The 11 Best Healthy Canned, Soft & Wet Cat Foods for 2020

best wet cat foods

Our Review Process

Our reviews are based on extensive research and, when possible, hands-on testing. Each time you make a purchase through one of our independently-chosen links, we’ll receive a percentage of the proceeds. Read more about how we’re supported here.

The best canned, soft, and wet cat food is like a freshly-killed mouse in a can. It’s juicy and delicious while providing all the protein, fat, and micronutrients your cat needs to stay fit and frisky. It doesn’t contain excessive carbohydrates, cheap fillers, or additives that might harm your cat. And of course, it comes from a company with a reputation for safety and customer satisfaction.

At a Glance: The Best Healthy Canned, Soft, & Wet Cat Food To Buy

Why you should trust us

Over the last year, we’ve reviewed more than 80 cat food brands, including almost all of the top names in the industry. To stay on top of the latest cat food science and trends, we read scientific reports, attended industry events, spoke with cat food experts and insiders, and tested foods in the real world.

Based on this knowledge, we’ve selected the following ten brands and products as the best in the business. Each earns its place with a combination of impressive ingredient quality, macronutrient distribution, and company reputation.

Top Picks Explained

At the top of the list is Feline Natural Canned Cat Food. This food’s top-notch ingredient list includes a whole prey-inspired variety of muscle meat, organs, and blood. It comes from a brand—and a country—with a strong reputation for stringent safety standards and superior quality.

Keep reading to learn more about Feline Natural and nine more of the best wet cat foods money can buy.

At a Glance: Top 12 Best Healthy Canned, Soft, & Wet Cat Food To Buy

Clock
2000 hours of
research
Eye
88 brands
vetted
Check
12 features
reviewed
Star
11 top
picks

Want a quick look at the products reviewed in this article? In the comparison table below, we’ve highlighted some of the most important features of each product. You’ll find more detailed information about each product later in the article.

ImageProductFeatures
aac-table__image

Top Pick

Feline Natural Canned Cat Food
  • Features a prey-inspired variety of animal parts
  • Virtually no carbohydrate content
  • Made according to stringent New Zealand regulations
Check Price
aac-table__image

Runner Up

Smalls Fresh Kills Fresh Minced Chicken
  • Fresh food made with human-grade ingredients
  • Real, high-quality animal protein
  • High in protein and moisture, very low in carbs
GET 25% OFF YOUR FIRST ORDER
aac-table__image

Premium Choice

Nom Nom Cat Food Meal Delivery
  • Features highly-digestible animal protein
  • Conveniently shipped to your door
  • Portioned out for your cat’s calorie needs
Check Price
aac-table__image

Best for Sensitive Stomach

Hound & Gatos Cat Food
  • Available in a variety of animal proteins and flavors
  • Simple ingredient lists are great for cats with IBD and food sensitivities
  • Radically low carbohydrate content
Check Price
aac-table__image

Best for Gravy Lovers

Weruva Classic Grain-Free Cat Food Cans
  • Ultra-simple recipes
  • Very high protein content
  • Natural real meat appearance
Check Price
aac-table__image

Best for Constipation

Nulo Canned Cat Food
  • Doesn’t contain any commonly irritating ingredients
  • Features readily-digestible poultry meat and organs
  • Low carbohydrate content
Check Price
aac-table__image

Best for Weight Loss

Tiki Cat Wet Cat Food
  • Great for cats who prefer shreds and stew
  • Wide variety of formulas and flavors
  • Free from thickeners or starches
Check Price
aac-table__image

Best for Picky Cats

Instinct by Nature’s Variety Cat Food
  • Low carbohydrate content
  • Meat-based, protein-rich foods
  • One of the most well-loved brands on the market
Check Price
aac-table__image

Best for Kittens

Wellness CORE Cat Food
  • Offers a variety of tastes and textures
  • Wellness CORE recipes address multiple life stages
  • Free from artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives
Check Price
aac-table__image

Best Budget

WholeHearted Canned Cat Food
  • Free of animal by-products and potentially low-value meats
  • Low carbohydrate content
  • Rich in animal protein
Check Price
aac-table__image

Best for Seniors

Dr. Elsey’s cleanprotein Cat Food
  • Minimal plant inclusions
  • No artificial ingredients
  • Rich in species-appropriate sources of omega-3 fatty acids
Check Price

#1 Our Top Pick: Feline Natural Canned Cat Food

Feline Natural Chicken & Venison Feast Canned Cat Food

Buy On Chewy  Buy On Amazon

Read Our Full Brand Review

Overview:

  • Brand Name: Feline Natural
  • Made In: New Zealand
  • Guaranteed Protein: 9.0% min
  • Age Range: All Life Stages
  • Typical Cost Per Day: $6.57/day

Feline Natural is a New Zealand-based pet food brand that gives you outstanding ingredient quality while honoring your cat’s predatory dietary needs.

Feline Natural’s canned foods are radically meaty, with ingredient lists featuring muscle meat, organs, and blood before anything else. Every recipe is supplemented with New Zealand green mussel, a source of bioavailable omega-3 fatty acids that can help reduce inflammation and support overall health.

Feline Natural foods don’t contain any thickening gums or additives that might harm your cat, making for a super-digestible diet that nourishes your cat like the carnivore that he is.

Feline Natural cat food has never been recalled, but the brand’s dog food has.

Top Recipe: Feline Natural Chicken & Venison Feast Grain-Free Canned Cat Food

This popular Feline Natural recipe contains free-range, grass-fed chicken and venison as its primary ingredients. While many premium-category brands miss out on the nutrient-dense organs and other animal parts in the name of avoiding by-products, this food gives you a prey-inspired blend of muscle meat, heart, kidney, liver, and blood.

With plenty of protein, an emphasis on animal-sourced fat, and almost no carbohydrate content, the food is the picture of species-appropriate nutrition.

Ingredients

Chicken, Chicken Heart, Venison Kidney, Venison Liver, Venison Blood, Flaxseed Flakes, New Zealand Green Mussel, Dried Kelp, Taurine, Vitamin E Supplement, Magnesium Oxide, Zinc Proteinate, Copper Proteinate, Manganese Proteinate, Thiamine Mononitrate, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Folic Acid, Water added for processing.

Guaranteed Analysis:

Crude Protein9.0% min
Crude Fat5.0% min
Crude Fiber0.2% max
Moisture82.5% max
Ash1.5%

What We Liked:

  • Features a prey-inspired variety of animal parts
  • Virtually no carbohydrate content
  • Doesn’t contain any potentially-harmful artificial additives
  • Made according to stringent New Zealand regulations

What We Didn’t Like:

  • One of the most expensive products on the market

#2 Runner Up: Smalls Cat Food Smalls-Cat-Food-Review-Chicken

CLICK HERE TO GET 25% OFF YOUR FIRST ORDER

Read Our Full Brand Review

Overview:

  • Brand Name: Smalls
  • Made In: NYC, United States
  • Guaranteed Protein: 21% min
  • Age Range: All Life Stages
  • Typical Cost Per Day: $2.00 to $3.50

Smalls is a fresh cat food delivery services that uses human-grade ingredients including premium proteins like chicken, turkey, and fish. Choose from minced-style recipes or classic pate to provide your cat with protein-rich, low-carb cat food formulated for cats in all life stages.
Though Smalls doesn’t portion out your cat’s meals for you, they do provide detailed feeding recommendations according to your cat’s calorie requirements. Each package of food contains about 16 ounces of food with markings on the package at 50-calorie increments.

Smalls cat food is delivered frozen, so you’ll need to thaw the first package overnight in the fridge before feeding. Your subscription will be based on your cat’s calorie needs, and you can adjust it as needed by contacting the customer care team.

In addition to their fresh food, Smalls also offers a selection of freeze-dried cat foods, treats, and meal toppers. They also recently started selling millet and silica cat litter.

