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Is The Honest Kitchen’s human-grade, minimally-processed food worth it for your cat? Find out in our unbiased Honest Kitchen cat food review.
The We’re All About Cats Standard—Rating The Honest Kitchen on What Matters
We’ve analyzed The Honest Kitchen and graded it according to the We’re All About Cats standard, evaluating the brand on species-appropriateness, ingredient quality, product variety, price, customer experience, and recall history. Here’s how it rates in each of these six key areas.
- Species-Appropriateness – 7/10
- Ingredient Quality – 10/10
- Product Variety – 4/10
- Price – 8/10
- Customer Experience – 5/10
- Recall History – 5/10
Overall Score: 6.5/10
We give The Honest Kitchen cat food a 39 out of 60 rating or a B- grade.
About The Honest Kitchen
The Honest Kitchen was created in 2002. Company founder Lucy Postins was inspired by her own dog’s success on a homemade diet and started selling similar foods for dogs and cats.
Today, The Honest Kitchen is one of the few truly human-grade cat food brands and among the leading producers of dehydrated food for pets. There’s no arguing that The Honest Kitchen brings something interesting to the pet food aisle, but is it a safe, healthy choice for cats?
To answer that question, let’s learn more about The Honest Kitchen’s manufacturing practices, recall history, recipes, customer experience, and more.
Sourcing and Manufacturing
The Honest Kitchen foods are human-grade products. Human-grade food is prepared, handled, and transported according to human food manufacturing standards. From the time of harvest until the food reaches store shelves, every step of the manufacturing and handling process meets requirements for human food manufacturing.
The company sources 67% (by weight) of their ingredients from North America, including all of their protein sources and the majority of the fruits, vegetables, and supplements. Other ingredients are sourced from South America, Europe, Africa, and Asia. None of their ingredients are sourced from China. Each supplier is required to sign the company’s “Human Food Grade Guarantee”.
These ingredients are processed in The Honest Kitchen’s company-owned facilities in the United States. These kitchens are registered and inspected by the FDA and meet all U.S. requirements for human food production.
Has The Honest Kitchen cat food been recalled?
In 2013, The Honest Kitchen recalled several varieties of pet food after learning that one of their suppliers may have sold them salmonella-contaminated parsley.
What kinds of cat food does The Honest Kitchen offer?
Instead of the usual dry or canned fare—or even freeze-dried or raw food—The Honest Kitchen cat food is a dehydrated, pulverized product. Like instant mashed potatoes, The Honest Kitchen food starts out as a dry, irregular powder and requires a splash of warm water and a few minutes of stillness before it’s ready to eat.
Depending on how you prepare it, the finished food has a texture between thick oatmeal and a smoothie.
While The Honest Kitchen offers a wide variety of food for dogs, their cat food selection is tiny—consisting of just two recipes. Both are grain-free products. They’re primarily made from meat, but also contain fruits, vegetables, and synthetic additives to ensure nutritional adequacy.
Is The Honest Kitchen cat food raw?
Compared to extrusion and other processing methods, the dehydration process uses less heat and leaves more of the raw ingredients’ nutritional components intact, but The Honest Kitchen cat food isn’t raw. Think of it as a gently-processed alternative to traditional dry or canned food—a midpoint on the processing scale.
The Honest Kitchen Cat Food – Top 3 Recipes Reviewed
|Product Name||Food Type||Price per Ounce||Our Grade|
|The Honest Kitchen Grain-Free Chicken Recipe||Dehydrated||$0.70||B|
|The Honest Kitchen Grain-Free Turkey Recipe||Dehydrated||$0.87||B|
Chicken appears to be the primary protein source in this cat food.
Let’s take a closer look at The Honest Kitchen’s top-selling recipe. This food is formulated for adult and senior cats. It features chicken as its primary ingredient—70% of the total recipe is dedicated to free-range chicken. In addition to nourishing chicken meat, the food contains eggs as an additional source of protein, fat, and other nutrients.
