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Which wet cat foods are best?

Veterinarians often recommend wet cat food because it has a high water content and lots of protein, both essential for your cat’s health. Cats are notoriously picky eaters, however, so choosing the right cat food is often easier said than done. 

Texture, flavor and ingredients are just a few of the factors that should be considered when picking out cat food. For a wet food that’s grain-free and made from natural ingredients, Wellness Complete Health Natural Pate is the top pick. 

What to know before you buy wet cat food

Benefits of wet cat food

Unlike humans, cats are natural carnivores and therefore require a completely meat-based diet. Your furry friend is likely to love wet cat food because it resembles the texture, smell and taste of raw meat. 

Cats are also biologically inclined to get all of their nutrients and hydration from their prey, so they may not be eager to lap up water like dogs or other pets. This also means that some cats are prone to dehydration, which can lead to urinary tract infections and other health issues. Luckily, wet cat food is about 70% water, making it a great choice for cats that don’t drink enough.

Wet food vs. dry food

Despite its meaty appeal and high moisture content, there are some drawbacks to wet cat food. Unlike dry food, cans of wet cat food must be refrigerated after opening to prevent spoilage. Wet cat food is also more expensive and the rough texture of dry food can be helpful for cleaning your cat’s teeth. 

If you want the best of both worlds, the experts at recommend feeding your cat both wet and dry food, one variety in the morning and the other at night. 

What to look for in quality wet cat food


Wet cat food comes in a wide variety of textures. It’s hard to know which your pet will enjoy most, so many people try out a few kinds before sticking to one type. 

  • Pate: This type of cat food is smooth, with occasional chunks of meat or vegetables. 
  • Shredded: This food usually appears as strips of meat floating in a gravy or broth. 
  • Cubed: Just as the name suggests, this is small bits of food in a cube shape, usually floating in a thick gravy. 
  • Morsels: This style of wet cat food focuses on big chunks of meat and may come in a single-serve packet instead of a can. 


The primary ingredient in wet cat food should always be meat. Chicken, tuna, salmon and beef are the most common ingredients, but you can also find varieties that contain venison or even bison meat. You’ll often see wet cat foods that contain carrots or other vegetables, but since cats receive no nutritional benefit from vegetables, they are mostly included as a marketing tactic to appeal to pet owners. Many meat-based cat foods are marketed as grain-free, which means that the brand has a particular focus on high-quality ingredients. 

How much you can expect to spend on wet cat food

The cost of wet cat food can vary widely depending on the quality of the ingredients and how much you’re purchasing. Most people can expect to spend 50 cents to $3 for a single can and $15-$40 for a pack of 24 cans. 

Wet cat-food FAQ

Can you switch cat food immediately? 

A. Switching cat food too quickly can give your pet an upset stomach and cause vomiting or diarrhea. Begin with a mixture of 25% new food with 75% old food, gradually increasing the amount of new food until that’s all they eat. This transition can usually be completed in about a week. 

Why isn’t my cat eating? 

A. Cats are notoriously finicky. If your furry friend suddenly stops eating, it could be the sign of an underlying health issue, a toothache or for no recognizable reason. Regardless, contact your veterinarian if your cat still hasn’t eaten after a day or is exhibiting any other symptoms. 

What’s the best wet cat food to buy?

Top wet cat food

Wellness Complete Health Natural Pate

Wellness Complete Health Natural Pate

What you need to know: This grain-free pate comes with natural ingredients and a variety of flavor options.

What you’ll love: Cats love the interesting flavor combinations such as chicken and herring or turkey and salmon, and the grain-free and gravy-free formula used in this wet cat food is great for maintaining a healthy weight. 

What you should consider: Some picky eaters may not like this wet cat food. 

Where to buy: Sold by Petsmart and Chewy

Top wet cat food for the money

Fancy Feast Flaked Adult Cat Food

Fancy Feast Flaked Adult Cat Food

What you need to know: This affordable cat food comes in a variety of seafood-oriented flavors. 

What you’ll love: Flavors include fish and shrimp, trout and tuna and chicken. Cats seem to like the flaky meat texture, and the 3-ounce cans are easy to open and recycle.

What you should consider: Some users questioned the consistency of this wet cat food. Sometimes their cats loved it, and other times they didn’t. 

Where to buy: Sold by Petsmart and Chewy

Wet cat food worth checking out

Hill’s Science Diet Adult Wet Cat Food Pouches

Hill’s Science Diet Adult Wet Cat Food Pouches

What you need to know: This wet cat food features a scientifically proven formula in a single-use pouch. 

What you’ll love: The single-serve pouch is easy for pet parents to open, and the chunks-and-gravy texture is beloved by many cats. The food is fortified with added vitamins, minerals and antioxidants for a healthy immune system. 

What you should consider: The pouches are relatively expensive and not environmentally friendly. 

Where to buy: Sold by Petsmart and Chewy


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Patrick Farmer writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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