What is Moist or Semi-Moist Cat Food? Plus the 5 Best Choices

Nothing gets a cat’s attention faster than opening up a can of wet cat food.

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Cats love canned cat food because it is moist and flavorful, much closer to the composition of the natural diet of wild cats.

Unfortunately, many wet cat foods are made with low-quality fillers and artificial ingredients that do not offer much in the way of nutrition. If you are thinking about feeding your cat something other than dry kibble, consider a soft moist or semi-moist cat food but be careful about which brand you choose.

Quick Look : Top 5 Best Semi-Moist Cat Foods

FoodPriceNutritionRating
Wellness Healthy IndulgenceWellness Healthy Indulgence
Read Reviews Next ArticleWhere To Buy Next Article
$1.16/3 oz pouchA+5 stars
Natural Balance Platefulls PouchesNatural Balance Platefulls Pouches
Read Reviews Next ArticleWhere To Buy Next Article
$.74/3 oz pouchA5 star
Weruva Cats in the KitchenWeruva Cats in the Kitchen
Read Reviews Next ArticleWhere To Buy Next Article
$1.25/3 oz pouchA5 star
Blue Buffalo Tasty Toppers PouchesBlue Buffalo Tasty Toppers Pouches
Read Reviews Next ArticleWhere To Buy Next Article
$1.23/3 oz pouchA-4.5 stars
Waggers TendermoistWaggers Tendermoist
Read Reviews Next ArticleWhere To Buy Next Article
N/AB+4.5 star

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What is Moist or Semi-Moist Cat Food?

If you were to take a survey of cat owners, most of them would tell you that cat food can be divided into two categories: dry and wet. Dry food, also known as kibble, generally contains about 10% moisture while wet food, also referred to simply as canned food, contains up to 85% moisture. If you shop around, however, you will find that there is another category of cat food out there – moist or semi-moist cat food, also sometimes called pouch cat food. This kind of cat food has changed over the years so different people describe this food in different ways. Today, many pet food manufacturers only use the term “semi-moist” or “moist” in reference to certain kinds of cat treats or food toppers, calling all of their moist food products “wet” or simply “canned” cat food.

Several decades ago when commercial pet food was still in the early years of its development there were the two main categories – dry food and canned food – but there was also an intermediary category called semi-moist cat food. This type of cat food was sold in pouches and it looked very similar to kibble except it had a higher moisture content, usually about 60% to 65%. Semi-moist cat food was less expensive than canned food but more expensive than kibble, making it a good intermediate option for cat owners who wanted to give their cats something a little better than dry food without breaking the bank. As is true for any type of cat food, however, many semi-moist foods were made with high levels of salt and sugar, not to mention artificial preservatives and other additives.

Choosing a High-Quality Moist Cat Food

The main benefit of moist or semi-moist cat food is the convenience factor – all you have to do is tear open the pouch and pour it right into your cat’s food bowl. Moist cat food is also a little more palatable for picky eaters or for cats who have trouble chewing kibbles – it may also be closer to the texture and flavor of the diet wild cats follow. Unfortunately, moist cat food is just as likely to contain low-quality ingredients and artificial additives as commercial dry cat food and canned food so you need to be very careful about which brand and which product you choose. Here are some tips for choosing a moist cat food that will be good for your cat:

  • Start shopping by looking for name brands that have a good reputation for quality – store brands and discount brands often use low-quality ingredients and fillers so stick to the names you know and trust like Wellness, Blue Buffalo, Weruva, and more.
  • Check the ingredients list and look for high-quality ingredients such as real meats, animal-based fats, digestible carbohydrates, and other healthy additives.
  • Avoid any product that lists a carbohydrate as the first ingredient or that does not include any animal-based proteins – plant-based proteins are less biologically valuable for your cat and foods that are too high in carbohydrates offer limited nutrition and are harder to digest.
  • Compare the guaranteed analysis of one product to another, looking at the ratios of crude protein, fat, and moisture to choose the better option – your cat’s food should be high in protein with moderate amounts of fat and low levels of carbohydrate.
  • Don’t choose a cat food based on price alone and take any claims made on the package with a grain of salt. Cat foods that are very inexpensive tend to be made with inexpensive (generally low-quality) ingredients. The most expensive cat food is not always the best, however, so take the above tips into account as well when you start shopping.
  • If you have a smart phone with you, you can always look up information about the brand on their website or find reviews from other customers. If the manufacturer doesn’t provide much information about where they source their ingredients or about their manufacturing process, it should be considered a red flag.

