There are a few key things you should always look out for when choosing canned cat food. First and foremost, we care about cat health – and one of the most important things for keeping kitty healthy is whether the cat diet is preventing illness and disease.
- Check the fat and protein content—cats need lots of both.
- Avoid foods that contain by-products or too many carbs.
- Keep an eye out for artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives.
- Some of the best canned cat foods are formulated with omega fatty acids in the form of fish oil to help protect the heart.
- Look for the right vitamin and mineral content, and focus on wet cat food brands that you trust.
Whenever possible, shop at pet boutiques and local stores so you can ask questions about the ingredients in their products.
Image Credit: Justin Turner/iStock.
Best healthy food for senior cats
SPONSORED: Find a Qualified Financial Advisor
1. Finding a qualified financial advisor doesn't have to be hard. SmartAsset's free tool matches you with up to 3 fiduciary financial advisors in your area in 5 minutes.
2. Each advisor has been vetted by SmartAsset and is held to a fiduciary standard to act in your best interests. If you're ready to be matched with local advisors that can help you achieve your financial goals get started now.
When choosing a wet cat food for your senior cat, remember to look for a wet cat food that has a higher protein content along with a lower carbohydrate content. Not only does it need to be high in protein, but you will also want to make sure that the protein is coming from high-quality sources such as chicken, turkey, or fish. You also want to avoid artificial colors and flavors and byproducts. If you are searching for the best healthy cat food for your senior kitty, consider one of these three options below:
- Instinct by Nature’s Variety Grain-Free Wet Food
- Weruva Best Feline Friend (BFF) Pouch Cat Food
- Nutro Max Gourmet Chicken Paté With Natural Chicken Liver
Related Slideshow: These are the most adorable dogs on Instagram
Image Credit: Ruta Lipskija/iStock.
Healthiest wet cat food for kittens
The best wet cat food for kittens is holistic, grain-free, and made with natural ingredients. Before serving wet food to your kitten, make sure that you follow the instructions on the packaging. Some brands of wet cat food should be mixed with water before being served.
Image Credit: Magone/iStock.
Healthiest wet cat food for sensitive stomachs
For cats with sensitive stomachs, these options are all highly recommended.
- Hill’s Science Diet Adult Sensitive Stomach & Skin: This formula from Hill’s Science Diet is very well-rated, and it’s one of the best cat food for hairballs available. It does have grains in its ingredients list, but that’s a common problem for many wet cat foods. It has no artificial colors or flavors.
- Purina Pro Plan Sensitive Skin & Stomach: Purina has been a pet food powerhouse for decades, and this wet cat food formula is no exception. The sensitive skin & stomach option boasts real turkey as its first ingredient and includes brown rice and oatmeal as well. In addition to being great for cats with sensitive stomachs, it can also be effective against allergies and may help reduce itching and scratching associated with sensitivity problems.
- Blue Buffalo Natural Veterinary Diet GI Gastrointestinal Support: This product from Blue Buffalo is designed specifically to help address digestive health concerns in felines. That means your kitty will get plenty of nutrition and hydration while getting their GI tract back on track. In fact, it’s the top suggested product by veterinarians when it comes to resolving gastrointestinal issues like vomiting or diarrhea in your furry friend! Its ingredients include wholesome chicken along with pumpkin, flaxseed oil (for omega-3 fatty acids), sweet potatoes (for vitamin A), cranberries (for antioxidants) – plus other healthy fruits/vegetables/oils which provide vitamins/minerals needed every day.
Image Credit: Chalabala/iStock.
Healthiest wet cat food for weight loss
Cats are carnivores. Unlike dogs, cats aren’t omnivores and don’t eat meat just because it’s readily available, they need meat in their diet to survive and thrive.
Meat has two main components: protein and fat. While there are some essential nutrients in carbohydrates (namely fiber), cats can go without them as long as they have plenty of protein and fat in their diet.
