By Rasha Aly
Wet vs dry cat food: It should be easy to pick which food to feed your cat.
But, wait a meow-ment!
There’s much more to consider when deciding whether to feed your kitty dry or wet food. You may even consider using both in your cat’s meals.
We’re here to give you all the facts, so you can decide what’s best for your feline friend.
Before delving into which is better – veterinarians say pet mammas and papas should know what it takes to give your cats a balanced diet. Once you know all the critical nutrients to a balanced diet, you can choose what is best for your furry pet. PrettyPlease cat food has all the nutrients kitties need.
What’s In a Balanced Meal?
- Vitamins. According to veterinarians, cats need the following:
- Vitamin D to help their bones – so they can pounce with you and play all day long.
- Vitamin A to give superior eyesight – so they can see and trap those icky mice at night.
- Vitamin B, B6, and B 12 help metabolize their food into energy – so they can continue to chase after their tails.
- Vitamin E to help strengthen the immune system – so they can have a healthy and happy life.
- Fat: Don’t give too much to your kitty because you don’t want your kitty to look like Garfield. Fats have fatty acids which keep your tabby’s skin healthy and lustrous fur.
- Protein: Our felines need protein to grow healthy muscles, organs, nails, hair, cartilage, and ligaments.
- Water: Cats need it to live. Be sure there is a clean supply available. Sometimes, my kitty, Tigger, follows me into the bathroom to drink brisk water from the bathroom faucet.
So fur, so good?
Now, let’s spring into the advantages and disadvantages of using wet and dry food.
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Pros of Using Either Wet or Dry Food
Cats can benefit from using either their wet food or their kibbles. As the pet owner, it’s up to you to decide which choice to pick.
Now, let’s look at the positives and negatives.
Wet food advantages
- Tastier – Cats think of wet food as caviar. Most enjoy the savory taste of wet food and typically choose it over dry food.
- Moisture – Vets say cats have a low thirst drive. So, they don’t drink as much as they should, leaving them vulnerable to dehydration. Wet food contains 65 percent of moisture that keeps little Tigger hydrated.
- Easy to chew – Unlike the hard bone texture, cats don’t have to chew through hard material. The soft texture is excellent for young kittens, seniors, and other cats with dental issues.
- Manage health conditions – Wet food helps dilute a cat’s urine, keeping it from getting urinary infections. It also allows pet parents to manage their fur baby’s weight. Mainly composed of water, wet food does not have a lot of calories because water has no calories. Therefore, cats on a wet diet, have a lower calorie intake.
Wet food disadvantages
- Price – Wet food can take more from your wallets. If you’re on a budget, dry food may be a better.
- Spoils quicker – Wet food has less of a shelf life. Once opened, you can only leave wet food out for a few hours before it attracts yucky things like bacteria. Then, you have to throw it away.
- Messy – For cats, eating wet food is like humans having a delicious crab dinner. It’s juicy but can get all over your hands and face. Wet food can get caught in a kitty’s mane.
Is this making purr-fect sense to you? Let’s look at dry food.
Dry food advantages
- Dental health – For cats, dry food can keep cat dentists away. Sinking their teeth in their dry kibbles strengthens their teeth. Wet food is too wet to enhance a cat’s teeth.
- Low cost – Dry food is more pocket friendly, allowing you to keep more money.
- Long-lasting – Once opened, dry food takes longer to spoil. So, kitties, who are slow eaters, don’t have to worry about gulping down their meals.
- More filling – Due to dry food having more calories, a cat’s calorie intake increases when eating dry food.
Dry food disadvantages
- Difficult to digest – Since dry food does not have a lot of moisture, it is harder for a stomach to digest it. Less moisture also hinders your kitty from absorbing essential nutrients.
- Too hard to digest – Some cats can find it tough to digest a dry food’s solid texture. Examples include senior cats, young kitties, and felines that have tooth issues.
- Too little moisture – Owners will have to monitor more closely how much their cats drink to ensure they remain hydrated. One method is to provide more water-filled bowls to encourage the cats to drink water.
Which Is the Meow-Tastic Option?
There is no purr-fect answer. Wet food and dry food have pros and cons. It’s up to the owner to decide which option suits the kitty. The best choice can depend on several factors. Those include:
- Cats weight and size - If Tigger needs to lose body weight, he may need to consume fewer calories – making wet food the best option. If Tigger needs to gain weight, he may need to consume more calories – making dry food the best option.
- Age – Young kitties and senior adults may have an easier time chewing softer canned food. Therefore, canned cat food could be the winning choice. When can kittens eat dry food? Once they reach 7 weeks.
- Health issues – An adult cat with dental problems may need to eat dry kibbles to strengthen their teeth. However, cats that have digestive concerns may be healthier eating wet cat food. For obese cats, the vet might recommend a diet that lowers the calorie intake as one of the ways to help your cat lose weight.
- Vet’s advice – The essential factor is to talk to your veterinarian and to see what your veterinarian says about cat feeding. Cat nutrition would depend on your cat's body weight, age, and pre-existing condition (if they have one). You can even ask your vet for a cat feeding guide, so you know the right serving of dry kibble and canned cat food.
How Much to Serve the Feline?
One of the first steps is looking at the cat food's nutrition label. According to the Association of American Feed Control Offices, all labels must show the minimum percentage of crude protein and crude fat and the maximum rates of natural fiber and moisture. But if the food company does not use these ingredients to make the food, those statistics do not have to appear on the label.
Then, to determine how much food to supply during meals, owners should divide the cat’s daily calorie intake by the number of calories in the food. For instance, I feed Tigger three times a day. I divide my kitty’s essential calorie intake by three to determine how many calories Tigger should have at each meal.
Kitty fathers and mothers need to use this calculator to determine how many calories the cat needs daily. A cat’s weight, the status of whether the cat is spayed or neutered, and current calorie intake help determine the magic number for calorie intake.
Best of Both Cat Worlds
Some owners may think using wet and dry food in a cat’s diet is a good idea. This option can be a good choice, too, for some cats. However, it would be a good idea to consult your veterinarian to determine the best way to combine both types of food.
Some owners may serve dry food during one meal and wet food during another. Other owners may mix the two. Your veterinarian can help you determine the answer. The animal doctor can give you more about the dos and don’ts of feeding our feline friends.
- Coates, J. (2021, February 15). https://www.catfoodpoint.com/how-much-wet-dry-food-feed-cat/. Retrieved January 21, 2023, from PETMD: https://www.petmd.com/cat/nutrition/cat-nutrition-what-makes-nutritional-cat-food
- Mihai, D. (2022, March 28). How To Soften Dry Cat Food –. Retrieved January 1, 2023, from Feeding My Pet: https://www.feedingmypet.com/how-to-soften-dry-cat-food/
- OBrien, A. (2023, January 10). The Ultimate Cat Feeding Guide Wet and Dry Foods. Retrieved from The Discerning Cat: https://thediscerningcat.com/cat-feeding-guide-wet-and-dry/
- Pet Nutrition Alliance. (2023, January). Resources for Veterinary Healthcare Teams: Calorie Calculator for Cats. Retrieved from Pet Nutrition Alliance: Optimal Nutrition for Every Pet: https://www.petnutritionalliance.org/cat.php
- Simmi. (2023, January 1). How Much Wet and Dry Food to Feed a Cat (A Healthy Combination). Retrieved from Cat Food Point: https://www.catfoodpoint.com/how-much-wet-dry-food-feed-cat/