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Should I feed my cat dry or wet food?

post #1 of 85
Thread Starter 
Hi,

I just adopted a new cat today! It's been 6 months since I lost my beloved Jasmine, and so I felt the time was right.

I've been reading alot lately about feeding cats wet food - and that this is better than dry due to them being 'obligate carnivores', etc. Jasmine, whom I had for 12 years, only ever ate dry. I certainly hope that this was not a prime factor in her getting kidney problems as she got older - due to the lower moisture content in dry food.

What do you recommend? Only wet? Combination wet/dry? There seems to be some validity to always having dry food out and available for the cat, but then also giving canned.

Any advice appreciated...

Thanks!
Keith
post #2 of 85
Congratulations on your new kitty, Three4rd! (And I'm so sorry about your other kitty. )

This is a hot and oft-debated topic, and you're going to get the whole gamut of replies. I would say your best bet is to take a look at some of the sites that go into detail explaining why dry is not a good or even species-appropriate "food" product for cats and make your own decision.

catinfo.org

feline-nutrition.org/health

littlebigcat.com/health/why-cats-need-canned-food-2/

littlebigcat.com/health/kibble-cancer-link-explained/

Best regards!

AC
post #3 of 85
50/50 seems to work for most cats. More canned would be fine. I've spoken to several people who said that their cat seemed to be starving all the time on an all-canned diet, so they had to add at least a little bit of dry food to keep the kitty from whining and begging all the time. I know some cats who do fine being fed canned food twice a day and having dry food out all the time, but if the kitty starts getting fat you need to limit the dry food. I do think that all cats should have at least some canned food in their diet if at all possible.
post #4 of 85
Thread Starter 
Hi Auntie,

Thanks for the quick reply! I can see what you mean..the responses do indeed run the gamut. I guess what is in the back of my mind is that my previous cat died from CRF (and also hyperthyroid issues) and so if I in anyway hastened all that along from only feeding dry, I don't want to do it again. My gut feeling is that if a cat is going to be prone to becoming CRF, that it probably will at some point whether you feed wet, dry, or both.
post #5 of 85
Thread Starter 
Willowy...I do like the idea of both types of food - best of both worlds, if there is such a thing with cat food. How much canned food would you recommend if indeed a cat also has continuous access to dry food during the day?
post #6 of 85
That depends on the kitty, and his/her caloric needs. I try to feed mine about half their calories in wet food. This means they get 2 meals of canned and one of dry (because dry food is more calorie-dense) every day. For a regular-sized adult cat, that would probably be half a can (5.5-oz can) and about a quarter-cup of high-quality dry food a day. Kittens need more calories per pound, and large cats would need more than that.
post #7 of 85
There are cats that live a very long time on exclusive wet and exclusive dry diets, however, there are studies that indicate that many cats on an exclusive dry diet do not drink enough water to compensate for the moisture difference between dry (10% water) and wet (80% water) food, and there are studies that demonstrate that cats fed an exclusive wet diet suffered higher incidence of dental disease compared to cats on mixed or exclusive dry diets (which is doubly a concern IMO if you have cats prone to dental issues like Siamese).

A fair balance between feeding convenience, cost, dental hygiene, and hydration concerns IMO is to feed a mixed diet with quality low carbohydrate dry and wet food.

Dry has often gotten a bad rap as many grocery brands, especially in the past, were very high carb recipes partly for cost and partly due to limitations in food processing to make a cohesive kibble. There are great ones available now though, and personally we feed Blue Wilderness Duck along with various brands of quality wet foods. Also always important to have a couple good water fountains available 24x7.
post #8 of 85
Mine are free fed dry and get wet food 4x a day but they still probably only get maybe 20% of their food from dry. I also have a pet fountain for them and they both drink from it.
post #9 of 85
IMHO, it would be ideal to feed all canned. Some would disagree but cats originated in the desert and derive their moisture from their food. Prey is about 70% water and canned food is 78% moisture. It's not a totally natural diet but it approximates what a cat would eat in terms of nutrients. If you choose a high quality canned food, one with high protein and low carbs, that would be optimal. Be wary of some of the gravy type foods ehich need some kind of starch to make it thick and thus will increase the carb level. It is not as.nutrient dense as dry due to the moisture content so you have to feed more but yoy will be doing your cat a huge favour.

