What is the Best Wet Cat Food?

Last Updated 7 DEC 2020

This article is written by Pet Circle veterinarian, Dr Carla Paszkowski, BVSc (Hons)

No doubt you want the best for your kitty cat, and that includes their nutrition. With so many wet and dry diets on the market, how can you be sure your fur baby is getting the best?

Wet food can offer a host of benefits to cats. Not only is it highly palatable, but it can help improve hydration levels; which in turn can support good urinary health. Wet food is also ideal for fussy eaters and those who may be off their food due to illness or dental disease.

However, not all wet foods are created equal. There are a few things to consider when choosing the best wet food for your kitty. Wet food diets for cats can have vastly different moisture contents, digestibility and ingredients; so comparing different diets can sometimes be like comparing apples to oranges. When it comes to comparing wet food for cats, it definitely pays to do your research.

We've discussed factors below, included our top picks for each factor, and a comparison table of our best wet foods for cats.

TOP NEW PICK

Skip to a Section:

1. Ingredients and Quality
- Winners: Best Cat Food Based on Ingredients

2. Science, Research and Targeted Benefits of your chosen food
- Winners: Best Cat Food Based on Targeted Benefits

3. Palatability
- Winners: Most palatable wet food

4. Country of Manufacture
- Winners: Top Australian Made Cat Food

5. Complete Comparison table

6. Our vet team's top recommendations

7. Further reading

1. Ingredients and Quality

When comparing different varieties of wet cat food, many people start with the ingredients list. It's important to note that the ingredients listing alone doesn't provide sufficient information to determine the overall quality of a cat food, as other factors such as nutrient balance, scientific research, and quality assurance are also important. However, that said, the ingredients panel can certainly give you some hints as to the quality.

Lower quality wet foods may use gelling agents such as guar gum or seaweed extracts to give their foods a more appealing texture. While gelling agents are generally considered to be safe, they don't offer any nutritional benefits to your pet so many pet owners prefer to avoid them. Conversely, higher quality wet foods may contain added ingredients designed to support your cat's overall health and wellbeing such as green lipped mussel for joint function or fish oil for skin and coat health.

Feline Natural

Feline Natural wet food is made with over 90% animal protein, including free range lamb and sustainably sourced fish, which is perfect for carnivorous cats. It also contains beneficial green-lipped mussel to promote healthy coat and joints.

Ziwi Peak

Ziwi is made from premium quality, New Zealand animal protein and contains whole prey ingredients, including beneficial microflora. With novel proteins such as rabbit and mackerel, it offers a different flavour set for fussy eaters.

Black Hawk

Each Black Hawk recipe is proudly made in Australia from high quality proteins, vegetables and fruits with zero grains or unnecessary ingredients. Based on the 'Real Food Movement', Black Hawk also provides a wide range of flavours to keep fussy kitties interested.

2. Science, Research, and Targeted Benefits

Ever noticed how cat food seems to be hyper-specialised these days? Not only are lifestages catered for (ie, kitten, adult, senior), but many health conditions are targeted, too (ie, hairball / skin care / dental health).

Pet food brands toward the 'premium' end of the spectrum tend to produce food tailored for specific lifestages or medical issues. By manipulating nutrients and adding beneficial ingredients, these precisely balanced recipes are designed to meet the unique nutritional requirements of your cat's lifestage or special health needs like urinary health, sensitive digestion, hairballs, or sensitive skin. For instance, if you have an older cat, a senior or mature formula will offer increased digestibility and added benefits such as joint health support. If your cat is a little on the heavy side or prone to weight gain, you may be better served by choosing a weight control recipe which is lower in fat and higher in fibre to promote feelings of satiety.

To contrast, a cheaper or poor quality pet food brand may produce 'one size fits all' formulas with no specific wellness purpose. While this may not do your cat any harm, we recommend seeking a premium food with targeted benefits to ensure your cat's nutritional needs are catered to as closely as possible.

What about veterinary diets? Many cat owners find themselves a little confused about the difference between 'veterinary' or 'prescription' diets and 'regular' lines. This is especially confusing when some 'non-veterinary' formulas seem to address the same condition as a 'prescription' formula. For instance, Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Urinary S/O is a therapeutic diet which requires a recommendation from a vet, yet Royal Canin Urinary Sachets are available at a retail level and do not require a prescription. Usually, the difference lies in the treatment of a health condition as opposed to the prevention. Veterinary diets are finely tuned to treat an existing condition, whereas retail diets are only intended as a means of preventing a condition before it occurs.

