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13 Best Cat Foods of 2023 (Reviewed by Veterinarians)

grey cat licking lips after eating cat food from bowl inside on floor
Image Credit: mik ulyannikov, Shutterstock
Last Updated on November 29, 2023 by Catster Editorial Team

grey cat licking lips after eating cat food from bowl inside on floor

Some people think that vets don’t get much education in nutrition. In fact, as a veterinarian, I had endless hours of nutrition lectures, practicals, seminars, and workshops, not to mention many years of experience. But what I recommend might still surprise you; it’s probably not what you’ve been told or read in online reviews!

First, I’ll discuss the veterinarian’s approach to diet. Next, I’ll get into the best wet cat food reviews, the best dry cat food reviews, and the top-rated cat foods for other health needs. Let’s go!

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The Best Cat Foods Compared

Wet Cat Food vs Dry Cat Food

Should you feed your cat wet cat food or dry cat food? Each has pros and cons, and it can be hard to decide. As a veterinarian, and in the absence of any medical conditions, I would advise you to feed your cats a mixture of wet and dry: around 75% of the diet calories should be from wet cat food, while the other 25% can be from dry food.

Cat Food Brands to Avoid

The truth is, there are hundreds of food brands out there, and most will be just fine for most cats. But for those that want to go the extra mile for their cats, there are a few brands to avoid. I would strongly recommend avoiding anything that claims to be vegetarian or vegan – it is unethical to feed these to cats, which have evolved as carnivores.

I’d also avoid brands that seem to have spent more on marketing than nutrition. You can read reviews online, but I’d also follow our guide below to ensure you aren’t just picking the popular food; you’re not picking a top-rated cat food but a veterinarian-recommended top-rated cat food.

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Vet Recommended Cat Food

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A Glance at Our Favorites in 2023

Best Overall
Smalls Human-Grade Fresh Cat Food Subscription Smalls Human-Grade Fresh Cat Food Subscription
  • Human-grade fresh ingredients
  • High in quality animal protein
  • No preservatives
  • Best for Weight Loss
    Second place
    Purina Pro Plan Weight Management Cat Food Purina Pro Plan Weight Management Cat Food
  • Cheaper than many alternatives
  • Doesn’t require a prescription
  • High protein for satiety
  • Best for Urinary Health
    Third place
    Hill’s Science Diet Urinary Hairball Control Hill’s Science Diet Urinary Hairball Control
  • Cheaper than many alternatives
  • Balanced magnesium levels
  • High moisture content
  • Best for Weight Gain
    Purina Pro Plan Critical Nutrition Cat Food Purina Pro Plan Critical Nutrition Cat Food
  • High calorie
  • Smooth consistency
  • Very palatable
  • Best for Sensitive Stomachs
    Hills Digestive Care i/d Cat Food Hills Digestive Care i/d Cat Food
  • Highly digestible
  • Designed to reduce food sensitivities
  • Very palatable
  • The 7 Best Wet Cat Foods (Vet Recommended)

    1. Smalls Human-Grade Fresh Cat Food Subscription – Best Overall

    Smalls human-grade fresh and freeze-dried raw cat food on a tray

    Although relatively new to the cat food market, Smalls Fresh Cat Food recipes are our pick for best wet cat food. They only use top-quality, human-grade meats in their small-batch products and do not add artificial colors or preservatives to ensure your cat gets the best nutrition. With up to 54% protein, depending on the recipe, and 80% animal product ingredients, you can be sure this cat food is top of the line.

    They have a variety of flavors, such as chicken, turkey, and beef, so there is something for every cat, even the pickiest of felines. Smalls operates by subscription service, and they tailor your cat’s food package based on needs and preferences and deliver straight to your door. They even offer great discounts on your first order, calculated upon checkout, and will give you a full refund if your kitty doesn’t love it.

    But from what we’ve observed based on our cats’ trials, they loved it! Owners love it, and even vets love it too! It was awarded the best cat food for Sphynx cats by our review team, amongst all other purebred breeds. The only downside we could find is that they use vegetable oil instead of animal fats in some recipes, but that isn’t necessarily a problem. It might not sit well if you have a cat with bowel issues.

    But all in all, we think this is the best overall wet cat food available.

