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Wet vs Dry?? Scheduled vs free-picking?

post #1 of 28
Thread Starter 
Hi all, what are your opinions on feeding? Is it better to leave food out all the time or to feed at scheduled intervals? How about dry food versus wet food as the main component of the diet? At the moment I have dry food out at all times and I feed her about a tablespoon of wet food at dinner (as recommended by the shelter staff). I'm really paranoid about weight gain. My previous cats have been overweight (though I wasn't in charge at the time). I want to keep this kitty skinny and active!

Thanks
post #2 of 28
I measure free feeed dry ( ie If said cat gets a cup a day I measure the cup and put it in the bowl)... wet food is closer to a natural cat diet and many on here and a number of vets will say it is best ... I have always done wet and dry till one cat moved to canned and raw ...
Many cats self regulate .. ie dont over eat ... but if you have a older or less active cat wet food has oz for oz fewer calories
post #3 of 28
Dry food is not allowed in my house. The carb loads are too high, it dehydrates and from what i have seen there is no benefits to a cat from eating dry food. My cat got diabetes from eating it and i have seen the difference in literally over a thousand cats with diabetes when the transition was made to canned or raw. I have since adopted 2 diabetics. One cat is now diet controlled obn canned and another is on less then half the insulin he was on before and is doing a million times better
My own personal opinion is that dry food is responsible for most blockages, obesity, crf, ibs, allergies, obesity and a host of other problems
I don't just feed any canned either. I feed no gravy foods and no grains. I want a muscle meat as the first ingreiant like chicken and not meal or organ meat
I free feed but also have set meal times when they get fresh food. Cats do like to eat alot of small meals throughout the day

http://www.catinfo.org/
post #4 of 28
I agree in principle that wet food is better than dry. However, I can't feed exclusively wet because of my schedule. I work a 12-hour night shift and with the drive time am gone for a minimum of 14 hours at a time. If I don't get off work on time, or if I take extra time to do some shopping, it can be as much as 16-17 hours. My poor kitties just can't go that long without food, especially since I have a lactating mother and three kittens that will soon be eating solid food.

I give them a meal of wet food just before I leave for work and again when I get home in the morning. I also put out a measured amount of dry food for them to eat while I'm gone. By the time I get home they have usually eaten most of the dry food. I leave a small amount of dry food out all the time, but they don't eat much during the day.

I have recently switched to grain-free dry food which seems to be working well. At least they like it. They get very picky about which wet food they will eat. Two of my cats have a decided preference for beef, will eat chicken if nothing better is offered, and turn their noses up at fish. They also want only food that has a texture similar to chunks of real meat. They won't touch pate and barely tolerate the food that is compressed and cut into cubes.

Do some research on the actual ingredients of various types of food, then choose the one that looks the best to you. You may have to experiment some to find one that your kitty will eat. Sometimes you just have to go with what works.
post #5 of 28
What is best is honestly going to depend n your cat and lifestyle. I don't really think there is a BEST out there. what is best for one, is not best for another. What we find that works for US if feeding some canned food in the morning and leaving dry out all day for free-feed. Mine are still kittens though so this works ok for us.
post #6 of 28
IMO a cats diet should be mostly if not all wet. There's just too much evidence that a long term diet of dry food is responsible for some of the chronic ailments seen in cats today.
post #7 of 28
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the responses everyone. I have a 5 month old kitten. Lots of activity at the moment. I do like the idea of having food available for her to eat whenever she is hungry, but it sounds like I should be feeding her more canned food.

Would a system of one 3oz/85g can, maybe fed in two servings, with free-feed dry (measured daily) be reasonable? I really have no idea what a good serving size is!!!

Thanks!
post #8 of 28
Thread Starter 
Also, for those who feedonly wet, when? How often? I don't have a regular schedule at the moment, which is also why I'm leaning towards keeping some dry food in the diet that is readily available.
post #9 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by bbleho View Post
Also, for those who feedonly wet, when? How often? I don't have a regular schedule at the moment, which is also why I'm leaning towards keeping some dry food in the diet that is readily available.
I feed wet twice a day, morning and evening. I don't believe cats need food available at all times.

Edit: I missed the earlier post where you said you have a kitten. My understanding is that kittens should be given as much food as they want. My comment about how frequently to feed is assuming adult cats. I still wouldn't feed dry though.
post #10 of 28
bbleho-

The solution, as I see it, is that you get yourself educated in Feline Nutrition 101...

The very basic concepts can be found at this link.

The practicalities of those simple concepts, the how-to's, which's, what's can be heard from one of the best Feline Veterinarian-Nutritionists at the website provided by optionken at this link.

