You want to take great care of your kitty’s health and wellbeing—and that includes what you put in their food bowl.
However, if you’ve ever tried to search online “which type of food is best for cats”, you may have encountered differing opinions and information overload.
So, how do you decide what to feed?
Here are some considerations that may make your choice simple and stress-free.
What’s Better for Cats: Canned Food or Dry?
With all the information and differing opinions out there, how do you know what’s best for your kitty?
When it comes to nutrition and choosing a diet, the answer largely depends on your individual cat’s health needs, preferences, and lifestyle. First, it’s important to know what your options are.
What is Canned Cat Food?
Canned food is just what it sounds like—cat food that comes in a can. This category of food also includes other “wet” forms of cat food (cat food with a higher water content), such as food that comes in pouches.
Wet cat food may come as a pâté, which is a blended version with the same consistency throughout. Or, it may come as chunks or shreds in gravy.
What is Dry Cat Food?
“Dry” food usually refers to kibbles, which have a lower moisture content than canned foods and are typically stored in bags.
Most types of cat food fall into one of these two categories: wet or dry.
What’s the Difference Anyway?
The biggest difference between dry and wet food for cats is moisture, with dry food averaging only 5-10% water content, and cans containing 75-85% water.
In general, kibble contains more carbohydrates than wet food. That’s a necessary component for the cooking process. When it comes to protein and fat, however, the difference isn’t so straightforward.
On average, canned food contains a higher percentage of protein and fat. However, the numbers can vary widely depending on brand, recipe, or formulation.
Here’s why these differences matter:
Health Considerations of Wet Food
Cats are “obligate carnivores.” This means, unlike dogs who are more omnivorous, a cat’s diet is primarily carnivorous.
Furthermore, increased water intake can help prevent or manage certain health conditions, like kidney failure (a very common health issue for senior cats) and lower urinary tract diseases.
If your cat is afflicted with one of these conditions, they may benefit from canned food. Otherwise, dry food is a healthy option for many cats.
Health Considerations of Dry Food
Despite containing more carbohydrates than wet food, the carbohydrate content of high-quality kibble-based diets is appropriate—very healthy and balanced for kitties.
Just because your cat eats kibbles doesn’t mean they’ll be dehydrated—they’ll just drink more water from their bowl or fountain to meet their body’s water needs.
Dry food does offer one advantage compared to wet food—benefits to dental health.
Since kibbles have a rougher, more textured surface than wet food, your cat chews the kibbles and the texture can help to remove dental plaque, kind of like a crunchy toothbrush.
Dry food certainly won’t replace other dental care measures recommended by your veterinarian, but, when it comes to preventing dental disease, every little bit helps.
There are high-quality wet and dry cat foods available for you to choose from.
So, as long as your cat’s food is nutritionally complete and balanced, you can choose wet or dry (or a combination of both) based on your personal preferences, and your kitty’s tastes.
Some considerations include:
- Storage and shelf life. How long does the food stay good once it’s opened? Can your cat eat it before then, or will a lot of food be wasted?
- Cleanup time. Does your cat make a mess with their kibbles or wet food?
- Feeding schedule. Wet food can’t be left out for hours or days, so you’ll need to plan when you feed.
- Your preferences. Some pet parents don’t like the look or smell of certain types of food, or the way it makes their kitty’s breath smell.
- Cost considerations.
The Other Big Question: Will Your Cat Eat It?
Your cat may have a strong preference (or disdain) for certain foods based on:
- Texture (Some cats prefer wet over dry, or vice versa)
- Style (For example, pâté or chunks/shreds in gravy)
- Temperature (Especially if opened cans are refrigerated)
Preferences vary highly between individual cats.
A gradual food change, done over one to two weeks, may help your kitty accept a new food. Sometimes, cats just won’t eat a certain flavor or texture.
Feeding Tips for Your Cat
If your cat enjoys canned food, you can choose to feed a canned-only diet. Or, you can do a combination of wet and dry—feeding canned food as a treat, or as a topper on kibble.
The latter options can add water and palatability to your cat’s kibble-based diet.
Whatever you choose, just remember the following:
- Focus on quality. For most pets, the quality of food is more important than whether the food is dry or canned.
- Feed an appropriate amount to maintain your cat’s weight and avoid obesity.
- If feeding canned food exclusively, be sure your cat eats ALL the food (not just licking the gravy) to get all the nutrients they need.
- If feeding kibble, keep plenty of water available for your kitty to drink.
When you feed your cat, it’s a special time for bonding between you and your pet; and when you know you’re taking care of their health needs, you’ll have the peace of mind to fully enjoy that bonding experience with your feline companion.
From our family to yours,
Fromm Family Pet Food