We all want what is best for our pets, and a frequent question is “What is the best food for cats?” Although there is no one answer, since every cat is different with a different set of issues, the one reality for all cats is that they should be fed a species-appropriate diet. And one way to do that is by feeding canned food vs dry food to your cat.
Cats need about 70% moisture in their diets, and historically have gotten the necessary moisture from their prey. While commercial canned food contains between 70-80% moisture, dry food contains only about 10%. Your cat likely isn’t getting the moisture they need if fed a dry diet, as cats are notoriously bad drinkers. They don’t have “thirst-drive” and their tongues don’t work as efficiently as a dog’s tongue. It would take a lot of drinking for them to get the approximately 1 ounce of water per pound of body weight they require.
Consequently, feeding a cat exclusively a dry food diet becomes a problem, as the lack of moisture can create chronic mild dehydration, which can cause urinary issues, crystals, and lead to organ stress – in particular, stress on the kidneys.
Many people feed their cat a dry diet because there is a common misconception that cats need dry food to clean their teeth. However, dry food does not clean a cat’s teeth, as there is no shearing action from the food, and in fact the carbs in dry food can promote plaque and tartar. The best way to keep your cat’s teeth clean is to brush them daily (yes, it’s possible!).
What do you do if you are feeding your cat exclusively dry food now? Think about mixing in some canned food – slowly – and perhaps transitioning to a 100% canned diet. Feeding canned food will be more expensive than feeding dry food, but it is healthier for your cat, which may save you future vet bills down the road. Pets Go Natural offers some good-quality budget-friendly cat food options that you can explore.
What to look for in canned cat food? The best canned foods – for healthy cats – are high protein, high moisture and limited in starch (grains and carbs) – mainly corn, wheat, rice, and soy. Look for whole, named foods, and be on the lookout for undesirable ingredients – namely carrageenan, which has been linked to cancer, and propylene glycol, which is a 2nd cousin to antifreeze.
For healthy, natural wet cat foods you can feel confident feeding your pet, check out our full selection of wet cat foods.