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Dry or Wet Cat Food?

Dry or Wet Cat Food?

Among the many decisions you make for your cat, one of the most perplexing is choice of food. Should you feed your cat wet or dry food? Both have advantages and disadvantages. Let’s take a look at both:

Wet Cat Food

Along with probably being your cat’s preference, wet cat food has other advantages as well. Wet cat food helps build strong bones and muscles. Because it has water in it, wet cat food helps your cat stay hydrated and reduces the chance of bladder problems. It also contains more meat and is thus higher in protein and fatty acids. Because wet food is similar to a cat’s natural diet in the wild, it’s good for their kidneys and digestive systems.

However, wet cat food does have its disadvantages. Because wet food is more expensive, you can spend twice as much on cat food than you would on dry food. With multiple cats, this quickly adds up. Wet cat food is also messier and more difficult to clean up than dry food. The strong smell can be a little repugnant to some cat owners and the empty cans start to smell bad after awhile.

Dry Cat Food

The advantages of dry cat food correspond with the disadvantages of wet food above. For starters, it’s cheaper than wet food; making it more economical for those with multiple cats. Dry food is convenient and not messy; it also does not spoil as easily, so it can be easily stored and stocked. Whereas, wet food must be stored cold once opened, dry food does not need refrigeration. Chewing pieces of dry food keeps their teeth and jaws healthy. Because dental disease is common in cats, dry food is often recommended. Cats that primarily eat canned food should also have something to chew on. The best advantage of dry food perhaps is the lack of pungent odor!

Perhaps, the biggest disadvantage to dry food is its lack of necessary nutrients. Dry food contains much more carbohydrates than cats are naturally accustomed to having. Cats are made to eat meat, not the starches and fillers in dry food. The corn and wheat found in dry foods can cause diarrhea. Cats need a well hydrated diet. Eating a diet of dry food causes them to require more water.

Senior cats and kittens

The question of dry versus wet for seniors and kittens is not easily answered. Many vets recommend kittens start out on a mixed diet of wet and dry food. Kittens started on only one kind of food may never adapt to the other kind. A mixed diet gives kittens the best nutrition combination for their growing needs.

Oftentimes, a senior cat’s dietary needs depend on whether he or she has any health conditions. If your cat is prone to urinary tract problems, he or she should not be given dry food. The same goes for kidney disease or diabetes. However, some vets may recommend prescription dry food for these conditions. It’s best to go with your vet’s recommendation. Generally speaking, a healthy older cat should also be fed a mixed dry and wet diet.

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