The 12 Best Canned, Soft, & Wet Cat Foods

Cat Food April 5, 2021
Kate Barrington

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The 12 Best Canned, Soft, & Wet Cat Foods

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.

Compare Best Canned, Soft, & Wet Cat Foods

Overall Best
Smalls Fresh Minced Chicken Cat Food

1. Smalls Fresh Minced Chicken Cat Food

Runner Up
Nom Nom Chicken Cuisine

2. Nom Nom Chicken Cuisine

Premium Choice
Ziwi Peak Lamb Recipe Canned Cat Food

3. Ziwi Peak Lamb Recipe Canned Cat Food

Best Affordable
Purina Beyond Grain-Free Turkey, Sweet Potato & Spinach Recipe in Gravy Canned Cat Food

4. Purina Beyond Grain-Free Turkey, Sweet Potato & Spinach Recipe in Gravy Canned Cat Food

Best Wet Cat Food For Kittens
Wellness Complete Health Kitten Formula Grain-Free Canned Cat Food

5. Wellness Complete Health Kitten Formula Grain-Free Canned Cat Food

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

6. Weruva Meow Luau with Mackerel & Pumpkin Grain-Free Canned Cat Food

Best Wet Cat Food For Seniors
Halo Grain-Free Senior Recipe Wet Food

7. Halo Grain-Free Senior Recipe Wet Food

Best Wet Cat Food For Allergies
Instinct Limited Ingredient Diet Grain-Free Pate Real Rabbit Recipe Canned Cat Food

8. Instinct Limited Ingredient Diet Grain-Free Pate Real Rabbit Recipe Canned Cat Food

Best Grain Free Wet Cat Food
Tiki Cat Hana Grill Ahi Tuna with Crab in Tuna Consomme Grain-Free Canned Cat Food

9. Tiki Cat Hana Grill Ahi Tuna with Crab in Tuna Consomme Grain-Free Canned Cat Food

Best Flaked Wet Food
Blue Buffalo Tastefuls Tuna, Chicken, Fish & Shrimp Entrées Variety Pack Flaked Wet Cat Food

10. Blue Buffalo Tastefuls Tuna, Chicken, Fish & Shrimp Entrées Variety Pack Flaked Wet Cat Food

Best Vet-Recommended Wet Food
Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Urinary SO Loaf In Sauce Canned Cat Food

11. Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Urinary SO Loaf In Sauce Canned Cat Food

Most Popular
Wysong Uretic with Organic Chicken Canned Cat Food

12. Wysong Uretic with Organic Chicken Canned Cat Food

Protein
21.2% Min
Protein
18% Min
Protein
8% Min
Protein
9% Min
Protein
11% Min
Protein
12% Min
Protein
9% Min
Protein
11.5% Min
Protein
18.4% Min
Protein
12% Min
Protein
10.5% Min
Protein
10% Min
Fat
8.05% Min
Fat
4% Min
Fat
5.5% Min
Fat
2% Min
Fat
7% Min
Fat
1.5% Min
Fat
7% Min
Fat
7% Min
Fat
2.3% Min
Fat
1.5% Min
Fat
2.5% Min
Fat
7% Min
Fiber
0.4% Max
Fiber
0.8% Max
Fiber
1% Max
Fiber
1% Max
Fiber
1% Max
Fiber
1% Max
Fiber
2.5% Max
Fiber
2% Max
Fiber
0% Max
Fiber
1% Max
Fiber
2% Max
Fiber
2% Max
Moisture
66.1% Max
Moisture
73% Max
Moisture
78% Max
Moisture
82% Max
Moisture
78% Max
Moisture
84% Max
Moisture
78% Max
Moisture
76% Max
Moisture
77% Max
Moisture
84% Max
Moisture
81% Max
Moisture
75% Max
Caloric Content
550 kcal/package
Caloric Content
 1194 kcal/kg
Caloric Content
185 kcal/170g can
Caloric Content
75 kcal/can
Caloric Content
122 kcal/3 oz can
Caloric Content
62 kcal/3 oz can
Caloric Content
99 kcal/can
Caloric Content
108 kcal/3 oz can
Caloric Content
 160 kcal/6 oz can
Caloric Content
62 kcal/3 oz can
Caloric Content
 135 kcal/5.8 oz can
Caloric Content
0.116 kcal/100 g
Food Type
Fresh
Food Type
Fresh
Food Type
Pate
Food Type
Chunks in Gravy
Food Type
Pate
Food Type
Chunks in Gravy
Food Type
Food Type
Pate
Food Type
Shredded
Food Type
Flaked
Food Type
Pate
Food Type
Pate