    • High in quality animal protein
    • Human-grade ingredients
    • No artificial colors or flavors
    • No preservatives
    • Uses vegetable oil
    • More expensive than supermarket brands

    2. Purina Pro Plan Focus Adult Weight Management – Best for Weight Loss

    Purina Pro Plan Focus Adult Weight Management for cats wet cat food

    Although not a prescription diet, this weight management food from Purina is one of the best wet cat foods on the market. As a veterinarian, I often use this as a less-expensive, non-prescription alternative for cat owners that struggle to afford some of the clinical and prescription diets. It has just 79 calories per can, meaning that it is easy for pet parents to portion.

    Cats eating Purina Pro Plan can have several small meals throughout the day, which is considered ideal for feline behavior and satiety (the feeling of being full). Cats that don’t feel full may bother you for more food, which can be a massive barrier to healthy weight loss. The protein content is high at 54% (dry matter basis), which contributes to satiety and also ensures that cats don’t lose condition when they lose weight.

    The main problem with this food is its palatability. Like many weight loss foods, palatability can be a concern, and some cats won’t eat this food. Still, cats will be cats, and I’m the same with Ryvita, so we can’t blame the food too much! On the whole, it has excellent reviews, so it is definitely worth giving it a go if your kitty is on the porky side!

    • Cheaper than many alternatives
    • Doesn’t require a prescription
    • High protein for satiety
    • Palatability may be an issue

    3. Hill’s Science Diet Urinary & Hairball Control Cat Food – Best for Urinary Health

    Hill’s Science Diet Urinary & Hairball Control Cat Food

    For cats that need a helping hand in the urinary department, veterinarians like to reach for Hills. This diet is perfect for cats that are prone to suffering from urinary issues, such as indoor cats and overweight cats. The key feature of this wet cat food is the careful balance of minerals to avoid crystals, sludge, and stones forming in the urinary tract.

    Struvite is one of the most common crystal types formed in our feline friends, and it is principally made of magnesium, so this is the most important mineral to balance. Being a wet diet, it also encourages a more natural water intake for cats.

    Please note that urinary problems can be severe and even fatal in cats. If your cat has urinary issues, you should discuss its diet choices with your vet. This food is not a cheaper alternative to the prescription diets, so if your vet prescribes Hill’s c/d or s/d, you should use only that or ask them for an alternative.

    • Cheaper than many alternatives
    • Balanced magnesium levels
    • High moisture content
    • Not as effective as prescription diets

    4. Purina Pro Plan Critical Nutrition Cat Food – Best for Weight Gain

    Purina Pro Plan Critical Nutrition wet cat food

    While most cats are overweight, a few need a helping hand with their weight gain. This is especially true of cats who have been ill or recently rescued. This food is high in calories at 208 kcal/5.5 oz can, meaning even cats who struggle to eat much should be able to get their daily calorie allowance. It’s even been formulated with a smooth consistency in case syringe feeding becomes necessary.

    Please note that following your veterinarian’s advice regarding your cat’s weight is vital. Most healthy adult cats do not need to gain weight, but if you’re unsure, your vet can tell you whether they’re at an ideal weight or not, or you can read our guide below. If you think your cat is losing weight, you should also take them in for an examination, as many medical conditions can contribute to weight loss, and simply feeding more will not correct the problem.

    • High calorie
    • Smooth consistency
    • Very palatable
    • Requires veterinary authorization

    5. Hills i/d Cat Food – Best for Sensitive Stomachs

    Hills id wet cat food

    Wherever I’ve worked as a vet, we always have this on the shelf or in the back office. Not only is it ideal for inpatients being fed after surgery (it reduces the chance of us having to deal with an “explosive” reaction if a patient has a sensitive stomach), but it’s ideal for cats suffering from vomiting and diarrhea, as it is easy to digest.

    This food contains highly digestible chicken and pork as protein sources. It also has plenty of fiber to maintain digestive tract health. Cats seem to love it but bear in mind that the stew consistency won’t agree with everybody, and picky cats can use the opportunity to leave the bits they don’t like, resulting in an unbalanced diet.

    Although this diet requires a veterinary prescription/authorization, most vets will be happy to recommend this diet for most cats, so it isn’t an arduous process.

