Julia Ogden

Written by Julia Ogden

Updated: May 15, 2024

What are the best wet foods for cats?

Updated: May 15, 2024

Wet cat food tends to include a lot more meat ingredients than dry. 

The increased moisture in the recipes is excellent for cats in need of extra hydration, and picky-eaters will also appreciate the variety of flavors available. 

On this page, we share our list of the best wet cat foods, selected because they contain more protein and fewer carbohydrates.

  • Smalls

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    Highly Recommended

    Smalls fresh cat food range is made of seven recipes which all receive the Cat Food Advisor’s highest rating 5 stars.

    The company was only founded in 2017 and the food is manufactured in a human-grade commercial facility near Chicago.

    This range is made from human-grade ingredients, cooked to lock in nutrients and then frozen to maximize freshness. High in protein, Smalls’ recipes are designed to promote strong bones and toned muscles in cats.

    Smalls Ground Bird recipe was selected to represent the other products in the line for a detailed recipe and nutrient analysis. It derives the bulk of its protein from chicken, which is naturally rich in the 11 essential amino acids required by a cat to sustain life.

    Dry matter label analysis reveals a wet recipe containing 55.4% protein, 30.4% fat and 6.3% carbohydrates . . . with a fat-to-protein ratio of 55%.

    Read our review of the full Smalls Fresh Cat Food range here
    Main Ingredients Chicken, chicken liver, green beans, peas & water
    Texture Wet
    Type Fresh
    Protein Percentage 55%
    AAFCO Standards All Life Stages
    Best For Kittens, cats and senior cats

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    Sample buyer review...

    "After feeding, my cat gets this burst of energy and starts running around the house! And his fur is softer and more vibrant, with higher contrast. Honestly, I wouldn’t recommend anything else."

  • Blue Freedom

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    Highly Recommended

    Blue Freedom wet cat food is made of five recipes which all receive the Cat Food Advisor’s highest rating 5 stars.

    This range owned by multinational food manufacturer General Mills contains high-quality ingredients with high levels of protein. It is made with natural, wholesome ingredients, free from grains, artificial colors, flavors or preservatives.

    Blue Freedom Adult Cat Grain-Free Indoor Chicken was selected to represent the other products in the line for a detailed recipe and nutrient analysis.

    The bulk of the protein in this recipe comes from chicken, which is naturally rich in the 11 essential amino acids required by a cat to sustain life.

    Dry matter label analysis reveals a wet recipe containing 40% protein, 27.3% fat and 23.8% carbohydrates . . . with a fat-to-protein ratio of 67%.

    Read our review of the full Blue Buffalo Freedom Wet Cat Food range here
    Main Ingredients Chicken, chicken broth, chicken liver, carrots, sweet potatoes
    Texture Wet
    Type Grain-free
    Protein Percentage 83.3%
    AAFCO Standards Maintenance
    Best For Adult & senior cats

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    Sample buyer review...

    "My cats love eating this food! They sit at their bowls every morning waiting for me to give it to them. Their coats are always healthy and shiny and they have very regular bowel and urinary habits. I highly recommend!"

  • Orijen

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    Highly Recommended

    Orijen wet cat food is made up of five recipes which all receive the Cat Food Advisor’s highest rating 5 stars.

    It is an above-average quality food that contains fresh animal ingredients in its first few ingredients. This range contains no peas, lentils, legumes, carrageenan or gums and each recipe is tailored to meet the nutritional needs of cats at different stages of life.

    Orijen Tuna, Salmon & Beef Entrée Wet Cat Food recipe was selected to represent the other products in the line for a detailed recipe and nutrient analysis. This recipe gets the bulk of its protein from tuna, an oily marine fish not only high in protein but also omega 3 fatty acids, essential oils needed by every cat to sustain life.  

    Dry matter label analysis reveals a wet recipe containing 70% protein, 20% fat and 2% carbohydrates . . . with a fat-to-protein ratio of 46%.

    The Orijen product range is made by Champion Petfoods, a Canadian company founded by Reinhard Muhlenfeld in Alberta, in 1975.  The Orijen brand was launched in 2005 and is the first and largest pet food manufacturer in Canada.

