The Honest Kitchen Cat Food Review

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The Honest Kitchen Feature

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.

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.

Want to try it for yourself? Enter coupon code ALLABOUTCATS30 for 30% off all orders $30 or more.* Click here to explore The Honest Kitchen’s store

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.

Ratings

  • Species-Appropriateness – 7/10
  • Ingredient Quality – 10/10
  • Product Variety – 9/10
  • Price – 8/10
  • Customer Experience – 7/10
  • Recall History – 6/10

Overall Score: 7.8/10

Overall, we give The Honest Kitchen a 47 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 Kind of Cat Food Does the Honest Kitchen Offer?

The Honest Kitchen Selection

The Honest Kitchen was originally launched with a limited selection of dehydrated cat food products. Dehydrated cat food offers similar quality to freeze-dried or raw food, but it is very different in texture. It’s a pulverized product, much like instant mashed potatoes. You need to add water and give the product time to rehydrate before feeding.

More recently, The Honest Kitchen introduced over a dozen new products including wet food, dry food, toppers, and treats.

Among their wet food lineup, The Honest Kitchen offers 10 recipes of grain-free, minced, or pate-style wet cat food packaged in resealable 5.5-ounce cartons. Their food toppers are similar in consistency to wet food and their treats are dehydrated.

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

#1 The Honest Kitchen Grain-Free Chicken Recipe Dehydrated Cat Food Review

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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.

Ingredients

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.

Guaranteed Analysis

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Crude Protein: 35%
Crude Fat: 28%
Crude Fiber: 2.5%
Moisture: 5%

Dry Matter Basis

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Protein: 36.84%
Fat: 29.47%
Fiber: 2.63%
Carbs: 31.05%

Caloric Weight Basis

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Protein: 26.42%
Fat: 51.32%
Carbs: 22.26%

Ingredients We Liked: Chicken, Eggs

Ingredients We Didn’t Like: Potatoes, Sweet Potatoes, Organic Flaxseed

Common Allergens: Chicken, Eggs

Pros

  • 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

Cons

  • Many cats don’t like this food

#2 The Honest Kitchen Grain-Free Chicken Pate Wet Cat Food

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Chicken appears to be the primary protein source in this cat food.

Formulated to provide balanced nutrition for both adult cats and kittens, this wet cat food is chicken-based with a smooth pate texture. Three animal-based ingredients top the list, and this formula is made with a single source of animal protein.

Being rich in protein and moisture, this recipe is a fairly species-appropriate choice for cats. It does, however, contain several unnecessary plant ingredients but the overall carbohydrate content is much lower than the average dry food.

Salmon oil is a rich source of animal-based omega-3 fatty acids which are beneficial for your cat’s skin and coat. It’s worth noting, however, that this is the last ingredient on the list, so it’s difficult to tell how much it actually contributes to the total fat content.

Aside from these few things, there’s not much to complain about with this recipe. It comes in resealable and recyclable cardboard carton with 5.5 ounces per carton. It’s a little pricey at over $0.50 per ounce, but the quality is high.

Overall, this wet food has high protein content, moderately high fat content, and fairly low carbohydrate content.

Because this product is new, there aren’t many customer reviews online. This makes it difficult to judge overall customer satisfaction, but several buyers found that even their picky cats liked it. On the downside, several found the cardboard carton difficult to open and reseal, but they appreciated that the container is recyclable.

The food has 1,100 calories per kilogram.

Ingredients

Chicken, Chicken Broth, Chicken Liver, Pumpkin, Carrots, Blueberries, Cranberries, Natural Chicken Flavor, Calcium Carbonate, Agar Agar, Dandelion Greens, Potassium Chloride, Choline Chloride, Vitamin E Supplement, Vitamin A Supplement, Niacin Supplement, Calcium Pantothenate, Thiamine Mononitrate, Riboflavin, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Folic Acid, Biotin, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Magnesium Proteinate, Taurine, Copper Proteinate, Iron Proteinate, Manganese Proteinate, Potassium Iodide, Zinc Proteinate, Sodium Selenite, Kelp, Yucca Schidigera Extract, Salmon Oil.

