Tender & True Cat Food Review

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Our Review Process

Our reviews are based on extensive research and, when possible, hands-on testing. Each time you make a purchase through one of our independently-chosen links, we’ll receive a percentage of the proceeds. Read more about how we’re supported here.

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 We’re All About Cats 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.

Ratings

  • 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.

Recall History

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.

Positive Reviews

CATS EAT IT UP

“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

Love This Food Company

“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

Negative Reviews

0/10 Cats Approve

“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

Not Super Tasty, Possible Quality Control Issues

“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 Per Ounce Our Grade
Tender & True Organic Chicken & Liver Recipe Grain-Free Dry Cat Food Dry Chicken 350 kcal/cup $0.24 B
Tender & True Turkey & Brown Rice Recipe Canned Cat Food Wet Turkey 185 kcal/can $0.19 B+
Tender & True Limited Ingredient Salmon & Sweet Potato Recipe Grain-Free Dry Cat Food Dry  Salmon 470 kcal/cup $0.20 B

#1 Tender & True Organic Chicken & Liver Recipe Grain-Free Dry Cat Food

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This organic dry cat food features organic chicken as the primary protein source.

One of two fully organic dry foods from Tender & True, this recipe contains both fresh chicken and chicken meal as well as chicken liver. Organic chicken liver digest meal adds flavor and the food relies primarily on animal-based fat from chicken fat and menhaden oil.

This recipe contains about 33% crude protein on a dry matter basis and 20% fat. That makes it a very high-carbohdyrate formula and much of that comes from starchy ingredients like tapioca, peas, chickpeas,  and potatoes. Starches offer limited nutritional value to cats – in comparison to other carbs like whole grains – and legumes like peas and chickpeas are hard for cats to digest.

While this recipe leaves something to be desired in its nutritional breakdown, the quality of the ingredients themselves is high and the formula is free from animal by-products and artificial additives like colors, flavors,  and preservatives.

Overall, this is a moderate-protein, moderate-fat organic dry cat food with very high carbohydrate content.

Ingredients

Organic Chicken, Organic Chicken Meal, Organic Tapioca Starch, Organic Pea Flour, Organic Dried Pea, Organic Chickpea, Organic Potato Flour, Organic Flaxseed Meal, Organic Chicken Fat (Preserved With Mixed Tocopherols), Organic Chicken Liver, Organic Chicken Liver Digest Meal, Menhaden Oil (Preserved With Mixed Tocopherols), Choline Chloride, Salt, Natural Mixed Tocopherols, Taurine, Ascorbic Acid, Vitamin E Supplement, Zinc Proteinate, Zinc Sulfate, Manganous Oxide, Manganese Proteinate, Inositol, Ferrous Sulfate, Niacin, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Zinc Oxide, Iron Proteinate, Thiamine Mononitrate, Biotin, Riboflavin Supplement, Calcium Pantothenate, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Sodium Selenite, Copper Sulfate, Vitamin A Supplement, Copper Proteinate, Citric Acid (Preservative), Vitamin D3 Supplement, Folic Acid, Potassium Iodide.

Guaranteed Analysis

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Crude Protein: 30%
Crude Fat: 18%
Crude Fiber: 6.5%
Moisture: 10%

Dry Matter Basis

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Protein: 33.33%
Fat: 20%
Fiber: 7.22%
Carbs: 39.44%

Caloric Weight Basis

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Protein: 27.47%
Fat: 40.03%
Carbs: 32.5%
Ingredients We Liked Ingredients We Didn’t Like Common Allergens
Organic Chicken

Organic Chicken Meal

Organic Chicken Fat

Organic Chicken Liver

Menhaden Oil

Organic Tapioca Starch

Organic Pea Flour

Organic Dried Pea

Organic Chickpea

Organic Potato Flour

Chicken

Pros

  • Made with USDA Certified Organic ingredients
  • Top two ingredients are high-quality animal proteins
  • Relies primarily on animal-based fat from two sources

Cons

  • Contains a significant number of starchy plant ingredients
  • Very high carbohydrate content
  • No dry food provides the moisture your cat needs

#2 Tender & True Turkey & Brown Rice Recipe Canned Cat Food

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This canned cat food features turkey as the primary protein source.

Fresh turkey is the main ingredient in this recipe but it isn’t a single-protein formula. Chicken liver and chicken heart provide supplemental protein as well as essential nutrients. The food relies primarily on animal-based fat from salmon oil.

This is one of Tender & True’s two grain-inclusive wet cat foods. It is made with certified humanely raised, antibiotic-free turkey and brown rice flour. It also contains starchy pea flour, however, which ups the carb content to a total of around 20% on a dry matter basis. Though a little high for a wet food, the carb content in this recipe is lower than the average dry cat food.

With 78% moisture, this wet food is a little drier than other patés – a point several customers make note of in their reviews. It’s also very high in fiber which could be an issue for cats with sensitive digestion.

Overall, this is a moderate-protein, high-fat canned cat food with moderate carbohydrate content.