Cats need more protein than dogs. Dogs can subsist on diets of 7-10% protein, but cats need double that: 14% is the minimum for a healthy cat, though 18% or higher should be the goal if your cat is on the hunt for weight loss. This is even more than humans require – we only need 10-15%. *
Fat is an essential part of a cat’s diet. Though it’s tempting to put them on low-fat diets like we might do with ourselves or with our overweight pooches, most experts agree that restricting fat below 10% can cause serious health problems for your feline foodie. You see, fat isn’t something that cats eat just because it tastes good (though they certainly seem to think so!). Rather, it’s their most important source of energy!
See also our comprehensive review of what to look for in diet cat food.
Image Credit: Astrid860/iStock.
Best healthy wet cat food for purebred cats
You can help your purebred cat reach his full health potential by choosing an adult wet cat food that meets his unique needs. Purebred cats are predisposed to certain diseases and health conditions, so it’s important to ensure your cat is getting the nutrients he needs for optimal wellness.
How are purebred cats different from mixed breed cats?
Purebred cats are bred for specific characteristics and traits, whether it be a thick coat of fur or a specific eye color. This can lead to certain health issues in these breeds, like heart problems in Maine Coon cats and urinary tract issues in Russian Blue cats.
How do I choose the right canned food for my purebred cat?
When you’re comparing options, look for: A complete diet that addresses your cat’s most common breed-specific concerns; 100% complete nutrition with essential vitamins and minerals like taurine; No artificial additives or fillers; Special formulas designed specifically for adult or senior purebreds
Image Credit: insonnia/iStock.
Best High-protein wet cat food
Protein is an especially important nutrient for cats. Unlike humans and some other animals, they are not able to create the amino acids they need in order to produce protein. This makes it essential that cats get sufficient amounts of protein from the food they eat. Kittens and senior cats have especially high protein requirements, so if you own a cat who falls into one of these categories, be sure to look for foods containing extra protein.
Some common examples of high-quality, high-protein canned wet food include:
- Hill’s Prescription Diet y/d Dry Cat Food
- Blue Wilderness High Protein Grain Free Adult Dry Cat Food
- Purina Pro Plan Savor Adult Shredded Blend Chicken & Rice Formula Dry Cat Food
Image Credit: DepositPhotos.com.
Best wet cat food for weight loss
As your cat ages, his metabolism will slow down, meaning that he’ll need fewer calories to maintain his weight. But when you have a cat who is already overweight or obese, it can be tricky to figure out what to feed them — because you don’t want to under-feed them or accidentally starve them. You also want to make sure the food is healthy and nutritious.
The best foods for weight loss or weight management are those that are high in protein and low in carbohydrates and fat. It’s also important to bulk up on canned food (which is higher in water content) rather than feeding dry foods, since they tend to be very calorically dense—and fillers like corn and soy can cause inflammation as well as weight gain. Finally, avoid any foods with artificial colors or flavors; instead try looking for limited ingredient diets (LIDs).
Image Credit: DepositPhotos.com.
Best human-grade cat food
At first glance, it may seem like human-grade cat food is unnecessary and that you can give your cat any kind of dry or wet food readily available at the supermarket or pet store. There’s nothing wrong with using those foods either; they provide all of the essential nutrients cats need to maintain their health in addition to making kitty feel more comfortable in your home.
The problem arises when you consider what might be in them: preservatives such as BHA (butylated hydroxyanisole), BHT (butylated hydroxytoluene), ethoxyquin, polysorbate 80, sodium metabisulfite, propylene glycol alginate among others. These chemicals are safe for human consumption but could pose a threat if ingested by cats—especially if stored for an extended period of time (such as canned food).
Human-grade cat food is produced by companies who go above and beyond making sure their ingredients are free of toxins while still being tasty enough for kitty’s taste buds.
So what exactly determines whether a given brand is actually “human grade”? Below are some key indicators:
The entire ingredient list should be visible on the package. No ingredients should be abbreviated or disguised under different chemical names just because they sound similar. For example if it says “corn gluten meal” on the label instead of just “corn,” don’t buy it because there’s no guarantee that this ingredient will not contain any corn gluten meal derived from corn gluten or other grains.
Image Credit: etienne voss/iStock.
