Wet food or dry? It’s an age-old debate in the world of cat ownership, and there’s really no right answer—it all depends on your feline (many cat owners use both). With canned cat foods, a higher moisture content can be especially helpful with cats who struggle to drink enough water to stay hydrated throughout the day. Fortunately, there are plenty of great canned foods on the market, with options ranging from grain-free and allergy-friendly to easily digestible options for your senior kitty.
Many cat owners rely on dry cat food because it is less expensive, easy to store and it can be left out all day for your cat to nibble on. Wet, soft and canned foods tend to be more expensive than dry food, but both are great sources of nutrition.
Sometimes kibble just doesn’t cut it — especially for the rulers of the household. If you’re in the market for cat food for a beloved feline pet, you want to give her the very best. But before you buy, it’s important to understand the nutritional needs of your friend.
Canned Cat Foods Prices
If you’re purchasing canned cat food, you most likely will be buying in bulk. Cans come in cases of 12 or 24, so the pricing structure describes how much an entire case costs. Be aware that the size of the can may differ per brand, too.
Lower-priced canned cat food ranges from $15 to $20 for a 24-pack of three-ounce cans. The median price range is from $20 to $25. High-end canned cat foods cost about $40 for a 24-pack of three-ounce cans. The more you spend, the more likely you are to get canned cat food with premium ingredients and fewer (if any) fillers.
If you aren’t sure your cat will enjoy a particular wet food, consider buying a single can or a variety pack (some manufacturers offer them). This will help you know what your cat likes before you spend a large chunk of money on it.
5 Best Canned Cat Foods 2021:
Tiki Cat recipes are both grain-free and gluten-free and one of few canned foods that shreds their meats rather than cutting them down into a big pile of mush. It’s closer to nature for your cat this way and causes them to use those kitty teeth of theirs, which is why we love it!
This is a good starter pack since it has a mixture of flavors that you can introduce to kitty to see if they like them. They have healthy doses of protein and taurine and quite a variety of flavors available in addition to the ones we highlighted.
Cat owners are happy to pay a little more for this quality stuff since it keeps their cat happy and healthy! If you tried this already and didn’t find that it was the best canned cat food for your kitty, have a look at the next one.
- Succulent Chicken w/ Egg
- Wild Salmon
- Regular Succulent Chicken
- Ahi Tuna & Chicken
Cats develop different dietary needs as they age, and Royal Canin Aging 12+ Cat Food is a great option as your pet enters their senior years. It contains Omega-3 fatty acids to promote joint health during the aging process, while controlled phosphorus levels provide kidney support. The protein source (pork and chicken) is designed to be highly digestible, and the food also provides a healthy ratio of fats and carbohydrates intended to be enticing to picky eaters. It has a guaranteed analysis of 9 percent protein, 2.5 percent fat, 1.8 percent fiber, and 82 percent moisture.
Customers write that the texture of Royal Canin Aging 12+ is perfect for senior cats (it’s gravy-heavy with tiny chunks), and provides some of the same benefits you’ll find in feline joint supplements. Some owners mention that their senior cats seem to have more energy than usual after starting on this food, even jumping on the couch or their cat tree with renewed vigor.
- No Corn, wheat, soy or pea
- Hormone and steroid-free chicken
- Incorporates certified organic produce
Nom Nom is a subscription cat food delivery service that delivers customized meals to your door, whether you need to help an overweight cat or help with your kitty’s urinary tract health. They guarantee to provide restaurant quality ingredients that are considered human grade, in every meal.
The food contains no fillers or grains, no preservatives or artificial flavors, and they only use the highest-quality, responsibly sourced meats.
Nom Nom recipes are prepared in a human-grade kitchen that is 100% designed and dedicated to making fresh pet food.
There are two meal recipes that you can choose for your cat. The first is the Chicken Chow-Meow which is full of ingredients to keep your cat’s eyesight razor sharp for stalking. The second is Flavorful Fish Feast and it is packed with tilapia and salmon to guarantee a softer and shinier fur coat for your cat.