Hills Science Diet

Hill's Science Diet produces a wide range of health-targeted formulas. With a prescription veterinary line and a general retail line, Hills wet food caters for everything from urinary disease to hairballs.

Royal Canin

Royal Canin is one of our most popular brands, and known for being highly palatable. Royal Canin produces wet food to help with a wide array of health conditions (including a therapeutic veterinary line) as well as breed-specific formulas.

Pro Plan

Pro Plan produces targeted, scientifically formulated wet food for cats. With a focus on specific lifestages, their wet food is highly palatable and available in a number of flavours.

Advance

Advance produces targeted formulas based on scientific research from the WALTHAM institute in the U.K. Advance wet food is produced in Australia as complete, balanced formulas for every lifestage.

3. Palatability

When searching for a wet food, palatability is undoubtedly one of the most important features to consider. Cats can be notoriously fussy, and nobody wants to waste time or money on food that won't get eaten. Palatability is also very useful if your cat is ill or suffering from dental pain as it can tempt them to eat.

Why are some cats so fussy? The truth is, rather than being 'fussy', some cats may simply be bored with a lack of variety. Eating the same food every day is an unnatural concept for cats, who are naturally inclined to hunt a different prey each day. This means that if your cat seems a little fussy, it may help to rotate between different flavours (particularly between different meat proteins) to see if it sparks their interest.

So, what is the most palatable wet cat food? Based on customer reviews, we've listed our top 4 varieties most often reviewed for being readily accepted and highly palatable. However, it's important to note that all cats have different flavour preferences, and what works for one cat might not work for every cat.

Royal Canin

Royal Canin is one of our most popular brands, and known for being highly palatable. Their 'Instinctive' wet food is specifically designed for tempting fussy eaters.

Paw and Spoon

Paw and Spoon is available in a huge variety of scrumptious flavours and is widely reviewed as highly palatable. Perfect for fussy cats, it is complete and balanced to keep your cat healthy.

Feline Natural

With a high meat content and 'whole prey' ingredients including organs and tripe, Feline Natural is widely reviewed as a real cat pleaser. This tripe topper (pictured) is extra smelly and cats LOVE it.

4. Country of Manufacture

Most cat owners consider the place of manufacture as an important factor, and actively look for an Australian-made cat food over one made overseas. Buying locally can have major benefits both for you and your kitty.

Why buy Australian Made cat food? Considering recent pet food recalls due to deficiencies or contaminated food, one can never be too careful. When seeking an Australian-made food, it is comforting to know you're buying food from trusted, 'first world' Australian facilities (with natioanlly controlled manufacturing factories, quality assurance, and OH+S standards). There is also a financial benefit: buying locally avoids unecessary import costs. This all adds up to a better good quality pet food for a much fairer price. Plus, buying locally produced pet food ultimately helps support our economy!

Below we've listed which pet food is Made in Australia, and which is not.

MADE IN AUSTRALIA:

MANUFACTURED INTERNATIONALLY:

Note: not all varieties above produce wet cat food, some only produce dry cat food.

The Winners: Top Australian Made Wet Cat Food

Advance

Advance wet food is produced in Australia (Albury/Wodonga and Bathurst) in state-of-the-art MARS Pet Food facilities. Their food is all based on world-leading research.

Dine

Dine is available in a variety of flavours and is widely reviewed as being highly palatable. Some varieties are marked as 'occasional feeding only', intended as a special treat.

Black Hawk

Each Black Hawk recipe is proudly made in Australia from high quality proteins, vegetables and fruits with zero grains or unnecessary ingredients.

A Complete Comparison of Wet Cat Food

We've collated our top wet food for cats below. To see current prices, simply click on the product.

