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Evanger Cat Food Review 2021: Reviews, Pros & Cons

Review Summary

Our Final Verdict

We give Evanger cat food a rating of 4.0 out of 5 stars.

At first glance, this brand looks very high-quality. It is a bit more expensive, but you’re paying for extra meat and novel ingredients. Many of their formulas are high in protein and nutritious ingredients. However, this brand has also been affected by many different controversies over the years, which may affect their food quality.

Introduction

Fred Evanger founded Evanger Dog & Cat Food Company in 1935. Mr. Evanger bred and showed Great Danes. He was unhappy with the current dog food available, so he opened his own company to make quality food he felt comfortable feeding his dogs. His main goal was to make a food that was free from harmful additives and preservatives.

Their website claims that they use high-quality, inspected meats in their foods. (However, it is essential to note that they don’t claim it is FDA or USDA inspected – just “inspected.”) This company has been involved in plenty of controversy over the years, which peaked in 2017.

They hand pack some of their foods and were one of the first companies to do so. Their Hand Packed food project has been going on since 2003.

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At a Glance: The Best Evanger Cat Food Recipes:

Image Product Details
Winner
Grain-Free Rabbit Canned Dog & Cat Food Grain-Free Rabbit Canned Dog & Cat Food
  • Includes mostly rabbit
  • High in moisture
  • Grain-free and gluten-free
  • Second place
    Super Premium Rabbit & Quail Dinner Grain-Free Canned Cat Food Super Premium Rabbit & Quail Dinner Grain-Free Canned Cat Food
  • High-quality ingredients throughout
  • Chelated minerals
  • No corn, wheat, soy, or by-products
  • Third place
    Grain-Free Meat Lover's Medley with Rabbit Dry Cat Food Grain-Free Meat Lover's Medley with Rabbit Dry Cat Food
  • Includes buffalo as the first ingredient
  • Variety of animal protein included
  • No corn, wheat, or soy
  • Grain-Free Salmon Canned Dog & Cat Food Supplement Grain-Free Salmon Canned Dog & Cat Food Supplement
  • Kosher certified
  • For supplemental feeding only
  • Organics Turkey & Butternut Squash Dinner Canned Cat Food Organics Turkey & Butternut Squash Dinner Canned Cat Food
  • Contains taurine for heart and vision health
  • Supports healthy immune system
  • Evanger Cat Food Reviewed

    Who makes Evanger Cat Food, and Where is it Produced?

    Evanger owns their manufacturing plants, where their food is created. Their founder opened the original plant when the company was founded. This plant was expanded later into the 7,000-square-feet factory it is today. This main factory is responsible for making all the food and also works as a warehouse.

    In 2013, a new facility was opened in Markham, Illinois. This facility is also operated and owned by Evanger.

    How is Their Food Manufactured?

    Evanger mostly makes wet food. For this reason, much of their manufacturing process revolves around improving their wet food. They initiated the “Hand Packed” process a few decades ago. This means that some of their foods are hand-packed instead of packed by a machine. They claim that human packing ensures that only the best ingredients are chosen, though there isn’t any evidence that this translates into better food.

    We can also assume that not all of their foods are hand-packed. We don’t know what formulas are hand-packed and which are not.

    They do strive to pack wholesome, raw ingredients into each can. Their wet foods are not nearly as processed as some other brands. The food is cooked inside each can, which helps lock in the juices and vitamins from the food.

    What Ingredients Do They Use?

    In their cat food specifically, this company seems to utilize a lot of novel protein. They don’t use a lot of chicken or beef recipes. Instead, they use a lot of things like rabbit and quail. This may be useful for cats with food allergies, as you’ll be able to find all sorts of strange protein sources with this brand. However, this also drives up the price substantially. Rabbit tends to be more expensive than chicken.

    While they make grain-free recipes, many of them are packed with veggies. Some are so high on the list that they are apparent fillers used to bulk up the food. While some veggies are okay for felines, moderation is key.

    For instance, peas occur very high in many of their recipes. Peas do contain some vitamins and minerals that cats need. However, when used so heavily in a recipe, they become a filler that can artificially raise the protein content. Because peas are so high in protein, they can bring up the overall protein content. But this protein will not be from meat and may be lacking some of the amino acids your feline needs to thrive.

    Despite this, they do utilize some high-quality options as well. For instance, they often use eggs in their recipes. These include quite a few vitamins and minerals, making them very good for your cat. They also include salmon meal, which includes natural omega fatty acids – an excellent fat for your feline.

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    What Varieties Do They Offer?

    This company primarily offers canned wet food. They do provide a few dry food formulas. However, there are very few options and varieties.

