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The Worst Canned Cat Food: Is Your Cat’s Food On The List?

The worst canned cat food list

The truth about wet cat food

Let’s face it.  Most cats don’t complain at meal time about the food in their bowls.  As long as it tastes good they will eat it.  😻  They trust us as cat parents to give them food that’s good for them, not just something that tastes good.  But how do you really know if the food you’re feeding  your cat is really good for them?  Since great nutrition is essential for great health you owe it to your cat to learn about the ingredients listed on their cat food labels.  Wet food is usually a favorite with cats.  While it’s much better than kibble, not all wet food is healthy or good for your cat’s health.  I can hear your gasps already:  Why?  It’s got gravy!  It’s moist and made with meat!  My cat loves it!  How can it be bad?  Today I’ll share with you a list of the worst canned cat foods on the market and how these products made the list to begin with.

Worst cat food ingredientsDoes your cat's food contain unhealthy ingredients?

There’s an expression you’ve probably heard:  the devil’s in the details.  The same goes for cat food ingredients.  Pet food manufacturers can be extremely deceptive about their products.  Most are profit driven; they use cheap, low-quality ingredients and fillers.  They use “feed-grade” not “food grade” products.  (In other words, products that are not fit for human consumption.)  They put beautiful pictures of fresh, whole foods on the packages and have large marketing budgets to produce heart-tugging, memorable commercials that drive consumers to buy their brands at the grocery stores and vet clinics. 

Most cheap cat food contains unhealthy ingredients

There’s a great article I found that does a fantastic job of breaking down every single ingredient you’ll find in cat food.  While some of these may sound healthy and appropriate the truth may surprise you.  Some of the words that are hard to pronounce and sound suspicious may not even be appropriate for humans to consume much less cats.  Cats are carnivores and should eat a meat-based diet, yet the “meat” products you find in cat food are questionable at best because of how they are sourced.  They’re known as 4-D.

 4-D is meat and by-products that have been derived from animals that were rejected by food inspectors who classified the animals as not fit for human consumption because they were “Dead, Dying, Disabled or Diseased” at the time of inspection.  Any chemicals that existed within that animal, would still be in it when dead.  Meat by-products are nothing more than slaughterhouse waste; waste that’s been banned for use in human food and then sold to the pet food industry.  It’s what’s left over after the slaughter and classified as inedible waste, unfit for human consumption.

4-Ds: Road kill, slaughter house rejects, animals that die on their way to meat packing plants – all are acceptable ingredients for pet food under the “4D” rule.  Steroids, growth hormones and chemicals used to treat cattle including insecticide patches end up mixed into the final product.  Meat from grocery stores past its due date is also added to the mix, as are the Styrofoam trays and plastic wrap they were packed in.

More cat food ingredients to avoid

Hungry yet?  But wait!  There’s more!  Apart from terrible meat and meat by-products, you’ll find LOTS of corn products, most of which is GMO.  You’ll also find wheat which is often sprayed heavily with Round Up herbicide, a know carcinogen, right before harvest.  Soybean oil and soy protein products are also common which are GMO and inappropriate for cats.  If you see the words artificial and natural flavors these are chemicals used to enhance the flavor.  Synthetic vitamins are added back to the food because the heating process has killed all the naturally-occurring vitamins and enzymes.  Powdered cellulose, which is sawdust, and grain hulls are used as fillers.  They contain no nutritional value whatsoever, and are not fit for human consumption yet the AAFCO (the governing body of pet feed ingredients) allows them as “acceptable.”  You’ll often find a host of artificial colors like FD & C Red #3, Blue #1 or Blue 2, Yellow 5, and Green #3 which are chemicals linked to various types of cancers, allergies, and gastrointestinal problems.  Toxic chemicals like sodium selenite and preservatives like sodium nitrite and BHT  (used to preserve various vitamins) are very common as well.  In fact, there are so many chemicals used in cat food that it should be called chemical stew, not cat food.  It’s no wonder our cats are being diagnosed with cancers, auto-immune diseases, diabetes, skin allergies, and other common ailments. 

Check out the listTop worst wet cat foodsWorst canned cat food ingredients

These are the worst canned cat foods that made the list.  You’ll probably recognize all of them because you see them sold in the grocery stores and in your veterinarian’s clinic.  Yes, pet food manufacturers want to make it convenient for you to buy their terrible food.

