Wet Food vs. Dry Food for Cats: Which is Right for Your Cat?

Wet or Dry

Have you ever wondered if wet food or dry food is better for your cat? Both wet and dry foods are excellent choices if your cat is in good health and you’re feeding a food that is 100% complete and balanced. So why do some owners have a preference when it comes to feeding wet or dry cat food? Continue reading and find out.

The differences between wet and dry cat food

You already know the main difference between wet and dry cat food: moisture. But you may not know how much moisture is required in all of the varieties available in the market. In the U.S., dry cat food must have no more than 20% moisture content while wet cat food has much more– at least 65%. This is why dry food can be packaged in bags while wet food is in cans or pouches.

Advantages of Feeding Wet Cat Food

Some cats prefer eating food with soft textures and robust flavors. Wet cat food with its high water content has both. If your cat:

  • has difficulty chewing
  • struggles to keep hydrated or
  • has a health condition

she may benefit from eating wet cat food. It is a way to ensure that cats get the nutrition they need at every meal. Another benefit, Purina Veterinary Nutritionist Dr. Dorothy Laflamme points out is, “cans and pouches come in small sizes, making it easy to provide a variety of different flavors, and for some, smaller sizes may make portion control easier.”

Advantages of Feeding Dry Cat Food

Feeding dry cat food is convenient. If your routine is busy, dry food may be perfect. It can be left out throughout the day, unlike wet food. Dr. Laflamme states that “wet food should not be left out for more than 30 to 60 minutes at a time to prevent bacterial growth.” Another plus, dry cat food can promote dental and oral health in cats. Chewing and crunching help reduce plaque and tartar buildup in a way that wet food can’t.

Wet vs. Dry Cat Food and Kittens

While they are growing, kittens have crucial nutritional needs. They need a wet or dry kitten food that is formulated just for them. Laflamme describes kitten food, “will have more protein, calories and a different proportion of nutrients compared to foods for adult cats. An option is to feed a good quality dry kitten food daily along with a small portion of a variety of different wet kitten foods.”

Wet vs. Dry Cat Food and Full-grown Cats

Many wet and dry cat foods are formulated for cats of all life stages. It’s important to check your food. To do that Laflamme recommends, “Look at the label for words that say the food provides complete and balanced nutrition for all life stages.”

Your cat’s nutritional needs depend on many factors: her age, weight, activity level, if she is neutered or not. Talk with your veterinarian so you feel certain that the food you choose–wet dry or a combination–is the best for your cat.

Wet vs. Dry Cat Food and Picky Cats

It’s true that you decide what food to buy your cat, but she decides if she will eat it. Certain ingredients, smells, textures, flavors even where you place her dish can make your cat love or reject her food. If you serve wet or dry cat food and she refuses to eat, Laflamme reminds, “there are hundreds–if not thousands– of good quality cat foods available at grocery stores, pet specialty stories, online and through veterinarians.” Keep trying, and you will find a good fit for you and your cat.

Print Icon
Email Icon
cat product selector header

Purina offers formulas designed for your cat's unique needs and products that fit within your lifestyle. We'll help you find the perfect match.