Wet food brand Key callouts Lifestage / Health Formulas Available Meat Proteins Available First 5 Ingredients (of pictured formula) Varieties Available

Advance

Australian made, highly palatable, premium recipes based on gold standard WALTHAM Institute research. Kitten, Adult, Senior, and Weight Control Chicken, Turkey, Ocean Fish, Lamb, Beef Tuna Chicken; Pork; Lamb; Turkey; Gelling Agents Sachets and Trays

Black Hawk

Natural, grain free, Australian made wet food for cats. Kitten, Adult, and Senior Chicken, Tuna, Beef, Lamb, Salmon Chicken, Peas, Chicken Broth, Plasma Protein, Tuna, Ocean Fish Sachets

Dine

Australian made, affordable, highly palatable canned food perfect for tempting fussy eaters. Kitten and Adult Chicken, Ocean Fish, Tuna, Lamb, Beef Meat including Chicken, Beef, Lamb, Pork and Turkey; Gelling Agents; Colours Sachets, cans, and trays

Feline Natural

Natural, grain-free, high meat canned food, complete and balanced for all life stages. All Formulas marked for 'All Lifestages' Chicken, Venison, Lamb, Salmon, Beef, Hoki, Lamb Chicken, Venison Heart, Venison Kidney, Venison Liver, Venison Blood Cans

Hills Science Diet

Delivers a wide range high quality wet food varieties, with reduced calories for small breed dogs with a tendency to gain weight. Kitten, Adult, Senior, as well as weight control, urinary, hairball, and neutered Chicken, Ocean Fish, Salmon, Tuna, Beef Chicken (31%), pork, tapioca starch, corn starch, pea protein Sachets and cans

Paw and Spoon

Highly palatable, premium canned food recipes with a focus on taste optimisation and broad range of aromas. Kitten and Adult wet food Salmon, Chicken, Cheddar cheese, Tuna, Ocean fish Chicken broth, Chicken, Tapioca starch, Vitamins and MineralsCans

Holistic Select

Natural, grain free, all life stages canned food with an appealing pate texture. All formulas marked for 'All Lifestages' Ocean Fish, Chicken, Salmon and Shrimp, Turkey Chicken, Chicken Liver, Chicken Broth, Chicken Meal, Whitefish Cans

Pro Plan

Premium quality, highly digestible canned food recipes with varieties for every cat. Kitten, Adult, Senior, Sensitive stomach, urinary, sensitive skin Salmon, Chicken, Lamb, Ocean fish Water sufficient for processing, salmon, wheat gluten, liver, meat by-productsSachets and cans

Royal Canin

A wide, varied array of wet diets scientifically formulated for different types of cats. Kitten, Adult, Senior, high palatability, sensitive stomach, weight control, urinary, hairball, and breed specific lines Animal protein generally not specified Meat and animal derivatives, fish and fish derivatives, cereals derivatives of vegetable origin, oils and fats, minerals Sachets and Cans

Ziwi Peak Wet Dog Food Venison

Natural, limited ingredient canned food made in New Zealand with novel proteins and 'whole prey' ingredients. All Formulas marked for 'All Lifestages' Rabbit, Lamb, Mackerel, Venison, Beef Rabbit Meat, Lamb Broth, Lamb Liver*, Lamb, Lamb Lung Cans

Dr Teagan

Royal Canin Breed Specific Wet Food Varieties

"I really like the Royal Canin range of breed specific wet foods for Persians, British Shorthairs, and Maine Coons. As breeds which tend to be prone to specific conditions such as urinary tract disease, it makes sense to offer wet food as part of the diet for these cats and these diets offer premium, targeted nutrition that complements the range of breed specific dry foods really well. "

Dr Carla

Feline Natural Wet Cans

"While I like different brands for different reasons, I have always been impressed with the Feline Natural line of wet food. Not only is it complete and balanced, but it is great for owners who want a natural option for wet food. They offer different protein sources such as mackerel, beef, and lamb - which is usually quite hard to find for wet food. I recommend pairing with a premium, high quality dry food."

Dr Elise

Hills Science Diet Pouches

"Hills Science Diet is my go-to for wet food. This premium line of cat food is scientifically formulated to meet the requirements of your cat's lifestage or individual health needs. The wet food is available in cans or handy pouches, and different flavours afford plenty of variety for fussy cats."

Dr Antonella

Advance Wet Food

"I routinely recommend Advance wet food for cats. It is highly palatable, and made in Australia from premium ingredients. With recipes based on research from the WALTHAM Institute, and a strong veterinary influence, you know you're getting the best in terms of balanced nutrients!"