  • Fancy Feast Grilled Chicken Feast In Gravy
  • Friskies Wet Cat Food Classic Paté Classic Seafood Entrée
  • Purina Pro Plan Cat Extra Care Urinary Tract Chicken Entree In Gravy Canned Cat Food
  • Purina Pro Plan Salmon & Rice Entree Canned Cat Food
  • Purina Veterinary Diets UR St/Ox URinary Feline Formula Canned
  • Hill’s Prescription Diet c/d Multicare Feline Bladder Health with Chicken Canned FoodThe worst wet cat food list includes Hill's brand
  • Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Feline Urinary SO in Gel Canned Cat Food
  • Royal Canin Babycat Instinctive Canned Cat Food
  • Sheba Premium Cuts in Gravy
  • Great Choice Gourmet Cuisine in a Delicate Sauce
  • Purina DM Feline – Savory Selects  ​Worst canned cat food
  • Purina Feline UR Rx diet
  • Meow Mix Tender Favorites Real Chicken and Beef in Gravy Cat Food Cup
  • Special Kitty: Salmon Dinner
  • Whiskas Purrfectly CHICKEN Chicken Entree in Natural Juices Cat Food Pouches
  • ​9Lives Tuna Select Flaked Tuna in Sauce Canned Cat Food by Del Monte
  • Whiskas Seafood Selection with Tuna in Sauce By Kal Kan Foods
  • Hi-Tor Neo Diet For Cats
  • Iams Veterinary Formula Intestinal Low-Residue Canned Cat Food
  • Evolution Canned Vegan Cat Food (NO Meat Included)

The worst canned cat food is not limited to this list.  Just because you may not see a particular flavor of the brands listed above doesn’t mean all the other flavors or varieties are safe and healthy!  Now that you are a bit smarter you can read the labels and make better choices for your cat.  

The best diet for cats is a species appropriate, meat-based, grain-free, fresh or raw diet.  Want to learn more?  Check out the Optimal Nutrition for Cats page.  Your cat’s health and longevity depends on it! 

Want to find out which dry cat foods made the “worst list?” Click here.

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17 responses to “The Worst Canned Cat Food: Is Your Cat’s Food On The List?”

  1. Alex John says:

    amazing idea. Really helpful

  2. Shree says:

    Hi, I just wanted to update on how things went. Unfortunately my Kit didn’t like the smell/taste of EZ I guess, and she ate only the completely cooked meat (hardly touched the raw and just licked the half-cooked portions). I added the pre-mix with enough water (followed the instructions) and added to portions of three different meats, which she just walked away from. Before adding the mix she was fine with the meat and ate all of the three (only the well-cooked portions). But after adding the mix she sniffed it and turned her head and just walked away. I packed the whole thing and gave it to an animal shelter over here. Feeling disappointed but I guess she’s fixed her mind on littlebigpaw/ziwi/orijen/Sheba/meo pouch. I’m canceling Sheba and might try out another premium brand. I thought the product was really good but my picky cat didn’t approve 🙁

    • Pam Roussell says:


      Don’t give up! Some cats take a long time to transition so it’s important to start slowly. Go back to the cooked fresh turkey and add a little bit to her favorite food she eats now. Slowly add more and more of the new and less of the old. You can also try freeze-dried food, either sprinkled on top as a topper or rehydrated…mix with her current favorite food. It can take awhile for your cat to adapt to the new tastes/textures, so pack lots of patience. I think it’s a great idea to keep offering other premium brands. Having a great variety in the diet is important and it keeps mealtime interesting instead of boring and predictable. You’re doing great!

      • Shree says:

        Thanks Pam!
        I’ll order for the normal pack and try again. She still hunts but recently I’ve noticed she doesn’t eat her kill. She’d rather starve. The cattitude! I’ve sort of started saving those poor prey animals by distracting her with a string or her feather toy (she doesn’t care about any other toys I bought for her). It’s very difficult for me to go after her all the time, so I’m planning to get another kitten to keep her company 🙂 I can start the new baby on a raw/half-cooked natural diet with EZ from the beginning! 😀

        • Pam Roussell says:

          That sounds like a great idea!! Buy a few sample packs—I think they’re $1 each–until you’ve got her transitioned. The baby will be so easy to transition to raw! My youngest did it overnight. 😺😺😺

          • Shree says:

            Trial packs cost $2.50 for me cuz I’m not from the US. But you’re right, I guess I’ll just order for 5-6 more of them and check first.

