The 5 Best Wet Cat Foods to Feed Your Feline Friend

best wet cat food

 

Just as I am concerned about feeding me and my family the best possible food so that we can stay healthy and happy, I also want to give my cat the best possible food so she can thrive as part of our family.

A well-rounded diet for any cat should include a mix of wet and dry food. Dry food is important for keeping their teeth healthy and letting them indulge in their instinct to graze throughout the day.

Wet food, on the other hand, is where they will get most of the meat-based protein that they need. As cats are consummate carnivores, meat-based protein forms the most important part of their diet. This means that for me, when I am deciding where to spend and where to save, I always prioritize my cat’s wet food.

But with so many wet cat foods on the market, it can be difficult to know which to buy. Read on to find out what I look for in a wet cat food and my top five wet cat foods currently on the market.

 

 

If You Are in a Rush…

Halo offers one of the best wet cat foods on the market, combining ethically and sustainably raised quality meat with very little in terms of empty carbohydrates. Instinct’s grain-free recipe similarly contains quality meat, which makes up 95 percent of the recipe, coupled with very little in terms of carbohydrates. Nulo’s recipe also stands out for its quality and the use of patented probiotics to enhance digestion and enable your cat to make the most of the great nutrients in the recipe.

Our Top 5 Picks:

  1. Halo Chicken Recipe Grain-Free Adults Canned Cat Food
  2. Instinct by Nature’s Variety Original Grain-Free Real Chicken Recipe Natural Wet Canned Cat Food
  3. Nulo Freestyle Turkey and Chicken Recipe Grain-Free Canned Cat and Kitten Food
  4. Merrick Backcountry Grain-Free Morsels in Gravy Real Rabbit Recipe Cuts Cat Food Pouches
  5. Taste of the Wild Rocky Mountain Grain-Free Canned Cat Food

 

Best Wet Cat Food Reviews

Now that we have looked at what makes a good wet cat food, here are five of the best wet cat foods currently on the market.

 

1. Halo Chicken Recipe Grain-Free Adults Canned Cat Food

Halo’s grain-free wet cat food is packed full of quality, ethically raised meat. It is full of nutrients cats need with very little in terms of ‘filler’.

Pros

  • High in protein
  • Ethically raised meat
  • Low in carbohydrates
  • Enriched with essential vitamins and minerals
  • No artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives

 

Cons

  • High in calories
  • Contains garlic

 

Halo is a cat food brand that prioritizes ethically and sustainably raised meat, which is important to any animal lover. This chicken recipe uses high-quality chicken meat, chicken liver and turkey in chicken broth, with no meals or by-products. The recipe comes in a variety of meat, which means it is easy to feed your cat something different on a regular basis.

Halo partners its quality meat with GMO-free vegetables such as carrots, green beans, peas, celery, and sweet potatoes. In addition, it is enriched with a range of essential vitamins and minerals. It is good to see salmon oil as one of the enriching ingredients added to the mix as a natural source of omega fatty acids.

Really, the one ingredient in this recipe that I do not like is garlic powder. Garlic is toxic to cats and can lead to the breakdown of red blood cells and anemia. As little as one clove of garlic can cause them serious medical issues. While the garlic in this recipe is trace, it just doesn’t seem to make sense to have such a dangerous ingredient as part of the recipe at all.

Check out Chewy’s review of Halo cat food:

 

 

Nutritional Profile

  • Crude protein 9% minimum
  • Crude fat 6% minimum
  • Crude fiber 1.5% maximum
  • Moisture 84% maximum
  • 1,025 calories per kilogram

 

First Five Ingredients

  • Chicken
  • Chicken Liver
  • Carrots
  • Turkey
  • Green Beans

 

Unsurprisingly, for a dish that contains so much high-quality protein, it is pretty high in calories, so should be fed to cats only in appropriate portions.

Overall: Ethical and Sustainable Meat

CLICK HERE FOR BEST PRICE

Other Variants and Flavors

 

2. Instinct by Nature’s Variety Original Grain-Free Real Chicken Recipe Natural Wet Canned Cat Food

Instinct’s leading wet cat food line is their original grain-free pate. They use hiVgh-quality, responsibly farmed meat as the basis of their recipe, and meat products make up 95 percent of the recipe (excluding water).

