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What Is Semi Moist Cat Food and Why Is It So Hard To Find?

When it comes to food, cats know what they like, and you’ll be hard-pressed to change their minds! Some cats prefer semi moist cat food over any other type of diet. But is semi moist cat food the answer for picky cats?

What happens if your cat loves dry food but is unable to eat it anymore? Or, they won’t touch anything that doesn’t come out of a can? Semi moist cat food seemed to be the answer, but the truth is, semi moist cat food is not suitable for most cats. Our top pick that’s an alternative to a traditional semi moist cat food is Purina’s Fancy Feast Broths. It’s made with pieces of real chicken or fish, and these broths are one of the best-wet cat foods on the market.

Our top 5 picks for the best semi moist cat food

  1. Purina Fancy Feast Broths Wet Cat Food Complement
  2. Hill’s Science Diet Minced Wet Canned Food
  3. Wellness Healthy Indulgence Natural Grain Free Wet Cat Food Morsels
  4. Castor & Pollux Pristine Grain Free Wet Cat Food Morsels in Gravy
  5. Blue Buffalo Wilderness High Protein Grain Free Natural Wild Cuts

Semi moist food options

Although vets still don’t recommend semi moist foods as a substitute for canned or kibble cat food, you might be interested in exploring these foods as toppers or treats. To help, we’ll walk you through some of the best semi moist cat foods available. Keep in mind, some of these foods are technically morsels in gravy and may not resemble the semi moist foods from decades ago.

After researching dozens of brands, we recommend these five for your felines.

Our Top Pick!
Purina Fancy Feast Wet Cat Food Complement, Broths Classic With Tuna & Vegetables in a Silky Broth - (16) 1.4 oz. Pouches
Hill's Science Diet Wet Cat Food, Adult, Minced Savory Recipe Variety Pack, 5oz Cans, 12 Pack
Wellness Healthy Indulgence Morsels With Chicken & Salmon in Savory Sauce
Castor & Pollux Pristine Free-Range Turkey Recipe Morsels In Gravy Wet Cat Food 3 Oz, 24 Count Case
Blue Buffalo Wilderness High Protein Grain Free, Natural Wild Cuts Adult Wet Cat Food Pouch, Salmon 3-oz pouches (Pack of 24)
Made with shredded pieces of real chicken broths boosts healthy hydration.
Fool your cat into thinking they’re eating dry food packed with extra moisture.
Irresistible morsels and savory gravy sauce make this an great semi moist pick.
Organic cat food morsels made with responsibly sourced high quality animal meat.
Tasty salmon morsels are packed with protein and easy to chew.
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Our Top Pick!
Purina Fancy Feast Wet Cat Food Complement, Broths Classic With Tuna & Vegetables in a Silky Broth - (16) 1.4 oz. Pouches
Made with shredded pieces of real chicken broths boosts healthy hydration.
-
Hill's Science Diet Wet Cat Food, Adult, Minced Savory Recipe Variety Pack, 5oz Cans, 12 Pack
Fool your cat into thinking they’re eating dry food packed with extra moisture.
-
Wellness Healthy Indulgence Morsels With Chicken & Salmon in Savory Sauce
Irresistible morsels and savory gravy sauce make this an great semi moist pick.
-
-
Castor & Pollux Pristine Free-Range Turkey Recipe Morsels In Gravy Wet Cat Food 3 Oz, 24 Count Case
Organic cat food morsels made with responsibly sourced high quality animal meat.
-
Blue Buffalo Wilderness High Protein Grain Free, Natural Wild Cuts Adult Wet Cat Food Pouch, Salmon 3-oz pouches (Pack of 24)
Tasty salmon morsels are packed with protein and easy to chew.
-

#1. Purina Fancy Feast Broths Cat Food ComplementOur Top Pick!

ir?t=lelubobo 20&language=en US&l=li3&o=1&a=B01FZ6N4AQMade with real chicken or fish pieces, these broths are one of the best semi moist cat foods on the market. Even picky eaters will enjoy the varied textures of shredded protein mashed with a silky, creamy broth.

Purina Fancy Feast Wet Cat Food Complement, Broths Classic With Tuna & Vegetables in a Silky Broth - (16) 1.4 oz. Pouches

Pros

  • Omega 3 fatty acids (in the seafood varieties)
  • Adult and senior options
  • No fillers
  • Extra moisture to boost your cat’s hydration

Cons

  • Not a full meal replacement option
  • Meal topper, not to be used as a standalone food

2. Hill’s Science Diet Minced Wet Cat Food

ir?t=lelubobo 20&language=en US&l=li3&o=1&a=B073WX21NHIf you’re looking for one of the best semi moist foods that are also backed by veterinarians to keep your cat happy and healthy, Hill’s Science Diet minced wet canned food is worth a try. This food option contains savory minced morsels that might fool your cat into thinking they’re eating dry food packed with a little extra moisture. Since Hill’s is a veterinary brand, it is slightly more expensive than the other food options, but can be used in place of your cat’s current food.

