The Honest Kitchen Cat Food Reviews

Are you searching for the right cat food for your purr baby? We are here to help with this review of an industry standard setting company, The Honest Kitchen. Learn what is behind this company's passion and commitment to high quality pet food.

Danielle DeGroot

Last Updated: January 30, 2024 | 11 min read

cat laying on ground as a person feeds them cat food in a bowl

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Feline nutrition is one of the critical elements of lifelong health. Picking the best cat food for your pet is a big task, and owners often have many questions. It may seem like cat food brands are all the same. After all, how different can kitty kibble really be? In truth, there is a wide range of options, from very high-quality to low-budget brands. With so many choices, owners often need support making this big decision, which is where we are happy to jump in and help.

One pet food company that often gets asked about is The Honest Kitchen. This is a company that specializes in creating human-grade, minimally processed cat food that is made with natural and organic ingredients. Human-grade cat food is a big deal, and this company has been doing it since 2002. Making “people food for pets” is their passion.

In this review, we are looking at the history of Honest Kitchen cat food. We will discuss the brand’s history, mission, ingredients, recipes, and more. We are ready to help you discover if this is the best food for your cat. Let’s get down to it and get to know The Honest Kitchen.

Key Features

  • 100% human grade, all edible ingredients.
  • Offers product consultation.
  • Leader in the human-grade pet food industry.
  • Works with pet nutritionists.
  • Wet, dry, and dehydrated.
  • Can be a subscription or a stand-alone purchase.

Brand History

The Honest Kitchen is a family-owned company founded in 2002 by Lucy Postins in San Diego, California. A proud paw parent who made home-cooked meals for her dog, she took the concept bigger when friends started asking for her recipes. Postins created the company with the mission of providing cats and dogs with human-grade nutrition made from natural and organic ingredients. This was before there were industry standards for human-grade pet food, and the company was somewhat of a pioneer in that niche. In fact, they developed the very first 100% human-grade dry pet food. After twenty years, they now offer a variety of products for both cats and dogs and stand out as a well-known name and leader in the pet nutrition industry.

The company specializes in human-grade products, meaning all pet products are made using 100% human-grade, edible ingredients. They focus on sticking to the original concept of making “people food” for pets. Along with that, they strive to maintain exceptional quality and to promote sustainable and ethically produced products. This team made it acceptable to admit that you cooked meals for your pets and that they were much healthier because of it.

Feline food is made with only the highest quality ingredients, including cage-free chicken, organic quinoa, and vegetables. All their feline products are grain-free, gluten-free, and soy-free. They also use no artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives, and they never use ingredients like corn, wheat, or soy.

Where Is It Made?

All products are made in the company’s own facilities located across the United States. Ingredients are sourced globally, with 67% coming from North America. Other ingredients come from Africa, Asia, Europe, and South America. All ingredients must meet the company’s “Human Food Guarantee.”

Manufacturing facilities are all owned by the company and meet the US FDA’s requirements for human food preparation. All product batches are tested for bacteria at an independent lab before approval. The company holds itself to a much higher standard than most other pet nutrition companies and has worked hard to maintain that quality over the last 20 years.

Has The Honest Kitchen Cat Food Ever Been Recalled?

Recalls can happen for a few reasons, and it is important to look at each situation and learn what happened. Many recalls are voluntary, as is the case with this one. In 2013, the company issued a voluntary recall of a select number of its feline products due to the potential contamination of salmonella. Fortunately, no illnesses were reported, but the brand recalled the affected products out of an abundance of caution. The recall affected a small number of products, and the brand has since taken steps to ensure that its products are safe for consumption.

This is the only instance of a recall the brand has had on its feline lines. This is a stellar record for being in business for two decades. Fortunately, no pets were reported ill, and the company reassured customers and ensured the issue never happened again.

Benefits of Human-Grade Cat Food

Human grade is becoming increasingly popular due to its high-quality ingredients and nutritional value. It is made with only the freshest ingredients and is much healthier than traditional kibbles. Human-grade is also free of unhealthy fillers and chemicals, which can be found in lower-quality products.

