Choose Between Wet Or Dry Food For Cats
Cats are foodies who enjoy different cat food flavours and textures. And with exotic flavours, such as salmon, tuna, beef, dairy, shrimp, and chicken, as well as different varieties like wet, dry, complementary, and complete, cat foods available in the market, it can get overwhelming for cat parents to choose the right one for their royal kittiness. So, if you too are wondering whether wet or dry cat food is better or what is complete and complementary cat foods, this article is for you. With this article, you can easily devise an appropriate meal schedule for your furry friend so that it can enjoy all the special cat food benefits.,
Classification of Cat Food based on:
When it comes to nutrition adequacy, cat foods can be of two types, nutritional cat food and complementary cat food. Nutritional cat food is generally perfect for growing and adult cats as it contains all the vital nutrients required by cats. They are high in protein and fat, which are greatly needed by growing cats for rapid physical development. Complimentary cat foods are used as supplements and are advised by veterinarian doctors to make sure your feline friend is getting all the essential nutrients.
The nutritional requirement in cats varies from one stage to the other. Till six to eight weeks of age, kittens are unable to chew and digest solid food, so the main source of their nutrition is colostrum or mother’s milk. As they grow older, cats gradually shift to solid foods. They also lose their ability to digest milk, so it would be unwise to feed milk to adult cats. Instead, they should be fed a combination of wet and dry cat foods. Senior and geriatric cats, with age, show signs of indigestion, and instead of offering solid foods, must be completely shifted to wet cat food, or home-cooked food such as savoury broths.
Depending on the price, cat food is generally categorised into two types – economical and premium. As the name suggests, economical cat food is available within an affordable budget, mostly comprising kibbles. Certain wet cat foods are also available at economical prices. Premium cat foods are mostly wet cat foods and cat treats, which often contain high-quality ingredients and come in a variety of textures and flavors.
Cat diet can change depending on their health condition, and it is important to keep an eye out for possible symptoms that might indicate an underlying health concern. Continuously vomiting or diarrhoea are prominent signs of your feline friend being under the weather, so it is important to put the cat treats and exotic cat food on hold for some time. Instead, you can introduce them to a bland diet that can be easily digested.
It is important to adjust your feline buddy’s meals on the basis of its lifestyle. Cats usually groom themselves, so it is not uncommon for cats to throw up hairballs due to the accumulation of loose hair. Continuously throwing up hairballs can be a potential reason behind irritation in cats. Shifting your cat to a hairball food might be a wise idea to help the situation. Similarly, if your enigmatic kitty is averse to drinking water, it is a wise idea to serve it more wet food than dry kibbles.
Wet Cat Food VS Dry Cat Food
Depending on their moisture content, cat foods are usually broadly classified into the following - wet cat food, dry cat food, and semi-moist cat foods or treats.
Dry food (<14% water content)
Dry cat food is probably the most popular cat food given its long shelf life, variety, and affordable price. However, kibbles typically have a moisture content of about 14% and is relatively drier than wet cat food.
Wet food (>60% water content)
Available as mousse, chunks in gravy, jelly and loaf textures wet cat foods have a considerably higher water content than kibbles, almost as high as 60%. Though wet food is perishable, as long as it is stored in cans, wet cat food can be edible even after weeks. However, it is generally more expensive than dry cat food and has a lower caloric content.
Semi-moist food i.e., treats (14 - 59% water content)
Semi-moist cat foods or treats are not meant for regular consumption as they have a high caloric content than wet or dry cat food and hence can lead to obesity if fed in excess. Instead, one of the special cat food benefits of treats is that you can use them as delicious surprises or tasty rewards for your kitty while getting it to learn new tricks, or simply to bond and have some precious moments together!
Benefits of Wet Cat Food
Wet cat food, in addition to containing all the vital nutrients to keep your feline friend well nourished, has a lot of moisture, which can have the following wet cat food benefits:
Cats, as mischievous and adorable as they are, do not share the best relationship with water, which affects their everyday water intake. However, if your cat does not drink sufficiently, it may suffer from poor urinary health over time. So, wet cat food is a great way of making sure that your cat stays hydrated all day long, eliminating the risks of urinary diseases.
If you are questioning yourself what are the benefits of feeding wet cat food, wet cat food offers an effective solution to encourage weight management in cats. Since wet cat food has high water content and fewer calories, it helps in avoiding the risks of feline obesity. In addition, wet cat food is rich in nutrients that improve bowel and digestive health, making sure your feline friend is able to lead a healthy life.
Dry cat food, if consumed for a long time, can leave your feline friend dehydrated, and lead to renal problems and constipation. However, since wet cat food has high water content, it makes sure that your kitty is well-hydrated, significantly reducing the risks of feline constipation and indigestion. The higher moisture content is one of the best wet cat food benefits that also improves the regular bowel movement in cats.
Wet cat foods are rich in flavour, making them your feline buddy's choice food! And since it is high in moisture too, it is easier for your kitty to eat, as opposed to kibbles. In addition, cats are picky eaters and prefer having variations in their meals rather than having the same food every day. Wet cat food, therefore, provides you with the best solution as it comes in several mouth-watering flavours. Cats are also fond of the smooth, rich texture of wet cat foods.
