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The best wet cat food: From daily dishes to tasty treats

best wet cat food
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Anyone who's been looking for the best wet cat food around could be forgiven for being overwhelmed by the sheer amount of available products out there. We know we were. With this in mind, we've strived to make things easier for you. Alternatively, for something a bit different, take a look at our round-up of the best dry cat foods, or perhaps take a look at our group test of the best cat food overall.

Although the answers to the question "Is dry cat food best?" may leave you puzzled about the best choice to make, the important thing to note is that there is no right or wrong answer. Both wet and dry cat food offers different benefits, and offering a mix of the two types can represent an effective means of keeping your cat's diet varied and interesting.

Ideally, the best wet cat food should be high in moisture - this way, your cat can stay hydrated. As well as ensuring your cat takes on the right amount of fluids (especially if they don't drink enough for your liking), this can help keep kidney and urinary tract issues at bay. Moreover, it's a kinder option for cats with sensitive teeth or dental maladies, as it means chewing is a less painful experience.

Regardless, when feeding your cat there is one factor that remains paramount above all others: whether they like it or not! Bearing this most important thing in mind, here are our picks for the best wet cat food on sale at the moment. Your cat can be both happy AND healthy...

1. Ziwi Peak: Best overall wet cat food

best wet cat food

(Image credit: Amazon)

Ziwipeak Daily Cat Cuisine Tins Lamb 24x85g

High-quality ingredients your foodie fur baby will love

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

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

2. Iams Delights Land and Sea Collection: Best budget option

best wet cat food

(Image credit: Amazon)

Iams Delights Land and Sea Collection 48 x 85g

Give your cat the gift of variety without the expensive price tag

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

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

3. Applaws Whole Tuna Loin: Best tasty treat

best wet cat food

(Image credit: Amazon)

Applaws Whole Tuna Loin Cat Treat 3.5lb

Spoil your cat with this human-grade snack

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

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

4. Purina Beyond Grain Free Salmon and Spinach: Best for cats with food sensitivities

best wet cat food

(Image credit: Amazon)

Purina Beyond Grain Free Cat Food

Help build strong muscles with this Popeye-approved formula

Available online: Yes | Amazon rating: 4.7 | Chewy rating: 92%

Free from corn, wheat, soy and artificial additives and preservatives
Complete and balanced formula
Wild-caught and farm-raised animal proteins
Doesn’t contain chelated minerals or probiotics

When you think about healthy wet cat food options that are free from known allergens such as corn, wheat, gluten and soy, you may associate them with a rather hefty price-tag, but Purina’s grain-free range makes managing your cats sensitivities an affordable breeze.

Your cat will love this offering with salmon as the first ingredient and is rounded out by chicken, organ meats and a hearty dose of spinach – because cats need their greens just as much as we do.

It’s not hard to see why this is one of the top sellers in the Purina Beyond Grain range. With salmon being part of a cat's natural diet, it’s an ideal food that’s packed full amino acids, calcium, and omega-3 fatty acids that will keep your cat in tip-top shape. It’s a great product if you’re looking to strike a balance between nutrient-dense, high-quality nutrition and something your cat will actually want to eat. 

We love the lack of fillers in this product and the focus on providing human-grade products that are humanely sourced, but while it is definitely a front-runner in the wet cat food market, it’s not completely flawless.

The decision to exclude chelated minerals and probiotics is a shame, as both of these help with the absorption of vitamins and other vital nutrients as well as helping to keep the digestive tract running smoothly. But this is a small issue that can be rectified by rotating this dish with other products.

If your cat has allergies or you simply want to omit unnecessary grains, then this offering from a well-respected brand is well worth adding to your shopping list.

5. Crave Pate: Best for active cats

best wet cat food

(Image credit: Amazon)

Crave Wet Cat Food with Chicken & Turkey in Loaf

Fuel your cat's primal instincts

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

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

6. Royal Canin Ageing 12+ in Gravy: Best for senior cats

best wet cat food

(Image credit: Amazon)

Royal Canin Royal Canin Ageing 12+ in Gravy

Put the spring back in your senior cat's step

Available online: Yes | Amazon rating: 4.4 | Chewy rating: 95%

Thin slices are kind on teeth and easy to digest
Provides all the essential vitamins and minerals senior cats need
Gentle on the stomach
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 in gravy are made up of pork, chicken and liver and 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 by-products rather than muscle and organ meat, which would provide a higher-quality protein source and benefit senior cats. It also includes grains, which may 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. 

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!