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Best wet cat food: Mouth-watering dishes for your moggy

best wet cat food
(Image credit: Getty)

If you're in the market for the best wet cat food, you've come to the right place! Delicious, nutritious and packed full of all the vitamins, minerals and antioxidants your feline friend needs to thrive, the wet dishes in this guide are all worthy contenders for the best cat food crown.

But, before you rush out and purchase one, there are a few things worth considering. Firstly, you're probably aware of the ongoing debate amongst pet parents and professionals as to whether wet or dry food is the better option when it comes to fuelling your fur baby. Thankfully, you'll be relieved to know that there's no right or wrong option here. 

The best dry cat food certainly has its benefits, especially when it comes to dental health. The crunchy and abrasive outer shell of kibble acts as a toothbrush of sorts, sweeping away plaque and tartar while your cat chews to help keep their teeth in tip-top condition. It's also far less messy than wet cat food and can be kept out for longer without it smelling bad.

That being said, wet cat food is definitely no slouch in the cat food department! With at least 70% moisture, wet food does a brilliant job of providing much-needed hydration to keep the kidneys and urinary tract functioning at their best, which makes it a brilliant choice if you have a cat who doesn't frequent their water bowl as often as you'd like them to. 

The other huge plus in the corner of wet cat food is its soft texture, something that makes it ideal for older cats or those with dental issues who finding chewing a challenge. For these cats, wet food can help make mealtimes far more enjoyable and while it can be messier and smellier than dry food, wet food is high in protein, which supports the development and maintenance of muscle mass.  

Now that you know a little bit more about the benefits of the best wet cat food, let's take a look at our favorite options lining the shelves in 2022, with options to suit even the fussiest feline. 

PetsRadar's pick of the best wet cat food

A tin of Ziwipeak Daily Cat Cuisine

(Image credit: Amazon)

Ziwipeak Daily Cat Cuisine Tins Lamb 24x85g

Best overall wet cat food

Specifications

Available online: Yes
Amazon rating: 4.2
Chewy rating: 86%

Reasons to buy

+
Made from premium, 100% all-natural ingredients
+
Rich in proteins and healthy fats
+
Sustainable and eco-friendly farming and fishing practices

Reasons to avoid

-
An expensive option as a staple diet

If you have a little four-legged fine-dining connoisseur on your hands, then Ziwi Peak has you covered with its gourmet range of canned cat cuisine. 

This New Zealand-based brand is enjoying a meteoric rise in popularity and it’s easy to see why. With its ethical, humane and sustainable sourcing methods and strict quality standards, this is a brand you can trust to deliver.

The crew at Ziwi Peak understand that cats thrive on a meat-based diet, and this is reflected in their cat food, which contains at least 92% fresh meat, organs, seafood and bone to provide your cat with all the nutrients it needs to live a happy and healthy life. All of its products use real, wholesome and natural ingredients with no nasty additives or fillers. 

If you’re not sure where to start, we highly recommend its lamb recipe, which is packed with 100% single-sourced, grass-fed, free-range lamb that is free from growth hormones and antibiotics. Cats love this nutrient-dense loaf-style dish that has a meaty and juicy texture and their lamb and mackerel recipe is also a crowd-pleaser.

And don’t worry if your beloved feline companion is of a more sensitive disposition. For cats with allergies to common proteins, you’ll find plenty of novel proteins in the Ziwi Peak range from rabbit to venison that will satisfy even the most delicate of digestive systems.

It would be remiss not to mention the price point of this range, which is at the higher end of the scale, so depending on your budget these products may be more of an occasional treat as opposed to a pantry staple. Ziwi Peak also includes a small percentage of green-lipped mussel in its food, which, while packed full of glucosamine and chondroitin for healthy joints, may not be a hit with the more picky feline food critic.

With the exception of those two drawbacks, Ziwi Peak is almost impossible to fault, which is why it’s the clear winner when it comes to high-quality and nutrient-dense cat food.

A box containing 48 tins of Iams Delights Land and Sea Collection

(Image credit: Amazon)

Iams Delights Land and Sea Collection 48 x 85g

Best budget option

Specifications

Available online: Yes
Amazon rating: 4.5
Multipack: Yes
Item form: Jelly

Reasons to buy

+
Complete and balanced nutrition
+
Vitamins and minerals for heart, bone and muscle health
+
Four meaty flavours

Reasons to avoid

-
Contains animal by-products

When it comes to food, cats love variety as much as we do. Have you ever placed your cat's bowl down in front of them, only for them to sniff it, shoot you an angry look, and storm off? Clearly they're bored with always eating the same thing.