After these nourishing animal ingredients, the food contains some starchy ingredients, including potatoes and sweet potatoes. The food contains a variety of other plant ingredients, including organic flaxseed, pumpkin, and cranberries. Though these ingredients aren’t species-appropriate or a natural part of the feline diet, they are nutritionally rich, delivering antioxidants and other nutrients.
The Honest Kitchen explains that they’re currently adding taurine, vitamin B2, and vitamin B5 to their dehydrated recipes. As of this writing, they’re in transition, so some boxes will contain these ingredients and others won’t. The new supplements join a variety of other vitamins, minerals, and amino acids that make the food nutritionally complete and balanced for adult cats.
Overall, this dry food has moderate protein content with moderate fat and moderate carbohydrate content.
It’s not the meatiest, most protein-rich, or the least carbohydrate-laden food on the market, but this dehydrated product is a tad fresher and a little bit less processed than the average kibble and many wet foods.
It’s probably worth the try if your cat’s willing to eat it. Less than half of all reviewers give this food a 5-star rating, with the rest of them expressing varying degrees of “my cat won’t eat this stuff”.
The food has roughly 576 calories per dry cup.
Chicken, Eggs, Potatoes, Sweet Potatoes, Organic Flaxseed, Pumpkin, Spinach, Cranberries, Tricalcium Phosphate, Choline Chloride, Zinc Amino Acid Chelate, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Vitamin E Supplement, Potassium Iodide, Potassium Chloride, Iron Amino Acid Chelate, Copper Amino Acid Chelate, Sodium Selenite, Thiamine Mononitrate.
|Crude Protein||39% min|
|Crude Fat||29.5% min|
The Honest Kitchen Grain-Free Chicken Recipe Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Breakdown
Ingredients We Liked: Chicken, Eggs
Ingredients We Didn’t Like: Potatoes, Sweet Potatoes, Organic Flaxseed
Common Allergens: Chicken, Eggs
- Human-grade food
- Contains high-quality chicken and eggs as primary ingredients
- Low carbohydrate content compared to many other cat foods
- Free of artificial ingredients that could harm your cat
- Many cats don’t like this food
Turkey appears to be the primary protein source in this cat food.
While The Honest Kitchen’s top-selling chicken recipe is formulated for adults and senior cats, this recipe is geared towards adults, kittens, and active cats of all ages.
Compared to the chicken recipe, it has slightly higher calorie content and is lower in carbohydrate matter. The recipe consists of 70% cage-free turkey, followed by eggs, pumpkin, potatoes, parsley, kale, and cranberries.
After these primary ingredients, the food is fortified with a supplement blend. As mentioned in the last review, The Honest Kitchen is currently in the process of updating their recipes. They’re adding taurine, vitamin B2, and vitamin B5. Some boxes might have these ingredients and others may not.
Overall, this food has moderate protein content, high fat, and low carbohydrate content.
Though this food appears to have a slightly more desirable nutrient profile than The Honest Kitchen’s chicken recipe, it doesn’t fare much better in cat taste tests. About a quarter of reviewers give it a 1-star rating and say their cats won’t eat it.
The food has 629 calories per dry cup.
Turkey, Eggs, Pumpkin, Potatoes, Parsley, Chard, Cranberries, Tricalcium Phosphate, Choline Chloride, Zinc Amino Acid Chelate, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Vitamin E Supplement, Potassium Iodide, Potassium Chloride, Iron Amino Acid Chelate, Copper Amino Acid Chelate, Sodium Selenite, Thiamine Mononitrate.
|Crude Protein||38.5% min|
|Crude Fat||34.5% min|
The Honest Kitchen Grain-Free Turkey Recipe Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Breakdown
Ingredients We Liked: Turkey, Eggs
Ingredients We Didn’t Like: Pumpkin, Potatoes
Common Allergens: Eggs
- Primarily made from nourishing turkey meat and eggs
- Free of artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives
- Made from top-quality human-grade ingredients
- Relatively low carbohydrate content
- Many cats don’t like this food
What do customers think of The Honest Kitchen cat food?
While almost all customers love The Honest Kitchen cat food’s human-grade ingredients and minimal processing, their cats aren’t in such clear agreement.
