The 7 Best Wet Cat Foods of 2023
- Our Top List
- 1. Purina Fancy Feast Adult Canned Food
- 2. Wellness Complete Wet Food – Chicken & Herring
- 3. Sheba Paté Food Variety Packs
- 4. Meow Mix Savory Morsels Food
- 5. Wellness Complete Wet Food for Kittens
- 6. Purina Pro Plan Adult Food
- 7. Blue Basics Diet Fish & Potato Food
- Final Verdict & Cat Food Review
- Purina Fancy Feast Variety Pack
- Feeding Guide
- Understanding ingredients
- The importance of real ingredients
- Different feeding options
- Feeding recommendations
- Hydration is important
What kind of food to give your cats is a subject that every owner must consider. There are so many factors involved in choosing the right type of food.
Do you want a well-known classic brand that’s been in the game for a long time? Or are you looking for a grain-free contender who is changing up the canned cat food playing field?
It is essential to weigh all your options carefully before choosing the right food. Also, you’ll want to talk to your vet about switching foods and what kind of food you’ve chosen. Some cats have allergies or sensitivities, and certain foods aren’t great for certain cats. You’ll also want to transition them slowly or risk upsetting their delicate internal balances. Finally, the most vital factor in choosing your cat food—will your cat even eat it?
Let’s explore eight of the top canned wet cat food options for your fickle feline and get a better idea of what’s available.
Our Top List
Price / Value
Purina Fancy Feast Adult Canned Food
Wellness Complete Food – Chicken & Herring
Sheba Paté Food Variety Packs
Meow Mix Savory Morsels Food
Wellness Complete Wet Food for Kittens
Purina Pro Plan Adult Food
Blue Basics Diet Fish & Potato Food
Purina Fancy Feast is a well-known and loved variety of cat food. They have so many options for flavors and textures; it’s hard for cats to argue with all the variety that Fancy Feast has to offer.
Just looking at the options for Fancy Feast blew our minds—they have over 20 different combinations of flavor and texture to suit any cat. They have several types of chicken, a beef and poultry combo, and seafood variety packs, to name a few.
Their texture styles range from the classic paté to full-on chunky. They even have a couple extra-fancy varieties like Creamy Delights, which has “a touch of real milk.” Their corn- and soy-free Gourmet Naturals line with coconut milk added. That’s a fancy feast, indeed.
One caution about Fancy Feast, and many Purina products in general—if you are interested in feeding your pet a grain-free food, this is not the product for you. Fancy Feast does use grain and animal by-products in many of their varieties, so if this is something that concerns you, please be aware.
- Popular and well-known brand
- Large variety of flavor and texture combinations
- Good overall value
Wellness is an excellent brand if you’re looking for a grain-free canned wet food. The chicken and herring variety combines the lean protein of chicken with the omega-rich fatty acids and oils of fishy herring.
Besides the meat content, this chicken and herring paté includes cranberries, a great ingredient to support urinary health. Urinary tract infections can be pretty common in older cats, especially males. If you’re worried about that or it’s already a problem for your cat, adding cranberry to their diet can be a great idea.
Wellness also adds flaxseed and carrots to this paté. Flax is an excellent source of fiber and, along with the herring, provides omega-3 fatty acids, which are essential to healthy skin and a shiny, soft coat. Carrots also add fiber and provide vitamins and minerals that support the body in eliminating free radicals, which are attributed to cancer growth.
- Cranberry for urinary tract support
- Paté-style for cats who like a softer food
The Sheba Perfect Portions Paté is another great choice for a grain-free wet food option. It’s made without wheat, soy, or corn, some of the most common grain ingredients found in a lot of wet cat foods. Sheba’s paté has a smooth texture lots of cats can’t get enough of.
They have a lot of flavor varieties, perfect for those of us with picky cats. The chicken, turkey, and beef options are an excellent neutral option, but if your felines like the fishier stuff, they also have a chicken and salmon. For full-on fish flavor, go for the salmon, whitefish, and tuna.
The separated double-portion packs are great if you struggle with opening cans or hate having leftovers in the fridge. It’s important to note, though, that a “perfect portion” isn’t necessarily the right amount for every individual cat. Always check out feeding recommendations and talk to your vet about how much food your cat actually needs
- Lots of flavor varieties
- Convenient, no-mess packaging
The Meow Mix Savory Morsels is another pre-portioned option if you’re sick of using cans and having leftovers. It comes in 2.75-oz “peel and pour” packs, featuring a variety of flavors, including beef, chicken breast, and seafood options. “Seafood Selections,” which has tuna and shrimp, salmon and ocean fish, and tuna and crab, another excellent ocean option for your coast-loving cats.
The textures in the Meow Mix variety packs are great if your cats DON’T like paté. I know from personal experience that paté is not for everyone. The Seafood Selections, in particular, has “Tender Favorites” and “Savory Morsels,” both of which are a more meaty-style food in a flavorful sauce. A lot of cats prefer the heartier textures and savory gravies to the more smoothed-out style of paté. This style also encourages more moisture intake, as the sauce has a higher water content than a standard paté.