Top Recipe: Smalls Fresh Kills Fresh Minced Chicken

Featuring chicken thigh, breast, and liver as the top three ingredients, this fresh food is packed with premium animal protein. Green beans, peas, and kale are the only carbohydrate ingredients and they are naturally grain-free and rich in nutrients.

In addition to being high in protein and low in carbohydrates, this formula is rich in moisture which helps support digestion as well as healthy skin and coat. Overall, this minced chicken recipe is a high-quality source of balanced nutrition for cats in all life stages.

Ingredients:

Chicken Thigh, Chicken Breast, Chicken Liver, Green Beans, Peas, Water sufficient for processing, Chicken Heart, Kale, Vegetable Oil, Calcium Carbonate, Dicalcium Phosphate, Choline Bitartrate, Salt, Taurine, Magnesium Gluconate, Potassium Chloride, Zinc Gluconate, Ascorbic Acid, Copper Gluconate, Vitamin E Supplement, Manganese Gluconate, Ferrous Gluconate, Niacin, Thiamine Hydrochloride, Vitamin A, Calcium Pantothenate, Riboflavin, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Folic Acid, Selenium, Dried Kelp, Biotin, Vitamin B12.

Guaranteed Analysis:

Crude Protein21.0% min
Crude Fat8.05% min
Crude Fiber0.4% min
Moisture66.1% max
Ash2.25%  max

What We Liked:

  • Fresh food made with human-grade ingredients
  • Real, high-quality animal protein
  • High in protein and moisture, very low in carbs
  • Boosts energy and supports skin and coat health

What We Didn’t Like:

  • Not individually portioned for your cat
  • Limited protein options (chicken, turkey, beef)

#3 Premium Choice: Nom Nom Cat Food Meal Delivery

Get 50% Off First Order

Read Our Full Brand Review

Overview:

  • Brand Name: Nom Nom
  • Made In: United States
  • Guaranteed Protein: 18% min
  • Age Range: All Life Stages
  • Typical Cost Per Day: $2-$6/day

Nom Nom is a cat food meal delivery service that makes and sells fresh, human-grade food. Every week, the Nom Nom team uses restaurant-grade ingredients to craft home-cooked meals for cats. Each meal is portioned out according to your cat’s weight, age, and weight goals, then packed into a refrigerated box and shipped to your doorstep.

Nom Nom foods arrive fresh, not frozen. They’re ready to serve right away. You can choose between weekly, biweekly, or monthly delivery, so you’ll know exactly when the food will show up and never have to run out.

If you like the idea of making homemade cat food but don’t feel ready for the time and effort involved, Nom Nom is a convenient alternative.

Nom Nom’s cat food line was introduced in the spring of 2018 and is currently limited to chicken and fish recipes. It’s never been recalled.

Top Recipe: Nom Nom Chicken Chow Meow

Nom Nom’s chicken recipe is made primarily from chicken thighs, breast, and liver, which are species-appropriate sources of protein and other nutrients.

In addition to meat, the recipe contains small amounts of fruit and vegetables, but they don’t appear to make the food particularly starchy. In all, the food is about 10% calories from carbohydrates.

Ingredients:

Chicken Thighs, Chicken Breasts, Chicken Liver, Asparagus, Carrots, Spinach, Cantaloupe, 

Dicalcium Phosphate, Calcium Carbonate, Salt, Citric Acid (Natural Preservative), Taurine, Choline Bitartrate, Zinc Gluconate, Ferrous Sulfate, Vitamin E Supplement, Copper Gluconate, Manganese Gluconate, Thiamine Mononitrate (Vitamin B1), Selenium Yeast, Riboflavin (Vitamin B2), Vitamin B12 Supplement, Cholecalciferol (Source Of Vitamin D3), Sodium Iodide.

Guaranteed Analysis:

Crude Protein18.0% min
Crude Fat4.0% min
Crude Fiber0.8% min
Moisture73% max
AshN/A

What We Liked:

  • Features highly-digestible animal protein
  • Conveniently shipped to your door
  • One of the few human-grade foods on the market
  • Portioned out for your cat’s calorie needs

What We Didn’t Like:

  • Expensive
  • Contains plant ingredients

#4Best for Sensitive Stomach: Hound & Gatos Cat Food

Hound & Gatos Chicken & Chicken Liver Formula Grain-Free Canned Cat Food

Buy On Chewy   Buy On Only Natural Pet

Read Our Full Brand Review

Overview:

  • Brand Name: Hound & Gatos
  • Made In: United States
  • Guaranteed Protein: 10% min
  • Age Range: Adult
  • Typical Cost Per Day: $2.18/day

Hound & Gatos describes their foods as a “carnivore’s diet in a can.” Hound & Gatos foods contain nothing but meat, water, and thickening agents, along with the vitamins, minerals, and amino acids that make each meal nutritionally complete.

They’re free of soy, grains, by-products, artificial preservatives, artificial colors, or artificial flavors.

With virtually zero carbohydrate content and radically simple ingredient lists, Hound & Gatos foods are a favorite among cats with IBD and diabetes.

Hound & Gatos cat food has never been recalled.

Top Recipe: Hound & Gatos Chicken & Chicken Liver Formula

This leading Hound & Gatos recipe is made primarily from chicken, broth, and chicken liver. Like several other Hound & Gatos recipes, it contains just one animal protein, so it’s a good choice for cats with allergies and food sensitivities.

Ingredients

Chicken, Chicken Broth, Chicken Liver, Calcium Carbonate, Agar-Agar, Potassium Chloride, Choline Chloride, Salt, Taurine, Salmon Oil, Iron Proteinate, Zinc Proteinate, Manganese Proteinate, Copper Proteinate, Magnesium Proteinate, Sodium Selenite, Calcium Iodate, Thiamine Mononitrate, Niacin Supplement, Vitamin E Supplement, Calcium Pantothenate, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Riboflavin Supplement, Biotin, Vitamin A Supplement, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Folic Acid.

Guaranteed Analysis:

Crude Protein10.0% min
Crude Fat9.0% min
Crude Fiber1.00% max
Moisture78.0% max
Ash2.50% max

What We Liked:

  • Uses a paleolithic dietary model that honors your cat’s carnivorous needs
  • Simple ingredient lists are great for cats with IBD and food sensitivities
  • Available in a variety of animal proteins and flavors
  • Radically low carbohydrate content

What We Didn’t Like:

  • Customer reviews aren’t as consistently positive as they should be—many cats dislike the flavor and texture of Hound & Gatos cat food
  • Expensive

#5 Best for Gravy Lovers: Weruva Classic Grain-Free Cat Food Cans

Weruva Cats in the Kitchen Cuties Variety Pack Grain-Free Canned Cat Food

Buy On Chewy   Buy On Amazon

Read Our Full Brand Review

Overview:

  • Brand Name: Weruva
  • Made In: Thailand
  • Guaranteed Protein: 10% min
  • Age Range: Adult
  • Typical Cost Per Day: $3.10/day

Weruva offers simple recipes with just a few minimally-processed ingredients. When you open up a can or pouch of Weruva, you see real meat—shredded chicken, chunks of fish, and other good-enough-to-eat ingredients. Cats who like table scraps and gravy will love the texture of Weruva cat food.

Weruva cat food is extremely water-dense, so it has fewer calories per can or pouch than other foods. This both makes it excellent for cats who need to lose weight and more expensive than the average food.

Concerningly, one Weruva brand has been involved in a serious recall. In 2017, cans of B.F.F (Best Feline Friend) cat food were deficient in thiamine, killing dozens of Australian cats. The incident was limited to products sold in Australia and made by a single manufacturing partner.

Top Recipe: Weruva Cats in the Kitchen Chicken Frick ‘A Zee

This chicken-based recipe consists of shredded chicken in a broth thickened with locust bean gum, xanthan gum, and guar gum. These gums aren’t a necessary part of the feline diet, but there’s little indication that they’re harmful.

