There is a lot of debate among cat owners about what’s best for a cat’s health and general well-being; wet food or dry food? The dry food or wet food debate has had a lot of conflicting opinions, with some vets recommending wet food and others still advising dry food or dry kibble as the best solution.
What you feed your cat has a direct bearing on their health over a lifetime. The right diet helps your cats avoid serious and debilitating illnesses, keeps them active, playful and less irritable.
Understanding a Cat’s Physiology
Cats are obligate carnivores and must be fed a meat diet. In this, they are different from dogs, which are omnivorous and can easily survive on a mixed diet of vegetables and meat. For cats, a diet rich in animal protein is compulsory, not a choice. Amino acids and taurine, which are found largely in meat, are simply critical for their health and growth. Unlike dogs, the digestive system of cats cannot break down plant-based cellulose, and when foods based on this are given to them, this often leads to severe digestive issues.
The low down on dry food
Dry kibble tends to have more grains and plant-based ingredients than wet food. So this goes against a cat’s physiological requirement. The water content in dry kibble is very low, which leaves the cat susceptible to urinary tract diseases and potential renal failure which is potentially life threatening. The prey consumed by cats in the wild has a water content around 70%. Dry food can range between 5% to10%. Cats fed on predominantly on dry food have a big deficit to make up. Considering cats have a low thirst drive it is difficult for them to make up this shortfall at the water bowl. Dry food is loaded with carbohydrates, which is not healthy for your cat. This is because a diet rich in carbs could potentially lead to obesity, diabetes and intestinal disease.
Other negatives associated with dry foods are a higher possibility of a bacterial contamination, which can lead to vomiting and diarrhea. Presence of fungal mycotoxins that are contained in grains and are extremely toxic to cats. There is some evidence that dry food, due to its abrasiveness, can help maintain your cats dental health.
The low down of wet food
Wet food is an excellent source of meat and fish, which is what a cat really needs. Wet foods have a much higher water content so dehydration is less of an issue. Low quality wet food has its downsides as well. There is always the possibility of the wet food being made very cheaply, in unhygienic conditions as well as using bad produce. There is also evidence that feeding your cat only on wet food results in dental problems and gingivitis. If you are adhering to regular dental checkups and cleanings, this shouldn’t be a problem.
So wet food wins….right?
Well yes, wet food is the more favourable choice. If you choose to feed your cat dry food I would recommend using it as a supplement to a predominantly wet food based diet. Whether you choose wet food or kibble, it should be a premium cat food with high-quality ingredients. You are what you eat. And this applies to your cat as well.