Dry food will not help clean your cat's teeth. Their teeth are designed to rip and tear meat from bones, not crush kibble. Cats mostly swallow the pieces anyway unless it's like hills t/d which has huge pieces. Still, it doesn't do an adequate job. If they do chew it, it gets pushed up into the gumline and on between teeth, thus causing plaqur buildup at the gumline. Canned food may not be good for teeth in that it leaves deposits but a high protein, low carb food should not be any more detrimental than dry food. Unless you arebfeeding her raw meaty bones, brushing your cat's teeth is ideal.

If you do opt to.do half dry, half canned, I would suggest not free feeding. It can lead to obesity and it's actually not an ideal way to feed. Serve meals and your cat's body will thank you. It's easier to prevent obesity than to fix it later.
post #10 of 85
I just have to say all my cats either eat exclusively dry ( Evo, Taste of the Wild) or wet (Iams, Chicken Soup,) mixed with dry twice a day plus dry food.

I have never had any problems with my cats drinking so a mostly dry food diet works for my cats.

Lastly the best diet is no good if the cat will not eat it. So just make sure whatever diet you want to use is something that the cat wants to eat.
post #11 of 85
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cat Person View Post
...

I have never had any problems with my cats drinking so a mostly dry food diet works for my cats.

...
Catperson, you might want to take a look at Dr. Peirson's "Cats Need Plenty of Water With Their Food" portion of CatInfo.org. The difference between how much water cats need and how much a kibble fed cat actually drinks might surprise you.

Just tossing this info your way in case you weren't already aware of it.

AC
post #12 of 85
Akso on Dr. Pierson's site are tips on how to traNsition your cat to eat canned food. If you try hard enough.they will leatn to like it. Dry food was made for the owner's convenience not for the cat's health. Canned food is also a 'man-made thing but is thew next.best thing. However, feeding all dry or a combination of wet & dry is cheaper if you have financial concerns.

Ultimately, the choice is yours, dry, wet or both, free feed or meal feed. I should also say to the OP congrats on your new.kitty!
post #13 of 85
Quote:
Originally Posted by Auntie Crazy View Post
Catperson, you might want to take a look at Dr. Peirson's "Cats Need Plenty of Water With Their Food" portion of CatInfo.org. The difference between how much water cats need and how much a kibble fed cat actually drinks might surprise you.

Just tossing this info your way in case you weren't already aware of it.

AC
Thank you, I am a vet tech. Also what the site says is correct. The F3 Savannah is far too food aggressive to be fed wet food. He gets Evo and Taste of the Wild dry plus raw meat with done.

The three pure domestics get a mix of wet and dry once or twice a day depending on the cat .

Quote:
Originally Posted by SweetPea24 View Post
Akso on Dr. Pierson's site are tips on how to traNsition your cat to eat canned food. If you try hard enough.they will leatn to like it. Dry food was made for the owner's convenience not for the cat's health. Canned food is also a 'man-made thing but is thew next.best thing. However, feeding all dry or a combination of wet & dry is cheaper if you have financial concerns.

Ultimately, the choice is yours, dry, wet or both, free feed or meal feed. I should also say to the OP congrats on your new.kitty!
Some not all cats will eat wet in my personal experience.
post #14 of 85
I was in the same spot as you. I tried all the premium dry foods. Woody swallowed them whole and then threw them back up. So, against public opinion here, I bought Nutro Max Dry Indoor. The pieces are bigger and he has to chew them. And I feel him a little bit of Nutro Complete Care Indoor canned mixed with a little water. He all but licks the dish clean. I have noticed since putting him on Nutro Max, he doesn't throw up, cough and his fur is soft and lush. The shedding has decreased a lot. A lot of people on this site do not like Nutro, but I have found it to be good for Woody. You will get a lot of opinions, so my advice to you is, feed what your cat will eat. But I would feed dry and wet.
post #15 of 85
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cat Person View Post
Thank you, I am a vet tech. Also what the site says is correct. The F3 Savannah is far too food aggressive to be fed wet food. He gets Evo and Taste of the Wild dry plus raw meat with done.