I would support your initial conclusion of increasing the wet diet content...to the greatest degree possible. (As to the "how much" - you need to think calories, not ounces initially...Dr. Pierson will help you figure that out in her article.)

The goal: the availability of frequent, small wet meals of high protein and fat, low carbohydrate meat foods throughout the 24-hour day.

You are on the right track!
post #11 of 28
I split the difference, since I work outside the office, have a reasonably long commute of one hour one way, and sometimes have overtime. My adults split a small can of wet food twice a day (when I make my breakfast, and whenever I get home) and I leave a measured amount of dry food down for their nibbling pleasure. I replace the dry food each morning.

My boy was overweight when adopted - with help from my vet regarding my cat's caloric needs, we identified how much wet and dry seemed a good target, and, blessedly, Dante lost three pounds and is a nice healthy weight now. I was always lucky with Dharma - she self-regulates herself - I wish I could do that myself!

Since you really can't leave wet food down more than 30 minutes at a time, for me, with my schedule, I'd definitely leave dry kitten food out for a growing kitty - you can start doing measured amounts when she's matured. If you're frequently home on a daily basis, wet may be manageable - but it can be hard for those with schedules outside the home.

And, honestly IMO, you've got to work out what your cat does well on, what she wants to eat, and what you can get and can afford yourself., and what will work with your daily life Don't beat yourself up over what works for other people - if your cat is healthy, happy, energetic, has a nice coat, and poos & pees well, who can really argue with that? Especially if she's getting regular vet checks to get that objective assessment as well.
post #12 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by darlili View Post
...Since you really can't leave wet food down more than 30 minutes at a time...
bbleho- in case you hadn't gotten to the end of Dr. Pierson's article, she has a few ideas about "leaving out" wet food........all of which work for her (and me) and might very well work for you. By adding a little water to the Wellness grain-free which I use, my guys can munch on wet food whenever they wish.
post #13 of 28
Since you really can't leave wet food down more than 30 minutes at a time, for me, with my schedule, I'd definitely leave dry kitten food out for a growing kitty

Wet food can be left out all day. Even when it gets hard it is still fine and safe to eat
post #14 of 28
For a kitten younger then about 5 months old, I'd leave dry kitten food out and then give a meal of quality canned kitten food when you get home. I don't think its a good idea to leave canned food out more then 30 mins. Better safe then sorry.

Most cats will eat the canned food within 30 mins. And if its left longer, unless they are starving to death, they will not eat "dry" canned food!

After 5 months old, they get 2 meals a day - dry in the morning, canned at night.
post #15 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by GoldenKitty45 View Post
For a kitten younger then about 5 months old, I'd leave dry kitten food out and then give a meal of quality canned kitten food when you get home. I don't think its a good idea to leave canned food out more then 30 mins. Better safe then sorry.

Most cats will eat the canned food within 30 mins. And if its left longer, unless they are starving to death, they will not eat "dry" canned food!

After 5 months old, they get 2 meals a day - dry in the morning, canned at night.
GoldenKitty45- I have full respect and understanding for the manner in which you feed your cats, and for your own feelings about "how long" wet foods should be left out. However, I do have a problem with pronouncements about what "most cats" will and won't do. (I also find it most interesting that my six cats behave diametrically differently from the behaviours you describe...they will gradually, over a period of several hours, consume the plates of wet food that has been left out; if, after 8-9 hours there are dry crumbs remaining, they will gobble up those "crunchies" when I begin to pick up the plates! And, they are not "starving to death!") So. rather than such generalizations, it might be more helpful to a new member here to understand that you are only describing your own experiences/observations with your own cats.
post #16 of 28
True, however, I've been around enough cats (not just my own) to know that most cats will walk away from canned food that has been sitting out on plates/bowls that is all dried up.

Maybe your cats will eat it, but I still think its not safe (bacteria wise) to be leaving canned food out for more then 30-60 mins. If its not good for humans to be eating food sitting out for hours, then why would it be ok for cats/dogs?

Besides, most of the people that have answered do NOT recommend the food out longer then 30-60 mins - I'm not the only one to say this.
post #17 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by optionken View Post
Since you really can't leave wet food down more than 30 minutes at a time, for me, with my schedule, I'd definitely leave dry kitten food out for a growing kitty

Wet food can be left out all day. Even when it gets hard it is still fine and safe to eat
My cats usually eat the wet food within 10 minutes. Any little bits that are left stick to the dishes as they dry out, and stick hard. The kitties couldn't get the stuff loose to eat even they wanted to.
post #18 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by optionken View Post
Since you really can't leave wet food down more than 30 minutes at a time, for me, with my schedule, I'd definitely leave dry kitten food out for a growing kitty

Wet food can be left out all day. Even when it gets hard it is still fine and safe to eat
I used to have qualms about leaving wet food out for a long time also. After hearing the experiences of many, many people I am now comfortable with leaving it out for hours.
post #19 of 28
Thread Starter 
Let's agree to disagree on that one!