Pros

  • Made from 95% animal products
  • High-quality meats
  • High in protein
  • Low in carbohydrates
  • Grain-free
  • Enriched with essential nutrients often from natural ingredients
  • Wide range of flavors

 

Cons

  • Contains egg product
  • Contains peas

 

This chicken recipe example combines chicken and turkey muscle meat with chicken liver, which is good to see as liver contains a lot of healthy nutrition for cats. Also, unlike a lot of cat food, the fact this chicken recipe also contains turkey is pretty clearly indicated on the label, which I appreciate since I like to know exactly which meat I am feeding my cat. The recipe also comes in a wide range of varieties, all of which are based on different meat and aren’t just a chicken base flavored with different meat.

The recipe is marketed as grain-free, and it is good to see that grains have not simply been replaced with lots of carbohydrates from a different source, such as potatoes. The recipe does contain limited amounts of fruits and vegetables, but they make up just 5 percent of the recipe.

This includes carrots, artichokes, cranberries, pumpkin, tomatoes, blueberries, broccoli, cabbage, kale, and parsley, which are all sources of essential vitamins, minerals, amino acids, and fiber that are good for cats. The recipe is also enriched with a range of essential nutrients including taurine, omega fatty acids from menhaden fish oil, and vitamins A, B, D, and E.

The only question mark I have with this recipe is that it says that it contains egg product. Eggs are a good source of protein for cats that they are known to eat in the wild. However, I prefer not to have egg in my regular cat food as it is high in fat and cholesterol.

 

Nutritional Profile

  • Crude protein 10% minimum
  • Crude fat 7.5% minimum
  • Crude fiber 3% maximum
  • Moisture 78% maximum

 

First Five Ingredients

  • Chicken
  • Turkey
  • Chicken Liver
  • Chicken Broth
  • Ground Flaxseed

 

Overall, this is a very healthy recipe for cats that contains 95 percent meat-based protein, which is exactly what cats need to thrive.

Overall: Variety of Healthy Protein

CLICK HERE FOR BEST PRICE

Other Variants and Flavors

 

3. Nulo Freestyle Turkey and Chicken Recipe Grain-Free Canned Cat and Kitten Food

Nulo’s Freestyle Grain-Free Canned cat food for cats and kittens prioritizes the best quality meat as its primary source of nutrition and comes in a wide range of different flavors.

Pros

  • High in protein
  • High-quality meat source
  • Quality taste
  • Enriched with vitamins and minerals
  • Added stable probiotics
  • Range of flavors available

 

Cons

  • Dry texture

 

This turkey and chicken recipe combines turkey, chicken, turkey liver, and tuna, using muscle and organ meat, but without any meal or by-products. Meal and meat by-products aren’t bad for your cat, but muscle and organ meat have more of the vitamins and minerals that cats need to thrive. This is why this food is great for full-grown cats as well as kittens because, in general, kittens need a little bit more of this nutrient goodness.

You would think that all that meat would be enough to make this a tasty treat for cats, but it is also enhanced with natural flavors, which is usually made from hydrolyzed animal tissue, which gives it a concentrated meat taste that cats love. However, some pet owners suggest that the food is a little on the dry side.

As this dish is delivered as quite a thick pate, it does require some carbohydrate thickening agent, mostly made from guar gum and agar agar. It is also enriched with a variety of vitamins and minerals, some from natural sources such as pumpkin, cranberries, dried kelp, and menhaden fish oil.

Like many of Nulo’s recipes, this line contains unique GanedenBC30 probiotics, which are more stable for inclusion in preserved foods than other probiotics. It has the ability to form a protective spore, which will only germinate once it reaches the intestines, so it will not spoil during storage.

 

Nutritional Profile

  • Crude Protein 11% minimum
  • Crude fat 6.5% minimum
  • Crude Fiber 0.75% maximum
  • Moisture 78% maximum

 

First Five Ingredients

  • Turkey
  • Chicken
  • Turkey Liver
  • Turkey Broth
  • Tuna

 

Overall, this is just a quality recipe, which starts with the right basic ingredients, enhanced to optimize it for your cat’s health.