The three pure domestics get a mix of wet and dry once or twice a day depending on the cat .



Some not all cats will eat wet in my personal experience.
I am also a vet tech. I also know that all the other vet techs where I work feed all dry. A vet feeds her cat mostly dry. So in my personal experience, being a vet tech doesn't mean knowing about what cats should eat. I have seen many kibble addicted cats convert to wet or a combination. I have read message boards by vets saying they have 100% remission rates on their diabetic cats because all of them are on canned food. Of course, obesity is the number one precursor to diabetes but canned food fed on a meal basis led to less obesity and thus, less diabetes. These are veterinarians' experiences.

Of course, the OP asked whether she should feed wet or dry. My opinion is that if her budget allows, feed all wet. If budgetbis tighter, feed a 50/50 or 60/40 (wet/dry) combination. I would also suggest feeding measured meals as opposed to free feedingImho, this allows you to know if your cat is eating and is less likely to lead to obesity. Some people measure out their daily portion and leave it out without filling the bowl up when empty- this is okay too as you can still determine how much or little he has eaten (just not when). Purina did a 14 year study on labs -one group was free fed and the other grouo was fed on a restricted meal basis. Both groups were fed puppy chow. The meal-fed labs lived an average of 2years longer and were slimmer. I realize the study was done on dogs abnd doesnt prove the importance on wet food, but more the meal-feeding principle. Purina is curreny doing a 14 year study on cats.
post #16 of 85
Quote:
Originally Posted by SweetPea24 View Post
I have read message boards by vets saying they have 100% remission rates on their diabetic cats because all of them are on canned food. Of course, obesity is the number one precursor to diabetes but canned food fed on a meal basis led to less obesity and thus, less diabetes.
IMO when you hear that though, its not "wet vs dry" but "free feeding vs portioned feeding". Its obviously not physically possible for a cat to get fat if its not fed more calories than it burns after all.

Dry food can be left out 24x7, and I actually recommend it for kittens that don't have to worry about getting fat really, but I feel that dry food is often being blamed when its simply making it simpler to overfeed the cat. Fix overfeeding in cats that don't self-regulate, and voila, big health benefit provided that the kibble is healthy.

There are some wet foods as posted in another thread that are very starchy and high carb and some nice low carb quality kibbles out there too. On the plus side, I think everyone can agree that overfeeding and high carb foods are unhealthy for cats.
post #17 of 85
Quote:
Originally Posted by SweetPea24 View Post
I am also a vet tech. I also know that all the other vet techs where I work feed all dry. A vet feeds her cat mostly dry. So in my personal experience, being a vet tech doesn't mean knowing about what cats should eat. I have seen many kibble addicted cats convert to wet or a combination. I have read message boards by vets saying they have 100% remission rates on their diabetic cats because all of them are on canned food. Of course, obesity is the number one precursor to diabetes but canned food fed on a meal basis led to less obesity and thus, less diabetes. These are veterinarians' experiences.

Of course, the OP asked whether she should feed wet or dry. My opinion is that if her budget allows, feed all wet. If budgetbis tighter, feed a 50/50 or 60/40 (wet/dry) combination. I would also suggest feeding measured meals as opposed to free feedingImho, this allows you to know if your cat is eating and is less likely to lead to obesity. Some people measure out their daily portion and leave it out without filling the bowl up when empty- this is okay too as you can still determine how much or little he has eaten (just not when). Purina did a 14 year study on labs -one group was free fed and the other grouo was fed on a restricted meal basis. Both groups were fed puppy chow. The meal-fed labs lived an average of 2years longer and were slimmer. I realize the study was done on dogs abnd doesnt prove the importance on wet food, but more the meal-feeding principle. Purina is curreny doing a 14 year study on cats.
So all I can say is that since you are a vet tech you should know cat care of a "normal healthy cat" is NOT rocket science.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ducman69 View Post
IMO when you hear that though, its not "wet vs dry" but "free feeding vs portioned feeding". Its obviously not physically possible for a cat to get fat if its not fed more calories than it burns after all.