Regarding nutrition, human-grade quality is higher in protein, essential vitamins, and minerals than traditional feline chow. Felines can get the nutrients they need to stay healthy and strong. Along with that, human-grade is easier for kitties to digest, which helps to reduce digestive issues.

When selecting kitty chow, the top ingredients to consider are high-quality proteins, healthy fats, carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals, and essential fatty acids. Choose a product that includes high-quality proteins and healthy fats, such as omega-6 fatty acids, which provide crucial nutrients for a healthy feline. Selecting recipes that include small amounts of carbohydrates and vitamins and minerals provides essential vitamins and minerals for a feline’s health.

Honest Kitchen Ingredients

The Honest Kitchen cat food is made with only the freshest ingredients. Recipes use sustainable fish, meat, fruits, and vegetables for added nutrition. Additionally, their recipes are free of fillers, artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives. 100% of their produce is non-GMO. 97 % of their Whole Food Clusters parts come from North America, and 70% of their dehydrated recipes are sourced from North America. The company provides a website sourcing map to show customers where everything comes from.


Protein is a primary nutritional component of a feline’s survival. They are obligate carnivores, and without animal protein making up most of their diet, will not be healthy or develop properly. This brand uses free-range chicken, cage-free turkey, duck, ranch-raised beef, Marine Stewardship Council-certified fish, and pork in their feline recipes. Named whole animal proteins to make up over 50% of every recipe. The company uses other proteins like eggs, bone broth, and fish as added elements. No meat meals or fillers here.


Various sustainable, fresh, organic fruits and vegetables are part of this brand’s formulas. Including pumpkin, cranberries, sweet potatoes, carrots, blueberries, potatoes, spinach, lentils, peas, organic barley grass, dried organic kelp, and dandelion greens.

Other Ingredients

Other ingredients include salmon oil, flaxseed, vitamins A, E, B5, B12, and D3, supplements, minerals, folic acid, iron, amino acids, fenugreek seed, taurine, choline chloride, potassium chloride, turmeric, rosemary extract and more. They do use natural preservatives.

The Honest Kitchen Cat Food Recipes

The Honest Kitchen has various formulas designed to meet the nutritional needs of cats of all ages. They also offer a selection of flavors so that cats can enjoy diverse tastes, and they may suit kitties with food allergies. Their main product lines include clusters of dry food, dehydrated food, wet food, treats, and toppers. The company also sells a limited selection of supplements and hydration aids, including instant goat milk.

Each recipe provides felines with the essential nutrients they need to stay healthy and strong. The formulas are also made with natural and organic ingredients, so you can be sure that your kitty is getting the best nutrition.

Clusters Dry

Clusters Dry Honest Kitchen Cat Food
  • Bite-sized clusters packed with protein and flavor.
  • Three flavor varieties.
  • First ever 100% human-grade, dry cat food.
  • No fillers, 450 calories per cup.
  • Minimally processed recipes.
  • Grain-free.

Clusters are made by mixing human-grade nutrient-rich whole foods and cold pressing them into bite-sized clusters. Clusters are gently roasted and dehydrated to preserve nutrients, fragrance, and taste.

This brand is remarkably good in both taste and quality. It stands out among kibbles as the very first ever 100 % human-grade, dry cat chow. These are bite-sized clusters full of protein and flavor. There are three flavors currently available, and all are grain free. Kitties can pick from Turkey & Chicken, Chicken, and Chicken & Whitefish. All recipes contain human-grade muscle meat, liver, low glycemic carbs, beneficial fats, and live probiotics. Ingredients are cold pressed into tasty, bite-size, ready-to-eat pieces. Animal proteins are the first ingredient though plant proteins like peas and potatoes follow them.

Clusters are full of animal protein and taste great. There are no fillers, and recipes are minimally processed to retain top nutritional value. Suitable for both kittens and adults, so kitties of all ages can chow down and enjoy. Kibble has been said to work well for fussy eaters, and owners appreciate the smaller-sized kibble. Cluster recipes average 33% crude protein, 16% crude fat, and 4% crude fiber. They contain about 8% moisture and 0.25 taurine. 450 calories per cup.