    • Highly digestible
    • Designed to reduce food sensitivities
    • Very palatable
    • Stew texture can result in pickiness

    6. Royal Canin Kitten Thin Slices in Gravy – Best for Kittens

    Royal Canin Kitten Thin Slices in Gravy wet cat food

    This cat food comes very highly rated by vets and owners alike. It has been developed by scientists at Royal Canin to provide optimal nutrition for growing kittens. They’ve balanced for gentle growth while still providing energy for play, meaning this kitten food will keep your cat happy and well-fed to 12 months of age.

    The protein content is 55%, and they’ve named the protein sources, so you know exactly what your kitten is getting. It also contains added vitamins, minerals, and taurine to ensure there’s everything your cat needs. They’ve even thought of making the slices smaller to make it easier for those tiny teeth and mouths! They’ve made the cans quite small, so you might go through several a day as your cat ages.

    • Very palatable
    • Small slices
    • High protein at 55%
    • Small cans

    7. Purina Pro Plan Savor Adult Cat Food – Best Value

    Purina Pro Plan Savor Adult wet cat food

    For discerning cats, the best wet cat food for the money has to be the Purina Pro Plan ‘Savor’ range. There are many flavor combinations, all of which have been formulated to be complete and balanced without losing out on the texture that interests your cat. It’s also high in protein and contains omega-3 and 6 fatty acids to give your cat’s coat gloss and shine.

    Best of all, like all Purina Pro Plan products, it’s made in the USA and backed by research performed by veterinarians, nutritionists, and scientists. In fact, Purina Pro Plan is one of the few ranges that regularly do feeding trials to prove the nutritional content of their food. The results? Cats love it, and so do their owners. And even better, so do vets! The only downside is that the tins are small, and you may need several per cat daily!

    As far as wet cat foods go, we think this is the best value cat food on the market, and it’s the best Purina cat food out there too.

    • Backed by science
    • High in protein
    • Cheaper than similar quality products
    • Small tins- you’ll need 2-3 a day for most adult cats

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    Dry Cat Food Reviews by Veterinarians – 2023 Favorites

    The 6 Best Dry Cat Foods (Vet-Recommended)

    8. Hills Prescription Diet t/d Dental Care Cat Food – Best Overall

    Hills Prescription Diet t/d Dental Care dry cat food

    It might surprise you that my number one dry food for cats is a dental care diet, but dental problems are very commonly encountered in cats and have now been proven to affect heart and kidney health. So what could be more important than looking after a kitty’s teeth? While most dry foods don’t seem to impact dental health, Hill’s t/d diets are clinically proven to reduce plaque and tartar build-up.

    The kibble’s shape, size, and texture help clean your cat’s teeth, reducing dental plaque. It has the Veterinary Oral Health Council “Accepted Product” seal, so you know it’s clinically proven to help with dental problems. If you’re going to feed dry food to your cat, I’d strongly recommend you buy food that works as hard as this one at keeping them healthy.

    The only catch is the price tag; as a clinically-proven diet, it costs much more than the average bag of pet food at the supermarket! It’s also a prescription diet, which means it needs veterinary approval, but most vets will not hesitate to provide your supplier with the correct authorization.

    To sum up, we believe this one is the best dry cat food available today.

    • Can be fed long term
    • Proven to reduce plaque and tartar
    • Veterinary Oral Health Council approved
    • Price
    • Requires veterinary authorization

    9. Hills Prescription Diet Metabolic – Best for Weight Loss

    Hills Prescription Diet Metabolic dry cat food

    We recently had a discussion about the best cat weight-loss food on one of our veterinary forums. And this product was named the best dry cat food for weight loss by almost all of the vets that participated. We consider this vet-recommended cat food recipe the best dry cat food for indoor cats with its weight control benefits.

    It is scientifically proven to help cats lose weight; 88% of cats lost weight within just 2 months in one of their feeding trials. It contains satiety-enhancing ingredients to help your cat feel fuller for longer, so they won’t be pestering you at their food bowl. It also contains L-carnitine to activate your cat’s natural fat-burning mechanisms. Best of all, since overweight cats are so prone to urinary issues, Hills has developed this food to promote a healthier urinary environment.

