Cat Food

The 12 Best Canned, Soft, & Wet Cat Foods Of 202023 min read

March 6, 2020 16 min read
canned soft wet

The 12 Best Canned, Soft, & Wet Cat Foods Of 202023 min read

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Reading Time: 16 minutescanned soft wet

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 pet 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 11 picks for the best wet cat food brands on Chewy and Amazon.

Quick Links: Best Canned, Soft, & Wet Cat Foods to Buy

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Best Overall

Smalls Fresh Minced Chicken Cat Food
  • Fresh chicken (thigh and breast) as first two ingredients
  • High in moisture for digestion and hydration
  • Free from grains and fillers
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Runner Up

Nom Nom
  • Made with high-quality ingredients to improve digestion and nutrition
  • Rich in animal protein and naturally grain-free
  • Delivered automatically in perfectly portioned packages
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Best for All Cat Breeds

Ziwi Peak Grain-Free Canned Cat Food
  • Rich in protein and fat, low in carbohydrates
  • Made from premium, all-natural ingredients
  • Formulated for all life stages and breeds
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Best Affordable Wet Cat Food

Purina Beyond Grain-Free Natural Adult Cat Food
  • 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
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Best Wet Cat Food for Kittens

Wellness Grain-Free Chicken Entrée Pate Kitten Food
  • 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
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The 12 Best Rated Canned, Soft, & Wet Cat Foods Reviewed

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 12 picks for the best wet cat food brands you should consider:

2. Best Overall: Smalls Fresh Minced Chicken Cat Food

Nutritional info:

  • Protein – 21.2% Min
  • Fat – 8.05% Min
  • Fiber – 0.4% Max
  • Moisture – 66.1% Max
  • Caloric Content – 550 kcal/package
  • Food Type: Fresh
  • Price: $15/week

Pros:

  • Fresh chicken (thigh and breast) as first two ingredients
  • High in moisture for digestion and hydration
  • Free from grains and fillers
  • Low carbohydrate content (estimated under 2%)

Cons:

  • Doesn’t come proportioned in daily meals
  • Some cats may be sensitive to chicken ingredients

Ingredients:

Chicken Thigh, Chicken Breast, Chicken Liver, Green Beans, Peas, Water sufficient for processing, Chicken Heart, Kale, Vegetable Oil, Calcium Carbonate, Dicalcium Phosphate, Choline Bitartrate, Salt, Taurine, Magnesium Gluconate, Potassium Chloride, Zinc Gluconate, Ascorbic Acid, Copper Gluconate, Vitamin E Supplement, Manganese Gluconate, Ferrous Gluconate, cNiacin, Thiamine Hydrochloride, Vitamin A, Calcium Pantothenate, Riboflavin, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Folic Acid, Selenium, Dried Kelp, Biotin, Vitamin B12

Fresh food for cats offers premium-quality nutrition and higher moisture levels than the typical dry food diet. Smalls fresh food is made with human-grade ingredients, formulated to deliver optimal protein levels with limited carbohydrate content to maximize your cat’s nutrition.

Choose from a variety of wet food formulas including minced foods and pates, made with real animal proteins like chicken, turkey, and beef. Smalls also offers a selection of freeze-dried food and treats, all of which can be delivered right to your door in convenient monthly shipments.

If you’re looking for a nutritious, highly digestible cat food made with ingredients you can feel good about, Smalls is a brand worth considering.

2. Runner Up: Nom Nom Chicken Cuisine

Nutritional info:

  • Protein – 18% Min
  • Fat – 4% Min
  • Fiber – 0.8% Max
  • Moisture– 73% Max
  • Caloric Content: 1194 kcal/kg
  • Food Type: Fresh

Ingredients:

Chicken thigh, chicken breast, chicken liver, carrot, asparagus, cantaloupe, spinach, dicalcium phosphate, calcium carbonate, salt, taurine, choline bitartrate, zinc gluconate, ferrous sulfate, vitamin E supplement, copper gluconate, manganese gluconate, thiamine mononitrate (vitamin B1), selenium yeast, riboflavin (vitamin B2), vitamin B12 supplement, cholecalciferol (source of vitamin D3), potassium iodide.

Pros:

  • Made with high-quality ingredients to improve digestion and nutrition
  • Rich in animal protein and naturally grain-free
  • Delivered automatically in perfectly portioned packages

Cons:

  • Only two cat food recipes to choose from
  • Can be very expensive to maintain as a staple diet

Nom Nom is a fresh food delivery service that offers customized meals catered to your cat’s unique nutritional needs and made with the freshest ingredients available, including real meat and veggies. It’s a healthier alternative to traditional canned cat food.

