Wet vs. Dry Cat Food: Which is Better?

Wet vs Dry Cat Food hero

When it comes to cat food, there are so many options. Loving cat owners must choose from a variety of different flavors, decide between wet and dry, among many other considerations.

If you’ve wondered which is better when it comes to wet vs. dry cat food, they’re both excellent choices. Just make sure the food you select is 100 percent complete and balanced for your cat’s age and life stage. While some cats (and cat owners) prefer one over the other, the best option may be to feed your cat both.

Wet vs. Dry Cat Food

Wet Cat Food

You’re probably familiar with the wet food in cans, but you may also find it in pouches. Both “come in small sizes, making it easy to provide a variety of different flavors, and for some, smaller sizes may make portion control easier,” says Purina Veterinary Nutritionist Dr. Dorothy Laflamme.

Wet cat food has at least 65 percent or more moisture content. As a result, “wet food should not be left out for more than 30 to 60 minutes at a time to prevent bacterial growth,” according to Laflamme.

Wet cat food offers many benefits, though, including:

  • Textures and ingredients cats love
  • Easier for cats to chew
  • More variety in diet
  • Helps increase total water intake

Although feeding wet food to your cat seems special or indulgent, it’s more than a snack or treat. Wet cat food is 100 percent complete and balanced and can be an essential part of any cat’s diet.

Dry Cat Food

Dry kibble is popular among many cat owners because it’s convenient. It comes in larger bags and because its moisture content is less than 20 percent, it has a longer shelf life, even after opening. This makes it more cost effective.

There’s less risk of bacterial growth with dry food, so you can leave it out all day for your cat to graze on while you’re at work. Crunchy kibble also helps reduce plaque and tartar buildup on cats’ teeth. Dry cat food may be more difficult for older cats to chew, however.

Is Wet or Dry Food Better for Cats?

Ultimately, your cat will decide whether she prefers dry or wet cat food. Purina nutritionists recommend feeding a combination of wet and dry food, though. This helps ensure she gets plenty of moisture in her diet, plus the dental benefits of dry food, all while adding variety to keep her interested. 

Cats are neophiliacs, meaning they appreciate trying new things. They may get bored eating the same food the same way day in and day out. Mixing wet and dry cat food for a meal or feeding them at separate meals is a good way to give your cat the variety she not only wants, but also needs.

Catering to your cat’s needs and desires also strengthens your emotional connection. One reviewer wrote: “My kitties love Fancy Feast already and they quickly gobbled up the Creamy Delights! Received extra kitty lovin’ after this awesome treat!”

Shop Wet Cat Food

If you’ve never tried feeding wet cat food, explore the wide variety of options Purina offers. You may need to try several brands until you find a couple your cat likes. Fortunately, Laflamme reminds, “there are hundreds—if not thousands—of good quality cat foods available at grocery stores, pet specialty stores, online and through veterinarians.”

It’s also a good idea to try a few different serving methods. Some cats prefer their wet food “fluffed” and served on a flat plate or wide, low-edged bowl. Others will eat straight out of the can. Once you find a food and serving method your cat loves, she’ll enjoy eating a mix of wet and dry cat food on a regular basis.

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