Over the years’ veterinarians have gone back and forth on whether dry or wet food is better for your cat. Even the most experienced of cat owners may not have all the facts. Read along to find out the answer to your question, should I feed my cat wet food or dry food?
Feline Dietary Needs
Cats require a diet that is high in protein, high in water content, and low in carbohydrates. A cat’s natural diet in the wild would consist of birds, lizards, mice, rabbits, and insects. Their natural prey diet would be high in protein, low in carbs, and high in moisture.
Dry Cat Food
Dry cat food is convenient, easy and in most cases the most cost effective. Even your veterinarian may have mentioned in the past that dry food helps remove tartar from your cat’s teeth, a claim that has been provided inconclusive through research. The fact is, most dry foods have too little protein, too many carbohydrates and their moisture content is not high enough. By free feeding dry food, your cat is encouraged to overeat which leads to obesity that may result in diabetes and stress on joints. Since cats instinctively do not drink a lot of water, feeding dry food can lead to low urine production which can turn into kidney failure and urinary crystal and stone formation.
Wet Cat Food
Wet food may not be as convenient and may require more cleanup and upkeep. It may cost slightly more per day to feed your cat, but the benefits of feeding wet food far outweigh the cons. Wet food contains significantly more protein and less carbohydrates than dry food. The higher protein to carbohydrate ratio will aid in reaching and maintaining a healthy weight. Keeping your cat at a healthy weight will reduce its chances of diabetes and strain on joints. The moisture content in wet food is over 70% which is equivalent to the moisture content your cat would get from eating a prey diet in the wild, which aids with urine production and keeping your cat’s kidneys healthy. In addition, feeding wet food keeps you in control of portions and the timing of when your cat eats.
Making the Transition from Dry Food to Wet Food
Always integrate a new food slowly into your cat’s feeding routine. Start by mixing the new food with the old food. Over 7-day period, gradually add more of the new food and less of the old food. If your cat becomes stressed out over the change, slow things down a bit to prevent illness and keep the process positive. If you are switching from free feed dry food to wet food, slowly decrease the amount of dry food in your cat’s bowl and increase the amount of wet food fed at each meal. If you cat does not show interest in wet food especially if it has been refrigerated, try warming it in the microwave. Just be sure to stir the food before serving to evenly distribute the heat.
Each cat will require different dietary needs depending on their health and age. Always consult your veterinarian when choosing a new diet for your cat. You can also contact our owner Dawn, who is a nutrition expert, for tips and diet recommendations.
Written by Julie Gajewski. Julie has been pet sitting and working in the veterinary industry as both a technician and hospital administrator since 1997. She is a pet business consultant and a guest blog writer for pet sitters across the world. She lives in Florida with her husband and furry children, 2 Pugs and 4 cats.
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