    • Scientifically proven to promote weight loss
    • High protein to increase satiety
    • Promotes healthy urinary tract
    • Requires veterinary authorization

    10. Purina Pro Plan Focus Adult Urinary Tract Health – Best for Urinary Health

    Purina Pro Plan Focus Adult Urinary Tract Health dry cat food

    Purina Pro Plan has developed this food to protect your cat’s urinary tract. If you’re looking for the best Purina cat food for urinary tract health, Pro Plan has been formulated to produce a low urine pH, which Purina has proven reduces the occurrence of some crystals in the urine. This means it’s less likely that your cat gets the most common types of bladder crystals or stones. They also reduced sources of dietary magnesium; this should reduce the chance of struvite crystal formation.

    Although this diet has lots of benefits, it’s not a replacement for a prescription diet, which can treat urinary conditions. If your vet recommends a prescription diet your cat won’t eat, you should ask them for alternative suggestions to ensure your cat is still getting the necessary benefits. It’s also often best to increase water intake for cats with urinary issues, so a wet diet is preferable to a dry one.

    • Low dietary magnesium
    • Produces a low urine pH
    • Low moisture content

    11. Royal Canin Feline Health Kitten – Best for Weight Gain

    Royal Canin Feline Health Kitten dry cat food

    While most cats do not need to gain weight, elderly cats or those recovering from illness may benefit from extra calories to regain their condition. And just giving them extra portions of their usual diet won’t necessarily be enough; sometimes, their tiny stomachs can’t take in all the nutrients they need unless the food you’re feeding them is calorie-dense. Kitten food is higher in calories and can be fed to adult cats for a short time to help them gain weight.

    This kitten food from Royal Canin is manufactured to exacting standards by a well-respected company. At 369 calories per cup, it packs a lot of nutrition into a small portion. It also contains plenty of vitamins and minerals to ensure your cat gets everything it needs, even if their appetite is reduced.

    Please note that if your cat is losing weight, it’s a good idea to get them checked out by your veterinarian. This food may not be safe if the reason for their weight loss is an undiagnosed disease.

    • High-calorie formulation
    • High levels of vitamins and minerals
    • Not suitable for long-term feeding

    12. Royal Canin Gastrointestinal Fiber Response – Best for Sensitive Stomachs

    Royal Canin Gastrointestinal Fiber Response dry cat food

    This dry cat food is recommended by many veterinarians for cats with sensitive stomachs. It has been carefully formulated to provide everything your adult cat needs regarding nutrition, with easy-to-digest ingredients. This diet has plenty of fiber from many different sources; these promote normal intestinal movement, well-formed feces, and healthy gut bacteria. It also contains feline-appropriate prebiotics to provide those “good” gut bacteria with everything they need.

    Psyllium seed husks are also added as they absorb excess moisture to keep stools formed. Although this product requires veterinary authorization, most vets will happily prescribe it to any cat suffering from recurrent vomiting or diarrhea, gas, abdominal pain, or regurgitation after eating.

    • Added prebiotics
    • Blend of fibers
    • Psyllium husks
    • Requires veterinary authorization

    13. Hill’s Science Diet Kitten – Best for Kittens

    Hill’s Science Diet Dry Kitten Food dry cat food

    This dry kitten food from Hill’s is one of the best products for feeding your young and growing kitten. It’s manufactured in the USA using ingredients that exceed industry standards and is loved by vets all over. The growing stage is the most crucial part of your cat’s life when it comes to diet. Minor deficiencies here can quickly add up, which is why it’s so important to buy from a scientifically-backed company like Hill’s, which does feeding trials to ensure their products are up to scratch.

    Most importantly, this dry kitten food from Hill’s contains bio-available taurine to prevent dietary-related heart conditions. It also has balanced protein to encourage ideal growth rates and the omega-6 DHA, which is vital for your kitten’s sight and brain development. They’ve even made the kibble small for little mouths! The only problem is the price tag; compared to many other brands, Hill’s is a lot more expensive, but I feel your kitten’s health is worth investing in, and I regularly recommend this food!

