The 6 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 / Sabrina Jiang

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.)

The amount you feed them and the type of canned cat food depend on several factors, including their age, overall health needs, and size. You should also keep an eye on the ingredients when shopping for cat food, since some cats have sensitivities to certain ingredients or preferences when it comes to protein sources.

Read on for the best canned cat foods.

Our Top Picks
This wet food contains high quality ingredients to meet you cat’s nutritional needs, including vitamins and omega fatty acids.
Read Review
Best for Weight Gain:
Tiki Pets Wet Food Salmon at Chewy
With a larger portion size, this food is free of fillers, carbs or guar gum, and is loaded with protein that can help cats put on weight.
Read Review
Specifically formulated for kittens, this grain-free blend has a soft, pate style that is easy to chew and digest.
Read Review
The protein helps maintain an older cat’s lean muscle mass and the prebiotic fiber is easy to digest.
Read Review
With high-quality ingredients, this food is made in a human-grade facility and contains meat, fish, or broth as its main ingredient.
Read Review
This variety pack contains 10 to 11 percent crude protein along with broth, taurine, vitamins, and minerals.
Read Review
In This Article

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

Wellness Turkey and Salmon canned cat food

Food Type: Wet | Amount: 3 ounces | Main Ingredient: Turkey | Life Stage: Adult

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, including meat, taurine (a building block for protein synthesis and a vital amino acid for cats), and water.

The first five ingredients (turkey, chicken liver, whitefish, chicken broth, salmon) are whole ingredients. 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

Food Type: Wet | Amount: 6 ounces | Main Ingredient: Salmon | Life Stage: All

Without any fillers, carbs, or guar 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 Kitten: Purina Fancy Feast Grain Free Pate Wet Kitten Food

Purina Fancy Feast Grain Free Pate Wet Kitten Food Variety Pack

Food Type: Wet | Amount: Not listed | Main Ingredient: Varies | Life Stage: Kitten

It's important to feed your kitten food that’s specifically labeled for kittens, as it will be formulated to help support their growth and healthy development with higher protein content and calories. It should also have increased vitamin and mineral supplementation (such as calcium and phosphorus), Dr. Barrack says.

This grain-free blend comes in smaller 3-ounce cans sized for kittens' appetites. If you do have any left over, cover and refrigerate; it will stay good for up to three days. The soft, paté 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.

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

Purina Pro Plan canned cat food

Food Type: Wet | Amount: 3 ounces | Main Ingredient: Ocean whitefish | Life Stage: Adult

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 blend made in the U.S. from Purina contains 10 percent minimum protein to help maintain your older cat’s lean muscle mass, antioxidants beta carotene, and vitamin E to support their immune system, and prebiotic fiber for easier digestion.

Note that you may want to cut back on portion sizes if you notice your cat is less active or gaining weight.

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

Food Type: Wet | Amount: 3 ounces | Main Ingredient: Varies | Life Stage: All

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 body weight 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

Food Type: Wet | Amount: 3 ounces | Main Ingredient: Varies | Life Stage: Not listed

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 10 to 11 percent crude protein that should more than satisfy your cat’s natural animal instincts. That’s along with broth for adequate water content and added taurine, vitamins, and minerals. Some 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.

Final Verdict

With meat, fish, and broth as its first five ingredients Wellness Complete Health Turkey & Salmon Formula Grain-Free Canned Cat Food (view on 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.

What to Look for in Canned Cat Food

Life Stage

When buying canned cat food, 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 at their current life stage.

Ingredients

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 would not eat large amount of carbohydrates in the wild. 

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.

Article Sources
The Spruce Pets uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. O'Brien T, Thomas DG, Morel PC, Rutherfurd-Markwick KJ. “Moderate dietary supplementation with vitamin E enhances lymphocyte functionality in the adult cat.” Res Vet Sci. doi:10.1016/j.rvsc.2015.01.007. PMID: 25660045.

  2. Wernimont SM, Radosevich J, Jackson MI, et al. “The Effects of Nutrition on the Gastrointestinal Microbiome of Cats and Dogs: Impact on Health and Disease.” Frontiers in Microbiology. doi:10.3389/fmicb.2020.01266

  3. Clinical Nutrition Team. “Grain-Free Diets – Big on marketing, Small on truth. Cummings Veterinary Medical Center at Tufts University.

Continue to 5 of 6 below.