Feed Me! Is Dry Food or Wet Food Better for Cats?

Cats are notoriously picky eaters. One day, they’ll slick clean their bowl, then the next day they’ll turn their nose up at the exact same flavor. Sometimes just getting your kitty to eat anything is a true miracle. But when all is said and done, as a cat guardian you want your furbaby to eat food that is healthy and good for them. 

But what is that?

It’s no secret that there are endless cat food companies vying for the attention—and money—of pet parents. Some have catchy jingles. Some have celebrity endorsements. Some serve you ads on Instagram nonstop. While I can’t tell you which brand to buy (after all, your cat will likely have a say in that matter), I can help shed some light on why wet cat food is better than dry cat food. 

Before we get started, let me just say that I’m not a veterinarian. Please don’t take any of the following as medical advice, and always consult your trusted veterinarian about your cat’s diet. (Although, you should know that many vets have deals with cat food companies, so be wary of that when they’re endorsing a certain type and consider getting a second professional opinion…)

What your cat eats matters. 

Like I said before, some days just getting your cat to eat anything at all can be a win. But as you’re navigating nutrition for your kitty, you need to know that what they eat matters. Just like with humans, when your cat consumes high-quality nutrients, they have a much more high-quality life. 

Why wet cat food is better for your kitty. 

Let’s cut to the chase. Wet cat food is superior to dry cat food (or kibble, as many call it). There’s absolutely no question about that. Chances are, your cat has already told you this by running to you the second you pop open a can. But in case you still aren’t convinced, here’s why wet food is so much healthier for your cat:

Wet cat food is less processed.

You can tell this just by looking at the food. Kibble is dry, man-made chunks of processed food, where a good wet food will actually look like chunks of meat. The less processed the food is, the closer it is to what your kitty would eat in nature. 

Wet cat food contains more moisture. 

Cats don’t have a very high thirst drive, so they must get a majority of their water from the food that they eat. Wet cat food has a much higher moisture content than dry, helping to keep your kitty hydrated. This is so important, especially since a large percentage of cats will suffer from kidney problems as they age. 

Wet cat food has more protein. 

Unlike humans, cats are obligate carnivores. Their digestive tracts are made to handle meat and very few carbohydrates. Wet food provides a much better balance of these nutrients than dry. Just be sure to choose a flavor that isn’t overloaded with rice or other fillers. 

Wet cat food helps manage weight. 

Wet cat food is typically less calorically dense than kibble. This is great news for chunky cats who love to eat. Wet food will help keep their weight under control—just as long as you aren’t giving them too many cans a day!

Dry cat food can still have benefits. 

I’ll play devil’s advocate here for just a second, because we all know no two cats are the exact same. Kibble does serve a purpose for some cats, mainly if:

Your cat won’t eat anything else. 

If your kitty goes on a hunger strike, go ahead and give them some kibble. Just be sure to choose a trusted formula with high protein, little carbs, and the best ingredients possible. 

Your cat needs to put on weight.

Just like how wet food can be great for overweight cats, dry food can help underweight cats pack on some extra pounds. Some kibble can also be appropriate if your kitty needs a special prescription diet. 

You will be gone all day. 

If you’ll be gone during the hours that your cat needs to be fed, it’s worth investing in an automatic feeder that can distribute a set amount of kibble to them while you’re away. Just be sure to give them a can of wet cat food when you return! 

A healthy cat is a happy cat. 

The bottom line is that we all want our cats to be happy and healthy. For some, that looks like the optimal diet of raw, wet cat food. For others, that simply means getting their picky eater to take a bite of kibble. Even if it takes time, try to transition your kitty to a wet food diet if at all paws-ible. Your patience and commitment could help them to live a longer, better life.

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