Best Wet Cat Food: Reviews 2018
Based on information gathered from surveys, only 16% of cat owners buy dry cat food for their beloved feline. Reasons for the avoidance for dry food varied, but one thing remained clear – most cat owners feel that wet food is a healthier choice for their pets. And that’s not all assumption. Studies have found that cats are particularly prone to dehydration, digestive troubles, and renal disease. So giving them food that doesn’t negatively impact the hydration in their system can help minimize these risks.
These days, it’s easy to find canned cat food for your pet but that doesn’t necessarily mean that every option you find will be the best pick for your feline friend. Differences in formulation, flavor, and form can have a significant impact on how well a specific wet cat food can satisfy your cat’s nutritional needs and his preferences.
Wondering which picks prove to be the best wet cat food on the market? We zero in on how to make the right choice, and give a few of our top picks with this comprehensive buying guide.
Quick Snapshot: The 5 Top Wet Cat Foods
Wet Food vs Dry Food
The two main types of cat food are categorized based on their form. These are wet food and dry food. Each type comes with its own set of pros and cons, and each one may provide unique benefits for your cat, depending on his nutritional needs.
Wet Cat Food
Wet cat food can come in cans or pouches, and is either moist or wet. These come in a variety of flavors and textures and are said to be beneficial for cats because they provide necessary hydration to guarantee renal health.
Wet cat food is also particularly easy to serve because they’re typically sold in single servings that are specifically measured to meet your cat’s dietary needs for every meal. This is also why it’s not likely for a cat to become overweight when being fed wet food.
Of course, it’s not a perfect dietary solution. For starters, wet cat food can only be left out for a maximum of 20 minutes (depending on room temperature) so it might not be a good choice for buyers who frequently leave their cats at home.
Another thing is that wet cat food tends to be more expensive than kibble. So for buyers who are trying to stay within budget, wet cat food choices might not always be the most practical choice.
Dry Cat Food
Accessible, affordable, and convenient, dry cat food is often the choice for pet owners who want something that they can leave out while they head out to work or run errands. This specific form of cat food is significantly more affordable than wet cat food, sold by the kilo making them easier to stock at home.
Dry cat food can last for several hours out without changing quality or spoiling, which makes it the ideal choice if you want food that can be left for your cat without having to worry about it going rotten too soon after you’ve walked out the door. It’s also much less messy than wet food, so you can feel assured that your cat won’t make a mess while you’re gone.
There are a few points to ponder though if you’re thinking of buying dry food for your cat. For starters, it’s not essentially ideal when you consider the fact that cats are prone to renal disease. Dry kibble can sap the digestive system of necessary moisture, making it easy for cats to develop problems like urinary tract infections and renal failure in the long run.
Another thing is that when it comes to nutritional value, wet food is often formulated to meet a cat’s specific dietary needs. On top of that, kibble tends to be packed with carbohydrates which can easily cause your cat to gain more weight than what’s healthy or necessary.
What Are the Different Types of Wet Food?
Although they might all look like typical cans on the outside, pop open any two cans of wet cat food and you’ll find completely different formulations. These foods come in a variety of recipes, textures, and wetness, so to speak. And while it might not seem like such a big consideration, these differences can change the way your cat enjoys his food.
The pate is one of the most common forms of wet cat food. Basically, this type of food resembles a fine paste with an even, often thick consistency. However there are some formulations that are creamier and softer.
Pate wet food is easy to eat because it doesn’t have any whole chunks or hard pieces that could require chewing. For that reason, pate is what’s best for cats that have just undergone surgery, those with special needs or conditions that affect the integrity of the oral cavity or jaw, or older cats that have difficulty eating.
To give you a better idea of what a pate should look like, you should be able to spread it evenly across a surface.
Shredded wet cat food closely resembles the meat it comes from and is often suspended in light gravy. Shreds can vary in length and thickness, but often follows the striations of the animal muscle where it comes from.
There are shredded options that are suspended in a light, savory broth. These choices are often much finer in texture, and are intended to be served as a topper for other wet or dry food choices.
Wet cat food that comes in chunks are served in either a thick or light gravy base. These choices use pieces of meat in a variety of sizes and shapes. The smallest chunks are finely minced and are very small, making them easy to manipulate in the mouth.
There are also larger chunks called morsels which a cat might be able to consume one piece at a time, given its size.
Flaked wet cat food comes in the form of long flat pieces. These are served in a light broth or gravy, similar to what you would find inside a can of tuna flakes.