- Pre-portioned sealed meals
- Fresh to order every week
- No fillers, grains or artificial flavors
Smalls is a fresh cat food delivery service that uses human-grade ingredients, including premium proteins like chicken, turkey, and fish. Choose from minced-style recipes or classic pâté to provide your cat with protein-rich, low-carb cat food that is formulated for cats in all life stages. Though Smalls doesn’t portion out your cat’s meals for you, they do provide detailed feeding recommendations according to your cat’s calorie requirements. Each package of food contains about 16 ounces of food, with markings on the package at 50-calorie increments.
Smalls cat food is delivered frozen, so you’ll need to thaw the package overnight in the fridge first before feeding. Your subscription will be based on your cat’s calorie needs, and you can adjust it as needed by contacting the customer care team.
In addition to their fresh food, Smalls also offers a selection of freeze-dried cat foods, treats, and meal toppers. They also recently started selling millet and silica cat litter.
- Fresh food made with human-grade ingredients
- Real, high-quality animal protein
- High in protein and very low in carbs
Nulo’s Freestyle Grain-Free Canned cat food for cats and kittens prioritizes the best quality meat as its primary source of nutrition and comes in a wide range of different flavors.
This turkey and chicken recipe combines turkey, chicken, turkey liver, and tuna, using muscle and organ meat, but without any meal or by-products. Meal and meat by-products aren’t bad for your cat, but muscle and organ meat have more of the vitamins and minerals that cats need to thrive. This is why this food is great for kittens and full-grown cats because, in general, kittens need a little bit more of this nutrient goodness.
You would think that all that meat would be enough to make this a tasty treat for cats, but it is also enhanced with natural flavors, which is usually made from hydrolyzed animal tissue, which gives it a concentrated meat taste that cats love. However, some pet owners suggest that the food is a little on the dry side.
As this dish is delivered as quite a thick pate, it does require some carbohydrate thickening agent, mostly made from guar gum and agar agar. It is also enriched with a variety of vitamins and minerals, some from natural sources such as pumpkin, cranberries, dried kelp, and menhaden fish oil.
Like many of Nulo’s recipes, this line contains unique GanedenBC30 probiotics, which are more stable for inclusion in preserved foods than other probiotics. It has the ability to form a protective spore, which will only germinate once it reaches the intestines, so it will not spoil during storage.
- High-quality meat source
- Quality taste
- Enriched with vitamins and minerals
- Added stable probiotics
- Range of flavors available
What to Look for in Canned Cat Foods
- Age of cat: When buying canned cat food, you’ll want to consider how old your cat is. Different products are formulated especially for kittens, adult cats, or seniors. These various products will have different ingredients that cater to your cat’s specific nutritional needs.
- Ingredients: It’s always a good idea to look at the ingredients when choosing a canned cat food. Experts say you should look for a named source of protein, such as salmon or chicken, rather than a meat by-product. You’ll also want to see just how much filler, or carbohydrates, are in the formula, as cats are carnivores and cannot digest large amounts of carbs very well.
- Nutritional needs: Certain cats have specific nutritional needs, whether it’s ingredients that prevent hairballs or low-calorie foods to help them lose or maintain weight. Many canned cat foods are specially formulated to help achieve your pet’s health goals, but keep in mind that these types of formulas are often more expensive.
Q. Can I mix wet food with dry food?
A. Yes. If you are giving wet food as a treat, then you could give a normal amount of dry food with some wet food mixed in. Be aware of how much food you are providing your cat so as not to overfeed. You also don’t want to be changing up your cat’s diet so much that it upsets her stomach or digestion.
Q. How do I know which flavors my cat will like?
A. Before purchasing an entire case of one flavor, check to see if you can mix and match. That way, you can discover which flavors your kitty loves before committing to a larger purchase. Don’t forget that some brands offer guarantees and rebates.
Q. Should I feed the entire can to my cat in one sitting?
A. It depends. The cat food you buy should come with feeding instructions. For instance, you might be instructed to feed two cans per six to eight pounds of body weight per day. Some light math may be required to figure out how much is an appropriate amount. You will need to know how much your cat weighs in order to complete accurate calculations.