When it comes to choosing food for your cat, you want to make sure that you pick the right one. With so many options available, making the proper choice can be a challenge. One of the most common questions pet owners ask is whether canned food or dry food is better for their cat. In this article, you will learn the pros and cons of both options so you can make an educated decision for your own feline.
Pros and Cons of Canned Food
Canned food for cats comes in a variety of different forms. One of the most common options is wet food packaged in small cans, but there are also semi-moist foods that come in packets. The pros and cons of canned food for cats are listed below:
- Pro: Wet cat food is typically higher in protein and healthy fat content than dry food, meaning fewer fillers and carbohydrates.
- Pro: The fat content in wet cat food can help to improve your cat’s coat.
- Pro: Many cats find wet food more palatable than kibble and are more likely to choose wet food over dry food when given the choice.
- Pro: The higher moisture content of wet cat food can be beneficial for cats with diabetes, kidney disease and urinary tract problems.
- Con: Wet cat food spoils much more quickly than dry cat food – it only lasts about five to seven days after being opened.
- Con: Wet cat food must be stored in the refrigerator after being opened.
- Con: On a per-ounce basis, wet cat food is more expensive than dry cat food.
- Con: Wet food has a tendency to stick to teeth and has been identified as a risk factor for dental disease.
Pros and Cons of Dry Food
If you take a walk down the cat food aisle at your local pet store, you will find dozens of options for dry food. Could dry food be better for your cat than wet food?
Here are the pros and cons of dry food for cats:
- Pro: Dry cat food is typically more economical – it is cheaper on a per-ounce basis than wet food and you can buy it in larger quantities.
- Pro: Kibble has a longer shelf-life than wet cat food once the container has been opened. It can last for six weeks before the nutritional value starts to decline.
- Pro: When it comes to preventing dental disease in cats, dry cat food is slightly more beneficial than wet cat food.
- Con: Dry cat food is more energy-dense (higher in calories) and is therefore easier for your cat to overindulge on than wet food.
- Con: Dry cat food has a much lower moisture content than wet food – about 10% compared to up to 80%. It is essential to always have a bowl of water available for your cat if on dry food.
- Con: Cat kibble is typically higher in carbohydrates and lower in protein than wet food, which could lead to obesity or diabetes if you are free-feeding your cat.
Feeding Tips for Cats
If you directly compare the number of pros and cons for wet cat food versus dry cat food, you may be tempted to think that wet cat food is the clear winner. While it is true that wet cat food is higher in protein, fat and moisture than dry kibble, it does have its downsides. Wet cat food spoils more quickly and requires refrigeration to stay fresh – it is also more expensive than dry cat food on a per-ounce basis. So which option is truly better for your cat?
Most cat parents recommend that a staple diet of dry cat food supplemented with small amounts of wet food once daily or several times a week. If this is the approach it is important to carefully calculate how much your cat needs of each to ensure they stay a healthy weight. Guidelines are available on all commercial food packages.