Wet or Dry Food: What Kind of Cat Food Is Best For My Cat?
What kind of food you choose to feed your cat is an important decision. Just like humans, quality and quantity of food can affect your cat's health and well-being. Finding healthy options to fit your budget and your pet can be tricky. Some of the choices you need to make are:
- Wet or Dry Food
- Store or Name Brand
- Premium or Regular
- Prescription or Non-Prescription
Here is some information that I have discovered that may help you to decide which option and choice fits your and your pet's needs.
Wet or Dry Food?
You first need to decide if you are going to feed your pet wet or dry food. Wet food comes in a can and dry food comes in a bag, usually in the shape of small pellets. Your choices depend on your pet's preferences.
Annie Stuart, a WebMD pet expert, notes that there are pros and cons of each type of food. Dry food costs less than canned food and does not spoil as easily. But it also has a lower moisture content and is higher in carbohydrates than canned food. Dry food also does a better job of keeping your cat's teeth clean through the chewing and crunching.
Wet food is often higher in protein and gives your cat extra moisture to promote good kidney and urinary tract function. Most cats enjoy canned food and you will not likely need to do much coaxing to get them to eat.
If your pet is a new addition, you may need to experiment to see which kind of food she prefers. If you prefer to feed canned or dry, try that first and see if she can eat it. Buy a small bag or just a few cans in case you discover that the food is not working.
I feed my cats a combination. I leave dry food, a prescription weight loss diet from my vet, out all the time and feed the ones that like it a small amount of canned food in the morning and the evenings. Since cats are known to not drink enough water and I lost a cat to kidney issues recently, I researched and decided that a combination of the two types of food would be the best option for me. Some of my cats, however, do not like canned food and only eat the dry. I think that they just don't want to be predictable!
Store Brand or Name Brand?
If you are buying food in a pet or grocery store, the name on the front matters a lot less than the information on the back. Examine the ingredients and nutrition information. Review the first few ingredients. A recognizable protein source such as chicken should be listed. If it is not early in the ingredients, you might want to continue shopping.
I also look for pet foods that do not contain artificial colors and dyes. The dyes and cute shapes are there as a marketing tool for people, not for cats. Your cat may be smart but he can't read the label. As long as it is healthy and tasty to him, he will be happy. If you find a healthy choice in an off-label brand and it is what fits your budget, try a small bag and see if your cat will eat it.
Premium or Regular?
Part of this question again depends on your budget and your cat's needs. You also may want to discuss the choices with a vet or a trusted pet store associate. Again, a little bit of comparison shopping may help you to make the decision. Compare the ingredients from a regular and a premium bag or can.
- Are their significant nutritional benefits and quality?
- What kind of fillers do each of them contain?
While the price of premium might seem a bit steep, the reality is that the food choices you make can benefit your pet's long-term health. Premium food tends to have higher quality ingredients with the protein source being closer to the top of the list. It also tends to have lower fat and more nutrition per bite.
Some cats thrive on cheaper cat food and live long and healthy lives. Others may face health issues later in life because of poorer food choices when they were younger. If you have a specific breed of cat, there also may be other factors to consider such as higher fiber food for cats that have longer hair and are more prone to hairballs. Or you might need a reduced calorie food if your cat tends to eat too much or trends towards being overweight.
Prescription vs. Non-Prescription?
If you've been in most modern vet offices, you will notice that she often sells a variety of pet products including prescription pet food. She may recommend a particular type of food that needs a veterinarian’s prescription. These types of food treat certain conditions such a kidney disease, diabetes, or weight issues. But is prescription food worth it or can you get the same benefits from a food that you can buy over-the-counter?
It is important to discuss any needs or issues you have directly with your vet. If your budget can't afford a particular food, be honest about it. She may be able to help you find a cheaper alternative that can still help your pet cope or recover from his issues. Most vets are in their profession because they truly care about animals and they will often work with you.
For my older cats, a prescription reduced- fat diet has kept them healthy and happy. Most of my cats are over the age of ten, one is pushing 15, and the vet always remarks on how healthy and active they are for their age. The lack of serious health or weight issues has been worth the investment.
Take some time to think about the food choices you make for your cat and make sure that your choices fit your family's and your cat's needs. If you decide to switch your cat from his current food, remember to introduce the new food slowly, mixing it with the new food and increasing the ratio of new to old each day.
Your cat's food can make the difference in his overall health and well-being.
- Adult Cat Food: Canned vs. Dry and Feeding Schedule
From types of cat food to a feeding schedule, WebMD provides tips and advice for feeding your adult cat and providing adequate nutrition.
- ASPCA | Wet and Dry Cat Food
Both wet and dry products can be nutritionally complete... if they are high-quality pet foods appropriate for your pet's life stage and nutritional requirements.
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