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Is Wet or Dry Food Better for Cats?

Is Wet or Dry Food Better for Cats?

There’s a reason felines are called finicky. Cats tend to be particular about just about everything.

Switch kitty litter brands and prepare for a full-scale protest; adjust the view to the backyard at your peril. It’s no wonder that many owners stockpile whatever food their cats deem acceptable. But there are differences between dry and wet cat food that could affect your cat’s long-term health. Dr. Annie Price of Ormewood Animal Hospital in Atlanta offers advice on what’s best for cats.

“For years and years, you remember vets saying that canned food is junk food,” she says. “We found that’s not necessarily accurate.”

Price says that cats are obligate carnivores, meaning they rely on meat for nutrition and lack the enzyme required to break down plant material. As descendants of desert-dwelling hunters, cats also thrive on food that resembles what’s consumed in the wild. Their ideal meal has plenty of protein and fat, with very few carbs. Cats also tend to be dehydrated, which leads to kidney issues over time. Canned cat food typically contains about 80 percent moisture so felines get a little additional water in their diet along with the protein benefits. While dry kibble may include a higher percentage of protein, Price says the dry stuff also includes far too many carbohydrates.

“It is not so much about the protein but about limiting the carbohydrates (empty calories), which cats do not efficiently use,” she says. “Dry food is almost like carb-loading at every meal.”

High-carbohydrate diets lead to obesity and weight-related health issues such as diabetes, a prevalent issue among couch-dwelling counterparts. In its “State of Pet Health 2012″ report, Banfield Pet Hospital notes a 90 percent increase in the number of overweight cats treated between 2007 and 2011. Excess weight also leads to costly health conditions such as arthritis, heart disease and thyroid issues.

When shopping for wet cat food, Price recommends pate formulas that include chicken or turkey – animals that cats would typically hunt during outdoor adventures. Leave tuna, sardines and other fish on the shelves.

“Desert-dwellers won’t find much fish,” she notes. “We developed that ideal based on cartoons.”

Article by Morieka Johnson

Photo by eviltomthai

Read more: Cats, Everyday Pet Care, Pet Health, Pets

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3:26PM PDT on Jul 31, 2014

Stop, I meant they get a lot of wet food, but only half a handful of dry food, hahaha!

3:25PM PDT on Jul 31, 2014

My 3 cats get a lot of dry food, but only half a handfull of dry food (each) every day because Thori had bladder stones again and again in his former home because of too much dry food, and they get fresh poultry once or twice the week, and sometimes also fresh fish or raw beef meat/liver, and Gizzy gets 2 eggs a week! Only Sisi gets a little more dry food sometimes because she´s so tiny and she won´t become fat if she gets a whole handfull of it, hahahaha!

7:06AM PDT on Jul 31, 2014

My vet is a cats-only vet, and she says wet food only, or at least 70% of the diet. To quote her, "cats are inefficient drinkers, and need to get much of their fluid intake from their food." Wet food may cost more, but it sure beats having your cat develop kidney problems and pee where you don't want it to.

11:37AM PDT on Jul 29, 2014


11:20AM PDT on Jul 29, 2014

SWEETPEA, our gorgeous Calico is approaching 20 years....Vet suggested moist canned cat food much better at her age a couple of years ago, we are providing this in pate consistency, flavors,turkey,chicken and some ocean fish combo.......

4:52AM PDT on Jul 29, 2014

I have dry feed out all day, and the two of them share a small can of wet for breakfast and supper. Seems to be working. They are 12 now and are very healthy

4:03AM PDT on Jul 29, 2014

Well, my Gracie who definitely prefers the wet food to dry has developed a dental problem. I think if she had also eaten the dry food I sprinkled on the wet, she may not have. And the result of all this wet food eating I believe is that her saliva- when grooming herself has led to numerous mats over her body. I have to now take her to the vets to be put under so that she can be shaved. Also dental work is required. I definitely wish that she would eat more dry food. Yes, I better make sure she does.

3:46AM PDT on May 16, 2014

We have a self feeder that our 5 fur butts eat from during the day!
For dinner, I take a big pinch of dry food, add a little warm water, and mix in 1/2 can of Purina One. I smoosh up the canned food in the water so that I know they are getting the nutrients. I divide that among 4 bowls.
One of our guys will not eat wet food at all - but every once in a while he will surprise me and try it..

5:27AM PDT on Apr 20, 2014

I feed a colony of 28 cats (all spayed/neutered). I wish I could afford to give them wet food everyday. But with no help from anyone else I just can't afford it. It's all I can do to buy the dry food. Having to buy traps and getting them all fixed nearly broke me. I do the best I can.

2:18PM PDT on Apr 12, 2014

My cats have been on commercial food for years, Friskies, Meow Mix, etc but last year my one cat developed a serious problem with his bladder. He eventually had to have surgery to clear his bladder out of the crystals because they were not the dissolving kind. Two years before that he developed Mega Colon, which is a problem where he can't have a bowel movement so dry food was bad for him. But as bad as it was for him the rest of my cats (knock wood) are fine. So now Sylvester is on a prescription diet of wet & dry for his bladder problem. I give him Miralax twice a day or more if needed just so he can have his dry food. He got tired of eating just canned.

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