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10 Best Wet Cat Foods (Soft & Canned) in 2022 – Reviews & Buyers Guide

Emma Stenhouse Profile Picture

By Emma Stenhouse

cat eating

While it might be great fun choosing beds and collars for your cat, nothing is more important for their health and wellbeing than the food that you choose for your furry friend. If you’re considering switching cat foods or are deciding on a brand for your new kitten, you’ve probably noticed that this market is completely flooded with a huge range of options.

It can feel a little overwhelming, especially if you’re not sure how you should go about deciding what’s going to be the best choice for your cat. Luckily, we’ve done the hard work for you and selected the 10 best wet cat foods on the market in 2021. Our reviews will take you through each of these in detail, so by the end of this article, you’ll have no trouble deciding which is best for your cat!

A Quick Comparison of Our Favorites (2022)

Rating Image Product Details
Best Overall
Winner
Smalls Fresh Raw Cat Food Subscription Smalls Fresh Raw Cat Food Subscription
  • Human-grade ingredients
  • No artificial flavors or colors
  • Nutritionally complete
  • Best Value
    Second place
    9Lives Poultry & Beef Wet Food 9Lives Poultry & Beef Wet Food
  • High moisture content
  • Real meat in first five ingredients
  • Excellent value for money
  • Third place
    Feline Natural Lamb & Salmon Can Food Feline Natural Lamb & Salmon Can Food
  • Contains 99% meat
  • High-quality ingredients
  • Free from GMO ingredients
  • Best for Kittens
    Wellness CORE Turkey & Chicken Pâté Wellness CORE Turkey & Chicken Pâté
  • High in protein
  • Formulated specifically for kittens
  • Contains DHA
  • Blue Buffalo Wilderness Pâté Blue Buffalo Wilderness Pâté
  • Real meat as the first ingredient
  • Grain free
  • Enhanced with fruits and vegetables
  • The 10 Best Wet Cat Foods

    1. Smalls Fresh Ground Raw Cat Food – Best Overall

    Crude protein: 21.2%
    Crude fat: 8.05%
    Crude fiber: 0.4%
    Moisture: 61.1%
    Taurine: 63 mg/100 kcal

    Cats are obligate carnivores and require animal protein in order to live a long and healthy life. Smalls Fresh Cat Food subscription service offers soft food options such as chicken, turkey, and beef, in order to ensure cats get all the right building blocks they require for healthy, energetic lives. These food options are all human grade, and come to you in an easy-to-use subscription service tailored to your kitty. It’s no surprise Smalls is our choice for overall best wet cat food.

    Customers of this soft food have reported improvements in their cats after consuming this food. A whopping 90% reported overall health improvements, 78% reported shinier and softer fur, 64% reported a less stinky litter box, and the same number reported an overall more energetic cat.

    And when our cats tried it, they loved it too! Smalls also offer a 25% discount for first orders taken off automatically when you subscribe and even provide an assortment of additional goodies for your cat to get a full introduction to the brand. Some customers may think this looks expensive upon first glance because you order in large quantities, but Smalls breaks down the cost/meal and it works out to be a great deal.

    To conclude, we think this is the overall best wet cat food out there this year.

    Pros
    • High in protein
    • Human-quality ingredients
    • Low in carbohydrates

    Cons
    • Pricey
    • Uses vegetable oil instead of animal fat


    2. 9Lives Poultry & Beef Favorites Wet Cat Food – Best Value

    9 Lives Poultry & Beef Favorites Variety Pack Canned Cat Food

    Crude protein: 8%
    Crude fat: 2%
    Crude fiber: 1%
    Moisture: 82%
    Taurine: 0.05%

    As the best wet cat food for the money, the 9Lives Poultry & Beef Favorites Variety Pack is a great choice. This canned cat food blends real meat and meat by-products to offer a high-quality food at a price point that can’t be beaten. Some cat owners prefer to avoid meat by-products, but these are an excellent source of cheap protein.

