A cat’s favorite sound in the world is that of the can opener. The can opener means that a meal is on its way, and that is always cause for excitement.
Cats can’t resist wet food but just because they will eat any wet food you put in front of them doesn’t mean that all wet cat foods are created equal.
Take the time to learn about your cat’s nutritional requirements and how a good cat food can meet those needs.
Continue reading to learn more about your cat’s basic nutritional needs and to receive some simple tips for picking the best cat food to provide for those needs. You’ll also receive our top 5 picks for the best wet cat food.
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What to Look for in Wet Cat Food
Wet cat food typically comes in cans to keep it fresh until you open it and, once you do, it should be refrigerated and used within 2 to 3 days.
Though all wet cat food may look the same, each brand and every formula is different. The quality of the ingredients matters a great deal, and it should provide for your cat’s basic nutritional requirements.
Here are some things to look for in a good wet cat food:
- Quality Ingredients. The quality of the ingredients in your cat’s wet food determines how well your cat can digest it and how it impacts its overall health. The majority of the ingredients in your cat’s food should be animal based.
- Animal Proteins. Your cat requires a diet rich in protein to support its lean muscle mass, so look for premium animal proteins like meat, poultry, and fish.
- Healthy Fat. Essential fatty acids provide your cat with energy and support its skin and coat health. Look for a balance of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, ideally from animal sources.
- Beneficial Supplements. In addition to protein and fat, your cat can benefit from vitamins and minerals for nutritional balance as well as probiotics for healthy digestion.
Also Read: Top 5 Best Grain Free Cat Foods
Keeping all of these things in mind, you’re now ready to learn how to choose the best wet cat food. Here’s what you need to know:
Understanding Your Cat’s Nutritional Needs
When shopping for wet cat food, you need to keep your cat’s minimum nutritional requirements in mind. All cats need a minimum of 26% protein and 9% fat in their diets, though growing kittens may need more.
For more info you can click here to read our guide on the best kitten food
The thing to remember is that these percentages are calculated on a dry matter basis. Because wet cat food has a much higher moisture content, these percentages are calculated differently.
You’ll need to divide the percentage of by 100 minus the moisture content and multiply the result by 100 to find the dry matter basis for protein or fat in wet cat food.
In addition to considering the percentages of certain nutrients in wet cat food, you also need to consider their source.
Cats are obligate carnivores which means that they are better adapted to digesting and utilizing nutrition from animal than from plant sources.
Protein should come from animal sources like meat, poultry, and fish while fat should come from things like chicken fat and salmon oil.
Cats have no nutritional requirements for carbohydrates in their diet, though digestible sources can provide fiber as well as essential vitamins and minerals.
Just make sure the carb content of your cat’s wet food is as low as possible. You should also look for beneficial supplements like chelated minerals to improve nutrient absorption and probiotics for healthy digestion.
Keep reading to see our top 5 recommendations for the best wet cat food.
The Top 5 Best Wet Cat Foods
Now that you have a better understanding of your cat’s nutritional needs, you’re ready to start shopping.
Remember, the best wet cat food will be made with primarily animal-based ingredients and low in carbohydrates. It should feature premium animal proteins, healthy fats, and beneficial supplements. Here are our top 5 picks for the best wet cat food that you should consider:
If you want to provide your cat with the best of the best in wet cat food, Ziwi Peak Grain-Free Canned Cat Food is an excellent option. Available in several flavors, this cat food is formulated for all life stages and all breeds. It features 93% meat, organs, and New Zealand green mussels which means that it is very low in carbohydrates and rich in both protein and fat. Every recipe is all-natural and made with premium ingredients including animal-based proteins and fats with nutritional supplements for balance.
