I actually get asked this question on a regular basis and I never really thought about writing an article on this until my daughter recently asked me, “Is dry food or wet food better for cats?”. She just got a kitten, and her boyfriend came back from the store with both dry food and wet food.
She asked why would he get both? What does a kitten really need? My answer to this question for a kitten, both. Why? I’ll answer this for both wet and dry and the benefits and downsides to both.
The Benefits Of Wet Food.
As kittens, even puppies, there are benefits to wet food. First and foremost, wet food contains a lot of protein and it’s very easy for kittens to eat versus dry food. While young pets are developing, their teeth are very small and delicate. Dry food can sometimes be hard for a small kitten to eat and so they may not get all the nutrients that they need on a day to day basis.
Wet food is very easy to eat, and it’s easy to digest for them, as long as you stick to the easy to digest foods, like chicken and fish. Buying them the beef options may be too hard on their stomachs in the beginning and I’ve seen kittens vomit up the beef options when they’re young. I also recommend the pate styles over the cut options because they can swallow the bigger chunks whole and not actually chew their food for easy digestion.
Wet food provides a lot of protein for them, which kittens definitely need when they’re in their first stages of life. Cats, unlike dogs, actually need slightly more protein in their diets, simply because they are natural hunters, even as domesticated cats and they need that meat to sustain them and build strong bodies. Most people don’t realize that cats exert a lot of energy when they jump and climb, so more protein is essential in their diets.
But, what are the downsides to wet food for cats?
Downsides To Wet Food.
As kittens develop and get older, too much wet food can cause very bad breath. I never gave my adult cats wet food and solely gave them dry. Dry food won’t get stuck in their teeth as much versus the wet food. Before I knew this, I would continue to give my cats wet food going into adulthood, but they developed gingivitis which caused very bad breath. Sticking to dry food for adult cats will help alleviate that.
Too much wet food can also cause your cats to become obese over time. You’ve seen them, cats that are so big that they roll around on social media or they just lay there all day. Climbing cat trees? Forget it! They’ll look at you like you’re crazy! They may also get to the point where they snub their noses up at you if you try to give them dry food down the road. Let’s face it, wet food costs more, and it goes faster. So make sure you get them on dry food as well at a young age.
Benefits Of Dry Food.
Dry food has several benefits over wet food. One of them – cats have to actually chew their food. Dry food helps to clean your cats teeth because they’re forced to chew the food as they get older. Dry food will help scrape the wet food leftovers off their teeth, and their breath will be better for it as they age.
Dry food also has a decent amount of protein in it to keep them healthy while they turn adult, but not as much as the wet options and it’s less fatty in nature. Cat food contains more protein in it versus dog food. Cat’s need more than dog’s because of their muscular structure and the amount of climbing they do over their life. Dogs do not climb trees, cabinets or furniture.
It takes a lot of strength to pull yourself up a tall cat tree, or jump to the top of cabinets so cats need that extra boost of energy in order to achieve this desire that they have their whole lives.
Downsides To Dry Food.
As cats mature, people tend to put their cats on the auto feeders so they don’t have to think about it. This is a terrible idea! If you really love your pet, put them on a normal feeding schedule just like most dog lovers do. Dry food should be your cats only source of food as an adult, but the auto feeder option for dry food can make your cat obese.
Sticking to a schedule for cats will allow you to control how much they eat and ensure they’re living a healthy life style. I’ve had a lot of cats that once that auto feeder is an option, all they do is lay in front of that thing and eat away. I even had a white cat that was so obese, his stomach was pink, not white, because he was so stretched out. During bath time, his stomach would even turn up and his little head would fight to stay above water. I had to be careful with him during this phase cause he would just roll around in the water.
Once I took the auto feeder away and put him on a portion size twice a day, he lost the weight. Was he angry with me? Of course he was! He would walk around at night and make this awful mewling noise, basically telling me he was hungry all night. Cats are nocturnal, so they do like to eat at night. Unfortunately for him, I slept at night.
Dry food can also contain bad additives in it, so look for the more natural options for cats. Just like with dog food, companies can put ingredients in the food that is detrimental to your cats health, so try for the natural options or healthier options. Also, be sure the ingredients state, chicken meal, or tuna versus meat proteins. For more information on bad ingredients to watch for, click here.
Both Wet And Dry Serve Purposes.
My recommendation would be, a small portion of wet food in the morning and dry food at night for kittens. They don’t need much in the way of wet food, so I would only buy them 2 cans at a time at the store. I would put just a heaping spoon in their bowls in the morning and only dry food at night, also in a small bowl.
Once my cats started getting older, I would give them less and less wet food and more dry food to compensate for the lack of wet. At full maturity, I would have given them so little dry food, that once that last can was gone I wouldn’t give them wet anymore.
Doing the dry/wet intervals as kittens, then only dry into adulthood my cats were always very active, climbed all the time, jumped very tall distances and seemed very happy during their lifetimes. My last cat lived to be 16 years old and he did die of natural causes. Rarely they were obese, only the white one until I put him on a diet, and he was fine after a month. He only mewled around for a short while and them finally figured it out that he wasn’t getting his auto feeder back.
Tuna fish juice when I had tuna, that was all they got at adulthood as a special treat.
My vet also always said my cats were very healthy and agreed with the feeding schedule they were on, so I must’ve been doing something right.
What do you feed your kittens/cats?