- Convenient pre-portioned packaging
- Meatier texture for paté detractors
- Higher moisture content due to gravy sauces
Wellness is back with its Complete Wet Food for Kittens! This variety is specially formulated with kittens in mind—meaning it has more high-quality proteins and added vitamins and minerals. Ingredients like taurine help support eye and heart health in your growing babe.
As with all Wellness foods this one is grain-free. It has all the yummy extras we see in the Wellness Complete for adults, like cranberry, flax, and carrots to provide those essential nutrients for a growing kitten. Wellness Complete for kittens is a paté like their adult Complete variety.
Something to keep in mind—it appears that some folks have reported that Wellness has gone through a relatively recent formula change. This includes finding hard fragments of bone in the food. Cats do need the nutrition that is found in bones and other crunchy animal bits. Large, potentially dangerous chunks in processed cat food, however, is not necessarily safe or beneficial. I can’t confirm or deny this formula change, but in any case, buyer beware.
- High-quality proteins for a growing kitten
- Added taurine and other essentials to support growth and development
- Added nutritious goodies like cranberry and flax
Purina Pro Plan is another well-known and trusted brand. The texture is kind of a mix between paté and a heartier variety, giving the classic feel most cats go for while not skimping on the chewy bits. Flavor varieties include chicken, turkey, beef, and salmon protein sources. Pro Plan is fortified with additional vitamins and minerals necessary for healthy growth.
The standard Pro Plan Classic is not grain-free, but Pro Plan does come in a grain-free variety. The grain in the standard appears to be mostly soy, aside from the salmon and rice flavor, which, of course, includes rice. The grain-free option has carrots, adding more substance while keeping out the grain.
Purina Pro Plan does use meat by-products for additional meat content and filler even in the grain-free variety, so that is something to be aware of.
- Paté and chunky combo texture
- Traditional and grain-free options
- Fortified with vitamins and minerals
Blue Basics Limited Ingredient Diet canned wet food is specially formulated for cats with food sensitivities. Even if your cat isn’t “allergic” to anything in particular, some cats have food sensitivities, especially to grains. If your cat is allergic, check out these foods for cats with allergies.
Blue has taken out all the filler for their Basics Limited Ingredient Diet line. The Fish and Potato variety uses whitefish protein, which also includes the fishy fatty acids your cat needs. It also uses potatoes and peas for easily digestible carbs. It has both cranberries and blueberries, which are chock full of antioxidants.
Blue is the first brand on our list here that includes pumpkin, which is excellent for balanced digestion. Pumpkin can help with both constipation and diarrhea in cats by providing another source of highly digestible fiber. It’s definitely a “superfood” in my book. I’ve often used a little plain pumpkin as an additional supplement when my cats are a bit backed up, and it works great.
Remember to talk to your vet about how much pumpkin is okay for your cats, though. Your kitty may have more going on than just simple constipation or diarrhea. Plus, you can definitely overfeed pumpkin as a supplement. Here are more cat foods for weight control.
We’ve checked out a wide variety of canned wet cat foods, all of which have their benefits and their pain points. Our final decision is Purina’s Fancy Feast, number one on our list. Purina is a trusted brand in pet food. Their Fancy Feast line has long been a favorite for many cat-owning households—we’ve seen that gorgeous fluffy white cat staring at us from store shelves for years.
Fancy Feast’s combination of affordability and quality makes it a good option for a wide swath of folks and their cats. Cats love the many different flavor and texture options. You can’t go wrong with options.
At the end of the day (and the beginning), most cats are yelling for their meal. No matter what type of wet food you choose for your feline friends, always talk to your vet about the food options you’re considering. Remember to always transition your pet slowly from one food to another to avoid shocking their system and to help with comfortable digestion.
Understanding the best ways to care for your cat’s diet is supremely important. Cat owners know there are multiple varieties of feeding options – dry, wet, raw. Choosing between these or using a combination of them before you buy is essential, as it’s not always easy to switch your pets between different foods (because they’re picky!).
But whichever type of food you choose, it is necessary to know what you’re actually giving them within the scope of that product. For canned wet food, there are so many choices, as we’ve seen in our review. They all have their merits, and they all have drawbacks. But knowing what you want beforehand can save you headaches at the store and save your cats from tummy aches (or worse) down the road.
Also, keep in mind that some cats can either have or develop issues like diabetes or allergies. Have a look at our list of food for cats with diabetes for more options.
Knowing what you’re looking at is key to choosing the right food. Look for real meat, like “chicken breast” or “salmon,” as the first ingredient. Any pet food should always have real meat right up front.
From there, it tends to be a matter of quality and affordability. Some foods use meat by-products to up the protein content, and some choose to use only whole muscle meat and organs for protein content.
Organs are a great addition to wet cat food. You want to see body parts like chicken or beef liver on the label, as they are chock full of necessary nutrition. If they’re in the food, it’s less likely that the food will be stuffed with “added vitamins and minerals” because they are already present.
