How Much Wet Food Should You Feed a Cat?

cat staring at the camera

Many cat owners think of wet cat food as a treat because their cats love it so much. In reality, you can feed your cat wet food regularly, not just as an occasional treat.

It can be tricky to determine how much wet food to feed a cat at a time, though. The total amount of wet food you should provide them can depend on several factors. They include how much dry kibble you feed them, their overall health and more, including:

  • Age and Life Stage: Kittens have different nutritional needs than adult or senior cats and need a specially formulated kitten food. How much wet food to feed a kitten is different from how much to feed an adult cat. Cats who are pregnant or nursing also have different nutritional needs.
  • Weight: If your cat is not at their ideal weight, you may need to give them smaller or larger portions to help them achieve and maintain a healthy weight.
  • Energy Level: Cats who are active and playful throughout the day may require more calories than those who prefer to spend their time napping.
  • Type of Food: Wet and dry cat food differ in calories, as well as portion sizes. You’ll want to ensure you’re feeding an appropriate amount of food, whether you feed wet, dry or a combination of the two.

How Often Should I Feed My Cat Wet Food?

You can feed your cat wet food daily. If you’re wondering, “how much wet food should I feed my cat?” check the can or consult your veterinarian for feeding recommendations. In general, you can feed an average-sized adult cat one 3-ounce can per 3 to 3½ pounds of body weight daily.

You should adjust this amount depending on whether you also feed your cat dry kibble. Your veterinarian may also recommend feeding more or less wet food depending on your cat’s weight, health and other factors.

You can feed your cat wet food any time of day. It’s important to remember, though, that canned food cannot sit out for more than a half hour to an hour or it will spoil. So, it’s best to feed at a time where you can clean up after your cat if they don’t eat it all.

You can leave dry kibble out all day, so some owners serve it in the morning for their cats to graze on while they’re at work. At night, they feed wet food and refrigerate any leftovers. You could do the opposite, or even serve a mix of wet and dry food at each meal. It all depends on your schedule and your cat’s preferences.

How to Store Wet Cat Food

“If you only feed your cat a partial can, or they don’t consume everything at one sitting, you can store it in a sealed container in the refrigerator for up to three days,” according to Purina Nutritionist Karina Carbo-Johnson, MS. “If you have a special lid for canned goods, you can use that as well. Be sure to store unopened cans at room temperature.”

Unopened cans will keep for up to two years in the pantry. Product shelf life may vary, however, so check the manufacturer’s website for more information.

How to Serve Wet Cat Food

Most cats will enjoy wet food at room temperature. Your cat may not like cold food, so after refrigerating it, you may want to set it out for about 15 minutes to allow it to come up to room temperature before serving.

Your cat may also enjoy a combination of textures, so try mixing her wet and dry cat food. To keep things interesting, consider adding a topper or complement to her wet food. This adds even greater variety and makes mealtime more exciting.

“These recommendations are a simple and fun way to supplement your cat’s diet and to give them a special treat,” Carbo-Johnson explains. “Remember not to exceed their total daily caloric recommendations, though. Refer to the brand’s website and nutrition label for further instructions on combining wet and dry food. This will tell you how much to decrease dry kibble as you add wet cat food to their diet,” she says.

How to Choose a High-Quality Wet Cat Food

You want nothing but the best for your cat, so you want to choose the highest quality wet cat food possible. Cans stating they are “complete and balanced” will meet all your cat’s nutritional requirements to keep them healthy.

Some cats are picky, so you may need to try several different varieties and brands before you find something your cat loves. Once you do, you can feel confident making wet food a regular part of their diet.

For more feeding tips from our experts, visit our Pet Expertise page.

Related articles

kittens drinking from a bowl
Do kittens need special food? The short answer is yes. Quality kitten nutrition helps support their growth and development through the first year or so of their lives. Learn more about kitten nutritional requirements here.
pet food put in a glass
turmeric powder in a bowl