    When it comes to their wet food, there are many options, though. They offer a line of popular, supplemental canned foods that are for both cats & dogs. Other lines they offer include Organics, Super Premium, Signature Series, and Classic. Most of their lines have many flavors and proteins available.

    They offer flavors that aren’t available elsewhere, though. For instance, you can purchase a whole can of quail in their supplemental line. They do offer some chicken and beef recipes, which are extremely common on the cat food market. If you’re looking for something a bit more exotic, though, you’ll find it with this company.

    The 2017 Controversy

    You can’t have a complete review about Evanger’s cat food without discussing the recall and controversy that happened in 2017. In February 2017, the FDA noticed that some of Evanger’s canned food contained pentobarbital. This is a drug that is used in animal euthanasia. No amount is safe for cat food, precisely why the FDA issued a statement warning pet owners not to purchase specific recipes.

    The FDA inspected both plants the company-owned and found many significant concerns in how the food was processed. For example, condensation was dripping into the food at many points. There were no operating refrigerated storage facilities, so raw meat was thawing out before it was processed. Some meats were dropped onto the unsanitary concrete floor and then used in the final product.

    Several animals died from the contaminated food. The pentobarbital was eventually traced to the company’s meat supplier. Evanger issued a voluntary recall of several recipes after the FDA report.

    That might seem like the end of the story, but here is where things began to pick up steam. In their press release, Evanger stated that they used human-grade USDA beef in their recipes. However, in their investigation, the FDA reviewed a bill from Evanger’s beef supplier labelled the beef as “Inedible Hand Deboned Beef – For Pet Food Use Only. Not Fit for Human Consumption.” Furthermore, the supplier does not produce USDA meat, and the meat did not bear the USDA mark.

    In other words, the company was misleading customers about the food’s quality and source. While it had been claiming that the food was human-grade and USDA-inspected for years, none of that appeared to be the case. The FDA stated that “the meat products from this supplier do not bear the USDA inspection mark and would not be considered human grade.”

    At the time, the company also claimed on their website that their food was human-grade and USDA-certified. However, they changed their website’s text after the investigation. Now, it only claims the food is “inspected,” though it doesn’t say by who.

    While the Evanger did stop claiming that the meats used were human-grade, the whole controversy affected their customer’s trust. The company effectively lied to their consumers, making many worried about what they may potentially lie about in the future.

    Other Recalls and Citations

    The 2017 controversy may be the loudest thing that has occurred with Evanger over the last decade. However, there have been other problems as well. For instance, in 2006, the Wheeling, Illinois city sued Evanger over their manufacturing facility conditions. According to court documents, a health inspector found “open containers of chicken, flies, maggots, refuse and unsanitary conditions on the property.” Another inspector found thousands of maggots on rotting meat and unknown substances.

    Their permit to transport food on the interstate has been revoked and delayed multiple times due to their facilities’ conditions. This is the FDA’s way of preventing unsafe food from reaching customers.

    Several examples of FDA testing revealed that some recipes didn’t include items in the ingredient list. For instance, the Lamb and Rice recipe was found to contain beef instead of lamb. A duck recipe didn’t contain any duck at all. After a warning, the FDA did find that the ingredient switching stopped, however.

    These are only some citations that the FDA has issued over the last two decades. Out of all the pet food companies we’ve reviewed, Evanger has one of the most extensive histories of the FDA’s citations and warnings.

    There have also been charges for stealing utilities, which involved diverting gas and adding an illegal electricity bypass to the poles. There were also bribery allegations connected to this case.

    A Quick Look at Evanger Cat Food

    Pros
    • Meat is often the first ingredient
    • Large variety available
    • Grain-free and grain-inclusive formulas
    • High in protein
    Cons
    • Many citations, FDA warnings, and recalls
    • Conditions of facilities is questionable

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    Reviews of the 3 Best Evanger Cat Food Recipes

    1. Grain-Free Rabbit Canned Dog & Cat Food

    Evanger's Grain-Free Rabbit Canned Dog & Cat Food

    The Grain-Free Rabbit Canned Dog & Cat Food is part of Evanger’s supplemental line. It isn’t a complete meal that is designed to be the only thing your cat eats. Instead, it is designed to be used as a snack or as a topper for dry food. You can also mix it in with another wet food occasionally. It does not include any of the added nutrients that your feline needs, so do not plan on using it extensively.

    However, when used correctly, this is a pretty high-quality food. They have many flavors besides rabbit, though rabbit is one of their more popular options.

    It includes rabbit as the first ingredient. Water is included as the second ingredient, which is necessary for processing. Wet food isn’t a wet food if it isn’t high in moisture. Liver is the third ingredient. While we typically support organ products in cat food, the liver is unnamed. In other words, you don’t know where the liver comes from.