Best raw food for cats
Raw food is a great choice for cats with food allergies. Just like humans, some cats can be allergic to certain foods, and the best way to determine what exactly your cat is allergic to is by feeding them raw food. The reason for this is because raw food doesn’t contain any additives or preservatives that could potentially trigger an allergic reaction in your cat. If you’re feeding your cat dry kibble and they have an allergy problem that a vet hasn’t been able to diagnose yet, it may very well be due to an ingredient in their kibble that they aren’t naturally predisposed to eating.
Raw food also works wonders for sensitive stomachs. Because it contains only natural ingredients and avoids using any fillers or additives, raw food is much easier on a cat’s stomach than wet or dry kibble (which are typically packed full of unnecessary fillers). In addition, if your cat has a sensitive stomach then they probably don’t want too many different flavors mixed into their diet – so feeding them only meats will help keep their diets simple while still providing all the nutrients needed for healthy weight gain/loss.
However, be aware that raw diets can pose health risks. Check with your vet.
Image Credit: Nils Jacobi/iStock.
Best (less expensive) healthy cat food for kittens
If you’re on a budget and looking for the healthiest kitten wet food, here are some good choices for canned wet food:
- The Friskies Classic Pate Poultry Platter is an affordable option if you want to go with a tried-and-true brand of kitten wet food. This well-loved canned cat food features chicken, turkey, and liver as its first three ingredients and touts itself as having essential vitamins, nutrients, antioxidants, and taurine (an amino acid).
- If you’ve got a human-food loving kitten (or are yourself a fan of human-grade options), Smalls Fresh Wet Cat Food is another good choice. Smalls offers two versions for kittens: one with turkey and egg, the other with salmon and egg. Both feature antibiotic-free poultry or wild-caught fish as the primary ingredient.
- For another affordable brand that also provides high quality nutrition for your furry friend, try Homestead Turkey Rustic Blend from Petco’s brand Simply Nourish Source. Boasting chicken broth as it’s top ingredient—as opposed to meat byproducts—this grain free food supplies plenty of protein while keeping carbs low. It also contains essential vitamins like A and B12, along with minerals such as zinc oxide (a mineral supplement) copper sulfate (a nutritional supplement), sodium selenite (a dietary supplement)
Image Credit: Svetlana Sultanaeva/iStock.
Healthiest canned cat food brands to buy
In this section we’ll go over well-rated healthy canned cat food, from adult cat wet food to special diets. Each of the wet cat food brands below has been on the market for a while, and has many happy customers.
Image Credit: Vera Tikhonova/iStock.
Purina pro plan liveClear Probioctic Chicken & Rice Formula
This product is formulated with high-quality and easily digestible ingredients that are also highly palatable. This food also contains a probiotic to help support digestive health, which will greatly benefit your cat if he has an upset stomach. The formula is gluten free and can help reduce dander from shedding.
This product is formulated for adult cats, so make sure you have the right food for your feline’s age range. As always, check with your cat’s veterinarian if you have any questions about this product or other products for your pet. There are no artificial colors or flavors in this food so you don’t have to worry about unnecessary additives in his diet. Consumers also rate this product very highly!
Image Credit: Purina.com.
Hill’s Prescription Diet k/d Kidney Care Chicken & Vegetable Stew
This is a good choice for your cat if you have concerns about kidney health. Why? Because, as the food’s name suggests, it’s a prescription diet that’s been clinically tested to improve and extend the lives of cats who are suffering from chronic kidney disease (CKD).
It contains natural ingredients along with vitamins and minerals that are specifically designed for cats. The food is designed to be highly palatable, so even picky eaters will enjoy eating it. Though this is a wet cat food brand, there are dry versions of the Hill’s Prescription Diet k/d Kidney Care line available as well.
Image Credit: catbandit.com.
PetGuard Organic Chicken & Vegetable Formula
This organic canned food contains organic deboned chicken, carrots, celery, beets and sweet potatoes. There are no meat by-products, artificial preservatives, artificial flavors or artificial colors in this formula. There is also no corn, wheat or soy. The cans do not contain BPA and the food is made in the USA.
