Wet or dry food - what to feed a cat

British Shorthair cat lying down on a white rug next to a feeding bowl

When people are considering what to feed cats, they often look at whether wet cat food or dry cat food will be best. The best cat food should not only provide the best nutrition, it should also be easy for you to manage and be something your cat wants to eat.

Ideally, it should also help keep any potential health problems in check. Wet food is a great way to look after some of those needs, while dry cat food is brilliant in other ways. Wet food helps increase your cat’s intake of water, whereas dry food helps maintain your cat’s dental health. The aroma of wet food is more likely to tempt a fussy eater, whereas dry food will maintain its quality in the bowl for the whole day. Because wet and dry cat food provides different benefits, it is worth considering feeding your cat a mixture of both (although not in the same bowl).

Benefits of dry cat food

One of the key benefits of dry cat food is it is easy to store and simple to serve to your cat. It can happily sit in a bowl all day without spoiling. This allows your cat to lightly graze on it frequently which is ideal for supporting healthy eating habits. When dry food is properly formulated, it also helps improve dental health by using a mild abrasive surface on the kibble to control tartar levels on your cat’s teeth.

Benefits of wet cat food

Many cats don’t get enough hydration through drinking and rely on their food to supplement the amount of water they consume. A key benefit of wet cat food is it helps provide your cat with the extra water that not only keeps them properly hydrated but also reduces the likelihood of health issues in areas such as their kidneys or urinary tract.

Wet food also has the added benefit of giving off a richer aroma than dry food, which is important for cats because they rely heavily on their sense of smell than their sense of taste. A cat’s sense of smell is normally around much stronger than the average human, while a human’s tongue has around twenty times more taste buds than a cat’s tongue.

Bengal cat indoors eating from a feeding bowl

Benefits of mixed feeding

Cats respond well to a little variety in their diet. That doesn’t mean they need to be eating something different for every meal or have their diet totally changed once a month – far from it. However, providing them with a diet that is a mixture of wet and dry food has been shown to reduce problems with fussy eaters. Different cats also have different preferences when it comes to texture. By feeding them a mixed diet they’ll get a combination of textures that ensures they will find the one they like.

Mixed Feeding respects the natural feeding behaviour of the cat. Cats prefer to eat different small meals throughout the day. Offer them a mix of wet and dry foods throughout the day, in separate bowls, to give your cat variation. 

How to introduce mixed feeding

Mixed Feeding can be fed alternately and/or combined. The method of mixing depends on the preference of your cat. Introducing mixed feeding should be done gradually, over at least a week, to prevent any stomach upset. To find out how best to transition your cat onto a new diet, read more here.

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