Case in point—The Honest Kitchen Turkey Recipe cat food. This recipe has 86 reviews on Chewy. Just about half of them give it a full 5-star rating, while almost a quarter of them give it just one star. Most of these unhappy reviewers say their cats refused to eat it. Almost all of the in-between reviewers gave extra points for perceived ingredient quality but agreed with the one-star reviewers that their cats simply wouldn’t eat this food.
Let’s hear it from a few real customers on Chewy.
“Grain Free, human grade cat food. Made in the USA. I wish it was organic and non gmo verified; very important to me. My cats love this as a main meal or as an addition to canned human grade chicken or wet cat food. Mixes right into their food or eats it as it is once its mixed with warm water. Love it!!” – Cindy, reviewing The Honest Kitchen Grain-Free Chicken Recipe
“My cat has been on the Honest Kitchen for months now. She loves the chicken flavor, but recently has seemed a little bored with it so I switched to the flavor. She runs right to it and can’t get enough of it! The only “bad” thing I could say is that it’s much more watery than the chicken and it took forever to get to me. I give her 1/4 cup with 1/4 cup water it’s like soup. She seems to still enjoy it though and lessening the water isn’t a big deal.” – Erin, reviewing The Honest Kitchen Grain-Free Turkey Recipe
“My cats will not go near this. Total waste of money. This has a somewhat pudding-like consistency. I should have stuck with Vital Essentials which maintained a crunchiness – a nice complement to canned food. I also have 2 cases of Hounds and Gatos canned cat food which they won’t eat either.” – EducatingMama, reviewing The Honest Kitchen Grain-Free Turkey Recipe
“Bought 2 boxes. Tired to get my cats interested in it but none of my 4 fur babies give it more than a couple of licks before walking away. Mixed it thin, mixed it thick, no matter. Also it smells like peanut butter to me but that is not listed as one of the ingredients. Im not sure this product is what it says it is. Im on social security income and spending 90$ on two boxes is a hard hit to take. I wanted something other than canned food that would be nutritious and delicious. Should have tried primal instead. Dont waste your money on this. Unless you raise them from kittens on it. Maybe tben theyll take to it if they dont know any bettet. Van i get my money back?” – nothankyoutothis1, reviewing The Honest Kitchen Grain-Free Chicken Recipe
How much does The Honest Kitchen cat food cost?
If you’re used to freeze-dried, raw, and fresh cat food, The Honest Kitchen will look surprisingly economical. The company says that a 4-lb box will feed a 10-lb cat for about 32 days, breaking down to about $1.73 per day.
Though it’s definitely more expensive than the average dry food and some economy canned products, anything under $2 per day is impressive for a human-grade food.
Overall, is The Honest Kitchen a good choice?
You could do better than The Honest Kitchen in terms of palatability, carbohydrate content, and emphasis on carnivore-appropriate ingredients, but where ingredient quality is concerned, this brand is hard to beat. If you’re passionate about feeding your cat a food that’s good enough for you to eat, think about trying The Honest Kitchen. This brand delivers ingredient quality and safety that’s virtually unheard of at this price.
Though buying human-grade food doesn’t guarantee that the food will never be contaminated with bacteria or be recalled—The Honest Kitchen’s 2013 recall is an example of that—it does provide a level of comfort that you can’t get from feed-grade products.
Those who want a combination of ingredient quality and low plant content might consider Nom Nom, Caru, or Smalls. Though they’re more expensive than The Honest Kitchen, these brands incorporate a more meat-heavy array of human-grade ingredients—plus cats seem to like eating them.
Where to Buy The Honest Kitchen Cat Food
You can buy The Honest Kitchen cat food in pet specialty stores and natural grocery stores. Click here to find a retail location near you. If you’d prefer to buy The Honest Kitchen cat food online, you can shop on Amazon, Chewy, and The Honest Kitchen’s website.
About the author
Mallory Crusta is a writer and adventurecat enthusiast on a mission to make cats’ lives extraordinary. She’s one of the founders of Wildernesscat – a site for happy, healthy, and adventurous cats who are fueled by nature. Visit Wildernesscat for radically natural cat nutrition, home remedies, and lifestyle inspiration.