Cats can be difficult creatures to understand. Owners are often left wondering how to best care for them. “Should I feed my cat wet food?” or “Is dry food better for cats?” are valid questions. They hint at a core desire of all caring pet owners: how can I best meet my cat’s nutritional needs?
There are many opinions surrounding the wet food vs. dry food for cats discussion. The fact is if your cat is in good health and you’re feeding 100% complete and balanced cat foods appropriate for your cat’s life stage, there is no correct answer. Both wet and dry foods can be nutritionally balanced and excellent choices. So why is there a debate regarding wet food vs. dry food for cats? It’s very likely that opinions are based on a very important but singular factor: the cat itself.
Cats have discriminating tastes. Owners know nutrition is paramount, but to a cat, flavor, texture and aroma are also very important factors. Sometimes there is no reason to wonder is wet or dry food better for cats, because the cat will only eat one and reject the other. If a cat has good dental hygiene and loves wet food or does not have hydration issues and loves dry, there’s no need to let the question “should I feed my cat wet or dry food?” be worrisome.
Some cats enjoy eating a combination of wet and dry foods. The variety can be stimulating and enjoyable for them. In that instance, the pet owner’s lifestyle can play a role in the type of food they serve their cat. “Should I feed my cat wet food?” is answered by another question, “Do you have time?”
Cats are known for grazing throughout the day, rather than eating a full meal at once. While dry food can be safely left out for your pet while you are away from home, wet food requires more supervision. To serve wet food in a healthy, sanitary manner, the Food and Drug Administration recommends that it not be left out for more than four hours to avoid food safety concerns. In general, if your cat hasn’t eaten within an hour, pick the wet food up.
Should I feed my cat wet or dry food? Consider if your cat:
- Drinks enough water—wet food can supplement your cat’s water needs
- Overeats—dry food left out all day may reinforce this negative behavior
- Has poor gums or teeth—dry cat food offers dental, teeth cleaning benefits
- Has malaise—changing foods, textures and tastes adds variety