Thankfully, it’s Iams to the rescue with this land and sea collection. Contained within are offerings for wild tuna and herring, salmon and trout, roast turkey and duck, and lamb and liver. With these many options, it's a perfect choice if you have a fussy feline on your hands.

Thanks to the presence of biotin to assist with a healthy skin and coat, taurine to maintain heart and vision health, and a selection of vitamins and minerals to maintain strong bones, teeth, and muscles, Iams has progressively demonstrated a high level of dedication towards providing your cat with the nutrition it needs for optimal health, and that remains the case here.

Although these products have generally proven popular among their intended recipients, some pet parents have reported upset tummies in their cats after eating. Bearing this in mind, we would advise giving your pet small portions of this initially if they have shown signs of having a sensitive stomach before. Moreover, if ethical and sustainable farming practices are important to you, then it is worth noting that this contains animal by-products. 

If you have already considered all these factors, however, then this affordable multipack represents an efficient and effective means to allow your cat the benefit of a diet rich in variety, taste, and texture, all while being kind to your bank balance. You can't say fairer than that!

A packet of Applaws Whole Tuna Loin Cat Treat

(Image credit: Amazon)

Applaws Whole Tuna Loin Cat Treat 3.5lb

Best tasty treat

Specifications

Available online: Yes
Amazon rating: 4.7
Nutritionally complete: No

Reasons to buy

+
100% tuna
+
High in taurine and Omega-3 for eye and heart health
+
Free of additives and preservatives

Reasons to avoid

-
Isn’t nutritionally complete 

If you’re looking to treat your cat to a more human-like dining experience then this tuna loin from Applaws is bound to win you some serious brownie points.

Applaws are making a name for themselves when it comes to superior wet cat food products thanks to their simple-recipe formulas that skip animal by-products, artificial colors, flavors and preservatives in favor of only the highest quality, human-grade proteins. This means you can rest easy knowing you’re feeding your precious feline fur baby food that’s equally fit for both cat and human consumption.

The ultimate healthy snack, this loin can be gobbled down in one go or, for those cats needing a little bit more portion control, broken up into pieces to be enjoyed across several sittings. Either way, your cat is going to be shooting you some seriously loving looks when they see you preparing this delicious dish. 

This high-protein, low-carbohydrate tasty tidbit is a winning choice for both active and sedentary cats and with tuna being a natural source of taurine and Omega-3, it’s a great way of keeping your cat's vision and heart healthy. We also love the innovative packaging this item comes in, with the see-through design enabling you to see exactly what you’re getting.

Applaws Tuna Loin isn’t a complete and balanced meal, though, so while this is a great choice as a treat or snack, it’s important to complement it with other sources of nutrition to ensure your cat is getting everything they need for optimal health and wellness. If you have multiple cats, it may be best to use this item sparingly to avoid it becoming too costly.

All in all though, this is a standout choice in the treats department that is almost guaranteed to get your cat’s paw of approval.

Wellness Complete Health Minced Grain Free Canned Cat Food

(Image credit: Amazon)

Wellness Complete Health Minced Grain Free Cat Food

Best grain-free wet cat food

Specifications

Number of cans: 24
Protein: 8%
Fat: 5%
Moisture: 82%

Reasons to buy

+
High quality ingredients
+
Great for digestive health
+
Boosts immunity

Reasons to avoid

-
More expensive than other 24-can packs

Made with natural ingredients, this tasty grain-free minced chicken dish contains balanced nutrition in a delicious formula that your feline friend is bound to go crazy for. While it's not the cheapest 24-can pack we've seen, when it comes to Wellness, you're guaranteed to be feeding your kitty the best meal possible.

With real chicken as the first ingredient and packed with fruits and vegetables, this healthy meal ticks all the boxes. Containing cranberries to ensure the urinary tract functions optimally and carrots for antioxidants, there's also plenty of omega fatty acids from the flaxseeds to keep the skin and coat looking its best. 

Crafted for whole body health, this dish contains no wheat or corn, and no added artificial flavors, colors, carrageenan or preservatives. Plus, it's grain-free, which makes it ideal for cats with delicate digestive systems who may regularly suffer from stomach issues. 

