Wet or Dry: The Cat Food Debate

Hungry catIf you have ever owned a cat, chances are you have participated in the Great Cat Food Debate: should our cats be eating wet food? Dry food? Some combination of the two? It is astounding how many differing opinions there are on what is healthiest for our feline friends. Even vets have gone back and forth over the years. But we all want to do what’s best for our pets—so how do we choose the proper cat food? Knowing the facts can help:

What is the difference between wet and dry food?

Given how much fervor there is over cat food, it can be easy to assume that wet and dry foods are different things entirely. But in reality, the only real difference between canned food and kibble is the water content. Of course, different food is made from different things, but if you’re already getting high quality, grain free food for your pets, then the nutritional content of wet and dry is pretty much equal. The main difference is the amount of water your cat will consume through their meal.

The pros of dry food

The most commonly cited argument for dry food is the benefit of chewing hard kibble; chowing down on hard things can help scrape debris off your cat’s teeth and therefore prevent dental diseases. But does this really work? If you’ve ever seen your cat throw up kibble, you’ll know that most of that dry food gets swallowed whole. This is because cats are instinctively drawn towards tearing, shredding, and swallowing their prey, not chewing it in a way that can clean their teeth. The best way to care for your cat’s teeth is through brushing and regular dental treatment.

The pros of wet food

As I said above, the big difference between wet and dry food is the amount of water your cat gets in the food. It is very important that your cat consume fluid, as it helps prevent Feline Urinary Tract Disease and overstressed kidneys. That being said, if your cat is not getting their water through their food, they will likely just consume more water from their water dish. Although cats in the wild will get most of their water from their food and vets theorize that their body may process water consumed in this way more efficiently, they will not go thirsty without wet food. In addition, there has been some correlation between wet food and thyroid problems in cats, though as of yet vets are not sure why.

So what is the solution? There is not one clear winner. The most important thing is to feed your cat something they want to eat!