Honest Kitchen Dehydrated Cat Food
  • Three flavor choices.
  • Dehydrated animal proteins as the first ingredients.
  • High in protein.
  • Gentle dehydration retains flavor and taste.
  • 512 calories per cup.
  • Must be rehydrated to serve.

Dehydrated kitty chow is one of the brand’s best sellers. These recipes are made from human-quality whole foods that are gently dehydrated. They retain fantastic flavor and nutritional value. This is a very tasty, gourmet meal option for felines. Dehydrated kibble is easy to serve but cannot be eaten as is. The owners need to add water and let it soak for three minutes.

There are three flavor choices in this line. Chicken & Fish, Turkey, and Chicken. All list dehydrated animal proteins as the first ingredients. However, they all use dehydrated carbohydrates and list them second, like sweet potato and potato. Formulas also include dehydrated bone broth and dehydrated eggs.

Dehydrated meals have about 512 calories per cup and pack about 42% protein and 28 % fat. They have about 2.5% fiber and 5% moisture. These have a shelf life of about 12 months.

Grain Free Câté

Honest Kitchen Grain Free Câté Cat Food
  • Several protein choices.
  • Three protein recipes.
  • Smooth pâté. Ground meat texture.
  • Minimally processed recipes.
  • No grain, fillers, or GMOs.
  • 137 calories per box.

The Honest Kitchen makes two kinds of wet meals for cats. These are the Câté (pâté) and the minced in gravy. The grain-free Câté (pâté) comes in several grain-free protein choices. These include Chicken, Turkey, Beef & Chicken, Salmon & Turkey, and Salmon & Cod. Formulas use multiple animal proteins to provide nutrition and flavor. Proteins, produce, and other elements blend into a smooth pâté.

Câtés come in a 5.5-ounce package. 187 calories per box. These have 10% protein, 7.5 % fat, and 78% moisture. The recipes are formulated to provide nutritional balance and promote healthy digestion and stools. These are tasty and have a smooth ground meat texture that many cats adore. Good for kittens and adults but not the best choice for senior kitties.

Minced Meat In Bone Broth Gravy

  • Minced proteins in bone broth gravy.
  • Multiple protein recipes.
  • 6 flavor choices.
  • For all life stages.
  • No meat meals or artificial flavors.
  • Formulated for complete feline wellness.

The minced is a chunky treat full of meat chunks and scrumptious gravy. The product lists three or four animal proteins first and has a fantastic meaty flavor, which felines love. Whole muscle and organ meats are lightly simmered with fresh fruits and vegetables and served in a luscious bone broth gravy. This is the ultimate gourmet meal for cats.

Minced comes in several protein choices. Chicken in Bone Broth, Turkey in Bone Broth, Turkey, Chicken & Duck in Bone Broth, Chicken & Salmon in Bone Broth, and Salmon & Cod in Bone broth. These have very high moisture, around 82%. About 10% crude protein. Good for all ages, but highly active adults need more support, so should also have kibble. It has 137 calories or so per box. No fillers, and a soft, silky texture with thin meat shreds.

Smittens Cat Treats

  • Protein-packed cat treats.
  • Only dehydrated fish (one option has cranberry).
  • 3 flavor options.
  • 2.5 calories per treat.
  • 67% protein.

The brand offers three varieties of cat treats. These Smittens come in White Fish, Herring, and Herring & Cranberry. These are pure flavor-packed protein bites. Other than the cranberry option, these contain simply protein and are tasty. 2.5 calories per treat, 67% protein, and 13% fat. Exactly the kind of treats your kitty is looking for.


  • Topper or mixer.
  • Wild-caught salmon, cage-free chicken, or duck.
  • For kittens and adults.
  • Not a complete meal.
  • High in moisture and protein.

MMMIXERS are meal toppers made from wild-caught salmon, pollock, or chicken and duck. These are simply animal proteins and water and are 16% protein. These add delicious flavor and moisture to any feline meal. 130 calories per box. These are best for kittens and adults, not seniors. These have 78% moisture, so can work well with dry kibble. As with all recipes, everything uses 100% human-grade foods. Can be a treat or a topper but is not a complete meal.