Ingredients:

Chicken Broth, Chicken, Sunflower Seed Oil, Calcium Lactate, Locust Bean Gum, Tricalcium Phosphate, Xanthan Gum, Fish Oil, Guar Gum, Potassium Chloride, Choline Chloride, Taurine, Zinc Sulfate, Vitamin E Supplement, Nicotinic Acid (Vitamin B3), Ferrous Sulfate, Thiamine Mononitrate (Vitamin B1), Calcium Pantothenate, Vitamin A Supplement, Manganese Sulfate, Copper Sulfate, Riboflavin Supplement (Vitamin B2), Pyridoxine Hydrochloride (Vitamin B6), Vitamin D3 Supplement, Folic Acid, Potassium Iodide, Sodium Selenite, Biotin, Vitamin B12 Supplement.

Guaranteed Analysis:

Crude Protein10.0% min
Crude Fat2.5% min
Crude Fiber0.5% max
Moisture85% max
Ash1.5% max

What We Liked:

  • Ultra-simple recipes
  • Very high protein content
  • Natural real meat appearance
  • Low carbohydrate content

What We Didn’t Like:

  • Very watery—you don’t get many calories per can
  • B.F.F., a Weruva brand, was involved in a serious recall in 2017
  • Expensive

#6 Best for Constipation: Nulo Canned Cat Food

nulo 350

Buy On Chewy   Buy On Amazon

Read Our Full Brand Review

Overview:

  • Brand Name: Nulo
  • Made In: United States
  • Guaranteed Protein: 11% min
  • Age Range: All Life Stages
  • Typical Cost Per Day: $2.55/day

With Olympic medalists and other athletic icons among its ambassadors, this brand is marketed to people who value fitness and nutrition and want to share that lifestyle with their pets.

Nulo’s canned foods embody a meat-first dietary philosophy. Their foods are simple and straightforward, using a hearty mix of muscle meat and organs without a lot of plant matter. They’re free of artificial colors, flavors, preservatives, and other additives that might harm your cat over time.

The Nulo brand was launched in 2009 and hasn’t issued a recall since.

Top Recipe: Nulo Freestyle Turkey & Chicken Recipe Grain-Free Canned Cat & Kitten Food

This top Nulo recipe demonstrates the brand’s focus on readily-digestible protein and high-quality nutrition. Its primary ingredients are turkey, chicken, turkey liver, and tuna. Menhaden fish oil adds omega-3 fatty acids while a mix of guar gum and agar help to bind the paté. The food contains a touch of pumpkin, a supplement that many people trust to relieve constipation and other digestive problems.

Many reviewers credit this food with relieving their cats’ chronic digestive issues.

Ingredients:

Turkey, Chicken, Turkey Liver, Turkey Broth, Tuna, Natural Flavor, Guar Gum, Potassium Chloride, Agar-Agar, Choline Chloride, Taurine, Cranberries, Pumpkin, Menhaden Fish Oil (Preserved With Mixed Tocopherols), Tomato, Dried Kelp, Yucca Schidigera Extract, Salt, Iron Proteinate, Sodium Carbonate, Zinc Proteinate, Thiamine Mononitrate, Vitamin E Supplement, Magnesium Sulfate, Copper Proteinate, Manganese Proteinate, Sodium Selenite, Niacin Supplement, d-Calcium Pantothenate, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Riboflavin Supplement, Vitamin A Supplement, Biotin, Potassium Iodide, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Folic Acid, Rosemary Extract.

Guaranteed Analysis:

Crude Protein11% min
Crude Fat6.5% min
Crude Fiber0.75% min
Moisture78.0% max
Ashn/a

What We Liked:

  • Features readily-digestible poultry meat and organs
  • Doesn’t contain any commonly irritating ingredients
  • Contains menhaden fish oil as a carnivore-appropriate source of omega-3 fatty acids
  • Low carbohydrate content

What We Didn’t Like:

  • Contains a few more plant ingredients than we’d like

#7 Best for Weight Loss: Tiki Cat Wet Cat Food

Tiki Cat Canned Cat Food

Buy On Chewy  Buy On Amazon

Read Our Full Brand Review

Overview:

  • Brand Name: Tiki Cat
  • Made In: Thailand
  • Guaranteed Protein: 16% min
  • Age Range: Adult
  • Typical Cost Per Day: $4.86/day

Although pate-style foods are typically more species-appropriate and have lower carbohydrate content than stew-style products, a few companies create stews without starches and thickeners. Tiki Cat is one of those companies.

Their large canned food selection focuses on products made from meat, oil, and vitamins and minerals. The foods are made without any artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives.

Their foods are manufactured in Thailand, a country known for good food production and safety standards.

Tiki Cat has never been recalled.

Top Recipe: Tiki Cat Puka Puka Luau Succulent Chicken in Chicken Consomme

This recipe is strikingly simple—it’s a can of fortified shredded chicken in broth and oil. The recipe consists of chicken, broth, oil, and supplements.

Like all Tiki Cat foods, it’s low in fat and calories, making it a good option for cats who need to lose weight.

Ingredients:

Chicken, Chicken Broth, Sunflower Seed Oil, Tricalcium Phosphate, Taurine, Choline Chloride, Potassium Chloride, Sodium Chloride, Magnesium Sulfate, Zinc Amino Acid Chelate, Iron Amino Acid Chelate, Vitamin E Supplement, Ascorbic Acid, Thiamine Mononitrate (Vitamin B1), Niacin (Vitamin B3), Manganese Amino Acid Chelate, Vitamin A Supplement, Copper Amino Acid Chelate, Calcium Iodate, Calcium Pantothenate, Sodium Selenite, Riboflavin Supplement (Vitamin B2), Vitamin B12 Supplement, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride (Vitamin B6), Folic Acid, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Biotin, Vitamin K3 Supplement.

Guaranteed Analysis:

Crude Protein16.0% min
Crude Fat2.6% min
Crude Fiber0% max
Moisture80.0% max
Ash1.6% max

What We Liked:

  • Great for cats who prefer shreds and stew over pate-style foods
  • Wide variety of formulas and flavors
  • Free from thickeners or starches

What We Didn’t Like:

  • Contains sunflower oil, which isn’t species-appropriate
  • Relatively expensive food at about $3 per day

#8 Best for Picky Cats: Instinct by Nature’s Variety Cat Food

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

Buy On Chewy  Buy On Amazon

Read Our Full Brand Review

Overview:

  • Brand Name: Instinct by Nature’s Variety
  • Made In: United States
  • Guaranteed Protein: 10% min
  • Age Range: Adult
  • Typical Cost Per Day: $2.28/day

Though Nature’s Variety Instinct foods are marketed as natural and species-appropriate, they’re some of the fluffier ones you’ll see on this list.

Instinct canned foods are heavy on meat ingredients like chicken, turkey, and chicken liver, but also contain gimmicky plant ingredients like ground flaxseed, peas, and carrots.

Nature’s Variety pet food was recalled in 2015, 2013, and 2010. Salmonella contamination was involved in two of these recalls, while the 2013 recall happened after people found clear plastic in the food.

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

This popular pate recipe consists of 95% chicken, turkey, and chicken liver. The remaining five percent is dedicated to fruits, veggies, montmorillonite clay, vitamins, and amino acids.

Though it contains a variety of plant ingredients, the food remains low in carbohydrates and is a relatively species-appropriate option.

Ingredients:

Chicken, Turkey, Chicken Liver, Chicken Broth, Ground Flaxseed, Montmorillonite Clay, Egg Product, Peas, Carrots, Potassium Chloride, Salt, Minerals (Iron Proteinate, Zinc Proteinate, Copper Proteinate, Manganese Proteinate, Sodium Selenite, Potassium Iodide), Choline Chloride, Vitamins (Vitamin E Supplement, Thiamine Mononitrate, Niacin Supplement, D-Calcium Pantothenate, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Riboflavin Supplement, Vitamin A Supplement, Biotin, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Folic Acid), Taurine, L-Ascorbyl-2-Polyphosphate, Menhaden Fish Oil (Preserved With Mixed Tocopherols), Artichokes, Cranberries, Pumpkin, Tomato, Blueberries, Broccoli, Cabbage, Kale, Parsley.

