function properly, but too much salt can be dangerous and even deadly. Usually, salt is added to pet food in order to meet AAFCO nutritional requirements. Salt, or sodium chloride, is indeed necessary so cat food that doesn't contain enough will have a bit of it included. Salt helps your cats cells move nutrients and waste products where they need to go, and it helps his or her tummy make the right amount of acid to digest food properly. According to the Journal of Nutrition, average-sized cats need about 21 milligrams of salt per day. Many cat foods have higher concentrations than that. The National Research Council recommends no more than 42 milligrams per day. Most of the time, salt in commercial cat food products poses no danger and does have some nutritional benefit.
Guaranteed Analysis describes the nutrient content required by AAFCO labeling standards to be identified on every product package. Since these are guarantees, pet food manufacturers work to formulate diets that meet or exceed the minimum requirements.
Crude Protein (Min) 8.5 %
Crude Fat (Min) 6.0 %
Crude Fiber (Max) 1.0 %
Moisture (Max) 81.0 %
Vitamin E (Min) 100.0 IU/kg
208.0 kcals per 5.5oz can