Benefits of Wet & Dry Food

How do I choose between wet or dry cat foods?

When it comes to cat food products, the abundance of choice can be dazzling. Add in the variable information displayed on pet food labels and marketing materials and it becomes difficult to know where to start when trying to make the right nutritional choice for your feline companion. So, let’s start with the basics…

What do cats need in their diet?

We all know that cats are unique, but so too are their dietary needs. Every cat must obtain a total of 41 essential micronutrients from their food every day. They are called essential, because they cannot be manufactured in the body and they are necessary for normal healthy function. A proportion of these nutrients must also derive from animal sources, as cats are obligate carnivores. This means that cats cannot be fed a vegetarian diet and survive without malnutrition problems. Specifically, cats have to obtain the amino acids taurine and arginine, plus the fatty acid arachidonic acid, as well as pre-formed vitamin A. These can all be found in animal based ingredients.

What drives food appeal in cats?

When it comes to food our feline friends are hugely driven by palatability. Smell is a very important element of this and essential to initiating food appeal. Odour also gives pleasure and enhances enjoyment of food, whilst at the same time providing nutritional information. Taste is another vital part of palatability and although cats have far fewer taste buds (475) than either humans (9000) or dogs (1700), they do have some interesting quirks. A cat’s sensitivity to bitter tastes for example is 400 times greater than that of dogs’, but they lack the taste buds to be able to enjoy sweet flavours! Texture and the actual shape of an item in the mouth are the final elements of palatability and particularly motivating for cats when it comes to choosing their food.

What are the different benefits of wet and dry cat food?

Fundamentally the main physical difference between wet and dry food is in the quantity of moisture contained within. However, the main benefits of each can be summarized as:

Benefits of Wet and Dry Cat Food Wet Dry

Useful for increasing water intake as contains more moisture in the food
Crunchy texture helps to keep teeth clean and encourages chewing
Can be warmed to release a tempting aroma for discerning diners
Convenient to keep and store once opened, due to longer shelf-life
Soft texture can be helpful for cats with dental or mouth problems
Smaller volumes are particularly helpful for cats that like to graze
Larger volumes help cats feel full quickly
Can be used to encourage activity and exercise by strategically scattering
Single serve formats ensure no over-eating between meals
Food doesn’t spoil if left in the bowl for less than 24 hours
Different products provide different texture
Different kibbles provide variety for mouth feel and texture


How do I choose between wet or dry cat foods?

Unless your cat is on a particular diet that has been recommended by your vet to help manage a medical condition, the choice of which type of food to give your feline friend is highly subjective. The following are a few pointers to consider:

1. Your cat’s own individual preference for a specific type of food

2. Her level of enjoyment of different shapes and textures

3. How and where your store the food

4. Your own purchase preference, which may be influenced by ingredient quality, nutritional benefits, brand loyalty, ethical codes etc.

5. How much enrichment you want to add to your cat’s experience of mealtimes i.e. simply provide all meals in a bowl or increase her activity levels and stimulation by making her seek out some of her food

Ultimately so long as you are providing complete and balanced nutrition, the choice of whether to give your cat wet or dry food comes down to preference: both yours and that of your discerning feline friend.


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