Purina Pro Plan Urinary Tract Health

(Image credit: Amazon)

Purina Pro Plan Urinary Tract Health

Best wet cat food for urinary tract health

Specifications

Number of cans: 24
Protein: 10%
Fat: 6.5%
Moisture: 78%

Reasons to buy

+
Made with real fish
+
Reduces urinary pH
+
Highly digestible

Reasons to avoid

-
One of the more expensive brands

If your cat is prone to urinary tract infections or you're simply wanting to minimise the risk of them developing problems in the future, this formula from Purina's Pro Plan range will help ensure your kitty stays happy and healthy.

Providing low dietary magnesium to help reduce urinary pH, this wet food contains 25 essential vitamins and minerals to support the immune system, plus taurine for overall health and wellness.

Featuring real ocean whitefish along with other high quality and nutrient dense ingredients, this formula may be one of the more expensive offerings on the market, but it comes packed with everything your kitty needs and none of what they don't. 

best wet cat food

(Image credit: Pets At Home)

AVA Veterinary Approved Optimum Health 1+ Sensitive Wet Adult Cat Food Fish 12x85g

Best for cats with food sensitivities

Specifications

Available online: Yes
Amazon rating: N/A
Chewy rating: N/A

Reasons to buy

+
Veterinary approved
+
Good source of protein
+
Ideal for hypoallergenic cats

Reasons to avoid

-
Contains carbohydrates

When you're looking for the best wet cat food for felines with sensitive stomachs, you'll want to be sure that it's something your cats will be safe with. Coming with the words 'veterinary approved' in the title, the AVA Veterinary Approved Optimum Health 1+ Sensitive Wet Adult Cat Food should provide you with confidence.

A quick caveat first: you may have seen AVA in the news recently as one of the cat food brands recalled over concerns over potential links with an outbreak of feline pancytopenia. An update on Which? confirmed that there was no causative link involved, so hopefully that will put your mind at rest.

Anyway, back to the product itself. There's plenty here to ensure that your cat benefits from a balanced and healthy diet. From fish protein to aid digestion and omega 3 to help maintain a healthy coat, to cellulose fiber to ensure dietary health, and the absence of grain to benefit hypoallergenic cats, your cat should be well catered for.

The presence of carbohydrates may be questioned by some, as they aren't traditionally part of a cat's diet, but the inclusion of all the other vitamins we've mentioned above should hopefully offset this.

Coupled with a reasonable price, and there's a lot to recommend about this brand. We wouldn't blame you for worrying about its presence in the news, but the recall has come and gone, so hopefully this will put your mind at rest should you be considering this as an option for your cat.

A packet of Crave Wet Cat Food with Chicken & Turkey in Loaf

(Image credit: Amazon)

Crave Wet Cat Food with Chicken & Turkey in Loaf

Best wet cat food for active cats

Specifications

Available online: Yes
Amazon rating: 4.4
Chewy rating: 90%

Reasons to buy

+
Contains muscle meats and organs
+
Rich in animal protein
+
Free from grains, soy and dairy

Reasons to avoid

-
Some cats may not like the gelatinous texture

If your cat is less of a sofa snoozer and more of an active adventurer, then they’re going to love the wet food range from Crave, inspired by the diets of their wild cat ancestors. 

Packed with at least 65% high-quality protein from animal sources to promote strong bones and muscles, and containing moderate amounts of fat, it’s a winning formula for the on-the-go feline who needs long-lasting energy to power them through the day.

We love that this pate is free from grains, soy and dairy and comes without the addition of artificial colors, flavors and preservatives. The minimal processing and zero chemicals ensure that vital nutrients remain intact from production to plate.

Depending on your cat’s tastes, it’s worth noting that the texture of this pate is quite gelatinous and that jelly-like consistency may be off-putting for some who prefer their wet food in gravy form. If you’re in the US, the addition of thickeners and binders to the ingredient list may be something you wish to avoid. 

Overall though, Crave is a brand you can trust with a focus on providing real meat-based, protein-rich meals that are bound to have your cat running in the door at the end of a busy day to devour.

wet cat food

(Image credit: Royal Canin)

Royal Canin Aging 12+ Thin Slices in Gravy Canned Cat Food

Best wet food for senior cats

Specifications

Available online: Yes
Amazon rating: 4.5
Chewy rating: 89%

Reasons to buy

+
Thin slices are kind on teeth and easy to digest
+
Provides all the essential vitamins and minerals senior cats need
+
Gentle on the stomach

Reasons to avoid

-
The gravy formula can make for messy mealtimes

If your cat is starting to rack up more snores on the sofa than steps on the streets, then they could be entering senior citizen territory, when both their bodies and their dietary needs start to change.

