The 7 Best Canned Cat Foods of 2021

Delight their palette with these smart food choices

Our editors independently research, test, and recommend the best products; you can learn more about our review process here. We may receive commissions on purchases made from our chosen links.

Best Canned Cat Foods

The Spruce

Our Top Picks
"This wet food contains high quality ingredients to meet you cat’s nutritional needs, including vitamins and omega fatty acids."
Best for Weight Gain:
Tiki Pets Wet Food Salmon at Amazon
"With a larger portion size, this food is free of fillers, carbs or gum, and is loaded with protein that can help them put on weight."
"The protein helps maintain an older cat’s lean muscle mass and the prebiotic fiber is easy to digest."
"Free of grain, corn, soy, dairy, and eggs, this food does not contain any preservatives or artificial flavors."
"With high quality ingredients, this food is made in a human-grade facility and contains meat, fish, or broth as its main ingredient."
"This variety pack contains between 10 to 11 percent crude protein along with broth, taurine, vitamins, and minerals."
"Specifically formulated for kittens, this grain free blend has a soft, pate style that is easy to chew and digest."

Canned cat food is an essential part of your cat’s diet. While cats do enjoy a varied selection of food and should be fed both dry and wet foods, canned cat food has the advantage of a high water content, which helps to keep your kitty hydrated (most cats don’t drink much water, so it’s important for them to “eat” their fluids). How much you feed them and what type of canned cat food depends on several factors, including their age, weight, and health.

Read on for the best canned cat foods.

Best Overall: Wellness Complete Health Turkey & Salmon Formula Grain-Free Canned Cat Food

Wellness Turkey and Salmon canned cat food

When selecting a canned food for your feline friend look for one that has been certified “Complete and Balanced” by the American Association of Feed Control Officials (AAFCO). This means the food contains a high quality mix of ingredients to meet your feline's basic nutritional needs, explains Rachel Barrack, DVM, CVA, CVCH of Telemedicine practice Animal Acupuncture, in New York City, including (fish, meat, or poultry), taurine (a building block for protein synthesis and a vital amino acid for cats), and water. You can tell simply by looking at the first five ingredients (turkey, chicken liver, whitefish, chicken broth, salmon) in this blend that it’s good for your cat. In addition to taurine, it also contains a blend of antioxidant-rich cranberries, vitamins, balanced minerals, and omega fatty acids.

Best for Weight Gain: Tiki Pets Tiki Cat Luau Wet Food Salmon

Tiki Cat Luau Grain-Free, Low-Carbohydrate Wet Food

Without any fillers, carbs, or gum, Tiki Pets is loaded with good-for-feline proteins that will help your cat keep weight on the right way. The salmon variety offers 3.5 percent crude fat, slightly higher than other flavors, yet still in the healthy range. If you think your cat is underweight, one of the easiest fixes may be to increase its portion sizes and this 8 ounce can readily allow you to do that. Of course if your cat can’t keep weight on or is losing weight for no apparent reason, it’s important to speak to your vet to find out if there’s an underlying reason, reminds Dr. Barrack.

Best for Seniors: Purina Pro Plan Senior Canned Wet Cat Food

Purina Pro Plan canned cat food

While the best food for your senior cat depends on your own cat’s unique health needs, in general, it is best to maintain a diet filled with proteins, healthy fats, vitamins, minerals, and water throughout all stages of your cat's life, Dr. Barrack says. This grain-free, made in the U.S.A. blend from Purina contains 10 percent minimum protein to help maintain your older cat’s lean muscle mass, antioxidants beta carotene, and vitamin E for a shiny, healthy coat, prebiotic fiber for easier digestion, and phosphorous for kidney support. You may want to cut back on portion sizes if you notice your cat is less active or gaining weight.

Best for Allergies: Blue Buffalo Blue Basics Limited Ingredient Duck & Potato Pate Cat Food

Blue Buffalo Basics Limited Ingredient Diet Cat Food

Even if your cat never had allergies before, they can develop environmental or food allergies as they age, Dr. Barrack says.  “Food allergies are diagnosed via special elimination diets; then once the food allergen is identified, it will be important to keep this from your cat’s dietary intake long-term,” she says. Serving a cat food with fewer ingredients, like this Blue Buffalo Basics Limited Ingredient Diet is an important step in developing a hypoallergenic diet for your cat. It’s grain, corn, soy, dairy, and egg free and it doesn’t contain any preservatives or artificial flavors. The food contains one protein source, duck which cat’s tend to be less sensitive to than chicken or beef.

Best Natural: Weruva BFF OMG Rainbow A Gogo Variety Pack Wet Cat Food Pouches

Weruva BFF OMG Rainbow A Gogo Variety Pack Wet Cat Food Pouches

Wervua cat foods are made in human-grade facilities, so you can relax knowing they’re made of the highest quality ingredients. Each of the six flavors in this grain-free variety pack is high-protein and low-carbohydrate with meat, fish, or broth as its main ingredient. The chunky gravy food comes in a plastic pouch that some find easier to open than a traditional can, though others wish the pouches were resealable. The food contains added vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants along with taurine to boost your cat’s health and appearance. As a general rule, you should feed your cat 1 ounce of food for each pound of bodyweight daily, spread out over two meals.

Best Grain-Free: Tiny Tiger Pate Beef & Poultry Recipes Variety Pack Grain-Free Canned Cat Food

Tiny Tiger Pate Beef & Poultry Recipes Variety Pack

You may have heard cats described as “obligate carnivores,” which means they require meat to survive and thrive and don’t generally tolerate high carbohydrate diets well, Dr. Barrack explains. The flavors in this variety pack contain between 10 to 11 percent crude protein that should more than satisfy your cat’s natural animal instincts. That’s along with broth for a healthy water content and added taurine, vitamins, and minerals. Cats do get bored with their food, so a variety pack of flavors is a smart choice as it will help you mix up their meals.

Best Kitten: Purina Fancy Feast Grain Free Pate Wet Kitten Food

Purina Fancy Feast Grain Free Pate Wet Kitten Food Variety Pack

It is important to feed your kitten food that’s specifically formulated for kittens as it will be formulated to help support their growth and healthy development with higher protein content and calories, and increased vitamin and mineral supplementation (such as calcium and phosphorus), Dr. Barrack says. The grain-free blend comes in smaller 3 ounce cans sized for kittens appetites. If you do have any leftover, remember to cover and refrigerate; it will stay good for up to three days. The soft, pate style is easy for kittens to chew and digest. This box comes with four different flavors so you can experiment until you find their favorite.

Final Verdict

With meat, fish, and broth as its first five ingredients Wellness Complete Health Turkey & Salmon Formula Grain-Free Canned Cat Food (view at Amazon) contains all the protein needed to satiate your obligate carnivore. The addition of taurine, antioxidants, vitamins, balanced minerals, and omega fatty acids round out the nutritional profile of this popular canned cat food. If you suspect your cat has developed a food allergy, Blue Buffalo Basics Limited Ingredient Diet Duck & Potato (view at Amazon) contains duck as its protein source which cats tend to tolerate better than chicken or beef.

What to Look for in Canned Cat Food

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.

Why Trust The Spruce?

This piece was written by Anne Fritz, who has been researching pet products for The Spruce for more than two years. Before writing this article, in addition to speaking with Dr. Barrack, she gathered information from customer reviews, third-party articles, and brand websites' details.

Continue to 5 of 7 below.