For cat owners, one of the biggest dilemmas that they face is wet cat food vs dry cat food. After all, they do seem to serve the same purpose – to fill up the belly of your cat.
Now pause for a moment and think about it. We humans have access to a great variety of food, and each have their own pros and cons. For example, a hamburger with french fries is a really tasty meal that most will enjoy eating. However, not everyone will enjoy what it brings along – the calories that they have to burn off to keep themselves in shape. On the other hand, a green salad with a fruit cup as dessert will be a healthier choice, but it may not bring as much pleasure to the mouth. The thing in common, though, is that they satisfy your hunger for food.
The same applies to cats and the food that they eat too. Apart from filling their bellies, different foods provide different nutrition, and as the people who decide for their pets, owners like me and you should pay attention to what we feed them.
Wet Cat Food
Wet cat food is manufactured to mimic what cats would get when they hunt for prey in the wild. This will mean high moisture content and a heavier portion of meat proteins as compared to dry cat food. However, due to the packaging and the heavy meat contents, this will often mean that wet food is more costly as compared to dry food.
Usually, for cat owners who opt to feed their cats with wet food (which is 60%-80% moisture depending on the brand that they select), they have less to worry about dehydration (and the problems that comes with it) as the cats are already consuming a certain amount of water when they are eating their food.
If your cat is a bit too plump, opting for cat food might also induce slight weight loss due to the high moisture content. The water in the food makes your cat feels full even though he/she is consuming less dry matter as compared to when he/she is fed with dry food.
Under special circumstances, such as having a kitten, a cat who lost some teeth, or a cat that is recovering from an illness, wet food will allow them to have an easier time eating. Wet food is usually softer than dry food, making it easier to chew. The moisture within the wet food will also help in the digestion process.
Do ensure that you clean up immediately after your cat has finished his/her meal if you feed him/her wet food. This is to prevent the growth of bacteria or the attraction of unwanted guests such as ants and cockroaches. You might also need to clean your cat’s mouth, if he/she is a messy eater.
Dry Cat Food
Dry cat foods arise for the convenience of the owners: it is much easier to store and requires little to no preparation beforehand, which is why it is very popular in the very busy world today. It can be left in the food bowl for a longer period, and cats make less mess when they eat dry food.
If you are unable to adhere to a regular feeding schedule (or your cat’s tummy doesn’t have a regular schedule for going hungry) then dry food will most probably suit the both of you as you can leave the food out whenever you have the time and your cat can choose to eat whenever he/she feels hungry. Do ensure that you place a bowl of water (with a pinch of salt) nearby so your cat can remember to hydrate himself/herself.
Dry food is also better for your cat’s teeth. This is because dry food have a lesser chance of being stuck onto gums or teeth as compared to wet food, which may lead to bacterial growth in the mouth. However, this does not mean that your cat will not need oral care anymore – just not as frequent as if you keep him/her on wet food diet.
Other Possible Foods
If your cat is a picky eater that doesn’t really like to ingest both wet food and dry food, there’s always the third option: homemade diets.
Usually, homemade diets will consist of either wet food mixed with human food, or purely human food prepared in a special way. Diet will primarily be meat (usually chicken or fish), with some carbohydrates (eg. rice or corn) or fiber (eg. sweet potato) that is microwaved or steamed.
Do note that making meals for your cats can be a very time-consuming task, since most homemade diets will require you to cook the food and leaving it to cool before it can be.
Long story short, dry cat food is optimal for owners who prioritizes cost, convenience and effective feeding due to work schedules or other various reasons, while wet cat food is a better overall choice that is suitable for all cats and has many benefits such as reducing the risks of dehydration and inducing weight loss.
However, do note that the brand of the food is also very important. Although wet food is a better choice than dry food, a good-quality dry food may well serve your cat better than a poor-quality wet food. You can see the list of recommended cat food here.
My suggestion will be to feed your cats with a mixture of wet and dry food: wet food when you have the time to prepare and clean up, and dry food when you are really in a rush for time.
My own story: When Jaguar first came to our home, he was just a 4-month old kitten. We thought that he was too young to eat dry kibbles, while he simply refused to eat wet canned food. In the end, we had to keep him on a homemade diet for quite a few months before he is willing to consume a mix of wet and dry food now.
(The picture to the right is a photo of Jaguar and Monkey eating a mix of wet canned food with brown rice, and look at the mess they made!)
If you have any questions that you want to ask, anything you wish to clarify, or simply want to express your thoughts and feelings, feel free to leave a comment!