Guaranteed Analysis:

Crude Protein10% min
Crude Fat7.5% min
Crude Fiber3.0% max
Moisture78% max
Ash2.8%

What We Liked:

  • One of the most well-loved brands on the market
  • Meat-based, protein-rich foods
  • Low carbohydrate content
  • Relatively low cost compared to the other brands on this list

What We Didn’t Like:

  • Recipes contain unnecessary amounts of plant ingredients
  • Instinct by Nature’s Variety has been recalled

#9 Best for Kittens: Wellness CORE Natural Grain Free Turkey & Chicken Liver Pate Canned Kitten Food

Buy On Chewy   Buy On Amazon

Overview:

  • Brand Name: Wellness CORE
  • Made In: United States
  • Guaranteed Protein: 12% min
  • Age Range: Kitten
  • Typical Cost Per Day: $1.14/day

The Wellness brand is made and manufactured by WellPet, LLC., a company that began as the Old Mother Hubbard company, which introduced its first oven-baked dog biscuits back in 1926. Today, Wellness is a big brand with numerous lines of dog and cat food.

This Wellness CORE recipe is formulated with kittens in mind. To support rapid kittenhood growth, the food features a protein-rich blend of poultry and fish, including turkey, chicken liver, chicken meal, and herring. Multiple sources of DHA help ensure healthy brain and eye development. Overall, this is an outstanding canned food with just about everything you could want in a kitten formula.

Wellness foods are more economical than the others on the list.

Wellness pet foods have been recalled several times. Wellness was recalled twice in 2017, once in 2012, and another time in 2011. The 2011 recall is the only one that involved the CORE line. In February of that year, the company recalled a staggering 21.6 million cans of Wellness cat food due to inadequate levels of thiamine.

Top Recipe: Wellness CORE Signature Selects Flaked Skipjack Tuna & Wild Salmon Entree in Broth Grain-Free Canned Cat Food

This Wellness CORE recipe is formulated with kittens in mind.

To support rapid kittenhood growth, the food features a protein-rich blend of poultry and fish, including turkey, chicken liver, chicken meal, and herring. Multiple sources of DHA help ensure healthy brain and eye development.

Overall, this is an outstanding canned food with just about everything you could want in a kitten formula.

Ingredients:

Turkey, Chicken Liver, Turkey Broth, Chicken, Chicken Meal, Herring, Natural Flavor, Cranberries, Menhaden Fish Oil (preserved with Mixed Tocopherols), Guar Gum, Tricalcium Phosphate, Ground Flaxseed, Potassium Chloride, Choline Chloride, Taurine, Cassia Gum, Xanthan Gum, Dried Kelp, Chicory Root Extract, Yucca Schidigera Extract, Alfalfa Meal, Salt, Magnesium Sulfate, Iron Proteinate, Zinc Proteinate, Thiamine Mononitrate, Vitamin E Supplement, Copper Proteinate, Manganese Proteinate, Sodium Selenite, Niacin, d-Calcium Pantothenate, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Riboflavin Supplement, Vitamin A Supplement, Biotin, Potassium Iodide, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Folic Acid, Rosemary Extract.

Guaranteed Analysis:

Crude Protein12.0% min
Crude Fat7.5% min
Crude Fiber1.0% max
Moisture78.0% max
Ashn/a

What We Liked:

  • Relatively economical compared to other foods of similar quality
  • Wellness CORE recipes address multiple life stages, including kittenhood
  • Uses animal-sourced protein and fat
  • Free from artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives
  • Low in carbohydrates

What We Didn’t Like:

  • Wellness CORE recipes typically include some plant ingredients
  • The brand has been recalled

#10 Best Budget: WholeHearted Canned Cat Food

WholeHearted All Life Stages Canned Cat Food - Grain Free Chicken RecipeBuy On Amazon
Buy On Petco

Read Our Full Brand Review

Overview:

  • Brand Name: WholeHearted
  • Made In: United States
  • Guaranteed Protein: 10% min
  • Age Range: All Life Stages
  • Typical Cost Per Day: $1.52/day

Most of the products listed here are expensive or at least a little bit pricier than the average food at the grocery store. That doesn’t mean that you have to spend a lot to get good food. Some of the best canned foods are affordable and accessible.

One example is WholeHearted, a Petco exclusive brand. For about the same price as Fancy Feast, you get a food comparable to some of the most expensive products on the market. WholeHearted canned foods are free of the by-products and artificial colors common among budget-level products. Instead, they contain readily-digestible animal ingredients, not too much plant matter, and species-appropriate sources of omega-3 fatty acids.

Top Recipe: WholeHearted Grain Free Chicken Recipe Flaked in Gravy Review

This WholeHearted recipe looks a lot like something you might get from Weruva—it’s made from flaked chicken meat in a thick gravy. It contains tapioca starch and xanthan gum as thickeners. A mix of sunflower oil and tuna oil serve as fat sources.

What’s not great about this food? It only contains muscle meat without any nutrient-dense organ meat. Compared to some of the other products on this list, it contains a little more starch. And it’s a bit lower in animal-sourced fat.

But ultimately, this food has the generous protein content, moderate fat content, and low carbohydrate count that we look for in the best canned cat food.

Ingredients:

Chicken, Chicken Broth, Water Sufficient For Processing, Tapioca Starch, Sunflower Oil, Tricalcium Phosphate, Salt, Sodium Acid Pyrophosphate, Calcium Sulfate, Xanthan Gum, Tuna Oil, Magnesium Sulfate, Potassium Chloride, Choline Chloride, Fructooligosaccharide, Taurine, Zinc Oxide, Reduced Iron, Vitamin E Supplement, Sodium Selenite, Manganese Sulfate, Niacin Supplement, Thiamine Mononitrate, Vitamin A Supplement, Copper Glycine Complex, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Calcium Pantothenate, Riboflavin Supplement, Biotin, Potassium Iodide, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Folic Acid, Menadione Sodium Bisulfite Complex (Source Of Vitamin K Activity)

Guaranteed Analysis:

Crude Protein10.0% min
Crude Fat2.0% min
Crude Fiber1.0% min
Moisture84% max
Ashn/a

What We Liked:

  • Free of animal by-products and potentially low-value meats
  • Doesn’t contain artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives
  • Rich in animal protein
  • Low carbohydrate content

What We Didn’t Like:

  • Doesn’t receive consistently positive customer reviews
  • Contains tapioca starch
  • Doesn’t contain nutrient-dense organ meats

#11 Best for Seniors: Dr. Elsey’s cleanprotein Cat Food

Dr. Elsey's cleanprotein Turkey Formula Grain-Free Canned Cat Food Review

Buy On Chewy   Buy On Amazon

Read Our Full Brand Review

Overview:

  • Brand Name: Dr. Elsey’s
  • Made In: United States
  • Guaranteed Protein: 11% min
  • Age Range: Adult
  • Typical Cost Per Day: $2.24/day

While the Dr. Elsey’s brand is a veteran in the cat litter space, it’s new to cat food. The company’s cleanprotein™ line was introduced in 2017. It includes a high-protein dry kibble and a selection of canned products.

The products in Dr. Elsey’s cleanprotein line emphasize meat ingredients while plant matter takes a definite backseat. You won’t find any low-value proteins in any cleanprotein foods, and the company goes light on plant ingredients in general. The foods are grain-free with minimal carbohydrate content.

Dr. Elsey’s cleanprotein cat food has never been recalled.

Top Recipe: Dr. Elsey’s cleanprotein Turkey Formula Grain-Free Canned Cat Food 

This simple recipe contains turkey, broth, liver, and dried egg product. It’s thickened with agar-agar and supplemented with green-lipped mussels as a source of nourishing omega-3 fatty acids. The food also contains barley grass and turmeric in addition to the standard supplements.