    • Scientifically backed
    • Added DHA and bioavailable Taurine
    • Small kibble size
    • Price tag

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    Top-Rated Cat Foods for Other Health Needs

    1. Purina Pro Plan Focus Adult Hairball – Best for Preventing Hairballs

    Purina Pro Plan Focus Adult Hairball dry cat food

    As a veterinarian, I often see cats with hairballs. While many causes of hairballs are medical, requiring a vet’s input, dietary support can help cats to get rid of troublesome hairballs while the cause of the overgrooming is found. For long-haired cats especially, a good hairball diet can make a huge difference to your cat’s quality of life. This hairball diet from Purina has it all, and vets and reviewers certainly seem to agree that it is one of the best hairball foods on the market.

    It’s high in fiber, which promotes good gut movement and helps to move your cat’s ingested hair through the gut instead of piling up in the stomach. It also contains ingredients to support good coat and skin health, like vitamin A and omega-6 fatty acids, to reduce the need for grooming. As it’s complete, balanced, and backed by science, this product is safe to feed for life, making it an easy way to improve your cat’s well-being.

    The only downside to this food is that it contains protein from several sources, so if food allergies play a part in your cat’s grooming, this food may not be for them. Not working for your cat? Talk to your vet about ruling out allergies using a hydrolyzed protein diet.

    • High in fiber to promote gut transit
    • Omega-6 for a healthier coat
    • Protein from unnamed sources

    2.  Purina Pro Plan Focus Adult Indoor Care – Best for Indoor-Only Cats

    Purina Pro Plan Focus Adult Indoor Care dry cat food

    You might be wondering why indoor cats need different food. The reason is that indoor-only cats can be prone to a range of diseases that are rarer in outdoor cats, such as obesity and urinary problems. This range from Purina Pro Plan is specially formulated to help your cats avoid some of these issues. It’s low-calorie and contains natural fiber from chicory root to help to prevent hairballs.

    It’s also rich in omega-6 for skin and coat health, which may help reduce the need for grooming in cats. Purina Pro Plan is also high in protein to help your cat feel fuller and maintain a healthy weight. The main problem with this food is that the pH and magnesium content are not formulated for reduced crystals, so it won’t help to prevent urinary problems.

    If your indoor cat is already overweight or has had urinary problems, another great option is Hills Prescription Metabolic + Urinary Stress, which combines a weight-loss food with urine-protection properties and calming ingredients.

    • High fiber
    • Low calorie
    • Added omega-6 fatty acids
    • High protein
    • Doesn’t have any urinary protection

    3. Royal Canin Aging – Best for Older Cats

    Royal Canin Aging dry cat food

    This product from Royal Canin really does it all for your senior cat. Aging cats have specific health needs, and this diet will provide the best nutrition for your cat as they age. Royal Canin has carefully researched the effect of diet on kidney disease and has balanced this diet to have lower levels of phosphorus to protect the kidneys.

    Older cats need lower levels of protein, but the protein should be high quality; at 28% protein, this diet meets your senior cat’s needs perfectly. It also contains added glucosamine and chondroitin for supporting healthy joints, although the levels aren’t as high as I’d usually recommend, and extra supplementation might be necessary. You also need to bear in mind that this diet is only suitable for senior cats without disease. If your cat is suffering from renal disease, hyperthyroidism, diabetes, dental disease, or joint disease, it may benefit from a more specialized diet.

    • High-quality protein
    • Low phosphorus content
    • Contains glucosamine and chondroitin
    • May need additional supplementation

    cat paw dividerBuyers Guide: Selecting The Best Cat Food

    There’s much discussion about the best pet food brands, and finding a good one is very important to pet owners.  All of the brands out there are competing for your purchase, so they use several marketing techniques to persuade you to buy. So, how do we decide on the best or the healthiest cat foods?

    I highly recommend assessing a brand using the WSAVAs guide and reading The Savvy Cat Owner’s Guide: Nutrition on the Internet. The Pet Nutrition Alliance also went to the trouble of contacting all of the manufacturers of all of the brands available for sale in the USA and Canada in 2019 and asking them some of the questions recommended by the WSAVA. Their answers can be found here: Manufacturer Report.

    Why have you recommended pet foods that contain by-products and grain?

    One of the biggest pet nutrition myths is that grains are bad and that diets should be made of “real ingredients, not by-products.”

    Want to see more cat food reviews? Check out our review page here!