Hill's Science Diet Wet Cat Food, Adult, Minced Savory Recipe Variety Pack, 5oz Cans, 12 Pack

Pros

  • Fish oil with omega-three fatty acids (all varieties)
  • Veterinary-backed nutrition formulas
  • High-quality protein options
  • Tastes specially formulated to attract even picky eaters

Cons

  • Closer to canned food texture than the other options
  • Pricey

3. Wellness Morsels Healthy Indulgence 

ir?t=lelubobo 20&language=en US&l=li3&o=1&a=B01BF15728This top-rated brand boasts natural ingredients that can provide the energy your cat needs to stay active and healthy. This is one of the best semi moist food options thanks to the irresistible morsels and savory gravy sauce that 9 out of 10 cats agree is downright delicious. This semi moist option also comes in shreds and gravies to satisfy your cat’s texture preference. Use it as a food topper.

Sale
Wellness Healthy Indulgence Morsels With Chicken & Salmon in Savory Sauce

Pros

  • Omega 3 fatty acids (all varieties)
  • Essential vitamins and additional antioxidants
  • Meat as the first ingredients
  • Extra moisture to boost your cat’s hydration

Cons

  • Not a full meal replacement option

4. Castor & Pollux Pristine Grain Free Morsels

ir?t=lelubobo 20&language=en US&l=li3&o=1&a=B077L3DLFTThis line of cat food promises responsibly sourced protein options, grain free, and no artificial ingredients. You’ll find this is one of the best semi moist food options to supplement your cat’s existing diet thanks to the decadent flavors and textures. While this pet food option is an excellent complement to your cat’s diet, it should not be used in place of wet or dry food.

Castor & Pollux Pristine Free-Range Turkey Recipe Morsels In Gravy Wet Cat Food 3 Oz, 24 Count Case

Pros

  • No fillers, grains, or soy
  • Extra moisture to boost your cat’s hydration
  • Organic produce
  • Essential vitamins

Cons

  • Not a full meal replacement option
  • Omega 3 fatty acids not listed as an ingredient

5. Blue Wilderness Tasty Toppers Wild Cuts

ir?t=lelubobo 20&language=en US&l=li3&o=1&a=B00NT0QYVWBlue Buffalo Wilderness is known for its high-quality pet food, and these high protein grain free toppers are some of the best semi moist food options. Unlike competitors, these morsels are not in as much of a gravy sauce, closer resembling the old semi moist cat foods from the past. This cat food option should also be used as a topper and is not a replacement for your cat’s usual food, especially since it does not contain taurine, which cats need to retain heart health.

Blue Buffalo Wilderness High Protein Grain Free, Natural Wild Cuts Adult Wet Cat Food Pouch, Salmon 3-oz pouches (Pack of 24)

Pros

  • High amounts of natural protein options
  • No grains
  • No by-products
  • Extra moisture to boost your cat’s hydration

Cons

  • Not a full meal replacement option
  • Taurine not listed as an ingredient

semi moist cat food

Semi moist cat food: An overview

In the 1970s, semi moist cat food became a popular option for picky eaters and cats who weren’t interested in wet food but needed a low-carb solution that contained higher amounts of water. Semi moist cat food is exactly what it sounds like, soft dry food for cats. This type of moist cat food looked like dry kibble for cats but contained more water than traditional dry foods.

The higher water content in this cat food created a dry food that is soft, which many cats found appealing. Cat owners were also happy to find a soft dry cat food their cats enjoyed finally.

Unfortunately, semi moist cat food is often not a healthy option for many cats. Not only is this wet food hybrid for cats packed full of preservatives, sugar, and salt that might not be healthy for every cat, it’s also been linked to diseases in cats.

It’s been shown that cats who regularly eat semi moist cat food have higher levels of Heinz bodies and lower masses of red cells within their bodies. This is due to the presence of propylene glycol. High amounts of Heinz bodies have been linked to anemia in many cats and are also associated with other serious diseases.

Semi moist cat food was mostly pulled from grocery store shelves after research indicated it could be harmful to your cat’s health. However, many cats enjoyed this diet, and cat owners were left feeling discouraged and looking for new options for their cats.

Semi moist cat food today

Today, cats have more variety than ever when it comes to food. Cats can enjoy dry, canned, raw, and every cat food in between in a large selection of flavors, styles, and sizes. There’s pet food specifically designed for cats with diseases and health problems, specific cat breeds, and stages of life.

Still, with all the variety, finding foods your cat likes can still be tricky. While some cats enjoy moist canned options, others encouraged to eat wet cat food still prefer individual kibbles to moist options.

Luckily, there are plenty of safe ways to find or make dry food that is softer without the unsafe side effects of semi moist food.