Image Credit: catbandit.com.
Fancy Feast Gravy Lovers Ocean Whitefish & Tuna Feast
Fancy Feast Gravy Lovers Ocean Whitefish & Tuna Feast is a high-quality wet canned cat food. It’s made with real fish and contains a mix of vitamins to benefit your cat’s health.
Though it has fewer calories than other foods, it still provides the energy your cat needs to make it through the day.
Fancy Feast Gravy Lovers Ocean Whitefish & Tuna Feast is an affordable option for wet cat food that you can purchase in bulk at discount stores or online. Fancy Feast Gravy Lovers Ocean Whitefish & Tuna Feast has no artificial flavors or preservatives, so you can feed this to your cat without worrying about unwanted chemicals entering their system.
Image Credit: catbandit.com.
Hill’s Science Diet Adult Indoor Chicken Recipe
Hill’s Science Diet is a high-quality brand of cat food. It’s good for indoor cats, because indoor cats tend to be less active than outdoor cats and often don’t get enough exercise so they need to eat less calories and more protein.
The Hill’s Science Diet Adult Indoor Chicken Recipe contains 40 percent more protein than normal cat food. This helps increase a cat’s energy level and also reduces hairballs.
This product also contains antioxidants that keep your cat healthy by strengthening the immune system, and antioxidants help prevent diseases such as cancer. It has no artificial colors, flavors or preservatives which might upset your cat’s stomach if he/she eats them regularly over time – no one wants their pet throwing up all over their house!
Image Credit: catbandit.com.
Friskies Classic Pate Poultry Platter
This pate-style cat food features a thick, smooth texture that’s easy for kittens and older cats to eat. It’s made with farm-raised chicken and turkey as top ingredients, so you can be sure your cat is getting plenty of high-quality protein. Poultry Platter also contains taurine, an essential amino acid found in meat that promotes heart health in cats.
In addition to being a good source of protein, this pate is rich in omega fatty acids, which can help improve the condition of your cat’s skin and coat. The formula does not include any artificial flavors or preservatives.
Pros: High-quality ingredients; contains taurine; rich in omega fatty acids; no artificial flavors or preservatives
Image Credit: purina.com.
Homestead Turkey Rustic Blend
This recipe is made with real turkey. The first ingredient is roasted turkey, and it’s complemented by wholesome vegetables like potatoes, peas, apples, and blueberries. There’s no corn, wheat, soy or artificial colors or preservatives in this formula. The food has a soft consistency with small chunks that are easy for most cats to handle.
If you have a picky cat who doesn’t like the same old flavors day after day, you’ll appreciate knowing that there are five different recipes available in this line. All of them are packed with nutrients and flavor to please even the most finicky feline taste buds.
This product comes in 2-ounce and 5-ounce cups.
Image Credit: openfarmpet.com.
Smalls Human-Grade Fresh Wet Cat Food
Smalls’ fresh wet cat food is made with ingredients that are safe for human consumption, which means you can feel good about feeding them to your pet. It’s made from responsibly sourced meats and poultry, like grass-fed beef, free-range turkey and pasture-raised chicken.
Smalls human grade wet cat food is crafted in small batches and cooked at low temperatures daily to lock in vital nutrients (like amino acids) and nutrients that are susceptible to heat (like B vitamins).
Image Credit: smalls.com.
Open Farm Rustic Blend Wet Cat Food
Open Farm Rustic Blend Wet Cat Food is a chicken-based wet cat food using a moderate amount of named meats and by-products as its main sources of animal protein, thus being somewhat lower quality than some other options.
Image Credit: openfarmpet.com.
Tiki Cat Luau Wet Food
Reviewers love that this food contains no fish, making it a good option for cats with allergies. It also has a high protein content, as well as B vitamins to support a healthy coat. Tiki Cat uses human-grade ingredients, and the formula includes taurine to help your cat’s eyes and heart stay healthy. Each can has between two and three servings in it, but because of the quality of the ingredients used, you can feed half a can per day instead of one whole one—so keep in mind that a 12-pack will actually last for up to 24 days.
