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Every cat is different, so there is no one single best canned cat food. Allergies, health concerns, price and even the pickiness of your particular feline will all play a part in helping you determine what is the best wet cat food for your situation.
However, analyzing all the data has shown me there are definitely different tiers of quality across the thousands of wet cat food products I've looked at since starting this project over 6 year ago. Below you'll find 11 of the best wet cat foods that scored the highest using my fact-based, unbiased analysis of each product using the manufacturer's published nutritional information.
When looking to find the highest quality cat food product, I'm primarily looking at two different properties of each particular variety. Pet foods manufactured in the United States and Canada are required to publish this information, so it makes sense that products can be compared against each other this way.
For the purposes of this list, a wet or canned cat food is any variety that contains more than 20% moisture as reported by the manufacturer. However, varieties labelled as a raw, freeze-dried, dehydrated, or frozen diet have been excluded as those formulas are different enough to warrant their own list in the future.
Additionally, specialty varieties were also excluded from this list. These speciality foods include all veterinary diets, diets formulated to treat specific medical conditions, and products specifically developed for kittens or senior cats. Cats requiring these specialty diets have their own unique dietary concerns and their products should often be evaluated on different criteria.
Each product is given a score based on an analysis of its ingredient list. Those with a named protein or protein meal (ie "chicken" or "chicken meal") as their first ingredient are scored highest. Products with named proteins and meals in their top 5 ingredients are also scored better than those products without. Note that a generic "meat" or "fish" ingredient doesn't count as a protein in my evaluations; I find it rather suspicious that a manufacturer is unable or unwilling to identify the source of the protein!
Products listing by-products, or bulk-adding fillers and grains in their top ingredient positions are scored lower. Additionally, any questionable preservatives included in the ingredient list will also reduce the product's score.
By law in North America, every commercially prepared cat food must publish a 'Guaranteed Analysis' that describes the percentages of protein, fat, fiber and moisture that are contained within the product. Although these aren't exact values, they do allow us to approximate and compare the total amount of protein and carbohydrates that are contained in each product. It's also important to note manufacturers are not required to list a product's ash content. In cat food, ash is the term used to represent the inorganic minerals (like phosphorous, calcium, zinc and iron) that exist in the product. In products in which ash content is not reported, CatFoodDB will assume 3% ash content in wet foods, and 6% in dry. thes
Similar to their ingredient score, each product is also scored based on its nutritional analysis - those products that have higher amounts of protein and lower amounts of carbohydrates reported in this nutritional breakdown are scored higher.
The 11 products below scored highest of all the products in the CatFoodDB database, each earning top scores for their nutrition levels and ingredient lists. All are high in protein, low in carbohydrates, and are generally free of starchy fillers and by-products.
Note however that this is by no means the full list of the best products reviewed here on CatFoodDB. In fact, choosing just 11 varieties was a really hard task, and in the end the raw numbers chose the winners - the products below had the highest scores, lowest calculated carbohydrate values and highest amounts of protein.It's also important to keep in mind that both the protein and especially the carbohydrate numbers are only estimated values. Although each cat food manufacturer is required by law to publish a Guaranteed Analysis that defines each product's maximum values of fiber and moisture in addition to its minimum values of protein and fat, exact nutritional percentages are not available and hence all calculated values, including carbohydrates, are determined using these minimum and maximum published values and may differ from actual values. Although a high score may be indicative of a higher-quality product it is not a guarantee. The best food for your cat is the one that meets their individual needs.