This particular wet food texture is ideal for fish and chicken because it maintains the integrity of the meat, keeping it as close to its natural form as possible. There are also flaked sides in broth, which are essentially smaller and lighter, intended as toppers for other forms of cat food.
These wet cat foods resemble chunks, but come in the form of elongated slices. They’re most commonly served in light gravy, and can be used as toppers for other wet foods or dry foods.
Some brands consider the fact that some cats can be picky when it comes to their preferences in texture. With that, combination wet cat foods have become another option on the market. Most often, these foods use pate underneath, which is topped with chunks of protein and gravy for added variety.
Advice on Choosing the Best Wet Foods
While most choices might offer the right nutritional value for your feline, it’s important to consider your pet’s specific preferences and needs in order to guarantee that you’ve chosen the right wet food. Take these bits of advice when making a purchase to help ensure the best pick for your pet.
Specific Health Needs
Most wet foods are formulated for adult cats without any special health considerations. But there are some that might be more beneficial especially if your cat has unique wellness requirements.
A good example of this would be wet cat food that’s formulated for renal health. Some cats that have had a history of conditions like urinary tract infection are particularly prone to developing renal disease. So keeping them on a diet of dry food could increase the risk for renal failure. Some wet food formulations help increase hydration and incorporate ingredients that enhance renal health.
Another type of special wet food takes into account the possibility for hair balls. With that, some formulations help optimize digestive functioning to minimize the size and frequency of hair balls.
Your Cat’s Age
As your cat grows and develops, his nutritional needs will change. Kittens in general need more protein and calories because their bodies require the extra fuel to permit growth. As they grow into adults, cats will require a diet that mostly contains protein because cat’s muscles require it as a building block to ensure lean muscle mass. This also limits the chance for a cat to gain weight because protein isn’t as easily stored as fat.
Then, once your cat enters old age, he’ll need more micronutrients and vitamins in order to promote optimal health even in the face of potential disease. Make sure you consider the age of your cat before you buy into any wet cat food so you can be sure that it meets his specific nutritional needs for his current developmental stage.
Nutritional Profile and Intended Use
As we discussed in the previous text, some forms of wet cat food aren’t formulated to be taken as a stand-alone meal. “Toppers” are intended to be used as enhancers for other types of cat food, bumping up the nutritional profile for dry food or altering taste and texture to meet your cat’s preferences.
Make sure the cat food you’re buying is actually formulated as a meal in and of itself. Toppers, while they can be useful in some cases, don’t provide a complete nutritional profile, so they may not meet your cat’s dietary requirements.
Avoid Synthetic Meats
These days, manufacturers have come up with ways to mimic animal meat and use this as a substitute for both cat and dog food. The issue here is that synthetic animal products don’t provide the same nutritional value, and might even cause disease and toxicity in the long run.
The USDA regulates the meat in food for pets in order to help pet owners make healthy choices. To make sure your chosen product contains organic ingredients, it’s important to look for the USDA seal. As a general rule, any cat food that has this seal is at least 95% organic.
What Are the Top Brands of Wet Cat Food?
Purina Fancy Feast
Purina has been in the market as early as 1894 when it was established as a small family owned pet food factory. Today, it’s owned by Land O’Lakes and represents one of the most prominent pet food brands in the world.
They have lots of different kinds of cat food, but probably their best wet cat food is Fancy Feast. This sub-brand within the company specializes in formulating food choices that are unique and exceptionally palatable for cats. Of course, they can be slightly more expensive. But in terms of nutritional value and taste, Fancy Feast is one of the best choices.
Royal Canin leverages the idea that different breeds of cats have varying nutritional needs. So what sets the brand apart from others in the market is the fact that they have unique cat food choices that are specific to breeds of cats, giving your pet wet food that is said to meet very precise dietary requirements.
Hill’s Science Diet
Hill’s Science Diet is one of the most trusted brands in the market, made popular by their Prescription series of cat and dog food. Basically, Hill’s Prescription Diet follows very strict formulation recipes that make their wet food products ideal for pets with specific health needs. From urinary care, to senior cat nutrition, to everything in between, there’s bound to be a Hill’s Prescription Science Diet for it.
Blue Buffalo is one of the few brands of cat food that actually fulfils its promise of natural and organic ingredients for the benefit of your beloved feline. The brand uses natural animal and plant ingredients with limited pesticides, artificial ingredients, flavorings, and colorings to give your pet nutrition that mimics what it might be eating if it were out in the wild.
