What Is the Best Canned Cat Food?

Cats are notoriously finicky eaters and they are even more particular about their water consumption. Unfortunately, not getting enough water or moisture can exacerbate health conditions, such as urinary tract disease. When looking at cat foods, it can be hard to determine if canned cat food, dry cat food, or a mixture of the two are beneficial for your cat. While weighing the options, consider this information and take note of what is the best canned cat food.

Pros of Canned Cat Food

Canned cat food has a great deal of benefits when compared to dry cat food. First of all, it is shelf-stable for a long period of time and it offers a wide range of varieties. Considering there are pate options, shreds and morsels, you can find the right flavor and texture for just about any feline family member.

When cats are drinking, they only lap up a small amount of water with each lick, usually less than a teaspoon, and many cats prefer to avoid still water. According to Purina, this is likely due to the fact that in nature, standing water can be a great breeding ground for bacteria. While feeding canned cat food does not replace their need to intake fresh water, it can provide a great source of moisture for your cat and significantly more water content than they get from eating the same amount of dry food.

Canned food is also a great source of protein. Cats are obligate carnivores and need much more protein than carbohydrates, but dry food is largely made up of carbohydrates to form the extruded kibble. Because wet food is higher in protein, it can support lean body mass and strong muscles. This is especially important as your cat ages, as metabolic changes often lead to less muscle mass. The higher carbohydrate count in dry food has been linked to health conditions, such as obesity and

If your cat has dental issues, canned cat food may be easier for them to eat. Contrary to popular belief, regular dry food does not necessarily clean your cat's teeth any better than canned food; you need a special diet to do that. If you cat is missing teeth or has a sore tooth that you have scheduled to be extracted, chowing down on canned food may be easier for them to munch on, rather than hard kibble.

Cons of Canned Cat Food

The biggest disadvantage of feeding cats canned cat food is that it tends to be more expensive. Dry food tends to be cheaper pound for pound and it can readily be bought in large amounts, so you may not have to go to the pet store quite as often to purchase food.

Canned cat food cannot be left out for long periods of time. While the cans are stable when unopened and may sit on the shelf for months or even years, once they are opened, they have a finite shelf life. They usually need to be disposed of after sitting out for a few hours, or it may start to spoil and harbor bacteria. In contrast, if you feed dry food, the food can sit out all day with little worry.

Wet cat food can also be messy. While cats tend to be tidy, the canned food may spill as you transfer it into a container or onto the ground as your cat eats it.

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Best Types of Canned Cat Food

Now that you know about the pros and cons of a canned cat food diet, it is time to learn about some of the best brands.

Royal Canin

While the name suggests it has been designed for dogs, Royal Canin makes amazing cat food. With formulations for each important life stage, from kitten to senior kitty, their food is highly palatable and easily digestible. As your cat ages, their foods are specifically designed to control phosphorus levels, which can help control kidney disease, and they also contain some of the same ingredients that you can find in joint supplements, offering food that is both nutritious and protective of the joints.

Hill's Science Diet

Like Royal Canin, Hill's has been around for years and offers prescription and non-prescription diets. They do a great deal of research before bringing foods out to the market and have an impressive team of veterinary nutritionists. You'll find cat foods for kitties with digestive issues, as well as weight problems.


If you have a cat that has food sensitivities, Instinct may be a good option. They offer grain-free canned cat foods, as well as flavor profiles including rabbit, helping your cat avoid common allergens such as chicken and fish. The diet features vitamin supplementation, such as vitamin B-12, which is essential for proper red blood cell production and function.

In Summary

There are lots of options when you look at canned cat foods, and trial and error may be needed to find the right flavors that you cat enjoys. The good news is that there are plenty of options, so you can offer your cat variety in what they eat. In addition, canned cat food is healthy, offering higher protein and moisture content over dry food, which supports healthy lean body mass and hydration.