Dry or Wet Food for Your Cat
Hi everyone, hope all is well. I just recently did an article on wet and dry foods for dogs. Then I got to thinking, what about cats? Owners of cats will have the same questions and concerns as the dog owners, right?
So here, in this article, I will do my best to help the cat lovers as I did with the dog lovers. As with the dogs, there are pros and cons here as well.
So let's get into the best food for cats, wet or dry. As for an extra note – no matter what you choose make sure the foods meet AAFCO standards.
AAFCO stands for Association of American Food Control Officials. This Company will place a label on the bag of food which states the food is nutritional and complete. This would be for any of your cat's life stages.
Just so you have the information, the life stages for cats are as follows: adult, kitten, pregnant, lactating females, and all life stages (any cat of any age).
Pros and Cons for Wet verses Dry Cat Food
As with the dog food I wrote about in a previous article, pros and cons exist for your cat and any food you would be feeding them. I'm going to put the information in chart form. Let's start with the Dry Food:
Pros: Affordable, long shelf life, convenient (easy to serve), crunch and taste, and more energy dense.
Cons: Lower water content, contains less protein, contains more carbohydrates, dental issues, and cats may overeat.
Pros: Higher water content, more protein, fewer carbohydrates, long shelf life (when not opened), very good flavor, and good for cats with dental issues.
Cons: Expensive, less energy dense, and quickly perishable once opened.
Additional Information on Dry Food
Your cat's dry food, also called dry kibble, is a highly processed type of food and is a shelf-stable food. As long as the food is kept in its original sealed bag it will last a long time. Some of these bagged foods can last up to a year or longer.
I would suggest that you use the dry cat food within six weeks after opening the bag. Even if tempted to transfer the food to a plastic container, leave it in the original bag. The bag has a special liner which will maximize freshness. Fold the top, squeeze out excess air, then clip it closed. Place the food in a cool dry place and you're good to go.
Your cat's dry food is usually higher in carbohydrates and less on the protein. No minimum requirements exist for carbohydrates in a cat's diet.
Wild cats get their protein from the small prey they eat. This small prey has higher protein amounts and moderate fat amounts. Domestic cats have evolved to do quite well on dry food.
Some of you may have heard that dry food will help with your cat's teeth to keep them clean. Not the case – the food is too small to do this. Wet food won't help either.
Please note: the following foods – dry – can help remove tartar. These are special dental foods that the Veterinary Oral Health Council (VOHC) has approved. The list includes: Hill's Prescription Diet Feline t/d; Hill's Science Diet Oral Care for Cats; Hill's Healthy Advantage Oral+ for Cats; Purina Pro Plan Veterinary Diets DH Feline Formula; and Royal Canin Feline Dental Plan.
Like with the dog food, you can leave the food in the bowl all day. This works well if your cat likes to nibble during the day. Just be careful as to how much food you leave in the bowl as your pet doesn't know when to stop eating. Any pet, dog or cat, shouldn't have food left out for them if they are overweight.
Additional Information on Wet Food
This type of food – wet food – does offer health benefits which include high water content and more protein than dry food.
The extra water content is great for cats that need to increase the amount of water they get. Cats with the following issues would benefit from having wet food: urinary tract disease, kidney disease, urinary crystals, and cystitis (inflammation of the bladder). If your cat is diabetic, your vet may recommend a low-carb diet. A wet food diet can generally meet the requirements for this issue.
More protein, especially animal protein, is found in the wet food than the dry. Since cats are carnivores (a characteristic of their life in the wild), they are able to consume and digest high amounts of animal proteins. Your cat can also handle moderate amounts of fat and minimal amounts of carbohydrates. Wet food handles all three of these quite nicely.
Please note the following points about wet food: Picky eaters and older cats love the taste; soft texture is great for cats with dental problems; must feed your cat more to get more nutrients so it costs more; can't leave the food out long as it spoils quickly – if your cat likes to nibble during the day and you're not home; refrigerate unused portions and use within a week.
Best of Both Worlds
The choice is really up to you. You could do dry in the morning and wet at night. Mix them together if your cat eats their food all at one time. The wet food will boost the overall diet of your cat because of the extra water and protein.
If you have kittens, do both dry and wet food early on. You want to do this as they usually develop a preference for taste and texture early in their life. If you don't mix things up than as an adult cat they might not want to eat both.
Don't forget to leave plenty of fresh water, no matter how old your pet may be.
Never be afraid to consult your vet. As you would do with any pet you want the best for them so don't hesitate to get help.
I hope I was able to help you with your cat's food and diet. I know you want the best for them and love them.
Do your research, talk to family and friends who have pets, and reach out to your vet as well.
As long as you do all this and stay on top of things, you and your cat will have a great time together.