Bringing home a new kitten is one of the most exciting things that you can do. Watching them play and race around is completely adorable, and it won’t take long before you vow to do anything in your power to keep them healthy and happy.
That includes finding them a high-quality wet food. That’s easier said than done, however, as there are dozens of options out there, each of which claims to be the best and most nutritious. Unless you know exactly what to look for, it can be easy to get confused.
In this reviews list, we’ll share our favorite wet kitten foods currently on the market. Each option is delicious and nutritious, and they’ll all help your new pet get their life started on the right paw. Now let’s get started and get your kitty the best soft food for kittens out there.
A Quick Look at Our Favorites (Updated in 2022)
|Best Overall||Wellness Complete Health Kitten Formula||
|Best Value||Purina Fancy Feast Tender Feast||
|Premium Choice||Hill's Science Diet Kitten Healthy||
|Royal Canin Feline Health Nutrition||
|Wellness CORE Natural Grain Free Pate||
The 10 Best Wet & Canned Kitten Foods
1. Wellness Complete Health Wet Kitten Food — Best Overall
Wellness Complete Health is a grain-free option, so there’s not a bunch of cheap filler inside to crowd out all that valuable meat.
Chicken and chicken liver are the first ingredients, ensuring that your kitten gets a wide range of amino acids from the different protein sources. There’s also fish oil inside, which most cats go bananas for and is also a great source of omega fatty acids.
Chicken broth is the third ingredient, which should further encourage your cat to scarf this stuff down. It also adds valuable moisture, making it a good choice for cats that don’t drink enough or that suffer from urinary tract or kidney issues. However, it also tends to add quite a bit of sodium.
While there are no grains inside, they do include so-called “superfoods” like cranberries and flaxseed. Your kitty doesn’t need these, per se, but they are full of valuable antioxidants nonetheless.
Wellness Complete Health does a great job of providing nutrition and great taste in each can, and we’re not sure what else you could possibly ask for from a kitten food, which is why we think it’s the best canned kitten food out there.
2. Purina Fancy Feast Tender Feast Canned Kitten Food — Best Value
Purina Fancy Feast Kitten Wet Food gets a bad rap for being mass-produced, but the food is actually pretty good!
It’s not a top-of-the-line food, to be sure, but it may actually be the best wet kitten food for the money, as it packs an admirable amount of nutrition in each can for a relatively low price.
There is one big caveat, though: the inclusion of meat by-products. These are low-grade cuts of mystery meat that manufacturers use to keep prices low. That’s probably why it’s so inexpensive.
Each can also contains artificial flavors, which isn’t great, but it’s not the end of the world either.
The first two ingredients are still real, high-quality meat (the actual type varies from recipe to recipe). You’ll also find either chicken or fish broth, both of which will help your kitten’s kidneys and bladder stay healthy.
Best of all, though, most cats love this stuff. If you have a finicky eater, there’s a good chance that this is the food that will get them to change their minds.
Purina Fancy Feast isn’t a great food overall, but it’s a great food for the price. If you’re budget-conscious, it’s one of the best values out there.
3. Hill’s Science Diet Healthy Wet Kitten Food — Premium Choice
Hill’s Science Diet Kitten doesn’t start with meat — it’s loaded with chicken broth instead. That means that this expensive food is full of moisture and attractive to cats but also full of salt.
Once you get past the broth, though, you’ll find meats like chicken and pork liver, both of which are full of valuable nutrients. There’s chicken fat as well, which has glucosamine for joint health.
There are plenty of other quality foods inside, like spinach, fish oil, and carrots, so it’s a bit odd that the company also added cheap fillers like wheat and rice. These aren’t necessarily bad foods, but their inclusion crowds out the possibility of adding even more good foods.
The formula balances out the cheap stuff somewhat by adding important nutrients like taurine, which is essential for heart health. Your kitten should get all the vitamins and minerals that they need to grow up healthy and strong.
All in all, this formula is our top premium pick for the best wet kitten food of the year.
