Healthiest soft food brands for cats?

I have decided to switch my cats over to a soft food diet and I am trying to find the healthiest soft food possible for them. I have one that is overweight (like massively so), and she has had a UTI now twice and I was told by the vet to switch to soft food for them (more moisture content - which he said could help, and he also said it will help her weight). I cannot afford the brand the vet sells for three cats, so I’m looking for alternatives. If I put any dry food out, fat cat will sit there and gorge herself, so I figured this was also a better way to keep track of how much each of them are eating (I would separate them for feedings - as it is now, they won’t eat when I put the dry food down. They pick on it during the day before I pull it up for the night - so separating for dry food feedings has been a no-go as the other two won’t eat when you first put it down).

None of my three are picky eaters, so I’m pretty sure they will eat whatever I set in front of them (especially if its wet food!) so I don’t think that will be an issue. Just curious of everyone’s favorite brands, and especially any recommendations on a specific brand for an overweight cat. Thanks in advance!

I’m interested in this too! Thinking the past few weeks its time to get my senior cat something softer. Awaiting replies!

Any wet food is better than dry, but wet foods with less non meat ingredients are better than wet foods that are loaded up with wheat gluten or blueberries. You really have to read the labels, because even high $$$ brands can have a bunch of stuff that cats don’t need (I’m looking at you, Instinct :P)

I feed the Merrick pates. They’re a good balance of ingredient to price for me.

I used to feed Dave’s 95% pates, they’ve been out of stock everywhere for awhile, but you can see the ingredients here:

And here:

Another former favorite was Hound & Gatos, but the price has really risen:

I’ve also done a little raw from Darwin, which the cats seem to like:

Feeding cats well is costly. Even Fancy Feast–which isn’t bad, as long as you stay away from the varieties with wheat gluten–can be more than a buck a day, even for little kitties.

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Yeah we have usually just fed dry, but this discussion with the vet had me researching, and well, I need to be feeding wet. The stuff the vet was trying to sell me was $70 for 24 cans. Which, if fed at 1 can day/per cat would cost me $210 for 24 days worth of food. To me that was way too high if I could find something comparable that does not need to be purchased through my vet (it was a weight control formula - which, really, I would only need for the overweight cat. I could swing that for one cat, the other two do not need weight control).

Thank you!

Yeah, that’s crazy dollars. You can definitely feed your kitties well for less than that, even the chubby one.

It’s really all about reading labels–just look for meat, and not much else. It’s the carbs that make them fat.

Oh, also: check your local pet stores. We have one nearby that has a clearance section. I get 5.5 oz cans for a buck and the 3 oz cans for 50 cents–for good brands with good ingredients. The one cat we have that will eat anything eats cheaply that way, and is probably better for the frequent switching of varieties and proteins.

And do stay away (or at least limit heavily) fish. Kitties like it, but it’s bad for their urinary health.

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Ok so very similar to how I feed my dogs (look for meat as the first ingredient, try to avoid corns/fillers etc). Thank you for your help!

The inside cat eats Healthy Gourmet from Blue Buffalo. I didn’t research it exhaustively though.

Looks like the name is changing:

This is a good example of an ingredient list I avoid

Chicken, Chicken Broth, Chicken Liver, Natural Flavor, Brown Rice, Guar Gum, Powdered Cellulose, Carrots, Sweet Potatoes, Flaxseed, Potassium Chloride, Carrageenan, Cassia Gum, Taurine, Salt, Cranberries

That’s a lot of carbs.

Simkie, thank you for that info about feeding fish. On a hunch I ceased feeding salmon and seafood. Barfing has ceased!

OP - I buy Friskies pate by the cases when it’s on sale. I now avoid store brands; waste of money except for barn cats. Your cats might like it, so worth it to try a few cans. I’ve found the savings insignificant.

I buy the 12 oz cans of Wellness at the feed store; they give a 20% discount when bought by case. Ask. Overall the cost is insignificant when compared with the heartache and $$$$ of a sick pet.

Old lady cat still insists on a scoop of dry in the morning.

