Dry or wet food - what should I feed my cat?
Dry food, wet food or both? Find out about the advantages and disadvantages of the different types of food and how you can make sure that you provide your cat with a healthy, species-appropriate diet.
Wet versus dry food for cats
Every cat has its own particular preferences when it comes to choosing food. Some prefer wet food, while others like it crunchy and dry. But there are also many cats who like both. As a general rule, cats can be provided with a healthy and species-appropriate diet with both high-quality wet and dry food, as long as these are complete foods. A complete food is a food that contains all the essential nutrients, including minerals and vitamins, that a cat needs every day. When it comes to cat nutrition, a wet food has several advantages. You can read here what these are.
Feeding your pet naturally: wet food resembles a cat's prey
Cats are carnivores and need high-quality proteins – but also fluids of course. Mice, as the cat’s natural prey, provide mainly proteins, fats and minerals and are regarded as the ideal example of a species-appropriate diet for cats. This is why species-appropriate cat food should have a high meat content with high-quality protein sources and taurine.
Plant-based ingredients can be included in small amounts, but are not essential. It is important that the food is produced without any added sugar, soya or flavour enhancers and is free from artificial colours and preservatives.
How much wet food should my cat eat?
To ensure that your cat has a species-appropriate diet, you should make sure that its daily food intake is spread out over several meals. The question is, however: How much wet food should a cat eat every day? The packaging of cat food always carries a feeding recommendation and information for the cat owner regarding whether it is a complete food or a supplementary food.
The daily amount of food depends on the weight and temperament (level of activity) of the cat as well as the energy content of the food. The energy content of wet food can vary greatly. For Carny Adult Beef + Chicken, the amount of food recommended for a cat weighing 4 kilograms –depending on its temperament (level of activity) – is between 185 and 240 g per day if this is the only product given to the cat.
If you cannot find a feeding recommendation on the packaging, you should contact the pet food manufacturer directly. Our vet, Dr Radicke, will be happy to help you calculate the ideal amount of food for your cat. You can contact her using our vet enquiry form.
Wet food helps to keep your cat hydrated
Cats are known to usually only drink very little. Unlike dogs, the cat's organism is designed to obtain fluids primarily from food. Wet food therefore has a number of benefits.
Wet food has a much higher moisture content than dry food. It consists of more than two thirds water – which is similar to meat. Cats that eat mainly wet food therefore have to drink less water, which is very practical for animals that originally lived in the desert.
A wide choice of wet food: which one is the right for my cat?
Wet food is available in a wide variety of forms, such as patés, terrines, chunks in sauce and jelly, as well as in plenty of flavours, and tailored to every stage of a cat’s life. So what type of food should you put in your cat’s bowl?
Cat owners should make sure that they feed their four-legged friend a high-quality complete food that provides their pet with all the essential nutrients and minerals it requires, and which is also tailored to the cat’s needs at the current stage of its life.
One manufacturer that incorporates this into its recipes is animonda. The animonda carny brand products provide cats with 100% fresh, meaty ingredients. The Vom Feinsten brand products from animonda impress gourmet cats with a wide variety of recipes. Both brands are free from flavour enhancers, artificial colours and preservatives, sugar and soya.
The products mentioned above also have the high moisture content typical of wet food, which means that the cat already receives plenty of liquid when it eats its food.
How to store wet food correctly
Wet food can be stored unopened for a long time – up to three years, depending on the brand. Once opened, it should, however, be used as quickly as possible and stored in the refrigerator. However, you should not serve it to your cat fresh from the fridge, because cold food can upset your pet’s sensitive stomach lining. Always take the food out of the fridge well in advance of feeding to ensure that it is at room temperature. Our tip: animonda provides practical, reusable lids for your cat’s canned wet food, so everything stays securely sealed.
The advanteges of wet food at a glance
- Wet food contains predominantly meaty ingredients. Its composition can resemble that of the prey of a cat, for example in the case of the Vom Feinsten and Carny cat food from animonda.
- When fed wet food, cats ingest fluids at the same time
- Available in a number of different forms such as patés, terrines and chunks in sauce, wet food ensures plenty of variety in the food bowl
Dry food: crunchy cat food with benefits
Many cats love the sound of the rattling of dry food. They know that this means that it’s time for them to eat and they are happy to interrupt their outdoor activities for a tasty meal. Dry food (internal link: how to recognise good cat food) consists of kibbles made from meat and plant-based ingredients and, as a complete food, contains all the minerals and vitamins that cats need every day.
The advantages: It is practical for cat owners who have to go to work, because the cat is able to help itself from a bowl filled with dry food. Wet food, on the other hand, should be eaten immediately by your cat and not left at room temperature or in a warm place for too long. Dried food keeps well when stored correctly and is ideal for your storage cupboard. Once opened, it should also be eaten in a short space of time or kept in a properly sealed container that is cleaned regularly to prevent mites.
Dry food is also unbeatable with regard to your cat’s dental care, as it cleans its teeth mechanically. Munching on dry cat food stimulates the production of saliva, and the abrasion caused by chewing can reduce the build-up of tartar.
How healthy is dry food for cats?
When you feed your cat dry food, it is important to ensure that your pet drinks enough. Alongside its water bowl, drinking fountains for cats can provide an additional incentive.
As a basic rule, it is important that the food you feed your cat suits its individual preferences and nutritional requirements.
The advantages of dry food at a glance
- A bowl of dry cat food allows cats to help themselves whenever they want during the day – ideal for cat owners who have to go to work
- Munching on dry food promotes the cat’s dental hygiene
- Placed in a cat activity fun board, dry food encourages cats to play
Mixed feeding: wet and dry food for your cat
When you feed your cat both wet and dry food, it is important to know the energy content of the products to prevent your cat from becoming overweight. You can always have a separate bowl of dry food available for your cat while you feed it wet food from another bowl in the morning and evening, for example. This model is ideal for working cat owners. This is because by nature, cats eat several meals over the course of the day, so they want to be able to regularly eat small portions of wet and dry food.
If you have to go to work but still want to treat your cat to fresh wet food, then an automatic wet food feeder with a timer would be a wise investment. You put the food in the feeder in the morning, put a cold pack in it and the dispenser will open automatically at the desired time to allow your cat to eat small portions.
What is better for my cat: wet or dry food?
Whether you feed your cat dry food, wet food or a combination of both – the best way to feed your cat depends on its individual needs and preferences. Mixed feeding could be a good way to provide your cat with variety in its food bowl.
Wet food provides cats with a wide choice of meaty raw materials and helps cats to keep hydrated. A cat diet that includes dry food is convenient for the owner, however it is important to ensure that the cat is drinking enough and to always be aware of the amount of dry food that is given.
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