As a cat owner you want to be sure you are feeding your cat the right food so they get the ingredients and nutrients they need to stay healthy and active. There has long been a big debate between cat owners as to whether dry cat food or wet cat food is better for your kitty and, while both have their benefits and disadvantages, we will be looking at the reasons wet cat food can be the perfect source of nutrition for your feline friend. Below we have complied a buying guide giving you all the information you need about wet cat food, why it can be so beneficial, what you should be looking for in wet cat food and even some of our top picks out there on the market today.
Why Does My Cat Need Wet Cat Food?
While both wet and dry cat foods have benefits to your cat’s health, some pet owners like to feed their cat solely wet food. This is for a number of good reasons.
Cat’s are natural carnivores. This means that, in the wild, your cat would be eating meat and not much else. This is because meat contains essential amino acids that cat’s need to thrive. While plant-based foods also contain amino acids, feeding your cat solely plant-based food can be dangerous to their health because they will be missing out on the most essential amino acid found in meat, which is taurine. Taurine is very important in making sure that your cat develops properly and maintains healthy muscles.
It is also very important for eye health and ensuring the central nervous system works properly. So, while your cat might not necessarily live out in the wild, it is still important for you to follow their natural instincts and give them meat based products, otherwise you may see some big health issues in your kitty.
Low Carbohydrates And Plant-Based Foods
As we mentioned above, a cat’s diet should be mainly meat. Another reason for this is because cat’s have a very short digestive tract and therefore find it difficult to digest carbohydrates and plant-based food. While they can eat them and you will see these ingredients in cat food to act as a “filler”, you should still always go for a cat food that is, for the majority, made up of meat.
One of the benefits that wet cat food has over dry cat food is that it contains a lot more moisture. Although cats need a lot of water, they are not wired to recognize thirst within their bodies and therefore do not drink as much as they require. In the wild, the food they eat contains about 70 percent of moisture, which wet cat foods tend to match if not beat. In dry cat foods, the moisture content is about 10 percent. Therefore, unless your cat is finishing their water bowl every day, a wet cat food can be very beneficial to their health.
Wet cat food tends to contain more protein than dry cat food, which can be very beneficial for your cat’s overall weight. This is because if the food isn’t made up of mostly protein, the manufacturer needs to use “fillers” that we mentioned above, which are normally carbohydrates. These carbohydrates can, unfortunately, lead to feline obesity which can then lead to even more health problems.
Things To Consider When Buying Wet Cat Food
There are a few things to consider when buying wet cat food to make sure you buy the one that is going to be best for your cat and their development, growth and energy.
It is very important that you check the ingredients list when shopping for cat food. Manufacturers list the ingredients in decreasing levels of importance, so you should really focus on the first 5 ingredients because these will make up 80 to 90 percent of the food. These ingredients should be mostly meat proteins, so you can be sure your cat will be getting enough of what they need. The other ingredients on the list should be fats, fiber and moisture. It is also important for you to check the quality of the protein going into your cat’s food, and you should stay away form anything vague or nondescript. We will go into more detail about this later.
Nutrients and ingredients are two different things. Ingredients are the foods that are in your cat’s food. This could be chicken or salmon or duck etc. The nutrients are the chemicals that are derived from these ingredients that actually help your cat’s health and help them to grow and have energy. Therefore, you should be looking at ingredients that give your cat the most nutrients. As we mentioned above, meat based products are best for this.
Your wet cat food will have to contain preservatives otherwise it wouldn’t have a very good shelf life and it would go off. Once opened, wet cat food should be eaten pretty quickly (always check the label), which can be one of the downsides of wet cat food in comparison to dry cat food. However, unopened wet cat food can sit on the shelf for quite some time, and this is because of the preservative it has in it.
So, while you shouldn’t be alarmed there are preservatives in your cat’s food, you should always look for a cat food that has natural preservatives on the ingredients list instead of artificial preservatives. A great natural preservative is salt or vitamin E. Preservatives you should stay away from include BHA and BHT.