I’ve always fed my cats roughly 50% raw and a rotation of different canned foods. The remaining one was on the verge of being too fat until turning 17 last year so calories are a bit more important now.

Weruva is not cheap but Paw Lickin Chicken and 9 Liver had been my go to for him. Simple ingredients, lower in calories and some texture. To balance the cost, I also feed Fancy Feast Classic Pate. Easy to find, a decent range of proteins and the ingredients are probably the best of anything you’ll find at the grocery store.

I get the Weruva in 10 oz. cans on Amazon and the link below seems to be the regular price with the cost per oz. already figured out. Until looking at it just now, the FF isn’t much cheaper at the usual price of 80 cents for 3 oz., but there is quite a bit of difference in calories.

So would that be a food you could use to fatten someone up? I have a couple who need a bit of weight on them and they need to have their dry food intake limited.

Also, anyone feeding Fancy Feast - I quit feeding my cats that after two of them had severe allergic appearing reaction. Both cats started itching and tearing at themselves and when I cut out the FF, it stopped. just fyi.

My vet suggested warming up the wet cat food first. It is gross-I don’t have a microwave so assigned her food a special pan. But. It is working great-even for the foods little miss picky has rejected! We’ll see how long this bliss lasts.

We feed Dave’s

The crude protein min is on par with many premium brands. We feed 25 ounces of wet food a day minimum so something like Hound & Gatos would run about $300/month while Dave’s is $156. We feed 50/50 wet and dry to bring down our expenses a bit more (Nulo). Dave’s has been universally well received by every cat so far.

I have one that is so picky. She is hyperthyroid (appropriately treated w/methimazole) so I don’t know how much that is a problem with her appetite. I have tried to avoid fish but found one she adores…Grain Free Tuna pate from Tractor supply. It is also only 59 cents per small can (vs 65-70 cents/can of FF). So far, she hasn’t had any urinary tract issues. She has to eat something. For years, I fed her a commercial raw food (Rad Cat) with her canned food and she ate gangbusters. They abruptly went out of business a couple years ago and it has been a struggle every since (yes, I think I have tried almost every other raw out there :anguished:).



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Using carbs to increase weight would be my last choice, personally. Cats are obligate carnivores. Feeding them rice is like feeding your horse ground beef. We’ve all known a horse that’ll grab your cheeseburger, but that doesn’t mean you should be feeding it off the grill, right? A significant portion of the calories in that wet food is coming from non meat ingredients.

When I have a cat that needs weight, I increase the amount fed. If they’re not willing to eat enough to maintain bodyweight, I treat the appetite and or any medical conditions that are contributing to inappetence.

Once all those boxes are checked, I’d consider supplementing carbs. I’ve only had that experience in hospice cats, where we’re not looking at length of life, just day to day quality.

All that said, you do what you can. Even a carb heavy wet food is better than a dry food.


Believe it or not, the “Classics” version of Fancy Feast is pretty good, for the price. It has to be the original classic pate, not any of the variations.

I know it is hard to believe, but it is decent and often rec’d for diabetic cats b.c its high protein, low carb, high moisture, palatable and grain free. We called it cat crack at vet’s office. For many it’s the only affordable option, it doesn’t suck, and it is realitively easy to get.

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I have 3 big males and I rotate foods and FF pate is in the rotation. Beef Feast, chicken Feast and Beef/chicken Feast are the favs. If you get it from Chewy, it’s about 55 cents a can.

I had a HUGINORMONGNOUS cat (yes, he really was big boned) and I would have gone broke feeding him high end wet food.

He was my fave of all time :slight_smile:

I probably should feed the ones I have now wet food, but I hate it. It would take so much can hauling to supply all of them, it stinks, etc. They get insanely expensive dry food instead, probably b/c it makes me feel better.

yeah, i don’t feed FF anymore since two of my cats had a reaction to it. (see original post). I have been feeding Sheba pate but I wish they would bring back the cans instead of the little trays.

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Yes…I hate those little Sheba trays. Emmy will eat a pat of that once and a while.