Last Updated: 3 months ago

When it comes to feeding your cat, you need to feed them food that is going to give them plenty of nutrition and energy for their everyday activities.

No one wants their cat to start pawing at cupboards around their kitchen looking for more food after breakfast or dinner, do they?

It’s for this reason that wet cat food pouches and cans are among the most popular foods outside of dried kibble.

However, it can also be difficult to find wet cat food that doesn’t cost a small fortune to add to a regular grocery shop or online shopping cart.

Fortunately, we are here to show you some of the best wet cat food that is good for them and won’t break the bank to buy for them.

Whether they love chicken, fish, beef, or turkey, your cats will be well catered to here!

Best Wet Cat Food At A Glance

#1 Winner: Nulo Wet Canned Cat Food

Nulo Wet Canned Cat Food
  • DUCK & TUNA RECIPE - Nulo Freestyle Cat & Kitten Wet Pate Canned Cat...
  • GRAIN-FREE & HIGH MEAT/ LOW CARB - This recipe contains 5 animal...
  • BALANCED & NUTRITIONAL BLEND - A beneficial mix of proteins and animal...

Starting us off with a very popular option for feeding your cats, and overall one of the best, we have Nulo and their freestyle wet canned food.

This is a great option that virtually every cat will be interested in, if not wholly enjoying!

While there are some trace amounts of thickening agents used to help bulk out the can of food.

The pure meat content of these cans is more than enough to make up for a little bulking out, with a can of this premium pet food containing as much as 94.5% real meat in there.

Compare that to some of the meat content that you’ll find in dried cat food, and there’s no competition between them!

Not only that, but the meat is high-quality food for them as well, giving them plenty of protein that cats need in their diet to stay healthy and active.

Plus, this particular canned meat is great for adults and kittens, so you won’t have to worry about changing their diet much if they love it as kittens and grow up.

#2 Best Low-Carb: Nulo Turkey & Chicken Wet Canned Cat Food

Nulo Turkey & Chicken Wet Canned Cat Food
  • TURKEY & CHICKEN RECIPE - Nulo Freestyle Cat & Kitten Wet Pate Canned...
  • GRAIN-FREE & HIGH MEAT/ LOW CARB - This recipe contains 5 animal...
  • BALANCED & NUTRITIONAL BLEND - A beneficial mix of proteins and animal...

Next up is another quality Nulo product. Only here, the duck and fish have been replaced with turkey and chicken.

Nulo is known for an extensive line of different cat food products.

All of them contain a very high meat content that cats need in their diet, including some highly nutritious chicken liver meat that has been added to the mix!

With a very low carb and fiber content, this is a food that will not mess with your cat’s digestion as they feast away on it.

And with the overall price of these cans equaling around $0.22 per pound of wet food, it’s also going to be easy on your wallet if it’s easy on your cat’s belly.

Despite the ingredients in this can, there’s certainly nothing fowl about this option for your little kitty overlord!

#3 Best High Protein: Purina Friskies Wet Cat Food

Purina Friskies Wet Cat Food
  • Made with real meat. poultry or seafood. Savory juice or gravy adds...
  • Shredded chunks offer a tempting texture. Provides 100 percent...
  • Multi-can variety pack makes it easy to stock your pantry. Contains...

Moving away from Nulo cat food, we have another well-known brand when it comes to popular packs of pet food.

Purina has a wide variety of different types of canned and packaged foods on offer. But for our money, Purina Friskies, as shown here, have to be some of the best.

For one thing, the high protein count of this pet can would put bodybuilders to shame, with a 100% protein-packed meal in every pack.

Plus, the texture of the meat in these cat food containers is very different from Nulos.

While pate food is perfectly fine for cats to eat, the lack of texture can make it comparatively unengaging and boring for your pet to eat.

And if you want to keep them happy, engagement at every corner is essential.

So it is nice to see that the chunky food on offer here has plenty of what the foods we have covered so far do not!

#4 Best For Adult Cats: Wellness Wet Cat Food

Wellness Wet Cat Food
  • GRAIN-FREE WET CAT FOOD: Canned cat food is free from grains,...
  • CHICKEN ENTREE: This natural food for adult cats is an excellent...
  • SUPPORTS HEALTHY HYDRATION: Wet food is an easy way to increase your...

Wellness has a very appropriately named brand name, considering how great their cat food is for your pets.

This chicken pate-based can is the perfect kind of meat for your cats and kittens, being full of not just chicken but all the other vitamins and nutrients that cats need to stay healthy.

Plus, the moist food will help cats stay hydrated when they are away from their water bowls for whatever reason (again, cats will be cats).

This makes it a great food that is perfect for keeping your cat healthy throughout its life, keeping vet visits to a minimum, and keeping your feline friend feeling fine!

No wonder this particular canned food is recommended by both pet owners and veterinarians alike!