Altogether, this is a protein-rich, carnivore-appropriate food with plenty of supplements to fight inflammation and keep your cat feeling his best.

While this food is a good choice for most seniors, it’s not right for everyone. It’s vital that you put your cat’s unique health needs first. Cats with chronic illnesses like hyperthyroidism and kidney disease may need a therapeutic or prescription diet.

Ingredients:

Turkey, Turkey Broth, Turkey Liver, Dried Egg Product, Natural Flavor, Potassium Chloride, Agar-Agar, Barley Grass, Choline Chloride, Salt, Taurine, Salmon Oil, Turmeric, Dried New Zealand Green Mussels, Zinc Proteinate, Iron Proteinate, Magnesium Proteinate, Niacin Supplement, Vitamin E Supplement, Copper Proteinate, Sodium Selenite, Thiamine Mononitrate, Manganese Proteinate, Vitamin A Supplement, Calcium Pantothenate, Riboflavin Supplement, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Biotin, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Ethylenediamine Dihydroiodide, Folic Acid.

Guaranteed Analysis:

Crude Protein11.0% min
Crude Fat9.0% min
Crude Fiber1.50% min
Moisture78.0% max
AshN/A

What We Liked:

  • Simple recipes emphasizing bioavailable protein
  • Minimal plant inclusions
  • No artificial ingredients
  • Low carbohydrate content
  • Rich in species-appropriate sources of omega-3 fatty acids

What We Didn’t Like:

  • Expensive

Why choose wet cat food instead of dry cat food?

Wet cat food is usually low in carbohydrates.

There’s absolutely no nutritionally-based rationale behind the high carbohydrate content of dry cat food. These high-carb ingredients exist to bind the kibble, allowing the extrusion process to work. They don’t do anything good for your cat’s health and, indeed, they could make your cat’s health worse by contributing to obesity and diabetes.

Also Read: Best Cat Food for Diabetic Cats

Whether it’s grain-free or contains grains, dry cat food is typically high in carbohydrates. Across the price spectrum and all varieties, wet food is almost universally lower in unnecessary plant ingredients, starches, and sugars.

Wet food provides the hydration your cat needs.

It’s important to understand that cats don’t naturally drink a lot of water. They instinctively prefer to get water from their food. Though cats who eat dry food do drink more water than those on moist diets, they nevertheless get less hydration than a wet-fed cat.

Also Read: The 5 Best Cat Water Fountains […and we tested them all …]

Because they take in so much less water, these cats are prone to chronic dehydration and, consequently, FLUTD. This is a blanket term referring to the full spectrum of feline lower urinary tract disease. These conditions include UTI, urethral blockage, cystitis, and urinary crystals.

Also Read: 5 Best Cat Foods For Urinary Tract Health

If your cat is a kibble addict, you might try to remedy the water deprivation problem by adding warm water to your cat’s bowl of kibble. Unfortunately, moistened kibble is prone to aflatoxin mold growth, so when you put water in it, you’re creating a little terrarium of toxic fungus.

What should you look for when shopping for wet or canned cat food?

A Great Company Reputation

Buy from companies with a reputation for quality control, safety, reliability, and good customer service.

A company’s recall history can tell you a lot.

Use your own judgment to evaluate the circumstances of and response to any given recall. A company with a history of constant recalls, deception, and secrecy is not one you can trust. There’s no need to dismiss a company based on a single minor recall, provided that they responded to it swiftly, honestly, and effectively.

Customer reviews also provide insights.

If your cat gets sick after eating their food or if you have questions about something on the label, you’re going to want to talk to someone at the company. Before committing to a cat food company, determine if they’ll be a friendly, accessible ally in your cat’s health.

Reputable Manufacturing

While this information is sometimes proprietary, it’s good to find out where your cat’s food is manufactured. Many companies, if not most, partner with manufacturers rather than making the cat food in their own facility. Knowing where your cat’s food is made will help you to assess its quality.

Low Carbohydrates

While wet food is more meat-dense than dry kibble, carbohydrate-laden canned food does exist, particularly among premium brands. Wholesome fruits and veggies play into an anthropomorphic idea of feline health.

In reality, cats don’t require high-carbohydrate ingredients like sweet potato, spinach, carrots, and other ingredients sometimes included in canned food. Avoid these ingredients whenever possible.

What about grain-free food?

Since corn, soy, and wheat fell out of fashion a few years ago, both dry and wet foods have adopted the grain-free label. Prior to 2019, grain-free food was popularly viewed as a healthier alternative to traditional foods. That changed in 2019. That’s when the FDA announced an investigation into grain-free food’s potential link to DCM (dilated cardiomyopathy).

Since hearing this news, some vets are telling their clients to avoid grain-free food altogether.

But there’s good news for those who feed their cats wet food—there’s a big difference between grain-free kibble and grain-free wet food.

We don’t know what causes the correlation between grain-free food and DCM, but we do know that the disorder is not caused by a grain deficiency—it’s caused by something else common among certain grain-free foods.

Unlike dry food, most grain-free wet products are no different than the canned food cats have been eating for decades. If grain-free wet food was a problem, we’d see cats having heart problems after eating Fancy Feast. Fortunately, it’s not.

Highly Digestible Protein

Cat food labels list crude protein and fat only. They don’t differentiate from bioavailable protein and indigestible protein.

When you read the label, 20% protein from leather and 20% protein from turkey look like the same thing. While it’s almost impossible to know exactly how digestible any given food is, the ingredient list does give you a few hints.

Animal by-products often fall into the category of low-value protein.

The problem with by-products is not the fact that they look gross. In fact, the bloodiest, messiest foods are some of the best nourishment for cats. A mouse brain isn’t appetizing, but it’s one of the best things your cat could eat.

The real issue is that meat by-products are completely opaque ingredients. They’re mystery meat, and for your cat, that means unknown biological value.

Meat by-products are a nondescript slurry of meat and include animal parts spanning the bioavailability spectrum. Byproducts could be nourishing or you could get a can of meat byproducts consisting of non-nutritive feet and other minimally-digestible tissues.

To avoid this nutritional ambiguity, choose foods with clearly-identified meats on the ingredient list. Look for words like “chicken”, “beef”, “deboned turkey”, and “quail liver”.

Plant protein may also be less biologically available.

While we don’t know exactly which protein sources are the most bioavailable, we do know that animal products are more nutritionally efficient for your carnivore.

While your cat might get all the amino acids he needs from a single mouse, you’d have to mix an array of plant proteins and synthetics to achieve the same amino acid profile.

When looking for the best cat food on the market, we avoided those that contain plant protein sources like wheat gluten, corn gluten meal, pea protein, and soy.

Safe Binders

Though not nutritionally necessary or species-appropriate, gums appear in almost every wet cat food, including some of the best. If you can’t avoid gums, you should know which are safe and which might harm your cat. Note that all gums are sources of soluble fiber, which increases transit time and can inhibit protein and fat metabolism.

Avoid carrageenan. Approach xanthan gum and guar gum with caution.

The most notorious cat food binder is carrageenan. While the carrageenan used in cat food is food-grade and theoretically won’t cause inflammation or cancer, there’s substantial evidence suggesting that food-grade carrageenan isn’t as safe as it should be.

Xanthan gum is generally considered safe, but might not be right for every cat. It’s the product of simple sugar fermentation and may carry traces of the fermentation medium. Cats who are allergic to the soy, wheat, dairy, or corn used to make xanthan gum may have an allergic reaction. Some non-allergic cats experience diarrhea or GI discomfort after eating xanthan gum due to its high fiber content.

Agar-agar, cassia gum, and locust bean gum are acceptable in small quantities.

In response to the widespread rejection of carrageenan, many cat food manufacturers have adopted agar as a thickener of choice. Agar, also known as agar-agar, is carrageenan’s friendlier cousin. Both are derived from red algae, but agar-agar has no apparent link to inflammation.