Guaranteed Analysis

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Crude Protein: 10%
Crude Fat: 6.5%
Crude Fiber: 1%
Moisture: 78%

Dry Matter Basis

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Protein: 45.45%
Fat: 29.55%
Fiber: 4.55%
Carbs: 20.45%

Caloric Weight Basis

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Protein: 33.02%
Fat: 52.12%
Carbs: 14.86%

Ingredients We Liked: Chicken, Chicken Liver, Salmon Oil

Ingredients We Didn’t Like: Pumpkin, Carrots, Blueberries, Cranberries

Common Allergens: Chicken

Pros

  • Chicken as a single source of species-appropriate animal protein
  • Rich in moisture to support your cat’s hydration
  • Contains less than 5% total carbohydrates as fed
  • Completely free from artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives

Cons

  • Contains several unnecessary plant ingredients

#3 The Honest Kitchen Whole Food Clusters Grain-Free Chicken & Fish Dry Cat Food

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Chicken appears to be the primary protein source in this cat food.

Four of the seven main ingredients in this formula are animal-based, including three fresh proteins and one organ meat. This formula isn’t a single-source protein recipe – it contains chicken and fish as well as eggs. It is, however, a decent source of protein overall.

The downfall of this recipe is the carbohydrate content. Peas and lentils appear in the top three ingredients. Not only are they starchy and difficult for many cats to digest, but they likely contribute to the total protein content of the recipe. Potato is another starchy ingredient that doesn’t offer much in the way of nutritional value for cats.

This recipe does contain salmon oil as an animal-based source of omega-3 fatty acids, but it doesn’t appear within the top 10 ingredients. It’s also worth mentioning that, as a dry food, this recipe doesn’t contain the moisture your cat needs for hydration.

Overall, this dry food has moderate protein and fat content but very high carbohydrate content.

Again, it’s difficult to get an overall impression of customer satisfaction because this product is so new. Of the customers who have reviewed the product, most seem pleased with the quality of the recipe and their cats seem to like it. One user commented that the kibbles are too small, enabling their cat to swallow it without chewing.

The food has 4,050 calories per kilogram.

Ingredients

Chicken, Peas, Lentils, Eggs, White Fish, Chicken Liver, Potatoes, Tricalcium Phosphate, Natural Chicken Flavor, Sodium Chloride, Flaxseed, Salmon Oil, Niacin Supplement, Vitamin E Supplement, Vitamin A Supplement, Folic Acid, Thiamine Mononitrate, Calcium Pantothenate, Biotin, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Riboflavin, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Fenugreek Seed, Taurine, Choline Chloride, Dried Organic Kelp, Zinc Amino Acid Chelate, Iron Amino Acid Chelate, Copper Amino Acid Chelate, Manganese Amino Acid Chelate, Sodium Selenite, Pumpkin, Blueberries, Cranberries, Carrots, Organic Barley Grass, Yucca Schidigera Extract, Mixed Tocopherols, Rosemary Extract, Turmeric, L-Carnitine, Dried Bacillus Coagulans Fermentation Product.

Guaranteed Analysis

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Crude Protein: 35%
Crude Fat: 16%
Crude Fiber: 4%
Moisture: 8%

Dry Matter Basis

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Protein: 38.04%
Fat: 17.39%
Fiber: 4.35%
Carbs: 40.22%

Caloric Weight Basis

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Protein: 31.57%
Fat: 35.05%
Carbs: 33.38%

Ingredients We Liked: Chicken, Egg, White Fish, Chicken Liver, Salmon Oil

Ingredients We Didn’t Like: Peas, Lentils, Potatoes

Common Allergens: Chicken, Fish

Pros

  • Four high-quality sources of animal protein
  • Salmon contains skin- and coat-supporting omega-3s
  • Supplemented with probiotics for healthy digestion
  • Completely free from artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives

Cons

  • Contains several unnecessary plant ingredients
  • High carbohydrate content, over 30% as fed
  • No dry food provides the moisture your cat needs

What Do Customers Think Of The Honest Kitchen Cat Food?