Your cat’s food will be prepared and delivered fresh on a monthly basis, sent in perfectly portioned packages that you can refrigerate or freeze. Because there are no artificial preservatives, refrigeration is important to keep the food fresh.

Simply fill out your pet’s profile online to get started and choose from their recipe collection.

3. Ziwi Peak Grain-Free Canned Cat Food

Nutritional info:

  • Protein – 8% Min
  • Fat – 5.5% Min
  • Fiber – 1% Max
  • Moisture– 78% Max
  • Caloric Content:185 kcal/170g can
  • Food Type: Pate

Ingredients:

Lamb, Lamb Broth, Lamb Liver, Lamb Lung, Lamb Kidney, Chick Peas, Lamb Tripe, Lamb Heart, New Zealand Green Mussel, Lamb Bone, Dried Kelp, Minerals (Zinc Amino Acid Complex, Copper Amino Acid Complex, Manganese Amino Acid Complex), Vitamins (Vitamin E Supplement, Vitamin B1 Supplement, Folic Acid, Vitamin D3 Supplement).

Pros:

  • Rich in protein and fat, low in carbohydrates
  • Made from premium, all-natural ingredients
  • Formulated for all life stages and breeds

Cons:

  • Fairly expensive to feed as a staple diet
  • Doesn’t contain probiotic supplements

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. If your cat has allergies to common proteins, you’ll also be glad to know that this is a chicken free recipe – there’s also a venison flavor.

4. Best Affordable Wet Cat Food: Purina Beyond Grain-Free Natural Adult Cat Food

Nutritional info:

  • Protein – 9% Min
  • Fat – 2% Min
  • Fiber – 1% Max
  • Moisture– 82% Max
  • Caloric Content:75 kcal/can
  • Food Type: Chunks in Gravy

Ingredients:

Poultry Broth, Turkey, Chicken, Liver, Dried Egg Product, Sweet Potato, Spinach, Potato Starch, Natural Flavor, Guar Gum, Sodium Phosphate, Potassium Chloride, Salt, Taurine, Choline Chloride, Ferrous Sulfate, Vitamin E Supplement, Zinc Oxide, Thiamine Mononitrate, Copper Proteinate, Potassium Iodide, Niacin Supplement, Manganese Supplement, Calcium Pantothenate, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Riboflavin Supplement, Vitamin A Supplement, Biotin, Sodium Selenite, Vitamin D-3 Supplement, Vitamin B-12 Supplement, Folic Acid.

Pros:

  • 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

Cons:

  • Doesn’t contain chelated minerals or 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.

5. Best Wet Cat Food for Kittens: Wellness Grain-Free Chicken Entrée Pate Kitten Food

Nutritional info:

  • Protein – 11% Min
  • Fat – 7% Min
  • Fiber – 1% Max
  • Moisture– 78% Max
  • Caloric Content:122 kcal/3 oz can
  • Food Type: Pate

Ingredients:

Chicken, Chicken Liver, Chicken Broth, Carrots, Natural Flavor, Cranberries, Guar Gum, Ground Flaxseed, Potassium Chloride, Taurine, Salt, Menhaden Fish Oil (preserved with Mixed Tocopherols), Choline Chloride, Cassia Gum, Xanthan Gum, Iron Proteinate, Zinc Proteinate, Beta-Carotene, Thiamine Mononitrate, Vitamin E Supplement, Copper Proteinate, Manganese Proteinate, Sodium Selenite, Niacin, d-Calcium Pantothenate, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Riboflavin Supplement, Vitamin A Supplement, Biotin, Potassium Iodide, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Folic Acid, Magnesium Sulfate.

Pros:

  • 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

Cons:

  • 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 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. This chicken recipe 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, urinary tract health, and good skin & coat condition.

6. Best Wet Food with Gravy: Weruva Meow Luau with Mackerel & Pumpkin Grain-Free Canned Cat Food

Nutritional info:

  • Protein – 12% Min
  • Fat – 1.5% Min
  • Fiber – 1% Max
  • Moisture– 84% Max
  • Caloric Content: 62 kcal/3 oz can
  • Food Type: Chunks in Gravy

Ingredients:

Mackerel, Water Sufficient For Processing, Pumpkin, Potato Starch, Sunflower Seed Oil, Xanthan Gum, Choline Chloride, Taurine, Tricalcium Phosphate, Zinc Sulfate, Vitamin E Supplement, Nicotinic Acid (Vitamin B3), Thiamine Mononitrate (Vitamin B1), Calcium Pantothenate, Manganese Sulfate, Vitamin A Supplement, Ferrous Sulfate, Riboflavin Supplement (Vitamin B2), Pyridoxine Hydrochloride (Vitamin B6), Vitamin D3 Supplement, Copper Sulfate, Folic Acid, Potassium Iodide, Menadione Sodium Bisulfite Complex (Source of Vitamin K), Sodium Selenite, Biotin, Vitamin B12 Supplement.

