The Pros and Cons of Wet Cat Food VS Dry Cat Food

9 Minute Read
 | Amy Dyck
Updated February 2, 2023

Is wet cat food better than dry cat food? Check out the pros and cons of wet cat food vs dry cat food to find the right diet for your favourite feline. 

The debate between wet food and dry food for cats doesn't boil down to one simply being better than the other. The fact is there are perks and drawbacks to each style of cat food, and because each cat has different preferences, lifestyles, and eating habits, the food that is right for them will be one that caters to their individual needs.

Cats often prefer the texture of wet cat food vs dry, but cat kibble has its own advantages that may sway your decision. After comparing wet and dry cat choices, you'll have a better idea of which pet foods will work best for your feline friend.

Keep reading to learn all the pros and cons of wet cat vs dry cat food to help you craft a well-balanced and complete feline diet for your little household carnivore.


Is Wet Cat Food Better Than Dry Cat Food?

 This is a question that many cat owners struggle with. You want what's best for your cat, but with so many choices, it can be hard to choose the best type of food for cats.

Every pet is different, so the one-size-fits-all diet doesn't really fit all. Your cat's health, breed, age, lifestyle, and even individual preference may all be necessary to help you decide which diet is right for them. Plus, you need to consider what you are willing to pay and how much work you are willing to put in at mealtime. 

Dry and wet cat foods are the two most popular options, but they are also very different from each other. Ultimately, the food that is best for your cat is the food that helps them thrive. Both wet and dry cat food has unique benefits for cats, but it's also true that each has some disadvantages that could be significant for your cat's specific needs. 

So is wet cat food better than dry? It depends. Let's examine what sets the two cat food types apart to help you determine if one seems like a better fit for your cat.


Pros and Cons of Wet Cat Food

As the oldest type of commercially made cat food, it's no surprise that kibble is so widely fed. With over % of households in Canada having at least one cat, finding food that is affordable and simple is a high priority. But is dry cat food really the holy grail of feline diets that it claims to be? 

Take a look at the pros and cons of dry cat food to help you decide if it's the best choice for your feline friends:

Wet Cat Food Pros

Cats are carnivores, which means their ancestral diet consisted of hunting and eating whole prey. Though your little household hunter isn't exactly the apex predator they used to be, their bodies are still designed to eat a diet that is rich in animal protein and moisture.

Check out the most beneficial reasons to feed wet cat food:

      • Texture and Taste: Cats can be picky eaters, and wet cat food offers a large variety of flavours, textures, and odours to help your cat get excited about meal time. 
      • Hydrating: Most wet cat foods have a 70-90% moisture content, ensuring that your cat stays hydrated at every meal. This supports better digestion and nutrient distribution, leading to better overall health.
      • Fewer Ingredients: Canned food tends to have a simpler ingredient list that is meat-rich and supported by vitamin and mineral supplements to ensure complete and balanced meals.

Wet Cat Food Cons

On paper wet cat food seems like a great choice for cats, but there are a few drawbacks to consider before making your choice.

      • Storage: Even though sealed cans have a long shelf life, wet cat food takes a little more work to store properly once opened. Like any canned food you make for yourself, it must be refrigerated once opened and has a very short shelf life in the fridge. 2-3 days is the average recommendation.
      • Higher Price: Expect to pay a little more for wet ca food than for dry. Though there are plenty of good budget-friendly wet cat food options, you'll be hard-pressed to find the same cost per feeding in wet cat food as in an equivalent dry cat food.
      • Feeding Schedule: Wet food can't be grazed like kibble can, so if you are a free-feeding cat home, then wet food might not be for you. It will spoil quickly out of the fridge, so leftovers will need to be taken away within 20 minutes and safely stored in the fridge.

A popular argument against feeding wet cat food is that it can contribute to bad breath and dental issues because your cat isn't chewing. While this is technically true, dry cat foods don't provide a significant dental benefit, so no matter which type of food you feed, regular at-home cat dental care is still important. 