Guar gum is one of the most common thickeners in wet cat food. It appears to be safe, but it has laxative properties. This is helpful for constipated cats but may give others GI discomfort or diarrhea.

Cassia gum is made from the endosperm of the seeds of Senna obtusifolia and Senna tora, commonly known as sicklepod and sickle senna. This gum is relatively uncommon in cat food and has no known negative health effects.

Locust bean gum is generally considered safe for cats and has no known negative health effects. It’s extracted from the seeds of the carob tree and has no history of causing health problems in cats or people.

Best Healthy Canned, Soft, & Wet Cat Food Summed Up:

Brand NameMade InProteinAge RangeCost Per Day
Feline NaturalNew Zealand9.0% minAll Life Stages$6.57/day
SmallsUnited States21% minAll Life Stages$2-$3.5
Nom NomUnited States18% minAll Life Stages$2-$6/day
Hound & GatosUnited States10% minAdult$2.18/day
WeruvaThailand10% minAll Life Stages$3.10/day
NuloUnited States11% minAdult$2.55/day
Tiki CatThailand16% minAdult$4.86/day
InstinctUnited States10% minAdult$2.28/day
Wellness COREUnited States12% minKitten$1.14/day
WholeHeartedUnited States10% minAll Life Stages$1.52/day
Dr. Elsey’sUnited States11% minAdult$2.24/day

Want to learn more about choosing healthy food for your cat? Check out our complete guide to the best cat food on the market.

About the author


Mallory Crusta is a writer and adventurecat enthusiast on a mission to make cats’ lives extraordinary. She’s one of the founders of Wildernesscat – a site for happy, healthy, and adventurous cats who are fueled by nature. Visit Wildernesscat for radically natural cat nutrition, home remedies, and lifestyle inspiration.

Frequently Asked Questions

What wet food is best for my cats?

While all cats are obligate carnivores and share a requirement for flesh-based nutrition, your cat’s ideal diet is determined by highly-individual factors. Consider your cat’s flavor preferences and health needs, then build on those requirements to find the highest-quality wet cat food you can afford.

What is the best inexpensive wet cat food?

WholeHearted, Authority, and Simply Nourish are a few of the best inexpensive wet cat food brands on the market. You’ll also find a few good recipes from Fancy Feast’s Classics and Flaked lines.

What is the best wet cat food for indoor cats?

The best wet cat food for indoor cats is a satisfying, species-appropriate diet that helps to keep your cat strong and lean. Avoid foods that contain too much starch, fiber, or calories.

Is dry or wet cat food best for cats?

Because it's hydrating, usually low in carbohydrates, and tends to be meatier than kibble, wet food is almost always best for cats. A dry diet is convenient, but it could increase your cat's chances of developing urinary tract disease and diabetes.

39 thoughts on “The 11 Best Healthy Canned, Soft & Wet Cat Foods for 2020

  1. Avatarrick

    question, first of all, thank you for this site and research Mallory. my question is, if after you have fed your cat a certain kind of pate for weeks, then your cat vomits once, does that mean your cat is now intolerant of THAT particular kind of food? my wife switches can food every time our cat vomits and it make me question it.

    Reply
    1. Mallory CrustaMallory Crusta

      Hi Rick,

      Thanks for your question! Vomiting once after weeks of feeding doesn’t necessarily indicate an intolerance. If you really want to get to the bottom of this, I’d recommend trying an elimination diet and carefully reintroducing proteins to determine which, if any, protein sources trigger GI issues. Otherwise, you’re switching foods willy-nilly and, even if your cat does have a food intolerance or allergy, you don’t know exactly which ingredients he or she is sensitive to.

      Hope this answers your question!

      Best,

      Mallory

      Reply
  2. AvatarThais Bell

    The cat I feed and provide a safe place for her to sleep outdoors is a feral Her ear is clipped, which means she is fixed and had shots, hopefully. She loves Meow Mix singles, which I hate due to bad ingredients. I am sure she eats mice, birds and insects, so I want to feed her a better wet cat food and not Pate, which she hates. She loves chicken. What could you suggest? Note: I can’t afford the high price brands.

    Reply
    1. AvatarmEOW meow MEOw

      Wholehearted is a Petco brand priced on par with Fancy Feast/Meow Mix but with much better ingredients. Recommend looking into their wet food formulas!

      Reply
      1. Mallory CrustaMallory Crusta

        Good recommendation!

        To add to what mEOW meow MEOw said, I’d recommend Wholehearted’s flaked chicken food for your feral. It should satisfy her texture and taste requirements, and for the price of Fancy Feast, you get a dye-free, meat-based food nutritionally similar to high-priced brands like Weruva. Good deal!

        Here’s a link: https://www.petco.com/shop/en/petcostore/product/wholehearted-all-life-stages-canned-cat-food—grain-free-chicken-recipe-flaked-in-gravy#pdp-ingredients

        Take care,

        Mallory

        Reply
  3. AvatarAlex

    Hi. Are there any non grain free wet cat foods that you would recommend. Your top ten are all grain free. I have been reading worrying things about the effects of grain free food on dogs. Worried that these may also be detrimental to cats.

    Reply
    1. Mallory CrustaMallory Crusta

      Hi Alex,

      Thanks for your question. I’m not sure what you’ve read about the effects of grain-free food for dogs, but there’s no reason why a grain-free diet would be detrimental to a cat’s health. The foods on this list were chosen for their ingredient quality and meat-heavy, low-carbohydrate formulations. Why? Because that’s what appears to be both natural and nourishing for cats. In terms of feline nutrition, grains are no different from any other high-carbohydrate plant ingredient. They don’t do anything to make cats healthier or happier and there’s no reason to include them in cat food.

      Hope this was helpful!

      Best,

      Mallory

      Reply
        1. Mallory CrustaMallory Crusta

          Hi Alex, thanks for sharing that link.

          I’m thinking that since almost all of the reports were associated with grain-free dry food rather than any other variety, the problem is not in the absence of grains but more likely in the presence of other ingredients like potatoes, peas, and other legumes. These ingredients are essential in most grain-free dry foods but very few canned foods have them. Others have speculated that other exotic proteins, fruits, and vegetables may be to blame. These are likely more common in grain-free foods because the grain-free dry food market is so trend-driven. That said, most canned food has been grain-free since day one. Because they’re not as fashionable as grain-free kibble, fewer canned foods contain exotic or trendy ingredients.

          This is an interesting issue and I’ll be staying tuned to learn more about the FDA’s findings.

          Best,

          Mallory

          Reply
  4. AvatarBecca Bruce

    My cat was diagnosed with chronic kidney disease and has been eating prescription food since. Now my vet says her numbers have been normal for over a year and it must have been an acute reaction. He wants her to go off of the prescription kidney food. I’m concerned about going from a high carb diet to food that is high in protein, which they all seem to be. What food is higher in carbs and are certain carbs that are better for cats?
    Thank you.

    Reply
    1. Mallory CrustaMallory Crusta

      Hi Becca,

      I understand your concerns about switching your cat off the prescription food—I’d probably be apprehensive, too.

      I’m not a vet, so of course, take this with a grain of salt, but I have never found any indication that a high-carbohydrate diet is in any way beneficial for cats with kidney issues. Renal diets tend to be higher in carbohydrates because renal diets are typically low in protein, not because they do anything good for a cat with kidney disease. Carbohydrate matter just happens to fill the void when you cut back on protein. Healthy, diabetic, or suffering from another condition, cats seem to do well on a diet with 10% carbohydrate content or less.

      Secondly, there’s a growing group of veterinarians and researchers who think protein quality is more important than quantity when it comes to controlling kidney disease, so increasing your cat’s protein content likely won’t cause a problem so long as that protein is highly-digestible. Digestibility is a pretty poorly understood area, but in general, it appears that the most digestible protein comes from named meat ingredients—not animal by-products or plant proteins.