Dry food can be left out 24x7, and I actually recommend it for kittens that don't have to worry about getting fat really, but I feel that dry food is often being blamed when its simply making it simpler to overfeed the cat. Fix overfeeding in cats that don't self-regulate, and voila, big health benefit provided that the kibble is healthy.

There are some wet foods as posted in another thread that are very starchy and high carb and some nice low carb quality kibbles out there too. On the plus side, I think everyone can agree that overfeeding and high carb foods are unhealthy for cats.
. I have to ask are you a vet, physicist, mathematician? Your very wise.
post #18 of 85
(I'm just answering by scrolling down the page, so sorry if my reply is a bit muddled.)

After seeing the cats in California who were all on dry/mostly dry diets, and then coming home to my wet only kitty... I would never ever feed dry.

Unfortunately, dry over a cat's lifetime does contribute to kidney disease. The reason being that they just don't get enough moisture from eating a dry only diet.

There are several veterinarians and cat nutritionists who refuse to even refer to kibble as food, but instead as 'kitty crack' or 'cookies.' I like to think of it as a combo of jerky and dried fruit. Sure both are tasty, but do you think that's a healthy diet?

IMHO there is no validity to having dry out 24/7. It does several things:
contributes to obesity - just like if you sit down next to a bowl of popcorn or peanuts it is hard to not eat them even if you are not hungry, it is hard for your cat to resist it every time it walks by
contributes to 'picky eater syndrome' - smelling cat food all the time desensitizes their noses and makes it harder to get them to eat what you want them to
contributes to general ill-health - I just learned that when a cat smells food, the body prepares itself to start eating by redirecting blood supply and energy to the stomach. If there is food around 24/7, that leaves the body little time to use its energy for waste disposal (not only fecal matter, but other wastes in the body), healing and other bodily functions

As for what Willowy said, I can bet you that those cats that were starving all the time were on Friskies or some other poor quality canned food.

Hyperthyroidism is not caused by dry food, but more by what tends to be in it: soy. Obviously there are other causes, but I know soy contributes to it.

From a book that I just finished reading by a well renowned cat nutritionist, behaviorist and groomer: "Dry food does not clean the teeth. It never has and it never will. No one claims that- not even the dry food manufacturers. I have met numerous cats formerly on an all-dry-food diet will the worst tartar in the world." Cats simply do not chew their food like humans or dogs do, so dry does nothing. It turns to mush as soon as it hits the saliva and doesn't do any 'scraping' against the teeth. Tartar is preventing by feeding a carnivore's diet, and using either specially made toys or raw bones and flesh to clean the teeth.

In my experience you actually feed Less on wet because on dry they tend to be missing nutrients and eat more to make up for them, but all they end up doing is gaining weight. I know many people who are surprised to know that the average cat only needs one 5.5 oz can a day. Most people feed much more.
post #19 of 85
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cat Person View Post
So all I can say is that since you are a vet tech you should know cat care of a "normal healthy cat" is NOT rocket science.



. I have to ask are you a vet, physicist, mathematician? Your very wise.
Yes I know that, as a vet tech and as a person, that cat feeding isnt rocket science. The simple fact is a cat is an obligate carnivore who requires animal protein, not plant protein or grains. As an animal originating in the desert, this obligate carnivore derives moisture from their food and does not compensate by drinking water when eating dry food. It doesn't take a mathematician or scientist to figure out that canned food (without grains and starches and plant proteins) is more appropriate for cats than dry food.

And no it's also not rocket science to know that a cat who expends more energy than it eats will not gain weight. Duh. However, there is some evidence that cats fed on a meal basis are in better condition, as compared to cats that are free-fed the same amount of calories. A cat in the wild isn't always able to eat what they want.

As a vet tech, I also know that companies.like hills are milking clients of a lot of money with their propaganda. They make feeding more complicated than it should be. Instead of feeding cats what is appropriate, they make foods with the cheapest ingredients and claim all their scientific research proves these ingredients are good for your cat. You would think that their scientific research would have figured out after 34 million years of cats' evolution during which they have not changed that much, that cats need moisture from their food and require animal protein. It just takes some common sense. It will take a rocket scientist to prove to me, without a doubt, that dry food is appropriate for a cat.
post #20 of 85
I just have to say the very wise part was aimed at Ducman69. You definitely misquoted me. Please fix that.