    Read our review of the full Orijen Wet Cat Food range here
    Main Ingredients Tuna, chicken, salmon, whole sardine & chicken liver
    Texture Wet
    Type Entrée
    Protein Percentage 46%
    AAFCO Standards All Life Stages
    Best For Cats and senior cats

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    Sample buyer review...

    "My cats love it and the ingredient profile is great, top quality proteins, no fillers or thickeners. The product is a moist loaf of meat shreds. Will be ordering again."

  • The Honest Kitchen

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    Recommended

    The Honest Kitchen wet cat food range includes 10 grain-free recipes which all receive the Cat Food Advisor’s second highest rating 4.5 stars.

    The Honest Kitchen Minced Turkey in Bone Broth Gravy was selected to represent the other products in the line for a detailed recipe and nutrient analysis. 

    The bulk of the protein in this recipe is from turkey, which is naturally rich in the 11 essential amino acids required by a cat to sustain life.

    Dry matter label analysis reveals a wet recipe containing 52.8% protein, 22.2% fat and 17% carbohydrates . . . with a fat-to-protein ratio of 46%.

    The Honest Kitchen offers a premium product with high quality ingredients. The company aims to create minimally processed and nutritionally balanced pet food using whole food ingredients. The recipes contain human-grade meats, fruits, and vegetables, and the products are free from artificial additives, preservatives, or by-products. 

    Read our review of the full The Honest Kitchen Wet Cat Food range here
    Main Ingredients Turkey, turkey broth, pumpkin, carrots & blueberries
    Texture Wet
    Type Broth
    Protein Percentage 46%
    AAFCO Standards All Life Stages
    Best For Kittens, cats and senior cats

    EXCLUSIVE: New customer offer

    30% off orders $30+ with code CFA30

    Sample buyer review...

    "As my senior cat likes this variety, I'm constantly on the lookout for new foods (as he doesn't like fish). I tried this as recommended, mixing a wee bit at a time in his usual food and was thrilled that he loved it! His preference used to be shredded food, but now enjoys the minced type - he doesn't leave a drop or crumb. Recommend highly"

  • Open Farm

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    Recommended

    Open Farm wet cat food is consists of six recipes which all receive the Cat Food Advisor’s second highest rating 4.5 stars.

    Open Farm Harvest Chicken Rustic Blend is one of the recipes in this product range made by the Canadian company, Open Farm Pet Foods, which focuses on using locally sourced ingredients from farms which meet strict animal welfare and quality standards.

    This recipe gets the bulk of its protein from chicken, which is naturally rich in the 11 essential amino acids required by a cat to sustain life.

    Dry matter label analysis reveals a wet recipe containing 38.9% protein, 33.3% fat and 19.8% carbohydrates . . . with a fat-to-protein ratio of 67%.

    Open Farm wet cat food is an above-average quality food product that provides cats with a source of omega 6 fatty acids, due to a single-protein blend of humanely raised chicken and non-GMO dandelion greens.

    Highly recommended.

    Read our review of the full Open Farm Wet Cat Food range here
    Main Ingredients Humanely raised chicken, chicken bone broth, pumpkin & carrots
    Texture Wet
    Type Rustic Blend
    Protein Percentage 67%
    AAFCO Standards All Life Stages
    Best For Kittens, cats and senior cats

    EXCLUSIVE: New customer offer

    20% off your first auto-ship order with code CFA20

    Sample buyer review...

    "My boys love this food so much they scream every time I go into the kitchen. The subscription shipments are reliable and convenient and their customer support is wonderful. Open Farm is thoroughly human- and cat-approved in our household."

  • Instinct Original

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    Highly Recommended

    Instinct Original wet cat food is made of seven recipes which all receive the Cat Food Advisor’s highest rating 5 stars.

    Instinct Original Real Chicken is one of the recipes in this product range made by Instinct Pet Foods. The bulk of the protein in this recipe is from chicken, which is naturally rich in the 11 essential amino acids required by a cat to sustain life.

    Dry matter label analysis reveals a wet recipe containing 45.5% protein, 34% fat and 12.5% carbohydrates . . . with a fat-to-protein ratio of 75%.

    Packed full of named meat products, as well as vegetables and fruit, this range comes in a savory bone broth gravy to tempt even the fussiest eaters.