Ingredients

Turkey, Water Sufficient For Processing, Pea Flour, Chicken Liver, Chicken Heart, Brown Rice Flour, Salmon Oil (Preserved With Mixed Tocopherols), Salt, Natural Flavors, Calcium Carbonate, Agar-Agar, Sodium Phosphate, Choline Chloride, Chicken Broth, Dl-Methionine Taurine, Potassium Chloride, Magnesium Proteinate, Zinc Proteinate, Thiamine Mononitrate, Iron Proteinate, Niacin Supplement, Vitamin E Supplement, Copper Proteinate, Vitamin A Supplement, Sodium Selenite, Calcium Pantothenate, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Riboflavin Supplement, Biotin, Manganese Proteinate, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Folic Acid.

Guaranteed Analysis

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Crude Protein: 8.5%
Crude Fat: 7%
Crude Fiber: 2.15%
Moisture: 78%

Dry Matter Basis

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Protein: 38.64%
Fat: 31.82%
Fiber: 9.77%
Carbs: 19.77%

Caloric Weight Basis

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Protein: 28.48%
Fat: 56.95%
Carbs: 14.57%
Ingredients We Liked Ingredients We Didn’t Like Common Allergens
Turkey

Chicken Liver

Chicken Heart

Salmon Oil

Pea Flour Chicken

Pros

  • Features fresh turkey as the primary ingredient
  • Supplemented with protein and nutrients from chicken organs
  • Relies primarily on animal-based fat from salmon oil

Cons

  • May be drier than other paté-style foods
  • Contains starchy pea flour

#3 Tender & True Limited Ingredient Salmon & Sweet Potato Recipe Grain-Free Dry Cat Food

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This dry cat food features fresh salmon  as the primary protein source.

One of four grain-free dry cat foods from Tender & True, this recipe is made with wild-caught Alaskan salmon and whiting meal certified sustainable by the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC). It’s a limited ingredient diet and entirely poultry-free.

This recipe offers a more concentrated source of calories than the organic chicken dry food, but it’s equal in protein content and actually a little lower in fat. The reduced fat content means that there’s a higher concentration of carbohydrates as well.

Most of the carbs in this recipe come from starchy ingredients like tapioca starch, dried potato, and dried peas. While not as potentially harmful as corn, wheat, and soy, starches offer limited nutritional value for cats and legumes like peas can be difficult to digest. This recipe also relies primarily on plant-based fat in the form of coconut oil, though fish oil is included as well.

Overall, this is a moderate-protein, moderate-fat grain-free dry cat food with very high carbohydrate content.

Ingredients

Salmon, Whiting Meal, Dried Sweet Potato, Tapioca Starch, Dried Potato, Pea Flour, Flaxseed Meal, Dried Peas, Coconut Oil, Dried Beet Pulp, Potato Starch, Fish Oil (Preserved With Mixed Tocopherols), Potato Flour, Canola Oil, Natural Flavors, Sodium Phosphate, Lecithin, Mixed Tocopherols With Rosemary (Preservatives), Choline Chloride, Taurine, Potassium Chloride, Salt, Ascorbic Acid, Vitamin E Supplement, Zinc Proteinate, Zinc Sulfate, Manganous Oxide, Manganese Proteinate, Inositol, Ferrous Sulfate, Niacin, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Zinc Oxide, Iron Proteinate, Thiamine Mononitrate, Biotin, Riboflavin Supplement, Calcium Pantothenate, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Sodium Selenite, Copper Sulfate, Vitamin A Supplement, Copper Proteinate, Citric Acid (Preservative), Vitamin D3 Supplement, Folic Acid, Potassium Iodide.

Guaranteed Analysis

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Crude Protein: 30%
Crude Fat: 16%
Crude Fiber: 3.75%
Moisture: 10%

Dry Matter Basis

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Protein: 33.33%
Fat: 17.78%
Fiber: 4.17%
Carbs: 44.72%

Caloric Weight Basis

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Protein: 27.5%
Fat: 35.61%
Carbs: 36.89%
Ingredients We Liked Ingredients We Didn’t Like Common Allergens
Salmon

Whiting Meal

Fish Oil

Tapioca Starch

Dried Potato

Pea Flour

Dried Peas

Potato Starch

Potato  Flour

Fish

Pros

  • Made with MSC Certified seafood
  • Rich in animal-based omega-3 fatty acids
  • Free from artificial additives, corn, wheat, and soy

Cons

  • Contains a significant number of starchy plant ingredients
  • Very high carbohydrate content
  • No dry food provides the moisture your cat needs

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.

Where Is Tender & True Cat Food Sold?

Tender & True is available in some specialty pet food stores and health food stores. You can also purchase it at Target or online from Chewy or Amazon.

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About Kate Barrington

Kate Barrington holds a Bachelor’s degree in English and is the published author of several self-help books and nutrition guides. Also an avid dog lover and adoring owner of three cats, Kate’s love for animals has led her to a successful career as a freelance writer specializing in pet care and nutrition. Kate is also a blogger for a number of organic and natural food companies as well as a columnist for several pet magazines.

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