    If your cat is severely allergic to any protein, this food is not suitable. The liver could be from an animal that your feline cannot eat, making it potentially unsafe.

    This food is high in protein, as it is mostly meat. The moisture content is high, which can be helpful for felines that need help staying hydrated. This formula is grain-free and gluten-free. It is free from corn, wheat, soy, preservatives, and fillers as well.

    Calorie Breakdown:

    evangers rabbit recipe review

    Pros
    • Includes mostly rabbit
    • High in moisture
    • Grain-free and gluten-free
    • Free from wheat, soy, and corn
    Cons
    • For supplemental feeding only

    2. Super Premium Rabbit & Quail Dinner Grain-Free Canned Cat Food

    Evanger's Super Premium Rabbit & Quail Dinner Grain-Free Canned Cat Food

    Super Premium Rabbit & Quail Dinner Grain-Free Canned Cat Food may be suitable canned food for some felines. This food is relatively expensive. However, this is likely due to the ingredients it uses. The first ingredient is rabbit, followed by quail. These are both high-quality ingredients and novel proteins. In other words, your feline is likely not going to be allergic to this canned food.

    Liver is included as the third protein. Liver can be a quality source for a variety of different vitamins and minerals. All organ meats can be a good choice for felines. However, liver is exceptionally nutritious. The problem with this ingredient is that its source isn’t named. We don’t know what kind of liver it is. Technically, it could be from anything.

    There are other high-quality ingredients as well, including whole egg, flaxseed, and cranberries. These all provide necessary vitamins and minerals that can benefit your feline. It is made without corn, wheat, soy, or by-products. The minerals are chelated to provide maximum absorption and ensure balanced and complete nutrition.

    Calorie Breakdown:

    evangers rabbit + quail

    Pros
    • High-quality ingredients throughout
    • Chelated minerals
    • No corn, wheat, soy, or by-products
    • GMO-free
    Cons
    • Includes unnamed liver
    • Expensive

    3. Grain-Free Meat Lover’s Medley with Rabbit Dry Cat Food

    Evanger's Grain-Free Meat Lover's Medley with Rabbit Dry Cat Food

    While this company doesn’t make many dry food formulas, the Grain-Free Meat Lover’s Medley with Rabbit Dry Cat Food is one of the few that they do make. This recipe includes buffalo meal as the first ingredient. This is a high-quality meat option that is a perfect choice for cats, especially those that are a bit sensitive to more common ingredients.

    After this first meat ingredient, several veggies, including sweet potatoes, lentils, and peas. While these can be useful in moderate amounts, they are a bit high on the ingredient list. They are all relatively high in protein, which raises the overall protein content of the food. This veggie protein doesn’t contain all the amino acids your pet need, so it shouldn’t be relied on for much of the food’s protein content.

    This food also includes pea protein further down on the list. This bumps up the protein content even more, though it isn’t a complete protein.

    This formula also includes probiotics to support a healthy digestive and immune system. It includes flaxseed for extra omega fatty acids, which can improve your cat’s skin and coat health. This recipe is gluten-free and grain-free. It is also made with no corn, wheat, soy, artificial flavors, or preservatives.

    Calorie Breakdown:

    Evangers Grain Free Meat Lover’S Medley Recipe With Rabbit Review

    Pros
    • Includes buffalo as the first ingredient
    • Variety of animal protein included
    • No corn, wheat, or soy
    • Grain-free and gluten-free
    Cons
    • Includes a high amount of starchy veggies

    What Other Users are Saying?

    All cat foods will have at least one cat out there that doesn’t like it. Cats can be picky creatures. Not every cat is going to like everything. With that said, there were many reports of cats not liking Evanger’s dry food for whatever reason. Many reported that their cats particularly didn’t like the smell of the food, which leads to the food not even getting tasted. Of course, other cats went utterly crazy about the food, so it depends on the feline.

    Many did like that many of their foods used novel protein and only novel protein, which helps cats with allergies and similar problems. If your cat is allergic to chicken or something similar, one of Evanger’s food recipes may be worth a try.

    Many people claimed that some of their cat’s health issues cleared up after switching to this food. For instance, many claimed that their cat stopped scratch as much or had fewer digestive problems.

     

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    Conclusion

    If you pay attention only to the food, this is a great choice. The ingredients are high-quality in most cases, and each formula is high in meat. All their foods are pretty high in protein and fat – two macronutrients that your feline needs to thrive.

    However, a look at their recall info quickly reveals that their foods may not be as good as the bag makes them look. This company has had multiple sanitation problems at their facilities and has been cited multiple times for lying on the ingredient list.