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Ahh, the great debate – what kind of food do you feed your cat? how much SHOULD they be eating and which cat food is best?
Everyone has an opinion on the matter but the honest answer is that the vets and experts don’t really know. Not enough studies have been done to confirm one way or the other and some cats do better on one or the other (or a combination of both!). The truth is, do what is best for you and your cats. That being said, the one thing to consider is which one will control your cat’s weight better because an overweight cat is an unhealthy cat! If your cat struggles with weight then check out these: Weight Loss Tips for Your Fat Cat
That being said there are some pros and cons to each type of food that may help you to make a decision, for reference, in this post, wet food refers to canned or tinned food and dry is also known as biscuits (just to avoid confusion). Hopefully, this list will help you see one way or the other which food your cat will prefer and which could be better!
- More protein – canned cat food contains more protein that dry food and this is partly because of the natural meat content that is able to be used in the recipes.
- Set meals – For cats who have a set meal time and prefer to only eat once or twice per day, wet food is probably the most suitable as it can be put down, eaten all at once and leaves them feeling full and satisfied.
- Elderly cats/Dental problems – Wet food is softer so it tends to be preferred by cats with sensitive teeth or those who have older jaws as it requires a lot less chewing.
- Picky eaters – The smell and taste of wet food is generally more of a natural meaty one and therefore is favored by many fussy cats!
- Higher water content – for those with kidney diseases, constipation or diabetes, wet food can be more beneficial because it has a higher water content which boosts digestion and helps to avoid kidney stones (you should always speak to your vet first though!)
- Fewer preservatives – As it is created to be eaten almost straight away, there are fewer preservatives found in wet food when compared to dry food!
- Smells – just because the cats like the smell does not mean that us humans do and it can really whiff (especially if left on a hot day)
- Expensive – wet cat food can be up to 4 times more expensive than dry which is often one of the main reasons it loses out. If you have a lot of cats it can definitely be a major expense.
- Storage – Opened canned food has to be stored in the fridge or at lower temperatures which can be annoying (and make your fridge smell)
- Shorter shelf life – The lack of preservatives comes at a price and this can mean that opened cans only last overnight (48 hours tops!) before spoiling which can be a waste
- Higher fat – Along with more protein is more fat which can be particularly negative for indoor cats who are prone to weight gain.
- Too rich for some – Cats with sensitive stomachs can often have a problem with wet food because it is too rich and causes them to be sick as their stomachs’ can’t handle the amount of protein and fat.
- More carbohydrates – Dry food contains a higher energy density than wet food which is partly due to the carbohydrates which makes it particularly beneficial for outdoor cats who need more energy throughout the day.
- Cheaper – substantially cheaper, especially for multiple cats
- Improves dental hygiene – this includes their breath, because the chewing action on the harder biscuits helps to remove plaque and keeps their mouths cleaner to avoid dental problems in the future. better for their teeth/ breath
- Easier to store – If you keep dry food in airtight containers in a dry place it can last upwards of a week or two which avoids waste and makes it easier to store and means it has a much longer shelf life than wet food.
- Better for weight control – because of the lower fat content and the ability to easily measure dry food it makes it a useful tool when trying to help your cats lose weight and keeping an eye on the amount that they eat.
- Grazers prefer it – As dry food doesn’t go off if left out during the day, cats who like to graze and eat little and often tend to prefer it as they can go back to it throughout the day.
- Dehydration – Due to the lack of water found in dry food it can sometimes lead to dehydration and constipation in cats who don’t have access to water all day. It is recommended that fresh clean water be placed next to the dry food to encourage drinking to avoid this.
- Indoor cats – Those who have indoor cats need to be wary of the amount of dry food their cat eats because it contains carbohydrates that are converted straight to fat if not burned off which leads to weight gain.
- Prone to over-eating – Biscuits that are left down throughout the day can cause cats to over eat just because they are there (in the same way humans tend to snack more if you have snacks in the house) Which makes measuring dry food even more important.
- Fussy eaters – As it is a more manufactured food, some cats will refuse to eat it at all and do not find the smell appetizing.
Whatever you decide, you need to make sure the food you give to your cats is high quality and meets all of their nutritional needs! Always read the labels (in the same way you would for kids) and make sure that they are as free from nasties and unnecessary processing as possible because this can lead to weight issues and diseases in the future for your cats. Ultimately you should make sure that you speak to a vet if you have any queries about your cat’s health and also if they are on medication, they will be able to give you advice on the best individual needs of your cat!
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*This post is part of #Catweek2016*