This is fairly simple, but you want the manufacturer that you buy the food from to be reputable. If possible, go for a cat food that is made in the USA. When cat food is made in the USA, it has to be regulated by the FDA, so you will know it is safe. Always stay away from any company that looks vague or doesn’t describe in detail the kind of ingredients they are putting into their food.
Ingredients To Avoid
We will take a look at the ingredients you want to find in your cat food below, but there are obviously ingredients you do not want to find in your cat’s food. Cat’s can be known to develop gluten allergies, so this can be worth staying away from unless you get a check-up on this matter with your vet. As we said above, there should be low fiber and carbohydrates. You will also want to stay away from artificial coloring, flavoring and preservatives, to ensure your cat is only getting when they need.
Ingredients To Look For In Wet Cat Food
Now you know what you should be looking for in a wet cat food, it is time to take a closer look at the ingredients you will want to find in your cat food.
We said above that cats are carnivorous and require lots of animal protein-rich food, because this gives them the amino acid taurine that helps with their overall health. While any protein-rich food can be great for your feline friend, you will want to pay particular attention to how specific the ingredients list is. In general you will want to stay away from ingredients that are sourced from a cheap location or are vague or nondescript as they may be unhealthy. This includes ingredients that are simply labelled as “poultry” or “fish”, because the label should state what type of poultry or what type of fish is included.
The same goes for any ingredient that is labelled as “meal” — a “chicken meal” is going to be safer than “poultry meal”, because “poultry meal” doesn’t give you much indication of what type of poultry is included. You should look for certain words on the label of the food too, like “grass-fed,” “free-range” and “organic”, as only certain companies can use these words so you can be sure they are safe.
In an ideal world, cat food manufacturers would create a food that was 100% protein and nothing else. However, this would make for a very expensive food that the majority of pet owners would not be able to afford. This is why they choose to include some carbohydrates into their food as well. Some of the carbohydrates can contain vitamins and minerals that can be very beneficial to your cat. However, you should still try to find a pet food that has a low carbohydrate content. The more protein the better and, while it may be more expensive, it will be a lot healthier for your cat in the long run.
As we mentioned above, you should look for a wet cat food with a moisture content of 75 percent. This is to ensure that your cat is getting all the moisture they need, especially if they are not drinking their water bowl every day.
Taurine is the amino acid found in meats that cats need. While a high-protein meal will be great for your cat, it is always worth looking for a wet cat food that is enriched with taurine because it really does help to keep your cat healthy and happy.
If you’re ready to find the best cat food for your feline friend, take a look at the best wet cat foods that we recommend below. These are all available to you on Amazon.
The Best Wet Cat Food Reviews
The Hill’s Science Diet wet canned food comes in a variety pack with four turkey meals, four chicken meals and four turkey and liver meals, which are recommended for cats between one and six years old. Each meal contains high quality protein for lean muscles, including real chicken, pork liver, turkey giblets and salmon as well as essential taurine. All the ingredients are natural and high-quality, making them easy to digest and easy on your cat’s stomach.
Balanced minerals included are essential for healthy heart and kidney health and each can of this food gives your cat the right amount of energy for their body weight, ensuring they do not become obese. This cat food is also available to buy in the single flavors, if your cat decides they like one flavor better than the other.
In this multi-pack of Perfect Portions from Sheba, you get 24 twin pack trays, giving you 48 servings. These are split into 12 Gourmet Salmon Entrée, 6 Signature Tuna Entrée and 6 Delicate Whitefish & Tuna Entrée, offering your cat great flavors. All of these meals are made with real protein, with chicken, chicken broth, chicken liver, whitefish, salmon and tuna being high-up on the ingredients list. There are also essential vitamins and minerals included in this food to keep your cat healthy and growing properly, and every recipe is formulated without grains, soy or corn so you know your cat is only eating exactly what they need.
There are also no artificial flavors or preservatives present. Available in convenient trays there is no mess and it is very easy to give your cat the right amount in a serving. You can also purchase this wet cat food in individual flavors if needed.