All I can say is I have seen many cats live into there late teens on dry cat food. Plus as I have said many times the best nutrition is useless if the cat will not eat it.

Lastly I still feel people make feeding and general cat care of a "normal" healthy cat way too complicated.
post #21 of 85
Quote:
Originally Posted by SweetPea24 View Post
Yes I know that, as a vet tech and as a person, that cat feeding isnt rocket science. The simple fact is a cat is an obligate carnivore who requires animal protein, not plant protein or grains. As an animal originating in the desert, this obligate carnivore derives moisture from their food and does not compensate by drinking water when eating dry food. It doesn't take a mathematician or scientist to figure out that canned food (without grains and starches and plant proteins) is more appropriate for cats than dry food.

And no it's also not rocket science to know that a cat who expends more energy than it eats will not gain weight. Duh. However, there is some evidence that cats fed on a meal basis are in better condition, as compared to cats that are free-fed the same amount of calories. A cat in the wild isn't always able to eat what they want.

As a vet tech, I also know that companies.like hills are milking clients of a lot of money with their propaganda. They make feeding more complicated than it should be. Instead of feeding cats what is appropriate, they make foods with the cheapest ingredients and claim all their scientific research proves these ingredients are good for your cat. You would think that their scientific research would have figured out after 34 million years of cats' evolution during which they have not changed that much, that cats need moisture from their food and require animal protein. It just takes some common sense. It will take a rocket scientist to prove to me, without a doubt, that dry food is appropriate for a cat.
Well said, SweetPea.

AC
post #22 of 85
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cat Person View Post
I just have to say the very wise part was aimed at Ducman69. You definitely misquoted me. Please fix that.

All I can say is I have seen many cats live into there late teens on dry cat food. Plus as I have said many times the best nutrition is useless if the cat will not eat it.

Lastly I still feel people make feeding and general cat care of a "normal" healthy cat way too complicated.
Yes I know you were directing your 'wise' comment to Ducman. I just clicked the quote button and that's what I got -I didn't misquote you - I figured you'd figure that out. I agree with you, Ducman is wise.

All I can say is that feeding cats isn't complicated; it is humans and their need for convenience and profit that are making it complicated. I'm not saying starve your cats but I am saying that canned food is the most ideal. Yeah cats may live into their (not 'there') teens on dry food but imagine how long they could have lived on canned food? I have and always will say that life span is not always the best determinant of health - look at all the comedians who have done drugs, alchohol, and smoke and still live till 90 - there are other factors - stress level, environment, attitude and the biggest factor of all, genetics. I've eaten boxed cereal all my life and I've lived till my ripe age but I wouldn't say I'm totally healthy. I do have a strong immune system which runs in my family.

Why would man take an animal who has existed for millions of years and eaten meat and taken moisture from their food and make food that is cooked for a long time at high temperatures and has maybe 10% moisture? For OUR convenience, not the cats. To me, the simple way is to feed my cats what they should be eating.

While I strongly believe this, I understand that some cats are adamantly resistant to canned (and vice versa) and if that is the case, by all means, feed it. All I am saying is that canned food is better for cats. The OP asked so I answered with my opinion. It is awfully presumptuous and immature of you to indirectly insult me and my opinions. We all have opinions and most of us can express them in a diplomatic and objective manner but you seem to want to argue and insult me. I don't take offense as I realize where it's coming from but I also understand that we all have opinions and personal experiences which may or may not be based on scientific research or whatever. But insulting me is just letting me know where you are coming from...nothing else.
post #23 of 85
Quote:
Originally Posted by Auntie Crazy View Post
Well said, SweetPea.

AC
Thank you AC!
post #24 of 85
post #25 of 85
Quote:
Originally Posted by three4rd View Post
Hi,

I just adopted a new cat today! It's been 6 months since I lost my beloved Jasmine, and so I felt the time was right.