Here are some options to try if your cat is a picky eater:

  • Mix wet and dry cat food together. You can create your recipe by mixing together portions of canned and dry food. Start by mixing small amounts at a time to get your cat interested in the food. This is a good compromise that many cats are eager to accept since it still means they get to enjoy their dry food.
  • Opt for canned cat food morsels. Although canned cat food with morsels is still technically moist food, the individual morsels can remind cats of kibble. It might be easier to convince your finicky eater to enjoy this moist cat food if it looks more like dry food.
  • Try food toppers. Cat food toppers might be the trick needed to make your cat’s meal more appetizing.
  • Talk to your vet. Sometimes cats prefer dry food for reasons you can’t identify on your own. Maybe your cat has an allergy to an ingredient in canned food, or perhaps you’ve chosen a lower calorie food that doesn’t satisfy your cat’s needs. If you’re struggling to get, your cat to eat canned options and do not feel comfortable serving them dry food, speak to your vet for further recommendations.

cat cleaning after food 1

Is there a cat food like Tender Vittles?

Years ago, many of the semi-moist cat foods were made from poor quality ingredients. In 2007 Tender Vittles was discontinued, and other brands followed soon after or changed their recipes.

Tender Vittles was one of the leading brands of semi moist cat food in the 1970s and 1980s, and many cat lovers still remember how much their cats loved this food. Although Tender Vittles was discontinued by its parent company, Purina, in 2003, it was purchased by Retrobrands U.S.A. and relaunched in 2011.

Tender Vittles has semi moist cat food and canned options, so while the brand itself shouldn’t be avoided, make sure you use the semi moist cat food as a food topper only. Think of this as a special treat versus an entire meal.

What is good soft dry cat food?

Semi moist cat food was once a soft dry cat kibble alternative but is now hard to find and not recommended as a full meal replacement option. Using semi moist food toppers to mix with dry or wet food or mixing wet and dry together to soften kibble is recommended.

How can I make my cat’s food moist?

There are a few ways to moisten your cat’s food. No matter the food (wet or dry), the best and most affordable method is to add more water to their food to increase moisture intake. This can turn canned options into more of a gravy dish and will soften dry kibble. Alternatively, you can try mixing dry kibble into wet, canned foods.

Is semi moist food good for cats missing teeth?

Canned food is what vets recommend for cats missing teeth or, in some cases, cats without teeth. If your cat insists on eating kibble by scooping up the pieces with his tongue, try adding broth or water to moisten the hard kibble.

Top takeaways

Also, semi moist cat foods are not quite the same as they used to be. The good news is they’re much healthier and safer for cats. While many semi moist options should only be used as food toppers, they can help picky cats eat more of their regular diet.

If you’re looking for a semi moist pet food option for your cat to replace their existing wet or dry food, we recommend Purina’s Fancy Feast Broths. It’s made with pieces of real chicken or fish, and these broths are one of the best-wet cat foods on the market.

Our Top Pick!
Purina Fancy Feast Wet Cat Food Complement, Broths Classic With Tuna & Vegetables in a Silky Broth - (16) 1.4 oz. Pouches
Hill's Science Diet Wet Cat Food, Adult, Minced Savory Recipe Variety Pack, 5oz Cans, 12 Pack
Wellness Healthy Indulgence Morsels With Chicken & Salmon in Savory Sauce
Castor & Pollux Pristine Free-Range Turkey Recipe Morsels In Gravy Wet Cat Food 3 Oz, 24 Count Case
Blue Buffalo Wilderness High Protein Grain Free, Natural Wild Cuts Adult Wet Cat Food Pouch, Salmon 3-oz pouches (Pack of 24)
Made with shredded pieces of real chicken broths boosts healthy hydration.
Fool your cat into thinking they’re eating dry food packed with extra moisture.
Irresistible morsels and savory gravy sauce make this an great semi moist pick.
Organic cat food morsels made with responsibly sourced high quality animal meat.
Tasty salmon morsels are packed with protein and easy to chew.
-
-
-
-
-
-
Our Top Pick!
Purina Fancy Feast Wet Cat Food Complement, Broths Classic With Tuna & Vegetables in a Silky Broth - (16) 1.4 oz. Pouches
Made with shredded pieces of real chicken broths boosts healthy hydration.
-
Hill's Science Diet Wet Cat Food, Adult, Minced Savory Recipe Variety Pack, 5oz Cans, 12 Pack
Fool your cat into thinking they’re eating dry food packed with extra moisture.
-
Wellness Healthy Indulgence Morsels With Chicken & Salmon in Savory Sauce
Irresistible morsels and savory gravy sauce make this an great semi moist pick.
-
-
Castor & Pollux Pristine Free-Range Turkey Recipe Morsels In Gravy Wet Cat Food 3 Oz, 24 Count Case
Organic cat food morsels made with responsibly sourced high quality animal meat.
-
Blue Buffalo Wilderness High Protein Grain Free, Natural Wild Cuts Adult Wet Cat Food Pouch, Salmon 3-oz pouches (Pack of 24)
Tasty salmon morsels are packed with protein and easy to chew.
-
Courtney Johnston
Latest posts by Courtney Johnston (see all)

Last update on 2020-12-03 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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