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Pros and Cons of Dry Cat Food

As the oldest type of commercially made cat food, it's no surprise that kibble is so widely fed. With over % of households in Canada having at least one cat, finding food that is affordable and simple is a high priority. But is dry cat food really the holy grail of feline diets that it claims to be? 

Take a look at the pros and cons of dry cat food to help you decide if it's the best choice for your feline friends:

Dry Cat Food Pros

As the most popular food type for cats, kibble definitely has its pros, with the convenience of feeding being at the top of that list. The simple scoop-and-serve nature of cat kibble makes portioning and proper nutrition less stressful for pet owners, but that's not the only reason why cat kibble has remained the most popular type of commercial cat food since the 1940s.

Here are a few more benefits of dry cat food:

      • Shelf Stable: Choosing a cat diet that is both compact and shelf stable makes it so that the foods can be preserved for a lot longer and stored much easier. Additionally, food can be left at room temperature in the bowl, allowing cats to graze and self-serve. This contributes to the independent nature that many cat owners prefer about felines. 
      • Cost Effective: Though you'll find a wide range of prices, kibble for cats is typically the most cost-effective food. Not only is it cheaper to make than other foods, but they're often sold in bulk sizes to further the savings compared to wet or raw cat foods.
      • Nutrient Density: Dry cat food can be very calorie and nutrient-dense, allowing for more nutrition offered in smaller portions. This helps cats learn healthier eating habits and encourages regular activity throughout the day.

Dry Cat Food Cons

You might already be sold on the benefits of dry cat food, but it's important to understand why dry cat food may not always be the perfect solution for every cat.

      • Dehydration: Moisture is essential for digestion, so when consuming a dry diet, cats actually lose water from their body. Cats often don't drink enough water to counteract this effect so cats who eat a completely dry diet are often underhydrated.
      • Filler: The crunchy texture of dry cat food requires some sort of carbohydrate, like grains potatoes or legumes. As carnivores, cats don't require a high-carb diet, so even though these ingredients are necessary for the food format, they rarely offer as much nutritional value as carnivore-appropriate animal ingredients.
      • Oral Care Myth: The average cat kibble does not have a significant positive effect on oral health. While some dental formulas can encourage chewing, most cat kibbles are not chewed enough to offer a dental benefit. In fact, starchy kibbles can leave behind high-sugar food debris and contribute to bad breath and other dental issues.

The cons don't exactly paint dry cat food in a flattering light, but there are ways to help counteract these effects if kibble ultimately ends up being the best choice for you and your cat.

You can offer moisture in treats, like goat's milk or bone broth to help rehydrate your cat, or simply add moisture to the kibble. Offering a high moisture and high protein meal topper can help take care of two of the cons in one step.

You also can, and should, brush your cat's teeth regularly to remove food debris and bacteria. 

Cat Graphic CTAs_Dry Cat Food - Desktop


The good news is that even though both types of food have pros and cons, you can make either one work for your cat as long as you understand pros and cons and take steps to make cat meal times healthier, safer, and easier.


Dry VS Wet Cat Food FAQs

How Much Wet Food Should I Feed My Cat? 

A cat who is at their ideal weight will typically require four to five ounces of wet cat food per day, but this will depend on the food. Follow the feeding guidelines of the food or check out our cat food calculator to help you customize your cat's feedings.

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 20 minutes of opening.

Can Wet Food Cause Diarrhea in Cats? 

The extra moisture found in canned cat food does not cause diarrhea. In fact, the additional moisture can be beneficial for digestion. Significant diet changes can cause some temporary digestive issues but should resolve within a few days. 

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. 

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?        

At Homes Alive Pets, we sell a wide array of leading wet cat food brands such as Orijen, Nulo, Tiki Cat, Blue Buffalo, Open Farm, Stella & Chewy's, and GO! Solutions.

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 not the case.  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. 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 and getting the benefits of both types of cat food. 

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 and smell. You can also use healthy meal toppers like goat's milk or bone broth for extra picky cats.



Written by

Amy Dyck


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