I've been reading alot lately about feeding cats wet food - and that this is better than dry due to them being 'obligate carnivores', etc. Jasmine, whom I had for 12 years, only ever ate dry. I certainly hope that this was not a prime factor in her getting kidney problems as she got older - due to the lower moisture content in dry food.

What do you recommend? Only wet? Combination wet/dry? There seems to be some validity to always having dry food out and available for the cat, but then also giving canned.

Any advice appreciated...

Thanks!
Keith
Congrats on the new kitty Keith I feed a mixed diet for my 4. They have all done well on the mixed. Waltham Center for Pet Nutrition states that the an 80% wet to 20% dry mix is the perfect ratio if you are going to feed a mixed diet. I free feed kibble and feed the wet 2x daily. The kibble I use is Nutro Max Roasted Chicken Indoor formula. For wet I mix it up for variety but stick mainly to Nutro Natural Choice wet formulas.

I see the usual nutrition posters have already given their own ideas which should give you plenty of options.

An all kibble diet is okay as long as your cat is drinking plenty of water. I prefer a mixed diet myself. A warning on the kibble diet though, kibble tends to be calorie dense so weight gain can be a problem. In particularly if you free feed it as I do. None of my cats have weight issues so I continue to free feed.

Personally feeding some kibble and some dental treats like feline Greenies will help with being proactive about the oral health of the cat. Yes, yes, there will be those that say kibble does noting for oral health but I find just the opposite to be true.

Best of luck with the new baby
post #26 of 85
Quote:
Originally Posted by jcat View Post
Thank you very much.
post #27 of 85
Unfortunately most vets get little to no training in nutrition and then usually the hour or so training they do get is from Hills or Science Diet which both are poor quality foods but they push them to the vets. I doubt if the vet techs get more nutrition training. I've had a vet that took extra training in nutrition which is what would be the ideal situation.

Cats do NOT chew - their jaws do not move side to side to allow chewing, their jaws just go up and down. They break the kibble with the tip of their tooth and swallow which does nothing to clean the tartar at the gum line.

Take a test of your own - have a spoonful of beef stew (wet food) see how much is left in your teeth and the gaps between your teeth. Then eat a dry cracker without any water or drink and then see how much is left in your teeth after eating the dry cracker. You may be surprised to find the cracker left more food in and around the teeth than the stew.

Quality of food will dictate how much your cat eats as well. Foods that are full of grains and fillers will not satisfy a cat which is a carnivore so they will need to eat more to get the nutrition they need. These cats will also probably gain too much weight from all the extra carbs they need to eat to get the nutrition they need from the poor quality food.

Dry food is convenient but wet food is a healthier diet. If I have to go out and know that I won't be home in time to give Bijou his wet food at his regular feeding time, I'll leave him some good quality dry food to tide him over.
post #28 of 85
Quote:
Originally Posted by Yosemite View Post
Unfortunately most vets get little to no training in nutrition and then usually the hour or so training they do get is from Hills or Science Diet which both are poor quality foods but they push them to the vets. I doubt if the vet techs get more nutrition training. I've had a vet that took extra training in nutrition which is what would be the ideal situation. ....
I have never really had any formal training on nutrition as a vet tech. I just assumed that a food that was primarily meat and low/no grain was good . This has worked for my cats but I am sure it might not for other cats.

GD point Yosemite .
post #29 of 85
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cat Person View Post
I have never really had any formal training on nutrition as a vet tech. I just assumed that a food that was primarily meat and low/no grain was good . This has worked for my cats but I am sure it might not for other cats.

GD point Yosemite .
You are right - food with low/no grains and good meat (not by-products) is the best! That's hard to find in dry food.
post #30 of 85
Quote:
Originally Posted by Yosemite View Post
You are right - food with low/no grains and good meat (not by-products) is the best! That's hard to find in dry food.
Not really, you drive to petsmart, extend your arm, pick up product, and put it in your cart. Voila.

Even if there are only ten different options for grainfree low carb dry foods without byproducts, you really only need one.

What is also not hard to find, are wet foods with grains and by-products sometimes even as a first ingredient. Go to Walmart and look at almost all the wet food on the shelves.
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