What to Look for in Canned Cat Food

Canned cat food is a healthy alternative for those who want to avoid the hassle of raw food. A high quality canned food can help your cat avoid several medical issues from mild to serious. This article will discuss the best ingredients as well as other components of a good wet cat food.

Key Ingredients

A cat absolutely needs several ingredients for their basic health. Cats need protein from an animal source, preferably chicken or fish or lean beef. A canned cat food should also have taurine, an essential amino acid. Cats also need a balance of vitamins, enzymes, fatty acids, minerals and enzymes.

Whole Ingredients

Ingredients that are closest to their natural form will be the best for your cat. The foods listed should be "chicken" versus "chicken by-products". This way, your cat gets the best nutrition in the fewer calories. The food can have a small amount of vegetable content but not too much fiber.

Ingredients to Avoid

A canned food should not have corn, soy, colorings or artificial flavors. It also should have only 5- to 8% ash and a low grain content. Avoid foods with ingredients such as "bone-meal", added sugars or any kind corn meal. Chemical preservatives such as ethoxyquin, propyl gallate, BHA and BHT or more than 8% grain are definitely bad for your cat.


The best cat food contains at least 78% moisture. This helps your cat get the hydration he needs because a cat ingests moisture through the intestine.

AAFCO Compliance

The label should state that the food is compliant with AAFCO requirements. AAFCO stands for American Association of Feed Control Officials. The label should have the words "complete and balanced." The whole animal protein should be the first ingredient listed on the can. The label should also state that the food meets or exceeds the nutrient levels established by the AAFCO. The food should pass feeding tests for whatever life stage the food states it's for ("senior cat", for example).


Some preservatives are necessary in canned cat food. The more natural the preservative, the better. Many natural cat food formulas use vitamin e as a preservative. Canned cat food should still be refrigerated and used within 3 days.

Some Advantages to Canned Cat Food

While the best food for cats is a raw food diet, canned cat food is much better than dry food. The cat still gets moisture infused with their food. The ingredients in a food marked "natural" or "organic" are still of very high quality and most likely in a form close to the way nature intended.