I don't mind leaving wet food out, but I don't know if she'd eat it when it dried up. My last cat never did. Also, there will be times when I'm gone overnight, possibly the weekend, and it would be great if I had a self-regulating cat. I'm still leaning towards a can/day in 2 servings and dry as backup, so long as she doesn't overeat. That way I can use dry when I'm gone.
post #20 of 28
Mine will not eat canned food if left out for longer then a hour. Once it gets crunchy, they won't touch it.
post #21 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by bbleho View Post
Let's agree to disagree on that one!

I don't mind leaving wet food out, but I don't know if she'd eat it when it dried up. My last cat never did. Also, there will be times when I'm gone overnight, possibly the weekend, and it would be great if I had a self-regulating cat. I'm still leaning towards a can/day in 2 servings and dry as backup, so long as she doesn't overeat. That way I can use dry when I'm gone.
Sounds like a perfect plan. you have to do what is best for you and your cat, not someone else.
post #22 of 28
Hello, when my cat was a kitten I fed wet food and as much as he wanted, it was never excessive. I didn't want to feed dry as I was aware that as he was due to be neutered and after, I was told he had a higher chance of a uti, so i was more comfortable with wet food. My sisters cat got a uti when he was a kitten and once changing to wet it did not happen again. I was told by a rescue centre that they could tell if a cat was fed on dry food because the teeth were in better condition so I invested in some logic gel which keeps his teeth and breath lovely and fresh, I got it from my vet so was happy with it. I also make sure that I buy the wet pouches which contain up to or over 50 % proper chicken, not the yuck stuff. I feed my kitty a pouch in the morning, a pouch when i come home and a pouch an hour before bed. Sometimes he will eat it all in one go, other times he will have half and go back. I have to say that my kitty doesn't seem to care how long his food has been out, he never checks his watch. Not that he leaves it too long before its gone anyway His weight has always been consistent, he is always hydrated and he self regulates really well. He is a ginger long hair and his coat is like silk. His food is a bit more expensive but in my opinion worth it and its only a few less cakes for me a month, no sacrifice to me!! I also give him a treat every night when we are all tucked up in or on the bed at night. I got some good advice from here when my cat was a kitten and I am very happy with it. Although I do think that every cat is different. I do however think that most over weight cats are fed try or too much stuff off humans plates and for some reason I don't like the idea of canned food, not sure why though. Good luck and i am sure you will find the best for your cat
post #23 of 28
If this is your fear then there are timed feeders that can be purchased that keeps things cool and open and close at the times you set it to
post #24 of 28
Just from my own experience here. I feed only wet and dry is off limits. Started with wet and about 10% dry after weaning and once she reached 6 months old, I eradicated the dry completely. I also am away from home for quite long hours and I have no problem feeding an all wet diet. I do not use a timed feeder either and I leave out wet food (morning) and another plate of frozen wet food for her. She will eat her wet food irregardless if it is freshly opened, thawed or dried out. So, it's really a matter of giving her the choice and see if she is opened to it.

I do understand that a lot of people are wary when it comes to leaving out wet food for long hours. If you read the link provided by one of the responder, you will see that there is no harm in leaving wet food out. This is mainly because a cat's digestive system is very much different from ours. Even raw feeders have to deal with food left out for sometime before it is being consumed entirely. In the wild, your cat does not finish a meal at one seating.

We just need to cater to our cat's needs first and foremost and that is why a wet diet, to me, is the most species appropriate.
post #25 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by optionken View Post
If this is your fear then there are timed feeders that can be purchased that keeps things cool and open and close at the times you set it to
truely a wonderful option
post #26 of 28
I have a timed feeder for when we go away for a day or and night and I would use it if I needed to during the day when we are at work but too be honest, we don't need to. His food is always gobbled up when we get home, hehehe. It is def good option for anyone who is away for the long periods of time that some are, bless you you must be exhausted some days!!!
post #27 of 28
Thread Starter 
How many consecutive days can those timed feeders be set for?
post #28 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by bbleho View Post
How many consecutive days can those timed feeders be set for?
I have seen a dry feeder with eight slots ... the cold ones I think usually have three or five
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