    This variety pack offers many flavor options for cats that love different tastes, and the nutrition profile is well balanced to provide 100% complete nutrition for all life stages. This makes it much easier if you’re feeding cats of different ages, although our preference would always be to choose a kitten food for any cat under 12 months.

    Pros
    • High moisture content
    • Real meat in first five ingredients
    • Excellent value for money

    Cons
    • Contains meat by-products
    • Relatively low in protein


    3. Feline Natural Lamb & Salmon Canned Cat Food

    Feline Natural Lamb & King Salmon Feast Grain-Free Canned Cat Food

    Crude protein: 8.5%
    Crude fat: 7.5%
    Crude fiber: 0.2%
    Moisture: 81%
    Taurine: 0.08%

    If you’re looking for a cat food to closely match the optimum diet for your cat, then the Feline Natural Lamb & King Salmon Grain Free Canned Cat Food is carefully formulated to provide incredible nutrition. Packed with organ meat and real king salmon, this canned wet food has a short ingredient list that’s completely free of any unnecessary ingredients.

    Besides 99% real meat, this food is supplemented with all the oils, vitamins, and minerals that your cat needs to look and feel as healthy as possible. The minimal processing means your cat gets as much goodness from their tasty food as possible.

    Pros
    • Contains 99% meat
    • High-quality ingredients
    • Free from GMO ingredients

    Cons
    • Expensive


    4. Wellness CORE Turkey & Chicken Pâté Canned Kitten Food – Best for Kittens

    Wellness CORE Natural Grain Free Turkey & Chicken Liver Pate Canned Kitten Food

    Crude protein: 12%
    Crude fat: 7.5%
    Crude fiber: 1%
    Moisture: 78%
    Taurine: 0.10%

    Kittens have different nutritional requirements than adult cats, so it’s important to choose a food that’s formulated to meet the needs of this critical life stage. Wellness CORE Natural Grain Free Turkey & Chicken Liver Pâté Canned Kitten Food has plenty of protein to provide all the energy that your kitten needs, thanks to the first six ingredients being meat-based.

    This soft pâté-style kitten food is also enriched with DHA, which is essential for the development of your kitten’s brain and eyes. While this food is packed full of real meat, it doesn’t contain any thickening agents like carrageenan, and it’s also free from artificial colors or flavors.

    Pros
    • High in protein
    • Formulated specifically for kittens
    • Contains DHA

    Cons
    • Expensive


    5. Blue Buffalo Wilderness Pâté Cat Food

    Blue Buffalo Wilderness Pate Variety Pack Duck, Chicken & Salmon Grain-Free Cat Canned Food

    Crude protein: 10%
    Crude fat: 9%
    Crude fiber: 1.5%
    Moisture: 78%
    Taurine: 0.10%

    The Blue Buffalo Wilderness Pâté Variety Pack is an easy choice. This variety pack comes with three tasty flavors: duck, chicken, and salmon. Each of these has a high protein content due to the use of real meat as the first ingredient. This meat is supplemented with a blend of healthy fruits and vegetables designed to provide all the nutrition that your cat needs.

    This grain-free formulation is perfectly formulated to meet your cat’s nutritional requirements as an obligate carnivore. This food is free from gluten, meat by-products, wheat, and soy, and it doesn’t use any artificial flavors or preservatives either.

    Pros
    • Real meat as the first ingredient
    • Grain free
    • Enhanced with fruits and vegetables
    • No meat by-products

    Cons
    • None that we can see


    6. Tiny Tiger Chunks EXTRA Gravy Beef & Poultry Canned Cat Food

    Tiny Tiger Chunks in EXTRA Gravy Beef & Poultry Recipes Variety Pack Grain-Free Canned Cat Food

    Crude protein: 9%
    Crude fat: 2%
    Crude fiber: 1.5%
    Moisture: 82%
    Taurine: 0.05%

    As the best wet canned cat food, we love the Tiny Tiger Chunks in EXTRA Gravy Beef & Poultry Recipes Variety Pack Grain-Free Canned Cat Food. This food contains a meat-based broth as the first ingredient, to offer excellent moisture levels to keep your cat hydrated. This is followed by real meat protein.