Wessie eating The Honest Kitchen cat food

My cat, Wessie, seemed to love The Honest Kitchen wet food. Their dry food didn’t go over quite as well—while he would eat it, he didn’t show much enthusiasm for the Chicken & Fish dry food. While we didn’t try any of their dehydrated recipes, customer reviews suggest that they’re a bit less palatable than the traditional wet and dry options.

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.

Positive Reviews

“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

Negative Reviews

“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.

While The Honest Kitchen’s dehydrated recipes are very expensive, their wet and dry food formulas are more moderately priced. Both cost around $0.50 per ounce which puts The Honest Kitchen in a similar price spectrum as higher-rated brands like Open Farm and Ziwi Peak.

The wet food formula evaluated above costs $0.53 per ounce. To feed a 10-pound cat, it would cost you about $3.40 per day. The dry food recipe is a little cheaper at $0.50 and it would cost about $0.86 to feed a 10-pound cat per day.

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 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 Open Farm, 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.

Enter coupon code ALLABOUTCATS30 for 30% off all orders $30 or more. Click here to explore The Honest Kitchen’s store

* Discount only applies to a single order totaling $30 or more. You must be a first-time customer to qualify. 

small mallory photo

About Mallory Crusta

Mallory is the Head of Content at All About Cats. Having produced and managed multimedia content across several pet-related domains, Mallory is dedicated to ensuring that the information on All About Cats is accurate, clear, and engaging. When she’s not reviewing pet products or editing content, Mallory enjoys skiing, hiking, and trying out new recipes in the kitchen. She has two cats, Wessie and Forest.

10 thoughts on “The Honest Kitchen Cat Food Review

  1. Sunnie

    Hi! I’m looking for a more eco friendly and convenient alternative to cans, but want to stick with at least a half wet food diet. I was attracted to Honest Kitchen for this reason (love how you just scoop and mix with water) but I don’t think my picky cat will like it. I like how Freshpet has the 1lb packages but want something higher quality. Any other suggestions that come in something other than single serving packaging? Thanks!

    Reply
  2. Ashley

    I’ve heard a lot of good things about The Honest Kitchen from people who feed this food to their dogs, and it seems that it’s only what they feed them. I was curious to get this food for my three cats. If I were to feed this to my cats, should they also be dry food only with this? Or is this something that provides the same as both wet and dry food? One (13yo)cat has lost a few teeth, another(13yo) eats the dry food too quickly sometimes and will then puke it up, and the other(1yo) we have eating both, no issues with him. Just curious on your opinion if this is something that would replace both, because I have read that too much wet food is not good for cats teeth, and that dry food is good for maintaining teeth- typically a diet of both is best I have heard, which is what I currently do.

    Reply
  3. TeriseD

    The information you are providing is outdated. The Honest Kitchen is not just dehydrated food any more. Minced varieties with gravy, pate and even kibble are now offered in many flavors including duck and salmon. Although reviews are mixed it may be worth taking the time to update this article.

    Reply
  4. Avatar photoLanza

    My cat hates this food so much. This is the only food that I can’t make him even try a lick. More or less water, it doesn’t matter. I put my cat’s favorite treats/toppers/can/even dry food on top of it, trying to encourage him to eat, but none of them work. Usually for the food that my cat dislike, he will at least eat the toppers and then leave the food. Not for this one. As long as the treats/toppers touches this food, my cat refuses them. He doesn’t even want to get any closer to this food. He runs away, even if he is hungry. I can tell by his reaction that he hates this food so much. I think it’s the smell. As one of the negative reviews says, this food has a nut smell, or some kind of plant smell? I can’t tell exactly what it smells like, but it definitely doesn’t smell like the general cat food. Maybe the dehydrated process kills the smell of meat, or maybe they put too much strong smell greens in the recipe. I don’t know. It doesn’t smell like meat, not at all. For me it smells more like a human Spinach soup, and it looks like it. It’s green full of Spinach floating.

    Reply

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