      Then there’s the phosphorus issue. You can find plenty of non-prescription foods with phosphorus levels that are safe for both healthy cats and those with kidney disease. Off the top of my head, good brands include Nom Nom, Weruva, and Tiki Cat. Foods that contain ground bone will typically have more phosphorus. This cat food database allows you to search for foods by phosphorus content: https://catinfo.org/chart/index.php

      If you want to learn more about the fundamental ideas behind renal diets, please read our article on the best food for cats with kidney disease. https://allaboutcats.com/best-cat-food-for-kidney-disease

      Again, I’m not a veterinarian, but if I were in your position, I would look for a non-prescription food with highly-digestible protein and controlled phosphorus levels. These two qualities would put my mind at ease just in case she does still have some kidney issues and they’re equally appropriate for a cat with full kidney function.

      Hope this answered your questions and helps you to make a decision!

      Take care,

      Mallory

      Reply
  5. AvatarJulie Roberson

    I have 7 cats and really want to feed them the best food which I think is wet food. I have been feeding them the Natures Variety Instinct & Weruva can foods. Also feed them dry (Natures Variety Instincts) mix with the wet. I just really am not sure if that is good for them or not plus I just can’t really afford it. I research and think I have found something but then find out it’s had recalls, or something that’s not good in it. What do you recommend for 7 cats ages 1 year to 3 years old.

    Reply
    1. Mallory CrustaMallory Crusta

      Hello Julie,

      First off, it’s great that you’re trying to find the best food for your seven kitties. I know how challenging it is to try to find something that meets all of your requirements. It sounds like you’re on the right track with what you’re feeding your cats now, but if you want something more affordable, you might consider a brand that another commenter recently brought to my attention—Petco’s WholeHearted. WholeHearted food is similar to Tiki Cat or Weruva at a much lower price. Plus it’s never been recalled, which should give you some peace of mind.

      Hope this helps!

      Best,

      Mallory

      Reply
  6. AvatarRose Stone

    Hi, I have a three year old cat, Schmoopy, who was recently diagnosed with congestive heart failure and given a three month to three year survival time. After some research I have decided on an organic herbal heart remedy and most importantly a high quality human grade pet food. In your opinion is there such a pet food on the market? Are any of the above foods superior for a sick kitty?

    Reply
  7. Mallory CrustaMallory Crusta

    Hi Rose,

    Thanks for your comment. I’m sorry to hear that Schmoopy was diagnosed with congestive heart failure—that must have been hard news to receive.

    To answer your question, any of the foods listed in this article should be good for your kitty. Of the brands listed, Weruva, Tiki Cat, and Nom Nom are the only ones that claim to use human-grade ingredients or human food processing facilities. While the others are made in Thailand, Nom Nom is made in a US kitchen that meets human food safety standards. All of the brands on this list—whether they emphasize human-grade ingredients or not—appear to use top-quality ingredients and have good safety reputations, but if that human-grade status is your top priority, I’d go for Nom Nom.

    Remember—many companies use ingredients that are technically human-grade but don’t make human-grade claims about their food. Feel free to try a variety of foods to find out which ones meet both your and Schmoopy’s standards.

    Hope this helps!

    Take care,

    Mallory

    Reply
  8. AvatarDelmy Rivera

    Hi, I have a cat that was diagnosed with crystals in his urine.. I want to know if I should switch his food from Royal canin to Farmina vet life Strivite it’s another prescription food.He really likes it and it has potato as one of the ingredients. Is this good for my cat?

    Reply
    1. Mallory CrustaMallory Crusta

      Hi Delmy,

      Thanks for commenting!

      Farmina Vet Life Struvite food may be able to help your cat—provided that you know he has struvite, not calcium oxalate, crystals.

      It’s hard to say whether the Farmina or Royal Canin food is a better option, especially since you didn’t mention which Royal Canin food you’ve been buying. Royal Canin has a larger variety of urinary tract foods, including a selection of wet recipes, so they’re a better option for those who want to make sure their cat gets enough moisture.

      As far as I can tell, Farmina Vet Life Struvite Management is only available in a dry variety. This means that while it addresses crystal formation in other areas, it fails to provide something vital to urinary tract health—moisture. Unless absolutely necessary, we always encourage people to pass on dry food—prescription or otherwise—in favor of high-moisture diets.

      Ultimately, I would continue feeding the Farmina Vet Life food while incorporating more water-rich products as much as you can.

      Our article on the best cat food for urinary health may help you further:

      https://allaboutcats.com/best-cat-food-urinary-tract-health

      Hope this helps!

      Best,

      Mallory

      Reply
  9. AvatarEmily Johnston

    Hi 1st time kitty mama here I’m trying to do all the research I can to make sure I’m feeding her healthy foods. And after looking at this site the food I thought was a good food was given a C by this site so I had gotten some samples of the simply nourish and she seems to like it..which from reading on here it’s looks like it’s a pretty good brand for dry food. I’ve been buying the blue buffalo kitten wet food though… However I have heard mixed reviews about blue buffalo as well so I’m thinking maybe of going to the wellness brand or natures variety. But anyways any tips for this 1st time cat owner would be greatly appreciated. It really looks like this site really dives in and does it’s research. So thank you for having this out here for us!

    Reply
    1. Mallory CrustaMallory Crusta

      Hello Emily,

      Glad to have you here!

      Simply Nourish, Wellness, and Nature’s Variety are all decent options for your kitten. I recommend giving all of them a try. Find out which of them she prefers and which work for you.

      Feeding a cat should be easy and intuitive—if you ever find that it’s stressing you out, you’re worrying too much. To keep it simple, remember that your kitten is a carnivore. The more her food resembles an animal, the better. Like a fresh prey animal, a good feline diet is high in protein with moderate fat, low or no carbohydrates, and all of the vitamins, amino acids, and fatty acids your cat needs to thrive. Most freeze-dried and raw diets do this pretty well, with canned foods a close second. Dry foods are usually a little bit more plant-heavy and don’t have the water content your cat needs. Once you have that foundation down, it’s all about accommodating budget, taste preferences, and sometimes, health issues.

      Have you read our complete guide to feline nutrition? If you haven’t, you may want to check it out—it’s a long, comprehensive piece that will give you a good sense of which foods are best and why.

      https://allaboutcats.com/the-complete-guide-to-feline-nutrition

      Other than that, enjoy your new kitten! This is a special time and I’m excited for you.

      Take care,

      Mallory

      Reply
  10. AvatarDatdamwuf

    Hello,
    good breakdown but can you tell me how you reached the estimated cost per day? I used to have a link to good calculator for calories per day by (healthy) weight but can’t find it. Is your estimate based on a 10 lb cat, or? My main coons ate 5.5 ounces 2 x a day of Wellness grain free and similar brands.

    Reply
    1. Mallory CrustaMallory Crusta

      Hello!

      Thanks for commenting.

      I calculated the typical cost per day based on 200 calories per day, which is a generally good target for a 10-lb cat. I don’t know how it compares to the calculator you used to have a link to, but you might like this calculator from the Pet Nutrition Alliance:

      https://www.petnutritionalliance.org/cat.php

      Hope this answers your question! Let us know if you need anything else.

      Best,

      Mallory

      Reply
      1. AvatarNorfarizan Atan

        Hi Mallory, writing from S’pore here. Happened to this website by chance and very glad that I did. I have a senior girl cat, whom has a dehydration issue. She became fussy about eating in the past year and only eats wet food now. She does not like drinking water and so, i’veen feeding her a combination of puree, mousse, canned food, and weekly chicken/tuna fillets as treats. This was by recomended by some friends but it turns out, her dehydration issue has not improved, based on the blood tests just did yesterday. Sorry for being long-winded. Can you please recommend a suitable range/brand for my cat? Must be free of pork ingredients…..thank you. PS: bought a water fountain but she wont drink from it(:

        Reply
        1. Mallory CrustaMallory Crusta

          Hey there! Glad you stumbled upon the site. Between the variety of high-moisture foods and the water fountain (even though she won’t drink from it), you’re certainly giving your cat plenty of options for getting hydrated. Before focusing on her diet, I would focus on the underlying cause of the dehydration.

