What’s better for Your Cat, Dry Kibble or Moist, Wet Food

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As a cat owner I know that most of us would go that extra mile to look for the right, healthy food for our cat. The 2005 cat/dog food recall has stigmatized the pet food industry and rocked the consumers' confidence for quite a while. Luckily, AAFCO has tightened the monitoring measures to make sure any manufactured cat/dog food made in the US or imported from other countries meet the AAFCO protocols.

So speaking of cat food, I am sure all of us have pondered on the question about whether we should choose wet food, dry kibble or a combination of both for our little feline furries. In fact, there have been many debates and studies on proper nutrition and diet for cats. The truth is that there is really no right answer to it.

After comparing glucose-tolerance tests, which measures blood samples and indicates how fast glucose is being cleared from the blood after eating, researchers found no significant difference between a dry food diet and a wet food diet....

...The MU veterinarian indicated that allowing cats to eat enough to become overweight is more detrimental to their health than the type of food they eat. - Science Daily (Dec 4, 2007)

All right, so a regular eating pattern and a moderate amount of food are some of the most important aspects to a healthy, strong cat, but still there are myths about both dry and moist foods - their benefits and downfalls. I have compiled a list of pros and cons of each type of food for your own enjoyment:

Dry Kibble:

Pros

  1. Dental health - so it is said that dry food helps remove some plague or tartar through scraping. Since dry food has no moisture or water, it requires a lot of fluid, aka water which in turn aids in cleansing the teeth.
  2. Economical and lasts longer - dry kibble does not spoil very quickly and is usually sold in bulk. Best bang for your buck.
  3. Great nibbling snacks.
  4. Excellent way to strengthen jaw muscles - dry food can satisfy cats or dogs' instinct of chewing.

Cons

  1. High in carbohydrates - cats are obligate carnivores and their natural food intake doesn't consist of much starch or corn-based carbs unlike most dry food which contains 30% - 50% of carbs. Dry food has been associated to occurrence of diabetic episodes in many cats in America.
  2. Hard to digest for some cats - this is especially true to cats that are accustomed to wet food and trying to switch over. In this case, their digest system is used to processing high protein food with little grain or fiber.
  3. Contains grain and by-products.

Wet Food:

Pros

  1. An excellent source of protein and fat - Cat's diet should include a high amount of protein and fat which fits them anatomically and physiologically. Protein does not cause constipation in cats, so they don't really need to supplement on fiber. The fat from meat provides a beautiful glow and luxury-like texture to the coat.
  2. Lots of water - believe it or not, 75% of wet food is made of water. Yes, plenty of H2O!
  3. Prevent overeating - studies have shown that cats tend to eat less when they feed on wet food as their primary mainstay. Apart from the fact that it has mostly water, protein fills them up much more quickly than dry food.
  4. Smells and tastes awesome - cats adore the aroma and texture of wet food. My cat begs for it every time I take out the can.

Cons

  1. More pricey - wet food is generally more expensive than dry food and usually packaged in a small can.
  2. May cause bad breath - this is really a myth. In some cases, cats that are fed primarily on wet food, have built up plague that can cause gum infection.
  3. Perishable food - wet food does not last for a long time if left out at room temperature.  If a can is opened and not finished, we must keep it refrigerated and it can go for another 3 - 4 days until it expires.

There you have it - the comparison of dry and wet food. Before you make your decision, be sure to check with your veterinarian. Cats with diabetes or urinary tract disease may not suit certain diet. There are products out there available for cats that require special attention.

In fact, many people like me go by the dry and wet mixture that is popularly recommended, but go with whatever works for your precious little one(s). The rule of thumb, overfeeding is the major cause of obesity. In the US, most of us are conditioned to fat cats. Did you know that male cats should weigh between 10 - 11 lbs and female cats should weigh between 5.5 - 7.7  lbs?

Usually, cat food containing 34 to 38 percent protein and 19 to 22 percent fat provides a healthy balance. - eHow

I am ending this post with an interesting video about cat food from PetSide.com. Enjoy!

Watch this at Pet Side

Image: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Catdryfood.jpg

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