4. Royal Canin Feline Health Nutrition Wet Kitten Food
Unlike many of the foods on this list, which are generally chunks or pâtés, Royal Canin Feline Health is made of thin slices of meat soaked in gravy.
This makes it easy to chew and eat, which then improves digestion. That’s good if you have a cat that has trouble keeping food down.
However, the first ingredient (after water) is chicken by-products. That’s not reassuring, as you have no idea what kind of meat they’re using. It’s immediately followed by chicken and chicken and pork liver, though.
You’ll also find fillers like wheat gluten and modified corn starch inside. These help bulk up the food at a low cost, but some cats are allergic to them.
There are other things inside that your cat will likely enjoy, though, like pork plasma. It may sound gross to you, but your kitten will love it, and it’s full of vital amino acids that can’t be found in lean cuts of meat.
All in all, Royal Canin Feline Health is an interesting and generally healthy food that your cat should enjoy. It’s just a shame that it has so many cheap ingredients.
5. Wellness CORE Natural Grain Free Pate Canned Kitten Food
A grain-free option, Wellness CORE boasts plenty of added DHA to ensure that your kitten’s brain and eyes grow properly.
Most of that DHA comes from the fish oil and herring inside, but you’ll also find flaxseed and chicken meal, both of which provide important antioxidants. Cranberries are considered a superfood for their antioxidant content, and you’ll find those in here as well.
Turkey broth is the third ingredient listed, which provides plenty of moisture and gives the food a flavor that most kittens love.
Many of the nutrients in this food come from plant sources, though, so your kitty might not absorb them as fully as if they came from meat. There’s not much fiber inside either, and while cats certainly seem to love the flavor, you probably won’t enjoy the smell.
Wellness CORE is a good food and can give your cat a wide range of vital nutrients. It’s just a shame that more of those nutrients don’t come from protein sources.
6. Iams Perfect Portions Healthy Pate Kitten Food
Iams Perfect Portions is filled with many of the same nutrients that are found in mother’s milk, making it a good choice for extremely young kittens or those that were weaned prematurely.
The food comes in an easy-to-open container rather than a can, which makes it easier for owners to open. It’s also less messy, so you don’t have to worry about cat food splattering all over you.
The primary ingredients are all top-notch, with chicken, poultry liver, and water making up the bulk of the food. However, you’ll also find questionable foods like dried egg product, which can upset some cats’ stomachs, and artificial colors.
The overall protein levels are mediocre, at just 9%, and there’s almost no fiber at 1%. You’ll likely want to pair it with a dry kibble to boost both of those levels.
Iams Perfect Portions has much going for it, but it needs more oomph if it wants to rise on this list.
7. Blue Buffalo Wilderness Canned Kitten Food
If you want to give your cat as much protein as possible, Blue Buffalo Wilderness is a great option. It’s high in protein at 10.5% and grain-free, so your cat will get all the meat that they can handle.
You’ll find a variety of meat sources inside each can, like fish, chicken, and more. However, there are other ingredients inside that are less savory.
Pea flour is one of the first five listed ingredients, and while it helps add bulk to the formula, it can also be hard for cats to process. There’s also quite a bit of potato inside, which has the same problem.
There’s a large amount of salt in each can, which is surprising because this is an expensive food.
Blue Buffalo Wilderness has several things going for it, but it also has several things working against it.
8. Purina Pro Plan Focus Wet Kitten Food
Purina Pro Plan Focus is based on the idea that kittens need as much meat as they can get in that all-important first year of their life.
Each can in this variety pack is filled with high-quality meats like chicken, liver, and fish. It adds up to 12-13% protein per can, although some of that is from meat by-products.
The recipe also contains added taurine, which is essential for heart health. It’s a good idea to give your kitten as many of these important amino acids as possible while they’re still young, so this food is a good start.
There are several ingredients inside that can potentially cause digestive issues, though, like soy flour, wheat gluten, and artificial colors and flavors. These ingredients could’ve easily been omitted, and the food would’ve been better for it.