    This canned cat food is extremely palatable, and most cats love the blend of meat chunks and tasty gravy. It’s completely free from grains and doesn’t include the thickener carrageenan either. There are also other flavors available in the same range if you’d like to offer your cat even more variety.

    Pros
    • Contains real meat
    • Palatable texture
    • Also available in other flavors

    Cons
    • Small cans can create a great deal of waste


    7. Purina Pro Plan Prime Plus Adult 7+ Canned Cat Food

    Purina Pro Plan Prime Plus Adult 7+ Real Poultry & Beef Variety Pack Canned Cat Food

    Crude protein: 9%
    Crude fat: 7%
    Crude fiber: 1.5%
    Moisture: 78%
    Taurine: 0.05%

    We love the Purina Pro Plan Prime Plus Adult 7+ Real Poultry & Beef Variety Pack Canned Cat Food as the best choice of soft and palatable wet cat food. Sometimes, senior cats need a softer textured food without any large chunks, and the blend of small pieces of meat and a nutritious gravy is an excellent combination.

    This variety pack contains the flavors of chicken and beef, turkey giblets, and chicken. The blend of nutrients used is specifically designed to maintain and improve the health of your older cat. It also contains microflora to help keep their digestive system balanced and functioning as well as possible.

    Pros
    • Specifically designed for senior cats
    • Palatable texture
    • Real meat as the first ingredient

    Cons
    • Contains meat by-products


    8. Fancy Feast Seafood Feast Variety Pack Canned Cat Food

    Fancy Feast Classic Seafood Feast Variety Pack Canned Cat Food

    Crude protein: 12%
    Crude fat: 2%
    Crude fiber: 1.5%
    Moisture: 78%
    Taurine: 0.05%

    Some cats don’t like chunks in their wet food and if that’s the case in your house, then the pâté texture of the Fancy Feast Classic Seafood Feast Variety Pack Canned Cat Food will go down quite well! This pack includes four palatable flavors: cod, sole and shrimp, salmon feast, and ocean whitefish and tuna.

    Besides real meat as the first ingredient, these blends include meat by-products. The excellent price point of this pack means that’s expected, as by-products are a great source of cheap protein. These formulations are grain-free and made in the U.S.A. by a brand that you can trust to provide optimal nutrition for your cat.

    Pros
    • Real meat as the first ingredient
    • Palatable pâté-style texture
    • Good value for money

    Cons
    • Contains meat by-products


    9. Tiki Cat King Kamehameha Grill Grain-Free Canned Cat Food

    Tiki Cat King Kamehameha Grill Variety Pack Grain-Free Canned Cat Food

    Crude protein: 16%
    Crude fat: 2%
    Crude fiber: 0%
    Moisture: 78%
    Taurine: 0.2%

    The Tiki Cat King Kamehameha Grill Variety Pack Grain-Free Canned Cat Food is an excellent wet cat food for adult cats. Containing no fiber, this food is packed full of real meat to provide a high-protein diet that’s free of grains and low in carbohydrates.

    If your cat has been used to a diet that’s lower in protein and contains grains and fillers, then it may take them a while to get used to this formulation. You’ll soon notice the difference, though, as they make the switch to a more natural diet that’s packed full of the ingredients that they need to stay healthy.

    Pros
    • Excellent protein levels
    • Easy-to-open cans
    • Great for cats with allergies

    Cons
    • Takes some cats a while to get used to it


    10. Fancy Feast Gourmet Naturals Pâté Pack Canned Cat Food

    Fancy Feast Gourmet Naturals Pate Variety Pack Canned Cat Food

    Crude protein: 10%
    Crude fat: 5%
    Crude fiber: 1.5%
    Moisture: 78%
    Taurine: 0.05%

    The Fancy Feast Gourmet Naturals Pâté Variety Pack Canned Cat Food combines high-quality protein sources with great value for money. Offering 100% complete and balanced nutrition for adult cats, this pâté-textured food blends real meat and organ meat with flavorful broth to provide plenty of protein and hydration in every bite.

