There are so many great cat food options out there to feed your cat but deciding between wet or dry food can be tough. Learn the differences between feeding canned vs. dry cat food to help you choose which is ultimately best.
Fair warning - most cats prefer wet food. However, there are perks to cat dry food like a longer shelf life. After comparing wet and dry cat choices, you'll have a better idea of which pet foods will work best for your feline friend.
Ultimately the food you feed you cat depends on their taste. For many cat owners, making their pet happy is the most important consideration when shelving the felines old food and going with a new type.
Wet or Dry Food: Comparing Dry vs Wet Cat Food
If you are still on the fence about which is best, wet foods or dry foods, then let's examine what sets the two types, wet and dry food, apart.
Dry cat food wins hands-down in the convenience category. For storage and ease of feeding, dry cat food is the number one option. If you are looking for something mess-free and easy to take with you, have the kids help out with, or have your cat-sitter feed while you're away, cat kibble is the simplest choice when comparing wet vs dry cat food.
Free fed community cats dining on dry cat food more frequently spread upper respiratory infections. A pet parent should consider the dry food vs the needs of the feline.
For Hydration and Urinary Tract Health
Feeding wet food is a great way to lower the risk of urinary tract disease, prevent kidney disease and control weight gain. but that doesn't mean there isn't a place on your shelf for dry brands even if your kitty has health conditions.
Many cat nutrition experts warn against feeding cats a strictly dry kibble diet. Dry food diets average around 7-12% moisture content, making your pet prone to dehydration if they don't drink a significant amount of water
In the wild, felines would receive most of their hydration from the prey that they would eat, which is typically 60-70% water. At 70-80% moisture content, canned or wet is very close to your kitty's natural prey diet.
Calorie dense foods with fatty acids are good for younger cats but not always for senior pets. Often a lower calorie density is a better choice if your aging pet has a health condition. You want to find a nutritionally balanced choice that meets the needs of every age
Try to choose a wet food that is close to 70% moisture content for added water intake. While hydration is good, you don't want to be paying for mostly water. Always provide a water bowl when feeding.
For Picky Eaters: Tie!
Cats are a finicky bunch! While certain cats just love the taste and aromas of wet foods, others will balk at it and prefer dry food. If you are switching from dry food to canned cat food (or vice versa), your cat may show some resistance – even a lot of resistance.
For Preservatives: Tie!
Dry cat food often requires preservatives to maintain its great shelf-life, but these can be naturally derived.
Canned cat food is naturally preserved through the canning process, so it requires fewer chemical preservatives than dry types if any. Also, because it is made from more actual meat and fewer carbohydrates, it generally doesn't contain artificial flavours or colours, either.
When weighing the benefits of wet vs dry cat food, remember that kibble can be poured into a bowl and left all day. Since many cats are grazers, this works just fine and makes it easy for feline owners with erratic schedules to feed their pets.
Just be careful not to mix water in your pet's dry food: mixing water with dry food can allow for bacterial contamination. Also the water impacts the crunchy texture which is beneficial for cats teeth. Moistened dry food also cannot be properly stored.
Canned food should not be left out for longer than 4 hours. Store any unused portion covered in the refrigerator for no more than 7 days for best food safety.
For Weight Loss – Moist Foods
Moisture is the winning factor here again for wet cat food. The high water content of canned cat food makes it perfect for your many cats struggling with weight loss since water helps your pet feel full and eat less of the cat's food.
The high protein and low carb content help, too, since it promotes satiety, keeping your cat from returning to the bowl hungry after only a few hours.
For Dental Health: Dry Cat Foods
Dry cat food can be better for dental health than wet food, but kibble diets are far from a complete dental care routine.
Any balanced diet is limited in how much dental benefit it can provide if you are not incorporating daily brushing (or any brushing at all). All felines, from kittens to older cats can benefit from brushing.
If you have a young kitten, a kitty who has lost some teeth, or a feline with a sensitive stomach, wet food brands could be helpful but the food type will not do much to prevent dental disease.
Moist food makes an easy transition from milk or formula to solids, as it is very easy to eat and easy on young kitties stomachs. Depending on the cat's age, some senior cats who have lost many teeth and have trouble eating can only eat moist canned foods.
Frequently Asked Questions
How Much Wet Food Should I Feed My Cat?
Debating wet or dry cat food? Canned food has fewer carbohydrates than dry food. Wet vs dry also has higher protein content.
Many experts believe that the high protein content and lower carb count prevent obesity and other health conditions in felines. A cat who is at target weight will typically require four to five ounces of wet cat food per day.
How Long Can You Leave Wet Cat Food Out?
Unlike dry cat food, moist cat food has no shelf life after opening. You'll want to refrigerate all unused cat food to prevent bacterial growth Typically, you should refrigerate all varieties of wet food within two hours after opening.
Always refrigerate canned food in an airtight container to ensure freshness.
Can Wet Food Cause Diarrhea in Cats?
The extra moisture found in canned cat food does not cause diarrhea. In fact, dry food often causes diarrhea because of all the extra fillers that the food contains compared to canned varieties. The wet foods do increase the feline's water intake which can make stool looser.
Can Cats Eat Just Wet Food?
Yes, you can feed your kitty a diet of only wet food, but make sure that the moist cat food brand you pick is a balanced diet and not just a treat or topper which can adversely impact obese cats.
Is Wet Food Better for Pets?
Moist cat food often proves more beneficial for cats who suffer from urinary tract problems or constipation. A diet of wet food can also help an overweight cat lose body weight because moist cat food offers high protein and low in carbs which might not be good for optimal health, especially to meet the cat's nutritional needs. Most growing kittens require a high protein diet.
What is the Best Wet Cat Food?
Won't Feeding a Kitty a Wet Food Diet Harm the Teeth?
Many feline owners believe that dry kibble is better for a cat's teeth than moist food. However, medical experts have shown this is a misnomer. The nuggets of dry cat food are exceedingly small and brittle, so they provide virtually no abrasive action to clean the plaque and tartar.
Are All Canned Cat Foods the Same?
When shopping, you'll find affordable wet cat food, cheap canned foods, and high-end varieties. Nowadays, wet feline food is available in cans, pouches, and boxes. You'll find an assortment of ingredients to tempt any picky eaters. Remember to feed your cat what they love.
Can I Mix Wet and Dry Cat Food Together?
Mixing wet and dry cat kibble together can provide your kitty with the best of both worlds. It can also appeal to a picky eater who can't decide which they like best -wet or dry varieties. Wet brands help with weight management and the soft texture is great for every life stage. The food also appeals to finicky eaters.
You can better manage your cat's nutrition needs when you mix dry and wet because you are customizing the perfect, cost effective meal plan.
Can I Mix Dry Food with Water?
With 1/4 C of filtered water and some dry kibble, you can successfully moisten your fur baby's food AND enhance the flavour.