There’s not much fiber in these cans either, at just 1.5%, so you’ll want to pair it with a quality kibble. The fact that Purina Pro Plan Focus can’t quite stand on its own, as well as its various negative ingredients, is why it doesn’t rank higher on this list.
9. Instinct Grain-Free Pate Wet Canned Kitten Food
Instinct Kitten is a higher-end food, and while it has many nutrients that you’d expect to find in a more expensive food, it’s also lacking in surprising ways.
The ingredients list starts strong, with chicken, beef liver, broth, and salmon being the first things listed. After that, though, you’ll find eggs, which many cats don’t tolerate well.
There’s also montmorillonite clay, which is included to add fiber. However, many cats aren’t a fan of the flavor, and the clay doesn’t seem to be doing much heavy lifting, as the food only sits at 1% fiber overall.
It’s packed with taurine, though, so it should help your cat’s heart grow healthy and strong. That’s worth sacrificing a little fiber for, in our opinion.
Instinct Kitten isn’t a bad food, but we feel that it should be better considering how much it costs.
10. Whole Earth Farms Healthy Kitten Canned Kitten Food
As you could probably guess, given the name, Whole Earth Farms Healthy Kitten is targeted at owners who want to feed their cat the most natural diet possible.
All of the ingredients may be natural, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they’re all good for your cat. Eggs factor prominently in the recipe, so your kitten may have digestive issues as a result of eating it.
Eggs add protein, but the protein levels are mediocre at just 9%. The fat is low at 4% as well, but the fiber levels are decent at 3%.
There’s quite a bit of salt inside, and dehydrated alfalfa meal is a big part of the food as well. This isn’t bad from a nutritional standpoint, but the taste may put off some cats.
That’s especially concerning given how expensive the food is. It’s one of the priciest wet foods that you’re likely to find.
Whole Earth Farms Healthy Kitten is a good choice for anyone whose primary concern is natural ingredients, but it may not be the best food for your cat overall.
Buyer’s Guide – How to Select the Best Canned Kitten Food
There are quite a few things to consider when purchasing a wet food for your new kitten, and unless you know what you’re looking for, it’s easy to make a mistake. Below, we’ve put together a brief guide to all the questions that you should ask yourself before you make a purchase. We hope this makes it easier for you to select the best cat food for kittens for your little bundle of joy.
What Should I Look For in a Wet Kitten Food?
The most important things are the quantity and quality of ingredients. You’ll want a food that’s high in protein, with as much meat inside as possible. Cats are pure meat-eaters, so you’ll want a food that’s packed with the stuff.
Many foods also include high-quality fruits and vegetables like cranberries or kelp. These are full of nutrients, but cats don’t process plant-based nutrition as well as they do nutrients that come from animals. As a result, any fruits and veggies inside should be viewed as a nice bonus rather than as a basis for the food itself.
There are other valuable nutrients to look for as well. DHA is an important omega fatty acid that’s vital for a cat’s eye and brain development, so you’ll want your kitty to get as much as possible. It’s usually found in seafood, flaxseed, or various oils, so it’s a good sign if a food has any of those inside.
Taurine is something else to look for. It’s essential for a healthy heart, and cats can only get it from meat. However, many foods add extra taurine into their recipes, giving your cat even more nutrients than they’d normally receive.
Is All Meat Created Equal?
No. While it’s important to choose a food that’s packed with meat, some meat is definitely better than others.
You want a food that’s full of high-quality cuts of meat. Look for ingredients that plainly state what the meat is: chicken, tuna, turkey, etc. This means they’re using some of the best parts of the animal, which in turn, means that your pet is getting all the nutrition they deserve.
Organ meats are also important, as they have essential amino acids that lean cuts don’t. If a food has liver or other internal organs inside it, that’s a good sign.
Some foods use “meals,” which are ground-up mashes of several internal organs and bones. This sounds disgusting, but it’s full of things that your cat needs. Just make sure they specify which animal the meal came from.
What you don’t want to see is animal by-products. This means they’re using the cheapest meat that they can find, and it often comes from sick animals or discarded carcasses. It’s not meat that you’d ever want to serve your cat, so don’t buy them a food that’s full of it.
