The Best Moist And Semi-Moist Cat Food

Cats May 7, 2022
Written by | Updated May 11, 2022
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The Best Moist And Semi-Moist Cat Food

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When shopping for cat food, you’ll find that most products fit into two categories – wet food or dry food. Dry food is also known as kibble and generally contains about 10% moisture. Wet food, on the other hand, usually contains between 75% and 85% moisture and is usually sold in cans. If you look closely, you’ll find that there is a third category of cat food – moist or semi-moist food.

Keep reading to learn more about the difference between moist cat food and dry cat food as well as the benefits of moist and semi-moist cat food. You’ll also receive our top 5 picks for the best moist and semi-moist cat foods.

Compare Best Moist and Semi-Moist Cat Food

Overall Best
Merrick Backcountry Grain-Free Morsels in Gravy

1. Merrick Backcountry Grain-Free Morsels in Gravy

Best Affordable
Purina Beyond Limited Ingredient, Natural, Grain Free Wet Cat Food

2. Purina Beyond Limited Ingredient, Natural, Grain Free Wet Cat Food

Best For Topper
Blue Buffalo Wilderness Tasty Toppers Wild Cuts

3. Blue Buffalo Wilderness Tasty Toppers Wild Cuts

Best For Grain Free
Instinct Ultimate Protein Grain-Free Cuts & Gravy Cage-Free Duck Recipe

4. Instinct Ultimate Protein Grain-Free Cuts & Gravy Cage-Free Duck Recipe

Best For Allergies
Instinct Limited Ingredient Diet Grain-Free Cuts & Gravy Real Rabbit Recipe

5. Instinct Limited Ingredient Diet Grain-Free Cuts & Gravy Real Rabbit Recipe

Protein
9% Min
Protein
7% Min
Protein
8% Min
Protein
10% Min
Protein
7% Min
Fat
3% Min
Fat
0.05% Min
Fat
2.5% Min
Fat
3.5% Min
Fat
2.5% Min
Fiber
1.2% Max
Fiber
1% Max
Fiber
1.5% Max
Fiber
1% Max
Fiber
2% Max
Moisture
81% Max
Moisture
92% Max
Moisture
82% Max
Moisture
82% Max
Moisture
82% Max
Caloric Content
944 kcal/kg
Caloric Content
416 kcal/kg
Caloric Content
910 kcal/kg
Caloric Content
910 kcal/kg
Caloric Content
800 kcal/kg

What Are The Benefits Of Moist And Semi-moist Cat Food?

When commercial cat food was still fairly new, manufacturers used the terms moist and semi-moist to describe products that contained between 60% and 65% moisture. These products are an alternative to dry food that wasn’t quite as expensive as wet food. The problem was that many of these products were made with cheap ingredients as well as artificial additives and high levels of sugar and sodium.

Today, moist and semi-moist cat foods are generally sold in pouches and can be used as treats or food toppers. You can also find pouch foods that are complete and balanced, but you do need to be careful to check the package to be sure what you’re buying and to double-check the quality of the ingredients.

One of the main benefits of moist and semi-moist cat food is that because it is sold in pouches, you can just open a new one each day and not have to worry about storing the leftovers.

Semi-moist food is generally more affordable than top-shelf canned food as well, and it comes in a wide variety of flavors. Keeping all of these things in mind, you’re now ready to learn how to choose the best moist and semi-moist cat foods. Here’s what you need to know:

How To Choose The Best Moist And Semi-moist Cat Foods?

Shopping for moist and semi-moist cat food is the same as shopping for dry or wet food – you need to find a product that provides for your cat’s nutritional needs and is made from high-quality ingredients.

Remember, not all semi-moist and moist cat foods are designed to be used as a staple diet, so decide before you start shopping whether you’re using the food as a staple diet or a food topper.