    Read our review of the full Instinct Original Wet Cat Food range here
    Main Ingredients Chicken, chicken broth, chicken liver, egg product, dicalcium phosphate
    Texture Wet
    Type Paté
    Protein Percentage 45.5%
    AAFCO Standards All Life Stages
    Best For Senior cats/adult cats/kittens

    Save up to 35%

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    Sample buyer review...

    "My cat is extremely picky with her canned food...and treats. I tried several different brands of wet food and ended up giving her canned corned beef (that we eat). I am happy that we have found an alternative with Instinct brand cat food! She absolutely loves the liver paté! The food is made of natural ingredients (you can pronounce and know all of the ingredients when you read the can!) The food is an excellent pate texture with very light gravy juice. Thank you for a healthy product for my cat!"

  • Weruva B.F.F. Minced

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    Highly Recommended

    B.F.F Minced range is made of eight recipes which all receive the Cat Food Advisor’s highest rating 5 stars.

    This range is produced in a human food facility, with many ingredients and processes used in products made for people. There is a named meat or fish in every recipe and all the products are gluten and grain free.

    B.F.F Minced Tuna & Chicken Chuckles (Tuna & Chicken Dinner in Gelee) is one of the recipes in this product range manufactured by Weruva, a Massachusetts based company. The food is manufactured in Thailand but made from ingredients sourced from around the world. 

    This particular recipe gets the bulk of its protein from tuna, an oily marine fish not only high in protein but also omega 3 fatty acids, essential oils needed by every cat to sustain life.

    Dry matter label analysis reveals a wet recipe containing 70.6% protein, 11.8% fat and 9.6% carbohydrates . . . with a fat-to-protein ratio of 17%.

    Read our review of the full B.F.F. Minced Wet Cat Food range here
    Main Ingredients Tuna, fish broth, chicken (boneless, skinless breast), sunflower seed oil, calcium lactate
    Texture Wet
    Type Minced
    Protein Percentage 70.6%
    AAFCO Standards Unspecified
    Best For Adult cats

    Save up to 35%

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    Sample buyer review...

    "My cat is a very picky eater. I have tried many different types of cat food. I decided to try this and I am so glad I did. When I opened the can of food to feed him he started jumping up and down. He ate everything as soon as I put his bowl down. I have not seen him clean his bowl like that in a very while."

  • Wellness CORE Signature Selects

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    Recommended

    Wellness CORE Signature Selects wet cat food is made of eight recipes with ratings that vary from 4 to 5 stars. The average rating of the overall product line is 4.5-stars.

    Wellness CORE Signature Selects Flaked Skipjack Tuna & Wild Salmon Entrée in Broth is one of the recipes in this product range made by Wellness Pet Company.

    The bulk of the protein in this particular recipes comes from tuna, an oily marine fish not only high in protein but also omega 3 fatty acids, essential oils needed by every cat to sustain life.

    Dry matter label analysis reveals a wet recipe containing 66.7% protein, 23.3% fat and 2% carbohydrates . . . with a fat-to-protein ratio of 35%.

    Wellness CORE Signature Selects is made from natural ingredients, high in protein and essential fatty acids. It’s packed with either animal or fish-derived ingredients.

    Read our review of the full Wellness CORE Signature Selects Wet Cat Food range here
    Main Ingredients Tuna, tuna broth, water sufficient for processing, mackerel and salmon
    Texture Wet
    Type Broth
    Protein Percentage 83.3%
    AAFCO Standards Maintenance
    Best For Senior cats/adult cats

    Save up to 35%

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    Sample buyer review...

    "My cat is super picky when it comes to wet food. She has had digestive issues since she was a kitten. She will only eat Tuna. She doesn't like pate. There are only a few brands that she will fully eat. I honestly think this is her favorite hands down. I don't mind paying extra for it knowing that she is getting the nutrients she needs and it's easy for her to digest."

  • Health Extension

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    Highly Recommended

    Health Extension wet cat food is made of nine recipes with ratings that vary from 4-5 stars. The average rating of the overall product line is 5-stars.

    Health Extension Grain-Free Tuna & Prawns is one of the recipes in this product range made by Vets Choice which was rebranded in 2015 to become Health Extension. 

