For your four-legged friend, it is important to ensure a healthy and balanced diet. So should you feed your cat wet or dry food? Keep reading as I will explain everything you need to know.
A cat’s diet, as opposed to a dog’s diet, must be meat-based. Their nutrition must depend on a high proportion of animal protein. Plant foods cannot provide them with essential nutrients, while in a dogs diet, meat and plant can be combined.
Cats need to have sufficient amounts of certain elements, that their body is unable to synthesize through its own mechanisms, primarily taurine, vitamin A, niacin, and arginine.
A cats diet must provide sufficient fiber, vitamins, minerals, and fats, while food should be poor in carbohydrates. Since cats are carnivores, their digestive system is specifically adapted to this particular diet.
Also, eating habits should be adjusted to the cat’s lifestyle and age, and sterilization should be considered.
Nowadays, ready-made cat foods can be found in various forms, most commonly as dry (dehydrated) cat food or wet food practically packaged as a meal in a bag or can. Both dry and wet foods must be adapted to the nutritional needs of the cat and meet all parameters related to the pet’s daily needs.
Food manufacturers add various other ingredients to animal protein, thus further enhancing the nutritional composition of the food. Each diet has both advantages and disadvantages. One of the benefits of a dry diet is to ensure oral hygiene, while the downside is that it is often not palatable enough.
Wet food is often tastier for cats, but is more susceptible to environmental contamination (if eaten in the short period after opening) and does not constitute sufficient “exercise” for the oral cavity muscles, as well as oral hygiene.
Dry Or Wet Cat Food?
To make your decision easier, we have prepared the basic differences and benefits of both types of cat food.
1. Dry Food
Dry food (8–10% moisture) is generally made by extrusion cooking under high heat and pressure. Fat may then be sprayed on the food to increase palatability, and other minor ingredients, such as heat-sensitive vitamins, which would be destroyed in the extrusion process, may be added.
Dry food is most often packed in multi-wall paper bags, sometimes with a plastic film layer; similar bag styles with film laminates or coextrusions are also used.
Depending on the manufacturer and product, there is dry cat food with or without cereals. Many manufacturers are now ensuring that the quantity of grains is very low. However, the cat must always have sufficient fluid because dry food is almost free of moisture.
2. Wet Food
Wet cat food is commonly called canned food, since it is usually stuffed into small bowls or cans. Wet foods contain all types of animal by-products, such as offal, vegetables, fish, meat, cereals, and fats. Also, important nutrients are added that are important for a cat’s long life.
Depending on the taste, the ingredients are mixed and heated to a temperature of 150 degrees Celsius. After that, the immediate filling takes place in suitable small bowls and cans and is sterilized under pressure. As a result, the content remains stable for a long time, and nutrients and vitamins are not lost.
Wet food is divided into different age groups, from juniors to adults, to seniors. Each cat gets exactly the diet they need according to age. The water content of the wet cat food is very high, which has a positive effect on the fluid balance in the animal.
When using cat food, it is important to pay attention to the low grain content and low sugar content. These are often ingredients that a cat cannot process properly.
How To Identify Differences In cat Food Quality?
Low-quality dry foods can contain a lot of ingredients such as potatoes, peas or large quantities of alfalfa (small quantities are harmless).
Cereal-free foods are often rich in other carbohydrates. You should also pay special attention to the amount of protein in the food composition. They should account for the largest share.
Cats, like carnivores, need a high protein content in their diets. The proportion that veterinarians recommend depends on the age and race of the animal.
Dry foods, consisting of many plant-based ingredients and containing up to 50 percent of carbohydrates, should be avoided for daily feeding.
“Chicken fillet in white sauce” and “beef steak in jelly” often contain sugar or vegetable by-products. Sugar-supplemented foods or feeding species with high-glycemic-index cereals may increase the risk of diabetes due to increased insulin secretion.
High-quality wet foods contain a high proportion of meat, lots of healthy protein, and only a little vegetable component, and artificial additives and sugar are no place in a cat’s bowl.
So take a close look at the food ingredients before you decide to buy!
Do Cats Prefer Dry Or Wet Foods?
Like humans, cats have different tastes. Which cat food your cat will decide on often depends on the taste, not whether the food consists of dry croquettes or snacks in the sauce.