Here are some things to look for in moist and semi-moist cat food:

  • Complete and balanced. Look for the AAFCO statement of nutritional adequacy on the product to determine whether you can use it as a staple diet for your cat or if it is only designed to be used for supplemental feeding as a treat or food topper.
  • High-quality animal protein. Cats are obligate carnivores, so any food you choose should be high in protein, ideally from animal sources (ex: meat, poultry, and fish).
  • Rich in omega fatty acids. Omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids provide support for your cat’s skin and coat while also acting as a concentrated source of energy and calories.
  • No artificial additives or fillers. Avoid any cat food product that contains fillers, by-products, or artificial additives because they serve no nutritional value and could trigger a reaction.
  • High level of moisture. Though moist and semi-moist cat food doesn’t contain as much moisture as wet food, it is much higher than dry food. Look for about 60% to 65% moisture.

Our Top Picks For The Best Moist And Semi-Moist Cat Food

When shopping for moist and semi-moist cat food, you need to know what you’re buying. Check the label for an AAFCO statement of nutritional adequacy or look for words like “food topper” to determine whether you’re buying a product that is complete and balanced or one intended for supplemental feeding.

Overall Best
1.

Merrick Backcountry Grain-Free Morsels in Gravy

Product Info

  • Protein: 9% Min
  • Fat: 3% Min
  • Fiber: 1.2% Max
  • Moisture: 81% Max
  • Caloric Content: 944 kcal/kg

Guaranteed Analysis

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Crude Protein: 9%
Crude Fat: 3%
Crude Fiber: 1.2%
Moisture: 81%
Ash: 2.3%

Dry Matter Basis

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Protein: 47.37%
Fat: 15.79%
Fiber: 6.32%
Carbs: 18.42%
Pros
  • Complete and balanced for staple feeding
  • Real rabbit as the main ingredients
  • Rich in omega fatty acids for healthy skin and coat
Cons
  • Fairly expensive compared to other options on the market
  • Contains some beef ingredients, some cats may be sensitive
If you’re looking for a complete and balanced moist food for your cat, consider this Merrick Backcountry Grain-Free Real Rabbit Recipe Cuts cat food. This formula features real rabbit as a premium source of protein, supplemented with beef liver and fresh lamb.

It is rich in omega fatty acids for healthy skin and coat, plus plenty of fiber to support healthy and regular digestion. This recipe is complete and balanced for adult cats and is loaded with moisture and natural meat flavor.
Best Affordable
2.

Purina Beyond Limited Ingredient, Natural, Grain Free Wet Cat Food

Product Info

  • Protein: 7% Min
  • Fat: 0.05% Min
  • Fiber: 1% Max
  • Moisture: 92% Max
  • Caloric Content: 416 kcal/kg

Guaranteed Analysis

loader
Crude Protein: 7%
Crude Fat: 0.05%
Crude Fiber: 1%
Moisture: 92%
Ash: 2%

Dry Matter Basis

loader
Protein: 87.5%
Fat: 0.63%
Fiber: 12.5%
Pros
  • Real Alaskan salmon as the first ingredient
  • Fresh sweet potato and kale provide key nutrients
  • Rich in moisture and natural flavor
Cons
  • Intended for supplemental feeding only, not a staple diet
Though moist/semi-moist cat food is usually less expensive than wet food, it can still get a little pricy. If you’re looking for an affordable option that delivers decent quality, consider this Purina Beyond Grain-Free Natural Cat Complement.

It features real Alaskan salmon as the main ingredient and is completely free from corn, wheat, and soy as well as artificial additives. It contains sweet potatoes and kale to provide digestible carbohydrates as a source of energy and key nutrients.

The thing to remember is that this recipe is intended for use as a food topper or treat, not a staple diet.
Best For Topper
3.

