Bringing home a new kitten is an exciting time in your life. However, with that excitement, there come some questions that need to be answered. Is wet food or dry food better for my kitten? While wet food is more expensive than dry food, it can provide needed hydration that your kitten may not get from water alone.
Here we cover the benefits of dry food and wet food that can help you make the best decision for your cat.
Benefits of Dry Cat Food
There are a few different benefits of dry cat food, with the main one being how convenient it is. Dry food is easy to store, is mess-free, and super easy to pack around with you if need be. Dry food is also a great way to get the kids involved in caring for their dog or cat, or if you even have someone cat sitting. Another awesome benefit is when your cat is a grazer you can pour food in their bowl and they can come and go as they please.
Good For Picky Eaters
Cats can be picky eaters. Some love strong and bold flavors, while others hate it. Cats won’t be shy to show you that they hate what you’re feeding them and can even go on a hunger strike. If you are looking to switch your cat over to a new or healthier brand and they are resisting, try mixing some old with the new. It can be easy to mix kibbles to introduce new brands and slowly introduce new flavors to your cats.
Dry cat food can be left out all day and be just fine. Perfect for food grazers and erratic eaters. Dry food is also easy to store as you can keep it in the bag it came in, many now are resealable. You can also easily dump the food into an airtight container to keep it super fresh for the cat. If you’re looking for an even longer shelf life for the cat’s kibbles you can dry freeze it, but be aware as some taste changes could occur that your cat might not like.
Wet food should not be left out for longer than 4-hours because bacteria will begin to form. Cat’s immune systems are better than ours, but some bacteria can still cause tummy issues. Unused, opened wet food can be covered and left in the fridge for up to 7 days.
Some owners might try to mix kibbles with water to encourage hydration. But don’t do this because water and dry food mixed can allow for bacterial contamination.
Dry cat food can be great for their dental health. While kibbles alone are far from a complete dental care routine, they can reduce the amount of tartar buildup on your cat’s teeth. If you can, we still suggest brushing your cat’s teeth as often as daily, or whenever possible. Cat wellness plans include dental hygiene coverage keeping their mouths clean and healthy as they age.
Benefits of Wet Cat Food
Cat’s who only eat dry food can be more prone to dehydration. Kibbles can also be high in sodium, which causes water retention and further dehydration. Cats usually have a low thirst drive as it is, so if they are only eating dry food you might consider introducing wet. Dehydration can also lead to urinary tract issues or develop other health conditions.
One of the reasons cats are historically not big water drinkers is because wild cats get up to 70% of their moisture needs from their prey. This is why wet food is great for their hydration because it closely resembles their natural prey.
For Urinary Tract Issues
Approximately 3 in every 10 senior cats have chronic kidney disease. This can result in costly treatments, medications, and vet costs for cat parents who don’t have pet health insurance or a cat wellness plan.
Dehydration in cats commonly leads to urinary tract issues such as kidney stones, feline idiopathic cystitis, and lower urinary tract disease. As your cat ages, it is recommended to introduce more and more wet food to help keep the kitty’s kidneys healthy. Similar to humans, unhealthy kidneys in cats can lead to hyperthyroidism, diabetes, cancer, or even heart issues.
Check for these common signs of kidney disease in cats:
- Subtle weight loss
- Urinating more often
- Drinking water more often
- Decreased appetite
Fewer Calories & Weight Loss
Wet cat food can typically be more expensive than dry cat food. But this is usually because wet food is healthier for cats. Wet food usually contains more protein and fewer carbohydrates. So if your cat needs to go on a weight loss diet then the veterinarian will usually suggest a wet food diet.
Wet food can be helpful for weight loss because it can help the cat feel full for longer. Dry food is super dense and doesn’t include any water so your cat can be hungry again in just a couple of hours. Being hungry most of the day can cause unhappiness and could also be the reason they are meowing at you all day long.
Good For Sensitive Tummies
For kittens, milk to wet food is an easier transition on their stomachs than milk straight to kibbles. Wet food is also better for cats with missing teeth or those with sensitive stomachs. Cats recovering from diarrhea or constipation will benefit from wet food high in moisture. The moisture in wet food can also help reduce hairballs in cats.
If you switch from dry to wet food your cat’s stomach might get upset. So just take it slow and mix some of the cat’s old food with the new food.
Dry vs Wet: Our Main Takeaway
Now that you know all the different benefits that come from dry food and wet food, you might be best offering your cat a combination of wet and dry food, introducing more wet food as the cat ages. There are clear benefits to both with dry kibbles being convenient and promoting healthy teeth and gums, while wet food keeps cat’s kidneys healthy and leaves them feeling full.
Talk to your veterinarian as your kitten ages and make sure to get routine testing. A cat wellness plan covers routine blood work, fecal exams, and urinalysis. These tests help ensure your cat’s kidneys are in tip-top shape. They can also give you a warning that your cat is showing signs of dehydration or kidney damage before it’s too late.
Pet health insurance will cover serious injuries and illnesses, but a cat wellness plan can help prevent chronic illness for as long as possible. If you’re interested in a cat insurance plan and/or a cat wellness plan take Wagmo’s coverage quiz. This quiz can help you find your perfect pet health insurance plan at an affordable price.