#5 Best Natural: Applaws Natural Wet Cat Food

Applaws Natural Wet Cat Food
  • Limited, Nourishing Ingredients: Limited ingredient food your cat will...
  • Natural Goodness: We only put in the good stuff! Applaws wet cat food...
  • Protein Packed: Packed with real protein to fuel your cat’s natural...

Okay, amazing name aside, there’s more to this pet food outside of an incredible pun for the brand!

Applaws has all the things that you have come to expect from good canned cat food.

It has a high protein count, making it both nutritious and tasty for your furred (or maybe furless) feline, without any complex supplementary or other ingredients.

The low fiber content means that it won’t upset your cat’s stomach as it is digested. And, of course, an interesting texture that will hook your cats in and make them want more.

(We apologize for the constant meowing in advance!)

Plus, this canned cat food is a great way to make even dry kibble for your cat more appealing.

The dry cat pellets will benefit from this juicy and rich extra food topping mixed into a cat bowl for your precious pet.

#6 Best For Budget: Dave’s Pet Food Wet Cat Food

Dave’s Pet Food Wet Cat Food
  • ADDED VITAMINS & MINERALS. With flavor and nutrition at the forefront,...

Now, if you’re looking for wet cat food on a budget, you’ll probably want to take a closer look at Dave’s naturally wet canned food.

The first thing that you’ll probably notice about the other products so far is their size.

This is comparable to a dog or even a human canned tin, meaning that there’s even more food in here for your cats (great for feeding more than one feline).

Plus, it still manages to keep the fiber content of the food down, keeping the healthy protein-filled can as the main food source for this item.

While there is a slightly higher fat content here, when given in moderation, you won’t find a better budget option for your furry friend!

#7 Best Luxury: Wellness CORE Signature Selects Wet Cat Food

Wellness Signature Selects Wet Cat Food
  • GRAIN-FREE WET CAT FOOD: Canned cat food is protein-dense, rich in...
  • FLAKED TUNA AND SALMON: All-natural wet food delivers what your cat...
  • SUPPORTS HEALTHY HYDRATION: Wet food is an easy way to increase your...

Now, if you’re looking to really treat your cat to some luxury cat food, this is the canned meal to go with it.

Along with some beautifully juicy meat for the little cats in your life (of which there are plenty of flavors to choose from).

Alongside all that protein that cats have come to expect from their best food, they are the little kings and queens that they are!

#8 Best FOr Senior Cats: Freshpet Wet Cat Food

Freshpet Wet Cat Food
  • Made in the USA
  • Natural US Raised Chicken & Beef
  • No By-Product Meals

For a slightly different kind of wet cat food, we turn to this little stick of protein for your pet.

This stick of chum is packed full of the same meaty protein that your cat needs and loves to eat, this time in fine pate form.

Not only does this have more meat in it than a standard tin of cat food, but it can also be mixed into your cat’s dry food.

Or, if your cat hates the dry stuff, this paste on its own has all the nutrients your pet needs!

Dry Cat Food vs. Wet Cat Food: Which Is Better For Your Cat?

8 Best Wet Cat Food for Optimal Feline Nutrition

If you have been looking at these products and comparing them to more dry options, you may be wondering if they are better for your cat in the end.

Dry Cat Food

Well, dry cat food generally tends to be noticeably cheaper than its wet or canned counterparts, something that many owners often appreciate if they wish to buy in bulk.

Plus, dry cat food or kibble also tends to be able to preserve itself for longer periods of time than wet food, unless properly sealed, as well as having a lower chance of catching or growing harmful bacteria on it.

However, dry cat food also tends to be high in carbs, something that cats shouldn’t be eating much of in their diet overall.

Plus, the overall protein quantity in dry food varies quite a lot, so there’s no guarantee that your kibble has 50% or 5% protein in it.

Wet Cat Food

cat eating

Meanwhile, canned or wet cat food, at least when first sealed, can also last for long periods and pack plenty more water content into its food (cats get a surprising amount of their daily moisture from their food).

Plus, while the amount can still vary slightly, canned or wet food will usually have a higher protein content than kibble and contain more fresh meat that cats love to eat.

However, once opened, cat food tends to spoil very quickly as well, while also usually being more expensive when purchased individually or in bulk.

How To Recognize Healthy Cat Food

To begin with, we need to look at what cats need. The key to a healthy cat is feeding their bodies what they need to be in optimal health.

Think of feeding your cat, or any pet for that matter, as putting gas in your car. It will run on any gas, but it runs better on high-quality gas.

1. Protein

While dogs are omnivores with a carnivorous bent, cats are total carnivores. They need protein.

In fact, they need far more protein than dogs. A healthy cat food will have a healthy dose of protein in it. Look for foods that have good protein as the main ingredient.

Stay away from cat foods that list protein sources like anything with the word “byproduct” in it.