Pros:

  • Fresh mackerel as the first ingredient
  • Fiber-rich pumpkin for grain-free carbohydrates
  • High in moisture and full of flavorful gravy

Cons:

  • Low calorie content may require higher feeding amounts

Canned cat food comes in a variety of different forms including pate, flaked, and shredded recipes. If your cat loves a good gravy, he’ll love this Weruva Meow Luau with Mackerel & Pumpkin recipe.

This formula features fresh mackerel as the primary ingredient with pumpkin as a fiber-rich source of digestible carbohydrates. It also contains sunflower seed oil for a healthy blend of omega fatty acids without driving the calorie content too high.

In addition to being rich in protein and moisture, this formula is packed with real fish flavor.

 

7. Best Wet Cat Food for Seniors: Halo Grain-Free Senior Recipe Wet Food

Nutritional info:

  • Protein – 9% Min
  • Fat – 7% Min
  • Fiber – 2.5% Max
  • Moisture– 78% Max
  • Caloric Content:99 kcal/can

Ingredients:

Chicken, Chicken Broth, Chicken Liver, Chickpea Flour, Natural Flavor, Cranberry Pomace, Sweet Potatoes, Tricalcium Phosphate, Blueberry Pomace, Agar-Agar, Parsley, Dandelion Greens, Choline Chloride, Potassium Chloride, Taurine, Salt, Dried New Zealand Green Mussels, L-Carnitine, Zinc Proteinate, Manganese Proteinate, Copper Proteinate, Magnesium Proteinate, Sodium Selenite, Calcium Iodate, Thiamine Mononitrate, Niacin Supplement, Vitamin E Supplement, Calcium Pantothenate, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Riboflavin Supplement, Biotin, Vitamin A Supplement, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Folic Acid.

Pros:

  • Holistic recipe made from digestible, high-quality ingredients
  • Lean source of protein (real deboned chicken)
  • Supplemented with chelated minerals for nutrient absorption

Cons:

  • Some cats don’t like pate texture wet foods

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 grain-free food 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 instead of chicken meal 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?

8. Best Wet Cat Food for Allergies: Nature’s Variety Instinct LID Grain-Free Turkey Recipe Wet Food

Nutritional info:

  • Protein – 11.5% Min
  • Fat – 7% Min
  • Fiber – 2% Max
  • Moisture– 76% Max
  • Caloric Content:108 kcal/3 oz can
  • Food Type:Pate

Ingredients:

Turkey, Turkey Broth, Turkey Liver, Peas, Pea Protein, Montmorillonite Clay, Potassium Chloride, Minerals (Iron Proteinate, Zinc Proteinate, Copper Proteinate, Manganese Proteinate, Sodium Selenite, Potassium Iodide), Salt, Choline Chloride, Vitamins (Vitamin E Supplement, Thiamine Mononitrate, Niacin Supplement, d-Calcium Pantothenate, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Riboflavin Supplement, Vitamin A Supplement, Biotin, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Folic Acid), Taurine, L-Ascorbyl-2-Polyphosphate.

Pros:

  • 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

Cons:

  • Doesn’t contain probiotic supplements
  • Contains some plant protein (pea protein)

If you’re concerned that your feline friend 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 preservatives as well as other common allergens. Plus, it is supplemented with chelated minerals for maximum nutrient absorption.

9. Best Grain Free Wet Cat Food: Tiki Cat Hana Grill Ahi Tuna with Crab In Tuna Consommé

Nutritional info:

  • Protein – 18.4% Min
  • Fat – 2.3% Min
  • Fiber – 0% Max
  • Moisture– 77% Max
  • Caloric Content: 160 kcal/6 oz can
  • Food Type: Shredded

Ingredients:

Tuna, Tuna Broth, Crab, Sunflower Seed Oil, Calcium Lactate, Tricalcium Phosphate, Tuna Fish Oil, Choline Chloride, Taurine, Vitamin E Supplement, Zinc Sulfate, Iron Sulfate, Thiamine Mononitrate (Vitamin B1), Niacin (Vitamin B3), Calcium Pantothenate, Manganese Sulfate, Vitamin A Supplement, Potassium Iodide, Copper Sulfate, Riboflavin Supplement (Vitamin B2), Pyridoxine Hydrochloride (Vitamin B6), Folic Acid, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Vitamin B12 Supplement.

