Does it really matter whether you feed your cat wet or dry food? While its smell may be off-putting (to us), wet food is a great option for most cats because it’s the closest thing to fresh meat. It is high in protein, provides additional hydration, and can assist with weight management. Cats with urinary tract and digestive issues also benefit from wet food. OK, so we’ve sold you on wet food, but which kind should you choose? Keep reading: Study Finds researched the best wet cat foods to make your cat smile.
Feeding your cat will, on average, set you back about $109 a month. And you may just have to eat those costs. Cats may be fearsome hunters, but they shouldn’t have to provide for themselves. Even the best feline hunter is still a pet. They can’t obtain sufficient nutrition without human help. In addition, outdoor cats risk getting injured (cars!) or catching serious diseases outside, and they can do lots of damage to local wildlife.
While playing with your cat and feeding him or her meaty foods will reduce their prey drive, it’s much safer for everyone to keep cats inside at all times. Meaty foods are still a good idea though, despite plant-based diets for pets becoming more popular.
Unlike dogs, who are omnivores, cats are pure carnivores and need lots of meat protein. “Some cat foods contain protein from plant sources such as soy, and it is possible that despite forming a ‘complete diet’ these foods leave some cats deficient in one or more micronutrients,” says Martina Cecchetti at the University of Exeter in England.
So take a look at our best wet cat foods list below for your cat’s ideal nutrition. StudyFinds compared the top picks on 10 pet experts websites to find the consensus on the five best wet food options. (As always, we recommend you check with your vet before you make a choice) Did we leave something out? Let us know in the comments!
The List: The Five Best Wet Cat Foods For A “Purrfect” Meal, Recommended By Most Experts
1. Smalls Cat Food
Smalls Cat Food is a frequent top pick by experts because it’s human grade! While not the most budget-friendly, “Smalls wet cat food looks, smells, and tastes just like the type of chicken you might eat for dinner,” writes We’re All About Pets.
Veterinarians.org rates Smalls 10/10 for ingredient quality. After all, this food contains “ingredients that won’t upset any sensitive felines. Their recipes are rich in protein to fit the dietary needs of these carnivores […]. All ingredients are all-natural, cooked, and free from preservatives,” raves Excited Cats.
The customer feedback is impressive, too. According to Hepper, owners “reported improvements in their cats after consuming this food. A whopping 90% reported overall health improvements, 78% reported shinier and softer fur, 64% reported a less stinky litter box, and the same number reported an overall more energetic cat.”
2. Hill’s Science Diet
According to Great Pet Care, “Science Diet is a trusted brand that is recommended by veterinarians and plenty of cat parents.” The website specifically mentions Wet Cat Food For Senior Cats (“recommended by veterinarians”) and Adult Sensitive Stomach & Skin (“a good, over-the-counter option for cats that have sensitive stomach and/or skin”).
Science Diet “makes a wide range of dry and wet foods for felines, and they have a good affordable option for Adult 7+ Cats made with savory chicken,” writes Obey My Cat. The wet food for senior cats is “packed with high quality protein, which will maintain lean muscles in senior cats. All ingredients are natural, and there are antioxidants plus vitamins C+E.”
Science Diet’s Urinary & Hairball Control Wet Cat Food received two specific mentions: Veterinarians.org rates it highly in pet suitability, product variety, and ingredient quality. And Mental Floss writes that “if your cat has a sensitive system” this Science Diet product “could support their overall wellness.” It further “contains natural fiber to reduce hairballs, ensuring your cat stays comfortable and calm.”
3. TIE: Tiki Cat and Blue Buffalo
It’s really hard to tell which of these grain-free, high-quality brands is better, and finally, they tied. Blue Buffalo is best known for dog food, but makes cat food as well. Its Tastefuls Wet Cat Food “is highly recommended for adult cats” as well as made “solely from 100% natural Tuna, Chicken, Fish & Shrimp Entrées and […] perfectly safe for cats (Veterinarians.org).”
Excited Cats recommends Blue Buffalo’s Healthy Gourmet Pate and its Wilderness Wild Delights. The pate “includes no soy or wheat, making it a good option for cats with food sensitivities [..] It is affordable, and it does contain all the vitamins, minerals, and amino acids that your adult cat requires to thrive.” The Wilderness Wild Delights is […] also free from any grain, gluten, corn, wheat, soy, artificial flavors or preservatives.”
Tiki Cat also produces grain-free cat food, with top ingredients that got 10/10 from Veterinarians.org. This wet food is “made solely from 100% natural high protein source of food. And does not contain any harmful ingredients.” According to We Love Cats and Kittens, “even cats with diabetes can safely enjoy Tiki Cat shreds.”
Tiki Cat’s “recipes are made from non-GMO ingredients, are grain and potato free, and are made with 80 percent protein […] The protein sources are always the first ingredient listed on the label, and these recipes are formulated with additional vitamins and important ingredients like taurine to provide cats with optimal nutrition (Great Pet Care).”
4. Purina Pro Plan
Purina’s Pro Plan line got lots of shoutouts on the consulted experts lists as a budget-friendly quality food. The Chicken and Turkey Favorites, for instance, “are packed with healthy skin and coat ingredients such as vitamin A, linoleic acid, and omega-6 fatty acids (Great Pet Care).”
The Classic Adult True Nature Natural Turkey & Chicken is The Pets’ “Best Overall” wet cat food: It “meets the natural needs of your cat,” is “grain-free” and “there are no unnecessary ingredients in the feed, such as corn, soy, wheat, or added artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives.”