Image Credit: tikipets.com.
Royal Canin Kitten Food
Royal Canin is a trusted brand that provides formulas for both kittens and adult cats. This particular product has a wet food formula specifically designed to meet the nutritional needs of growing kittens, as well as to support brain development. The fact that your cat will love it doesn’t hurt either.
This canned kitten food is fortified with DHA, which is an omega-3 fatty acid commonly found in fish oil and often added to baby formula in order to promote healthy brain development. It also contains prebiotics for digestive health, chicken by-product meal for protein, and fish oil for skin and coat.
The crude protein content is 34 percent while the crude fat content measures 20 percent. The rest consists of water (max 10 percent), ash (max 5 percent), dietary fiber (max 1 percent), moisture (max 78 percent), calcium (min 0.55 percent), phosphorus (min 0.45 percent) and taurine (min 0.1%).
Image Credit: royalcanin.com.
Blue Buffalo Tastefuls Variety Pack
Blue Buffalo offers a cat food with human grade ingredients, free of by-products, corn, soy, and wheat. It doesn’t contain gluten or grains. Blue Buffalo sources all its ingredients from the US and produces its products in the US as well.
The brand is named after a “beloved” dog owned by one of the founders who died of cancer. The owners wanted to create a pet food that didn’t use by-products or fillers like corn and wheat gluten which they believe were responsible for his death.
Image Credit: bluebuffalo.com.
Weruva Mideast Feast Wet Cat Food
Weruva Mideast Feast is a pate, not a stew, so if your kitty isn’t a fan of pates or pureed foods, you may want to find another choice. It’s high in protein (8.3%) and contains carbs (2.1%), but the carbohydrates are from peas, pumpkin and potato starch.
There are no grains in this food, so it’s good for cats with allergies to corn or other grains. It’s also a low-ash formula (less than 1 percent), which makes it ideal for cats with urinary tract issues. However, Weruva is high in fat (5 percent), and some cats don’t do well on high-fat diets, so that may be an issue for your cat as well as the fact that most cats don’t like the fishy taste of this food.
Image Credit: weruva.com.
Is it OK to feed my cat only canned wet food?
Wet cat food is usually made with more meat than dry cat food. As a result, wet cat food provides more moisture and protein to your kitty, making it the best option for cats who have dental or kidney issues. However, this comes with a few downsides: wet cat food is more expensive and can be messy. In addition, wet cat food isn’t as filling as dry cat food due to its lower fiber content. For these reasons, if your kitty doesn’t have health issues that require him to eat wet food, you should consider choosing a high quality dry cat food instead.
Image Credit: suiwuya/iStock.
How much wet food to feed a cat?
Knowing exactly how much wet food to feed a cat can be challenging. The amount of wet food that should be fed to a cat will vary depending on the size, age and activity level of the cat.
In general, most cats need between 200-250 calories per day.
Image Credit: SharafMaksumov/iStock.
What’s healthier for cats, wet or dry food?
If you’re like me, then you always wonder: “What’s best for my cat?” In this case, wet food has the edge over dry because it contains the most water. Most cats don’t drink enough water on their own, so giving them a diet rich in wet food ensures that they are getting enough hydration. It also has more protein and less carbohydrates than dry food, which is better for your cat’s digestive system. Wet food is also more palatable and therefore easier to serve to your cat, but remember that it’s usually more expensive and needs to be refrigerated.
Image Credit: Zontica/iStock.
How long can I leave wet cat food out?
The Internet is chock full of information about the healthiest cat food, but choosing the right one can be daunting. There are many factors to consider when deciding what you should feed your cats. Knowing the healthiest wet cat food will help you decide which brand is best for them.
The most important aspect of feeding your cat is knowing how long their food should be cooked or cooked and refrigerated before serving.
Cooked and Refrigerated: This is just what it sounds like; this type of food has been cooked (boiled) and subsequently cooled so that it does not need to be refrigerated. This means that it keeps for at least 2 hours, although in a heat wave, you might not want to let it sit out overnight as there’s a chance it could spoil before then.