Better water intake
To be able to properly digest all the animal protein and fat they consume, adult cats must drink a sufficient quantity of water every day. However, if your kitty is not a fan of drinking water, wet cat food is an amazing alternative to improve their water intake and ensure that your feline friend stays well-hydrated. This is also one of the primary benefits of feeding wet cat food.
Benefits of dry cat food
The primary benefit that comes with feeding your cat dry food is its unparalleled convenience. Unlike wet food, which comes in canned packages, dry food is available as easy-to-use pouches. Simply tear, and pour out the kibbles into your furry buddy’s bowl. Dry food does not spoil easily, even at room temperature, so they are edible for a long time.
Allows free feeding
Free feeding is a common technique used by cat parents. It involves keeping your pet’s bowl filled with kibbles at all times letting your feline eat as much as it wants, whenever it wants. This method is great for cat parents who go out every day for work and allows cats to be self-dependent.
Easier to use
Contrary to wet food, which must be gently warmed to be made more appealing to cats, dry food requires no such preparation. Instead, just pour it out in your feline friend's food bowl in measured quantities, and it is ready to be devoured! Dry cat food also comes in convenient resealable pouches and is easy to maintain.
Dry cat food, especially kibble, has an amazing benefit on your feline’s dental health. Since dry cat food is chewy, it prevents any bacterial or plaque buildup in your cat’s teeth. On average, cats with a dry food-based diet are known to have lower risks of gingivitis or tartar than those dependent on a wet cat food-based diet.
Drawbacks of Wet Cat Food
One of the biggest drawbacks of wet cat food is the high price. Save some brands, most wet cat foods can burn a hole through your purse. So, unless you have some disposable finance, wet cat food might not be a feasible choice for everyday feeding. However, you can still treat your cat to some wet food once in a while because these bundles of joy absolutely deserve it!
While dry cat food can be let out for a long time without getting spoiled, the same cannot be said for wet cat food. Usually, wet cat food is available in canned packages to preserve them. However, once opened, wet cat food needs to be served almost immediately. Due to the high moisture content, wet cat food has a shorter shelf-life and can go bad soon once the can is opened.
Risk of contamination
Another prominent drawback of wet cat food is the risk of contamination. Unless preserved in a cold, dry place, wet cat food can be an active breeding ground for bacteria, due to the high moisture content. Other than getting spoiled by bacterial action, wet cat food is easily contaminated by chemical reactions if left unchecked.
Drawbacks of Dry Cat Food
Dry cat food, especially when free-fed, can lead to several health complications such as constipation and renal diseases. Most cats also tend to overfeed while free feeding, which might lead to obesity too because dry cat food is higher in calories than wet cat food. So, it is not recommended to feed dry cat food every day for all meals.
Low water content
It is important to make sure that your furry friend is adequately hydrated. In this regard, dry cat food might not be a good choice, since the moisture content in dry cat food is often lower than 14%. In addition, once consumed, dry cat food requires more water to digest, leaving your feline friend further dehydrated.
As discussed, dry and wet cat food both have their individual benefits and drawbacks. This is why mixed feeding with both dry and wet cat food is the best. Mix feeding can benefit you as well as your feline friend in several ways. Not only is it more economical, but it also provides your kitty with a balanced, nutritional diet. Mixing dry and wet cat food makes sure your kitty enjoys the dental privileges of dry cat food while staying hydrated from the high moisture content in the wet cat food. And since wet cat food comes in a variety of different flavors, you can bring a little variety to your cat's meals too!
Is it OK to only feed a cat wet food?
Yes, it is absolutely okay to put your kitty on a diet comprising only wet cat food. However, wet cat food is extremely expensive and spoils easily too. So, you can't free-feed your kitty if they are on a wet-cat-food-only diet.
What is better for cats, dry or wet food?
Should I feed my cat wet or dry food is a common question faced by new cat parents. Although wet cat foods are expensive, they are still the better choice since they have high moisture content, making them easy for your kitty to digest, keeps it well-hydrated, and provides all the vital nutrients for its well-being.
Do cats need wet food every day?
As enticed as cats are by the rich flavours of wet cat foods, your feline buddy does not need to eat wet food every day to stay healthy. Not only is wet cat food expensive, but feeding your cat wet cat food every day might spoil its appetite.
Can you mix wet and dry cat food?
Yes! Mixing wet and dry cat food is the best since it’s not only economical but also provides your little munchkin with all the vital nutrients. With wet and dry food mixed together, your cat can enjoy the best of both worlds, such as unparalleled flavour and texture, improved dental health, and as one of the wet cat food benefits, stay well-hydrated too.
How much wet food equals dry food cat?
Wet and dry cat food have different calorie content and hence should not be compared. However, since wet cat food contains fewer calories than dry cat food, the amount of wet cat food should be more than the kibbles you feed. If you are unsure of the measurement, just follow the instructions given on the pack of the dry cat food pouch and the wet cat food container.