Keep in mind that different manufacturers label their products differently. What some manufacturers consider to be moist cat food is what others call wet food. The key factor that differentiates moist cat food is the moisture content – it is generally above 50% and below 85% moisture, usually in the range of 60% to 65% which puts it above kibble but below traditional canned foods.

Moist Cat Food for Overweight Cats

You are undoubtedly aware of the obesity epidemic spreading rapidly across the country – you may even be carrying a few extra pounds yourself – but even so, do you understand the dangers of obesity for cats and other pets? While a gain of a pound or two might not be much for a human in the grand scheme of things, a 1-pound gain for a 10-pound cat is very significant – that is 25% of his total bodyweight! Overweight and obesity in cats can be extremely dangerous, not just increasing your cat’s risk for developing disease but also reducing his lifespan by years. If you really want what is best for your cat you will do what it takes to help him reach a healthy weight and moist cat food might help you accomplish that goal.

If you think about it, the natural diet of wild cats is very high in moisture content because it is primarily comprised of fresh meat. Fresh meats contain up to 80% water but the cooking process through which commercial kibbles are made removes most of that moisture, creating those little round nuggets that your cat gets as his staple diet every day. To compensate for the low moisture content of their diet, many cats drink excessive amounts of water after eating kibble to help moisten it and to make it easier to digest. Unfortunately, drinking a lot of water all at once can put stress on your cat’s internal organs and potentially triggering metabolic stress.

While it may not be as common in cats, many dogs develop a condition known as gastric torsion or bloat which is partially related to the swelling of dry foods in the stomach – if the dog drinks too much water following a large meal it can cause his stomach to swell and twist, resulting in a dangerous or even life-threatening condition. Feeding your cat a food that is already high in moisture can reduce his need for consuming excessive amounts of water with each meal and it will have a gentler impact on his digestive system. There is also some research in support of high-moisture diets for overweight cats which you might find interesting.

There is a new diet for cats nicknamed the “Catkins” diet which is inspired by the low-carb Atkins diet for humans. Research supporting this diet points to the benefits of high-moisture diets for healthy digestion and healthy weight maintenance in cats. Your cat’s body is actually designed to digest meat – it is uniquely adapted to absorbing energy from protein and fat while carbohydrates are frequently converted to fat since the body cannot digest them and utilize the energy as efficiently. Moist cat foods are generally lowers in carbohydrates and higher in protein than traditional kibbles. High-protein diets for cats help to preserve the cat’s lean muscle mass while reduced fat content and lower portion sizes can lower the cat’s overall calorie intake to help him lose weight.

Where to Find Moist and Semi-Moist Cat Food

As it has already been mentioned, what was once known as moist cat food or semi-moist cat food is no longer available. Today, terms like “moist” and “semi-moist” have been replaced by more general terms for wet cat food or canned cat food. If you are looking for a product similar to moist or semi-moist cat food, however, you should consider commercial cat food pouches – these foods have a higher moisture content than canned foods and they are very easy to feed since you just tear open the pouch and pour it out into your cat’s bowl.

Different manufacturers call these kinds of foods different things. For example, the Weruva brand of cat food has a line of Cats in the Kitchen pouch cat food while the Blue Buffalo brand describes their semi-moist pouch foods as food toppers. If you can’t find a commercial moist cat food that your cat likes you can always create your own by mixing some wet food into your cat’s dry kibble or simply moisten his dry food with some chicken broth or water.