Pros:

  • Made with 100% all-natural, high-quality ingredients
  • Contains 18% protein and 2.3% fat
  • Supplemented with chelated minerals and probiotics

Cons:

  • Some kittens may be sensitive to sea food ingredients

We really like Tiki Cat foods. Their canned foods are grain free, high in protein and extremely low in carbohydrates.

They are complete and balanced for all life stages. And they are hand-packed. For example, Hana Grill Ahi Tuna with Crab in Tuna Consommé has 16 percent protein, three percent fat, and two percent carbohydrates.

The first three ingredients are tuna, tuna broth, and crab. This food has 75 kcal per 2.8 ounce can. It’s typical of Tiki Cat foods.

They have lots of other fish-based canned foods as well as a line of similar chicken-based foods.

10. Best Flaked Wet Food: Blue Buffalo Healthy Gourmet Variety Pack

Nutritional info:

  • Protein – 12% Min
  • Fat – 1.5% Min
  • Fiber – 1% Max
  • Moisture– 84% Max
  • Caloric Content: 62 kcal/3 oz can
  • Food Type: Flaked

Ingredients for Flaked Tuna:

Tuna, Fish Broth, Water, Chicken, Chicken Liver, Dried Egg Product, Potato Starch, Natural Flavor, Calcium Carbonate, Sodium Phosphate, Salt, Guar Gum, Potassium Chloride, Carrageenan, Fish Oil, Flaxseed, Brown Rice, Carrots, Sweet Potatoes, Cranberries, Taurine, Choline Chloride, Iron Amino Acid Chelate, Zinc Amino Acid Chelate, Thiamine Mononitrate (Vitamin B1), Vitamin E Supplement, Copper Amino Acid Chelate, Manganese Amino Acid Chelate, Sodium Selenite, Niacin Supplement (Vitamin B3), Calcium Pantothenate (Vitamin B5), Pyridoxine Hydrochloride (Vitamin B6), Riboflavin Supplement (Vitamin B2), Vitamin A Supplement, Biotin (Vitamin B7), Potassium Iodide, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Folic Acid (Vitamin B9), preserved with Mixed Tocopherols.

Pros:

  • Three protein- and flavor-rich recipes to choose from
  • All three recipes contain real animal protein as first ingredient
  • Fortified with chelated minerals and vitamins for nutrition

Cons:

  • Fat and calorie content varies by recipe

Cats can be picky eaters and some prefer certain textures over others. If your cat is a fan of flaked food rather than pate, this Blue Buffalo Healthy Gourmet Variety Pack may be a good choice because it contains three flavors to choose from.

This variety pack includes recipes featuring tuna, chicken, or fish and shrimp. Each recipe starts with real animal protein as the first ingredient with fish broth or chicken broth to provide moisture as well as natural flavor.

All three recipes in this variety pack are balanced with healthy fats, low in carbohydrates, and fortified with essential nutrients to deliver balanced nutrition.

11. Best Vet-Recommended Wet Food: Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Cat Food

Nutritional info:

  • Protein – 10.5% Min
  • Fat – 2.5% Min
  • Fiber – 2% Max
  • Moisture– 81% Max
  • Caloric Content: 135 kcal/5.8 oz can
  • Food Type: Pate

Ingredients:

Water Sufficient For Processing, Pork By-Products, Pork Liver, Chicken By-Products, Chicken Liver, Chicken, Pork Plasma, Powdered Cellulose, Wheat Flour, Natural Flavors, Wheat Gluten, Calcium Sulfate, Salt, Fish Oil, Carob Bean Gum, Carrageenan, Potassium Chloride, Sodium Tripolyphosphate, Xanthan Gum, Taurine, Sodium Bisulfate, Dl-Methionine, Vitamins [Dl-Alpha Tocopherol Acetate (Source Of Vitamin E), Thiamine Mononitrate (Vitamin B1), Biotin, Niacin Supplement, D-Calcium Pantothenate, Folic Acid, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride (Vitamin B6), Riboflavin Supplement, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Vitamin D3 Supplement], Marigold Extract (Tagetes Erecta L.), Trace Minerals [Zinc Oxide, Zinc Proteinate, Ferrous Sulfate, Calcium Iodate, Copper Sulfate, Manganous Oxide, Sodium Selenite].

Pros:

  • Recipes formulated for specific health concerns
  • Available in wet and dry food recipes
  • Provides complete and balanced nutrition

Cons:

  • Requires a prescription to purchase
  • Significantly more expensive than typical cat food

The Veterinary Diet line of cat food from Royal Canin requires a prescription to purchase, or you can buy it directly from your veterinarian’s office. It comes in both dry food and wet food form – there are also some treats to choose from.

Royal Canin Veterinary Diet recipes are formulated to address specific dietary concerns such as urinary tract or renal health, so you can choose the best food for your cat’s needs.

12. Best Premium Cat Food: Wysong Uretic with Organic Chicken Canned Cat Food

Nutritional info:

  • Protein – 10% Min
  • Fat – 7% Min
  • Fiber – 2% Max
  • Moisture– 75% Max
  • Caloric Content: 0.116 kcal/100 g
  • Food Type: Pate

Ingredients:

Organic Chicken, Brown Rice, Blueberry, Dl-Methionine, Cranberry Extract, Taurine, Organic Barley Grass Powder, Dried Kelp, Yeast Extract, Mixed Tocopherols, Rosemary Extract, Chicory Root, Hemicellulose Extract, Natural Flavor, Minerals (Potassium Chloride, Zinc Proteinate, Zinc Sulfate, Ferrous Sulfate, Iron Proteinate, Copper Sulfate, Copper Proteinate, Manganese Sulfate, Manganese Proteinate, Sodium Selenite, Calcium Iodate), Calcium Carbonate, Vitamins (Ascorbic Acid [Source of Vitamin C], Vitamin E Supplement, Niacin Supplement, Calcium Pantothenate, Vitamin A Supplement, Thiamine Mononitrate, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Riboflavin Supplement, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Biotin, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Folic Acid), Pepper.

Pros:

  • High protein recipe, low in carbohydrates
  • Real chicken is the first ingredient
  • Affordable price for the quality of ingredients

Cons:

  • Some customers found the smell very strong

The only one of Wysong’s canned food recipes formulated only for cats is this Uretic with Organic Chicken Canned Cat Food. It is based on the Wysong Uretic dry diet which is one of the brand’s most popular offerings, having a multi-decade history of success.

This canned food employs the same nutritional principles, being high in meat, low in carbohydrate, and fortified with essential micronutrients and nutraceuticals.

The first ingredient is organic chicken, followed by brown rice and blueberry.

You’ll also find other natural ingredients in the lineup like cranberry extract, organic barley grass powder, kelp, and chicory root. Overall, this recipe provides a dry matter value of 40% crude protein and 28% crude fat with 8% fiber.

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 food company and 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. Animal nutritionists recommend a minimum of 26% protein and 9% fat in feline 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 sources should come from animals 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 diet is as low as possible. You should also look for beneficial supplements like chelated minerals to improve nutrient absorption and probiotics for healthy digestion.

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. Higher moisture content may also help reduce hairball frequency by boosting digestion.

If you’re concerned about your cat’s weight, mix 25% wet food with 75% dry kibble (ideally a healthy weight recipe). For pet owners concerned about urinary tract 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 (or to appeal to picky eaters), switch to a limited ingredient diet free from the offending ingredient to minimize the risk of triggering the allergy.

Final Remarks

Wet cat food provides a healthy balance of protein and fat with plenty of moisture to support your cat’s urinary tract health. It also supports its skin and coat health.

The best wet cat food will be rich in high-quality animal protein sources, 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 11 picks reviewed above!

Avatar

Kate Barrington is 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
4 Comments
  1. Avatar

    Nancy Mayhew

    My 9-year old neutered male has Cushings. As of Feb. 2019 he has been on trilostane which is helping to keep his cortisol level in check, but he continues to stay hungry and gain weight. He now is around 19 lbs. I try to limit his wet food and always check the calories, (but hard to figure carb content for wet food as it is generally not listed on the can) as well as high quality dry food, although do not give him much of that. I feed him in small increments 3-4 times a day. I am just at my wit's end because if he continues to get larger, this will not be a good outcome. Any suggestions? I desperately need help with this.

    • Roni

      Roni

      Hi Nancy, Increasing the moisture and fiber content of your cat's diet could help with his hunger and weight gain. Try adding some canned pumpkin to his dry food for added fiber and make sure he is drinking plenty of water - a cat fountain sometimes helps with this. What I would recommend is that you talk to your vet about your concerns to see if any underlying health problems other than the Cushing's may be contributing to his weight gain.

    • Carlotta Cooper

      Carlotta Cooper

      Hi Nancy, You can figure carbs in canned cat food by using 3 percent (estimated) for most ash content in cans. Just multiply all of the percentages by four and that will give you a good estimate for protein, fat, fiber, and ash. Then subtract it all from 100 percent. Whatever is left is your carb percentage. I hope your cat gets better. Carlotta

    • Avatar

      CATHERINE Gee

      Acana dry cat food and Almo Nature wet food.

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