Royal Canin produces some of the best cat-food formulas on the market thanks to its expert-led research studies that ensure its products best suit the requirements of every age and stage. If your budget can stretch to it, then you know you’re getting the highest quality in wet cat food from a reputable brand you can trust. 

For cats aged 12 or over, this product is a winning choice. It has been specifically designed to include a range of micronutrients that best fit the needs of mature cats. The tender slices are perfect if your cat has gum disease or missing teeth that make chewing a struggle.

With a focus on vitamins and minerals to aid healthy joints, kidney function, and digestion, and Omega-3 and 6 to keep their skin and coat in good shape, this formula targets all the key areas of health that can begin to decline with age to ensure your cat’s body has everything it needs to continue to thrive.

While there’s a lot to love about this offering from Royal Canin, it is worth noting that this formula is made with a high level of animal byproducts rather than muscle and organ meat, which would provide a higher-quality protein source and benefit senior cats. It also includes grains, which may prove to be problematic if your cat has allergies or food sensitivities. 

These are certainly drawbacks to consider, but with many reviewers stating that their cats love the taste and texture of this formula, and with some claiming it has put a real spring back in their feline’s step, this product is well worth purchasing if you want to give your aging cat a new lease of life. 

wet cat food

(Image credit: Gourmet)

Gourmet Perle Mixed Pouch Chef's Selection

Best gourmet cat food

Specifications

Available online: Yes
Amazon rating: 5
Chewy rating: N/A

Reasons to buy

+
Ingredients of a very high quality
+
Wide variety of flavors

Reasons to avoid

-
A bit more expensive than some other brands

Purina has long been a reputable brand when it comes to luxury cat food. While we would like to emphasize that there are plenty of more affordable brands that give your cat a healthy and balanced diet – you will know this anyway if you've read all the entries above this one – there's nothing wrong with pampering your pet a bit in the food department.

Coming with a range of central ingredients – such as tuna, turkey, duck, and lamb – these are supplemented by jelly (or gravy) that will have your cat always coming back for more. There are absolutely no flavorings or artificial preservatives, as you would probably hope for, considering the price.

The diet is 100% balanced, so it hasn't earned its 'gourmet' tag for nothing. No expense has been spared to make sure that this is both healthy and tasty.

Inevitably, this means that you're paying a premium for this. And it represents one of the few cases where your cats' enjoyment of it could pose an issue: get this as a one-off treat, and there's a chance they won't want to eat anything else.

If you're happy to pay the price though, then this won't necessarily be a bad thing. Purina has earned its reputation with products like this.

How to choose the best wet cat food

When deciding on the best wet cat food to purchase for your much-loved companion, there are a few key things to consider.

Look for a product that is high in protein. While some cat owners try to place their feline on a vegetarian diet, your kitty-cat is an obligate carnivore, meaning they need meat to thrive and be at their best. Providing your cat with good quality sources of protein will give them all the nutrients and amino acids they need for peak performance.

Avoid products that are high in carbohydrates, especially those that are heavy on grains, which are not part of a cat's natural diet and can be difficult for some cats to digest. While you don’t need to avoid grains altogether if your cat doesn’t have an allergy or sensitivity to them, meat provides the correct ratio of protein, fats and carbs in a form that your cat’s body is best able to recognize and use. 

Artificial colors, flavors and preservatives can also be problematic for many cats and cause gastrointestinal upsets. Just like with human food, look for products with short ingredient lists composed mainly of meats, organs, bones, and vegetables. 

Lastly, many cats aren’t great at drinking regularly and it’s easy for them to become dehydrated, particularly in the warmer months. Check the ‘guaranteed analysis’ label on the product you're purchasing, which will tell you what percentage of moisture it contains. A moisture content of over 80% is what you’re ideally aiming for.

If your cat has particular health issues or specific needs and you’re unsure about what product might suit them best, have a chat with their veterinarian to ensure they’re getting everything they need. 

And remember, lots of love and affection is just as important as what you’re feeding your cat, so when it comes to choosing the best wet cat food for your feline fur baby do the best you can at selecting the most nutritious products with the budget you have available to you and let your cuddles take care of the rest!

Kathryn is a freelance writer who has spent the past two years dividing her writing time between her two great loves - pets and health and wellness. When she’s not busy crafting the perfect sentence for her features, buying guides and news pieces, she can be found hanging out with one very mischievous Cocker Spaniel, drinking copious amounts of Jasmine tea and attempting to set numerous world records for the longest ever FaceTime calls with her family back home in NZ.