- Rich in protein and fat, low in carbohydrates
- Made from premium, all-natural ingredients
- Formulated for all life stages and breeds
- Fairly expensive to feed as a staple diet
- Doesn’t contain probiotics
You don’t necessarily need to spend a lot to feed your cat a decent wet food. This Purina Beyond Grain-Free Natural Adult Cat Food is a great option that is still very affordable. Available in a wide variety of flavors, this cat food features premium animal proteins with grain-free carbohydrates for fiber and nutritional support. Each recipe is made with real meat as the main ingredient and is free from corn, wheat, soy, by-products, and artificial additives. You’ll also find beneficial supplements like vitamins and minerals for nutritional balance.
- Made with several sources of quality animal proteins
- Grain-free carbohydrates for digestibility, fiber, and nutrients
- No corn, wheat, soy, or artificial additives and byproducts
- Doesn’t contain chelated minerals or probiotics
If you’re looking for a high-quality wet food to get your kitten started on the right foot, consider this Wellness Grain-Free Chicken Entrée Pate Kitten Food. This recipe features real chicken as the main ingredient to provide your kitten with a lean source of premium animal protein. It is grain-free for digestibility and free from thickeners like carrageenan as well. It features premium, all-natural ingredients and is nutritionally balanced to meet your kitten’s requirements. Plus, it supports all aspects of your kitten’s health including growth, digestion, energy, immunity, skin, and coat.
- Made with real chicken and chicken liver as the top two ingredients
- Naturally grain-free and low in carbohydrate ingredients
- Formulated to support healthy growth and development in kittens
- Doesn’t contain probiotic supplements
- Contains guar gum which can contribute to smelly poop
If you’re looking for a high-quality wet food to support your aging cat’s nutritional needs, try this Halo Grain-Free Senior Recipe Wet Food. This recipe features all-natural ingredients in a holistic formula designed to nourish your cat’s body from the inside out.
It is made with real, whole chicken as well as digestible grain-free ingredients and it is lower in fat than traditional cat food to prevent your senior cat from gaining an unhealthy amount of weight. What’s not to love?
- Holistic recipe made from digestible, high-quality ingredients
- Lean source of protein (real deboned chicken)
- Supplemented with chelated minerals for nutrient absorption
- Some cats don’t like pate texture wet foods
If you’re concerned that your cat might have food allergies or sensitivities, a limited ingredient diet like this Nature’s Variety Instinct LID Grain-Free Turkey Recipe Wet Food is a good choice. Not only is it made with a limited number of ingredients, but it features all-natural ingredients like cage-free turkey. It is completely free from corn, wheat, soy, by-products, and artificial additives as well as other common allergens. Plus, it is supplemented with chelated minerals for maximum nutrient absorption.
- Made with a limited number of premium-quality ingredients
- Features real turkey as the first ingredient with turkey liver for supplemental protein
- Contains chelated minerals for optimal nutrient absorption
- Doesn’t contain probiotic supplements
Should You Mix Wet and Dry Cat Food?
Because both wet cat food and dry cat food offer some important benefits, many cat owners choose to feed their cats a mixture of both.
Wet food is rich in moisture and tends to be more concentrated in protein while dry food provides dental benefits and can help with weight management.
If you’re concerned about your cat’s weight, mix 25% wet food with 75% dry food (ideally a healthy weight recipe). For concerns about urinary health in which moisture plays a key role, feed your cat 70% wet food and about 30% dry food.
What About Food Allergies and Sensitivities?
If your cat suffers from frequent skin problems including ear infections, itchy skin, and a dry or brittle coat, it could be due to a food allergy or sensitivity.
Cats can develop allergies to nearly any food ingredient, though the most common culprits are grains, common proteins like beef and chicken, dairy products, and artificial additives.
To treat food allergies and sensitivities, switch to a limited ingredient diet free from the offending ingredient to minimize the risk of triggering the allergy.
Wet cat food provides a healthy balance of protein and fat with plenty of moisture to support your cat’s urinary health. It also supports its skin and coat health.
The best wet cat food will be rich in high-quality animal proteins, balanced with healthy fats, and supplemented with vitamins and minerals to ensure nutritional balance.
If you’re not sure where to start in shopping for a wet cat food, try one of our top 5 picks reviewed above!