    Cat Food By-Products

    What is a byproduct? By-products are the bits of animals we humans don’t like eating, especially here in the West. This doesn’t mean that these ingredients are bad (humans eat these parts of the animal world over), but they’d still be thrown away if we didn’t use them for pet food. This includes livers, hard-to-reach muscles like cheek muscles, and chicken feet, all of which are commonly recommended by raw feeders, but as soon as they’re labeled, by-products are considered harmful.

    The thing is, these are all perfectly good sources of animal protein. And in a world where people are starving, and we have to consider the environmental impact of meat production, feeding pets prime cuts instead of giving them to people can be an ethical conundrum.

    NomNom Grey Cat Bowl white cat eating

    Feeding your cat a high-quality diet is important for keeping them healthy and happy. But it goes beyond the food you choose; the dishes they use also matter. The Hepper NomNom Cat Bowl is our favorite for its unique, five-star design that protects from whisker fatigue and promotes good posture which also aids in better digestion. As an added bonus, it’s beautifully crafted and offers a modern take on the traditional cat bowl that fits seamlessly with all home stylings. Learn more about the NomNom by clicking here.

    At Excited Cats, we’ve admired Hepper for many years and decided to take a controlling ownership interest so that we could benefit from the outstanding designs of this cool cat company!



    Cat Food Grains

    Grains are also getting a bad reputation. That is because pet foods follow human food trends, and while humans are playing around with grain-free, paleo, low-carb diets, manufacturers of pet foods play on that when marketing their foods. Grains provide excellent sources of nutrients not found in high quantities elsewhere, so they’re often added for this reason.

    The grain-free argument for cat foods is often augmented by the definition of cats as obligate carnivores; it’s a common misconception that this means that cats can only eat meat, but that is incorrect. In fact, “obligate carnivore” means that cats have to eat meat to survive—they can’t be vegetarians, as they need nutrients that are not present in vegetables. This doesn’t mean they can’t eat anything other than meat, as any cat owner with a pet that steals bread, cake, or carrots will tell you!

    In other words, your cat needs to eat nutrients, not ingredients—and the ingredients list is not a good indicator of the quality of pet food. You can read more about why here: Stop reading your pet food ingredient list! – Clinical Nutrition Service at Cummings School and here: Why you shouldn’t judge a pet food by its ingredient list.

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    How Much Food Should I Feed My Cat?

    All cat foods state on the label the calorie content and suggested feeding guidelines in cups or tins so that you can work out how much to feed your cat based on their weight. However, it’s important to remember that every cat is unique and will metabolize their food differently. Cats also vary considerably in “normal” weight, from 5.5 pounds to 18 pounds or more!

    First, you should determine your cat’s weight and body condition score (BCS). The body condition score determines whether or not your cat is overweight, and in the case of the 9-point scale, it even approximates how overweight your cat is. You then need to work out the calorie allowance for your cat.

    Your local veterinary clinic will usually offer a free consultation to determine this, or you can go to the Pet Nutrition Alliance’s calculator to get a recommended feeding amount in calories. You can then use the “food” tab to type in the calorie content of your pet’s food (found on the back of the packet, usually in the guaranteed analysis section) to get a recommendation for the number of tins or cups you should be feeding your pet each day. If you’re mixing wet and dry food, don’t forget to split the daily calorie allowance between the two so you don’t overfeed your cat.

    What Treats Can I Safely Feed My Cat?

    Everybody loves to treat their pets, and as a vet, I always calculate a treat allowance into a meal plan for cats. To ensure your pet doesn’t become overweight, you should consider their calorie allowance when it comes to treats. Nutrition experts recommend that no more than 10% of your cat’s daily calories come from treats, and don’t forget to take those calories out of your calculations for daily food allowance!

    As for what sort of treats—there are lots of cat treats on the market that are suitable. As a vet, I like to opt for dual-purpose treats such as those that help with dental health or hairballs. I’d steer clear of human food, as flavorings and ingredients can be toxic to cats, and it can be tough to find out how many calories are in a small piece of tuna.

    cat being fed a cat treat or cat food by hand
    Image Credit: Jakub Zak, Shutterstock

    Is It Ok To Mix Wet and Dry Cat Foods?

    Absolutely! In fact, I generally recommend feeding a combination of wet cat food and dry cat food. Research is beginning to show that wet cat food is closer to the real moisture content of the natural prey diet, and since cats aren’t good drinkers, getting the right amount of water in their diet is more important than it is for dogs.