Top Recommended Brands for Moist Cat Food

If you are considering moist cat food for your cat but you do not know which brand offers a high-quality product, consider one of the top recommended brands that carry moist cat food as reviewed below:

FoodPriceNutritionRating
Wellness Healthy IndulgenceWellness Healthy Indulgence
Read Reviews Next ArticleWhere To Buy Next Article
$1.16/3 oz pouchA+5 stars
Natural Balance Platefulls PouchesNatural Balance Platefulls Pouches
Read Reviews Next ArticleWhere To Buy Next Article
$.74/3 oz pouchA5 star
Weruva Cats in the KitchenWeruva Cats in the Kitchen
Read Reviews Next ArticleWhere To Buy Next Article
$1.25/3 oz pouchA5 star
Blue Buffalo Tasty Toppers PouchesBlue Buffalo Tasty Toppers Pouches
Read Reviews Next ArticleWhere To Buy Next Article
$1.23/3 oz pouchA-4.5 stars
Waggers TendermoistWaggers Tendermoist
Read Reviews Next ArticleWhere To Buy Next Article
N/AB+4.5 star
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Wellness Healthy Indulgence

Wellness cat food is produced by the WellPet Company which is known for producing high-quality, wholesome products for cats and dogs. Wellness follows a holistic approach to animal nutrition, using only the freshest ingredients in formulas designed to nourish the whole body of pets. Each and every ingredient that goes into Wellness pet food is carefully selected to provide specific nutritional benefits and all of Wellness’ pet products are free from artificial flavors and colors as well as corn, wheat, and soy ingredients. Wellness offers two main product lines – the Complete Health line of life stages cat foods and the CORE line of grain-free products. Within each line there is an assortment of dry, wet, and even air-dried products.

When it comes to moist food, Wellness offers several different options for cat food pouches, most of them belonging to the Healthy Indulgence line. The Healthy Indulgence line of products includes an assortment of succulent morsels that are paired with savory sauces, featuring high-quality proteins like turkey and chicken. These recipes are supplemented with antioxidant-rich berries, fresh vegetables, and other ingredients like flaxseed and omega fatty acids to ensure complete and balanced nutrition. Wellness Healthy Indulgence moist cat foods are also high in moisture content, usually around 82%. In terms of flavor options, there are six different recipes for Healthy Indulgence Morsels, two recipes for Gravies with bits of real meat, and two options for Shreds. These products feature quality meats like salmon, tuna, chicken, duck, shrimp, and mackerel.

Natural Balance Platefulls Pouches

The Natural Balance Pet Foods Company was founded in 1989 by Dick Van Patten and it has quickly risen through the ranks of quality pet food products. Natural Balance pet foods are designed to offer pets “food for a lifetime” – they are formulated to meet the nutritional needs of cats and dogs, made with only the freshest, most wholesome ingredients. This company uses high-quality meats and unique proteins as well as complex carbohydrates and nutrient-rich fruits and vegetables. They offer an assortment of dry food and wet food products including limited ingredients diets, life stages formulas, high-protein, and low-calorie recipes. Natural Balance also offers a wide variety of moist cat food options in their Platefulls line of pouch foods.

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When it comes to the Platefulls line of moist cat foods, Natural Balance offers fourteen different recipes. There are six recipes which are designed specifically to meet the nutritional needs of indoor cats – they are grain-free and rich in protein, smothered in a flavorful gravy that your cat is sure to love. All of the Platefulls recipes are complete and balanced for cats in all life stages, plus they are free from corn, wheat, and soy ingredients as well as artificial flavors and colors. Natural Balance moist cat foods feature quality proteins like chicken, shrimp, tuna, crab, salmon, mackerel, beef, and sole as well as grain-free carbohydrates like pumpkin, green peas, and sweet potatoes These recipes are made up of 82% moisture with an average minimum of 8% crude protein and 3% fat with a low level of crude fiber around 1% by volume.

Weruva Cats in the Kitchen

The Weruva pet food company markets its products as “people food for pets,” playing on the fact that they use high-quality, human-grade ingredients in their pet foods. Weruva is an all-natural pet food brand and all of their products are made in human food facilities. This company features high-quality meats like fresh fish, white breast chicken, and whole tuna loins in their cat food products to ensure that the high-protein needs of cats are properly met. Besides the quality of their ingredients, another factor that sets Weruva apart from the competition is the fact that they only offer canned cat food and pouches – they do not have any dry cat food products. Weruva offers five different product lines including the TruLuxe line of classic recipes, the Best Feline Friend line of cans and pouches, and the Cats in the Kitchen line of wet food and moist food pouches.