Overall: Tasty Quality Protein

CLICK HERE FOR BEST PRICE

Other Variants and Flavors 

 

4. Merrick Backcountry Grain-Free Morsels in Gravy Real Rabbit Recipe Cuts Cat Food Pouches

Merrick offers a variety of excellent cat food recipes, but this is the best of the bunch, so unsurprisingly, is also their most expensive.

Pros

  • High in protein
  • Combines muscle meat with organs for the best nutrition
  • Enriched with salmon oil to provide essential fats
  • Grain-free
  • Enriched with essential vitamins, minerals, amino acids, and probiotics
  • Free from artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives
  • Variety of flavors available

 

Cons

  • Contains a mix of meats not listed in the recipe name
  • Price

 

This recipe is based on fresh muscle meat and organ meat, without any meat or by-products. It achieves its high protein level by mixing a variety of different meat protein sources.

I am happy to feed my cat a variety of different meats mixed together in a single meal, but I would prefer it if exactly what meats are in the recipe was more clearly indicated in the name of the food. The food does come in a pretty extensive range of flavors, all of which contain the meat that they say in the name.

The recipe is grain-free, and grains have not just been replaced with other unneeded carbohydrates. It is also free from all artificial additives and enriched with all the nutrients and probiotics that we have come to expect from premium cat foods.

Merrick is a good brand that also made it to our roundup of great grain-free food.

 

Nutritional profile

  • Crude protein 9% minimum
  • Crude fat 3% minimum
  • Crude fiber 1.2% maximum
  • Moisture 81% maximum

 

First Five Ingredients

  • Deboned rabbit
  • Lamb broth
  • Beef broth
  • Beef liver
  • Deboned lamb

 

This recipe is relatively simple containing just the basics that your cat needs.

Overall: Simple Protein Variety

CLICK HERE FOR BEST PRICE

Other Flavors and Variants

 

5. Taste of the Wild Rocky Mountain Grain-Free Canned Cat Food

Taste of the Wild’s Rocky Mountain canned food has the making of a good cat food as it starts with a lot of high-quality meats, but manages to deliver at an affordable price-tag.

Pros

  • Affordable price-tag
  • High in protein
  • Uses high-quality animal products
  • Contains varied protein sources including novel proteins
  • Grain-free recipe
  • Free from artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives
  • Enriched with essential vitamins, minerals, and amino acids
  • Added probiotics

 

Cons

  • High in carbohydrates
  • Limited variety

 

It uses salmon, chicken liver, and chicken delivered in fish broth and chicken broth as it’s main ingredients. It also adds smoked salmon and roasted venison as novel protein sources, adding much-needed variety to a cat’s diet. This is a lot of high-quality meat and healthy protein for such an affordable cat food.

However, on the downside, this recipe is carbohydrate-dense, containing almost 30% carbohydrates from potato starch and pea flour, which is pretty much just empty filler as far as your cat’s nutrition is concerned. The other problem with Taste of the Wild is that it does not offer a wide variety of recipes, so you are feeding your cat the same meats on a regular basis.

The recipe is enriched with all the vitamins, minerals, and amino acids that we have come to expect from good quality cat foods. It is particularly high in taurine, essential for cat eye health and immunity, as well as tomatoes, blueberries, and raspberries, which are high in natural fiber and antioxidants. Your cat’s digestion is also supported by the inclusion of Taste of the Wild’s patented Viable probiotic, optimized for cats and added after cooking to ensure its integrity.

 

Nutritional profile

  • Crude protein 8% minimum
  • Crude fat 3% minimum
  • Crude fiber 1.5% maximum
  • Moisture 82% maximum

 

First Five Ingredients

  • Salmon
  • Fish broth
  • Chicken broth
  • Chicken liver
  • Chicken

 

This recipe offers an affordable way to give your cat a lot of high-quality meat-based protein, though the lack of variety means it should be one of a variety of dishes that finds its way into your cat’s bowl.

Overall: Affordable Meat Mix

CLICK HERE FOR BEST PRICE

Other Flavors

 


Want to see more wet cat food? There are some great wet options from newer players such as Crave, Rachael Ray’s Nutrish, and Sheba.


 

What Is the Best Wet Cat Food? What to Look for

As I have already said, wet cat food is important to cats as it provides cats with most of the meat-based protein that forms the core of their natural diet. This means that when I look at wet cat food, the first thing I look at is the meat.