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.

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.

Overall Best
1.

Smalls Fresh Minced Chicken Cat Food

Product 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
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
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.
Runner Up
2.

Nom Nom Chicken Cuisine

Product Info

  • Protein: 18% Min
  • Fat: 4% Min
  • Fiber: 0.8% Max
  • Moisture: 73% Max
  • Caloric Content:  1194 kcal/kg
  • Food Type: Fresh
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.
Premium Choice
3.

Ziwi Peak Lamb Recipe Canned Cat Food

Product Info

  • Protein: 8% Min
  • Fat: 5.5% Min
  • Fiber: 1% Max
  • Moisture: 78% Max
  • Caloric Content: 185 kcal/170g can
  • Food Type: Pate
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.
Best Affordable
4.

Purina Beyond Grain-Free Turkey, Sweet Potato & Spinach Recipe in Gravy Canned Cat Food

Product Info

  • Protein: 9% Min
  • Fat: 2% Min
  • Fiber: 1% Max
  • Moisture: 82% Max
  • Caloric Content: 75 kcal/can
  • Food Type: Chunks in Gravy
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.
Best Wet Cat Food For Kittens
5.

Wellness Complete Health Kitten Formula Grain-Free Canned Cat Food

Product Info

  • Protein: 11% Min
  • Fat: 7% Min
  • Fiber: 1% Max
  • Moisture: 78% Max
  • Caloric Content: 122 kcal/3 oz can
  • Food Type: Pate
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.
Best Wet Food with Gravy
6.

Weruva Meow Luau with Mackerel & Pumpkin Grain-Free Canned Cat Food

Product 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
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.
Best Wet Cat Food For Seniors
7.

Halo Grain-Free Senior Recipe Wet Food

Product Info

  • Protein: 9% Min
  • Fat: 7% Min
  • Fiber: 2.5% Max
  • Moisture: 78% Max
  • Caloric Content: 99 kcal/can
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?
Best Wet Cat Food For Allergies
8.

Instinct Limited Ingredient Diet Grain-Free Pate Real Rabbit Recipe Canned Cat Food

Product Info

  • Protein: 11.5% Min
  • Fat: 7% Min
  • Fiber: 2% Max
  • Moisture: 76% Max
  • Caloric Content: 108 kcal/3 oz can
  • Food Type: Pate
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.
Best Grain Free Wet Cat Food
9.

Tiki Cat Hana Grill Ahi Tuna with Crab in Tuna Consomme Grain-Free Canned Cat Food

Product 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
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.
Best Flaked Wet Food
10.

Blue Buffalo Tastefuls Tuna, Chicken, Fish & Shrimp Entrées Variety Pack Flaked Wet Cat Food

Product Info

  • Protein: 12% Min
  • Fat: 1.5% Min
  • Fiber: 1% Max
  • Moisture: 84% Max
  • Caloric Content: 62 kcal/3 oz can
  • Food Type: Flaked
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.
Best Vet-Recommended Wet Food
11.

Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Urinary SO Loaf In Sauce Canned Cat Food

Product 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
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.
Most Popular
12.

Wysong Uretic with Organic Chicken Canned Cat Food

Product Info

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

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!

Kate Barrington

Kate Barrington holds a Bachelor’s degree in English and is the published author of several self-help books and nutrition guides. Also an 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.
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