Instead, look for protein sources like real chicken, fish, liver, and the like. “Byproduct” is just another word for garbage.

2. Fat

cat eating wet food

Healthy cat food always includes a good amount of fat.

Cats need more fat in their diet than dogs do. The reason some dogs get diarrhea when they raid the cat food is because their bodies can’t handle the fat content of the food.

Cat foods with fish as the main protein source already have healthy fats built in.

But for foods with chicken as the main ingredient, look for a healthy fat source, like added omega-3 fatty acids.

3. Carbs

Although cats are carnivores, they do need some carbohydrates in their diets.

A healthy cat food will have some carbs, but not too many.

The carb source in the food should be listed well after the protein and fat sources. This indicates that there is more protein and fat in the food than carbs.

Healthy cat food will contain a small amount of a carb source like rice, wheat, corn, barley, and oats.

Healthy Wet Cat Food

Cats absolutely need moisture in their diets. Cats are not heavy drinkers, and their kidneys are generally the first thing to fail as they age.

To keep your cat healthy and spry for as long as possible, feed them about 1/2 a can of wet food twice a day, leaving their dry food out all day for them to nibble on.

Obviously, you should adjust their food intake based on weight, but in general, a healthy portion of wet food a couple of times a day is a good idea. 

The moisture in the wet food helps promote kidney health by adding extra fluids to their diets.

If you do this from kittenhood on, you’ll be helping to support healthy kidney function for the entirety of your cat’s life.

Signs Of Spoiled Or Contaminated Wet Cat Food

It’s important to keep an eye out for signs of spoiled or contaminated wet cat food.

Knowing what to look for can help you protect your cat from potential harm and make sure they are getting the nutrition they need.

Check for these signs before feeding your cats any type of wet cat food, as they could potentially get sick if they consume something that isn’t fresh anymore.

Smell Test

The most obvious sign that wet cat food has gone bad is a foul smell.

If the food smells sour, off-putting, or just plain wrong, it’s best to discard it immediately.

This is especially true if there are visible signs of mold on the surface of the food as well.

Texture Test

Spoiled wet cat food will also have a different texture than fresh food does.

The spoiled wet cat food may have a slimy or sticky texture instead of the soft and moist texture it had when first opened.

If you notice any changes in texture, throw away the affected portion right away and replace it with fresh wet cat food as soon as possible.

Color Test

Pay attention to any changes in color as well; if there are darker spots on top of the canned product, this could indicate mold growth, which means that it needs to be thrown away right away.

Watch out for any discoloration in general; if your cats’ favorite flavor looks different than usual, then this could also mean that something is wrong with the product and needs to be discarded accordingly.


How Long Can Wet Cat Food Sit Out Before It Goes Bad?

Do not leave wet cat food out for more than two hours. After that, the food can start to spoil, and bacteria can grow on it. If your cat doesn’t finish their meal in two hours, discard any remaining wet food and replace it with a fresh portion.

It’s also important to store wet cat food properly; keep cans or pouches sealed tightly in the refrigerator until you’re ready to serve them. This will help keep the food fresh and safe for your cat to eat.

Do Wet Cat Foods Need To Be Refrigerated After Opening?

After opening, wet cat food should be refrigerated to keep it fresh and prevent spoilage or bacterial contamination. This helps to keep the food fresh and prevent it from spoiling or becoming contaminated with bacteria.

It is important to store the food in an airtight container and use it within two days of opening for optimal safety and nutrition. If you have any leftovers, discard them after three days, as they may contain harmful bacteria that can make your cat sick.

What Happens If My Cat Eats Spoiled Wet Food?

If your cat eats spoiled wet food, it can cause gastrointestinal upset and even lead to food poisoning. Symptoms of food poisoning in cats include vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, loss of appetite, and dehydration.

If you suspect that your cat has eaten spoiled wet food, contact your veterinarian immediately for advice on how to proceed with treatment. In some cases, antibiotics may be necessary to treat the infection caused by the spoiled food.

Final Thoughts

Overall, cats are usually curious creatures that are willing to try many foods at least once, so experiment with different foods to see what your little kitty finds interesting.

So, while they might cost just a little more than their dry counterparts, your cats will thank you for forking out the little bit of extra cash to feed them.

And hopefully, we have shown you pet owners out there that feeding your cat well doesn’t mean that it has to be expensive at the same time!


Dr. Linda Simon MVB MRCVS is a locum veterinary surgeon who has worked in London for the past 8 years. She graduated top of her class in small animal medicine from UCD, Dublin. She is currently a member of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons. Linda is the resident vet for Woman magazine and a frequent contributor to People’s Friend Magazine, the Dogzone website, Vet Help Direct and Wag! Linda also writes content for the CVS veterinary group, Vetwriter and a number of other establishments.

Last update on 2024-05-09 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API