The Cat Gourmet: Wet Versus Dry

Wet or dry? Does your kitty have a favourite type of food? Do you prefer one to the other? Your decision about what type of food to feed your cat may actually come down to more than just you, or your cat’s, personal preference. It turns out that there are benefits to each type, and reasons why you might want to pick one over the other. Keep reading to discover the benefits of wet and dry food, along with reasons to choose one or the other.

Wet Food

Think about the last time you cooked something incredibly aromatic. Some roasted garlic in the oven, or even a batch of cookies. Now imagine your sense of smell is 14 times stronger than it currently is. Wet food provides a stronger aromatic experience, and with those strong sniffers, smell is a great way to stimulate your cat’s appetite. The texture of wet food also plays a huge role in its palatability to your cat. On top of that, wet food inherently contains more water, boosting water intake for your cat. If your cat isn’t much of a drinker, wet food can help keep them hydrated, providing support to their hardworking kidneys and urinary systems.

Pros:

  • High moisture content
  • Lower caloric density, so you can feed a larger portion compared to dry food
  • Easier to add in/hide medications if the need arises

Cons:

  • Can be pricier than some dry foods
  • Needs to be kept in fridge once opened
  • Does not stay fresh as long once opened

Dry Food

Dry kibble is great for the same reason that dry foods are — they last longer without going bad. Its low water content keeps it from spoiling, making it easy and convenient to store. Mind you, once that bag is open, the food won’t stay fresh forever. Unlike wet food, it won’t dry out if left in your cat’s bowl, making it the ideal solution for the grazing cat in your life. Some dry foods are also specifically created to help control plaque and tartar levels on your kitty’s teeth, an important step in maintaining good oral hygiene, but in that case, this is the only food your cat should be eating.

Pros:

  • Stays fresh longer than wet food once opened
  • Good for grazers
  • More cost effective

Cons:

  • Higher caloric density, so portion sizes may seem small
  • If your cat doesn’t spend enough time at the water dish, dry foods can contribute to hydration related issues, like constipation.
  • Dry food isn’t always the best choice for cats with urinary tract issues. If your cat is a kibble connoisseur who also suffers from crystals or stones, speak to your veterinarian about specialty diets certified with an S/O Index. These foods are formulated to support urinary health.

The Old Mix ‘n Match

If you like the individual benefits of wet and dry food, a reasonable third option is to feed your cat a combination of both types. Should you choose a mixed food approach, you will need to pay close attention to the amount of each food type that you feed. Feeding your cat its full energy requirement from both the wet and dry food (essentially a double dose) will lead to a chubby cat in a hurry, which has its own negative health implications. A chat with your veterinarian can help you determine the right portions of each food to keep both you and your cat hungry. Lastly, the introduction of mixed feeding, or any dietary change, should be done gradually to help prevent stomach upset.

What’s the Right Answer?

Ultimately, the type of food you go with is up to you and your kitty. Cats have requirements for several essential nutrients that they must get from their diet, and both wet and dry food can meet your cat’s needs. Moreover, it’s important that the food you choose is palatable. No benefits are gained if your picky eater turns their nose up at the food you put in front of them. Every pet is unique, and finding the right food for your particular cat can help him or her stay healthy and live a long, happy life.

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