          Reply
  11. AvatarCpCats

    I would not recommend the Dr Elsey’s Clean Protein for senior cats. The inclusion of agar-agar makes it a no go for cats with hyperthyroidism, which is an extremely common disease in senior-age cats.
    Agar-agar is a seaweed derived ingredient (like carrageenan) and so contains excess iodine, which will make hyperthyroidism worse

    Reply
  12. Mallory CrustaMallory Crusta

    Hi CpCats,

    Thank you for your observations on agar-agar for cats with hyperthyroidism. Though Dr. Elsey’s food still looks like a worthwhile option for the majority of senior cats, you’re right—it might not be a good choice for cats with hyperthyroidism. We’ve updated the article to address this issue.

    Best,

    Mallory

    Reply
  13. AvatarJudy M.

    Great article with clear concise information. I just adopted two five month old kittens. I need to be at a moderate cost on the food but want good quality. I purchased some Whole Hearted wet kitten food and somehow missed the very tiny Product of Thailand on the label. I want to stick to made in the USA. I’m thinking that I’d like to feed a combination of wet and dry (not mixed together). I lost a cat to Feline Urological Disease once and never want to go down that road again. Thanks for the great information and any advice would be greatly appreciated.

    Reply
  14. AvatarDana Stevens

    I notice Smalls is not in your list of best wet cat foods. But I also see you gave it a very good review separately. Not having been able to get my cats to eat nom nom, I m trying to decide between Smalls fresh and Tiki Cat canned salmon which they also love. How would you compare Smalls fresh with Tiki Cat?

    Reply
    1. Mallory CrustaMallory Crusta

      Hi Dana, good question! Smalls fresh cat food is nutritionally comparable to Tiki Cat and slightly cheaper. The biggest question is whether or not it appeals to your cat’s texture and taste preferences. I’d recommend giving Smalls a try and seeing if your cat likes it, then making a decision from there.

      Reply
  15. AvatarJenny azcat

    I’ve ordered this before and my cats like it and it’s healthy good food. My only issue is with the vendor, K9 Naturals. The cans were all loose out of the packaging and many were dented. It looked like someone tossed them into the box from across the room. This is not okay in any circumstances, but especially for the high price of this food!

    Reply
  16. AvatarCamryn

    Our 3 year old cat has never been picky about canned food. He loved everything. We bought this for him because of the great ingredients and now he refuses to eat anything else. I mean absolutely will not go near anything else. Now we have to commit to the pricetag. Lesson learned: don’t buy the good stuff if you can’t commit!!

    Reply
  17. AvatarAnn Moody

    Based largely on your reviews and advice, we have been transitioning our overweight senior, recently adopted shelter cat to a wet-based diet. She had been on Hills Science Diet Adult Light exclusively for several years due to observed indigestion problems at the shelter, and I appreciate their efforts to take the best care of her that they could. I was nervous about any change for this reason. However, I am transitioning her to a more varied, wet-based diet (probably about 60-40 wet to dry but I want to get her to about 80-20), and her kibble to Tiki Cat Born Carnivore Light, which she really likes – though it probably has more fiber and plant matter than she needs, it seems to be a good transition food from the corn, wheat, and rice that were the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th ingredients in her prior diet.

    I also have given her several Tiki Cat wet foods, including the full Grill line and the Tiki Cat Stix wet treats. I notice in other brand reviews you mention a concern with too much fish in a cat’s diet so I have been introducing novel proteins as well – like lamb, venison, and duck. I want to thank you for this site and all your useful information. Right now in the house we have cans of Nulo, Authority, Purina Muse, Wellness Core, Tiki Cat, Nutro, Fancy Feast (flaked fish and shrimp only) , Great Choice (Petsmart cheapo store brand), and Sheba, which in particular is handy because it’s readily available at the local Dollar General and also pretty cheap, and my mom finds it easiest to feed the cat in the little portioned servings as packaged.

    I do not shop strictly by brand, but by ingredients as you have basically taught me. I can see it might be possible to get a budget or store brand with meat based ingredients and no grain or carrageenan which could be healthier than a fancy brand full of cornmeal and icky additives.

    I am happy to report that in spite of the shelter stating this cat had to be kept on the strict dry diet of just the one food, which she was on for at least two full years, she has been doing very well on the wet-based diet and completely different kibble. LItter box use indicates the plumbing is functioning well, hairballs don’t seem to be a problem. She has seemed to like almost everything I have given her and it’s literally all been because of your recommendations. I have not been focusing on her weight but I think she is losing very slowly as wet food makes up a higher proportion of her diet and I will gradually cut down as needed going forward.

    Thank you not only for the details on so many brands and varieties, but much more importantly, the education on what to look for on every single package before we buy so I can make good choices for her every time I shop. This is easily the best website I have found anywhere on the internet for outstanding cat food advice.

    Reply
    1. Mallory CrustaMallory Crusta

      Oh, Ann, this is such a wonderful comment! It brightened my day. It’s great to see your thought process as you made changes in your cat’s diet and—best of all—to hear that your choices are bringing about such great results. Keep up the great work!

      Reply
  18. AvatarAmanda Antognini

    I have a 14 year old male. He has been eating blue Buffalo dry and canned. He now seems to vomit every time he eats the canned food, also does not seem interested in the dry food. We recently adopted an overweight 6 year old female who is eating rachel ray’s grain free wet food my senior wants her food but vomits unless I give him a tiny bit. I have read and researched for hours, just when I think I’ve found the right food I find something that makes me second guess my choice. Please help!

    Reply
    1. Mallory CrustaMallory Crusta

      Hi Amanda, it is a challenging situation! Have you ruled out illness? If your 14-year-old is vomiting after eating both the Blue Buffalo and Rachael Ray food, it could point to something other than a dietary issue. I would seek a veterinarian’s input before seeking dietary modifications.

      Reply
  19. AvatarRosa Maria

    Feline natural canned cat food and pure vita are a few of them which my little kitty likes the most. By the way, I have noted other cat foods you suggested. However, I am not sure if my cat loves a different taste or not. Still, I would love to try them. Thanks!

    Reply
    1. Mallory CrustaMallory Crusta

      Newman’s Own foods can be a good option if you’re intent on choosing organic cat food! Their foods contain a little more plant matter than I’d consider ideal and they contain carrageenan, but overall, they seem to have comparably high-quality ingredients and, if you can find them in a store in your area, they could be a good choice. I’ve noticed that their cat foods are difficult to find online through Chewy or Amazon.

      Reply
  20. AvatarSusan

    Thank you for your research and the resulting list. I completely switched to wet food a few years ago but unfortunately lost a very special cat not long after. Exploratory abdominal surgery found abscesses all over his pancreas leaving only about 10% of the organ viable. The vet was quite surprised at this finding and told me this is quite rare in cats and more common in dogs. I still don’t know if this condition could have been caused by something in what I had been feeding (I had him since he was old enough to adopt as a kitten and lost him at age 11). As a result I take what I feed even more seriously than before. I have fed a couple of the brands in your top 10 and am re-evaluating for my 2 cats (one is 12, the other 2). I also found a pretty extensive list with recommendations of what to feed and what to avoid, along with explanations, at the following link: https://happycatshaven.org/knowledgebase/cat-food-what-to-feed-what-to-avoid/. This list includes many of the things you say to avoid and adds others. Unfortunately even the “better” brands often have ingredients this list says should be avoided. Additionally I noticed kelp in a couple of brands in your top 10 and found an article discussing the possible dangers of kelp for cats and dogs, https://www.pethealthandnutritioncenter.com/kelp-iodine-for-dogs-and-cats.html. Finding a truly healthy/ species appropriate food is challenging and time consuming. I want to make a very informed decision for my 2 guys.

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *