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While cats do enjoy a varied selection of food and should be fed both dry and wet foods, canned cat food has the advantage of a high water content, which helps to keep your kitty hydrated. Many cats don't drink enough water each day, so it’s important for them to “eat” their fluids.
When selecting a canned food for your feline friend, look for one that has been certified “Complete and Balanced” by the American Association of Feed Control Officials (AAFCO). This means the food contains a high-quality mix of ingredients to meet your feline's basic nutritional needs, explains Rachel Barrack, DVM, CVA, CVCH, including meat, water, and taurine a building block for protein synthesis and a vital amino acid for cats), and water.
We researched, and consulted a veterinarian, to find the best canned cat foods based on their water content, ingredients list, and AAFCO certifications.
Wellness Complete Health Turkey & Salmon Formula Grain-Free Canned Cat Food
This wet food contains high quality ingredients to meet you cat’s nutritional needs, including vitamins and omega fatty acids.
Wellness Complete Health Turkey & Salmon Formula Grain-Free Canned Cat Food is our top pick because its first five ingredients (turkey, chicken liver, whitefish, chicken broth, salmon) are whole ingredients and it includes ingredients that support your cat's overall well-being. This formula also contains taurine, plus a blend of antioxidant-rich cranberries, which support urinary health. Vitamins, balanced minerals, and omega fatty acids also promote a strong immune system and skin and coat health.
We also like that this formula is grain-free because some cats have sensitivities to grain and corn. As always, consult with your veterinarian to be sure that a grain-free diet is the right choice for your cat. This formula is also carrageenan free, so you don't have to worry about your cat developing sensitivities over time.
Price at time of publish: $42 (24, 3-ounce cans)
Food Type: Wet | Amount: 3 ounces | Main Ingredient: Turkey | Life Stage: Adult
Text Link:The 9 Best Premium Dry Cat Foods of 2023
Tiki Pets Tiki Cat Luau Wet Food Salmon
Best for Weight Gain
With a larger portion size, this food is free of fillers, carbs or guar gum, and is loaded with protein that can help cats put on weight.
Without any fillers, carbs, or guar gum, Tiki Pets is loaded with good-for-feline proteins that will help your cat keep weight on the right way. The salmon variety offers 3.5 percent crude fat, slightly higher than other flavors, yet still in the healthy range. If you think your cat is underweight, one of the easiest fixes may be to increase its portion sizes and this 8 ounce can readily allow you to do that. Of course, if your cat can’t keep weight on or is losing weight for no apparent reason, it’s important to speak to your vet to find out if there’s an underlying reason, reminds Dr. Barrack.
Price at time of publish: $27 (12, 2.8-ounce cans)
Food Type: Wet | Amount: 2.8 ounces | Main Ingredient: Salmon | Life Stage: All
Purina Fancy Feast Grain Free Pate Wet Kitten Food
Specifically formulated for kittens, this grain-free blend has a soft, pate style that is easy to chew and digest.
It's important to feed your kitten food that’s specifically labeled for kittens, as it will be formulated to help support their growth and healthy development with higher protein content and calories. It should also have increased vitamin and mineral supplementation (such as calcium and phosphorus), Dr. Barrack says.
This grain-free blend comes in smaller 3-ounce cans sized for kittens' appetites. If you do have any left over, cover and refrigerate; it will stay good for up to three days. The soft, paté style is easy for kittens to chew and digest. This box comes with four different flavors so you can experiment until you find their favorite.
Price at time of publish: $20 (24, 3-ounce cans)
Food Type: Wet | Amount: 3 ounces | Main Ingredient: Varies | Life Stage: Kitten
Purina Pro Plan Senior Canned Wet Cat Food
Best for Seniors
The protein helps maintain an older cat’s lean muscle mass and the prebiotic fiber is easy to digest.
While the best food for your senior cat depends on your own cat’s unique health needs, in general, it is best to maintain a diet filled with proteins, healthy fats, vitamins, minerals, and water throughout all stages of your cat's life, Dr. Barrack says. This grain-free blend made in the U.S. from Purina contains 10 percent minimum protein to help maintain your older cat’s lean muscle mass, antioxidants beta carotene, and vitamin E to support their immune system, and prebiotic fiber for easier digestion.
Note that you may want to cut back on portion sizes if you notice your cat is less active or gaining weight.
Price at time of publish: $37 (24, 3-ounce cans)
Food Type: Wet | Amount: 3 ounces | Main Ingredient: Ocean whitefish | Life Stage: Adult
Text Link:The 7 Best Cat Supplements of 2023
Weruva BFF OMG Rainbow A Gogo Variety Pack Wet Cat Food Pouches
With high-quality ingredients, this food is made in a human-grade facility and contains meat, fish, or broth as its main ingredient.
Wervua cat foods are made in human-grade facilities, so you can relax knowing they’re made of the highest quality ingredients. Each of the six flavors in this grain-free variety pack is high-protein and low-carbohydrate with meat, fish, or broth as its main ingredient. The chunky gravy food comes in a plastic pouch that some find easier to open than a traditional can, though others wish the pouches were resealable. The food contains added vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants along with taurine to boost your cat’s health and appearance. As a general rule, you should feed your cat 1 ounce of food for each pound of body weight daily, spread out over two meals.
Price at time of publish: $18 (12, 3-ounce pouches)
Food Type: Wet | Amount: 3 ounces | Main Ingredient: Varies | Life Stage: All
Tiny Tiger Pate Beef & Poultry Recipes Variety Pack Grain-Free Canned Cat Food
This variety pack contains 10 to 11 percent crude protein along with broth, taurine, vitamins, and minerals.
You may have heard cats described as “obligate carnivores,” which means they require meat to survive and thrive and don’t generally tolerate high carbohydrate diets well, Dr. Barrack explains. The flavors in this variety pack contain 10 to 11 percent crude protein that should more than satisfy your cat’s natural animal instincts. That’s along with broth for adequate water content and added taurine, vitamins, and minerals. Some cats do get bored with their food, so a variety pack of flavors is a smart choice as it will help you mix up their meals.
Price at time of publish: $19 (24, 3-ounce cans)
Food Type: Wet | Amount: 3 ounces | Main Ingredient: Varies | Life Stage: Not listed
Hill's Science Diet Adult Perfect Weight Cat Food Roasted Vegetable & Chicken Medley
Best for Weight Loss
For cats, being a pound or two overweight can lead to cardiovascular and physical health issues. To help your cat get back to their optimal weight Hill's Science Diet Adult Perfect Weight Cat Food provides balanced nutrition, fiber, and lean protein in a liquid-rich formula, all of which will help them feel full in between meals. Hill's Science Diet is formulated in the United States, and in their clinical trials, over 70% of adult cats lost weight within 10 weeks by eating Perfect Weight Cat Food. Plus, they offer a 100% satisfaction guarantee on all of their products. The canned cat food for weight loss and maintenance comes in flavors cats love and is made with real chicken and vegetables.
Price at time of publish: $55 (24, 2.9-ounce cans)
Food Type: Wet | Amount: 2.9 ounces | Main Ingredient: Varies | Life Stage: Adult
With meat, fish, and broth as its first five ingredients Wellness Complete Health Turkey & Salmon Formula Grain-Free Canned Cat Food contains all the protein needed to satiate your obligate carnivore. The addition of taurine, antioxidants, vitamins, balanced minerals, and omega fatty acids round out the nutritional profile of this popular canned cat food.
What to Look for in Canned Cat Food
When buying canned cat food, consider how old your cat is. Different products are formulated especially for kittens, adult cats, or seniors. These various products will have different ingredients that cater to your cat’s specific nutritional needs at their current life stage.
Experts say you should look for a named source of protein, such as salmon or chicken, rather than a meat by-product. You’ll also want to see just how much filler, or carbohydrates, are in the formula, as cats are carnivores and would not eat large amount of carbohydrates in the wild.
Certain cats have specific nutritional needs, whether it’s ingredients that prevent hairballs or low-calorie foods to help them lose or maintain weight. Many canned cat foods are specially formulated to help achieve your pet’s health goals, but keep in mind that these types of formulas are often more expensive.
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