Image Credit: Sergey Pakulin/iStock.
Should I refridgerate canned wet cat food?
Once opened, wet cat food doesn’t need to be refrigerated, as long as you’re going to finish it within a few hours. According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), wet cat food is fine at room temperature for up to two hours, whether or not it’s been opened. If you don’t plan on finishing your pet’s meal in that time frame, stick it in the fridge instead. If you don’t finish an opened bag of wet food within two weeks, throw out what’s left. Similarly, if you don’t finish an opened can of wet food within three days, throw out what’s leftover.
Image Credit: OlyaSolodenko/iStock.
Is it OK to freeze wet cat food?
Yes. It’s perfectly fine to freeze wet cat food. You can freeze opened cans and unopened cans of wet cat food, but we recommend freezing the opened cans since you don’t want your cat to eat from an unopened can that has already gone bad. Keep in mind that unopened cans don’t last very long in the fridge once they are thawed out. Make sure to label your frozen foods and check for any freezer burn before feeding it to your cat.
Image Credit: Lightspruch/iStock.
How do you thaw frozen wet cat food?
Once your frozen can of wet cat food is ready to be used, place it in the refrigerator overnight or try one of the following: running warm water over the can, placing it in a bowl of warm water, or leaving it on a counter at room temperature until thawed out completely.
Image Credit: Liudmila Chernetska/iStock.
How should I store my wet cat food?
Leftover canned foods should be put back into their original packaging and placed inside an airtight container; then put them in the refrigerator or freezer right away if they haven’t been used up within 24 hours after opening them up initially. Unused portions of canned foods should not be kept out at all times like dry foods because they could go bad sooner than dry foods would due to high moisture content and susceptibility towards bacterial contamination from unclean surfaces (e.g., pet bowls).
Image Credit: Magone/iStock.
Is it OK to mix water with canned wet cat food?
You should never mix water with dry cat food. Dry cat food is already about ten percent water, and adding more can cause your cat to get dehydrated. Adding too much water to dry cat food may also cause it to expand and make your cat feel bloated. Dehydration can be very dangerous for cats, and cause kidney failure or other serious health problems, so be sure not to add water.
However, you should serve wet cat food with a little bit of extra warm water added on top if your cat has urinary tract disease or kidney disease. Although this seems counterintuitive at first—why would you give a sick cat more water?—it actually forces him drink more in order to get the extra moisture he needs. If you feed your cat canned food as his only source of nutrition, then you don’t need to add any additional water unless he has renal issues that require it.
Image Credit: Maria Moroz/iStock.
What’s the right amount of wet cat food to feed my cat?
Wet food is generally more expensive than dry, but because cats on wet diets get more moisture and less carbs, you can feed them smaller amounts of food to meet their daily needs. If you’re switching your cat from dry to wet food, or if they’re used to eating only a few bits of kibble at a time, offer them smaller portions than recommended on the package.
For your average fully grown cat who weighs between nine and thirteen pounds, aim for two ½-cup servings of wet food every day. Though wet food has fewer carbohydrates per serving than dry kibble, it also doesn’t have as many calories. If your cat is overweight or obese, consult with your veterinarian so that you can develop a weight loss plan that keeps her full but in shape.
Image Credit: kozorog/iStock.
Conclusion: The healthiest wet cat food
Consider what each wet cat food’s ingredient panel has to offer, and consult your veterinarian for advice or concerns. You know you want a healthy diet for your cat, but do you want to take advantage of the health benefits of raw and grain-free foods? Are you willing to pay more upfront for those benefits? Do you have a brand that you trust? Finally, how important is convenience in feeding time? All these factors will affect your choice—and no matter which one you choose, your cat is guaranteed a healthier diet than the cheap canned food from 10 years ago.
This article is one in a series about cat health, also read our article on The Ultimate Guide to Cat Health. If this it isn’t sufficient for making a decision about which wet food is best for your cat, consult your vet.
Image Credit: Petra Richli/iStock.
More From MediaFeed
Image Credit: DepositPhotos.com.