How to choose wet cat food (9 steps):

My colleagues and I have spent around 5,000 hours researching and comparing the cat products. We’ve developed the below step-by-step method to pick the best wet food for cats. Please use it when choosing high-quality wet cat food for your furry friend, or feel free to consider the food formulas from our analysis results.

So, that’s what we do to choose the best quality wet cat food:

Step 1: Check the brand reputation

All the reputable wet cat food reviews consider this when deciding on the formulas to include in their lists—brand longevity and reputation on the market matter. Pet owners read brand reviews online, listen to friends’ recommendations, and ask a vet to recommend the best wet cat food brands. As a rule, older manufacturers produce better products because they’ve perfected their methods already.

Step 2: Consider your cat’s life stage

The all-natural wet cat food to choose for your feline will depend on her life stage. It stands to reason that you can’t feed a kitten who’s under six months of age with formulas for seniors. The same is with recipes designed for pregnant cats, felines with food allergies, cats who struggle with obesity, and so on. It’s not enough to choose the best canned cat food for indoor cats. Please optimize your four-legged friend’s diet based on her age, lifestyle, and health conditions.

Step 3: Check the first five ingredients

The next step is to read the list of ingredients on a food label and pay precise attention to the first five. They form the core of the formula, specifying what your cat will eat in particular. Make sure there are no by-products or artificial preservatives in the first place. The best rated wet cat food will have real meat (chicken, fish, beef, rabbit, or any other animal protein source) first. Rice, peas, or potatoes may be present too, but they should go after the meat ingredients in the list.

Step 4: Check the animal protein

Cats are obligate carnivores, so they require animal proteins to thrive. It doesn’t mean that your feline won’t survive without meat, but her health, energy, and overall condition will suffer by far. Good wet food for cats has high-quality animal protein sources such as real poultry (chicken, turkey, duck) or meat (beef, rabbit, or lamb). Fish, specifically salmon, is excellent to have in a diet too. Please minimize plant-based proteins (corn, wheat, peas, etc.) in a cat’s diet: they are less digestible, lacking essential nutrients. And always check if your cat gets enough proteins per day.

Step 5: Check if it’s low in fats

The same is true for fats. As well as proteins, they are essential for cats’ health, so ensure the food formula contains omega fatty acids. But, as well as carbs, fats can be harmful when in excess. The best wet cat food brands understand that, balancing all the formula elements so that a feline could get maximum benefits from her diet.

Step 6: Check if it’s low in carbs

Cats will benefit from low-carbohydrate diets. Not only does low-carb food help prevent obesity, but it also decreases the risk of diabetes. It doesn’t mean that wet cat food shouldn’t contain any carbs at all. Just avoid too high carb diets, where about 50% of calories come from carbohydrates. The fewer carbs, the better.

Step 7: Check if it has enough vitamins

All the top-rated canned cat food will be vitamin- and mineral-rich for a feline to get all the essential nutrients with her diet. Check the label for vitamins A, B, C, and D; and ensure the formula contains taurine and minerals like calcium, iron, and zinc.

Step 8: Check if it’s AAFCO-approved

AAFCO is for the Association of American Feed Control Officials, and it’s the organization creating and regulating the manufacturing guidelines for pet food companies. If a canned cat food is AAFCO-approved, it means it meets at least the minimum nutritional requirements and is OK to serve as a complete and balanced diet for a feline.

Step 9: Consider your cat’s allergies

Some healthy wet food for cats is designed to help a feline with her physical condition. If your cat has food allergies or a sensitive stomach, please consult your vet before buying commercial food formulas. A hydrolyzed hypoallergenic diet might be the best option in your situation. There are also specific foods for cats with obesity, kidney disease, and other health problems on the market. When choosing the best option for your feline, you need to consider all the factors.

7 Best wet cat food brands

After our extensive research, we’ve selected the best wet cat food brands for pet owners to trust:

Also, consider formulas from Wag and WholeHearted, as they are among the best quality affordable wet cat foods.

How to get a cat to eat wet food

Step 1: Experiment with flavors

As well as people, cats have different food excesses. If yours doesn’t eat wet food, that’s maybe because she doesn’t like its flavor. Try different ones to see what your feline prefers.

Step 2: Don’t give any treats

Most cats are fussy eaters. If you often give them different treats, they get used to such products, refusing to consume traditional food consequently. Say no to treats when trying to get your furry friend to eat canned cat food.

Step 3: Keep wet cat food fresh

Unlike dry formulas, canned cat food has shorter expiration dates, especially after it’s been opened. So, please don’t serve more than a cat can eat. Also, keep open cans in a refrigerator for a maximum of 5-7 days.

An automatic feeder for wet food is a solid solution to keep your cat’s canned food fresh. This function distinguishes them from traditional auto feeders.

FAQ

How to feed a wet cat food while away?

As far as canned cat food doesn’t stay fresh for a long time, leaving it for a day or more in a bowl is not an option.

That’s what you can do: use an automatic feeder with a refrigerator, ask friends or relatives to feed a cat while you’re away, or you can hire a cat sitter who’d come and serve wet food to your feline.

How long can you leave wet cat food out?

Even the best wet food for cats won’t stay fresh for more than four hours in a bowl at room temperature. So please don’t serve more food than a cat can eat at a time. If something’s left, throw it out and wash the bowl properly before refilling it with fresh food again.

How do I store leftover wet cat food?

Please store opened cans with the best wet food for cats in the fridge for a maximum of 5-7 days. Don’t leave canned food in a bowl for more than four hours. If a cat doesn’t eat it all at a time, reduce a portion and make sure to throw out leftovers: You feline should eat fresh food only.

How to mix wet and dry cat food?

There are certain dos and don’ts of such mixing. First of all, both dry and wet cat food formulas should be of high quality and the same flavor group.
Second, you need to control the final portion’s nutrients and calories to ensure a cat gets a complete and balanced diet. Finally, use separate bowls for dry and wet food for cats.

At the end of the day

What is the best wet food for cats? I hope we’ve answered this question here, helping pet owners choose the healthiest canned cat food for their furry friends. Please share your thoughts on the best wet cat food in the comments:

Did we miss anything? Do you have other top wet cat food options to mention here?


I’m Kimberly Baumgart, a future veterinary physician from Manhattan, Kansas. Volunteering in animal shelters and assisting in the local vet hospital, I help pet owners learn more about feline lifestyle. Read my works on Catpet.Club blog to discover the world of healthy nutrition and well-being for your four-legged friend.

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