This post may contain affiliate links. We are compensated for referring customers to our affiliate partners.
In this EVO Turkey & Chicken Cat and Kitten food review we will analyze the ingredients used in this food. It is easy to tell the quality of any cat food simply by understanding the ingredients on the label. For starters, let’s check out the current ingredients list for EVO Turkey & Chicken Cat and Kitten Food, then we will analyze each.
List Of Ingredients In EVO Turkey & Chicken Cat and Kitten Food
Turkey, Chicken, Chicken Meal, Tapioca Starch, Chicken Fat (Preserved with Mixed Tocopherols, a Source of Vitamin E), Herring, Pea Fiber, Salmon Meal, Natural Flavors, Potassium Chloride, Apples, Eggs, Carrots, Menhaden Oil, Peas, Cranberries, Alfalfa Sprouts, Pumpkin, Tomatoes, Cottage Cheese, Dried Chicory Root Extract, Minerals (Zinc Proteinate, Iron Proteinate, Copper Proteinate, Manganese Proteinate, Calcium Iodate), DL-Methionine, Vitamins (Betaine Hydrochloride, Niacin Supplement, Vitamin A Supplement, Thiamine Mononitrate, Calcium Pantothenate, Riboflavin Supplement, Beta Carotene, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Biotin, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Folic Acid), Taurine, Ascorbic Acid
Vitamin E Supplement, Direct Fed Microbials (Dried Enterococcus faecium, Dried Lactobacillus acidophilus, Dried Lactobacillus casei), Rosemary Extract
Analysis Of The Top 5 Ingredients In EVO Turkey & Chicken Cat and Kitten Food
The top 5 ingredients make up the vast majority of any cat food. Let’s take a close look at each of the first 5 ingredients in this cat food to learn about the quality of each.
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 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.
Chicken meal is ground up chicken meat that has been carefully dried to a moisture level of 10%. The protein content is 65% and the fat level is 12%. Many pet owners feel that chicken is a superior ingredient to chicken meal. It would seem logical that feeding a pet a whole, non-rendered chicken would be good. However, whole chicken still contains its moisture content prior to cooking and since whole chicken consists of about 80% moisture, after the cooking process is over there isn’t much left. With chicken meal, the moisture was removed prior to cooking. That means, chicken meal actually has a much higher protein percentage and provides far more beneficial nutrients to your cats than whole chicken. Meals consist of meat and skin, with or without the bones, but exclusive of feathers/hair, heads, feet, horns, entrails etc. and have the proper calcium/phosphorus ratio required for a balanced diet. It’s also important to note the quality difference between “chicken by-product meal” and “chicken meal.” While we do take exception to chicken by-products, chicken meal is actually a very high quality and nutritious ingredient. We are happy to see this listed.
Tapioca flour, also known as tapioca starch, is a starchy white flour that has a slight sweet flavor to it. Tapioca flour is an alternative to traditional wheat flours and has a variety of uses in baking. Tapioca is a source of carbohydrate obtained from the roots of the cassava plant (Manihot esculenta), which is indigenous to Latin America. It is not a cereal grain like corn or wheat which have links to food allergies in cats. The benefit to using tapioca in a pet food as the primary carbohydrate source instead of typical grains is tapioca’s biochemical simplicity. Grains are complex in the sense that they contain proteins and other phytonutrients in addition to carbohydrates. Tapioca is just starch – a combination of amylase and amlylopectin. There are no known canine or feline allergies to tapioca, so this is becoming a more common ingredient in many pet foods.
Chicken Fat (Preserved with Mixed Tocopherols, a Source of Vitamin E)
Animal fat provides essential fatty acids, energy, and fat soluble vitamins. This ingredient can also support a healthy skin and coat. Unfortunately, when it comes to fat sources, animal fat is considered to be a lower quality ingredient. This is because it is an unnamed fat source. Usually, we like to see a named fat source (such as “chicken fat”). In this case, we are forced to guess what animal or animals this fat source comes from. Animal fat, also called tallow, is a product of rendering. In the rendering process, pieces, parts, and even whole animals are put through a gigantic grinder, then boiled in vats for 30 minutes to several hours. High heat is necessary to kill bacteria, viruses, molds, and other pathogens. The boiling process also allows the fat to separate and float to the top, where it is skimmed off for use in cosmetics, pharmaceuticals, industrial lubricants, and, of course, pet food.
Tocopherol is a naturally occurring chemical element found in a variety of foods. It is commonly called vitamin E in a generic sense, as vitamin E substances are made up of tocopherol and similar elements. The main purpose of this ingredient is to provide a natural preservative for the food. Since this is a natural preservative, it is generally considered safe.
Additional Ingredients Of Interest
While the top 5 ingredients are by far the most important in any cat food, here are some additional ingredients we think deserves a further explanation.
Herring is a silvery fish that is most abundant in coastal waters. Fish provides an excellent source of proteins as well as high amounts of healthy omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. Some people worry about mercury levels in fish. It’s true that all fish contains some degree of mercury, the level in salmon is much lower than other types of fish and the FDA doesn’t believe it causes any problems. Most herring in cat food is likely farmed herring, but higher end cat food (especially those labeled “natural”) can often times be fished from natural environments. The biggest problem with fish ingredients, including herring, is if the fish includes an antioxidant called ethoxyquin (EMQ). It is believe that ethoxyquin could be very harmful to cats and other animals. Always make sure you are using “Ethoxyquin free” cat food blends when they include fish ingredients. When in doubt, call the customer service number and ask.
Peas are becoming more and more common in pet foods today, especially those listed as grain-free, holistic, or natural pet foods. While peas are certainly not grains, they serve much the same purpose. It mostly acts as a filler and a cheap way to increase the protein percentage of the food. However, cats receive almost no nutritional value from peas. Since cats are obligate carnivores, they require proteins from meat based ingredients. There is very little research that has been performed on the long term effects of cats consuming peas. We do know that peas can cause runny poop or digestion issues in dogs, but the full effect on cats remains a bit of an unknown. At best, this ingredient will act as a filler and will not provide much nutritional value, if any, to your cat.
Salmon is an excellent source of high quality proteins for cats and is extremely rich in healthy Omega 3 and Omega 6 fatty acids. Some people worry about mercury levels in fish. It’s true that all fish contains some degree of mercury, the level in salmon is much lower than other types of fish and the FDA doesn’t believe it causes any problems at all. Most salmon in cat food is farmed salmon, but higher end cat food (especially those labeled “natural”) can often times be fished from natural lakes and streams. The biggest problem with fish ingredients, including salmon, is if the fish includes an antioxidant called ethoxyquin (EMQ). It is believe that ethoxyquin could be very harmful to cats and other animals. Always make sure you are using “Ethoxyquin free” cat food blends when they include fish ingredients. When in doubt, call the customer service number and ask.
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.
Dried Chicory Root Extract
Commonly known as a soluble fiber, the inulin derived from the Chicory Root is a fructooligosaccharide added to help maintain digestive tract health and function in humans, although the full benefits in cats is not well known. Chicory root is a common coffee substitute in various cultures. It is used as a sweetener in the food industry with a sweetening power 1⁄10 that of sucrose. While the nutritional benefits of this ingredient might be a little questionable, there does not seem to be any reason for concern when feeding this ingredient to your cat.
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.