What We Like

The large variety of recipes is a big positive. Felines of all ages and dietary needs can find something they enjoy. Additionally, their recipes contain only the highest quality ingredients, so you can be sure that your kitty is getting the nutrition they need. We appreciate the larger selection of this brand.

We also like that recipes include digestive aids like cranberry that support urinary tract health. Pet owners appreciate that this brand is dedicated to humanely sourcing all their nutrition. They take care to guarantee that every ingredient comes from humanely treated animals and plants, so you can be sure that your purr baby is getting the best possible nutrition. We also appreciate that this company has been making human-grade pet meals for a long time and have the expertise and experience that is hard to find in a rapidly growing industry.

A fun and useful tool that they offer a 15-minute consultation with owners to help them find the best options for their purr babies. Additionally, owners can do a self-guided quiz on the website to determine what recipes best meet their kitty’s needs. These are helpful tools so owners can pick the best nutrition for their pets and not have to shop blind. Purr parents can also purchase sample sizes on the brand website.

Pros & Cons Of The Honest Kitchen Cat Food

Species-specific nutritionExpensive compared to other brands
Made with only the highest quality ingredientsUses peas and other plant proteins
Variety of recipes to choose fromHigh carbohydrates in some recipes
Exceptionally high internal standardsSome recipes are high in plant ingredients
Small batchDry foods are low in moisture
Grain-free, gluten-free, and soy-free recipes
Manufacturing meets human food preparation standards
Free of fillers, artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives
Humanely sourced ingredients
Packed with whole animal protein
Can be purchased as a subscription or as a stand-alone purchase
Less expensive than fresh or raw diets

What Is The price? Is It Worth It?

This is more expensive than other brands, but it is worth it for the quality ingredients and nutrition it provides. Depending on the flavor and variety, a 10-pound box costs around $50 or more. Depending on the retailer, this price can vary. However, this is a more expensive brand than many, largely due to the high-quality components and care taken to maintain quality and safety in every batch, which is a bit pricier than other brands. Owners can save money by buying bulk or signing up for their subscription service.

Dry kibble, for example, can cost between $8.99 for a one-pound bag to $69.99 for a 10-pound bag. Dehydrated products cost more, ranging from $19.99 for a 10-ounce package to $54.99 for 4 pounds. Both wet lines run about $35 for 4 to 5 pounds.

This is a pricier option than many others, but it is exceptionally high in quality and taste. Though this may not be an everyday option affordable for all budgets, all products make fantastic treats and toppers. Compared to human-grade fresh meal choices, this is a very affordable option.

How Does The Honest Kitchen Compare?

This is a high-quality, tasty option for human-grade feline meals. We appreciate that products have a long shelf life. Though they do not yet offer a fresh meal option, they offer superior quality and are tastier than many. We appreciate the production process, transparency, and commitment to sustainability. Compared to most other commercial options, this brand is superior. It does have high carbohydrate and plant material content in some cases, but there are enough choices that owners can be picky.

The brand started by making people food for pets and has never stopped working to meet that goal. It is impressive that the brand has been around for so long and has been a groundbreaker in using human-quality foods. From developing the first dehydrated human-quality cat food to fighting in court to the words human-grade on their labels, this company has not stopped working to better the lives of pets. Incredibly impressive for a company that is family owned and started in a home kitchen. Pet owners report that their kitties have more energy and feel better overall after switching to this food.

Final Thoughts

The Honest Kitchen is a superior choice for cats of all ages and dietary needs. Their recipes use only the freshest, 100% human-grade ingredients and are free of fillers, artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives. Additionally, the company dedicates itself to humanely sourcing all products, so you can be sure that your kitty is getting the best possible nutrition. This is an excellent choice for cats offering high-quality and nutritious meals.

All feline meals are made with only the highest quality ingredients, so it is a great choice for cats. The brand sources all its ingredients from humanely treated animals and plants, so you can be sure your feline friend is getting the best possible nutrition from their diet. The chow also contains no artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives, which is important for cats with sensitive stomachs.

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