Does My Cat Need Dry Food as Well?
This is a matter of dispute. Some experts say that cats should be wet food exclusively, some say that they should be fed dry kibble exclusively, and others say that they need a mix of both.
Both wet and dry food have important aspects that are unique to them. For example, the texture of kibble can help clean plaque and tartar off your cat’s teeth, making it less likely that they’ll suffer from periodontal disease.
On the other hand, wet food is generally higher in protein and full of moisture. While we’ve already covered why protein is so important, the added water is just as essential. Many cats don’t drink enough water, so giving them additional moisture via their food can help stave off dehydration and urinary tract issues.
We generally recommend a mix of both, but with wet food as the bedrock of your cat’s diet. That gives your kitten the best of both worlds, as they’ll get the protein and moisture from the wet food and the dental cleansing from the kibble.
However, if you can only afford one, a wet food is probably your better option.
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How Often Should I Feed My Kitten?
Many people allow their cats to free-feed, which means you leave food out at all times so they can munch as they wish. This is more commonly done with dry food, as wet food can spoil quickly, but it can also be done with canned food.
While this allows your cat to decide for themselves when and how much to eat, many kitties have difficulties regulating their appetite. This can lead to obesity, which is absolutely terrible for cats.
We’d recommend scheduled feeding instead. That means you put the food down at a set time and pick it up after a set time, even if there’s still food left in the bowl. If you’re concerned about waste, you can put the wet food in the fridge until the next meal.
Your cat may be hungry between meals at first, but they’ll quickly learn to eat their fill while food is available. This also makes it easier for you to monitor their appetite, so if they stop eating due to a health issue, you’ll likely notice much sooner.
See also: a list of the best kitten foods overall (including dry kitten food)
Is More Expensive Food Better?
That’s not necessarily true, but it does seem to be generally true. More expensive foods seem to use higher-quality ingredients, and they market themselves to owners who want the best for their cats (and are willing to pay extra for it).
There’s no guarantee that a pricey food will be good, though. You’ll still need to read the label and make sure it has plenty of protein and quality meat. Some high-end foods still try to cut corners by using cheap fillers.
You can still find excellent foods without breaking your budget, but as a general rule, the more expensive foods will be more likely to have what your cat needs to grow up healthy and happy.
Wellness Complete Health is our top pick and favorite as the best wet kitten food, as it’s full of high-quality meat and superfoods like cranberries. It’s a fantastic way to give your kitty all the vitamins and minerals that they need.
If you’re looking for a nutritious food at a great price, consider Purina Fancy Feast. It’s affordable, cats love the taste, and it’s filled with premium meat.
Picking out the best canned kitten food to give your kitty isn’t an easy task, and we know how stressful the buying process can be. Hopefully, the reviews above have made things easier while providing you with a list of solid options to choose from.
If nothing else, remember that your kitten will forgive you for offering them an imperfect food, as long as you balance it out with tons of love.
If you’re interested in dry kitten food, then check out our list of the best dry kitten food of 2021.
Featured Image Credit: Sharaf Maksumov, Shutterstock
- A Quick Look at Our Favorites (Updated in 2022)
- The 10 Best Wet & Canned Kitten Foods
- 1. Wellness Complete Health Wet Kitten Food — Best Overall
- 2. Purina Fancy Feast Tender Feast Canned Kitten Food — Best Value
- 3. Hill’s Science Diet Healthy Wet Kitten Food — Premium Choice
- 4. Royal Canin Feline Health Nutrition Wet Kitten Food
- 5. Wellness CORE Natural Grain Free Pate Canned Kitten Food
- 6. Iams Perfect Portions Healthy Pate Kitten Food
- 7. Blue Buffalo Wilderness Canned Kitten Food
- 8. Purina Pro Plan Focus Wet Kitten Food
- 9. Instinct Grain-Free Pate Wet Canned Kitten Food
- 10. Whole Earth Farms Healthy Kitten Canned Kitten Food
- Buyer’s Guide – How to Select the Best Canned Kitten Food