This Purina Pro Plan FOCUS Urinary Tract Health wet cat food is made with real chicken and ensures your kitty gets all the protein she needs. This wet urinary tract cat food reduces urinary pH and provides low dietary magnesium to help maintain your cat’s urinary tract health, which is especially great if your cat has had issues with their urinary health in the past. Every serving provides 25 essential vitamins and minerals plus taurine to help support your cat’s overall health and wellness, and this chicken recipe is formulated to help support your feline friend’s healthy immune system.
With a great taste and texture, this cat food comes with the chicken in gravy, ensuring your cat will want to eat it. This pack contains 24 cans, although you can buy different amounts if you have more than one cat in your household. There are also different flavors to choose from including beef, salmon, ocean whitefish and turkey.
The Purina Fancy Feast wet cat food comes in a seafood collection, with thirty cans of assorted food including alaskan salmon, trout, shrimp and tuna. The foods are all formulated with this real high-quality protein ingredients, ensuing your kitty is getting the taurine they need for a healthy and balanced diet and to help build and maintain strong muscles. Every serving provides 100% complete and balanced nutrition for adult cats.
Alongside the different flavors are two different textures — pate and gravy — so your cat has a selection to keep them on their toes. Included in this food are added vitamins, minerals and nutrients and there are no artificial colors, flavors or preservatives. There is also no poultry by-products or fillers and no corn or soy either. This wet cat food is also available in a poultry and beef selection.
The Instinct Original Grain Free Recipe wet cat food is made with 95% chicken, turkey and chicken liver, and 5% vegetables, fruits and wholesome ingredients. This is a high protein cat food with responsibly sourced cage free chicken as the number one ingredient, ensuring your cat is getting all the nutrients they need for strong and lean muscles. This food is made without grain, potato, corn, wheat, soy, carrageenan, by-product meals, artificial colors or preservatives — all the foods known to trigger food sensitivities — and the high-protein content means that it can be served as a meal or topper.
It offers complete and balanced nutrition to support your cat’s health from kitten to senior, and the pate texture is one that they will love. It is made in the USA and there are a number of flavors for your cat to try — including beef, duck, lamb, rabbit, salmon and venison. You can also purchase this in packs of 12 or 24.
In the NUTRO Perfect Portions Grain Free wet cat food there are 24 twin-pack trays, giving you 48 servings. These 24 trays are split into three different flavors — 8 real beef, 8 real chicken and 8 real tuna. This means that you can mix up your cat’s diet and keep them on their toes. Real protein is the number one ingredient in these recipes, including beef, chicken, tuna, chicken liver and chicken broth, ensuring your cat is getting the taurine they need as well ensuring a healthy skin, a shiny coat and good digestion.
There are also vitamins, minerals and other nutrients present and all of these recipes are grain-free with no corn, wheat, or soy protein, no chicken by-product meal and no artificial preservatives, flavors, or colors. The easy-to-chew ingredients are sourced from trusted farmers and suppliers and the food is made in USA facilities. The packets are easy to use too, with convenient serving sizes and no waste.
The Purina Pro Plan Entrees in Gravy wet canned food comes in a chicken and rice flavor with real chicken as the number one ingredient. This high-protein source ensures optimal protein and fat levels to promote an ideal body condition, helping to keep your cat at a healthy weight. This food also gives your cat essential omega fatty acids to promote healthy skin and a shiny coat, and help to support their immune system. The chicken is complimented with rice for a great taste, along with essential vitamins and minerals.
There is also added taurine to help with strong muscles. This food comes in a pack of 24 cans and is a gravy texture that your cat will love. There are a number of other flavors to choose from including a verity of chicken, beef and turkey combinations, so you will be sure to find one that your cat loves.
