Dry vs. Wet Cat Food

May 6, 2011

I am often asked, “Which is better – dry or canned cat food?” The answer for cats is more complex than for dogs. Their needs are far more complex. Unlike dogs, cats don’t always drink enough water to satisfy their bodies’ requirements for moisture. For this reason, it is advisable to give a cat some canned food in its diet.

Cats are finicky. If a cat was raised on dry food, switching to canned won’t be easy and may take weeks to accomplish. (Read  “Feeding Fluffy: How to Choose the Perfect Cat Food,” for suggestions about making the switch.) Cats don’t always like food that is good for them, and that complicates the task of switching foods. Just think of children and junk food. They would much rather eat chips and dip and candy than vegetables. Cats are no different. If they have been exposed to junk pet food, they won’t appreciate the change to a healthier choice, but it can be done.

Labels share Important Information: Your cat needs healthy food to thrive. To find it, learn to read the labels on packages of commercial cat food. Look for:

  • 1 or 2 high-quality meats in the first 4 ingredients
  • Vitamins, Taurine, amino acids,
  • Healthy carbohydrates, such as barley, brown rice, oats
  • Natural preservatives and flavorings
  • Very few or no fillers

Many commercial cat foods contain bad ingredients. By that, I mean that some ingredients are just bad for cats; others have no nutritional value and should not be fed to your cat for that reason. Avoid:

  • By-products (any kind)
  • Animal Digest
  • Corn, wheat, soy
  • Chemical preservatives, flavor and colors
  • A diet of all dry food.

Just buy the best quality food you can afford. If your pet has any medical issues, discuss its diet with your veterinarian and follow his or her advice.


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