  3. Shree says:

    Can I mix EZ food fur life with Sheba chicken? If yes what should be the amount of EZ premix and water to one can (85 grams)? My kitty likes Sheba but as it doesn’t have much nutrition I give it to her once a month like a treat or something. She’s on little big paw gourmet dishes, once a week I give her ziwipeak and wellness, and a little bit of orijen kibble which she eats bit by bit throughout the day. If it’s possible to mix EZ with Sheba then I can feed her that more often right? She’s lean and really playful and smart.
    (Raw meat is not allowed in the house, please don’t judge)

    • Pam Roussell says:

      Food Fur Life is a pre-mix specifically designed to make homemade raw diets complete or a home-cooked diet. I wouldn’t add it to other canned food. Instead consider adding a supplement Nu Pet Feline Granulars or any of these great multi-vitamins formulated for cats: Since you don’t prefer using raw products you could buy some ground meat of your choice from the grocery store, lightly cook it and add the premix with a little water.

      • Shree says:

        Thank you, this is helpful. I’ll check the link.

      • Shree says:

        Sorry, more doubts, is it ok to cook the ground meat in a steel vessel on a cooktop? Or should I roast it in an oven? I’m planning to use a mix of rabbit and chicken / rabbit and turkey. (I don’t want to use big animals’ meats) How much time will it take to cook? I have been a vegetarian all my life and have no experience cooking meat and I understand it will be even more different when preparing for kitty. More advice or tips will be much appreciated.
        (I watched pet food preparation videos but none with cooked meat, only raw. The raw meat we get here in shops/ supermarkets is not at all hygienic) also, how much per day should I feed her? She’s about 9 months old, she’s a DSH and weighs around 6 pounds. She just came home on November 29th evening and settled here with us. So I don’t know more details.

        • Shree says:

          (Currently I feed her two 3 oz cans/pots daily as her 2 main meals and throughout the day some yogurt and a bit of orijen kibble. Altogether it’s really expensive for me)

        • Pam Roussell says:

          Rabbit, chicken, turkey, duck…great choices. Be sure to rotate proteins for variety. You just need to lightly brown it in a skillet on the stove for a few minutes until the meat no longer looks raw. Follow the instructions on the Food Fur Life bag in terms of ounces of meat and the amount of mix to stir in with water. I have a 6 lb kitty as well and find that 2-3 oz. per meal is plenty, especially if you offer treats or other snacks.

          • Shree says:

            Ok, I’ll try this. I’m ordering the sample pack today and will use small amount of different meats to see how she takes it and which one she likes the most. She hunts at times, so I hope she’ll not turn her head against half-cooked meat. Fingers crossed!
            And thank you for the advice, I was doing my research on how and what to feed my baby cat and I feel this definitely is the solution.

          • Pam Roussell says:

            Awesome! Keep me posted! Remember, you don’t need to overcook it…but experiment and see which way she likes it the best.

  4. Shirlee says:

    My vet recommended Royal Canin Baby cat. I checked the ingredients and it was chicken, chicken liver, water etc there was no corn and nothing that I recognized as horrible. Your list is interesting but there are no specifics for each food as to what is the problem with them. I get the corn problem and the
    chicken by products etc. But WHAT DO YOU RECOMMEND?

    • Pam Roussell says:

      Great question! Yes, it can be difficult to navigate our cat’s food! What I have learned from experts and holistic vets like Dr. Karen Becker is that our cats and kittens need to eat a diet that is biologically appropriate for their species. This would resemble what they would eat in the wild. Therefore, a raw diet–either homemade or commercial, or lightly cooked homemade, or premium food grade canned cat food. Their diet needs to be meat-based and contain no grains, starches like potatoes, peas, garbanzo beans, or other types of carbohydrates. There are several really great commercial brands of raw food like Stella and Chewies, Rad Cat, Primal, Steve’s Real Pet Food..just to name a few. Or you can buy ground or chunk meats from the grocery store and blend in a Pre-mix called Food Fur Life and you have great homemade, raw food. Transitioning kittens is really easy–they take to raw easily. If you go with canned food make sure it is made with human grade ingredients–meat that is fit for people to eat. This way you avoid all the 4-D ingredients that pet food companies use in their cheaper, low quality food. For more great information on this check out the website and Dr. Lisa Pierson’s website,

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