    Having said that, wet cat foods don’t benefit dental health. Not all dry foods do, either! As a vet, my go-to recommended mix is to feed 70-80% of calories as wet food and the remaining 20-30% as dry kibble—ideally something that helps with dental disease, like our number one dry food above.

    What Sort of Cat Bowl Should I Get?

    Although lions in the zoo are different from your cat in many ways, the fact remains that both need enrichment when they eat. Part of our duties as owners is that we allow our cats to express natural behaviors, like hunting. The wild ancestors of our domestic cats would have spent most of their day hunting; our pet cats can eat a bowl of food in minutes, leaving them with hours of the day to fill.

    For your cat’s mental and physical health, you should consider feeding them with puzzle feeders that allow them to express some of this natural behavior. Many types of puzzle feeders are available, from the treat ball style to those designed like mice for your cat to ‘hunt’.

    There are a lot of cat food bowls on the market to choose from, too, so take a look at our top picks and see if there are any your cat would love.

    How Long Does Wet Cat Food Last if It’s Not Opened?

    This varies between brands and even by batch. Your cans of cat food will come with a use-by date on them. Food should be used before the end of this date to be safe and nutritious. Depending on how long the food has been on the shelf since its production, you should have a year or more to feed the food to your cat.

    You should store cat food in a cool and dry place, and take care that no tins are damaged if you plan to store them for a while.

    tabby cat eating cat food out of bowl inside
    Image Credit: Africa Studio, Shutterstock

    How Long Can Wet Food Remain in the Bowl?

    If your cat doesn’t eat all of their portion of food, you should discard any remaining wet food after 4 hours—sooner if it is a warm day. The moisture content of wet food makes it ideal for bacterial and fungal growth, and it’s also prone to attracting flies. Since many mycotoxins from mold can cause issues for your cat, keeping the food fresh is essential.

    How Long Does Canned Food Last Once It’s Open?

    You should store open cans of cat food in the fridge. They should also be covered, and you can purchase correctly-sized reusable plastic covers. Stored in the fridge, your cat’s food should last 24 hours after opening. If not stored in the fridge, discard unused food after 4 hours.

    What if My Cat Stops Eating a Certain Type of Food?

    Cats will be cats! They’re famous for being persnickety and fussy, and they constantly change their minds. So, if your cat stops eating a certain type of food but still has an appetite for other foods, it’s probably nothing to worry about.

    In that case, it might be a good idea to stop by the grocery store to pick up a small bag of something before heading back into the vet-recommended food. One of the best cat foods at Walmart is the Rachael Ray Nutrish line, but it doesn’t make the cut on this list.

    Cats don’t generally like change, so first, you should check whether you’ve moved your cat’s bowl or changed to a new bowl. If your cat suddenly prefers wet to dry, it’s also a good idea to get their teeth checked out. Otherwise, you can mix a little of their old food with the food they like, increasing the amount of old food over time until they’re eating it again. Try to do it slowly enough that they don’t notice; some cats may need several weeks!

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    Wrapping it Up

    Buying the right cat food for your cat is probably more challenging than you thought, but hopefully, reading my veterinary insight and top-rated and best cat food reviews will have made your job a little easier. The first thing to do is get the right food for your cat’s life stage; kittens, adults, and senior cats need different foods.

    For most adult cats, I recommend a combination of wet food and dry food to get the benefits of both. Since wet foods can afford to be a bit more exciting, I recommend the range of flavors in the Smalls Fresh Cat Food subscription service – it’s formulated by experts to provide everything your cat needs while remaining appetizing for your cat. Adding in a dry diet can help your cat’s dental health, but only if you choose a diet specifically formulated for dental care. I recommend the t/d diet from Hill’s, which has been clinically proven to reduce plaque and tartar on your cat’s teeth.

    See also:

    Featured Image Credit: mik ulyannikov, Shutterstock

    About the Author

    Dr. Joanna Woodnutt, MRCVS (Vet)
    Dr. Joanna Woodnutt, MRCVS (Vet)
    Joanna is an experienced veterinarian working in the UK. She has written about pets and pet health for many websites, blogs, and pet magazines and loves to help owners understand their pets through her writing.

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