Whiskas is yet another highly commercialized cat food brand available in the worldwide market. The brand offers a range of cat food choices, but mostly focuses on different age groups, allowing buyers access to different cat food options that help meet pet cats’ needs at different phases of their lives.
Another all-natural choice would be Nutro. This cat food brand is fairly new to the market but has made quite a strong impression on buyers because of its palatable formulations that appeals to most cats. Plus the fact that it uses organic ingredients, it’s easily a top choice for most cat owners.
Top 5 Best Wet Cat Food Choices Reviewed
There are a lot of choices when it comes to wet cat food, so it wasn’t easy to crown a single one as the top choice. But when you consider all the factors, it’s easy to see that the Hill’s Science Diet Urinary & Hairball Control Cat Food is the ultimate wet cat food on the market. The main consideration here is that it aims to resolve two of the most common issues cats face – hairballs and urinary problems.
The formulation is specifically developed to cater to adult cats that might be prone to urinary issues. Containing just the right amount of magnesium, the Hill’s Science Diet Urinary & Hairball Control Cat Food eliminates the risk of a variety of health conditions that might result from a poor diet.
Aside from that, this wet cat food also contains natural fiber that doesn’t interfere with your cat’s digestion. This helps make it easier to push hairballs out the back end instead of hurling them out from your cat’s mouth and onto your kitchen floor.
If you were thinking of getting your cat some food that he won’t be able to resist, then you should check out the Fancy Feast Grilled Seafood Collection. With a variety of choices, this bundle gives you a number of different recipes to help satisfy your cat’s cravings.
Each can is a different flavor, boasting some of Fancy Feast’s most popular grilled seafood recipes that cats have been proven to love. Of course, it’s probably a little more expensive than other wet cat food choices. But it is a sure-fire way to get your cat to finish his food. Plus, buying it in a bundle helps ease down the cost, which is why you’ll probably want to check out the collection instead of buying per can.
Some cats can be picky when it comes to textures of wet food. But through in depth research, the Nutro brand was able to come up with the perfect pate texture that cats are sure to love. That’s why their Nutro Perfect Portions Grain Free Multi-Pack has become so popular among pet parents.
This perfect pate comes packed with lots of protein to give your adult cat the nutrition he needs in order to achieve that healthy, lean physicality that’s ideal for fully grown house cats. What’s more, the brand promises that each recipe is free from artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives, giving your cat holistic nutrition that won’t cause problems in the long run.
Does your cat prefer the chunk wet food texture? The Friskies Meaty Bits Variety Pack can be the perfect pick. This bundle offers some of the best recipes from the Friskies brand, each one boasting the ideal morsel size served in thick savory gravy.
Each different flavor combines the perfect ratio of gravy and meat chunks, giving your pet a filling meal that doesn’t just satisfy his hunger, but also meets his nutritional needs.
Another reason why it’s such a steal is the fact that it meets all the essential dietary requirements of both adult cats and kittens. So if you’ve got cats of different ages, a single bundle can be enough to see them through a few weeks’ worth of meals.
Since urinary health is such a big issue among house cats, Purina has also come out with their own formulation that aims to be just as good as the Hill’s Science Diet. Many buyers have found that the Purina PRO Plan Focus Urinary Tract Health Formula might just be a good substitute for the Science Diet formulation if you want the same benefits minus the steep cost.
Sodium wise though, it might not be quite as ideal as Science Diet since it contains a bit more salt which is one of the things to look out for if you’re trying to care for a cat with renal issues. Without comparison though, this specific formulation still doesn’t contain quite enough salt to cause a flare up, so it’s definitely a better choice than most if you’re hoping to restore urinary health in your cat.
Sure, it doesn’t quite match up to the urinary care and protection that Hill’s Science Diet offers. But when it all comes right down to it, this specific wet food does perform much better for renal health compared to many other choices on the market. Plus the fact that it doesn’t cost as much, it’s definitely a budget friendly option that can work well for your cat’s overall wellness.
Whether you’re looking for a new way to spice up your cat’s everyday diet, or if you’re hoping to keep your furry friend in tip-top shape, then it’s probably a good idea to scavenge the market for the best wet cat food. There are a lot of choices out there, and it was tough to weigh the pros and cons, but when it all comes right down to it, the Hill’s Science Diet Urinary and Hairball Control Cat Food comes out on top as the ultimate wet cat food.
There are a few other worthy picks though, so be sure to check out our four other recommendations if the Hill’s Science Diet just doesn’t do it for you. At the end of the day, these top 5 picks provide just the right nutrition for your pet without sacrificing taste and texture, so you can be sure your feline will enjoy each and every serving.