9 Best Wet Cat Food Choices in 2021

In this article, I will be reviewing the best wet cat food on the market. Wet cat foods are a great choice for protein, water, and micronutrients.

I’ll provide a buying guide and answer some frequently asked questions at the end of this article. Here is a summary of the products I reviewed in this article.

BEST OVERALL
Instinct Original Grain-Free Pate

95% Real animal meat and organs

Wide variety of flavors

High in moisture and protein

Grain and carrageenan free

RUNNER UP
Purina Pro Plan Classic Adult True Nature

Grain-free and high in nutritious fish

Complete and balanced source of nutrition

High in moisture and protein

Low in carbs for top digestion

VARIETY PACK
Fancy Feast Gourmet Naturals Pate Variety Pack Canned

4 classic flavors to choose from

No corn, wheat, or soy for sensitive stomachs

Affordable price

Chunky easy to chew pate

PREMIUM VARIETY PACK
Tiki Cat After Dark Variety Pack Grain-Free

95% real animal protein you can see

No grains, vegetables, or fruit for top digestion

6 great flavors to choose from

No carrageenan, gums, or fillers

PREMIUM
Ziwi Peak Hauraki Plains Canned Cat Food

97% premium meat and organs for top health

Added green mussels for omega 3 fatty acids

No grains, corn, potato, or pea

No carrageenan, gums, or fillers

KITTEN
Fancy Feast Tender Feast Kitten Variety Pack Canned Cat Food, 3-oz, case of 12
Fancy Feast Tender Feast Kitten Variety Pack Canned

97% premium meat and organs for top health

Added green mussels for omega 3 fatty acids

No grains, corn, potato, or pea

No carrageenan, gums, or fillers

LIMITED INGREDIENTS
Almo Nature HQS Natural

Human grade high protein food

Just meat and water with no fillers

Low in calories for weight control

No carrageenan, gums, or fillers

BUDGET
Purina ONE High Protein Natural Wet Cat Food

Natural animal protein for strength

High in moisture for kidney health

Value 24 pack case

Grain and gluten-free for top digestion

GRAVY
Weruva Classic Cat Stewbacca

85% moisture for gravy lovers and top kidney health

High in moisture for kidney health

Rich is wild-caught salmon for omega 3 fatty acids

Grain, gluten, and carrageenan-free for sensitive stomachs

Wet cat foods are one of the main food options given to cats. Wet food is usually comprised of animal protein and moisture (e.g. chicken broth). Wet cat foods are generally higher in protein and fat, whilst being lower in carbohydrates.

Cats are obligate carnivores, which means they thrive off animal products. The vitamins and minerals of animal foods provide your cat a complete and balanced food source. Animal protein is more digestible than plant or grain-based protein, which helps maintain a cat’s strength.

The best-wet cat food should contain more animal products and moisture. The product should contain minimal ingredients and/or less hard-to-digest foods (e.g. grains). In this article, I’ll review the options on the market to help you find which product is best for your needs.

My name is Derrick, and I write for Simply Cat Care. We recommend the best quality wet cat food to improve your cat’s chance of living out a happy life. I am not a veterinarian and I recommend seeking the advice of a vet before making a purchase.

Let’s get into the article.

Product Review: The Best Wet Cat Food

Best Wet Cat Food Overall: Instinct Original Grain-Free Pate

Instinct Original Grain-Free Pate Real Duck Recipe Wet Canned Cat Food, 3-oz, case of 24
Pros
  • 95% animal foods for top health
  • High in moisture for healthy kidneys
  • Grain, gluten & carrageenan-free for top digestion
  • Wide variety of flavors
Cons
  • Has flaxseed which is a poor source of omega 3 fatty acids
  • The small amount of added vegetables may test a sensitive stomach
  • Somewhat pricey
  • A little low in protein
VERDICT

If you’re looking for a great pate option then Instinct Original Grain-Free Pate is a tasty tempter.

This product is high in protein from duck and turkey for strength and vitality. There is also a lot of moisture from duck broth for kidney health. There’s a versatile range of choices to suit all tastes and the products are free of artificial colors, flavors, and carrageenan for sensitive stomachs.

The product does use flaxseed which doesn’t convert well to the active form of omega 3 fatty acids. However, the product also menhaden fish oil mixed to boost the essential fat content of the food.

MACRONUTRIENTS

Protein: 9.0% (*40.9%)

Fat: 7.0% (31.8%)

Carbs: 3.0% (13.6%)

Fiber: 3.0% (13.6%)

Moisture: 78.0%

Energy: 1,250 kcal/kg (106 kcal/3oz can)

*dry matter basis %

Best Wet Cat Food Runner Up: Purina Pro Plan Classic Adult

Purina Pro Plan Classic Adult True Nature Ocean Whitefish & Salmon Entr�e Grain-Free Canned Cat Food, 3-oz, case of 24
Pros
  • High in protein for muscle maintenance
  • Great choice for fish lovers
  • High in moisture for healthy kidneys
  • Grain, gluten & carrageenan-free for top digestion
Cons
  • Limited variety of flavors
  • Hit or miss taste (love or hate)
VERDICT

Another great pate option is the Purina Pro Plan Classic Adult. This flavor is the ocean whitefish and salmon entree which provide lots of protein for fish-loving cats in a chunky pate.

Right off the bat, this product is grain-free and high in moisture. There are no added vegetables, potato, corn, or any other needless ingredients. This does mean the price is a little higher than others in the range but well worth the trade-off for quality.

Unfortunately, out of the variety of choices, there isn’t much consistency with ingredients. Fish is usually a strong-smelling ingredient that may not be the most socially friendly option.

MACRONUTRIENTS

Protein: 11.0% (50%)

Fat: 5.5% (25%)

Carbs: 0.5% (2.2%)

Fiber: 1.5% (6.8%)

Ash: 3.5% (15.9%)

Moisture: 78.0%

ENERGY: 1,152 kcal/kg (98kcal/can)

Best Wet Cat Food Variety Pack: Fancy Feast Gourmet Naturals

Fancy Feast Gourmet Naturals Pate Variety Pack Canned Cat Food, 3-oz, case of 12
Pros
  • Great variety of 4 awesome flavors
  • No corn, wheat, gluten, or soy for top digestion
  • Affordable price
Cons
  • Only comes in pate texture
  • Inconsistent formula changes
  • Slightly low in protein
VERDICT

If you’re looking for a good variety pack of wet cat foods, Fancy Feast Gourmet Naturals may be up your alley.

The packs of 12 or 24 come in four flavors to suit all tastes. If your cat wants lots of new tastes then this will be perfect. The affordable variety packs are corn, wheat, and soy-free to help with sensitive stomachs and keep the carbohydrate content low. There is also no carrageenan.

Unfortunately, the packs only come in pate texture. If your cat likes broth, chunky slices, or gravy then you may need to look elsewhere. Also, being a major brand there are inconsistencies with the formula from time to time. This may lead to cats losing their preference for the food over time if things change too much.

MACRONUTRIENTS

Protein: 10.0% (45%)

Fat: 5.0% (22%)

Carbs: 2.0% (9%)

Fiber: 1.5% (6.8%)

Ash: 3.5% (15.9%)

Moisture: 78.0%

ENERGY: 1,157 kcal/kg (98kcal/can)

Best Wet Cat Food Premium Variety Pack: Tiki Cat After Dark

Tiki Cat After Dark Variety Pack Grain-Free Wet Cat Food, 5.5-oz, case of 8
Pros
  • High protein premium meat sources for top health
  • Ideal food source for cats of all life stages including kittens and seniors
  • Meets the AAFCO guidelines for high-quality nutrition
  • No grains, vegetables, or fruit for good digestion
  • High in moisture for kidney health
Cons
  • Premium price may test some budgets
  • No chicken free flavor or limited ingredient option
VERDICT

If you’re after the best-wet cat food then Tiki Cat After Dark has you covered.

These delicious delights are packed with 95% real meat products including nutritious organs and eggs. This gives cats of all life stages complete and balanced nutrition for top health and development. For peace of mind, there are no added nasties like carrageenan and also no grains, vegetables, or fruits. The cans are topped with a nourishing broth to hydrate your cat.

The variety packs don’t give you a chicken-free option, so if you wanted a limited ingredient product this won’t be for you. The price tag is much higher, although the quality may lead to a reduced feed requirement. This is suited for those with the budget to really get the absolute best-wet cat food.

MACRONUTRIENTS (Chicken and Lamb)

Protein: 13.0% (72.2%)

Fat: 2.3% (12.7%)

Carbs: 0.4% (0.2%)

Fiber: 0.6% (3.3%)

Ash: 1.7% (9.4%)

Moisture: 82.0%

ENERGY: 766 kcal/kg (120kcal/can)

Best Wet Cat Food Premium Canned: Ziwi Peak Hauraki Plains

Ziwi Peak Hauraki Plains Canned Cat Food, 6-oz, case of 12
Pros
  • 97% real high-quality meat protein sources for maximum health
  • Includes bones to provide calcium for strong bones
  • Zero added carbohydrate foods for great digestion
  • Green mussels added for immune and digestive health
  • No carrageenan, gums, artificial flavors, or colors for peace of mind
  • High in calories suits senior cats
Cons
  • High price premium product
  • Authentic meat smell may put off owners
VERDICT

Ziwi Peak Hauraki Plains is a cat food of the highest order.

This is a premium food with supremely high-quality meat, organs, bones, eggs, and mussels. Bones are a great source of calcium for strong bones. This makes the food a complete and balanced provision of nutrients for maximum health.

There are no fillers in the product which includes wheat, cellulose, potato, corn, or any starch mixtures. If you want a premium product, this is as good as it gets.

On the downside the product is expensive. If you have the budget and money is no barrier to the health of your cat, then this is a great choice (or as an occasional treat). However, for many owners, this product is too steep and there are plenty of great affordable options on the table. Also, the product has a strong meaty smell which may be off-putting.

MACRONUTRIENTS

Protein: 10.5% (47.7%)

Fat: 7.0% (31.8%)

Carbs: 0% (0%)

Fiber: 1.0% (4.5%)

Ash: 4.0% (18.1%)

Moisture: 78.0%

ENERGY: 1,350 kcal/kg (230kcal/can)

Best Wet Cat Food Kitten: Fancy Feast Tender Feast Kitten

Fancy Feast Tender Feast Kitten Variety Pack Canned Cat Food, 3-oz, case of 12
Pros
  • High protein for growth and development
  • Additional milk for strong bones
  • Easy to chew pate texture
  • Grain and pea free for digestion
Cons
  • Additional flavors and colors added
  • Uses meat-by-products which may be slightly lower in nutrients
  • Few shipping issues (denting cans) although resolved with customer service
VERDICT

Fancy Feast Tender Feast is great wet cat food for kittens.

The product is high protein from chicken, fish, liver, and egg for proper growth and development. On top of this, the cans have added milk to provide calcium for strong bones. The texture is a soft pate to help make it easy for growing teeth. There are no grains or added carbohydrate foods to give your kitten the best nutrition for proper growth.

Some of the meat is from by-products. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing especially given the range of high-quality meat used in the product otherwise and the lack of fillers. There have also been a few dented cans in shipping, but customer service is good for this brand.

MACRONUTRIENTS (Chicken)

Protein: 11.0% (50%)

Fat: 5.0% (22.7%)

Carbs: 1.0% (4.5%)

Fiber: 1.5% (6.8%)

Ash: 3.5% (15.9%)

Moisture: 78.0%

ENERGY: 1,106 kcal/kg (94kcal/can)

Best Wet Cat Food Limited Ingredients: Almo Nature HQS

Almo Nature HQS Natural Atlantic Tuna, Mackerel, Chicken & Shrimp, Trout & Tuna Variety Pack Canned Cat Food, 2.47-oz, case of 12
Pros
  • High-quality human-grade animal protein for top health
  • Limited ingredients for maximum tolerability
  • Four flavors in the pack for a variety
Cons
  • Very low in fat, not suitable as a sole nutrition source or for seniors and kittens
  • No ‘novel protein’ choices such as duck, turkey, or lamb for elimination diet purposes
VERDICT

Almo Nature HQS is an interesting and unique product.

The tins come in four flavors that only contain meat and water. There are no synthetic vitamins, minerals, or carbohydrate foods in these cans. What is more, the meat is high-quality human-grade meat.

For the price, this is about the highest quality food you are going to find. The high-quality protein will help keep your cat healthy and strong. The tins have limited ingredients to help with sensitive stomachs. That means for the price, the tins give you top value for your money.

On the downside, the products are very low in fat. For a sole source of nutrition, the products might not have enough calories to provide for your cat’s dietary needs.

MACRONUTRIENTS (Trout & Tuna)

Protein: 13.0% (65.0%)

Fat: 3.0% (15.0%)

Carbs: 0.0% (0.0%)

Fiber: 1.0% (5.0%)

Ash: 3.0% (15.0%)

Moisture: 80.0%

ENERGY: 710 kcal/kg (49.7kcal/can)

Best Wet Cat Food Budget: Purina ONE High Protein Natural

Purina ONE Turkey Recipe Pate Grain-Free Canned Cat Food, 3-oz, case of 24
Pros
  • High in animal-based protein for strength
  • Grain-free for top digestion
  • No added vegetables for sensitive stomachs
  • High approval rating on Amazon
  • Small portions for easy to manage meals
  • Affordable option
Cons
  • Quality control issues with packaging
  • An inconsistent formula that may change
  • A combination of different meats in the products (e.g. chicken and fish in the turkey) may upset a cat used to particular meat sources
VERDICT

Purina ONE High Protein Natural is a great budget option.

Whilst the product is affordable, it is not low-quality. Containing a high amount of animal protein it is the perfect carnivore-friendly choice for cats to thrive.

The cans come in small-sized 3 oz portions for versatility. There are no grains or vegetables which is perfect for easy digestion.

Sometimes the formula has changed in this product. This is an inevitable problem with many cat foods on the market. If the quality of the product changes over time, then it might be less appropriate for your senior cat’s needs.

MACRONUTRIENTS

Protein: 11.0% (50.0%)

Fat: 5.0% (22.7%)

Carbs: 1.5% (6.8%)

Fiber: 1.5% (6.8%)

Ash: 3.0% (13.6%)

Moisture: 78.0%

ENERGY: 1,127 kcal/kg (95kcal/can)

Best Wet Cat Food Gravy: Weruva Classic Cat Stewbacca

Weruva Classic Cat Stewbacca Chicken, Duck & Salmon in Gravy Stew Canned Cat Food, 5.5-oz can, case of 8
Pros
  • Whole animal-based protein for strength and vitality
  • 85% moisture for healthy kidney function
  • No added nasties such as carrageenan or gluten
Cons
  • Addition of tapioca starch may test a sensitive stomach
  • Won’t suit a cat needing a limited ingredient diet
  • Cat’s that prefer a pate texture won’t be satisfied
VERDICT

Weruva Classic Cat Stewbacca is another good choice on the menu for cat foods.

It’s made with predominately chicken, duck, salmon, and broth. This is a great start for providing your cat the essential vitamins and minerals it needs to thrive. This gravy formula is extra high in moisture for hydrating your cat.

The product avoids gluten and carrageenan with no artificial flavors or colors. The addition of tapioca starch may test a sensitive stomach, however.

MACRONUTRIENTS

Protein: 7.0% (46.6%)

Fat: 4.0% (26.6%)

Carbs: 0% (0%)

Fiber: 1.0% (6.6%)

Ash: 3.0% (20.0%)

Moisture: 85.0%

ENERGY: 170 kcal/can

Buying Guide: How to Choose the Best Wet Cat Food

Let’s talk about what to look for when buying wet cat food.

The goal of this article is to help you understand your situation and guide you in the decision-making process. This article is not a replacement for the professional advice of a vet.

Who is this guide for?

This guide is for a cat owner that wants to find the best food to feed their cat.

I’ll cover some main points to consider before buying a product and answer some frequently asked questions.

What wet cat food is recommended by vets?

Vets typically recommend popular brands of cat food that are well known (and usually sold and promoted at the vet). The advice varies from vet to vet depending on the nutrition education they received during training.

Some of these foods are suitable foods, but many cat food brands are sub-optimal for nutrition. Most of the products recommended by vets are usually above average.

At Simply Cat Care, we use our own criteria for recommending cat food that is based on meeting the needs of your cat. However, I recommend always consulting with your vet before purchasing a product for use.

Best wet cat food

Do vets recommend wet or dry food for cats?

Again, this will vary from vet to vet depending on their nutrition education.

Most vets will recommend using a combination of both depending on your situation. Dry cat food offers more convenience, whilst wet cat food is usually higher (on a dry matter basis) in protein and moisture. The latter two factors help with a cat’s hydration and requirements for muscle maintenance.

What should you look for in wet cat food?

The role of cat food is to provide your cat the nutrients it needs for health and happiness.

The food should contain animal protein sources and moisture to keep your kitty hydrated. Canned cat food should also be high in vitamins, minerals, and be made with quality ingredients (i.e. whole animal products) for the best health outcomes.

Let’s take a closer look at what makes a good wet canned cat food.

What macronutrient breakdown should I look for in wet cat food?

A good macronutrient ratio for your cat is as follows:

  • Protein: 52%
  • Fat: 36%
  • Carbs: 12%

An experiment conducted by Waltham Center for Pet Nutrition tested a combination of dry and wet food with cats to find out their natural preference [1]. The cats consumed a mixture of each food to arrive at the ratio of macronutrients listed above in an ad libitum fashion. This is also similar to the ratio achieved by feral cats [1].

What this means is cats will gravitate towards a high protein, moderate fat, and low carb dietary macronutrient ratio. This makes sense given their evolution and high intake of small prey.

Most wet cat foods provide a ratio of nutrients which provide your cat this ratio of foods. If anything, you want wet cat food with a lower carb content than 12% if you combine dry food – since the dry food will bump up the daily carbohydrate content (especially if not fed ad libitum).

Let’s take a closer look at each macronutrient.

Protein

Protein is the major dietary requirement for cats.

Most wet cat foods are an excellent source of protein. Products containing animal-based food sources such as chicken, turkey, lamb, salmon, rabbit, and beef contain a lot of protein and are good for cats.

Cats require animal foods to provide nutrition and do not have the physiological characteristics for plant digestion [2]. A cat’s body features a low intestine-to-body ratio, sharper carnassial teeth designed for tearing meat, night vision, and a wider detection of sound frequencies than humans [3].

The constituent of protein is amino acids.  Amino acids form bone, hair, skin, teeth, muscles, and other organs. If your cat does not get enough protein, these bodily structures would waste away.  Used for energy in times of food shortage, the protein in a cat’s body becomes emergency fuel via gluconeogenesis. 

Gluconeogenesis breaks down consumed protein for glucose.  The brain needs glucose, among other bodily tissues that are dependant on glucose [4].

When given a low protein diet, cats do not have the ability to downregulate the loss of protein in order to conserve bodily protein stores [5]. In other words, you must give your cat a sufficient amount of protein daily to prevent muscle loss.  A cat’s diet needs to be at least 16% protein by energy otherwise they will lose muscle mass and strength [5].

What are the essential amino acids?

Protein is made of a mixture of 20 amino acids. The ratio of these amino acids varies from food to food.

Ten of these amino acids are ‘essential amino acids’. If not provided by the diet, the body will develop a deficiency.  The body cannot produce these amino acids itself.

In a human, taurine is a non-essential amino acid, however, this is essential for cats. Not surprisingly, taurine is only found in animal products and if not supplemented otherwise, will lead to a cat having a taurine deficiency [6].

Taurine produces bile salts, which help digest fats and fat-soluble vitamins. A range of taurine deficiency conditions exists which include liver fat accumulation and degeneration of the retina [6].

Blindness, for example, can be a sign of taurine deficiency. Feline taurine retinopathy or feline central retinal degeneration (FCRD) are the clinical signs of taurine deficiency[7].

Many cat food products are fortified or enriched with added taurine to prevent deficiency.

Fats

Fat is another important source of energy for cats found in animal and plant foods.

Fat improves the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins – which are important in cats since they must obtain vitamin A and D from animal foods. Read my article on what to feed your cat to find out more.

Cats also cannot convert linoleic acid into arachidonic acid [AA] [6]. 

Inflammatory processes require AA.  Inflammation sounds bad but this is a necessary process for general healing in the body. 

Plant-based products such as linseed and canola oil contain a high amount of linoleic acid, however, this is of no benefit to cats due to the inability to convert these fats into AA [6]. 

Cats may also require a small amount of omega 3 fatty acids from eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). 

Omega 3 helps regulate inflammatory processes and improve validation and immune system function [6]. Cats have a limited ability to convert plant-based omega 3 fatty acids (α-linolenic acid) into essential fatty acids [6].

Fish oil is sometimes added to canned wet cat food products to provide omega 3 fatty acids.

Carbohydrate

Cats are obligate carnivores and generally consume fewer carbohydrates.

Cats have a very limited amount of salivary amylase which is an enzyme that helps digest carbohydrates. Cats also have low amounts of disaccharidases (needed to digest sugar molecules) and these levels don’t increase in response to dietary carbohydrate intake [6].  

In other words, giving a cat more carbohydrates won’t help them produce more enzymes needed to break down carbohydrates in the diet.

On top of this, cats don’t have taste receptors for sweetness [6]. When provided water with or without sugar, cats had no preference for sweet water.

Whilst cats can digest some carbohydrates, an excess may lead to diarrhea and flatulence [6].

In general, I recommend keeping the carbohydrate level of a cat’s diet low (around 10%).

What wet cat food should I feed my cat for each life stage?

Senior Cats

Senior cats need a high protein diet with enough calories to maintain weight.

As cats age, they have a reduced ability to digest protein and a reduction in lean muscle [7].

This means they require a higher protein diet than a younger cat.

Animal-based protein is of higher quality than grain-based protein [7]. This is due to improved digestion of the protein and higher amounts of essential amino acids (e.g. taurine).

Cats over the age of 11 years need 6-8g/kg of protein per day [7].

One-third of cats over the age of 12 have a reduced ability to digest fat [8]. Cats at this age benefit from higher caloric density foods to maintain weight.

Kittens

Kittens require higher calories per pound of weight than an adult cat. This is due to the rapid growth in the initial weeks and months of life [9].

Some canned cat food is marketed towards kittens. Generally, you don’t need to buy these products, but you do need to make sure you feed a kitten enough total calories and protein for development.

Check out my article on how much to feed a cat for more.

Sensitive Stomachs

If your cat has a sensitive stomach then you may need to try a different cat food. Avoid wheat and other grain-based products. Try easier to digest carbohydrates such as rice and potato, in smaller amounts.

Some cats may experience a sensitive stomach when consuming fillers such as carrageenan and xanthan gum. Also, cats are intolerant to many vegetables in the diet (e.g. onion and garlic).

Check out my article on foods cats can’t eat for more.

Weight Loss

In general, feeding your cat high-quality animal-based wet cat food will help maintain a healthy weight.

Food made with high protein and low carbohydrate formulations work best for controlling your cat’s weight. The food formulas and nutrition panel on the back of the cat food work out how much to feed your cat.

As with humans, ‘junk food’ (e.g. takeaway, snack crisps, packet foods) given to cats will help contribute to undesirable weight gain.

Food Allergies

Cats less commonly tend to experience allergies to a range of foods. The main sources of allergies include common protein sources such as chicken and eggs.

The symptoms of an allergy include sneezing, coughing, vomiting, diarrhea, and swollen eyes. If you suspect your cat has a food allergy then it’s best to book an appointment with the vet for more assistance.

A vet will determine the cause of the problem using a series of diagnostic tests including blood and skin prick tests. If the vet cannot determine the cause of the problem, they may employ an elimination diet with limited ingredient foods.

What is the best inexpensive wet cat food?

There are plenty of great inexpensive wet cat food choices on the market. Generally, it’s easier to find affordable quality wet cat food than dry cat food.

Check out my article on the best cheap cat food for more.

What ingredients should you avoid in wet cat food?

It is best to avoid too many carbohydrate-based foods.

Look for ingredients such as wheat, corn, soy, rice, potato, chickpea, or lentils. All of these foods contribute carbohydrates to your cat’s diet.

Pay careful attention to what order the ingredients are listed. If the main ingredients in the food are carbohydrate foods (i.e. top 5 ingredients) then the food is made predominately with carbohydrate-based foods and not ideal for cats. If these ingredients are lower down the list after high-quality animal protein foods then the food is more suitable.

It also helps to perform a ‘dry matter basis’ calculation. This is where you determine the ratio of protein, fat, and carbohydrate in the food minus the moisture content (which gives misleading values). As I’ve mentioned earlier, the proper ratio of macronutrients for cats should be as follows:

  • Protein: 52%
  • Fat: 36%
  • Carbs: 12%

If the dry matter basis calculation reveals a macronutrient ratio that matches this range it is a good sign. Of course, the ratio of individual micronutrients and the addition of other nasties (e.g. carrageenan) influence the purchasing decision as well.

What texture should you look for in wet cat food?

There are a variety of textures that include shredded chicken (or other meats), minces, gravies, stews, and pate. Many cats develop preferences throughout development [10].

There are no right or wrong answers. Some cats prefer a pate wet food, and others don’t. What matters most is your cat’s approval and whether the canned food meets your cat’s nutritional needs.

For what it’s worth, I found the pate texture to generally be a better quality option. The gravy mixes often use thickeners such as carrageenan, xanthan gum, or wheat gluten to get a creamy texture.

Are meat by-products a good source of animal protein?

There are three types of meats found in cat food:

  • Meat
  • Meat by-products
  • Meat meal

The quality of each is ranked from meat (being the best quality) to a meal (being the lowest quality).

Wet foods tend to use more meat and meat by-products. Dry cat food tends to contain more meat meals (rendered heat-treated meat).

Meat by-products include many different parts of the animal not including hair, horns, teeth, hooves, or manure.

Read more about label reading and meat by-products here.

Frequently Asked Questions

How should I introduce new wet cat food?

Do not mix new wet cat food with old foods.

Offer a small amount of the new food alongside the old food. Let them have a ‘taste test’ of the new food at first. Over time, you can place more of the new food and less of the old food until a full transition occurs.

What are the benefits of giving my cat wet cat food?

Wet cat food contains far more moisture than dry cat food.

This helps to hydrate your cat and prevent kidney-related problems.

Is wet or dry food better for cats?

Wet cat food is usually better for cats.

This is because wet cat food provides a ratio of dietary nutrients in line with your cat’s evolutionary requirements. Canned cat food is also high in moisture to keep your cat adequately hydrated.

A mixture of wet food and (good quality) dry cat foods is another reasonable option. This allows your cat to fine-tune their diet to find the sweet spot that works for them.

That said, there is no need for dry cat food at all. Dry cat food is optional.

What are the pros and cons of wet cat food?

Pros

  • Higher in protein
  • Higher moisture content
  • Easier to find affordable quality wet cat food

Cons

  • Lack of convenience
  • More smell
  • Less shelf life

Should I look at the reviews on Amazon to make a purchasing decision?

Some reviews on Amazon or other sites are misleading.

Whilst you generally want to look for high-rating products, various factors influence customer reviews. Introducing new foods may get some pushback at first which may warrant a negative review.

Premium products may use fresh meats which may have a strong smell. This also puts off owners who promptly hammer off a one-star review.

Some foods have shipment issues (e.g. dented cans). Many of these problems need to be resolved with customer service, but would understandably lead to frustrated negative reviews.

Try to look at the constructive reviews in the 2-4 star range which usually are more balanced.

You can also review the recalls for individual products to get a final analysis for purchasing. A simple Google search will usually suffice.

Conclusion: Best Wet Cat Food

In this article, I’ve reviewed the best-canned cat food options on the market.

When looking for a suitable product there are a few things you should look for.

Cat’s are obligate carnivores and require a diet that is high in protein, moderate in fat, and low in carbohydrate. To meet these needs, good wet food should contain plenty of animal products to provide essential amino acids and fatty acids for health.

Cats don’t require as many carbohydrates for good health. A product that contains a high amount of carbohydrate-based foods such as grains, potato, corn, starch, and peas is less suitable for your cat. These foods don’t provide the nutrients your cat needs to thrive.

There are not a lot of differences in kitten food, adult cats food, and senior cats food. Kittens require more energy (per pound) for growth and senior cats need more protein and fat to combat muscle loss and poor digestion. Most high-quality wet cat foods are suitable for cats of all life stages.

Modern-day cat foods are specially formulated to contain essential minerals, taurine, vitamins, and fatty acids for health. Many budget wet food options are still acceptable choices, although some still contain high amounts of carbohydrates and aren’t suitable. Most wet canned cat foods have a high amount of moisture (e.g. chicken broth or raw meat) for urinary tract and kidney health.

Cats tend to be picky eaters, even when given wet food with quality ingredients such as real chicken. Always try a variety of products to find the textures and flavors that best suit your cat’s needs.

Speak with a vet for more assistance in finding the best-canned cat food for your needs.

Our top pick

Instinct Original Grain-Free Pate is one of the best overall wet cat food options on the market.

This product is high in protein from duck and turkey for strength and vitality. There is also a lot of moisture from duck broth for kidney health. There’s a versatile range of choices to suit all tastes and the products are free of artificial colors, flavors, and carrageenan for sensitive stomachs.

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