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Wet vs. Dry Food: Which is Healthier for Cats?

Today’s house cats have much different nutritional needs compared to their once wild ancestors. While wild felines hunted and got much of their pure protein and moisture from mice and small birds, your Fluffy likely isn’t hunting much, which means she depends on you to do her food “hunting” (shopping) for her.

Let’s weigh the pros and cons of wet canned or dry food for your beloved cat:

1. Dry cat food is big on convenience

Is your cat alone for the majority of the day? If so, you may opt to feed him dry cat kibble due to its convenience and lack of spoilage. Dry cat foods are easy to ration out and serve up . Plus, they are much easier to store due to having a much longer serving and shelf-life compared to wet canned foods, which require fridge storage or they can go bad or dry out if left out during the day.

2. Dental health and senior cat needs

Many cat parents opt to feed their cat dry food because it offers natural teeth-cleaning (as your cat chews kibble, he naturally scales his teeth of plaque). However, if your cat is a senior, suffers from sensitive teeth, or has had teeth removed, wet canned food offers a softer dining experience. Weaning kittens should also be fed wet, soft foods. The other alternative is too soak dry kibbles in a bit of warm water or non-sodium chicken broth.

3. Sneak in some extra hydrating

Not many cats can resist the pop of a wet cat food can. However, aside from being higher in raw protein and fats, wet cat food is also naturally hydrating, meaning it contains more water than dry cat food. If your cat is hesitant to drink water throughout the day, wet cat food may be a sly way to incorporate added water into Fluffy’s diet. Remember, water is important for the prevention of kidney disease, urinary crystals, and constipation in kitties.

4. Overall dining experience

Most cats are gourmets, meaning they are big on small, taste, and texture. This is why many pet owners opt for wet vs. dry cat food. Cats who dine on canned food tend to eat several times daily (i.e., breakfast and lunch feedings) and single serve cans make this pretty convenient. Remember that most felines don’t enjoy cool or cold food right from the fridge, so when serving cool food, add a little warm water to serve food at a pleasing room temperature.

5. You can mix dry and wet

Many cat owners opt to feed their cat dry food due to cost effectiveness. For instance, you tend to be able to buy larger quantities of dry cat kibble compared to what you get with a case of wet canned cat food. However, if your cat prefers wet food (and most prefer the texture), you can mix the two of them together by topping wet canned food with dry kibbles. Be sure to mix in the kibble throughout so it’s moist and palatable.

6. Nutritional feline needs

We love our cats, and thus most pet owners aim to purchase a cat food that packs high levels of protein and fat without too many empty grains and artificial ingredients. As mentioned, cats are natural carnivores, which means it’s important to look for the following factors in your cat’s food:

Focus on cat foods with no artificial ingredients (i.e., high fructose corn syrup).

Hunt down cat foods with a quality protein (i.e., turkey, lamb, chicken, or fish) listed first among the ingredients.

Steer clear of dry cat foods that are mostly grain-based (i.e., wheat, soy, rice, corn meal) as they contribute to feline weight gain.

If dry cat foods contain grains, make sure they’re whole grains (barley, brown rice, pumpkin, or sweet potato) and not empty grain by-products (i.e., corn or soy meal gluten).

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