If you are looking for a quality moist food for your cat, consider any of the products belonging to the Weruva Cats in the Kitchen line of recipes. This product line is a cross between Weruva’s original recipes and the Best Feline Friend line of grain-free canned and moist food recipes. Within the Weruva Cats in the Kitchen line of products there are six different flavor options: 1 If BY Land 2 If By Sea, Chick Magnet, Love Me Tender, Mack Jack & Sam, Pumpkin Jack Splash, and Pumpkin Lickin’ Chicken. All of these recipes are grain-free and made without any GMO ingredients. Weruva pouch foods in the Cats in the Kitchen product line feature quality proteins like chicken, mackerel, tuna, and more as the primary ingredients, supplemented with grain-free carbohydrates like tapioca and healthy fats like sunflower seed oil. These recipes are also supplemented with chelated minerals for maximum nutrient absorption.

Blue Buffalo Tasty Toppers Pouches

Blue Buffalo is one of the top brands of commercial pet foods and they are known for the quality of their ingredients and their products as a whole. This brand believes that pets are family and, as such, they should be treated well with high-quality diets that provide for their nutritional needs. It is Blue Buffalo’s goal to create the healthiest pet foods possible and they have met that goal with four product lines incorporating a wide variety of different options. The BLUE line of natural products is made with fresh, wholesome ingredients like real meat, whole grains, and garden veggies. The Freedom line is made up of grain-free products and the Basics line includes an assortment of limited ingredient diets. The Wilderness line is high-protein, inspired by the diet of wild cats.

Not only does Blue Buffalo offer a wide variety of dry kibbles and canned foods, but they also offer an assortment of moist or semi-moist pouch foods that they call “food toppers”. Blue Buffalo offers four different pouch foods called Wild Cuts Tasty Toppers which belong to the Wilderness line of protein-rich products. The three flavor options are Tasty Chicken Morsels, Tasty Duck Morsels, and Tasty Salmon Morsels. Each of these products is made up of tasty chunks of real meat in a savory gravy – they are 100% grain-free, made without any by-products, artificial additives, or low-quality ingredients. Like many moist cat foods, these Tasty Toppers are intended for supplemental feeding only so you still need to feed your cat a complete and balanced staple diet but you can use these moist foods as treats.

Waggers Tendermoist

Waggers may not be the most well-known pet food company, but their products do warrant consideration. This company is fairly new but they set out with a goal of becoming the best dog and cat treat company in the world. Waggers does not offer a wide variety of products, but they do offer three different options for moist cat food. Waggers TenderMoist cat food is one of the few products on the market that is actually sold as a semi-moist cat food and it is formulated to mimic the natural diet of wild cats by featuring premium proteins and high levels of moisture. Not only is Waggers Tendermoist cat food protein-rich and highly nutritious, but it is also grain-free and starch-free. This combination of features sets Waggers apart from the competition.

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The three recipes for Waggers Tendermoist semi-moist cat food are: Chicken & Tuna Recipe, Chicken & Salmon Recipe, and Chicken Recipe. As you can see, each recipe features fresh chicken as the primary ingredient with supplemental proteins like fresh salmon, pork protein, and organ meats. According to the Waggers website, Tendermoist cat foods are made with over 90% premium animal proteins and up to 30% moisture. All of their products are made with ingredients sourced from the United States and Canada, plus their products are all manufactured in the U.S. Tendermoist semi-moist cat foods are supplemented with dried fermentation products which act as probiotics as well as chelated minerals to ensure maximum nutrient absorption. To start feeding your cat Waggers food it is recommended that you transition him over a 7-day period to avoid digestive upset due to a sudden change in diet.

Moist and semi-moist cat foods are just one among many different options for commercial cat food diets. In the end, it is really up to you to decide which type of diet is best for your cat but you should consider important factors like the quality of the ingredients, the manufacturing process, and any special dietary or medical needs your cat may have when you make your decision. If you think that your cat could benefit from a high-moisture diet, or if you are simply looking to improve the quality of your cat’s food, consider moist cat food.

Kate Barrington

Kate Barrington is a freelance writer specializing in the subject of pet health and wellness. An avid dog lover and adoring owner of three cats, Kate has a great deal of experience writing about all kinds of pets and all aspects of pet care. Her work has been featured on a number of pet websites and she is a regular columnist for Tropical Fish Hobbyist Magazine.

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