    As this is a wet food within the budget category, it’s impressive that this formulation doesn’t contain any meat by-products, which are frequently used to cheaply increase the protein content of cat food. It’s also free of any artificial colors, flavors, corn, wheat, or soy.

    Pros
    • Grain-free
    • No artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives
    • Contains real meat

    Cons
    • Contains guar gum

    Divider 3

    Buyer’s Guide: Selecting the Best Wet Cat Food

    Now that you’ve seen our roundup of the top 10 wet cat foods available on the market today, how do you choose which one is going to be the best wet cat food for your cat? We created this buyer’s guide to answer exactly that question. Let’s look at the different features of wet cat food to help you better understand how to compare them.

    American shorthair cat eating
    Image Credit: Apicha Bas, Shutterstock

    Ingredients

    As obligate carnivores, cats need to eat a meat-based diet in order to remain as healthy as possible. Most cat food manufacturers will supplement the meat used in their formulations with fruits, vegetables, and grains to add nutrients, vitamins, and minerals. It’s important to look for a cat food that lists real meat as one of the first five ingredients. Higher quality brands will often list real meat first, but many budget brands will have it high up the ingredients list too, so it’s totally possible to feed high-quality on a budget.

    Ingredients to avoid include fillers like corn, artificial colors and flavors, and excessive preservatives. If your cat is on a grain-free diet, then you’ll want to avoid those too.

    Nutritional breakdown

    For every cat food that we reviewed, we listed the protein, fat, fiber, moisture, and taurine levels. These are the most important things to look for when making your selection. High protein levels are better because they indicate that the food contains real meat, which is what your cat needs! Some healthy fats, including omega-3 fatty acids, are important for your cat’s development. Fiber helps keep your cat’s digestive system functioning correctly. Cats in the wild would often gain fiber from eating the fur of their prey, as well as grasses. For domestic cats, the fiber in their food is often provided by fruits and vegetables. Cats don’t have a high thirst drive, so wet cat food can add much-needed hydration to your cat’s diet. If your cat has urinary issues, then increasing the amount of water in their diet by switching to a wet food is a great idea. Taurine is an essential part of your cat’s diet, which is why we always look at how much of this amino acid each cat food contains.

    Age range

    Different cat foods are formulated to meet the nutritional requirements of cats at different life stages. For example, wet food formulated for kittens will contain different percentages of key nutrients to help your kitten grow up big and strong. Adult cats don’t need the same levels of different nutrients as kittens, so feeding them a kitten formulation can mean they gain too much weight. Similarly, cat foods designed for senior or adult cats may contain higher levels of omega-3 fatty acids or have glucosamine added to help with joint stiffness.

    The Association of American Feed Control Officials provides nutrient profiles for foods designed for kittens and adult cats. Kitten foods should note that they’re formulated to meet the “growth and development phase,” and adult cat food should state they’re formulated for the “maintenance phase.” Making sure that any cat food you choose has one of these messages on its packaging can help you feel confident that it’s formulated to contain everything that your cat needs.

    Specific diets

    Some cats have specific dietary requirements. If your cat has allergies, then a limited-ingredient diet will suit them best. If they’ve had urinary issues, then a prescription diet will be the best choice. In any case where your cat has specific dietary requirements, be sure to ask your vet for their advice and recommendations before making any final choices.

    Conclusion

    The Smalls Fresh Human Grade Cat Food Subscription Service provides the overall best wet cat food. Containing real, fresh meat that even you could eat, this formulation contains everything that your cat needs to thrive.

    When it comes to best value, we recommend the 9Lives Poultry & Beef Favorites Variety Pack as the best wet cat food for the money. This formulation contains high protein content at a great price point, thanks to the use of both real meat and meat by-products.

    We know that choosing your cat’s new wet food can be challenging, which is why we’ve designed our reviews to feature the top 10 choices, hopefully making it easier for you to make that decision and find a delicious new food for your feline friend!


    Featured Image Credit: Pixabay

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