Rachael Ray’s Nutrish Purrfect wet cat food contains 24 cans and has three different flavors — 8 Sea-Sational Florentine, 8 Cravin’ Chicken Dinner, 8 Fin-Tastic Primavera. This means that in each of these cans, real chicken, tuna or salmon is the number one protein source, ensuring your cat is getting all the nutrients they need for their muscles and a healthy immune system. There are also added vitamins and minerals as well as added taurine, and all the food is grain-free with no artificial flavors, colors or artificial preservatives as well as no poultry by-product meal or fillers.
The cuts of chicken and seafood in savory sauces give your cat something different to try and you can be sure they will love the taste. If your cat decides they like one flavor better than the other, then there is always the option to purchase the recipes individually too.
Blue Buffalo’s Healthy Gourmet cat food comes in a pack of twelve, with four tuna recipes, four chicken and four fish and shrimp. This adult wet cat food features high-quality protein from real tuna, chicken or fish and shrimp to support healthy muscle maintenance and all the ingredients are natural. This food is enhanced with vitamins and minerals to ensure your cat is getting well-rounded nutrition and the flaked texture is one that your cat will love, alongside the gravy that makes it taste great.
There are only wholesome products in this food and no chicken or poultry by-product meals, no corn, wheat or soy, and no artificial flavors or preservatives either. Much like many of the wet cat foods listed here, there is also the option to purchase just one of the flavors if you discover your cat likes one more than the other.
The AvoDerm wet cat food is designed for all life stages, making it perfect for your cat all their life and even better if you have a multi-cat household with different cats at different stages. This wet food comes in a tuna and crab flavor, with real tuna and crab for maximum protein. There is also added taurine to promote healthy muscle growth and a blend of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, ensuring your cat gets the well-rounded nutrition they need. The ingredient that sets this food apart form the rest is that it is made with avocados, a major super food. Avocados are nutrient dense with nearly 20 vitamins and minerals for overall health.
They are also high in omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, helping to promote healthy skin and a shiny coat. This wet cat food is grain free, wheat free, corn free and soy free. All the ingredients are natural and there are no by-product meals and no artificial colors, flavors or preservatives. AvoDerm also does a wet cat food in a tuna and chicken flavor, as well as a tuna with prawn flavor.
This Royal Canin Digest Sensitive wet cat food is designed for those cats with sensitive stomachs or cats who have trouble digesting certain foods. Made with high-protein ingredients including salmon, chicken liver and pork liver, this food is formulated to be easy to digest and is cut into thin slices to ensure it goes down more easily. These highly digestible proteins can help your cat absorb nutrients better, while also decreasing their stool odor (which is much better for you!).
This special formulation can also help to keep your cat at a healthy weight as it gives them well rounded nutrition, and there are is a balance of vitamins and minerals too to ensure your cat is at optimal health. Royal Canin claims this food to be the perfect supplement to dry cat food, which can be perfect fi you are used to feeding your cat dry food and want to try them on wet food. It comes in packs of 24 but you can also buy it in packs of 12 or 6.
Another wet cat food from Blue Buffalo, this Wilderness wet cat food is both high in protein and grain free and designed for mature cats. Made with real chicken, this food supports healthy muscle growth and contains DHA to promote cognitive development, helping your cat stay young and healthy even in their old age. Alongside the chicken is chicken broth and chicken liver, also ensuring great protein, as well as potatoes and pea flour which ensure essential vitamins and minerals.
Flaxseed is also present which is a great source of omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids, ensuring healthy skin and a shiny coat even as your cat gets older. In this food there are no chicken or poultry by-product meals, no corn, wheat or soy, and no artificial flavors or preservatives, making sure your cat gets only the finest, most natural ingredients for great health as they age.
Real chicken is the first ingredient in this Crave Grain Free High Protein wet cat food. As cats thrive on a diet of high quality protein, Crave have made sure to include 12% of it in this food, giving your cat the nutrients they need for a lean, healthy body and the energy they need to play. There is also chicken liver, pork broth, chicken broth, chicken heart and beef in this recipe, giving your cat a great chicken and beef flavor. Included in this food are vitamins, minerals and other nutrients, and there are no signs of any grains including wheat, corn and soy.