According to Cat Life Daily, Pro Plan’s FOCUS Urinary Tract Health Formula is the best wet cat food for adults (though not best overall). “This food can also keep your cat hydrated and urinating on a healthy schedule to prevent the formation of crystals in the bladder. With essential nutrients added to each formula, your cat’s digestive and immune systems will also have the support they need to keep doing their jobs (Cat Life Daily).”
5. Purina Fancy Feast
We found multiple mentions of this product line. Though not perfect (Purina can contain added colors and artificial flavors), “Fancy Feast Classics are a long-time favorite. They’re tasty, affordable, and their ingredient lists are more species-appropriate than those on some super-premium brands (We Love Cats and Kittens).”
Fancy Feast “is made using premium ingredients that help build your cat’s health overall. It also contains high levels of moisture that help keep your cat hydrated, especially if they don’t drink enough water. It also contains essential nutrients that boost your cat’s immunity (Veterinarians.org).”
The Chicken Feast Senior 7+ Pate is The Pets’ pick for senior wet food because “it contains a lot of protein, which is necessary for older cats to stay mobile and active. Each piece contains the antioxidants needed to support your pet’s immune system.”
- Great Pet Care
- We’re All About Pets
- Cat Life Daily
- Excited Cats
- We Love Cats and Kittens
- The Pets
- Obey My Cat
- Mental Floss
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Note: This article was not paid for nor sponsored. StudyFinds is not connected to nor partnered with any of the brands mentioned and receives no compensation for its recommendations. This post may contain affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate we earn from qualifying purchases.
Do cats like Hills ? No. Not much . I have had approximately 30 rescues and fosters over 25 years and absolutely 💯 ZERO would eat Hills.
I have never had 1 eat Purina Pro Plan either.
Tiki Cat is a quite good, however.
My 19 year old boy LOVES Orijen especially Duck and Chicken. It is higher fat content but for him, its been excellent. The biggest problem is actually finding it. ( Petco has it but I have to drive an hour to pick it up..they don’t deliver .and that’s perfectly fine:)
He will occasionally eat Fancy Feast but he’s not used to the additives and most cats I’ve had the pleasure of having in my life, can be picky about consistency.
You may want to consider looking in to why so many cats get hyphyperthyroidism. It’s great that cat research is much more prevalent so they’re getting tested for controllable and preventable diseases.
My cats all preferred seafood or beef or game to chicken, also, unless it was freshly roasted.
Chicken is cheap but it’s not cats first choice especially in even high quality dry food.
I have a long haired mix cat but she’s a real picky eater i have tried so my different band of food but only to give away to a nother person with a cat so far all she will eat it perina cat chow and only chicken flavor it that or she will not eat at all and I also tryed mat wet food she only likes friskies sheds and only chicken don’t know why she will only eat that but at least she’s eating and been pretty healthy she going in three years I can’t afford to keep trying different kinds and brand of food only for not to eat and then give away so as long as she is eating and no health issues in the three years I had her since she was a kitten that what I feed her untill I can find a nother brand she will like but now I stay what she’s eates it’s better than starving because she refuses to eat any thing else to
There’s a line called B.F.F. by Weruva and actually anything from Weruva seems to be a winner with many cats. I work at a cat shelter and they love it! My own cats do too! I have been told that their food is super healthy for their kidneys and it’s great for cats that don’t tend to drink a lot of water because it provides a lot of fluids and it contains many minerals and vitamins. They have a lot of flavors to pick from so you can satisfy even the pickiest of eaters. It is available at Petco, newly to Pet Supplies Plus and online, of course. It’s definitely worth a try!
Bff and tiki is the same brand just watch out they almost killed my cat and killed many other cats as well
I agree Weruva is healthy and my three cats will actually eat it. Tiki Cat is good too. Fancy feast is soooo bad it’s like rubber chunks – and my cats sometimes would eat it but then vomit :((
Wish I could find the Pro Plan Nature Chicken and Turkey not available anywhere for almost a year.
My 4 cats don’t like any of these .
My 2 cats eat a homemade diet with either chicken or pork with the know better supplement powder and costs me about 70.00 a month. The Meat is always available so unless I can’t get the supplement powder no problems. Not sure about some of the suggestions here but I do know science diet is pure garbage. Before I knew better years ago used to feed it to my cats too of them ended up with health problems.
I agree with you about Science Diet. My first two cats shedded terribly and died due to pulmonary embolisms. Will never use that brand again. I rotate Purina Pro Plan an American Journey.
My Logan ( European Maincoon ) is growing pretty good on seafood (Frisky brand ).
STELLA & CHEWYS FREEZE DRIED RAW in my opinion is the absolute best and beats every one on your list.
Any suggestions for a cat who has a sensitive urinary tract and previous blockage?
9 lives wet, friskies wet, meow mix wet,…purina dry
My 2 cats are happy and healthy, fixed and vaccinated, so whats the big deal? Just manufacturers trying to get you to spend more money!!
Purina is one of the worst foods for cats. Loads of grain, carbs and lack of meat. Think wisely people. Cats are predators, they eat MEAT therefore chose food high in meat like Mac’s, Catz Finefood, Bozita etc not the cheap stuff you get in every shop.
My girl ginger is 23 years old now and I have always fed her Purina Friskies wet turkey and giblets food. She’s as healthy as old girl can be.