Blue Buffalo Wilderness Tasty Toppers Wild Cuts

Product Info

  • Protein: 8% Min
  • Fat: 2.5% Min
  • Fiber: 1.5% Max
  • Moisture: 82% Max
  • Caloric Content: 910 kcal/kg

Guaranteed Analysis

loader
Crude Protein: 8%
Crude Fat: 2.5%
Crude Fiber: 1.5%
Moisture: 82%

Dry Matter Basis

loader
Protein: 44.44%
Fat: 13.89%
Fiber: 8.33%
Carbs: 33.33%
Pros
  • Real chicken as the first ingredient, lean source of protein
  • Rich in moisture and natural flavor
  • Cooked in a savory gravy for natural flavor and moisture
Cons
  • Not intended as a staple diet, for supplemental feeding only
If you’re looking for a food topper that will give your cat a boost of protein and moisture, try these Blue Buffalo Wilderness Tasty Toppers. Featuring protein-rich chicken as the main ingredient, these pouches are cooked in a savory gravy to deliver a big dose of real meat flavor.

This recipe is 100% grain-free and doesn’t contain any corn, wheat, or soy ingredients – it is also free from artificial flavors, colors, and preservatives as well as poultry by-products.
Best For Grain Free
4.

Instinct Ultimate Protein Grain-Free Cuts & Gravy Cage-Free Duck Recipe

Product Info

  • Protein: 10% Min
  • Fat: 3.5% Min
  • Fiber: 1% Max
  • Moisture: 82% Max
  • Caloric Content: 910 kcal/kg

Guaranteed Analysis

loader
Crude Protein: 10%
Crude Fat: 3.5%
Crude Fiber: 1%
Moisture: 82%

Dry Matter Basis

loader
Protein: 55.56%
Fat: 19.44%
Fiber: 5.56%
Carbs: 19.44%
Pros
  • Real cage-free duck as the first ingredient
  • 100% grain-free and highly digestible for cats
  • Rich in moisture and protein
Cons
  • Intended for supplemental feeding only, not a staple diet
Cats are obligate carnivores, so grains like corn, wheat, and soy have no place in their diet. Many cats have trouble digesting grains as well, which makes this Instinct Ultimate Protein Grain-free Natural Duck Recipe Cat Food & Topper a great choice.

It features real cage-free duck as the main ingredient in a completely grain-free, highly digestible and protein-rich recipe. Simply pour it over your cat’s food for a boost of flavorful nutrition and moisture.
Best For Allergies
5.

Instinct Limited Ingredient Diet Grain-Free Cuts & Gravy Real Rabbit Recipe

Product Info

  • Protein: 7% Min
  • Fat: 2.5% Min
  • Fiber: 2% Max
  • Moisture: 82% Max
  • Caloric Content: 800 kcal/kg

Guaranteed Analysis

loader
Crude Protein: 7%
Crude Fat: 2.5%
Crude Fiber: 2%
Moisture: 82%

Dry Matter Basis

loader
Protein: 38.89%
Fat: 13.89%
Fiber: 11.11%
Carbs: 36.11%
Pros
  • Limited number of main ingredients
  • Real rabbit is the first ingredient
  • Rich in moisture and highly digestible
Cons
  • Fairly expensive compared to other options on the market
  • Intended for supplemental feeding only
If your cat has trouble digesting certain ingredients or suffers from food allergies, a limited ingredient diet may be the way to go. This Instinct LID Grain-Free Rabbit Recipe food topper is a great way to boost your cat’s nutrition without triggering an allergy.

It features real rabbit as the main ingredient in a moisture- and protein-rich formula packed with natural flavor.

Final Remarks

No matter what kind of cat food you’re looking for, it is important to choose a recipe that is made from healthy, natural ingredients. Your cat’s nutrition is always the top priority, so avoid products made with low-quality ingredients, fillers, and by-products.

The best moist or semi-moist cat food will be full of protein from high-quality animal sources with plenty of healthy fats and essential nutrients.

There are plenty of moist and semi-moist cat foods out there, so you have plenty of options to choose from. If you’re not sure where to start, try one of our top 5 picks reviewed above!

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Kate Barrington is avid pet lover and adoring owner of three cats and one dog, her love for animals has led her to a successful career as a freelance writer specializing in pet care and nutrition. She has been writing about pet care and pet products since 2010
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