    Health Extension Grain-Free Tuna & Prawns Recipe gets the bulk of its protein from tuna, an oily marine fish not only high in protein but also omega 3 fatty acids, essential oils needed by every cat to sustain life.

    Dry matter label analysis reveals a wet recipe containing 62.5% protein, 12.5% fat and 17% carbohydrates . . . with a fat-to-protein ratio of 32%.

    Health Extension has high levels of protein, low levels of fat and carbohydrates and the formulation offers a well balanced diet, full of good quality ingredients. 

    Read our review of the full Health Extension Wet Cat Food range here
    Main Ingredients Tuna, tuna broth, prawns, sunflower oil & tapioca starch
    Texture Wet
    Type Paté or in Savoury Sauce
    Protein Percentage 32%
    AAFCO Standards Maintenance
    Best For Senior cats and adult cats

    Save up to 35%

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    Sample buyer review...

    "My cats hear the click of a spoon on the can and come running and meowing for Health Extension Tuna and Prawns. They patiently wait for their bowls to be filled then run ahead of me to their eating spot and chow down. Highly recommend."

  • Triumph

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    Highly Recommended

    Triumph wet cat food is made of five recipes which all receive the Cat Food Advisor’s highest rating 5 stars.

    Triumph Beef Formula is one of the recipes in this product range made by Sunshine Mills. This recipe derives the bulk of its protein from beef.

    Dry matter label analysis reveals a wet recipe containing 45.5% protein, 36.4% fat and 10.2% carbohydrates, with a fat-to-protein ratio of 80%.

    Triumph wet cat food provides cats with an excellent source of quality protein. It has added vitamins and minerals and is free from artificial flavors.

    Read our review of the full Triumph Cans Wet range here
    Main Ingredients Beef, water sufficient for processing, chicken, pork liver, ocean fish.
    Texture Wet
    Type Canned meat
    Protein Percentage 45.5%
    AAFCO Standards Maintenance
    Best For Adult cats

    Save up to 35%

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    Sample buyer review...

    "Triumph is our go-to brand and our kitties especially love the beef flavor! Consistently great quality food for our furry family"

Why feed your cat wet food?

The main benefit of feeding your cat wet food is the water content. Cats with kidney disease, urinary tract disease or diabetes need more water in their diet and wet food provides an easy way for cat parents to ensure they get this. It is also beneficial for cats with sensitive stomachs as it is easier to digest.

Wet food is also more comparable with the fresh prey cats would have eaten in the wild.

Do vets recommend wet food for cats?

Wet food is generally easier for cats to chew, so is often recommended by vets for cats with dental health issues or older cats who may have fewer teeth. It also tends to be lower in fat than dry food, so is good for cats that may need to lose a few pounds. 

How much wet food should you give your cat?

Most cats need between four to five ounces of wet cat food a day. However, it is important to note that some types of wet food contain more calories than others – pate-style varieties, for example, tend to be higher in calories than gravies and flakes.

Do cats that only eat wet food need water?

Although a diet of wet food provides a cat with the bulk of the water they need, it is important they still have access to fresh drinking water. This is because water helps cats flush toxins from the kidneys. It also aids digestion and the absorption of nutrients in their food.

Where should you put a cat’s water bowl?

Interestingly, cats often prefer their water to be kept in a different location to their food.  A cat’s natural instinct is to drink water which is separate from where they eat or go to the toilet. This is because they want to be sure their water is not contaminated by any potential bacteria.

Can you feed your cat a mix of wet and dry food?

The answer is, of course, yes . . . but it can lead to over feeding, so you need to regulate the amount of each food you give them to ensure they are getting the right amount of calories.

First, you need to determine the daily recommended amount of dry food they should be eating depending on the size, age and weight of your cat. There’s a handy measurement table on the side of each bag of kibble. 

 

You can choose your own ratio of dry to wet food, but a general rule is two thirds dry to one third wet food. Wet and dry food have a different number of calories per gram, so take the weight of dry food you’re not feeding your cat, and multiply this by 2.5 to get the right weight of wet food.

Sources

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Article reviewed by
Laura Ward

Pet Nutritionist

Laura studied BSc (Hons) Animal Science with an accreditation in Nutrition at the University of Nottingham, before working for eight years in the pet food and nutrition industry.

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