 

Meat Content

When it comes to wet cat food, you really want to see named meat as the first ingredient. Chicken or salmon refers to good quality, often human-grade, muscle meat that will be full of the kind of nutrients your cat needs.

Some cat foods will top up the protein from these quality meat sources with either meal or by-products. These are a rendered product that has been ground and reduced to particle size made from the animal carcass, so pretty much any part of the animal that is not meat.

This includes skin, bone, organs, including the intestines, and, depending on the animal, the beak and feet. While this might sound pretty unappetizing, this is not actually bad for your cat. These are all things that your cat would eat natively in the wild.

The problem with meal and by-products is what exactly is in each batch varies significantly, so not only do you not really know what you are giving your cat, but even the pet food manufacturer doesn’t really know what they are putting in their dish. This can be problematic, as cats thrive off a relatively high ratio of muscle meat to other meat products, both in terms of nutrition and digestibility. Meal and by-products are significantly more difficult for your cat to digest.

While I don’t mind seeing some meal added to dry cat food to boost their protein content, considering that wet food is my cat’s main source of meat-based protein, I don’t like to see this included in the recipe.

 

Meat Variety

In wet cat food, I prefer lines that offer a variety of different dishes based on different meats. This is because cats are most likely to develop allergies to the meat that they eat the most.

So, if you are feeding your cat chicken every day, you are likely setting them up to have a future problem with chicken. It is good to mix up their diet, not just by feeding them other staple cat foods, such as salmon, but also novel proteins, such as venison. This gives them variety and protects them against allergies.

When looking to vary your cat’s diet, it is important you don’t just look at the meat that appear in the name of the food. Take a look at many cat food, regardless of whether they are chicken, fish, or beef, and you will probably see a pretty significant amount of chicken in the recipe, even though this is not indicated in the food name. This means you can think you are varying your cat’s diet, but you are, in fact, just giving them chicken every day.

 

Low In Carbohydrates

As consummate carnivores, cats don’t really need carbohydrates. It shouldn’t do them any harm, unless eaten in excess when it can lead to obesity and diabetes just like in humans, but they simply don’t need it. This means that in cat food the carbohydrates are mostly empty filler, so kind of like junk food.

Dry foods need carbohydrates to give the kibble its texture, but wet foods don’t really need large amounts. Wey foods might include something to thicken the meat dish into a pate or a stew, but this should really be minimal.

 

Enriched With Essential Vitamins and Minerals

While, ideally, our cats would get all the vitamins and minerals they need to thrive from the meat they eat, it is not always so simple. Often modern processed foods simply can’t deliver what cats need in the quantities that they need naturally. This is the reason most good cat food’s recipes are enriched with a variety of the vitamins and minerals that cats need to thrive, such as Taurine and Vitamins A, B, C, and E. This just helps protect them against any potential deficiencies.

While it is great to see these things added, I never like to see artificial colors, flavors, and/or preservatives added to cat food. Natural preservatives have been available for quite some time, so there is no real need to use artificial varieties.

As for colors and flavors, this appeals more to us as pet parents than to our cats, so including them puts our cats’ health at risk unnecessarily, as artificial additives have been linked to a number of serious health conditions in cats, including cancer.

 

The Verdict

When it comes to wet cat food, it is all about quality meat-based protein delivered simply with as little in terms of filler, so things like carbohydrates, as possible. It is also good to see the recipe enriched with essential vitamins and minerals that help protect your cat against deficiencies that might result from a modern domesticated diet.

Halo offers one of the best wet cat foods on the market, combining ethically and sustainably raised quality meat with very little in terms of empty carbohydrates. Instinct’s grain-free recipe similarly contains quality meat, which makes up 95 percent of the recipe, coupled with very little in terms of carbohydrates. Nulo’s recipe also stands out for its quality and the use of patented probiotics to enhance digestion and enable your cat to make the most of the great nutrients in the recipe.

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Kristen Chapple

Kristen Chapple

Hi I'm Kristen, cat lover and blogger. I was born into a cat-loving family and have been a proud kitty mommy ever since I can remember. I love sharing my cat knowledge and love being an active part of the kitty-loving community.