Wet vs Dry Cat Food. Which is better?
As a pet owner, have you been in a dilemma for having to choose between dry or wet food? With the vast variety of dry, moist, canned food, you may have felt contemplated to purchase all types of food for your cat's well-being. Hence choosing the right kind and healthiest food for your pet can be a challenging task. Not to worry, we have consolidated a selection of the best cat food around the world here, at nekohouse and in this post, you will learn about the difference between wet and dry cat food, along with its benefits. This should assist you in decision making for your four-legged friend, and make your life a little easier.
Factors to consider when choosing cat food
Your cat's preference should be considered upon choosing the type of food to purchase. However, here are some essential factors that you should take into consideration as well:
- Weight of your cat
- Age of the cat (kitten/adult or senior)
- Nutritional profile of the food (complete or complementary)
- Overall health and presence of health condition (if any)
- Lifestyle (indoor or outdoor)
- Cost (economic or premium)
You may decide on wet food, or dry kibbles after weighing these factors and preferably, after consultation with your vet.
Before we dive into the differences between wet and dry cat food, we have to recognise that cats require high level of protein, and their diet should be of high protein level, low carbohydrate, and preferably, a good amount of vitamins and minerals.
How is wet cat food different from dry food?
From water to nutrition - the main difference between wet and dry food lies in hydration.
Water content between wet and dry cat food varies humongously. The moisture level in cat food meant the water intake and hydration your pet consume for the day.
- Dry food consist of less than 14% water content
- Wet food has more than 60% of water content
- Semi-moist food has water content between 14% to 59%.
Wet food has a higher amount of water content. On the other hand, dry food contains a higher amount of dry matter, including vitamins, fats, proteins, and carbohydrates.
For manufacturing canned food, meat (fresh or frozen), which are a source of protein is added to grains. The meat and grains are then blended, and water, minerals, and vitamins are added. The blended food is placed into cases of cans, heat sterilized to kill pathogens to avoid contamination. The shelf life of canned wet food is longer than that of dry food as it is sterilized at high temperatures. However, upon the opening of canned food, wet food is more perishable than the dry counterpart.
Dry food or kibble is made by mixing wet and dry ingredients under high pressure and temperature.Thereafter, kibbles is cut, dried and cooled. Lastly, kibble is coated with fat to make it more palatable.
Certain brand of canned wet food provide diets that are grain-free, high moisture, and generally catered only to cats. Whereas some dry cat food brands may contain higher moisture level as compared to other common brands in the market.
The nutritional profile of wet and dry cat food is quite different. The dry cat food has a higher amount of carbohydrates, while proteins and fats in the canned food depend upon the type of diet.
Here's a classic example of nutritional levels between wet and dry of the same cat food brand:
Moisture content - 12%
Moisture content – 80%
Fiber content– 4.3%
Fiber content – 1.5%
Fat content – 8.5%
Fat content – 2.0%
Protein content – 38%
Protein content – 12%
Ash – 6%
Ash – 3%
Carb content – 31.2%
Carb content – 1.5%
Dy food has higher nutritional level while wet food contains higher amount of water.
Benefits of wet canned food
When fed dry food, cats concentrate on their urine to preserve water instead of drinking more water, leading to dehydration. Therefore, the best way to avoid dehydration in the cats is to serve wet cat food.
Dry cat food consist of low moisture content, and on top of that, feline food contains high sodium content that leads to water retention habit. Due to their low thirst drive, cats are less likely to drink water. Such situation can lead to dehydration which further develops into other health complications. Thus, it is recommended to feed canned wet food with high levels of moisture content to encourage water intake and fulfill water requirement with the help of food.
Prevent urinary tract infections
Dehydration can lead to different medical conditions such as kidney stones, urinary tract infections, and feline idiopathic cystitis. Wet food may protect your cat by preventing such conditions with higher level of moisture intake. Besides, cats with certain health conditions like diabetes, kidney disease, or lower urinary tract infection require high levels of water intake, which could be fulfilled through the consumption of wet food.
Dehydration leads to constipation, hence, by providing wet food to your cat, such conditions can be prevented.
Help in weight loss
High water content in wet food enable cats to consume less, thus acting as a catalyst in weight reduction. Water does not add to the calories; therefore, canned food provides low energy density, approximately calorie count of 0.8–1.5 kcal/g, while dry food provides 3–4 kcal/g calorie count.
Easy consumption for kittens
Young kittens have a sensitive stomach and very small teeth, it would be easier chew and digest wet food. Kittens have higher energy demands as they will go through the growth process within the first few weeks or months of their lives. Their weight increases twice or thrice within months from their birth. Thus, wet food is a preferred option for kittens for easy digestion where dry food would be provide higher energy levels for kittens.
Benefits of dry cat food
Dry cat food has its fair share of benefits like;
Safe food option
Dry food has low moisture content; thus, you can pour it into the bowl and leave it all day long. It will be safe to eat for the cat. But since canned food has high moisture, bacteria grow in it if left out for more than 4 hours. Dry kibble is also less perishable than the canned food. You can also keep dry kibble in an airtight container, and it will stay fresh.
Around 70% of cats suffer from dental diseases by age 3, which are rather easily preventable. Dry kibble cat food is better for dental health than canned food. However, feeding only a kibble diet doesn't solve the problem here. You need to follow a complete dental care routine that includes daily brushing to prevent dental diseases.
Dry cat food is cheaper than canned one as it contains less meat, thus a preferable option for cat owners with a tight budget. Another plus point is that you can leave dry food out for a longer time freeze in the refrigerator though it will change the color of the food.
The great debate of which one is better?
The biggest confusion for pet owners is about what to feed their cats. But why is there a need to decide between one if you can feed your cat both types of foods in combination? Not only will the cat stay healthy while eating wet food, but it will also enjoy the food when combined with dry kibble.
Go for the combination food:
You can let your cat enjoy the benefits of both worlds then why limiting her to one option. You can feed a combination of foods at one time or let the cat eat each type of food alternatively. However, you can mix both food formulas when they meet quality standards and the nutritional requirements of a pet, according to professional vets.
Every cat is different, so does its requirements. Hence, it is important to consult a vet before doing so. Pet owners prefer to mix wet and dry food because of several reasons.
- It is more appetizing
Cats love to eat various food; hence they are more likely to enjoy their food when combined. Most of the time, cats like to eat wet food because of its strong aroma and diverse texture. They get excited by even smelling it. You can use wet food to lure your cat into eating dry food, filling her need to get combination foods.
- It is more pocket friendly
Wet cat food is expensive than a dry one; that is why most pet owners stick to the dry kibble only. A combination of both dry and wet food enables your cat to get the goodness of both worlds while keeping the price affordable.
Your pet will get to enjoy a variety of food under a budget.
The paradox here is that cats are carnivores and can happily survive on wet food alone. They do not require carbohydrates which many food brands contains. But on the other hand, cats are nibblers at nature. Cats do not prefer to eat their food in one go; instead, they take their time and eat the food in more than one sitting. However the issue is that you wet food cannot be left out for long duration as it could easily go bad within hours.
So what is the best solution? The combination of wet canned food and dry kibbles. It is best recommended to feed your cat both types of foods to maximise the health advantages, nutritional benefits of both food, and to keep your cat from getting bored of the same diet.