Living on a small farm, we've had a LOT of cats. Indoor cats, outdoor cats, feral cats, domestic cats. Fancy breeds and mixed, short hair and long. We've adopted both kittens and adults, and talked about it all here on the blog. It's not surprising, then, when readers email us with questions like: wet or dry food for cats? Which should I pick?
I'll admit that up until recently, I was a total kibble fan. I was ALL about the dry food, all the time. We're a super busy family and it helps to be able to have our cats using an auto-feeder when we're away.
Then we adopted three new cats, and two of them came with some pretty severe health issues. One has a persistently-upset stomach, and another was diagnosed with a genetic gum disease that will apparently cause her to lose all of her teeth within a couple of years! The veterinarian said that our best bet is to go ahead and keep their diet diversified, incorporating a variety of wet food into their regular dry food. This will ensure that they can easily handle a transition to all-wet, if necessary, and that they get plenty of hydration to settle their stomachs.
What to Know when Picking Wet or Dry Food for Cats
I went down the rabbit hole of pet food research to eduCAT myself! I headed to straight to the One Stop Cat Shop at Walmart, where we usually stock up on our Purina food and other pet necessities. They have our favorite Tidy Cats Lightweight 24/7 cat litter, as well as all the cat food we could possibly need and even toys.
Variety is Key
Our cats were eating Purina made specially for kittens at the shelter, and we've been feeding them Cat Chow Naturals Grain Free for awhile. We decided to shake things up a little with some Fancy Feast Seafood Pate (sold in 30 packs at Walmart) and Fancy Feast Chicken Filets that come in individual pouches and are the perfect moisture and texture for our crew of felines.
Let them Choose
We set all of the options out for the cats and let them pick and choose what they want. The filets went really quickly! We learned to leave those for a mid-day treat after the cats had gotten the majority of their necessary nutrition from dry food and wet food, which have all the balanced nutrition that cats need.
Mix it Up
The vet told us to incorporate the wet food in with the dry food when we feed the cats. We learned to really mix it up, or else our cats eat all the wet stuff and leave the dry cat food alone. We want them eating both so that we can still have the flexibility to leave them with the auto-feeder if we need to be away from home for a bit. The vet tells us that a lot of cats who lose their teeth can actually still handle dry food, especially when it's grain-free and comes in small pieces.
Know the Benefits of Both, and Adjust Accordingly
While wet food can help with health issues and hydration, dry food is easier for busy households and can fight plaque and tartar. We plan to keep our cats eating a variety of both as long as possible, but if/when we need to eliminate dry food altogether we will take extra measures to care for their teeth on a daily basis.
Whether you use wet or dry food for your cats, you can visit the One Stop Cat Shop at Walmart to learn about varying cat needs and the products that can make your life easier.
Do you use wet or dry food for cats?