With no artificial colors, flavors, preservatives or chicken byproduct meal, you can be sure your cat is getting only the ingredients they need to help keep them healthy. This cat food comes in packs of 24 and the cans are twin pack — meaning one tray does two servings, so they last you longer. There is also a plain chicken flavor, as well as salmon, turkey, trout and duck.
In the Wellness Complete Health Natural wet cat food, the first four ingredients are chicken, chicken liver, turkey and chicken broth, ensuring your cat is receiving all the protein they need for energy and healthy muscle development. Also present are carrots, which are high in antioxidants and cranberries, which are rich in vitamin C and a natural source of tannins, preventing harmful bacteria from thriving in the urinary tract and supporting urinary health. Flaxseed, rich in omega-3 and omega-6 are also present, which supports a healthy skin and coat.
All these natural ingredients help to keep a strong immune system and promote general wellness, including healthy digestion as well as healthy teeth and gums. There are no meat by products, artificial flavors, colors or preservatives present either. This food comes in the form of a pate, which your cat will love, in a pack of 12 cans.
The poultry flavor of Purina Friskies Pate is one that your cat will love. Made with a variety of poultry ingredients, including turkey and liver, this is a great source of protein to help support your cat’s muscles to maintain their strength. There is also added taurine to help with your cat’s overall wellness. Because this is a pate texture it is soft for your cat to eat, especially great for younger cats or older cats, but this food can see your cat right the way through their life. Formulated to provide 100% complete and balanced nutrition, this food ensures your cat gets all the essential vitamins and nutrients they need to stay healthy. This food comes in packs of twelve.
This pack of twelve wet cat food from Halo is a grain free food designed for indoor cats. Made with real whole chicken as the first ingredient and never with any meat meals, chicken meals or poultry meals, this food is an excellent source of protein and taurine for your kitty, promoting strong muscles and general overall health. The chickens used in this food are humanely raised and there are no GMO vegetables included or artificial colors or flavors and no preservatives of any kind.
Not only does this food keep your cat hydrated but it also gives them a great taste that they love. There are essential fatty acids included in this food too to ensure your cat maintains healthy skin and a shiny coat.
Another Purina Fancy Feast food, this variety pack is Savory Centers, giving your cat a luxury gourmet meal of pate with a gravy center. In this twelve pack there are four different flavors — chicken, beef, tuna and salmon — so you can give you can mix up your cat’s diet and keep them on their toes! This dual-texture recipe pairs pate with gravy and the gravy center ensures an exciting meal time for your kitty. Made with real chicken, beef, tuna and salmon this food is very high in protein still, offering your cat the taurine they need to stay healthy.
The 100% complete and balanced nutrition means this food can keep your cat lean and active throughout their whole life, too. There are also essential vitamins and minerals present, too. Even better, if your cat decides they like one flavor better than the other, then you can purchase a pack of solely that flavor.
This tuna based twelve pouch variety pack from Best Feline Friend Pate Lovers Aw Yeah! is a grain-free natural cat food that uses dolphin safe, wild caught and sustainable sourced tuna. Using real tuna, this brand take real whole ingredients and gently purées them into a creamy and delicious high-moisture pate, ensuring that your cat is getting all the nutrients they need while the food still tastes good. The pate form offers your cat great hydration too, with over 82% moisture content, perfect for those pet owners who are worried about their cat’s water intake.
This food comes in an easy-to-use pouch and it is free of grains, gluten, carrageenan, MSG, artificial flavors and colors and BPA. If your cat is a little picky, this company also does other cat foods in a variety of textures and flavors that all focus on hydration and high-quality proteins through wholesome ingredients.
Another variety pack of wet cat food pouches, this food from Weruva Cats in the Kitchen comes in six different flavors, each with different protein sources including beef, chicken, duck, tuna and salmon. Rich in protein and low in carbs, these pouches offer your cat full and balanced nutrition in a bone free, shredded meat and gravy format that they will love the taste of. Because all the ingredients are natural, you don’t need to worry about GMO and MSG ingredients, are there are also no grains or gluten either.
