Is Wet or Dry Cat Food Better?

Most commercial cat foods provide an excellent source of nutrition. Finding the best food for your feline depends on several factors including your budget, your cat’s weight, and the health of your cat. Whether to feed your cat canned, dry, or a mix of food is a decision that both you and your veterinarian should make together, to provide the best health for your cat.


The Difference Between Wet and Dry Cat Food 

The difference between dry and canned food is the amount of water that the food contains. Dry food contains approximately 10% of water, and the other 90% of dry matter is carbohydrates, fats, and vitamins. Can food has much more water, approximately 70%, compared to dry.

This is important to think about when choosing what to feed your cat, in particular if it has certain health problems that may benefit from being given more water.

Because of the high moisture content in canned food, these foods are usually made with fresh or frozen meat with a protein that comes from meat. The meat is blended with fats, water, and vitamins and placed in a can where a heating process eliminates any foodborne pathogens.

Dry food is made by taking meat, minerals, vitamins, and fats and cooking them at a high temperature and using pressure. This makes the starches more easily digestible. Fat is then sprayed on the food to make sure it is tasty.

Typically, dry cat food has more carbohydrates than canned food. The fat and protein in canned versus dry food may vary based on diet type. Specific formulations of dry cat food may also contain probiotics.


Pros and Cons to Canned Cat Food

The largest benefit to feeding your cat a diet of canned food is the high water content. Felines with specific health conditions such as diabetes, lower urinary tract disease, or kidney disease, benefit from more water in their diet.

Can food is typically more expensive than dry food, so this may be a determining factor in your decision. Once you have opened canned food, it has a shelf life of 24 hours and it must be put in the refrigerator. If your feline does not finish their wet food, you should put it in the refrigerator in the proper container or throw it away. If you leave canned food out for longer than a few hours, you run the risk of contamination or causing your cat to have an upset stomach.


Pros and Cons to Dry Cat Food

Dry cat food is not as expensive as canned food, so people on a budget or those who feed cats in the community may like this option.

Dry food can be left out much longer and does not have to be stored in the refrigerator. This is the best option if you feed your cats freestyle, meaning they can eat whenever they want. However, whatever they have not eaten by the end of the day should be thrown away.

Studies show eating dry food may lead to cat obesity. This could be because many cats are fed dry food, and are often fed freely, and their owners don’t realize how much they are eating in a day. It also causes the opposite problem because it’s hard to realize if your cat isn’t eating when they graze. The amount your feline eats each day should be measured out for both reasons.


Feeding Combination of Wet and Dry Food

Some people choose to feed their cats a combination of both. This is useful with cats who need a high water intake, but enjoy eating dry better than canned food. By mixing them together you are able to get the benefits of them both. Talk with your veterinarian to find the best balance if you are looking to mix dry cat food with wet cat food. Your vet can help you know how to portion out the two food options and help you calculate how much your cat should be eating.

Since each cat is different, you should take into account the age of your cat, it’s current body condition and its health.


Importance of a Well-Balanced Diet

Whether or not you choose to feed canned or dry food to your cat, it’s important to give them a well-balanced, commercial diet to make sure your cat gets the minerals and vitamins they need. Do not feed them home-cooked or homemade foods unless it is specifically formulated by a veterinarian specialized in making food for cats. These foods can be deficient in minerals and vitamins, which could lead to feline heart disease.

By involving your veterinarian in the decision about feeding your cat, you will be assured they are getting the most appropriate, delicious and nutritious meal possible. 



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