However, many cats have a special preference for the food they particularly like, and they do not like changing food!
Dry and wet cat food is available in different quality and price levels. Due to dehydration, dry food is compressed, which makes high-quality dry food not necessarily cheaper.
The price/quality ratio is not always proportionate, and you can find extremely expensive food on the market. Still, it does not necessarily mean that it is the same and the highest quality.
When making your choice, we advise you to base your decision on the ingredients and the price per kilogram for dry, and the price per pack (bag) or grams for wet food.
Dry cat food removes all the liquid, which makes the dry food extremely durable. And you can keep dry food in your bowl for a few days.
Wet foods can be stored for a long time, but have a limited shelf life after opening a bowl or can. After two to three hours, the food in the bowl should be discarded.
What Do Cats Eat In Nature?
Small rodents and birds are the natural prey of cats and contain up to 80% moisture. This covers the daily need for water. For this reason, cats rarely seek rivers and water sources in the wild.
Our pet cats have preserved the behavior of their ancestors: they rarely use the available water bowl. Unfortunately, they do not drink much, even if their cat food does not contain much water.
Fluid in wet foods is similar to a cat’s natural diet. It largely compensates for the need for drinking water. Dry foods, on the other hand, are dry and if the cat does not drink enough water, the urine will concentrate, and as a result, kidney and urinary stones may appear.
Advantages And Disadvantages Of Dry Food
+ Simple dosing
+ Different flavors
+ Very good for dental health
+ Not very intense odor
– Often with cereals
– A cat needs a lot of water
Advantages And Disadvantages Of Wet Cat Food
+ Very rich in protein
+ Contains a lot of fluid
+ Different flavors
+ Different portion sizes
– Partially strong odor
– Not long-lasting
What Ingredients Can Be Found In Cat Food?
Whether you choose dry or wet foods, nutrient levels are the most important. The amount of nutrients that cats need depends not only on age but also on body weight and activity.
Overview Of Major Components
Important animal proteins can be found in poultry, beef, pork, lamb, or fish. Vegetable proteins, comes for example, from legumes or cereals,
Protein is important for growth and the body as well as for energy production. Taurine, as the building blocks of all proteins, has an essential role in the diet of cats.
Fats and Oils
The amount of fat that a cat needs can be absorbed by the essential fatty acids. These fats and oils are often found in fish or different plants.
They have a positive effect on digestion and, at the same time, provide a healthy and shiny haircoat.
A cat can only break down a certain amount of carbohydrates. For this reason, there should be as little wheat or other grains as possible in cat food.
To optimally regulate digestion, insoluble fiber materials should be contained in food. For example, wheat crops.
Vitamins are very important components in cat food as they take on various tasks in the body. On the one hand, they provide skin and coat health and boost vision, and on the other, boost the immune system and promote metabolism.
Among the most important minerals are undoubtedly calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, and potassium. This gives the cat not only a stable skeleton but also active musculature and a healthy heart.
The Benefits Of High-Quality Food
If your cat is fed only high quality, premium cat food – whether dry or wet – with sufficient meat concentration, the pH will remain within normal limits.
If your cat eats a lower quality of food, the pH will rise due to the large amount of dry matter. This leads to more fluid being excreted in solid form instead of through the urinary system. This can lead to the formation of urinary calculus.
A higher amount of urine means lower pH concentration, which means that the cat’s kidneys and urine are healthy.
Should I Mix Up Wet And Dry Cat Food?
When given a choice, many cats seem to prefer a mixture of both wet and dry foods compared to dry or wet only. Wet food is shown to increase enjoyment and add variety to a diet because of the wide selection of textures.
On the other hand, dry food satisfies a cat’s natural desire to eat many small meals throughout the day.
There are no hard and fast rules – ultimately, it is for each owner to decide what to feed their pet. However, if feeding a mix of wet and dry pet foods, be careful to feed only the total amount of food that your pet needs to minimize any unwanted weight gain.
The most important thing about cat food is the quality of the food, whether it is dry or wet food.
For example, problems with the urinary tract can be caused by both dry and wet foods. The ph value of urine rises due to too many vegetables and poor meat quality, causing cat discomfort and potential urinary stones.