Wet vs. Dry Cat Food: Which is Better?

Wet / dry cat food. Cat plate on old table.

Which is better: wet cat food or dry cat food? It’s a debate that spans decades across cat owners, animal nutritionists, and veterinarians alike.

Wet food and dry food each have their advantages and disadvantages. While they are both excellent choices for feeding your cat, one may be better than the other depending on existing health issues and lifestyle.

Contrary to popular belief, wet and dry foods can provide a completely balanced diet for your cat in their own unique ways.

Wet vs. Dry Cat Food

Wet Cat Food

The biggest difference between wet and dry food is the moisture content. The amount of moisture in wet cat food also lends itself to a few nutritional benefits, as well. Because wet food has 65% more moisture content than dry food, it aids in digestion and hydration.

Additionally, because of its moisture, it has a much shorter shelf life than dry food and should not be left out at room temperature for more than 30-60 minutes at a time to prevent bacterial growth. Any leftovers must be thrown away or stored in the refrigerator.

If you are leery of storing your cat’s food alongside your leftovers, you may want to consider dry food. It’s also a little messy, too.

Additionally, wet food may not be the best option if you have a busy schedule and leave your cat for several hours at a time. you may risk wasting leftover amounts of cat food if food isn’t refrigerated or consumed within the shelf life.

The short shelf-life also prevents your cat from grazing all day like with dry food, which has been attributed to better portion control and reducing obesity in cats.

Here are a few more benefits to wet cat food:

  • Variety of flavors, textures, and smells cats love!
  • Easier to chew
  • Increases water intake
  • Reduces urinary tract issues in older cats
  • Higher in protein

Dry Cat Food

As the mainstream, dry cat food is the more popular choice among cat owners. It can be left out for several days at a time without the risk of bacterial growth.

It’s easy to transport when traveling and is much more cost-effective than wet food. You can purchase larger bags of dry food and store in an air-tight container or a dispenser that portions out the food.

Because of the crunchiness, the dry food can scrape against the teeth when chewed, removing plaque and tartar on your feline’s teeth.

Dry food has been attributed to health issues such as diabetes, obesity, urinary tract infections, and kidney problems.

Here are some things to remember about dry cat food:

  • Dry food has less moisture and more sodium, which can cause dehydration and lead to urinary tract infections and kidney problems.
  • The extended shelf life allows leisurely snacking which can lead to obesity.
  • Dry food is lower in protein and higher in carbohydrates. Because of the increased carbs, diabetes can become an issue if portions are monitored.

There is no right or wrong answer when it comes to choosing wet vs. dry. It’s a matter of health and lifestyle. If you have questions about which cat food is best for you and your furry friend, give our office a call!

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Jeff Ireland
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Balanced Perceptions, LLC
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