In general, lower-cost options use meat by-products and heavy carbs like corn, wheat, and soy. “Premium” cat foods will use quality ingredients and have only whole foods like meat, organs, and easily digestible vegetable carbs.
The importance of real ingredients
Some products, especially ones that are considered more affordable, can suffer in quality. They tend to use wheat, corn, or soy as fillers. But cats are obligate carnivores. This means that they are designed by nature to eat meat—and only meat.
Of course, if you think of a cat who hunts their own food, you imagine them eating most of the animal that they catch (unless they leave it on the porch for you to step on). Naturally, cats will get some grains and vegetable matter from inside the prey animal—and that’s not very many carbs.
Cats need to get some carbohydrates. If they come from more digestible sources like sweet potatoes or carrots, it is ultimately going to be better for your cat. Super heavy carb sources like soy and wheat, on the other hand, can be fattening and best and outright dangerous at worst, depending on each individual cat’s digestive system. It’s much better to go with low-carb food options.
As omnivores, dogs tend to be better able to process carbohydrates like rice and soy. Carnivorous cats have a harder time actually making use of these carbs. While their systems can handle them, cats end up eating a higher quantity of food to get enough protein, leading to weight gain and health issues.
Did you know there are foods specifically for indoor cats?
Price versus value
It’s tempting to say that the cheaper option is all you can afford, but make sure you do your research on what your cat is eating before you buy. Paying for fillers like unnecessary carbohydrates and then ending up overfeeding your pet may cost more than buying less of a high-quality brand.
Because empty carbs fill up the stomach, a cat will eat and eat and want to keep eating even after the food is gone. This leads to increased weight gain and higher levels of stress, both of which are unhealthy for your cat.
In the long run, buying a higher-priced, higher-quality food may end up being a better cost value. Your cat is eating less and getting more nutritional value overall.
Different feeding options
Feeding dry food along with wet food is a popular option, but it needs to be done carefully. It is basically impossible to make a dry food without carbs. Otherwise, it wouldn’t dry out and would basically be meaty jerky.
The types of carbs being used, however, are just as crucial with dry food, and perhaps more so. High-carb grains like wheat, corn, and soy should be avoided as much as possible. More easily digestible carbs like potatoes and peas can be a much better source of carbs for any cat food, wet or dry.
Raw and organic has become a popular option, and it’s easy to see why. Because cats are obligate carnivores, they need meat. The more whole-meat product in their food, the better. The more “close to the source,” if you will, the more nutritional value the cat will be getting out of the food.
But you can’t just give your cat a slab of chicken and call it good. As mentioned before, cats eat most of their prey, including a small quantity of carbs from stomach contents and organ meat and bone materials. These are necessary for the healthy digestion and dental health of the cat.
If you do choose to feed raw, there are many resources online for well-balanced recipes suitable for cats. Be ready to visit the butcher and buy additive bone and mineral supplement powders to make sure your cat is getting the right balance of nutrients. If you’re not into making the raw food, many companies are making high-quality raw products for cats. Foods like these can be found in many specialty pet stores.
All cat foods come with a suggested feeding recommendation. The recommendation is based on a variety of factors. The size and weight of your cat, age, and activity level all come into play here.
For example, compare your 6-month-old kitten bouncing off the walls to your 18-year-old lady who sleeps on her royal pillow all day, opening an eye occasionally to survey her kingdom. The kitten is going to need far more calories than the elderly cat, especially if they are similar weights. Check out our list of kitten foods for more options!
Most feeding recommendations mention things like this, but not every cat is going to fit into these rather tight categories. But to be fair, that’s precisely why they’re “recommendations.”
It is better to use these recommendations merely as a guideline and talk to your vet about actual feeding options. Armed with information from these two sources, you will have an easier time coming to a decision about how much food is the right amount for your cat.
Hydration is important
Most cats don’t make a point of drinking a lot of extra water, so they need to have more of it in a food source. You’ll see “moisture content” on food labels. This is the approximate percentage of moisture the food has.
The higher the moisture content, the better, generally. However, be careful that you’re not sacrificing protein content for water content. If the texture of the food is mostly gravy and no chucks, you are definitely getting high moisture food—at the expense of the protein. Foods with both a high crude protein and moisture content are your best bet.
Moisture content is one of the main reasons it’s essential to feed wet food along with dry. If your cat only eats kibble, chances are they won’t drink enough plain water on the side. This can lead to the obvious problem of dehydration, but less visible issues like damaged kidneys, as well.
And though cats don’t drink a lot of water independently of their food, it is still essential to have fresh, clean water available at all times. Changing the bowl frequently and considering a fountain-style watering system can help encourage your cat to drink more water. Keeping the bowl topped off with fresh water is essential, too. Adding ice cubes is a nice bonus that most cats appreciate.
Cleaning the bowls regularly is vital, too. Mold can build up quickly, especially in plastic bowls and waterers. Make sure you are thoroughly washing with soap and water at least once a week before you refill the bowl.
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