All the protein sources are ethical, including grass fed cows, dolphin-safe tuna and cage free chicken, and all the ingredients are human grade. Because this food comes in pouches, the focus in on it’s moisture content. This is especially great if you are an owner struggling to get your cat to drink more water. Again, there is also the option to purchase just one of the flavors if you discover your cat likes one more than another!
In the Newman’s Own Premium cat food, there is a blended recipe of chicken and salmon with real, organic chicken as the number one ingredient. This means that this food is a great source of protein for your kitty to help keep their muscles strong, as well as a great source of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids for a healthy coat and skin. This pack of 24 cans is especially great for owners who are trying to monitor their cat’s weight and the natural ingredients ensure that your feline friend is eating only the best.
There are no artificial colors, flavors or preservatives and no wheat or corn either. There are three other flavors of this food that you can purchase, including turkey, chicken and brown rice and turkey and vegetable. This food is made in the USA so you can be sure it is safe, too. Even better, in this company all the proceeds go to charity, helping both guide dogs and search dogs.
In this poultry and beef variety pack from Meow Mix, the three Tender Favorites flavors you get are chicken and liver, chicken and beef, and turkey and giblets, all in a delicious sauce that your cat’s will love. Made with real chicken, turkey and beef this food is not only high in protein to help maintain strong muscles, but it is also fortified with nutrients and minerals that help keep your cat vibrant and healthy. The natural and nutritious ingredients ensure your cat gets well rounded nutrition throughout their life, from kitten right through to adult.
The Meow Mix wet food comes in easy-open foil-sealed cups that are the perfect size for a single serving, too. Again, if you discover your cat likes one flavor better than another or they are just a picky eater, then there is the option to buy certain recipes individually.
Wet Cat Food FAQ’s
How much should I feed my cat?
While you should always check the label on your cat’s food to find the exact amount you should be feeding them based on their weight, a healthy adult cat should be eating roughly 30 calories for every pound of it’s body weight every day. Therefore, if you have a 10 pound cat, you will be feeding them 300 calories a day. Of course, you are not going to be feeding them all these calories at once, so you may want to split into into 3 meals, so 100 calories at every meal. So, if a can of wet cat food has 100 calories in it, then you are going to be feeding your cat three cans a day. This is important to work out so you can make sure you always have enough food in the house for your kitty.
How do I switch my cat from one food to another?
The best way to switch your cat from one food to another is to do it gradually. You should watch for any reactions to make sure they take to the new food well and there are no problems. Generally, manufacturers recommend you should start by giving your cat 75% of the old food and 25% of the new food for the first three to five days and see how they take to the new food, watching out for any bad reactions. Then you can slowly transition this to 50% of the old food and 50% of the new food over the next few days, then 75% of the new food and 25% of the old, until your kitty is comfortable just eating the new food.
Is wet cat food better than dry cat food?
Different cat owners will have different opinions on the answer to this question. It really depends on your cat and their needs. Wet cat food has a lot of moisture so it is great for cat’s who don’t drink very much and need that hydration. It also normally has a higher protein count. However, dry cat food lasts longer which can be very cost effective. The dry kibble of dry cat food is also great for adult cat’s teeth, because they help to clean them as they chew. They both have advantages and disadvantages and it will be up to you to decide which is going to work for your cat.
Wet cat food is the perfect food for pet owners of cat’s who don’t drink enough. With a moisture content of 75 percent, your cat is getting the hydration they need while also getting all the essential vitamins and minerals to keep them healthy and active. Your wet cat food should always have a high-protein content so your cat is getting the amino acid taurine, and the carbohydrate and plant-based ingredient content should be low.
If you’re ready to switch your cat to a wet cat food or to replace your existing wet food with one that is better suited to their needs, we know you will be able to find one that’ll give them everything they require, along with a great taste, in the list above.